Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Do We Have To Blame Someone For The Singapore Car-nage?

Formula 1 tested a live 360 degree telecast of the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix. While this wasn't available for fans to consume, if it was, the footage would've only offered more angles to fans to dissect the Verstappen-Raikkonen-Vettel clash and pinpoint the blame on a driver. But do we really have to blame this on someone? Let's take the FIA's lead, classify it as a 'racing incident' and move on. Or like Mithila said, she'd love to use the 360 degree footage to see Fernando Alonso's air-borne 360 degree spin!

In this week's episode, we tell you why a Lewis Hamilton win in Singapore is actually an unusual result, why Carlos Sainz Jr. might need to drop the 'Jr.' from his name next season and wonder if Nico Rosberg has any clout whatsoever to help Robert Kubica make a heroic comeback to the sport. Also, we can't believe that Daniel Ricciardo actually admitted to farting at an official press conference!

Has Mercedes forgotten their other junior driver, Pascal Wehrlein? And will both of Ferrari's junior drivers (Giovinazzi and Leclerc) make it to Formula 1 next season? And finally, should Jolyon Palmer take the money and make way for Sainz to make his Renault debut in Malaysia?

Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 31)

Monday, 18 September 2017

Singapore Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Not like other sports

For better or for worse, motor sport is not like other sports. We got our latest demonstration of this in Singapore.

Photo: Octane Photography
It was the equivalent of a football team expected to win easily finding themselves 5-0 down seconds into the match. And with no hope of a come back. All due to Sebastian Vettel's ill-fated decision to 'cover off' his fellow front row man Max Verstappen, which went very wrong.

And thus while it looked like Seb could hardly not re-take his title lead, perhaps by a distance, now it looks Lewis Hamilton's championship to lose.

You can read my take on it all for Motor Verso here: http://www.motorverso.com/singapore-gp-2017-report-not-like-sports/

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.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Singapore GP Report - Not drowning but waving

Motorsport, as we are often given cause to reflect, is not like other sports. Just like in those, we predict with confidence. But unlike in most of those, things can and do look unrecognisable in a blink. Things like a rain shower. A standing start. An accident.

Lewis Hamilton was an unlikely winner
Photo: Octane Photography
That's what we got in Singapore. Sebastian Vettel looked serene on pole. Granted the Red Bulls would be strong in the race, but from the championship angle his rival Lewis Hamilton was flailing down in fifth. Surely he would at least re-take his long-held drivers' title table lead. It was a matter of how far by.

It had rained earlier on race day, but it appeared it would matter not. But then more arrived around 10 minutes before the start, meaning for the first time ever we had wet night time running under floodlights in F1.

Rain is frequent in Singapore; perhaps the most remarkable thing was it had never hit running here before in ten visits. Not, that anyone could remember, so much as a practice session or support race. Until today.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Singapore Qualifying - Doing it when it matters

It looked like it would be very different. But, when it mattered, first place looked rather familiar.

Sebastian Vettel against expectations
pipped the Red Bull pair
Photo: Octane Photogrpahy
In this latest Singapore gathering F1, it appeared, was going back to the future. On a twisty track that would suit its car and an aero upgrade under its belt, Red Bull topped all three practice sessions and the first two parts of qualifying. At points of the weekend the RB13 pair looked on another level. Just like old times.

But qualifying is a high bar. Ferrari and Mercedes would crank their power units up. Plus there are more general considerations here. Like Monaco track evolution at Singapore is skyward - good times cannot be sat on. Like there solid things are near to punish those who get it slightly wrong.

It was going well for the Bull pair nevertheless, but then they discovered that Sebastian Vettel sets the bar highest of all. Particularly in Saturday's final throes.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Does Kimi Räikkönen have what it takes to make up points on the leaders? By Steven Critchley

Ten years ago a champion, today a relative also-ran. Kimi Räikkönen is perhaps one of the most underrated racers in the roster today. And with Finland's record for producing F1 talent, it may pain him particularly to see a less-experienced countryman – in Valtteri Bottas – occupying a coveted Mercedes car. Naturally, where Räikkönen's title win of 2007 is concerned, cynics would be quick to point out that it was won by just a single point, and afforded him in some part by a period of indifferent form for both McLaren drivers. Today, a long win-less run, spanning back to the 2013 season opener in Australia, as reported on BBC Sport, stands out as particularly galling for Räikkönen. Yet, until his retirement at the Spanish Grand Prix, Räikkönen's early 2017 form on was strong and consistent.

