Category Archives: Formula 1

F1 Blast from the Past: Prost wins as Mansell pulls off stunning overtake

Background & Qualifying

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City was the venue for round 6 of the 1990 Formula One World Championship.

After two consecutive victories for Ayrton Senna and McLaren-Honda, the Brazilian held a 12-point lead in the driver’s standings over his teammate Gerhard Berger. In Mexico however, it was the Austrian who took his second pole position of the season.

Riccardo Patrese qualified his Williams Renault in second place ahead of Senna in the other McLaren, the Brazilian conspicuous by his absence from the front row. Nigel Mansell hauled his Ferrari to fourth on the grid ahead of the second Williams of Thierry Boutsen and the inspired Jean Alesi in the Tyrrell Ford.

Reigning World Champion Alain Prost had suffered numerous problems with the qualifying set-up on his Ferrari, and opted to set his car up for the race. The result was a lowly 13th position on the grid. The Frenchman’s difficulties were nothing compared to the fortunes of the Leyton House-March team, as neither Ivan Capelli nor Mauricio Gugelmin could qualify on the notoriously bumpy circuit.

With Berger and Senna in the top-three, the pre-race expectations were for a McLaren Honda walkover.

Race day

The 69-lap Mexican Grand Prix got underway with Patrese making an excellent getaway to take the lead from Berger. Senna also got the upper hand on his teammate, passing him on the inside going into the first corner. Senna immediately set about grabbing the lead from Patrese’s Williams, the Italian firmly shutting the door at the end of the back straight.

At the end of the lap, Patrese led from Senna and Berger, with Boutsen fourth ahead of Nelson Piquet’s Benetton and Nigel Mansell who had dropped to sixth. As the field started the second lap, Senna breezed past Patrese down the pit straight, with Berger following suit into the first corner.

Patrese quickly fell backwards, his tyre compound of choice not paying off as Boutsen and Piquet also moved ahead. Tyres would be the order of the day as Gerhard Berger made a stop at the end of Lap 13 to change his blistered Goodyears, dropping all the back to 12th place.

Senna now had a healthy 15 second lead over Nelson Piquet. Though, the three-time World Champion was disposed of by Nigel Mansell on Lap 37. Piquet’s tyres also began to fade, and Alain Prost, who had been quietly been making progress from his poor grid position, took third place on Lap 42 as Piquet headed for the pits.

On Lap 55, Prost found a way past his teammate after Mansell was boxed in behind the lapped Gregor Foitek in the Onyx. Both Ferrari’s were quickly making inroads into Senna’s lead. The Brazilian’s pace had dropped substantially due to a slow-puncture. He had gambled on going the distance without a stop but it did not pay off.

On Lap 60, Prost took the lead going into Turn 1, and Senna could do nothing to stop him. Mansell quickly followed his teammate past the McLaren but on lap 64 the Englishman spun exiting turn three and handing second back to Senna.

The Brazilian would not hold the position for very long however, his right-rear tyre exploded and Senna would limp back to the pits, his 100th Grand Prix ended prematurely. Mansell’s spin had allowed Gerhard Berger to close in, the Austrian had worked his way back up the field after his early stop, to third place.

With just three laps to go, Berger audaciously dived down the inside of Mansell into turn one, barging the Ferrari out of the way to take second place. The furious Mansell was not about to let Berger get away with that manoeuvre and quickly fought back.

Coming out of the esses on Lap 68, Mansell took the outside line as they headed into the infamous Peralta corner, the Englishman took the sweeping right-hander flat out while Berger was obliged to lift the throttle slightly in one of Formula One’s all-time classic overtaking moves.

25 seconds ahead, Prost took his second victory of the season and the 41st of his career. Mansell in second completed the first Ferrari one-two since the 1988 Italian Grand Prix. Berger may have lost out in the ferocious duel between himself and Mansell but nonetheless enjoyed himself and took third place for McLaren. 

Alessandro Nannini had a solid race to take fourth place for Benetton ahead of Boutsen’s Williams. While Piquet took sixth place off Alesi in the closing stages.

With Senna not scoring his lead in the championship was cut to eight points over his bitterest rival and the stage was set for an excellent championship battle, just as the season was about to be written off as another year of McLaren domination.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your Mexican GP weekend? The Grid Talk crew have you covered with their latest podcast, the Mexican GP Preview. Owain Medford hosted Louis Edwards, Tom Horrox and Tan Jui Shien Ray in episode 146 of the show. Both audio and video versions of the podcast are available below:

Leclerc: Ferrari’s in-form midfield man

In a sport eternally wired in the feats and performances of the front runners, it is the midfield where non-stop action often takes place, but isn’t necessarily afforded the headline-making importance.

So, how does a midfielder stand out? 

Where the ongoing championship is concerned, it could be said, a keen narrative has ensued. 

Quietly going about his business

If one looks at the last five races this season, you can find that Charles Leclerc has done quite well in demonstrating the kind of consistency that his Scuderia stable so keenly needed in 2021. 

Barring Sochi’s disappointing P15, Charles Leclerc has beaten Carlos Sainz in every single event. Whether it’s Zandvoort, Monza, Istanbul Park or COTA (USGP), the Monegasque has bested his teammate. 

Leclerc (left) and Sainz have created an extremely impressive partnership in 2021. Image: Motor Sport Magazine

To many, this may seem like boisterous stats whose end purpose is to sanitise the image of a driver in the eyes of the audience when it’s not even the case. Charles Leclerc, the very man who garnered, at the end of seventeen races last year, merely 98 points has already collected 128 points this year. 

