Zhou reflects on his crash at Silverstone

Reflecting on the horrific crash at Silverstone

By: Jake Rajala

The 23-year-old Alfa Romeo driver, Zhou Guanyu had a romantic outcome at the Canadian Grand Prix — as he finished in eighth place. Unfortunately, Guanyu endured serious adversity at the British GP. As shown across the globe, Zhou collided with George Russell and Alex Albon and was then airborne over the barrier.

He clearly cheated death and came away with a scratch from the incident. Zhou is even dumbstruck that he walked away from the incident. Per The Guardian, Zhou stated, “I don’t know how I survived”. He elaborated about the incident, “It wasn’t hurting but it was very cold on the left-hand side, so I didn’t know if it was blood and I wasn’t feeling any more or something. I was just making sure about if the engine caught on fire because in that position you are really stuck”. He also was in awe of the spot he was squashed in. Per Sky Sports, he stated, “I was waiting for them to flip my car over because I didn’t know how I was stuck between the barriers and the fence.

Luckily, Zhou didn’t transcend into a pretzel from the incident and it’s beyond incredible that the F1 technology (particularly the Halo) has evolved throughout the F1’s existence.

Zhou’s partner Valtteri Bottas also didn’t have an exciting outcome at the British GP: 17th/DNF. Nonetheless, he hasn’t lost faith in his clan. After six months on the team, he’s confident that they can have success — yet, he’s firm that Alfa Romeo will need to be authentic. Per GP Fans, Bottas stated, “I truly believe it is possible because it is the same budget for everyone, then it is about being innovative. If you are able to think outside the box sometimes when others haven’t, then it is possible but that really needs outside the box thinking mentally from the team”.

5 drivers that need to bounce back at the Austrian GP

Which driver really needs to bounce back at the Austrian GP

By: Jake Rajala

The British GP delivered a lot of excitement and surprising success. Carlos Sainz Jr. nicely notched his first-place finish of the season in Montreal. It also inspiring to see the F1 poster-boy Lewis Hamilton find third place late in the race and hold onto the position until the end. With that said, I’m going to reflect on five drivers that didn’t have a satisfying outcome at the GP, so they need to absolutely bounce back at the Austrian GP.

Max Verstappen

It’s obvious that the F1 leader, Max Verstappen, didn’t plan on not even finding the podium last Sunday. Verstappen finished in seventh place at the British GP. Although, it should be noted that he did have unavoidable debris that hurt his car. It should be said that even the reigning F1 Champion will face adversity, just as Sergio Perez had a DNF at the Canadian GP. He will be chasing a home win for Red Bull for the fourth time in five years at the Austrian GP.

George Russell

Since the Abu Dhabi GP, George Russell has been on an unstoppable path (a Top 5 finish in each GP). Unfortunately, Russell was involved in the scary crash that sent Zhou Guanyu flying over the barrier. He courageously went to check if Zhou was okay (as a red flag was also in play), but he was unable to re-activate his car. Russell had a DNF at the British GP. Russell has been a pillar of consistency, but he needs to find a way to grab his first, elusive victory soon.

Valtteri Bottas

It’s clear that Alfa Romeo didn’t have a sexy outcome at the British GP — as Zhou was involved in a tragic accident and Valtteri Bottas had a DNF. He had a sad outcome after a seventh-place finish at the Canadian GP. It’s also important that his team can improve their reliability moving forward. Per F1.com, he stated, “It’s for sure the main priority for us at the moment – we seem to have quite a few issues so we really need to solve it because race pace was good and I was making good progress”.

Lando Norris

Lando Norris might be seen as a puzzling choice, but I’d love to see the fifth-place driver grab another podium soon — as he only has three podiums (half as many as Carlos Sainz) and zero victories thus far. His last podium was at the Italian GP. He is still ahead of Lewis Hamilton and on Sainz’s tail, but he desperately needs to return to the podium soon. He finished third in the 2020 Austrian GP and second in the 2021 Austrian GP, so perhaps he has some magic left at Spielberg in 2022.

Pierre Gasly

The Scuderia AlphaTauri driver, Pierre Gasly, discovered an impressive fifth-place finish at the Azerbaijan GP. Well, it’s safe to say that he’s garnered two straight disappointing weeks after the race in Jakku Baku (14th place at the Canadian GP and a DNF at the British GP). Hopefully, the 26-year-old can at least have a modest performance at the Austrian GP.

Zhou expresses gratitude for the Halo device

The Halo device was a major gift for Zhou

By: Jake Rajala

It would be an understatement to say that Zhou Guanyu has been on a roller coaster over his past two races. Zhou had his best career race at the Canadian GP — as he finished eighth. Unfortunately, Zhou was struck in a tragic crash at the British GP.

In the very first lap, Zhou was involved in a crazy crash with George Russell and Pierre Gasly. Gasly attempted to fit in between Russell and Zhou — which made him collide with Russell — who then made Zhou very dangerously flip over the barriers.

