We are officially announcing that the Sportlight brand has joined the Chronicle family.
Founder of Sportlight, George Howson, who regularly hosts the Grid Talk podcast for the F1 Chronicle, was eager to combine his resources with those of the Chronicle suite of sites.
‘I’m buzzing about this move, as I think it is the next step in the evolution of what I dreamed of achieving with Sportlight.
‘F1 Chronicle has a huge following, and I’m eager to get stuck in and help to grow that even further.
‘My other passion, football, was very popular on Sportlight and I look forward to the work we did there continuing on the newly-branded Futbol Chronicle website.
‘This progression helps the Sportlight team tap into the resources of the Chronicle, while we bring our excellent writing and analysis to the table.
It’s a win-win for both brands!’
Co-founder of the Chronicle brand, Jarrod Partridge, was equally as excited, adding ‘I’ve seen the work George put into Sportlight over the years, what he has built there is an absolute credit to him and his writers. I can’t wait to be able to offer my expertise and help them all take the next step in their sports journalism careers.
While there is still some work to be done behind the scenes, in the coming weeks the Sportlight website and social media channels will be rebranded to reflect the new direction of both businesses.
After yesterday’s dramatic qualifying session, where Max Verstappen threw away an almost certain pole position lap with a crash at the final corner, the scene was set for a tense penultimate race of this incredible 2021 championship battle.
It was of course his title rival, Lewis Hamilton, who profited to take pole ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Verstappen looking to strike back from third and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari looking to disrupt the party from a superb fourth.
After a chaotic Formula 2 sprint race earlier on in the day, where a scary startline crash between Theo Pourchaire and Enzo Fittipaldi led to both drivers visiting hospital and lengthy red flag delays, many were fearful for a chaotic start to the Grand Prix.
Fortunately this start was incident-free as the top four retained their places, despite a strong attack on Leclerc’s fourth place by the Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
The race then settled into a calm early rhythm, the top three nose-to-tail, with Leclerc and Perez battling for fourth well ahead of Lando Norris, best of the rest in sixth.
Early Safety Car Adds Strategy Dilemma
With the race going along quite smoothly, it was inevitable that the already infamous Turn 22 would soon catch a victim and Mick Schumacher’s Haas was the unfortunate culprit on Lap 10.
The two Mercedes, Leclerc and Perez immediately took the chance to pit. However Verstappen’s Red Bull decided to stay out and gain track position, albeit with a pit stop still to make.
Hamilton and Bottas remained P2 and P3 behind the Dutchman after the stops, with Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo, who also chose not to stop, rounding out the top five. Leclerc was now sixth, ahead of Pierre Gasly (who was yet to pit) and Perez in eighth.
Red Flag Adds Controversy
With the barrier repairs taking considerable time, the red flag was displayed by the FIA to allow them to ensure they proceed safely.
However being able to change tyres during a red flag meant that Red Bull’s decision to stay out paid immediate dividends, as Verstappen could now effectively take a “free pit stop” and take the lead.
After the repairs were completed, the newly reformed grid took a new standing start with this time Red Bull ahead of Mercedes.
The Start (Part 2)
So on Lap 15, the race effectively started again and would only last a few more corners before chaos reigned again.
Verstappen didn’t get the best launch, allowing Hamilton to get alongside and seemingly ahead into Turn 1, before the Red Bull came in late on the brakes and was squeezed off the track by the Mercedes.
Behind them however, Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc got together, causing the other Red Bull to spin across the track onto the path of all the oncoming cars. As George Russell’s Williams slowed to avoid the Mexican, Nikita Mazepin came in unsighted and smashed into the back of the Brit, taking them both out of the race.
Then followed the first of several controversial FIA decisions. Verstappen, deemed to have overtaken Hamilton off the track, was then informed by Michael Masi to Red Bull that he must start behind Hamilton at the restart or he will be referred to the stewards.
