2018 British GP – Preview

After a strange, but interesting race at the Red Bull Ring where Max Verstappen won the Austria Grand Prix, Red Bull’s first win at their home race, the two Ferrari’s finished on the podium with Kimi Räikkönen ahead of Sebastian Vettel, and three key retirements in Valtteri Bottas (Hydraulics on Lap 13), Daniel Ricciardo (Exhaust on Lap 53), and Lewis Hamilton (Fuel pressure on Lap 62), with Hamilton retiring for the first time since the 2016 Malaysia Grand Prix, the race that proved decisive in handing Nico Rosberg, Hamilton’s teammate at the time, his first and only world championship, ending a consecutive points-scoring streak of 33 races, an Formula One record, the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship heads to Silverstone to one of the jewels in the crown, the British Grand Prix.

Vettel (146 points) has re-taken the lead of the world championship by a single point ahead of Mercedes driver Hamilton (145 points), with Vettel’s teammate Räikkönen (101 points) jumping up to third after his second-place finish in Austria, but is in close battle for third in the championship ahead of Ricciardo (96 points), Verstappen (93 points), and Hamilton’s teammate Bottas (92 points), with only nine points separating Räikkönen in third and Bottas in sixth in the championship.

Behind them in the championship, Kevin Magnussen (37 points) jumps up from 10th to seventh in the championship after finishing a brilliant fifth for Haas-Ferrari, and is ahead of Fernando Alonso (36 points) who finished eighth after another tough weekend for McLaren-Renault, with the two Renault’s in Nico Hülkenberg (34 points), and Carlos Sainz Jr. (28 points) completing the top 10 in the championship after retiring, and finishing 12th respectively at the Red Bull Ring, not scoring any points.

In terms of the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari (247 points) have taken over the lead from Mercedes (237 points) by 10 points, with Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer (189 points) comfortably in third. Renault (62 points) are still in fourth after their double retirement, but a group of teams are starting to come after them, most notably Haas-Ferrari (49 points), McLaren-Renault (44 points), and Force India-Mercedes (42 points), while Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (19 points), Sauber-Ferrari (16 points), and Williams-Mercedes (four points) look out of the battle for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.

So, who will win the British Grand Prix?

On paper, and quite clearly on paper, the Mercedes looks like the car to beat, and Lewis Hamilton is the man to beat, looking to become not only the first man to win the British Grand Prix six times, surpassing the records of Jim Clark and Alain Prost, but Hamilton is also looking to become the first man to win the British Grand Prix five years in a row, surpassing Clark’s record.

Ferrari, and Red Bull should be strong too, but the Mercedes will have too much for them, and barring reliability or mistakes, Hamilton will win the British Grand Prix in 2018, ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Kimi Räikkönen in third.

2018 French GP – Preview

After a dominant victory for Sebastian Vettel in Montreal, achieving his 50th win in Formula One career in the process, becoming just the fourth driver in Formula One history after Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, and Alain Prost to achieve this feat, and a disappointing fifth-place finish for Hamilton at the Canadian Grand Prix, Round Eight of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship takes place at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet in France for the first French Grand Prix since 2008, but the first one at the Circuit Paul Ricard since 1990, with only a point separating the two main championship contenders.

Vettel (121 points) leads the world championship for Ferrari by a single point over Hamilton (120 points) heading into the French Grand Prix. Vettel has been good without being dominant in 2018 with his victory in Canada being his third of the season (the most of any driver), but his first since the second race of the season in Bahrain, while Hamilton has been trying to find consistent form for Mercedes with perhaps his two best performances of the season so far being in Australia, where a win was taken away from him due to the circumstances of the virtual safety car back in the opening race of the season, and in Spain, where he won by a dominant 20.593 seconds over his teammate Valtteri Bottas to claim his second victory of the season in a Mercedes one-two in backing up the surprising victory he had in Azerbaijan.

However, beyond Vettel and Hamilton, the battle in the championship is starting to heat up beautifully for third in championship between Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Räikkönen, and perhaps Max Verstappen.

Bottas (86 points) has regained third in the championship after an impressive second-place finish in Montreal, making it four-straight podiums for the Finnish driver in Canada, while Ricciardo (84 points) slips to fourth for Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer after finishing fourth.

He is ahead of Vettel’s teammate Räikkönen (68 points) in the championship after finishing a disappointing sixth, but is still ahead of Ricciardo’s teammate Verstappen (50 points) in the standing, despite the Dutch driver having his cleanest, and best weekend of the season so far, finishing third from third on the grid after topping all of the practice sessions.

In terms of the battle towards the back-end of the top 10 in the championship, Fernando Alonso and Nico Hülkenberg are both locked on 32 points in seventh and eighth in the championship for McLaren-Renault, and Renault respectively, with Alonso ahead of Hülkenberg in the championship due to a fifth-place finish in Australia, compared to two sixth-place finishes for Hülkenberg.

Alonso will be coming into the French Grand Prix on a high after winning the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans for Toyota Gazoo Racing alongside Sébastien Buemi (Scuderia Toro Rosso driver 2009-2011), and Kazuki Nakajima (Williams driver 2007-2009), completing the second leg of the Triple Crown (Monaco Grand Prix, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Indianapolis 500) he is attempting to achieve after winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice (2006 and 2007), which has been a huge subject in regards to his future in Formula One, as well as the competitiveness of his McLaren.

Only time will tell in terms of what he does next.

Completing the top 10 in the championship is Hülkenberg’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. (24 points), and Haas-Ferrari driver Kevin Magnussen (19 points).

As far as the Constructors’ Championship is concerned, Mercedes (206 points), with a new power-unit coming in time for this weekend, leads by 17 points over Ferrari (189 points), with Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer (134 points) in a comfortable third in the championship. Behind them, Renault (56 points) have pulled away from McLaren-Renault (40 points) in the battle for fourth after a double-points finish for the French constructor in Canada, with Force India-Mercedes (28 points) sitting in sixth position ahead of a battle for seventh in the championship between Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (19 points) and Haas-Ferrari (19 points), while Sauber-Ferrari (12 points), and the hapless Williams-Mercedes (four points) complete the standings.

So, who will win the first French Grand Prix since 2008?

Looking at the Circuit Paul Ricard, the layout of the circuit suits Mercedes and Ferrari a little better on paper compared to Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer, but I am not willing to pick a definitive winner given how tight this season has been, but I think it will either be Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, or Kimi Räikkönen lifting the winner’s trophy come Sunday.

 

 

2018 Canadian GP – Preview

After one of the all-time great performances in Formula One history by Daniel Ricciardo to win the Monaco Grand Prix, winning after his MGU-K failed after just 18 laps, managing to keep the opposition, including Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, behind him for the remaining 60 laps of the race to take a famous victory, the seventh of his career, and the first from pole position, the 2018 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship heads to Montreal and to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton (110 points) still leads the world championship for Mercedes after finishing third in Monaco, and leads by 14 points over Vettel (96 points), who finished second behind Ricciardo in the principality for Ferrari.

Talking about Ricciardo (72 points), he has moved up to third in the world championship for Red Bull-TAG Heuer after his second victory of the season, although 38 points behind, but appears likely to have his ambitions of a victory in Canada, the scene of his first victory in Formula One, dented with Red Bull-TAG Heuer likely to elected to use a third MGU-K for the season, exceeding the limit of two, which will mean a 10-place grid penalty.

In a summary of the 2018 Sporting Regulations on the official Formula One website in regards to the power unit and ERS,

“Each driver is permitted to use only three ICE, MGU-H and TC, and only two ES, CE and MGU-K during a championship season and any combination of them may be fitted to a car at any one time. Should a driver use more than that during the course of a season, a grid penalty will be imposed.

“The first time a driver uses an additional element over and above the prescribed limits, a ten-place grid penalty will be given. If he then uses other additional elements a five-place penalty (or penalties) is imposed. Use yet a further example of any given element and another ten-place penalty is received – and so on.

