Lewis Hamilton created history at Portimao by winning his 92nd Formula 1 race, thereby passing Michael Schumacher as the Formula 1 driver with the most number of race wins.
Earlier, it was normalcy restored with the Friday practice going along unlike at Nürburgring. The drivers took their time to understand the new track which had very high elevation changes and changing wind directions made it difficult for the aerodynamic effects to kick-in. The practices were smooth apart from a few spins here and there. Pierre Gasly had the rear of the car on fire which brought out the red flags and the returning Lance Stroll, who informed that he has tested positive for Covid-19 and got cured, collided with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at Turn 1. Haas F1 had announced that both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean will not be driving for them in 2021.
The first part of qualifying started as usual with the “SATURDAY MAN” George Russell again putting in mega efforts to put his Williams into Q2. The Ferrari powered cars of Alfa Romeo (Kimi Raikkonen & Giovinazzi) and Haas F1 (Kevin Magnussen & Romain Grosjean) were eliminated along with the other Williams of Nicolas Latifi, who qualified 20th.
The second part of qualifying saw both the Mercedes and Ferraris attempting to get into Q3 on the medium tyre as opposed to the softs preferred by all other teams. The Mercedes pair easily made it to Q3 but only Charles Leclerc of Ferrari making it to Q3 on medium tyre and Sebastian Vettel in the other Ferrari was unable to go any better than 15th. The session ended with Australian Daniel Ricciardo spinning out and just about nudging the barriers. He managed to scrap through to Q3 with the 10th quickest time. The 2nd part of qualifying saw Estaben Ocon of Renault, Lance Stroll of Racing point, Alpha Tauri’s Danill Kvyat, Williams’s George Russell and Ferrari’s Vettel bow out.
The Q3 began with the Mercedes putting their times on board on a set of soft tyres and going into the 1:16s. Redbull’s Alex Albon put his first time on a set of mediums but had to go for the soft tyre run hoping for a bit more pace. The Mercedes switched plans to go to mediums for the final runs in Q3 probably hoping that the cold temperatures would suit the medium tyre better and that was what exactly happened. The Mercedes pair went a couple of tenths quicker than their soft tyre runs and Lewis Hamilton managed to pip Valterri Bottas to the pole position by 0.1 seconds. Verstappen, Leclerc, Perez and Albon completed the top six. The two Mclarens of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris followed them with Pierre Gasly qualifying 9th. Ricciardo could not set a competitive time in Q3 as his rear wing needed to be replaced following the spin in Q2.
The race was to provide drama right from the start. As the circuit was damp, it meant everyone had to scrap through carefully on the dry tyres. Hamilton made a clear getaway and held position but soon began to lose temperature in his tyres and began sliding everywhere. Almost everyone struggled barring the most experienced Kimi Raikkonen. Kimi probably made the start of the season by gaining as many as 10 places – from P16 to P6 by Lap 1. Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen made contact which led to the Racing point getting spun and ending up dead last. Perez had to pit for a fresh set of mediums following the spin. Hamilton struggled to keep up with the tyres and was passed by Bottas. The Mclarens made a splendid start to race into P2 and P4 by Lap 1.
Carlos Sainz moved past a struggling Bottas on Lap 2 to gain the lead of the Portuguese which he kept for as long as Lap 6. By Lap 8, Sainz was passed by both the Mercedes and the Red bull of Max Verstappen as he reported to be struggling with the soft tyres. Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly showed great pace by making up places. On Lap 18, Lance Stroll’s upward movement was cut short when he collided with Lando Norris while attempting an overtake into Turn 1. He received a 5 seconds time penalty for the incident and the collision resulted in both Norris and Stroll falling to the back needing a front wing change. Hamilton showed great pace through out and a made clean pass on Bottas on lap 20 to regain the lead of the grand prix. Sergio Perez who had to pit earlier because of the collision with Max made some great moves and showed great pace in going as high as P4 before pitting again for the second time. George Russell made the medium tyres last long and ran as high as P7 for the initial half distance of the race, the highest position he has raced at in his career. Perez pitted for softs hoping to be gain a pace advantage over all others who were on mediums, but the drop in temperature meant the soft tyre not working as expected and a P5 turned quickly into P7 for him in the last 2 laps with Gasly and Sainz managing to get past him.
