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!!!
Earlier this evening, I received a text that absolutely shocked me. It read simply “Niki Lauda died”. It was the last thing I was expecting. After everything he’s been through, I thought Niki was invincible. He’s an aboslute legend in F1.
Most recently, Niki was the non-executive chairman of Mercedes AMG F1 Team with a 10% stake. This team will more than likely go down in history as the team with the most successful run of consecutive double championships. Let’s back up a bit first. Niki was born to an extremely wealthy family in 1949 who disapproved of his desire to become a racing driver. Niki being Niki broke off contact with his family and took out multiple loans to fuel his ambition, ultimately working in his favor and ending up with a seat at Ferrari in 1974, the same year Luca di Montezemolo took over the struggling outfit. Out of fifteen Grands Prix that year, he retired in 8, but won two and finishing second in three. He finished fourth in the championship that year behind his teammate Clay Regazzoni.
The following year, his first four races were unremarkable with his best result being a fifth place finish and with one retirement in Spain. Then he won three in a row, ultimately driving Ferrari to their first constructor’s championship since 1964 (strangely enough, it has currently been 11 years since their last constructor’s championship). Niki ended up winning the Driver’s Championship that year by 19.5 points (a massive margin back then).
1976 was the gamechanger. Through the first nine races, Niki won 4, and had been on the podium in all but the French Grand Prix where both Ferrari’s suffered engine failures. The following race, on August 1, was at the infamous Nurburgring, which was 14 miles long, roughly three times longer than the next longest circuit on the calendar, Interlagos. There had been concerns about the safety of the track, but all drivers eventually raced. Under changing track conditions, Lauda started in second position next to James Hunt. On the second lap, Lauda had an alleged suspension failure and lost control of the car, hitting the barriers and bouncing back into the track where his car caught fire. He was hit by two other cars. Eventually, in what must have felt like several lifetimes for him, he was pulled from his car and was taken to the hospital with serious burns to his head, face, and lungs. This is why he always wore a hat. Ferrari boycotted the next race, which was Lauda’s home race, in Austria. James Hunt won the following Dutch GP and was on his way to walking away with the championship. The following race at Monza, just 42 days after his accident that would have kept most people from ever getting behind the wheel of a car again, he was back in the car. It was such a surprise that Ferrari had to run three cars in the race.
Niki would have more than likely won the championship this year, except that he smartly chose to retire himself in the final race on lap 2 due to the track conditions. He knew it wasn’t worth the risk. James Hunt ended up finishing third at the Japanese Grand Prix and took his one and only title. Niki won the championship again in 1977 with Ferrari before moving to Brabham under relatively new owner at the time, Bernie Ecclestone. Lauda raced for Bernie for two seasons before announcing his retirement in September 1979.
He returned to Formula 1 in 1982 for McLaren finishing fifth and winning 2 races. In 1983, he retired from more than half races before McLaren switched engines for the 1984 season. Niki Lauda and his teamate, Alain Prost, absolutely dominated the season, winning 12 of 16 races. Niki won his third driver’s championship this year. He only won because of the Monaco Grand Prix being called early due to weather conditions, and the drivers were only awarded half points (Prost was leading at the end of the lap prior to the race being called). This was the same the race where a young Brazilian driver would truly show what he was capable of.
1985 was a poor year for Niki, having him retire 11 of the 14 races he started. He retired for the second time at the end of the season being replaced by Keke Rosberg.
Niki Lauda has done of alot of things since his racing days, including managing F1 teams, writing several books, and has run three different airlines. He was married twice and has five children. His youngest two are just 10 years old today.
Niki is a hero in my mind. He is the epitome of what hard work can do for you. The thing about Niki Lauda for me that I believe is how he has always been is in a scene at the end of the movie Rush, which is based on the 1976 rivalry between Niki and James. James has just won
the championship and is getting on his plane with several beautiful women. I’m sure I’ll butcher this, but here goes. Niki happens to be at the airport working on his plane. James says something to the effect of “did you really work this hard to just go back to work?” Lauda’s response was simply “of course”. He was the hardest working, most bad ass there was. He will be missed greatly.
