Conclusions from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton’s dominant Abu Dhabi win offered a snapshot of his 2019 season while Ferrari once again ran into trouble.

Technical problem gives glimpse into life without DRS

Abu Dhabi’s post-race fireworks are always a spectacular sight, but Yas Marina also delivered on the track in a race defined by a slow burn without the drag reduction system in the early phase and some brilliant overtaking in the last couple of laps. A technical issue meant race control could not activate DRS for the first dozen laps or so, and the on-track action was compelling as a result.

Sebastian Vettel’s battle with Valtteri Bottas was particularly noteworthy as two evenly matched frontrunners had to rely on guile and skill in the braking zone. This made for a rather pleasing departure from the usual DRS overtake that is completed well before drivers have to stomp on the brakes.

While the mid part of the grand prix was fairly sedate, it came alive as the laps counted down with the likes of Vettel, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz – who had fresher rubber – attacking Alex Albon, Lando Norris and Nico Hulkenberg respectively. Both the Ferrari, Racing Point and McLaren drivers completed dramatic late moves, whereas Bottas got to within a second of Charles Leclerc but couldn’t quite knick the final podium place from the Ferrari on-track.

The 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was by no means a classic but, for better or worse, it did highlight how beguiling racing can be even without DRS, while also underscoring the importance of Pirelli tyres.

Hamilton caps peerless season with peerless weekend

Lewis Hamilton won from pole position for just the third time all season. Given that he won 11 times in 2019, it is a staggering statistic that shows just how good the Brit’s race craft has been and how innovative Mercedes have had to be in race situations as for large portions of the campaign they have not had the quickest car in qualifying trim.

In Abu Dhabi, Hamilton broke clear of the pack immediately, and was almost two seconds clear after the first lap. It was quite obvious that no one would stop the six-time Champion from winning to cap another fantastic season for the indomitable Silver Arrows and the exceptional W10, which Hamilton described as “a work of art”.

Farewell to the Hulk and Kubica

“It’s been a pleasure working with you over the last three years,” said Hulkenberg’s engineer on team radio after the race. “I can’t say the same,” replied the German, who then said he was “pulling your leg.” The German goes into 2020 without a drive and at 32 is unlikely to add to his 177 race starts – and is even more unlikely to ever score that elusive podium.

A fan-led effort from Reddit users to vote him as driver of the day was successful, giving Hulkenberg a mini victory of sorts in his final grand prix. But this was a race that characterises Hulkenberg’s career as Sainz passed him on the last lap to steal the final point. So much promise with so little to show at the end of the day.

Robert Kubica, meanwhile, finished last yet again, yet his F1 comeback after a horrific set of injuries was one of the stories of the season. The Pole is clearly not the driver he was before and just making it back to the grid was a superhuman feat from a driver who, had he not been injured, could well have been a World Champion.

Perez finishes on a high

The team formerly known as Force India has been through a tumultuous 18 months or so. With some stability in place, the team has started to prove its capabilities. Perez, who started in 10th on the hard tyre, drove another fine race to nurse his tyres deep into the grand prix. The Mexican is a master at managing tyres and maximising results, and his seventh place was a strong candidate for drive of the day.

Tears at McLaren

McLaren also delivered a memorable radio exchange with Norris admitted “I think I’m crying” after his race engineer’s emotional speech about how good it has been to work with the young Brit through the year.

The Woking-based outfit have a real gem in Norris who outqualified Sainz 11-10 through 2019. The youngster lacked his team-mate’s race pace and consistency on Sundays but this was an excellent debut campaign for Norris – and more importantly he has played a key role in McLaren’s rebuilding.

More questions for Ferrari

From the botched qualifying to Leclerc’s fuel irregularity to the ill-judged early pit stop and problem at Vettel’s first stop, Ferrari made more mistakes in one grand prix weekend than Mercedes and Red Bull make collectively over half a season.

Leclerc did well to finish third on the road despite a litany of issues and said after the race that he is eager to deliver for Ferrari in 2020. But for that to happen Ferrari will first have to deliver for him.

And in 105 days’ time we will know whether they have.

Richard F Rose

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Conclusions from an insane Brazilian Grand Prix

After 51 laps of chess, chaos descended at the Interlagos circuit for the final 20 laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix and still Max Verstappen stood tall.

