Rate the Race and Driver of The weekend. Round 8 – Baku City, Azerbaijan
Mean Reader score: 8.74. Rated best race of the season so far.
Phew! This year’s race was NOTHING like last year’s. 2016 was dull, dull, dull, and scoring 4.78 was ranked 19th out of 21 and nothing much happened the entire race. Not so this year: We had contact between countrymen (Raikonnen and Bottas,) contact between teammates (Perez and Ocon,) damaged front wings, punctures, a damaged side pod, a yellow flags: (pauses for breath) we had smoke out of the back of Palmer’s engine, brake problems for Grosjean, blocked brake ducts for Ricciardo and Hulkenberg, a retirement for Verstappen and Kvyat was beached mid track, followed by not one, or even two but three safety cars before the race was finally red flagged on Lap 21. If that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, Hamilton and Vettel had ‘a bit of a fracas’ during the second safety car period. Hamilton’s headrest then came loose and (not surprisingly) an attempt to fix it with one hand while travelling at 200mph didn’t work. He had to make an unscheduled pit stop on safety grounds, handing the lead to his arch rival Vettel, who then had to come in to serve a 10s stop-go penalty (due to said fracas.) The excitement didn’t stop there: Ricciardo, who had started form P10 was now leading the race, with LANCE STROLL in P2 and KEVIN MAGNUSSEN in P3!! Meanwhile Bottas , who had had to un-lap himself during one of the safety car periods, was cutting a swathe through the field, making his way towards a podium, Vettel was keeping Hamilton at bay and the youngest driver on the track was driving the race of his life. We had an overtake on the finish line, and possibly the most amazing moment of the entire race…..McLAREN WON THEIR FIRST POINTS OF THE SEASON!!!! Remind me again, who was it who said F1 was boring?…..
Driver of The weekend: Kevin Magnussen 66.00% of reader vote.
For the second time this season Kevin Magnussen has been voted our Driver of the Weekend. KMag qualified in P13 but was promoted to P12 due to Sainz’s three place grid penalty carried over from Canada. Like most of the rest of the field he started on supersoft tyres and took advantage of the first safety car to move onto soft tyres on lap 12, emerging in P9. The collision between Ocon and Perez saw him move up to P7 ahead of the race being red flagged on lap 22 when he moved onto a scrubbed set of supersoft tyres for the rest of the race. Massa dropped through the field from P3 and Hulkenberg hit a wall, both retirements aiding KMag’s progress. When Hamilton and Vettel had to make unscheduled additional pitstops, it looked as if KMag could have been on for a podium as he was then running in P3. Sadly it was not to be as he was overtaken by Ocon, Bottas, Vettel and Hamilton to finish in a very respectable P7, his best of the season to date. He won six incredibly valuable points for Hass, who have now moved up to P7 in the constructor standings, three points ahead of nearest rivals, Renault. Once again, well done Kevin!!
Note from the ED: Whilst it’s nice to see Kevin achieve the TJ13 Driver of the Weekend award, it must be said that we received a great deal of Danish visitors to the driver poll last Monday, more so than any other nationality – perhaps we have some Scandinavian competition for those Dutch superfans?