F1 2019: Azerbaijan Post-Race Analysis

So far this year, the F1 paddock hasn’t been sure which version of Valterri Bottas will show up every race weekend. Fortunately, this weekend, the “Australian” Bottas showed up, taking Pole Position and then converting that into the race win. Is it the beard, I hear you ask? Well, whatever it is fuelling the Finn, porridge perhaps, is making him lead the championship, albeit by a point…

29/04/19

Crucial point of the race?

Once again it was the start of the race. If I was being brutally honest, seeing the Mercedes drivers of Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton run side-by-side through turns 1, 2 and the approach to 3, was my favourite part of the race because it showed respect between the drivers and it proved that the reigning Constructors champions has the ability to let their drivers race despite pressure behind.

In the past few years when Lewis Hamilton was team-mates with Nico Rosberg, the idea of them racing on the same bit of tarmac would have Mercedes Management on tenterhooks. Just think back to Belgium 2014, Spain and Austria 2016, just to name a few. So with Hamilton and Bottas racing and fighting for the win, it shows rivals Ferrari how to act when their drivers are battling on track due to recent team orders being authorized by the Scuderia. The former of the two, Hamilton, who had the inside line at turn 1 said he was “too friendly” to Bottas and should have been a bit more “selfish.”

McLaren celebrate double points finish

One full year. That’s how long it took for both McLaren cars to finish in the points. Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne achieved it here last year and now Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris have repeated the feat. Overall, McLaren’s strongest weekend for a while was due to the MCL34 being suited to rear-limited Baku circuit.

Norris was able to qualify in the top 10 in 7th while Sainz Jr missed out due to yellow flag conditions. Both drivers put in a controlled and steady pace to run well inside the top 10 with Sainz Jr finishing ahead of Norris in 7th and 8th to score 10 healthy points for the Woking team to lead the mid-field battle in 4th.

Ricciardo handed grid penalty for Spain

Well, Daniel Ricciardo’s bizarre incident summed-up Renault’s miserable weekend. The Australian was on the brinks of the top 10 and tried to overtake Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. Ricciardo, known for late-breaking overtaking, miss-judged his braking point and ran wide at turn 3 with Kvyat having to take action to avoid him. Eager to get back into the race, Ricciardo reversed back unaware that the Toro Rosso was still stationary behind which resulted in contact which caused severe damage to the Toro Rosso car – ending the Russian’s race.

The stewards handed Ricciardo a 3 place grid drop for “causing a collision” for F1’s next outing in Spain, Barcelona. He was also given 2 penalty points added to his license. Renault team-mate, Nico Hulkenberg, didn’t fair any better as the German struggled with set-up all weekend and struggled to find a groove.

Drivers of the Day

  • Valterri Bottas, 1st: Azerbaijan last year was cruel to Bottas – a puncture near the end of the race denied him of victory. A superbly controlled race along with close racing with Hamilton now sees the Finn re-take the lead of the championship.
  • Sergio Perez, 6th: In recent years, the Mexican has faired quite well here scoring 2 podium finishes, but finishing in 6th and “best of the rest” will please the Racing Point driver. Jumping Max Verstappen at the start and then fending off the McLaren pair all race will please him even more.
  • Carlos Sainz Jr, 7th: Finally, a clean race for the Spaniard in which he scored his first points of the season in 7th. He’s settled in well at McLaren and now has the points to prove it. He now looks forward to his home race in Spain.
  • Kimi Raikkonen, 10th: The ever consistent Finn drove a flawless race from the pit-lane to 10th place after his front wing on his Alfa Romeo failed the deflection test. Although he expected more than a point, this was another fine race from the 2007 Champion to score points for the fourth time in a row this year.

Drivers Championship

1.Valterri Bottas 87pts  2.Lewis Hamilton 86pts  3.Sebastian Vettel 52pts  4.Max Verstappen 51pts  5.Charles Leclerc 47pts  6.Sergio Perez 13pts  7.Pierre Gasly 13pts  8.Kimi Raikkonen 13pts  9.Lando Norris 12pts  10.Kevin Magnussen 8pts

Constructors Championship

1.Mercedes 173pts  2.Ferrari 99pts  3.Red Bull Racing Honda 64pts  4.McLaren Renault 18pts  5.Racing Point BTW Mercedes 17pts  6.Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 13pts  7.Renault 12pts  8.Haas Ferrari 8pts  9.Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 4pts  10.Williams Mercedes 0pts

F1 2019: Bottas leads home historic Mercedes 1-2 in Azerbaijan GP

Mercedes Valterri Bottas converts Pole Position to victory as the Finn leads home a 4th 1-2 finish for Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton in 2nd and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in 3rd.