Looking for a driver with honest improvement and that irrepressible X-factor, look nowhere but Charles Leclerc. That there are five races yet to be contested offers sufficient evidence of the large ground Ferrari and their Prince from Monaco have already covered than where they were last year where point-scoring opportunities were scant. 

Points, not podiums

Charles Leclerc’s result at the recent US Grand Prix, even if it didn’t translate into top three finish, did well to tell fans and critics alike that the young driver was keen to collect whatever opportunity that came his way. 

Leclerc’s 4th place finish in the USGP is one of his best results of the season. Image: Motorsport week

A P4 finish in the end, therefore, or twelve strong points carried their own value in that the driver hailing from the famous principality surpassed his new Ferrari teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr. on the standings. 

This was no ordinary moment; to a driver who arrived at Ferrari with one intention and one alone; to make a space for himself, one having nothing to do with shenanigans but one with everything to do with peace and resilience then it was special. Trailing his more experienced teammate, the Spaniard is currently behind Charles by 5.5 points. 

Fundamentally, Sainz may be trailing Leclerc but you’d contend that it is the Monegasque who’s struggled to finish runner-up in any race so far. 

Moreover, that he’s got raw pace is fine and for all to see. But that has he been on the weaker footing thanks to heartbreaks at Monaco and Hungary establish Charles Leclerc as a solider who simply fought and is fighting without even knowing the tiniest fate of his battle. 

His time will come

For as they say, good things come to those who wait and maybe it’s fate, but I’m most happy to have Charles interact with faster cars in midst of a race, think the remarkable ease with which Mercedes and Ferrari conquered the track position at Baku. 

2019 proved that when Leclerc has the car, he will win races

The pole-sitter, who was let down by a lack of grip and pace this year but then, did well enough to defend from Hamilton and Verstappen for the first few laps. 

And in so doing, the the young Ferrari talent earned the winner of the most prestigious yet fictitious award of the FIA, perhaps the price money deny eager sure one for defying the . We can vote. 

Leclerc, sadly with the only podium that he managed nearly two months ago, and that too, at Silverstone, where it’s never easy to break onto the podium places, reminded the scarlet red fans that all wasn’t over for as long as he and his teammate kept trying. 

This has exactly been the case because between both drivers, there are 4 podiums and 2 pole positions. The Ferrari that was struggling to even gather points finish regularly for much of 2020 is clearly a superior unit fighting (ever so regularly) for strong finishes this season. But most importantly, through brave scraps out in the midfield in 2021. Keep fighting Ferrari; keep going Charles

2021 US Grand Prix – FP1 & FP2 report: Red Bull recover from a worrying morning

It may have been two years since we last saw on-track action at the Circuit of the Americas, but F1 was looking to come back with a bang with every driver aiming to show off their new helmets for this weekend.

It was a hot and sunny day in Austin and this seemed to be a bit of a worry for some teams as there was no idea how the tyres would cope on the hot and bumpy track.

Let’s have a look at how the drivers got on in practice.

FP1

It took no time at all before we got the first red flag. Drivers were queuing up to get out, but they were back in the garage when Fernando Alonso came to a stop on the exit of Turn 12.

Bottas was 0.045 seconds faster than Hamilton to top FP1. Credit: F1

He was crawling down the straight with what looked like an engine issue, but we couldn’t tell what happened until he stopped. Fluid was pouring out of the bottom of the Alpine. Something had gone wrong and it looked to be the end of Alonso’s session.

It’s never good for any driver to miss a practice session, but especially when it’s a track that you haven’t driven in a few years.

Ferrari had a great weekend in Turkey, but for Charles Leclerc, it started with a spin. He was very fortunate to keep it out of the wall as he lost it out of Turn 6. He also managed to drag the car out of the gravel and go on his merry way. One thing was for sure, he would not be able to use those tyres again.

The big news to come out of FP1 was that Valterri Bottas would take on yet another ICE. This means he will take another 5-place grid penalty for the race.

Mercedes didn’t need to worry though, as their pace on the soft tyre was mighty. Both Hamilton and Bottas were a second faster than Max Verstappen who was a distant 3rd place.

The track was getting hotter as the session went on and it didn’t seem to bother Mercedes. Red Bull looked to be struggling in the final sector. It looked as though they were also struggling to control the rear.

Even Sergio Perez, who was doing his session on the hard tyres, was struggling through various parts of the track. He then tangled with Mick Schumacher at the end of the session as he lunged up the inside of him at turn 12, but slammed into the side of the Haas.

Advantage Mercedes in the morning, but could Red Bull recover in the Afternoon?

FP2

The cars wasted no time on getting onto the track to prepare for tomorrow’s qualifying session.

Mercedes were testing the limits of the soft tyres in the early session, so they were straight out on the medium tyres. Red Bull also opted for the medium tyres for their first run and they looked a lot more competitive after the first runs than they did in FP1.

Fernando Alonso had a frustrating day which ended with a spin. Credit: F1

Sergio Perez was the fastest after the first runs, but only 0.036 separated Perez in 1st and Hamilton in 4th.

Lando Norris ran less than Fernando Alonso in FP1 and his FP2 session didn’t get off to an ideal start either, as he had something loose in his cockpit. He was forced to box before he could return to the track to get some running done.

