Long overdue win for Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes seal record equalling title: 2019 Japanese Grand Prix Review

There were so many questions heading into the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka this year and mostly, would we even have a Grand Prix. Typhoon Hagibis had already seen two Rugby World Cup games abandoned as a precaution. In the end, Qualifying was moved from its Saturday spot to Sunday morning before the race.

It has contributed to the debate of how the Grand Prix weekend should be structured as runners persist about how the Qualifying session could be edited. However, on track, Sebastian Vettel marched to a rather unexpected pole position and out-qualified Leclerc for the first time in nine. read more

Preview Talking Points coming into the Japanese Grand Prix

With five races remaining of the 2019 F1 season, it is the turn of Suzuka to host the 16th round of the Championship with the Japanese Grand Prix. Situated in Ino, the famous figure of eight circuit has seen some entertaining and decisive races over the years with no fewer than 12 world champions ships being decided in Japan but could the 2019 edition add to that?

The Drivers Championship
The top five of the Drivers Championship. [Image from BBC Sport].

Well, in the Drivers Championship, it cannot. After his surprise win in Russia, Lewis Hamilton is almost o the verge of a sixth world championship. Hamilton sits top of the standings on 322 points with a 73 point lead over his teammate Valtteri Bottas in 2nd. With Bottas not winning a race since round four in Azerbaijan and the recent set of races going against him, it would seem his title challenge is over. Charles Leclerc is in third with 215 points, 34 adrift of Bottas in second so it looks a very long shot for Ferrari’s young superstar to mount a very late title challenge. read more

Review: Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup

What a month of football we had this summer! 736 players representing 32 nations and 64 matches later, the 2018 World Cup was spectacular! It was expected to be a heavily politicised tournament but apart from the Pussy Riot pitch invasion in the final, that did not happen. It was expected to be shrouded in racism, it wasn’t. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) played its part but the football did the talking as records and titans fell while as a nation, we unified, daring to dream that ‘football’s coming home’. Eventually, it was France who triumphed in Russia after one of the most memorable world cups in living memory.

The story of Russia 2018

Denis Cheryshev scored a brace as hosts Russia hammered Saudi Arabia. [Image from The Japan Times].

After Robbie opened the World Cup, it was down to the hosts to start the tournament against Saudi Arabia. The two were the lowest ranked sides of the tournament but that did not show for Russia as Yuri Gazinsky headed in the opener, a Denis Cheryshev brace including a stunning injury-time set the hosts on their way to a 5-0 win which was rounded off by an Aleksandr Golovin free-kick! read more

2018 World Cup Russia Preview

Football could have been coming home this summer but it was not to be. Instead, when Russia hosts Saudi Arabia, they will kick start the 2018 World Cup. 736 players representing 32 nations from five continental football federations will be competing on this, the biggest stage in football and after a mammoth month of football (64 games between 14th June and 15th July), 23 players will have played their part I crowning their national side, World Champions!

The geographical spread of the host cities in Russia. [Image from Sky Sports].

With this being Russia’s first hosting of a major international football tournament, a number of new stadiums were built. With Russia spanning 17.1 million square km and two continents, it is mostly concentrated in European Russia (West of the Ural mountains) with the exception of Ekaterinburg that will see football. From St. Petersburg in the north to Sochi in the south on the Caspian Sea, from Yaketerinburg in the east to Kaliningrad in the west, the world cup spans a diameter of 7.1 million square miles. The tournament spans four different time zones and has 12 stadiums being used from 11 cities with the capital, Moscow the only city to be using two stadiums. read more

F1 2018 Season Preview

Well, 2017 was an entertaining year in Formula One and was certainly tenser in terms of the Championships. That was in no small part down to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari who took the battle to Mercedes. However, it was Mercedes who won both titles for the fourth successive year as Lewis Hamilton won his 4th title in a record-breaking year!

2017 Australian Grand Prix Podium with Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari (centre) the race winner; Lewis Hamilton (left) in 2nd and Valtteri Bottas (right) in 3rd [Image from The Daily Mirror]

Vettel’s claim to the title began when the overcut worked well in Australia. Ferrari keeping him out longer than Hamilton allowed them to leapfrog the Mercedes to their first opening-round victory since 2010. Victories in Bahrain and Monaco left Vettel in a commanding position in the standings. Despite Grand Slam victories in China and Canada, Hamilton was still a fair way behind the German which was contributed to by the stir caused by Valtteri Bottas. The Finn took pole in Bahrain as well as victories in Russia and Austria to keep Hamilton earnest. Vettel still had the upper hand after F1’s crazy weekend in Azerbaijan. The German had steered into Hamilton behind the Safety Car prompting the stewards to give him a 10-second penalty. Hamilton though had a headboard issue to deal with meaning Vettel finished ahead as Daniel Ricciardo picked up his only win the season. It seemed luck was not on Hamilton’s side. Hamilton stormed to a fifth British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone and closed the gap down to a single point after a late puncture for Vettel saw him drop to 7th. Vettel came back with a victory in Hungary with Raikkonen either unable or not allowed to overtake his teammate. read more

F1 2017 Mexican Grand Prix Preview : Can Hamilton do it?

