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Spotlight on a Legend: What Happened to the Ford DFV after Formula 1?

As you may have read already, the DFV had more than a staring role in the history of Formula 1. A reputation like that though, attracts attention and many others believed they had the perfect use for the V8 in other forms of motorsport. These are their stories.

Endurance Aspirations

Right from its initial release to the public, the DFV seemed like the ideal solution for many constructors needing an engine for their sportscars. The top class for endurance racing at the time was Group 6, occupying the prototype endurance racers. Meanwhile, limited-production sports and GT cars were housed in Group 4. By the time the DFV appeared, a 3L engine size limit had been written into the Group 6 rulebook. It appeared the timing couldn’t be better.

Ford Europe took it upon themselves to lead the way in this new class. The rules restructuring had rendered their monstrous 7 litre Mk.II and Mk.IV GT40s obsolete. Meanwhile, the 4.9L Mk.I version was still suitable for Group 4 GT racing duties, now in privateer hands. This led their Ford America counterpart to withdraw from the sport, crucially taking their financial clout with them.

The new regulations were designed to phase out the popular big-banger prototypes (Wikimedia Commons)

READ MORE: SPOTLIGHT ON A LEGEND: THE COSWORTH DFV

Collaborating with Alan Mann Racing, the European team produced the beautiful P68 prototype. This coupe was designed to fully exploit the Group 6 rules. The chassis and suspension closely echoed Grand Prix car designs whilst the aluminium body’s low 0.27 drag coefficient allowed a top speed approaching 220mph. All with the DFV placed at its heart. While initial tests raised some concerns its first race suggested it could be a race winner, qualifying 2nd and leading at times before retiring with driveshaft failure.

Ford’s gorgeous new prototype seemed to have potential early on (Wikimedia Commons)

The Cold Hard Truth

The pretty prototype certainly had potential, but it hid a nasty secret. The slippery body caused chronic instability issues, producing far more downforce on the front axle than the rear. This was fine on compact, low-speed British circuits but terrifying on the high-speed tracks in Europe.

The team stuck at it for 1969, even developing hydraulically-controlled active wings for a spider variant. But the FIA’s ban on high-mount aerofoils soon put pay to that idea. All the while, reliability issues hammered the car. In fact, the P68 failed to finish every event it entered.

Ford took extreme measures to make their new car co-operate (Primotipo)

Ford weren’t alone in trying their luck with the DFV. In fact, most produced much more competent competitors. However, Ford’s high-profile reliability issues, thanks to rushed development and funding restrictions, had hidden the DFV’s own unsuitability. Most issues were caused by it’s flat-plane crank. It allowed much faster engine responses at the cost of greater vibrations. In a long distance race, this escalated such that the V8 often shook itself apart.

READ MORE: FORMULA 1’S 5 MOST ICONIC ENGINES

Other issues presented themselves too. Running the Cosworth in a closed body prototype of course meant less air passed over the engine. This wasn’t a problem in a conventional sense, water cooling with radiators managed combustion chamber temperatures as usual. Instead, smaller mechanical components in the top of the engine started to overheat during longer races. The timing gear was particularly vulnerable.

Being designed for single-seater usage, the engine heads were expected to be exposed (Wikimedia Commons)

In a formula car, the engine would be exposed, allowing passing airflow to offer secondary cooling. The shorter sprint races also reduced heat build up in the first place. For endurance, low drag bodies took priority, trapping heat and weakening smaller high speed components, leading to near-inevitable failure.

Fortune Favours the Brave

1975 marked a turning point for the engine’s track record, and at greatest event in endurance racing; the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Due to the ongoing effects of the 1973 Oil Crisis, a minimum fuel stint length of 20 laps was introduced to bring some focus to fuel economy. The front running Alfa Romeo and Renault-Alpine teams knew their cars couldn’t meet this at a reasonable pace and withdrew, while 1974 winners Matra, with nothing left to prove left sportscars for Formula 1.

READ MORE: F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIN AND THURSTY ENGINES CAUSES CHAOTIC END TO MONACO GP

This was an opportunity for smaller teams like JWA. Famous for their 1968/9 wins in the Gulf liveried GT40s, they had since become a constructor in their own right with their Mirage prototypes. Given the unique nature of this year’s race JWA prepped their new GR8 for it specifically, focussing on a low drag but highly stable design propelled by the DFV.

Their biggest rivals would be Ligier. Realising they would not be able to homologate their JS2 for the GT classes, they went all out for an overall win, replacing the usual Maserati V6 with a race-ready Cosworth V8 too. For the sake of fuel efficiency, both entries detuned their V8s, dropping the rev limit to 8400 rpm and power down to approximately 380 bhp.

READ MORE: F1 2021 MONACO GRAND PRIX: HEARTBREAK FOR LECLERC AS VERSTAPPEN TAKES CHARGE

The Gulf Mirages took first blood, converting their 1-2 start from qualifying into a race lead. The Ligiers had to settle for 3rd and 5th, split by a Joest run Porsche 908. The #10 Mirage of Vern Schuppan and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud led the sister #11 car of Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell initially, untill swapping at the first pitstops. From there they pulled away, both putting a 3 lap lead on the 3rd placed Ligier by 9pm. At half distance, 2 of the 3 Ligiers entered had retired, while the #10 Mirage had lost 5 laps to a gearbox change, dropping it to 3rd behind the remaining JS2, the #5 of Jean Louis Lafosse and Guy Chassuell.

From here, things remained fairly static until late race drama. The leading #11 Mirage had 2 unscheduled stops to remedy gearbox and electrical issues resepectively. This cut their advantage to under 2 laps with just 2 hours remaining. The surviving Ligier was ordered to run flat out to the chequered flag, reliability be damned. As the clock struck 4pm though, they hadn’t done enough. The #11 Mirage of Bell and Ickx took victory by a single lap to the Ligier, while the sister Mirage kept 3rd. A remarkable podium sweep for Cosworth.

The #11 crew would take the 1975 spoils (SuperCars.net)

The sprinter would again succeed at Circuit de la Sarthe under similar circumstances in 1980. Impending rule changes blunted the competition, while torrential race during the early hours dulled the pace. Local hero Jean Rendeau would ultimately succeed, winning a race long game of cat-and-mouse against the much faster Porsche 908/80 of Ickx and Joest in a car of his own design and construction.

Home at Last

As ground effect Group C cars became the premier prototype class, the Cosworth remained popular as it had in F1. However, greater effort was made to make the engine suitable for the role. Known as the DFL, 2 versions were produced. A 3.9L unit catered for the most powerful C1 class, whilst a destroked 3.3L version was aimed at C2. This was the entry point for Group C with reduced costs and stricter fuel allowances on the smaller capacity engines to benefit privateer entries.

Ultimately, the 3.9L DFL still suffered it’s F1 routes, and overall success in the World Sportscar Championship would forever pass it by. Despite the redesign, the flat-plane crankshaft had to be maintained, bringing the familiar high-speed vibrations and concurrent reliability woes with it. Ford had once again tried to lead the way, but their C100 suffered all manner of reliability issues, much akin to its P68 predecessor.

