The musings of a Formula 1 Fan
The five lights went out signaling the start of the 2021 Formula 1 season.
As usual we have 3 practice sessions, qualifying and then the race. For 2021 the free practice session are all 60 minutes long (FP1 and 2 were 90 minutes in 2020)
Free Practice sessions were not overly dramatic, team are still trying to find their feet with the new cars. Some of the teams, (Redbull and McLaren) were continuing their good start while, Mercedes and Aston Martin were using the time to sort issues that cropped up during the 3-day test.
The business end of the race weekend started on Saturday, the first Qualifying session, would it fling up some surprises?
Well Of Course it did……
Q1 were filled with the usual suspects, HAAS 1, and HAAS 2, however we had a couple of surprises, 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel did his best “Ferrari drive 2020” and stuck his Aston Martin in the lofty position of 18th, to be fair to Seb, he was caught out by the Dizzy independent driver (thanks WADA) and Carlos Sainz, who had caused a couple of Yellow flags.
The yellow flags claimed another victim in Esteban Ocon, the Alpine driver managed only 16th.
Into Q2, the surprises kept coming this time it was Sergio Perez, the new Redbull driver missed out on the top ten but 0.095 after the team sent the Mexican driver out in the slower medium tire.
Williams, who have been slowly rebuilding after a horrendous few year, managed to get into 15th with George Russell, this is a great result of the British team. Yuki Tsunoda, managed 13th In the Alpha Tauri, the Japanese rookie will be disappointed with being that low on the grid.
Into the top ten, Max Verstappen was in a great position to claim his 4th pole and the first consecutive pole of his career. The Dutch driver did not disappoint with a great lap (1:28.997) 0.388 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton. First blood to Redbull and Verstappen.
Looking further down the grid, the McLaren’s of Ricciardo and Norris had a solid session qualifying in 6th and 7th.
Fernando Alonso did what he does best, putting the underpowered but well-balanced Alpine in 9th. Behind Verstappen, Charles Leclerc must be the star of qualifying, putting the Ferrari in an impressive 4th on the grid. Charles can get every ounce of performance from his car.
Sunday is race day, and 2021 is no different.
The racing started, well eventually, after the Redbull of Sergio Perez decided to do an impression of Microsoft Vista …. It just turned off …… after pressing a few buttons, like a 14-year-old caught watching Porn-hub, the Honda Power Unit jumped into life and Sergio headed to the pit lane to start from the rear of the grid. (At least Sebastian Vettel was not actually last).
When the racing finally started, it took 3 corners to see an incident. The HAAS car of Mazepin spun out and hit the wall, the rookie lost the rear of the HAAS ending his first race of his F1 career in less of a lap.
After a few laps behind the (Aston Martin) safety car, we were away again. Lando Norris had a great start and passed Riccardo, Bottas dropped down to 4th behind Leclerc. Pierre Gasly, had a horrid time clipping the rear of Daniel Ricciardo and knocking off his rear wing, robbing the fans of seeing exactly how good the Alpha Tauri is.
There were not many incidents on the track, maybe that explains why Sebastian Vettel decided to punt the rear of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, as the headed into turn 1, the incident, like the crash involving Sebastian and Verstappen, both these incidents were Vettel’s fault.
I really want to believe that Sebastian Vettel is still a good driver, however its increasingly hard to do that when he is still making mistakes like this, its not on Ferrari this time.
After the poor start, Sergio Perez put in a great display of dependable driving, finally finishing in 5th, if Redbull can manage 2 drivers, then he will be a great weapon fighting the Mercedes boys. Speaking of Wingmen, Valtteri Bottas has a standard race. He finished on the podium, but could not keep up with Verstappen and Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas gets angry with the term “wingman”, he needs to show why he is not one.
Mercedes did their best job of messing up Bottas with a 10.2 second pit stop, a few seconds longer and I was reaching for my recorder….
Another performance worth a mention is Yuki Tsunoda, he is amazing and will be in the front running team soon enough. The pass on Stroll was amazing ….
I will not be going into too much detail of the race (that is why we do a podcast -EverythingF1 Podcast out every week), however I can say that this was a race for the purists, it swung one way, then the next way, then back again. Watching the race was exciting right to the last lap!!!!
Oh one more thing, please don’t mention track limits to me, how can the limits of a track be so confusing …
One thing is for sure, Lewis Hamilton proved why he is paid the big bucks. He had no right to win that race, his car was slower that the Redbull, he was on tires that were 10 laps older… this win was not the car it was pure Lewis Hamilton it was pure genius and most of all it was RACING……
GOD I LOVE FORMULA 1
I’ve got to stop ……. Thank you, Murray,