Formula 1 : Mercedes will now campaign the sport’s former race director to return full time !

Spread the love
Listen to this article
  • Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes signal warning shot to the paddock in resurgent display

US News, April 2, 2023. It turns out all Formula One needed to get back to 2021 levels of chaos and drama was Michael Masi back in the paddock. Perhaps Mercedes will now campaign the sport’s former race director to return full time because his presence – Masi was here working for Australian supercars – also had the effect of restoring the Brackley team’s pace. Not quite to 2021 levels. But this was a significant improvement on their season so far.

An extraordinarily chaotic race – which lasted well over two and a half hours and involved three red flags, three safety cars, and four starts or restarts – eventually finished with Lewis Hamilton in second place behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

That the double world champion was still within sight of Hamilton at the finish line was, admittedly, only because the race finished behind a safety car. But Hamilton did manage to keep Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso behind him for the entire race, an achievement which did not seem feasible in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago. Mercedes’ pace was genuine.

Hamilton’s teammate George Russell would almost certainly have finished on the podium, too, but for some rotten luck amid all the chaos. The youngster had a dream start from second on the grid, blasting past pole-sitter Verstappen into Turn 1 (a move that threw the Dutchman off his stride to such a degree that Hamilton was also able to get a run on him into Turn 3). And he continued to look the part after a safety car was brought out to clear up an opening lap shunt involving Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, getting away well again at the rolling restart.

Russell’s luck changed, however, after Mercedes opted to bring him in for a change of tyres behind a second safety car following a heavy crash involving Williams’ Alex Albon on lap 7.

It was arguably the right call. Indeed, Mercedes insisted after the race that it was the right call.

But it backfired spectacularly when that safety car was upgraded to a red flag just after Russell had come back out in seventh place, allowing everyone else in the field a free pit stop.

To add insult to injury, Russell’s engine then blew up on lap 18, forcing him to retire. “When it’s not your day, it’s not your day,” Russell tweeted later.

By the time Russell back in the garage, Verstappen was back in the race lead. The Red Bull flew past the Mercedes under DRS like a jet plane passing a hot air balloon. Hamilton was utterly powerless to respond, and turned his attention instead to Alonso in third place.
To everyone’s surprise – Hamilton’s included – the 38-year-old managed to keep the gap steady until Kevin Magnussen’s crash four laps from the finish brought out a second red flag.

The ensuing grid start, on lap 56 of 58, resulted in utter pandemonium as the field set off on a two-lap sprint for the finish. Four cars crashed out, including both the Alpines – Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon crashing into each other – while there were numerous other collisions, one involving Alonso and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

The debris from all those incidents brought out one last red flag, with race director Steve Neilsen deciding it would be prudent this time to finish behind a safety car. But only after he had handed Sainz a five-second penalty for causing the collision with Alonso, which had the effect of dropping the Spaniard from fourth to 12th at the finish. Sainz, apoplectic, described the penalty as “the biggest disgrace I’ve seen in the sport for many years” and marched off to see the stewards who were unmoved.

It will take a while for the dust to settle on this one. Only 12 cars finished (two of them belonging to McLaren who were arguably the happiest team at the finish with Lando Norris sixth and local boy Oscar Piastri eighth) and there will be many questions asked over the next few days as to the red flags and the restart procedures – and whether this is a show or a sport.

To be honest, Formula One is so focused right now on spicing things up it would be no surprise to see the rules amended to ensure that even a final lap red flag does not result in a race finishing behind a safety car, as happened here, but instead sees a one-lap sprint for the finish. Such discussions are for another day. Hamilton preferred to focus afterwards on Mercedes’ improved form. “Max is in another league,” he admitted. “But I think this result gives us a real boost. Having a battle with Aston Martin was amazing. Let’s keep pushing. Thank you to everyone in the factory. We can close the gap. It’s going to be tough but not impossible.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

JISOO, A fashion and beauty global ambassador Latest Photoshoot of Ura charlie murphy Actress Elizabeth Holmes Priscila Fantin
%d bloggers like this: