Championship leads change hands after Verstappen capitalises on Leclerc heartbreak as Hamilton disappoints: 2021 Monaco Grand Prix Review

Before delving into the review of the Grand Prix much further, I do want to add my respects to Max Mosley, former President of the FIA whose death was announced the day after the race at the age of 81. It was in his position as FIA president that he was instrumental in helping improve the safety of the sport following the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in 1994 until he was succeeded by Jean Todt in 2009. It goes without saying that he leaves behind a huge legacy in F1

After a year out from the F1 calendar for the first time since 1954, the Monaco Grand Prix made a return to F1 this year for the fifth round and the question marks are still there as to how crucial could it be in the shakeup of the 2021 championship.

With the narrow streets of the Principality making overtaking very difficult indeed, pole position is often critical with the race being won from pole in 8 of the previous 12 visits and you would have to go back to 2008 for the last time the race was won by a driver not starting on the front row. The Safety car has also featured heavily in recent years with Bert Mylander being deployed in 9 of the previous 10. However, with no such Safety Car for also the first time in 2021, it was a largely processional race with only one genuine on track racing overtake. You would be forgiven for not realising it was also the quickest Monaco Grand Prix in history! read more

Bottas gets his Baku redemption: 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Review

After the events of F1’s landmark 1,000th Grand Prix, it was to the streets of Baku for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The fastest street circuit on the calendar has thrown up some chaotic races in the past two years but for 2019, that was a safe description for the weekend as a whole.

George Russell inspects his car after going over a manhole cover in first practice. [Image from Sky Sports].

There were crashes galore with Robert Kubica and Charles Leclerc landing it in the barrier at turn 7; the narrowest turn on the calendar in Qualifying while George Russell came a cropper as a result of a loose drain cover in the first practice session. A number of drivers had close shaves with the barriers and at the end of a much delayed Qualifying hour, it was not the Ferrari on pole position. Despite Ferrari bringing upgrades to Baku, it did not pan out well with Leclerc in the wall in Q2 as Mercedes locked out the front row again with Valtteri Bottas claiming his second successive pole position. read more

Hamilton dominates as Ferrari struggle and Grosjean causes first lap chaos: 2018 Spanish Grand Prix Review

After the chaotic race in Baku, who would have thought we’d see a more dominant Mercedes in Spain. That’s what we saw at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as they controlled most of the weekend.

Lewis Hamilton led away from pole position and won as he dominated the Spanish Grand Prix [Image from MotorAuthority.com].

Lewis Hamilton took pole position by just 0.040 seconds from his teammate and despite all the drama of the race was dominant to win. Mercedes secured their first one-two race finish of the season as Bottas finished seconds despite being passed by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel into turn 1. The Finn stayed out for a one-stop strategy while Vettel two stopped on his way to a 4th place finish. The change to slightly slimmer tyres to avoid degradation that was seen in winter testing was attributed as a contributing factor by Vettel and Ferrari. The second stop allowed Max Verstappen to finish on the podium in 3rd while Daniel Ricciardo finished 5th in a much quieter race for Red Bull. read more

Fortunate Hamilton wins chaotic Baku race as the Red Bulls come together: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Review

After a fascinating double bill, Formula One moved to the fourth round of the Championship in Azerbaijan. Despite never having a driver race in F1, Azerbaijan has held races since the 2016 season and the circuit in the capital city of Baku is the quickest street circuit in the world. The race in 2017 was a crazy day which saw Daniel Ricciardo take victory for Red Bull and the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was another crazy race.

The layout of the Baku Street Circuit [Image from formula1.com]

Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole for the third successive race and led away from the start. However, the chaos was behind as at turn 3 Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon collided while behind them Fernando Alonso and Sergey Sirotkin came together too. Ocon and Sirotkin retired from the race. Raikkonen and Alonso were able to continue but after three turns, the safety car was out. read more

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Preview

Hamilton with the authentic helmet of Ayrton Senna given to him by the family after securing pole position in Canada; his 65th pole [Image from europsport.com]
Hamilton with the authentic helmet of Ayrton Senna given to him by the family after securing pole position in Canada; his 65th pole [Image from europsport.com]
Sir Patrick Stewart gets in on the shoey act as Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his podium finish in Canada [Image from The Mirror]
Sir Patrick Stewart gets in on the shoey act as Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his podium finish in Canada [Image from The Mirror]