The rain in Indy finally stopped and the track began to dry. Some on track action was finally going to start to finalize the drivers who would have a spot in the 2019 Indy 500 next weekend. The top thirty were already set with the final three drivers able to race determined by just ten miles.
James Hinchcliffe was up first putting in a very nice four lap average speed of 227.543. The former Formula 1 driver for the Marussia team, Max Chilton, was up next. He ended up in second (out of only two) with what wasn’t the best time. His average speed was just 226.192 (yeah, just 226 over ten miles!!!). Up third was the two-time Formula 1 world champion and Le Mans winner, Fernando Alonso, who had said previously that this was probably the most important race of his career. Alo laid down a decent 227.353 to put him in second (out of three). For him to not make the field, two of the three remaining drivers would have to beat his time. What are the odds that two out of three drivers are going to beat a two-time Formula 1 World Champion? Up after Alonso was Sage Karam. Well, Sage laid down a blistering time of 227.740 to put him in the 31st spot and guarantee him a spot in next weekend’s race. Now, the probability of Alonso getting bumped increased from just 33% to 50%. Next was Patricio O’Ward who ended up at 227.092 to put him fourth out of the five so far. Kyle Kaiser was last. He puts in a speed of 227.372, bumping Alonso out of the race by 19/100ths of an MPH. From a timing perspective, this is just over a hundredth of a second.
As bummed as I was seeing Alonso not make the field, there is no denying the fact that this insane qualifying format makes for unbelievable entertainment. My original intention of going to this race was to see Alonso make an attempt at winning the Triple Crown of Motorsports, but now I am just pumped for the on track action.
I am a bigger Fernando Alonso fan than most as well as McLaren. He is one of the greatest drivers of all time, if not the greatest. When he contested the Indy 500 for the first time in 2017, he was named Rookie of the Year. He drove a McLaren branded Andretty Autosports Car (with the Honda engine).
Fast forward to 2019, he’s attempting to contest the 2019 Indy 500 in a McLaren Indycar with a Chevrolet engine. It’s Day 2 of qualifying and Alonso is on the bubble of getting bumped. Danica Patrick and Townsend Bell believe he will get bumped. My boy Leigh Diffey though believes he’ll make it.
Why does he continue relying on McLaren?? They have continually failed him in pretty much every season he has raced with them.
Qualifying for the Indy 500 is extremely unique and about as confusing as it gets. It’s a two-day process which begins Saturday, May 18 and lasts almost seven hours. For the 2018 race, there are 36 cars competing for 33 spots on the grid. Only one car is on track at a time and is guaranteed one run but can make multiple runs as time permits. Each run consists of two warm up laps followed by four flying laps, with the average of the four laps being used as the driver’s qualifying time. The average pace of the four laps is used as the driver’s qualifying time. The top 30 cars are now qualified, with spots 10 -30 being set for the race. The top 9 drivers compete in the Fast Nine Shootout on Sunday to determine the final starting order, and the bottom three drivers along with any unqualified drivers compete for the final three spots on the last row. The Sunday sessions are actually televised on something other than NBC Gold.
Obviously, we are big Formula 1 fans. That doesn’t mean we don’t follow other types of racing. I, for one, love watching the World Endurance Championship, MotoGP, and the IndyCar Series. Since I am going to the Indy500 this year, I have decided to take this opportunity to learn as much as I can about it. Over the course of the next week leading up the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, I am planning to learn as much as I can about the race and its history. Since https://f1andcoffee.com is primarily about F1, I hadn’t planned to share this, but perhaps I’m not the only Formula 1 fan who is interested in other series, particularly those series that are somewhat closer to home. Now, The Indy500 may very well be the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but maybe not. The one thing I know for certain is that the 2019 Formula 1 Season (through five races at the time of this writing) is boring AF, and I’m DAMN sure there’s something better out there for us to watch!
This year, one of my favorite F1 drivers of all time is competing in the race for the second time. His first attempt in 2017 gave him the title Rookie of the Year while he led 27 laps before his Honda engine failed him. His other Honda engine in his McLaren F1 car also failed him that year, maybe more than once….That driver is Mr. Fernando Alonso.
