#ups #downs #failures #questions #Miami #Grand #Prix
After each Grand Prix, Nextgen-Auto.com invites you to find the tops and flops identified by the editorial staff. Who deserves to be applauded? Who, on the contrary, should be criticized? Finally, what are the question marks or ambiguities that should be followed with interest during the next Grands Prix? Check it out below!
Top #1: Max Verstappen cuts through the fog
Max Verstappen’s victory in Miami takes on even more importance and value in light of the catastrophic Friday he experienced: on Friday, in fact, the Red Bull driver did not do more than 5 laps, due to a hydraulic problem. He thus tackled a new Grand Prix in one of the worst conditions there is, almost blind.
And yet, in qualifying, the Dutchman almost offered himself the scalp of the two Ferraris: he was probably missing a small lap in his luggage. Above all, in the race, he surprised in the first place, getting a very good start (by the way from the clean part of the track) when he had not been able to make any attempt at the start. As a result, he showed great handling of the medium tires in the first stint, while interestingly having aero tweaks that favored top speed out of the corners. “At the beginning of the race, Max took care of the tyres. Our tactic was to save the right front tire and keep Charles under pressure. A true tactical race » summed up Christian Horner after the race. A tactical dominance in effect by Max Verstappen, which gave him the keys to victory, acknowledged Charles Leclerc. At the end of the event, the Dutchman was also able to withstand pressure from the Ferraris after the safety car period.
In short, Max Verstappen achieved a third success (in as many finals) full of merit and panache, which we can and must attribute in large part, without a doubt, to the speed of the Red Bull, but also, and it can be especially, to his talent
Top #2: Alexander Albon never fails to delight Williams and his hairdresser
Every time Alexander Albon dyes his hair, he earns points! And that’s about the only hint of color on this now mostly black Williams, for weight reasons. There is no doubt that the Grove barber will quickly become the team’s new mascot. More seriously, the Thai impressed again in the paddock last weekend, with 2 units registered in a Williams that is perhaps not worth a quarter of a dollar… If in qualifying, Alexander Albon was strangely close to Nicholas Latifi (Pirelli’s operating window seems to be in doubt), in the race, as in Melbourne, he capitalized on a strategic choice that paid off: going for hard rubber. The safety car at the end of the race offered him a free pit stop. But it was still necessary to make this strategy work by saving the hard and having a correct rhythm.
So let’s not just attribute this Alexander Albon performance to this strategic windfall. Because we must once again relate his race to that of Nicholas Latifi. It is true that, as we have said, the Canadian was closer in qualifying than usual. But he was far, far, far, far, far away in the race! As proof, Nicholas Latifi remained 18th in the test, that is, last, in the first half of the Grand Prix, although the other cars in front of him had already stopped. Jost Capito has renewed his trust in him, but Nicholas Latifi’s trust already seems to have flown…
Fortunately, Williams found her new George Russell in Alexander Albon. Better yet at the level of his technical performance, we whispered at the Grove: certainly last year in Milton Keynes, in the shadow of Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez, he smiled at Alexander Albon. Finally, note that in the standings, Alexander Albon has 1 point more than Fernando Alonso!
Top n°3: Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas, runners-up in the peloton
On Friday, Esteban Ocon had a scare of 51 G “unacceptable” (see below) and had to decide not to participate in Saturday’s qualifications. If his mistake is attributable to him, his very good performance on Sunday is also: starting from the pits, the Alpine driver, like Alexander Albon, knew how to make a first long stint bear fruit on hard roads, after the entry of the safe car. His very solid pace, and his impeccable pace (which Fernando Alonso did not achieve in the other Alpino), gave him some deserved points.
Valtteri Bottas came close to making the perfect race: he can certainly curse the safety car that redistributed the cards… And even the perfect weekend: because in qualifying, the Finn set a formidable 5th time. On race pace, he then showed that he need not fear the Mercedes, installing the Alfa Romeo as the potential third force on the grid on Sunday. “We were really strong and ran most of the race comfortably in fifth place, just behind the two Red Bulls and the Ferraris – the safety car moment affected us a lot, nullifying Valtteri’s advantage over the two Mercedes » lamented Frédéric Vasseur, team manager, after the race. What a pity, therefore, that this exit from the track cost him a 5th place: the fact is that this 7th place is still very good for him and for Alfa Romeo.
Failure #1: Massive Meatballs and Safety Issues
Let’s just say it straight away, F1 drivers are the best drivers on the planet, and the level of the current field is certainly one of the best in decades. However, this weekend in Miami, some drivers, more than usual it seems, found themselves caught in the pitfalls of Miami’s new design. It must be said that the Florida circuit itself was not helping to achieve clean weekends, with its asphalt peeling off when too many F1 cars passed over it, and barely level off-track grip, which punished harshly and Sever any joke out of the way.
