Formula One in 2021 is shaping up to be a titanic battle between Mercedes and Red Bull as we came into the third round of the season; held in the Algarve of Portugal. The rollercoaster circuit of Portimao stepped up to the plate in hosting a race last year and delivered history as Lewis Hamilton surpassed Michael Schumacher’s 91 career wins. Rewarded with a return for 2021, it was no less intriguing as it followed on from what we saw at Imola.
Following the race at Imola, we received more glimpses of what is to come later in 2021. The Canadian Grand Prix will not be taking place in 2021 with that race scheduled for June 13th being replaced with the Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park. Given that was the weekend after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, it is certainly now more logistically friendly for the teams. Like Portugal, Turkey returned in 2020 and delivered an exciting race as well as history as Hamilton secured his 7th title.read more
After the intense battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in the desert of Bahrain, I admit to being sceptical that Imola would produce an exciting race. Last years visit for the inaugural Emilia Romagna Grand Prix produced only six on-track overtakes and track position is key at this track. Gladly, I was proved wrong by F1’s second successive visit to Imola and on the same day, it was announced that F1 will be racing in Miami next year the weather helped produce an enthralling race.
Rain falling just before the start was they ey ingredient to an alrevady trying Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton on pole and the two Red Bull cars directly behind him on the grid, There was a spin o the formation lap which set the tone for an incident-filled race with very few cars having no hiccups as the red flags essentially split the race in two around the halfway mark. Despite all the drama, there were only four cars that failed to finish in the changing and difficult conditions. However, it reaffirmed that F1 does look set for a titanic battle for the Championships between reigning champions Mercedes in the hands of Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull in the hands of Max Verstappen [the pair battling at turn 1 in the feature image above; image from Twitter/Formula 1].read more
Formula One in 2021 is here! Starting off two weeks later than originally planned in the dessert with the traditional Sakhir International Circuit layout for the Bahrain Grand Prix hosting the season opener for only the third time. The opening race can be crucial for setting the tone for the season ahead with the driver winning the opening race going on to be crowned World Champion 34 times. That said, that has not happened since Nico Rosberg in 2016. However, this was one of the best season-opening races in recent years and if the Bahrain Grand Prix is only the first of many such races we will see in 2021, it is sure to be a scorcher!
For the first time in the hybrid era, it looks like we may have a sustained challenge to the all-conquering Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton [Pictured above; image from formula1.com]. Red Bull looked very strong in the three-day pre-season testing that was undertaken in Bahrain while Mercedes looked to be a bit on the backfoot. That appeared to be the case when it came to the first weekend with Max Verstappen looked mighty! Red Bull were aiming to win their first season-opening race since 2013 and with Honda power in their cars, could it have been Honda’s first since Ayrton Senna in 1991. Verstappen put them on the right track with an epic pole position lap going almost four-tenths quicker than the Mercedes of Hamilton with these two titanic drivers qualifying on the front row together for only the first time!read more
It is two weeks later than originally planned, but the 2021 Formula One season gets underway this weekend. Australia is not the season-opening race, it is the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir [Where the drivers line up on the start/finish straight above; feature image from formula1/.com] hosting the curtain-raiser for only the third time and the first time since 2010.
When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, it did not look like we would get an F1 season at all last year. It is a testament to the powers that be in F1, Liberty Media, the teams, the drivers, the media crews and the circuits that came up to the plate that we had an F1 season last year. Starting off in Austria with a double bill in July, we got 17 races to form a championship as Lewis Hamilton surpassed Michael Schumacher’s once thought unsurmountable 91 race wins on his way to matching his 7 world titles. As a spectacle, the races were not always as exciting as what we had become accustomed to in 2019 but under the circumstances, it was just great to have some F1 to watch.read more
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
Almost ten years after the Singapore Grand Prix made its maiden bow in 2008, the nighttime race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit did not disappoint with drama and twists that could have repercussions in the Championship battle and beyond.
Singapore had been a turning point last season when Sebastian Vettel crashed out 150 metres after the start with his teammate and Max Verstappen which allowed Lewis Hamilton to win from 6th. Hamilton gained momentum from there and his two previous victories to go on and secure his 4th title. Fast forward twelve months ad Hamilton smashed Vettel’s 2017 pole by almost three and a half seconds to put the unfancied Mercedes on pole.read more
Ten years! I was still in high school and in year 11, Kimi Raikkonen was the reigning champion while his teammate Felipe Massa was in the title battle with Lewis Hamilton when Formula One first raced in Singapore. It feels hard to believe that Singapore has been on the F1 calendar for ten years now. Even so, it feels like it has its special place on the F1 calendar despite the Crashgate controversy in its first running and a race I eagerly anticipate every year. The night race of Formula One is really something.