I have missed a couple of Grand Prix since commenting on F1 so I would like to start this post with a brief overview of what I missed in the Far East Double bill before delving into the second part of the America’s double bill; starting with Malaysia:

2800px-flag_of_malaysia read more

Lewis Hamilton takes surprise win while Vettel crashes out: 2017 Singapore Grand Prix Review

It is almost like the beginning of the end of the season when the Singapore Grand Prix comes around. It is the first of the final seven flyaway races of the season and always throws up big moments which are occasionally season-defining moments. There were driver lineup announcements for next year with Carlos Sainz joining Renault next year ‘on loan’ as well as the announcement that McLaren’s relationship with Honda will end at the end of the season. They will be powered by Renault in 2018 while Toro Rosso will have Honda power.

At the Marina Street Circuit, Red Bull were the early pace-setters with Daniel Ricciardo or Max Verstappen on top of the timesheets. They had anticipated having a strong weekend in Singapore while Mercedes were expecting a weekend of struggle. That was until, from nowhere, Sebastian Vettel set a stomping new track record to take pole position for the fourth time this season. It put Vettel in prime position to capitalise on the Mercedes weakness in Singapore to retake the Championship lead and build a gap to Hamilton who qualified 5th. read more

2016 United States Grand Prix Preview

Four races. That is all that remains of the 2016 Formula One Championship: USA, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. For Nico Rosberg, he will be hoping for more of the same after his win in Japan a fortnight ago. Apologies for not posting on that race previously, I was suffering from a bad illness. I will now provide a brief review of the Japanese race.

japan-flagLast time out: Japanese Grand Prix

If Nico Rosberg was anything but controlled in Malaysia, he was more than in control in Japan as he dominated the weekend. The weekend started as he meant to go on by finishing top of the timesheets in all three practice sessions while Renault getting both of their drivers into the top 10 in Third Practice proved to be a surprise. read more

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix: Hamilton’s race up in smoke as Rosberg rides luck to boost Championship lead and Ricciardo gets his 2016 win; it’s Shoey Time!

Formula One enters the closing stages of the 2016 season with four races in October before the season concludes with Brazil and Abu Dhabi in November. First up was the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit just outside of Kuala Lumpur for the 18th time and the 16th round of the 2016 championship!

The Drivers Championship after the Singapore Grand Prix [sourced from BBC Sport]
The Drivers Championship after the Singapore Grand Prix [sourced from BBC Sport]
The Constructors Championship after the Singapore Grand Prix
The Constructors Championship after the Singapore Grand Prix

The race for the World Championship took an intriguing turn last time out in Singapore. Lewis Hamilton went into the Grand Prix with a 2 point championship lead over his title rival and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. He left Singapore, 8 points adrift as having qualified in pole position and then controlled the race, Rosberg took his 8th win of the season. Hamilton on the other hand, never really seemed to get going and finished 3rd. Rosberg’s victory was not a forgone conclusion as Daniel Ricciardo battled him hard to finisdh within half a second of the Mercedes. The win gave Rosberg 273 points in the Driver’s championship while Hamilton’s fortunate 3rd place finish put him on 265. In third place is Daniel Ricciardo on 179 points and 26 points ahead of the best Ferrari in the standings. The Constructors Championship was Mercedes’ for the taking in Malaysia having stretched their lead to 222 points on 538. Although the result is below, more detailed information on the Singapore Grand Prix weekend can be found here. read more

2016 Belgian Grand Prix Preview

It has been a long 4 weeks hasn’t it? The football season has started up again, the Olympics in Rio have come and gone; Team GB came back with 67 medals and the UK is still no nearer to leaving the EU. However, F1 is back! The drivers have had their summer holidays in which Kimi Raikkonen got married, Nico Rosberg spent time with his dogs, Lewis Hamilton took a trip round the Caribbean, Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo met up in the US while Fernando Alonso trained at Palm Springs in California.. They’ve had their fun and it is time for them to get back down to business for the final 9 races of the 2016 season. It’s time to get back in the car, extract the maximum from it, fight for points, pole position, podiums wins and championship position. For some it will be glory or pride’s sake, for others it will be about saving their F1 career.

The 9 Grand Prix’s left are: read more