Author Archives: Owain Medford

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

It’s only been on the calendar for 5 years and 4 races (Thank you Coronavirus) but the race on the coast of the Caspian sea has quickly become an instant classic. While not delivering an entirely consistent spectacle to the racing, usually resulting in a lull towards the middle of the race, it always delivers a unique and interesting challenge for the drivers, which is excellent for us.

What looked like a commanding race for the rampant Red Bulls was turned on its head after some tyre trouble and a 3-lap sprint to the end left us all out of breath. Another twist in this championship’s story where a certain knight might rue the mistakes made.

1

Posted on Reddit by realee420

We’ve put this at the start to get it out the way.

The face of this (admittedly very well placed and fortunate) fan, coupled with a perfect camera angle led to the high point of hilarity during the entire Grand Prix.

READ MORE – F1 2021 AZERBAIJAN GP QUALIFYING REPORT: LECLERC ACHIEVES REDEMPTION BY CLAIMING POLE IN BAKU

2

Posted on Reddit by xleonfwx

It was a day for drivers who moved teams for the most part. Given a few races to get up to speed and they were topping the race positions. They even managed to make it through to the podium during the chaos.

3

Posted on Reddit by Lewh30

Speaking of, we’ve often bemoaned the fall from grace of a man once called the next Schumacher while at his very best.

Ever since Germany 2018 for a variety of reasons, he’s struggled but we hope we’re not wrong saying that Seb is back.

4

Posted on Reddit by mzrcefo1782

We’ve all been there. You’re bringing some shopping around the supermarket and the trolley that seemed fine out of the trolley park loses all composure when you’re all loaded up with the big shop. It must have wheels from Pirelli.

Initially it could have been cuts in Stroll’s tyre, but more than one failure always raises eyebrows and points fingers. Whether the accusations are accurate or not, Pirelli’s form is less than stellar and they’ll always be scrutinised as a result.

READ MORE – F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: FORMULA 1 PRODUCES STUNNER IN BAKU

5

Posted on Reddit by goyo-lake

Given the nature and severity of both tyre related accidents along the main straight, Red Bull’s decision to share the sudden nature and advocate for a red flag is to be commended.

To try and help give all teams an opportunity to take a safer course of action, potentially at the expense of their own results is magnanimity to the highest degree.

6

Posted on Reddit by TugoMoray

Hey, a new meme format, hot off the presses. Don’t see that every day, do we?

Either way, it works perfectly for the scenario, the Pirelli hards not making it anywhere near what they were meant to, ending his race and almost gifting a massive championship lead to Max’s rival Lewis.

7

Posted on Reddit by fatcat_666

As we’ve said previously, Pirelli’s numerous tyre failure issues in the past (2013, 2015, 2017 and 2020 come to mind) don’t exactly make its explanations more believable when issues such as these come up.

Regardless of cause, Pirelli have some explaining to do.

READ MORE – F1 2021 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX: FP1 & FP2 REPORT – RED BULL DOMINATES AS MERCEDES ARE NOWHERE TO BE SEEN

8

Posted on Reddit by its-foxtale

After all the tyre related drama, it looked all set for Hamilton to play it relatively safe while his championship rival would be held to 0 points.

Reality however had other ideas.

9

Posted on Reddit by aw5512

After almost 2 years of Red Bull not having the second driver available to pressure Mercedes, it must have been refreshing to take the fight to them with a tactical advantage.

It’s just a pity they couldn’t complete a great weekend with a 1-2 win not seen at Milton Keynes for a long, long while.

10

Posted on Reddit by ziddharthh

As alluded to before, Mercedes really didn’t have a second driver as Bottas had a nightmare of a weekend again. He still finished ahead of Lewys Hamilton, for what that’s worth.

France needs to be the Finn’s return to form if he’s to keep his head in the frame for a contract extension.

Another year, another Well Done Baku. Of all the tracks within the street circuit offensive F1 has seemed to be on during Liberty’s time at the reigns. We get it, it’s easier to monetise and attract spectators for an F1 race through a city centre rather than a small village where it rains a lot. Speaking of small villages, Le Castellet in France, home to Paul Ricard. We’ll be back in 2 weeks time to find humour in the world’s largest kaleidoscope.

Grid Talk Podcast

Owing to travel restrictions and coronavirus, why not fill the gap left by Canada with our podcast. The Grid Talk crew produce a preview, qualifying analysis show and race review for every Grand Prix weekend. You can check out the latest show on our Podcast section.

IN THE PIT LANE – NICOLAS TODT PLAYS THE LONG GAME

F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: FORMULA 1 PRODUCES STUNNER IN BAKU

F1 2021 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX: FP1 & FP2 REPORT – RED BULL DOMINATES AS MERCEDES ARE NOWHERE TO BE SEEN

F1 2021 AZERBAIJAN GP QUALIFYING REPORT: LECLERC ACHIEVES REDEMPTION BY CLAIMING POLE IN BAKU

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco has, can and does produce exciting races. Sometimes, and usually with help of rain or a safety car. Other times, you’re left as a viewer hoping for a burst water main at the Casino to spice up the racing and bring out some wet tyres at the very least.

Alas, the full 78 laps passed this year with not one hint of a stoppage as the drivers were all alarmingly well behaved (Perhaps under orders not to break the car in case of budget cap issues). Therefore it was a surprise to see the teams doing all the breaking.

1

Posted on Reddit by Filonji

It’s Monaco, so this is absolutely no surprise to anyone whose seen something 2m wide go down normal streets. Add to that the fact that the barriers add the chance of being fired into the next barrier and with cars that can’t follow, this spectacle was almost guaranteed.

At least we got to see some great drivers in the points right?…Right???

READ MORE – F1 2021 MONACO GRAND PRIX: HEARTBREAK FOR LECLERC AS VERSTAPPEN TAKES CHARGE

2

Posted on Reddit by 2polew

The Mercedes doesn’t like to follow, Hamilton struggled to get going all weekend and as mentioned previously, it’s Monaco.

Hamilton would have got very acquainted with the rear of the Alpha Tauri running on the power of dreams as Mercedes had a nightmare.

3

Posted on Reddit by le-sparrow

Those of us old enough to remember Hamilton’s less successful years (Yes, us young millennials are the ones who put this together Zoomers)

Will know all about the whinging that can come from the 7-time champion. The counterpoint to that is Valtteri getting a freak failure we’ve never seen before when he actually has a handle on Lewis. The Finn must be questioning what exactly is going on, because as even  the Knight of F1 once said when the dice never seemed to roll his way in 2014, “It’s getting beyond a joke”.

4

Posted on Reddit by ifthetiefitz

This meme isn’t entirely wrong in their assessment, initially there was a whole host of interesting things happening in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Those things just ended after the pit stops. Leclerc’s drivetrain issues meant he didn’t start, opening up a run for Bottas on Max. Hamilton would have to fight through the pack and Bottas could have taken some fight to Red Bull.

After Lap 30 or so though, we were doing the dishes and wondering when Indy Qualifying was on. At least the championship is back on again.

READ MORE – F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIN AND THIRSTY ENGINES CAUSE CHAOTIC END TO MONACO GP

5

Posted on Reddit by The-Protractor-Cult

First off for this, the disclaimers. TV directing, particularly live, is difficult to do well with good timing and queuing up footage when you don’t think anything interesting will happen a few seconds in advance is also difficult and at times things may go wrong.

That now out of the way.

What the hell were they thinking by cutting away from the only bloody interesting thing to see all afternoon? Criminal.

6

Posted on Reddit by Baltic_Gunner

Given the expected outcome when the post-race interviews were being decided, it would be a fair assumption Hamilton’s friend, incomparable Tennis champion Serena Williams, would be knocked off her stride as we all were not seeing him anywhere near the podium.

7

Posted on Reddit by UncomfortableBench

It often seems insane that a finely tuned race team operation can be completely undone by a part that simply refuses to do just that.

All that expense and the hardware provided in flat pack furniture seems more reliable. F1 however is a sport where grams saved make seconds and given the balance of probabilities, a lighter thread on a wheelnut is worth the times it’s actually going to fail when it matters. On this occasion, it just collapsed the possibility of a win for Mercedes.

READ MORE – F1 2021 MONACO GRAND PRIX PREVIEW: WHO WILL MASTER THE STREETS OF THE PRINCIPALITY?

8

Posted on Reddit by Epicd2000

We’ve given this particular issue a Ferrari Mechanic’s look thus far, but whoever was weighing up which option to take for Sunday needs retraining in basic risk.

Ferrari sacrificed a guaranteed 6th place start with room for improvement for the possibility of pole. As much as that matters around the principality, does it really justify taking such a large risk. It really has been too long for a win at Ferrari.

9

Posted on Reddit by Bananozaurek

There’s been a whole lot of criticism and negativity in this piece so far, so to take us home let’s add in the wholesome addition of two former team-mates who genuinely seemed elated to see each other do well. It’s not a sight seen often in the F1 paddock such is the competition, but it’s most refreshing when it appears. Absolutely brilliant, I love it.

10

Posted on Reddit by jocim

Given how he could have reacted, going home or off to have an ice cream on his yacht for example, Charles Leclerc as always distinguished himself, going back to both celebrate the podium with the team and then congratulate Carlos.

Many drivers wouldn’t have done close to that and don’t get distinguished praise as a class act like the Monegasque. Brilliant to see.

Thank goodness the spectacle of a Monaco Sunday in May has come and gone. As much as Monaco must stay on the calendar, it’s not exactly a secret it doesn’t usually set the world alight in action. Moving swiftly on as a good few drivers are want to do at this point, from the Cote d’Azur to the Caspian Sea and the streets of Baku. It’s Azerbaijan up next and we simply cannot wait.

Grid Talk Podcast

Given the boredom that came with that jaunt to the principality, we should have suggested this before, but why not take a look at the podcast in the meantime. The Grid Talk crew produce a preview, qualifying analysis show and race review for every Grand Prix weekend. You can check out the latest show on our Podcast section.

F1 2021 MONACO GRAND PRIX: HEARTBREAK FOR LECLERC AS VERSTAPPEN TAKES CHARGE

F1 2021 MONACO GP QUALIFYING REPORT: LECLERC STARTS HOME RACE FROM POLE!

F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIN AND THIRSTY ENGINES CAUSE CHAOTIC END TO MONACO GP

F1 2021 MONACO GRAND PRIX PREVIEW: WHO WILL MASTER THE STREETS OF THE PRINCIPALITY?

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix

As always with a race at Catalunya, as nice as the circuit may be to drive in isolation, we were buckled in for a ninety minute bore-fest similar to Portugal’s second half.

We were, however, pleasantly surprised to be so wrong. There’s always different styles of F1 race that bring the X-Factor that never seem to appear when showing a sceptic the sport. Crazy weather, high speed duels, differing concepts racing to the finish or when completely different strategies are so close in outcome by the end a winner cannot be predicted. Even watching a complete masterclass, by someone who just clicks with their car in a way some drivers seldom can, has its value.

This week we were treated to two marginal strategies coming to a head, catching one team out and putting the other on top.

Whatever the race though, there’s bound to be something to laugh at about it. Here’s our 10 favourites post-race.

1

Posted on Reddit by Cold_keys

It was a nightmare of a day for pit crews up and down the pitlane.

Red Bull took 100% longer than their normal stops and Alfa Romeo almost sent Gio out on a set of tyres that came pre-punctured. (Well done that mechanic for spotting that). Alpine did an outstanding job however, getting Alonso back out in front of the Aston.

READ MORE – F1 2021 SPANISH GRAND PRIX: MERCEDES WIN THE STRATEGY BATTLE AGAIN

2

Posted on Reddit by SubieBryan

After Imola, it’s been a bit suspicious with how Mercedes are able to keep Hamilton in contention.