History of the Singapore Grand Prix
The inaugural Singapore Grand Prix and Formula One’s first ever night race was held 28th September around the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Felipe Massa was on pole position while Fernando Alonso took a surprising victory with Nico Rosberg in 2nd for Williams and Lewis Hamilton 3rd for McLaren. The result allowed Hamilton to maintain his title lead as he went on to secure the Championship that year and while that race was covered in controversy (more on that later), a lot of the groundwork for the event took place much earlier.read more
Formula One’s summer shutdown and four-week break is nearing an end. The title race commences at Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes Forest, Belgium. That is followed by the temple of speed, Monza in Italy the following weekend in yet another Grand Prix double bill. However, before the racing restarts, let us remind ourselves of the season so far…
Australia:The season kicked off in Melbourne and having taken a commanding pole position, Lewis Hamilton’s pace in the Mercedes is negated by a computer glitch that allows Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari undercuts them to the win having pitted behind the Virtual safety car. Winner: Vettel read more
I am now on the countdown to 100 of these posts. I never expected to still be doing this long enough to reach 100 but I have enjoyed doing this regardless of what anyone thinks. Needless to say, I will be marking that with a special post.Oh and for the record this is number 96.
The promised review of this doubleheader and including my driver ratings for during F1’s first ever tripleheader will be the next F1 post. Then, there will be none until the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August as the team and drivers go for their summer break; hence no Grand Prix to comment on.
Away from the F1 posts and the next football post will be a review of the World Cup in Russia while there will be a preview of the upcoming Premier League season published before the opening weekend of the new season.
As for the sharing of my political opinions, there are a few in the pipeline so watch this space…
A week on from the rain impacting upon the race at Hockenheim, the rain impacted upon Qualifying at the Hungaroring. That meant there were surprises to be had in the Qualifying hour as whoever had the best tyre at the right time would do well. Daniel Ricciardo was one of those caught out by the conditions in Q2 as he failed to get into the top 10 while both Toro Rosso’s did with Pierre Gasly out-qualifying even Max Verstappen in Q3. However, it was Lewis Hamilton who mastered the tricky conditions to deliver pole position and lead a Mercedes one-two despite Ferrari being the pacesetters up to that point.
For the race, Ferrari split their strategies with Raikkonen starting on the ultra-soft tyre and Vettel on the soft tyre. That did not go to plan as Raikkonen did not pass ether Mercedes but instead found himself passed by his teammate around the outside of turn two. Elsewhere through the grid, Ricciardo did not have a great start and was down to 16th after contact with his front left tyre at turn 1 while Charles Leclerc’s race ended after contact of his own on the opening lap. Hamilton led away from Bottas.read more
As part of Formula One’s first ever tripleheader, I planned to do three posts similar to this; discussing the talking points from the Grand Prix weekends before producing a team by team review. The first of those was published and shared around while the latter two took more time as I balanced a couple of job applications. The posts on Austria and Britain were published and are available on the links.
The team by team review post was held back and became quite an overwhelming task. Unfortunately, that had to be shelved however my ratings of both the teams and drivers will be made available in a link in my next Review Post. With F1 having a doubleheader before the big summer break (Germany and Hungary), I aim to do the same format as I did for those three races and this time follow through with the team by team review post.
So without further ado, let's get into my discussion of the German Grand Prix.
The German Grand Prix was probably always going to throw up some entertaining racing with Daniel Ricciardo set to start at the back of the grid after taking a number of grid place penalties for engine component changes. That was added to even further when Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes came to a halt in Q1. He would start 14th while the home favourite and Championship leader, Sebastian Vettel claimed a record-breaking pole position.
From the start, Vettel was in control of the race as he led from Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. Meanwhile, Hamilton began his charge through the field and had made 10 positions to 5th by lap 14. Ricciardo’s charge took a bit longer having started 19th on the grid but came to a premature end when his Red Bull pulled up on lap 27 running in 6th with an engine issue.read more