Insanity at Interlagos

Brazil breathes Ayrton Senna and his spirit was alive at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix which delivered another crazy result full of passion and emotion. Max Verstappen’s dominant performance had the air of Senna in his pomp while Pierre Gasly’s second place after a season of difficulties rewrote the story of what redemption can be in the cut-throat universe that is F1.

Then there was heartbreak for Alex Albon, a podium for McLaren, a penalty for Lewis Hamilton and the lightest of touches between the two Ferraris resulting in Charles Leclerc’s car falling apart like Lego car flung against a wall.

Max wins duel against the Champ

Interlagos again underscored its status as a legendary track, a track that punishes mistakes and that also provides drivers with opportunities to overtake. Verstappen made the most of those opportunities by overtaking Hamilton twice on his way to a famous win. Fans and analysts alike have waited to see the young pretender take on the king.

With all things being more or less equal, Verstappen showed that he can – and will – beat Hamilton. This may not be a surprise but what a delight to see the pair plunge into battle for a grand prix victory.

Max-Verstappen-and-Lewis-Hamilton-battling-PA

Verstappen was robbed of a win in 2018 due to the silly incident with Esteban Ocon and there was no stopping him in 2019. His form coupled with Honda’s gains mean anything is possible in 2020.

The power of dreams

The improvements in Honda’s power unit were visible in the run up the hill to the chequered flag as Gasly in the Toro Rosso had enough grunt to out-drag Hamilton’s Mercedes to the line to claim one of the most remarkable podiums in recent F1 history.

Honda says it believes in ‘the power of dreams’ and Gasly will scarcely believe what he achieved at Interlagos, having been unceremoniously dumped Red Bull earlier in the season. It is a result that does give the decision-makers at Red Bull some food for thought as they plan their driver line-ups in the coming seasons.

Gasly described being on the podium as “insane” and that just about sums up it.

Albon’s nightmare

Albon drove an assured race until the first safety car period, when he came alive and dispatched of Sebastian Vettel with a fine move into turn 1.

The Red Bull youngster admitted that Hamilton would have overtaken him for P2 after the second safety car had the World Champion not bumped him off the track. A lesson learned for Albon, perhaps. Although he had the racing line, his was a half-hearted defence against Hamilton’s half-hearted lunge.

Next time he either needs to fight with everything he’s got, or pick his battles and let the faster car past without putting up a fight. F1 is, after all, an all-or-nothing sport.

Sainz podium testament to his rise as McLaren team leader

It is easy to forget that Carlos Sainz was once part of the Red Bull programme, and on his form through the course of 2019 there is a good argument to be made that he would have succeeded where Albon failed and claimed third place on the road. As it happens Sainz did bag a podium after Hamilton was penalised, McLaren’s first since March 2014, with what could easily be considered drive of the day.

The Spaniard started last but ran a contra strategy on a one stop. Yes, the safety cars did help. However, this was a drive to remember as he defended beautifully at both restarts despite being on older rubber than his rivals. Sainz has deserved a big result this season given his speed, consistency and leadership at what is a constantly improving McLaren team.

Ferrari running out of their own feet to shoot

Tensions have run high at Ferrari all season, with Leclerc seemingly at the receiving end of poor strategy calls and Sebastian Vettel refusing to let him by in Russia, despite the youngster having himself followed orders in both Australia and China.

The 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix again highlights what a waste the season has been for the Scuderia, which has been unable to maximize results despite often being the fastest car over one lap and on the straights. Losing points due to Ferrari drivers colliding is just another unwanted problem in a long line of unwanted problems that team boss Mattia Binotto must deal with.

Other notes

* With a top three consisting of a Red Bull, a Toro Rosso and a [McLaren], the 2019 race at Interlagos is the first since the 2013 US Grand Prix not to feature either a Mercedes or a Ferrari on the podium.

* Gasly’s second place for Toro Rosso is the best result for the Red Bull juniors since Vettel’s win at Monza in 2008.

* Alfa Romeo’s P4 and P5 finish betters the P5 and P6 the then-Sauber team scored in the 2012 German Grand Prix. Under the guise of Alfa, by the measure of a combined team finish, this is the Italian’s outfit’s best result since the 1951 Swiss Grand Prix. Remember that one?