28/04/19

Starting Grid

1.Bottas  2.Hamilton  3.Vettel  4.Verstappen  5.Perez  6.Kvyat  7.Norris  8.Leclerc  9.Sainz Jr  10.Ricciardo  11.Albon  12.Magnussen  13.Stroll  14.Grosjean  15.Hulkenberg  16.Russell  17.Giovinazzi

Kubica, Raikkonen and Gasly will start from the pit-lane.

Tyre Choice

Charles Leclerc, Romain Grosjean, George Russell, Robert Kubica and Pierre Gasly will start on the Medium tyre while everyone else will start on the Soft tyre.

Race

This should be a very interesting race, and possibly quite chaotic. Ferrari have to bounce back and get a result today. Valterri Bottas will be hoping for a clean race after a puncture last year ended his chance of victory. The Pole-sitter has never won here or won this year so far.

The lights go green and it’s a great start vy both Mercedes drivers. Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton go side-by-side through turn 1 and 2 with Bottas muscling ahead when they get to turn 3. Sebastian Vettel remains in 3rd ahead of Sergio Perez who has jumped Max Verstappen. Charles Leclerc is in 10th after starting in 8th and is now pressuring Daniel Ricciardo for 9th.

Valterri Bottas leads by 2.2 seconds on lap 2 ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Charles Leclerc overtakes Daniel Ricciardo on lap 3 down the inside of turn 1 for 9th place. Onto lap 4, Max Verstappen is still behind Sergio Perez who jumped him at the start. Leclerc now overtakes Daniil Kvyat for 8th place into turn 2. Bottas now leads by 2.7 seconds ahead of Hamilton with Sebastian Vettel in 3rd, 4.3 seconds behind Hamilton. Onto lap 5, Leclerc now overtakes Carlos Sainz Jr for 7th into turn 1. Ricciardo and Alexander Albon overtake Kvyat for 10th and 11th through turns 1 and 2.

Onto lap 6, Max Verstappen finally overtakes Sergio Perez for 3rd place down into turn 1. Charles Leclerc now overtakes Lando Norris for 6th into turn 1. Onto lap 7, Leclerc now overtakes Perez for 5th place. Daniil Kvyat and Kimi Raikkonen have pitted. Raikkonen rejoins on the Medium tyre and in 20th place. Valterri Bottas now leads by 3.8 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton who is 6 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel. At the end of lap 7, Kevin Magnussen and Antonio Giovinazzi pit. Magnussen rejoins in 18th with Giovinazzi in 20th.

Lap 9, Charles Leclerc is now hunting down Max Verstappen as Carlos Sainz Jr overtakes McLaren team-mate Lando Norris for 7th place. Nico Hulkenberg pits and rejoins on the Medium tyre in 19th place. Onto lap 10, Leclerc blasts past Verstappen for 4th way before turn 1, this man is on a mission! Leclerc, is on the harder tyre and can go longer in the race than the top 3 ahead of him. Valterri Bottas leads by 3 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton. After starting from the pit-lane, Pierre Gasly is now in 7th as Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo pit.

Sergio Perez rejoins in 10th, Daniel Ricciardo in 17th and Lance Stroll in 18th. Everyone who has pitted so far has gone onto the Medium tyre. Lap 11, Sebastian Vettel pits form 3rd. He goes onto the Medium tyre and rejoins in 5th. What will Mercedes do? They react by pitting race leader Valterri Bottas. He pits, goes onto the Medium tyre and rejoins in 4th. Carlos Sainz Jr and Alexander Albon pit. Sainz rejoins in 10th with Albon in 20th.