Several pilots have thus paid the price of this complicated circuit. In free practice, the road starts of Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon are particularly noteworthy. For the Ferrari driver he also begins to do a lot after two Grand Prix already marked by accidents. In the race there was also chaos on the track, with mistakes again very costly. Mick Schumacher in particular deprived him of his first points with his clash with his friend and mentor Sebastian Vettel. Valtteri Bottas lost points and was lucky to finish seventh. Fernando Alonso distinguished himself by cutting a chicane and trying to overtake amateur optimism, receiving a double penalty. Pierre Gasly could also have drifted further off course when he was idling. In short, that’s a bit much… (and we haven’t mentioned everything).
More serious perhaps: Esteban Ocon revealed that he had a 51 G scare at turn 14 when he went off the track. An impressive total for an accident that didn’t seem like much. The alpine pilot rightly called this danger “unacceptable” and demanded, like Carlos Sainz, TecPro in this corner. Radio silence of race direction. What if we had here the first big mistake of the Niels Wittich – Eduardo Freitas era?
Failure #2: Bijouxgate, Boxergate: Vettel and Hamilton’s Picrohills and Counterproductive Battles
We had met Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel who were more inspired by their commitments… Highly visible and voluntary in their commitment to ecology or diversity, the two “militant” drivers on the set, on the other hand, lost themselves in picrocolina battles . , not to say laughable. Ecology and anti-racism on the one hand, family jewelery and costume jewelery on the other… A sad contrast. While Sebastian Vettel railed against a ban on wearing flame-retardant underwear, Lewis Hamilton went on a crusade against a cockpit jewelery ban, taunting the FIA by using cutlery and saying he would not give in to threats of fines. and point deductions.
This attitude is very disappointing, especially for Sebastian Vettel. The Aston Martin F1 driver drew attention away from his ‘dark humour’ weather t-shirt by strolling with his conspicuous and laughable boxers in the Miami paddock (see our article). Above all, the Aston Martin F1 driver, director of the GPDA, and very committed to safety, has an incomprehensible attitude since, precisely, the FIA prohibitions are not taken for fun, but for safety. “The use of non-fireproof materials in contact with the pilot’s skin, and in particular synthetic materials, can reduce protection against heat transmission and therefore increase the risk of burns in the event of a fire. In the worst case, these materials can melt, which can make treatment difficult in the event of a burn. (…) metallic objects, such as jewelry in contact with the skin, can reduce protection against heat transmission and therefore increase the risk of burns in case of fire” in fact Niels Wittich specified on the occasion of this weekend.
There are fights that it is better to know how to lose, and rather than not fight: Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton better think about it.
Failure #3: Daniel Ricciardo doesn’t save face
Daniel Ricciardo was transparent again last weekend at McLaren. And it didn’t come at the right time as rumors of a replacement by Colton Herta flourished… In qualifying, Daniel Ricciardo thus finished 8 tenths in Q2 behind his teammate Lando Norris. A difference that he attributed in particular to the traffic… But the excuse is less acceptable when we remember that it is simply the ninth consecutive time that Lando Norris has beaten his teammate in the fastest lap exercise. In the race, the Australian was unable to save appearances and even received a five-second penalty for taking advantage by going off the track. In short, we were expecting a revived Daniel Ricciardo with the new 2022 aero regulations – the gap seems to be leveling off, even widening. The Australian’s rating plummeted in the paddock.
We want to see…
The evolutions of Red Bull scrutinized by Ferrari with top budgets…
Red Bull has become a Ferrari killer on Sunday: this is the observation we can make for at least two Grands Prix. But this season, that of the new 2022 aerodynamic regulations, is such that the hierarchy could well move from race to race. Starting with Barcelona in the next Grand Prix.
Mattia Binotto recalled that Ferrari had not yet made any major changes to the Ferrari. And that he thought that Red Bull (which has developed its car much more, especially at Imola) could not keep up with this pace of development with limited budgets: “In the last two races, Red Bull has been a couple of tenths quicker. We have to launch our developments. We will have the first big plays in Barcelona. Red Bull has already spent a lot of money on their upgrades so hopefully with the budget cap they will loosen up their development at some point while we have upgrades available. That’s why I’m optimistically disappointed.” Mattia Binotto calmed down like this after Miami.
For Mattia Binotto, it would be surprising if Red Bull continued its hectic pace of development with limited budgets. Unless… it should be recalled that Mattia Binotto recently alerted the FIA to the possible risk of fraud in cap budgets, calling for tighter controls. If Red Bull still brings massive changes to Barcelona, should we expect controversy?