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Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix

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

1

Posted on Reddit by Tj0ektj0ek

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

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

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

2

Posted on Reddit by Oli258

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

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

3

Posted on Reddit by stephennedumpally

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

4

Posted on Reddit by eggheadking

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

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

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

5

Posted on Reddit by Summerof1974

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

6

Posted on Reddit by Lucid_Night

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

7

Posted on Reddit by Oli258

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

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

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

8

Posted on Reddit by christopher_msa

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

9

Posted on Reddit by Ikcatcher

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

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

10

Posted on Reddit by Unfunny_Gamer

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

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

Grid Talk Podcast

Want to unravel exactly what caused the excitement today? The Grid Talk crew produce a preview, qualifying analysis show and race review for every Grand Prix weekend. You can check out the latest show on our Podcast section.

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

5 DRIVERS WHO NEED A GOOD RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX TODAY

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

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

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

5 Drivers who need a Good Russian Grand Prix Today

Sochi, the venue where Mercedes have dominated with stupendous consistency could well see the dominant narrative making space for a boy who’ll dominate the sport in the years to come. 

In what is an excellent opportunity for Lando Norris to storm to a maiden victory, McLaren quite literally are in the driver’s seat. With a clear track ahead of them to bag a second – and lest it not be forgotten, stupendous- victory in 2021. 

Followed by the quietly efficient Sainz, in his maiden season with the Scuderia and Russell in third, Sochi’s starting three could well be this year’s most admired and widely exciting troika. 

What’ll happen up ahead is something only time will tell. But for now, let’s see which drivers would love to make a race to remember given not such a fantastic quali and recent race form?

Kimi Raikkonen

Raikkonen’s final season in F1 isn’t going to plan

The Iceman, competing in the last few races of his F1 career, will be keen to make the most of what’s left. It didn’t help Kimi, standing next to an abominable points tally of 2, that he had to sit out of Monza and Zandvoort thanks to the Coronavirus. 

Yet, true to the surprising ways in which one of the sport’s icons has fought back, the Finn’s got something that’s admirable. 

The old man of the grid has shown the youngsters how it’s done on race days. Despite 2021 being the year where his qualifying form has been “s*it” as how he’d himself put it, he’s still gained the most positions when compared to nineteen others on the grid (29) after fourteen rounds. 

Moreover, a P16 in the driver’s standings means Raikkonen has, at least, emerged ahead of Giovinazzi, who’s constantly outpaced him on most Saturdays so far, hasn’t done too miserably. 

Not that the soon-to-be 42-year-old would count it as anything but still, in the context of the race and knowing his penchant to make the most on the race days, Kimi Matias Raikkonen will be keen, albeit reticently, to make a race out of Sochi. 

But can he actually do that? 

Sebastian Vettel

Aston Martin are slowly slipping further and further behind AlphaTauri

Here are the previous four race results for the German Aston Martin driver, all set to start his Russian contest from eleventh on the grid. 

A 12th at Italy, 13th at Zandvoort, a 5th at Spa-Francorchamps, and an embarrassing – if not controversial- disqualification at the Hungaroring. 

It’s been a season where one’s witnessed shades of the dauntless Vettel of the past, the man who stormed to a fine podium at the incident-marred Azerbaijan Grand Prix, a result that should ideally have shut his critics’ mouth. 

But that being said, Vettel, who’s not been able to ace his Saturday game as such this season, would look at Sochi as a great opportunity to bounce back to form and collect handy points. 

That the last two races didn’t result in any should motivate the four-time world champion to get up to speed and hit back hard. 

But will it be any easy given Ocon (tenth), Perez (ninth) and teammate Stroll (eighth) could possibly make life difficult for Vettel? 

It’s a Bond of trust and redoubtable capability that the German would like to forge with his AMR 21 here at Sochi. 

Forget not that the License to drive and excel rests with you, Seb! 

Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda finds himself in this dishonourable top five yet again

Tsunoda, who starts from thirteenth on the grid, would be keen to convert his insipid qualifying result into a prominent performance at Sochi. 

But hang on, P13 isn’t nearly as bad as what the AlphaTauri driver managed in the previous two Saturday battles! 

Since the Italian and Dutch GP, quali runs were anything but mind-blowing. 

A seventeenth on the starting grid at Monza and a fifteenth at Zandvoort suggest Tsunoda’s not exactly been having a ball on Saturdays. 

This is primarily why his Sochi run is a tad bit disappointing albeit being better than the recent efforts. 

But in a few hours’ time, it’ll be down to how Yuki manages his race at Sochi which will form one of the key highlights of the race, especially down to the fact that he’ll be right behind Gasly for the 53-lap run. 

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen will hope he can charge through the field this afternoon

The last three race results for the current championship reader read- DNF at Monza, which came prior to two race wins, one each at the returning Dutch GP and the Belgian GP. 

While Spa-Francorchamps’s race win may not count as a win from the purist’s perspective, the win at Zandvoort was Max back to his best. Something he’d quite like to have maintained at Monza which is when the dramatic, widely debated and rancor-causing crash with Hamilton happened. 