Maybe this is how, or at least that’s how the sceptics seem to think.

3

Posted on Reddit by mattialeonetti

After the slightly dull round at Portimao, the teams mannged to really spice up the status quo finish we’re coming to expect. However, the Merc of just Lewis must be that good to fix the result we’ve come to expect. Either that or Hamilton is actually the talent he’s looked all his career.

4

Posted on Reddit by sge_freaky

It’s looked like quite the fall from grace in the first 4 races of this season for two drivers who have, let’s not forget, won 6 world championships between them and been in contention for a further 4. Squabbling over 2 places out of the points isn’t anything even the greatest sceptic of the two drivers really wants to see.

READ MORE – F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: SCHUMACHER WINS FIRST RACE FOR FERRARI IN SOAKING SPAIN

5

Posted on Reddit by JohannesBartholomeus

After being humbled with a strategy in Hungary of 2019, reminiscent of a good TV plot twist, piecing things that in hindsight look obvious.

Maybe it’s a little harsh to say that Red Bull should have seen the stars aligning for Mercedes to pull a near identical move on them.  At home it seemed to be as we say, obvious.

6

Posted on Reddit by GoldDecision7

If the stars were aligning for Mercedes, they were three pointed stars, to say the least. Lewis Hamilton’s incredible speed, Mercedes’ magic strategy and tardiness at Red Bull all combined to give the Knight the victory.

7

Posted on Reddit by tstols

Loving this new format that’s come about.

After Milton Keynes’ F1 team has made the best of not having the best car, through strategy might we add. It shouldn’t take Red Bull to get back on-from with figuring out when to pit and when to push. We look forward to those days when they do reappear.

READ MORE – IN THE PIT LANE – THE BATTLE FOR FORMULA 1’S TV RIGHTS INTENSIFIES

8

Posted on Reddit by patcachu

Stroll took a bad rap very early on in his career for his status as what can only be described as a pay driver. The revelation, in a bad way, of Haas’ second driver and some undeniably solid performances and moves have re-shaped our opinion of the Canadian.

9

Posted on Reddit by adit23281

You just got the feeling that the Alpine on Alonso could have really done with about 3 fewer laps before he just got mugged by everyone behind him, dropping him to an anonymous position by the end.

10

Posted on Reddit by TheNopeGoat

Not only is the subject of this meme slow and looks to be a terrible person, he also seems to be completely unaware of what he’s doing in a race. To quote Martin Brundle from Portimao “That’s the Leader”. Running around in last is one thing, genuinely affecting the outcome of races for the good drivers is another and it’s showing what the limit of talent really is.

So, once in a blue moon it turns out Catalunya can spice up the action in a way it normally doesn’t. Normally the circuit can be as boring and offer as little in terms of on-track action as Monaco. Coincidentally and conveniently for this particular outro, that’s the race up next. F1 jets off to the principality for the jewel in the crown and we’ll be back here in 2 weeks irreverently wrapping it all up. See you then

Grid Talk Podcast

To fill out the next couple of weeks before Monte Carlo, have a listen to our podcast selection. The Grid Talk crew produce a preview, qualifying analysis show and race review for every Grand Prix weekend. You can check out the latest show on our Podcast section.

F1 2021: 5 DRIVERS WHO NEED A GOOD SPANISH GP TODAY

F1 2021 SPANISH GRAND PRIX: MERCEDES WIN THE STRATEGY BATTLE AGAIN

F1 2021 SPANISH GRAND PRIX: HAMILTON CLAIMS 100TH POLE POSITION IN FORMULA 1

F1 2021 SPANISH GRAND PRIX: FP1 & 2 REPORT – MERCEDES LEAD ON FRIDAY

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix

Before we get into the memes, as a result of the last half of the Portuguese Grand Prix, I’d like to apologise for tempting fate 2 weeks ago.

It wasn’t a complete bore-fest initially, though!

They say it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey you take to get there, and before the pitstops, that journey was full of twists, turns and sudden gusts of drama. Much like Portimao right?

Now, with all that set, let’s rank the top 10.

1

Posted on Reddit by scarrxd

Car number 9 had an outstanding race for all the wrong reasons. For reasons that’ll become clear soon, the racing’s all mouth.

READ MORE – F1 2021 PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX: HAMILTON TAKES CONTROL IN PORTIMAO

2

Posted on Reddit by Brads_Brew_Lab

Ever the issue with F1 penalties, the punishments are often poor at fixing the damage inflicted on the victim. Mick Schumacher’s teammate takes this fact to another level, finishing last of the classified runners.

3

Posted on Reddit by sirbibendum

Memes 1 and 2 are just a couple of the 20-strong list of memes that could be written, as almost every other meme was taking the mick of the other Haas driver.

4

Posted on Reddit by littlebibitch

It seems hard to believe considering the finishes Bottas has achieved this season, but that’s the key word there, finishes. Just goes to show that consistently reaching the chequered flag can do wonders.

Just ask Alonso

READ MORE – F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: SENNA AND MANSELL COLLIDE AT ESTORIL

5

Posted on Reddit by ifthetiefitz

We’ve already mentioned Mick, if only to prevent ourselves from referencing the driver undeserving of an F1 seat.

It was amazing and promising to see SCH put a pass on a faster car on the lap board, great work.

6

Posted on Reddit by Meeloon

It must be unfamiliar territory for Hamilton, having the Red Bull driven by anyone other than Verstappen actually be in front of him on the track.  

No doubt this is delightful for the Red Bull pitwall, finally with a competitive 2nd car.

7

Posted on Reddit by HangmanAM

For all the same reasons Red Bull need a competitive 2nd car, a few years ago it would be inconceivable to see the second car in a team attack the other the way Lewis did, with a fantastic overtake around the outside on Bottas.

READ MORE – IN THE PIT LANE – HOW FORMULA 1’S INCREDIBLE LOGISTICS WORK

8

Posted on Reddit by dpkcsgo

We’re quick to sing Russell’s praises around here (And quite rightly so he’s excellent if not a god).  

