Hamilton extends Championship lead with faultless Singapore GP win

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton extends his championship advantage to 40 points by winning the Singapore GP ahead of Red Bulls Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as Fernando Alonso scores McLaren’s best finish since the Azerbaijan GP.

16/09/18

Grid Formation

1.Hamilton  2.Verstappen  3.Vettel  4.Bottas  5.Raikkonen  6.Ricciardo  7.Perez  8.Grosjean  9.Ocon  10.Hulkenberg  11.Alonso  12.Sainz  13.Leclerc  14.Ericsson  15.Gasly  16.Magnussen  17.Hartley  18.Vandoorne  19.Sirotkin  20.Stroll

Race

The top 10 will start on the Hypersoft tyre while Brendon Hartley will start on the Hypersoft tyre as well as Lance Stroll will start on the Soft tyre. Everyone else will start on the Ultrasoft tyre. There has been a safety car featured at every Singapore GP, will there be one today?

The lights go out and its a good start by Lewis Hamilton as Sebastian Vettel pressures Max Verstappen but Verstappen stays ahead. Esteban Ocon is in the wall and is out after making contact with team-mate Sergio Perez. Vettel overtakes Verstappen for 2nd into turn 7 as the Safety Car is brought out. Its been a good start by Pierre Gasly, who is now 12th, after starting 15th and Fernando Alonso, who started 11th, is now 9th and ahead of both Renault drivers.

Sergey Sirotkin pits during the Safety Car period as the Russian had sustained damage to his front wing. He swaps to the Soft tyre as the Stewards declare that there will be no further action between the lap 1 incident between Ocon and Perez. Lap 5, Racing resumes as Lewis Hamilton leads the way. Max Verstappen is still complaining of engine problems in which seemed to hamper the Dutchman yesterday during qualifying. Lap 9, the top 3 of Hamilton, Vettel and Verstappen are starting to pull away from the rest as they are separated by just over 2 seconds.

Lap 12, the top 6 are staying on the track at the moment as they try and build a gap so for when they come in, they won’t encounter as much traffic. Lap 13, the top 6 are starting to spread out as Lewis Hamilton now leads by 2.1 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel who is 2.4 ahead of Max Verstappen. There are spots of rain in the paddock. Lap 15, Vettel pits, goes onto the Ultrasoft tyre and rejoins in 7th. Will Hamilton pit? Yes, Hamilton pits on lap 16. The Brit goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 5th and ahead of Vettel.

Max Verstappen now leads ahead of Valterri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. Lap 17, Bottas pits, goes onto the Soft tyre as well. Sebastian Vettel is now able to overtake Sergio Perez for 5th but has lost time to Lewis Hamilton ahead. Lap 18, Verstappen pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins side-by-side withy Vettel. Verstappen inches ahead and has made the over-cut work. Raikkonen and Ricciardo are now 1st and 2nd but are yet to make their first pitstops. Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean have already made their first pitstops and are in 16th, 17th and 18th.

Lap 22, Kimi Raikkonen pits from the lead. The Finn goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 6th. Daniel Ricciardo now leads. Lap 27, Charles Leclerc overtakes Pierre Gasly, who is struggling on his tyres, for 9th before turn 13. Gasly and Kevin Magnussen pit and are now 18th and 19th. Ricciardo pits, goes onto the Ultrasoft tyre and rejoins in 6th. Lewis Hamilton now re-takes the lead ahead of Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, Valterri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Ricciardo. Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr are 7th and 8th but are yet to pit. If they keep going at a reasonable pace they’ll be able to jump Sergio Perez who is still behind the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin.

Sergio Perez has had enough and overtakes Sergey Sirotkin but Sirotkin fights back. There’s contact and Perez pits as Nico Hulkenberg overtakes Sirotkin round the outside of turn 5 for 13th place. Replay shows that Perez moved to the left and hit Sirotkin before turn 18. Lewis Hamilton is now encountering lapped drivers and Max Verstappen is closing the gap. It was 4.5 seconds, its now 2.8 seconds. Romain Grosjean and Sirotkin battle and Hamilton has to back off. Verstappen is all over the back of him and Sebastian Vettel isn’t far back as well as Valterri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen. Grosjean and Sirotkin are under investigation for ignoring blue flags as Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc pit.

