Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Monaco GP Betting Preview - Best to back the Bulls?

Monaco is different. For good and for ill.

There are reasons to think Red Bull will
be on top this weekend
Photo: Octane Photography
One can never underestimate Ferrari and Mercedes of course, but in many people's eyes Monaco's difference extends to Red Bull becoming the favourite to prevail this weekend. The tight track should suit it down to the ground and not show up its power deficit as much as other circuits do. The Bull also was quickest in the bellwether tight final sector at Barcelona last time out.

It's not favourite in the eyes of the bookies though, and this may present an opportunity. Daniel Ricciardo is third favourite to win - behind usual suspects Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton - at 9/2 while Max Verstappen can be backed at 5/1. You can also back a Red Bull of either stripe to win at 15/8.

If you fancy a less ambitious bet then either Red Bull driver can be backed to finish on the podium at reasonable odds too: Ricciardo at 6/5 and Verstappen at 5/4. You can back both to get on the podium at 15/4.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Monaco Preview: A welcome change?

Once upon a time, Formula One fan and general wit Clive James noted that "it is said these days with increasing frequency that Monaco makes a nice change from Grand Prix racing". With the latest visit upon us, it's hard to argue.

Despite everything, there's something about Monaco
Photo: Octane Photography
Really, what is it with the place and its 'jewel in the crown' status? If you're to be critical, the Monaco round is an anachronism. If you're to be very critical it's an absurdity.

A narrow, bumpy and tortuously sinewy tunnel of barriers. Famously Nelson Piquet described its challenge as akin to riding a bicycle around your living room. Track position is ten tenths of the law. The wider cars introduced last year if anything added to the fraction.

It doesn't get much better off the track either. Cramped and claustrophobic with ostentatious poseurs everywhere who in all probability don't care much for the sport. Not outside this weekend at any stretch.

But, conversely, what it is about Monaco lays within all of this.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

New Motorsport Week article: Why Miami is a big deal for Formula 1

By Brian W. Schaller - Own work, FAL, https://commons.
There might be life in Liberty yet. Just when folk were muttering that F1's new-ish owner wasn't providing much tangible alongside its bold talk, now the possibility is for it deliver a downtown street race in Miami of all places. 

In my latest Motorsport Week feature I outline why it would be a big deal for F1, in more than one sense.

You can have a read of my thinking here:

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

I and other motoring journalists pick the UK's best driving roads for Age UK

By Glen Wallace from Inverness, Scotland (Bealach na Ba)
[CC BY-SA 2.0 (
by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
For Age UK I and a few other motoring journalists were asked to pick what we think are the best driving roads in the UK.

There's a bit of a theme with my selections...

Anyway take a look and see if you agree. If they inspire you even to check a few out for yourself then all the better.

Here's the link:

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Spanish Grand Prix review

Photo: Octane Photography
My ever-growing Motor Verso F1 2018 season summary now has my take on the Spanish Grand Prix added.

It wasn't a race big on thrills but it may have been a race big on significance. Or perhaps not.

You can check out the latest article with the Barcelona review added, illustrated and complete with the best of the internet, via this link:

Do check out the Motor Verso site too; you'll find motoring news, car reviews and features - the team on the site carry out week-long test drives of the latest cars - as well as photos and videos of the machines.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Spanish GP Report - Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

There are two things we associate chiefly with Spanish Grands Prix at the Barcelona track. One is dull races with little overtaking. The other is a strong steer of the competitive pecking order among the competing cars.

Mercedes and particularly Lewis Hamilton
dominated the Spanish Grand Prix
Photo: Octane Photography 
We certainly got the former this time. It was indeed, to use the well-worn euphemism, not a thriller. But if the latter applies too it then it's ominous. And a familiar sort of ominous.

As if this one was dull it was made so in large part by Mercedes's dominance. And particularly that of Lewis Hamilton.

"It's one of those happy Lewis days when he's unbeatable," opined Martin Brundle early on, noting something that hasn't been present all that often in 2018 prior to this one. It had that sort of inevitability about it from the point poleman Lewis led into turn one.

He won by 20 seconds and probably would have been happy to drive his W09 straight home to Monaco too if such things were allowed.

New AutoClassics article - Why there was so much more to Jim Clark than statistics

By Rtsanderson - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://
The numbers are towering - 25 Grand Prix wins from 72 starts, an Indianapolis 500 victory and much else won besides. But not even that gets at what it was about Jim Clark that was inimitable. Not even close in fact.