In a car described as ‘Peaky’ in traffic, managing to top the runners after 11th place in qualifying was a good achievement.

9

Posted on Reddit by Farenhytee

There was a lot to see in the first half of the Grand Prix, with some spectacular passing up and down the grid.

The second half however, as Mercedes took hold ended up as a snooze fest.

10

Posted on Reddit by 4160_Shine

Thanks to Mercedes looking a little more like themselves in the latter half of the race, the Portuguese Grand Prix seemed more like a dud all told.

All those laughs now wrapped up, we can only hope Catalunya makes a rare exciting race out of a rarely exciting race. It’s just 5 days until the cars are back out, just over the Iberian border.

Grid Talk Podcast

To fill out the next few days before Catalunya, have a listen to our podcast selection. The Grid Talk crew produce a preview, qualifying analysis show and race review for every Grand Prix weekend. You can check out the latest show on our Podcast section.

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1 made its remarkably early return to Europe this week but that didn’t catch out the memers at all. 3 weeks after their last time out they were ready to go and poke a little fun at the world’s best drivers.

An action packed race from lights to flag both makes this job easier and more difficult. In one way, there’s always something to laugh at and yet curating the Top 10 is an issue. (Please have interesting races, I swear I didn’t mean it really).

Let’s get into the meme’s before fate notices.

1

Posted on Reddit by Brokkoli-adm

That was a big hit. No, not the collision between drivers on the Mercedes payroll.

We almost heard the Austrian’s thump from here.

READ MORE – F1 2021 EMILIA ROMANGNA GP: VERSTAPPEN DOMINATES WET IMOLA RACE

2

Posted on Reddit by Ukula_69

He’d done it in almost every other session, and annoyed Giovinazzi to boot.  Some of us were getting worried we’d not be able to tally up the spin counter.

3

Posted on Reddit by HerrKlaus

We won’t lie, we’ve been waiting to shoehorn in a meme of this format. Not without having an opinion on the post-crash conduct by both drivers.

Given the size of the impacts, the particular corner the two drivers collided at, and the risk of concussion, a bonk on the head by Russell has a bad look to it.

4

Posted on Reddit by Brunlorenz

There’s a bit of a “Valtteri, It’s James” vibe going on here (at least that’s where my mind went to when I saw this one). Mercedes wouldn’t call for an accident to help another driver, this isn’t Singapore and it’s not 2008 for starters. The timing will always have us wondering though…Did they?

READ MORE – F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: WET IMOLA PRODUCES CHAOTIC RESULTS

5

Posted on Reddit by neubiiAUT

Russell (That’s how it’s spelled meme-makers), really was a fly in Mercedes’ ointment, causing the almost complete implosion of their race (Though then fixing it, sort of?) Imola just doesn’t seem to click for him, 3rd time lucky?

6

Posted on Reddit by Neverwish

Another outing for this format, and after the driver’s reactions in the aftermath, cooler heads may not always prevail when emotions are running high. Fortunately both drivers are unlikely to hold a grudge and will see both sides after they’ve calmed down a bit.

7

Posted on Reddit by Crippled_Potato

Schumacher’s teammate is not well like, both here and in the paddock. Seeing Mick stick it in the wall first really dropped our hearts, hopefully he’ll learn when the other one won’t.

READ MORE – FORMULA 1 TO RACE IN MIAMI FOR 2022

8

Posted on Reddit by The_mani_ac

To quote an old golf player, the more I practice, the luckier I get. As much as that’s not entirely true in this case, it was incredibly opportune for Hamilton’s race to be saved in under a minute.

9

Posted on Reddit by FalseIntegral

Even if Kimi was amazed by the events unfolding around him, I imagine he had the reaction “Oh, I remember going off there” in an incredibly monotone internal monologue.

10

Posted on Reddit by _ucy

It’s always a risky move swapping drivers to check which has more pace, but credit to Lando, he had the speed. Qualifying clearly played on his mind but after some wise words he went out on Sunday and smashed it with an excellent drive, showing the good side of team orders.

We made a prediction in the last list of laughs that this was going to be remarkably competitive F1 World Championship and it is not disappointing. Can it deliver in 2 weeks time in Portimao? We bloody hope so.

Grid Talk Podcast

2 weeks a little long? Have a listen to our podcast selection. The Grid Talk crew produce a preview, qualifying analysis show and race review for every Grand Prix weekend. You can check out the latest show on our Podcast section.

F1 2021 EMILIA ROMANGNA GP: VERSTAPPEN DOMINATES WET IMOLA RACE

FORMULA 1 TO RACE IN MIAMI FOR 2022

F1 2021 EMILIA ROMAGNA GP QUALIFYING REPORT: HAMILTON ON POLE, BUT WITH 2 RED BULLS BEHIND

F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: WET IMOLA PRODUCES CHAOTIC RESULTS

IN THE PIT LANE – IS LAWRENCE STROLL CASH-STRAPPED?

F1 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: FP1 & 2 Report – Bottas leads Hamilton in commanding Mercedes 1-2

The Formula 1 cars were back on track for the Friday practice sessions at Imola today.

We were eager to see what would be in store for us three weeks after a thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix. That ended with a surprise win for Lewis Hamilton after pole for Red Bull, but would RBR be the team to beat at Imola?

Mercedes seem to be finding their groove after a difficult couple of months in testing and the first race that seemed to be an opportunistic one. The Black Arrows aren’t up to the dominant form we expect, as there was a merry-go-round of fastest times with Bottas coming out on top. Here’s how it played out!

READ MORE: F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: WET IMOLA PRODUCES CHAOTIC RESULTS

FP1

Everything about this year has, owing to the reduction in session lengths, felt far more urgent when the cars are out on track. Rather than running the aero rakes and doing cruise laps, the cars were pushing immediately, inevitably leading to mistakes. Similarly running less than faultlessly was FOM’s TV coverage on the world feed, leading to a number of missed moments. As it later came out, said moments may have been caused by team radio and driver tracker issues preventing optimum communication.