Lewis Hamilton pits from the lead. The Brit goes onto the Medium tyre and rejoins in 4th behind Valterri Bottas. Charles Leclerc now leads ahead of Max Verstappen with both having not pitted yet. Sebastian Vettel sets the fastest lap of the race on a 1:46:931. Williams Robert Kubica has received a drive through penalty for getting ready for the race too early at the pit-lane as Verstappen pits from 2nd. He rejoins in 6th on the Medium tyre. Lap 15, Vettel is now behind Hamilton and just over a second behind the Brit. If Leclerc keeps going at this pace, there is a small chance that he might be able to jump Hamilton for 2nd. Lap 16, Lando Norris overtakes Romain Grosjean for 8th place into turn 1.

Sergio Perez is in 7th ahead of Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat. Kimi Raikkonen is in 13th ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg. Lewis Hamilton, having set the fastest lap, is now 2.6 seconds behind Valterri Bottas in 2nd. Sebastian Vettel is now 3.5 seconds behind Hamilton. Ricciardo overtakes Raikkonen for 13th into turn 1 on lap 19. Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly have yet to stop with 20 laps being run.

Lap 24, Valterri Bottas is now 3.5 seconds behind Charles Leclerc. Sebastian Vettel is catching Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen is catching all of them. This race is far from over! Romain Grosjean runs wide after pressure from Daniel Ricciardo. The Haas driver takes to the escape road and spins back to get back on track. Lap 27, Kimi Raikkonen overtakes Kevin Magnussen into turn 1 for 13th. Lap 28, Bottas is now 2.3 seconds behind Leclerc with Hamilton 2 seconds behind Bottas with Vettel 4.3 seconds behind Hamilton.

Lap 31, Valterri Bottas is less than a second behind Charles Leclerc with Lewis Hamilton less than a second behind Bottas! Bottas overtakes Leclerc just before turn 1 for the lead as Daniel Ricciardo locks-up and Daniil Kvyat has to take avoiding action. In the run-off area, Ricciardo reverses back unaware that Kvyat is still there and contact is made.

Lap 33, Lewis Hamilton overtakes Charles Leclerc down the inside of turn 1 and up into 2nd. Daniel Ricciardo pits and becomes the first retirement from the race. Leclerc lets Sebastian Vettel past. Ferrari tell Leclerc that they don’t know how long the Soft tyre tyres will go. Lap 35, Leclerc pits and rejoins in 6th on the Soft tyre but behind Pierre Gasly. This is costing Leclerc time but down into turn 4, Leclerc overtakes Gasly down into turn 3 for 5th place.

Valterri Bottas leads by 1.9 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton with Sebastian Vettel in 3rd and only 2.2 seconds behind Hamilton. Daniil Kvyat retires from the race. Lap 38, Lando Norris is less than a second behind Sergio Perez in 7th with Carlos Sainz Jr in 9th keeping a watchful eye on proceedings. Lap 39, Pierre Gasly pulls off from the race. He stops at turn 6 with no power. The Virtual Safety Car has been deployed. Haas also decide to retire Romain Grosjean from the race as well. Norris pits under the VSC and rejoins in 8th with Kevin Magnussen pitting as well and rejoining inn 13th. The VSC ends on lap 41.

Valterri Bottas leads by 3.3 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Lap 44, Bottas leads Hamilton by 2.1 seconds with Sebastian Vettel 3.2 seconds behind Hamilton. Lap 46, Bottas leads Hamilton by 1.5 seconds with Vettel 3.7 seconds behind Hamilton. Max Verstappen is still in 4th a long way ahead of Charles Leclerc in 5th. Sergio Perez holds onto 6th ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, Lando Norris, Lance Stroll and Kimi Raikkonen.

Lap 48, Charles Leclerc pits. He goes onto a new set of Soft tyre and he will try and set the fastest lap and take that extra point currently being held by Valterri Bottas. Onto lap 49, Lewis Hamilton is less than a second behind Bottas. With 2 laps to go, Hamilton holds the fastest lap with the gap between the Mercedes drivers being just over a second. Onto the final lap, Bottas breaths clear of Hamilton as the Finn sets the fastest lap. Charles Leclerc sets the fastest lap of the race as Bottas wins the Azerbaijan GP ahead of Hamilton and Vettel.

