Canadian F1 GP 2018 Review

 

What a season this is turning out to be 1/3rd down and a one point difference between Sebastian Vettel for Scuderia Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton for AMG Mercedes. Admittedly the Monaco and Canadian F1 races were not spectacular in terms of spectator value but in terms of the hierarchy of F1 and the tiny differences between the teams it is massively significant

Monaco saw Vettel gain some valuable points over Lewis and Canada saw Vettel re-take the lead. Now… out of 7 races, 5 should have been won by Sebastian Vettel. That is the truth of the matter.

This Canadian GP should have suited Mercedes the best and Lewis has won here 6 times before. Also, Red Bull looked very strong on Friday. Ferrari looked lost during the Ferrari sessions….

So, what happened…. Well Ferrari fond something on Saturday and Sebastian’s Pole lap over Bottas was just brilliant. With the FIA testing Ferrari’s battery deployment and asking the team to stop and start the car at various times during the weekend, Ferrari held their nerve and kept very calm.

Vettel wasn’t troubled and even after the first lap crash between Stroll and Hartley, Vettel managed to control the pace to the chasing Bottas.

The strategies were pretty simple to work out and this is perhaps where we are getting frustrated. Are the Pirelli tyres actually too good? Grosjean did nearly the whole race on his qualifying tyres… he was hoping for a SC which never happened…

Anyway, Vettel won from Bottas who has now 4 2nd place finishes this season. Very consistent. Max finished and he was on the podium. NOW interestingly, Red Bull had a chat with Max after the start of a very erratic season..aand they told him to leave mom, dad and sis at home.. Wala…no crash and podium…. Hmmmm

Daniel Ricciardo got a great jump on Lewis Hamilton and as much as Lewis tried he could not catch and pass the Aussie….. Now Lewis…. I am one of your great fans but let’s just have a chat….. don’t come with your “these engine rules are ruining the sport” nonsense…. I didn’t see you complaining when Mercedes dominated the sport for the last 4 seasons because of the “engine” rules… come on Lewis..You are better than that

Kimi had to save fuel…..and finished 6th and then as we have come to sort of expect.. The Renault boys, The Hulk ahead of Sainz JNR…. Then Ocon for Force India and another surprising but excellent result for Alfa Romeo Sauber and Charles Le Clerc…

No McLaren’s, no Williams and no Haas. But let’s be honest Grosjean was desperately unlucky with an Engine blowout on the Saturday. I think he would have been in the points…

So Europe here we come for the summer. 5 Races in 7 weeks….. See you at the Roadshows and hey buy your ticket to win the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. All on the app @f1sasha

 

F1 2018 Monaco – Has Max Lost his cool?

What a weekend we have had already.

The Monaco F1 grand Prix is the most prestigious race on the calendar. It has the glitz , the glamour and the unpredictability.

Daniel Ricciardo looks unstoppable after a very impressive Pole lap yesterday around Monaco. No matter what Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton did, they could not get close to the smiling Aussie.

This is great for the championship. For this championship to get more exciting we need a Vettel to finish ahead of Lewis, preferably by as many positions as possible. I say this for the championship, not for preference.

Before I talk about Max, let’s look at Monaco. It is 30 years since that meteoric lap by Ayrton Senna during  qualifying in 1988. Do you remember it? He qualified 1.4 seconds ahead of his Team mate Alain Prost. Some say it is the great quail lap ever. It was epic. He went around Monaco in 1.23.9 seconds. Mental! Consider this; with very little change, Daniel Ricciardo clocked 1.10.8 . That’s 13 seconds quicker….within 6 laps, Danni Ric would pass Senna.  This is Formula 1

Ok, so Max…6 out of 6. This kid is great but wow, this cannot continue. He crashed after FP3 yesterday on his slow down lap. So much damage to the car,that his crew could not fix it. Sorry to say but he is the new Pastor Maldonado.  Even his bosses at Red Bull are getting annoyed. And what does he do today? Drive like crazy to prove he is good or drive to ensure he doesn’t crash? Here is the video

Qualifying 2018 Monaco

POS DRIVER CAR TIME GAP
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m10.810s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m11.039s 0.229s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.232s 0.422s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m11.266s 0.456s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m11.441s 0.631s
6 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m12.061s 1.251s
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m12.110s 1.300s
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m12.130s 1.320s
9 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m12.154s 1.344s
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m12.221s 1.411s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m12.411s
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m12.440s
13 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m12.521s
14 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m12.714s
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m13.179s
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m13.265s
17 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m13.323s
18 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m12.728s
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m13.393s
20 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault

What a lap from Ocon . The Force India team look well suited in Monaco and some much needed points might be on the card.

Here is the major conundrum….. what tyres will work best. For the first time this season we have the Hypersoft Tyres. How they come up with these names is beyond me. Anywa, these tyres are Hyper Fast and are at least 1 second a lap quicker that the Ultra Soft tyres.. But how long will they last. The top 10 drivers will start on them. What will the rest of the first start on, and what selection do they have left. Here is what each driver arrived with in Monaco.

