Category Archives: Motorsport

F1 2021 Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying report: Advantage Bottas for the Sprint race

F1 takes a second bite of the sprint qualifying cherry this weekend. Just like at Silverstone this means qualifying for the sprint race is on Friday.

We only had the single practice session to judge the cars going into this session and it looked like Lewis Hamilton could run away with it, but we had to see what would come.

Let’s get straight into the action.

Q1

Qualifying brings traffic in Monza, so the Ferrari’s were wasting no time to get onto the track to get a lap onto the board. Leclerc didn’t have great time on this first flying lap, complaining of brake issues. His lap put him behind both Williams cars, faster only than the Haas.

Traffic is a problem at Monza as Gasly found a Ferrari parked on the apex of Ascari. Credit: F1

Lando Norris was on it after a subdued free practice and went four tenths faster than Max Verstappen. Verstappen had a little trip into the gravel on the exit of the second chicane which put him down the order.

Both Mercedes drivers went straight to the the top of the times as expected.

The Monza mayhem started early in Q1 with Max being caught up in heavy traffic on his second run and both Alpines having to slalom through traffic on their flying laps.

Williams looked to play it smart towards the end of the session and get their cars out early before mob emerged. Russell could only get 11th and Latifi 13th, so it would a tense final minute for Williams.

Both Aston Martins cars were in danger of dropping out, but two huge efforts from Vettel and Stroll made sure they were safe. Also, a late charge from Alonso made sure he progressed to Q2.

It looked as though both Williams cars were out, but Tsunoda’s lap time was deleted and dropped him into 17th. This meant George was promoted to 15th and would be in Q2.

Eliminated: Latifi (16th), Tsunoda (17th), Schumacher (18th), Kubica (19th), Mazepin (20th)

Q2

Leclerc’s issues from Q1 followed him into Q2. The issues with his brakes seemed to be a cause for concern for Ferrari, however they sent him out to see what he could do.

Silly scenes in the pit-lane as drivers went for their second runs.

The alarming difference between Red Bull and Mercedes this weekend was emphasised in this session as Hamilton was over seven tenths faster.

Both McLarens and Pierre Gasly separated Verstappen from the Mighty Mercs at the front.

Antonio Giovinazzi was going incredibly well in his Alfa Romeo. He almost matched Verstappen’s time after his first run and was looking for another Q3 appearance at his home race.

Leclerc was 9th despite his brake issues, and it was going to be a big second run for Carlos Sainz as he was sat in 13th place.

The Monza mayhem kicked off in the put lane at the end of Q2 as the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel was released into the path of Hamilton. Vettel was also lucky not to hit both a Aston Martin and Alpine mechanic. The fact there wasn’t an accident was a miracle.

But on the track the drivers were out for their final flying laps.

Perez manged to improve his lap time and he would scrape through in 10th place as both Ferrari’s found themselves into Q3.

Antonio Giovinazzi was 7th after a great effort, but for Aston Martin, both of their drivers were out, despite an improvement from Vettel on his second lap.

Neither Alpine drivers could do any better and were eliminated.

Eliminated: Vettel (11th), Stroll (12th), Alonso (13th), Ocon (14th), Russell (15th)

Q3

The drivers emerged for Q3 and it looked as though 1st and 2nd were already sorted so the battle for 3rd was there for anyone to take.

Norris bounced back after a poor qualifying in Zandvoort to put himself in a great spot for the sprint tomorrow. Credit F1

Lando Norris has been looking very fast in his McLaren, putting his car 3rd in both sessions before.

Bottas had a bit of a moment through the gravel which put him down the order and it allowed Verstappen to be in 2nd and only 0.017 seconds off Hamilton on provisional “pole”.

Lando Norris was also within a tenth of Hamilton, only 0.065 seconds off Hamilton. Ricciardo in the other McLaren also put in a great lap to go 4th, crucially ahead of Bottas.

Perez in the other Red Bull was not on the pace of his team-mate. He could only do as well as 9th, behind both Ferraris and only ahead of Giovinazzi.

It was the two Red Bulls who were out first as Perez was sacrificed as the leader of the tow train. Behind him was Max Verstappen.

Bottas, Hamilton and Norris planted themselves as the back of the line. We would see how these tactics who play out.

Max was down on his first sector and then his second sector was down again. It was Gasly who was taking advantage of the two Red Bulls in front. Verstappen couldn’t improve his lap, but Bottas was purple in all sectors and went four tenths clear at the top. Lewis fell short of his team-mate by a tenth of a second.