Richard F Rose

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Conclusions from Austin: All hail King Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is a six-time World Champion and there is no sign of anyone, not even Valtteri Bottas, stopping him in 2020.

Six!

There was little doubt that Lewis Hamilton would claim title number six in Austin. Quite simply, the weight of history and statistics was on his side. The only realistic way for Valterri Bottas to keep his hopes alive was for Hamilton to retire – an event that has not occurred since July 2018, or 31 grands prix ago.

The British star has also been a paragon of consistency and has largely cut out big mistakes. By way of example, the last time Hamilton retired with a non-technical problem was in May 2016, when he tangled with then team-mate Nico Rosberg at the Spanish Grand Prix. That was 76 races ago.

Hamilton has made a habit of winning races in the US, and although the sister Mercedes beat him to the chequered flag on Sunday, a second-place finish was more than sufficient to secure the crown in the US. And Texas was a fitting location for Hamilton’s coronation – he is a rare breed in F1 in that he has global appeal in a way that most drivers do not; he is as comfortable with Hollywood A-listers as he is behind the wheel of a racing car.

The US Grand Prix again highlighted what makes Hamilton such a great champion. He was off-form in qualifying, only managing fifth on the grid. But once the race was underway Hamilton’s tail was up and his one-stop strategy, coupled with excellent racecraft and tyre management, put him in contention for the win. “We’re gonna go longer,” Hamilton said when his team told him to pit, with Bottas bearing down on him.

This forced the Finn to overtake for position, something he had to do again in the closing stages of the race. That’s the brilliance of Hamilton. He’s always pushing; always thinking; always trying to win.

Tale of the tape

Hamilton’s statistical record, for example his ability to avoid DNFs, verges on the unbelievable. He is only the second man in history, after Michael Schumacher, to clock half a dozen titles. Or put another way, he has as many titles as Ayrton Senna, Fernando Alonso and Nigel Mansell combined.

With 83 races wins and 150 podiums, Hamilton wins one in three races he starts, and has been in the top three in more than half of his entries. He will take some beating in 2020.

Bottas’ surge

Bottas enjoyed a strong weekend and again underscored his credentials at challenging tracks. The Finnish driver seems to thrive when there is low grip (Sochi), bumps (Circuit of the Americas), or technicality (Suzuka).

Doubts remain over his decisiveness and consistency over a full campaign but Bottas is ending the season with a surge, which will be important if he has any ambition of launching a concerted title challenge next year.

Verstappen makes the most of it

It’s been a fallow couple of months or so for Max Verstappen who before Sunday had just one podium in six races. Red Bull did not quite have the pace to match the Silver Arrows through the first and middle phases of the grand prix, yet Verstappen came close to stealing second from Hamilton.

Realistically P3 was as good as it was going to get given the speed of the Mercedes W10 on the day.

No champagne for Ferrari team boss on his birthday

Mattia Binotto’s 50th birthday will not be one for the Ferrari scrapbook. Indeed, it’s probably better suited for the scrapheap. Charles Leclerc ran closer to the chasing pack than to the frontrunners for much of the grand prix, while the sister Ferrari in Sebastian Vettel’s hands went backwards at the start and retired with a quite bizarre suspension failure.

Binotto is a likeable figure in the paddock but his first year in charge has been riddled by a series of failures that have meant neither driver has been in the running for the title. And the US Grand Prix offers a neat window into what needs to be fixed at Maranello.

Other conclusions

* Kimi Raikkonen, last year’s race winner, gambled on a contra strategy and started the race on soft tyres when everyone else was on harder compounds. The gamble paid off at the start as he quickly climbed to P11 from 17th, and although he ran in the top 10 for periods of the race, the Alfa ultimately just missed out on scoring a point.

* Daniel Ricciardo admitted before the race that Renault’s main rivals are McLaren, rather than the likes of Red Bull, Merc and Ferrari. Ricciardo ran a strong race to sixth and was best of the rest behind the aforementioned trio. The Australian had the added bonus of getting one over McLaren’s Lando Norris with a sweet overtake on lap 9.

* Alex Albon extended his streak of top-six finishes to six with P5 in Austin. In some ways this may have been his best drive yet for Red Bull, as he had to make his way from the back of the field after early contact with the McLaren of Carlos Sainz. Albon is solid, albeit unspectacular, relative to team-mate Verstappen, and on days like today that is probably good enough.

