One year ago, hell before every F1 race that was early morning Eastern Standard time in 2019, at 10pm the night before, I was generally rewatching qualifying and any highlights posted online over the prior couple of days, finalizing what in the hell we were going to talk about on the podcast (and eventually the YouTube Livestream), and getting our microphones and cameras set up (oh, and making sure the beers were cold!). Hell, two days ago I was expecting to be doing just that tonight.
Not only has F1 essentially been cancelled for the foreseeable future, most other sports have as well. There is a UFC fight on tonight if you’re into that though.
However, like a heroine addict looking for the next fix, we were beyond excited to get back into F1 again in 2020. Getting to watch the brave souls we all love (and sometimes hate) battle it out for pole positions, fast laps, race wins, and more than likely a Schumi tying record seventh world championship for Lewis Hamilton and a couple of other drivers with the car and ability to stop him from doing so, is something we more or less live for at F1 and Coffee.
That being said, as bummed as we are (and bored on the night before what was supposed to be the 2020 Australian Grand Prix), it was the right thing to do from an F1 Management perspective. This is turning into a global epidemic and needs to be taken seriously. There’s zero sense in anyone, whether a driver, spectator, vendor, employee from any team or track, taking the risk of getting sick and possibly infecting others.
Long way of saying, be safe out there, don’t take unnecessary risks, and wash your damn hands!
In honor of a movie Somky and I have been waiting for since 2003 when the sequel to the original Will Smith/Martin Lawrence goofball/ass kicking/bad guy beating/driving Porsches and Ferraris (don’t be a bitch Marcus!) in a completely **cough cough** controlled and safe manner came out, oh and with guns (LOTS OF GUNS), we decided to do a short podcast about it for all of our beloved fans.
Now, if you have been following us over the past year and listened to our podcast or seen our YouTube, you already know how often we make mistakes and f*ck things up, but ultimately just want have some fun!!
So, like a young male teenager, we got a little too excited about the release of Bad Boys for Life and jacked up the recording. While we recorded on the way to the movie and afterwards, we wrecked both recordings, badly. The one thing I can promise you all is this, it would have been bad ass!!
Luckily, we remember exactly what we said and we promise ***No Spoilers***
Romain GROSJEAN (Haas), Daniel RICCIARDO (Renault), Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes), Sergio PÉREZ (Racing Point), Robert KUBICA (Williams)
Q: Robert, if we could start with you, please. You finished second here in 2009. Could you just give us your thoughts on being back at Interlagos and your hopes for the weekend ahead?
Robert KUBICA:Yeah, it has
been a long time ago actually. It is difficult to say about expectations, you know. We have been struggling all year, so… although 2009 it has been very surprising for me to finish on the podium as it wasn’t a great year with BMW, but I would say it’s nearly impossible this time that we will be able to fight for anything higher than what we have been doing all year. Although, Interlagos is a bit special and anything can happen, but you have to have the pace. The weather is playing quite an important role. There have been many races, thrilling let’s say races here around this track due to the weather but you have to have pace and that is what we are lacking all year.
Q: You say you’ve been lacking that all year but we’re now at race 20 of 21, when you look at the bigger picture can you just reflect on your comeback season for us?
RK:Well, it’s definitely not the easiest season and not the season we were hoping for. I think every member of Williams is not happy with what we have seen this year. The team is working hard but it is not an easy season. There are many things which we could probably handle better. But there are also things which I think that although the season has been difficult we have handled in a good way. I think the guys on track always did a very good job with what we have, especially in the beginning of the season it wasn’t easy and the group stayed strong, united and very, very positive, which is good to see in such a difficult period. But, you know, it’s the kind of situation where the people on track they cannot make your car going one second faster. They can make you car going slower, but not faster. And definitely we need to improve what we get, the pace of the car, and then everything will become easier. And also for the guys on track the work will be more
easier; more fun. Of course this will not happen with me, as I’m leaving Williams, but I hope this team will improve their situation for the future, especially because the guys they deserve it. They are really good people and they are working hard, so I hope good times, or better times, will arrive soon for Williams.
Q: And Robert, what about your own performance this year behind the wheel?
RK:I think the general picture is massively hidden by what we went through this season and many things did not help and actually did influence in a negative way what I was able to do. But, you know, coming back to a competition sport, as Formula 1 is, on the highest level of motorsport, after a long time and with my limitations a lot of people did not even think I would be able to race. I heard many stories that in Turn 1 that will not be able to react to situations and probably the opening lap is one of the things, which I managed well this season. I heard rumours that I would not be able to race in Monaco, and probably Monaco was one of my best drives during this year, although I was still far behind. But feeling-wise it was positive. I’m leaving this season, of course not happy with the general performance, but pretty happy with how my body, my mind and my brain reacted to the difficult challenge I had this year.
Q: Thank you Robert and good luck this weekend. Romain, you haven’t finished in the points since Germany. Can you just describe how difficult the season half of the year has been for you and the team?
Romain GROSJEAN:Yeah, good morning all. Well, yes, it’s been a rough season generally. We had a very promising winter testing and got to Australia and things were looking good until the pit stop and that pit stop was kind of a bad curse for the whole season and then we had good quali pace and race pace was more difficult. And yeah, I think we are doing the best we can and honestly on-track and off-track the boys are working very, very hard. And honestly there is not much to say about what we could do better with what we have got but as Robert mentioned I think we’re in a little bit the same position at the minute. The car is just not good enough and everything we do is not reflected on track. Germany, it was good to be in the points. It was a bit of a crazy race and the idea was to finish the race and we did and that was positive but yeah more recently it has been complicated to fight also for the points, but again not the fault of the team – the work is good; it’s ju
st the car we have is not good enough to fight for good points. So I guess the focus was very early on into 2020 and make sure that next year we get a better tool to work with.
Q: So if this year’s car isn’t good enough, what does the team need to do to ensure it doesn’t have a repeat of 2019 next season?
RG:I think that’s a good question for Guenther. I think the team knows what needs to be done. There have been a lot of discussions; there has been a lot of, how can I say, I don’t find the word in English, but just the way we operate, the race team, it’s great and many races I think we perform better than we should. You know, being in the top 10 in Russia, in qualifying in Suzuka, not far from the top 10 in America, in quali it just shows that we are outperforming when we can, on new tyres. The race always unfortunately brings back the truth. I know that Guenther has been working very hard with all the boys, our chief engineer, Ayao Komatsu, and make sure that we react well for next year. I think everyone sees that – our partners, like Richard Mille just announced that they are going to carry on with us for one year, so everyone believes that the team is going to do good this year.
Q: Would you say that t
his is your most frustrating season in Formula 1?
RG:It’s been a tough season and obviously when you come to the race and you know that the chances of fighting for a good position is hard, then it’s not easy. But I’ve know that in my career. 2013 was a really good season and then 2014 was very difficult and we didn’t have a good car but then the team, at the time, in Enstone reacted well and 2015 was good again. It’s the same thing as Haas – 2016 was a good start, 2017 a bit more complicated and 2018 really good. So, I’ve got confidence that we can bounce back. Yes, it’s frustrating and I must be a bit crazy, because I’m always looking forward to come to a race and very happy to be in Brazil. Maybe on Sunday when we’ve done 71 laps and we haven’t been able to challenge it’s a bit of a different feeling but it doesn’t matter, we’ll still be happy to go to the next one.
Q: Thanks Romain and good luck this week. Sergio, you’ve scored in six of the last seven races. At the summer break you set the team the target of having the fourth fastest car at the end of the season. How close to that target have you got?
Sergio PÉREZ:Yeah, I don’t think we have achieved what we wanted this year. It’s been a disappointing season in a way. We knew it was not going to be great since the beginning but we kind of expected to be a bit more competitive by now. I think in the second half of the season we’ve been strong, in different circuits, different places, which is always positive. I think McLaren, in that midfield, has been very consistent, very strong, but I think we have been in the mix with all the others and we’ve scored a good amount of points since the summer break, so I think there are a lot positives to take, but the general picture is, yeah, it’s not where we want to be.
Q: You haven’t reached Q3 since the Belgian Grand Prix. How much has the car’s lack of qualifying pace compromised your races?
SP:Yeah, it does. I don’t think we have quite the pace in quali but then come race day we seem to be on the stronger side. Good strategy also from the team. I think the team has been tremendous in that regard. They are always maximizing the maximum, especially in the last couple of races – outsmarting other
teams with the strategies, with everything we possibly can. So hopefully we can keep going. There is still tomorrow and a lot to play for. We are in a big battle in the Constructors’ with Toro Rosso at the moment, so hopefully we can finish ahead.
Q: Just one point the gap to Toro Rosso, but you are only 18 behind Renault. Do you have enough in your armoury to challenge Renault for P5?
SP:Well, it’s not over until it’s over, so we’ll try our best!
Q: A knowing nod from Daniel Ricciardo. Sergio, thanks for that. So, Daniel, Renault has hit a bit of form. You’ve scored points in the last couple of races and drove a particularly strong race in Austin. Have you found some consistency in the car?
Daniel RICCIARDO:I think so. Like, on Sundays it certainly seems to show a bit more now. The qualifying – we’ve
still had a good run of Q3s but we’re not always there, but comparing to, as Sergio says, comparing to McLaren who have been our midfield target this year after their form, it seems like qualifying most weekends they’ve still got a good buffer but come race day we are able to, if not beat them, then get much closer to their pace. We are starting to get some consistency with the car, which is good. I think as well for me, naturally, the more races I do and the more familiar I am with the car, the more I start, just myself, to get consistent; make fewer errors and this and that. But yeah, it’s been a good run of races for sure. What was it, sixth in Austin? It’s like sixth is a big deal and that was quite exciting. Yeah, we’re not spraying champagne on the podium but there is still a lot of satisfaction to take from a sixth place for us.
Q: You say a good run of races, but what about the season as whole? How do you reflect on year one with Renault? Because there were some people who questioned your move from Red Bull to Renault.
DR:Yes. I knew they would and I knew all this was going to come but I was very, I guess open-minded for the season. Firstly, I was excited to have a fresh start and a change. I’ve made the mistake in the past of setting to high an expectation and left disappointed, so I more came into the season excited for something new and a new challenge. I didn’t really expect the world from this season. I expect a lot from myself but I knew it would take time to get the team to where we want it to go. We’re still not there but I think in the second half of the season we have had a bit more consistency. That’s been more positive. So looking towards what we are really trying to achieve next year it looks better. We’ll start to expect more – not only from myself but also from the team come 2020. But I think we have learned a lot. Personally I have. The results haven always been what we wanted but I definitely don’t see it being a year to forget or anything like that, far from it.
Q: So what are you really trying to achieve in 2020?
mean really, when I signed with the team, 2020 was the target to finish on the podium, at least once. That’s really the target. Yeah, we’re still a little bit away from that but McLaren are proof of the pudding that you can really make a big difference in one season, so I think with a strong off-season it’s not impossible for us to have a chance to fight for that. I think ultimately whether it’s champagne or not we want to closer to the top three and actually be in the fight with those three teams more consistently next year.
Q: Valtteri, there have been a few celebrations in the UK since the last race, talking about Mercedes’ celebrations obviously, how proud are you of your role in the team’s success this year?
Valtteri BOTTAS:Yeah, we had nice celebrations at the factory last week. Actually, when you go there and see all the people and all the smiles and all that you actually realise what we’ve done together as a team. So, that’s always a very, very nice moment, with so much good energy and happiness. So, for sure it means a lot to me, to be part of this team, breaking records, being one of the team members of many who make it possible. And yes, it’s been a much better season from my side than last year, so it’s been nice to contribute properly to the achievements we’ve got as a team. So… yeah. One of the many proud team-members, for sure.
