As the travelling circus heads off on its summer break, it’s time to reflect on an entertaining first half of the season and a Hungarian Grand Prix that saw Lewis Hamilton extend his lead at the top of the table. Don’t worry there’s more to talk about than that though as Chris Fawcett gives you his five talking points.
The Red Bull/Renualt D.I.V.O.R.C.E.
More befitting of the Jeremy Kyle show than a racetrack on a Sunday, the seemingly forever fractured relationship between the fizzy drinks company and the French engine suppliers reached new lows at Hungary.
A lap 6 retirement for Max Verstappen was just the latest in a long line of power-affected endings for the Milton Keynes-based outfit. Truthfully, if it wasn’t for a rain soaked qualifying session, the Red Bulls could have quite easily have won around the Hungaroring. The pace that Daniel Ricciardo displayed throughout meant that overtaking around the “enlarged go kart track” was simple. He must have been the only one who got the memo though.
The expletive filled radio rant was all the young Dutchman could say after seeing yet another promising result taken away from him. Christian Horner allured to “value for money” and a lack of it when Renault are concerned, so it’s not only the drivers who’re chipping in with comments. Adding to this was the revelation that Renault themselves “no longer listen” to Horner, and haven’t since 2015.
Next season sees the introduction of Honda power units into the Red Bull car. The “testing” phase inside the Toro Rosso this year appears to have gone as well as anyone could have hoped for and proven that maybe there was more the other failed relationship with McLaren than we first thought.
Nevertheless, while this is all boiling away, a certain Aussie has yet to commit his future to the team, it’s looking ever more likely that it will happen, but what if…
Those damn graphics
F1 is a sport built with speed in mind. Of course we have (begrudged) periods of engine saving and tyre management, but essentially the cars are not just cruising around lap after lap.
Which makes it even more annoying and in my eyes, patronising to have billboards graphically enhanced with the phrase “push now” aimed at a particular driver. What does that even mean? Anyone who’s watching and has half a brain cell can see if a car is under threat from a driver behind, so the inclusion of “push now” every other lap only takes away from the actual spectacle of an on-track battle.
Genuinely this could become a problem, I’ve already talked (groaned) about the Heineken stars which were becoming ever more evident during race coverage but I’ve also seen the words “danger zone” flashing up on the screen to indicate a heavy braking area while onboard with a car on a practice lap. Is the audience becoming so disengaged that the most simple of concepts is having to be explained or over dramatised to keep our attention?
There is no place for this in the sport, end of.
Have a drink on me
After a much confused discussion with his race engineer, Kimi Raikkonen drove the entirety of the Hungarian Grand Prix without a drink, I thought that was hugely impressive considering how drained the drivers looked afterwards.
Then Marcus Ericsson pipes up on twitter explaining that he hasn’t had one installed for over two years due to the tight weight restrictions enforced.
These drivers are supreme athletes and regardless of whether it’s “safe” to go nearly two hours in sometimes extreme heat without any fluids, it isn’t my place to say. What I do know is that I have at least two cuppas during each race while being sat down.
Have a drink on me lads, you’ve earned it.
Everyone needs a decent wingman
It’s that time of year when points get precious and team orders are a little more rigid than they were earlier in the season. This means that certain drivers are drafted in to help their counterparts achieve the best result they can. In Valtteri Bottas’ and Kimi Raikkonen’s case, this means aiding your team mate towards the drivers title.
I’ve said many times this year how a lack of killer instinct on track has damaged Bottas’ season. There have been stand out moments and times when luck hasn’t been on his side. Everything taken into account though, he’s just not performed as well as Lewis Hamilton.
He did a mighty fine job holding Sebastian Vettel up around Hungary before forgetting that he wasn’t competing in a destruction derby (tyres fault, not his). But what hurt more than the on-track incidents were the comments made by Toto Wolff afterwards calling him a “great wingman”, he didn’t like it one bit when it was repeated back to him by Natalie Pinkham.
It’s a sad part of the sport but its always been there, just ask Rubens Barrichello.
Summer transfer window
What? Where is this? Ah, it’s got it’s own article, check it out here.