Pole and fastest lap records per decade

POLE POSITIONS

2010s poles (until 2016)

1) Lewis Hamilton 44
2) Sebastian Vettel 41
3) Nico Rosberg 30
4) Mark Webber 12
5) Fernando Alonso 4
6) Jenson Button 1
= Nico Hulkenberg 1
= Felipe Massa 1
= Pastor Maldonado 1
= Daniel Ricciardo 1

2000s poles

1) Michael Schumacher 45
2) Fernando Alonso 18
3) Lewis Hamilton 17
4) Kimi Raikkonen 16
5) Felipe Massa 15
6) Juan Pablo Montoya 13
7) Rubens Barrichello 12
8) Jenson Button 7
9) Ralf Schumacher 6
10) Mika Hakkinen 5
= Sebastian Vettel 5
12) David Coulthard 4
= Jarno Trulli 4
14) Giancarlo Fisichella 3
15) Nick Heidfeld 1
= Mark Webber 1
= Robert Kubica 1
= Heikki Kovalainen 1

1990s poles

1) Ayrton Senna 23
= Michael Schumacher 23
3) Mika Hakkinen 21
4) Nigel Mansell 20
= Damon Hill 20
6) Alain Prost 13
= Jacques Villeneuve 13
8) Gerhard Berger 8
= David Coulthard 8
10) Riccardo Patrese 5
11) Jean Alesi 2
= Rubens Barrichello 2
= Heinz-Harald Frentzen 2
14) Thierry Boutsen 1
= Giancarlo Fisichella 1

1980s poles

1) Ayrton Senna 42
2) Nelson Piquet 24
3) Alain Prost 20
4) Rene Arnoux 16
5) Nigel Mansell 12
6) Keke Rosberg 5
= Patrick Tambay 5
8) Didier Pironi 4
= Gerhard Berger 4
10) Alan Jones 3
= Riccardo Patrese 3
= Elio de Angelis 3
= Teo Fabi 3
14) Jean-Pierre Jabouille 2
= Jacques Laffite 2
= Carlos Reutemann 2
= Michele Alboreto 2
18) Bruno Giacomelli 1
= Gilles Villeneuve 1
= Andrea de Cesaris 1
= Mario Andretti 1

1970s poles

1) Niki Lauda 24
2) Mario Andretti 16
3) Jackie Stewart 15
4) Ronnie Peterson 14
= James Hunt 14
6) Jacky Ickx 10
7) Emerson Fittipaldi 6
8) Clay Regazzoni 5
= Jacques Laffite 5
10) Carlos Reutemann 4
= Jean-Pierre Jabouille 4
12) Jochen Rindt 3
= Jean-Pierre Jarier 3
= Jody Scheckter 3
= Alan Jones 3
16) Chris Amon 2
= Rene Arnoux 2
18) Jo Siffert 1
= Peter Revson 1
= Denny Hulme 1
= Patrick Depailler 1
= Tom Pryce 1
= Vittorio Brambilla 1
= Carlos Pace 1
= John Watson 1
= Gilles Villeneuve 1
= Jack Brabham 1

1960s poles

1) Jim Clark 33
2) Graham Hill 13
3) Jack Brabham 12
4) John Surtees 8
5) Jochen Rindt 7
6) Phil Hill 6
7) Stirling Moss 5
8) Dan Gurney 3
= Chris Amon 3
= Jacky Ickx 3
11) Jackie Stewart 2
12) Mike Parkes 1
= Wolfgang von Trips 1
= Lorenzo Bandini 1
= Jo Siffert 1
= Mario Andretti 1
= Eddie Sachs 1 (INDY 500)

1950s poles

1) Juan Manuel Fangio 29
2) Alberto Ascari 14
3) Stirling Moss 11
4) Giuseppe Farina 5
5) Mike Hawthorn 4
6) Jose Froilan Gonzalez 3
= Tony Brooks 3
8) Eugenio Castellotti 1
= Stuart Lewis-Evans 1
= Joakim Bonner 1

INDY 500 poles
1950- Walt Faulkner
1951- Duke Nalon
1952- Fred Agabashian
1953- Bill Vukovich
1954- Jack McGrath
1955- Jerry Hoyt
1956- Pat Flaherty
1957- Pat O’Connor
1958- Dick Rathmann
1959- Johnny Thomson

FASTEST LAPS

2010s F1 fastest laps (until 2016)

1) Lewis Hamilton 28
2) Sebastian Vettel 25
3) Nico Rosberg 18
4) Mark Webber 16
5) Fernando Alonso 9
6) Kimi Raikkonen 8
= Daniel Ricciardo 8
8) Jenson Button 6
9) Felipe Massa 3
= Sergio Perez 3
11) Nico Hulkenberg 2
12) Bruno Senna 1
= Romain Grosjean 1
= Kamui Kobayashi 1
= Robert Kubica 1
= Vitaly Petrov 1
= Esteban Gutierrez 1
= Valtteri Bottas 1
= Daniil Kvyat 1
= Max Verstappen 1
= Michael Schumacher 1

2000s F1 fastest laps

1) M. Schumacher 37
2) Kimi Raikkonen 35
3) Rubens Barrichello 17
4) Fernando Alonso 13
5) Mika Hakkinen 12
= Juan Pablo Montoya 12
= Felipe Massa 12
8) Ralf Schumacher 7
= David Coulthard 7
10) Lewis Hamilton 3
= Sebastian Vettel 3
= Mark Webber 3
13) Giancarlo Fisichella 2
= Jenson Button 2
= Nico Rosberg 2
= Heikki Kovalainen 2
= Nick Heidfeld 2
18) Jarno Trulli 1
= Pedro de la Rosa 1
= Adrian Sutil 1
= Timo Glock 1

