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.