Thankfully, Zhou was able to cheat death and was examined as adequate at the hospital. He really expressed his gratitude to everyone in the situation. Via an Alfa Romeo press conference, he stated, “The marshals and the medical team at the track were fantastic with their quick response, and I also owe my thanks to the FIA and Formula 1 for all the work they have done, and they keep doing, to improve the safety of our cars: the Halo saved me today, and it goes to show that every step we take in improving our cars has real, valuable results”. Zhou and his teammate Valtteri Bottas (DNF on Sunday) will look to bounce back at the Austrian GP.

Here is a nice, in-depth video that covers the purpose of the Halo.

It should be noted that the Halo (which is also the name of an addictive video game with an amazing theme song), also saved an F2 driver’s life on Sunday. Roy Nissany ended underneath a fellow driver’s vehicle on the second lap.

The halo became mandatory in 2018 for all drivers. F1 heroes like Lewis Hamilton and Alain Prost once expressed their distaste for the Halo in the past. Eventually, Hamilton’s view on the Halo really, really changed. The Halo sincerely saved Hamilton’s neck in the scary accident he was involved in at the 2021 Italian GP. It’s clear that Hamilton and the rest of the F1 world have really caught up to its value in recent memory.

Does George Russell have a real chance at winning the Championship?

The latest outlook for George Russell

By: Daniel Murray-Smith

It is well documented to all just how well George Russell has been performing in his Mercedes this season.

Not only has he been consistently beating 7-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, in practice, qualifying and races but he has also finished in the top five in every single race this season.

Due to this impressive start to the season, he has racked up 111 points so far. This is 34 points ahead of Hamilton and also surprisingly puts him 9 points ahead of Carlos Sainz in the much faster Ferrari.

At the start of the season, there was a lot of hype around a championship battle between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, with Mercedes falling out of the equation since their car was quite significantly slower.

However, due to Russell’s ability to drag a car up to places where it seems like it shouldn’t quite be, he is now lurking only 15 points behind Leclerc.

To be very honest, Max Verstappen, at this moment in time, could well be running away with the championship. He is 46 points ahead of his teammate in second and 49 points ahead of Leclerc but there are still reasons for the young brit in the Mercedes to stay hopeful.

Firstly, the Mercedes team’s reliability has been far superior to both the teams ahead of them in the standings. Ferrari has suffered 7 DNFs and Red Bull has had 4 throughout the season, the team from Brackley, on the other hand, hasn’t had any thus far.

This means that if Russell can keep finishing in the top five as he has for the whole of the season, then an interesting scenario could develop if the top teams keep having mechanical failures. He would be able to keep chipping away at Verstappen’s lead in the championship, overtaking the others in the process.

This of course depends on mistakes from other teams which is never the ideal way to pull yourself into a championship battle but it is definitely not completely out of the picture.

However, there is another way that Russell could still be involved in a championship fight and this is down to the team themselves.

Mercedes have struggled with porpoising from the start of the season, this is when the car bounces up and down when at its highest speeds. The alternative is to run a lower downforce setting which gives less stability in the corners.

So, if Mercedes can figure out a way to sort this and find a balance between little to no porpoising while still having stability in the corners they could supply their drivers with a faster car, capable of challenging the top teams for pole positions and race wins.

Before being labeled as Mr. Consistent at Mercedes, Russell was referred to as Mr. Saturday when he was driving an incredibly slow Williams car, somehow managing to pull it up the order in qualifying, even reaching the top 10 on a couple of occasions.

This bodes well for him if he gets to drive in a fast, competitive car. You can imagine a scenario where the man from King’s Lynn is always there or thereabouts at the very top end of qualifying, giving him the best possible chance in the race on Sunday. 

A George Russell championship charge is still very unlikely but Mercedes is a top-tier team that operates at the peak of engineering so provided they keep their car reliable and continue bringing in upgrades it is certainly still a possibility.

Lewis Hamilton returns to the podium

Lewis Hamilton places third in the Canadian GP

By: Jake Rajala

The Lebron James of Formula 1, also known as Lewis Hamilton, returned to the podium today. Of course, the F1 leader Max Verstappen took first place in the GP. After Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr. placed second in the GP (which was his same spot in Monaco). Well, Hamilton showed signs of life in this F1 season – as took third place (and he sits sixth in overall standings).

Hamilton’s teammate George Russell finished a spot after him today. Although, it was only the second time that he finished behind Hamilton this season. He currently sits fourth in the standings. It’s clear that there’s a new positive vibe with Hamilton, Russell, and Mercedes.

The CEO of the team spoke positively regarding Mercedes’s outcome.

Per BBC, Toto Wolff stated, “We were off the pace on Friday and we were good in the wet, respectable. Today at times we were with the quickest cars. In the second stint, Lewis and George were almost matching the front-runners on some laps.”

According to Express, Russell felt that he could have been third or fourth if he didn’t take a gamble on dry tyres. Perhaps Russell will carry a chip on his shoulder against his buddy leading up to the British GP.