“During any single event, if a driver introduces more than one of a power unit element that is subject to a grid penalty, only the last element fitted may be used at subsequent events without further penalty.”

So, it appears that Ricciardo will have to start near or at the back of the grid, which should make for a very interesting race come Sunday (Monday morning Australian time)!

Valtteri Bottas (68 points) slips back to fourth in the championship for Mercedes after finishing fifth in Monaco, eight points ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (60 points), who finished a place ahead of Bottas in the streets of the principality, while Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen (35 points) is 25 points behind Räikkönen in sixth position after coming back to finish ninth in Monaco, paying for his shaky and erratic form at the start of the season, being involved in incidents or making mistakes in each of the first six races.

I know he is young, but Verstappen has got to learn that he cannot continue making the sorts of mistakes that he is making because it has, and it will continue to cost him dearly. Big mistakes have arguably cost him the Chinese Grand Prix, and the Monaco Grand Prix, as well as the chance to be in the world championship.

He may be young, but Red Bull have a long and proud history of showing no leniency to anyone performing below expectations, no matter how old, young, or experienced they are, and at the moment, you sense things are happening way too soon for Verstappen.

Behind Verstappen in the championship is Fernando Alonso (32 points) for McLaren-Renault, who is just three points behind Verstappen in seventh despite his first retirement of the season (gearbox) in a race where McLaren-Renault would have expected to have garnered a big points haul.

Nico Hülkenberg (26 points) is eighth in the championship for Renault after finishing eighth in Monaco, ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. (20 points), who completed a double-points finish for Renault in 10th, while Kevin Magnussen (19 points) hangs onto his spot inside the top 10 for Haas-Ferrari despite finishing 13th on what was a difficult weekend on the streets of the principality.

Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (178 points) have a 22 point lead over Ferrari (156 points) with Red Bull-TAG Heuer (107 points) comfortably in third. Behind them, there is a great battle for fourth between Renault (46 points) and McLaren-Renault (40 points) with only six points separating them, while a huge fight is developing for sixth in the championship between Force India-Mercedes (26 points), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (19 points), Haas-Ferrari (19 points), and Sauber-Ferrari (11 points), while Williams-Mercedes (four points) will be hoping Canada is a better reflection of what their car is capable of.

So, who will win in Canada?

Looking at the form book of not only the drivers, but also the teams, you can’t go past Lewis Hamilton equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven wins in Montreal, and on Saturday equalling Schumacher’s record of 10 front row starts at one circuit, but you can also see Sebastian Vettel being a close rival in Canada, along with Valtteri Bottas, and Kimi Räikkönen, with Red Bull-TAG Heuer being a little bit behind on this power-dependent circuit.

 

 

 

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Preview

The 20th and final round of the 2017 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend from the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and while the battle for both the drivers’ and constructors’ championship has been decided, there is still plenty to play for many drivers and teams on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton (345 points) for Mercedes leads the drivers’ championship by an unassailable 43 points over Sebastian Vettel (302 points) for Ferrari. Hamilton had an unusual weekend in Brazil, being strong in practice before losing control of his car on the first flying lap in qualifying, going straight into the wall, forcing him to a pit-lane start after his team decided to change and add new components to his car. Then he stormed from the back of the field to the front, leading the race for 13 laps, starting on Lap 30, before finishing in fourth, 5.468 seconds behind race winner Vettel.

Vettel, after his win in Brazil, is on track to claim second spot in the championship ahead of Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas (280 points). This will only change if Bottas wins in Abu Dhabi, and Vettel finishes ninth or lower.

The battle for fourth in the championship is interesting between Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (200 points), and Vettel’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen (193 points), who are only separated by seven points in the championship. They are followed in the championship by Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen (158 points), who cannot catch fifth-place Räikkönen in the championship standings.

Also important to note is that it will be the final race in the Formula One career of Felipe Massa, currently 10th in the championship on 42 points. From 268 starts, Massa has won 11 races, claimed 41 podiums, 16 pole positions, and 15 fastest laps in a career spanning from 2002 to 2017, driving for Sauber, Ferrari, and Williams. We wish him all the very best for his future endeavours!