Pirelli, Monaco, 2018

Monaco, Lap, Tyres

Now, Mercedes drivers Botta and Hamilton went into Q2 on the Ultra Soft tyres hoping and believing that they would be able to get through to Q3 on those compound tyres and thus starting the race on a longer lasting tyre. It did not work out as they were not quick enough which means those US are no longer brand new and it might affect their performance. The one advantage they do have is that they are naturally quick and overtaking in Monaco is notoriously difficult. We wait in anticipation.

Harry Potter was impressive yet again for the Alfa Romeo Sauber team with a credible 14th Position. Of course, I am speaking about Charles Le Clerc. He is the first Monagasque to race in F1 since 1950. It is also 38 years since Alfa Romeo was represented in Monaco.

Alfa Romeo, 38 Years

Who will win…. i think Sebastian Vettel…. I might be very wrong

F1sasha Cap

Latest F1 News – 24 May 2018

Latest F1 News – 24 May 2018

F1 Future ??

Most people will cruise the streets of Monaco on Friday (a rest day) By the way, the reason no running is done on a Friday dates back to when Ascension Day fell on the Friday of the Monaco Gp. Prince Ranier decided it was important to respect the day and thus didn’t allow racing on the Friday.

Back to today.. there will be a MEGA meeting on a MEGA yacht no doubt to discuss F1’s Future…. This is what it is all about….

Formula 1 commercial rights holder Liberty Media will present more detail on its plans for the championship’s future at a key meeting with teams.

The contracts that underpin every aspect of F1, from its governance structure to teams’ shares of revenue, end in 2020.

Liberty presented a basic five-point outline of its 2021 vision in early April of this year. Some stakeholders eere not over impressed. This is about negotiation.

The most controversial elements are the proposed budget cap, believed to be in the region of $150million, and the simplification of the engines by removing the MGU-H.

Mercedes and Ferrari in particular have pushed back against concepts they claim might dilute F1.

Liberty also plans to change the way revenue is distributed among the teams. Currently Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Renault and Williams enjoy a larger share based on historic performance and Ferrari has a further bonus because of its historic status.

I do hope that we get a long list of ideas to think about after tomorrow.

It is expected that the main point of debate will remain the engine regulations. Of the current manufacturers, only Renault is committed to F1 beyond 2020.

Sebastian and Lewis as teammates ?

It is quite bizarre that since 2008 only Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg have won F1 titles besides Lewis and Sebatian… Think about that

Can you imagine them in the same team?

That very topic came up in Wednesday’s press conference, where the two men sat next to each other. The full PC is below in this article

What do you think about it?

Ferrari – Legal or Not ?

At the Spanish GP two weeks ago,, Feerrari were instructed by the FIA that their side-wing mirrors did not conform to the regulations. They have adjusted them for Monaco this weekend. There seems to be a bigger story about Ferrari though. Red Bull, Mercedes and a few other teams have asked the FIA to investigate the power deployment from the Ferrari Power Unit. All teams are only allowed 4 kilojules of deployed energy. Mercedes complained saying Ferrari are using 6 kilojules.

The rules state that the MGU-K can only deploy 120kW of power. The stories have revolved around suggestions that Ferrari could allegedly use more than is allowed from its twin-battery arrangement, without it being picked up by the FIA sensors, and that it could be extracting more than the 4MJ of energy allowed per lap from the energy store to power the MGU-K.

The Ferrari systems were checked by the FIA in Azerbaijan and Spain, and the matter has taken a further step this weekend with the news that Ferrari is using new software that will not allow any extra power deployment to happen and that the FIA is actively monitoring the cars with an extra piece of hardware.

Christian Horner and Toto Wolff, bosses of the teams in direct competition with Ferrari, remain confident that the FIA is on top of the matter.

“There’s obviously been rumours that no doubt you guys are cottoning onto as well,” said Horner.

“I’m sure the FIA have all the competence to be able to measure, administer and look at the car that’s presented for scrutineering during a grand prix weekend that complies with the regulations.

“Of course it’s the team’s obligation to ensure that that happens. I think the FIA are probably the best people to point that question at.”

Wolff agreed with his Red Bull counterpart that any controversy would be dealt with correctly by the FIA.

FREE PRACTISE – MONACO Thursday

Red Bull are definitely the favourite this weekend with Mercedes seeming to be the weakest of the Top3 teams

Daniel Ricciardo completed a clean sweep of Thursday practice by topping the second session of the day in another Red Bull one-two.

Ricciardo hit the front with a lap of 1m11.841s

This put him 0.194 seconds ahead of Verstappe

Sebastian Vettel was third fastest for Ferrari with a time 0.378s off the pace set on his eighth lap using a set of hypersofts.

That put him just over a tenth ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who shaded the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen by 0.009s.