Race Result

  1. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 51 Laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +1.524s
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +11.739s
  4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +17.493s
  5. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +69.107s
  6. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, +76.416s
  7. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, +83.826s
  8. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, +100.268s
  9. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, +103.816s
  10. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  11. Alexander Albon, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  12. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  13. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  14. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  15. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  16. Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  • Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing Honda, DNF
  • Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, DNF
  • Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, DNF
  • Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, DNF

F1 2019: Chinese Post-Race Analysis

Well, if Lewis Hamilton didn’t deserve to win in Bahrain, he definitely deserved to win today. Overall, a poor start to the weekend meant that Hamilton seemed the weaker of the two Mercedes drivers, but a fantastic start and consistent pace led to back to back victories and the top of the championship, for now…

17/04/19

Crucial point of the race?

Once again, the start of the race was one of or the crucial point of the race with Lewis Hamilton getting a better start than team-mate and pole-sitter Valterri Bottas. The Finn admitted that it was because of his “poor start” that cost him the victory and the cause of it was of too much wheelspin. Since his poor starts in Australia and Bahrain, Hamilton has been working to improve his race starts and it looks like it has paid off.

Consistency is key..

The first team since 1992 to score three consecutive 1-2 finishes, Mercedes can’t believe their luck, or is it luck? Coming into the start of the season, Mercedes were considered the “underdogs” but they leave China ahead of their rivals and comfortably leading both championships. Key to their success in China has been put down to the Silver Arrows being set up to go well in the corners. This was a counteract movement as the German team was well-aware of Ferrari’s straight-line speed so being quick in the corners protected them from an attack.

Where’s it gone?

Apart from Mercedes and Ferrari, Haas are the only team to have both drivers qualify in the top 10 at every race so far this year, but they only have 8 points to show for it. Both drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, have qualified in the top 10 on the Saturday but keep dropping back come Sunday. The problem has been identified in the way the team operates their tyres. Team Principal, Gunther Steiner said “The problem is getting the tyres in the heat range so that the tyres work. It’s high-speed tracks with long straights and low energy corners where we can’t get the heat into the tyres. This problem might not be fixed ahead of F1’s next race in Azerbaijan so it could be another miserable Sunday for the Haas team.

Drivers of the Day

  • Lewis Hamilton, 1st: Indeed a poor start to the weekend meant that the Brit looked the weaker of the two Mercedes drivers but a perfect start and great consistency and race management, Hamilton now takes the lead in the champion thanks to two back-to-back victories.
  • Daniel Ricciardo, 7th: Finally, the Australian picked up some points for his new team in 2019. In his most convincing weekend for the team, out-qualifying and out-racing team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, Ricciardo will hopefully continue to settle into the French outfit.
  • Sergio Perez, 8th: An electric start from the Mexican saw the Racing Point driver move from 12th to 8th on the 1st lap. He kept pressure on the Renault’s throughout the race and bagged 4 points for his hard work.
  • Alexander Albon, 10th: From one emotion to another. The young rookie suffered a huge crash in FP3 but recovered superbly on Sunday to break into the points after starting from the pit-lane and then holding Romain Grosjean in the final few laps to claim the “Fans Driver of the Day” and a point for his effort.

Constructors Championship

1.Mercedes 130pts  2.Ferrari 73pts  3.Red Bull Racing Honda 52pts  4.Renault 12pts  5.Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 12pts  6.Haas Ferrari 8pts  7.McLaren Renault 8pts  9.Racing Point BTW Mercedes 7pts  9.Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 4pts  10.Williams Mercedes 0pts

F1 2019: Hamilton wins F1’s 1,000th race after dominant Chinese GP

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton wins the Chinese GP and takes the lead in the Championship as the Brit won F1’s 1000th GP ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

14/04/19

Starting Grid

1.Bottas  2.Hamilton  3.Vettel  4.Leclerc  5.Verstappen  6.Gasly  7.Ricciardo  8.Hulkenberg  9.Magnussen  10.Grosjean  11.Kvyat  12.Perez  13.Raikkonen  14.Sainz Jr  15.Norris  16.Stroll  17.Russell  18.Kubica  19.Giovinazzi 

Albon will start from the pit-lane

Tyre Choice

Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Antonio Giovinazzi and Alexander Albon will start on the Soft tyre. Everyone else will start on the Medium tyre.