Looking at the constructors’ championship, Mercedes (625 points), Ferrari (495 points), Red Bull (358 points), and Force India (177 points) have secured the top four spots respectively, while Williams (82 points), Toro Rosso (53 points), who are starting their last race with a Renault engine, Renault (49 points), and Haas (47 points) are all in mathematical contention for fifth spot, while McLaren (28 points), who are starting their last race with a Honda engine, are in mathematical contention for sixth spot in the constructors’ championship, and are ahead of Sauber (five points), who are in mathematical contention for eighth in the championship.

As for who is going to win the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, this circuit on paper suits the Ferrari, and should really ought to end the season on a high, for Vettel to secure second spot in championship, but I think Lewis Hamilton is going to bounce back after a couple of difficult races to claim his 10th victory of the season to set a marker for the 2018 season.

 

The first two practice sessions (90 minutes each) are on Friday at 1pm and 5pm local time (Friday 8pm and Saturday 12am AEDT).

The final practice session (60 minutes) and qualifying is on Saturday at 2pm and 5pm local time (Saturday 9pm and Sunday 12am AEDT).

The 55 lap race is on Sunday from 5pm local time (Monday 12am AEDT).

2017 Brazilian Grand Prix – Preview

The 19th round of the 2017 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend from the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo in Brazil, and after the Mexican Grand Prix, the championship battle has been decided.

Lewis Hamilton has claimed his fourth world championship after finishing ninth in Mexico after the front wing of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari made contact with the right-rear tyre of Hamilton’s Mercedes, and while Vettel managed to recover to fourth-place after being forced to pit for a new front wing, it was no where near enough to keep his championship hopes, and deny Hamilton, at least for now, his fourth world championship.

In finishing ninth, Hamilton was also lapped, marking the first time that he has been lapped since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, which was his first season with the Mercedes team, but it didn’t matter as he joined Michael Schumacher (7), Juan Manuel Fangio (5), Alain Prost (4), and Sebastian Vettel (4) as having won four world championships or more.

In addition to this, by finishing ninth, Hamilton has kept his streak of 23-consecutive points-scoring races going, which is the equal-third best streak in Formula One history, and thus keeps alive the possibility of finishing every race of the season inside the points for the first time in his Formula One career.

As far as the championship standings are concerned, Hamilton (333 points) leads by an unassailable 56 points over Vettel (277 points), with a battle looming for second in the championship between the German, and Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas (262 points), with both drivers guaranteed of finishing inside the top three in the 2017 championship after Daniel Ricciardo’s second retirement in as many races.

Ricciardo (192 points) is fourth in the championship, ahead of Vettel’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen (178 points), and Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen (148 points), who claimed his second victory of the season in Mexico, and has finished three of the last four races on the podium after getting decent run of reliability during the last four races.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (595 points), Ferrari (455 points), Red Bull (340 points), and Force India (175 points) have secured first, second, third, and fourth in the championship respectively, with fifth through to 10th still yet to be decided.

So, who is going to win the Brazilian Grand Prix?

The Mercedes on paper should be the car most suited to this circuit, but both Ferrari, and in recent times, Red Bull, have shown that they can match it with Mercedes at most circuits. However, if Hamilton qualifies at the front, if not on pole position, you just can’t see anyone stopping him claiming his 10th race victory in 2017.

 

The first two practice sessions (90 minutes each) are on Friday at 10am and 2pm local time (Friday 11pm and Saturday 3am AEDT).

The final practice session (60 minutes) and qualifying is on Saturday at 11am and 2pm local time (Sunday 12am and 3am AEDT).

The 71 lap race is on Sunday from 2pm local time (Monday 3am AEDT).

 

2017 Japanese Grand Prix – Preview

This weekend, the 16th round of the 2017 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship takes place from the Suzuka International Racing Course, also known as the Suzuka Circuit, in Japan, which is about 70 kilometres south-west of the Japanese city of Nagoya.