As Verstappen and Hamilton went to start their second flying laps, they seemed to forget that it was Friday and not Sunday. They engaged in a drag race up into Turn 1 with Lewis on the inside. Max tried to hang around the inside, but he had to concede, not before he gave Hamilton the finger to show his disapproval.

Issues with equipment and cars kept creeping up throughout the session. Nikita Mazepin was forced to box as the anti-fog spray in his helmet had gotten in his eyes. Minutes later Leclerc was forced to pit as he had something loose by the pedals.

Back on track, it was the turn of the soft tyre quali runs. Hamilton shot to the top of the timing sheets, but it wasn’t for long as his time was deleted for exceeding track limits. His second lap was good, but Perez was the driver firmly planting himself at the top.

Verstappen was getting very wound up in his car as he could not find space to set a second flying lap. Eventually he gave up and pitted instead of doing a second lap.

McLaren looked to be bouncing back from a relatively poor weekend in Turkey. Norris went second fastest on his final flying lap. Daniel Ricciardo was looking good as well, only three tenths off Norris and sat in 5th place behind the two Mercedes.

The drivers now settled in to do their long runs and Mercedes were looking very strong. Verstappen was doing very competitive times, but there was still some tuning needed.

With three minutes to go, Fernando had a spin on the exit of turn 19 and went through the gravel. He did a very good job to limit the damage. He was able to drive out of the gravel and get back to the pit-lane.

The championship mind games coming into play

The tiff between Hamilton and Verstappen during FP2 is starting to show the lengths these two are having to go to to get a mental edge.

We didn’t get to see who was behind who before they started the lap, but it doesn’t matter. With only 6 races left and 6 points between them, both drivers need to make sure they are laser focused.

By getting under each other’s skin in a free practice session, it sets a precedence for the rest of the weekend. Lewis was sending a clear message that Max was not getting passed and for the race, he would not leave him any room.

This move got Max riled up and he showed his frustration through the session. It was clear that it got to him and in the end he gave up on doing a qualifying run and pitted instead.

His decision to do that could be a problem for Red Bull as they will have no real data for Max to use.

With Mercedes looking faster over a single lap, Max will have to do his very best to put in on pole tomorrow.

FP1 Classification

FP2 Classification

In the Pit Lane: Liberty Media embrace gambling in Formula 1

Back in the day when F1 was run by the sport’s ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, betting was a dirty word with Ecclestone believing the gambling industry would tarnish F1’s image. How this squared with his love of tobacco money was always a mystery.

When Liberty Media took control, Formula 1’s head of digital media Adam Crothers was tasked with coming up with a strategy to make money from sports betting.

How gambling has been embraced by F1

The key to this was data that would enable live betting during races. Liberty immediately signed up the Interregional Sports Group (ISG) on a five-year deal worth an estimated $100m, allowing ISG the commercial rights to sell F1 to gambling companies. 

Partnering with ISG would be European tech start-up Sportradar, who would extract the data directly from the circuit which provides 1.1 million data points from the track and the cars every second.

Hamish Bicket, director for sports content and partnerships at Sportradar, had this to say on the state and potential of F1 betting,

“Motorsports in general, there hasn’t been a real huge interest in betting and that’s not just live betting. Betting in general. But if there is a sport that’s able to change that needle, then it’s Formula 1. Look at their global fan base. I think you’ve got around 19 million viewers on a race day weekend and 500 million fans across the world, so … a huge opportunity for us.”

Sportradar was able to create 22 betting options such as 1st to retire, driver total overtaking’s, and winning margin.

Business has been good for Sportradar which supports more than 900 betting operators around the world, 350 media outlets, and more than 150 sports leagues.

How this strategy has changed around the world

Capitalising on this growth, the company went public in September with a valuation of $7.98bn netting founder Carsten Koerl $2.4bn. ISG’s strategy was to use digital replacement technology which allows sponsors logos to be superimposed on electronic billboards and on-screen graphics during televised races broadcast in different countries.

This was critical, as while a handful of large companies currently control the online sports betting industry, none are truly global so the ability to advertise by region is essential to these brands. ISG is aiming to complete seven regional sponsorship deals starting with Asia, Europe, the Americas then looking towards Russia and Latin America.

Interestingly for a sport embracing the Middle East, issues over gambling advertising mean the region is a non-starter.

The pieces of the jigsaw are eventually falling into place starting in March with online bookmaker 188BET becoming the official Asian partner in a five-year deal worth $8m per season. 

In July, Flutter the holding company for a range of international brands including Paddy Power, Betfair, PokerStars, Sky Bet, Sportsbet, FOX Bet, FanDuel, TVG, and Adjarabe joined the party with its PokerStars brand signed up for an exclusive European broadcast facing sponsorship until 2023.

Although some countries are banning sports betting advertising recent US Supreme Court rulings striking down a federal ban on sports betting and few restrictions in markets like the UK bodes well.

The future of sports betting

Nigel Currie, founder of sports consultancy NC Partnership has stated, “It is probably going to get tougher for the gambling industry [to do sports sponsorship and advertising] in certain markets.” 

F1 is one of the harder sports for regulators because it is so international and there are so many different [countries] that will probably provide a good return on investment.”

There of course are the ethical and moral questions around gambling.

Liberty Media surprise surprise has decided to take the money and much like its stance on other ethical issues has put forward the ‘we are part of the solution’ argument.

Ross Brawn has recognised concerns about influencing minors and addiction commenting to Reuters, “Betting is not going to go away. Betting in an unstructured, unmonitored way is far worse than doing it in a responsible and structured fashion.”