Q: You say it’s been a better season than last year. Would you say this has been your best season in Formula 1 from a driving point of view?
VB:I believe if I look at it overall, the season yes, it’s been my best so far in Formula 1 but still not a season that I’m aiming for. Still need a bit more consistency, fewer mistakes but the thing that gives me good feeling and confidence for the future is now actually really starting to see the work we’ve been doing with the engineers and what I’ve been doing with myself and driving-wise, and being really able to ta
rget many of the weaknesses I’ve had, and been able to improve my pace in different circumstances quite a lot. So that’s very satisfying to see and makes you want more.
Q: And now that both championships have been sealed and you’re guaranteed second place in the Championship, can we expect a change in approach from you coming into this weekend or Abu Dhabi?
VB:I don’t think so. I think it’s the same approach. There’s still two opportunities to win a race and that should be the only goal for me. There’s very positive momentum for me and I want to keep that going – and then continue from there next year. So, look forward to the last two ones.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to all drivers. What kind of memories do you keep from Ayrton Senna and what kind of legacy do you think he left to Formula 1?
RG:Ayrton has been incredible for the sport. He’s been an icon in Formula 1. I started watching Formula 1, the last few years of Ayrton, fight with Alain Prost. And obviously being French, you wanted to support Alain – but also you couldn’t not support Ayrton, so it was a bit of a hard decision to pick up which one I wanted to support the most. But yeah, Ayrton has been an incredible driver. 25 years later we’re still remembering him as if it were yesterday. We still know what you were doing that day – if you were born – in May ’94. It’s a big, big name in the history of Formula One.
DR:He’s certainly left a legacy bigger than anyone else really, I think, in terms of the name is still so common 25 years on. Our
hotel is – and I know we’re in Brazil – but still it’s filled with Senna memorabilia, artwork. They still hold him very close to their heart and it’s nice to see that. And for me as a driver, and as a kid watching him, and I guess following him, my admiration was his ability to be so loved off track and have, not only Brazil but nearly the whole world behind him, but then on track he was as ruthless as they came, y’know? That competitor in him was amazing but then to have that softness off the track. I would say that was pretty admirable.
VB:For sure he left a massive mark and legacy. Time goes pretty quickly but his memory is not getting any weaker, for sure, so he’s always going to be on everyone’s minds. For sure here in Brazil, massively, but also all around the world. I think his career, he’s motivated so many young kids, like me and I think all of us, to be better racing drivers. I’m really out of words, he just left a massive mark and it will always continue like that.
SP:A tremendous character out of the car. What he did for his country, how proud he was. You can see these days how much they still love him. Not just in Brazil, all around the world, and what he did on track was spectacular. Those races where him, purely as a racing driver, made all the difference. I’ve never seen something like that in my career. He definitely left a big mark in the sport and he’s a big hero for all the generations. Especially our generation.
RK:Yeah, I think as everyone’s said, big name, big historical name. I think it’s impressive that, after 25 years since he passed away, it says everything that we are still talking about his human aspect. We concentrate a lot about the driver but I think he was really a hero of humanity, and that’s why he is still loved and has such respect after 25 years.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) Robert, where do things stand now regarding you finalising plans for next year?
RK:They stand pretty well, I would say. Of course, time is running and the clock is going ahead but I’m pretty confident things are looking good. Of course, every week something is happening, in positive and negative
s, but it’s moving. So, I’m pretty relaxed and working, as I always said, since Singapore when I was asked. For me, racing is something which I’m looking forward and working on this and probably also combining different programmes.
Q: (Emerson Furkim – Car Magazine) Question to all drivers. With the new regulations for the 2021 season. All the teams have limited budget, they spend less money than they used to. Do you think this is going to be indeed the key point to make Formula 1 more competitive; to bring more teams and driver to fight for the championship?
VB:I think that is one of the good things for the regulations. I think having a bit less of a difference between the budgets of the different teams… obviously there will still budget differences between some teams, but less than in the past. I think there’s lots of other good things as well, that look really interesting with the new regs. If actually, physically, the cars will behave aerodynamically as it says on paper, I think the racing is going to be very close, very tough. Definitively closer between the teams and, also, with quite a few restrictions on the aero side with the design of the cars. Already from that, we’re going see less of the big differences between performance. I think there are lots of good things that I really look forward to finding out. And then eventually getting to drive the car and seeing how it feels and how the racing is going to be. Obviously we’ll find out but I think those are good steps in the right direction and I really hope it will encourage some new teams to arrive in Formula 1, because I always think the more cars we can have on the grid, the more fun we’re going to have racing, so that should be nice.
DR:Yeah, I really agree with everything Valtteri said. The last point he touched on is an important one. It reminded me of 2008, we raced together the first race of the season in Spa. I think there was 48 cars, or something, and the grid only held 42 so not everyone qualified. But to have a grid so big and full of cars and competitors, that in itself was really exciting. If these changes do encourage more cars, more teams to get on the grid, not only does it give more opportunity to other drivers to get a seat in Formula One but yeah, the more competition in the field and as a spectacle, I think that’s pretty cool. Yeah, hopefully it has positive change in many ways.
RG:Yeah, I guess I’m the same line. It’s a first step in a good direction. Is it going to be enough or not? Only the track and the 2021 season will say. I guess some teams wanted less budget cap, some teams wanted a stron
ger budget cap. I think maybe 2021 is not going to be the first season to judge, because 2020 is where you’re going to develop the car, but 2022 and onwards, let’s see what it brings. I think it can only be positive. As I said, I believe it’s a first step and then maybe fine-tuning can be made. But generally, yes, it’s good and if we can get more people involved in Formula One and more teams and so on, it just would be better. Also to bring the young drivers in and have more competition, and not always seeing the same one winning. Not that they’re complaining about it – but we do a little bit.
SP:Always when there’s a big regulation change it always tends to change a lot the team order, in terms of competition. So that can be very positive for the sport. I think on paper it’s looking a lot more competitive. It’s looking like the field can be very tight and competitive and it’s something I’m looking extremely forward to. When you look at the midfield – how competitive and fun it is to come to a race and you don’t know who is going to come out on top – it’s a feeling that I’m missing a lot. In the whole field, hopefully by 2021 it can be there.
RK:Yeah. I think we have to split two things. One is closer racing, or the cars which opens up better racing. I think this is looking promising and I hope really Liberty and the FIA can achieve it, what they show us. I think this will definitely make races more exciting for drivers – but also for the fans. Regarding different team
s winning. I have my opinion, which often I think we’ve forgotten about talent of the people who are working within the teams. It’s true that money helps but the talent makes the difference. I hope it will put teams closer together – but I have some doubts about it. As we have seen in Formula 1, there has always been domination, or years where one team was winning – and we also see it in Formula 2, Formula 3: the cars are the same but in the end the talent of the people who are operating the cars is even more powerful. We will have to wait and see – but definitely if the cars will open up better racing, this will be something big and everybody is looking forward to this.
Do you think the driver salaries should have been included in the budget cap?
DR:What do you think? Let’s throw it back at you?
Q: Do I think they should have been? Yes! I think they should have been. What do you think?
DR:I haven’t thought that far ahead – 2021. What’s going to happen tomorrow?
Q: (Julien Biliotte – AutoHebdo) Valtteri, you always say that you don’t want to play mind games and cross the yellow line when fighting for the title, but when you look at what Nico Rosberg managed to do in 2016 against Lewis by getting under his skin, would you be ready to be more aggressive or political when it comes to racing your teammate?
VB:Very honest: I’m already slightly bored about that question because every driver is individual. I’m me. I’m not Nico. For sure, I always have plans, finding the different ways how I want to achieve my goal which is ultimately the championship and that obviously requires me to beat my teammate but also many other drivers. I’ve always preferred to do the talking on track and if I can keep up my performances and focus all my energy that I have into my own performance I think that’s going to be the best bet for me. If I start wasting energy elsewhere, it might take my mind off the drivin
g and what really matters, and if I can then perform at the level I want to; normally that tends to upset the other side of the garage a little bit and I know that being on the other side as well, it can lead you to mistakes and so on. I have a plan for next year and I’m not really willing to share it so we will find out.
Q: (Cezary Gutowski – Prezeglad Sportowi) Question to Romain, Daniel and Valtteri, it seems that amongst you guys only Racing Point and Williams are committed to staying in Formula One past 2020, so my question is, are you worried about the future of Formula One and what you will do if one of your teams or all of them quit?
RG:Well, if three of the teams leave, then I guess we’re going to play petanque or boules or bowls or whatever it’s called in Monaco. No, I honestly hope that in 2021… I think 2021 is a good step, good direction and I’m hoping that the teams will stay and we’re more on the positive side, not thinking what about if they leave but can we get more teams joining Formula One. Let’s be positive and think that it’s actually going to attract more people.
DR:Yep, I’m at the positive end of the spectrum. I have faith that everyone will continue in good spirits and keep things g
oing. I won’t think about if not. I like singing but I’m not good enough to make it as a career so yeah, I’ll be struggling.
VB:Yeah, I’m on the positive side as well. I feel the change is in the right direction, as I said before, so I’m not too worried about the future of Formula One at the moment. Obviously we never know and you never know the case of individual teams but if something happens, then you always need to find something else but I’m pretty relaxed and pretty positive about the future.
Q: (Andreas Lopez – Motorlat.com) Daniel, what expectations do you have for these last two races?
DR:I think to keep the momentum going. Until we finally had a few races in a row with good results… you know that was one of the challenging things this year for us. One weekend would go good and we’re ready to go the next weekend and then we don’t get the result that we think we should have got – sometimes through some misfortune, other times maybe we didn’t read the situation as well but yeah, I think now we have some momentum and I think more importantly… I think hopefully… I don’t want to say our position in the championship is secured but we look OK to hold onto the fifth (place) but I think more importantly to bring that momentum through the winter for the factory, for the team who’s going to then put the effort in to get the car on track next year. I think finishing strong has more of an effect than on that part of the championship than the actual position itself for this year, if you know what I mean, so for me personally, to keep going, I prefer finishing sixth than twelfth so I’m going to try and keep finishing well in the points and see where it gets us after Abu Dhabi but as I said, more importantly for everyone to just finish the season with their chin up and a spring in their step and happy to work through the winter with a positive mindset that the following season’s going to be better.
Q: (Stewart Bell –
Maxim, Australia) Obviously Formula One is talking to Rio, potentially for 2021. What does it mean for you to race here at Interlagos and the quality as a race venue?
RK:I know very little about Rio, I have never ever been there. I think opening up new tracks is something which all drivers look forward to, new challenges and driving on new tracks. Although it’s a short lap here, I still enjoy driving around here and the races have always been quite exciting here for whatever reason. I have no really big thoughts about (Rio).
SP:I’m always happy for new venues, especially if it can be a good circuit where the racing can be good and interesting. As Robert says, here, for any reasons the Sundays are normally very entertaining and always a lot of things tend to happen. Quite open to it and if that happens, then I guess it can be a good venue for Formula One as well.
VB:I think this is a very iconic track. It’s been a part of Formula One for a long time, very legendary races so for sure it would be a shame not race here again but at the same time, at least there would still be a race in Brazil which I think should be a part of the Formula One calendar with all the support and all the passion the fans have for the sport here. Then, on the other hand, a new track would be welcome as well but it would be a shame to leave Interlagos.
DR:I think going to Rio would be cool enough. I’ve never been and a chance to see another part of the world and yeah, I guess to race in another city. I think the important thing is that Brazil keeps a Grand Prix. I think it has such a strong history in the sport so yes, for the locals here it might be a bit upsetting but I think globally for Brazil just to still hold a race I think that holds enough power and Rio is a massive city – never been, but I’ve heard it’s a massive city, I think everyone knows that, and I’d like to check it out and yeah, new challenge, new circuit, that could be fun so I wouldn’t be against it.
