Alex Palmer Writes...
The F1 branded trucks were spotted this week on the roads of Europe - which can only mean one thing - summer (and F1) returns to Europe. I do like the big hospitality areas the teams cart around Europe, it just adds that bit more colour to the paddock (although some of the permanent facilities like China do have pretty spectacular paddocks too).

Lots of news to talk about, starting with the rebranding of McLaren (who still don't have a title sponsor) - it was described as more dynamic and predatory livery by the team (covered in AutoSport), but for all the hype I am not actually convinced new sparkly paint will make that Honda engine any better. Might sell more merch though, what they had on sale at earlier rounds this year was bland and boring. There was one twitter wag who hypothesized that the new McLaren might look like this aggressive turtle, what do you think?

Then there's Alonso at his home race being struck down by an eye issue (stye?) that's required him to wear his mirrored sunglasses to all the press/fan events. Great for his sunglasses sponsor, but will he be fit to pilot the more dynamic and predatory McLaren on Sunday? Maybe that's where the turtle comes in.....

But for mine, the car to watch this weekend is the new 'Mad Max' branded Lotus. Seriously, we all know Maldonado has issues, but isn't it just tempting the Crash-ton-ator just a little to much to make him think he's Mad Max?? Shall we take some predictions on how long it'll be before the Mad Max sidepods are in a wall somewhere? Or is that just too uncharitable?

Tire wear is sure to be an issue again this round, with warm and dry conditions forecast - and the usual pollen issues annoying everyone at the circuit who is the slightest bit sensitive to the spring curse of hayfever. Enjoy the race folks - see you on the other side!

Write comment (2 Comments)
For me, that race was better than Melbourne but not as good as Malaysia for pure racing. But for entertainment value, I reckon that was the best so far - I laughed out loud at least three times.

For those who watched the SkyF1 feed, the moment of the day for mine was Martin Brundle's grid walk bail-up of Bernie Ecclestone (remember that Bernie had blamed the commentators recently for turning fans off by being too technical in their explanations. When Martin asked about it, Bernie confirmed his earlier statement but to me, it sounded like he added "...you make it too complicated for the women out there to understand...". I do hope I heard that wrong, but as one of the 'women' out there I thought that statement rather amusing. (I believe that's the first time I've confirmed that Alex is, in fact, a girl!!)

The next best moment was watching Maldonado's crazy wide entrance for his last pit stop, when he seemed to have mistaken the group of marshals at pit entrance for his pit crew. Luckily he stopped before he skittled them, and they obligingly pushed him back so he could swing around and make the run into the pits.

But the funniest home video-worthy moment today was definitely watching the enthusiastic but bumbling marshals do their best to turn Verstappen's Torro Rosso through that very narrow gap in the pit straight wall. They must have banged the nose into the walls about three times before the mechanics couldn't stand it any more and came took the nose off. Apologies to my readers from non-cricket-playing countries, but hearing the crowd cheer when they finally made it through was a bit like listening to Bay 13 at the MCG when the security guards take down a streaker....

I think I need to go to the Chinese GP next year, anyone want to join me??

Write comment (4 Comments)
I don't often comment on the race winner, but today is special - Vettal gets the win and we get to hear the German and Italian national anthems again for the first time in many years. Can tell how much it meant to him too. However I have to digress......how cool is the Italian national anthem? Surely after that, Ferrari might have to subsidise Monza to keep a race in Italy this year.

Compared to last race in Melbourne, this race had so much going for it (although it was only available on PayTV in Australia, much to the disgust of lots of Aussie fans who have had free to air coverage for quite a few years now). Driver of the day for me was Max Verstappen, he showed no fear in working his way past many much more mature racers. I thought it was amusing to see both Torro Rosso cars ahead of the Red Bulls, and also fantastic to see Kimi come back from that first lap puncture to finish in 4th place.

We did see one of the Marussias finish, which is something that Honda McLaren couldn't manage. I saw a tweet from someone pointing out that Alonso is a specialist at being in the wrong car at the wrong time, and I would tend to agree. But how good is it to see Williams and Ferrari looking like serious challengers for the Mercs!!