FP2 times

POS DRIVER CAR TIME GAP LAPS
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m11.841s 33
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m12.035s 0.194s 41
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m12.413s 0.572s 42
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m12.536s 0.695s 34
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m12.543s 0.702s 36
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m12.642s 0.801s 38
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m13.047s 1.206s 30
8 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m13.077s 1.236s 40
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m13.115s 1.274s 42
10 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m13.200s 1.359s 34
11 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m13.222s 1.381s 47
12 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m13.370s 1.529s 39
13 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m13.382s 1.541s 47
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m13.410s 1.569s 32
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m13.547s 1.706s 44
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m13.572s 1.731s 41
17 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m13.575s 1.734s 45
18 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m13.763s 1.922s 37
19 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m14.011s 2.170s 34
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m14.173s 2.332s 46

The Rosberg’s

Keke and Nico Rosberg completed a short demonstration run in their old Formula 1 cars after FP1 in Monaco today

They circled the track twice and then stopped at the circuit’s start-finish line where they were met by Prince Albert of Monaco and F1 chiefs Chase Carey and Ross Brawn.

Wednesday Drivers Press Conference

DRIVERS – Charles LECLERC (Sauber), Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari), Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes), Romain GROSJEAN (Haas)

PRESS CONFERENCE

Charles, if we can start with you: you’re the home town hero and the first Monegasque to race here in Formula 1 since Olivier Beretta in 1994. How excited are you about the weekend ahead?

 

Charles LECLERC: I am very excited. I mean, I have been waiting for this moment since [I was a] child. I remember watching the grand prix when I was four years old, in the exit of the first corner. I was in my best friend’s apartment, watching down the Formula 1, dreaming one day of being part of it and this day has finally happened, so I definitely can’t wait to be driving tomorrow here.

Which part of Monaco are you from?

CL: I’m living on the start-finish line, so pretty close to the track.

And what can we expect from you this weekend? You’ve had points in consecutive races. Just how good is the car and what can you do?

CL: To be honest, I’m a little bit confused with my expectations at the moment, because we expected a very difficult weekend in Barcelona and actually we had a second Q2 in a row, with one point then in the race. So, Baku, we expected to be competitive and of course there has been quite a bit of crashes in the race and we managed to have a good position thanks to that also, but in Barcelona we did not expect that type of performance, so it was definitely good to see that and it was a nice surprise. Hopefully we are also wrong on expectations here. It seems that it might be a little bit of a difficult circuit for us here because we need high downforce and this is a little bit of our weakness at the moment but we’ll work on that and hopefully we can get a good result.

Thank you. Romain, clearly you’ve had a rough start to 2018 and Spain was another example of that. Can you just give us some insight into where you’re at the moment, what you’re thinking, what you feel you need to do break this run of bad luck?

Romain GROSJEAN: I think you’re making a bit bigger a mountain our of a mole… thing, I can’t remember the saying. Yeah, the last two races didn’t go quite to plan. It happens that sometimes you go through tough times. What happened in Barcelona was just unfortunate that I lost the rear end avoiding a contact with my team-mate and that was it. The performance is there, the car is doing great and the team is doing an amazing job. Yeah, we don’t have any points on the board but I’m not too worried.

Tell us a little bit more about the car. Do you feel it suits your driving style as well as you team-mate’s for example?

RG: I think it’s getting better and better. We’ve been qualifying, very often, in front of the midfield. It’s super tight, so a tenth or two of a second, which doesn’t make much different on the first few rows can lose you two or three positions. You need to get it perfect. I think it’s getting there; we’re working well, and I think it should be quite nice here and hopefully the next updates coming are going to be pretty competitive.

Best of luck. Thank you Romain. Lewis, we heard from Charles how excited he is to be racing in Monaco. You’ve won here a couple of times, you’ve been on pole position, can you just start by giving us an insight into what it is like to race around these tight streets, how crazy it is, how unique this track is?

Lewis HAMILTON: Well firstly I feel like the people who might be watching need to understand why we all had our glasses on. It’s so bright. These lights are… when I look at you now, all I see are lights, I can’t actually see your face. That’s why I’ve got these on; it’s too bright. But, yeah, Monaco, it’s such a dream to drive here. Every single year… I’m very fortunate to live here, but the wait you have from one year to the next… it’s a shame that we only have one race here, because it’s that spectacular to drive. But it’s very intense. You have to be more diligent then your perhaps have to be anywhere else. It’s the most technical and mentally challenging circuit of the whole season. There’s also the heightened aspect of just wanting to shine at a track like this. Sometimes I’m running around or driving around this city in the off-season and it’s hard to believe the speeds that we do – up the hill and to Turn 1 and out of the tunnel… Just yesterday I was running through the tunnel and telling my friend who has never been before and saying ‘usually we’re doing 200mph out of this tunnel’, and he was like ‘that’s crazy’. It’s hard for people to get even close to the imagination of what it’s like, but it’s really something quite special.

You’ve won the last two races, you’re on a roll, but what can we expect from you and Mercedes this weekend, because it wasn’t a good race for the team last year, so are you confident that you’ve ironed out the issues with this year’s car?