While Atlanta really isn’t that far away, with the flights being short enough not to be boring but long enough to get drink service, I am technically leaving my wife and kids to go see a race I currently don’t know much about over a holiday weekend. I figure I better learn as much as possible and get some good pictures and videos. Is there a better reason to go to a race you don’t know a whole lot about than the possibility of seeing only the second racing driver in history achieve what is known as the Triple Crown of Motorsport? For anyone who doesn’t know how big of a deal this is or what is, a) it is a BIG F*CKING DEAL, and it is Victory at three of the most iconic races ever run – The Monaco Grand Prix, The 24 Hours of Le Mans, and The Indy500. To be clear, no the driver does not have win all three in the same year. This isn’t horse racing!
Alright, let’s be clear, Catalunya is a cool track and offers some potential for exciting racing. Although, maybe we are just remembering the good ole days from 2016 when Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton took each other out twenty seconds into the race. Regardless of what anyone thinks, Nico closed the door on Lewis….. end of story. After this occurred in 2016, Red Bull jumped on the opportunity, conveniently right after the demotion of the Torpedo (Danny Kvyat) and replaced him with the elbows out, take no prisoners Max Verstappen, who ended up winning his first Formula 1 race in his very first race with the senior Red Bull Team. Oh, and Max became the youngest F1 race winner of all time, and still holds the record, at this race. He was 18 years, 228 days old at the time, and proved how good he was.
In 2019, similar story, sort of. Bottas laid down one hell of a lap in Q3 to give himself pole and then told Jenson that he couldn’t do that lap ever again. It was as good as Lewis’s pole lap in Singapore in 2018, absolutely perfect and just spectacular, perhaps with a little bit of luck. This year, Max finished third and gave some room at turn 1. Is he maturing as a driver? Prior to the race, Valtteri was ahead by one point over Lewis because of the fast lap he got in Melbourne, week 1. After Azerbaijan though, Lewis made it clear that he would never concede the first turn again, and he meant it. He got a great start, while the Robot had a clutch issue, allegedly. Once Lewis took the lead, he never lost it and dominated the entire race. A couple of other drivers may have had a shot after the safety car at the end, but Lewis is damn good at restarts and never gave anyone the opportunity. It’s drives like he had on Sunday that he’s won 5 World Driver’s Championships.
Ferrari dominated testing at the same track as this weekend’s race – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, yet they have continued to struggle to find pace or have had serious issues at every race. The thought had been that Toto and his Mercedes team had been sandbagging and playing it safe and, yeah, maybe this is the case, but from a comparison of the fastest lap times in testing to the qualifying session yesterday, Mr. Horner and Red Bull Racing appear to have been sandbagging the most. It seems unlikely though. Maybe they’ve just made the most improvement. Congrats to them!
On the other side of the table, and I don’t think this is any surprise, Renault has deteriorated the most, with Hulkenberg’s quali time 1.6 seconds off his best time during testing. Ferrari lost the least amount of time of the losing group, and what about Williams? Poor, poor Williams. Their drivers also posted worse times in qualifying, with Kubica going 1.3 seconds slower than testing, and the reigning F2 Champion, George Russell, posting a slower time by 0.9 seconds.
Bottas is on fire and driving like he really wants to dominate his teammate. He’s driving so well that he beat his 5 time world champion teammate by 0.634 seconds to take pole. Not only that, but he beat the top Ferrari of Sebsastian Vettel by almost nine tenths of a second. It’s not looking like Ferrari’s engine upgrade has done anything to get them closer to the Mercedes. The other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc may have had some damage. At this point, we’re not sure how much. Honda and Red Bull are looking pretty solid too. Max split the Ferraris taking the last spot on the second row (aka fourth). Gasly finished in sixth and is looking a lot better than in past sessions. Both Haas drivers got what I would say is the best result they could have hoped for. The Torpedo finished ninth and looks good to take some points home tomorrow. Rounding out the top 10 was Daniel Ricciardo, 2.7 seconds back so not even remotely in contention but a good finish for the Aussie and Renault who have bad a tough day and an even tougher season so far.
Finally, Lewis normally wears some pretty sweet Mercedes hats every weekend, generally a different one every race…This one…I have no words….