Race

There’ll be a range of different strategies at play today with the drivers on the Soft tyre likely to aim to try and do a 1 stop. As the formation lap gets underway, Max Verstappen and Robert Kubica spin whilst trying to get some heat into their Medium tyres! They manage to spin back round and get back into position. 4 of the last 5 pole-sitters have gone onto win this race, so it’s a good omen for Australian GP Valterri Bottas.

The lights go out for F1’s 1000th GP and it’s a great start by Lewis Hamilton to jump Valterri Bottas heading into turn 1. Charles Leclerc sneaks up the inside of Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel for 3rd place. Down towards turn 6, Sergio Perez goes round the outside of both Haas drivers of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg for 8th place. Behind, there’s contact between the McLaren’s and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

Both McLaren’s of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr have damage but it seems that Daniil Kvyat has little to no damage. A replay of the incident shows that Kvyat momentarily lost the rear of his car exiting turn 6 which sent the Russian into the path of Sainz. On the outside of the corner, Norris rejoins the track after running wide and it’s a pincer movement. Kvyat makes contact with Sainz and then makes contact with Norris – forces the Brit to take some air time with his McLaren at an angle in the air. Sainz’s has lost a part of his front wing while both trundle back to the pits.The Virtual Safety Car is deployed for the marshals to recover some debris.

The VSC ends on lap 2 with Lewis Hamilton leading the way ahead of Valterri Bottas and Charles Leclerc. By lap 3, Hamilton has built a lead of 1.3 seconds back to Bottas who is 2.1 seconds ahead of Leclerc. Kimi Raikkonen overtakes Kevin Magnussen for 11th place just before turn 14. McLaren tell Lando Norris that he has floor damage to his car after the lap 1 incident. Both McLaren’s had to pit at the same time which lost Norris more time – both run 19th and 20th, a minute and a minute and eleven seconds behind the race lead.

On lap 5, Alexander Albon overtakes Antonio Giovinazzi for 15th place down into turn 14. Onto lap 6, Lewis Hamilton’s lead has increased to 2 seconds as the stewards award Daniil Kvyat with a drive through penalty for the incident on lap 1. The Ferrari’s in 3rd and 4th are nip and tuck, will there be team orders as 4th placed Sebastian Vettel looks quicker at this stage in the race? On lap 8, Kvyat takes his drive through penalty and rejoins in 17th. On lap 9, Romain Grosjean pits, goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 17th as Ferrari tell Vettel to “push now”. On lap 10, Kevin Magnussen pits, goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 17th with team-mate Grosjean ahead as Ferrari tell Leclerc “you need to go faster otherwise we’ll let Sebastian past”.

Onto lap 11, Ferrari tell Charles Leclerc on the pit-straight to let team-mate Sebastian Vettel past. Leclerc slows and allows Vettel past although Leclerc protests by saying “I am pulling away”. Kimi Raikkonen now overtakes Nico Hulkenberg for 9th place into turn 14 as Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead to 3 seconds. Onto lap 12, Nico Hulkenberg pits, goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 16th just behind Romain Grosjean. Leclerc is not a happy man, Vettel isn’t pulling away as much and is making a few mistakes here and there, Leclerc thinks his race is being compromised.

At the end of lap 15, Lewis Hamilton became the 2nd driver in history to pass 4,000 laps led only second to Michael Schumacher on 5,111 laps. Onto lap 16, Hamilton lead is now 4.5 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas. On lap 17, Renault decide to retire Nico Hulkenberg from the race and he becomes the first retirement of the race. On lap 18, Max Verstappen pits from 5th. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 8th. Will Ferrari respond and with what driver?

Onto lap 19, Sebastian Vettel pits from 3rd. The German goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 5th just ahead of Max Verstappen. It doesn’t look good for Charles Leclerc, it certain that the Ferrari driver will be behind Verstappen. Verstappen is very close to Vettel and lunges down the inside of turn 14. Vettel realises this and cuts back on the exit as the pair go side-by-side. Verstappen momentarily takes to the grass as Vettel manages to get ahead. Great racing between the two drivers who clashed here last year!

