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Formula 1 2020/2021: Shits getting crazier


TheLastWolf
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2 hours ago, Werthead said:

Red Bull's most straightforward victory in a long time, and Mercedes seem glum about the prospects of finding an answer to them for next week. The only problem was they pitted Perez a lap too late to catch Bottas at the end, so Mercedes did at least pull back a couple of points in the constructors championship.

I was thinking the same about Perez, although it's one of those things that's easier to say in hindsight. The slow first pit-stop also seems very costly for him.

Still a long way to go but Verstappen definitely seems to have the upper hand in the championship battle at the moment.

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Based on last year (where the same team won both Austrian races) I can see Verstappen being favourite for this weekend, then it will be down to Britain, Hungary and Belgium. The problem is that Red Bull's characteristics make them very fast on the straights and strong in the corners, leaving Mercedes with a big headache on how to match them.

Also Wolff has been indicating that Mercedes really need to start switching focus to the 2022 cars and they don't necessarily have a lot of development they can bring to the 2021 car. If Red Bull carry on developing this car for a few more weeks before following suit, it's hard to see how Mercedes and Hamilton can recover without those resources.

That said, the second half of the season has traditionally been where Hamilton is more dominant, and the absence of a few circuits that would be more Red Bull-friendly (like Singapore) might help him snatch back at least a few more victories. And Mercedes did very nearly win in both Baku and France and only missed out due to errors on their part. So whilst Red Bull and Verstappen are building momentum, it could still swing back.

ETA: If Verstappen wins the championship, he'd surprisingly only be the fourth-youngest driver to ever win a World Championship. Vettel, Hamilton and (just) Alonso would have all won their championships at a younger age. I guess we're so used to Verstappen being called the young wunderkid that it's easy to forget he's been in F1 since he was 17 and this is his seventh season (he turns 24 in September).

Edited by Werthead
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Hamilton usually has a good spell in the latter half of the season due to Mercedes budget advantage over everyone else so without that huge advantage in spending will he still have as strong a finish to the season? Red Bull seem to have found something with their car for this year letting them run a slimmer rear wing while giving up none of their cornering capability in comparison to how much the rules on the rear floor have pulled Merc back to the field.

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Red Bull have been given an informal reprimand for Verstappen's victory celebration (slowing down just after the line and doing burn-outs next to the Red Bull pit wall), since although he was 30 seconds clear of Hamilton in second, back-markers were crossing the line behind him and that could have been a dangerous outcome, especially given that someone else did the exact same thing in Formula Renault at the same track in 2015 with unfortunate consequences:

The driver crashing into the back of Roberto Merhi is current Williams driver Nicholas Latifi.

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

Red Bull have been given an informal reprimand for Verstappen's victory celebration (slowing down just after the line and doing burn-outs next to the Red Bull pit wall), since although he was 30 seconds clear of Hamilton in second, back-markers were crossing the line behind him and that could have been a dangerous outcome, especially given that someone else did the exact same thing in Formula Renault at the same track in 2015 with unfortunate consequences:

The driver crashing into the back of Roberto Merhi is current Williams driver Nicholas Latifi.

An informal reprimand seems very light punishment for what is a frankly crazy-dangerous stunt to pull in front of back markers desperate to finish at speed.  The Latifi crash was horrific.

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I don't think it's a case of being "too fast for safety" - I can't remember when Red Bull last had a loose tyre issue, unlike a few other teams - but that Red Bull are using sensors in the tyre guns linked to the release system to cut a couple of tenths off the pit times everyone else is doing. The rules are a bit hazy there but they suggest the system should be more manual than that.

One solution would be to make the Red Bull system the norm for all the teams (especially since it seems to be safer, since it prevents the car being released whilst one of the guys is yelling at them not to, as happened with Haas just a couple of races ago), which would restore the balance whilst also keeping the very impressive spectacle of 2 or sub-2 second pit stops.

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Well, that was spectacularly fucking awful of Mercedes. Not just now being beaten by both Red Bulls, but a McLaren as well.

And congrats to Williams for their #9 qualifying, which should almost be impossible in that car. Both Russell and Norris's best qualifying ever, I'd say.

Edited by Werthead
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Bet you Russell was motivated 50/50 between redemption from narrowly missing out last week and proving himself for the #2 seat in Mercedes for 2022.