Ford’s factory sportscar efforts continued to struggle in the Group C era (Wikimedia Commons)

READ MORE: THE TOP 10 MEMES OF THE MONACO GRAND PRIX

The C2 class was a different story. As mentioned earlier, fuel restrictions were enforced throughout the field; the cars limited to 330 litres for a 1000km race. This allowed teams to run 3.3L DFL engines understressed, especially compared to competitors using smaller turbocharged units, as was often the case.

With time, it became the darling of the category. Courage, Eccurie Eccosse and especially Spice found much success, taking 5 Le Mans class wins and 4 class championships between them. The 3.3 DFL was a faithful powerplant right up to C2’s disillusion in the early 90’s. This marked the slow end for the category as a whole, as it was torn apart from within. But that’s a story for another time.

Spice would be the most successful of C2 competitors (Wikimedia Commons)

The American Dream

It’s no real surprise our staring hero made a home in the States, but it did so under much more controversial circumstances. By 1975, turbocharging dominated Indycar racing, but time was finally catching up with their venerable Offenhauser engines. The unlimited boost pressure teams subjected their engines to was becoming too much too often for the big 4 cylinder, leaving many to search elsewhere for a more reliable option. One such team was Parnelli.

They had working knowledge of the Cosworth DFV through F1, competing with their VPJ4. So, they decided to prepare an experimental version for Indycar duty. After a thorough re-engineering, including a drop in capacity to 2.65 litres, the Cosworth Turbo was ready for the final round of the 1975 USAC season, taking 5th on debut. Buoyed by this strong result, the team committed to a full season the following year with the new engine.

READ MORE: THEO POURCHAIRE TAKES SEAMLESS WIN IN MONACO TO BECOME YOUNGEST F2 RACE WINNER

The project gained momentum and performance throughout 1976, with Parnelli scoring wins at Pocono, Milwaukee and Phoenix to secure 4th in the championship.  All this by a totally independent outfit with no support from Cosworth. Keith Duckworth (the “worth” in Cosworth) was famously against turbocharging and thought the whole project folly. It was a pointless endeavour chasing the 850bhp+ needed for Indycar with an engine only initially designed to produce 500bhp.

But the results didn’t lie. In fact the project had become so successful, Parnelli planned to become a distributor of Cosworth engines for Indycar, inviting Duckworth to Pocono for discussions. Seeing the performance of the Parnelli-Cosworth first hand, Duckworth instead poached 2 of the project’s lead engineers. This brought the design back in-house to Cosworth, allowing them to continue development themselves and cut Parnelli out of the equation.

The turbocharged Cosworth DFX remained popular long into the CART era (Wikimedia Commons)

Big backing only enhanced the engine’s potential, now known as the DFX. It became the next must-have powerplant for Indycar, with Penske, Mclaren and the Lightnings of Fletcher Racing joining Parnelli in Cosworth power for 1977. That year marked the first of 12 straight championship titles for the turbocharged V8, while 10 consecutive Indianapolis 500 wins would follow from 1978 onwards.

So there you have it. How one little engine went on to make its mark all across the globe. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this jaunt through the archives!

England put up a Sterling show to sink Croatia at Wembley!

England much like the South African cricket teams of the past have been pre-tournament favourites for many albeit for reasons beyond my comprehension always manage to deceive at crucial moments.

Yes, with a momentous showing in the 2018 World Cup, The Three Lions at a time when they were soaring to the finals, somehow came second best to Croatia in the semi-finals.

A decisive moment left England struggling at Moscow as Mario Mandžukić sealed the deal for the East European nation in extra time. English hearts and hearts around the world were broken. Again!

Well, as they say life comes a full circle as a certain measure of revenge was extracted yesterday by The Three Lions as they sank Croatia by a margin of one goal in the opening fixture amid a 22,000 strong Wembley.

The only word missing from the English performance was complete albeit they managed to arrest their opening fixture winless streak in the Euros having drawn five and lost four in their nine previous attempts.

This without having a Manchester United or Liverpool player in the starting XI since almost the start of time! Am sure, you get the picture of the importance these two champion clubs command on English football.

Truth be told, a win is a win at the end of the day and being an English faithful, I was happy with this showing to start on a high as we dissect the English performance in the opening game of Group D:

The Three Lions start brightly only to fizzle out in the first 45

The hosts marched out on the pitch at the home of football with purpose led by their inspirational leader, Harry Kane amid cheers aplenty.

With iconic defender, Harry Maguire still injured and Liverpool’s stalwart midfielder Jordan Henderson on the bench, young Tyrone Mings and Kalvin Phillips started the game.

As the contest began, The Three Lions looked all but up for this as young English sensation, Phil Foden created England’s first opportunity on goal in only the 6th minute when his shot hit the post.

Credit – Reuters

This after the Manchester City midfielder sporting a new blonde hairdo received a majestic pass from club compatriot Raheem Sterling and did well to strike from his favoured left foot.

Croatia were lucky the ball didn’t go in and as they tried to resurrect their defence, three minutes later another English youngster, Kalvin Phillips’s attempt was tipped aside by the Croatian keeper, Livakovic.

Credit – Reuters

The Three Lions looked dominant, aggressive and very close to mounting a first on the score board.

As the game went on Croatia managed to find their feet and gained territory into the English half as the hosts attacking threats were nowhere as lethal as the first nine minutes. In truth, their offensive display looked all but fizzled out as the first 45 drew to a close.

A better showing in the second half was surely the need of the hour as England were desperate to right their opening game voodoo in the European Championship.

The Sterling and Phillips show lights up England in the second 45

As the second 45 began, the voodoo was finally righted courtesy Raheem Sterling and for me more importantly Kalvin Phillips. It’s funny how the builder of an opportunity or rather the contributor vis-à-vis the striker never gets the deserved credit.

Credit – Reuters

Well, the Leeds United man did when in the 56th minute, he made a majestic run to dodge two men and offered a fine pass to Raheem Sterling in the Croatian D who made no mistake in slotting the ball pass Livakovic in the back of the net.

A perfect build up from England’s holding midfielder who in this game played more like an attacking option, put the hosts in front as they exploited the perfect gap in the Croatian defence. The move was simply brilliant and deservedly, so Kalvin Phillips was awarded the player of the match.

This move was enough for an English onslaught resurrection as minutes later Harry Kane missed a chance to put England two to the good as his shot from a Mason Mount cross went high.

England would continue creating more goal scoring opportunities as Chelsea midfielder, Mason Mount hit the ball inches above the post from a free kick in the 66th minute followed by Sterling missing another good opportunity to score.

With no further twists, as the referee called time England came out as the rightful winners in a game where the hosts could have mounted more goals.

Going forward, England need to showcase a more decisive and complete brand of football

The Three Lions need to depict a better showing in the games to follow against Czech Republic and Scotland to anoint themselves as the rightful leaders in this group.

