Valtteri Bottas secures a much needed win as turn two causes trouble: 2020 Russian Grand Prix Review

After a two week break after the chaos of Mugello, F1 returned to action for the 10th round of 7 races in 2020 with the Russian Grand Prix from the Sochi Autodrom. There had been no driver announcements in the lead up to Sochi but an announcement from the top of F1 with Chase Carey stepping aside from his F1 chairman role. Ex-Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicalli replaces him for 2021 and personally, I think he’ll do well in the role and miss his presence in the sport after leaving the Scuderia in 2014. Curiously, we now have three ex-Ferrari bosses at the helm of F1 again: Franz Todt at the FIA, Ross Brawn and now Domenicalli.

The teams brought updates to Russia but the circuit proved difficult to master with various drivers having lap times deleted in Qualifying at turn 2. The stewards directed that if a car ran wide they had to go through the bollards to the left of the circuit in order to not gain an advantage. That was a huge talking point of the weekend as four drivers were summoned and later acquitted post-Qualifying. It was responsible for one driver crashing out on the opening lap, a virtual safety car was needed after Romain Grosjean went through them and Daniel Ricciardo picked up a five-second penalty for failing to abide by it. The stewards clearly had a busy weekend but at the podium, for the 6th time in 10 races this year it was Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas sharing the podium but not in the order we have come to expect this year. Could this be a turning point in the championship? read more

Mugello makes a chaotic F1 debut but it’s a familiar winner: 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Review

Situated in the Tuscan hills of northern Italy, the Mugello Circuit for the first time hosted an F1 Grand Prix. It last hosted F1 cars for a test session 2012 but never a Grand Prix. With its narrow layout overtaking was expected to be difficult but with its sweeping high-speed corners, it was a quick circuit which delivered an almighty chaotic and entertaining race. The only question left us; can F1 go to Mugello more often?

We would not have had a race at Mugello without the pandemic but it was nicely planned to mark Ferrari’s 1,000th Grand Prix as a team. Everything was a celebration of Ferrari. They emblazoned their cars with a burgundy special edition livery to match their initial colours from the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix, Mick Schumacher got to take his fathers 2004 Ferrari for a spin and even the Mercedes Safety Car was painted red as a tribute, It’s just as well, it was the only red car to lead a lap. We saw it come out three times and after waiting three years for one, two red flags come at once after Monza the weekend before. Seven cars did not get past the opening 10 laps but we did see some racing eventually with F1 having 213th different driver on the podium but it was an all too familiar race winner [Pictured above; Image from formula1.com]… read more

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

Vettel’s surprise fifth Singapore win: Thoughts on the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix

There is something special about seeing the sight of Formula One cars under the lights in the Singapore night. Since the Marina Bay circuit hosted its inaugural race in 2008, it is one I look forward too every season and is always full of incident and revelations. A round 14 of the 2019 season, it represents the stat of the final third of the season and sets up a potential Championship battle thought over a matter of weeks ago.

Ferrari’s pace in Singapore was a real turn for the books. The tight, slow turns of the 23 turn circuit were thought to favour Mercedes and Red Bull who were expected to be fighting for the win. It was not expected to favour Ferrari. That was how it looked after the Friday practice sessions when Ferrari were 0.8s off the race as first Max Verstappen and then Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets. However, the nose and aero upgrades brought by Ferrari made the difference from Saturday onwards as Vettel headed a Ferrari 1-2 in final practice. It could have been that in Qualifying too as Vettel made mistakes on his final Q3 run before abandoning his final effort. Instead, Leclerc produced a stunning effort for his third successive pole position and fifth of the season. As the Monogasque said after Qualifying, it was not expected at all… read more

2018 Russian Grand Prix Preview

From the luminous night of Singapore, Formula One travels to the Black Sea and the city of Sochi for the 15th round of the season. It is still one of the newest additions to the F1 Championship but the sport had been trying to break into Russia for three decades before the country eventually made its maiden bow in 2014 while the event has origins even further back….

History of the Russian Grand Prix

Despite only coming on to the F1 calendar in 2014, the Russian Grand Prix has origins over a century before that. In fact, Russia was still under the autocratic rule of Tsar Nicholas II when the first ever Russian Grand Prix took place in 1913. The race took place on a circuit in the streets of St. Petersburg. The event only ran twice due to the start of the First World War and after the Russian Revolution saw the Romanov dynasty eventually replaced by the Soviet Union, the race did not start up again afterwards unlike other racing events of that age. 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