Though at the rate this is going the #2 seat in McLaren is looking better by the minute!

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1 hour ago, kungtotte said:

Bet you Russell was motivated 50/50 between redemption from narrowly missing out last week and proving himself for the #2 seat in Mercedes for 2022.

Though at the rate this is going the #2 seat in McLaren is looking better by the minute!

Daniel will still be at McLaren, I doubt they'd chuck him after just one season unless his performances continue like this throughout the whole season, and he's already had several races where he's much stronger.

It looks like Red Bull are continuing to improve the car whilst Mercedes don't have effective updates. The aero change seems to have not only hurt them, but left them without a clear upgrade path for the season.

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

Well, that was spectacularly fucking awful of Mercedes. Not just now being beaten by both Red Bulls, but a McLaren as well.

And congrats to Williams for their #9 qualifying, which should almost be impossible in that car. Both Russell and Norris's best qualifying ever, I'd say.

It did look for a moment as if Norris was capable of taking pole.

Russell's performance is particularly impressive since they didn't use the fastest qualifying tyre for that lap, even if he did get a bit lucky with Alonso's lap being ruined by Vettel's block.

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That was pretty devastating. Hamilton is now 32 points adrift of Verstappen, so even a Verstappen DNF and Hamilton win would not restore his lead, and Red Bull is now 44 points clear of Mercedes.

On paper, there's still 14 races to go, so plenty of time for Mercedes to reverse things, though there seems to be an acceptance that at least 3 to 5 of those races will probably not happen. Mercedes do have new upgrades for Silverstone, but according to Bottas they might be the last major updates for the season, whilst Red Bull still have more more upgrades for several more races to come.

Mercedes usually do a lot better at Silverstone, though they'll be acutely aware that Verstappen won the last race at this circuit (though Hamilton won the previous race just the week before). And this might be the last gasp for them to restore the momentum in the other direction for the season.

Meanwhile, Hamtilon re-upped with Mercedes for two seasons, but apparently Mercedes still haven't decided between Bottas and Russell for next year. Some insider chatter that Hamilton has pushed for Bottas to be retained but Mercedes are concerned over Bottas's extreme inconsistency this season and that they might lose Russell to another team should they come calling, especially if McLaren decides to part ways with Ricciardo early (though that still seems like a remote possibility). Mercedes might be helped by all the big moves last year leaving a lot of drivers under contract for next year already, apparently blocking off Red Bull, AlphaTauri, Ferrari, Aston Martin and Alpine for the forseeable future and Russell would probably not be keen on a sideways-or-backwards move to Alfa Romeo or Haas.

Bottas's performance in this race, helping minimise the point loss to Red Bull and being a bit punchier as a team player and racer in his own right, probably helped his case, but then Russell's outstanding performance in a weak car likely helped his as well.

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What happened between Kimi and Vettel at the end of the race?  I saw that Kimi collected Vettel, but I never saw any follow-up that explained why.  Neither of those two are complete idiots, so I am curious as to what actually occurred.

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5 hours ago, Wilbur said:

What happened between Kimi and Vettel at the end of the race?  I saw that Kimi collected Vettel, but I never saw any follow-up that explained why.  Neither of those two are complete idiots, so I am curious as to what actually occurred.

It started out with Kimi having an incident with someone else, I forget who. So he's off the racing line and Vettel is driving past him, when Kimi just rejoins the racing line which results in contact.

From my perspective it looked a lot like Kimi got a bit disoriented during the first incident and then just plain didn't see Vettel coming through.

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Moto Gp was called off here as well. Writing has been on the wall for weeks even with the low numbers of cases here. We have had 1 death since October in the whole country from covid as a frame of reference for these cancellations.

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7 hours ago, kungtotte said:

It started out with Kimi having an incident with someone else, I forget who. So he's off the racing line and Vettel is driving past him, when Kimi just rejoins the racing line which results in contact.

From my perspective it looked a lot like Kimi got a bit disoriented during the first incident and then just plain didn't see Vettel coming through.

I think Kimi tried to attack Russell and had to back off, but it's hard to see with the clips I've got. Vettel also said that Räikkönnen must simply have just not noticed him coming up alongside him from the right and that's it.

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