And with Lewis Hamilton taking some more points off Sebastian Vettel, this world championship battle is set to heat up at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Hamilton (281 points) leads the world drivers’ championship for Mercedes by 34 points over Vettel (247 points) after finishing second behind Red Bull driver Max Verstappen last weekend at the Malaysia Grand Prix in what was considered to be a disappointing result for Mercedes after struggling to find their normal pace during practice, and while Hamilton did secure his 70th pole position in his Formula One career, he did not have the speed to hold of Verstappen in the race.

However, he did gain six more points over Vettel in the championship after his Ferrari had major technical issues on Saturday relating to the power-unit in his car, meaning that he couldn’t set a time in qualifying, which meant he started from last on the grid, although the major benefit from that disappointment was that he was able to take on extra power-unit components without effectively serving a penalty.

However, despite a storming drive in his Ferrari from 20th on the grid to finish fourth, more pain was to follow for Vettel on the cool-down lap, colliding with Williams driver Lance Stroll, damaging his Ferrari significantly, meaning that he might have to take a grid penalty for a gearbox change should his team find damage to his gearbox, which could mean further pain in his quest to win a fifth world championship.

Third in the championship is Valtteri Bottas (222 points), 59 points behind teammate Hamilton in the standings after finishing a disappointing fifth in Malaysia, and has really been out of sorts since the summer break, generally struggling for speed in comparison to his teammate, and not producing the performances that he expects from himself. Bottas will need to lift his performances in support of Hamilton if he wants Hamilton to win his fourth world championship.

Daniel Ricciardo (177 points) is fourth in the world championship, 104 points behind Hamilton, and the last driver (other than Hamilton, Vettel, and Bottas) in mathematical contention for the drivers’ championship, although Ricciardo has accepted for sometime that he wasn’t going to have the machinery to contend for the championship, after finishing third in Malaysia.

Kimi Räikkönen (138 points) is fifth in the championship for Ferrari after power-unit/battery issues caused him to be wheeled from the grid, and he was unable to start in the Malaysia Grand Prix, which was a huge shame considering that he was starting from the front row of the grid, and certainly he had the pace to win in his Ferrari. Räikkönen could have also helped his teammate remain closer to Hamilton in the championship if he was able to participate, and finish ahead of Hamilton (either first or second), which would have meant Hamilton would have only gained five points over Vettel instead of the six points that he did gain over Vettel.

Sixth in the championship is Verstappen (93 points), who finally had some luck go his way, winning the Malaysia Grand Prix after overtaking Hamilton on Lap Four at Turn One, and then leading 51 of the remaining 53 laps to take a comfortable 12.770 second victory over Hamilton, which was only the second race win of Verstappen’s young career, which happened the day after his 20th Birthday!

In terms of the Constructors’ World Championship, Mercedes (503 points) lead by 118 points over Ferrari (385 points) in the two-way battle for the constructors’ championship with Red Bull (270 points) in third, followed by Force India (133 points) in fourth, then Williams (65 points) in fifth, who have broken away slightly from Toro Rosso (52 points) in the battle for fifth in the championship, followed by Renault (42 points), Haas (37 points), and then McLaren (23 points), and Sauber (five points), who seem destined to finish 10th in the constructors’ championship.

Looking at trying to predict a result for the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix, I think that although it has been a couple of difficult weekends for Mercedes in terms of their speed, I would expect them to be back on top form at Suzuka, and although I think Ferrari and Red Bull will still be good in Japan, I believe Lewis Hamilton on a circuit tailor-made for him and his Mercedes, due to the long, fast corners, and the premium placed on having a strong power-unit, will dominate all of his rivals to claim victory ahead of a five-way battle for second and third between Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Räikkönen, Daniel Ricciardo, and Max Verstappen.

 

The first two practice sessions (90 minutes each) are on Friday at 10am and 2pm local time (12pm and 4pm AEDT).

The final practice session (60 minutes) and qualifying is on Saturday at 12pm and 3pm local time (2pm and 5pm AEDT).

The 53 lap race is on Sunday from 2pm local time (4pm AEDT).

