What a bizarre set of numbers this past weekend’s racing has thrown us.
Enea Bastianini – Moto2 Winner #33
Brad Binder – MotoGP winner #33
Max Verstappen – F1 Winner #33
Max Verstappen F1 Driver of the day with #33 %
Kimi Raikkonen on lap #33 of the 70th Anniversary GP now holds the record of most laps raced in F1 History.
Just coincidence but cool, nonetheless.
You know when you leave a racetrack, isn’t it amazing how many people suddenly rev their cars and drive a little faster as though they are the racing drivers they have been watching?
Let me get this off my chest. What a motorsport weekend we had. Of course, Brad Binder winning his first MotoGP race was my personal highlight. Think about what kind of an achievement that is; just to get to MotoGP and now he's a winner in MotoGP and he also won KTM's first ever premiere class race. It is just beautiful.
There are motorcycle riders who are held in such high esteem that have never won a MotoGP race and yet our very own Brad Binder has done so.
In the past week since Brad’s victory, just about every motorcyclist I have encountered on the road all sudden believes they are Brad Binder!
I love motorbikes, I love motor racing, I just love motorcycles, to me they are works of art and I love seeing them but please my motorcycle friends, be safe on the roads. You are not Brad Binder so don’t act like you believe you are like him. If you want to race and be like Brad, then go and ride on a track. Don’t do it on the roads. There are too many variables that could turn beauty into pain and suffering.
Max Attack and Mercedes Achilles heel?
Now that is off my chest good let's have a look at the world of Formula 1. Firstly, let me look back at the 70th Anniversary race at Silverstone.
Does Mercedes have an Achilles heel when it comes to higher ambient temperatures? It does seem that way and it was the difference between another dominant victory for them to allowing a brilliant strategy from Red Bull and Max Verstappen to snatch a victory from them.
Many a race fan will hope that most races are in warmer temperatures to allow them to enjoy a closer battle at the front of the pack.
I have no doubt that the Mercedes team will find the correct solution to this problem but in the interim let us enjoy the closeness at the front which has eluded us for too long.
The 70th Anniversary was entertaining, and Max Verstappen is an incredible racing driver. Whether you are a fan of him or not, you should applaud this young man’s tenacity and determination. As Ross Brawn has said about Max “ The limit of the car is not the limit of Max Verstappen” Don’t get me wrong, driving at 10 tenths all the time will create its own problems for Max, but as this Red Bull improves it might give him a chance to just race and not squeeze everything out of himself and the car every time.
Red Bull adopted a different strategy, and this meant that Verstappen decided to qualify on the harder compound Pirelli tyre which meant he had to deliver. He did so and quickly passed Hulkenberg’s Racing point into 3rd place after the start. This was critical for his strategy to work
An uncompromising first sting from the Dutchman saw him in the perfect position to win the race however a late scare from Mercedes as we wondered if Lewis Hamilton was going to try a one stop strategy soon faded after the Brackley team decided to pit Lewis for new rubber.
Max Verstappen went on to win his 9th Formula One Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton finished 2nd due to a longer 2nd stint which clearly put Bottas’s nose out of joint. Bottas was quicker than Lewis on the weekend and it seems team orders were the order of the day for Mercedes. There is still a championship to be decided and Mercedes are extremely good at protecting whatever lead that they have. Lewis has a 30-point lead over Verstappen and 34 points over Bottas.
A great weekend for the returning Nico Hulkenberg even though they pitted him late in the race which meant that he finished behind Lance Stroll. The hulk’s qualifying got the paddock talking furiously about his future and a possible return to F1 full time.
What happened to McLaren at Silverstone? Lando Norris had another solid race and scored more points which shows what confidence can do. His teammate who will leave Mclaren come 2021 en route to Ferrari seems to be having the same luck as the person he will replace at Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel.
Both drivers are having terrible misfortune. Sainz was irritated after another disappointing weekend and I’m sure has been trying to put it behind him ahead of his home GP this weekend in Spain.
The one team I expected a great race from was Alpha Tauri. After another sensational qualifying from Pierre Gasly, I was really hoping for a great race from him, but his race just seemed very difficult. Perhaps a tyre issue for him but at least Kyvat got into the points. I was happy for him.