Lap 40, Sergio Perez has been handed a drive through penalty for the contact with Sergey Sirotkin. Fernando Alonso is still in 7th after making his pit-stop with Marcus Ericsson in 8th having not pitted yet. Carlos Sainz is 9th with Stoffel Vandoorne, yet to pit, in 10th. Alonso went onto Soft tyres while Charles Leclerc, who is in 11th, is on the Hypersoft tyre. Lap 41, Perez takes his penalty as Lewis Hamilton has extended his gap to over 3 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen. Romain Grosjean has been handed a 5 second time penalty for ignoring blue flags as Sainz overtakes Ericsson for 8th. Ericsson pits on lap 46 and that allows Leclerc to get into 9th and Nico Hulkenberg into 10th. Sirotkin is also given a 5 second time penalty for forcing another driver off the track.

Lap 49, everyone has now made their pit-stops as Stoffel Vandoorne pits and rejoins in  12th just over 3 seconds behind Marcus Ericsson in 11th. Daniel Ricciardo has set a new lap record and is closing in on Kimi Raikkonen and Valterri Bottas in 4th, 5th and 6th. Lap 61, Lewis Hamilton wins the 2018 Singapore GP ahead of Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 61 Laps (7th wins of the season & 69th career win)
  2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +8.961s (Fans Driver of the Day)
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +39.945s
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +51.903s
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +53.001s
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 53.982s
  7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, +1:43.011
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, + 1 Lap
  9. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, + 1 Lap (First points since Austria)
  10. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap (150th GP start)
  11. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  12. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  13. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  14. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
  15. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1 Lap
  16. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, + 1 Lap
  17. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  18. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, + 2 Laps (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  19. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 2 Laps
  • Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, DNF

Drivers Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 281pts
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 241pts
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 174pts
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 171pts
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 148pts

Constructors Championship

  1. Mercedes, 415pts
  2. Ferrari, 390pts
  3. Red Bull, 248pts
  4. Renault, 86pts
  5. Haas, 76pts

 

Hamilton takes unexpected Pole in Singapore

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton takes Pole Position ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Championship rival Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the Singapore GP.

15/09/18

On a track where Mercedes have tended to struggle in the past couple of years, pole position today was unexpected. Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas ended FP3 3rd and 4th behind both Scuderia cars and over half a second adrift. Things at one point looked bleak for the Silver Bullets. They opted to run on the Ultrasoft tyre in Q1 and were close to being knocked out with Bottas 12th and Hamilton a whisker from being out in 14th. Bottas and Hamilton got back to normality by ending Q2 in 3rd and 4th with the possibility of a car on the front-row.

Hamilton’s first lap was legendary and will go down as one of his best qualifying performances. A one minute 36 dead was over 3 seconds quicker than Vettel’s pole lap from last year. Bottas however was disappointed with 4th and to be nearly 7 tenths behind Hamilton. The Finn, who has yet to secure pole position this year, is seemingly going to play rear-gunner to Hamilton.

One of the Ferrari drivers should have been on Pole. Sebastian Vettel, who has gone well round here in the past, dominated FP3 after a great comeback after he damaged his Ferrari during FP2. Both Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen looked to be in trouble however in Q2 as they both ran the Ultrasoft tyre. They quickly found out that they could not get enough heat and time out of the purple marked tyres and swapped to the Hypersoft tyre which saw them safely through to Q3. Vettel repeatedly hit traffic on his out laps and bemoaned a “messy” qualifying session while Raikkonen, who was on Pole in Monza, struggled and ended Q3 5th after topping Q2.

Close but not close enough for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. It was a great lap by the Dutchman to beat both Ferrari’s, the Mercedes of Bottas and his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to 2nd. Verstappen qualified in 2nd last year but was caught in a Ferrari-sandwich which resulted in contact. A clean start is crucial if he wants to challenge for the win. Ricciardo, who topped Q1, will line-up in 6th but will be baffled to how he ended up over 6 and a half tenths off of Verstappen.

