I review the action from the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix with Jennie Gow from BBC F1.
The story of the Eifel Grand Prix was Lewis Hamilton’s record-equalling 91st victory, but for polesitter Valtteri Bottas it was the evaporation of his already fading title chances.
Bottas had beaten Hamilton to pole by a quarter of a second in what looked like a late resurgence in the Finn’s form after winning in Russia two weeks ago. And the early laps of his race were strong, getting his elbows out against his teammate at the first turn to hold the lead.
But a series of knockout blows dropped him from a promising lead to an early shower when his power unit gave up on him on lap 18.Continue reading
Formula One hasn’t raced at the Nurburgring for seven years, and on Friday it seemed like it might yet not get the job done on its unexpected return either.
With thick fog enveloping the surrounding areas, the medical helicopter was unable to fly from the circuit to the designated hospital. No copter, to track activity, and so the day’s running was abandoned.
The FIA has devised a plant to ensure the race won’t be called off in similar circumstances — a short ambulance ride to a new helipad in a lower-lying area should do the trick — but the chilly autumnal conditions remain.Continue reading
The Russian Grand Prix was delicately poised between three drivers on different strategies, but a double penalty for poleman Lewis Hamilton before the race had even started snuffed out any hopes of an exciting finish.
Instead Valtteri Bottas recorded a comfortable victory after inheriting the lead from his penalised teammate, easily covering Max Verstappen in the slower Red Bull Racing machine with an identical strategy.
Hamilton had the odds stacked against him even before his penalties, forced as he was to start on the delicate soft tyre. However, even on that unfancied alternative strategy he looked quick — indeed it was theoretically the fastest way to the flag — and he recovered to finish on the podium.Continue reading
Lewis Hamilton is on pole to match Michael Schumacher’s record 91 Formula One victories, but his route to the front row was as tortuous as his path to the top step is shaping up to be.
The defining lap of Hamilton’s qualifying wasn’t his new track record to take pole, it was his first flying lap of Q2. The Briton was shod with the medium tyre, as was teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, to set it as his race-starting compound after the soft proved delicate in the Sochi heat.
Mercedes comfortably had the pace to run the yellow tyre in Q2, and Hamilton duly set a competitive time, but his lap was deleted for exceeding track limits out of the last turn.Continue reading
Formula One’s first visit to Mugello didn’t disappoint, serving up a chaotic grand prix sure to be one of this strange season’s most enduring memories.
On first reading the composition of the podium — two Mercedes drivers and a Red Bull Racing car — is unremarkable, but this was a siege of a grand prix, with only 12 cars made it to the chequered after almost two and a half hours and two red-flag restarts.
Three huge crashes defined this race. The first came on lap one when Kimi Raikkonen rear-ended Max Verstappen into the gravel and retirement at Luco, the Finn having made contact with Pierre Gasly and Romain Grosjean. Gasly was momentarily airborne and was too eliminated from the race.Continue reading
Formula One’s first visit to Mugello delivered the same old result: Lewis Hamilton leading a comfortable Mercedes front-row lockout with Max Verstappen leading the Red Bull Racing charge from third.
The rapid bends of the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello have proved universally popular among drivers as an ‘old-school’ circuit. The track has a real flow to it, aided in part by the varying elevation, and the combination of abrasive tarmac, gravel run-off and close barriers makes this an all-round test of driving ability.
In some resects the 2020-spec F1 car is almost too fast for the circuit. So much is flat out — almost the entire middle sector is open throttle — that the driver can only make a meaningful difference to performance at the first and third splits.Continue reading
Often F1 fans and pundits have hypothesised what the sport would look like released from the iron grip of the frontrunning teams. The Italian Grand Prix delivered us the thrilling answer, with Pierre Gasly taking an emotional maiden victory.
For a time it seemed this was a race no-one wanted to win.
Poleman Lewis Hamilton was penalised for making his sole pit stop while pit lane was closed. Valtteri Bottas took himself out of contention with a shocking first lap. Red Bull Racing’s already off-pace weekend was compounded by damage to Alex Albon on the first lap and a power unit problem taking Max Verstappen out of the race.Continue reading
Mercedes will have both cars start from the Monza front row for the first time since 2016, and such was the margin poleman Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas dominated qualifying that there’s little reason to believe anyone can challenge in the race.
Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix took place against the backdrop of a technical directive banning the use of special qualifying modes — or ‘party modes’, as originally coined by Lewis Hamilton — a long-telegraphed change to aid the policing of technical regulations and, just maybe, condense the battle for pole.
Effectively the internal combustion engine has become subject to parc fermé conditions, its settings unable to be changed from the beginning of qualifying until the end of the race.Continue reading
The Belgian Grand Prix might’ve fizzles over a poorly timed safety car, but there was no disputing another spotless performance by Lewis Hamilton, who extended his championship lead to almost two clear race wins.
The lap 10 intervention to collects the crashed cars of Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell came just late enough to prompt almost every driver to make their sole pit stop, but it meant the race devolved into a long single stint of unappealing tyre management largely devoid of action.
But a Mercedes one-two was always on the cards at a circuit that heavily favours engine performance. The Mercedes power unit has comfortably regained its status as the formula’s best, allowing the works team to pile downforce onto the car to protect its tyres through the middle sector without sacrificing straight-line speed to Red Bull Racing, effectively securing the result once the front row of the grid was locked out.Continue reading
Mercedes locked out the front row for the Belgian Grand Prix, but the form guide for the super-fast Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is precariously set.
The Iconic Spa-Francorchamps presents teams with a compromise quandary. The first and last sectors are all about straight-line speed, comprising only three genuine corners, but the middle sector is slower and twisty, putting a premium on downforce.
More downforce can yield decent gains and better tyre life through that middle sector alone, but the sheer length of the straights here — particularly Kemmel, which in effect runs from La Source, through Eau Rouge and all the way to the braking zone at Les Combes — risks leaving you a sitting duck to the powerful slipstream even to an overall slower car.Continue reading