Grosjean out of control and in the wars again

Haas driver Romain Grosjean was in the wars again, this time at the British Grand Prix after he clattered into the side of Carlos Sainz’s Renault on lap 38 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, putting an end to both their races.

The pair were racing for position, with Grosjean apparently faster but his impatience got the better of him as he kept it pointed ever-narrowing gap through flat-out Copse, he locked up and was seen (through the onboards) correcting the slide before the collision.

The Stewards “reviewed video evidence, heard from the driver of car 8 (Romain Grosjean), the driver of car 55 (Carlos Sainz) and the team representatives.”

“The drivers gave clear evidence that agreed. Car 55 had a run on the outside of Car 8 going into the very fast Turn 9. While the driver of car 55 did slightly tighten his line towards the apex, the drivers agreed that this was not the entire reason for the incident.”

“The driver of Car 8 explained that he had braked, where he would not normally brake, at the entry of the turn to avoid an incident, but as soon as his front wing was in the turnbulence from Car 55 he had a slight understeer and as the cars were very close they made contact and subsequently both cars crashed.”

“The drivers agreed that it was a racing incident and the Stewards determined that neither was wholy or predominantly at fault and took No Further Action.”

Grosjean, who famously blamed Marcus Ericsson for his silly mistake during the race in Baku, this time reported over the team radio: “He just turned into me, mate.”

But later toned it down, “I haven’t seen much. Obviously, Carlos can say I didn’t leave him enough room, I can say he didn’t leave me enough room. It’s a shame it finished like that. It was still possible to score points.”

Sainz simply called it as the stewards saw it with Grosjean present, “I think it could have been avoided – but this is Formula 1. We gave each other just enough room and I think he lost the car.”

“I was risking to try and overtake Romain, made a move around the outside into Copse and I think he just lost a bit the car on entry and we just tangled,” explained the Spaniard.

On the opening lap of the race, the Frenchman once labelled the first-lap-nutcase by Mark Webber, clattered into his teammate Magnussen who was not pleased with his teammate.

Magnussen recovered to finish ninth on a day when a double points finish was a real possibility for the American outfit.

Team principal Guenther Steiner confirmed, “Romain apologised to Kevin, I guess he waited with his braking a little bit too long. This is obviously not acceptable because we keep on losing points while having a good car.”

Despite the apology, Grosjean said in the post-race Haas team press release: “At the beginning of the race with Kevin, I think it was a mistake from both of us. It shouldn’t happen, so we need to work on that to ensure it doesn’t happy anymore.”

A week ago in Austria, Grosjean scored the first points of his season which has been marred by mistakes and track antics not expected of a driver of his experience and stature.

The cost of ‘bent metal’ at Haas must be adding up and mostly inflicted by the wayward Frenchman who is surely on his way out of Formula 1 if he does not change his ways dramatically and rapidly, with Ferrari reportedly happy to snap up his seat for their protege Antonio Giovinazzi.

Big Question: Is it time for Romain to depart Formula 1?


Gasly loses tenth place after Perez clash

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly lost a point sfter the British Grand Prix on Sunday after collecting a post-race penalty that promoted Sergio Perez to 10th place and lifted Force India above McLaren in the standings.

Stewards imposed a five-second penalty and two penalty points after ruling that Gasly had caused a collision with Perez and gained a place as a consequence of his actions.

“With two laps to go, Gasly pushed me off track,” said Perez, whose teammate Esteban Ocon finished seventh.

“I gave him enough space but that was not enough: we still made contact and I lost the place. I believe it was an unfair move,” added the Mexican.

The race stewards reasoned after reviewing the incident: “The Stewards reviewed video evidence, heard from the driver of car 10 (Pierre Gasly), the driver of car 11 (Sergio Perez) and the team representatives. The Stewards felt that Gasly’s manoeuvres were generally reasonable and that he was attempting to make a good racing pass. Perez left his sufficient room throughout.”

“However, Gasly touched the sausage kerb at the apex of turn 16 which caused him to collide with Perez. This subsequently forced Perez off the track on driver’s left before turn 17 and severely compromised his ability to race through turns 17 and 18, and Gasly was thus able to pass Perez.”

