Rate the Race and Driver of The Weekend:
Round 7, Canada, 9th June 2019.
Rate the race Mean Reader Score: 5.33 Rated 4/7 races so far this year.
Unlike last years abysmal score of 3.50 this year’s score was a half decent 5.33, nowhere near as good as the 7.34 from 2017 or even the 6.57 from 2016.
Rated fourth of the season so far, just four one hundredths behind Australia, and of course my solitary vote of 6.0 put Monaco higher than both these races. In my opinion, this race was better than Monaco, but possibly for the wrong reasons.
This race certainly didn’t lack controversy- once again the inconsistency in the judgement of the stewards had fans up in arms (or not, depending on which side of the fence you sat on). There’s a whole other article to be written on whether the stewards were right or wrong on their allocation of a five second penalty to Vettel for going off track onto the small (but very significant) grass verge and returning in an unsafe manner, pushing Hamilton off track and nearly into the wall.
Anyway, the penalty put Vettel into P2 and gave Hamilton yet another win, with Leclerc making it onto the podium again.
How can a season, previously thought to be dead and buried, manage to die a little bit (or a lot) more?
Well we only have to look at this race in Canada to answer that one. You couldn’t make it up. This could have been the showdown between Hamilton and Vettel we’ve been waiting three years to see, and, in some ways it was.
But not really: it was just one big disappointment, with the rigorous application of a rule which was not designed to be applied under such circumstances, reflecting, perhaps, how paralysed the officials have become in this all to sterile environment.
Ferrari could have broken Mercedes strangle hold on winning every race this season, but didn’t. Vettel could have taken his first win of the season, but didn’t (well, he was first past the post, but Hamilton won the race).
Driver of the Weekend: Sebastian Vettel: 50.47 % of reader vote
Last year, Vettel won the race and our Driver of the Weekend, taking his 50th career win. This year he topped the leader board in FP3, snatched pole by a comfortable two tenths of a second, was first past the chequered flag (but didn’t win the race) and managed to prevent Hamilton overtaking him for the full 70 laps. (see previous article for an excellent insight into the race).
He also showed quite a lot of fury (stomping off), self-control (coming back again) and sporting behaviour (defending Hamilton against the booing crowd), AND he won our Driver of the Weekend accolade as well as the F1 Driver of the day: well done Sebastian!!
BUT was this the last straw that broke the donkey’s back for F1 viewers? Will the diminishing F1 TV audience shrink even more as a result of this incident? Somehow, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Canada 2019.
A win that would have made Niki proud
Rate the Race and driver of the weekend Round 6,
Race score (based solely on the opinion of the author) 6.0 Rated 2/6 races so far this season.
Due to personal family commitments, The Judge 13 website has been dormant for a couple of weeks, so the usual Rate The Race and Driver of the Weekend Polls did not run for this race. However, where there is a will there is a way, and the author has written an article based solely on her own opinion(!)
As you can see from the fairly large number at the top of the page, I didn’t think this race was too bad at all. In fact, I thought it was quite good (for Monaco). This (however bias) score of 6.0 places it way ahead of the scores for 2018 (3.6) and 2017 (4.16) .
Why? Well, for starters we didn’t have a record breaking Mercedes 1, 2 finish; the latest bright young thing (Leclerc) didn’t make it past Q1; the track record was broken by four different drivers from three different teams en route to determining who would take pole; we had some overtaking, not least of which was the brazen attempt by said bright young thing to overtake Hulkenberg on the inside of a corner (sorry, can’t remember which one it was) resulting in a spin, puncture, delamination, significant floor damage and a safety car being deployed. We had an unsafe release (resulting in a controversial penalty being awarded) and last but not least we had the ‘mature’ Verstappen (V2) snapping at Hamilton’s heels for most of the race, and with a splattering of rain, we had the quandary as to who would blink first in the decision to change/not change tyres. With loads of moaning over the radio from the race leader, what’s not to like?
Driver of the Weekend:Lewis Hamilton , 50.1% of authour vote.
It was a close-run thing as to who won this Driver of the Weekend accolade (for me) as the runner up (Verstappen with 49.9%) of my vote made a significant contribution to the winner’s win. Hamilton had the edge in free practice and went on to win pole as well. Right from the start Verstappen was pushing (but not blustering) to try to move up through the field. Admittedly, he did ruin Bottas’s chances for winning during the pit-stop and get off lightly with only a five second penalty, but he did badger Hamilton for the rest of the race thereafter. Why then did this award go to Hamilton? Because he did get pole (again), he did defend marvelously against Verstappen when his tyres were shot, and last but by no means least, he kept us even more entertained than usual with his endless whinging over the radio. Well done Lewis!!
On a more somber note, the tributes paid to Niki Lauder over this weekend were very touching. Nicki was a legend, and (sadly) we will not see his like again in Formula 1. He was a wonderful sportsman who will be greatly missed by those who knew him, and those who didn’t – regardless of their tribal allegiance. Rest In Peace, Niki. We love you.
Max takes “best of the rest” in Barcelona
Rate the Race and Driver of the weekend
Round 5, Spain, 2019
Mean Reader Score 3.71 Rataed 5th out of 5 races so far this season.
Once again Spain has scored the lowest rating of the year so far. At 3.71, this score is even lower than last year’s 4.33 and way lower than 2017’s 7.65 and nowhere near 2016’s 8.65. Without doubt this was the worst race of the year to date. Even Bottas said it was decided by turn 1. Let’s spell that out: a race of over 305km (minimum race length required to contribute to F1 race) was decided by turn one of lap one. (i.e. the first 565metres). We had no Grosjean causing a spectacular crash (although it has to be said, he did provide some ‘entertainment’ by going off track three times in the same place), we didn’t have the two championship leaders colliding, nor did we have the youngest ever F1 winner. But should F1 really rely on ‘gimmics’ to keep us entertained? Comments below, please (hint: NO.) We had no first lap collisions/retirements (we had to wait until mid 40’s for that little ditty), and again it was Stroll who was out, although this time he was an innocent bystander (i.e. not his fault). Once again Ferrari dithered on strategy. Vettel flat spotted a tyre and pleaded every lap to let Leclerc past and be brought in for fresh tyres. Eventually, his requests were enacted as he was told to let Leclerc by and come and get fresh rubber. Now on faster tyres than his team mate, it was Vettel’s turn to sit behind Leclerc for half a dozen laps before being allowed through . Meanwhile, the two Mercedes were whizzing off into the distance, heading for yet another 1,2 finish., only this time it was Hamilton who would win (after Bottas had a juddery clutch at the start (hinting at foul play?). One way and another, it was a poor race (i.e. crap) with very little happening and nothing much to report.
Driver of the Weekend: Max Verstappen, 29.58 % of reader vote.
Even though Hamilton made an excellent start and stole the lead from team-mate Bottas, forcing Vettel to go three abreast into turn 1, flat spot his tyres, almost collide with his team mate and lose third place to Verstappen, Hamilton, who never looked back, didn’t manage to clinch our much coveted Driver of the Weekend. It was Verstappen, who having gained third place going into turn one, who nabbed that one. Verstappen showed a huge amount of maturity this race: he decided to hang back from the potential carnage into turn 1, bided his time (even if it was in milliseconds) and took P3. This was his second podium of the year. With Mercedes being head and shoulders above the rest of the field, Verstappen came in ‘Best of the Rest’ and has also moved up to P3 in WDC…….Well done Max!!