Apart from Hamilton and Verstappen, Force India’s Sergio Perez was the star of qualifying as the Mexican claimed “best of the rest” spot in 7th. Perez admitted that they weren’t expecting this pace but was very happy with 7th. Esteban Ocon confirmed that the major update that Force India had brought to this weekend had worked by qualifying in 9th and ahead of the Renault of Hulkenberg.

Romain Grosjean has been on good form of late and that seems to be helping his chances of staying with Haas for next year. 8th on the grid will please the Frenchman and what will please him more is that he out-qualified team-mate Kevin Magnussen who was knocked out in Q1.

Renault seem to be struggling for pace this weekend and will hope that they will be leaving Singapore on Sunday night with a handful of points as Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified in 10th, and Carlos Sainz, who qualified in 12th, look to be right in the middle of the mid-field pack.

It was another valiant effort by Fernando Alonso drag his McLaren to 11th place. The Spaniard had hoped that Q3 could have been on the cards but just missed out. It was another tough day for Stoffel Vandoorne who was out-qualified for the 15th time this season by Alonso. Having missed much of FP1, Vandoorne claimed that his last Q1 lap was “such a messy lap” with the Belgian tapping the wall at turn 22.

It was a solid performance by Sauber with both Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson progressing to Q1 and qualifying in 13th and 14th. Although, tapping the wall at turn 22 as well, Leclerc was able to put his drama in FP1 behind him which left the Sauber team with a bit of rebuilding to do around the front-right corner.

If it had not been for Magnussen’s Q1 elimination, Pierre Gasly would have found himself out in Q1. Gasly was 2 and a bit tenths off of Ericsson’s time but he would have to settle for 15th in the end. Brendon Hartley was a casualty of Q1 despite being just under 2 tenths slower than Gasly in Q1. Management at Toro Rosso have told the New Zealander to pick up the pace or he’ll be out of a seat for next year.

It was yet another frustrating session for Williams as both Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll found themselves 3 seconds off of the pace of Ricciardo who ended Q1 quickest. After leaving Monza on a high with both drivers in the points, the team have been brought back down to earth with a bang with the team locking-out the back row of the grid.

Qualifying Results

1.Hamilton  2.Verstappen  3.Vettel  4.Bottas  5.Raikkonen  6.Ricciardo  7.Perez  8.Grosjean  9.Ocon  10.Hulkenberg  11.Alonso  12.Sainz  13.Leclerc  14.Ericsson  15.Gasly  16.Magnussen  17.Hartley  18.Vandoorne  19.Sirotkin  20.Stroll

Raikkonen moves to Sauber as Leclerc joins Ferrari

2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen will move to Sauber with Charles Leclerc named by Ferrari as his replacement for the 2019 F1 Season.

13/09/18

Ferrari’s driver conundrum

As it has been for quite a few years now, Ferrari were faced with a occurring decision: would the Scuderia keep the popular Finn for another season? At one stage, it looked like it could have gone either way with Raikkonen either staying for another season in “red” or jumping ship to another team or calling it quits on his time in the sport. At last a decision has been made and it seems to have worked out great.

Raikkonen returns to Sauber

Kimi Raikkonen will return to Sauber, the team he first drove for when the Finn made his GP debut in 2001, on a two-year deal which will keep Raikkonen in the sport for the 2019 and 2020 F1 seasons. Raikkonen’s fate at Ferrari prospered throughout the season as the Finn, who lies 3rd in the championship, has secured 9 podium finishes, his latest podium finish coming at the Italian GP where he finished in 2nd place after securing Pole Position.

Raikkonen seemed to be on track to drive for Ferrari after the death of then Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne, who died in July. Marchionne’s replacement as CEO, Louis Camilleri, is a supporter of the Finn and was torn between either sticking to Marchionne’s decision of promoting Leclerc or keeping Raikkonen for an extra year.

Seemingly over the Italian GP, Ferrari’s home race, it was decided that Camilleri would honour Marchionne’s decision and replace Raikkonen with Leclerc for the forth coming season.