What F1 needs to be on its guard for is the dark side of sports gambling.

Match-fixing in Football and ball-tampering in Cricket to name a few have soiled sports reputation in recent years.

Sportradar runs the high-browed ‘Integrity services division’ claiming as many as one percent of the matches they monitor show suspicious betting patterns that may be indicative of match-fixing.

What about F1?

Could for instance a Far East betting syndicate ‘buy’ a mechanic who in turn messes up a critical pitstop?

Well, sadly human nature has always shown the maxim ‘every man (or woman) has their price’.

More concerning F1 has not been without its various cheating scandals over the years instigated at the very highest levels in the sport.

No greater reminder is needed in the week news emerges that Flavio Briatore may return to F1.

If a team principal was prepared to instruct his driver to crash for a points advantage for his teammate imagine what a team principal would do for money!

Garry Sloan is an author, columnist, and podcaster. More details at garrysloan.com

The opinions expressed on this website are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors and/or publishers.

F1 2021 United States Grand Prix Preview: Who will fare better on F1’s American tour?

This year’s championship battle has been nothing short of sensational throughout the season. Heading into the final six rounds of the season, Max Verstappen leads Sir Lewis Hamilton by only six points. The Red Bull driver will have his work cut out for him this weekend though, as F1 heads for its first Grand Prix in the Americas in almost two years.

The Circuit of the Americas plays host to the United States Grand Prix and we can expect another close fight between Red Bull and Mercedes on Sunday.

Track guide

The Circuit of the Americas revived the United States GP when it joined the Formula 1 calendar for the first time in 2012. This is the first pupose-built F1 circuit in the U.S. and it shows, as it’s a terrific facility and a great place to watch a race at.

Image: F1

Overtaking isn’t usually too difficulty here, as the long back-straight provides opportunities into Turn 12. Turn 1 is also a good passing spot, thanks to the multiple options for which line to take. A good all-round car is often rewarded here, as sector one is all about downforce, sector two is straight-line oriented and sector three is largely about mechanical grip and a good chassis.

Lewis Hamilton has dominated here over the years, with five wins. However, the British legend has failed to win in both of the previous two outings here, with Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas claiming the wins in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Last time out

Bottas dominated the wet race at Istanbul Park to claim his first win in 2021

With Hamilton starting from 11th, Valtteri Bottas had to step up to prevent a maximum score from Red Bull. The Finn dominated the wet meeting from start to finish, with Verstappen managing a P2 that saw him lead the championship.

Sergio Perez got his first podium since France, as Charles Leclerc picked up an excellent 4th for Ferrari and even led for a brief period. Hamilton finished a respectable 5th, but the damage was done.

Pierre Gasly again impressed in his AlphaTauri to claim 6th, with Lando Norris salvaging 7th on a poor day for McLaren. Carlos Sainz won driver of the day for his 20th to 8th by the finish drive.

Lance Stroll got 9th in his Aston Martin, with Esteban Ocon scoring the final point after going the whole race without a pit stop.

Mercedes need to win in the U.S.

Two of Max’s favourite circuits are on the way after COTA.

While COTA isn’t a happy hunting ground for Red Bull, it is for Mercedes. Mercedes have won all but one race here in the hybrid era, with Hamilton winning all but one of those.

With Mexico and Brazil to follow, The Black Arrows will need to capitalise in the States. Verstappen has been a class above in both of those Latin American tracks, so a good result here will do his title challenge no harm.

Austin is an all-round circuit, so that should favour Mercedes, but strategy can throw up some surprises, just look at Raikkonen’s win here in 2018 and even Hamilton himself in 2012 produced a shock result.

Session Times

Practice 1, Oct 22nd: 17:30 – 18:30 (12:30 – 13:30 EST)

Practice 2, Oct 22nd: 21:00 – 22:00 (16:00 – 17:00 EST)

Practice 3, Oct 23rd: 19:00 – 20:00 (14:00 – 15:00 EST)

Qualifying, Oct 23rd: 22:00 – 23:00 (17:00 – 18:00 EST)

Race, Oct 24th: 20:00 (15:00 EST)

All times are British Summer Time (BST), unless stated

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview this weekend’s United States Grand Prix? The Grid Talk crew have you covered with their USGP preview. Ruby Price hosted Tom Horrox, Tom Downey and Aaron Harper in their latest podcast. Both audio and video versions of the show are linked below:

F1 Blast from the Past: Alesi upsets the odds as Senna triumphs

Shock Qualifying

The streets of Phoenix, Arizona played host to the opening round of the 1990 Formula 1 World Championship. Phoenix was the fifth American street circuit to host an F1 Grand Prix and had hosted its debut race in June the previous year. To beat the scorching heat of the Arizona desert, the race was moved to March and became the curtain-raiser for 1990.

Friday Qualifying brought numerous surprises, but there was nothing strange about a McLaren-Honda setting the fastest time. It was Austrian Gerhard Berger in his debut for the Woking outfit who topped the timing pages.

During Pirelli’s 1989-1991 stint in Formula One, the Italian company had become known for the remarkable performance from their qualifying tyres. That was demonstrated in Phoenix with Pierluigi Martini recording the second-fastest time in the Minardi.

Third quickest was fellow Italian Andrea de Cesaris in the Dallara. Another Pirelli user shone in Friday’s session, young Frenchman Jean Alesi ending the day fourth fastest in the nimble Tyrrell-Ford.