For those with the SkyF1 coverage from the UK, there was a bit of fruity language from Peter Sauber during the grid walk referring to the legal dramas with van der Guarde as a synonym for excrement. And with Sebastian's comments on the podium, maybe they should consider changing the rating!

Great race, rain held off, F1 circus now heads to China where the temperature will probably be about 30 degrees C cooler. Can Ferrari do it again? Will Marussia get both cars to the start? And will McLaren Honda get any car to the finish? Happy Easter to all our F1Infocentre readers, see you for the China round in a couple of weeks.

Write comment (0 Comments)
So the race has been run and won, as 99.99% of the world probably predicted ( better leave a theoretical margin for people who didn't get it right ) the Silver Arrows dominated the race. The real story ( other than Hamilton's bling, the Terminator meets the Toto-nater, and some chic named Charlise flogging prime Melbourne real estate) was the disappearing field.

It went a little something like this - 20 cars turned up in Melbourne, and:

- one team discovered that rebooting doesn't always fix software issues and didn't get their cars out at all despite passing scrutineers get, joining the driver's parade and the class photo (anyone fancy sponsoring a Manor Marussia - plenty of prime real estate on cars and race suits) - then there was 18

- another team found themselves with 3 drivers, 2 super licences, one team principal on the run from a potential contemp of court summons and possibly a team of court officials looking to grab the team's assets in a move that would sink their season. Although this was great fodder for wags online ( good thing there was a 2-seater F1 car here this weekend), both cars and drivers with licences lined up for the race. So still 18.

- Bottas suffered a back injury on Daturday, and although he spent the night in hospital trying to recover the safety folks decided he couldn't get out of his car fast enough in an emergency - then there was 17.

- one McLaren Honda, and one Red Bull ( that's Daniil not Daniel) blew up during the warm-up - then there was 15.

- one Lotus had an uncontrollable urge to find a wall on turn 1(he's baa-aback, and no it's not Arnie) and the other had a failure - then there was 13.

- although Perez and Button did their best to end each other's races, it was rookie Max Verstappen (yup, another Renault) who stopped quickly when he spotted smoke - then there was 12.

- one Ferrari wheel man may find himself becoming good friends with the fishes after stuffing up two consecutive pit stops, the second of which resulted in the team retiring Kimi's car for safety reasons as the wheel wasn't properly attached. - then there was 11.

Which left Button as the sucker who did the whole race, but was the only driver not to get a point. On the positive side, the Honda engine lasted longer than all testing laps combined.

If you haven't seen the podium interviews, check it out on the official F1.com video - very funny (and great to see the F1 official approach to social media this year, about time!!)! Great end to a bit of a farcical weekend, roll on Malaysia - let's see what rain and heat do to the reliability of these 2015 cars. Oh, wait...... -

Write comment (0 Comments)
Ok - so that was a poor attempt at a pun on the 'I'll be back' commentary from the podium interview in Australia (if you've not seen it, google it - there's an official Formula 1 youtube channel so the clips are legit).

Alonso is back in the saddle, which really ramps up the pressure on McLaren - they really need to deliver something that at least won't explode on the warm-up lap for Alonso like it did for the hapless Magnussen in Melbourne. I reckon with a wet race and hot conditions, McLaren fans (myself included) are in for another tough weekend.

Justice Croft of the Melbourne Supreme Court (anyone else see the irony there??) was asked today by van der Guarde's legal team to suspend the order made in a Swiss court that van der Guarde was to drive one of the Saubers this season, but he said he didn't have the jurisdiction to do that. So apparently although the team have paid van der Guarde out (reportedly $20m-ish), there may yet be a 'round 2' of this saga on the weekend if Sauber are deemed to have broken that court's order by placing two other drivers in the cars. And we thought things couldn't get weirder....

No-one is really sure if Manor have got their mainframe talking to their cars yet, although the team is tweeting positive signals about getting some test miles under their belts.

In other random news, it looks like Hamilton's celebrating his single lifestyle by posing with Roscoe in a fashion magazine "Man of the World" (no, really - and it's a legit mag - check it out here ) and buying a Ferrari (hmm, what would the Totinator say about that??). What would a race week blog post be without some random Hamilton news to keep us all on our toes??