Perez and car number 9 spun early on in the session, followed by Tsunoda and Verstappen taking a trip across the gravel. Tsunoda’s teammate, Pierre Gasly led the first half of the session by around a tenth over Hamilton with a 1:17.470.

Perez and Ocon both stopped on track after an unseen incident. Image: F1

The session was then red flagged after 40 minutes due to an incident between Sergio Perez and the Alpine of Esteban Ocon at the Villeneuve chicane. Initial replays wouldn’t give away anything but the Red Bull rotating with the Frenchman’s car behind before coming to a stop with three wheels on their wagons.

The session restarted with 12 minutes to go, leading to a flurry of fastest laps between the expected front runners, with Hamilton, Sainz, Verstappen and Bottas all setting purple times. Latifi had a large off-roading trip at the penultimate proper corner, coming in a little too hot at the rear and taking a trip towards the apartment buildings over the catch fencing. Just before Mick Schumacher’s teammate bookended his session with a last corner spin almost into the pitlane, bringing out the red flags, Gasly mixed it up in 5th with a 1:16.888.

Car number 9 blocks the pit entry in the final moments of FP1. Image: F1

FP2

It was a slightly more unsettled start to the second hour-long session of the day, as the wind picked up and the temperature dropped thanks to the sun hiding behind the clouds, but nothing like the rain forecast for Sunday. Lando Norris did a trial run of what we’ll see should it be wet, and became the first to escape across the gravel in the session as the teams look to get the bulk of their race runs completed.

A failure leaving the last corner ended Verstappen’s session early. Image: F1

Max Verstappen brought out the virtual safety car as a failure in the driveshafts ended his running within 10 minutes. Given his experience and skill he should be able to work around his shortened running, but it’s not what Red Bull would have wanted in their crucial race run simulations.

Halfway through the session Bottas topped the times with a 1:15.551, just 0.010s faster than Hamilton. The Mercedes looked significantly more stable and more willing to do as demanded by the drivers than in the opening round, suggesting they’re getting the hang of how to set up the cars in this slightly adjusted formula for 2021.

Leclerc finds the barrier at the end of FP2. Image: F1

It was less than smooth running for Fernando Alonso of Alpine bouncing across the Tamburello kerbs. Leclerc also had a bumpy final practice, having a number of final corner issues, culminating in a medium speed shunt to the barriers after a snap of oversteer, bringing out the red flag and ending the session.

Have Mercedes flipped the script on Red Bull?

It would be easy to come to the conclusion that Red Bull have fallen off the ball in the three weeks separating rounds 1 and 2, but while Brackley are good, they’re not that good.

Red Bull were beset by issues in FP1 and FP2, but given the times they set when both they and the Silver Arrows were on track doing what we can only assume were similar things, showed a little bit more parity than we saw in Sakhir.

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff wouldn’t be drawn on whether they were fully in the belief that the rake issue was fixed nor would he say that the floor rules were specifically aimed at their car as Aston Martin have. More telling was his analysis that they’ve got the car performing well here after large amounts of setup work. They’ll be hoping that work continues to pay off over the next two days.

Full Classification

FP1

PositionDriverTeamTimeGap
1Valtteri BottasMercedes1:16.5640.000
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:16.6050.041
3Max VerstappenRed Bull1:16.6220.058
4Charles LeclercFerrari1:16.7960.232
5Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri1:16.8880.324
6Carlos SainzFerrari1:16.8880.324
7Fernando AlonsoAlpine1:17.4570.893
8Lance StrollAston Martin1:17.4890.925
9Nicholas LatifiWilliams1:17.7391.175
10Daniel RicciardoMcLaren1:17.7691.205
11George RussellWilliams1:17.8661.302
12Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo1:17.8831.319
13Lando NorrisMcLaren1:17.9351.371
14Sebastian VettelAston Martin1:17.9841.42
15Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo1:18.0581.494
16Sergio PerezRed Bull1:18.2281.664
17Esteban OconAlpine1:18.3601.796
18Nikita MazepinHaas1:18.8232.259
19Mick SchumacherHaas1:19.4802.916
20Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri1:19.7813.217

READ MORE: F1 2021 EMILIA-ROMAGNA GRAND PRIX PREVIEW: CAN RED BULL CONVERT THEIR PACE INTO A WIN?

FP2

PositionDriverTeamTimeGap
1Valtteri BottasMercedes1:15.5510.000
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:15.5610.010
3Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri1:15.6290.078
4Carlos SainzFerrari1:15.8340.280
5Charles LeclercFerrari1:16.3710.820
6Sergio PerezRed Bull1:16.4110.860
7Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri1:16.4190.868
8Lando NorrisMcLaren1:16.4850.934
9Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo1:16.5130.962
10Lance StrollAston Martin1:16.7371.186
11Esteban OconAlpine1:16.8171.266
12Nicholas LatifiWilliams1:16.8231.272
13Fernando AlonsoAlpine1:16.8351.284
14Max VerstappenRed Bull1:16.9991.448
15Sebastian VettelAston Martin1:17.0921.541
16George RussellWilliams1:17.1791.628
17Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo1:17.2731.722
18Daniel RicciardoMcLaren1:17.2811.730
19Mick SchumacherHaas1:17.3501.799
20Nikita MazepinHaas1:17.8572.306

Grid Talk Podcast

Can’t wait until tomorrow for more F1 action? Why not check out the Grid Talk Emilia Romagna Grand Prixview hosted by Ruby Price with Alex Booth, Sam Thatcher and Owain Medford. Available in both audio and video at the links below:

F1 2021 EMILIA-ROMAGNA GRAND PRIX PREVIEW: CAN RED BULL CONVERT THEIR PACE INTO A WIN?

F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: WET IMOLA PRODUCES CHAOTIC RESULTS

WILL VETTEL REGRET HIS ASTON MARTIN MOVE?