Nico Hulkenberg locks up his front right tire and hits the barrier. Luckily he was able to get his car back on track and around to the garage, coming fairly close to George Russell who spun and was just getting back on track. It seemed like his day was done, but his mechanics got his car fixed in just 7 minutes putting him back on track with 5:17 to go…
It was looking better for him briefly and then ***spoiler alert*** Hulk is once again out in Q1 for the third time in the first five races. His new teamate just one place ahead of him in 15th. It’s not looking good at all for the French team.
On the other side, Lando ended in 6th followed by Magnussen in 7th. It’s looking like a good midfield battle this weekend!
If you are lucky enough to be attending this year’s Spanish GP and you fancy an adult beverage from time to time, make sure you get loaded before you get to the track. Since 2015, the Barcelona venue has banned the sale of booze within the track. It has something to do with Catalonian laws for sporting events mandating a zero-alcohol policy. But there are also rumors that it has to do with permits to sell booze. Maybe this is why this race hasn’t been extended past 2019…
They do sell non-alcoholic beers at the track at an outrageous price of €11 euors! So, go prepared and drink at the bars outside the track before going in or get yourself a fancy Silver/Gold Suite F1 package ticket from Grand Prix Events which comes with all day open bar and catering. These packages start at a whopping $1070 for Sat/Sun and $1811 for all 3 days. Good thing is open bar!!
It’s desperate times for Scuderia Ferrari as they are already 74 points behind their main rival Mercedes AMG F1 and just 35 points ahead of Red Bull Racing. Having shown some promise during winter testing, Ferrari has not been able to capitalize during the first 4 race weekends of the 2019 season so far. While Mercedes have claimed the top two steps of the podium for every race.
So, what to do if you are Ferrari ahead of the first race in Europe this year and going back to the track where you dominated winter testing?
You go full tilt and bring your spec 2 power-unit 2 races (a FULL MONTH) ahead of schedule.
This can go three ways, 1) they were able to bring the engine upgrades a full 30 days early by truncating testing thus bring a huge reliability risk or 2) the improvements will not be significant enough to make a difference as they have to run it conservatively to not risk a failure or 3) I have no idea what I am talking about and should start popping some popcorn for the show this weekend.
Bottas – 87: 2019 WDC leader after 4 races. With 2 wins and 2 Poles, he is showing his Mercedes teammate Hamilton that he is in it to win it this season. That extra point from Australia where he got the fastest lap puts him in the championship lead right now.
Hamilton – 86: Remains in P2 in the WDC since our last update from Bahrain. He is driving quite well, making the most out of his Mercedes works package. Lewis is looking good for his 6th WDC title. Let the head games begins at the Merc camp.
Vettel – 52: Up 3 spots in the drivers standings since Bahrain. He is now more than 1 race win worth of points behind the Mercedes pair and only 1 point up from Max in the Red Bull. Seb is still making small mistakes here and there. This is costing him points, and it seems the boys in Red still cannot extract the best out the SF90
Verstappen – 51: Down 1 spot since Bahrain but still hanging in for the top 4 of the WDC. Max racked up two back to back 4th place results in China and Baku and driving as intense as ever. Watch for him to take some surprise wins in the coming races. Also, he is dominating his teammate scoring more than double what Gasly has been able to achieve.
Leclerc – 47: Down 1 spot since Bahrain. The young Monegasque’s character has been tested during the last 2 races. In China he succumbed to Ferrari team orders and then in Baku where he was dominating all the sessions but made a costly mistake in Q2 where the he was a bit too aggressive on the turn in at the treacherous turn 8, destroying his Ferrari. Afterwards it was damage control starting from P8, finishing in the top 5. Regardless, this guy has shown he has the pace and the class to be the number 1 driver at Ferrari. The pit wall needs to be careful with strategy now if they want to battle the Mercs for the WCC crown.
Perez – 13: Up 8 spots since Bahrain! Checo was able to finish P8 and P6 in China and Baku to net 12 more points to his points account. His performance launched Papa Stroll racing to 5th in the standings (one point behind McLaren).
Gasly – 13 : Up 4 positions since Bahrain. Pierre finally had a decent race in China where he finish a season high P6 but DNF in Baku. Still no luck for the Frenchmen on having a completely clean weekend to bring the battle to Max.