LH: I think we learned a lot from last year. I think we are confident with our preparation. I think it’s definitely been better than ever before. We came from the last race knowing that this is going to be one of the tougher races for us. If you look at the last race and the testing in February and then even in the tests the other day, the Red Bulls were particularly quick in the last sector – that’s where they’re always very, very strong – and so you can imagine that they will be incredibly quick here this weekend. Which is actually a surprise on previous years, because Ferrari were very strong here last year and for whatever reason Red Bull didn’t get it together, but maybe this weekend they will. I do anticipate it’s going to be a difficult weekend. Not one that is impossible but it’s a lot closer and we may not have the pace of the others but we will find out tomorrow the true pace and identity of what we arrive here with. But I’m excited for that challenge either way. If you look at last year there were overcuts and undercuts, so everything is still possible.

Thank you. Sebastian, thanks for waiting. Can we just reflect on two weeks ago to start with. It was a slightly frustrating weekend for you in Spain. You’ve tested at Barcelona since the race. How much progress did you make with the car?

Sebastian VETTEL: I think it’s fair to summarise that Barcelona was not a strong race for us. I think Saturday was actually pretty good, qualifying was very close, but in the race we fell a little bit behind. It was good that we had the opportunity on Tuesday and Wednesday to get into the race situation again and understand a little bit better with more time and more laps and I think that’s what we did. There are a couple of ideas that we have and there are things that we believe may have cause a weak race or weak pace during the race. But for here it’s not that relevant as it’s a completely different track, but certainly going forward, time will tell whether we found a good direction.

Well, let’s look at this weekend. What chance a repeat victory of last year and do you think the longer wheelbase of this year’s car will have any impact on the performance?

SV: I don’t know. We will see. I think cars with a longer wheelbase, they were still fine here last year. It’s not that much different. It’s not like all of a sudden you’re sitting on a bus. I think the car, we’ve improved it in general this year throughout the races we’ve had, the feel that I’ve had for the car, how responsive it was etc, which should help us for here, but I don’t think the wheelbase will play a big difference and if so I think our car is not longer than most of the other cars so it will be fine.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) To all drivers. Pirelli are supplying here for the first time the hypersoft tyres. What do you project for the weekend here – would be very interesting?

 

CL: Yeah, we’ve had the possibility to try these tyres quite a few times during testing. It’s a huge jump from the ultrasoft to hypersoft, a lot bigger than any of the other steps – but it’s also quite a solid tyre. I think we will test it during these free practices and then see what to do for the race.

Sebastian, anything to add on the hypersoft?

SV: Well, I think we never had it this year, obviously, during races. Testing was cold – but I think the first glimpse we got last year during the Abu Dhabi test quite interesting. It was faster – so it’s always fun when it’s faster. I think it doesn’t last that long but the stress around Monaco is very low for the tyres, if you compare it to a normal race track. So should be fine and should be faster, so that’s why I think a lot of people went mostly for the hypersoft.

Lewis, do you think we could see some records fall this weekend?

LH: I would imagine so, yeah. They’re resurfaced some areas of the track. It was already very, very grippy last year and I think the hypersoft is… I’ve only driven it, I think it was the end of last year maybe, in Abu Dhabi, just one quick run on it, so I don’t really know much about it, so I’m excited to get back out on the tyre because I know at that time it felt great after lap whatever-it-was. So, I think around here it’ll hopefully be a lot better than all of the other tyres that we’ve run.

Romain?

RG: Yeah, I tested them in last week’s Barcelona testing and they were fast, and I was surprised at how consistent they could be on some occasions. Looking forward to trying them here – but definitely they’re the tyres that give the best feeling.

 

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Lewis, you talked a little bit about the difficulties you’re expecting here. And the change in process in Spain and how well the test was working. In terms of how transferrable that performance set was in Barcelona for here and at other races, how confident are you that you’ve made a fundamental gain, either in the setup of the way you’re understanding the car?

 

LH: I feel with the last race, the whole weekend, yeah I think we took a lot of information from there. The whole first five races I think, we’ve learnt a huge amount, we know what our targets are, we much more understand our issues and we’re working hard to address them – and I think we’re working in the right direction towards addressing them. I definitely feel more confident moving forward that we are progressing in the right direction. Have we rectified everything? We’ll find out. It just feels good, that there’s a lot of work been going on: a lot of stress; a lot of strain within everyone’s work. Everyone just trying to do their best and get us up front. Obviously our competition has been very, very strong through the first five races – but it is up and down from race to race. But I do think the first five races are always a really… it’s always very difficult because it’s just a learning curve. A very steep learning curve every year, even though we have that winter test. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen moving forwards but I’m confident that we’re going to do the best job that we can to maximise our results.

 

Q: (Giles Richards – The Guardian) A question for all four drivers, two parts. The organisers here have said they’re going to use grid girls this weekend. So, first of all I’d like to know where all four of you stand on the original decision to stop using grid girls and what you think about this race’s decision to go against that and use them this weekend?