To accomplish this, surely a 1-0 score line is not going to suffice as a more decisive and complete brand of football is the need of the hour with goals aplenty. Creating opportunities is one thing but converting them is also of vital essence where the hosts in this game were found lacking.

When The Three Lions proceed to the next round to face the likes of Portugal, France, Belgium and others, they will need to convert every opportunity to beat these European powerhouses.

Having said this, it’s just the opening game and an improved showing from the hosts will surely follow.

Go on my Three Lions, Europe awaits the might of your roar!

An important Kieffer Moore header, saves Wales’ blushes in Baku!

After an unprecedented 15 months of the pandemic running or should I say ruining our lives, a four-letter word has brought the much-needed ointment on our long-hurting wound.

This four-letter word is Euro.

Yes, the first international football tournament amid the pandemic has finally set sail, albeit delayed by a year.

On Friday night, The Euro 2020 or should I say 2021, got underway in Rome with Italy hammering Turkey, 3-0 amid a sea of ecstatic Azzurri supporters.

Contrasting emotions of relief and excitement engulfed me to finally see the top nations in Europe battle it out to become the undisputed kings of this continent. This was a delight for every fan who loves international football.

When we talk about international football, we all have our favourites and a second nation too that we support despite being located in any corner of the globe. That’s precisely the reason they say football has the power to bring people together, regardless of their age, race, gender, culture, or nationality.

Well for me being an Indian, I am a die-hard fan of England, followed by a strong sense of liking for their neighbours, Wales.

Yes, Wales is my second favourite team as I tuned in yesterday with much expectation to see The Dragons lock horns with Switzerland in their opening contest amid 10,000 fans at the Baku Olympic Stadium.

In truth, I was much relieved with the final 1-1 result as despite the Swiss domination, The Welsh had managed to secure the vital point. Needless to say, I would have expected nothing less than a Wales victory with a team boasting the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies and others. After all, they were the semi-finalists in 2016.

So, without further ado, lets dissect this contest, as the two West European nations battled it out in the second game of Group A:

Swiss dominate the first 45

The Dragons, under caretaker Manager Rob Page in the absence of the regular coach Ryan Giggs, started the contest brightly. In just the 15th minute, Kieffer Moore’s header was punched merely inches above the post by the Swiss goalkeeper, Yan Sommer who leaped at the right time to make the crucial save.

Credit – Reuters

That was the only chance of any prominence the Welsh would conjure in the first half, as Switzerland took control of the game. This Swiss created eighteen chances, with four being clear opportunities to score.

Fabian Schar almost put the Swiss in front in the 20th minute with a terrific backheel that was saved in the nick of time by keeper, Danny Ward. Switzerland’s second opportunity came just before halftime, as their number 9, Seferovic, hit the ball marginally high.

As the referee called time on the first 45, Wales were lucky not to be a goal down.

Moore more than saves the day for Wales

Luck would finally run out for Wales as the second half got underway, when in just the 49th minute, Swiss number 7, Breel Embolo made no mistake slotting a header into the left corner of the Welsh goal from a Xherdan Shaqiri corner.

Credit – Reuters

Switzerland all but deserved this lead for the relentless attacking brand of football they displayed.

The equaliser for The Dragons would come in the 74th minute, as Kieffer Moore guided a Joe Morell shot towards the Swiss goal with an adept header. The Cardiff City striker did well to overpower the Swiss defence to convert this opportunity.

Credit – Getty

Switzerland continued their offensive onslaught for the rest of the half, managing a second goal albeit VAR ruled it otherwise as Gavranovic was adjudged offside.

As the 90 ended, I like many Welsh supporters was more than relieved as The Dragons salvaged a point in a game that was all of Switzerland’s to win.

Wales have to feast on Turkey in their next game

If Wales harbour any ambitions of proceeding to the next round, draws surely are not the need of the hour.

The Dragons need to put wins under their belt to showcase the steel that got them to the semi-finals of the 2016 edition. Inspirational leader Gareth Bale surely needs to do more to have a nice Turkish feast in their next game as the Welsh lock horns with this East European nation.

Nothing less than a victory will suffice for The Men in Red against Turkey as their last group game against Italy in their own backyard would be a big mountain to climb.

So, go on Men in Red, show us an inspirational performance in your next outing. Soar to heights unparalleled as has another Reds outfit in achieving a Champions League spot despite being in the pits of adversity in the last edition of The Premier League.

Yes Wales, you need to do a Liverpool!

Everybody at Sportlight would like to wish Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen all the best with his recovery following his collapse on the pitch against Finland yesterday.

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

It’s only been on the calendar for 5 years and 4 races (Thank you Coronavirus) but the race on the coast of the Caspian sea has quickly become an instant classic. While not delivering an entirely consistent spectacle to the racing, usually resulting in a lull towards the middle of the race, it always delivers a unique and interesting challenge for the drivers, which is excellent for us.

What looked like a commanding race for the rampant Red Bulls was turned on its head after some tyre trouble and a 3-lap sprint to the end left us all out of breath. Another twist in this championship’s story where a certain knight might rue the mistakes made.

1

Posted on Reddit by realee420

We’ve put this at the start to get it out the way.

The face of this (admittedly very well placed and fortunate) fan, coupled with a perfect camera angle led to the high point of hilarity during the entire Grand Prix.

READ MORE – F1 2021 AZERBAIJAN GP QUALIFYING REPORT: LECLERC ACHIEVES REDEMPTION BY CLAIMING POLE IN BAKU

2

Posted on Reddit by xleonfwx

It was a day for drivers who moved teams for the most part. Given a few races to get up to speed and they were topping the race positions. They even managed to make it through to the podium during the chaos.

3

Posted on Reddit by Lewh30

Speaking of, we’ve often bemoaned the fall from grace of a man once called the next Schumacher while at his very best.

Ever since Germany 2018 for a variety of reasons, he’s struggled but we hope we’re not wrong saying that Seb is back.

4

Posted on Reddit by mzrcefo1782

We’ve all been there. You’re bringing some shopping around the supermarket and the trolley that seemed fine out of the trolley park loses all composure when you’re all loaded up with the big shop. It must have wheels from Pirelli.

Initially it could have been cuts in Stroll’s tyre, but more than one failure always raises eyebrows and points fingers. Whether the accusations are accurate or not, Pirelli’s form is less than stellar and they’ll always be scrutinised as a result.

READ MORE – F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: FORMULA 1 PRODUCES STUNNER IN BAKU

5

Posted on Reddit by goyo-lake

Given the nature and severity of both tyre related accidents along the main straight, Red Bull’s decision to share the sudden nature and advocate for a red flag is to be commended.

To try and help give all teams an opportunity to take a safer course of action, potentially at the expense of their own results is magnanimity to the highest degree.

6

Posted on Reddit by TugoMoray

Hey, a new meme format, hot off the presses. Don’t see that every day, do we?