2017 Singapore Grand Prix – Preview

The 14th round of the 2017 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend under the floodlights at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore, and the battle for the world championship between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, as well as their respective Mercedes and Ferrari, as the fly-away races at the end of the season are about to begin.

Hamilton has taken the lead of the drivers’ world championship for the first time this season after becoming the first driver to score consecutive victories in 2017 after winning in Belgium, and then in Italy. The Mercedes driver leads the world championship on 238 points, just a mere three points ahead of Vettel, who is on 235 points.

While Hamilton had a marvellous weekend in Monza last time out, in which he became the record-holder for the most pole positions in Formula One by achieving his 69th career pole position in wet conditions, before taking victory in dry conditions on Sunday, Vettel and Ferrari, by their standards, had an absolute shocker, struggling in wet conditions to qualify eighth, and could only finish third in the race after starting in sixth, finishing over 36 seconds behind Hamilton.

Vettel and Ferrari will be looking to hit back in Singapore, at a track that should really suit the Ferrari, and on paper at a track which doesn’t suit Mercedes quite as well.

Third in the championship is Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who is on 197 points after helping Mercedes to a one-two finish at Monza. However, it appears that Bottas has now been cast into being the second driver within the team, but has been superb in his first season at Mercedes, and will need to continue driving well if he wants to see Hamilton claim his fourth world championship, which would be his third in the last four years.

Daniel Ricciardo (144 points) is fourth in the world championship for Red Bull after a scintillating drive to finish fourth in the Italian Grand Prix, including an audacious pass on Kimi Räikkönen in Turn One on Lap 41, after starting 16th due to power-unit related penalties, plus a penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change, despite qualifying third. I believe Ricciardo has a strong chance of winning the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend.

Talking about Räikkönen, he is fifth in the championship for Ferrari on 138 points, and just like his teammate Vettel, struggled at Monza, qualifying seventh, started fifth, and finished just over a minute behind Hamilton in a lacklustre fifth. Räikkönen is clearly the number two driver at Ferrari, but must lift his game if he wants to see Vettel claim his fifth world championship, which would be his first since 2013.

Max Verstappen (68 points) is sixth in the world championship, but simply cannot take a trick at the moment, tangling at Turn One with Felipe Massa on Lap Three of the Italian Grand Prix after starting 13th, making up five positions on the opening lap, and was eighth when he tangled with Massa, causing a right front tyre puncture, and could only fight his way back up to 10th, and was lapped. If luck is with him, Verstappen is a strong chance of winning in Singapore this weekend.

In terms of the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads the way on 435 points, 62 points ahead of Ferrari, who are on 373 points. They are followed by Red Bull (212 points), who are comfortably behind Ferrari, but comfortably ahead of Force India (113 points), who are well ahead of a four-way battle for fifth in the championship between Williams (55 points), Toro Rosso (40 points), Haas (35 points), and Renault (34 points). Then follows McLaren (11 points) and Sauber (five points), who are second-last, and last in the Constructors’ Championship.

Talking about my predictions for who will win the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix, I think Mercedes will be stronger than they think they will be, and I certainly think Hamilton will be in contention for the race victory if he is on top form. I also believe Ferrari will be better than what they were in Italy.

However, I believe that after their performance in Italy that Red Bull may be stronger than both of them at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

I am predicting a win for Daniel Ricciardo in the race held in the same timezone as his home city of Perth.

 

The first two practice sessions (90 minutes each) are on Friday at 4:30pm and 8:30pm local time (6:30pm and 10:30pm AEST).

The final practice session (60 minutes) and qualifying is on Saturday at 6pm and 9pm local time (8pm and 11pm AEST).

The 61 lap race is on Sunday from 8pm local time (10pm AEST).

2017 British Grand Prix Preview

The 10th round of the 2017 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire in England.

Sebastian Vettel comes into the British Grand Prix with the championship lead on 171 points, 20 points ahead of championship rival Lewis Hamilton (151 points), after the Ferrari driver finished second at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend, pushing eventual winner, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, all the way.

