The Old Switch-A-Roo – British GP 2018

The British GP was another solid race. Despite the race dying down a bit after the opening lap’s madness, we still had two safety cars and a furious battle for race victory.

The Top-10:

  1. Sebastian VettelVettel was strong all through the day and managed to overtake Bottas on the last few laps after the Finn’s tyres wore out. Vettel strengthened his hold on the championship lead but it’s still going to be a tough battle for the championship.
  2. Lewis HamiltonAfter being sent to a spin by a touch-incident with Räikkönen, Hamilton was lucky to score points at all. But the Brit pulled through on his home circuit. A fantastic drive.
  3. Kimi RäikkönenWithout the 10 second penalty he received for bumping off Hamilton, Räikkönen could have battled for race victory. Still, Kimi is still the number-3 man in the championship and can be more than proud of this result.

Mercedes is probably more than a little disappointed for not having two cars on podium today. In fairness, keeping Bottas out during the safety car seemed like an incredibly risky move. Bottas was leading the latter half of the race when his tyres finally started to wear out. A shame but certainly not a poor result. Red Bull achieved a pyrrhic victory of sorts. Both of their cars were fighting for a position in the top-5 and Ricciardo was sadly the only Red Bull to finish when his team-mate had to call it quits with a technical problem.

An off-day for Renault as well, Nico Hülkenberg brought the team some more valuable points at 6th, keeping the team as the best of the rest, behind the top-3.

Force India could have maybe driven for better points. Esteban Ocon’s 7th place was more than adequate but it seemed Sergio Perez wouldn’t make the grade after he was spun out on the first lap in an incident involving Pierre Gasly. Gasly who finished 10th, was given a penalty after the race which raised Perez to 10th.

Fernando Alonso proved once again that he’s worth every penny to McLaren. The British constructor is in internal turmoil due to the recent firing of their team-principal and the team’s qualifyings were just pathetic. And yet, here is the double champion fighting tooth and nail for his 8th place position. Alonso may be able to do without McLaren, the real question is can McLaren do without Alonso.

After it looked like Haas were finally getting their act together in the excellent Austrian showing, the team now saw only one car make the chequered flag. No flies on Kevin Magnussen at 9th.

Golden Pineapple Award: Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren

Vandoorne has not scored points since the Azerbaijan round and his last few races have not been auspicious. I keep wondering exactly why McLaren keeps a driver who fails to make any meaningful progress in its fold. Sure, the 2018 season has seen the cars be unusually equal. Here’s the rough of it, this is not the 2017 McLaren-Honda, this is the 2018 McLaren-Renault. The same car which in spite of horrible qualifying times Vandoorne’s team-mate has managed to drive to points in 7 of the 10 races. For Stoffel, he really has to start fighting for his points.

Drop-out count: 6

Alas poor Brendon Hartley, his chances of making any progress towards keeping his Toro Rosso drive were dashed on Saturday morning when his front right suspension gave out all on its own, wrecking his car, making it impossible for him to take part in the qualifying, forcing him to start from the pits and retire after one lap. Absolutely everything went wrong today for the Kiwi driver so I can’t blame him for anything.

After their awe-inspiring performance in Austria, Sauber had a complete reversal of fortunes this time. Not only did Charles Leclerc have to retire after he went off the track due to a technical problem, Marcus Ericsson had a dangerous looking accident when his DRS was still on when he turned the car to a corner, leading to a safety car session.

No sooner had the first safety car cleared the track it was called out for a second time when Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz rammed each other out of the race while striving for points.

And finally, Max Verstappen – who has really been making amends for his poor start to the season – suffered a technical issue while driving in the top-5 and had to retire only a few laps before the finish line.

Back of the Lot News:

Williams had another horrible weekend. Lance Stroll, who didn’t put in a time in qualifying and had to start from the pits along with his team-mate, was lapped early on and finished 12th.

Pierre Gasly finished 10th but was penalized after the race and dropped to 13th (for bumping off Perez).

Dead Last: Sergey SirotkinWilliams were suffering from issues with their rear-wings in the qualifying and this seemed to have utterly wrecked their chances of a good finish. It feels bad declaring Sirotkin this season’s worst rookie (since he and his team-mate can barely do anything with the car) but with this last place finish, Sirotkin has officially claimed the lead for most last-place finishes. Better luck next time, Sergey!