Richard F Rose

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Conclusions from the Singapore Grand Prix

In this edition we analyse a vintage showing for Vettel, Leclerc’s unhappiness, Red Bull’s annoyance and Gio’s spell in the lead of the race.

Ferrari show street-fighting credentials

So much for the expert consensus that Ferrari wouldn’t even be in the fight for a podium, let alone a race victory, at Marina Bay. The Italian outfit’s updates on its front-end proved decisive and provided Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc with the balance and front downforce that they had lacked at slow-speed circuits through the rest of the season. The high-speed masters became street fighters overnight.

Ferrari’s advantage at high-speed circuits such as Monza is well documented, but the developments on the SF90 have completely recalibrated the calculus for the rest of the campaign.

With three wins in as many grands prix it is the Prancing Horse that is the team to beat in the remaining races of the season. While this has come too late for both championships in 2019, it does suggest that the men from Maranello will also be in the mix for the title next season.

One man’s redemption is another’s injustice

After the grand prix, race-winner Vettel admitted that the last few weeks have been “difficult”, with his upstart team-mate claiming successive victories and underscoring his status as Ferrari’s potential number one driver. But a first race win in more than a year offers a reminder of Vettel’s not inconsiderable talent – even if Ferrari’s strategy call to stop him first was a bit of good fortune.

Given Vettel’s struggles over the last 18 months, few would begrudge him a lucky break. At the same time this was a vintage Vettel performance. Once he had undercut Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton at the first, and only, round of pit stops, Vettel controlled the pace, scythed through the traffic faster than Leclerc, and managed multiple restarts after late safety cars with aplomb.

Leclerc, who had taken a brilliant pole and who had the measure of Hamilton and Vettel until the stops, was understably upset with the strategy, though he did praise the team for securing their first 1-2 finish since 2017.

Did Merc make a mess of it?

Hamilton successfully fended off a punchy Vettel at the start, and then could do little more than hold station behind Leclerc. Ferrari made a late call to pit Vettel first rather than leader Leclerc, which seemed to catch the Silver Arrows on the back foot. When Leclerc came into the pits a lap later, the obvious strategy seemed to be for Mercedes to pit Hamilton.

But with two titles to play for, the Merc pit wall chose to leave Hamilton circulating on older tyres. There was some merit in the decision, as a safety car at that point would have given Hamilton a cheap stop and track position. Merc gambled on this variable.

They also gambled on the leading Ferraris and Max Verstappen in a nominal third in that phase of the race tripping over slower cars that had not yet stopped. Neither worked out and this left Hamilton to pick up the scraps outside the podium places.

In the big picture, though, not much changed as the defending Champ still managed to beat team-mate Valtteri Bottas and extend his lead in the standings – even if that required Mercedes asking Bottas to drive to a target to ensure that Hamilton stayed in front.

Red Bull feel the pain of Ferrari resurgence

“Annoying,” is the word Adrian Newey used to describe Ferrari’s fleet-footedness in Singapore. The Red Bull technical director and his team will have had ambitions of fighting for the win, but instead found themselves behind both Ferrari and Mercedes on Saturday.

Although Max Verstappen maximised what was available to grab third, Red Bull will have hoped for better given the strength of their car on high-downforce circuits.

Other conclusions

Lando Norris put in yet another assured performance and managed to stay out of trouble to finish best of the rest in seventh. McLaren still lack downforce relative to the big three but the direction of travel in 2019 remains positive.

Both Antonio Giovinazzi and Pierre Gasly ran long first stints on mediums and hards respectively. Giovinazzi even became the first Alfa Romeo driver to lead a race since the 1980s, and survived some late drama (see below) to bring the car home in the points. Credit to the Italian for eking out his tyres and for the most part keeping his nose clean.

Daniel Ricciardo, who started last after being disqualified from a solid P8 in qualifying, was on a roll in the early laps, making a series of bold moves to work his way through the field. The best of which involved launching up the inside of Turn 4 to get past both Racing Points. But a clumsy entanglement with Giovinazzi late on left Ricciardo with a puncture and ended any hopes of a point.

Richard F Rose

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Conclusions from the Monaco Grand Prix

Nothing went right for the local boy, Mercedes win it for Niki but do it the hard way (or did they?) and Red Bull get away with a soft penalty while their B-team also scores big.

