Sunday saw the running of 1000th Formula 1 race and before the weekend even started Liberty Media did their best to hype it all up. Here are some of the talking points of the #ChineseGP and my thoughts on it.
Did Ferrari go backwards?
We are now three races into the season and one might indeed think that Ferrari is going backwards. Personally, I think Ferrari was on top during pre-season testing and haven’t been able to make further progress yet.
According to some well-respected pundits, small issues with the engine meant that Ferrari were forced to turn down their engine a bit and aren’t able to compensate that with gains in the aero department. To me that sounds plausible.
Then take into consideration that Mercedes (and Red Bull) are still making progress in all areas. That said, I don’t think Ferrari is going backwards but they haven’t been able to make real progress yet and that takes time.
Williams isn’t mentioned much and although they both finished two laps down, they showed in qualifying that they are making slow progress by being “just” 2.5 seconds off the pace while in Australia, that was 3.7 seconds.
But it was Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon who surprised me most. After crashing his car in FP3 and unable to do qualifying, he started from the pitlane and ended up P10 and in the points. Alex was voted #DriverOfTheDay and rightfully so.
Thoughts on Pierre Gasly…
Gasly is still struggling to get to grips with the RB15. I would have thought with the state of the art simulator at Red Bull, that he would pick up speed sooner. He still has a big gap to his teammate.
In Q2, Gasly did a 1:32.948 on soft tyres (Verstappen 1:32.369 on mediums) and during Q3, Gasly didn’t really improve by setting a 1:32.930 on softs while Verstappen set a 1:32.089 on softs as well.
Gasly really needs to step up now because even though he finished P6, he was way off the pace and even without the extra pitstop (fastest lap) would have ended around 30 seconds adrift of Leclerc.
Let’s see what Baku brings or else Helmut Marko would start to question his decision to put Pierre in the car instead of Kvyat.
Thoughts regarding Renault…
We lost Hulkenberg pretty quick and it turned out to be a MGU-K issue (same as others have experienced before in 2019) but atleast Ricciardo got some points by finishing P7. Renault is still trying to catch up but it doesn’t seem they are that reliable, or just not fast enough because with Sainz in P14 and Norris DNF (floor damage), they are not yet on top of the midfield.
For the 3rd race running, the director in charge of which camera to go live, needs a quick kick in the ass because they are missing a lot of action, showing slow-mo’s that have nothing happening and if they decide to show a replay, it is a few minutes after it happened and also just during a situation that might get exciting.
Not sure if Liberty Media hired new people for this purpose because it is a mess since Australia. Hopefully, they check their twitter-feed as many people have pointed it out to them.
Next up, we go racing in Baku where last year, things didn’t go as planned for Redbull and Bottas got the worst luck.
We hope Ferrari has found something so they are stronger to fight the Mercedes cars with Verstappen in the mix so we will see an exciting race.
Big Question: Have Ferrari gone backwards?