Friday, June 23, 2017

F1 Azerbaijan notes

Hamilton hammered
--Lewis Hamilton seems pretty inconsistent. Between the Monaco Grand Prix and now at Azerbaijan Valterris Bottas seems to get more out of the car than the 3 time champ. Hopefully qualifying and the race will be less bumpy. Singapore will have the same characteristics, so he will have to get on top of the gremlins pronto. 

Ocon the real deal?
--Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon will be closely watched, especially if they qualify close to each other. Esteban Ocon will be feeling this is his chance to prove himself, so he really can not hold back any longer. So, we can blame Perez all day for the Montreal drama, but what should have Ocon done once he realized he was not going to be let through? The 4 time champion Vettel showed him the way loud and clear.

If anyone does not let you through you force your way through. In the end it comes down to that...the best make their own way. Since it would have helped Hamilton and Mercedes, Toto Wolf would have really taken notice, had Ocon been able to hold off Vettel or got by Perez and went after Ricciardo. Anything that would have limited Vettel's points haul. Ocon's expectations have just been raised.

Max vs Daniel
--As flashy and crowd pleasing and ruthless as Max Verstappen is on the race track, Daniel Riccardo has been getting the best of him lately. Ricciardo's 3 consecutive podiums just can't go unnoticed. When there are 4 faster cars and you are coming in 3rd for 3 races in a row, you are in the zone. Whether it's simply good luck for Daniel, or bad luck for Max, to truly be considered an elite, he will have to learn to snap Ricciardo's run of success with his own more successful finishes. The end of year result will matter. Max's crowd pleasing drives need to be tested for more serious endeavors.

Lance's Canadian stroll
--It seemed like a victory when Lance Stroll scored his first Formula 1 points by coming in 9th in Canada. However thing move fast in top flight sports. Everybody is looking forward to the next success. The whole team is wondering when he will score next. I mean, he can't just score when he feels good. if the car wasn't good enough it would be understandable. But Felipe is scoring consistently, and deep down the team knows that there are drivers who could achieve even more with the car than Felipe.

The real question is why did Lawrence Stroll bankroll his son into the team as soon as he could get an FIA Super License? Would it have hurt him to go to Formula 2 or World Series Formula for at least a year? Sure he was the European Formula 3 champion at the time, but since Stroll Sr was bankrolling his career instead of hoping for a team to sign him couldn't they have taken it a bit slower to make sure he was ready ? 

There is the possibility that in F2 or Formula V8 3.5 he might not crack the top 10 in standings, so that could drop teams' view of him, but he could have become champion as well. That's not the real issue.

Seats in F1 are so limited that even with funding, next year there might not be a seat available with a team of Williams' caliber that would take his millions. With a car such as a Sauber, Haas or a Renault an inexperienced youngster could find it impossible to score (see Jolyon, Esteban). In essence Stroll Sr had to get his son the ride at Williams when he did. The other 2 desirable teams were Force India and Torro Rosso, but Mercedes and Red Bull have their eyes on those for their own young drivers. One year too late and Stroll could have had to settle for Sauber, or Haas, whose cars do not work well on all circuits. Yes it's early in his career, but at least it's a real shot.