1990s F1 fastest laps

1) M. Schumacher 39
2) Damon Hill 19
3) Nigel Mansell 17
4) Mika Hakkinen 13
5) Gerhard Berger 12
6) David Coulthard 11
7) Alain Prost 9
= Riccardo Patrese 9
= Jacques Villeneuve 9
10) Ayrton Senna 6
= Heinz-Harald Frentzen 6
12) Jean Alesi 4
13) Thierry Boutsen 1
= Roberto Moreno 1
= Bertrand Gachot 1
= Giancarlo Fisichella 1
= Eddie Irvine 1
= Alex Wurz 1
= Alessandro Nannini 1

1980s F1 fastest laps

1) Alain Prost 32
2) Nelson Piquet 22
3) Ayrton Senna 13
4) Nigel Mansell 13
5) Alan Jones 10
= Rene Arnoux 10
7) Gerhard Berger 9
8) Niki Lauda 8
9) Didier Pironi 5
= Michele Alboreto 5
11) Riccardo Patrese 4
12) Jacques Laffite 3
= Carlos Reutemann 3
= John Watson 3
= Keke Rosberg 3
16) Derek Warwick 2
= Patrick Tambay 2
= Teo Fabi 2
19) Gilles Villeneuve 1
= Marc Surer 1
= Brian Henton 1
= Andrea de Cesaris 1
= Alessandro Nannini 1
= Satoru Nakajima 1
= Mauricio Gugelmin 1
= Jonathan Palmer 1

1970s fastest laps

1) Niki Lauda 16
2) Clay Regazzoni 15
3) Jacky Ickx 10
= Mario Andretti 10
5) Ronnie Peterson 9
6) James Hunt 8
= Jackie Stewart 8
8) Gilles Villeneuve 7
9) Denny Hulme 6
= Emerson Fittipaldi 6
11) Carlos Pace 5
= Jody Scheckter 5
13) Jack Brabham 4
= Patrick Depailler 4
= Jacques Lafitte 4
16) Chris Amon 3
= Carlos Reutemann 3
= Jean-Pierre Jarier 3
= Alan Jones 3
20) Francois Cevert 2
= Jochen Mass 2
= John Watson 2
= Rene Arnoux 2
24) Henri Pescarolo 1
= Jo Siffert 1
= John Surtees 1
= Jochen Rindt 1
= Mike Hailwood 1
= Jean-Pierre Beltoise 1
= Gunnar Nilsson 1
= Vittorio Brambilla 1
= Nelson Piquet 1

1960s fastest laps

1) Jim Clark 28
2) Graham Hill 10
= John Surtees 10
4) Jack Brabham 7
= Jackie Stewart 7
6) Dan Gurney 6
7) Phil Hill 4
= Jacky Ickx 4
9) Richie Ginther 3
= Stirling Moss 3
= Denny Hulme 3
= Jean-Pierre Beltoise 3
= Jo Siffert 3
14) Bruce McLaren 2
= Lorenzo Bandini 2
= Jochen Rindt 2
17) Ludovico Scarfiotti 1
= Tony Brooks 1
= Giancarlo Baghetti 1
= Richard Attwood 1
= Pedro Rodriguez 1
= Jackie Oliver 1
= Jim Rathmann 1 (INDY 500)

1950s fastest laps

1) Juan Manuel Fangio 23
2) Stirling Moss 16
3) Alberto Ascari 12
4) Jose Frolian Gonzalez 6
= Mike Hawthorn 6
6) Giuseppe Farina 5
7) Bill Vukovich 3 (INDY 500)
8) Tony Brooks 2
= Phil Hill 2
10) Piero Taruffi 1
= Luigi Villoresi 1
= Hans Hermann 1
= Jean Behra 1
= Onofre Marimon 1
= Karl Kling 1
= Roberto Mieres 1
= Luigi Musso 1
= Bruce McLaren 1
= Maurice Trintignant 1

INDY 500:
Johnnie Parsons (1950)
Lee Wallard (1951)
Jack McGrath (1954)
Paul Russo (1956)
Jim Rathmann (1957)
Tony Bettenhausen (1958)
Johnny Thomson (1959)

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2016 F1 Driver Review of the Season: 9-16: Stars, Sloggers and Sayonaras

9. Sergio Perez (7th, 101 points- Force India VJM09-Mercedes) 7.5

A rather mixed season for the mercurial Mexican. One moment, he looked ordinary, but at venues such as Monte Carlo and Baku, he seized his opportunity. However, even at Baku, with two minutes of FP3 to go, he pursued a faster lap where there was no need and landed his car in the barriers. The extensive damage forced his mechanics to fix his car within only two hours before the qualifying session, which leaves a question mark over his mental forecasting and restraint as a driver. Perez is a more complete driver than he was during his miserable season at McLaren, but plotting his potential is tricky for predictors.

He outperformed Hulkenberg in the races, but he lost the qualifying battle 12-9.

10. Valtteri Bottas (8th, 85 points- Williams FW38-Mercedes) 7.0

Before Nico Rosberg’s retirement announcement, I thought I would be writing a standard end-of-season for every driver involved this season. However, with such a huge bombshell dropped, one of his potential replacements has come under scrutiny. This affable Finn drove as well as he could, but fiscal restraints limited his results. He picked up his and Williams’ only podium at Canada, where he maximised the FW38’s straightline speed, but the chassis philosophy showed its age. Winning the qualifying battle 17-4 over retiring Felipe Massa will do his chances of a Mercedes seat no harm, though.