Write comment (0 Comments)
Friday the thirteenth - lucky for some, particularly unlucky for others as it occurs in the same window as the Ides of March (if you are not a Roman history buff, Google it....). Today we saw more drama around the Sauber vs van der Guarde case in the Victorian Supreme Court than we did on the track, with allegations at various points during the day including Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn disappearing from Pit Lane as bailiffs closed in to arrest her, vdGuarde turfing Erricson out, and the 2-seater V10 Minardi being prepared as the stand-in Sauber so it could seat two drivers. I think more journalists were watching Courtroom TV than the F1 coverage during FP2! As I write this evening, the case has been held over until tomorrow, both Sauber cars ( with Erricson and Nasr driving one each - until a left rear failure ended Ericcson's fun) participated in FP2 after sitting out FP1, and it appears there may be a negotiated settlement being thrashed out somewhere this evening.

Then there was the feverish activity in the Manor garage, which didn't actually result in them getting a car on track but brings them closer to maybe doing it tomorrow. I had hear perhaps they were having computer problems, if that is the case I know one or two good DBAs who (after a strong cup of coffee) might be available to assist for a small fee and a drive in FP3 tomorrow.

On the track we saw problems for McLaren with a distinct lack of speed and a self-inflicted crash for Magnussen, Massa and Ricciardo out in FP2 with an engine issue, and the Mercs well ahead of the pack again. Some promising signs from Ferrari and Bottas in the healthy Williams though, boding well for battles down the order tomorrow.

In a rare spot of GOOD news, no walls jumped out at Maldonado today - or if they did, he was quick enough to avoid them. I suggest you have a look at this webpage for a laugh: http://hasmaldonadocrashedtoday.com

It should be a hot day tomorrow with a strong change due about the time q3 kicks off, should be an interesting day. Stay tuned!

Write comment (3 Comments)

S5 Box

Login

Next Race Session

United States
SessionLondon UKUnited States Circuit
Practice 1Friday 20 October
4.00 pm
Friday 20 October
10.00 am
Practice 2Friday 20 October
8.00 pm
Friday 20 October
2.00 pm
Practice 3Saturday 21 October
5.00 pm
Saturday 21 October
11.00 am
QualifyingSaturday 21 October
10.00 pm
Saturday 21 October
4.00 pm
RaceSunday 22 October
8.00 pm
Sunday 22 October
2.00 pm

2017 Calendar

RaceGrand PrixRace Day
1AustraliaSunday 26 March
2ChinaSunday 9 April
3BahrainSunday 16 April
4RussiaSunday 30 April
5SpainSunday 14 May
6MonacoSunday 28 May
7CanadaSunday 11 June
8AzerbaijanSunday 25 June
9AustriaSunday 9 July
10Great BritainSunday 16 July
11HungarySunday 30 July
12BelgiumSunday 27 August
13ItalySunday 3 September
14SingaporeSunday 17 September
15MalaysiaSunday 1 October
16JapanSunday 8 October
17United StatesSunday 22 October
18MexicoSunday 29 October
19BrazilSunday 12 November
20Abu DhabiSunday 26 November

2017 Driver Leaderboard

PlaceDriverTeamPoints
1HamiltonMercedes306
2VettelFerrari247
3BottasMercedes234
4RicciardoRed Bull192
5RäikkönenFerrari148
6VerstappenRed Bull111
7PerezForce India82
8OconForce India65
9SainzToro Rosso48
10HulkenbergRenault34
11MassaWilliams34
12StrollWilliams32
13GrosjeanHaas28
14MagnussenHaas15
15VandoorneMcLaren13
16AlonsoMcLaren10
17PalmerRenault8
18WehrleinSauber5
19KvyatToro Rosso4
20ButtonMcLaren0
21EricssonSauber0
22GiovinazziSauber0

2017 Constructor Leaderboard

PlaceTeamPoints
1Mercedes540
2Ferrari395
3Red Bull303
4Force India147
5Williams66
6Toro Rosso52
7Haas43
8Renault42
9McLaren23
10Sauber5