The only problem being, Esteban Ocon’s Alpine had forced itself ahead of Hamilton before the red flag in all the melee! This therefore created a new grid for the third restart of Ocon, Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Bottas, Gasly and Leclerc.
Third Time Lucky?
At the third time of asking, the race finally got away properly on Lap 17 and Verstappen made amends for his earlier poor start by launching away from P3 and sending one up the inside of both Ocon and Hamilton to lead the race.
Hamilton soon flew past Ocon when the cars came back down the pit straight to take P2, with Ocon, Ricciardo and Bottas making up the top five.
Gasly was now sixth, with Antonio Giovinazzi and Sebastian Vettel doing a great job in seventh and eighth, Yuki Tsunoda and Leclerc the remaining points scorers.
However on Lap 23, this changed again as Tsunoda and Vettel made contact through Turn 2, sending the Aston Martin into a spin and Tsunoda with a broken front wing. As this went on, the two Ferraris went side-by-side into Turn 1, with Sainz getting ahead of Leclerc for now P8.
The Virtual Safety Car was deployed to clear the mess as the race then entered its second half.
The Title Duel Is On
Vettel’s eventful race continued on Lap 27 as a feisty Kimi Raikkonen attempted to fight him round the outside leading to more contact and more debris strewn across the track.
This inevitably led to another Virtual Safety Car, which continued to neutralise the duel between Hamilton and Verstappen at the front. This period in fact lasted several laps, as the marshals attempted a full clean-up of the track from all the various incidents throughout the race.
Finally on Lap 33 the race resumed, crucially giving Verstappen a few extra laps of life for his medium tyres compared to Hamilton’s hards.
This lasted precisely 3 laps before another piece of Aston Martin landed on the track and led to a brief further Virtual Safety Car interruption.
As the green flags came back out, Hamilton was right on the back of Verstappen. This allowed Lewis to get a run into Turn 1 using DRS and as the two went side-by-side, predictably it ended in contact again.
The Most Dramatic Collision of All?
Then came the most confusing and bizarre few laps of the entire season. Verstappen was instructed by the FIA to let Hamilton pass, adjudged to have forced the Mercedes off the track.
Verstappen seemed to oblige, and slowed considerably to let Hamilton through. However, the Mercedes driver was clearly not informed of the situation and confused, stayed behind the Dutchman until he slowed so much that they collided, damaging both Hamilton’s front wing and the rear of the Red Bull.
Verstappen scampered away ahead, however soon slowed again to let the Brit pass into the final Turn 27. He let him through before immediately repassing going onto the main straight, quite cheekily.
However at this point, Verstappen then received a 5-second penalty, although before he got the message to confirm that, he let Hamilton past for good to finally assume the lead in a crazy sequence.
All Tied Into Abu Dhabi
At this point, the lead battle finally calmed down, with Hamilton cruising home to victory as Verstappen nursed his worn mediums and damaged car to finish P2. With Hamilton getting the extra point for fastest lap, this incredibly puts the two drivers level on points going into the Abu Dhabi season finale.
Behind them, Esteban Ocon was on his way to a brilliant podium, until out of the final corner of the final lap, Bottas used DRS to propel past across the line and crush the Frenchman and Alpine’s hearts to take away P3.
Ricciardo drove a solid, and actually uneventful race home to fifth ahead of Gasly, whilst Leclerc repassed teammate Sainz in the closing laps to claim seventh. Rounding out the top 10 were Giovinazzi in a rare points finish for Alfa Romeo, whilst Lando Norris recovered from earlier drama to take home a single point.
With all that drama, Netflix could probably have made an entire documentary on that one race alone. However, there is still one more race to finally decide the winner of the now-war between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
Another unbeaten month under Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea top the Premier League table. Things may have not been perfect at Stamford Bridge over the last month, but fate keeps swinging their way.
October was a very busy month for Chelsea. They competed in all competitions and then had an international break to add to matters as well, but it was still a great month for the blues.
No Timo? No Romelu? No Problem.
It wasn’t just Lukaku or Werner who were absent from the team for parts of this month, but many players were forced to miss a few games.
Going into the final games of the month, Mount, Kovacic, and Pulisic were all also ruled out of contention. However, this had no impact on Chelsea’s free flowing style of play.
Actually, not having a recognised striker on the pitch wasn’t too dissimilar than having one on the pitch. Lukaku didn’t get a single goal in October, which was not helped by his absence, but still the Chelsea curse may be getting to him as well.
Werner on the other hand was able to bag himself a goal against Southampton. After that though, he hasn’t done too much before his injury.
The great thing about Chelsea this season is that the squad depth is incredible, and we have some of the best goal scorers all over the pitch so playing without a striker is not the end of the world.
Ben Chilwell and Reece James have been on fire as they have been netting goals left, right and centre this month.
Chilwell’s stunning volley was enough to beat a very tricky Brentford side. He didn’t stop there as he got another goal in Chelsea’s 7-0 thrashing of Norwich.
Mason Mount also stepped up out of the fog to get a hat-trick against Norwich.
Chelsea know no bounds on where goals can come from and currently we still don’t know how long Werner and Lukaku are going to be out. But no matter how long they are out, I’m still confident Chelsea will be able to score goals.
Can we talk about the Chelsea youth system?
I may be going out on a bit of a limb here, but I honestly think the Chelsea youth system (despite it’s many and quite overt flaws) is one of the best in world.
Since Lampard came in two years ago, we have really seen this explosion of incredibly talented youth players come to the forefront of Chelsea’s squad.
Trevor Chalobah, Reece James, Mason Mount, Andreas Christiansen, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Everyone of these players is a product of the Chelsea youth development and are all currently playing regular first team football for Chelsea. I don’t think it would be outrageous to say that if they were all to feature in the starting XI, Chelsea fans would not blink an eye.
Out of all of those players, one is rising to super stardom at the moment and that is Reece James. Despite possibly falling out of favour with Tuchel towards the end of last season, with Azpilicueta favoured on the right, he has come back with a bang.
He scored an audacious chip against Norwich before getting a brace with two thunderous volleys against Newcastle. He was a hero in the EFL cup as he scored the winning penalty against Southampton to send Chelsea to the Quarterfinals.
Not to mention all the clean sheets that Chelsea have kept this month to add to just how good Reece James has been up and down the pitch this month.
But there is one more player I have to give credit to.
From unemployment to hero
Edouard Mendy has been Chelsea’s most important saviour, not just this season, but ever since we signed him at the start of last season.
Mendy has kept nine clean sheets in the 13 games that he has played so far this season and in the other four games, he has conceded only four goals. That’s world class.
In the last month we have seen some particularly great performances from Mendy.
When Chelsea played Brentford, Brentford gave everything they could to try and deny Chelsea three points.
I have to applaud Brentford in that game because they were relentless and were so much fun to watch despite Chelsea being the team they were tearing to shreds at times.
It’s hard to put into words just how good Mendy was that game. He was making incredible saves look easy and when Christian Nordgaard when for an epic overhead kick, Mendy was there to make an equally epic save to deny Brentford in the dying embers.
Before that he made to critical saves to stop Brentford mounting any form of come back. Chelsea owed those three points to Mendy, and no one can argue against it.
Even in games where Chelsea looked to be cruising, occasionally Mendy would be called upon.
During the Norwich game, Rashica was awarded a beautiful opportunity to get a goal back from Norwich, but Mendy was right on it and made a fabulous save to deny what should have been a certain goal.
In games where Chelsea struggle to get goals, it’s going to be these performances from Mendy which could lead Chelsea to the title this season.
10 games played, 3 points clear, but a lot of work still be done
We are only a quarter of the way through the season, and I will admit that I am getting excited at Chelsea’s potential to win the league, but I have to remind myself that this is not going to be easy.
While Chelsea may be three point clear and have already played four of the other five big six teams, there is still potential for Chelsea to slip up.
I was concerned that we did not have a good month in September, and I think I was justified in thinking that.