Raikkonen – 13: Remains tied for 6th in the WDC standings. Kimi is still showing strong pace and leadership in the team. Even dictating pit stop strategy from the cockpit as seen in Baku. Making the most out of the Alfa package, Kimi continues to score points at every race and also scoring all the points Alfa has this year.
Norris – 12: Dropping 2 places since Bahrain. After a dismal Chinese GP where he finished outside of the points; Lando bounced back with finishing in 8th place at Baku, one spot behind his teammate. McLaren had a great weekend (for the Formula 1.5 battle. Lando also picked up a new company car this weekend, a sweet Papaya 570s. Pretty sweet ride for a 19-year-old.
Magnussen – 8: Down 2 spots since Bahrain with no points scoring races since the desert. Having shown good pace in both China and Baku during practice, the Haas driver can’t seem to find the race pace on Sundays.
Hulkenberg – 6: Down 2 spots in the standings since Bahrain. Hulk and Renault have regressed in the past couple of races. Nico has not scored points since the season opener. Bad luck and typical Renault failures have left the German at the bottom of the barrel.
Sainz – 6: Up 12 spots since Bahrain. Carlos is finally scored some valuable points this season. In China, he was a victim of the Torpedo on lap 1 which damaged his McLaren. He ended the race in P14 with 0 points. Then in Baku, Carlos put together a solid race weekend finishing ahead of his teammate and scoring his first points of the year. Like his teammate, he received a new company car as well this past weekend. Looks like he got the grown up version of Lando’s car.
Ricciardo – 6: Danny Ric moved up 5 spots since Bahrain but still P13 in the WDC standings. He had a decent race in China finishing in P7 but another goose egg (aka his third DNF in four races) in Baku. Guess he is racing for the money this year and earning the most money per racing lap than anyone else on the grid.
Stroll – 4: Lance got himself 2 more points this at Baku with a P9. Even with the 2 extra points, he still dropped 3 spots down to P14 in the WDC standings. Maybe its me but I haven’t seen anything special coming from Lance. He does have a guaranteed drive though…
Albon – 3: Down 3 spots since Bahrain but adding 1 more point to his F1 career with a P10 finish in China. The Toro Rosso rookie did put on quite the show in China. Having destroyed (see obliterated) his car in FP3, he had to sit out of qualifying and start from pit lane on Sunday in a backup chassis. He battled through the field passing cars all race to in the top ten. F1 named him Driver of the Day.
Kvyat – 1: No new points since Bahrain and down 3 spots in the standings. We saw the return of the Torpedo in China where he took out both McLarens. Then in Baku, The Torpedo got Torpedoed by Danny Ric. Ricciardo slammed into the back of his car in full reverse. That damage made him retire the race early. Will Danny Ric be the Torpedo in 2020?
Giovinazzi – 0: Still yet to put the Afla Romero in a points finishing position this year. The Italian is having a rough year where he can’t seem to put together a clean race weekend. Even with mechanical failures and grid penalties as a valid excuse, he has to start passing cars.
Grosjean – 0: Still no points in 2019 for Romain. Is it Au revoir for the Frenchmen after this year?
“So Valtteri, that’s pole position” said Bottas’s race engineer..
Max sat out a final run for whatever reason. Crofty must have mentioned no issues queuing up with only 9 cars for the final run…there were only 8 cars. It didn’t seem like Lewis was able to get his tires just right, which seemed unusual and another Mercedes domination and front row lockout.
oh, and let’s not forget Sebastian checking out Valtteri’s car, during the post qualifying interviews, like a prowling creeper…
Two questions remain in my mind: 1 – would Leclerc have taken pole had he not crashed? and 2 – why isn’t Vettel faster?
Ferrari came out as the only team on Mediums in Q2 trying to play the long game…or were they getting greedy that their car had so much more power than everyone else?? Yeah, it’s Ferrari so probably the latter. Every other team was on softs. Leclerc pushed a bit too hard and hit the same spot as Kubica in Q1. “Hi, I’ so stupid” he said over the radio. Charles is so hard on himself. I love that he takes ownership of everything he does, but sometimes, shit happens. I know he’ll move past this and still do well in the race tomorrow.