Either way, it works perfectly for the scenario, the Pirelli hards not making it anywhere near what they were meant to, ending his race and almost gifting a massive championship lead to Max’s rival Lewis.

7

Posted on Reddit by fatcat_666

As we’ve said previously, Pirelli’s numerous tyre failure issues in the past (2013, 2015, 2017 and 2020 come to mind) don’t exactly make its explanations more believable when issues such as these come up.

Regardless of cause, Pirelli have some explaining to do.

READ MORE – F1 2021 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX: FP1 & FP2 REPORT – RED BULL DOMINATES AS MERCEDES ARE NOWHERE TO BE SEEN

8

Posted on Reddit by its-foxtale

After all the tyre related drama, it looked all set for Hamilton to play it relatively safe while his championship rival would be held to 0 points.

Reality however had other ideas.

9

Posted on Reddit by aw5512

After almost 2 years of Red Bull not having the second driver available to pressure Mercedes, it must have been refreshing to take the fight to them with a tactical advantage.

It’s just a pity they couldn’t complete a great weekend with a 1-2 win not seen at Milton Keynes for a long, long while.

10

Posted on Reddit by ziddharthh

As alluded to before, Mercedes really didn’t have a second driver as Bottas had a nightmare of a weekend again. He still finished ahead of Lewys Hamilton, for what that’s worth.

France needs to be the Finn’s return to form if he’s to keep his head in the frame for a contract extension.

Another year, another Well Done Baku. Of all the tracks within the street circuit offensive F1 has seemed to be on during Liberty’s time at the reigns. We get it, it’s easier to monetise and attract spectators for an F1 race through a city centre rather than a small village where it rains a lot. Speaking of small villages, Le Castellet in France, home to Paul Ricard. We’ll be back in 2 weeks time to find humour in the world’s largest kaleidoscope.

Grid Talk Podcast

Owing to travel restrictions and coronavirus, why not fill the gap left by Canada with our podcast. 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.

IN THE PIT LANE – NICOLAS TODT PLAYS THE LONG GAME

F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: FORMULA 1 PRODUCES STUNNER IN BAKU

F1 2021 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX: FP1 & FP2 REPORT – RED BULL DOMINATES AS MERCEDES ARE NOWHERE TO BE SEEN

F1 2021 AZERBAIJAN GP QUALIFYING REPORT: LECLERC ACHIEVES REDEMPTION BY CLAIMING POLE IN BAKU

F1 2021 Azerbaijan GP Qualifying Report: Leclerc Achieves Redemption by Claiming Pole in Baku

Max Verstappen headed into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend as the championship leader for the first time in his career. The young Dutchman mastered the streets of Monte Carlo two weeks ago while reigning champion Sir Lewis Hamilton was unable to improve on his seventh-placed starting position.

Red Bull appeared to the be the team to beat, and bossed practice yesterday. However, Verstappen’s qualifying run was scuppered in FP3. Both Ferrari and AlphaTauri were looking fast, so the battle for pole position was wide open.

Here are all the highlights from qualifying!

Q1

The chance of a yellow or red flag in Baku, even in qualifying, is high, so most cars queued at the end of the pit-lane waiting for the green light to start qualifying.

This proved to be the case too, as Lance Stroll brought out the reds. The Canadian went too fast into Turn 15, locked-up and went into the barriers. His Aston Martin’s suspension was damaged, and he’ll line-up P20 tomorrow. Charles Leclerc was the only man who managed to set a time before the session was paused.

Stroll has a lot of work to do tomorrow. Image: F1

When the session resumed, Verstappen and Red Bull asserted themselves to top the timing table. We got another red flag soon after though, Antonio Giovinazzi slamming into the wall at Turn 15, the same spot as Stroll ten minutes earlier. It was the same story as before, as Gio outbraked himself and couldn’t back out of the corner.

Giovinazzi became yet another victim of Turn 15. Image: F1

Nine minutes remained and only nine drivers had set a time so far, with neither Mercedes nor McLaren amongst those without a lap on the board.

Those drivers would get through, though, and it was the three you’d expect to be out that were eliminated. Both Haas drivers of Nikita Mazepin (P18) & Mick Schumacher (P17) and the Williams of Nicholas Latifi would take no further part in qualifying.

Hamilton was top in the end, but Red Bull still looked fastest. Lando Norris was also under investigation for allegedly not pitting when a red flag came out. This would be investigated after the conclusion of qualifying.

Q2

After the first runs in second qualifying, it was Perez who topped the timings. A 1:41.630 was a very impressive opening gambit. Mercedes bailed on their first efforts, as Ferrari were looking good, P2 and 3 for the red cars. The Black Arrows would soon set better laps though, but Valtteri Bottas was looking vulnerable in seventh.

Sergio Perez was setting the timing boards alive in Q2

Verstappen would beat Perez’s time, which made the top three drivers separated by less than a hundredths of a second. Yuki Tsunoda would also stretch Honda’s muscles, the Japanese driver going P4 with his second effort in Q2.

The drivers were prepping for their final efforts, but they never got a chance to set them. Daniel Ricciardo continued his troubled start to life at McLaren by slamming into the walls at Turn 3. The Honeybadger out-braked himself and had no chance of making it back to the pits.

The red flags were out, and Danny Ric will line-up P13, unlucky for him. Sebastian Vettel was a very frustrated P11, the German missing out by three hundredths of a second. Esteban Ocon (P12), Kimi Raikkonen (P14) and George Russell (P15) were the others to drop out.

Q3

Mercedes were the first team out of the blocks, but it was Leclerc’s Ferrari that set the first flying lap in final qualifying. Leclerc held provisional pole, as the Red Bulls couldn’t beat the Monegasque’s time. Hamilton went P2 but was over two tenths of a second back!

Leclerc was on provisional pole again, but could he hold it?

The drivers were warming up for their final efforts, but a record-equalling fourth red flag ended the session early. Tsunoda flying into the barriers, then Carlos Sainz spinning into Turn 3, ending with the Ferrari down the escape road. The reds were brought out and Leclerc claimed a second pole position in a row.

Despite Leclerc claiming that it was a “s*** lap”, his effort was admirable and he’s got a real chance of taking Ferrari’s first win in almost two years tomorrow. Hamilton’s effort was good enough for P2, and Verstappen was a furious P3, also labelling the session as a four letter word beginning with “s”.

Gasly claimed AlphaTauri’s best qualifying of the year, a very impressive P4 for the Frenchman. Sainz was a respectable P5 in his Ferrari, with Norris P6 but under investigation. Perez again struggled in qualifying, P7 for the Mexican.

Tsunoda achieved his best F1 qualifying in eighth and Fernando Alonso was an impressive P9. Bottas has it all to do tomorrow, he lines up tenth.