IN THE PIT LANE – IS LAWRENCE STROLL CASH-STRAPPED?

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix

It’s been a little over 3 months without a race for the memers to get their teeth stuck into, but they’re back, and so are we!

It didn’t take long, (may we quote the late, great Murray Walker in saying “Its happened immediately, this is amazing!” about a certain pay driver) as we’ll get into in a short moment.

Bahrain under the lights always packs a punch, and this year was no exception, without further ado, let’s get into the memes!

1.

Posted to Reddit by Space-manatee

Here on Sportlight, we’re not exactly a fan of this one’s transgressions on and off-track by themselves. However, after cutting the line in Q1’s final out-laps, only to spin and draw the ire of some of the most experienced drivers the sport has seen, it would have been ideal for him to keep his nose clean and out of the way. He achieved 50% of that.

2.

Posted to Reddit by The-Protactor-Cult

They really were and yet, as commenter JBounce369 put it, Bottas’ Pitstop was longer than Mick’s teammates’ race.

3.

Posted to Reddit by Danger_Peanut

Even given the hope harboured among those bored from 2010-2013 of the Seb’s dominance, seeing this continued fall from grace is just sad more than anything else.

His radio outburst was probably as a result of emotions running high, as nobody could see the collision being Ocon’s fault.

READ MORE: F1 2021 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX: VERSTAPPEN WITH A DOMINANT POLE POSITION

4.

Posted to Reddit by Alex186

As much as the application of track limits leaves so much to be desired, particularly given that when and where errors seemed more important than anything, blame can’t be levelled at the stewards. Track limits need to be hard and fast throughout the weekend to stop the furore every week.

5.

Posted to Reddit by peter_inwl

As if by magic to emphasise the previous point, a wild track limits meme appeared. In all seriousness though, all the drivers are playing the track limits cute and adhering to them only where they’ll get penalised by the stopwatch or the FIA.

6.

Posted to Reddit by Ikcatcher

Many a Hamilton critic will have been disappointed at this weeks’ result, as Mercedes are off to a great start courtesy of car 44’s best start to a season in 5 years.

Taking the edge off that reality however, will have been the whirlwind of strategies between the two that enabled an epic 5 lap battle between the hottest racing talents in the world.

7.

Posted to Reddit by fatcat_666

There are parallels between Russell and Tsunoda that can be drawn: Both are prodigious talents capable of thrilling and impressing this author in equal measure, have tremendous car control making them inarguably rapid and finally, both deserve a spot at the top teams next year.

Seeing Tsunoda take points in his debut when George was stuck with a dog of a Williams just stings, just a little bit.

READ MORE: F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE SILVER ARROWS DUEL IN THE DESERT

8.

Posted to Reddit by fatcat_666

Checo has had a rough old time of it the last few years, and has really polished his initial rough edges to be loved in the paddock.  To see him get another shot in a top car is brilliant, though despite it being an obvious talent, he’s had to make far too much use of his speed through the pack, and we hope he has to use it less in his Red Bull career.

9.

Posted to Reddit by Remarkable_Winter549

Tsunoda (In an especially rapid AlphaTauri let’s not forget) really showed his class all weekend, particularly by keeping seasoned veterans behind in a highly competitive race. This meme doesn’t show it, but Tsunoda managed to split the world championship count evenly down the field, 7 up front, a sum of 7 behind him.

10.

Posted to Reddit by Redspirrit

Given the amount of memes floating around, and cut out of this list, about the other Haas driver after that performance this must have been the entire F1 meme making fraternity.

READ MORE: IN THE PIT LANE: WHO REALLY OWNS WILLIAMS F1?

Overall, with the competitiveness that’s surprised us in this latest iteration of the Formula 1 World Championship thusfar, albeit early, we can’t wait to see what’s next in store. We also can’t wait to see whether Red Bull can maintain and convert their obvious pace at Imola in just under 3 weeks’ time.

Grid Talk Podcast

If you can’t wait that long to scratch that F1 itch, why not fill the time with our podcast section? The Grid Talk crew produce a preview, qualifying analysis show and race review for every Grand Prix weekend. You can check out the latest show on our Podcast section.

F1 2021 Testing Day 2: Bottas Fastest as Hamilton Falters

After a sandstorm-swept first day of pre-season testing, the teams were looking for more representative conditions on the second day in order to collect more applicable data.

The wind was again causing issues for the drivers, with a strong tailwind into Turns 6, 7 and 11. Beyond that, it was business as usual for most of the teams, but some will still have improvements to make going into tomorrow’s third and final day of testing.

Morning session

Mercedes and Alpine both brought out the aero rakes for some installation laps to ensure correlation with CFD and wind tunnel data. Tellingly however, Red Bull bucked this trend and sent Sergio Perez straight out for the first part of his full day of running in the new car.

Aston Martin had Vettel at the wheel for all of six laps including a lock-up at Turn 4, a trend for number of cars, before a gearbox gremlin forced them out the session until 15 minutes to go.

Given the Mercedes gearbox change that hampered their running on Friday morning, this could be more than just a one-off. Whether it’s the same gear shift issue the works team found or a new one, he could only end the session with 10 laps completed.

READ MORE: F1 CAR REVEALS 2021: HAAS VF-21 – WHAT’S NEW FROM THE AMERICAN EFFORT?

Technically speaking, the rest of the teams had a relatively trouble-free morning but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t issue free for the drivers. The aforementioned wind was playing havoc, with Sainz and Latifi, with both going off after catching oversteer at Turn 4, overheating the rears and it catching up with them in T6 to T8. Latifi in particular caught the worst of this, with a heavy slide flat spotting his tyres, ending his run.

Turn 11 was also a source of difficulty for the drivers as Perez, Tsunoda, and again Latifi had small wide moments. While most caught the slides, one Sir Lewis Hamilton was the only driver to bring out the red flags in the morning. Oversteer through Turn 12 carried him into a wind assisted spin towards the gravel trap, delaying running for 15 minutes while they brought the car back.