Just remember, “drive as close to the walls as you can without touching them”
Once again Hulkenberg is out of Q1. He began his session by locking up at turn 3, but then again so did the five-time Champ, Lewis. At least he’s in good company. Would Vettel have finished higher in Q1 had his lap not been compromised?? Probably not in my opinion. Ricciardo locks up big time and barely misses the wall at turn 15, and no surprise here Stroll hit the wall at turn 2. Gasly, who is starting from pit lane tomorrow for a somewhat ridiculous rule (but rules are rules and everyone has to abide by them), laid down a blistering lap to top the young Charles Leclerc. As those two are good friends off track, I’m sure Leclerc won’t mind, even if Pierre did have a tow…The session ended with Kubica in the Williams barely, barely pipping the inside wall at turn 8, breaking his suspension, and slamming his car into the wall, red flagging the session.
Bottas – 44: 2019 WDC leader after 2 races. Superb start from P2 at the Aussie GP gave Bottas the lead, and he never looked back to take the win. Crucially defying team orders, he went for the fastest lap at the end of the race and got it, giving him the extra point which has given him the lead in the championship going into China. When Mercedes went to Bahrain, it appeared that their advantage from Australia had disappeared and was going to be damage control for the weekend against Ferrari. After a chaotic first lap battling the young Leclerc and his 5-time world champion teammate, Bottas dropped off the podium to P4. But with Ferrari’s bad luck, he was able to snatch the last spot of the podium at the end of the race by passing the stricken Ferrari of Leclerc claiming an important 18 points.
Hamilton – 43: After finishing 2nd to his teammate in Australia due to some conservative strategy from the Mercedes pit wall, he caught yet another break to take the top step of the podium in Bahrain for his 1st win of the season. A win mostly gifted by Ferrari’s power unit issues with Leclerc and, yet, another mistake by the 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel. A second place finish and a win proves another strong start by Lewis going into China. The Mercs will have their work cut out for them to combat Ferrari’s pace in China though.
Verstappen – 27: What must be a great start to the RB/Honda championship campaign, Max finds himself in 3rd place of the WDC after 2 races. At the Australian Grand Prix, Max grabbed the last spot on the podium to provide Honda’s 1st podium since the BAR days by passing a struggling Vettel, on lap 30 of the race, who ultimately finished over 30 seconds behind Max. In the night of the Bahrain GP, Max brought home another 12 points by finishing in P4 and what could have been another podium spot if there would have been another racing lap after the safety cars were deployed for the French cars of Hulkenberg and Ricciardo. But, Red Bull wasn’t in contention for the win all weekend and like Mercedes, they have work to do this weekend in China if they want to stay in touch with the leaders.
Leclerc – 26: The young rookie with Ferrari is currently in 4th ahead of his four time world champion teammate in the driver’s standing. So far in 2019, it is another case of Ferrari’s classic ‘Could have, should have, would have’. A lackluster Australian GP finish of 5th where the testing pace of the Ferrari magically disappeared and was ultimately told to stay behind Vettel has got to be a reality check for the rookie. Then a gut punch in Bahrain where a sure win was taken away by Ferrari reliability issues dropped him down to 3rd in the closing laps of the race. Charles will be looking for revenge in China, and he more than deserves it. Let’s hope the bad luck from Kimi’s old car has been used up in the first 2 races and Charles can re-start his 2019 campaign before it’s too late. The silver lining at Bahrain was picking 1 extra point for fastest lap. This may end up being useful later in the year.
Vettel – 22: Mediocre start of the season at best for the German. A 4th and a 5th place in the first two races leaves a lot of head starching in the German camp. The only positives thus far are some decent qualifying runs on Saturdays. Vettel needs to start making moves this weekend or risk team orders favoring his young teammate. Do not rule this scenario out!
Raikkonen – 10: A strong return to Sauber/Alfa Romeo for Kimi as he is enjoying a great start to the season. Kimi finished solid in the points for both races thus far with an 8th and 7th place. This nets the Iceman a total of 10 points and lands him 5th in the drivers standing. He is also making his team mate look bad as the other side of the garage has yet to score a point. Kimi looks to be relaxed and having some great fights in the midfield. He should be confident going into the next race where he last won in 2007 (his championship year).