Lando Norris improved his time but could not jump Max Verstappen so he would only be fourth.

Bottas will be on pole for tomorrow’s sprint race.

Final classification

With so many investigations, this could change.

F1 2021 Dutch GP – QUalifying report: Max takes pole at his first home race!

It’s been a delayed by a year, but finally we get to see Formula One cars take to the Zandvoort track foe qualifying.

Max Verstappen finally got to the top of the timing sheets in FP3 and looked to be the driver to beat. But with Zandvoort being a new track, it was still unclear how the rest of the grid would form up.

But for the first time 36 years, it was time for qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix.

Q1

After Kimi Raikkonen’s positive Covid-19 test, Robert Kubica was now taking his place in the Alfa Romeo. After his first run, he was faster than both Haas cars.

Vettel almost speared into the back of Nikita Mazepin as he met a Haas blockade. Credit: F1

Carlos Sainz was also back out of track after a heavy shunt in FP3. The Ferrari’s were looking quick in Practice and Leclerc was 4th after his first run. Sainz was 17th after his first run, but he improved all the way up to 8th on his second run.

Mercedes opted for the Medium tyres for their first runs and Lewis Hamilton was only 0.15 seconds off Max Verstappen who set his time on the softs.

Both Williams cars looked very competitive in the midfield with both Russell and Latifi looking fast. It was Aston Martin who seemed to be in trouble after the first runs and it didn’t get better.

Stroll could not get out of the bottom five after his second run while Vettel was right on the edge of danger.

Daniel Ricciardo was in real danger of dropping out, but he managed to recover and put his McLaren in 9th. Norris scraped through in 15th.

Sergio Perez could not get a second run in and as the track ramped up, the drivers behind were all able to put in faster lap time and he was eliminated.

Sebastian Vettel was also not able to complete his final flying lap as he was blocked by Nikita Mazepin as Vettel approached the final corner. He was out, but his team-mate Lance Stroll was able to escape and move into Q2.

Eliminated: Perez (16th), Vettel (17th), Kubica (18th), Schumacher (19th), Mazepin (20th)

Q2

No medium tyres for Max Verstappen as he emerged for Q2.

Russell pushed a bit too hard and found himself in the gravel, bringing out the red flag. Credit:F1

Mercedes had opted for Medium tyres in Q1, but this time they also went for the soft tyres. Both Mercedes drivers could not get anywhere near Verstappen. Hamilton was over 6 tenths off Verstappen with Bottas another tenth off Lewis.

Lando Norris did not look comfortable in his McLaren. His first run was slower than both Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo and George Russell in the Williams.

McLaren’s rivals, Ferrari, were looking very fast. Leclerc topped Q1 and put his Ferrari above both Mercedes and into 2nd place.

Pierre Gasly also managed to leapfrog the Mercedes cars, nearly two tenths of a second faster than Lewis Hamilton. After one run he already looked comfortably into Q3.

It looked even more comfortable when George Russel spun out on the final corner and brought out the red flag with just under four minutes to go. Luckily for Russell the car was not damaged and he was able to drive out of the gravel and bring his car back to the pits.

This put a lot of pressure on the likes of Lando Norris and other drivers towards the back to get a lap in.

But they wouldn’t get a lap in anyway. Nicolas Latifi in the other Williams crashed out with just over a minute and a half left. The red flag was brought out and the session would not restart. This was great news for Antonio Giovinazzi as he would progress to Q3.

Eliminated: Russell (11th), Stroll (12th), Norris (13th), Latifi (14th), Tsunoda (15th)

Q3

It didn’t look like anyone could touch Max Verstappen and it looked to be the case again from the start of Q3. He was 3 tenths faster than both Mercedes drivers.

Bottas was able to pip Hamilton by about half a tenth. Lewis’ lap was a little scrappy and couldn’t get a clean lap together, but despite that, he would have still been behind Max.

Ferrari were looking quick, but Pierre Gasly managed to go faster than them both and put his AlphaTauri in 4th place.

Giovinazzi had done an impressive run after his first run by putting himself in 8th, ahead of Ricciardo in 9th and Ocon in 10th.

As the drivers came out to do their final runs, it was going to be a big job for Mercedes to take pole off Max Verstappen.

Gasly held off the charge from the Ferrari’s and held onto fourth place. Giovinazzi improved his place and overtook Alonso for 7th place.

Max Verstappen improved his lap by half a tenth on his second run and this would prove to be crucial as Lewis was only 0.038 seconds off taking Pole off to home hero. Bottas couldn’t improve and will start 3rd.