Full Classification

Pos.No.DriverConstructorGap
116Charles LeclercFerrari1:41.218
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes+0.232
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing+0.345
410Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri+0.347
555Carlos SainzFerrari+0.358
64Lando NorrisMcLaren+0.529
711Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing+0.699
822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri+0.993
914Fernando AlonsoAlpine+1.109
1077Valtteri BottasMercedes+1.441
115Sebastian VettelAston Martin1:42.224 (Q2)
1231Esteban OconAlpine+0.049
133Daniel RicciardoMcLaren+0.334
147Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo+0.363
1563George RussellWilliams+0.534
166Nicholas LatifiWilliams1:43.128 (Q1)
1747Mick SchumacherHaas+1.030
189Nikita MazepinHaas+1.110
1999Antonio GiovinazziAlfa RomeoNo time
2018Lance StrollAston MartinNo time

F1 Blast from the Past: Formula 1 Produces Stunner in Baku

Formula 1 returned to Baku in 2017 for round eight of the World Championship. The street circuit had hosted the European Grand Prix the previous year, but ran under the title of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix for the first time.

The 2016 race was a dull affair which meant that few had high expectations for this round. However, we were treated to one of the best Grand Prix of the 21st century and one that produced some incredible results.

Background

Despite a Mercedes one-two finish in Canada two weeks earlier, Sebastian Vettel continued to lead the World Championship by 12 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The Silver Arrows continued their excellent form in qualifying, with Hamilton leading a Mercedes front row lockout ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Vettel was outqualified by his teammate Kimi Raikkonen as the Ferrari’s lined up on the second row. Max Verstappen qualified fifth ahead of the two Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. Lance Stroll managed eighth ahead of his Williams team mate Felipe Massa, while a crash for Daniel Ricciardo saw the Australian line up tenth.

Hamilton flew to another pole position in Baku. Image: Crash

Race day

51 laps of the Baku City Circuit got underway on a beautiful sunny afternoon, Hamilton maintained his lead from the start ahead of Bottas, Raikkonen and Vettel. At the first corner, Daniil Kvyat ran wide in the Toro Rosso, as he re-joined the circuit his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. spun in avoidance, the Spaniard just surviving a tap with the wall.

In Turn 2, Bottas clipped the kerb and collided with compatriot Raikkonen. The right-front tyre of the Mercedes was punctured and Bottas headed to the pits for repairs, falling a lap down on the leaders in the process.

Bottas was seemingly out of contention with a puncture on Lap 1. Image: F1 Fanatic

On Lap 6, Ricciardo made a pit-stop after picking up debris in his brakes, he re-joined in 17th. Kvyat’s day went from bad to worse on Lap 10, as his Toro Rosso came to a halt with an electronic failure. Red Bull’s senior team ran into more trouble when Max Verstappen’s race came to an end after just 12 laps with an oil pressure problem.

The marshals were unable to move Kvyat’s stricken car, so the Safety Car was deployed. Racing briefly resumed on Lap 17, but debris from Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari warranted another Safety Car period.

Contact between the championship contenders

Under the safety car on Lap 19, Vettel ran into the back of Hamilton, damaging his front wing and Hamilton’s diffuser. Vettel believed his rival had brake tested him and proceeded to drive alongside Hamilton and display his anger, in doing so, he made contact with the Mercedes.

Hamilton and Vettel collided under the Safety Car, but would either of them receive punishment?

One lap later, the race restarted with Hamilton leading and Vettel was under pressure from Felipe Massa in the Williams. Further back, the two Force India’s engaged in a fratricidal tussle, Ocon made a move down the inside of Perez but they came to blows on the exit as Ocon squeezed the Mexican into the wall. The Frenchman escaped with a punctured right-rear tyre, while Perez suffered damage to the front left wishbone which would later end his race.

The debris also had consequences for Räikkönen who picked up a puncture, this damaged the floor and rear wing of his Ferrari as he made his way to the pits.

Red Flag

The Safety Car was deployed for a third time and, after Fernando Alonso complained over the radio about the debris on the track, the race was red-flagged so that marshals could clear the track thoroughly. The red flag allowed the teams to work on their damaged cars, Vettel received a new front wing, while Mercedes judged the damage on Hamilton’s diffuser to be minimal.

Raikkonen was able to re-join, albeit a lap down. The Finn comically pleaded with his team over the radio to be handed his gloves and steering wheel abruptly. An oil leak would later end a miserable day for Raikkonen.

Kimi Raikkonen had another one of his classic radio moments in Azerbaijan.

With the track now clear, the race restarted, Hamilton again kept the lead from Vettel, the Williams pair of Massa and Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault. Ricciardo made a bold move down the inside of turn one to move ahead of the Renault and both the Williams cars to take third place.

Massa’s race was compromised by suspension damage. He was quickly passed by Hulkenberg on the straight, while Kevin Magnussen in the Haas made a similar move to Ricciardo and overtook them both into the first corner. On Lap 25, a promising run for Hulkenberg came to a premature end as he clipped the apex of turn seven too hard and collided with the wall. A lap later, and Massa was forced to retire as his suspension problem became terminal.

On Lap 29, Hamilton was looking set for victory until his headrest became loose. Two laps later, he was forced by race control to pit for safety reasons. At the same time, Vettel’s earlier Safety Car shenanigans came back to haunt him, as he was given a 10-second stop/go penalty for dangerous driving.

The German came in to serve his penalty on Lap 33, re-joining the track in seventh place just ahead of Hamilton. All this had allowed Valtteri Bottas, who had lost a lap at the start of the race but regained it under the first safety car period, to jump back into contention and after passing Alonso, Magnussen and Ocon, the Finn found himself third.

Frantic Final Laps

At the front of the field, Ricciardo was leading comfortably ahead of Lance Stroll, but the Canadian could not relax as Bottas was closing quickly. Hamilton was running behind Vettel in fifth and tried to get the Mercedes team to instruct Bottas to slow his pace and allow Hamilton to close on Vettel, but this was refused as Bottas continued to pressure Stroll.

As the chequered flag fell, it was Daniel Ricciardo who took his and Red Bull’s first victory of 2017, but behind him, it was not over, as Bottas utilised his DRS to beat Lance Stroll over the line and take second place. The Canadian still had plenty to celebrate, becoming the second-youngest F1 podium finisher in history.

Nobody would’ve predicted this podium before race day.

The only consolation for Vettel was that he managed to outscore Hamilton by two points, rounding off a bad day for the title contenders. Ocon finished sixth ahead of Magnussen and Sainz. Fernando Alonso scored McLaren Honda’s first points of the season in ninth with Pascal Wehrlein scoring another point for Sauber in tenth.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend? The Grid Talk have you covered with their Azerbaijan Grand Prixview. Ruby Price hosted George Howson, Steve Jackson and Phil Mathew in the latest GT Podcast. Audio and video versions of the show are linked below:

Ode to a true Australian titan – Steve Smith, a batsman like no other

Cricket expects England to continuously dominate, and the world champions truly came into their own in 2019, having demonstrated a spark of unsullied brilliance ever since 2017. Cricket also expects no less from India, who are world-beaters on their day, with the fact being that their days last longer than the ceaseless miles Usain Bolt can jog off without much sweat.