While it ended both drivers’ race, from the perspective of maintaining the lead over the championship, it was a massive blow for Verstappen in that where it stands today, his lead over second-place Lewis Hamilton is a mere five and a half points. 

It’s something he’d quite like to have build on here at Sochi had the start from the back of the grid not have hurt Max’s chances, which are seriously slated to dent a chance in his championship unless a miracle happens and the Flying Dutchman is able to storm to the top three at Sochi. 

It’ll be an exciting contest to watch out for. 

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton has work to do if he’s to capitalise on Verstappen’s back-row start. Image: F1

A fourth in qualifying isn’t the worst possible place on the starting grid- is it? 

But the moment you see Mercedes, winners of every single Grand Prix here at Sochi, starting from behind a troika comprising McLaren, Ferrari and Williams, the latter, their customer team, you feel something’s amiss. 

Where Sir Lewis Hamilton, second on the Driver Standings, is concerned, a result among the top three, which isn’t impossible at all, would be akin to a win given his target has to be to finish as ahead as possible over his archrival Max Verstappen. 

But what shall the 53 laps up ahead unfold- a triumph for LH 44 or a disappointing race finish given those in front of the seven-time world champion are among the youngest and finest on the grid- it’ll be endlessly fascinating. 

Can Hammertime strike the remainder of the grid akin to Putin’s feared reign of Russia? Let’s wait and see. 

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more reaction to qualifying at the Russian GP? Never fear, the Grid Talk crew are here with their latest podcast! Ruby Price hosted Tom Downey and Louis Edwards as they analysed qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix. Both audio and video versions of the show are linked below:

F1 2021 Russian Grand Prix Preview: Can the rain help Max pull off a miracle?

I used to think the Gods of F1 were blind. Lightning bolts desperately needed to be cast down on someone not named Mercedes and fan desperation never seemed to be enough to persuade them to pull the trigger. Well, here we are.

After yet another stunning race result nobody saw coming in Italy, it’s safe to say our calls have been answered. The booms from the thundering Gods are so loud nobody can know what’s going to happen next.

“Mercedes win in Russia”, “Max terrorises Sochi”, “McLaren finish 1-2 again”, “Kimi Raikkonen wins for Alfa Romeo”. At this point, none of those headlines would be a surprise and each is worth cheering for its own reasons.

Track guide

Russia is justifiably decried as one of the most boring tracks on the F1 calendar. It’s dead flat, unimaginative, and looks as though it was fenced like a prison yard. But it is wickedly fast and a place where mistakes are punished. While it has rarely held exciting races since its 2014 inception, this year’s F1 landscape is wholly different.

Image: F1

Sochi’s main point of interest is the huge left-hand Turn 3 that finishes off the fast Sector 1. From there, Sector 2 slows down and challenges the drivers with sharp corners leading to the back straight and a good passing opportunity. Sector 3 is all about getting it right before blasting down the main straight. Watch for an opening lap lead change or general mayhem at Turn 2.

Last time out

This was Ricciardo’s first win in over three years

Monza is F1 royalty for good reason. Every year, the Temple of Speed serves up a classic and this year was no different. A perfectly executed emphasis on aerodynamic balance saw Daniel Ricciardo earn McLaren’s first race win since 2012. Lando Norris followed the Australian home in second place to underscore the team’s triumph.

Lewis and Max made contact twice, finally taking each other out in a scary fashion the second time, and adding to the intrigue of their title fight. Valtteri Bottas, seeming like a man possessed since his contract non-renewal at Mercedes, fought all the way back to the podium from last. To say Monza was a race filled with story threads would be an understatement.

Will Verstappen and Hamilton collide again?

We could see similar scenes to this in Sochi again this weekend

There is more than one pivotal point to watch in Sochi. The most obvious is whether Max and Lewis can keep the racing contact-free. The two title contenders have seemed magnetic at times and it has cost them both. They are each fortunate the title fight remains intense.

Further incidents will start having more pronounced effects on the points table and with both teams seemingly capable of winning it all, an incident that heavily favours one team may wind up deciding it all.

As discussed earlier, McLaren won in Monza but, interestingly, the team did it on merit. With pole-sitter Bottas taking penalties and starting last, Ricciardo mugged his former teammate Verstappen into Turn 1 and dominated from there. He never appeared under serious threat even with a safety car working against him.

It would be premature to assume McLaren are suddenly in the title fight, but it is not so crazy to think they’ll be hanging around the top for the remainder of 2021.

Sergio Perez is another driver to keep an eye on this weekend. The Mexican has seen an up-and-down 2021 with a recent run of mixed results. He has always driven the Sochi Autodrome well and will be looking for a return to the podium.

Russia may sometimes be looked at like a race that can be missed. But in 2021, with the wild swings, surprise results, tight races and championship leads it would a mistake not to be excited for this weekend. The Russian Grand Prix is this Sunday, September 26th.