Lap 20, Pierre Gasly pits and rejoins  in 8th. Ferrari tell Charles Leclerc to “keep pushing as we are going a bit longer”. The Racing Point drivers of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll pit. Perez rejoins in 9th with Stroll in 16th. Lap 21, Valterri Bottas pits from 2nd and rejoins on the Hard tyre in 3rd. Lap 22, Lewis Hamilton pits from the lead, rejoins on the Hard tyre and rejoins in the lead as Leclerc pits. Leclerc goes onto the and rejoins in 5th albeit 11 seconds behind Max Verstappen. Lap 24, Hamilton asks Mercedes “why did you stop Valterri first?” Mercedes reply by saying that it was down to tyre life. The gap between the Silver Arrows is only 1.5 seconds.

Alexander Albon and Lance Stroll overtake the struggling Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi. Lap 29, Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead to 3.1 seconds as Kimi Raikkonen overtakes Romain Grosjean for 9th place out of turn 15. Lap 30, Charles Leclerc is now just 6.4 seconds behind Max Verstappen in 4th and 5th place. Lap 35, Verstappen pits from 4th and goes onto the Medium tyre. He rejoins in 5th just ahead of team-mate Pierre Gasly. Lap 36, Sebastian Vettel pits from 3rd and rejoins on the Medium tyre in 4th.

Reacting to everyone else, Mercedes decide to pit Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas in succession. There’s enough of a gap between them so Bottas doesn’t get held up. It’s an amazing feat achieved by the team which can easily be mucked up. Both go onto the Medium tyre and rejoin in 1st and 3rd. Very well executed and perfection! Charles Leclerc has yet to pit for a second time that’s why he’s currently in 2nd. Lap 38, Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:34:836.

Valterri Bottas tries to overtake Charles Leclerc for 2nd but Leclerc is able to stay ahead until lap 39 when the Finn overtakes him into turn 14. On lap 42, Sebastian Vettel overtakes Leclerc for 4th place just before turn 14 as Leclerc pits at the end of the lap. He goes onto the Medium tyre and rejoins in 5th. His aim now is to try and catch 4th place Max Verstappen. Lap 43, Toro Rosso decide to retire Daniil Kvyat from the race.

Lap 51, Lewis Hamilton’s lead has grown to 6.3 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas. Charles Leclerc in 5th is 9.3 seconds behind Max Verstappen in 4th. Daniel Ricciardo is holding onto 7th just ahead of Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen. Alexander Albon is in 10th and fending off Romain Grosjean. Lap 53, McLaren decide to retire Lando Norris from the race.

Lap 54, Pierre Gasly pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and now will and try and get the fastest lap and the bonus point for doing so. He had enough of a gap to Daniel Ricciardo behind so he’s ensured that 6th place is his. Onto the final lap, Lewis Hamilton still leads ahead of Valterri Bottas. Hamilton crosses the line to win the Chinese GP. Gasly is able to nick the fastest lap off of Sebastian Vettel. Alexander Albon hangs onto 10th place and gets the “Fans Driver of the Day.”

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 56 Laps
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +6.552s
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +13.744s
  4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +27.627s
  5. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +31.276s
  6. Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing Honda, +89.307s
  7. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, + 1 Lap
  8. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  9. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  10. Alexander Albon, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  11. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  12. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  13. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  14. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  15. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  16. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  17. Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  18. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, DNF
  • Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, DNF
  • Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, DNF

 

F1 2019: Back on form Bottas beats Hamilton to Chinese GP Pole

Mercedes Valterri Bottas beats team-mate Lewis Hamilton to Pole Position for tomorrow’s Chinese GP with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in 3rd.

13/04/19

Mercedes Valterri Bottas will be on Pole Position for F1’s 1000th GP in China having taking his first Pole since the Russian GP last year. The Championship leader will start ahead of his Mercedes team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, who was just 0.023s behind in 2nd with the Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc who were both 3 tenths adrift of the Finnish driver.

Having topped FP2 and FP3, Bottas has seemed the more confident of the two Mercedes drivers. He then topped Q1 with Hamilton leading the way in Q2 but it was a two great laps in Q3 which secured Bottas a well-deserved pole position.

Mercedes and Ferrari have been neck and neck all weekend with the Scuderia’s power advantage on the straights proving to be a nightmare for the Silver Arrows. However, Mercedes are confident by saying that they would counteract Ferrari’s power advantage by making sure their car was steady and quick in the corners.

Being on the second row of the grid, Vettel and Leclerc are positive that being on the second row of the grid buys the team the better race option. Leclerc had to do two runs in Q1 as he was hampered by traffic.