This month has been better, no doubt, but we have come across opponents that we should be beating comfortably, so the results we have seen over the month should come as no surprise to anyone.
Our position in the league has come from fortunate results in other games. The day Chelsea beat Newcastle, Liverpool drew to Brighton and City lost to Crystal Palace.
Coming up is fairly tough month for Chelsea with Leicester, Burnley, and Manchester united. Teams that may not seem so tough but are always tricky games for Chelsea and can be very unpredictable.
Another international break and a Champions League game against Juventus could make next month difficult for Chelsea.
With the squad depth and the positivity around Chelsea at the moment, I feel as though Chelsea will be prepared for what is to come in November.
Former Manchester United player Eric Djemba-Djemba has recently opened up about his time as a professional football player. Speaking to Cal Blankendal and Vernon Springer on their Football Insight Podcast, the now-retired midfielder reflected on 15 years as a pro footballer.
Thankful for everything
Djemba-Djemba has been dubbed by Red Devils fans as the player so good “they named him twice”. While he never managed to live up to that hype at Old Trafford, the Cameroonian international is thankful for the opportunity to play at the top level.
“I enjoyed every moment, every second, every day. It was a dream for me to play for Manchester United, because when I was a kid, I loved to watch them on TV.” Djemba-Djemba told VA Sports.
“After three years in Nantes, I joined United and it was a dream.”
The 40-year-old also explained how he achieved his dream and sealed a £3.5 million move from Nantes in France:
“Some scouts came from England to watch me play. After that, I remember [Sir Alex] Ferguson came to watch me play. I think the decision came from him (Sir Alex) to buy me.”
Djemba-Djemba went on to say that Ferguson was like a father figure to the younger players in the Manchester United dressing room.
Mentality is key
Djemba-Djemba was also asked what players nowadays have to do to succeed and how much things have changed in football since he burst onto the scene 20 years ago:
“If you have a strong education, you will learn very fast. Today’s it’s not like 20 years ago, you can play in the Premier League at 16 years old. At that age, it’s very difficult to move to another country, you have to be strong mentally. You have to train hard and have respect for your teammates.”
One pressure associated with modern football and sport is that related to social media. There has been no-end to the abuse that professional sportspeople face on the internet, so what’s Djemba-Djemba’s advice to them?
“It’s easy to deal with that [online abuse]. Like I said before, it depends how they and your parents educate you and it depends where you want to be in life. So, you can have these social medias, but if you don’t know where you want to get to in life, you can’t deal with that.”
“Sometimes you need to be out of social media, because it can get to be too much and you can lose your concentration.”
Eric also said that he had never personally experienced racism while playing football.
Be sure to check Sportlightpro.com for more excepts from this interview!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was never going to simmer down was it? After the gamesmanship of the qualifying session, the events of the race were almost guaranteed not to be a dull affair, particularly with the eagerly awaited rain to just add that little extra to the the proceedings, something that ended up not being needed, as it all happened and produced the following reactions.
Staying on the theories, given what some fans seem to believe, this could have actually been a directive from the FIA.
As much as luck has fallen the way of the brit in recent weeks, there’s nothing more to it than that. The image of just Hamilton lining up on the grid was ripe for ridicule, particularly with those ever present theories.
George Russell really is a class act. Upon seeing that Williams had a real opportunity to use the pace in the car along with the difficulty to overtake and most importantly, using his car to help Latifi no matter the personal cost to his result, the Brit immediately got onto the team to say he had no problems.
If he needed a contract, that’d certainly make him more favourable, and karma gave him his first points, an excellent job all round.
Maybe they just didn’t remember the protocol after winning, maybe they’ve just got into the Olympic spirit and created a new sport of F1 Biathlon (On the cards for Paris 2024?). Either way, watching the second race to the podiums was both sublime and ridiculous.
