F1 2021 Season Spoiler Filled Race Talk

Handing out penalties like candy.

Australian GP is cancelled again for this year.

Well, here we are at the first of three (presumably) sprint qualifying weekends, where FP1 is the only one where major changes to car setup are allowed.

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Qualifying will start in about half an hour here, which will feed into the sprint race tomorrow. There will technically be an FP2 before the sprint tomorrow, but I suspect it will be mostly about getting tire data since there is very little tweaking that will be allowed once the cars are locked in for qualifying today.

Russell into Q3 ahead of both McLarens and Vettel! Hamilton pulling out a miracle lap to smash Verstappen's previously untouchable time!

Q3 is about to start -- going to be wild. The crowds maybe aren't quite as rowdy as the orange army was at Austria 2, but there are so many of them that it's impossible not to be affected hearing them cheer every time Hamilton, Russell, or Lando finishes a strong lap.

Russell only did one Q3 run, in between runs from the other drivers, but the crowd were on their feet cheering the whole way around as he turned in a P7 lap. Leclerc managed to top him on his second lap, but he ended up ahead of Sainz and Vettel.

Meanwhile, Hamilton hooked up another great lap while Verstappen struggled with understeer, taking P1 going into the sprint race tomorrow morning.

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Gonna be some a-hollerin' and a-cussin' after this race.

Red Bull are being big babies. That was exactly the same as a number of similar incidents in the last few years that have been called racing incidents. They should count themselves lucky they bullied the stewards into giving Hamilton the same penalty Lando and Checo got in the last race when they were far more to blame (both incidents Christian Horner argued were racing incidents at the time).

It’s not Hamilton’s fault that he managed to reclaim the lead after serving it — even if you think he did the crime, he did the time and then drove brilliantly to win anyway. Stop whining and get on with the next race.

My take is simple: We laud Senna and Schumacher, and what happened today isn't even a pantomime version of how they'd race.

Chainbear’s breakdown of the incident is as always excellent. The detail of Max opening the steering and then turning back in again is telling. He’s always been very aggressive and while it is the Senna option of just making the other guy lift. He’s never really been doing it from a position of strength. Had he lifted, worst case he’s coming second and the championship points gap narrows marginally but that Red Bull was rapid on Sunday, I would have expected him to overtake later.

For Lewis, it was aggressive but with so much calculation. No way Lewis would do that had he been 30-something points ahead in the championship. I hope it doesn’t happen again but I do expect Lewis to stand his ground and try the optimistic overtake as long as he isn’t controlling the championship.

I think Red Bull did what every other team would have done had their car been in the wall. Swap the cars and Toto is sending emails about how the Red Bull was in the wrong.

EverythingsTentative wrote:

I think Red Bull did what every other team would have done had their car been in the wall. Swap the cars and Toto is sending emails about how the Red Bull was in the wrong.

There's a difference between arguing that Lewis had a slightly larger share of the blame for a racing incident and thus deserved a reasonable penalty in line with recent rulings in similar incidents (Russell the day before, Perez and Norris in Austria), and what Red Bull have done, which is to argue that either Lewis intentionally crashed Max out (which is just silly and wild in these circumstances) or made a dangerously negligent move that no sensible driver would have made and that never would have worked. (Sorry Horner, despite your dramatic claims to the contrary, making that move at that corner is perfectly reasonable; it happens all the time, including multiple times later in the same race, including vs Leclerc for the final win.)

The former is perfectly reasonable and expected -- advocate for your position within the set boundaries of the rules and make sure your team's interests are properly represented. The latter is a shameless (and silly) attempt to manipulate public opinion enough to bully the refs into giving them an unwarranted advantage. It's tasteless at best, and continuing to push that narrative after the race in particular really is just a nakedly obvious ploy to try to mitigate the weekend's point delta by any means necessary.

And yeah, perhaps you're right and Toto/Mercedes would be going similarly overboard were the situation swapped, and if they did, I'd call them big babies too -- but I'm not so sure that lines up with how I've seen their organization fight these kinds of fights at least over the last few years. They make their case strongly, they take their lumps, and then when appropriate they move on and focus on the next race, rather doing ridiculous things like calling for race suspensions for what nearly every pundit sees as a super marginal racing incident.

Add to that Max calling it unsporting to celebrate the victory because he had being taken to a medical center for observation (never mind that for all anyone at the track was aware, he walked away from the crash looking a bit dazed but generally okay), and you've got the Red Bull organization working multiple angles to paint Hamilton as some sort of reckless villain for doing nothing more than exactly the kind of fair but aggressive driving that has made Max such a successful and dynamic force in the sport.

Gee, I wonder where their fans got the idea that it might be okay to start harassing Hamilton and his team with ad hominem attacks? And gee, I wonder if anyone could have possibly predicted that said harassment would instantly become racially tinged and super f*cking scary and threatening? There certainly hasn't been any of that going on in the British sporting world recently, right?

I didn't say that what they did was morally okay, especially post race, which I didn't mean to imply. Just that every team is going to fight for their driver, and rightfully so. A good team boss isn't going to say, "Yeah he screwed himself and us in the process".

I would argue that Mercedes can be babies, though. Remember Bendywingate? How man weeks did they complain about that being why Red Bull was competition? We really don't know how graceful Mercedes will handle defeat yet. They haven't had any competition in 8 years.

Here's what Max had to say about people celebrating on the 2020 Bahrain podium while Romain Grosjean was in hospital having his burns treated :

"                                        "
                    - Max Verstappen

Powerful sentiment there, I'm sure we can all agree.

No competition for eight years doesn't really stand up, unless you missed 2017 and 2018.

2017 Singapore was such a disaster because Seb had only just lost first place in the championship, thirteen races in the season, but had bounced back with Pole, seven-tenths faster than Lewis and was expected to regain the title lead before Max heartlessly crashed out both Ferraris.

In 2018 Seb had just beaten Lewis at Silverstone and was leading both the championship and the race in Germany when he put the car in the barriers with 15 laps remaining.

Even then, each driver won one of the next two races and it wasn't until Italy and after that Lewis went Ham and Ferrari couldn't answer.

Ferrari was better those years, but at no point in the past 8 years has a Mercedes been a race plus behind in the points and gone 5 races without a win. I'm not even sure there has been a point in the last 8 years where Mercedes wasn't winning the Team Championship. But to be more clear, I guess I could have said we don't know how graceful Mercedes will be in continuous defeat.

I mean, if I learned anything from Drive to Survive, isn't "they're all varying levels of hyper-competitive dicks" pretty much the answer?

Ha! They made a Clem Fandango joke during the British GP qualifying.