11. Romain Grosjean (13th- 29 points- Haas VF-16-Ferrari) 7.0

The erratic Frenchman had his typical dips-and-troughs over the course of the season; when the car was fine, he exploited it to score great results, but when it had problems, he was nowhere. Come mid-season, he was being beaten for pace by his much-maligned team-mate Esteban Gutierrez, whom he beat 12-9 in the qualifying battle. In many ways, this season proved Grosjean is destined to be a nearly-man of his generation; too good to be running in midfield, but not quite complete enough to be a front-runner. His team-leadership skills were heavily criticised, too, as he allowed his short temper to be his worst enemy, as seen at Lotus. Whatever floats your boat, Romain.

12. Felipe Nasr (17th- 2 points- Sauber C35- Ferrari) 6.5

The sturdy Brazilian had  a rather quiet second season of his fledgling F1 career, however when car issues were not an issue, he smashed Marcus Ericsson to a pulp. His qualifying performance in Q1 at Baku saw him outpace Ericsson by almost 0.7 seconds, whilst Q1 at Hungary saw him ranked 7th in wet conditions. His adept wet-weather driving rewarded with two points in Brazil, but his sponsor Banco do Brasil had already called it quits, so his future may rely upon Bottas vacating a seat at Williams. He lost 13-8 in the qualifying battle against Ericsson, although a prevalent handling issue in the early part of the season played a factor in this.

13. Felipe Massa (11th- 53 points- Williams FW38-Mercedes) 6.5

The popular Brazilian had a consistent, if unspectacular final season of F1. Massa will be remembered for his brilliant 2008 season, where won six races and possibly two more in Hungary and Singapore, if it was not for engine failure and a trapped fuel rig. World champion for 20 seconds until Lewis Hamilton crept passed a dry tyre-shod Timo Glock, an emotive Felipe stood on the podium with courage and grace. A good sportsman will be missed.

14. Jenson Button (15th, 21 points- McLaren MP4-31-Honda) 6.0

Like Massa, Button will be missed sorely, but he arguably had an even more disappointing farewell year. Only scoring five points than he did in last year’s shambles of a car, the Frome veteran intermittently showed his old spark in Austria and Germany, but his peak years are past. Once derided as a playboy, Jenson matured into a heavily-feared hard-charger, who used his brain and guile to compensate for his lack of raw pace. From 2009-12, his wins displayed a verve for fluid thinking under pressure and ability to judge adverse conditions better than anyone else. Sadly, his team-mate Fernando Alonso demolished him 14-5 in the qualifying battle, so it is perhaps best to allow Stoffel Vandoorne his belated full-time debut.

15. Nico Hulkenberg (9th, 72 points, Force India VJM09-Mercedes) 6.0

Year after year, the lanky German is rated as one of the best midfielders in the sport, but this season has been underwhelming. Outraced and outscored by his diminutive team-mate Perez, Hulkenberg will need to up his game to deliver the goods for Renault. It’s becoming a cliche to say Hulkenberg drove well despite narrowly missing out on a podium. His dreadful start from P3 on the grid at Austria sums up the mishaps which have become alarmingly prevalent in the 29-year-old’s driving. For a driver so highly-regarded, winning the qualifying battle 12-9 over a driver not renowned for raw pace is lamentable.

16. Pascal Wehrlein (19th, 1 point- Manor MRT05-Mercedes) 5.5

As you’re well aware, if this year’s world champion hadn’t shocked everyone with his intention to depart the sport immediately, last year’s DTM champion would probably be seeking a second season at Manor or a move to Sauber. With extensive testing experience with Mercedes and Force India, the golden child of Silver Arrows has a satisfactory debut season. His sole point at Spielberg underlined his talent, but he won the qualifying battle by just 7-5 over his paying team-mate Rio Haryanto. He raised his game to beat 7-2 in the qualifying war against replacement Esteban Ocon, but his race performances became static and concerning. Thanks to Rosberg’s announcement, Wehrlein may land the hot seat at Mercedes, but that is hypothetical and many feel his confidence could be destroyed by being paired with a ruthless Hamilton. Due to the dire financial circumstances Sauber and Manor find themselves in, and how Mercedes have admitted dismay over his perceived self-centred and stubborn personality, the starlet may find himself dedicated to solely testing next season.

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix Review: Up In Smoke

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DRIVER OF THE DAY

Nico Rosberg (P3)

A superb comeback after having been tapped around at Turn 1 on the first lap by Sebastian Vettel, thus being dropped to 21st. He may have been lucky in regards to Lewis Hamilton’s engine failure, which extended his championship lead to 23 points, but his tenacious overtakes were a sight to behold. His final pass of the race on Kimi Raikkonen was awe-inspiring in its execution, which was greeted by tumultuous approval from spectators. The stewards strangely decided to punished him with ten seconds added to his race time, but this was rendered academic by the German’s finishing margin of 13 seconds over the Finn. It was a performance of an increasingly probable world champion.

REJECT OF THE DAY

Lewis Hamilton (Ret, Engine)

Someone doesn’t want me to win this year but I won’t give up.

We have so many engines, but mine are the only ones failing. Someone needs to give me some answers.

A plethora of conspiracy theorists returned when the Briton appeared to insinuate accusations of sabotage within his Mercedes team. Hamilton is once again playing the victim card in the vein of his idol Ayrton Senna, leaving neutrals perturbed. The race result leaves the Briton requiring him to win all five remaining Grands Prix in order to win the WDC as a minimum requirement, barring any misfortunes for his embittered team-mate.