Raikkonen was receiving outside help from over 74,000 fans who had signed a petition urging Ferrari to keep the Finn for another year. Whether the petition had any effect on Ferrari, Raikkonen is moving to Sauber to compete and is not looking at a couple of records he could achieve over the next few years.

“During these years, Kimi’s contribution to the team, both as a driver and on account of his human qualities, has been fundamental,” said Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.

“Dreams do come true” – Leclerc

Charles Leclerc will race alongside 4 time world champion Sebastian Vettel after just 14 races in the sport. Leclerc, who is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, will be the first product of the programme to drive for the team in F1 when he joins the Scuderia in 2019.

Leclerc has had an exceptional season so far while at the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, scoring 13 of the 19 points the team has achieved so far this season. Leclerc was granted the chance to drive in F1 after a stellar campaign in F2 in which the Monegasque won the championship in 2017. A best result of 6th place in the Azerbaijan GP and 4 other points scoring race places Leclerc in 13th place.

Leclerc has been outperforming his much more experienced team-mate Marcus Ericsson with Leclerc being able to reach Q3 on 3 separate occasions. His strong showings have impressed the likes of Championship leader, Lewis Hamilton and soon-to-be team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who have given praise over the course of the year.

How did the change come around and what impact will it have?

Leclerc will join Ferrari as their youngest driver since Ricardo Rodriguez drove for them at the Italian GP in 1961 and he will also be their least experienced debutant since Gilles Villeneuve competed with them in 1977. What does this say about Ferrari? It shows that they are ready for change for swapping experience for youth, nothing the Scuderia have done in a while. They follow Red Bull and McLaren who are putting their faith in their young drivers, Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris, who will be driving for their respected teams next year.

If Ferrari had kept Raikkonen for an extra year, it’s highly likely that Leclerc would have stayed with Sauber or either moving to Haas who are customer team of Ferrari. This would have allowed Leclerc to gain more experience of the sport not being put into the spotlight after such a short period of time. But would his talent be wasted by spending another year at a mid-field team whereas he could potentially be able to fight for podium finishes or race victories? This is one of the factors why Ferrari decided to effectively “go radical” for 2019.

Vettel and Raikkonen have been Ferrari team-mates since 2015 and have become very good friends off the track. Vettel has been able to beat Raikkonen each year, thus Ferrari giving him the unofficial title of Number One Driver. How will Vettel cope with Leclerc in beside him given that Leclerc has the potential to beat the German? Only time will tell but the 2019 F1 Season is poised for a great scrap between drivers and teams.

What next for the F1 Driver Market?

With Leclerc moving to Ferrari, it has ruled out the move to Haas if Ferrari were keeping Raikkonen.

Recent rumours suggest that Haas will be keeping Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean with strong rumours also suggesting that Lance Stroll will be joining Sergio Perez at the newly rebranded Racing Point Force India.

Esteban Ocon’s and Stoffel Vandoorne’s chances of staying in F1 are looking slim. Vandoorne has been dropped from McLaren in favour of Lando Norris for 2019 while Ocon looks to on his way out after being forced out at Force India as Stroll is set to take his seat.

The second Sauber seat alongside Raikkonen looks to be between Swede Ericsson and Ferrari’s third driver and reserve, Antonio Giovinazzi. Ericsson, who is having a better season so far compared to the past few years, brings a lot of money in terms of sponsorship to the team and experience as he made his GP debut in 2014 for Caterham – signing for Sauber for the 2015 season.

Vandoorne remains an out-side bet for the Sauber seat and also a seat at either Williams or Toro Rosso as does Ocon but if Ocon is to secure a seat at any team for 2019, his ties with Mercedes must be cut as teams, who showed interest in the Frenchman such as Renault, McLaren and Red Bull, have bypassed him because of his ties as a young driver for the German team.