Max is on pole and we have a great race on our hands for tomorrow.

Full classification

2021 Dutch Grand Prix – FP1&FP2 report: Lewis loses power as Max struggles at home

Formula One returns to Zandvoort for the first time since 1985. With the banked corners and rolling hills, it was going to be a great spectacle to watch.

Verstappen fans were out in force for his first ever home Grand Prix and the stands were packed full of people.

But let’s get straight into the Friday action.

FP1

Formula One cars emerged onto the Zandvoort track for the first time in 36 years and it was Yuki Tsunoda who was the first to be caught out on the new track. He spun his car round only 2 minutes into the session. He is the only driver not to race on this track in any category so this was the last thing he needed.

Tsunoda goes for another spin early in the morning session. Credit: F1

But things were even worse for Sebastian Vettel who had an engine failure only 15 minutes into the session and brought out the red flag.

Vettel was straight out of the car and rushed to get the fire extinguisher. Fireman Seb was on hand to put his car out.

The red flag last for just over 35 minutes as marshalled worried the car was still live and needed Aston Martin mechanics to make sure that it was all okay to be recovered.

This left only seven minutes for drivers to get any running in and rivers were all quick to get out on track.

Traffic was an issue coming into the final corner which Lando Norris found out the hard way. He looked to pass Ocon to start a flying lap, however, Ocon was looking at a Red Bull on his right and was looking to get out of the way of them. Norris went of Ocon’s left and three don’t go into one and Norris was pushed slightly onto the grass.

But once the dust had settled and the drivers got their runs completed, it was Lewis Hamilton who topped the timing sheets. Verstappen was second, less than a tenth of a second behind his title rival.

Both Ferrari’s were only a tenth off Lewis too with Sainz and Leclerc in 3rd and 4th respectively.

FP2

The start of second practice was mysteriously delayed by five minutes with no reason given by the stewards.

Lewis Hamilton’s session ended with a loss of power. How could this affect his weekend? Credit:F1

The drivers were eager to get out as soon as possible, given the lack of running they got in the morning session.

It looked like the afternoon session was looking to imitate the morning session as Lewis Hamilton this time was plagued with engine trouble.

The red flag this time did not last and drivers were back on track in no time. However, for Hamilton, this would be the end of his session.

Bottas was now Mercedes’ guinea pig and they sent him out on a set of soft tyres to get some quick runs in so the team had some data with no Lewis out on track.

The red flag helped Sebastian Vettel as he returned to the track not long after the green flag was waved.

Many of the drivers were settling into their quali and long runs, but it came to a halt once again when Nikita Mazepin went too hot into turn 11 and beached his car into the gravel.

Max Verstappen was getting very frustrated as he was still yet to set a competitive lap time. When the track went green again, he was straight out but could only go fifth fastest.

It was Ferrari who has both of their cars at the top of the timing sheets. Esteban Ocon put his alpine in 3rd place. Bottas could only get 4th, but he was ahead of Max Verstappen.

Ferrari look like contenders

Ferrari were quick in both sessions and looked to be taking the fight to Red Bull and Mercedes.

Ferrari topped the second practice. Could they be on the podium this weekend? Credit: F1

They currently sit only a few points behind McLaren in the constructors championships and looked comfortably faster than McLaren in both session.

Zandvoort seemed like a track that would be tough for Ferrari, given the lack of slow speed corners. The results of the practice sessions looked to mimic that of the Hungarian Grand Prix, a track that Ferrari looked quick at and could have got a better result if not for incidents in Qualifying and the race.

Qualifying tomorrow is going to be very important. With the lack of overtaking opportunities, getting as far up on the grid could yield a lot of points.

Ferrari will be hoping that they carry this momentum into the rest of the weekend.

FP1 Classification

Credit: F1

FP2 Classification

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying report: Tatics at play as Hamilton storms to pole!

It’s time for Qualifying. Bottas, Verstappen and Hamilton had all topped a practice session up to this point, so it was a real toss up on who would get pole. We were promised rain, and like all weather predictions in Formula One, it never came. Instead it was scorching heat with almost clear blue skies.

Pole here is very important, but only time would tell who would get it. Let’s get into the action

Q1

For fans of Mick Schumacher, it was worrying news as his crash in FP3 meant that it looked as though he would miss Q1 as they changed the gearbox.

Carlos Sainz coming very close to an AlphaTauri. Could it be a penalty? Credit:F1

Bottas was the first of the front-runners to set a flying lap and while it was a very solid lap from the Finn, Lewis was next over the line and went 2 tenths faster. But the battle wasn’t over as Max was the last over the line, going a further 2 tenths faster than Lewis.