The Mind of Rowan made a return to commenting on Formula One in Canada a fortnight ago. Lewis Hamilton won the race for the 6th time in his career and is now 1 shy of matching Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 victories in Montreal. He won the race uninterrupted from start to finish and the pole position he secured was the 65th of his career; matching the record of his idol Ayrton Senna and was awarded a rather nice gesture from the Senna family. Whilst Hamilton walked to victory, chaos ensued behind. A quick starting Max Verstappen rose from 5th to 2nd after overtaking Vettel around the outside at turn 1; taking a chunk of the Ferrari front wing with him and fortunately not picking up a puncture. Vettel pitted late for a new front wing which prompted a brilliant recovery drive from the Championship leader as he climbed from 18th and last to finish 4th. That was the first time this season Vettel has failed to finish on the podium. Carlos Sainz caused a huge incident a turn 3 after pushing the Haas of Romain Grosjean onto the grass which put an end to his race and the race of Felipe Massa who was collected by Sainz’s Toro Rosso. Grosjean recovered brilliantly to finish the race in 10th. Other than that, Valtteri Bottas finished 2nd to give Mercedes their first 1-2 finish of the season, Sir Patrick Stewart did a shoey, Force India had an internal squabble, Daniil Kvyat swore his head off and Lance Stroll scored his first points in F1. All that and more can be found in my review of the last race.

2017 Canadian Grand Prix Race Result
1st Lewis Hamilton, 2nd Valtteri Bottas, 3rd Daniel Ricciardo, 4th Sebastian Vettel, 5th Sergio Perez, 6th Esteban Ocon, 7th Kimi Raikkonen, 8th Nico Hulkenberg, 9th Lance Stroll +1 lap, 10th Romain Grosjean +1 lap, 11th Jolyon Palmer +1 lap, 12th Kevin Magnusson +1 lap, 13th Marcus Ericsson +1 lap, 14th Stoffel Vandoorne +1 lap, 15th Pascal Werhlein +2 laps, Fernando Alonso DNF, Daniil Kvyat DNF, Max Verstappen DNF, Felipe Massa DNF, Carlos Sainz DNF read more

No Championship but win number 19 for Nico while Lewis struggles and Azerbaijan makes its maiden bow: 2016 European Grand Prix Review

The eight round of the 2016 F1 World Championship took place last weekend with the Grand Prix of Europe. This time, the Grand Prix was held in the capital of Azerbaijan: Baku. The Grand Prix of Europe first took its place in the official F1 Championship in 1983 and since then with the inclusion of Baku has been hosted at 6 different circuits. The first three venues of were Donnington Park (where Ayrton Senna memorably won in 1993), Brands Hatch in Britain and Jerez in Spain. After that, 1999-2007 saw the race held annually at the Nurburgring in Germany perhaps due to

The last winner of the European Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso for Ferrari in 2012 alongside the man with the most wins in this event; Michael Schumacher
The last winner of the European Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso for Ferrari in 2012 alongside the man with the most wins in this event; Michael Schumacher (6) then in his comeback spell with Mercedes.

the successes of Michael Schumacher; indeed his 6 victories in this event is the record. It was Fernando Alonso’s championship successes of 2005 and 2006 that saw the Grand Prix move from Germany to the Valencia Street circuit which held races from the 2008 season until 2012. It seems fitting that the last victor of a European Grand Prix was Fernando Alonso, driving in his home country for Ferrari in 2012.

 

Last time out in Canada, Lewis Hamilton won the 70 lap Grand Prix from pole but faced a huge battle with the two-stopping Sebastien Vettel (a strategy which proved costly) who had beaten both Mercedes cars into

Lewis Hamilton emerging from his number 44 Mercedes as race winner in Canada
Lewis Hamilton emerging from his number 44 Mercedes as race winner in Canada

turn one despite starting third. In the struggle to turn 1, Hamilton forced his team mate Nico Rosberg off the track and with a mountain to climb. Despite being in 10th place by the end of the first sector of the race, Rosberg fought back to finish 5th even with a huge spin on the penultimate lap. Elsewhere, Valtteri Bottas secured his first podium finish of the season for Williams while Max Verstappen made amends for his Monaco horror show to bring an underpowered Red Bull home in 4th. The rest of my thoughts on this weekend can be found here. The race left the Championship standings as thus…

 

 

Drivers Championship coming into the Grand Prix of Europe provided by: http://www.thisisf1.com/2016-f1-championship-season/2016-f1-standings-driver-and-constructor-points-tables/
Drivers Championship (above) and Constructors Championship (below) coming into the Grand Prix of Europe provided by:
http://www.thisisf1.com/2016-f1-championship-season/2016-f1-standings-driver-and-constructor-points-tables/

constructors championship after canada

After the F1 roadshow left Montreal and travelled 5,500 miles within a week, they were welcomed by the Baku Street Circuit which organisers claimed to be the fastest street circuit! The circuit itself was designed by circuit designer Hermann Tilke; making this his 8th circuit on the F1 calendar after Sepang, the A1 Ring, Bahrain, Shanghai, Sochi, The Circuit of the Americas and Sochi. Just like his last circuit; Tilke had little space to work with designing a track around as well as being briefed to design a circuit that would showcase the best features of Baku and also produce a spectacle. What he delivered is certainly interesting with its tight, read more