Welcome back gear-heads! The dust has settled on another race weekend this time in the capital
city of Hungary, Budapest. This shorter circuit has given us some fantastic races over the last few years but it was last year’s result that gave fans eager anticipation for what was to come on
Sunday. The weekend starting on Friday saw some drivers struggle with the rain. Qualifying threw up a bunch of surprises notably the first pole for George Russell in the Mercedes but I felt it was at the expense of the shockers for Max in P10 and Sergio not making it to Q2 in P15 for Sunday’s grid. This seemed to let the door open ever so slightly for Ferrari to potentially make their move if they had a chance at either of the championship races.
Now on to Sunday; thankfully there was only a chance of rain that could compromise performance towards the end of the race. So would Mercedes get their maiden win of the season or would Ferrari finally have a banner weekend?
This might have been one of his best performances of the season because starting at P10 and finishing as a winner is no small feat but the ease at which he did it was remarkable. The pitting
strategy has to be acknowledged as being spot on when it came to timing as well as execution.
The best part about it is that even though he made a mistake it was the recovery that was the stuff of legend. Midway through the race a spin out occurred but classic Max spun a complete 360º and end up on the track ever so gracefully. He’s more relaxed and poised as ever
understanding the moment he is in and he’s turning into a problem for the rest of the field to catch.
Ending with driver of the day, Max continues to show why he is one of the faces of Formula 1 now and for the foreseeable future.
After the surprise pole position from George Russell, the expectations were quite high for the team. However, it was Lewis Hamilton who would end up taking all the plaudits by getting a P2 finish with just solid racing. The only issue is that the car is still far off the pace of Red Bull by the tune of 8 seconds from first to second. I think they will get that victory come hell or high water but half the season is gone and I am sure this is not where Mercedes wanted to be, but I think from the start of the season to now the brass would be satisfied with the performances. Another feather in the cap of the team is that Hamilton added another point for the unexpected fastest lap team on the day.
Honestly I had to check the stats twice because it didn’t seem to make sense as the narrative of
the car this year just doesn’t have the pace. My suspicion is that next year after all the data they
have from this year’s car the German manufacturer will make a car that will be fighting for P1 every race.
When looking back at just the stats of the race you aren’t really blown away by the numbers. He
started at P4 but ended up at P7 but with the tyre issue everyone had on the hard compound tyres he did seem to rescue what could have been a terrible afternoon. For it not his efforts and the performance of his teammate the gap between them and Alpine could be wider. He’s single
handedly keeping the race for the best of the rest close. If only they could get him a car that could match his talent.
After this weekend’s result and having their drivers in the points consistently meant that Alpine was a big late winner at the weekend. It could have gone a different way had Ricciardo not got that 5 second penalty on Stroll Jr. but Alpine have had drivers finish in the points on just what feels like every weekend that I just didn’t realize how much better they are as one of the best of the rest. Though they may have a problem on the horizon as the shakeup of the driver line up being reported. More on that later.
The German drive made headlines with his announcement earlier in the week that he would be
retiring at the end of the season. So all eyes would be on him as he finishes the last 9 races of his career and on Sunday he didn’t disappoint.
Now gear-heads, off to the losers from the weekend!
Charles LeClerc and Ferrari:
This race was another let down for Ferrari fans especially because they had both P2 and P3 on the grid coming into the race on Sunday and they made nothing with it. LeClerc was just off and
couldn’t find the speed. He was lapped twice by Max and it was like taking candy from a baby.
This result leaves them well off the pace in terms of the championship in both categories. They
aren’t catching Red Bull and if they aren’t careful they’ll get caught by Mercedes for that second
spot. The year has gone pear shaped and I am looking at the pit wall here now. No team was doing well on the hard tyres and that didn’t seem to bother Ferrari whatsoever. The team needs to sort themselves out because this chance of glory for LeClerc is slipping away. And to boot, his
teammate finished higher than him and is hitting a bit of form finishing P4. Things have to change fast so thank God for the summer break.
It was reported this weekend would the first upgrades that Haas would be debuting on
Magnussen’s car but within the first lap he damages his car with Alex Albon and never really got
going. Schumacher didn’t do much of anything either and so it was an all-around crap day for the American Formula 1 team. Gunther was probably breaking down again like he would on Drive to Survive. Clearly their form has dropped off but I am right in thinking that if thinks don’t move in the right direction the American businessman might cut bait.
Unfortunately, this might not go down as the most exciting race if you aren’t a Red Bull or Mercedes fan. Since this turned into much more of a strategic race there wasn’t really the drama that one might have got used to over the last few weekends. But it really goes to show how layered the sport is if there are so many ways to get the upper hand. When the dust had settled it was reported that the real star behind Max’s victory was the chief strategy engineer Hannah Schmitz, who orchestrated the pit timing for her team.
But it wasn’t only racing that started to kick off as we finished the weekend. As I mentioned earlier Vettel is hanging it up and that would mean an open seat at Aston Martin. And directly out of left field Fernando Alonso was announced to be taking the German’s spot for next season. It appears a falling out at Alpine had happened over the amount of time that Alonso would have wanted and in Alpine they have the current Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri waiting in the wings. Problem here is that he has a pre-agreement with another team and the speculation is that it is McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo’s seat. This has caused a massive upheaval. Ricciardo had been confirmed to be in his seat for 2023 and the former race winner for McLaren is being made to be the scapegoat for this horrible merry go round. Ricciardo deserves more in the sport it should go without saying no matter how promising someone might be they haven’t proved it at the top level, and that’s what the issue is at the moment. No one is arguing that Piastri isn’t deserving but it would have been perfect AT THE TEAM HE’S THE RESERVE DRIVER FOR!!! As well for next season it has been confirmed that Alex Albon is staying on at Williams and were it not for a few decent performances it’s been poor but it is the best they could hope for.
Okay guys, what weekend and last few days. It has been a chaotic around my gaff so my apologies for anyone who was waiting on me to get this out. I promise to be more rapid in analysis going forward.
Until next time gear-heads!