2019 Driver Line-up

  • Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton & Valterri Bottas
  • Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel & Charles Leclerc
  • Red Bull: Max Verstappen & Pierre Gasly
  • Renault: Daniel Ricciardo & Nico Hulkenberg
  • Haas:
  • McLaren: Carlos Sainz & Lando Norris
  • Force India:
  • Sauber: Kimi Raikkonen
  • Toro Rosso:
  • Williams:

 

Norris in at McLaren for 2019, Vandoorne out

McLaren have confirmed that their second driver for 2019 will be 18 year old Lando Norris who replaces Stoffel Vandoorne and will be partnering Carlos Sainz Jr for the 2019 campaign.

05/09/18

Announced on Monday, McLaren confirmed that Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne would not be racing with the team next year. Vandoorne, who joined their young driver program in 2013, became a test driver in 2014 and raced for the team at the 2016 Bahrain GP where he scored points. He became a full time driver at McLaren after replacing Jenson Button for 2017 and has partnered Fernando Alonso since.

A few hours later, McLaren announced that rising star Lando Norris would take Vandoorne’s seat and partner Carlos Sainz Jr for the 2019 F1 Season. Norris is currently 2nd in the F2 championship and trails Mercedes junior driver George Russell.

Why did McLaren chose Norris?

McLaren regard the 18-year-old as a special talent who was too good to ignore. McLaren boss, Zak Brown, said that Norris was “an immense talent.”

Coupled with 24 year old Sainz, McLaren are looking to the future and currently the right fit for their current position.

Norris has tested on four occasions for McLaren, most recently in last month’s two-days after the Hungarian GP, and drove in Practice One at the Belgian and Italian GPs. His pace was great, better than Vandoorne’s time at Spa, but also in Italy where he showed great skill in the rain and was half a second down on Alonso.

McLaren say that they needed to promote Norris as he was attracting attention from other F1 teams. Most notably was Toro Rosso when the Italian squad tried to sign the youngster in June in replacement of Brendon Hartley. McLaren turned this down and with Vandoorne not performing well up against Alonso, Norris was ultimately the right choice for the team.

What happens to Vandoorne?

It’s fair to say that it has been a hard 2018 campaign so far for the Belgian. Vandoorne hasn’t scored points since Baku as he has struggled to get to grips with the MCL33 and his tally of 8 points leaves him 16th in the championship.

One of the main sticking points for Vandoorne as he is yet to out-qualify Alonso in the 14 races so far this year. He is also on a run of seven consecutive Q1 eliminations.

Vandoorne is a very talented driver but has not been able to show his skill at McLaren who have gone through a very difficult and lacklustre couple of years with Brown accepting that they “haven’t provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent.”

This is not the first time this has happened with McLaren as Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen found out when they joined the team in 2013 and 2014. Both left after just one year but have salvaged their F1 careers at other teams.

Toro Rosso and Sauber are potential options for Vandoorne if he wants to race in F1 next year but Brown was quoted to say that “we have some other racing activities we are reviewing, and I wouldn’t hesitate to keep Stoffel in the McLaren family if there was a seat available and he had a desire to race in it.”

2019 Driver Line-up

  • Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas
  • Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel
  • Red Bull: Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly
  • Renault: Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg
  • Haas:
  • McLaren: Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris
  • Toro Rosso:
  • Sauber:
  • Williams:

Hamilton extends his championship lead by winning in Italy

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton beats the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen to win the Italian GP and extends his Championship lead ahead of Sebastian Vettel who finishes 4th after the two championship rivals clashed on the opening lap.

02/09/18

Grid Formation

1.Raikkonen  2.Vettel  3.Hamilton  4.Bottas  5.Verstappen  6.Grosjean  7.Sainz  8.Ocon  9.Gasly  10.Stroll  11.Magnussen  12.Sirotkin  13.Alonso  14.Perez  15.Leclerc  16.Hartley  17.Vandoorne  18.Ericsson*  19.Ricciardo*  20.Hulkenberg*

Ericsson* & Ricciardo* take engine changes while Hulkenberg* takes engine changes and 10-place grid penalty from Belgian GP.

Race

Kevin Magnussen, Charles Leclerc, Marcus Ericsson and Daniel Ricciardo will start on the Soft tyre. Everyone else will start on the Supersoft tyre. The chance of seeing a Safety Car is very low with the last Safety Car to feature round Monza dates back to 2011. Ferrari have not won round here since 2010, can they change that today?

