Inside Line: Way to go Nico; Zak shout out; other notes

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What a cracking Formula 1 season we are wallowing in, and amid a triple dose of the good old Grand Prix racing it’s worth reflecting on some of my highlights of the 2021 season thus far, as well as other notes to share with readers.

First, Nico Rosberg!

He is just the tonic the coverage of F1 needs. The guy is a bundle of enthusiasm and as a World Champion has every right to say what he pleases, as do all of us, but none more credible.

This past weekend in France he was wickedly good, sharp of tongue and wit, Rosberg knows how to put big hitters like Toto Wolff on the spot, cut through the bullshit and make calls few have the balls to make.

His assessments are priceless and at times cruel, but facts are facts and in this Great F1 War between Mercedes and Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen who better to ask the awkward questions than Nico?

The 2016 F1 World Champ is a great addition to an already formidable punditry team, that covers the sport for Sky F1 and F1TV, and injects so much insight into race weekends. Nico’s soundbites are the cherry on a sumptuous commentary cake that I, personally, hope remains permanent.

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Good Things Happening at Zak’s McLaren

When Zak Brown took over at McLaren I was sceptical and critical. But now, a couple of years down the line, and I am pleased to say I was wrong and indeed he is turning McLaren into a force again and [most importantly for a long time McLaren fan] a class act.

The Mansour Ojjeh tributes were geniusely heartwarming, as was the masterstroke Gulf retro livery for Monaco – a classiness is starting to ooze from Zak’s team.

Maybe far different from the Ron Dennis era that won our hearts and minds but that went pear-shaped horribly and his last years in charge created the mess which Brown was thrown into

Ousting the Spanish Armada that had entrenched itself at the great team was key, then the placing of Andreas Seidl as F1 team boss has to be the hire of the decade; signing Daniel Ricciardo an ace move (which will still pay off) and the nurturing of Lando Norris have all been exemplary under Zak’s watch.

Throw into this how Arrow McLaren SP are pushing for youth, while giving Kevin Magnussen an Indycar shot and all the good stuff they are doing with the likes of Pato O’Ward must be credited to the American.

In F1, Zak is increasingly not shy to kick the hornet’s nest when need be, as his ballsy call for a secret ballot when it comes to F1 commission voting; his team’s call for more transparency from Pirelli after the  Baku blowouts and a push for more races in the USA are proof of that.

When things were bad for the team, Zak got the flak. So whatever goes good for them he has to get the credit.

Throw into all this his own United Autosports team involved in sportscar and GT racing at the highest level, also packed with good things, and you have a guy who has racing in his blood doing wonders on all fronts.

So, hats off to Zak Brown who halfway through the year is my F1 Man of the Year 2021.

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A Title Battle For The Ages

Of course, the main show is Lewis vs Max, which I can tell you – as a veteran of religiously following this thing of ours since the early seventies – is panning out to be one of the greatest duels for the title that I can remember, pitting two the greatest drivers of this era in cars as equal as they have ever been.

The pair are apparently very civil off-camera, as indeed they are on it, but on track its really been an amazing roller-coaster ride for fans used to the monotony of Mercedes dominance. Many twists await us in this plot.

For that, credit to Red Bull and Honda for making giant strides and really taking the fight to a team that has not faced this type of pressure for the past eight years.

We are not even a third way into it, so we should be braced for some epic Sundays in the months ahead.

Housekeeping at GrandPrix247

Over the past few months, it was good to give our readers Kevin Melro and Jad Mallak an opportunity to do a short internship on how the site works while developing their writing. Their contributions have added an extra dynamic and POVs to our overall F1 news rollout.

They are now part of the family and keep our WhatsApp group lively and pumping! Thank you, boys!

Also important to welcome Mark Kay to the fold. A veteran F1 worker and GP247 reader whose written contributions have been a technical jackpot for this site.

His expert knowledge and experience are priceless, his passion unwavering, all of which he articulates so well. It’s a privilege to give him this platform to air his views and to educate us. And make waves of course.

In closing, with Will Dodds at the helm, it is clear that we at GrandPrix247 are doing something right, as traffic has grown substantially, compared to the previous years, which always is an inspiration for this labour of love, in the constant quest to have every F1 angle covered for our readers.

In closing, I am going to credit the traffic ‘boom’ to a rejuvenation of the collective F1 fanbase, tired of Mercedes serial winning they went away, now returning from ‘gardening leave’ to witness a contest for the ages which Lewis vs Max certainly is.

Strap yourselves in for what promises to be a crazy six months for our sport, which we will have covered for you. Thank you all.