 

RG: Well… yeah. It’s busy on the grid anyway, you won’t see much difference. When it was removed, I thought it was a good thing for women in the 21st Century because they were not used as just a board holder. Monaco, always special why not doing something different?

 

Lewis?

 

LH: I don’t know. I think women are the most beautiful thing in the world, so, I mean there’s races where we’ve had guys standing at the front of the car, and there’s been a mixture sometimes at races in the past. I think Monaco is a very elegant grand prix and I don’t know how women feel about it. I’ve not really ever spoken to women how they feel about the whole situation. So I can’t really comment. I don’t particularly feel any way about it. When we pull up to the grid and there’s beautiful women on the grid, that’s the Monaco Grand Prix, that’s a lovely thing – but I definitely don’t think that we should ever be supporting or pushing these women in general to feel uncomfortable. And if they are, then we shouldn’t do it, if they’re comfortable doing it, I mean I don’t really know, I don’t really have an answer for you otherwise.

 

Sebastian?

 

SV: Well, I think the whole thing has been blown up, probably unnecessary because I don’t think any of the grid girls in the past were forced to do it. So, I think they enjoyed what they were doing. I agree with Lewis, I like women, I think they look beautiful, so if there was guys, I was just not interested, nothing against those guys but I just didn’t care as much but, bottom line, I think it’s too much of a fuss nowadays. I think all the women that took part as a grid girl in the past did it because they want to. I’m sure if you ask any grid girl on Sunday if they’re happy to stand there, their answer will be yes. I don’t think there’s anybody that forces them to do it. So, it speaks a little bit for our times that sometimes there’s a lot of noise for nothing.

 

Charles?

 

CL: Pretty similar opinion to Seb – but I think it was quite positive to have some girls on the grid to be honest – even though I have a girlfriend so I should not say that maybe, I will get in trouble. But yeah, it’s also good to have some kids. Monaco is very small, so they took also my little cousin that will be on the grid with me. So that will be nice, and I’ve seen how happy he was to be chosen as one of the kids – and it’s great to see that. And it’s a great idea to have kids on the grid also.

 

Q: (Craig Slater – Sky Sports News) A question for Lewis. A bit related to that. It was obviously a great time of celebration in Britain last weekend. I wonder what you made of the royal wedding – and if the British royal family can become a bit more diverse, does it give you optimism that Formula One can become more diverse eventually?

 

LH: I don’t really connect the two, to be honest but I watched here at the weekend, just with a smile on my face the whole time. I think it was great to see such a positive change. It was great to see how happy they both were, and I think it was just a really proud day, I think for… for me, for my family, I think for the world. And it’s just always great to see positivity and change. The fact that you do have diversity in the royal family today, I think that’s a huge thing. People probably don’t even realise how important that is. Even to see at the church, you had a mixture with the ministers, in music, with the choir. It was just really, really beautiful to see. I just had the greatest weekend ever just sitting there watching and seeing talented people play music, speak and then see this power couple walk out. It was the greatest wedding that I’ve ever seen – and I’m not big on weddings at all. I avoid them at all costs – but this one, I wished I was in England to see it. Plus, England on a sunny day, it’s just so beautiful, with the castle and everything. So, I mean it was pretty much a fairytale. I think every kid – and adult today that’s particularly not married – dreams of having that kind of weekend.

 

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Seb and Lewis, Charles is up there with you. He comes into F1 this season with a huge amount of expectation and hype, based on his performance in junior formulae. You had exactly the same, the two of you, when you came into F1 first time around. What would your advice be to him about how to handle that pressure of expectation and what do you know and think of him as a driver?

 

SV: I think I was never that hyped when I came in. I didn’t win GP2 and I think the hype is absolutely justified. If there’s no hype around him, then I don’t understand who should be hyped because you walk through all the categories like that, then you belong here. But I think the advice to him is not to listen, just get on with it and just enjoy it. I think the cars that we’re driving are the fastest cars in the world and that’s what you should be looking for, not all the noise that sometimes happens around. I think it’s important that you’re here, you know why you want to be here. You look at what’s really important to you. The rest is not that much of your concern.

 

Q: Do you expect him to be your Ferrari teammate in the coming season?

 

SV: Well, I don’t know. I’m not signing who is sitting next to me but (you should) probably ask Maurizio. Yeah, I don’t see why not. Obviously he has more years than all of us here if you look at the passport. I think the races he’s had so far, he used his opportunities, he scored points with a car that doesn’t belong in the points so he’s doing everything he can at the moment.

 

CL: Thank you.

 

LH: Charles, are you from Monaco?

 

CL: Yes, I am.