THE REST OF THE FIELD

Red Bull secured their first 1-2 since 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix, with a thrilling tussle through turns 5-8 on lap 39, but the Virtual Safety Car summoned on lap 41 due to Hamilton’s engine denotation saw team orders enforce a processional finish. Daniel Ricciardo took a well-deserved first victory since 2014, whilst Max Verstappen was content with a strong display. Kimi Raikkonen had an average race with P4, whilst Valtteri Bottas brought cheer to his beleaguered Williams team, finishing P5 after starting P11. Sergio Perez again toppled team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, as the Force India achieved P6 and P8, which consolidated P4 in the constructors’ standings and stretched their lead over Williams by three points. McLaren highlighted their immerse progress once again, with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button securing P7 and P9. Button’s qualifying lap of 1:34.518 was a staggering seven seconds faster than his 2015 qualifying lap at Sepang of 1:41.636. Alonso started P22 thanks to an egregious 45-place grid penalty, but pounced at the chaos at turn 1 in order to elevate himself to P12 when the Virtual Safety Car was enforced on lap 1. Jolyon Palmer finally scored his first ever point in F1, which atoned for his lamentable spin in Hungary where he had been running P10 likewise. The lack of horsepower of 2015-spec Ferrari engines proved a major nuisance for Toro Rosso, whose drivers Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat coasted home in P11 and P14. Marcus Ericsson drove a composed race to P12 for Sauber, but Felipe Massa suffered a hellish race, where his car’s throttle failed temporarily on the parade laps and his race was littered by tyre punctures and various maladies, finishing P13. The Manors of Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon had a feisty dice throughout the race, finishing P15 and P16, last of the classified finishers. Haas had a calamitous day, with Romain Grosjean’s brakes failing on lap 8 whilst running P10 and Esteban Gutierrez forced to park up after his insufficiently secured wheel came loose on lap 40. Sebastian Vettel was eliminated with his overzealous lunge on Verstappen at turn 1, where contact with Rosberg wedged his front-left wheel askewed. The stewards punished the 29 year old German with a three grid penalty retrospectively for the next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. Kevin Magnussen and Felipe Nasr were the two other retirees, with power loss and brake failures respectively.

DOFD

Grosjean (2) Rosberg (3) Magnussen (1) Verstappen (3) Ricciardo (2) Bottas (1) Perez (1) Raikkonen (1) Alonso (1) Vettel (1)

ROFD

F1 Authorities X2 Williams X1 Vettel X1 Kvyat X1  Rosberg X2 Hamilton X3 Hulkenberg X1 Gutierrez X1 Palmer X1 Verstappen X2 Nasr X2 Ericsson X1

F1 Silly Season 2016: September

The announcement of Felipe Massa’s retirement and Jenson Button’s demotion to reserve driver at McLaren sent shock waves throughout the sport during this year’s Italian Grand Prix. It was universally agreed everyone was pleased to see Stoffel Vandoorne finally be handed a full-time ride with McLaren, but Button’s talents being lost to midfield teams, who may need an experienced driver to fill a void. The decision by Ron Dennis and associates to rearrange their driver line-up for 2017 was shrewd and assuring: Vandoorne finally gets his chance, Button is kept on board to please sponsors as McLaren’s British commercial representative, whilst if Fernando Alonso decides to retire from F1 earlier than expected, Button would be a competent and reliable substitute.

Here is my perspective of the future of the sport’s current incumbents:

Force India

Huge interest circulating, but no concrete decisions yet

Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez have refuse to refute rumours linking to other teams. Hulkenberg has a contact which ties him to Force India until the end of 2017, but has made no secret of his desires to land Kimi Raikkonen’s seat at Ferrari, when the Finn’s current deal finishes. Perez is linked to Williams, which would be a move sideways, and Renault, where huge investment into their 2017 car may yield immediate rewards. The team have made no secret of their desire to retain both drivers for the foreseeable future, so therefore have not talked about replacements.

Haas

A bump in the road for the American new boys

The two G’s of America’s only F1 teams are very much part of the silly season rumour mill. There has been condemnation over Romain Grosjean’s ability to perform the role of team leader, something which has disgruntled Gene Haas and reports link Grosjean returning to Renault (named Lotus when he drove for them). Esteban Gutierrez continues to polarise pundits over his ability; he has outpaced Grosjean recently, but is unable to rid himself of his knack of failing to finish able 11th. Reports of his poor feedback have circulated, so maybe the clock is indeed ticking on the cordial Mexican’s career. If Gutierrez does remain in F1, though, it will be mostly likely to be a second season with Haas. Prospective GP3 champion Charles LeClerc has emerged as a contender for a seat at Haas, along with Alexander Rossi.

Manor MRT

So far, so good

Pascal Wehrlein is expected to spend a second season at Manor for 2017, but some feel this is a waste of his sizeable talent. Some believe Mercedes would help to accelerate his progress by placing him in the soon-to-be vacated second seat at Williams, allowing the German to compete in midfield battles more regularly instead of trundling at the rear of the grid. Rio Haryanto was recently demoted to the position of reserve driver after Pertamina’s funding extinguished, but his associates have made noises about new sources of sponsorship, which may help Haryanto return to a full-time seat in 2017 at Manor. An option to retain Esteban Ocon is on cards, as long as the Banbury-based squad can negotiate the conundrum of his intertwined contracts with Renault and Mercedes.

Renault Sport

A year in transition

Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer have done little to impress pundits this season. Magnussen’s P7 at Russia remains his only highlight thus far, whilst Palmer threw away a potential points finish when he spun at Hungary, running in P10 beforehand. Sponsorship funding will be key to the future of these youngsters, although no interest has been affirmed from rival outfits as of yet. Cyril Abiteboul has spoken of the need for a “charismatic” driver to lead the Enstone-based squad, which was possibly the French boss pillorying the efforts of his team’s incumbent drivers. Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon have  been mentioned to be targets for this iconic outfit.

Sauber

A light at the end of the tunnel?

This season has proven to be a truly state of affairs for this Hinwil-based squad. A takeover by Longbow Finance, though, has been stated to be securing Sauber’s future, although one cannot always take these statements literally in the rapid, cut-throat world of F1. Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr have not had a car in which either has had the opportunity to impress; indeed, this season has been the nadir of Sauber’s Grand Prix racing history. With little money to spend on development, their current drivers are hoping Monisha Kaltenborn is not eyeing up other drivers, as no rival teams have expressed interest in their services. Nasr, however, was once Williams’ test driver and many feel the Grove-based squad would welcome his injection of Banco do Brasil cash. It would make commercial business sense to replace an ageing Brazilian favourite with another emerging Brazilian talent, appeasing sponsors and retaining global identity.

Toro Rosso

What became of the broken hearted? 

Carlos Sainz has been confirmed for a third season at the Faenza-based squad, although some feel this will be his last if a promotion to the Red Bull senior isn’t beckoning. A move to Renault has been rumoured, although the Spanish press have also stoked rumours of a move to Force India or even Ferrari. A potential move to the Maranello-based squad may tempt Sainz, but he would do so at the age of just 23- his lack of experience with politics within a team entrenched by Machiavellian tendencies may deter him, though. His cerebral and embattled team-mate Daniil Kvyat is fighting an intense battle to save his F1 career; his relations with Franz Tost and Helmut Marko are believed to be at ground zero and with no hints of interest from rival teams, Kvyat’s best hopes lay with an undisclosed Russian backer buying him a seat at Williams, Sauber, Manor or Force India.

Williams

F1’s Tottenham Hotspur

The Grove-based squad is yet to confirm Valtteri Bottas for a fourth season, but many feel it is just a matter of applying pen to paper. The career prospects of Finland’s best prospect have flatlined, with interest from Ferrari seemingly a distant past. With Felipe Massa’s retirement at the end of this season confirmed, the speculation over Williams’ second seat escalated when Jenson Button announced his role with McLaren for the next two years. Lance Stroll, Nasr, Kvyat, Perez, Wehrlein are just several out of many names linked to this seat, but some feel their inclusion may be a stop-gap solution for the foreseeable future.

2016 Austrian Grand Prix Review

DRIVER OF THE DAY

Max Verstappen (Red Bull-TAG Heuer) 2nd

56 laps on the softs and holding off seasoned veteran Raikkonen is testament to the natural intuition and perseverance of the young Dutchman. Max may not be the quickest over a qualifying lap, but his racecraft resembles that of a multiple world champion.

WINNERS

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1st

In truth, the Briton had an average race. His complaining on the radio about the choice of soft tyres in comparison to Rosberg’s super-softs for the final stint did his reputation no favours. However, the turn 2 incident on the final lap was definitely not Hamilton’s fault.

Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 3rd

The Iceman did his best under difficult circumstances, thanks to more questionable strategic errors by Ferrari. Whether Kimi could have won if he took a two stopper is unknown, but for Ferrari the timing his pit stop dropped him from 2nd to 5th, leaving him stuck behind the slower Red Bulls.

Jenson Button (McLaren-Honda) 6th

A magnificent qualifying lap placed Jenson in a shock 3rd place. To no-one’s surprise, Button dropped down to 9th, but his stint on the soft compounds was a throwback to his previous prosperous days at McLaren. In addition his overtakes dazzled the fans and Button never put a wheel wrong.

Pascal Wehrlein (MRT-Mercedes) 10th

On a day which Wehrlein’s compatriots blundered in a varying circumstances, the DTM champion came of age. A scintillating qualifying lap placed his Manor 12th and his patience and intelligence allowed the German to quietly scheme his way to his first points finish and Manor’s first point for two years.

REJECT OF THE DAY

Nico Hulkenberg (Force India-Mercedes) DNF

The Hulk’s reputation as the best driver F1 has seen to fail to score a podium continues, but a disastrous start dropped him rapidly down to 13th. To exacerbate his agony, a five second time penalty was applied for speeding in the pitlane. Eventually, Hulkenberg pulled up in the pits on a day which should have delivered so much more.

LOSERS

Ferrari

Make the same mistake twice is a sign of carelessness, but to do so thrice is a sign of growing insanity. A rearrangement of Ferrari’s pit strategy team is urgently needed, but the Scuderia’s hierarchy is not heeding the warnings. In addition, Vettel’s tyre failure shows a worrying lack of ability from the engineers to analyse issues and solve them effectively.

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 4th

Nico, my friend, watch a replay of that final lap incident and you will see that you didn’t even attempt to aim your car’s nose towards the apex whatsoever.

DofD

Grosjean X2 Rosberg X1 Magnussen X1 Verstappen X2 Ricciardo X1 Bottas X1 Perez X1

RofD

F1 Authorities X1 Williams X1 Vettel X1 Kvyat X1 Mercedes X1 Sauber X1 Rosberg X1 Hamilton X1 Hulkenberg X1

2016 F1 Post-Baku Mid-Term Report

THE CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS

Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 117 points) Mercedes 7.5/10

Before the season even kicked off, Hamilton was attracting controversy over use of a phone to take a selfie whilst on a motorcycle in Auckland. On-track, the Briton has been hampered by reliability issues, as well as clutch issues at start of races. However, his many collisions with other drivers has tainted his 2016 thus far and his radio outbursts in Baku will not aid his bid for a fourth WDC.

Nico Rosberg (1st, 141 points) Mercedes 8.5/10

The elegant German has had an exemplary start to what is his eleventh season in F1. Despite claims of nepotism, Rosberg has done what has been asked of him. However, his troubled run in Monaco, where his brakes were unresponsive, and his error-strewn performance in Canada, have left his critics doubting his true WDC credentials.

Sebastian Vettel (3rd, 96 points) Ferrari 8.0/10

The effervescent German has performed consistently, but has had a deeper struggle in his start to his second season at Maranello. Most of issues have stemmed from strategic decisions from the Ferrari pit crew, who need to up their game. Otherwise, 2016 will be a wasted season for the four-time world champion.

Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 81 points) Ferrari 6.5/10

In a season where the Iceman needed to counter his doubters, he has justified their scepticism. Strong runs to 2nd, 3rd and 2nd in Bahrain, Russia & Spain suggested a return to form, only for his crash in Monaco followed by anonymous performances in Canada & Baku, where tyre degradation and fuel consumption issues affected Kimi more than Seb, have left many calling for his retirement form F1.

Daniel Ricciardo (5th, 78 points) Red Bull 7.5/10

Oh Daniel, what could it have been? Three consecutive fourth places in the first three races was testament to the perseverance of the Honey Badger, but a lack of foresight into Red Bull’s pit decisions at Barcelona & Monaco costed him almost certain victories. The past two races have seen a dip in form, but the Perth driver’s solid racecraft and aggression will surely see him succeed big time soon.

Max Verstappen (6th, 54 points) Red Bull 7.0/10

At the tender age of 18, the flying Dutchboy became F1’s youngest race victor at Barcelona, albeit thanks to the Turn 4 incident between Hamilton and Rosberg. It fully justified his surprise promotion to the senior Red Bull team, but the pressure to deliver is firmly on his shoulders. His defence of 4th place at Montreal, ahead of an impatient Rosberg, was a wonder to marvel. However, he needs to cut out sloppy inconsistencies, such as his willingness to run too close to the barriers at Monaco.

THE MIDFIELDERS

Valtteri Bottas (7th, 52 points) Williams 6.5/10

Hmmm. Two seasons ago, everyone was raving about the tenacity of this young Finn, who impressed with solid runs to second places at Silverstone & Hockenheim. The past eighteen months, however, have seen glimpses of Bottas’s potential, but nothing exciting. The first eight races of 2016 have seen the Williams pit crew struggle with pit strategy, but one is left wanting more when analysing Bottas’ performances thus far.

Sergio Perez (8th, 39 points) Force India 7.5/10

The mercurial Mexican has often left pundits urging more of him throughout his F1 career, but it appears a change of attitude is finally reaping rewards. Previously maligned by his bosses at McLaren, Perez has shown a cool head and intelligence in the chaos at Monaco & Baku to deliver two more podiums to his resume. Rumours of a seat at Ferrari have abounded and it would be tough to rule him if his form continues.

Felipe Massa (9th, 38 points) Williams (6.0/10)

The Brazilian veteran blows hot and cold in tandem to the manner of his overall F1 career. Despite beating Bottas in the first three races, the best days of Massa are beginning to leave him behind and he has recently admitted this season is likely to be his last at Williams.

Daniil Kvyat (10th, 22 points) Toro Rosso 5.5/10

The reticent Russian has not recovered since his shock demotion from the senior team. Kvyat impressed many with his run to 3rd at Shanghai and his subsequent refusal to be intimidated by a disgruntled Vettel, but his double collision with the illustrious German provided amble reason for the trigger happy Helmut Marko to ditch him immediately. Kyvat has struggled to combat Carlos Sainz’s raw pace and commitment, leaving many to doubt whether the Ufa born driver has a future in F1.

Romain Grosjean (11th, 22 points) Haas 7.5/10

In a move which some saw as career-threatening, but others applauded for its audacity, Grosjean has made his decision to join Haas to pay off to huge plaudits. It may be a cliche, but the Frenchman and America’s new F1 team pulled off the dream start with 6th and 5th places in Australia and Bahrain. They further consolidated their championship position with 8th place in Russia, enabling Haas to sit in an impressive 8th place in the WCC. However, a slight dip of form lately has hindered Grosjean, but his struggles are vindictive of an experienced driver helping a new team to learn the ropes of F1.

Nico Hulkenberg (12th, 20 points) Force India 7.0/10

It is difficult to assess Hulkenberg’s start to 2016 in lieu of mechanical problems and bad luck, which have become a pattern of the German’s results recently. Many are astonished to think that Nico has not still not achieved a podium result to date in F1, but a few are growing sceptical of his true credentials.

Fernando Alonso (13th, 18 points) McLaren 7.5/10

“The Jacques Villeneuve of his generation” may be harsh to describe who many consider to be pound-for-pound F1’s best driver, but his results are mirroring a similar flow to the outspoken French-Canadian later F1 career results: frequent non-points finishes with an occasional top five result. Is his motivation still there? Does he still enjoy F1? Judging from his performances at Sochi & Monaco, it appears the answer to those questions is almost yes.

Carlos Sainz, Jr. (14th, 18 points) Toro Rosso 7.0/10

Emerging out of Verstappen’s shadow, the son of his eponymous former World Rally Champion father is finally making a name for himself. It is no surprise of journalists circulating rumours of a Ferrari move, but it is perhaps too soon for this radiant 21 year old hotshot. Five point finishes is solid start thus far and his beating of more experienced Kvyat is further enhancing his status of Spain’s next World Champion.

Kevin Magnussen (15th, 6 points) Renault 6.5/10

It’s tough to judge a driver who is driving in a solidly lower-midfield car, but it’s even tougher to judge his true credentials in comparison to other youngsters when it is indisputable that Magnussen’s teammate Jolyon Palmer is a dud. The Dane’s drive to 7th at Sochi was a great calling card of his defensive skills, but Renault’s focus on 2017 will leave many uncertain of what he can achieve when given a fully developed car.