Hamilton lost ground to Vettel in the championship standings after being forced to take a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change in his Mercedes. Starting from eighth on the grid, Hamilton managed to make up four positions before running out of time to pass Daniel Ricciardo for the final spot on the podium.

The winner of the Austrian Grand Prix, Bottas, is third in the world drivers’ championship on 136 points, 35 points behind Vettel, and in some people’s eyes, is starting to look like a serious championship contender, but if he is not considered by people as a serious championship contender, Bottas is at least stealing critical points away from Vettel on the days that Hamilton is having a struggle.

Ricciardo is fourth in the world championship in his Red Bull on 107 points, 64 points behind Vettel in the world championship after achieving his fifth-consecutive podium at the Austrian Grand Prix after holding off a fast-charging Hamilton, and although he isn’t a serious championship contender in 2017, Ricciardo has been in the right place at the right time to pick up the pieces when more fancied rivals are having a tough day, or weekend, to grab some solid results.

Someone who should be a championship contender is Kimi Räikkönen, but he is struggling in fifth position in the world championship on 83 points after finishing fifth at the Austrian Grand Prix. He is under serious pressure to keep his seat at Ferrari for 2018, and with a number of rising stars putting in some great performances in lesser machinery, his career could be coming to an end at the end of 2017.

Sergio Pérez is sixth in the world championship on 50 points, and has been putting in some solid performances in his Force India, just like his teammate Esteban Ocon, who sits in eighth in the drivers’ championship on 39 points.

However, it is the man who sits in seventh position in the championship that has had all the bad luck that you could imagine! Max Verstappen is having a horror run, with his third retirement in a row, and his fifth retirement of the season, which is precisely his fifth retirement in the last seven races.

Verstappen sits on 45 points in the world championship after finishing just four races out of the opening nine rounds. He has had problems ranging from a brake failure in Bahrain, to damage from a first lap collision with Räikkönen in Spain, to an electrical issue in Canada, to an oil pressure issue in Azerbaijan, to more opening lap collision damage in Austria.

In addition to this, Verstappen had misfire problems with his engine/powerunit in qualifying in China, which contributed to him starting 16th on the grid, which he recovered from spectacularly after a brilliant start, picking up nine places on the opening lap, which was the catalyst to his awesome drive to third, beating his teammate Ricciardo in the process.

So, Verstappen has only had three weekends where qualifying and/or the race hasn’t been interrupted by a serious issue. He needs a result this weekend to keep within touch of the front-runners in this world championship.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes still lead the way on 287 points, 23 points ahead of Ferrari (254 points). Red Bull are third on 152 points, while Force India are fourth on 89 points.

Looking at who will be strong at Silverstone this weekend, the fast-flowing nature of the circuit combined with a couple of long straights, the Wellington and Hangar straights to be precise, should suit the long-wheelbase of the Mercedes, although you would expect Ferrari to be a strong package at Silverstone, and you cannot rule out Red Bull here at a track which has suited them in the past.

However, only four of the current drivers have won the British Grand Prix, and while no one expects the winner of the 2006 and 2011 race, Fernando Alonso, to challenge in his McLaren-Honda, the other three drivers are all in race-winning machinery, and are capable of grabbing the crucial 25 points that are on offer.

Kimi Räikkönen, the 2007 winner looks the least likely given his form, but what is most is most surprising is that Sebastian Vettel has only won the British Grand Prix once, all the way back in 2009, the last race on the old layout in his first year with Red Bull. He will be looking to give Ferrari their first win at Silverstone since 2011.

Lewis Hamilton, on the otherhand, has a wonderful record at the British Grand Prix, winning the race four times, including the last three editions. He will be looking to join Jim Clark and Alain Prost as a five-time winner of the British Grand Prix, as well as become the first driver since Clark to win the British Grand Prix four years in a row.

And, if Hamilton grabs pole position on Saturday for the British Grand Prix, he will move to within one of Michael Schumacher’s record of 68 career pole positions in Formula One.

So my tip this weekend is for a fifth British Grand Prix victory for Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone.

 

The first two practice sessions (90 minutes each) are on Friday at 9am and 1pm local time (6pm and 10pm AEST).