What’s luck got to do with it?

Burnt by tactical blunders (various grand prix), reliability issues (Bahrain) and the occasional self-inflicted error (Baku), Charles Leclerc’s first season with Ferrari has been a baptism of fire.

The home-town hero’s Monaco experience was dire on Saturday and even worse on Sunday. The strategy call to leave him in the pits in Q1 left him stranded near the wrong end of the grid, from where a recovery was always going to be a challenge.

Although Leclerc brandishes his attacking credentials in the opening phase of the race to complete some great overtakes, he eventually hit the barrier while trying to get past Nico Hulkenberg and the ensuing puncture effectively ended the Ferrari driver’s race.

He must be wondering what he needs to do to earn a lucky break, particularly when he sees good fortune going the way of his rivals.

Monaco overtaking is not impossible, but it is a gamble

As in 2018, this year’s event around the tight streets of the Principality served up a fine race. Almost every team and driver said before the race that “overtaking is difficult”, which is true. But Leclerc proved that if a driver is willing to roll the dice overtaking is possible, albeit risky.

Leclerc’s brilliant moves on Lando Norris at the hairpin and on Romain Grosjean at Rascasse, prove the point.

The Ferrari star would later hit the barrier at the latter corner after trying to replicate his previous overtake, but in truth he didn’t have too much to lose. And that’s Monaco in a nutshell, right there.

Mercedes give Niki a fitting send off

So the Silver Arrows failed to keep their incredible record of consecutive 1-2 finishes going, though Lewis Hamilton’s victory means that the team still has a clean sweep of victories in 2019. The win came less than a week after the death of Mercedes director and paddock legend Niki Lauda.

The three-time champion’s influence is such that every driver and team paid tribute to a man that transcended the realms of what is humanly possible in his glittering career.

But it wasn’t easy

Mercedes admitted that they made a (rare) mistake in sending Hamilton onto his second stint with the less durable medium rubber while the rest of the field was shorn with hard tyres. Max Verstappen harried Hamilton all the way, even making contact with the Mercedes going into the chicane in the closing stages.

Hamilton again underscored his class to deal with severely worn front tyres in a masterclass of a performance that he described as “a miracle”.

But there is another but

However there is a nagging feeling that Hamilton made a meal of his situation on the medium rubber, given that some of the midfield runners managed to eke out long stints on soft tyres.

Moreover, Daniel Ricciardo managed to win in Monaco in 2018, nursing his stricken Red Bull home despite losing his MGU-K and around 150 horsepower. And lest we forget that Hamilton was behind the wheel of the W10, arguably the most dominant car in the history of the sport.

Max gets away with it

Verstappen, though, was fortunate to be in a position to fight with Hamilton as the 5-second time penalty he received for an unsafe release into Valtteri Bottas was incredibly lenient, particularly when contrasted with the 10-second penalty Antonio Giovinazzi for an on-track incident that posed far less danger than Red Bull’s decision to let Verstappen leave his box to drive directly into the path of the hapless Bottas.

Safety car shakes up race for best of the rest

Leclerc was probably fortunate to escape sanction for driving around Monte-Carlo with a puncture at high speed, flinging rubber and carbon fibre across the track in the process. The net result was a safety car, which triggered a mad rush for the pits.

Daniel Ricciardo, then running fifth, and Kevin Magnussen, who was sixth, both took the opportunity to dive into the pits. But they emerged behind Alfa’s Kimi Raikkonen who was running a long first stint, and who subsequently held the pair up to completely ruin their hopes of scoring the bag full of points that they were expecting.

Torpedo on target

Daniil Kvyat was one of the beneficiaries of the safety car and scored his best-ever result for Toro Rosso with a fantastic seventh. The Russian is more mature since returning to the cockpit, though he has lost none of his speed.

Team-mate Alexander Albon impressed again by claiming P8, to cap a fine day for Red Bull’s B-team.

Richard F Rose

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Conclusions from the British Grand Prix

Ferrari and Vettel steal Hamilton’s thunder, Mercedes make some dubious claims, Ocon makes a statement, bad luck stalks Bottas again and Haas, well, Haas are Haas again…

Vettel delivers clean race and races cleanly

Car number 44 may have been the favourite to win in Britain, with Lewis Hamilton having won four straight British Grands Prix and qualifying on pole position. But Sebastian Vettel who triumphed thanks to a blistering start and a champion’s courage to pass Valtteri Bottas late on to claim win number 4 of the season.