Jenson Button (16th, 5 points) McLaren 6.0/10

The Frome veteran remains an ever-present in the midfield of F1’s grid, but it is hard to judge how good or bad Button has been when he is driving such an underpowered car. The truth is that his performances suggest Button to be performing at an acceptable but not particularly outstanding level. Three points finishes is okay, but when a young Belgian hotshot is eyeing your seat, it’s not or never.

Stoffel Vandoorne (17th, 1 point) McLaren N/A

Deputising for a stricken Alonso, who was still recovering from his Melbourne horror crash, Vandoorne displayed an awe-inspiring performance at Bahrain, even overtaking Perez without DRS (!). Alas, a few rookie errors costed him a higher finish, but much is expected of him. No marks have been awarded due to no other race appearances, so Stoffel will be focusing on Super Formula in Japan.

THE NON POINT SCORERS (Thus far)

Esteban Gutierrez (18th, 0 points) Haas 4.0/10

Why has this driver been awarded a THIRD season in F1? It begs belief to see such a lacklustre “talent” persist so long in the top tier of single seater racing, especially when real diamonds such as Vandoorne are forced to watch from the sidelines. However, the Mexican has outqualified Grosjean of late, but it remains to be seen whether this is a changing trend or a blip. Most likely the latter.

Jolyon Palmer (19th, 0 points) Renault 2.5/10

Many GP2 fans have lamented the exclusion of previous champions such as Davide Valsecchi & Fabio Leimer from F1, with many believing such an achievement automatically merits a seat in Grand Prix racing. Unfortunately, the most recent British GP2 champion is doing everything to undermine their argument. Rarely ever close to Kevin Magnussen’s pace, Palmer’s race performances have been erratic, none more so than his cringeworthy crash at Monaco whilst circulating behind the safety car. This added insult to his already tarnished record, where at Shanghai, Palmer joined Hans Hermann and Narain Kerthikeyan on the list of drivers to finish last in races where all starters saw the chequered flag.  A serious improvement is needed, because only a Herculean amount of sponsorship could lend a second season for this struggling rookie.

Marcus Ericsson (20th, 0 points) Sauber 5.0/10

The heavily remunerated Swede has turned the tables on his Brazilian teammate Nasr, but their relationship is souring rapidly. That comical collision at Monaco, which was a culmination of Ericsson’s frustration over Nasr’s refusal to allow him past, has been a harbinger of Sauber’s accumulating financial issues, which threatens the careers of their drivers and their existence as a team.

Felipe Nasr (21st, 0 points) Sauber 3.0/10

This time last year, everyone was speaking highly of this Brazilian’s performances, where he was lying in 10th in the WDC and Sauber flying high in 7th in the WCC post-Canada. Fortunes have turned dramatically this year and talk of Nasr taking his sponsors elsewhere have already begun.

Pascal Wehrlein (22nd, 0 points) Manor 5.5/10

The prognosis of Wehrlein’s true potential will be displayed as this season progresses, but he has been at the end of his less-than-well-regarded teammate Haryanto outqualifying him. His run to 13th at Bahrain promised much, but it appears the learning game was very much on with his embarrassing crash in qualifying at China being proof of the German’s lack of experience. At Baku, however, launching his car into 9th albeit by running longer than others, is vindictive of a giant-killing he may pull off later in his career.

Rio Haryanto (23rd, 0 points) Manor 3.5/10

Has he impressed? No. Has he performed above expectations? Yes, but only marginally. The perpetual state of austerity is a never-ending theme for backmarkers in F1, so the inclusion of drivers of this quality is mandatory. It is rumoured that the Indonesian’s sponsorship money only stretches as far as Hungary, so it is likely a new teammate for Wehrlein will appear at Germany. At least Haryanto can point to his qualifying lap to start 16th at Baku as a highlight of what is likely to be a heavily-truncated F1 career.

 

Top 3 F1 Drivers 1999-2015

1999

1st Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan-Mugen Honda)
2nd Ralf Schumacher (Williams-Supertec)
3rd Rubens Barrichello (Stewart-Ford)

2000

1st Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
2nd Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes)
3rd Jacques Villeneuve (BAR-Honda)

2001

1st Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
2nd Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW)
3rd Fernando Alonso (Minardi-European)

2002

1st Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
2nd Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan-Honda)
3rd Mark Webber (Minardi-Asiatech)

2003

1st Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren-Mercedes)
2nd Fernando Alonso (Renault)
3rd Mark Webber (Jaguar-Cosworth)

2004

1st Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
2nd Jenson Button (BAR-Honda)
3rd Giancarlo Fisichella (Sauber-Petronas)

2005

1st Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren-Mercedes)
2nd Fernando Alonso (Renault)
3rd Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)

2006

1st Fernando Alonso (Renault)
2nd Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
3rd Mark Webber (Williams-Cosworth)

2007

1st Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
2nd Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)
3rd Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

2008

1st Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)
2nd Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)
3rd Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso-Ferrari)

2009

1st Fernando Alonso (Renault)
2nd Nico Rosberg (Williams-Toyota)
3rd Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

2010

1st Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2nd Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)
3rd Robert Kubica (Renault)

2011

1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)
2nd Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes)
3rd Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

2012

1st Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2nd Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)
3rd Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault)

2013

1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)
2nd Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
3rd Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber-Ferrari)

2014

1st Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2nd Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3rd Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull-Renault)

2015

1st Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
2nd Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3rd Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso-Renault)

2016 Australian Grand Prix Winners & Losers

GRAND PRIX RATING: 7/10

DRIVER/TEAM OF THE DAY

Romain Grosjean (Haas, P6)

What an astonishing drive. After a shoddy qualifying for the new boys, Haas took advantage of the red flag caused by their driver Esteban Gutierrez’s horrendous collision with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso. Race strategist Ruth Buscombe pulled off a brilliant decision to place Grosjean on new medium tyres, vaulting their French superstar above those many who took on used mediums or later made a second pit stop to unsuccessfully take advantage of soft compounds in their second stints.