 

LH: OK, so you grew up here. I’ve watched the series, I’ve been watching him coming through and what he’s done in the last couple of years has been great to see. I sit with the team bosses and engineers and we watch the lower categories and always looking out for that shining talent to come through and ultimately Formula One is supposed to be the pinnacle of the sport, which it is, but it’s supposed to have the best drivers from around the world and in all honesty, you couldn’t say that there’s the best drivers – the 100 per cent best drivers – from all the nations around the world so it’s just really great to see a really talented kid come through, that’s really just earned his way, like he really has the potential to do great things here and you can’t say that about every kid that’s come through in the past years and ultimately it’s very very difficult because it’s such an expensive sport. So you don’t always have the most talented that have the money but it’s great to see a real talented kid come through so I wish him all the best and the most important thing is to try and keep your feet on the ground, keep your family close and just enjoy the ride. Don’t take it too seriously. Every experience ahead is going to be a learning curve, good or bad, but that’s going to be a part of the making of who you are. I don’t really need to say much more.

 

CL: Thank you.

 

Q: (Jon McEvoy – Daily Mail) Sebastian, Lewis hasn’t yet signed his new deal, though Mercedes say that he probably will. But would you welcome him at Ferrari at all next year?

 

SV: I don’t know. He hasn’t asked me!

 

LH: He has a veto so that wouldn’t happen.

 

SV: I don’t. I wouldn’t mind. Obviously, to be completely honest, I’m very happy with the relationship I have with Kimi.

 

LH: I think we have a better relationship, do you not think?

 

SV: I don’t know. Maybe if we get closer. I don’t know. Plus, we just spoke about Charles. I don’t know, you never know what happens. I’m pretty sure that Lewis’s priority lies with Mercedes. Everything else would be a big surprise but you never know, so we will see. Maybe, one day, I don’t know, we will both go somewhere else because we’re old or… I don’t know. Never say never. For me, at the moment, it doesn’t really matter, I’m very happy to be where I am for the time that everyone knows. I know and then we will see what happens.

 

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Lewis, we often hear about drivers who want to go up and race against you. Would you want to race Sebastian, be in his team?

 

LH: I’m down to race with whoever. Ultimately, I mean I’m racing against him in a pretty competitive car which is always exciting but I think for any driver you always want to go up against the best. I think you’ve seen in history that it can often be difficult when there are two incredibly strong alphas within a team but you’ve seen that it seems to kind of work with him and Kimi, but then if you really look at… you can honestly say that Kimi can’t be too happy because there are certain scenarios that don’t necessarily work out for him, so it’s just always difficult but I love racing against the best of drivers because it really pushes you to the limit. Racing against Fernando, racing against Jenson, and some of the top drivers that I raced with has just been… it brings the good and bad out of you, it pushes you to the limit but I feel that the set-up, for example, that I have right now within the team… Valtteri is driving exceptionally well, pushing me to the limit, and I’m still getting that but there’s a great harmony within the team and there’s a respect when one of the drivers does better than the other and it’s not necessarily always the same when it’s different characters, so it’s really dependent on the characters you’re with. But I don’t anticipate that we will probably be driving together in our time, unless we do, like, Le Mans together one day which we should probably just murder, wouldn’t we?

 

Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) Lewis, just about that contract: how come it isn’t signed yet? I think the team were quite keen to get it done. Could you tell us what the sticking point seems to be?

 

LH: There isn’t any sticking points. There just hasn’t been any rush. I told you at the beginning there’s no rush to do it and I would do it in my own time. There’s no discussion with anybody else, there’s no consideration for anybody else, it’s just taking my time. I just don’t see any need to rush. I still have a contract in place, I’m enjoying racing, it’s nice to keep you guys guessing what’s happening. There’s not really much more to say really. There’s not really much more to say. It’s a great process that you go through with a contract but I just tell my people there’s no rush. If it’s not ready this week, and it’s not ready the week after, it’s not ready… no stress. I’m not going to stress about it. Yuh.

China F1 GP Thursday Press conference

Interview with DRIVERS – Pierre GASLY (Toro Rosso), Marcus ERICSSON (Sauber), Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing).

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Pierre, if we could start with you please. Let’s start by reflecting on your sensational result in Bahrain last weekend. How do you reflect on what happened there, and what kind of reaction have you had around the world?

Pierre GASLY: I must say it’s been amazing. First, just personally, y’know? It’s a big investment for a long time, since I’m a kid. It’s a lot of work, a lot of preparation and, of course, it’s my best result in Formula One – but just to see that all the work I’m doing at the moment is paying off and actually we are going in the right direction, so of course, I’m really happy about it. And secondly, for the team, it’s only our second race with Honda and already we can see that we are actually going in the right direction, communication-wise everything is going well and the car is competitive. So, this was really amazing, and also the support I got afterwards, after the weekend, I’m just super-impressed. A lot of articles, a lot of TVs, and media writing as well. It was something impressive but really nice, a lot of support from the people as well. So, it’s been great.

Q: You say the car is competitive. Do you think the performance will translate to a track like this one?

PG: I’ll tell you tomorrow! I really hope so. I think definitely we understood much more about our car potential, car setup, about the tyres but still, we need confirmation, as you say, and I think this weekend will be a good opportunity to see if… definitely to judge our baseline and see if the potential is the same on other tracks. Definitely we need to be quite careful. Bahrain has been so good for us and I don’t know if it’s going to be similar on other tracks. So yeah, hopefully it’s going to be the same but we’ll find out tomorrow.