But from Australia, a bastion of cricketing excellence, the world expects something unreal. Australians are expected to regain the stronghold they particularly enjoyed over the sport back in the heydays of 2000s and throughout the nineties.

It’s not like the one among Cricket’s top three isn’t a strong force today; but it would be lovely to see Australians become the demolishing force they once were, one that instilled a fear in the mind of the opponent.

And when you look at a Pat Cummins, you see a bright future leader who’s just waiting to explore his wings. David Warner, a Test triple centurion is still going strong. There’s Hazlewood, Zampa, Stoinis, and Lyon- a quartet of match-winners.

And then there’s Steve Smith- a batsman like no other, a man who none can ever be.

Why Smith is special

A man who’s conquered inner demons, who has bitten dust and turned dust into gold, which incidentally also happens to be the colour of a jersey he wears with pride, truly aware today of the enormous responsibility it reposes on brave men who walk out there on the cricket pitch with an aim to churn magic.

And above all, Smith is the only candidate from Australia in the titanic tussle towards winning the battle of being the world’s best batsman, to which Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson are worthy competitors and enormous challengers.

No monk or beacon of self-righteousness, Steve Smith, who turns 32 today, has already endured what many might call a rollercoaster ride. He’s churned out records and attracted brickbats at express speed akin to the famous Ferrari roller coaster at Abu Dhabi-bound Ferrari world.

Smith arrives on the world stage

No sooner than he was introduced to the world of cricket did Smith go onto prove his credentials as a talented leg spinner who possessed the guile and loop to endanger the batsman’s stumps. Warne was already history and there was vacuum for an able spinner to inherit the spot.

In those days, circa 2010, Smith would only swing the bat on an occasion or two, never afforded a space in the top or the middle order of a line-up, which was replete with talents like Clarke, Watson, Hussey and Bailey.

Yet the Steve Smith story owes its thrills to the fiery proclivity using which a one-time leg spinner who never had his sights on batting became one of the world’s most dominant batsman, and that too, in the sport’s most arduous format- Test Cricket.

Although, that wasn’t before biting maliciously into some ‘sandpaper!’

Remember 2018? Newslands, Capetown, days after which the usually supremely confident Smith, a bloke with boyish charm and excessive self-confidence lacked every ounce of it when he went behind the mic tearing up like a schoolboy smacked on the face for notoriety?

Smith broke down during the interview where accepted full responsibility for the ball tampering scandal

Being an Australian cricketer is hard enough. You not only have to rise through the ranks, but a well-oiled domestic structure proving it difficult to reach the top annals. But the challenge of breaking in and proving oneself to be a staple resource in Australian cricket becomes an exasperating exercise in the event of one becoming a captain.

So, when Smith was found guilty of ball tampering, being a leader, it was almost curtains down on a glowing career whose byline was enormity of run scoring and boundless potential.

That could’ve been the end, but it wasn’t

In some ways, Smith being around again and going strong is down to the fact that he’s much-loved and regarded as a true modern great of the game. It’s not the world being blindingly kind on a talented bloke who chose an erroneous path.

It’s down to the stunning numbers that Smith has amassed, in a sport where most envy longevity and dream to win the much-coveted Ashes series.

In four of his ten calendar years in Tests, Smith has smoked in excess of 1,000 runs.

And what truly indicates his herculean nature at run-scoring is the fact in seven of the ten years he’s wielded a bat in Test match cricket, he’s scored at an average north of 70.

That’s like a Cristiano Ronaldo scoring 4 games per outing or Sir Lewis Hamilton delivering a pole, win, and fastest lap for consecutively for, at least, half a Formula 1 season.

It’s bizarre meets brilliance. It’s the marriage of fire and ice.

But a number that should truly drive cricket critics who still question Smith’s inclusion in Australia having committed a sacrilege-like error of ball-tampering are his numbers against England and India, two of the strongest bowling attacks.

Of his 7540 Test runs, nearly 4500 have come against the game’s most daunting forces.

Moreover, he averages 72- read that again- 72 against India and 65 versus England.

The man who once hid behind his father’s arm for the world seemed a demon in front of his cricketing catastrophe has come back like a Thor on a battlefield just that his bat is the hammer.

And some of his Ashes outings are evident proof of that. For instance, the Perth double hundred, the revered 239 that saw Smith hold his nerve for over 500 minutes in the middle.

He scored 774 Ashes runs- a high flying effort resembling figures etched on a Boeing carrier- in 2019 Ashes and didn’t even need the full quota of 5 (the usual no.) Tests to do it.

In a ten-year journey, Smith has become the poster boy of Test heroism and dauntless consistency as also the bad boy of cricket whose every forthcoming inning seems an effort of atonement to wipe out the past mistakes.

There’s always something he brings to the crease- whether it’s his rather odd way of letting a delivery by, taking his stance, shuffling, and that trigger movement captivating much like watching someone wearing an umbrella over the head.

But to Australia it truly signals that the team is safe and under cover from harshness of the opponents.

Also, the man who’s fired 38 international centuries would definitely want to get better in the 50-over format where it seems his best is yet to come.

Though, for now, the man who turns 32 but still looks pup-eyed rules with the élan of a man made of steel, built on self-conviction and that voracious appetite at run-scoring that doesn’t look if it’ll be swayed by any more distractions.

Happy bday Steven Smith. 

In the Pit Lane – Nicolas Todt plays the long game

The ‘who is going where’ silly season starts early, with all sorts of speculation on F1’s game of musical chairs.

Heavily involved are the driver’s management teams and when it comes to driver management the power brokers that come to mind, are the usual suspects of Toto Wolff and Helmet Marko. In fact, one of the most powerful individuals behind the scenes is the ambitious and well-connected Nicolas Todt.

Todt Jr.’s Career

Nicolas, of course, must live with being the son of former Ferrari team principal and current FIA president Jean Todt, and all the resulting accusations of nepotism. Nicolas Todt is a serious player, managing the careers of the likes of Daniil Kvyat and Charles Leclerc through his All Road Management company, which he founded in 2003.

Todt has managed Formula 1 drivers, including Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc

His journey started when Felipe Massa asked him to become his manager and so began Todt’s rise to power. Todt’s strategy was clear, find the drivers young before they are signed up and to this end, he bought into Birel ART a big player in the karting world.

Todt explains, “I look for the best talents and need to sign them young because it’s a competitive landscape, to say the least. If they’re already in F2 and winning races, they’ll already be in discussions with F1 teams and it won’t make sense to sign with someone like me. So, I try to follow karting very closely because that’s the grassroots, where 99% of the best drivers start.”

The Present and the Future

Todt first met Charles Leclerc when he was a 13-year-old kart racer and told Corriere della Sera, “I talk to the best people in the industry and form an opinion. In karts they told me that Charles was special.”

Hoping history will repeat itself in 2018 he signed another 13-year-old, Italian driver, Gabriele Mini.

