Rate the Race and Driver of the Weekend, Round 2
Mean Reader Score: 8.18
This year’s mean race score of 8.18 was higher than the 7.31 from 2017 and by the narrowest of margins, has topped the poll this year. In 2016, this race saw the beginning of the demise of Kvyat as he scuppered Vettel’s race: could this year be Max Verstappen’s turn?
This year the dominance of Mercedes was questioned as Ferrari blocked out the front row for the second consecutive race this season. Unlike last year, there was no low cloud preventing the safety helicopter being deployed, so the free practice, qualifying sessions and race went ahead as planned.
The two horse race between Ferrari and Mercedes proved a fatal error of judgement as the Red Bulls played a very significant role in the championship races, in more ways than one. Vettel set the fastest time ever on this track, followed closely by team mate Raikkonen, Bottas beat Hamilton, who to be honest looked totally disinterested and didn’t cause much of a threat (or provide any entertainment) to anyone.
Wow, what a race we had: by far the best of the season so far (ok I know we’ve only had three). Not a lot of overtaking in the early part of the race, but (see below) that would change later on. Max Verstappen again showed how unsuited he is to F1 by clashing with the two front runners for the WDC5 accolade. (Vettel came off worst this week, loosing ELEVEN championship points to arch rival Hamilton, courtesy of Verstappen, hence the above statement). Red Bull thrashed nearest rivals (and the rest of the field) to re-take P3 in the constructors’ championship). Alonso showed there’s life in the old dog yet: last week’s superhero Gasly made a gastly collision with his teammate but this was later shown to be a big misunderstanding, Ferrari made some shocking strategy errors (dumping Raikkonen in favour of Vettel), Mercedes performed an excellent undercut, etc etc, etc…..not to mention our
Driver of The Weekend: Daniel Ricciardo 77.97% of reader vote.
Well, having no engine or gear box for FP3 it looked as if Danny Ric would be lucky to make it to qualifying, but the team played a blinder and changed the engine and associated bits in record time so he could start the race from P6. A fortuitous clash between team mates from the Red Bull junior stable about half way through the race meant both Red Bull senior team members were able to take advantage of the safety car and bolt on fresh soft tyres (when the other front runners thought track position to be an advantage). This proved to be a strategic masterstroke as the fresh rubber and superior grip meant the ‘best overtaker on the grid’ (i.e. Danny Ric) could cut a swathe through the opposition and win the race (comfortably, in the end). His sixth win of his career so far……Well done Danny!!
(The only downside of all this is that we had to witness ANOTHER of those godawful ‘shoeys’)
MORE NEWS: The real reason Mercedes are slow
It appears that the mighty Mercedes AMG F1 team has lost some degree of dominance over the rest of the field for 2018, and in some ways that is true.
Analysis indicates that Ferrari have now matched Mercedes in power but….