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Morning After: So long Jolyon and other stories

Out of the tropics, and back to easy street for Lewis Hamilton.

At least so it seemed for the Brit in what was an entirely comfortable Saturday qualifying. Ahead of Valtteri Bottas by 0.332s with Sebastian Vettel a further two tenths back, Hamilton was never challenged at a track that historically had provided his stiffest opposition.

Certainly, it’s an ominous sign when Hamilton’s Q3 banker was more than good enough for pole, but it’s likely he’s tested much more significantly on Sunday. Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel will be far from disappointed with their Saturday running, knowing they showed much more competitive long-run pace in FP3, and a clear run to the first corner with Vettel starting P2.

So Long Jolyon

From dead man walking to, well… dead – it’s not been a good few weeks for Jolyon Palmer.

Already departing Renault at the end of the season for Carlos Sainz, Palmer’s exit has been brought forward a few weeks with the French outfit announcing the Brit is set to make way for Sainz after Sunday.

More than most sports, money can get you a long way in Formula 1, but it still can’t buy talent, and Palmer’s difficult 37-race spell in F1 has borne that out. Certainly, it didn’t help that his teammate in this make-or-break season is a Le Mans winner and widely regarded as one of the better drivers on the grid, but his inability to even remotely push the German spoke volumes.

Will it be the last we hear of Palmer? It’s hard to say. There’s always a need in F1 for more cash, and that will earn him consideration with several teams, but for a team with championship aspirations like Renault, the money was no longer enough. Regardless, the Carlos Sainz era is nigh.

Quick Hits

  • Nico Rosberg trying to self-censor himself from saying “for sure” on the Sky broadcast was both hilarious and endearing. Hopefully next year they can partner him with Felipe Massa
  • Another very impressive qualifying from Esteban Ocon, outqualifying Sergio Perez by 0.149s
  • It’s staggering how consistently close the Red Bull boys are in qualifying – case-in-point, Saturday seeing a mere 0.026s edge to Daniel Ricciardo

Sunday Race Strategy Preview, Courtesy of Pirelli

  • If the temperatures remain warm like on Saturday:
  • Two-stopper: 2 stint on supersofts (16+16 laps) + 1 stint on soft to the flag
  • With cooler conditions:
  • One-stopper: 1 stint on supersofts for 22 laps + 1 stint on soft to the flag
  • This simulation doesn’t take into account the effect of diminishing fuel loads.
  • Different permutations of compound usage within each strategy are possible.