Norris – 8: Lando’s year is getting off to a good start. The rookie made it into Q3 for the Australian GP qualifying starting P8. He wasn’t able to to convert it into points though. He bounced back in Bahrain finishing P6 (best of the rest) netting him 8 valuable points. And remains the only points scored by a Mclaren driver this year. The midfield battle is going to be tight this year. He needs to keep scoring points and ensure Mclaren stays on the pointy end of the grid.
Magnussen – 8: Kmag again pulling the weight for Haas, while his teammate struggles on track. Kevin took the best of the rest honor in Australia in P6 with 8 points. In Bahrain, they couldn’t convert their strong Friday/Saturday pace into a points finish. It was a tough night for Kevin in the desert as he drifted out of the top 10 and finishing a lap down in P13.
Hulkenberg – 6: The Hulk has been driving great this year. A strong start down under with a P7 finish, he continued his form in Bahrain through Friday practice. A poor qualifying ended with him not making it out of Q1. Not to worry, as soon as the lights went out, the German was storming up the field and got up to the top 10. He was poised for a great points finish, beating his new teammate 2 races in a row when the French car shut down on him. A double DNF for the Renault team sure put a smile on Christian Horner’s face. Hey Cyril, you guys better lock it up for China.
Gasly – 4: Oh Pierre, P11 in Australia and a lowly P8 in Bahrain is not a good start at all at the Senior Red Bull team. Sure, there might be set up issues or the car is geared more towards Max’s liking, but these results are not going to be tolerated by Marko for long. If this slump continues, the Torpedo might be getting his seat back.
Stroll – 2: The billion dollar kid is currently 11th in the drivers standings with 2 points. More importantly, he has 1 more point than his teammate. That’s about it…pretty boring season from Racing Point this year. Next…
Albon – 2: Another rookie with points already in the bag. Albon finished out of the points in Australia but came back strong in Bahrain to finish P9 with 2 points. Note he was only 4 secs back from the newly promoted Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly.
Kvyat – 1: Torpedo snatched the last point in Australia but had a disappointed race in Bahrain. Starting 15th on the grid, Daniil made HUGE gains (note sarcarm) to finish a dismal 1 lap down in P12. Is Max the only one drinking Red Bulls in this team??
Perez – 1: Checo was able to finish P10 beating his teammate at the last race to score 1 point thus far this year. Racing Point has got work to do. Is Papa Stroll’s money injection going to turn into performance ever??
Giovinazzi – 0: Tough situation to be in for Gio. Zero points so far and Kimi is making this kid look bad. Both races Gio has been out qualified by the 2007 champ and both races he has finished outside of the points. He might want to consider asking his teammate if he can tag along on Kimi’s party nights to get some mojo…
Russell – 0: The F2 champion’s F1 career start with the Williams has been…well it started. Zero points to show (like we were expecting any) in the slowest car on the grid has got to be disappointing to George who ended his last championship in F2 with on a high with a feature win and the championship. But hey, at least he has finished both races (more than Grosjean can say) and also finished higher than his teammate. This is going to be a long long season for George. Hopefully he gets his shot with a real team soon.
Kubica – 0: Not much to say here. Robert’s best laps this year has come from his cycling laps around the grand prix circuits. Was taking this Williams race seat was the best idea for him?
Ricciardo – 0: Did Danny Ric bring all his bad luck from Red Bull to Renault? This guy can’t catch a break!! I hope his Renault company car is a bit more reliable than his Red Bull was towards the end of last year. Look for Daniel to rebound in China. He still needs to get used to the 2019 Renault and get his late breaking mojo back. Also his experienced German teammate is no slouch. It will be long road for Danny in 2019. Believe me though, he will be back before long!
Sainz – 0: Poor Carlos, two races, two DNFs. He must have gotten Fernado’s car from last year. Carlos must score some points in China to keep Mclaren in contention this year.
Grosjean – 0: Does this guy even exist? Checking the official Formula1.com website drivers standing, he is not even listed. Guess when you DNF both races and wasn’t even classified for Bahrain’s finishing order, you don’t deserve to be on the board, or maybe even a race seat….