‘Kimi Räikkönen’ by Mark McArdle
via Flickr (CC-BY-SA-2.0)
Whether Sebastian Vettel's continued dominance over his team mate is part of some intricate Ferrari strategy remains to be seen, but as of 24 May 2017, where he is an 80/1 outsider (Source: Betway Sports), Räikkönen's ability to mix it with the elite remains firmly in question. Naturally, in light of the downturn in form he suffered at the end of 2016, with two retirements in the final four races, most experts would have dismissed Räikkönen's title hopes long before even the pre-season tests of 2017 began. These same 'experts' could forever analyse Räikkönen's situation, but the sole fact remains obvious – Räikkönen must begin winning races, and quickly.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Singapore GP Betting Preview - Ferrari to fly under floodlights

It appears the bookies have done their homework. In virtually every round this year Lewis Hamilton has been their favourite to prevail. But Singapore, in many ways, is different.

Will Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari be celebrating
in Singapore again?
Photo: Octane Photography
The sinewy track is expected to favour Ferrari and reflecting this Sebastian Vettel vaults to the shortest odds this time. Even so 13/8 for Seb to get the win and the same for the pole look well worth your stake. He's a local specialist too, having won here four times.

Red Bull is another that should be suited to Singapore. Daniel Ricciardo finished on the podium in all of his last three Singapore visits while in the last two years these were as a very close second. He is available at a very generous 11/8 to get onto the podium again. His team mate Max Verstappen's odds are slightly shorter, at 5/4, to do the same.

Still if Ferrari is likely to be on top we shouldn't forget Kimi Raikkonen, who has been right there with Seb in the two similar twisty challenges this season of Monaco and Hungary. And the bookies may have forgotten about him - he's a full 14/1 to win, 16/1 to get the pole and even 13/8 to finish on the podium.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Singapore Preview: F1's light fantastic

We all know about F1's gradual shift eastwards in recent decades. It hasn't always been loved either.

F1's light fantastic - the Singapore round
has become a fixture
Photo: Octane Photography
But there's one still relatively new race that was thought part of the furniture in double-quick time. The race is this weekend - the Singapore Grand Prix around the Marina Bay circuit.

For several reasons this one feels a lot like the Monaco for the new millennium. It is a glittering, vibrant event in which the visuals rarely fail to look stunning.

Just like Monaco, Singapore is a city state that is a quintessential Grand Prix host - glamorous and dripping with money. To the point that you wonder why there wasn't a F1 race here decades ago.

New Motorsport Week article: Is McLaren making a mistake by ditching Honda?

Photo: Octane Photography
The end is nigh it seems. Of the ever-embarrassing latest McLaren Honda link up. That of breathless engines that seem forever to find new ways of stopping.

Carlos Sainz is going to Renault for next year they say. Which will placate Renault into letting Toro Rosso pick up the Honda unit before the end of its contract, which in turn will free up some Renault units for McLaren. Sighs of relief all round.

But in my latest for Motorsport Week I ask the unthinkable - might McLaren actually be making a mistake in ditching Honda?

You can read my reasoning here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15835

Friday, 8 September 2017

Italian Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Order from chaos

It started with a chaotic qualifying session, but come the end of the race no one sought to point at it as an explanation for the result.

Photo: Octane Photography
Very quickly order was restored, and from there Mercedes crushed Ferrari. Thus in the space of the week Spa succour became Monza malaise for the Italian challenger.

Lewis Hamilton now leads the table for the first time this year, but Singapore is next where Ferrari is expected to be on top again. But then again, this title fight has had a few twists already.

Here's my review of whatr went on in Italy for Motor Verso: http://www.motorverso.com/italian-gp-2017-report-order-chaos/

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.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Italian GP Report - Mercedes mastery

This F1 championship battle seems determined to fox us.

The Italian Grand Prix was all about Mercedes,
and especially Lewis Hamilton
Photo: Octane Photography
In many ways this one at Monza was a lot like the one at Spa a week before. A high speed track that we thought could be designed for Mercedes. Indeed it's likely so to an even greater extent than the Belgian track - plenty of long straights to show its top end grunt; few corners that Ferrari can catch up in. Merc's trimmed set up appears the more efficient too.

And the winner was as expected - Merc's very own Lewis Hamilton.

Highlighting the ebb and flow he thus became the first back-to-back winner this season. With it he took the title lead for the first time.

But just like in Spa the significance for plotting the championship destination laid instead in the margin of the victory. Only this time the other way around - this time Merc was even further ahead of Ferrari than anticipated. Spa titled predictions towards Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel; this one titled them back.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Firstpost Video - Italian Grand Prix Review

The latest Firstpost Video Grand Prix Review is here. Mithila and Kunal (now based in Norway!) of Inside Line F1 Podcast look at yesterday's Italian Grand Prix. They discuss the dominant Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes of course, the other protagonists including Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon, Ferrari's flop at home, as well as other matters of moment such as grid penalties...

You can watch below:

Thursday, 31 August 2017

No Italy qualifying report from me...

By Britcar24 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://
Hello all.

Just thought I'd let you know that I won't be able to do a qualifying report for the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.

As this weekend I'll be at Donington Park covering the Britcar event for Autosport.

And while there will be a Italy race report it will be on the late side...

Normal service will resume for Singapore.