Session Times

Practice 1, Sept 24th: 09:30 – 10:30 (4:30 – 5:30 EST)

Practice 2, Sept 24th: 13:00 – 14:00 (8:00 – 9:00 EST)

Practice 3, Sept 25th: 10:00 – 11:00 (5:00 – 6:00 EST)

Qualifying, Sept 25th: 13:00 – 14:00 (8:00 – 9:00 EST)

Race, Sept 26th: 13:00 (8:00 EST)

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

Grid Talk Podcast

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

F1 Blast from the Past: Hamilton closes in on third title at Sochi

Background

Formula 1 made its second visit to the Sochi Autodrom for the fifteenth round of the 2015 season.

Lewis Hamilton led the Driver’s World Championship by 48 points coming into Russia following his victory in
Suzuka two weeks earlier. His teammate Nico Rosberg, however, continued his recent qualifying form by taking his second pole position in a row ahead of Hamilton.

Rosberg claimed pole position in Sochi. Image: Bleacher Report

Valtteri Bottas had been the star in Sochi in 2014, and looked impressive again with third on the grid ahead of the two Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. The two Force India’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez lined up behind the Prancing Horses.

The major talking point on Saturday was the massive 46g crash sustained by Carlos Sainz Jr. in the Toro Rosso in the morning practice session. Miraculously, the Spaniard was unhurt and although he would have start from the back of the grid after missing qualifying, he was declared fit to race.

Race day

Race day was overcast but dry as 53 laps of Sochi got underway. Rosberg maintained the lead from Hamilton and Bottas, as Raikkonen got ahead of Vettel. As the field negotiated the first two corners, Nico Hulkenberg spun on cold tyres and collected both Max Verstappen and Marcus Ericsson.

Hulkenberg and Ericsson were out on the spot but Verstappen was able to continue, although the young Dutchman had to crawl back to the pits with a puncture.

After a brief Safety Car period, the race resumed on lap three. Bottas, having lost a position to Raikkonen on the opening lap, regained third place. On lap seven, Hamilton took advantage of Rosberg running wide into turn two and took the lead, however all was not well with the German’s car.

A problem with the throttle was unable to be remedied by the team and Rosberg retired for the only the second time in 2015.

On Lap 12, Romain Grosjean was running 13th in the Lotus when the Frenchman lost control in turn three and had a heavy shunt into the barriers. Thankfully, Grosjean was uninjured but with debris from the wrecked Lotus strewn across the track the Safety Car made a second appearance.

With the race still in its early stages, most of the front runners opted to stay out, but Force India and Red Bull decided on a different strategy. Perez and Riccardo both made a pit-stop and re-joined ninth and tenth, respectively.

Pit-stops change everything

Valtteri Bottas became the first of the leading runners to pit at the end of Lap 27. The Williams pit crew performed a good turnaround, but the Finn emerged in traffic and that allowed Vettel to leapfrog him after the German made his stop on Lap 31.

Raikkonen couldn’t quite get ahead of his compatriot though, and re-joined after his stop behind the Williams. Perez and Riccardo were both preserving their old tyres, but had Bottas and Raikkonen both closing them down, Bottas successfully moved ahead of Riccardo on Lap 45. Raikkonen found the Red Bull harder to pass, eventually finding his way through on Lap 49.

Worse was to come for Riccardo though, as suspension failure resulted in the Australian’s third retirement of the year.
At the front, Hamilton and Vettel were secure in first and second, but Perez in third on old tyres could not hold off a charging Bottas and Raikkonen for much longer.

Frantic final laps

With two laps to go, Bottas seized his opportunity and moved into third, with Raikkonen also getting ahead as the Mexican was offline. With just one lap to go Raikkonen made an optimistic move on Bottas, the two collided and Bottas
was into the barriers, Raikkonen continued but with heavily-damaged front-left suspension.

Force India were suitably pleased as this collision, as it promoted Perez back up to third.

But it was Lewis Hamilton’s day, untroubled at the front to take his ninth victory of the year.

Sebastian Vettel’s second place pushed him into the runner-up spot in the championship, albeit some 66
points behind Hamilton. The ecstatic Perez was third with Massa salvaging something for Williams in
fourth.

Raikkonen crossed the line fifth, but was demoted to eighth after a 30-second penalty for the incident with Bottas. Local hero Daniil Kvyat inherited fifth place ahead of Felipe Nasr in an excellent sixth for Sauber. Pastor Maldonado had a competitive race in the Lotus finishing seventh.

While at McLaren-Honda, a double points finish was lost when Fernando Alonso lost 10 th place thanks to a time penalty for exceeding track limits. Max Verstappen took the final point after a good recovery drive.

For Lewis Hamilton, however, a third title was virtually in the bag, while Mercedes secured their second consecutive constructors crown.

Grid Talk Podcast

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

In the Pit Lane – What is Dimitry Mazepin’s next move?

The “American” Team

As the F1 circus moves on to Sochi for the next round of the 2021 season, Russian President Vladimir Putin will no doubt be pleased the Haas cars can circumvent the ban on drivers racing under the Russian flag with the adoption of the ‘Russian-themed’ livery.

Haas have courted much controversy for their perceived Russian flag livery. Image: Autosport

The irony of course is Haas arrived on the F1 scene with the emphasis on the team being F1’s American team!

Much has been written over why Gene Haas remains in F1, with various theories doing the rounds.

One school of thought is Gene Haas turned down the more than generous offers tabled in 2019 by the Saudi’s and Dmitry Mazepin from a patriot standpoint ensuring an American team remains on the grid. 

This may have been in doubt, as William’s new owners’ American private equity firm Dorilton Capital was also rumoured to be ‘having a look’ at Haas. The patriotic angle can now be dismissed, however, as news has emerged that Michael Andretti’s Andretti Autosport approached Gene Haas to buy the team only to be turned down.

Andretti Autosport is in the process of raising $287.5m to top up its available spending pot to $400m. Andretti was a potential bidder for Force India, and only walked away when faced with what they perceived to be ridiculous valuations.

With Williams, Dorilton outbid all interested parties to secure the ownership for its unknown mystery beneficial owner.

Andretti back in F1?

Andretti Autosport is a serious player running a 4-car Indy team. a Formula E team with BMW, a 4-car Indy Lights team, and an LMP3 car in the ISMA’s Sportscar series.

Andretti’s IndyCars are just one of the outfits racing teams

Undeterred by Gene Haas’ rebuttal, Michael Andretti confirmed a continuing interest in F1 telling Racer magazine, “If the right opportunity comes up, we’ll be all over it. But we’re not there yet, It would be great, but there’s a long way to go if it were to happen.”

Instead of selling, Gene Haas took Mazepin’s sponsorship Rubles in return for Junior’s race seat and of course the opportunity to brand the cars. Mazepin Sr. may or may not be disappointed with Nikia’s performance to date, but he is apparently delighted with the global exposure his company Uralkali has received.

The sponsorship has been instrumental in opening doors and has resulted in new business that has more than recouped his investment.

Could Mazepin invest outside of Haas?

The world’s biggest potash producer has just got even bigger, and this may have increased his desire to own a team not only for his son’s career but for the business opportunity that F1 presents not dissimilar to Lawrence Stroll’s F1 journey.

Unsurprisingly, Mazepin Senior has funded his son’s racing career from the get-go

If Mazepin wants to own a team, there are only two other realistic options, Williams, or Sauber, but both will in all likelihood be out of reach. 

In William’s case, if Mazepin writes a big enough cheque, you would naturally assume a private equity firm would do what private equity firms do, namely take the money and run. 

A similar scenario exists at Sauber aka Alfa Romeo which is owned by billionaire Swedish Finn Rausing worth $14.4bn courtesy of the Tetra Pak empire. Rausing became involved in F1 when back in 2016, he was approached by fellow Swede Marcus Ericsson who drove for the Sauber F1 team that was in financial difficulties.

Rausing bought out owner Peter Sauber and chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn initially through his secretive Swiss investment firm Longbow Finance SA, later transferring the ownership to himself. He appointed trusted family friend Pascal Picci as chairman and took no active role in the running of the team.

Rausing quietly attendees race weekends without any media attention.

He is a regular visitor to the factory in Hinwil, Switzerland spending hours happily chatting away to engineers. Rausing currently supports the team to the tune of $20-$30m, so it may be like Williams a heart and not a head decision. Well, he’s got to spend his money on something!

Mazepin F1 on the way?

The million-dollar question, or more accurately the multi-million-dollar question, is would Mazepin start a new team with all that involves?

Well, Liberty Media would like to expand the number of teams on the grid after the pandemic has ended. Sporting Director Ross Brawn commented to Russian broadcaster RT in July 2020, “If there was interest from a Russian team or any other that we thought was sustainable then we would be fully open to exploring the opportunity.”

One option for Mazepin would be to join forces with fellow Russian billionaire Boris Rotenberg, founder of the Russian bank SMP. Along with his brother Arkady, Boris owns the SGM Group, the largest construction company for gas pipelines and electrical power supply lines in Russia.

Rotenberg is a close confidant of President Vladimir Putin from his childhood. Both men learned judo together in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg).

Rotenburg has had a few issues…

It’s not all been plain sailing for Boris. Image: Moscow Times

The SGM Group was involved in large infrastructure projects in Crimea, which after the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 led to American sanctions of both brothers and their assets.

The U.S. Treasury claimed that Putin had awarded the Rotenberg’s billions of dollars in contracts from Gazprom and for the Sochi Winter Olympics. 

EU sanctions followed, but only covered property in Rome and Sardinia valued at €30m.

As Rotenberg held Finnish citizenship, due to a previous marriage to a Finnish citizen, he bypassed the sanctions. The assets included three villas in Eze, Nice, and Rotenberg’s racing team SMP Racing, which also trains drivers in the city of Le Luc, France.

SMP Racing has a host of Russian drivers on its books, including ex-Williams F1 driver Sergey Sirotkin and rising star Robert Schwartzman.

Rotenberg has more than money behind him…

Rotenberg is a confirmed petrolhead and raced in a variety of series from 2011 to 2014 with his biggest achievement coming 2nd in the 2012 – 24 hours of Barcelona race.