The lights go out and its a good start by the top 3. Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel go side-by-side into turn 4 and there’s contact! Vettel is round and drops to the back of the pack. The Ferrari has damage and pits at the end of 1st lap. A front wing change and a set of Soft tyre and he’s in 18th. Kimi Raikkonen leads ahead of Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Valterri Bottas and Romain Grosjean. Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg also pit at the end of the 1st lap. Ricciardo now on Supersofts and Hulkenberg now on Softs.

Brendon Hartley is also out. The New Zealander got hit by Stoffel Vandoorne and the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson right at the start of the race. Hartley didn’t even make it to turn 1 and is the first retirement of the race.

Lap 4, the Safety Car ends with Kimi Raikkonen leading. Lewis Hamilton pulls to the outside and overtakes Raikkonen before turn 1. Raikkonen hits back and overtakes the Brit round the outside of turn 4. Lap 6, the Stewards decide that the incident between Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel is a racing incident and no further action will be taken. Lap 7, Daniel Ricciardo and Vettel are making progress with the duo in 14th and 15th now. Lap 9, Vettel overtakes Ricciardo for 14th down the outside of turn 1.

Lap 10, Fernando Alonso pits and retires from the race. Lap 11, Nico Hulkenberg overtakes Charles Leclerc for 14th place down into turn 1. Lap 14, the gap at the front is around 8 tenths to 1.2 seconds between Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. Max Verstappen is still holding off the Mercedes of Valterri Bottas for 3rd with Romain Grosjean occupying 5th now ahead of Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz. Sebastian Vettel is now 10th, make that 9th as he overtakes the Williams of Lance Stroll on lap 16.

Lap 18, Sebastian Vettel overtakes Sergio Perez for 8th down into turn 1. Lap 19, Valterri Bottas has a pop at Max Verstappen with Verstappen going over the kerbs at turn 1. Verstappen keeps 3rd for the now.

Lap 21, Kimi Raikkonen pits. Lewis Hamilton continues on as Raikkonen comes back out in 4th. Raikkonen now on the Soft tyre, has to push if he wants to re-take the lead. Hamilton stays out as a few drivers, including Raikkonen, reports a hint of rain. Lap 24, Sebastian Vettel overtakes Esteban Ocon for 5th down the inside of turn 1. Lap 25, Daniel Ricciardo is out. Smoke is bellowing out of rear of the Red Bull as the Australian pulls over just after turn 5. Lap 27, Max Verstappen pits. The Red Bull driver goes onto the soft tyre and rejoins in 6th.

Lap 28, Lewis Hamilton pits. The Brit goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 3rd behind Valterri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen. Bottas, who hasn’t pitted yet, is told by Mercedes to try and hold up Raikkonen to let Hamilton close in. Lap 30, Sebastian Vettel pits and goes onto the Supersoft tyre. That’s his 2nd and final pit-stop of the day. Lap 32, Vettel overtakes Lance Stroll for 8th place down into turn 1. Vettel is 20 seconds off Max Verstappen in 4th. Lap 33, Raikkonen closes in on Bottas but can’t find a way past and now Hamilton is closing on the pair.

Lap 36, Valterri Bottas pits from the lead. The Finn goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 4th behind Max Verstappen. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton have damaged their tyres and will be trying to manage their tyres until the end of the race. 15 laps to go and the gap between the top 2 is around about a second. Sebastian Vettel overtakes Sergio Perez for 5th down the inside of turn 8. Meanwhile, Bottas is just 1.6 seconds behind Verstappen, who occupies 3rd.

Lap 43, Valterri Bottas has gone wide at turn 1 and had to go to the escape route after coming together with Max Verstappen. The pair touch tyres and Bottas falls to 4.5 seconds behind the Dutchman. Lap 45, Lewis Hamilton overtakes Kimi Raikkonen round the outside of turn 1 to take the race lead. The Stewards have given Verstappen a 5 second time penalty for causing a collision with Bottas at turn 1. Hamilton has now opened up a gap of 3.3 seconds to Raikkonen.