RG:Yeah, Interlagos is one of my favourite circuits so I would greatly miss it if we don’t come here any more but you never know what Rio’s going to look like so why not? I guess, as the guys say, the key is that we still come to Brazil.
Q: (Carlos Costa – motorsport.com) Continuing on the topic of the Brazilian Grand Prix, I would l
ike you to rank Interlagos in comparison with other tracks on the calendar that we have in F1?
RG:It’s in the top three. I love it. Suzuka, Spa and Interlagos.
DR:I like it. It’s a lot like my local track in Perth (Barbagallo). I wish it had more corners. It’s a bit short so the lap’s over very quickly. I would have loved an extension – I don’t know if they’ve got the room – but a few more corners would have made it a bit more exciting. I think to have a real high-speed corner; I think that’s what the circuit misses. I think it’s got a lot of technical low speed – turn one, two is fun but even Turn 6, the right hander, it’s actually not that fast so I wouldn’t even classify that as a high speed corner. For me that’s something which it misses is a corner where you can really – I don’t want to say make the difference – but a bit more of a challenging corner because the rest are kind of mostly – well, they’re not all hairpins but anyway… So yeah, it’s somewhere in there.
RG:So what’s the final ranking, then?
VB:I like the track. Obviously it is short but it makes it super close in qualifying and always makes good races. I think also the local support here makes it a really unique Grand Prix: always a place to look forward to com
e to race again. It’s difficult to say the exact position on my list but definitely on the better side of the top ten. It’s good fun; I enjoy it.
Q: Daniel, would you say top ten?
RG:Top twenty, he says.
SP:Yeah, it’s a cool track, very small. I would like it to be a bit longer, more corners, the lap is very short. There was a year when Kimi tried an extension of the track – somewhere else! I don’t know that part of the circuit but it’s definitely very enjoyable and the racing tends to be very good. The fans are very enthusiastic so it’s a great place. Top five. Top ten! We have too many good circuits.
DR:Yeah, that’s true.
RK:I think it’s a bit unfair to rank it. I think it’s a good track and good racing and as the guys have said, it’s short but it’s still challenging and it’s good. It’s exactly the same as it was when I was here for the first time in 2001, not a lot of people remember that I was racing here when I was 16. It’s exactly the same, apart from some of the run-off areas but maybe that’s why we still like it because modern tracks so
metimes they are too perfect and here is still quite challenging. Ranking? Politically, top ten.
First of all, we apologize for not sending out recaps for the last couple of races. Sometimes life gets in the way when only two idiots who were roommates in college are working on it and both have full time “jobs”.
More importantly than that though is the fact that we came into this race being big Charles Leclerc fans and came out of the race being so disappointed in his attitude and general whininess over the radio during the past few weeks. Zero question he will end up being a world champion within the next five years (i.e. by 2024). Calling it now.
That being said, Charles was on pole and apparently had some sort of deal with Vettel to give him a “tow” at the start in order to block Lewis. What had happened though is that Sebastian got such a great start that he passed Lewis and his teammate at the start and immediately pulled away. Leclerc then came on the radio bitching about swapping places as “part of their deal”. When asked to let Leclerc past at one point, Seb replied with something to the effect of “well, if he was closer he could pass me”.
Just in case you were wondering, Sebastian is awesome and one of the few actually “likable” drivers on the grid. We thought Leclerc was in that same boat, but it’s seemingly looking like we were WAAAY off on that…
The fact that the Ferrari pit wall even acknowledged this nonsensical bullshit adds to the list of reasons they will never beat Mercedes, despite having the much faster car on the straights. Ferrari was already in control of a one-two finish again, and completely f*cked it up by allowing Leclerc’s BS.
Forgetting all of the Ferrari nonsense, there were some drivers and teams who had good, if not great, days in Russia.
Lewis Hamilton – he can never be counted out and has five WDCs (about to be SIX) not because he is a bad driver, but because he’s so good and so consistent, that he pushes other drivers so hard that they make mistakes, while Lewis rarely does..
One of the best “wingmen” (sorry Valtteri) ever on the grid, but also one of the most likable drivers currently on the grid
Max Verstappen – finished where he qualified (had a five place grid penalty and started ninth) – has won two races already this season and becoming so consistent that he will probably become the next new World Champion in Formula 1 (assuming he gets in a Mercedes or Ferrari)
Alex Albon – fought his way through the field from the back of the grid to finish in fifth. While he should have finished in the top 7-8 at a minimum since he is in the Red Bull now, he started from pit lane and had to fight through fifteen cars to get to where he finished the race, Would Gasly have done this?
While a great drive, in our opinion, this is only his second best drive of the season. In China (3rd race of 2019 and Alex’s career), he started from pit lane in the Toro Rosso and finished 10th. Alex has a bright future ahead of him.
On lap 49, he was passed by Albon for fifth place. No doubt Carlos could have defended the position but by doing so would have likely allowed Perez to get close enough to make a move which might have ended up in another place lost. No doubt P6 was a great result!
Pretty damn good race for Checo.. Finishing P7 is about as good as Sport Pesa can manage currently.
out of the points as always…nice to have daddy as team boss..
another points finish for Kevin. In the Haas, that’s all he can ask for.
While it was maybe not entirely his fault, he again crashed on lap one….enough said
another DNF for the Aussie. Not caused by himself but by another driver doing something stupid on lap one…Sorry DR.
Apparently Nico has nothing to lose anymore and is actually trying to score points now. He has scored in every race since summer break (and since he lost his 2020 ride to Esteban Ocon)
Jump start before the lights went out resulting in an insane penalty, but rules are rules Iceman
Aggressive (and STUPID) move on lap resulting in Grosjean’s retirement immediately
Toro Rosso – not sure what either driver did, but it wasn’t much. At least they both finished the race though..
Locked up on lap 29 crashing into the barriers during the VSC with a technical retirement
forced retirement to save parts — what the actual f*ck??
This was the sixteenth Grand Prix of 2019 and our 25th podcast. If you haven’t checked it out yet, WTF are you waiting for? We have also launched a YouTube Channel which we broadcast live during the race. Just click it and give it a thumbs up!!!
F1C Challenge Results
So….we are down to a sad, sad, five players….for 2020, tell us what you need to join!!!! Better prizes, more free swag, more drink of the day, more guest hosts like J-Man the Juice or F1CC player DDAY, or girlfriends and wives of F1 and Coffee fans, whatever…
Congratulations to HaastaLaVista for winning the Russian Grand Prix edition of the Torpedo Challenge . The Highest possible Score was 192. The top picks were Lewis Hamilton for Tier 1, Antonio Giovinazzi for Tier 2, Sergio Perez for Tier 3 and Wildcard Driver, McLaren for fastest pit stop, and five DNFs.
Started out on a high note with the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel topping every session of practice and qualifying 1-2. Leclerc qualified 0.748 seconds ahead of his four time world champion teammate. Vettel complained of traffic on his final flying lap but even so, that’s gotta be a real kick in the ass for him. Regardless, Leclerc is continuing to show that when he’s on, HE IS ON!
Then, less than three hours later during the F2 race, a major crash occurred coming out of Radillon on lap 2. Anthoine Hubert, the Renault Sport Academy driver who grew up racing with Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly, and Esteban Ocon, passed away shortly after the accident. He was 22 and very likely in line for a Formula 1 seat in the next couple of years. In his first season of F2, he had won two races, one in Monaco and one at Paul Ricard, his home race. It is extremely sad when anyone passes away, but especially when it’s a young kid with a bright future and it happens so unexpectedly. Hopefully this incident serves as a reminder that there is always risk in motorsports, no matter how safe the cars have become.
This, no doubt, made the race on Sunday that much harder. While the best way to honor Anthoine would have been to get back in the car and race, several drivers have said they did not want to race on Sunday and were glad it was over. Gasly told Leclerc before the race to win the race for Anthoine. Leclerc has had two legitimate chances to win a grand prix in his first season at Ferrari. One in Bahrain where he had a loss of power, and one in Austria where Verstappen somehow had better tyres at the end of the race. While it’s awful for Leclerc to get his first F1 win under these circumstances, it’s almost that much sweeter that it was done in honor of his close friend.
In other news (or not so much news), the Mercedes seem to only have weakness at a couple of tracks. SPA was one of them, and they still managed a double podium finish, including Lewis only finishing second by less than one second. Bottas certainly seemed more relaxed all weekend with his new one-year deal finally inked.
Red Bull made quite a change, though not unexpected by anyone, by dropping Pierre Gasly back to the Junior Team (Toro Rosso) and promoting Alex Albon to the Senior Team. Being Verstappen’s teammate is going to be tough for anyone, but Gasly has been so far off the pace all season that he really didn’t deserve that seat. He did however look damn good in the Toro Rosso in 2018. So far (through one race) he looks good in it again! After qualifying 16th, he moved up 7 places to finish 9th and score 2 points. He only finished higher than 9th eight times while at Red Bull (through 12 races). His teammate finished all 12 higher than that. Albon though, knowing there was a penalty looming, opted not to go out for a second run during Q2 on Saturday, settling for 14th, ultimately starting 18th after penalties. He started 18th. And finished FIFTH!!!! Yes, he certainly got lucky with a few drivers having some bad luck, or making bad decisions (See Lando for luck and Max for poor decisions). Max made an aggressive move on lap one trying to cut the corner around Kimi ultimately ruining both of their races. Kimi finished the race, but Max was out on the next turn in what is arguably his home race in 2019 (he’s half Belgian).
Danny Kvyat, aka The Torpedo, had one hell of a drive. After starting 19th, he made his way up into the top 10, ultimately finishing 7th. The two boys in Papaya Orange had a rough weekend. Lando had started 11th and was running somewhat comfortably in fifth on lap 43 (of 44) when he had a sudden loss of power and his car shut off, just over the start/finish line on lap 44 giving him an 11th place designation. However, there are no points for an 11th place finish. Carlos Sainz came into the pits during the safety car period, never to return.
The Williams boys did what they could with the package they have….not much, but they finished the race, and they remain the only team with ZERO DNFs!! For the record though, reliability does not make for a good car. Consider the reliability of a Toyota Corolla.. It’ll drive forever, but it’ll never beat a Ferrari in a 300km race (at least without an engine failure).
While Kimi’s race was impacted by a first lap incident, Giovinazzi’s was not. His was impacted by a final lap dumb ass mistake. He crashed on his own, begging the question yet again as to why he has that race seat.
Checo Perez equaled his best finish of the season in 6th (he finished 6th at Baku as well). Perhaps it was his new three year deal. Even Hulkenberg finished in the points with an 8th place finish. Perhaps it was his lack of a contract and he doesn’t care anymore.
While this was a tough weekend for all motorsports fans, it is also a reminder that these men and women are out there risking their lives for our entertainment and enjoyment and should not be taken lightly.
On the bright side of things, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza is this weekend. Then there’s just a normal one week break, and then it’s back to back races again! And yeah, that’s four races in the month of September. I know I’m excited!!!
Two red flags during Q1, one for Kubica whose car was smoking like Snoop Dogg and one for Giovinassi. After Racing Point’s engine issues on Friday, it’s not looking great for the Mercedes power units. At least for them, at least one of the Ferrari power plants has also had a problem.
In not so shocking news, Pierre Gasly is out in Q1 after being demoted from the Senior Red Bull team this past week. Carlos Sainz also out which actually is a bit of a shock. He’ll have a tough battle on his hands Sunday afternoon.
The boys in Red continue to look good, but we’ve seen this before in 2019. They have yet to convert good practice and qualifying sessions into actual race wins.
This will be short because I’m already bored without a race anytime soon….
This is the most boring three weekends of the entire year, no I’m not kidding even though my birthday falls during one of them. No Formula 1 til the end of August…WTF??? Through twelve races, four were memorable. The first eight sucked! The Final Four were beyond awesome though. While, Hungary was mostly lackluster, we did get to see some decent battles. More importantly we got to see how truly incredible the Mercedes Brain Trust is at the job/ Only four out of twenty drivers pitted more than once. Verstappen only pitted in an effort to get the fastest lap at the end, which he got on lap 69/70 with a lap time almost 1.5 seconds faster than the next closest lap time by another driver. Stroll, well it’s Stroll and he sucks., and both Mercedes drivers. When Lewis Hamilton pitted with 21 laps to go, we all thought what the f**king f**k are they doing, and despite coming out of the pits over 21 seconds behind Verstappen (with 21 laps to go), Lewis, well there’s a reason he has 5 WDC titles, got the job done. When he caught Max, Max knew he couldn’t keep Lewis at bay and didn’t really fight it. After the race, Max shrugged off his disappointment with losing his first race from pole position. The young Ace who is only 21 now and in his FIFTH SEASON of Formula 1 truly appears to be maturing. If this is legit, Lewis better watch his back. While he hasn’t had a true contender for his throne since ‘pretty boy’ Nico was his teammate, Max poses a real threat, especially with Honda finally getting their act together (or was McLaren and Eric Boullier the problem all along???)
Ferrari has not been a legitimate threat since Austria, and they finished over a minute behind Max and Lewis. Absolutely pathetic for the most famous team in the game. With the top talent drivers (yes, I’m including Vettel as he has 4 WDC Titles to his name), they must do more. They should be competitive at Spa and at Monza, but that remains to be seen.
For everyone who has been following the latest news, you might be aware that we recently launched our YouTube Channel. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. It’s awesome!!! Well, it’s decent 🙂
If you missed the action at the Hungaroring Friday, don’t sweat it, we got you.
Here’s what happened…
Bottas decided to enter the pit lane from the same side of the bollard as his teammate did in Germany – no penalty this time but not the best thing to do when fighting to keep your race seat at the Top team for next season (or even next race)
Stroll spun early on, but he doesn’t give a F*ck and isn’t fighting for a race seat (you know, since Papa Stroll is his boss)
Max spun a couple of times – either the track was tricky due to the weather, or his Red Bull isn’t set up just right…likely a bit of both
The youngest driver on the grid, Lando Norris, took a nap on the pit wall
The rain was off and on throughout FP2 which limited running on average by ~50% per driver vs. the previous eleven races
Alex Albon went a little wide into the last turn with his outside tires touching the grass, which morphed him from driver to passenger instantly, and hitting the wall
while a minor mistake, with Gasly in the hot seat, this likely did him no favors in getting the seat alongside Max, which is almost certain to occur before Spa
Gasly ended the timesheet in FP2 on top (on softs)
0.055 seconds behind him was Max (on mediums)
0.141 seconds behin Gasly was Lewis (on the hards)
To summarize here – Gasly won’t be on top tomorrow…..but Lewis will and he’ll extend his pole record yet again.
Daniil Kvyat has had a challenging couple of years, but we were psyched when Toro Rosso announced he would be driving for them again after the promotion of Pierre Gasly to the senior Red Bull team in 2019 (expect his demotion or firing shortly…). From fourteenth on the grid, amid absolute chaos including two virtual safety cars (why do these even exist) and four legitimate safety cars, Kvyat managed to fight his way up to second, ultimately finishing third. This was his best finish since China 2016 the first podium for Toro Rosso since Sebastian Vettel won in the Toro Rosso at Monza in 2008.
Over the course of the 64 lap race, there was almost constant entertainment except for a few laps where nothing happened. A few laps where nothing happened until everyone decided to switch to slicks, maybe a couple of laps too early. At the checkered flag, in the top 10 were both Toro Rossos, both Haas’s, both Alfa Romeos, and one Lewis Hamilton on the outside looking in. A penalty given after the race to both Alfas demoted them out of the points, Lewis into the points, AND one Robert Kubica from Williams into the points. I’m pretty sure no one said at the beginning of the season Kubica would score points before George Russell did, or that either Williams driver would actually put that car in the points. There’s nothing like a wet race with ever changing conditions, six safety cars, and seventy-eight total pit stops, including one by Mercedes that was over 50 seconds.
Vettel has hopefully gone full circle from Germany last year and will turn things around. Lewis made multiple mistakes, probably the same number he made his rookie season, and the number he made between his rookie season and now. Even his mechanics made mistakes. Not to worry for all you Mercedes fans, they are champions and will come back from this even stronger than before. Max got his second win of the season and tied his old teammate Danny Ric for race wins (7). The answer to the question should have Ricciardo stayed at Red Bull seems clear now. No, he should not have. Despite their car being better in absolutely every way than the Renault, this is Max’s team completely and no one else’s. Marko has even come out and said not to rule out Max for the championship this year. This is absolute nonsense though. Hamilton will be back in full force in Belgium after the summer break, if not in Hungary. For Gasly though, don’t expect him to be around at the senior Red Bull team much longer. I’d be surprised if he was still in that car at Spa.
Best of the rest – Renault is an absolute joke. Poor Daniel Ricciardo. It would be great to see him fighting for race wins again, but it sure as hell isn’t going to happen this year. His teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, who for some reason is regarded as a good driver, is struggling horrifically. He knows the pressure is on and is not handling it well at all. He threw away a second place finish at his home Grand Prix Sunday which would have ended his drought (and World Record of things no one wants) of a podiumless career in F1 of 167 starts. While he won at Le Mans in 2015, he has proven he does not deserve a top car (not that his Renault is a top car). He will likely be dropped and back at Williams or in some other inferior form of racing in 2020. Speaking of Williams, they finally got a car in the points. Congratulations to them!!! That single point might save them for 2020. At Haas, Grosjean and Magnussen had another incident in Germany, absolutely infuriating Gunther Steiner (team principle). One of them or both of them will be gone soon. My money is on the Frenchman (leaving). Finally, Lance Stroll made it out of Q1 for the first time this season. While he was still last in Q2 (15th), it ended his horrific streak of 10 races being knocked out of the first session of qualifying. It had seemed he was completely complacent with his billionaire father as a boss and wasn’t pushing himself at all. Let’s hope this fourth place finish in Germany turns his season around.
The 2018 German Grand Prix was a nightmare for Sebastian Vettel. He had just won his fourth Grand Prix of the season, was 8 points of Lewis in the standings, and was leading the German Grand Prix. Meanwhile his main rival, Lewis Hamilton, started 14th. Regardless of where a Mercedes, Ferrari, or Red Bull starts the race, there’s always a good chance, they will find their way into the Top 6. If they finish the race anyways. In the rain and completely on his own, Vettel made a mistake, crashing his Ferrari into the wall and taking him out of the race. Lewis won in Germany and in Hungary at the next race. He then won four of the next five, the two final races of the year, and never finished worse than fourth. While Seb did win one more race in 2018 (at Spa), his championship hopes were over at this point.
This run of form worsened in 2019, with Vettel making mistake after mistake up to Hockenheim. It wasn’t his fault for not being able to qualify, but it did leave him one hell of a hole to dig out of. What proceeded to happen to Vettel over the 64 lap race should go to show that no matter what the circumstances, a four time world champion should never be counted out. The same goes for Lewis in Germany in 2018. After this race though, has Vettel come full circle and gotten whatever he was dealing with out of his system??
Optimistically, it would be great to see Lewis, Seb, Leclerc, and Max all battling for the title. Lewis still holds a solid lead in the championship – 84 points over Vettel and 63 over Max. Regardless of winning two races so far, Bottas is not a legit contender (in my opinion). Mercedes made more mistakes during the German Grand Prix than I can remember them making in a season. Lewis was called out for going too slow behind the safety car, FINALLY. At point the safety car was about to lap Lewis, if this were even possible. Between Lewis hitting the wall, breaking his front wing, getting the five second penalty for late pit entry, the insanely long 50 second pit stop where no one was ready, and Bottas crashing out, it was a tough day for Toto Wolff and Mercedes.
They have won five double doubles in a row. They are Champions. Champions always bounce back, and quickly. Depending on the heat in Hungary, this coming race may be tough for them. After Hungary is a three week break. Expect Mercedes at full strength in Belgium at the end of August. The one thing that is for sure, they will be back stronger than ever. I just hope that Ferrari and Red Bull have enough to bring the fight to them, and we all get to see some great racing!!!
The Torpedo has returned in with a vengeance! After one hell of a race at Hockenheim on Sunday, Daniil Kvyat appears to be a new driver. After being demoted from the senior Red Bull team after colliding with Sebastian Vettel in the 2016 Russian Grand Prix, he had a run of tough luck and a lot of mistakes. Ultimately he was replaced with Pierre Gasly for the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2017. This only lasted two races until Carlos Sainz was picked up by Renault for the United States Grand Prix. He finished tenth in this race but was then dropped again and replaced by the Kiwi Brendon Hartley. For 2018, Ferrari picked him as their reserve driver. Whatever Ferrari did to him, it worked!
This past weekend in Germany was arguably one of the best weekends of his career, and possibly life. He started fourteenth on the grid, which was less than ideal. However, with the weather how it was, there is always a chance for a freakish race. That’s exactly what we got! Not only did Kvyat, aka The Torpedo, drive a fantastic race finishing on the podium (his first podium since China 2016, but he and Kelly Piquet had a baby girl the night before. That’s one hell of a 24 hours for the once down and out driver. It’s looking up for Daniil, and The Torpedo has Returned and is ready to FIGHT!
Qualifying is done. Another pole for the reigning World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, but not another front row lockout for Mercedes who were split by the you Dutchman who is on top of his game right now. The start should be very interesting. Even more impressive than Lewis and Max is Grosjean who qualified sixth after almost crashing in the pit lane, again. Kimi on point!
The real question for Sunday’s race is whether or not we get rain and can Sebastian work his way through the field. No one has ever won the last spot on the Grid. Hamilton won from 14th last year and Rubens won from 18th in 2000. How far can Vettel move up, if any?
despite the seventh Mercedes 1-2 finish. So, as stated on our podcast and YouTube Live, the driver in pole position has won four of the past five British Grands Prix. However, since 2013, only one other driver besides Lewis Hamilton has been on pole, and surprise surprise, that driver was his old buddy Nico Rosberg. While I will forego my rant on Nico, it’s apparent that even though Lewis has been in the best car, he has continued to dominate on this track. Now 2017, the same year that Liberty Media took have Formula, was also the same year that Formula 1 held their first F1 Live event in London, and who was the only driver not to attend?
Yeah, it was Lewis. At his home Grand Prix. While the British fans didn’t seem to care as he went on to dominate qualifying, the race, and capture the fastest lap, my opinion is this was in poor taste and a slap in the face to all of his fans. Fast forward to last season where he tied the record for most wins on his home turf to be even with Jim Clark and Alain Prost. He did have more poles than them but poles aren’t points. Well, as of Sunday, he is the clear leader and greatest of all time at the British Grand Prix with six wins, six poles, and four fastest laps. While his engineer wanted him to come in for fresh rubber, Lewis made the decision to stay out. At the time, it seemed like the decision to come in was dumb and the decision to stay out was dumb, due to the fact that his teammate Valtteri Bottas was coming in for fresh tires and should have gotten the fastest lap, but this is Lewis. He is one of the few on the current F1 grid capable of making such high risk decisions. Yes, the worst that probably would have happened was he would have lost one point for fastest lap to his teammate, but let’s be honest, that’s not a contest whatsoever so who cares? On 32 lap old tires (lap 52, the last last lap of the race), Lewis set the fastest lap. It feels like deja vu from Austria…
The entire race had some great racing, between Lewis and Valtteri at the start, Max and Charles, Max and Seb, and of course Grosjean and Magnussen. To be clear, this whole Rich Energy situation, I believe, is starting to mess with whatever mojo Haas had. They had none by the way. They have become a joke, kind of like the four time World Champion Sebastian Vettel crashing into the back of Verstappen, and then finishing behind both of the Williams. At least he admitted his mistake immediately following the race, but come on Seb. Geez!
