The 2016 Russian Grand Prix included records broken, first lap mayhem, overtakes aplenty, and a parental advisory sticker due to the exasperations of one seriously peeved Ferrari driver. Re-live the Russian GP in the typical Badger fashion below – it’s the Badgerometer!
Unless you’ve been living under a wifi-devoid rock, you’ll have seen Ferrari’s ‘Halo‘ head protection concept tested back in Barcelona testing in February. We’re not sure, but it could be the most contentious thing we’ve ever seen in F1; seldom before has opinion been so divided on a topic in the sport.
Now, on a more serious note, I think I can speak for pretty much all racing fans when I say that safety is not something to be taken lightly. If the powers that be think that increased head protection will reduce the risk of serious injuries, there’s not much point in me arguing; they make the rules, I make bad puns. It’s a good to and fro.
However, when the Halo was unveiled and showcased in Barcelona, I couldn’t help but think it was an awful compromise. Maybe it’s safer than a bare cockpit, and maybe, as Kimi said, the visibility is okay. But Kimi’s a man of few words, and “Okay” can mean anything from “I just won the world championship” to “I retired on Lap 7” to the famously stoic Iceman.
Given the choice, safety must always come before car aesthetics, but the halo looked dreadful, and if it does the same job as the Aeroscreen, surely the latter is preferable. Red Bull trialled it in Sochi, and it didn’t look too shabby.
Well, sorta. Everyone’s favourite Venezuelan (Sorry, Johnny Cecotto Jr) Pastor Maldonado is back in F1 thanks to Pirelli. He’s been testing prototype 2017 tyres at Mugello and Barcelona in a GP2 car, and later in the year the rubber company want to simulate a 2017-style F1 car by beefing up a 2015 chassis.
Not a whole bunch of tracks are available for testing, so it’s thought that JEV will hop into a 2015 Ferrari and put it through its paces at Fiorano, the private test track of the Prancing Horse.
Still, it’s good to know there’s life after F1 for one of our mascots, and at least in tyre testing there’s nobody to crash into…
A double McPoints Burger with cheese
It’s taken a heck of a long time, but McLaren have finally bagged their second double-points finish with Honda, thirteen races after doing so in last year’s rain-hit Hungarian GP.
There might have been a bit of a melee at the start of the race which eliminated Vettel, Verstappen and Hulkenberg, but factor these three in, and you still have points on merit.
Not to mention Fernando Alonso essentially turning up the engine for a larf, a feat, which along with his sixth-place finish earned him our Top Dog award for the race.
McLaren are also planning on bringing ‘Significant upgrades’ to the Spanish GP. This could be Ronspeak and it turns out the mirrors are getting a new sponsor, but it could be a smoother ride ahead for McLaren.
Silver Arrows, Silver foil hats
Nico Rosberg’s seven consecutive wins in F1 are nothing short of brilliant. Who else has done it? Schumacher, Ascari and Vettel. How many world titles do the three men possess? Thirteen. Not to mention that the only people to win the first four rounds of the season are Schumacher, Mansell and Senna; all of whom won the title that year.
Clearly, the prospect of ‘F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg’ is too much for a few jaded members of the Lewis Hamilton TeamLH Blessed I’ve got all the merchandise brigade to bear, and so they cooked up some quite brilliantly mad conspiracy theories.
Some of these included things like Mercedes deliberately sabotaging Hamilton’s engine in Qualifying to ‘give’ Rosberg pole position. Other were quick to point out that Rosberg’s seven consecutive wins don’t count because three of the wins from last season, and any old sucker with a DVLA license can totally dominate the first four races of an F1 season.
Toto Wolff was quick to dismiss the thoughts of the “Twitter Lunatics”, but I think Niki Lauda put it best:
Ted asks Niki Lauda about the so called Hamilton “conspiracy”
Niki’s response: “Bullshit”
Nicely put. #RussianGP
— Fantasy GP (@Fantasy_GP) May 1, 2016
From Russia without Love
Call it unfortunate, call it fate; Dany Kvyat and Sebastian Vettel had another incident in Russia, and this time there was far more in it than the misdemeanour in China.
Coming towards the braking zone for Turn 2, Kvyat locked his rear brakes and hopelessly slid into
Sebastian’s DMs the back of the Ferrari, instantly puncturing Vettel’s left-rear tyre. Seb put the power down, but half way round turn 3, realised his tyre was punctured, duly slowed down, was hit by Kvyat again, and was pitched into the wall on the outside of the corner.
It led to maybe the angriest outburst of the German’s career:
It’s hard to tell through all the bleeping, but we think we’e sussed what each bleep covered. Just play the clip and try to line up the bleeps with what’s in bold:
“Oh for goodness sake! Who the heck? Oh I’m out, crashed. Somebody hit me in the flipping rear in Turn 2, and then somebody hit me in the gosh-darn rear again in turn 3. For heaven’s sake. Honestly. What the diddly are we doing here?”
Sebastian then rode the driver recovery scooter back to the pits himself, had a chat to former boss Christian Horner about the clash, and left the circuit. This meant that Daniil Kvyat was only able to apologise on the phone rather than in person.
Whether the two are on speaking terms will be found out at the next round in Barcelona.