At the front though, it was a complete Lewis Hamilton show. Post his overtake on Bottas, he never looked back and put up another strong performance to finally break the record of Michael Schumacher for the most number of wins in Formula 1. He clinched his 92nd victory with over 25 seconds margin on Bottas. Max Verstappen finished third and took the final place on the podium. Charles Leclerc put up a strong performance to end P4. Gasly, Sainz and Perez rounded off the top 7 with Ocon, Ricciardo and Vettel completing the top 10. Red Bull’s Alex Albon finished a lowly 12th and he was lapped by his teammate Verstappen. Lance Stroll was the only car to retire from the grand prix after reporting damage from the collision with Lando Norris.
This win further extends Lewis Hamilton’s lead in the championship and further stamped the dominance of Mercedes in the Constructor’s championship with another 1-2 finish.
Tata has finally introduced the Tata Harrier BS6 after all the anticipation and fanfare
+ The best Tata vehicle till date. Period. The styling is surely a head-turner
+ 168 bhp and 350 Nm of ample power and torque makes it an effortless highway cruiser
+ Excellent engine-gearbox combo makes it a perfect mile muncher. Absolutely no lag from the Hyundai sourced gearbox
+ Fantastic music system by OEM standards. One of the best We have ever seen
+ Extremely spacious 5 seaters. The cabin looks great with neat faux wood touches and good plastics around this part
+ Built like a Tank. The bonnet, tailgate, doors are heavy and feel they are built to last
+ The AC is a bone chiller. The best we have experienced in recent times. Blower levels 6 & 7 could have been less noisy
+ Great feature list with a panoramic sunroof, electric driver’s seat, auto headlamps, cruise control and safety kit includes 6 airbags, ESP, HDC. Also, the headlights gave a good intensity
+ More importantly, much better than the 2019 model in every possible way. Tata should have launched the diesel-automatic back then
– With great power comes great responsibility. Although direct, the steering is very light post 120 kmph. You would have to be really careful in sudden direction changes
– The engine gets noisy in Sport mode where the gears are changed at 4000 rpm and the noise is unpleasant
– The gearbox is a delight but slightly misses out on the wow factor in terms of acceleration. Manual mode doesn’t help much
– No petrol option! A big opportunity missed. Every other competitor is offering this. No AWD either
– Small dead pedal for an automatic, I could not accommodate my foot
– Electric boot release and hydraulic struts for bonnet are missed. Esp the former, it’s a task to open and shut the boot and bonnet
– Small issues like the infotainment lag could be fixed through a software update
– The top-end XZA+ retails at 24 lakhs on road, Delhi
After arriving with a bang at the 2018 Auto Expo with the H5X Concept, Tata promised the final production model was going to be extremely similar to the show car. The design team lived up to its promise when the Tata Harrier made its official debut in production form. The SUV with an all-new design language and butch proportions made the Harrier very desirable. But when the spec-sheet was released, it left a lot to be desired. The Harrier had a 30hp deficit, missed out on an automatic transmission, and there were some initial glitches with the vehicle as well. Now Tata says those glitches are no more, so we drove the new 2020 Harrier to find out.
The 2020 Harrier is more or less the same as the outgoing model. However, there are some small yet significant changes:
Why fix something that isn’t broken? The Tata Harrier was always a stunning car it dropped jaws when it arrived as an H5X concept in the auto expo 2018. Tata promised back then that the production variant would be closely matched to the concept and boy they kept up their words. Although the exterior changes aren’t significant, some additional bits add to the already striking looks of it. It’s one of the very few cars that have styling as its USP. The headlamps follow the trend of being placed below making way for the DRLs on top. This is something that cannot be attempted by many cars and fortunately, Harrier excels in it. While we still couldn’t get over its beautiful front, we were drooled by the superb finish of the rear tail lamps integration. It’s certain that Tata Motors has put in a lot of effort to ensure that there is no stone left unturned especially in the design department.
Speaking of the roof, Tata has now given the Harrier a large panoramic sunroof which Tata claims is the widest in the segment. Mind you, it’s not just another panoramic sunroof as it comes with some of the most intelligent features such as rain-sensing, anti pitch etc. It’s the small yet significant things like these that separated it from rest of the breed. Apart from the roof, which also does eat a little bit of headroom for the rear passengers, the cabin has largely been left untouched. The roof rails complement the oral characteristics of the Harrier and they do a perfect job in enhancing the appeal. As discussed earlier, Tata has decided to follow the crowd and opt-in for the Diamond-cut alloy wheels. In a nutshell, it’s one of those SUVs that you would look back after parking it.
In case you could, we would strongly recommend you to pick the dual-tone variant as it goes well with the charismatic SUV. TaMo has also bought in the dark edition which looks strikingly hot.
The interior of the Tata Harrier is not very different from the model that was launched last year. The overall layout of the dashboard remains the same – it still has a 7.0-inch TFT display and an 8.8-inch central touchscreen. The infotainment screen is intuitive to use but could have been wider. however, there is no wireless charging option and no tyre pressure monitors. Also, while the upper half of the dashboard is all premium and plush, the plastics used in the door panels deserved an improvement.
But, what’s commendable has the home-grown manufacturer has come a really long way from the days of Indica to the mighty Harrier:
There are a few small changes, which, interestingly, have done wonders in improving the overall ergonomics of the car. For instance, in the 2019 Harrier, the USB port under the climate control was tucked in too far below the centre console. Fortunately, now it has been brought forward, making it easy to use without contorting your body. There are also two more USB ports – one in the central armrest and another for the rear passengers.
The steering gets a plethora of control options. Cruise control, a volume control to name a few. Quality of stalks is top-notch, something that we wish to see in other Tata cars as well. We really love the Bangalore option on the interiors. It looks very upmarket and premium. The seats are really supportive, and squeezing three people are there is definitely not a problem unlike its counterpart as always like the creator. If we had to pick one thing that we really loved about the interiors of the Harriet, it’s the wooden trim running across the dashboard this goes very well with the angle of the interiors.
1 of the 2 most significant changes to the Tata Harrier is the introduction of a more powerful version of the 2.0L diesel engine. Called “Kryotec170”, the motor now produces 168 BHP (@ 3,750 rpm) and 350 Nm (@ 1,750 – 2,500 rpm). That is a gain of 30 BHP over the old Harrier! And the good news keeps coming. The second one being that the Harrier finally gets a 6-speed AT which does the job perfectly well. The automatic is priced at a premium of around 1.2 L lakhs over the manual variants, although this is marginally higher than the generic price gap between the Manual and the Auto, we really feel its worth it.
Astonishingly, the weight of the car has increased but on the other side, the power-to-weight ratio too has increased from 82 bhp/ton to 98 bhp/ton which is a healthy 20% increase from the earlier one and this is evident when you are munching miles on the highway.
The automatic gearbox has been sourced from Hyundai and is very smooth & competent. It’s one of the BEST we have driven in recent times. Tata has put in the effort to reduce the NVH levels & it shows. On startup, the car does not feel as nervous as before. The AT is superbly tuned and enjoys a good partnership with the Kryotec170. This smooth-shifting AT makes the Harrier far easier to drive in the city. Liftoff the brake pedal and the Harrier will start crawling forward instantly which is a boon in densely congested cities like Namma Bengaluru. The SUV moves off seamlessly from a standstill & there is no lag to speak of. Light accelerator input is all you’ll need to commute. The accelerator pedal is also feather-light and has a minimal throw, which just makes this AT that much nicer to drive. With an easy right foot, the gearbox shifts up early and shift quality is very smooth.
On the open road, the 168 bhp & 350 nm give the Harrier AT enough muscle to please even enthusiastic drivers. Fast drivers won’t be left wanting on long expressways. The acceleration is quick enough. This SUV is a capable cruiser that munches miles comfortably, seeing 100 km/h @ just 1,700 rpm and 120 km/h @ 2,200 rpm. Overtaking slower moving traffic is an effortless experience too & the Harrier AT is a brilliant long-distance companion.
Apart from the default ‘City’ driving mode, you get the ‘Eco’ mode for the ‘Kitna deti hai’ which feels fairly better than the conventional Eco mode of other cars. The ‘Sport’ mode is where the actual fun is. The car begs to be revved harder. The throttle response is fantastic and the gear shifts happen at higher rpm. WIsh the sportiness had transformed into the steering to translating the weight. We would like to see in the Harrier is an all-wheel-drive system. As far as we know, Tata Motors has no plans to introduce an AWD/4WD version and the demand is admittedly minuscule, but they should think about it. An AWD AT will make the Harrier a kick-ass tourer, while also bestowing it with more marketing cred.
NVH levels have overall improved. but the diesel starts getting loud above 3,000 – 3,500 rpm. Once past 4,000 rpm, the engine note is Loud. Nevertheless, the EXCELLENT music system from JBL comes to your rescue. We would rate it a well deserved 9/10. The vocals, the bass and the treble are top-notch.
While the Harrier ticks most of the boxes right, the biggest let down is the way the steering has been tuned. The steering is heavy at parking speeds and is FEATHER-SENSITIVE at triple-digit speeds after 120 kmph. This is a hindrance in over-taking as it’s not the most-confidence inspiring of the lot. We really wish TaMo had spent a good bandwidth in tuning it to good standards. We would have largely preferred steering that is light on the parking speeds and gets heavier with food speeds.
Tata has always known to pack punch in the driving dynamics, especially in the handling department. The Safari, the Hexa, the Aria have all-known to handle well without apt nervousness at triple-digit speeds. With the Harrier underpinning the LandRover’s legendary platform, things have moved to a whole new level. There is body roll, a fair bit of it, but there is also good grip and you can carry rather high speeds through bends.
The Harrier still delivers the best ride quality in this segment, a little firm at low speeds but once you pick up speed it steamrolls over everything. You can cruise ad decent speeds over small potholes and frequent speed-breakers in Karnataka and yet you won’t have anything much to complain about. The braking is spot-on in most of the conditions. On the upside, all variants of the Harrier get ESP as standard and then there’s that Terrain Mode dial which delivers different engine maps for wet roads and off-road terrain, though this remains an FWD SUV with no sign of 4×4 in the foreseeable future.
Without a certain doubt, The Harrier is the best product we have seen from the Tata’s stable. It’s a bundle of Almost everything that you would expect at this price bracket, it drives well it looks astonishingly amazing and is loaded with bells and whistles. If there is something that’s lacking in this otherwise perfect SUV, its the steering sensitivity at higher speeds and we really wish, the sticker price was slightly easier on the pocket because we expect the 7 seater Gravitas to launch shortly and Tata might position it a good couple of lakhs higher in order to avoid the cannibalization for Harrier. Tata has also roped in a Dark edition of the Harrier that takes the styling to a whole new level.
Shutterdrives Rating -> 8.5/10
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Lewis Hamilton has equaled Michael Schumacher’s record of the most number of Formula 1 race wins (91) at the Eifel GP at Nürburgring on Sunday.
The race weekend invited a lot of eyes initially because of the Ferrari junior program drivers Mick Schumacher and Callum Illot scheduled to run the Alfa Romeo and Haas F1 cars during free practice 1 on Friday. But all the build-up could not see the light as both free practices 1 & 2 were called off because of excessive fog which meant that the helicopter could not take off and that could have compromised safety. This posed a very unique challenge for the drivers and teams as well, as everyone had minimal running before qualifying on a track where none had driven the new F1 cars as Nürburgring wasn’t part of the F1 calendar for the past few years. Racing point found themselves under pressure as Lance Stroll was taken sick supposedly by food poisoning and had to miss out on racing. This paved way for the man dubbed as “SUPER-SUB” this season, NICO HULKENBERG. He was near the track because of his commitments with German TV broadcasting. Ultimately, Nico Hulkenberg would drive in place of Lance Stroll during the qualifying and race. The free practice 3 turned into a decent 90 mins running for every team and driver. Scuderia Ferrari found some pace during the practice session which was very different from the last few races.
Undoubtedly it was Nico Hulkenberg who was the first to go out to have some running across the track in a car he had already driven at Silverstone. The first part of qualifying saw the Haas of Romain Grosjean, both Williams of George Russell and Nicolas Latifi, Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen who made his 323rd Formula 1 race start thus becoming the most experienced Formula 1 driver in terms of the number of race starts and the Racing point of Nico Hulkenberg being eliminated. Antonio Giovinazzi scrapped through to the 2nd part of qualifying by posting a time just 0.020 seconds quicker than Romain Grosjean. Nico Hulkenberg, though qualified 20th but was lauded for the commendable effort as he was just 0.8 seconds of his team-mate Sergio Perez and just 0.4s away from going into the 2nd part of qualifying with such minimal running and joining the team just hours before the qualifying. Max Verstappen topped Q1 with the two Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton completing the top 3.
The 2nd part of qualifying saw Sebastian Vettel who was out-qualified by his teammate for the 8th race in a row, both Alpha Tauri’s of Pierre Gasly and Danill Kvyat, Alfa Romeo of Giovinazzi, and Haas of Kevin Magnussen getting eliminated.
The final part of qualifying saw Valterri Bottas put in a mega effort to claim pole position by 0.256 seconds, ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Max Verstappen qualified 3rd after being the closest to the Mercedes. Charles Leclerc too put in a mega lap to equal the best qualifying position for Ferrari in p4. The other Red Bull of Alex Albon, both Renaults of Ricciardo and Ocon, McLarens of Norris and Sainz, and Racing point of Sergio Perez completed the top 10.
It was to be a dramatic start as the run towards Turn 1 was long enough and the slippery downward sloping nature of Turn 1 would invite a lot of lock-ups and sliding. Lewis Hamilton made a slightly better start and was momentarily ahead of the Bottas but was pipped by Bottas coming out of Turn 1. There were a lot of lockups from Albon, Gasly, and Magnussen throughout corners 3 to 7. Sergio Perez moved up ahead of Ocon and kept fighting with Norris over p8. At the back, Hulkenberg made a good start to gain 3 places to P17. Giovinazzi had a terrific start to go to P10. Charles Leclerc held off a challenge from the pacy Ricciardo for 9 laps before Ricciardo breezed past the Ferrari. Valterri Bottas held a good 2 seconds lead over Hamilton until lap 13 when he locked up heavily going into Turn 1 and allowed Hamilton to breeze past him through turns 2 and 3. Lap 14 saw the first major incident of the race with George Russell coming off worse in a 3 way battle between him, Vettel, and Raikkonen. Raikkonen locked up and understeered straight into Russell damaging his rear suspension and giving him a left rear puncture thus retiring him from the race. The virtual safety car to recover Russell’s Williams allowed few drivers to pit and all the top 4 runners pitted for new tires. On Lap 17, Kvyat missed his braking point at the penultimate corner and went onto the grass coming onto the track just ahead of Albon and they collided taking the front wing out of Kvyat’s car. Bottas’s race which had turned horrible due to the big lock-up turned even worse when Mercedes had to retire his car due to a problem with the power unit (supposedly the ERS – Energy Recovery System). Lando Norris had electric issues with his car as well and was passed by Sergio Perez but Norris continued with a not a 100% car. Perez made another move on Charles Leclerc on Lap 35 to move into 4th place. Lando Norris retired his car on Lap 44 and thus brought out the Safety Car. The biggest losers of the Safety car were both the Racing points as they were on road to a brilliant 1-stop race as compared to the 2-stop by everyone else. Both the racing points almost raced half race distance on the softs they had started on. Safety car allowed a free pitstop to everyone except Grosjean who made up places to P7 with other pitting.