One final thought, Lance Stroll is still sporting a goose egg getting out of Q1. Through the first nine races, he averaged a 4.3 grid place improvement from qualifying to the race. At Silverstone, he improved 5 grid places, as did the Williams boys. Carlos and The Torpedo were the real winners, improving 7 and 8 spots, respectively.
Through the first nine races of the 2019 Formula 1 season, there are only a couple of teams whose drivers are that close to each other in competitiveness regardless of what the rankings say.
Starting at the bottom of the Constructor’s standings. Between the two Williams drivers, the rookie George Russell is wiping the floor with Kubica. He has out qualified Kubica every race and finished ahead of him in every race except France. Russell has also improved from his qualifying position to his race finish an average of 2.4 places vs. Kubica’s 2.2. Yes, when they start every race 19th and 20th, and there are other DNFs, it’s easy to improve this metric.
In ninth place is the disaster of a team, Haas. Magnussen is dominating qualifying with a 7-2 record against the Frenchman but is only ahead by one race with a 5-4 record in the race. Kevin is not only leading his teammate, but the entire field, in the highest number of places lost from qualifying on Saturday to the end of the race on Sunday with (4.3) average places lost. Grosjean though is right behind him at (4.1).
Toro Rosso is probably the most evenly matched team on the grid. Kvyat leads qualifying and races 5-4 vs. Albon, and unless Gasly turns his form around The Torpedo is likely to get the bump back to his old seat at the senior team. Although technically Max is driving the car Kvyat was in….
Racing Point/Sport Pesa/Force India/Papa Stroll Racing/whatever the hell it’s called is definitely near the top of most unbalanced teams. Perez is whooping Lance Stroll. Checo has been ahead every qualifying session and has beaten his boss’s kid in seven out of the nine races so far. It is unclear whether beating the boss’s kid or letting the boss’s kid beat you is good or bad for business, but frankly I kind of miss the whiny Sergio who was teammates with Ocon..
Alfa Romeo – obviously Kimi who is the most seasoned driver on the grid (and also the funniest, although Lando may give him a run for his money here) and Gio has only scored points in one race, Kimi is only beating Gio 6-3 in qualifying. He is winning the race finish category handily at 8-1. No surprise here, but Kimi improves almost 1 place from quali to the race, while Gio loses (1.3) places.
McLaren’s drivers are seventh and eighth in the driver’s standings, but Lando is beating Carlos 6-3 in qualifying. The ‘veteran’ Carlos Sainz is up 6-3 at the checkered flag. Lando has lost on average (3.1) grid places from Saturday to Sunday while Carlos has improved 0.3 spots. These are also the only confirmed teammates for 2020 and in my opinion two of the most likable drivers currently in F1.
Renault is a surprise, but I think it’s only because Danny Ric is getting used to the new team. The Aussie is up 7-2 in qualifing but only 5-4 in the race. The Hulk generally finishes where he qualifies, while Ricciardo loses an average of (3.3) spots. They are tied in 10th place in the driver’s standings.
Red Bull is not even a content. Max is beating the ever living crap out of Gasly. He has outqualilfied him 8-1 and is 9-0 in the race. Max improves 1.2 places per race vs. Gasly’s 0.4.
Ferrari is interesting. Leclerc seems faster a fair amount of the time, but it’s the four time champion who is dominating. Seb is up 6-3 in qualifying and in races. Vettel improves 0.4 spots per race and Leclerc loses (0.3).
Mercedes is not surprise at all. Bottas 2.0 aka The Robot surprised us a bit in Melbourne, but it’s the five time champion Lewis Hamilton who is ahead 6-3 in qualifying and 6-3 in the race. Bottas improves 0.3 spots per race, while Lewis only improves 0.1 spots. Yes, this will be a tough metric to improve upon consider Lewis hasn’t qualified lower than third.
Through nine races in the 2019 Formula 1 season, there have been three drivers who have made it to Q3 every race and three drivers who have yet to make it out of Q1. Both Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and Sebastian Vettel have made it to Q3 every race. On the other side of the rankings, and this is no surprise, both Williams drivers, George Russell and Robert Kubica, still haven’t made it out of Q1. The third driver to, frankly, be truly awful in qualifying if Lance Stroll. The two young guns, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, who are just 16 days apart, have been in Q3 for eight of the nine races with Leclerc missing out at his home race in Monaco and Max missing out in Canada. Kevin Magnussen has been in Q3 for seven of nine races, missing out in Azerbaijan and France. Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly are tied with six appearances in Q3, but Gasly didn’t make it out of Q1 in Australia, so Lando is definitely winning that battle. Danny Ric has five appearances in Q3 and has made it out of Q1 every race, which is more than can be said for his teammate. Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikonnen, and Carlos Sainz each have four appearances. Grosjean has gotten stuck in Q1 twice vs. only once for Kimi and Carlos. Antonio Giovinazzi and Daniil Kvyat, aka The Torpedo and namesake of this website for 2019, have three appearances in Q3. Checo Perez and the Hulk have been there twice, each having been in Q2 four times, and gotten shafted out in Q1 three times. Alex Albon has only been to Q3 once and only gotten stuck in Q1, at Monaco and China, respectively. He’s been knocked out of qualifying in Q2 in the other seven races. Russell and Kubica have legitimate excuses being in the Williams, which sadly is just a nightmare this year. I hope their home race this weekend at Silverstone with Frank’s celebrations planned brings them luck. I’d say they get a pass. The only driver who does not get a pass is Lance Stroll. He hasn’t made it out of Q1 all season, and his teammate has made it out in six of nine races. I don’t know whether Checo is just keeping his mouth shut since his teammate’s Dad is his boss (and doesn’t need Carlos Slim’s money), but Checo is beating the crap out of Lance in qualifying this year. I hope Lance gets his act together because every now and then, there’s some real brilliance in his driving (not like Lewis or Max, but some…).
After qualifying and the ensuing penalties that resulted in what was the starting grid for the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, we all believed we were in for one hell of a race. The two young guns, Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari and Max Verstappen in the Red Bull, who were both born the same year Somky and I received our driver’s licenses were born just 17 days apart and raced against each other in the junior categories. Here’s a cool story by one of our favorites, Will Buxton, on their rivalry.
With these two guys on row one, we might actually get to see a great start to a race. But….we didn’t. Max got a terrible start with his anti-stall ultimately kicking in, but not before he was 6th. Shortly thereafter, he was passed by his teammate, Pierre Gasly. This is very likely the one and only time he will be passed by Gasly. No offense to Gasly as he is a terrific driver. Max ended up seventh after the first couple of turns, while Leclerc was seemingly riding off into the sunset.
While this was happening, the young Brit, Lando Norris, made a move getting him past Lewis and into third place, before Lewis ultimately passed him retaking the position. Sebastian Vettel, who qualified 10th, started ninth, ended lap one sixth. Great start for Seb! Kimi also had a solid start but his Alfa Romeo just isn’t enough to handle any of the top three.
Haas had a truly awful weekend, despite Kevin Magnussen qualifying fifth before a penalty dropping him to start tenth. This was the start of his problems. Apparently the rules state a car can start 20 centimeters past the white line. I guess Kevin was 21 centimeters past it and received a drive through penalty. To make matters worse, he had just pitted on lap 12 for new tires and received the penalty on lap 13. Despite have Grosjean on their team, I’m not sure Haas’s luck could get any worse….
Force India aka Racing Point aka Sport Pesa aka Tommy Hilfiger Racing aka Michael Kors Racing aka Papa Stroll Racing aka ‘Daddy, buy me a racing team’ Racing had an amazingly uneventful race with (in my opinion) absolutely nothing to speak of. Honestly, as much as Perez is generally a whiny bitch, I miss his whining, or at least his talking shit, or least his talking. I guess part of his new contract is “DO NOT TALK SHIT ABOUT YOUR TEAMMATE, who is the boss’s son”. What a shame!!
Toro Rosso had an unfortunate race with not much to speak of either. The only positive is that Gasly is not doing enough at the Senior team, and one of these boys will ultimately get the bump to the senior team. Somky and I have bet on the Torpedo getting the bump and Gasly completely dropped by the end of summer break in the latest podcast. If you haven’t already, please check it out and leave us feedback on it..
Back to the big boys…
The Mercs had issues all race, apparently due to the hot temperatures and the altitude. Yes, this it their first sign of weakness..
While Leclerc was cruising off into the sunset, Max dropped to over 15 seconds back by lap 15 or so. But then Bottas pitted on lap 22, with Vettel pitting immediately to cover him (because ***REMINDER*** Ferrari can’t come up with their own strategy). While Vettel blocked Bottas briefly, in typical Ferrari fashion, his pit crew wasn’t ready for the pit stop and botched the pit stop. His pit stop was 6.1 seconds, a complete joke in Formula 1 terms.. Charles pitted the following lap.
Max did not pit at this time and continued gaining.
Fast forward to lap 60 or so…
Max is starting to gain on the leaders and passing everyone. I still don’t understand it, but somehow his Red Bull was on rails, while the rest of them were sliding around on snow skis. If you watched the race you know what I’m talking about it, but laps 68 and 69 were the best laps of the race. Max finally got close enough to Charles on lap 68 to pass, but Leclerc’s defense was simply amazing. By turn three on lap 69, Max’s Red Bull was too much and overtook Leclerc’s Ferrari.
Look, I’m a huge Leclerc fan and I want the steward’s penalties to be consistent (which at the time I didn’t think they were), but they were. Vettel in Canada and Ricciardo in France left the track and returned (allegedly) unsafely, which resulted in their penalties. Max never left the track, and if you watch the in car view, his wheel was turned to the right (whether or not it was a late turn). The bottom line is it was a clean pass, and THAT”S RACING! That is how every race should be!
At the end of the day, this was the first race of the season that has us excited. This was one hell of a race, and it was better than the previous eight this season combined!!!
Mercedes AMG F1 boss Toto Wolff believes the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix could favor the German squad’s opponents given Montreal’s specific characteristics.
While Monaco saw Mercedes conquer its sixth straight win in 2019, the event marked the first time this year that’s its drivers did not deliver a clean-sweep one-two, with Lewis Hamilton winning in the Principality but Valtteri Bottas finishing third.
Wolff feels the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – a compelling power track – could throw a spanner into the manufacturer’s works and perhaps finally break its dominance.
“To a large extent, the challenges of Montreal are opposite to those of Monaco; the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a high-speed track with relatively long straights and lots of overtaking possibilities,” Wolff explained.
“Similar to Monaco, however, are the concrete walls that punish any mistakes heavily and a tight qualifying session around this relatively short lap.
“In the past six races, we were very strong in the corners but lost time on the straights.
“This will make Canada a huge challenge for us as the track characteristics could favour our opponents – there are many long straights, and fewer corners in which to make up lap time.
“But we’re looking forward to the challenge; we’ve seen some great races in Canada in recent years and expect another action-packed weekend in Montreal.”
Looking back one last time on Mercedes winning Monegasque weekend, Wolff believes the win would have pleased the one team member missing from the Silver Arrows’ garage.
“Monaco was not an easy weekend for the team,” said the Austrian.
“On the one hand, winning in Monte Carlo is one of the best things a Formula One team can experience – especially if it is such a tight race with a nail-biting finish.”
McLaren chief Zak Brown is confident that newly appointed team principal Andreas Seidl has the experience and credentials to lead the once might team back to the top of the Formula 1 pecking order.
Brown told his PR network, “I think we now have total clarity on the team and the leadership with Andreas. He is very clear in his direction and, as you know from where we have been, where maybe there have been too many chefs in the kitchen so to speak, now we have got one.”
“So everything now I see, I like. We have a great working relationship. I am excited for the future. What Andreas ends up doing with the racing team is up to Andreas, and he has my full support.”
“From my leadership standpoint, I’m done. I’ve got what I want and am very pleased with. I landed everyone I wanted to land, I don’t feel like I got second-best in any of the areas.”
“I’ve known Andreas for some time, he is a racer and he is technical, he is focused and he is dedicated,” added Brown of the former Porsche boss, as if anyone at that level of the sport is not a “racer”…
Seidl, 43, is highly rated with an impressive CV that includes time at the helm of Porsche’s WEC programme and also spearheaded BMW’s successful return to DTM.
Now, in the top flight with a great team, Seidl’s mandate is to make McLaren an F1 force again as Brown explained, “It’s his racing team to run. He’s a consultative team member type of individual. He’s got free rein to do what he wants. He’s got 100 percent of my support in that.
“But he is the type of individual who is going to consult and brainstorm and work with his team, not just do things and find out about it the next morning.”
“It’s always been the plan to bring in dedicated, exclusively-focused leadership on the Formula 1 racing team. We need someone waking up every day and making sure the car goes as fast as possible.”
“My job is a much broader remit to run the business, grow the business, so nothing really changes for me. I’m just happy that between Andreas, James Key, the promotions we’ve made, the other people we’ve brought in, that I now feel from a personnel standpoint we’ve got our team in place.”
“I’m sure Andreas, once he gets stuck into it, will make his mark if you like. I’m really pleased with the team we have on the field,” added Brown.
McLaren have not won a race since 2012 when Jenson Button triumphed for the team at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, now a distant memory as the past seven years have been painful for the sport’s second most successful team.
Big Question: Has Zak picked the right team to take McLaren back to the top?
It did not take long for McLaren’s new team principal Andreas Seidl did not take long to establish what the paddock already knew, namely that the gap to the pace-setting Mercedes team is around two seconds per lap when all the ponies are set free.
After taking stock at recent races, Seidl concluded, “What is obvious, we are missing is 1.5 to 2.0 seconds. This means that if you put it into perspective with the budget we have, with the infrastructure, we have to do better overall. That’s the mission right now.”
With a full mandate from team CEO Zak Brown, who declared recently: “It’s his racing team to run.”
Seidl’s task to reduce the gap to the top is clear, “I first need to understand the organisation entirely. Then make my mind up how to structure this project in the future.”
“It’s important also to get the 2021 regulations because they will affect the overall set-up of the team for the future. Then it’s down to me, together with Zak, to work out this mission and how we want to approach these next years.”
43-year-old Seidl has pedigree with big racing organisations having headed Porsche’s impressive WEC programme after a spell in charge of BMW’s DTM project. Each time the German made champions of the teams he led.
He acknowledged, “For sure I can use the experiences I have made in different categories. I think the fundamental points that you need to have in place in order to have a successful organisation are the same, it doesn’t matter if it is a GT racing programme, an LMP programme or F1.”
“Overall, the projects I have been involved in the past, they were also ‘works’ programmes. Big programmes with big budgets. So I am convinced I can bring a lot of experience towards McLaren and apply them.”
“At the same time, it is also important to take my time now and respect what is in place. There are a lot of good things. People are committed, there is a lot of talent,” added Seidl.
Big Question: Is Andreas the man who will return McLaren to glory?
Former Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson stepped on to a podium for the first time since 2013 on Sunday after finishing runner-up in the second race of the Detroit Grand Prix.
A clean and composed race blended with some handy strategy put the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver in contention for a race win in the second half of the 70-lap action-lacked event.
Ultimately however, Ericsson was beaten to the checkered flag by a couple of seconds by Ganassi’s Scott Dixon who conquered his 45th career win in IndyCar, but the Swede edged third-placed man Will Power.
Ericsson’s IndyCar result marked his first podium since finishing third behind Alex Rossi and Jolyon Palmer in a round of the GP2 championship almost six years ago.
“I’m super happy,” said the 28-year-old.
“It’s been one of those years where we’ve had pretty much every weekend good pace, but for some reason there’s always been something that’s happened that’s made it not come together result-wise.
“I think our results have not been sort of representative of the pace we’ve got. That’s why it was such a nice feeling finally to get it together for a whole race today.
“Even in quali we had a great car. I didn’t get the perfect lap together, but in the race executed very well.
“The team did great strategy calls, pit stops. I have to thank the crew because they did an amazing job.
“Yeah, it’s just a great feeling to be on the podium again.”
Ericsson conquered his runner-up spot in Detroit in front of a small congregation of Alfa Romeo/Sauber personnel who had come to watch their former driver in Belle Isle on their way to next week’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.
“Ten of the guys from Alfa Romeo that have been working for me the last few years were here supporting me this weekend,” said the Swede.
“Obviously they go to Montreal next weekend. It was good to see them. They must have brought some good luck, as well. It was good.”
In the wake of his failure to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500, Fernando Alonso has said that a full Indycar programme in 2020 won’t happen but another stab at the fabled race is very much on the cards, but maybe not with McLaren.
The Formula 1 team’s feeble attempt to qualify for this year’s race is well documented, in a nutshell: the Spaniard was bumped in the final shootout for the last row of the grid. An unthinkable scenario during the Month of May appears to have strained the partnership.
With regards to his future with Indycar and the Indy 500, Alonso told Speedweek, “I dont know. I have to see what options are available. If I do Indy again, I’ll look at the options and then choose the most competitive one.”
Not very hidden between the lines it is clear he is seking a drive for a team with a winning car, which McLaren’s 2019 Indy effort was never going to be thanks to a host of inexplicable management staffing gaffes that had the wrong people in the wrong places, and naively underestimating one of the toughest races in motorsport.
Nevertheless, McLaren are keen to return to make amends, in the aftermath of Zak Brown’s mea culpa stance it is clear that his bosses condone failure, but won’t accept not getting up and fighting another day.
Speaking to reporters in Monaco recently Brown said of his team tackling the 500 again next year, “I talked a lot with Fernando, also about this possibility. We would like to try again, of course, preferably with him. Based on our discussions, I say: Fernando wants to win with McLaren.”
While the Woking bosses also consider a fully fledged Indycar campaign, Alonso insists that a full season Stateside with McLaren is not on his agenda, “If I do Indy, it will just be that race. The whole [Indycar] season is too much of a commitment with all the races and the preparation.”
“If you join the series, then its to drive for the title, not to be a tourist. And for the title fight, you need a lot of time, a lot of preparation. In addition, many new areas to learn. This would be too much,” added the double F1 Champion who, in other words, is saying: McLaren won’t be competitive.
However, a drive with a top team (not powered by Honda) might be an option. Of course Penske springs to ming as Andretti Autosport are firmly aligned with the Japanese manufacturer that earned the headline-grabbing wrath of Alonso during their F1 years together with McLaren.
They are unlikely to do business with him ever again.
Meanwhile, the Spaniard’s close confidante Flavio Briatore was typically blunt when asked about the Spaniard’s embarrassing experience last month, “The trip to Indy was badly organised. It was big bullshit. If Fernando does it again hopefully it will be with another team that can win the race.”
Alonso will say hasta-la-vista to Toyota Gazoo Racing later this month after the Le Mans 24 Hours which he is contesting with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima – the trio lead the championship and are in line to be crowned WEC Champions should fate not have other plans on 15-16 June.
What Alonso does after that is unclear, although he insists he has projects he is considering and will announce them when plans are confirmed. For now, tick-off the list a full Indycar season with McLaren and he remaining in the WEC.
McLaren says it is starting to see hints in its team of the qualities that have made Mercedes so dominant in Formula 1.
Following a major restructuring, which has included the recent arrival of Andreas Seidl as team principal, McLaren has currently established itself in fourth place in the F1 constructors’ standings.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown said the changes he has helped implement at Woking are now paying off, and it is the way the team is working that has left him hugely encouraged.
Asked what the key areas of progress he had seen at McLaren were, Brown said: “Teamwork. If you look at things like winter testing, I was very pleased to see we were first team out on seven of eight days.
“When we had an issue we got right back to being next team out.
“Pitstops are really strong. We’ve had some technical advancement there, that’s just teamwork and focus. There’s a very positive vibe.
“The biggest thing I’ve noticed is everyone’s clear on their role, everyone’s motivated, and working really well together.
“That’s why you’re seeing things like good pitstops and good preparations.
“It’s teamwork that produces that type of results. Andreas is just going to bring another level of clarity to roles and responsibilities and focus.
“If we look at Mercedes winning all the races, yes they’ve got a great budget, but they are also a phenomenally well-run racing team so they can do the pitstops they pull off. They seem to not have bad weekends.
“That’s a great racing team. That’s what I’m starting to see here and Andreas is going to make that even better.”
With Seidl having been brought in to focus entirely on making the F1 team better, and James Key appointed as technical director, Brown believes he has the key elements in place.
“From my leadership standpoint I’m done, I’ve got what I want and am very pleased with it,” he said.
“I landed everyone I wanted to land. I don’t feel like I got second-best in any of them.
“What Andreas ends up doing with the racing team is up to Andreas and he has my full support.”
Seidl has been clear that he will not rush to make big changes at McLaren, and instead wants to spend time getting to understand the team’s strengths and weaknesses first.
“What is obvious, we are missing is 1.5-2s,” said Seidl.
“This means that if you put it into perspective with the budget we have, with the infrastructure, we have to do better overall. That’s the mission right now.
“I first need to understand the organisation entirely. Then make my mind up how to structure this project in the future.
“It’s important also to get the 2021 regulations because they will affect the overall set-up of the team for the future.
“Then it’s down to me, together with Zak, to work out this mission and how we want to approach these next years.”
Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton admits that his quest for success in F1 hasn’t been without its moments of mental suffering for the Brit.
Speaking to US talk show star David Letterman in an episode of the second season of the Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Hamilton opened up on the huge mental strains associated with fighting for the world title.
The Mercedes driver explained how dealing with the “massive comedowns” was crucial to sustaining success.
“It’s a hard, hard year,” said Hamilton, speaking with Letterman back in February before the 2019 season got underway.
“Mentally you have these massive highs, wins and success, but then you have these massive comedowns.
Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he could race in Formula 1 for at least the next five years, which inevitably will put him in-line to usurp Michael Schumacher as the sport’s most successful driver.
In an interview conducted by David Letterman in the new Netflix series – My Next Guest Needs No Introduction – Hamilton said, “Michael retired when he was 38. I’m 33. In my mind, I can definitely do five [more] years.”
Schumacher remains the big daddy of F1 success with his seven F1 titles and 91 victories, but Hamilton is closing in fast at the wheel of the sport’s most dominant car – he now has five F1 titles and 77 victories.
If his next five years are anything like the past five for him and Mercedes, records will be shattered should he remain with the team until 2025 and they continue their remarkable streak.
He explained, “I am ridiculously determined to win. What really drives me – I feel somewhat that the people I race against may lack – is that fire.”
“I have this opportunity, I could easily let go of it right now but I feel like I would be squandering it if I didn’t continue to improve, grow and push. I have to keep going for as long as I can, basically until I am not enjoying it.”