Ayrton Senna, whose participation in the 1990 season had been doubt just weeks earlier following the fallout from the climax of the previous year, was an uncharacteristic fifth. The Brazilian’s day was hampered by electrical problems, compatriot Nelson Piquet was sixth in his Benetton-Ford.

Ferrari had been billed as favourites after a highly successful winter testing programme, but qualifying was a disaster. World Champion Alain Prost was in seventh place, and teammate Nigel Mansell languishing down in 17th.

Saturday’s qualifying session was wet, leaving no one with a chance to improve their times and the grid was decided on Friday’s results.

Shook up grid makes an exciting race

Race day was cloudy but dry and 72 laps of Pheonix got underway with Berger immediately moving across the track to cover Martini. The Austrian didn’t anticipate the lightning start from Jean Alesi though, who dived inside the McLaren into the first corner to take the lead.

There was trouble further down the field as Riccardo Patrese found the nosecone of his Williams ripped off after colliding with Olivier Grouillard’s Osella. Alessandro Nannini in the Benetton also had to make a stop for repairs after contact with the Arrows of Bernd Schneider, which left the Italian with a puncture.

Incredibly, Alesi started to ease away from Berger, with Senna in third place ahead of De Cesaris, Boutsen and Martini. On Lap 9, Berger made a mistake and ended up in the barriers, damaging the McLaren’s rear wing. He would rejoin the race, but any hopes of a good result were lost. He did manage to set the fastest lap of the race, but the Austrian would later retire with clutch failure.

Also having a disappointing debut for a new team was Alain Prost. After a poor start, the champion had progressed to fourth place. but an oil leak resulted in an early exit from the race at the end of Lap 21. While Andrea de Cesaris was out after 25 laps with engine failure, a disappointing end to a strong weekend for the Italian.

Senna began to charge on Alesi, on Lap 34 he made his move going into the first corner. He took the inside line and moved ahead of the Tyrrell but to the Brazilian’s astonishment, Alesi snatched the lead straight back going into the second corner.

The inevitable happened on the next lap though, as the pair approached Gregor Foitek’s Brabham to lap him. Senna again passed the Tyrrell in Turn 1 and this time he remembered to cover the inside line for T2. Alesi would not give up and was climbing all over the McLaren in a bid to regain the lead.

They were side-by-side as they negotiated the opening sequence of 90-degree bends, but Senna eventually won this exciting battle. Foitek’s afternoon on the other hand came to an end on Lap 40 when he collided with Grouillard, leaving the Brabham strewn across the track.

Nigel Mansell had come from 17th on the grid to fifth and was closing on his archnemesis Nelson Piquet. However, on Lap 50 the Ferrari’s clutch disintegrated and Mansell did well to keep the car out of the barriers as it swept sideways with a dramatic flash fire. The only casualty was some Italian pride, after an ignominious start to the season for Ferrari.

Senna had built up a healthy lead until the clutch on his McLaren began to run into problems and the Brazilian backed off. He managed to nurse his car home to take the victory and assume the early lead in the World Championship.

Jean Alesi was ecstatic with his first podium finish in second place and Thierry Boutsen was third after a steady drive in the Williams. Three-time champion Nelson Piquet was fourth despite flat-spotting his tyres earlier in the race and making a pit stop.

While Stefano Modena finished a fine fifth, a great result for Brabham given the fact the team had only just made it to Phoenix in time. Ken Tyrrell’s brilliant start to the season was completed with Satoru Nakajima scoring the final point for sixth.

After the race, the two protagonists praised one another with Senna acknowledging Alesi’s talent and the latter ratifying his respect for the Brazilian. The stage had been set for an action-packed year.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview this weekend’s United States Grand Prix? The Grid Talk crew have you covered with their USGP preview. Ruby Price hosted Tom Horrox, Tom Downey and Aaron Harper in their latest podcast. Both audio and video versions of the show are linked below:

F1 2021 Turkish Grand Prix: Qualifying Report: Hamilton fastest, but Bottas takes a crucial pole

It was wet in FP3, but the track looked to be drying before Qualifying. But, to add further excitement to the session, rain would be on its way. Lewis Hamilton took a new internal combustion engine for this weekend and received a 10-place grid penalty. Carlos Sainz also took a brand new engine and would be at the back of the grid regardless of his qualifying position.

It was set to e a very interesting qualifying session. Let’s get straight into the action!

Q1

With two minutes to go until qualifying started, there was already a lengthy queue at the end of the Pit-lane. With the rain on its way, teams were eager to get their drivers out on track as soon as possible.

Mick Schumacher got his Haas into Q2 for the second time this season, Previously at the French GP. Credit Haas.

The track was still damp from the rain during FP3, so getting a smooth lap was going to be very difficult.

It was a race to get onto a flying lap as most believed that there would only be the chance for one lap. Lewis skipped past both Ferraris to get track position in the final corners. Lewis blew his lap at the first corner as he exceeded track limits at turn 1.

A few drivers went for a spin at turn 1. Sainz and Verstappen went for a spin, but Verstappen manged to get another lap in to go fastest.

Drivers were able to get more laps than they believed they would as they were still running on slicks with 10 minutes left of the session.

Times were still improving as the session went on and some drivers were putting in some great lap times. George Russell went fastest at one point but was still hanging in the top 10.