This in itself is important as if he and Hamilton finish the season level on points, the Championship will be decided on race wins – and Vettel now has one more than his rival. Silverstone is also the second race in a row in which Vettel has made a decisive pass for position: though this time it was for the race victory.

Remember, Vettel has been criticised before as being a one-trick pony who can’t overtake. Yet his move on Bottas five laps from the flag was as brave as it was opportunistic. The Ferrari driver capitalised on Bottas’s oversteer through The Loop to get into the Mercedes slipstream before launching up the inside of Brooklands.

Mercedes cast doubt on Ferrari ‘tactics’

The Silver Arrows have swept all comers since 2014 and aren’t a team well equipped to deal with failure. Hamilton’s post-race comment suggesting “interesting tactics” from Ferrari and Toto Wolff’s remark that “this is the second time they take us out…is it deliberate or incompetent” both seem like attempts to pour petrol on a non-existent fire. Kimi Raikkonen owned up to the first-lap error that resulted in contact with Hamilton and left the Mercedes driver dead last.

Read more: Hamilton snipes at Ferrari over race ‘tactics’

Raikkonen described his 10-second penalty as “fair” and it’s worth noting that Vettel was sanctioned with a similar penalty when he collided with Bottas on lap 1 in France. The Mercedes suggestion that Ferrari are villains does nothing put underscore that Mercedes are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the pressure from both Ferrari and Red Bull. In contemporary F1 there is no benefit in “taking out” rivals and the suggestion that Ferrari would do so is patently absurd given the penalties that stewards impose – not to mention the risk of car damage.

Market ready to respond to form

Esteban Ocon finished an excellent seventh to quietly move ahead of Force India’s team-mate Sergio Perez in the standings. The shift towards Ocon has been one of the most fascinating if under-reported stories of 2018. The Frenchman has outqualified Perez in the last seven races and has beaten the Mexican 5-1 in races in which both have finished. Rumours are rife that Renault are reviewing an option to sign Ocon.

Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, has said he is likely to stay with Red Bull because other options have disappeared. Raikkonen is struggling to put together a clean weekend but his form has been red hot since rumours emerged that Ferrari are ready to replace him with Charles Leclerc. Leclerc ran as high as seventh early in the British Grand Prix but was unlucky to retire with a right-rear problem after his first pit stop. Nonetheless, the young Sauber man did enough to again underline his credentials as one of the hottest properties on the market.

Stewards continue policy of inconsistent penalties

A penny for the stewards’ thoughts on why Vettel received a five-second penalty for making contact with Bottas in Paul Ricard, while Raikkonen was hit with a 10-second penalty at Silverstone for what can only be described as similar incidents with similar results. The drivers deserve more consistency, and so do the fans.

Mr Unlucky is unlucky yet again

Bottas was unfortunate to miss out on the win at Silverstone. Mercedes’s decision not to pit the Finn when the safety car was deployed meant that he had to fend off Vettel and co with slower and older tyres. This was the fourth race he could have – perhaps should have – won this season. In Bahrain he couldn’t get past Vettel despite a late effort, while in Baku and Shanghai a puncture and late safety car respectively stole certain victories from him. The Championship would look rather different had he converted even two of these performances into wins.

Post-race interviews: nothing but a cringefest

Liberty Media should be lauded for trying to improve the spectacle and when considering the last two races it’s clear that F1 is still a great product despite its various issues. But Liberty’s post-race interviews need to binned. It’s hard to think of anything worse than seeing presenters mumble awkwardly while trying to cut short driver celebrations. One can almost sympathise with Hamilton for missing the interview after the race on Sunday.

Haas throw away points…again

“It’s just a normal day at the office” is how Haas team boss Guenther Steiner described Friday after Romain Grosjean crashed in practice and Kevin Magnussen was summoned by the stewards for an alleged blocking incident. The American team have the fourth-fastest car on the grid but have made a habit of failing to capitalise on the car’s latent pace. Britain was no different as the Haas drivers made contact on lap 1, and then Grosjean crashed out later in an incident with Carlos Sainz. Although Magnussen salvaged ninth, it could have been much better for Haas considering they started the race seventh and eighth.

Richard F Rose

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