Hamilton Beached, Credit: Getty Images

Following the delay, Haas’ Russian driver went out on some flat spotted tyres, raising some eyebrows. The less than ideal rubber did nothing to hinder him in completing the most laps of the morning with 76. He did however have couple of near-misses with Hamilton, commenting later on his surprise at the loss of downforce while following other cars. The reigning champ looked a little spooked after his big spin and was caught going slowly on the racing line as the Russian approached.

Ricciardo set the pace for McLaren in the end, perhaps due to a controversial diffuser featuring an ambitious interpretation of the new regulations. A 1:32.215 was the fastest he could go over 52 laps.

READ MORE: IS ESTEBAN OCON ABOUT TO GET THE “VANDOORNE TREATMENT”?

Afternoon session

An early venture was made by Lando Norris after his teammate’s timesheet-topping runs from the morning. He spent a good portion of time performing a series of out-in laps, seemingly having issues to fix. The most spectacular of these was a shower of sparks from the undertray, as a suspected suspension damper failure forcing a trip to the garage.

Following the setback, Norris was then spotted on-track with a set of C3 medium tyres and a highly unusual driving style. In a style reminiscent of 2005/2006 Alonso, Norris was turning very aggressively into corners on the circuit, while maintaining 130kph on straights. This seemed to precede a race simulation as though replicating a formation lap as safely as possible on a live track.

READ MORE: F1 CAR REVEALS 2021: WILLIAMS FW43B – DOES THE B-SPEC IMPROVE ON THE FW43?

Bottas’ Mercedes surprised many by taking nearly an hour to emerge after the lunch break. This was then compounded by a run wide at T11 on his first flying lap, delaying his consistent running by another 30 minutes.

We were all treated to a many-holds-barred ‘battle’ between Pierre Gasly and Nicholas Latifi after around 90 minutes, as a race-running Gasly came up behind the Williams just leaving the pits. Despite DRS usage for Gasly, the Frenchman couldn’t ease past as expected. The action culminated in a stellar practice overtake into Turn 1, both drivers escaping without incident.

READ MORE: F1 CAR REVEALS 2021: FERRARI SF21 – WILL THE SF1000’S SUCCESSOR GET MARANELLO BACK TO WINNING WAYS?

The next half hour passed with no real incidents, before Giovinazzi and Norris traded fastest laps as the lights came on. Clad in C4 tyres, both put in low 1:31s, the Englishman edging out 1/4 second on the Italian.

Bottas seemed to struggle on a high fuel run, the rear wing daubed in ample flow-vis paint and the rear end still lively. The Finn appeared to grasp hold of the car with some set-up work by the silver arrows, particularly in the hot laps later in the session.

Red Bull Uncovered, Credit: Formula One

It seemed the session would pass without an incident worthy of a stoppage, before pictures appeared of debris across the main straight. Replays confirmed Perez’s Red Bull engine cover had disintegrated when emerging from the Williams’ wake. A short 10 minute delay was brought to running while the carbon was collected before the pitlane was re-opened.

Latifi then found his car on yet more replays as he locked the rear tyres during braking, spinning into Turn 1.

Rookie Mick Schumacher also failed to be incident free during the session, clocking a decent amount of laps for Haas, but not without collecting the front jack of his pit crew while being released from his pit-stop. He would complete 88 laps in total.

READ MORE: FORMULA 1 2020 SEASON REVIEW – THE STRANGEST SEASON EVER

Stroll made good on his team’s dreadful morning, completing 70 laps without major incident.

The last hour of the session was chance for all teams to practice qualifying runs. Bottas used the C5 to take him to the top of the timing screen with a decent lap, 1:30.289, but fans and critics of Brackley alike will wonder what the true potential of the car is as the team still has work to do.

Who were the winners from day 2?

McLaren. The Woking team looked to have a solid turn of speed while also completing the day without major issue, completing 104 laps across their two drivers.

Norris Flying, Credit: Getty Images

While not topping the times for the whole day, the team looked well ahead on its run plan compared to other teams down the pitlane.

Who were the losers from day 2?

Aston Martin. Gearbox issues hampered their running in the first session of today, and numerous teams went so far as to almost double their mileage. The team need strong running in the third test-day to start the season flying.

Aston Martin Falter, Credit: The Race

80 laps total isn’t the end of the world, but in comparison to other teams, it’s an unfortunate state of affairs.

Full classification

Credit: Formula One

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview the F1 2021 season?

Steph Wentworth hosted panellists Owain Medford, Steve Jackson and YouTuber Lucas Raycevik in Grid Talk’s review of the F1 2021 Car reveals:

F1 Car Reveals 2021: Haas VF-21 – What’s new from the American effort?

Haas were an outlier on the F1 grid this year, being the only team to reveal their car on the morning of testing. The highly controversial (and WADA investigation inducing) livery was debuted on the 2020 car, this is the first time we’ve seen what new paraphernalia they’ll be using this season.

A short word on the livery before we look at the technical changes. If they get away with it, it’s genius. It is however tempting fate for a large retaliation from WADA over use of the Russian flag just to prevent a precedent being set on the world stage.

The VF-21

It’s just one image from Haas before launch, though more snaps will appear throughout the season, even though the car itself may not change as Haas defer development for their 2022 car.

Left: VF-20 in Abu Dhabi, Right: VF-21 in Bahrain (Credit: Haas F1)

The front wing of the new car is hard to tell whether it’s changed from this angle. The endplates return unchanged from 2020, maintaining the rectangular cut-out from last year though with a slightly sharper corner to it.

At the bargeboards the array of fins is the same, and the pioneering louvres are maintained at the sidepod shoulder but isn’t as developed as some teams have taken this concept. The floor is cut away as required and features a small horizontal fin in front of the front tyre, though Haas don’t seem to have changed the cooling requirements atop the engine as Ferrari have done.