The track was no means dry though and some other drivers were finding this out the hard way. Turn 1 was still proving to be very difficult. Tsunoda had a big moment that he over-corrected and put his car through the grass. Mazepin also had a spin as he looked to get out of last place.

The rain that was promised didn’t come so it was going to be tense for those at the bottom of the timing sheet as the track started to dry out and lap times started to tumble.

For the final flying laps the cars were flying and for Daniel Ricciardo this meant he dropped out in Q1. There were some familiar faces joining Ricciardo as he sat out the rest of Qualifying, But Mick Schumacher would not be one of them as he dragged his Haas into Q2.

Eliminated: Ricciardo (16th), Latifi (17th), Giovinazzi (18th), Raikkonen (19th), Mazepin (20th)

Q2

Q2 started and still no rain. The track was still not fully dry, but still dry enough for slick tyres.

Graining was becoming an issue in Q1, so Mercedes and Red Bull opted for the medium tyres straight away. They were joined by the rest of the grid, apart from Yuki Tsunoda who still opted for the soft tyres.

Leclerc left it all to the end after this spin on his penultimate flying lap. Credit F1.

Not many representative times were being set as there was no rush to get a lap time done. The drivers were doing multiple warm-up laps to get the tyres to a good temperature before going for a push lap.

The track conditions were still catching out drivers and it was Sergio Perez who had an identical spin to Yuki Tsunoda in Q1. He manged to keep the car out the wall, but his tyres were not in the best conditions.

While some drivers still struggled, others thrived. Fernando Alonso was doing a great job in his Alpine was not far off Max Verstappen who was behind both Mercedes in 3rd.

Tsunoda was showing pace was hadn’t seen for a while. Both him and Gasly were doing well and looked comfortable in the top 10.

Charles Leclerc was doing brilliantly until David Croft praised his pace and then Charles promptly spun at the final corner. This left him in the drop zone with a lot to do to be safe.

Stroll was just about in the top 10, but he had a moment into turn 1 on his last flying lap and it left him vulnerable. Leclerc was able to improve with help from his team-mate, but more commentator cursing from David Croft saw George Russell run wide at the final turn and he was out. Lance was safe.

Eliminated: Vettel (11th), Ocon (12th), Russell (13th), Schumacher (14th), Sainz (15th)

Q3

It was time for Q3.

Lewis Hamilton had been dominant up to this point with Bottas not far behind. It was going to take a mega effort from Max Verstappen to break Mercedes.

Bottas showed good pace, and even though he couldn’t beat Hamilton, he still got ahead of verstappen

Lewis does have his penalty, but he will be looking to qualify as high up the grid as possible to give him the best possible opportunity in the race.

The two Mercedes were the first out the gate and it was Bottas who went 0.022 seconds faster than Hamilton. Both times were good enough to lock-out the provisional front row.

Verstappen had a big of a moment during his lap and he was 2 tenths off Bottas’ fastest time, but still managed to go 3rd.

Gasly put in yet another brilliant lap to put his Alpha Tauri ahead of the Red Bull of Sergio Perez to go provisionally 4th.

Both Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc who had shown great pace were 7th and 8th respectively after their first laps. You would expect to see them improve on their second attempts.

Hamilton bucked the usual qualifying trend and went out early to set a second flying lap. He went purple in the first two sectors and went two tenths faster than Bottas. He had enough time to cool the tyres and get another lap in before the end.

Verstappen would set his final lap before the Mercedes, but it was only good for 3rd place. Bottas would come across the line second, but he could not improve his position so it would be pole position for Bottas despite Lewis setting the fastest lap.

Norris couldn’t improve his time, but Leclerc shot up to 4th on his final effort, ahead of Gasly in 5th. Perez could only get 7th place. Not what Red Bull needed.

Final Classification

F1 2021 Turkish Grand Prix Preview: Can Hamilton repeat his heroics from last year?

Despite starting at opposite ends of the grid, by the end of the Russian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton were seperated by only one place. Hamilton appeared to be surprised to see his title rival take the number two spot on the podium, but it’s great for the title fight, as the pair are almost inseperable.

This weekend sees the Turkish Grand Prix make its second one-off appearace in a row, and just like twelve months ago, rain is forecast.

Track guide

Istanbul Park is considered to be one of the best circuits to have been designed by Hermann Tilke. It’s hard to argue against that as well, as thrilling corners like Turn 8 are one of the best in Formula 1. Turkey’s track surface caused chaos last season, as a recent resurfacing made the circuit like greased ice after a deluge of rain.

Image: F1

As thrilling as that was to witness, we are very unlikely to see that replicated in 2021. Even if we do experience large amounts of rain, the circuit organisers have ensured that there is more grip on the tarmac that in 2020.

As for overtaking spots, the main passing points are at the end of the DRS Zones at Turns 1 and 12. You can also pass through the 13-14 chicane as well, as both the inside and outside lines are fast here.

Last time out

Hamilton mastered the wet conditions to take victory in Russia two weeks ago

2021 has been a bizarre year in Formula 1. Circuits that are considered to be poor for action have produced incredible races, including Sochi a fortnight ago. Lando Norris started from his first ever pole position and dominated the majority of the race. After being overtaken by Carlos Sainz at the start, Norris expertly took the lead back after 15 laps.

The rain hit with a few laps to go and Norris gambled on staying on dry tyres. This backfired massively, as the circuit became impossible on slicks. Hamilton had battled through the pack and took his fifth win in Russia, and 100th overall in F1.