Perez in the other Red Bull had not had the best of weekends up to this point and on his first run, he was slower than both Gasly in the AlphaTauri and Norris in the McLaren. He was over a second slower than Verstappen.

The Ferrari’s were patient and waited before setting their first flying laps. Sainz put his car on 4th, but he was released in the path of Pierre Gasly. He darted to the inside kerb to avoid, but still likely cost Gasly some time as he would have had to run wide at turn 1.

Leclerc in the other Ferrari was not able to replicate his team-mate’s pace and could only manged 7th, 4 tenths off Sainz.

As the drivers headed out for their final runs, Mr Saturday, George Russell, was in the drop zone and seemed to be in real danger of dropping out. Latifi was a few thousandths behind him. Tsunoda was also in trouble in 16th. After a poor weekend so far, he needed to avoid being eliminated.

Russell had 4 tenths to make up to get into Q2 and it proved too much as he missed out. It is the first time this season he was eliminated in Q1.

Despite Latifi also improving, he couldn’t beat George and would qualify in 18th. With Tsunoda also out, it was good news for Alfa Romeo who got both cars into Q2. A good showing from both Alfa drivers.

Eliminated: Tsunoda (16th), Russell (17th), Latifi (18th), Mazepin (19th), Schumacher (20th).

Q2

As expected both Mercedes and Red Bull cars emerged from the pit lane on Medium tyres. The best strategy is the one-stop and with the soft tyres burning up very quickly, it was important to get these laps perfect.

Sainz providing the drama again, but this time putting himself out of qualifying with a hefty impact. Credit: F1

Interestingly Perez opted for the Medium tyres despite his struggles around this track this weekend. Perez’s lap wasn’t amazing, but he was only 2 tenths off Bottas in 3rd who didn’t have a very good lap.

Lewis drove a blinder and was over 2 tenths faster than Verstappen in 2nd and half a second faster than Bottas.

But now it was the turn of the soft tyre runners. Vettel and Gasly were able to sperate Bottas and Perez from their team-mates, and then Fernando Alonso came out of nowhere to put his Alpine in 2nd.

Ferrari took their time again and Leclerc went faster than Verstappen to put his car in 2nd, however Sainz put his car in the wall at the final corner. This brought out the red flag with 6 minutes to go. Sainz was able to keep the car running but ran over his front wing and was forced to retire.

Bottas and Perez now faced a tough choice. They either sacrifice another set of Medium tyres or use the softs to try to make sure they get through to Q3. Norris and Stroll who showed great pace in Q1 were in the danger zone and would need a big lap to get them through to Q3.

Bottas did choose to run the medium tyres again so there was no room for error for the Finn. He put in a 1:16.7 which would see him comfortably into Q3.

Verstappen switched to the soft tyres and set the fastest lap on the soft tyres which could cause some issues in the race tomorrow.

Perez also switched to the softs and went 4th, behind Norris in 2nd and Gasly in 3rd. Ocon was able to get his first Q3 appearance this season with 9th. Vettel put in a mega lap to push Daniel Ricciardo out of Q2. His Team-mate Lance Stroll could only do as well as 12th.

Eliminated: Ricciardo (11th), Stroll (12th), Raikkonen (13th), Giovinazzi (14th), Sainz (15th).

Q3

It was clear from Q1 and Q2 that the track speed was get much faster so this was going to be very tactical to get the best lap possible.

Gasly put in a great effort to qualify 5th for tomorrow’s race. Credit: AlphaTauri

After the first run of lap, it was Hamilton who put his car on provisional pole. He was half a second faster than Verstappen in 3rd place. But, it was a Mercedes front row with Both red Bull cars behind.

Leclerc was best of the rest in 5th, but only 2 tenths of a second separated Leclerc in 5th and Norris in 9th. Norris used a a set of old soft tyres.

Vettel went out on his own to set his singular lap of the session and it put him in 8th for the time being.

Some strange games were going on between Lewis and Max. Lewis was very slow through the pit-lane and then he was holing him up throughout the out lap. Lewis was in no rush to get on with it, which would have been irritating for the red bull drivers stuck behind.

This meant that Perez could not get over the line in time and was stuck in 4th.

Neither Bottas, Hamilton or Verstappen could not improve their times which locked out the front row for Mercedes.

Gasly did an amazing lap to be best of the rest ahead of Lando Norris in 5th. A great lap for Lando as he got ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

But the race was now setup for Tomorrow. It was going to be very tough race for Red Bull who have a big challenge ahead of them.