“The Stewards determined that Gasly was wholly or predominantly to blame, and while the collision was light it led directly to the pass. Therefore the Stewards ordered a 5-second penalty.”

As a result Force India are now a point clear of McLaren in the constructors’ standings after ten rounds. The Woking outfit drop to seventh, while the Pinks are now only two points behind fifth-placed Haas.

The Red Bull-owned team tweeted later:


Verstappen: We were so slow it was a joke

Max Verstappen

A week after winning the Austrian Grand Prix Max Verstappen found himself walking back to the pits after spinning out of the British Grand Prix on a day that the Red Bull simply had no ammunition to take the fight to Ferrari and Mercedes.

Already in qualifying with everything dialled up to the maximum, Verstappen was seven tenths shy of the pole-winning time of Lewis Hamilton, Indeed Saturday was a bad day for Renault-engined cars at what has become a power-hungry circuit.

After spinning out late in the race as a result of brake failure on his Red Bull, Verstappen told reporters, “We were too slow on the straight to do anything. You could see all the time when we had a safety car we were like drag racing. We were so slow it was a joke.”

“On lap one I had a brake-by-wire issue but then it recovered. However, after the second safety car, the brake pedal went literally to the floor, the rear brakes locked up and I spun off the track. It is racing, I’ve had it many times before and for sure it will happen in the future.”

“We will now start to investigate what actually happened, but even without the brake issue we were just too slow on the straights to do anything

“For sure I would have liked to have finished fifth and get some points but now we go home with nothing,” lamented the Dutchman who is now sixth in the championship, 77 points down on championship leader Sebastian Vettel

Instead, it was teammate Daniel Ricciardo who inherited fifth, the Australian echoing his teammate, “We didn’t have the legs.”

Team chief Christian Horner added, “Our drivers were, unfortunately, powerless to attack or defend against our opponents today and we were extremely exposed on the straights. We knew all weekend, our straight-line speed was no match for Mercedes or Ferrari.”

Next year Red Bull will join Toro Rosso with Honda power units until then they are enduring a final season with TAG-Heuer badged Renault engines.


Bottas: We risked it to stay out and try win the race

Vettel vs bottas

It was one of those moments which have caught Mercedes out in the past, namely when to pit when things change unexpectedly during a race as happened during the British Grand Prix on Sunday, in which the F1 world champions slipped up with their strategy, costing Valtteri Bottas a podium if not a victory on the day.

A safety car period was triggered when Marcus Ericsson fumbled his approach to Turn 1, lost the front end of the Sauber, spun off and hit the barriers.

Ferrari were quick to react and pitted both their cars for fresh tyres while the Mercedes pitwall kept their boys out and as it turned out Bottas paid the price.

It was argued afterwards that it would have made sense to split the strategy and keep Hamilton out longer on the softs due to his recovery drive while pitting the Reds by pitting Bottas for fresh softs too, but they failed to do so and no doubt we will hear why in their race debrief later in the week.

After the second safety car period, it did not take long for Sebastian Vettel to dispatch Bottas for the lead of the race, the fresher Pirelli soft tyres on the Ferrari aided by DRS allowed the German to be daring on the brakes into Brooklands (Turn 6) and take the lead where he stayed until the chequered flag waved to end the race.

Meanwhile, Bottas tripped up on wasted tyres which had gone off the cliff, powerless to stop the passage to the podium of teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

After finishing fourth, Bottas explained, “We took the risk to stay out and try to win the race. At that point, if the team had asked me if I wanted to win or secure second place, I would have said ‘go for the win’ but looking back, for the result it would have been better to stop. That’s a fact.”

“Afterwards it’s quite easy to say we should have pitted to keep the position. We took a risk to be first but ended up fourth so I think it was five laps too much. I thought there was a possibility to go to the end.”

“From our calculations, it should have been OK but it wasn’t. I was really trying everything I could to stay ahead. I tried my best but it wasn’t good enough.”

With regards to Vettel’s clinical race winning overtake, the Finn said, “He dived in and there wasn’t anything l could do any more. It was like driving on ice. I did everything I could to defend but it was just a matter of time. It was just a matter of time and then it was the same with Lewis and Kimi.”

Bottas leaves Silverstone fifth in the championship standings with 104 points, 59 adrift of his teammate Hamilton and 67 shy of Vettel.