Before I start this article, I must confess something… this weekend was the first time in about 2 years where I didn’t really watch much of the coverage. I had half an eye on quali, but hardly watched any practice and wasn’t able to watch the race live. After finding out the results of the race (something I hate doing before watching the race), I decided to only watch the 45 mins highlight show that Sky do instead of the full race/extended highlights. The race didn’t seem that great, but I did really feel like I missed out on the race as the Sky highlights really weren’t that good. Means that this article should be short however- *everyone jumps for joy*.
From what I did see, the track and atmosphere looked absolutely incredible. I would love to go to Zandvort to watch a race, right by the beach and Amsterdam, as well as having that electric atmosphere (although I would probably be mauled as a Hamilton fan). Whilst the track wasn’t that great for overtaking, watching the cars go round the banked corners was immense and the track seemed like a really fast, twisty circuit.
Max seemed absolulely on form, dominating the whole weekend. Not a huge surpise with that crowd and how that Red Bull performs on these type of tracks, but he delivered under pressure and delighted the home crowd. It seemed like Hamilton did everything he could to try and beat Max but it just wasn’t to be for the British driver- it’s only fair that they both get to win their home races. Hamilton really needs to get a win soon, otherwise momentum is gonna swing back Max’s way again. I think Monza might suit the Mercs better, so let’s see what happens this weekend.
Bottas put in his usual good job of being in P3, so he could be used as an option to put pressure on Max and restrict Red Bull’s strategy. On another day, it might have secured Lewis the win but not in Zandvort with the crowd providing extra speed to Max. Bottas’ fastest lap seemed cheeky, however I genuinely think he didn’t hear the message when he put in the fastest lap. He let Lewis by pretty much immediately after Max got through (massively compromising his lap), so wouldn’t do that fastest lap just to be cheeky.
We have to address the news that Bottas will be going to Alfa Romeo next season. I think it’s very honourable that he is still willing to play the team game despite being kicked out the team for Russell (YAAAAAY!!!!!). I think he respects Mercedes for the opportunity that he’s been given and the success that he’s been a part of- he has won 4 world championships with the team after all. I think Bottas will want to win his 5th championship with the team and will go to Alfa Romeo revitalised and help propel that team forward. I hope he does well at Alfa, as he deserves to be able to show off his talents properly.
Perez had already been announced as Red Bull’s second driver and it’s a good thing he was. He had a pretty poor qualifying, but it seems like he had a decent race coming back from the pit lane to get P8 and win Driver of the Day. He’s doing the classic Red Bull 2nd driver atm however; have a poor quali and then come back during the race but it’s just not good enough for Red Bull. Hopefully he’ll have the backing of the team now, but I keep trying to make excuses for Perez and saying he’s gonna get better, and he just doesn’t appear to be.
Pierre Gasly had a phenomenal weekend, qualifying and finishing in P4- his overtake on Alonso was absolutely incredible, going round the outside of the banked corner. Gasly is at peace at AlphaTauri and it’s great to see him really blossoming and doing well. The Ferrari’s also had a good race, as did Alonso in his Alpine. The midfield battle is so exciting that every week there’s different drivers, from different teams, doing well and scoring good points. Now, Ferrari are 11.5 (lol at the .5, I know that annoys some people) ahead of McLaren after the team in papaya had a poor weekend, and AlphaTauri are only 6 points behind Alpine now. It’s so close and exciting, and I hope all these little battles go on until the end of the season.
Down at the back of the grid, I saw that Gio had a phenomenal quali to put his Alfa in P7. He always manages to do this, be very average all season and then when it comes to him needing to retain his seat, he puts in some flying performances. Although, I think this time it’s too late with many suitors ready to take up that seat.
And if we’re talking about the back of the grid, we have to talk about that incident between the two Haas drivers. They were quarrelling all weekend, with Mazepin believing Schumacher was in the wrong during quali so decided to take a leaf out of Mick’s dad’s book and push Mick towards the wall. Sorry, I am a Michael fan but I couldn’t resist, particularly when he did do some dodgy racing moves in the past. Mazepin has annoyed a few drivers throughout the grid, and it seems like his relationship with Mick is well and truly over. DTS must be licking their lips (honestly, I think this season could be like 25 episodes long lol).
Lots of exciting announcements have been made this week, let’s have a quick run through them:
Russell to Mercedes
Bottas to Alfa Romeo
Kimi leaving the sport
Alex Albon (?!) to Williams
Latifi staying at Williams
Perez staying at Red Bull
Gasly and Yuki staying at AlphaTauri
All of these have been made within the last 7 days and F1 journalists must be absolutely knackered- especially midway through a triple header. But, for the fans it’s exciting stuff seeing all these changes happening/drivers staying at their respective teams. Russell to Mercedes and Albon returning to the sport are the biggest stories; I know we all knew Russell was going to Mercedes, yet it’s nice for us to finally know that he’s officially going. The line-up at Mercedes next year is absolutely mouth-watering; two British drivers, one an all-time great, the other an enthralling young prospect who’s hero is his new teammate. Can Russell be a match for Hamilton? Will Hamilton help Russell or hide things from him? Will we have another fiery rivalry like we had with Nico and Lewis? There is honestly an endless number of questions that need to be answered, and I’m so excited to see what’s going to happen next year.
This weekend we have Monza, and we have another sprint race. I’m excited to see how the sprint race format works at Monza and excited to watch it as an armchair fan, instead of at the track (did you know I went to Silverstone btw?). And Monza is an amazing track and normally produces a great race- remember Gasly’s maiden win last year? The track will also have 50% capacity so we can see some passionate Tifosi cheer on their favourite drivers in red. I have already planned my weekend around Monza, so I’ll be making sure to watch every session and all the build-up coverage- I cannot wait.