The Red Bull’s of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly were 5th and 6th however Verstappen was annoyed as he felt he could have fought for 3rd if it wasn’t for traffic issues on his final Q3 run. There was finally some good news for Gasly to qualify 6th but 8 tenths behind Verstappen will be still a bit of concern.

There was smiles at Renault. Daniel Ricciardo finally managed to out-qualify Nico Hulkenberg to 7th and 8th and more importantly ahead of the American Haas team who did not choose to run. Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean in 9th and 10th decided not to run in Q3.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was looking good to creep into the top 10 but 11th and with a free choice of tyres might be better for the Russian driver come race day. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez headed Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in 12th and 13th ahead of the McLaren’s of Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris in 14th and 15th.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was eliminated in Q1 for the 7th time in succession and for the 3rd time this season. The Williams pair of George Russell and Robert Kubica were evenly matched but were nearly 1 second slower than Stroll in 16th.

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi who has had a disappointing weekend so far, through no fault of his own, did not take part in Qualifying due to power unit issue. Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon also didn’t take part in Qualifying as the team were still rebuilding his car after the British born Thai driver crashed heavily in the final minutes of FP3.

Chinese Qualifying Result

1.Bottas  2.Hamilton  3.Vettel  4.Leclerc  5.Verstappen  6.Gasly  7.Ricciardo  8.Hulkenberg  9.Magnussen  10.Grosjean  11.Kvyat  12.Perez  13.Raikkonen  14.Sainz Jr  15.Norris  16.Stroll  17.Russell  18.Kubica  No Time: Giovinazzi & Albon

Qualifying Stats

  • Valterri Bottas’s first Pole Position since Russia last year is the first time that he been able to out-qualify team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
  • Making it into Q3 was Pierre Gasly’s first appearance in the top for Red Bull.
  • With Kimi Raikkonen in 13th, it ended a a 53-Grand Prix streak of making it to Q3, the longest consecutive run of any driver on the grid.

 

Countdown to F1’s 1000th GP: Chinese GP 2019

Only 1,000 races, surely not! Some people can hardly believe that this weekend’s Chinese GP is Formula One’s 1000th race. So much has happened since the start of the championship in 1950: drivers have come and gone, teams have joined and faded but the racing remains the same. Let’s hope this weekend’s race lives up to expectations!

09/04/19

F1 in a 1000 races

Formula One celebrates it’s 1,000th race this weekend in China. It’s amazing that the sport has been going so long – since 1950 – in fact. On the run-up to this weekend, Liberty Media have been publicly counting down the number of races until this weekend and have even brought out a number of commemorative items: a limited-edition poster with the name of every Grand Prix winner, a limited-edition Chinese GP poster and a black 1000th GP t-shirt are on sale. A competition is also being run with a number of prizes to be won. The Formula One website is also counting down some of “F1’s Best Drives”.

Toro Rosso also have a reason to celebrate…

This weekend also marks 250 races that Toro Rosso have participated in since the team joined the sport in 2006. Formed from the back-marker team, Minardi, Toro Rosso functions under the same brand as it’s sister team Red Bull. As a junior team, Toro Rosso grow and develop young drivers in the hope of promotion to the senior team. As a result, 5 drivers have progressed to the senior team.

  • Drivers: Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed, Sebastian Vettel, Sebastien Bourdais, Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastian Buemi, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz Jr, Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Brendon Hartley and Alexander Albon.
  • Race Wins: 1 (2008 Italian GP)
  • Fastest Laps: 1 (2016 Spanish GP)
  • Pole Positions: 1 (2008 Italian GP)
  • Highest Championship finish: 6th, 39pts (2008 F1 Season)

My Favourite F1 race is…

My favourite Formula One race has to be the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix. It was a race that had it all and showed exactly why a driver in motorsport should never ever give up, even if you’ve crashed into your team-mate, collided with a double world champion or been in the pits six times.