To mark the 50th anniversary of his passing, for AutoClassics I spoke to many of those who knew Jim Clark best, to find out that what made him great was about much more than mere statistics.

You can have a read here:

Friday, 11 May 2018

Lewis Hamilton: 'Zero Comfortability' in Title Race

Despite the fact that he is currently atop the drivers' standings, Lewis Hamilton admits that he has not raced up to his calibre so far this term. Hamilton shot to the top of the standings two weeks ago after a wild Azerbaijan GP last week, but the Mercedes driver said that his current form will not be good enough to stave off Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel over the course of a full season.

Lewis Hamilton enters the Spanish Grand Prix
weekend in reflective moods
Photo: Octane Photography
Ahead of the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix Hamilton told the press, "At the moment I am punching below my weight, and that is not sufficient to win a world championship. I have zero comfortability. Since the last race I have not thought for one second that I am leading the world championship."

Hamilton's win in Azerbaijan coupled with Vettel's relatively disappointing fourth-place finish propelled Hamilton to the top of the standings on 70 points. Vettel is second with 66, while his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is further adrift in third on 48 points. Those betting on F1 will have a tough call to make with the two at the top so close together.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Spanish GP Betting Preview - After the watershed

The Spanish Grand Prix this weekend is a watershed - from a betting point of view at least. After three rounds in which he looked the fastest all else being equal the bookies have twigged and Sebastian Vettel is now favourite for pole and win, ending a lengthy run of Lewis Hamilton having the shortest odds.

For the first time in a long time Sebastian Vettel
has the shortest odds to prevail
Photo: Octane Photography
They bookies might be counter-cyclical though, as Spain could be a good place for Mercedes to bounce back. The long turns and harder tyre compounds than usual should suit Mercedes and go some way to solve its rubber warm-up problems of the last three rounds.

Still Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel have this year been near-perennials at the front on Saturday and Sunday and are not to be written off readily. The odds reflect the close call, Vettel is 17/11 to get the pole and 13/8 to win; Lewis Hamilton's respective odds are 2/1 and 7/4.

Something the bookies haven't quite twigged on though is the form of their respective team-mates Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen - form that is not reflected in their points totals. Both have tempting long odds to win or to get on the podium this weekend. Bottas can be backed at 9/1 to win and 6/5 to finish in the top three, while the respective odds for Raikkonen are 12/1 and 7/5.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - The Jehan Daruvala Interview

This week, we have Force India F1 Team's junior driver and current F3 racer Jehan Daruvala on our show. The young Indian speaks to us ahead of his 2018 F3 campaign - preparations, targets, title rivals and key area of improvement.

The BIG question of course is - how soon before we find him in the Force India cockpit? Hear more in this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast.

(Season 2018, Episode 16)

Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and on audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Monday, 7 May 2018

Barcelona Preview: Moment of clarity?

F1 in 2018 has been as clear as mud. Four rounds in we still don't have a strong sense of the pecking order. All rounds have contained surprises and then have been shaken up by a safety car (actual or virtual) intervention.

The Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona -
F1's standard round?
Photo: Octane Photography
But if we want a normal dull stop-off that gives us a steer of which cars are hot and which not then the Spanish Grand Prix coming this weekend at Barcelona would be top of our list to provide it.

It has been known as F1's bellwether - the correlation between getting pole at Barcelona and going onto win that year's title was for a time near exact.

Three in every four Grands Prix at this track have been won by the pole-sitter; only on three occasions has it been won from a start off the front row, and all of that trio came in peculiar circumstances.

The circuit's many medium-to-fast speed long-ish turns reward a car that is working well - ill-handling machines can't be hustled around this place readily. That it's a default testing venue takes away another variable, as all have a firm sense of the optimum set-up. Grids here often have a Noah's Ark look. Also the modern aero-laden F1 car can't follow another very happily through this layout, and therefore overtaking often is rare.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Formula 1 Is Finally Formula Fun

After three back-to-back races of absolute chaos, excitement and unexpected results, is Formula 1 finally Formula Fun? Hats off to Liberty Media for not resting on the laurels and great races in Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan and for forcing through (literally!) the aero changes for 2019. Whether they deliver on-track or not, 10/10 for trying.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal discuss the Formula 1 - Twitter deal and how it has created part-time employment for the 2016 World Champion, Nico Rosberg. They tell you why most teams were opposing the rule changes for next season and how Kimi Raikkonen cracked the best joke of this week. Finally, how soon before fans cry of an overdose in race strategy; well, one of our listeners actually likened the current Formula 1 season to Poker. Do you agree? Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 15)

Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and on audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour