The lack of grip due to the new surfacing did not help the drives at all as everyone found it really difficult to put their foot on the throttle. The free practice 1 saw times which were slower than the GP2 times set a decade ago on the same track. All the free practice sessions failed to produce any representative lap time and this meant that we were heading into the qualifying with almost nothing to analyze for the rest of the weekend. Max Verstappen headed all the 3 parts of the practice and Red Bull remained the car to be beaten as they were looking the best in the slippery conditions.
To compound the grip problems at the Istanbul park, it was wet to start the qualifying and this posed a challenge for the teams and driver. Everyone came out on the wet weather tires and Verstappen was off just a couple of corners into his out-lap to prove how less grip the circuit offered. After some 11 minutes of running, the race control decided it was too wet to drive as there was a heavy chance of cars aqua plaining. The session resumed once the rain stopped but Romain Grosjean found it very difficult and lost his car under braking into Turn 1 and beached it in the gravel which brought out the second red flag of the session. The qualifying resumed and it was visible that the conditions were improving significantly but not so for Nicolas Latifi who lost control and beached his car in the gravel bring out double waved yellows. Kevin Magnussen, Danill Kvyat, George Russell, Romain Grosjean and Nicolas Latifi were eliminated in Q1 with Danill Kvyat spinning coming out of pits.
The second part of Qualifying saw times drop further as the conditions improved and Alfa Romeo’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Giovinazzi found it suiting their car very much as they both put in competitive lap times enough to get them into Q3. Both the McLarens and Ferraris failed to make the cut into Q3 with Pierre Gasly being the other driver to be eliminated by posting the slowest time of the session.
The Q3 started with everyone barring Sergio Perez coming out on full wet tires. Perez though opted for the green walled Intermediate tires and went fastest of all in the first round of laps. This prompted all the other teams to pit for intermediates as the tires required time to get to the temperature and give their best performance. Max Verstappen aborted his what could be the fastest lap time to pit for Intermediates. The Intermediate tires seemed to be the best for the conditions and Lance Stroll came out to put in a brilliant effort to take the pole position with Max Verstappen still on a good lap. Sergio Perez who had led the session for the major part, could not put together a decent lap and did not improve. Max Verstappen though did improve but it was only good enough for P2. Lance Stroll, therefore, became only the 3rd Canadian to take pole position and the 5th youngest to do so. The difficult conditions did not disappoint as it gave us a unique starting grid with both the Racing Points starting in top 3. Alex Albon qualified P4. It was a good day for Renault as they qualified 5th and 7th with Ricciardo and Ocon respectively. The two Mercedes could only qualify 6th and 9th with Hamilton leading Bottas. Kimi Raikkonen and Giovinazzi rounded off the top 10 with 8th and 10th positions, respectively.
With rain coming down and the slippery nature of the track, it was going to be a race to watch out for. And there was drama even before the race started as Giovinazzi and Russell crashed on their way to the grid. The rain and the new surface meant that the even numbered side of the grid was much more a difficult place to start from and Max Verstappen found it so as he was crawling at the start of the race. The two Racing Points made good getaways to run 1-2 with Lance Stroll heading Perez. Behind though there were slips and spins, with Ocon being tagged by Ricciardo at Turn 1 into a spin and Valterri Bottas could do nothing but spin his Mercedes to avoid Ocon. Sebastian Vettel though made an incredible getaway and ran as high as P3 by Lap 1. Hamilton made a superb start to take P3 at the start but lost in under braking to given away his position to Vettel, Verstappen and Albon. Bottas though again collided with the Renault of Estaben Ocon, resulting in a spin for the Renault driver. The Red Bulls looked very comfortable and Max Verstappen was soon chasing the Racing Points who had comfortably got into the lead after the first few laps. On Lap 18, Max Verstappen got behind Perez and began pounding behind his gearbox but the spray coming out might have distracted Max and that resulted in a spin. Max dropped from P3 to P6 and pitted soon to change his flat spotted Intermediates. Stroll led for 34 laps of the race but then pitted for another set of Intermediates, but this was the show over for Stroll sadly as he never could switch on those set of tires and struggled with graining.
On Lap 37, Lewis Hamilton who has pitted only once closed the gap to Sergio Perez and took the lead with the help of DRS. Once he took the lead, there was no looking back as Lewis Hamilton probably drove one of his best races and was at his very best. Lewis Hamilton went on to win the race which made him the World Champion for 2020 and therefore, he equaled Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 world championship titles, the most for any Formula 1 driver. There was a 3-way scrap for the second position though as Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel had closed onto the gearbox of Sergio Perez. Charles Leclerc locked his brakes up going into the penultimate chicane which gave Sergio Perez to reclaim the second position and allowed Vettel to pass Leclerc. Leclerc finished P4 and thus capped off Ferrari’s strongest race of 2020. Carlos Sainz took a brilliant 5th place with the two Red Bulls of Max and Albon finishing 6th and 7th respectively. Norris, Stroll and Ricciardo rounded off the top 10. Valterri Bottas had a weekend to forget as he struggled to keep the car on track. He spun multiple times during the race and finished a lowly 14th.
By winning the Turkish GP, Lewis Hamilton became the 7-time Formula 1 World Champion. Sebastian Vettel was chosen as the Driver of the Day. Though the race had many ups and downs, it must be said that this was one of the best races of the season. A Lewis Hamilton masterpiece with many close battles going on through out the race made it one of the best in recent times.
We hope for many more races of this kind where we as Formula 1 fans will be entertained to the highest possible level.
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.
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!!
Formula 2 Sprint Race
The Sprint race turned out dramatic but was brought to an abrupt end by a huge crash involving Luca Ghiotto and Jack Aitken on lap 8. The race was red flagged and not restarted post that. The biggest loser was Jehan Daruvala who had to serve a 5-second penalty for track limit infringement at Turn 2 and dropped out of points as a result, despite running fifth at the time of stoppage.
China’s Guanyu Zhou took his first ever Formula 2 victory followed by home hero Nikita Mazepin who would be disappointed as he seemed to have a very good chance of taking the victory. Championship leader Mick Schumacher came home third to further extend his lead. Jack Aitken and Luca Ghiotto were classified fourth and fifth despite crashing out which brought out the red flag as the classification was back tracked to lap 5 order. Yuki Tsunoda, Callum Illot and Dan Ticktum took home the final points as only the top 8 are awarded points in the sprint race as compared to the feature race.
With the Russia round done, Formula 2 now takes a 2 month break to be back for the final 2 rounds at Bahrain in November.
Formula 1 Race
Lewis Hamilton’s quest for his record equalling 91st race win did not get off a start as expected as he was under investigation for doing practice starts at the fast lane of the pit lane. Invariably which got his two 5 second penalties which he had to serve during his pitstop. Hamilton held the lead at the end of the long straight to Turn 2 but it was carnage at the back. Carlos Sainz couldn’t clearly make through the runoff area and ended up crashing into the barriers and the Racing Point of Lance Stroll got hit by Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari taking the Racing point out of the race. A safety car was deployed to clear the cars and the likes of Lando Norris, Alex Albon and George Russell pitted for hard tires.
It was a clean restart from Lewis Hamilton and maintained the lead till he pitted and thus taking his 10 seconds penalty and falling way back to P11. It was a superb start from Estaben Ocon who got into P4 till his first round of pitstops. Valterri Bottas and Max Verstappen kept on piling laps on the mediums they had started the race with unlike the softs of many who were trailing them. Hamilton and Bottas fought for the fastest lap but in the end, it was Valterri Bottas who went home with a maximum available of 26 points taken. Max Verstappen came home second and Hamilton third, thus making it the 6th time of 10 races in 2020 that these 3 had shared the podium. Sergio Perez had a fighting race to come home fourth and Daniel Ricciardo came home fifth despite being handing a 5 second penalty for leaving the track and not joining as per steward’s directions at Turn 2. Charles Leclerc ended at a fine sixth place for Scuderia Ferrari who are struggling for pace this year. Estaben Ocon had a lot of defending to do to come to seventh, just ahead of the home hero Danill Kvyat. Pierre Gasly made it a double point finish for Alpha Tauri, and the Red bull of Alex Albon took out the final point available. The tussle between the three good friends off the track and regular twitch streamers Russell, Albon and Norris put up a nice show with a 3-way scrap at the back of the field.
At the end of the 10th round of F1 2020 season, Lewis Hamilton leads the championship with a 44-point lead over Bottas and also looking for his 91st race win which will equal him with Michael Schumacher. Among the constructors, Mercedes lead the way with 366 points followed by Redbull at 192 points. The fight for the 3rd position is between McLaren, Racing Point and Renault all separated by just 7 points.
The next round of F1 2020 season is scheduled to take place at the brilliant track of Nürburgring on the 11th of October.
The long run to Turn 2 at Sochi Autodrom often provides first lap carnages with many missing the braking points with the cold tires. A first lap crash today eliminated Christian Lundgaard who is 3rd in the championship currently. Jehan Daruvala, who started from P2, lost one position right at the start to Mick Schumacher and one more during the pitstops, pitting 2 laps earlier than his fellow competitors. He ended up P5 and will be starting from P4 for tomorrow’s sprint race.
The Ferrari backed Mick Schumacher – son of 7th time Formula 1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher extended his lead in the Formula2 2020 world championship by winning the feature race. He was followed by Honda backed driver, Yuki Tsunoda, who made an incredible move on the other Ferrari backed driver Callum Ilott to take 2nd position. The podium was completed by Callum Illot but not before we had a photo finish with Luca Ghiotto crossing the line just 0.025 seconds behind Illot. Jehan Daruvala who started in P2 finished P5 adding 10 more points to his tally. The top 10 was rounded out by Jack Aitken – who put his mighty defensive driving on display, fellow Russian Nikita Mazepin, Guanyu Zhou, Marcus Armstrong and Dan Ticktum.
With the sprint race being a reverse grid race for the top 8. Zhou starts on pole position followed by Mazepin and Aitken. Jehan Daruvala would be starting from P4 and holds a chance to show another strong outing.
The start of 1st part of qualifying was greeted by a huge set of dark clouds hovering over the Sochi Autodrom. Valterri Bottas set the pace early on and was followed by his teammate Lewis Hamilton – 0.3seconds down. A bunch of drivers had their lap time deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 2. The 1st part of qualifying ended with 5 slowest cars being eliminated which were both the Alfa Romeo’s of Antonio Giovinazzi (P17) & Kimi Raikkonen (P20) – who made a mistake in his final run, both Hass F1 drivers – Romain Grosjean (P16) and Kevin Magnussen (P18) and the Williams of Nicolas Latifi (P19). George Russell continued his superb run on Saturday’s qualifying with a mega lap to get into Q2 by going almost a second quicker than his teammate Nicolas Latifi. The top 15 drivers moved to the 2nd part of qualifying.
The start of 2nd part of qualifying started with both the Mercedes cars and the Redbull of Max Verstappen going out on mediums as opposed to softs by the rest. Lewis Hamilton had his lap time deleted for track-limits and Daniel Ricciardo of Renault put in a mega lap on softs to go P1. The session was interrupted by a huge crash for the 4-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, who lost the rear end of his car during a timed lap. The session was red flagged with 2:15 minutes left and with fast cars like Alex Albon, Lance Stroll and Lewis Hamilton still languishing in the bottom 5 – elimination zone. Hamilton made a dash to the line after the session resumed with Albon and Hamilton improving their times and the 5 cars to be eliminated where the two Scuderia Ferraris of Charles Leclerc (P11) and Sebastian Vettel (P15), the Alpha Tauri of Danill Kvyat (P12), Racing point of Lance Stroll (P13) and the Williams of George Russell (P14).
The final part of qualifying which is a shootout for pole position and determining the order of top 10 on the grid for the race tomorrow started with all cars out immediately for their first runs. Lewis Hamilton maintained a comfortable lead over his teammate Bottas throughout the session. Lewis Hamilton bettered his fast lap his final run to claim pole position and the Mercedes cars were separated by the Red bull of Max Verstappen who pipped Valterri Bottas for P2 by 0.1s. Sergio Perez continued his good run with posting the 4th quickest time. The two Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Estaben Ocon were separated by the McLaren of Carlon Sainz Jr. Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon rounded off the top 10.
2020!! This year was a surprise package, brought places to stand still, confined people to their homes with absolutely nothing apart from essential activities taking place over the past few months. These unprecedented times also dented the sports activities everywhere and Motorsport racing was no different from that. The 70th year of Formula 1 racing, Formula 1 2020 season was all set to be kickstarted in Melbourne, Australia on 15th March 2020 only to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What followed was a few months on uncertainty along with some tremendous work put forth by FIA and all the management teams involved to get the races to start by July 5th, 2020.
A total of 17 races were finalized in parts to make the season get along and get a decent number of races being organized. This included double races at Austria (Styrian GP), Silverstone (70th Anniversary GP), and Bahrain outer track (Sakhir GP). The new tracks compared to 2019 were Mugello (Tuscan GP), Nürburgring (Eifel GP), Portimao (Portuguese GP), and Imola (Emilia Romagna GP). This was done to minimize the travel and therefore it meant that continents like Asia, Australia, North and South America were bound to cancel their races. 2020 was the first time Formula 1 was not racing at the iconic but one of the slowest Formula 1 circuit – Monaco.
In the 9 races completed so far, Mercedes leads the way with 325 points which include 7 race wins and 14 podiums. Redbull is a distant second with a 3-way battle between McLaren, Racing Point, and Renault for 3rd place. Scuderia Ferrari has had a miserable outing in this season so far and is currently languishing in 6th position and well off the place of their main rivals.
Among the drivers, Lewis Hamilton leads with 190 points which include 6 race wins and brings him just one short of the record of Michael Schumacher who had 91 wins throughout his star-studded career. Hamilton’s teammate Valterri Bottas and Redbull’s Max Verstappen pose to be Hamilton’s closest rivals. Pierre Gasly managed to win an incredible race at Monza and it was for the first time in a half a decade that we had a podium which had neither of the top 3 teams – Mercedes, Redbull and Ferrari.
This series is often considered as the steppingstone to Formula 1. It takes place with a difference in the schedules though, a weekend has 2 races run in Formula 2 as compared to one in Formula 1. The 2 races are called the feature race and the sprint races. The feature race is the longer duration race where every driver must mandatorily pit once and use 2 compounds of tires available for the race. The sprint race does not have any such mandatory pit stop and the drivers can choose to race with any of the available sets of tires. Formula 2 is a spec series as opposed to Formula 1 which initially means that every car on the grid is the same. Though there are teams involved in Formula 2 as well that is only for managing the race. Each team has 2 drivers racing for them.
A very important point to note here is Formula 2 has Indian participation this year in the form of Jehan Daruvala. The young driver was under the Sahara Force India Academy until Force India was sold to Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll. Jehan Daruvala is currently under the Red Bull Academy and racing for Carlin Motorsport in the 2020 Formula 2 championship. He consistently maintained the second position in the Formula 3 championship until the last round where he was pipped by Robert Schwartzman and hence finished 3rd. He has had the 4th position as his best performance during the 70th anniversary weekend.
And as we write this, Jehan Daruvala qualifies in 2nd position for the Russian GP feature race. He was 0.006 seconds off his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda in what transpired to be an extraordinary session for the Carlin team. We wish Jehan all the best for the feature race tomorrow.