And that’s it before the summer break. Formula 1 does as it does and after the antics of qualifying, offers up an even higher bar for the drama level to clear. Hopefully it’ll simmer down in the time off and the drivers will amp up the drama all over again. When it does, we’ll be here to round it all up with the help of the internet.
Grid Talk Podcast
Need to make sense of what actually happened and how big that effort was from the reigning champ? 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.
Well. That was an interesting one. Depending on what side of the fence you give your support, this weekend will have been either a dream or a nightmare, given the last few races. A brand new format is in the mix now and it’s fair to say there were mixed reactions to both that, and a very controversial incident on-track. The tangle between the champion and pretender to the throne dominated the memes so we’ll be taking a little bit of a different look this week.
Out of context, this looks bad from the 7 time Champion. Given a small amount of thought though, and the circumstances become clear. Hamilton was told Verstappen was ok, and had served his penalty, finally getting a win after 5 races being on the back foot. At home in front of a full crowd of fans would have felt unbelievable in comparison.
As much as the circumstances aren’t ideal to be praising Leclerc, the guy is doing what’s required to the letter. The Monegasque picked up the pieces after an accident in front, got past Bottas in what should be a faster Mercedes, and kept Hamilton behind for almost every lap and taking an unlikely win. Top marks from us.
Say what you want about the penalty (and canvassing the reaction online, people have) The stewards awarded him it, he took it, and he happened to win the race after it. End of story. Going down the route of applying penalties based on effect, while feeling ‘right’ is a dangerous slope, and would do more harm than good.
Clearly referencing the email Toto claimed to send to the race director (Not sure why, he’s not the stewards who actually decide the penalties)
This diagram misses a few things, such as similar moves by Lewis on Leclerc and if memory serves, Kovalainen in 2008 with no issue. At the speed and fuel loads both drivers approached the corner, neither has peak performance available. Lewis was also completely alongside and therefore had command of the width of the track and Verstappen could have gone wider as he had at Abbey, the first corner of the lap.
It’s also somewhat different to compare the Leclerc incident with Verstappen, as the gap in tyre grip was much wider. Amazingly, Leclerc had less tyre grip despite leading. Perhaps that’s a weakness of the Ferrari, but either way, Leclerc was forced to yield, rather than having the choice not to.
Even after the controversial events that cause Leclerc to be the leader for 50 laps, hearing he was losing power isn’t what any racing fan wants to hear. When expecting a clean dogfight between the sport’s best, mechanical trouble always leaves a fan feeling cheated.
F1’s red flag rules dictate a like-for-like replacement of parts in red flag conditions. This leaves only two possibilities when using duct tape to fix a £150,000 piece of carbon; Mercedes had no identical replacements, or they believed they could save money for the cost cap by using a quick fix.
While we’d love to believe the Spidercam (That is genuinely its name) was actually a flying squirrel only found in North Buckinghamshire and trained by Pinewood studios, alas, it’s not THAT cool and it’s just a marvellous shot we’ve had since 2011.
While a lot has been made of the penalty being too lenient, or that somehow the stewards favour the champion, the fact is that he commentators are racing drivers allowed their own opinion. Even on the main coverage, and in the paddock, there was a huge disparity in opinions. That’s a set of differences we have to respect.
With that controversy well and truly over. Oh who are we kidding. This will rumble on for at least the next couple of weeks. Coincidentally, that’s when F1 is back and we’re sure nothing controversial will happen there.
Grid Talk Podcast
Want some commentary on that controversy? 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.
Formula 1 fans outside of the U.K. have seldom found themselves hoping for a better turn of fortune for Mercedes during the hybrid era. Yet, here we are.
Max Verstappen is laying burnouts – quite literally – all over the competition. What started as a fight is turning into a demolition and the savagery is stunning.
At this point, it does not look like anything can stop Mad Max in 2021 – but is it too soon to count seven times champion Sir Lewis Hamilton out?
F1 cars in all their beauty will be singing their song in the Austrian Alps again this weekend.
While it’s always too early to dismiss Hamilton from a title fight, the long straights and wonderfully fast-flowing corners of the Red Bull Ring seems unlikely to be the place Mercedes mount a renewed charge.