Full Classification

Grid Talk Podcast

If you want more reaction to yesterday’s qualifying session, the Grid Talk crew have you covered with their latest podcast. Ruby Price hosted Steve Jackson and Tom Downey in their 2021 Hungarian GP qualifying analysis. Audio and video versions of the show are both available below:

Grid Talk Podcast

If you want more reaction to yesterday’s qualifying session, the Grid Talk crew have you covered with their latest podcast. Ruby Price hosted Steve Jackson and Tom Downey in their 2021 Hungarian GP qualifying analysis. Audio and video versions of the show are both available below:

F1 2021 Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying report – Max takes pole, but Lando in 2nd!

It was a close battle between Max Verstappen and the two Mercedes, but for the second weekend in a row they would have to fight it around the Red Bull ring.

Coming into qualifying it was still unclear who would take pole. Mercedes had shown some great pace in Friday quali sims, but Max topped the time sheets in FP3 this morning.

Let’s get straight into how qualifying unfolded!

Q1

The Max Verstappen fans were out in full force as qualifying got underway. The track temperature was scorching so it would be a true test to keep the tyres in a good operating window.

Daniel Ricciardo was a long way off Norris once again as he scrapes into Q2. Credit: McLaren

Traffic was a cause for concern as Mercedes got right onto the FIA to make sure no one would hold up their cars through turns 9 and 10. The Haas cars wasted no time and got their laps done early. There was no point wasting time as they knew they would be out in this session.

As expected it was Verstappen who set the initial pace, 0.25 seconds ahead of Hamilton in second place. Behind the Mercedes it was very close between Sainz, Norris and Perez. All drivers fighting for fourth place.

Aston Martin and AlphaTauri took a different approach, doing their first lot of laps on the Medium tyres. It worked very well for Aston Martin as Sebastian Vettel put his car in 11th after his first flying lap. AlphaTauri were more worried as Gasly had his lap time removed and Tsunoda could only do as well as 14th.

The surprise of the session was when Fernando Alonso rocketed up the standings and sat in 3rd place. An amazing performance given Ocon was in the danger zone after the first lot of runs.

It only got worse for Ocon as he failed to get out of the bottom five and will start the race in in 17th. Also out were both Haas cars, Latifi and Kimi Raikkonen. Dnaiel Ricciardo scraped through to Q2 by the skin of his teeth while Lando Norris was 2nd fastest.

Eliminated: Raikkonen (16th), Ocon (17th), Latifi (18th), Schumacher (19th), Mazepin (20th)

Q2

The cars emerged for Q2 and it was unsurprising to see that the top teams headed out on the medium tyres.

Fernando Alonso onboard as he came across Sebastian Vettel in the final corner. Credit: F1.

It felt as though I was playing the F1 game as all the cars came out at the same time. When Lewis was setting his first lap time, he was met with four cars at turn 9. Luckily for Lewis, they kept out of the way. But his lap time was still not good enough to top the time sheets.

His lap time wasn’t good enough for 2nd place either. Lando Norris put his McLaren in 2nd , Perez was in third and Sebastian Vettel was in third. Granted, he was on the soft tyres, but it was a mighty effort from the four-time world champion.

Aston Martin had shown great pace with Stroll also in the top 10 after the first runs. That pace was worrying for Ferrari who could only do as well as 11th and 12th on the Medium tyres.

Ferrari would not be deterred as they persevered with the medium tyres for their final run. But it would be for nought as they couldn’t improve on their positions. They were beaten by George Russell who managed to get his Williams on the top 10, and most importantly, it was on the medium tyres. A brilliant job by George.

Fernando Alonso was looking to replicate his Q1 pace, but he was held up at the final corner by Sebastian Vettel. Alonso was furious and it denied him a place in Q3. This would be taken to the stewards.

Eliminated: Giovinazzi (15th), Alonso (14th), Ricciardo (13th), Leclerc (12th), Sainz (11th).

Q3

It was now time for the shoot-out!

Max Verstappen had been the pace setter for every session so far and it was no different after the first runs in Q3. The two Mercedes cars could not keep up and they couldn’t even go faster than Lando Norris who did an amazing job to put his McLaren in 2nd place.

George Russell qualified in 9th place, Mr Saturday indeed. Credit: Williams F1

Perez was behind the Mercedes in 5th followed by Gasly in 6th, replicating his qualifying position from last weekend. Vettel was in 7th after the first runs and the Ferrari drivers would want to keep an eye on where he would end up as his likely penalty could promote them to the top 10.

