Author Archives: hfzakbr

Drama in Silverstone! Hamilton wins as Verstappen crash out

Following a very dominant display in the first-ever F1 Sprint yesterday, Max Verstappen lined up on a pole. Following just behind the Dutchman is Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas started the race from third on the grid. Sergio Perez, having to change up some of his parts, started from the pitlane on hards, while the rest of the field opted for mediums.

Written by Hafiz Akbar, Edited by Haneen Abbas

At the start, Hamilton is again out dragged by Verstappen, who was so quick off the line both yesterday and today. He kept Hamilton at bay for most of his race as he was involved in a lap one tangle with Hamilton in Copse, who tapped Verstappen quite hard and sent his car straight towards the tyre barrier. Max walked out of the 30+ G crash alive and well, although some reports suggest he was feeling a bit dizzy after he got out of the car. He was then rushed to the track medical center before being taken to a nearby hospital for a reported CT-Scan. The race was red-flagged and after an investigation from the stewards, Hamilton was awarded a 10-second time penalty which he served during his one and only pit stop.

The race restarted with a standing start. Charles Leclerc didn’t let the chance of overtaking Lewis just after the incident goes to waste. The Monegasque swooped from the inside line in Copse and overtook the reigning champion. He managed his restart very well and sped away from Hamilton in the second, spreading a gap of over one second by the first lap after the restart. Bottas, on the other hand, was overtaken by Lando Norris on the restart.

F1 British GP 2021: Formula 1's 2021 British GP Sprint Qualifying:  Verstappen claims pole | Marca

Pierre Gasly was warned by a black and white flag for exceeding track limits. A slew of slow pit stops followed just shortly after, with Norris, Alonso, and Sainz having slow stops.

Nearing the end of the race, due to Mercedes team orders, Hamilton was let through by Bottas to chase after Leclerc. Hamilton finalized the overtake on Leclerc on lap 50 after Leclerc led the whole race. He ended up winning the race with Leclerc in second and Bottas in third. This closes the gap for both the Constructors’ Championship, for Mercedes, and the Drivers’ Championship for Hamilton.

Hamilton credits Silverstone crowd for qualifying result — he starts first  in British GP sprint race - Motor Sport Magazine

We’ll meet again on August 1st at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Will we see Hamilton win again or will Verstappen step up his game and take claim to his dominance on the table? We’ll see. For the moment, we can say that the championship has taken a sharp and very eventful turn.


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Max Verstappen wins F1’s first ever sprint race

Written by Hafiz Akbar 

After an excitingly tight qualifying yesterday, it was Lewis Hamilton who would line up first for the inaugural Formula One Sprint. His title rival, Max Verstappen started second alongside the 7-time world champion.

The field mostly opted to run a medium tyre no-stop strategy because of the shorter race distance, with only Bottas, Räikönnen, Ocon, and Alonso starting with soft tyres.

And after two weeks of no Formula 1 excitement, its five lights out! Verstappen had an excellent start, leaving Hamilton in the dust. Alonso and Räikönnen had the best starts out of all the field, gaining six and four places respectively. On the other hand, Sainz was tapped by Russell, sending him into the run-off and sending him nine places down the order. This incident will be investigated after the session has drawn into a close.

The fight between Verstappen and Hamilton was very much the highlight of the sprint as the title rivals fought for pole position for the main race tomorrow. Putting up a good fight, Hamilton was eventually outpaced by the speedy Verstappen, who’s running a high downforce setup compared to Hamilton’s low drag setup. Both drivers also reported high amounts of blistering, with Verstappen even being told to stay off the kerbs on both sides!

Another highlight of the race was Sergio Perez running off the exit of Becketts after getting caught in the turbulent air and spinning out of control. The Mexican was eventually told to retire the car by his engineer.

Finally, after an exciting 17 laps around the legendary Silverstone circuit, it was Max Verstappen who took the first ever win of a Formula 1 sprint race, placing him on pole for tomorrow’s race. Lewis Hamilton finished the race in second, with Valtteri Bottas right behind him. George Russell, in his Williams, will start from ninth on the grid. Although not the highest in his career as a Williams driver, it’s still a marvellous result indeed – in front of his home crowd as well.

We’ll meet again tomorrow for the 2021 British Grand Prix. Will we see more of the same exciting overtaking action of today? Be sure not to miss the action tomorrow!

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Horner: “Toto should give him [Russell] a go”

Written by Hafiz Akbar, Edited by Morgan Holiday

Red Bull Honda Racing boss, Christian Horner, recently had an interview with Sky Sports F1 and gave his opinion on the possibility of George Russell driving for Mercedes in the near future.

The team principal commented that if George was in the open market there would be a lot of teams that would snap him up, but since he’s currently locked down with a contract to Mercedes, Horner stated that “I’m sure they have a clear plan for him.”

Horner also said that it’s about time George is awarded the next step in his career, which is obviously a drive with Mercedes in the near future, since the driver’s contract with Williams is running out this season. When asked about whether Red Bull themselves are eyeing on the young talented Brit, Horner answered:

“Look, if George was to be on the open market, it would be foolish not to look at him, of course. So, I don’t believe that’s the case with this agreement with Mercedes but he needs that chance, he needs that opportunity and Toto should give him a go. Lewis and George is a strong dynamic, it’d be great for British motorsport and I think he’s served his apprenticeship now.”

George Russell is yet to score big points since he first started his F1 career back in the 2019 season at the season opener in Australia. He’s been showing glimpses of what he’s capable of during the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, leading some laps of the race before having his race screwed up because of a tyre mix-up between his and Valtteri Bottas’ tyres. He did manage to score some points, finishing 9th in the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, who was out due to COVID-19.

This year, the young Briton has yet to score any points, but almost finished in the points back in the Austrian Grand Prix in his Williams.

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What if Max Spun to the Left?

Just three weeks ago, we were watching the Azerbaijan Grand Prix nearing its close. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Lance Stroll lost control of his car and slammed into the wall on the back straight. The safety car had to be deployed, of course, due to the amount of debris scattered on the track surface. Thankfully, Stroll made it out unscathed.

Written by Hafiz Akbar, edited by Janvi Unni 

Not long after the restart, race leader Max Verstappen, with just a handful of laps remaining on what should’ve been another race win to put in the bag, suffered a puncture of his right rear tyre. He immediately lost control of his RB16B and spun, hitting the barriers on his right. This immediately begs the question: what would happen if he went the other way?

To put things into perspective, we should know the Baku Street Circuit (the layout and whatnot) first.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2021 - F1 Race

So the point where Verstappen and Stroll both suffered their blowouts was in the main straight, which is the combination of two very high-speed corners in turns 19 and 20. From the exit of turn 19, drivers usually go flat out, with Valtteri Bottas setting the unofficial fastest record of 378 km/h (235 mph), going barely faster than Juan Pablo Montoya’s record in his McLaren back in the 2005 testing session in Monza.

In the layout, we can see that the pit lane is adjacent to the main straight and it’s somewhat a left-right chicane to keep the pitlane clear of any dangers from the track.

Now if Max corrected the spin and went to the left, instead of the right, we can assume by mirroring the car’s travel projection that he’ll go further than if he didn’t correct the spin and with the pit lane entry chicane barrier in the way, the rear of his car is most likely to slam into the chicane barrier. This sudden loss of speed is then transferred into rotational energy, also known as a violent spin, to the right. Estimates put the number of G’s experienced by Max at more than 30 G’s, with other estimates putting the number at a much higher 50 G’s. To put this into perspective, Anthoine Hubert’s crash in the 2019 F2 Belgian Grand Prix produced 70 G’s of deceleration.