Rotenberg is interested in forming an all-Russian F1 team using SMP racing and made clear his intentions back in October 2019 at the Russian Grand Prix. He said, “The more you try to create in motorsport, the more chance you have to flourish. Do we want to create a Formula 1 team? I think the more teams there are, the more opportunities there will be for our drivers.

“Everything is possible. The main thing is to make the effort. First of all, are the financial considerations.”

Well, in 2020 Rotenberg planned to invest in Dutch car maker Spyker that would enable the company to resume producing a range of three sportscars in 2021 namely The C8 Preliator supercar, the D8 Peking-to-Paris SUV, and the b6 Ventator supercar. 

Hoping to emulate Ferrari, McLaren, and Aston Martin with a sportscar manufacturer sponsoring their own F1 team Rotenberg ambitiously claimed, “Our group of companies will launch the Spyker brand successfully in the league of the world’s best super sportscars.”

Alas, it all ended in tears with the investment never materialising and Spyker filing for bankruptcy in January.

In May 2021 BR Engineering, the race car constructor established by SMP Racing released details of their third single-seater car, the BR03 developed specifically for the Russian market.

Rotenberg may be down but is not out and no doubt is planning his next move aboard his brother’s $75m superyacht ‘Rahil’.

So, will a combination of Mazepin’s money and Rotenberg’s expertise create a new all-Russian F1 team?

Time will tell.

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

Copyright ©2021 Garry Sloan

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

Leeds United succumb to dominant Liverpool as Salah strikes his 100th league goal!

The mark of any great team is to rise from the depths of ordinary to reach the peaks of sublime.

Well, Liverpool are certainly in the league of the greatest Premier League teams ever, as they rose from a rather ordinary display against Chelsea in the 1-1 draw to a sublime 3-0 whitewash of Leeds United at Elland Road last evening.

A small number of Kopites who made the trip from Liverpool and millions more watching around the world were certainly more than satisfied as the three Reds’ stalwarts in Salah, Fabinho and Mane registered their names on the score sheet.

With this triumph, Liverpool are now unbeaten in their last 11 encounters against Leeds having won 8 and drawn 3 with their last loss coming more than two decades back in April 2001 as the Merseyside Maulers were conquered 2-1 at Anfield on that occasion.

Leeds United with this fourth successive loss since the inception of the season have piled up their most miserable campaign in any top-flight competition since 1958-59. Certainly not a good space to be in if you are a Peacocks’ fan.

So, without further ado lets dissect this rather pleasing performance The Reds showed in a game that also saw a red card:

Centurion Mohamed Salah, the difference maker in the first 45

Marcelo Bielsa’s team started this contest as the more assertive side creating their first opportunity on target in just the 4th minute as Rodrigo blasted a straight attempt at Reds’ keeper Alisson who was equal to the shot.

The visitors came back strong after the initial scare as Jota mounted a chance in the 14th minute when the Portuguese took down a Salah pass with his chest and hooked it on the volley to Leeds’ keeper Meslier who did well to take the sting out of the shot.

The momentum for The Reds would finally result in a hurrah in the 20th minute as the enigmatic Egyptian, Mohamed Salah put the visitors in front with a super strike to reach 100 goals in The Premier League after he was fed with a brilliant pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Credit – Reuters

Liverpool were up by a goal to nil early as the team gathered around the Egyptian to congratulate him on becoming the fifth fastest to reach the century landmark in this competition.

Minutes later Mane had a chance to put the visitors two to the good as his shot went above the post. Liverpool were certainly looking up for this one.

The Reds would continue to dominate the remainder of the first half albeit the second was not to be found much akin to a treasure hunter looking for the elusive treasure only to be disappointed in his excursion at least for the moment.

Fab Fabinho and Majestic Mane seal the deal

As the second 45 began, Liverpool continued their dominance as Mane and Salah both fired their shots wide.

Leeds were lucky not to concede and one could just feel the second goal was around the corner.

Well the goal came in a matter of moments as Fabinho did well to capitalize on a corner from Alexander-Arnold scoring on his second attempt as VAR did check on Sadio Mane being offside albeit the goal was given.

Credit – Official Liverpool FC Twitter Handle

The Brazilian midfielder had his first for The Reds in 15 months.

Seven minutes later Liverpool were dealt with a destructive blow as their teenage sensation Harvey Elliot was tackled rather roughly by Pascal Struijk who saw a red as the Liverpool midfielder was carried off the field on a stretcher.

Credit – Reuters

Jurgen Klopp was furious with this tackle and rightfully so!

In time we should know the magnitude of Elliot’s injury and wish him all the best on a speedy recovery.

In the 75th minute, Leeds had a chance to get one back as Bamford’s attempt was saved with much confidence by Alisson.

At the other end, Liverpool would continue their offensive onslaught as Sadio Mane came close to giving The Merseyside Maulers their third, only to be denied by the Leeds keeper.

Alisson again was up to the task in the 83rd minute, keeping a long-range effort out by Bamford jumping high to thwart the ball away.

Liverpool would finally have their third in injury time as Sadio Mane after numerous unsuccessful attempts on goal finally found fulfilment with a super strike on goal after he was fed with a fine pass by Thiago who did well to latch onto a long cross from captain Henderson.