It was going to be a tense final run as Mercedes needed it to be perfect. But it would not be Mercedes who would make this session interesting.

Lando Norris found some great pace to go purple in the first sector. Max wasn’t improving and Lando was chipping away as Max’s lap time bit by bit. In the end it wouldn’t be enough for the young Brit as he missed out by half a tenth of a second.

Perez jumped both Mercedes to round out the top 3. Hamilton could only get 4th place and Bottas would line up behind him in 5th.

But I have to take off my hat to George Russell who jumped Stroll right at the end to qualify 9th place. With the potential for Vettel getting a penalty, he could start in 8th. We will not be jinxing him on this website

Full classification

2021 Austrian GP – Have Mercedes found an edge on Red Bull?- FP1 & FP2 report

Some may not see the point of doing another day of practice at a track that had held a Grand Prix only five days ago, but here we are for the second part of the Austrian double header.

It was a much tougher day than most expected with may drivers struggling to find their feet early on. The tyre compounds are a step softer this weekend compared to last so there was much still to figure out for a lot of team.

So, let’s get straight into the action.

FP1

Several teams had opted to run their test drivers in the morning session. Guanyu Zhou stepped in for Fernando Alonso for Alpine; Callum Ilott got his first outing this season as test driver for alfa Romeo; and Roy Nissany made his hundredth appearance in the Williams, stepping in for George Russell.

Stroll narrowly avoiding the wall on the exit of turn 10. Credit: F1.

Red bull continued from where they left off last weekend as Max Verstappen topped the timing charts. However, teams were running various programmes during first practice.

Mercedes looked as though they were focusing on long runs. But, when Mercedes did attempt to do some quicker runs, they were plagued by tyre issues. Lewis Hamilton complained that he could not get the tyres switched on. This saw both Lewis and Valterri running wide at turn 1 as they attempted a fast lap.

Mercedes were not the only ones struggling with the soft tyre though. Stroll had two big moments which saw him off the track. First, he dipped his tyre into the gravel on the exit of turn 6 which sent him into a spin. After some drifting on the grass, he got back going again.

The second time almost ended in disaster as he completely lost the rear coming out of the final corner. He was lucky to keep it out of the barrier, but it was far from encouraging for Stroll and Aston Martin.

But the common theme of this session was Nikita Mazepin. He couldn’t help himself by getting in the way of both Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. Raikkonen almost ran into the back of Mazepin as he entered the pit-lane and made his feelings very clear with a hand gesture to the Russian.

As for Hamilton, Mazepin was crawling around turn 3 and almost turned in on the seven-time world champion. Quick reactions from Mazepin meant that he didn’t cause a crash.

But this would all be forgotten as the drivers focused on FP2.

FP2

There were reports of rain at the very start of the session, but it wasn’t anything to worry about as it was very light.

Many drivers chose to run Pirelli’s prototype tyres at the start of the second practice session. Pirelli were testing a new, tougher hard tyre with hopes to use them at Silverstone. Despite not taking the flak for the Baku blowouts, it’s clear they will be doing something about it.

Hamilton struggling in the damp conditions late on in the session. Credit: F1

Ferrari had some nagging issues in the morning session despite their quick times, and these issues crept up again in the afternoon. Leclerc had a scary moment at turn 9 in the early part of the session. His rear stepped out on him as he turned it. Luckily for the Monegasque he managed to catch it, but the Ferrari certainly looks a handful.

Half-way through the session and the attention turned away from long runs and into quali runs. It was the two Mercedes who took the top two steps with Verstappen two tenths off Hamilton’s time.

There were a few surprises as well as both Aston Martins looked very quick. Both AlphaTauri’s were showing the pace from last weekend as well.

As the session came into it’s final third, the rain started to pick up. It only came a week late. Their is a potential for rain during the race and drivers continued to run to get a good idea of how far they could run while the rain was coming down.

This did mean that we were not going to see anymore flashy laps as the teams sent of their drivers to gather data about the wet conditions.

But when you go out on a damp track on slick tyres, you can expect some drivers to find it difficult to keep their car on the track. Lewis Hamilton was the first victim of the damp conditions as he ran off the track on the exit of turn 4. After a trip through the gravel he was able to re-join the track and continue on his way.

Norris was the second victim as he lost the rear on the exit of turn 1. He managed to avoid the barrier and get his car facing the right way. His tyres were nicely flat spotted and with only a few minutes remaining, he was forced to change his tyres

Ferrari continued their strong form

Ferrari showed great race pace last weekend despite a poor qualifying. It looks like it could be the same again this weekend.