But thankfully, Max made it out with barely any injuries to him, other than the obvious race win which surprisingly didn’t affect his title charge at all, since Lewis Hamilton made a mistake at the restart which sent him to the back of the pack and out of the points.

Former F1 driver and world champion Nico Rosberg commented that Baku [Street Circuit] is a dangerous track, especially the pit late entry. But Formula One’s Race Director Michael Masi begs to differ. He said that the pit lane entry meets all the required safety standards and does not need any changes to it whatsoever.

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Super Max wins the Austrian Grand Prix

Written by Hafiz Akbar, edited by Morgan Holiday

This Austrian Grand Prix witnessed a very exciting race between 19 drivers battling it out over the 71 laps that ensued. The front row saw the first-ever McLaren on the front row in over a decade, with the last time being Lewis Hamilton back when he was still driving for the Woking-based team. Just in front of him was Max Verstappen. Mercedes didn’t have the best qualifying session this round but still started the race in 4th and 5th for Hamilton and Bottas.

The race went underway as Verstappen got away very nicely from the line with Norris right up his back, followed by Sergio Perez and the two Mercedes. Coming into turn 1, no contact was made but in turn 3, Esteban Ocon was squeezed and had his front right sheared, ending his race just short of a lap in.

Norris had a tricky first stint, losing out to Hamilton after 20 laps and was slapped with a 5 second time penalty after he pushed Perez out and sent him back to 10th place. Norris went ahead and finished 3rd, having found his pace after his first pitstop. Giovinazzi and Tsunoda were also slapped with 5 second time penalties for overtaking under the safety car and crossing pitlane entry respectively. Tsunoda was slapped with another penalty for the same offence. Perez was also slapped with two 5 second penalties after pushing Charles Leclerc twice off the track.

George Russell had a magnificent qualifying session and got into Q3 for the first time in the Williams, although ended up out of the points in 11th place. This marks one of his best performances by far in his F1 career.

In the last lap of the race, Kimi Räikkönen turned into ex-teammate Sebastian Vettel, sending both off the track.

After a dominant performance from the Dutch wunderkind, Max Verstappen won the Austrian Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas in second place, followed by Lando Norris in third. This extends Verstappen’s title charge advantage, although Red Bull is on the losing side this race, with Sergio Perez finishing on the lower side of the points places.

F1 will be back next week in Silverstone, with the proposed inaugural Sprint Qualifying set to take place at the same weekend.

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Red Bull and Verstappen warned chequered flag burnout

Written by Hafiz Akbar, Edited by Esmée Koppius

F1 race director Michael Masi has issued a warning towards Red Bull Racing because of a ‘victory burnout’ that one of their drivers, Max Verstappen, did yesterday. The young talented Dutchman won the Styrian Grand Prix with some margin to the next driver and championship rival Lewis Hamilton, leading every lap of the race after qualifying in pole the day before.

Masi spoke after the race and made himself clear that this kind of action must not happen again and that it will not be tolerated in future races.

As clearly stated in the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, Article 43.3, any post-race celebrations that drivers do must be done within strict limits, including but not limited to:

  1. Performed safely and does not endanger other drivers or any officials
  2. Does not call into question the legality of the car
  3. Does not delay the podium ceremony.

Verstappen did the act whilst being so close to the chequered flag, violating Point a) of the article we’ve just mentioned, which in turn prompted Masi to issue the warning as it was a dangerous act to do at the time. Whilst he was some distance away from Hamilton in second place, there are still the backmarkers who are still battling the race out to the very end and in the hypothetical event that Verstappen spun, those backmarkers could’ve hit him. Had he done it in the cooldown lap, it wouldn’t be viewed as dangerous since all, or rather, most, of the drivers have made their way into the pits

Verstappen himself has had quite the impressive start to the season, racking up four wins out of the eight races already held this season, sending him top of the provisional world championship table. His team, Red Bull Racing, is also top of the standings following an abysmal Monaco GP, and two absolutely dreadful races in Baku three weeks ago and Le Castellet last week by the current Constructors’ Champion, Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 Team.