As the referee called time, Liverpool were rightfully anointed as the 3-0 winners.

The winning momentum needs to continue for The Reds

With three wins and one draw so far in the season, The Reds are looking good and need to build on this momentum as the contests will most certainly get tougher in time.

Liverpool should continue to mount those offensive onslaughts and goals will surely become a regular feature in their play as we have seen this far.

The Champions League opener against AC Milan is upon The Reds next in a matter of a few days and nothing short of a win in the opener of Europe’s most prestigious club competition will suffice.

Having said this, make no mistake any Italian opposition is never a cake walk and The Merseyside Maulers will definitely have to bring their A game to the fore amid a 50,000 strong Anfield.

After all, when Kopites roar, Liverpool soar.

 ‘Unity is strength – Let’s Go Reds – You’ll Never Walk Alone!’

5 Drivers who need a good Italian Grand Prix today

Despite winning the sprint race at Monza, Valtteri Bottas finds himself at the rear end of the pack owing to a lot of changes in his Mercedes car. This means an opportunity has been lost for the Finn, despite having won a short stint at the heartland of the Italian Grand Prix. 

But which drivers have the most work to do today? These are the five men we think need a good Sunday drive later on!

Antonio Giovinazzi 

Italian Jesus may need a miracle to score points later today.

Blessed will be those who’ll get to see the Italian Jesus, as he’s called, save his career and secure a fascinating finish to the Monza race. Among the nicest-natured drivers in the sport, and one who certainly won the qualifying battle this year against Kimi Raikkonen, is a man on a mission. 

His brave defensive driving from a rapid Sergio Perez helped Antonio Giovinazzi collect a P8, which tomorrow will be a seventh-place start underlined his passion to succeed. The man who brought home the first points for his Alfa Romeo team this season by showing great skill at Monaco now has his task cut out at Monza. 

He’s got a solid grid position too, from which to launch himself into a fine battle up ahead. 

May he continue to persevere and succeed in bringing much-needed points for a Constructor that’s demonstrated exceedingly underwhelming results this season. Honestly, it’s all to play for, for the long-locked bloke behind the beard and innocent smile.  

Lewis Hamilton 

It’s not always that one finds a certain Sir Lewis Hamilton on the list of drivers who need to deliver a strong Grand Prix. But to err is human, even though Hamilton’s penchant for great results and unbelievable consistency since 2014 onward have merited him a superhuman persona.

The man who got passed by a Red Bull, then both McLarens and will be keen to make amends for the lost ground during the sprint race. 

Known for his proclivity to raise his game especially under pressure -remember his recovery drive at the Hungaroring– don’t be surprised if Hamilton finishes second, if at all, a race win is utterly out of his grasp. 

But his boots are meant for racing, and pushing the throttle hard is what they’ll do. The five-time Monza winner would love to mount a daring fightback against the drivers who found him wanting on a not-so-sunny Saturday after all for Mercedes. 

Sebastian Vettel 

Aston Martin need both drivers to perform to catch AlphaTauri and Alpine

Sebastian Vettel couldn’t do anything astounding in the sprint race other than the decent move he pulled on another great veteran of the sport – Alpine’s Fernando Alonso. This was right after the safety car period. Though, the two-time world champion fought right back against the four-time world champion to retake track position even as Stroll, in the other Aston Martin stayed clear of the two battling heroes of the sport. 

But given Vettel’s disqualification at Hungaroring, followed by a fifth at Spa, and then a lowly thirteenth at Zandvoort, the German is clearly one of the drivers who needs to deliver a strong race at Monza. 

That’s also from the perspective of keeping up the pressure on his teammate Lance Stroll, on whom he enjoys a lead of 17 precious points in the standings where it currently stands. 

So, can race day at Monza unfurl the familiar battler on the track, one who secured a brilliant win with Toro Rosso in 2008 or will we see an under pressure driver who forged a dubious reputation as a spinner, remember the opening lap episode of 2018 at the very track? 

Only Seb has the answers and only time will tell. 

Charles Leclerc 

Ferrari look set to lose ground to McLaren this weekend

Not only because it’s Ferrari’s home Grand Prix should Charles Leclerc raise his game, but the fact that he’s contesting on the very track where he brought home a magnificently fought victory, back in 2019, should push the Monegasque to achieve a higher result in the race. 

At present, Leclerc, who qualified sixth but as a result of Bottas’ receding to the very end of the grid starts fifth, has an ample opportunity to push hard on Sunday. Though the only issue is he’ll be tailed by another Ferrari, Sainz, who is all set to begin from sixth on the grid. 

So will team orders come into play and if so- by whose side will we find Ferrari? 

Eventually, what matters is that Ferrari, the team, as one unit, should do well in front for the Tifosi and to continue to fight back to the top, which is where it’s always belonged. 

Yuki Tsunoda 

Tsunoda is making yet another appearance on this list after a poor qualifying

The last three Grands Prix results for the young Alpha Tauri driver read- P6 at Hungaroring, followed by a fifteenth at the Belgian Grand Prix- if it could be called a Grand Prix- and a DNF in the Netherlands. 