The final practice session (60 minutes) and qualifying is on Saturday at 10am and 1pm local time (7pm and 10pm AEST).

The 52 lap race is on Sunday from 1pm local time (10pm AEST).

2017 Austrian Grand Prix Preview

The ninth round of the 2017 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.

Sebastian Vettel leads the world drivers’ championship for Ferrari on 153 points, extending his lead over Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (139 points) to 14 points after both finishing off the podium in Azerbaijan in fourth and fifth respectively, making it the first race since the Malaysian Grand Prix last year where neither Vettel or Hamilton finished on the podium.

Both the championship protagonists had problems in Azerbaijan, with Vettel receiving a 10 second STOP-AND-GO penalty after causing a collision with Hamilton, while Hamilton had to unexpectedly pit to change his headrest after it wasn’t attached properly after the red flag midway through the race.

The penalty for Vettel received a lot of criticism for various media sources close to Formula One, as well as teams, drivers, and legends of the sport.

I have stated my opinion on the incident between Vettel and Hamilton last week and while I thought Vettel should have been disqualified for breaches of Article 27.4, and Article 39.8 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, I can understand the difficulty stewards had in handing out a penalty that fit the crime due to the penalty-points system that has been introduced into Formula One in recent years, and thought it was the better way of handling the incident, although many people would disagree with this.

Valtteri Bottas is third in the world championship for Mercedes on 111 points after salvaging a miraculous second after being a lap down after two laps after a tyre puncture after a collision with Kimi Räikkönen.

Räikkönen drops to fifth in the world championship on 73 points after having a myriad of issues in Azerbaijan, eventually retiring with an oil leak. He needs to respond this with a podium (at worst), otherwise his place at Ferrari for 2018 will be under scrutiny.

The man in fourth position in the world championship is Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (92 points) after a remarkable victory on the streets of Baku, taking his fifth race win of his Formula One career, and capping off a run of four-consecutive podiums.

While he has never had to best car throughout his Formula One career so far, Ricciardo has this innate ability to put himself in at the right place, at the right time to pick up the pieces if rivals have problems, and run with it!

Talking about fierce rivals, Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen cannot a trick right now in his Red Bull, suffering his fourth retirement of the season, and his second retirement in a row at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, growing ever frustrated at his team’s inability to produce a reliable car.

Verstappen looked like a genuine contender for a race victory in Baku for most of the weekend until encountering issues with his car. Red Bull have got to sort out their reliability issues with both cars if they want to make sure they keep third place in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of Force India.

Before I touch on the Constructors’ Championship, I would like to give a special mention to Lance Stroll for his first podium in Formula One. Stroll drove a very mature race to become the second-youngest driver to finish on a Formula One podium, and while he is not the finished product yet, he does have some untapped potential and deserves to be persevered with.

In terms of the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (250 points) lead by 24 points over Ferrari (226 points), with both Red Bull (137 points) and Force India (79 points) comfortably in third and fourth respectively. There is a good scrap for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship with Williams (37 points), Toro Rosso (33 points), Haas (21 points), and Renault (18 points) all within 19 points of each other, with Sauber (five points) and McLaren (two points) battling for ninth and 10th in the Constructors’ Championship after Fernando Alonso scored McLaren’s first points of the season in Azerbaijan.

Looking at who will be strong at the Red Bull Ring, on paper Mercedes looks like the better package, who have all the ingredients for success in Spielberg, with a strong powerunit, a well-balanced car through the quick corners and changes of direction, and decent traction out of the slow to medium speed corners.

Ferrari also look close to Mercedes on paper, while it will be interesting to see whether Red Bull will have a good package in Austria to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari.

I am tipping a Mercedes victory, with Lewis Hamilton leading home a Mercedes one-two finish.

 

The first two practice sessions (90 minutes each) are on Friday at 10am and 2pm local time (6pm and 10pm AEST).

The final practice session (60 minutes) and qualifying is on Saturday at 11am and 2pm local time (7pm and 10pm AEST).

The 71 lap race is on Sunday from 2pm local time (10pm AEST).