This is an interesting choice though it is reinforced in concept by the maintained sidepod shape from 2020. Haas have not gone with a downwash design as most of the teams have decided to use this year.

One small change at the rear is the T-wing, utilising a much more rectangular design than the gentle curve of 2020. Any changes to the rear wing of the car are unfortunately obscured by Mick Schumacher’s team-mate but given the story for the rest of the car, it’s not imagined it will be radically different.

While the Haas may not have changed, the other cars certainly have and if there’s a lull in today’s testing, why not see what MercedesRed BullFerrari, AlpineAston MartinAlphaTauriAlfa Romeo and Williams have done over the winter.

F1 Car Reveals 2021: Ferrari SF21 – Will the SF1000’s Successor get Maranello back to winning ways?

It was an unfortunate launch for the SF21, with yet another leak happening just an hour before the launch of the new car. It’s never nice to see a meticulously planned event go off the rails due to external factors, but luckily F1’s most prestigious team still had something up their sleeve to launch with.

The Scuderia have been busy over the winter and there look to be numerous tweaks down the car to help quell the issues suffered at Maranello during an astoundingly poor season only helped by the outstanding talent of one Charles Leclerc.

The car debuts in a more radical change than expected in terms of livery, with the deep scarlet red of the SF1000  at the Tuscan Grand Prix to celebrate a millennium of F1 race starts returning on the rear of the car, along with a new typeface for the car numbering. It’s business as usual for the rest of the car, Modena choosing to stick with an attractive design from last year for the most part.

One change many fans aren’t used to is as controversial as the logo itself, the Mission Winnow branding from Phillip Morris International. PMI happen to own Marlboro Cigarettes, and a more cynical writer might suggest the brand is a way to get a large M on the car. Intentions of the brand itself aside, this year it is a striking green rather than the greyscale uses of the logo that have been in effect recently. The change was last minute according to Charles Leclerc, though it does grow on you after some time allegedly. We’ll have to see whether that’s true in due course. One thing we can do is see how likely this new car is to change Ferrari’s fortunes.

The SF21

Left: SF1000 in Abu Dhabi, Right: SF21 at Launch

The car has been given a nose-job around the thumb-tip, narrowing the wing pylons reminiscent of Mercedes, though not committing fully to the narrow nose design. Ferrari have instead opted to stay with the wide, flat nose cone, however the sculpting on the tip has been altered either side of the Ferrari logo, creating some angled tops to the nostrils which join the front edge of a subtle cape, working it harder to fuel the bargeboards. This area is also ‘pinched’ on top to promote airflow over the top of this section. The more overt use of the crash structure bodywork to direct air under the car is a surprise when most teams are providing iterative updates, though given the woes of last season it’s a pleasant surprise.

The front wing itself is also new, utilising the loaded inboard design used by the team for some time now but without the small twist upwards along the wing’s span. The endplates have been given some attention in the form of a small refinement. Rather then the trailing edge of the endplate using a stepped cut-out to reduce the tip vortices, the team has opted to use a design that’s a halfway house between the Abu Dhabi spec car, and that of Mercedes with its very gentle curved design. This could have the benefit of reducing tip vortex drag from the endplate by reducing the pressure differential when the pressure fronts meet, and increasing outwash.

Flanking the S-duct are a new set of fins and a cascade of them on each side to boot, going all in, compared to other teams on the grid using just one or two. The brake ducts are also changed compared to 2020, protruding much further from the inside tyre face than before. Visible from this angle are also how the shoulder of the sidepods are significantly slimmer than the 2020 variant, suggesting a lowered amount of cooling present in the sidepods.

Side by side from the three-quarter angle (featuring Leclerc and Sainz for good measure), it’s clear a cape is being employed under the nose, with some very subtle and potentially smaller s-duct inlets under the Kaspersky logo. Rearwards on the bargeboard assembly, it is very similar to the 2020 version, save for the sidepod turning vanes wrapping over the shoulder and down to meet the floor.

The elements linking the boomerang wings and the turning vanes off the side impact spars are now 5 horizontal louvres, while the vane itself is shorter, leaving the gap between it and the winglet branching off the sidepod much larger than before. The vertical element under this winglet also looks  much more deliberate and is a larger structure conditioning the flow round the sidepod face. The sidepods themselves have followed a number of other teams such as Mercedes and Williams in opting for a downwash design to feed the top of the floor. The biggest evidence of this is the UPS logo, which features a much more conspicuous fold than before.

Above this is the new roll hoop. Structurally the design is as before, maintaining the A frame design of late, but new fairings have been introduced to give an oval shape to the two new inlets either side of the existing ones. This could be to cool any power unit elements moved to accommodate the new sidepod concept. This change has, however meant the sidepod horn fins are smaller, though the benefits must outweigh the drawbacks of the new design if Ferrari has gone to this effort.

Changing our focus from the top to the bottom of the car, Maranello has cut away the floor as required and is being coy with any other changes it has made here, with all but nothing being on display ahead of testing on Friday the 12th March. The T-wing of the car  returns, but it’s what’s below it that really interests us.

Ferrari has seemingly spent it tokens on redeveloping the gearbox and rear suspension. This has allowed them to slim down the rear of the car specifically. This is believed to move more of the bodywork away from the top of the diffuser and direct as much high energy air as possible to it, hence the new sidepods and rear end to facilitate this. This has been a trend in a number of the 2020 cars and to see Ferrari utilising their options to facilitate it is no surprise, particularly given the new floor regulations.

Left: SF1000 in Bahrain, Right: SF21 at Launch

In profile, the SF21 has some small tweaks not visible from the other angles, such as lowering the leading edge of the bargeboard’s attachment point on the chassis. The rear wing however is identical to that run at the end of last season.

In summary, there are some promising changes made to the 2021 car, not least in the livery. The Tifosi will be hoping they are what is needed to take the team back to winning ways. TO see the other team’s efforts to stop them, check out coverage for the launches of Mercedes, Red Bull, Alpine, Aston Martin, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and Williams.

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