Few tracks on the calendar conjure up such easy images of magnificent surroundings and blindingly fast cars. While most of the passing happens at the hard-right turn three, the most daring drivers will make it stick around Turn 6.
The rest of the lap is where speed shines and the chase intensifies before bottoming out in Turn 10 and blazing towards the stopwatch at the line.
Last time out
The fact that this week has been spent discussing the safety of Verstappen’s race-ending celebratory burn out on the finish line (how awesome was that?) because he finished so far ahead of second place tells the story of last week’s Styrian Grand Prix completely.
Verstappen dominated wire-to-wire for Red Bull’s fourth consecutive win and only a slow pit stop prevented Sergio Perez from joining him on the podium.
Mercedes did well to salvage second and third place for big points in the Constructor’s standings but the Silver Arrows were never a threat to Verstappen’s win.
Thankfully, at least Valtteri Bottas looked Iike the solid second driver that Mercedes desperately need for the first time in a while.
Beyond the leading four, both Ferrari and McLaren had one driver finish out of position and are likely to correct those anomalies for this repeat race which should make the midfield just as exciting this weekend.
Rinse and Repeat
Hindsight being the all-conquering view that it is, only sudden reliability woes will stop Red Bull from having two drivers on the podium this Sunday.
Though Mercedes may yet mount a more sustained challenge to Verstappen, given the Dutchman’s dominant display last Sunday, it seems more likely they’re in for another soul-crushing defeat. And it’s about time that happened.
The Austrian Grand Prix rounds out the first of F1’s 2021 triple-header weekends and will be roaring across your screen this weekend.
Practice 1 – 2nd July 10:30 – 11:30
Practice 2 – 2nd July 14:00 – 15:00
Practice 3 – 3rd July 11:00 – 12:00
Qualifying – 3rd July 14:00 – 15:00
Race – 4th July 14:00
*All times BST
Grid Talk Podcast
Want more content to preview your Austrian GP weekend? The Grid Talk crew previewed this weekend’s race in their latest podcast. Louis Edwards hosted Owain Medford, Garry Sloan and Tom Downey. Both video and audio versions of the show are linked below:
So, testing is just around the corner now, and despite the fact the cars are almost the same as last year, there will be plenty of eyes on how the teams get on.
There are only three days of testing this year, so it’s more important than ever for teams to hit the ground running. There are new aerodynamic regulations for this year, so the cars so teams will want to get to grips with the new parts for 2021.
Teams will not want to miss a single day of testing, because it could have huge repercussions for the upcoming season. So, what can you expect from the teams in testing this year? That’s what I’m here to answer.
The reigning champions will of course be hoping that their car is still the fastest on the grid, despite the new regulations.
Mercedes were very secretive with the development that they did on their barge boards and floor during their car launch, so eyes will be on what they came up to tackle the new regulations. This team have always come up with ingenious innovations to tackle any regulation change, and I’m hoping that this year will be no different.
Mercedes did report that they were having issues with their new engine. With reliability being key over the next three days, the last thing they need is any engine trouble. That also goes for the three other teams running Mercedes engines.
Surely, he can’t do any worse than Gasly in his first test with the team!
The car is built around Max, which will make Perez’s job that bit harder, but as an experienced driver, I expect him to adapt well and hit the ground running.
Out of all the teams on the grid, the most pressure to get off to a good start is on McLaren. McLaren have changed the most on their chassis to accommodate the new Mercedes engine.
McLaren will be hoping to retain third in the championship, but they know it’s going to be a tough challenge.
Unlike Perez, Ricciardo has had some limited testing of the MCL35M in a shakedown test at Silverstone. So, while his experience may be limited, he does have some time in the new car. It will be interesting to see how Lando and Daniel compare right out the gate.
This test will also be Fernando Alonso’ first time in the car. He has been doing some private testing in the 2019 Renault, but it will be a big adjustment for Fernando.