While the Letterman interview took place before the start of this season, it is now emerging that Mercedes are set to commit to F1 for at least another five years which tallies nicely with Hamilton’s ambitions.
During the guest appearance, the Briton also opened up on the pressures of his job, “Mentally you have these massive highs, wins and success. but then you have these massive comedowns.”
“It’s something I’ve never really spoken about, but you often do suffer from mental issues, instabilities and keeping yourself together when you hit rock bottom, which you do as an athlete. If you’re lucky you can find strength at rock bottom.”
“It’s about how you get up, not how you fall,” added Hamilton who has ‘Still I Rise’ inked large on his upper back.
F1 now heads to Canada for round seven of the championship, with reigning World Champ top of the points table with four victories out of six, ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas by 17 points in the standings.
It would take a brave punter to put money on Hamilton not claiming a sixth world title by the time this season ends… which would put him two shy of Schumi’s all-time record.
Big Question: Can Lewis become the best F1 driver of all time?
Red Bull’s Christian Horner expects the upcoming dissemination of F1’s 2021 rules to mark the start of a “fun” period for teams whereby everyone will try to exert change before the regulations are set in stone later this year.
Formula 1 had scheduled an end-of-June deadline to define the future technical and commercial regulation package by which the sport shall enter a new era in 2021.
However, with talks still ongoing and discussions complicated by the need for every team to protect its own interests, a comprehensive draft proposal is likely to presented by Liberty Media and the FIA later this month, with an excessive amount of fine-tuning and nitpicking to follow.
The official Test Day for the 24 Hours of Le Mans is now complete, with all 62 cars completing two four-hour test sessions. Below is a round up of what happened during this afternoon’s session at the Circuit des 24 Heures.
As temperatures continued to soar during the afternoon, it was Toyota Gazoo Racing’s #8 TS050 Hybrid of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso that continued to set the pace, producing a best time of 3:19.440 after 108 laps of testing.
The sister Toyota that completed a total of 112 laps made it two Toyotas out front in LMP1, the No.7 crew clocking a time of 3:20.249.
Jackie Chan DC Racing on top in LMP2
Several LMP2 teams topped the timesheets throughout the course of this afternoon but it was the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson car driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Stéphane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry who proved to be the fastest with a time of 3:28.504. Second fastest was the No. 31 DragonSpeed ORECA 07 Gibson of Roberto Gonzales, Pastor Maldonado and Anthony Davidson – only 0.265s adrift of the LMP2 pace-setters. Signatech Alpine Matmut’s No. 36 Alpine A470 Gibson car took third. With just four points separating Jackie Chan DC Racing and Signatech Alpine Matmut in the overall LMP2 standings, the scene is set for an enthralling battle at the WEC Season Finale.
Four manufacturers in top five in LMGTE Pro
The LMGTE Pro category saw several drivers and manufacturers grappling for the top spot, with Corvette Racing’s two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs sandwiching the No.67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK entry. Jan Magnussen in the No.63 American muscle car grabbed the top spot by a margin of just 0.031s. The No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE was fourth quickest ahead of two Porsche 911 RSRs making it four manufacturers in the top five. Incredibly the top 12 LMGTE Pro cars (including five different manufacturers) were separated by less than one second.
Clearwater Racing lead WEC LMGTE Am field
A miniscule 0.073 seconds separated the top three fastest crews in LMGTE Am at the end of today’s test, with American team WeatherTech Racing clocking the quickest time of the day: 3:56.862. The No. 61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GTE was the quickest WEC entrant in the class, with the No.54 Spirit of Race Ferrari was just 0.012s behind. The Porsche 911 RSR belonging to the No. 86 Gulf Racing car was third quickest out of the nine WEC entries competing.
Five important things to remember after an action-packed day:
Good Day for rookies. There were 33 rookies at Test Day looking to complete their 10 mandatory laps in order to be cleared to take the start in the 87th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and they all passed with flying colours. As a result, no driver will have to do his/her laps during the free practice on Wednesday 12 June.
Even better than last year! In all four categories – LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am – the times clocked at the 2019 Test Day were faster across the board than last year. The drivers explain it by the reduced grip of the track and the new design of the Ford chicanes. Jorg Bergmeister (Team Project 1’s #56 Porsche 911 RSR) learned it the hard way, by catching air. “You can’t cut the right short or arrive too fast,” explained Stéphane Sarrazin (SMP Racing’s #17 BR Engineering BR1-AER) on Sunday evening. “You have to keep your distance because if you hit the chicane, it can do a world of harm.”
100 laps Toyota Gazoo Racing’s #8 Toyota TS050-Hybrid completed 54 laps and clocked the fastest time of Test Day, and the #7 sister car did 56 laps. In all, the Japanese team coverd 110 laps and surpassed the 100-lap cap or the first time at Test Day.
Extra entrants The #20 ORECA of High Class Racing and #32 Ligier of United Autosports – for which the Selection Committee decided to add two garages to pit lane and bring the total number of entrants to 62 – finished 14th and 11th in the LMP2 category, respectively.
Vandoorne The former McLaren driver making his first appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the SMP Racing team, did not have the best day, but did still accomplished his goal. SMP Racing Team Manager Sébastien Philippe: “Stoffel quickly adapted to the track. It didn’t start out well due to mechanical problems and it took him some time to do his laps. But it’s all good!”
Lewis Hamilton believes he can “definitely” race for another five years in Formula 1, as he fears he would “squander” the opportunity to improve his record if he stopped earlier.
Hamilton was speaking to US chat show host David Letterman before the start of the 2019 season during an episode of the second season of Letterman’s Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, which was released last Friday.
The five-time world champion was interviewed by Letterman in his studio in the United States during the pre-season and then again at the Silverstone shakedown of the 2019 Mercedes car in February.
Since then Hamilton has gone onto win four of the first six races of this season and holds the championship lead.
Hamilton’s current contract with Mercedes finishes at the end of the 2020 season, but the reigning champion has recently expressed a desire to remain with the team.
“Michael retired when he was 38. I’m 33. In my mind I can definitely do five years,” said Hamilton.
“I am ridiculously determined to win.
“What really drives me, and I feel that somewhat the people I race against may lack, is that fire.
“I’ve got this opportunity. I could easily let go of it right now but I feel like I would be squandering it if I didn’t continue to improve, grow and push.
“I’ve got to keep going for as long as I can basically – until I’m not enjoying it.”
Hamilton also spoke of the unique mental challenges presented in F1 and acknowledged that managing the “massive comedowns” is key to his success.
“It’s a hard, hard year,” continued Hamilton.
“Mentally you have these massive highs, wins and success, but then you have these massive comedowns.
“[It’s] something I’ve never really spoken about but you often do suffer from mental issues – instabilities – and keeping yourself together when you hit rock bottom, which you do as an athlete.
“If you’re lucky you can find strength at rock bottom. It’s about how you get up, not how you fall.”
Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo believes Max Verstappen is a quicker driver than Sebastian Vettel who he says is more cerebral, and he should know as he was teammate to both drivers during his spell at Red Bull.
The Australian was groomed through the Red Bull young driver programme during his junior career, stepping up to Formula 1 with HRT with Red Bull backing, before being promoted to Toro Rosso and finally, in 2014, bumped up to the senior team alongside four-time F1 World Champion Vettel.
That year Ricciardo humbled the German and beat him in the championship, after which Vettel departed for Ferrari and Daniil Kvyat popped up next from the Red Bull driver factory. But he was out of his depth, no match for his teammate and after a season and a bit was replaced by Verstappen, who in turn was promoted from Toro Rosso.
History will always show that the young Dutchman won in his debut for the team and from that day on Ricciardo had his hands full, to the point that it would be fair to say that Verstappen had the edge, not only on track but also in the Red Bull garage.
Ricciardo’s days were numbered, he left the team and moved to Renault. But that’s another story…
Chatting to Nico Rosberg on ‘Beyond the Grid‘ vlog the world champ asked Ricciardo: “On single lap, straight out the box, So who is quicker Seb or Max?”
To which Ricciardo replied, “Max, yeah, yeah and that’s law. Yeah I won’t take anything away from Seb, he is not slow by any means but I would say on raw speed, probably more as well because Max is still young.”
“I think if he’s quick now he’s probably only going to get quicker, where Seb has been doing it that long, I think he’ll always improve as a driver but this probably less room to grow for Seb and there’s more for Max.
“Yeah, I would say that, if Seb’s listening: sorry Seb you’re still a badass, it’s alright!” he added with a trademark grin.
What Ricciardo did to Vettel in 2014 was done to him by Verstappen in the latter half of 2018. The Dutchman seized the higher ground on all fronts and at the same time, it was clear even from the outside, Red Bull had their chosen one and it was not Dan.
The shift towards Verstappen’s corner, at the ‘expense’ of Ricciardo, became obvious in how the team bosses dealt with the crashes and clashes between the pair. They kept it cordial and fun off-track, but on-track it was pretty vicious. Hungary (2017) and Baku (2018) were standout moments among several altercations between the two drivers.
Ricciardo recalled, “Max and I were battling and, as far as teammates go, we were battling too hard. I was surprised that the team didn’t kind of put a stop to it. I felt like I was giving enough room but a lot of the time you know he was kind of coming up into me and banging wheels…”
“I like tough racing, it’s fun and it’s cool and it keeps you going but I felt like at times, again because we were teammates…”
“I was likewise, in the team, addressing this and it’s maybe something I should have done differently, but I’ve never been one to come on the radio and complain too much and be like: Oh he hit me like what’s he doing? – because I’m a racer and I respect tough racing, but I felt like the team should have addressed it.”
Despite the rivalry, clearly, the Aussie has respect, even admiration, for Verstappen, “Max, one thing he was just quick out of the box as well, like FP1 first lap just go, like there wasn’t much of a feeling out process.”
“I think he drives on a lot of just instinct and he just goes. So yeah there wasn’t much of a building up and you know a new track kind of feeling it and getting the tyres in, so he’s still I guess technical but he’s probably got less…”
“I think Seb is much more of a sensitive driver, a lot more sensors in his body to kind of communicate with the car where Max drives probably more off instinct and raw talent,” added Ricciardo.
Ricciardo completed 158 grands prix as a Red Bull driver, including his time at HRT which was with their funding and delivered seven wins in the process. He is now at Renault.
Racing Point driver Sergio Perez says that he’s encouraged by the designs for the squad’s new factory facility, which he says show that the team has a bright future ahead.
As Force India, the team went into administration last summer but was saved after being bought by a consortium led by billionaire Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll.
The investment means that as well as recruiting new staff, Racing Point can also start to update their ageing facilities at Silverstone which includes the main factory complex which dates back to 1991 when the team launched as Jordan, so an upgrade is seriously overdue.
Currently the team is up to fifth place in the constructors standings, despite missing out on points in the most two recent races in Spain and Monaco.
“The team is in the best position it has ever been,” insisted Perez.
The team is currently using Mercedes’ wind tunnel at Brackley to assist in car design for 2020, rather than the Toyota facility in Germany. While the team now has the space to build its own, the importance of wind tunnels has lessened in recent years with the rise of computer simulation methods.
However Racing Point management is also aware of the need to take things step-by-step and not get too carried away by the availability of funds from the Stroll consortium.
The team insisted that the new factory “will not be extravagant, but fit for purpose” with team principal Otmar Szafnauer adding that the same cautious approach will also apply to adding more personnel.
“We’ve got to really be careful that the new factory that’s being planned now, as well as our recruitment drive and some other things that are changing, don’t affect the performance at the end of the season.
“It’s a fine balance to strike, but it’s one we’re conscious of and working hard to make sure we get right.”
The team says it plans to eventually increase staff levels to around 600, from around 400 at the end of last season.