WINNERS

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes, P1)

Rosberg’s start was poor, but nowhere near as poor as Hamilton’s. His performance proved Mercedes’ great longevity on the medium compounds.

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull, P4)

In spite of a grimly underpowered power unit, Ricciardo successfully pulled off a four tyre compound strategy (used super-softs, new super-softs, new softs & used super-softs). The Red Bull RB12 chassis appears to be the gentlest on its tyres in race-trim, allowing the local boy to set the race’s  fastest lap of 1:28.997.

Kevin Magnussen (Renault, P12)

The Dane drove a steady, determined race after his first lap incident which damaged his car significantly. To finish just two seconds behind Palmer, having driven more than half of the race on used mediums bodes well for K-Mag.

REJECTS OF THE DAY

FIA, F1 Strategy Group & Bernie Ecclestone

The most laughable qualifying session took place on Saturday and proved many within the FIA are not fit to govern the premier class of motorsport. The F1 Strategy Group itself should refund the fans who were subjected to such a pathetic farce. As for Bernie, he is finished.

LOSERS OF THE DAY

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes, P2)

Once again the Blessed One courted bad publicity during the mid-week, breaching the dress code of a Auckland casino and then taking a selfie on his motorcycle, thus attracting police attention. In the race itself, Hamilton dropped to P6 at the start and struggled to overtake the Toro Rossos in the following stints. In the end, it was damage limitation and the Briton was fortunate Sebastian Vettel took a trip to the grass in the closing laps whilst pursuing him.

Ferrari (Vettel, P3/Raikkonen, DNF)

The boys from Maranello threw away a very likely victory with a poor tyre strategy for Vettel. There seems to be a lack of confidence in the prowess of the SF16-H to run consistent laps on the medium compounds. A turbo failure and a “small” fire for Raikkonen and a slow 5.6 second pit stop for Vettel’s 2nd pit stop was inexcusable. Operational errors need to wiped out immediately.

Williams (Massa, P5/Bottas, P8)

An incredibly disappointing performance for the Banbury squad, who appear to be divesting funds to their 2017 car. For Massa to finish nearly a minute down on Rosberg, despite having used the optimal new medium compound at the restart, was more than underwhelming to say the least.

Toro Rosso (Sainz, P9/Verstappen, P10)

A questionable decision to not change tyre compounds during the red flag proved costly, as both Sainz and Verstappen fell out with their engineers on the radio.

Sergio Perez (Force India, P13)

Anonymous and comprehensively beaten by Hulkenberg.

McLaren-Honda (Button, P14 & Alonso, DNF and alive)

A slightly promising performance in qualifying turned horribly sour in the race itself. The MP4-31 does not look drivable on used compounds at all.

Pirelli

Please give the teams at least 18 sets of tyres for the weekend. 13 sets are far too insufficient.

2016 F1 Season Part 3 Preview (Toro Rosso, McLaren & Renault)

The lower midfield could be crudely viewed as the battle between the young guns and the veterans, but a lot is at stake for these embattled teams this season. Here’s a run-down of these midfield runners:

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Chassis: STR11

Engine: 2015 Ferrari

Predicted constructors’ position: 6th

The Faenza-based squad will fly to Melbourne with a strong sense of optimism, after an incredibly productive pre-season testing programme. Franz Tost and James Key will continue to lead the reins at Red Bull’s junior team, whilst enticing youngsters Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, Jr remain as drivers. Many believe Toro Rosso could exceed expectations and finish as high as a lofty 4th in the constructors’ position, but this would heighten tensions considerably within the senior Red Bull Racing squad if they were to beat them.

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team

Chassis: MP4-31

Engine: Honda

Predicted constructors’ position: 7th

After last season’s farce, the only way is up for the Woking-based squad. Pre-season testing at Barcelona showed noticeable improvements, but mostly in terms of the reliability of the chassis and engine. The Honda hybrid unit is still at least 80BHP down on the pacesetting Mercedes engines and heads have already been turned with Yusuke Hasegawa replacing Yasuhisa Arai as Honda motorsport chief officer. Ron Dennis remains Group Chairman, Eric Bouiller continues as Racing Director, whilst Jost Capito has been drafted in as CEO. In the technical department, Tim Goss, Neil Oatley and Peter Prodomou continue to take the reins. However, the patience of star driver Fernando Alonso is draining and this season could prove to be Jenson Button‘s swansong.

Renault Sport Formula One Team

Chassis: RS16

Engine: Renault

Predicted constructors’ position: 8th

The Renault name may have returned as a constructor entry, but in the eyes of fans, the spirit of “Team Enstone” lives on for another year. Pre-season testing proved underwhelming, however, as the team set low expectations and their main priority was mileage. As with any team buyout, a new management has been put in place. Carlos Ghosn takes over as Group Chairman and CEO, despite his infamous lack of enthusiasm for motorsports, whilst Jérôme Stoll, Cyril Abitedoul and Frédéric Vasseur take over as President, Managing Director and Racing Director respectively. Bob Bell will resume his Chief Technical Officer from the Lotus days, whilst Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen provide new blood in the driving department. One heavy topic of contention throughout this season will be their fractious relationship with Red Bull Racing.