Hamilton’s energy should only elevate after he returns home on July 3rd for the Silverstone Circuit. Hamilton finished first in each British GP from 2019 to 2021. He will certainly anticipate having a bit of magic left for his strong home crowd.

The Spanish Grand Prix: A Pleasent Surprise

By: Leona Stewart

For fans, the Spanish GP had been thought to be 66 laps of uneventful racing, as had been so in the past – but not this year. Moving onto an iconic weekend in Monaco, what can we take from a weekend in the sun?

The Barcelona circuit pushed the drivers under the scorching heat, we saw collisions, retirement and plenty of overtakes, alongside the first batch of rookies in FP1. With many fans on social media dubbing it the ‘most exciting’ race of the season so far, it had more twists and turns than we could have hoped for.  

George Russell stole the show this weekend in the W13, once again pushing the Mercedes onto the podium and currently securing 4th in the drivers championship. After a collision in turn one with the Haas of Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton gave a stellar drive to pull himself into 5th place, proving that the silver arrows have still got it and perhaps are a threat to the top two this weekend in Monaco. 

The biggest let down of the weekend of course was Ferrari. A home race podium just out of reach for Carlos Sainz and a DNF for Charles Leclerc whilst 15s ahead in P1, which dropped him to second in the championship. Leclerc’s engine failure is the first major reliability issue we have seen for Ferrari this year, who have been on top form since Bahrain, however ahead of his home race, Charles’ remains positive.

However, after crashing F1 legend Niki Lauda’s Ferrari at the Monaco Historic GP and a history of DNFs creating the ‘Monaco curse’ for the Monegasque, perhaps Barcelona was just an omen for the weekend to come. 

Of course our race winner, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had no easy weekend either. Qualifying in P2 on Saturday with his team mate Sergio Perez down in P5, both drivers were set for a push. Reliability has been an issue for both Red Bull’s all season, and Barcelona was no different.
After an early spin into the gravel, and 20 laps stuck behind the number 63 of Russell, frustration grew for the Dutchman as his DRS failed keeping him from overtaking. But with a fresh set of softs, a Ferrari engine failure and team strategy, the race win alongside a championship lead fell into the reigning champions lap. 

Perez however had no such delight, after team orders of inverting the cars lost him P1 and a potential race win. Verstappen had thanked his teammate post race, however Checo said it was ‘unfair’ and said that the team ‘need to talk about’ the incident. With over 10 years in Formula 1 and only two race wins, it’s uncertain how much longer the Mexican driver will be happy to make these calls. 

As preparation for the weekend in Monaco begins, fans can only hope the streets of Monte Carlo will provide excitement once again. 

F1 Power Rankings highlight the humble heroes

By: Daniel Murray-Smith

If you’ve ever not been able to watch a Grand Prix live then you will know the difficulties of trying to find out who had a good race and who had a poor race. Obviously, by looking at the finishing positions you can gather a vague idea, but so much can happen over the course of a full race that you never quite know the whole story.

As with every race in recent years, there are a plethora of opinions from fans of Formula 1 on social media critiquing the drivers, and it can hard to filter through the ones that are clearly biased towards certain drivers or teams and find the assessments that are actually valid and truthful.

Thankfully Formula One has devised a system that can give you expert opinions at a quick glance, the power rankings. A panel of five judges scores the drivers performance out of ten and an average rating is found.

These rankings do not take the cars into consideration and are solely based around the drivers themselves. This means that finishing position is not the most important factor and many more aspects are taken into account such as qualifying, race pace relative to car speed and lack of mistakes. 

The best recent example of this is Max Verstappen at the opening race of the season in Bahrain. The Dutchman put on a stellar display battling Charles Leclerc for the race win before having to retire due to an engine issue. Despite not finishing the race, Verstappen was awarded a rating of 9.2/10.

This allows a quick insight into the best performers over a race weekend and can quickly get you back up to speed with what has happened but it also has another more important benefit. For newer F1 fans it can be difficult to understand why the cars are all at a different standard and the rankings help tackle this.

The goal for every team in F1 is ultimately to win races and championships but for a team like Williams in the past couple of years, the main aim has been to score points (finish inside the top 10) due to how poor their car has been.

This is why the power rankings can be so vital, Alex Albon finished ninth in Miami last week, which to a newer fan doesn’t look like much of an achievement at all. However, he drove brilliantly well in a car which is nowhere near as fast as the others and managed to score Williams valuable points. This is reflected in the scores given to him by the judges as he was awarded a 9/10. 

The rankings are brilliant at highlighting the drivers who don’t grab all the headlines, wins, or podiums but still deserve credit for how well they are driving. F1 is a sport that is constantly growing and tools like this help make it easier for people to understand the bigger picture.

As well as ratings for each individual race there is a season average calculated to show which drivers have been performing the best and most consistently over the course of the season. The ranking is currently led by Verstappen closely followed by the championship leader Leclerc in second place, with Albon, George Russell and Valtteri Bottas closing out the top five.

 

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