While two years may not seem like a long time, things move fast in Formula One and it can be difficult to readjust to the new Formula. All eyes will be on Fernando during his first outing.
This test is going to be huge for Ferrari. After a very dismal year, the only way is up for the team in Scarlett red.
Mattia Binotto has stressed that Ferrari have taken leap with their power unit as well as their aerodynamic efficiency. Straight line speed plagued them last season and if they can make good on their promises then we could see a very competitive car.
Bahrain is a perfect track for us to see just how good these changes are. I can’t imagine that Ferrari will be looking to set the timing screen alight, but if they can get some good, consistent running then it could set them up very nicely.
Rather than looking forwards, Alfa Romeo will likely be looking over their shoulders during this test. It is an unknown at this point how the Williams or Haas will perform this season, and they will be big competition for the Italians.
All Alfa Romeo can do for now is make sure to get through all three days will no issues.
Haas have already said that they have given up on development of their 2021 car already. So, don’t expect it to be very quick.
Haas will be using this test mostly to get their drivers up to speed. While both Schumacher and M*****n have had experience in Formula one cars, they are yet to drive the new car.
The goal for both drivers will be to get as many miles driven as possible and pray that nothing goes wrong. Haas were hampered with crashes and spins last year. That could have been down to the two drivers they had in car, but it did them no favours.
Finally, it would make sense to have both drivers be in the car during testing, however that will not be the case. Test driver Roy Nissany will be in the car on the first day. Meaning Latifi and Russell will both get half a day less running than the other drivers.
So, it’s not long to go now until the 2021 Formula One season gets under way and I can’t wait. While I should stress that you should NOT read too much into testing, we will learn a lot about these cars over the next three days.
That’s it, the first of Bahrain International Circuit’s two rounds for the 2020 Formula 1 calendar is in the books, and what an example the Sakhir Grand Prix will have to follow after an electric display.
We’d use another adjective to describe it but given the circumstances, it seems in fairly poor taste.
Now, without further hypocrisy, here are the top 10 memes we could find from the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
They say comedy is just tragedy plus time. Thanks to the Halo, marshals and medical car staff tragedy played no part today. Romain Grosjean was relatively unscathed and only has burns on his hands and ankles. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Grosjean’s crash was a horror to watch even with all the safety procedures F1 thankfully uses. A similar amount of fire erupted in the crash and I’m surprised Grosjean isn’t being called the Nomex King.
We all love a bit of spectacle. However, as one of our writers said during the lengthy red flag period, we could have done with a nice boring race after. Frustrating though that is, it gives our hearts less to worry about.
Even at the time of writing, it still feels like a miracle, despite the measures in place to ensure driver safety. Almost all of them did their jobs as designed, yet the fact Grosjean walked away still has an element of the unfathomable about it.
What with high degradation, a Racing point going up in smoke and stoppages throughout, the Bahrain Grand Prix seemed to be the anti-heroic version of the Tuscan Grand Prix. 2020’s F1 still seems to have some surprises left after all.
We alluded to it earlier, but yes, it all ended in heartbreak for the Silverstone outfit last night in Sakhir. Hopefully the consolation of a fresh engine for the ‘oval’ in a week’s time can inspire Perez to get his rightful podium.
Perez has never achieved back to back podiums and Albons sorely needed one which left us wondering, is it too much to ask for both? Alas, Mercedes’ power unit is fallible, just not in a car with black bodywork.
This is the second time in as many races that F1 cars have shared the circuit with recovery vehicles and personnel, raising concerns about trackside operations.
Lando’s shock wasn’t unfounded and the FIA needs to take a look at their procedures before anyone gets injured.
They won’t have long however, with just 4 days before we get back underway for more meme-worthy events when F1 returns for the Sakhir Grand Prix on the fabled outer loop circuit.
To tide you over until then though, make sure you check out the The Grid Talk crew’s race previews, qualifying analysis and race review for every GP weekend. You can check out the latest show on our Podcast section.