Max Verstappen started from the back row, but incrdeibly used the wet weather to his advantage and came home in second. Sainz completed the podium with third, a great result. Daniel Ricciardo finished an impressive fourth to spare McLaren’s blushes, with Valtteri Bottas lucking into a fifth place.

Sixth was the evergreen Fernando Alonso, dragging that Alpine to heights it doesn’t deserve to be in. Norris limped across the line in seventh, with Sergio Perez a disappointing ninth. Kimi Raikkonen got Alfa Romeo’s best result of the season in eighth, with George Russell scoring another point for Williams with tenth.

Can Max keep it together in Turkey?

Verstappen couldn’t keep his car pointing the right way last year in Turkey

If there’s been one criticism of Max Verstappen both this year and in past seasons, it’s that the Dutchman can make mistakes under pressure. This is Verstappen’s first title fight and is his seventh season in Formula 1. That’s the same amount of titles that Hamilton has won in his illustrious career.

While Hamilton was blamed by the stewards for their crash at Silverstone, Max handed a penalty for their Monza clash. Istanbul Park is also a circuit where Verstappen should’ve won last year, had he not spun mid-race. With rain predicted again this weekend, could we see Mad Max go for a slide?

We certainly hope not and it’s unlikely given Max’s incredible talent in the rain. What Max and Red Bull need the most is for Perez to get back to his form earlier in the season and back the Dutchman up against the Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton.

Session Times

Practice 1, Oct 8th: 09:30 – 10:30 (4:30 – 5:30 EST)

Practice 2, Oct 8th: 13:00 – 14:00 (8:00 – 9:00 EST)

Practice 3, Oct 9th: 10:00 – 11:00 (5:00 – 6:00 EST)

Qualifying, Oct 9th: 13:00 – 14:00 (8:00 – 9:00 EST)

Race, Oct 10th: 13:00 (8:00 EST)

All times are British Summer Time (BST), unless stated

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your Turkish GP weekend? The Grid Talk crew have you covered with their Russian GP preview! Ruby Price hosted Jack Watson, Tom Downey, and Louis Edwards in their latest podcast. Both audio and video versions of the show are available below:

F1 Blast from the Past: Raikkonen wins first Turkish GP to close championship gap

Background

Formula 1 arrived at the Istanbul Park in Turkey for the first time in 2005, the fourteenth round of the World Championship.

Kimi Raikkonen had made small inroads into Fernando Alonso’s lead in the driver’s championship following the Finn’s victory in Hungary. Alonso had failed to score at the previous round, but the Spaniard still had a healthy 26 points lead over the McLaren driver.

Qualifying

Raikkonen claimed the first ever F1 pole in Turkey

The new circuit 30 miles outside Istanbul saw several drivers find the limits of the track throughout practice and qualifying. Jacques Villeneuve, Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were all caught out at the tricky turn eight. Both Schumacher brothers also made mistakes at turn nine.

Michael failed to set a time at all and would start at the back, along with Sato who was stripped of his time after impeding Mark Webber. Kimi Raikkonen produced an excellent lap to take his fifth pole position of the season, ahead of the two Renault’s with Giancarlo Fisichella outqualifying Fernando Alonso. Juan Pablo Montoya in the second McLaren lined up fourth.

Race day

The race got underway in searing Turkish heat

The circuit had been critically acclaimed throughout the weekend and 58 laps of the Istanbul Park got underway on Sunday afternoon. Raikkonen was slow off the line, and the Renault’s surrounded the McLaren going into the first corner, Fisichella had the inside line and took the lead.

There was trouble further back as Felipe Massa’s Sauber made contact with Nick Heidfeld’s Williams, the Brazilian was forced to pit to replace his front wing and would retire later with an engine failure. Fisichella didn’t hold the lead for long, as a mistake on the exit of turn ten allowed Raikkonen to retake first place.

The Italian didn’t give up easily though, and Alonso too fancied his chances, but the McLaren was through. Alonso quickly passed his teammate to take second place.

Mid-race melee

After Jenson Button’s mistake in qualifying, the Brit found himself starting 13th but the opening laps saw the BAR driver scything his way up the order. By Lap 11, he was up to sixth.

Mark Webber in the Williams on the other hand had a disastrous to the race. After an early puncture, he was a lap down on the leaders. Then, trying to make up for lost time on Lap 14, the Australian made a botched attempt at unlapping himself from Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari. The German turned in and contact was made.

Schumacher and Webber would both later retire as a result of this clash. Image: Motorsport images

Webber was aggrieved that Schumacher left him no space, while Schumacher lay all the blame at the Australian’s feet, saying that it was pointless to try and make up such a deficit. The damage would eventually end Schumacher’s race.

It was to be a miserable day for the Williams team. After pitting to change his front wing, Webber suffered a second right-rear tyre failure and retired on Lap 21. Teammate Nick Heidfeld also sustained two right-rear tyre failures and his race ended on Lap 30.

The championship battle

Unsurprisingly, it was McLaren and Renault battling for the top spot on Sunday. Image: Motorsport images

After the first round of stops, the McLaren vs. Renault duel continued, with Raikkonen holding the lead. Montoya was second, despite a mishap with the fuel rig release at his first stop. Alonso was third and Fisichella, after a fuel rig failure of his own, was fourth and dropping back.

The order remained the same after the second round of stops. Everything looked good for the first McLaren one-two in five years, until Montoya was hit up the back by a lapped Tiago Monteiro with just four laps to go. This was an incident that was reminiscent of his collision with Jos Verstappen in Brazil four years previously.