Charles Leclerc out on the Pirelli prototype tyres. Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

The long-run pace that they showed in FP1 was very impressive and even though the tyres are a step softer this weekend, Ferrari will be ones to watch in the race.

The quali simulations in FP2 only saw Sainz in 11th and Leclerc in 16th, but I expect that when Qualifying comes round tomorrow, the red cars won’t be that low down.

Ferrari are only 12 points behind McLaren in the constructors championship and if they can get another great result this weekend then they are going to be right with them. Ricciardo had another difficult day with McLaren and it looks as though it will be a long weekend for him.

Ferrari will need to pounce of this, and I think they could do it again this weekend.

FP1 Classification

Credit: F1

FP2 Classification

Grid Talk podcast

Want to get some more build up to the weekend? The Grid Talk crew previewed this weekend’s Grand Prix in their latest podcasted. This week Louis Edwards hosted Owain Medford, Garry Sloan and Tom Downey. Both the audio and video links are below so make sure to check it out.

Alice Powell wins the season opener of W Series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria despite late safety car

Alice Powell has won the season opener of W Series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria ahead of Sarah Moore.

Leading a controlled race, pole sitter Powell had a strong start off the line and was able to hold position at the front of the field, despite a late safety car.

Moore comfortably held second position while being put under pressure from Scuderia W teammate, Belen Garcia. But mistakes in the opening laps put Garcia on the backfoot falling down the order and under pressure from Beitske Visser and Emma Kimilainen behind.

A safety car was required as Marta Garcia pulled to the side of the track and retiring in the closing ten minutes of the race. The safety car restart meant that there was a short two lap sprint to finish the race.

On the restart Kimilianen collided with Visser, sending the M. Forbes Motorsport driver spinning. Kimilainen sustained front wing damage after the incident and struggled to make it too the end, falling down the order with parts flying off the car in the final lap to finish P14. The incident between the two will be investigated after the race.

Defending champion Jamie Chadwick was sent to the back of the field after Jess Hawkins locked up and collided with the rear of Chadwick’s car into Turn 1. Chadwick struggled to make it back trough the traffic but recoverd in the Safety car restart to to finish P7. The incident will be investigated by the stewards after the race.

Provisional Classification

The return of W Series: Everything you need to know

This weekend eighteen female drivers will climb into the cockpits of their Tatuus F3-318’s and fight it out in the first round of the W-Series 2021 season at the Red Bull Ring.

After a year out in 2020 due to the pandemic W Series, which is designed to be “the world’s most popular and inclusive female sporting series”, is ready to build on the momentum of the inaugural season along with a new partnership with F1 to propel more women into top level motorsport.

But the inaugural season in 2019 was not immune to controversy and the series is hoping to put fans criticism about indistinguishable livery designs behind them with the transition to a team based championship from 2021 including new livery designs and external partners including Veloce, Puma and Miguel Forbes.

First of all, what is W Series?

W Series in an all-female single-seater FIA F3 championship which was launched in 2018. The championship hopes to be able to turn the tide for women in motorsport after more than 45 years since the last female racer in Formula 1, Lella Lombardi.

The series, unlike other junior formulas, aims to remove barriers and provide equal opportunities as it is free-to-enter. Therefore W Series is able to offer a platform for female drivers who have been unable to gather funding throughout their career up to now.

The winner of the W Series championship receives £500,000 to go towards their motorsport career with a further £1m split between the rest of the drivers, depending on championship finishing position.

Courtesy of W Series: 2019 Season Finale Brands Hatch

Not only is the series focused on the current field but also the female racers of the future, with the hopes that, the current stars of single seater motorsport in this years W Series will encourage more young girls to take up karting at the grassroots of the sport.

While W series’ CEO Catherine Bond Muir’s words that; “If W Series does not succeed, we would have let down a whole generation” may seem excessive – they are very much not – the future of women in F1 somewhat depends entirely on the success of this championship. We are currently not close to having a female driver in F1 and the success of this project may not be seen for years to come. However, with ever-growing audience appetite for women’s sport and increasing external partners; the future of W Series looks bright.

W Series move to a team-based championship

W series will become a team-based championship in 2022 with this year’s season operating as a period of transition.

As mentioned previously, W Series faced criticism from fans in 2019 due to indistinguishable livery designs compounded by W Series’ rules that mean drivers change cars in each round. 