Q: And are you coming into this weekend feeling very confident?

PG: Yeah, definitely, we feel more confident than we were, for example, in Melbourne or for Bahrain. This is going to be my first time in Shanghai, so it’s also going to be a new track for me. We’ll probably take a bit more time to adapt myself but definitely we are a bit more confident but still, we need to be careful – because we have no guarantees about the performance – we know it’s really tight in the midfield. In Bahrain, the car was just fantastic in terms of balance, in terms of grip – but we know that if we don’t get everything right, suddenly if you lose two or three tenths you can be at the back of the midfield and it changes your weekend completely. So, we need to be quite careful and just make sure we do the right things.

Q: Marcus, you’re another man celebrating a tremendous race in Bahrain. How do you look back on last weekend’s events?

Marcus ERICSSON: Yes, like you say it was a great race for us, great to be in the points and also a great reward to everyone in the team. It’s been a lot of things happening over the winter. We’re coming from two very difficult years, where we’ve been always at the back as a team, and then this year we’re coming into the year with Alfa Romeo coming on as a main sponsor, and partner to the team and it’s like a new chapter for Sauber. It’s been a lot of work put in to make a step forwards and to move up the grid. And to be already at the second race of the year in the points, it’s, I think, a great result, a great team result and a great boost for everyone. So yeah, it was very nice. And also for myself personally, I was super happy to be back in the points. It’s been a long time. So, yeah, overall it was very positive.

Q: Tell us a little more about that. It’s been 50 races since you were last in the points. How much of a relief was it?

ME: Of course, it was big relief. I think I’ve had four times P11 since then. So, I was close a lot of times, and had some great races but it’s very difficult when you’re in the worst car on the grid. Some races I had a perfect race – and finished P14 or something like that. It’s frustrating, but, yeah, of course we’re all here to try to score points. So to be back in the points last weekend was a great relief.

Q: You say last year’s car was the worst on the grid. How good is this one?

ME: I think we have a very solid baseline to work from. Like Pierre said, the midfield is very, very close and I feel that we are very much in that midfield – but probably in the lower part of that midfield at the moment. But also like Toro Rosso showed last weekend, if you make a step you can really move quickly up or down in that midfield group. So, first of all I’m just very happy that we part of that group on pure speed. Now we need to work even harder to try to improve that position – but I know everyone does, both here on track and also in the factory and we have a lot of things planned for the season. We need to keep working hard, keep pushing hard and then we should be able to fight every weekend.

I’m sure you’ll keep doing that Marcus. Thank you very much. Max, coming to you now. As much as the other guys had a good weekend in Bahrain, it was a very frustrating one for you and Red Bull Racing; I think it was the team’s first double retirement since Korea in 2010. Can we start by talking about the car? You were very bullish about it in winter testing but now that we’re a couple of races in, just how competitive is it?

Max VERSTAPPEN: The car is very quick, I think especially in the race. I think we know in qualifying we are losing out a bit, just on pure performance, on top speed. But as soon as that all calms down a bit in the race, yeah, I was very confident, for example, before we went into the race to still move up a lot of positions, because I think the car was definitely capable of just driving back to the podium. So yeah, I’m just looking forward to get started again here, because we have a good package, and there are a lot of good things coming. So, yeah, ready to go.

You made a very good start on Sunday and then there was the incident with Lewis Hamilton. Just one week on how do you reflect on what happened with Hamilton? Have you seen it on TV?

MV: I was in the car. So I felt it, I saw it! That’s racing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You can say whatever you like about the incident. I think I had a fair shot at it. It was nothing crazy, nothing risky. But yeah, unfortunately this time it didn’t work out. Looking back, for example, in Mexico last year it did work out. This time we gave each maybe not enough space, but that’s racing as well at the end of the day. Like I said, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.

Have you spoken to Lewis since the incident?

MV: No.

So looking ahead to this weekend, how important is it for you to get into the points and might we see a more conservative approach this weekend?

MV: It’s always important to score points and that’s always the target, but we are here to finish on the podium or win races – that’s why we’re here. That’s what I will try to do again this weekend. So, for me, there won’t be a change.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Phil Duncan – Press Association) Max, did you hear what Lewis had to say after the race? Do you think you will have a chat with him this weekend? And do you think that you will address your driving style going forward?

MV: No. I might have a talk with him. It depends if it’s really necessary. But why should I change something. I don’t think I did anything wrong in terms of my approach. I was just trying to overtake a car. I think it was a fair chance. I went for it. For example, last year in Mexico it could have gone wrong as well – maybe for me, maybe for another car. As you could see in Mexico it did. It’s racing; it’s very simple. I don’t understand why everybody is so on top of the topic. Those things happen in racing, you know.

Q: (Jaap de Groot – De Telegraaf) Max, reflecting on what happened last week in Bahrain and thinking back to last year here. You also started at P16 and finished third. Remember the first lap? That was fantastic. Is that also for an inspiration? You talk about Mexico but over here you even did a better than that, taking over your opponents.