By all accounts, this was a very wet race. The heavens had opened and rain poured on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with the Safety Car leading the field until Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel led the way. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton tangled with the Red Bull of Mark Webber which invited the McLaren of Jenson Button to get involved. The McLaren team-mates clashed after an unsighted Hamilton was forced into the wall by Button. A new set of tyres along with a stop and go penalty left Button 15th. The race was then suspended for 2 long hours as a rainstorm soaked the circuit even more. The rainstorm passed and the race now back underway thanks once again to the Safety Car. Button, making his way up the field, collided with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso which brought out the Safety Car. Another pit-stop for a puncture left Button 24th and last. Button sliced through the field and made his pit-stop for the dry tyres at the right time. Button overtook Webber and Mercedes Michael Schumacher for 2nd with only a few laps to go. Time was running out for Button but on the last lap, Vettel ran wide, losing the rear of the car with Button sailing through to claim a shock victory.

 

F1 2019: Bahrain Post-Race Analysis

Was it Lewis Hamilton’s race to win? In some respects no, but the Brit, after he performed the under-cut strategy on Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the first round of pit-stops, overtaking Vettel later on and holding his nerve to take the lead of the race, well and truly took the opportunity when it came knocking. Here is the 2019 Bahrain Post- Race Analysis.

01/04/19

Crucial point of the race?

There were many crucial points of the race this time. One of them was that overtake performed by Lewis Hamilton on Sebastian Vettel which left the German in a tiff. As tried on the lap beforehand, Hamilton went round the outside of the Ferrari driver of turn 4 and successfully completed the overtake.

The other crucial point of the race was Hamilton overtaking Charles Leclerc for the lead. After developing turbo issues, Hamilton started to reel in Leclerc at a rate of knots. One of the more easier overtakes of the night, Hamilton sailed past the heartbroken Monegasque driver. In the end, Mercedes, on the day, had a more reliable car and this brings in that famous saying in sport, in general, motorsport..

‘To finish first, you must first finish.’

Momentum can swing very quickly…

What a weekend for Ferrari. The Scuderia needed to bounce back after a difficult and under-whelming weekend in Australia and were doing so for 90% of the weekend in Bahrain. Quickest in the practice sessions, qualifying on the front-row and on course for a deserved victory – how situations can change so quickly in Formula One..

From having two cars on the podium, one for a probable victory and the other on the podium, to just one car on the podium will be a difficult result for Ferrari to take in. However, there are positives to take from this weekend – Leclerc was quick and comfortable with the car and that the team had Mercedes in their back pocket when it came to overall speed. Thank-you Bahrain, the championship has just started.

Missed opportunity for Renault

How weird! Both of the team’s cars retire at the same corner, a few seconds apart for different reasons – how can you explain that? With 3 laps to go, both Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo pulled off and retired from the race. Hulkenberg was on course to finish 6th with Ricciardo near the lower end of the top 10. Ricciardo’s failure was down to an MGU-K problem while Hulkenberg’s retirement hasn’t been solved. Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul admitted: “It’s been a very bad start to our racing season”.

Drivers of the Day

  • Charles Leclerc, 3rd: Apart from losing the lead at the start of the race, Leclerc did not put a foot wrong all-weekend. Qualifying on pole, then bouncing back to overtake Valterri Bottas and team-mate Vettel and then creating a gap, he deserved this victory. There’ll be many more opportunities for this guy in the future.
  • Lando Norris, 6th: In his first F1 weekends, he’s been able to qualify in the top 10 and now he’s scored his and the team’s first points of the season. After a poor start, the young Brit battled back to settle for 6th after Hulkenberg’s late retirement. A very good start to life in F1.
  • Alexander Albon, 9th: A mature race in which the Toro Rosso driver had sparks in his face during the 1st lap chaos. Albon battled team-mate Daniil Kvyat and the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly and he benefited from the retirement of both Renault’s to score his first F1 points and first for a Thai driver since 1954.
  • Nico Hulkenberg, DNF: He might of retired but this was one of Hulkenberg’s best races for a while. After engine-mapping troubles in Q1 left him 17th, the German was 11th after lap 1 and made the right choice to do 2-stops. Another points haul was in the bag..

Constructors Championship

1.Mercedes 87pts  2.Ferrari 48pts  3.Red Bull Racing Honda 31pts  4.Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 10pts  5.McLaren Renault 8pts  6.Haas Ferrari 8pts  7.Renault 6pts  8.Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 3pts  9.Racing Point BWT Mercedes 3pts  10.Williams Mercedes 0pts