Courtesy W Series: Pre Season Testing Anglesey

This season will see six teams branded by external partners with the remaining teams continuing to be branded by the championship, with new livery designs. The new owners range from existing brands, individuals as well as racing teams.

To protect the championships aim for equal opportunities for all drivers, the cars will continue to be serviced and maintained by the championship as well as remaining mechanically identical.

Among the six new teams are names such as sportswear brand Puma, businessman Miguel Forbes and Veloce racing who’s Extreme E team includes W-Series 2019 champion, Jamie Chadwick.

The Weekend format

The Weekend format for the first two rounds begin with a thirty-minute Practice session and thirty-minute qualifying on a Friday followed by the race on Saturday afternoon. The first round in Spielberg is as follows (In local time):

Practice: Friday 25th June 13:10

Qualifying: Friday 25th June 16:30

Race: Saturday 26th June 16:30

Other than the first two rounds in Austria, the exact times of sessions have not been confirmed so we are likely to see some variation of the weekend depending on the schedule of Formula 1 and other supporting categories at events.

The Drivers and teams for 2021

Team Drivers
Bunker Racing Fabienne Wohlwend (5) and Sabre Cook (37)
M. Forbes MotorsportBeitske Visser (95) and Ayla Agren (17)
Puma W Series TeamMarta Garcia (19) and Gosia Rdest (3)
Racing XAlice Powell (27) and Jess Hawkins (21)
Sirin RacingMiki Koyama (54) and Vicky Piria (11)
Veloce RacingJamie Chadwick (55) and Bruna Tomaselli (97)
Ecurie WEmma Kimiläinen (7) and Abbie Eaton (44)
Scuderia WSarah Moore (26) and Belen Garcia (22)
W Series Academy Irina Sidorkova (51) and Nerea Marti (32)

F3: Jack Doohan wins around a wet Paul Ricard to take race victory

Jack Doohan has taken his maiden win in the third Formula 3 race of the weekend, with his race coming alive in the drying track conditions as the rain eased.

Doohan passed Dennis Hauger on Lap 15 as the Prema driver lost time, struggling to cool the wet tyres, in the drying conditions.

Pulling the move on the inside of the final corner, Hauger did not make it easy for the Australian, with the pair going wheel to wheel for much of the first sector. Although Hauger kept the pressure on, the Trident driver held on to the top podium position.

Dennis Hauger, finishing P2, had a stronger start than Pole sitter Frederik Vesti off the line in the wet conditions. The Prema driver, evidently confident, stretched out a gap to the rest of the grid by the first lap but couldn’t match the pace of Doohan on the wet tyres in the closing laps.

Caio Collet gained confidence as the track dried out, slipping passed Frederick Vesti as he struggled to cool the tyres and later Victor Martins, to take the last step on the podium in P3.

Clement Novalak had a strong start making up three positions in the opening laps as the drivers tried to find where the grip was.  Novalak was in no time on the tail of Frederick Vesti as the drivers slipped around the track. However the Trident driver couldn’t match the pace of the top four as the track dried out.

Provisional Classification

F3: Arthur Leclerc leads a dominant drive in France to take maiden F3 win

Arthur Leclerc has won the second sprint race around the Paul Ricard circuit in France maintaining the lead throughout, confidently ahead of his two team mates.

It was a battle of the Prema’s for the lead in the opening laps as reverse-grid pole sitter Leclerc maintained the lead with a strong start as second placed Jak Crawford stalled on the line, sending him to the back of the grid.

Dennis Hauger took the inside line to get ahead of fellow Prema driver Olli Caldwell on the eighth lap and the two battled as Leclerc stretched out a gap of over two seconds as the race passed the half way stage.

Victor Martins, finishing P3, was able to make a move on Caldwell in the penultimate lap as the Prema struggled for grip.

Martins had an electric opening to the race, making up six places by the third lap. The Frenchman, while initially unable to close on the DRS train of the front three, maintained his tyres to slip passed Caldwell to take his second podium of the day in P3.

Jack Doohan was able to get passed Ayumu Iwasa on the first lap and was able to begin to close down on the Prema’s ahead. The Trident driver was unable to keep up with the pace of the leading three however and fell out of the DRS train to finish P5.  

The battle for P6 continued in the DRS train between Clement Novalak, Ayumu Iwasa Alexander Smolyar and Calan Williams but the DRS train was unable to catch the top five.

While Novalak picked up the pace toward the end of the race Iwasa lost out in battles to finish to P9.

The final F3 race of the weekend takes place at 11:40am Local Time on Sunday.

Final Classification

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