“We can’t really fit many more than 350 in the site where we’re at, and we’re already 425,” Szafnauer commented earlier this year. “Even if we stayed the same size we’d need a new building to get everybody together.
“We’ve got to grow over time, we’ve got to grow strategically. But we’d like to house everybody under one roof. It’s better.”
McLaren’s failure to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500 makes it “highly unlikely” it will enter the series full-time in 2020, according to Zak Brown.
McLaren’s arrival at Indy as a standalone entry delivered a catalogue of errors, including a full day of practice missed just 48 hours before qualifying, and resulted in Fernando Alonso missing out on a place in the race. Following that failure, McLaren Racing CEO Brown believes that the team needs to understand how to get the 500 right before taking on an expanded IndyCar program.
“I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll be in IndyCar full-time next year,” Brown told RACER. “As enthusiastic as I am for IndyCar, given where we are in Formula 1, given what we just went through at Indy, I’d like to see us go back to Indy and get that right as a next step instead of totally jumping in. So I think it’s highly unlikely we’re in IndyCar full-time in 2020.”
Brown has also ruled out any further IndyCar entries this season despite having both a car and Alonso available, although he says that the team’s experiences over the past few weeks have reinforced the value of running additional races in the lead-up to next year’s 500.
“Could we do races before Indy next year in preparation? Yeah, that’s something we’ve spoken about,” he said. “So that will be all part of the thinking. Had we got into the show, we missed all the pit stop practice. We were practicing over the months in the race shop and things like that, but Thursday was the pit stop practice day, and we missed that. So we would have gone into Indy cold.
“So one of things we’ve discussed, we’ve started to throw around that we should have done the road race. Even though it wouldn’t have taught us anything about the set-up of the car, operationally it was good practice. So definitely not this year, but probably if we go back to Indy, doing a race or two in preparation for Indy feels like good preparation.”
Alonso was seeking the Triple Crown of Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hour and Indy 500 victories this year, and has yet to confirm whether he will try again in 2020. Although Brown says McLaren’s interest in competing in IndyCar is not dependent on Alonso’s presence, he also says he has not spoken to any other drivers about piloting a McLaren entry at IMS next year.
“No I haven’t, because I don’t want to mess anybody about. If we’re not going to come on a full-time basis and I’m having talks with drivers… I’m misleading them. I don’t want to mislead any drivers. We got fairly close (to a full-time entry) this year, so I did have conversations because we were close. But knowing that, it’s highly unlikely – I wouldn’t want to start messing drivers about.”
In the spur of the moment however, Perez laments that drivers aren’t hindered more by running straight through the chicane area, suggesting that the run-off space should be altered to significantly disrupt a car’s speed or trajectory.
“It’s very disappointing, you only have one move in Monaco, and you do it and the car ahead cuts the chicane, and then he’s aware that you’re there and there’s no more opportunities,” said Perez.
“It’s definitely something we’ve got to speak about. In all fairness to the car ahead he gives space but then he has nowhere to go.
“I think there has to be a little chicane for the people who cut the chicane to lose some time,” added Perez
“It’s something we have to review over the next couple of races.”
Monaco race winner Lewis Hamilton also cut the chicane in the closing stages of Sunday’s race as a result of a light contact with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, but the stewards rightly took no action.
Mission Winnow branding will not be present on Ferrari cars or clothing for the Canadian and French Grands Prix, replacing the controversial sponsorship with the team’s 90-Year logo which they used in Australia.
At the time of the season opener, anti-tobacco organisations accused Philip Morris using Mission Winnow as a means to promote tobacco and was actually a way to promote their tobaaco products including Marlboro who have sponsored the Italian team since the mid-eighties.
Possibly to avoid bad press and protests in two countries where the logo’s presence would be challenged, Ferrari announced: “Scuderia Ferrari will once again be celebrating the 90th anniversary of its foundation, over the weekends of the Canadian and French Grands Prix.”
“Therefore, as was already the case in Australia, the SF90s in Montreal and Le Castellet will carry the logo celebrating the anniversary, as will the drivers and mechanics overalls. Mission Winnow remains the title partner for Scuderia Ferrari in 2019.”
Kevin Magnussen says the Monaco Grand Prix race performance ruined a perfect weekend for Haas after he failed to score a point.
An impressive qualifying performance saw Magnussen starting from fifth on the grid (pictured), gaining one place as a result of Pierre Gasly’s grid penalty. Although he dropped behind Daniel Ricciardo to run sixth in the opening stint, Magnussen was still on for strong points when he joined the rest of the top six runners in pitting during a safety car period on Lap 10. That relegated him outside of the points on a track where it is notoriously difficult to overtake, and limited him to 12th at the checkered flag.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Magnussen said. “I think we have done a very, very good job this weekend. The perfect weekend until the race. So it’s a shame — a big shame — but we’ll see what went wrong.
“I started fifth and finished 12th, so very disappointed with that. The car was flawless, so very disappointed with 12th.”
Team principal Guenther Steiner suggests luck played a part in the Haas result, with Romain Grosjean finishing ninth but being relegated to 10th by a time penalty for crossing the line at the pit exit after his pit stop.
“It was a challenging race for us — almost everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for us,” Steiner said. “It’s Monaco though — I think there were just circumstances that led us to only score one point here. I don’t even want to go into all that happened, otherwise you’d have to write a book about it.
“Obviously, we’re not happy about it, but a lot of people would have been happy getting away with one point. We’re pretty upset about that. What we’re not upset about is the performance of our car, the team and our drivers.
“We got into circumstances we didn’t want to be in, but we know the car is faster than it showed. That’s a good thing to look forward to, and I’m sure we’ll make up for it. Hopefully one day we won’t be unlucky, I’m not even demanding to be lucky — just not unlucky.”
Lando Norris’s performance was capped in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, compelling the McLaren driver to play the team game to protect the position of team mate Carlos Sainz.
Starting P12, Norris lost a couple of positions at the start but the McLaren rookie eventually found his way back into the top-ten but with the difficult task of having to manage his medium tyres for a long second stint.
Caring for his rubber meant a slight hit to Norris’ pace which in turn led to the Brit acting as a buffer between for Sainz who was running two spots ahead.
Mercedes expect an angry Valtteri Bottas to come back fired up after losing ground to teammate Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 world championship through no fault of his own at Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The Finn is now 17 points behind the five-times F1 world champion after finishing third in Monaco following a pitlane collision with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen early in the race.
Verstappen was handed a five-second penalty for the unsafe release, a sanction that dropped the Dutchman from second to fourth.
Hamilton won, his fourth victory of the season, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel promoted to second after Verstappen’s drop.
“Valtteri lost a second place, three points, and Mercedes [lost] a one-two,” said team principal Toto Wolff on Sunday evening.”
“From Valtteri’s point of view, he will be gutted. He had the pace on the weekend, he could have been on pole in terms of raw speed and today P2 (second) was the minimum I think. And that P2 was taken away from him.
“The Valtteri of 2019 is going to get out of it stronger,” added the Austrian.
Bottas has still finished on the podium in every race so far this season, with Mercedes taking five successive one-twos until Monaco, and has been a different driver to the man who failed to win anything in 2018.
He has two wins and three second places as well as Sunday’s third, which was still his first Monaco Grand Prix podium appearance.
“I think he has shown huge resilience and determination in these last races,” commented Wolff. “The speed [in qualifying] was mind-boggling yesterday and I have no doubt about it that it’s going to annoy the hell out of him and he’s going to come back very, very strong in Montreal.”
Bottas said his race had been ‘a bit of a Sunday drive’ after the impact with Verstappen left him with a puncture.
Big Question: Can Valtteri raise his game to beat Lewis in forthcoming rounds?
Sergio Perez described himself as “very lucky” to avoid hitting two marshals during the Safety Car period in the Monaco Grand Prix.
When the Safety Car was deployed to clear up debris that had been left on the circuit as a result of Charles Leclerc’s puncture, a number of drivers took the opportunity to pit for new tires. At the same time, marshals were cleaning the track at different points, and two on the pit straight were trying to cross the circuit when Perez emerged from the pit lane.
After this incident, I’m just very happy with the outcome of my day. That we all can go back home safe and sound with our families. For the safety of the marshals I hope it never happens again! 🙏 #MonacoGP#Checo11pic.twitter.com/PP8Me3Frlz
“I don’t know if you saw but during the Safety Car I had a marshal running into me,” Perez said. “I nearly ran him over, two of the marshals. It was under the Safety Car, coming out of the pits into Turn 1. That was really bad. They were running back and I was coming out of the pits. I had to brake and I was very lucky, they were very lucky that I avoided them.
“They are usually very good. It is a safety issue, and the most important thing at the end of the day is safety for marshals and drivers.”
Perez later tweeted footage of the incident, adding: “After this incident, I’m just very happy with the outcome of my day. That we all can go back home safe and sound with our families. For the safety of the marshals I hope it never happens again!”
The near-miss came in a race where Racing Point struggled compared to most of its midfield rivals, with Perez admitting the team has work to do after two uncompetitive showings.
“It was really as expected,” he said. “When you start P16, it means it was always going to be a really hard race, and there weren’t a lot of margins. The opportunity came with the Safety Car, and I think we did the right thing to box but then Lando (Norris) was very slow and dragged the whole pack back. That did hurt us quite a lot, and we lost track position to the people inside the top 10.
“Then I tried a move on (Kevin) Magnussen, which I think was all correct, but he cut the chicane so he just got a warning but it didn’t change anything. We only have one move in Monaco, and when you do it and then the car ahead cuts the chicane there is no more opportunity for it.
“During the race when (Antonio) Giovinazzi was ahead of me, he had contact with (Robert) Kubica and we stayed there for a couple of seconds and it was a bit of a chaotic race.
“We have been far from the points the whole weekend, so there is a lot of work to be done in the coming races. We are still fifth in the constructors’ championship, which is amazing. I think we need to pull ourselves together and try to maximize what we have in the coming races to see if we can score some points.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton’s driving saved his team after a strategic error left the championship leader on the wrong tires in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Hamilton had been leading from pole position when the Safety Car was deployed just 10 laps into the race, and Mercedes – along with the rest of the top six – pit both drivers. While Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were put on the medium compound, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel switched to the hards, and Hamilton soon struggled with the softer of the two compounds and found himself under race-long pressure from Verstappen that culminated in the pair making light contact at the Nouvelle Chicane in the closing laps.
“I just had a chat with James (Vowels, chief strategist) and yeah it was obviously the wrong call,” Wolff said. “We thought the tire would make it to the end, and it didn’t. But he (Hamilton) saved us, his driving really saved us. Something which we really need to analyze.”
Bottas picked up a puncture when he exited the pits alongside Verstappen, enforcing an immediate second stop for hards, but Hamilton completed the rest of the race on the mediums. Wolff says Mercedes did not appear to be taking a significant risk in opting against the hard tire when the Safety Car was deployed – especially with rain in the air making a softer tire preferable – but insists Hamilton’s complaints about how hard his car was to drive were fully understandable.
“What we’ve calculated is that the medium would make it, if we changed through lap 15 or 16, it would make it to the end with the right management,” Wolff says. “Being in the lead, that was a pretty straight strategy. It didn’t even seem like a huge stretch.
“We realized, with 20 laps into the race (stint), that on the left front some graining appeared. He started to complain about the understeer from the graining, and it was clear that it would get very, very difficult to make it to the end.
“So we had quite some discussions about the tire lasting another 40 laps, and I was reminded that it was only 20 laps on a normal circuit. So, I calmed down a bit! But everybody knew that it’s going to be a huge stretch. I believe that probably 20 laps to the end, he had, like, zero percent rubber left on the tire. He had understeer in the low speeds – you could see it around Loews; the car wouldn’t turn.”