2020 Russia Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Many world class drivers, just like many world class athletes, are very self centered, not gracious losers, with a "the world is out to get me" attitude. These traits drive these athletes and what sets them apart from the average Joe. This was evident this past weekend from both Mercedes drivers. Hamilton with his "the FIA is trying to slow me down with ridiculous penalties" and Bottas with his "to my critics, fuck you" comments. It never dawns on them, they could possibly be wrong. They didn't get to where they are by ever thinking that way.
EVENT: Russia is supposedly closed off from the world due to COVID-19. The F1 circus had to jump through hoops to get there. The GP was open to a limited number of fans. All of whom one would assume would be Russian citizens. Then, why did it appear way more non-Russian flags were being waved from the grandstands?
TRACK: Turn 2 certainly brings a lot of excitement. But, the rest of the track can be placed in the dumpster.
QUALIFYING: By 1.25 seconds Hamilton makes it out of Q2, once again Bottas is fastest on Friday, Hamilton is fastest on Saturday, even Verstappen is faster than Bottas when it counts, Perez and Ricciardo are outstanding, Gasly is back in Q3, Albon disappears again, and Vettel's crash messes up Mercedes' race tire strategy.
RACE: The Hamilton penalty robbed us of seeing him on the wrong strategy due to the crazy qualifying versus Bottas on the correct strategy.
START: Back to craziness, Sainz forgets the wall -- unlike stryoform bollards -- does not move, Stroll once again wastes the new parts, Verstappen sets the record for fastest car through the bollards, Bottas gets the start he finally needs, but when all is said and done Hamilton hangs on to the lead.
BOTTAS: We believe Valtteri probably would have won this race anyway due to the tire strategy situation. But, it certainly was made easier and gave him less chance to choke.
HAMILTON: You don't know where the rule is? How, about read the race director's supplemental race notes? Like every amateur club racer knows to do. And if you are too lazy to read them, don't blame others. Blame. You. And. Your. Team.
MERCEDES: The is the second time in three races they have screwed up procedurally. This is basic process stuff. An organization of your magnitude should never be messing up like this.
VERSTAPPEN: We supposed he has to be happy considering the prior two consecutive DNFs.
ALBON: Oof. That was a bad performance by Alex all weekend. No other way to sugarcoat it. Especially after redeeming himself last race.
PEREZ: A huge statement race for Sergio after his team decided to dump him.
STROLL: Once again, the only car with his team's updated parts. Once again, though not his fault this time, it ended up against the wall.
RACING POINT: Both cars should have the updated parts for the next race which has shown to make a real difference. It's not extreme to say this team could be logically fighting for podium spots without needing breaks.
RICCIARDO: A better race than Daniel expected.
OCON: Circumstances hurt his race.
RENAULT: They continue to impress.
MCLAREN: While the customer team had a terrible race.
SAINZ: Carlos. Carlos. Carlos. What a silly, silly mistake. That one hurt just watching it from the living room.
NORRIS: It also spoiled Lance's race.
KVYAT: Looks more and more likely Daniil will lose his ride as Honda will probably insist on putting Yuki Tsunoda in that seat. In the meantime, Kvyat looked strong all day.
LECLERC: Another performance by Charles beyond what the car is capable of.
VETTEL: While Sebastian continues to perform below what the car is capable of, unable to beat Ferrari customer cars.
WILLIAMS: Not so shabby on Saturday. Still terrible on Sunday.
GROSJEAN: Sending bollard pieces flying everywhere.
FIA: We agree with removing the two penalty points against Hamilton's license for the practice start infractions. This was more an infraction committed by the team, like an unsafe release from the pits, than from the driver.
F2: Mick Schumacher drove the best race of his career taking the feature win. A massive crash ended the sprint race early handing Schumacher third place, albeit with half points. He now leads the championship by 22 points. F2 is off for two months before they finish up with the Bahrain doubleheader.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Bollards.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 19.1 -- The item number in the Race Directors’ Event Notes which talks about practice starts. An item apparently nobody on Mercedes believes is important to read...
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Only two grands prix have had a home driver compete in every single event. The newish Russan GP with only seven events and the longtime British GP with 71 events. Obviously, a Russian driver has never won his GP. While 12 British drivers have won a total of 27 times at home -- Lewis Hamilton (7 times), Jim Clark (5), Nigel Mansell (4), Stirling Moss (2, once with Tony Brooks), Jackie Stewart (2), David Coulthard (2), Peter Collins (1), James Hunt (1), John Watson (1), Damon Hill (1), and Johnny Herbert (1)
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: More like the understatement of the weekend when McLaren tweeted after Sainz's first lap crash, "Not the start we would have liked."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: When Daniel Ricciardo was notified of a five-second penalty, instead of whining 'why me?', he calmly stated, "Okay, I'll drive faster. I'll make up for it." And he did, leaving more than five seconds between him and the car behind him at the finish.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: During practice, Romain Grosjean spun. He asked over the radio, "What happened?" His engineer deadpanned, "You spun."
SCHEDULE: Another two-week break, much to the liking of F1 participants. Then, we return to the (neutered) Nurburgring where it is not called the German GP. Just another point of craziness in 2020.
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