MV: Yeah, it was. That race was starting on wet tyres, so it’s always easier to get past people if you have a good feeling and a good car. So yeah, always in the dry it’s a bit more tricky. Sometimes you have those first laps where everything works out perfect.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Pierre, your result in Bahrain was Honda’s best since it came back into Formula 1. It’s obviously made a clear step in reliability – the changes it introduced after Australia. Performance-wise, what are you expecting this weekend? The energy recovery system has always been its limiting factor and there is a long back straight here and a long start-finish straight as well.

PG: We expect to be quite competitive, after what we learned from Bahrain. But as I say, we don’t know if we’re going to be on top of the midfield, if we are going to be in the middle, we just know that to have a similar performance as Bahrain we really need to be on top of everything and just make everything perfectly. The track layout, for sure, is not one of our favourites, or is not going to be as easy, with the long back straight. But still you need to have a really strong car in the middle part of the track, so I think we can still expect to be competitive. But to have a clear picture, we have done only two races. We were pretty slow in Melbourne. We were very competitive in Bahrain, even faster than what we expected, so it’s still difficult for us to know for us exactly where is the performance of the car. I think we are going to be in the fight for the midfield, but hopefully on top of it.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Gasly, we heard after the race in Bahrain that you said that we are in the fight now and it seems that it was a reply to what Fernando said the week before. So I would like to know your comment on that.

PG: It was simple, it was just a little joke, that’s it. I think we need to give credit back to Honda. In the end, they have had a tough three years with McLaren and to finish P4 in the second race with them was just amazing, so it was a way to give them credit, because they are working really hard and yeah, I think they need credit for the hard work they are doing. But don’t get me wrong, I must say I had pretty tough messages after that, after the race, by some Spanish people who are actually quite crazy. I have huge respect for Fernando so I’m just making it clear. Don’t get me wrong. Fernando for sure is one of the best drivers of all time in Formula One, and one of the drivers I looked up to when I was young, one of my idols actually. No, I have huge respect for him, so it was nothing related, just a high comment for Honda because I think they deserved the credit.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Ericsson, you talked before about a new chapter with Alfa Romeo. I would like to know exactly how the situation is now, if you can compare it to last year? So what does it feel to be the first driver to collect points with the Alfa brand on the car?

ME: Like I said, for the team, it’s like a new chapter this year. A lot of things have been changing over the winter, especially, obviously, with Alfa Romeo coming on board, a lot of new people coming in to the team. A lot of things changing, completely different resources. It’s been a big change and you can feel it inside the team. You can feel the motivation is very high, people are believing again. It’s a big motivation to move up the grid, whereas it’s been more about the team surviving the last few years, so it’s not so much been pushing for performance, it’s been more pushing for trying to survive every week, every race. Having that mindset, it’s then difficult to get the results whereas now we go into the season to push, to make results and to move up the grid. It’s just a completely different mindset. For me, that’s been very nice to see. So far it’s been very good, but we still have a long way to go and we need to keep working hard but it’s been very positive.

On the second part, to score points, being the first one in this new chapter with Alfa, I think it’s something that makes me proud. First of all I’m proud to represent Alfa Romeo in Formula One again, I think it’s a very legendary brand. It’s very special to represent them in Formula One again and of course to score points with them.

Q: How much of a step forward is this year’s Ferrari power unit compared to the year-old one you were using in 2017?

ME: It’s very big, not only in power but in everything: driveability, energy management and all those things. It’s a very very big step. It’s nice not to have that handicap like we had last year because it was a very big disadvantage last year.

Q: (Jonathan McEvoy – Daily Mail) Max, if the way you were driving you believe was fine, why do you think Lewis was moved to have a go at you?

MV: Why? Because it’s quite easy and simple to blame the younger driver. That’s the only way I can see it. Like I said, these things happen. There’s no reason for me to change anything.

Q: (Rik Spekenbrink – AD Sportwereld) Max, if you would make a list of your favourite tracks, where would Shanghai be in that list?

MV: Somewhere!

Q: (Rik Spekenbrink – AD Sportwereld) Top five or lower?

MV: Yeah, it’s good actually, yeah, especially for racing, I think it’s a good track, so it’s definitely on that list.

Q: (Jaap de Groot – De Telegraaf) Max, in Bahrain, several things went wrong with you and the car of Ricciardo. Did the team already analyse the whole matter and could you give me some information on that?

MV: Yeah, from my side, we put a new wheel on the car, a new floor, because that was destroyed. No, I think it was mainly more from Daniel’s car of course and in the race I think we had the problem quite similar to me last year in Canada and I think in testing this year as well. So it’s definitely something to look into but what can you do about it? It’s something that Renault needs to sort out. They are of course working really hard on that. They will again try their very best to provide us with the best possible equipment here. I’m actually not too worried about it and at the end of the day, if it happens it happens. You can’t prevent it.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Very quick question to Max: did you have to change the gearbox for this race or not?

MV: Why? I retired anyway so I can do those kind of things.