Zhou to make F1 debut in Austrian GP

Alpine academy member and reserve driver Guanyu Zhou, is set to take to the track in a Formula 1 car for the first time this weekend, following a press release from Alpine which detailed that the young Chinese driver will take over Fernando Alonso’s A521 for the first round of free practice this Friday.

Written by Hafiz Akbar, edited by Janvi Unni

Zhou joined the Alpine academy earlier that year after three terrific campaigns in the F3 European Championship. He went on to score five podiums and was awarded the title of best rookie. He will be the first Chinese driver to participate in a weekend after an eight year hiatus.

Zhou commented: “To compete in the FP1 of a Formula 1 Grand Prix is ​​a dream come true and one more step towards my ultimate goal as an F1 driver. It will be really special. I will prepare as much as possible while making sure to achieve all the goals and plans set by the team. There haven’t been a lot of Chinese drivers in Formula 1, so there will probably be a lot of pride when it comes to getting behind the wheel. It will be all the more special when I drive Fernando’s car, whose career inspired me when I was younger. I am very happy with what I have accomplished so far and am extremely grateful to the many people who have supported me. My goal is to maximize this opportunity and I can’t wait to be there.”

Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine, commented: “Entering F1 is an incredibly difficult challenge for young drivers and we are proud to support future talents in their adventure. In his role as test driver, Guanyu has participated in test and other sessions in the simulator, so his participation in free practice with the current car represents a logical and important step for one of the greatest hopes of the academy. This experience will help him greatly in his steady progress towards his ultimate goal of getting a wheel in F1.”

Will we see Zhou in a race anytime soon? Only time (or one of Alpine’s drivers catching the coronavirus) will tell.

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Max Verstappen wins the French Grand Prix

Written by Hafiz Akbar, edited by Tanishka Vashee

After an exciting qualifying yesterday, Max Verstappen lined up on pole for the second time this season. Just beside the young Dutchman sits Lewis Hamilton, who was only two tenths seconds off the speedy Verstappen. Starting the second row is the ice cold Finn in the Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas, who is just one tenth of a second off his teammate. Next to the Finn is new Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez with the hopes of helping his pole sitter teammate.

From the back, it’s a crashed-out Yuki Tsunodq who will start from the pit lane.Lance Stroll, who got his time deleted due to track limits infringement will be starting p19. In front of the Aston Martin sits Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and Kimi Raikkonen completes the back four.

It was predicted to rain with a 90% chance of precipitation just moments before the race.But shortly before the race started, the rain calmed down and gave way to a full dry race for F1.

As the race started, Verstappen got away fairly well and managed to pull away from Hamilton. But the lead wouldn’t last long because Verstappen went wide on turn 1, giving way for Hamilton to take provisional lead. This lockup may be caused by him going through the formation lap too fast and stopping for too long, hence the cold tyres and no grip.

On lap 11, Hamilton reported that his tyres are graining, which means tyre degradation was high. Several other drivers also reported high degradation on the choice of compounds that Pirelli chose to bring to this race, which is the C2 as softs, C3 as mediums, and C4 as hards, with the majority of the grid running a medium tyre start.

This was a great race for third place contender, McLaren. They saw themselves finish fifth for Lando Norris and sixth for Daniel Ricciardo. The duo was also involved in some feisty battles with veteran driver Fernando Alonso for 10th place, which the pair absolutely won.

On the other hand, this is one race to forget for Scuderia Ferrari as they fluffed their strategies by pitting Charles Leclerc three laps earlier than the others, putting him out of contention for points.

Valtteri Bottas reported shortly before the race ended that his tyres were out and complained that the strategy should be to utilise the two-stop strategy.

Verstappen attempted not one, but two undercuts and the second one worked, barely, as he overtook Hamilton just before the long back straight. He gained a total of more than 20 seconds over a race distance.