Racing Point Break Ducts
Let me move on to other issues that are taking place in the world of Formula One and of course the big talking point is the Racing Point brake duct issue.
At one stage we had McLaren, Williams, Ferrari and Renault who wanted clarity regarding the steward’s findings and punishment imposed on the Racing Point team.
Williams and McLaren have now backed down and it’s obvious to see why. Williams has a Mercedes engine deal and McLaren will run with Mercedes power from 2021.
It is vital to get clarification from the World Motorsport council regarding the copying of parts of another car. This is paramount to the DNA of Formula One. It cannot be allowed for teams to copy parts of other cars unless allowed in the regulations.
Christian Horner said:” If Racing Point is guilty of having received something, we can imagine that the team that provided those items also broke the regulations?”
Guenther Steiner:” I'm not surprised that Toto Wolff is defending Racing Point because they apparently provided data to Racing Point which is not allowed.”
I do not have all the details but clearly there is something amiss about when this knowledge was passed on to RP and perhaps even how it was given.
Renault have taken the correct approach and said:” they will continue to work intensively with the FIA and all stakeholders to develop and implement a clear and enforceable regulatory framework that will ensure all teams participating in the 2021 season will develop their original aerodynamic concept by themselves”
And this is what this about. Not the fact that Racing Point have got this wonderful turn of speed and are challenging for points. It is about the procedure of what is allowed and what is not allowed when it comes to shared information and if they shared information which was not allowed, then the car is illegal. To refresh your memory, in 2007 when McLaren received all the data of the Ferrari car for 2008. McLaren were fined 100 million dollars for that infringement. The RP issue might not be as severe as that but a 400,000 euro fine 15 points deduction seems a little too lenient. At Silverstone, RP scored 14 points said they're basically back to where they were. I am fully aware that this a very complicated situation, but clarity is needed so that all teams know the boundaries of shared information.
I like Toto Wolff. I have the greatest respect for him and what he is doing and has done already in F1.
He is a great leader and has worked his magic to turn Mercedes Benz into the most dominant force the sport has ever seen. There is one thing that really grates me about Toto Wolff though, and it is when he tries his reverse psychology on everyone. No Toto, not all of us buy your rhetoric that there is a serious championship now on the go. Wolff speaks wonderful PR and tries desperately at times to convince us that the sport is benefitting from Mercedes’s domination. I would prefer Toto to say that Mercedes and his team have built a magnificent car and that it is incredibly unlikely that anyone is going to challenge Lewis Hamilton for his 7th title during 2020
I’ll leave is at that but there are times Mr Wolff acts like a petulant teenager and it’s unattractive at times.
We look forward to the Spanish Grand Prix at the circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this weekend.
It is not my favourite circuit although it is technically very demanding, but it doesn't really allow itself for great racing. Having said that, it is going to be quite hot and just maybe this will allow the other teams a sniffing chance to maybe break the domination of Mercedes-Benz
I feel I need to talk in defence of Sebastian Vettel. We are very aware of the troubles between Ferrari and Vettel since it was announced that he will be leaving the team at the end of the year.
Ther are usually three sides to these stories. There will be Ferrari’s side, there will be Vettel side and some way in between there will be the truth about what is going on.
I'm finding it more and more uncomfortable as this ugly journey continues.
Comments from Binotto regarding Vettel are unbecoming of a leader of a team. I appreciate what a tough job Binotto has but being constantly critical towards one of the great drivers of our time does not lend itself to any team building for the rest of his team. Regardless of their personal opinions, the leader should show leadership as opposed to bitterness.
Unfortunately, I do feel that Vettel’s legacy is being horribly tainted by the way Ferrari are treating him. I don’t subscribe that Vettel has lost his speed and pace, so it is very frustrating to see him struggling so badly with an ill performing car. Sebastian Vettel is a very passionate and enthusiastic driver. He likes to laugh and have fun and at present his whole demeanour is flat due to these ridiculous shenanigans.
It does take two to tango and Vettel also needs to rise above this. I hope that Ferrari give him a better car for the rest of his days at Ferrari. Vettel is disappointed that he never managed to fulfil his dream of winning with Ferrari and he has tried his best in the years that he has been there. To see him leave this great team with a negative belief would be heart breaking not only for him and for Ferrari but for all the tifosi as well.