Mini could be a Formula 1 star within the next ten years. Image: ART

The signs are looking good, with Mini now competing in the lower formulae and last year he took the first three pole positions and a race win in the Italian F4 Championship. Todt like with Leclerc beforehand will have had to finance the youngster, something that does not come cheap.

READ MORE IN THE PIT LANE: WOLFF SET TO BECOME A BILLIONAIRE

Lower Formulae = Big money

Toto Wolff has been the latest to criticise the absurd wealth required to compete in the lower Formulae

Toto Wolff has recently questioned the whole system saying, “What I think we can do is make sure that grassroots racing becomes more affordable, so kids that haven’t got any financial background can actually be successful in the junior formulas.

“All the big Formula 1 teams [need to be] able to identify those kids, rather than making it so expensive that a good go-karting season costs €250,000, an F4 season €500,000, and an F3 season €1 million.

“That is totally absurd, [and] needs to stop, because we want to have access. I think we need to give access to kids that are interested in go-karting, the opportunity to race for much more affordable budgets.”

READ MORE IN THE PIT LANE: THE UAE FLASH THE CASH

For the numbers to add up for Todt, he needs a backed driver to make it into F1 as Leclerc did, and on an estimated 2021 salary of €10m, Todt will pocket €2m.

You can imagine Todt disagreeing with Leclerc when he told il Giornale last week, “I wouldn’t leave Ferrari even if he was offered double the salary.”

Before driver management

Until the end of 2018, Todt was the co-owner of the motorsport team ART Grand Prix, which he founded with current Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur in 2004. 

Todt has excellent connections with Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur

Todt confirmed in 2019 that he would have a role in Mick Schumacher’s career telling Sky Sports, “My job for Mick is to advise the family to guide them and give them some advice what I think they could do.” Adding it was his job to protect him.

Nicolas Todt acknowledged his father’s influence in an interview with Forbes Monaco back in 2019 he said, “Having a Dad like this for sure helped me to enter this industry because I was able to follow motorsport closely from a young age and develop a very good network.”

An understatement to say the least!

When it comes to Todt Snr, it would be fair to say he is not without his critics, but it says a lot about him as a human being that he still regularly visits Michael Schumacher.

Last week Todt told Corriere della Sera, “I see Michael at least twice a month. I never leave him alone. Corinna, the family: we’ve had so many experiences together. The beauty of what we have experienced is part of us and it goes on.”

A true friend can be measured in not only the good times but more importantly the bad times.

The last word goes to Nicolas who once said, “You can be a great manager but if you aren’t working with the right driver you will never make it. You can’t turn a donkey into a racehorse!”

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.]

Chelsea Column: How the Blues Became Champions of Europe

As you can probably imagine, I am writing this with a slight hangover, because Saturday night will live on in my memory and the memories of Chelsea fans for the rest of their lives.

I don’t think that anyone would have thought that Chelsea would be European champions, not only after the season they’ve had, but also the month they’ve had.

It’s been a season of highs and lows, but now that it is all over, it’s time to reflect on the final month of this incredible season.

We’re still the only team in London to win a European Cup!

There can be no shadow of a doubt that Chelsea are the unrivalled biggest team in London now. Chelsea now have two Champions Leagues trophies and have won four European trophies in the last 10 years.

Credit: Getty images

Arsenal may have the history and have gone a Premier League season unbeaten, but that was 17 years ago now, and no amount of FA Cups can keep them at that top position.

We need to remember that this Chelsea team is still so young, and they are at the start of their footballing careers. There is still so much to see from these players and winning a champions League so early is great signs of things to come.

Under Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea have the potential to dominate English football, and there is no doubt that Chelsea have to be seen as title contenders for next season.

While I do have my own reservations about Chelsea’s ability to win the league, we have seen a shift under Tuchel that could see Chelsea have a much easier time in the league compared to the last couple of seasons.

But for now, it’s time to let this feeling sink in that we are European Champions. I was only 11 when Chelsea won the Champions League against Bayern Munich and while it was an amazing, I was a bit too young to fully understand the significance.

If Chelsea can beat City, why not Leicester?

Two weeks before European glory, Chelsea put in a woeful performance against Leicester City in the FA Cup final.

You could tell from minute one that Leicester wanted it more, and for Chelsea it looked like an inconvenience.

Credit: The Irish Sun

It wasn’t until Leicester went a goal ahead that Chelsea finally decide to go for it. Kasper Schmeichel made some glorious saves, before Chelsea were cruelly denied an equaliser as Ben Chilwell was only inches offside.

It was Leicester’s day and I imagine Tuchel took a lot away from that game which did help Chelsea’s preparations for the Champions League final. It was disappointing that Chelsea didn’t win the FA Cup as well, as shown a few days later, Chelsea had the ability to beat Leicester fair and square.

I had hoped that this season would be the repeat of the 2011/12 season with Chelsea getting a new manager during the season and then going on to win the FA Cup and Champions League double, but it just wasn’t to be.

However, I have to say fair play to Leicester in that game. Youri Tielemans’ goal was sensational and one that was deserving to be the match winning goal.

Chelsea have to thanks Spurs for top four

While Spurs may have not been able to finish in the top 4 this season, Chelsea fans owe them a debt of gratitude.

While it may not have mattered in the end, it did look like Chelsea would not get into the top four on the final day when Leicester went 2-1 up against Spurs.

Credit: The irish sun

Chelsea were playing Aston Villa and were losing 2-1, meaning that Chelsea would miss out by a single point and Leicester would get Champions League football.

After a Schmeichel own-goal and then two goals by Gareth Bale, Chelsea would retain their spot in the top 4 and Leicester drop down into 5th.

This season felt like a long fight to get 4th place. When Tuchel took charge, Chelsea were in 10th place. It would have been made clear to Tuchel that getting top 4 would be the highest priority.

After Lampard managed to get top four with a transfer ban, it would seem like getting top four would be easy given Chelsea spent over £200 million in the summer transfer window.

Tuchel started on the back foot and needed to turn things quickly and that’s exactly what he did. Straight away, Chelsea started to climb the table and were able to take full advantage when West Ham and Leicester started to drop off at the end of the season.

In football, you need a bit of luck and Chelsea got that in the league, but you can’t say that Chelsea didn’t deserve it.

Is Tuchel already one of the Chelsea’s best managers?

Despite the fact Di Matteo was sacked months after winning the Champions League with Chelsea, his achievements will live on in Chelsea history forever.

Credit: Getty Images

Tuchel has been in charge for only four months and yet his record as Chelsea manager is better than most that we have seen come through the revolving door at Stamford Bridge.

The impact that Tuchel has had since coming to Chelsea is up there with Jose Mourinho, yet Tuchel has managed to actually win a European trophy.

Tuchel does have a poor record with falling out with clubs and Chelsea have a poor record of falling out with managers, so it doesn’t look like a match made in heaven.