After a great two hours of racing, it was Max Verstappen, the young Dutchman to win the French Grand Prix. This win extends his lead over championship rival Lewis Hamilton, who was before the race, behind by four points and now will be behind by around 11 points.

Meanwhile, in the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull extended their lead too as they got a double podium, with Max winning the race and Sergio Perez coming in third.

In the perspective of a Formula One fan, this race had everything one would enjoy. It had drama (just a tad bit), long battles for positions, epic strategies in full swing, and so much more. We’ll be back next week as the Steiermark GP takes place and for now, Max Verstappen and Red Bull will have the upper hand.

Bottas contract talks happening ‘in near future’

Written by Hafiz Akbar, Edited by Hazel Alagappan

Valtteri Bottas is very much looking forward to having his seat in the championship team, Mercedes, secured for next year.  As the Finn expects the team to start discussions about a renewal ‘in the near future’.

Perhaps it is the light at the end of the tunnel, as Bottas is currently on a string of bad luck heading into the French GP. If this goes ahead, then surely it is a sign the team is putting a lot of faith in the Finnish driver.

Bottas fared rather abysmally in the Azerbaijan GP last week. He struggled to find any pace whatsoever in his W12 and had great difficulty getting past the opposition. He ended up twelfth on the grid.  Making it a nil race for Mercedes as his teammate, Lewis Hamilton locked up coming into turn one after the restart, arguably losing him(Hamilton) the race.

Bottas entered the Formula One(F1) scene back in 2013, driving for Williams F1 Team. In the legendary British team, the Finn drove beside polarising figure, and former F1 driver, Pastor Maldonado and very briefly world champion, Felipe Massa. He achieved a high finish of 4th in the Drivers’ Championship. Before being signed as the replacement of the World Champion, Nico Rosberg who had just announced his shock retirement from the sport. 

Bottas explained,“I am still enjoying Formula One, of course, very much and racing at the front, and I really love it and I still enjoy it as much as I did, for example in my first year with Mercedes, no doubt.

“If I look at the bigger picture, for sure I still have a good few years in me. I feel like year on year I keep improving on certain areas and keep getting better. I’m quite far from the oldest drivers on the grid so, in theory, I still have time, but you just don’t know what the future holds. I take it weekend by weekend and see what comes.”

His seven time world champion teammate, Lewis Hamilton is also out of contract by the end of this year. And after two abysmal races on street circuits (Monaco and Baku), that left team principal Toto Wolff disappointed, perhaps it’s not the best time to talk about driver lineups.

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Mclaren confirm Extreme E for 2022

Written by Hafiz Akbar, Edited by Bruna Brito

Iconic British car maker and racing team, McLaren have announced their commitment to race in Extreme E from the 2022 season and onwards. 

The team with legendary status in the motorsports scene will open a new chapter in their quest to claim glory, having won the Formula 1 World Championship eight times. The Mclaren Extreme E team itself will be run by existing team members outside the Formula 1 scene.

This marks a great stride towards McLaren’s goal of net-zero emissions while simultaneously reaching out to a new fanbase and help grow the McLaren name even bigger than it already is.

Extreme E itself is a new motorsports series, with its maiden season in the scene taking place this year and with no predictions and knowledge of what the teams are capable of, it can be an interesting series to keep your eyes on.

CEO of Extreme E, Alejandro Agag, stated:“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Zak and the powerhouse McLaren Racing team to Extreme E, and it’s safe to say, we can’t wait to see how the team performs in its first off-road, electric racing debut. Season 2 just got very exciting!”

Meanwhile, Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing commented: “From the moment Extreme E was announced we have been following the progress of the series closely. Our attention was immediately drawn by the innovative format of this motorsport platform, in particular the ability it gives us to accelerate and boost our own overarching sustainability agenda, which shares the same priorities of decarbonisation, waste reduction, diversity and equality.”

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