The incident flat-spotted the Colombian’s tyres and with just two laps to go, trying to fend off a closing Fernando Alonso, ran wide at turn eight. The Spaniard was through to second and crucially giving just two points away to Raikkonen in the fight for the championship.

Kimi Raikkonen took the chequered flag to win the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix after leading every lap of the race. However, McLaren were disappointed to see a one-two slip away with Montoya livid with his mistake and ending up third behind Alonso.

Fisichella’s race never recovered after his early pit stop calamity but salvaged fourth. Jenson Button had an excellent race to finish fifth ahead of Jarno Trulli in the Toyota with the two Red Bulls of David Coulthard and Christian Klien completing the points paying positions after a race long battle.

Kimi Raikkonen had conquered all in an entertaining first Grand Prix in Turkey, but with Fernando Alonso 24 points ahead in the championship with just five races remaining, it was looking tantalising closer for the Spaniard.

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix

Gifted an opportunity that’s notoriously bad for on-track overtakes, Lewis Hamilton looked to completely turn the tables on title rival Verstappen. As F1 re-wrote the script for Sochi, a well earned podium by Red Bull leaves Hamilton in the lead, but not by much, with just 2 points separating the two going into Istanbul.

1

Posted on Reddit by Tj0ektj0ek

After a frankly underwhelming Qualifying for Hamilton, the champion’s aim for the Russian Grand Prix will have been to score as many un-answered points as possible.

Initially cautious, starting P4 and going backwards, the champ made use of excellent tyre wear and well-timed pitstops to take a well-earned win…with one small problem, Max Verstappen’s podium. The championship battle continues.

READ MORE – F1 2021 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX: LEWIS HAMILTON TAKES WIN AHEAD OF MAX VERSTAPPEN IN A DRAMATIC WET FINISH IN SOCHI

2

Posted on Reddit by Oli258

As we’ve established, Hamilton took the win today, and now we have the horrible job of breaking the news of who it came at the cost of.

While he can only blame himself for the scenario in which it happened, eschewing intermediate tyres that almost immediately became the de-facto compound to use, that will be of little to no comfort to himself and his fans. While his time will come, Norris needs to remove these incidents from his races to stand on the top step.

3

Posted on Reddit by stephennedumpally

The championship fight between Hamilton and Verstappen is now tight enough with so few races left to l swing the odds in your favour, both teams are now wont to do whatever it takes to try and gain a usable points advantage. This now means sacrificing the second driver in the team if you’re a Mercedes team with a 20 point advantage in the Constructor’s championship. That lead is now extended by another 15 points so expect that to only continue.

4

Posted on Reddit by eggheadking

The aforementioned strategies only work however, if the second driver is willing to play ball.

As a driver with a seat somewhere else, Bottas has no incentive to do much to help Mercedes’ plans even with a faster car and a predisposition to success at Sochi.

READ MORE 5 DRIVERS WHO NEED A GOOD RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX TODAY

5

Posted on Reddit by Summerof1974

Normally Sochi is a bland affair with little in the way of excitement or action. This year this was not the case and we almost feel like we’ve been robbed of a “Strike it from the calendar” hit-piece article. Better luck next year.

6

Posted on Reddit by Lucid_Night

As much as we may grumble about not being able to criticise Sochi, we are glad the race was interesting for once, and hope the same is replicated for years to come.

7

Posted on Reddit by Oli258

This meme works so well with the driver position tracker and a heartbeat, but the rain added a huge amount of variability and, more importantly, skill to the end of the race.

Teams and drivers having to manage the situation changing by the second as the best tyre type to use ebbed and flowed, finally moving towards the intermediates.

READ MORE – F1 2021 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX: QUALIFYING REPORT: NORRIS TAKES HIS FIRST POLE IN TRICKY CONDITIONS

8

Posted on Reddit by christopher_msa

That wasn’t to say the race was boring otherwise, the rain was more of a cherry on top of a very tasty Grand Prix. A mixed-up grid, free tyre choice for everyone and unseasonably cool weather all culminated in a tension filled race from start to finish.

9

Posted on Reddit by Ikcatcher

The race did have a more mundane section in the middle, as is to be expected and more importantly, a trait a lot of the good races have.

Azerbaijan 2017 was held up as a shining example of a thrilling race and yet that too had a slower middle section as the pitstops unfolded. What’s important to remember is that the race needs stakes and tension to become a classic.

10

Posted on Reddit by Unfunny_Gamer

It’s inevitable with the former team-mates battling in the early stages of the race and at other times during the season that there’s going to be some artistic license in DTS’ editing to cultivate drama and a story next spring. Get ready for it, you heard it here first.

With the gap in the championship as narrow as it’s been since Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton will look to replicate his 2020 win, hopefully with more favourable track conditions.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want to unravel exactly what caused the excitement today? 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 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX: LEWIS HAMILTON TAKES WIN AHEAD OF MAX VERSTAPPEN IN A DRAMATIC WET FINISH IN SOCHI

5 DRIVERS WHO NEED A GOOD RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX TODAY

F1 2021 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX: QUALIFYING REPORT: NORRIS TAKES HIS FIRST POLE IN TRICKY CONDITIONS

F1 2021 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW: CAN THE RAIN HELP MAX PULL OFF A MIRACLE?

IN THE PIT LANE – WHAT IS DIMITRY MAZEPIN’S NEXT MOVE?

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