Though, that’s not the only reason why Yuki Tsunoda would want to do a better job at Monza, where he drives his maiden Italian Grand Prix. Driving the same car as his teammate, who won twelve months back at the same venue, Tsunoda’s lost the momentum and flourish that one saw in the first half of the season. 

Remember, this is a bloke who attained massive reception at the back of a brave P9 finish at Bahrain, his Formula 1 debut drive. But the Japanese driver one sees today, albeit still highly inexperienced and only on his maiden season, can do much better than what he is at present. 

A reason to spur himself to greater performances is that he neither has an insipid or weak machine nor a car that would make him this grid’s back marker. 

At Monza’s Sprint race, Yuki also had some colourful words for one of racing’s veterans, Robert Kubica with whose Alfa Romeo the Sagamihara-born driver would clash albeit both drivers narrowly avoiding what could’ve been a heavy crash. That’s even as Kubica was the loser in this episode, his car spinning out in the opening lap only to minimise his chances of getting a better track finish.  

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more reaction to today’s Sprint Qualifying? Never feat, the Grid Talk crew have you covered with their latest podcast. Owain Medford hosted Steve Jackson, Aaron Harper and Mikael Kataja in their 2021 Italian Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying Analysis. Both audio and video versions of the show are linked below:

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 Italian Grand Prix Preview: Can Max Make it 3-in-a-row at Monza?

A lot can change in just a few races in Formula 1, just ask Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Verstappen’s back-to-back wins have seen him take back the driver’s championship lead. The onus is now on Hamilton and Mercedes to respond, but can the Temple of Speed see them win for the first time since the British GP in July?

Track Guide

The Autodromo Nazionale Di Monza is the fastest circuit on the F1 calendar. Drivers are on full-throttle for around 80% of the 160 mph average speed lap.

Image credit: Formula 1

Monza has hosted all but one Italian Grand Prix since F1’s beginning in 1950 and is one of the cornerstone races of the season.

Monza may have multiple long straights, but passing here isn’t easy, thanks to the minimal downforce cars run. Straight-line speed is king here, but you need downforce to get around corners like the Lesmos and the Parabolica.

Last time out

Verstappen may have lucked into a win at Spa (in some people’s eyes) but he absolutely earned his victory at Zandvoort last weekend.

The Flying Dutchman was the class of the field in the Netherlands and won thanks to a faultless drive.

Verstappen is riding a huge wave of confidence after winning his home race. Image: Guardian

Mercedes earned a double podium with Hamilton second and Valtteri Bottas in third. Merc still sit too of the constructors championship as a result.

Pierre Gasly produced the biggest surprise of the day with an incredible 4th place in his AlphaTauri.

Ferrari leapfrog McLaren into third in the constructor’s standings thanks to a 5th for Charles Leclerc and 7th for Carlos Sainz.

It was a great day for Alpine too, Fernando Alonso overtaking his biggest fan for 6th and Esteban Ocon a respectable 8th.

Sergio Perez went from the pit-lane to 9th, while Lando Norris scored a solitary point for McLaren in 10th.

Can Mercedes challenge at a power track?

In general so far this season, Red Bull have been faster at power circuits, with Mercedes better at the windy, more downforce-orientated tracks.

Zandvoort and the Hungaroring bucked that trend though, with Red Bull and Mercedes, respectively, being the quickest.

Hamilton hasn’t won a race since his incredible win at the British Grand Prix. Image: Guardian

Honda will leave Formula 1 at the end of this season, and as such, have thrown everything into their final season as an engine supplier. That has seemingly paid off, as Red Bull and AlphaTauri have both seen fantastic results at power circuits.

Monza has not been a happy bunting ground for Red Bull though, with only 2 wins to their names here. Incredibly, that’s the same amount of wins as Toro Rosso & AlphaTauri have managed here combined.

Verstappen has never won here, with Hamilton taking the top step five times and looking to break Michael Schumacher’s record tally this weekend. This would also be Lewis’ 100th Grand Prix victory too, if he managed it.

Session Times

Practice 1: 10 September              13:30-14:30 (8:30-9:30 AM EST)

Qualifying: 10 September             17:00-18:00 (12:00-13:00 EST)

Practice 2: 11 September               11:00-12:00 (6:00-7:00 EST)

Sprint Qualifying: 11 September  15:30 -16:00 (10:30 -11:00 EST)

Race: 12 September              14:00 (9:00 EST)

All times are in British Standard Time (BST), unless stated otherwise.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your Italian Grand Prix weekend? The Grid Talk crew have you covered with their latest podcast, the 2021 Italian Grand Prixview. George Howson hosted Tom Downey and Jawad Yaqub, both audio and video versions of the show are linked below:

F1 Blast from the Past: Championship Rivals Collide at Monza

Background & Qualifying

The twelfth round of the 1995 Formula 1 season brought the championship to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher had extended his championship lead over Damon Hill to 15 points after the German’s sensational victory at Spa.