On the Safety car restart, Perez pressurized Ricciardo for the final place on the podium but Ricciardo managed to stay ahead with some disciplined driving. Hamilton went on to win the race with Max Verstappen finishing second. Daniel Ricciardo finished third and thus making Renault the 7th team to finish on the podium in 2020 – the most since 2012 (7 teams on the podium). Sergio Perez finished a brilliant 4th and his teammate for the weekend, Nico Hulkenberg made up 12 places to finish a brilliant 8th – thus taking Racing Point to 3rd in the constructor’s championship – 4 ahead of McLaren & 6 ahead of Renault. Sainz, Gasly, Leclerc finished 5th, 6th, and 7th respectively and the final 2 points positions were taken by Romain Grosjean and Giovinazzi. Kimi Raikkonen starting his record 323rd race, ended up in the 13th position as he was given a 10 second time penalty for colliding with George Russell. Sebastian Vettel finished out of the points in 11th position at his home race. Albon, Bottas, Norris, and Ocon retired with engine-related issues.
Lewis Hamilton was presented a helmet of Michael Schumacher, as a noble gesture, for equaling the highest number of race wins in F1 history, by Mick Schumacher.
Nico Hulkenberg was voted Driver of the Weekend by F1 fans around the globe.
Formula 1 never ceases to impress us. Be it the superb straight-line speeds or the daring wheel to wheel racing or even the crazy social media presence. But like every other sport, Formula 1 churns out some impressive numbers (and coincidence sometimes).
Let us see one such “Hell of A Coincidence” moment from Formula 1 2020 season:
After 10 rounds of races in the current season, the lead for the championship looks somewhat like this –
Now, these are plain numbers on the first look & very much accepted given that these 3 have shared the podium 6 times in the 10 races so far.
But again, this is Formula 1!!!!
Let us have a closer look at the difference between the points:
Coincidence? Definitely so!!!
The top 3 in championship are separated by the number of points equaling their car numbers.
Like every other season, an add up of numbers does bring in some interesting things to look out for. Let us see what the Formula 1 2020 season has brought out in terms of numbers till now:
1: A first race victory for Pierre Gasly at Monza, Italy! A difficult 2019 followed by the tag “Race Winner” – Never lose hope during difficult times!
2: Only the second time Alpha Tauri (previously Toro Rosso) managed to win a F1 race. Coincidentally, the first time was also at Monza and that race victory introduced us to one of the legends of the sport and four-time champion, Sebastian Vettel.
3: Three young Ferrari Academy drivers to make their Formula 1 weekend debut this year. Mick Schumacher is expected to drive the Alfa Romeo at the Eifel grand prix this weekend and similarly Callum Illot will be driving for Haas F1 in free practice 1. Robert Schwartzman will be driving the F1 car during the final Friday practice 1 of 2020 season at Abu Dhabi. All eyes will be on Mick Schumacher as he would driving at his home race track, a track which is just a few miles away from the birthplace of his father and Formula 1’s all time great, Michael Schumacher.
7: The highest number of driver’s championships won by a single driver, Michael Schumacher. What seemed to be impossible achievement, is set to be equaled by Lewis Hamilton if he manages to win the championship just one more time. Looks very likely, 2020 could be it! Brace yourselves, Michael Schumacher fans, you got to share the top spot tag now!
31: George Russell has now outqualified his teammate in every qualifying session till date, thereby leading the qualifying battle by 31-0 (21-0 to Robert Kubica and 10-0 to Nicolas Latifi)
91: The highest number of race wins by a driver, Michael Schumacher. Lewis Hamilton has currently 90 race wins under his belt. One more in the next 7 races to come this year and he will equal the great Michael Schumacher in terms of race wins. A few more, and one could say Lewis Hamilton is the most successful Formula 1 driver in terms of race wins!!!
96: The highest number of pole positions by Lewis Hamilton. With 7 races yet to come this year and future (maybe), he is all set to cross the 100 mark! The second highest number of pole positions is 68 by Michael Schumacher – which Hamilton has bettered as a Mercedes driver alone (69 pole positions as a Mercedes driver)
322: The highest number of race starts by a Formula 1 driver. It was held by Brazilian Rubens Barrichello till the Russian GP but has been equaled by the ICEMAN Kimi Raikkonen. Kimi is all set to own this record during the next race weekend at Nürburgring. But the question is for how long? Formula 1 veteran, Spaniard Fernando Alonso is coming back to racing with Renault in 2021. He currently has 311 race starts to his name. If Kimi decides to stop racing, Alonso is sure to own this record next year! But will Kimi hang up just yet? Coming days would tell!!