Lap 39, Valterri Bottas and Max Verstappen scrap at turn 1 and turn 4 but the Dutchman stays ahead for the now. Behind, Sebastian Vettel is closing them down and could be within the 5 seconds of the penalty.

Onto the final lap, Max Verstappen is still ahead of Valterri Bottas but Verstappen will drop behind Sebastian Vettel after his time penalty is applied. Lewis Hamilton wins the Italian GP ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. Bottas will be promoted to 3rd and Vettel to 4th with Verstappen down to 5th.

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 53 Laps (6th win of the season & 5th at Monza)
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +8.705s (Fans Driver of the Day & 100th Career Podium)
  3. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +14.066s
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +16.151s
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +18.208s
  6. Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, +57.761s
  7. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, +58.678s
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, +78.140s
  9. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
  10. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 1 Lap (First F1 Point)
  11. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  12. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  13. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  14. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  15. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  16. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, + 1 Lap
  • Romain Grosjean, Haas, +56.320s – DSQ
  • Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, DNF
  • Fernando Alonso, McLaren, DNF
  • Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, DNF

Drivers Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 256pts
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 326pts
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 164pts
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 159pts
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 130pts

Constructors Championship

  1. Mercedes, 415pts
  2. Ferrari, 390pts
  3. Red Bull, 248pts
  4. Haas, 84pts
  5. Renault, 84pts

 

 

Vettel beats Hamilton to Belgian GP win

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel strikes back and wins the Belgian GP to narrow the deficit in the championship to Mercedes Lewis Hamilton, who finishes in 2nd, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in 3rd.

26/08/18

Grid Formation

1.Hamilton  2.Vettel  3.Ocon  4.Perez  5.Grosjean  6.Raikkonen  7.Verstappen  8.Ricciardo  9.Magnussen  10.Gasly  11.Hartley  12.Leclerc  13.Ericsson  14.Alonso  15.Sirotkin  16.Stroll  17.Bottas*  18.Hulkenberg*  19.Sainz*  20.Vandoorne*

Bottas*, Hulkenberg*, Sainz* and Vandoorne* have all taken various engine penalties. Bottas and Hulkenberg announced earlier this week with Sainz and Vandoorne announcing that they were taking these penalties earlier this morning.

Race

The lights go out and it’s a good start by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel as both go side-by-side at turn 1. Behind, Fernando Alonso gets airborne as the Spaniard gets hit from Nico Hulkenberg. Alonso hits Charles Leclerc and goes over the top of the Sauber. Alonso is out. Along the Camel Straight, Hamilton and Vettel go side-by-side as both the Force India’s of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez get in on the action as well. They are four abreast but Vettel takes the lead as the Safety Car is out. Hulkenberg and Leclerc are also out.

Kimi Raikkonen has pitted as the Finn had sustained a puncture on the right-rear tyre. Daniel Ricciardo pits and has a broken rear wing. Red Bull have pulled the Australian into the pits and are trying to fix the rear wing. Raikkonen is now on the Medium tyre along with Stoffel Vandoorne who also pitted. A replay on board with Valterri Bottas shows that the Finn hit Sergey Sirotkin and broke a bit of his front wing. Ricciardo is back out on track albeit a few laps down. Lap 4, the Safety Car comes in and racing resumes on lap 5.

Sebastian Vettel holds the lead of the race as himself and Lewis Hamilton start to pull away from the two Force India’s behind. Max Verstappen is now 5th with Valterri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen in 14th and 15th. Lap 7, Verstappen overtakes Esteban Ocon down the inside of turn 4 for 4th place, Lap 8, Raikkonen pits and Ferrari tweak his front wing and falls back to 16th. Lap 9, Bottas overtakes Carlos Sainz for 12th place into turn 4. Raikkonen returns to the pits and retires from the race. Lap 10, Verstappen overtakes Sergio Perez fro 3rd into turn 4.

Lap 12, Valterri Bottas overtakes Sergey Sirotkin for 10th place down the inside of turn 4. Lap 17, Bottas now overtakes the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson for 9th place before turn 4. Lap 19, the gap between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton has stabilised to around 3.4 seconds. Who will be the first to blink? Bottas has now overtaken Pierre Gasly for 8th. The target position for Bottas today is to finish 4th. Lap 22, Hamilton pits from 2nd. The Mercedes driver goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 3rd. Vettel reacts. The Ferrari driver pits. He goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in the lead ahead of Max Verstappen and Hamilton. Hamilton overtakes Verstappen for 2nd down into turn 4. Verstappen is still yet to pit.

Lap 24, Romain Grosjean pits for Haas. The Frenchman goes onto the Soft tyre as Lance Stroll pits as well for Williams. Lap 25, Esteban Ocon pits. The Frenchman goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 8th. Lap 26, Sergio Perez pits. The Mexican goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 5th. Pierre Gasly also pits. The Toro Rosso driver goes onto the Soft tyre an rejoins in 11th. Lap 27, Max Verstappen pits from 3rd. The Dutchman rejoins on the Soft tyre and remains in 3rd. Lap 30, Valterri Bottas pits from 4th. The Finn goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 6th.

Lap 31, after running around a lap down after the Safety Car restart, Daniel Ricciardo becomes the 5th retirement of the race. Lap 33, Valterri Bottas overtakes Esteban Ocon for 5th place. Sebastian Vettel’s lead has grown to 5.3 seconds over Lewis Hamilton. Lap 40, Bottas has caught up to the back of Sergio Perez and the Finn overtakes the Mexican for 4th place. Lap 41, Vettel’s gap has now grown to 8.5 seconds as Hamilton has seemed to have backed off.

Lap 44, Sebastian Vettel crosses the line to win the Belgian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Hamilton’s championship lead has been cut to 17 points after Vettel’s win today. Needless to say, a very important win for Vettel and Ferrari. Next stop: Monza!

Race Result

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 44 Laps (52nd Career win & Fans Driver of the Day)
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +11.061s
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +31.372s
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +63.605s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  5. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, +71.023s
  6. Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, +79.520s
  7. Romain Grosjean, Haas, +85.953s
  8. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +87.639s
  9. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, +105.892s
  10. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  11. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams. + 1 Lap
  12. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
  13. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, + 1 Lap
  14. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  15. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  • Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, DNF
  • Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, DNF
  • Charles Leclerc, Sauber, DNF
  • Fernando Alonso, McLaren, DNF
  • Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, DNF

F1 2018 Mid-Season Stats

Who’s had the most wins? Who’s been the quickest driver on Saturday’s and who’s had the most retirements? Find out down below with all the stats from 2018 so far.

22/08/18

Most Wins per Driver

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 5 wins
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 4 wins
  3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 2 wins
  4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1 win

Most Wins per Team

  1. Mercedes, 5 wins
  2. Ferrari, 4 wins
  3. Red Bull, 3 wins

Most Podiums finishes per Driver

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 9 Podiums
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 8 Podiums
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 7 Podiums
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 5 Podiums
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 4 Podiums
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 2 Podiums
  7. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1 Podium

Most Podium finises per Team

  1. Ferrari, 15 Podiums
  2. Mercedes, 14 Podiums
  3. Red Bull, 6 Podiums
  4. Force India, 1 Podium

Most Pole Positions per Driver

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 5 Poles
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 5 Poles
  3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1 Pole
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 1 Pole

Most Pole Positions per Team

  1. Mercedes, 6 Poles
  2. Ferrari, 5 Poles
  3. Red Bull, 1 Pole

Most DNF’s per Driver

  1. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, 5 DNF’s
  2. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 4 DNF’s
  3. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 4 DNF’s

Most DNF’s per Team

  1. Toro Rosso, 8 DNF’s
  2. Red Bull, 8 DNF’s
  3. McLaren, 6 DNF’s

Most Fastest Laps per Driver

  1. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 4 Fastest Laps
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 3 Fastest Laps
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2 Fastest Laps
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1 Fastest Lap
  5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1 Fastest Lap
  6. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1 Fastest Lap

Most Fastest Laps per Team

  1. Red Bull, 6 Fastest Laps
  2. Mercedes, 4 Fastest Laps
  3. Ferrari, 2 Fastest Laps