David Coulthard claimed his second pole for Williams at the Italian GP. Image: DeviantArt

Both title contenders had to give way to David Coulthard in qualifying however, the young Scotsman was in dominant form over the weekend and recorded a pole position time half a second faster than Schumacher’s Benetton.

Gerhard Berger gave the Tifosi some cause for optimism with third on the grid ahead of Damon Hill. Jean Alesi was fifth in the second Ferrari, with Rubens Barrichello an impressive sixth for Jordan-Peugeot.

READ MORE BLAST FROM THE PAST: FERRARI OUT-SMART MCLAREN AT THE A1 RING

Race day

The 53-lap race had not even started when the drama began, polesitter Coulthard unbelievably spun off on the
formation lap exiting the Variente Ascari and was unable to take the start. Schumacher thus inherited the top starting spot and got away from the line first with Gerhard Berger challenging him on the run down to the Retifilio chicane.

Schumacher inherited the lead from Coulthard, but it wouldn’t last long. Image: F1

Alesi was up to third with Johnny Herbert making a storming start from seventh to fourth ahead of Hill’s Williams.
Coming out of the Variente Alta, a spin from Max Papis’ Footwork on the dust triggered from Coulthard’s Williams caused chaos.

Jean-Christophe Boullion, Roberto Moreno and Andrea Montermini were all eliminated, and the race was immediately brought to a halt. Moreno’s Forti and Montermini’s Pacific were unable to take to the restart while the red flag was music to Williams’ ears, as David Coulthard was able to start the race and from his pole position.

Second time lucky

At the second start, Coulthard converted pole into the lead while Berger made an even better getaway than he done at the first start. Schumacher was relegated to third, with Hill holding his fourth position ahead of Alesi and Johnny Herbert, as the field settled into the race.

Ten laps in and Martin Brundle was out of the race after a puncture damaged the Ligier’s suspension, bitter disappointment for the Englishman after such an impressive performance in Belgium two weeks earlier.

On Lap 14, Coulthard spun off again at the Variente della Roggia, though as he re-joined it became clear that this time, driver error was not the cause for the Scotsman’s demise. A failed front-wheel bearing resulting in his sixth retirement of the year. Much to the excitement of the Tifosi, Berger took over the lead.

Gerhard Berger now led the race, but he too would fall foul of bad luck. Image: Pinterest


On Lap 24, the Austrian continued to lead ahead of Schumacher second and Hill in third. The two title contenders were lapping Taki Inoue’s Footwork as they entered the Variente della Roggia. Inoue’s presence caught out Hill, who mis-timed his braking and hit the back of Schumacher’s Benetton. For the second time in 1995, the pair had collided, and both were out of the race.

Schumacher was furious and remonstrated with Hill, as the Englishman sat in his car.

At the end of Lap 25, Berger made his one and only scheduled pit-stop, the Austrian was demoted to sixth, while Alesi took the lead. A string of pit-stops unfolded, as Alesi headed to the pits one lap later.

Barrichello, Hakkinen and then Johnny Herbert in the sole surviving Benetton led for two laps before his pit stop. Slick work by his mechanics ensured he re-joined ahead of Barrichello and Hakkinen in third position. Eventually, Alesi had regained the lead ahead of teammate Berger.

Dream turns to nightmare

The Italian Tifosi were dreaming of the first Ferrari one-two finish since 1990, but on Lap 33, their hopes were dashed when Alesi’s onboard camera parted company with the Frenchman’s car. In a cruel twist of fate, it bounced into Berger’s left-front suspension and the Austrian was out of the race.

Alesi would also fall foul of some awful luck in Ferrari’s home race. Image: Girando & Co.

Jordan had been enjoying a strong afternoon, but the Irish team’s race unravelled in the space of four laps when Eddie Irvine’s engine blew, and Barrichello lost fourth place when his clutch failed.

At the front, Alesi looked set for his second victory of the season, when with just eight laps remaining, it was heartbreak for the Frenchman, as the right-rear wheel bearing failed.

The double-retirement for Ferrari allowed Johnny Herbert, who after suffering so much misfortune in his career found himself having the luck fall on his side. The Englishman took his second victory of the season, over 17 seconds clear of Hakkinen in second and Heinz-Harald Frentzen scored his and the Sauber team’s first ever podium finish with third.

Mark Blundell finished fourth, putting both McLaren’s in the points for only the second time in 1995, while Mika Salo scored the first points of the season for Tyrrell in fifth. The final point was taken by Jean-Christophe Boullion in sixth, the Frenchman having overtaken Max Papis on the very last lap.

Herbert was understandably delighted with his victory, and firmly stated his claim for a drive in 1996 after been dropped by Benetton. However, the major talking point focused on his teammate Schumacher and his collision with Hill.

The championship battle was stalemate due to both retiring from the race, but Hill had some explaining to do. Schumacher apologised to Hill after Taki Inoue accepted responsibility for the incident, and the pair resumed their quest for the 1995 championship.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your Italian GP weekend? The Grid Talk crew have you covered with their Italian Grand Prix Preview! George Howson hosted Tom Downey and Jawad of from Hit the Apex in their latest podcast. Both audio and video versions of the show are available below:

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