But after the game Tuchel looked so happy and it was great to see when Tuchel and Abramovich met for the very first time. Hopefully Tuchel will sign a long-term contract at Chelsea and keep building on this success.

It really is about time that Chelsea got a long-term manager and Tuchel is one of the best managers in the world. If the club can make this work then this could be the start of something great at Chelsea.

Let’s not forget about Frank Lampard

While Lampard was sacked by Chelsea four months ago, the club and the fans still need to thank him for the success that Chelsea have seen this season.

Credit: CNN

I think it goes without saying that if we had carried on with Frank this season then we would not have got top four, or got to the FA Cup final, or have won the Champions League.

But at the end of the day, Frank guided Chelsea through the Group stages in great fashion and put us in a good spot for the knock-outs.

Frank was also responsible for Chelsea’s amazing summer transfer window. The new additions to the Chelsea’s squad this season have made it easier for Tuchel to hit the ground running.

The likes of Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Thiago Silva have shone under Thomas Tuchel. Werner has been getting better, but his failing are his own and nothing Tuchel can really do anything about it.

It was Frank who was able to bring in those players and also we must not forget the young talent that Frank brought in the fold which have also been a huge part of Tuchel’s success.

I was annoyed when Lampard was sacked, and I did think that he should have been given more time and it’s easy for me to say now that I am thankful that I was wrong.

I was forced to eat my words and hopefully Tuchel will continue to make those comments look foolish. This night was Tuchel’s night, and I was happy to witness his brilliance beat one of the greatest managers of all time on the biggest stage in world football.

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco has, can and does produce exciting races. Sometimes, and usually with help of rain or a safety car. Other times, you’re left as a viewer hoping for a burst water main at the Casino to spice up the racing and bring out some wet tyres at the very least.

Alas, the full 78 laps passed this year with not one hint of a stoppage as the drivers were all alarmingly well behaved (Perhaps under orders not to break the car in case of budget cap issues). Therefore it was a surprise to see the teams doing all the breaking.

1

Posted on Reddit by Filonji

It’s Monaco, so this is absolutely no surprise to anyone whose seen something 2m wide go down normal streets. Add to that the fact that the barriers add the chance of being fired into the next barrier and with cars that can’t follow, this spectacle was almost guaranteed.

At least we got to see some great drivers in the points right?…Right???

READ MORE – F1 2021 MONACO GRAND PRIX: HEARTBREAK FOR LECLERC AS VERSTAPPEN TAKES CHARGE

2

Posted on Reddit by 2polew

The Mercedes doesn’t like to follow, Hamilton struggled to get going all weekend and as mentioned previously, it’s Monaco.

Hamilton would have got very acquainted with the rear of the Alpha Tauri running on the power of dreams as Mercedes had a nightmare.

3

Posted on Reddit by le-sparrow

Those of us old enough to remember Hamilton’s less successful years (Yes, us young millennials are the ones who put this together Zoomers)

Will know all about the whinging that can come from the 7-time champion. The counterpoint to that is Valtteri getting a freak failure we’ve never seen before when he actually has a handle on Lewis. The Finn must be questioning what exactly is going on, because as even  the Knight of F1 once said when the dice never seemed to roll his way in 2014, “It’s getting beyond a joke”.

4

Posted on Reddit by ifthetiefitz

This meme isn’t entirely wrong in their assessment, initially there was a whole host of interesting things happening in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Those things just ended after the pit stops. Leclerc’s drivetrain issues meant he didn’t start, opening up a run for Bottas on Max. Hamilton would have to fight through the pack and Bottas could have taken some fight to Red Bull.

After Lap 30 or so though, we were doing the dishes and wondering when Indy Qualifying was on. At least the championship is back on again.

READ MORE – F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIN AND THIRSTY ENGINES CAUSE CHAOTIC END TO MONACO GP

5

Posted on Reddit by The-Protractor-Cult

First off for this, the disclaimers. TV directing, particularly live, is difficult to do well with good timing and queuing up footage when you don’t think anything interesting will happen a few seconds in advance is also difficult and at times things may go wrong.

That now out of the way.

What the hell were they thinking by cutting away from the only bloody interesting thing to see all afternoon? Criminal.

6

Posted on Reddit by Baltic_Gunner

Given the expected outcome when the post-race interviews were being decided, it would be a fair assumption Hamilton’s friend, incomparable Tennis champion Serena Williams, would be knocked off her stride as we all were not seeing him anywhere near the podium.

7

Posted on Reddit by UncomfortableBench

It often seems insane that a finely tuned race team operation can be completely undone by a part that simply refuses to do just that.

All that expense and the hardware provided in flat pack furniture seems more reliable. F1 however is a sport where grams saved make seconds and given the balance of probabilities, a lighter thread on a wheelnut is worth the times it’s actually going to fail when it matters. On this occasion, it just collapsed the possibility of a win for Mercedes.

READ MORE – F1 2021 MONACO GRAND PRIX PREVIEW: WHO WILL MASTER THE STREETS OF THE PRINCIPALITY?

8

Posted on Reddit by Epicd2000

We’ve given this particular issue a Ferrari Mechanic’s look thus far, but whoever was weighing up which option to take for Sunday needs retraining in basic risk.

Ferrari sacrificed a guaranteed 6th place start with room for improvement for the possibility of pole. As much as that matters around the principality, does it really justify taking such a large risk. It really has been too long for a win at Ferrari.

9

Posted on Reddit by Bananozaurek

There’s been a whole lot of criticism and negativity in this piece so far, so to take us home let’s add in the wholesome addition of two former team-mates who genuinely seemed elated to see each other do well. It’s not a sight seen often in the F1 paddock such is the competition, but it’s most refreshing when it appears. Absolutely brilliant, I love it.

10

Posted on Reddit by jocim

Given how he could have reacted, going home or off to have an ice cream on his yacht for example, Charles Leclerc as always distinguished himself, going back to both celebrate the podium with the team and then congratulate Carlos.

Many drivers wouldn’t have done close to that and don’t get distinguished praise as a class act like the Monegasque. Brilliant to see.

Thank goodness the spectacle of a Monaco Sunday in May has come and gone. As much as Monaco must stay on the calendar, it’s not exactly a secret it doesn’t usually set the world alight in action. Moving swiftly on as a good few drivers are want to do at this point, from the Cote d’Azur to the Caspian Sea and the streets of Baku. It’s Azerbaijan up next and we simply cannot wait.

Grid Talk Podcast

Given the boredom that came with that jaunt to the principality, we should have suggested this before, but why not take a look at the podcast in the meantime. 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 MONACO GRAND PRIX: HEARTBREAK FOR LECLERC AS VERSTAPPEN TAKES CHARGE

F1 2021 MONACO GP QUALIFYING REPORT: LECLERC STARTS HOME RACE FROM POLE!

F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIN AND THIRSTY ENGINES CAUSE CHAOTIC END TO MONACO GP

F1 2021 MONACO GRAND PRIX PREVIEW: WHO WILL MASTER THE STREETS OF THE PRINCIPALITY?

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