Martin Brundle on the results of the Grand Prix of ChinaApril 17, 2019
Former Formula 1 racer, Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brandl summed up the weekend in Shanghai …
Ferrari simply did not have the speed to fight Mercedes in China, regardless of whether they attacked, defended, exchanged positions or tried to block opponents. Red Bull Racing has also failed to unleash the potential of their cars – as a result, we did not see a struggle for leadership.
Lewis Hamilton started better than his partner, Valtteri Bottas got a slip on the white marking line – he was lucky to be the second. Sebastian Vettel started well, but because of the struggle of racers Mercedes missed Charles Lecler, who took the third position. This was a prerequisite for some uncomfortable decisions for the team on the pit wall.
Behind them, everything was calm up to the sixth-turn stud, where Daniil Kvyat’s slithering car caught McLaren Carlos Sainz, finding herself in a sandwich with teammate Carlos Lando Norris, who was returning to the track after the flight.
Kvyat’s reputation hurt him somewhat. In fact, he only slightly lost control of the car, which led to contact with Sainz – the penalty for passing through the pit lane in this case was too severe. I believe that a five- or ten-second penalty would be quite enough. Traveling to the pit lane is a loss of 21 seconds, which makes you an outsider.
The big question is, can the consequences of the incident affect the size of the fine? What happened is pure coincidence, now the stewards forgive more serious incidents, allowing the riders to “decide everything on the track.” I have repeatedly said that the rules should be one for all.
Everyone thought that in Shanghai Vettel is faster than Leclair, and when Charles went ahead at the start, Ferrari needed to react.
They ordered Leckler to miss Vettel, which offended the young Monegasque who, two weeks ago, was deprived of reliability problems by a well-deserved victory. The team should not undermine its authority, making an assistant out of it – this is bad for its reputation. Passing by, Vettel could not tear himself away and often blocked the rubber. It became clear that the difference in speed between the racers Scuderia is due only to the ability to use the DRS to those who are behind.
This year, Ferrari surprisingly frankly talking about the use of command tactics and the rate of experience of Sebastian Vettel. Apparently, this is due to the desire to avoid some mistakes and dramas, which often led to criticism of the team in recent years. But this will not solve the problem. Leclaire is a strong contender for Vettel, and he is on his mind, despite his early years.
After contacting the team later on the radio, Charles began the phrase with the words: “If you are interested …” This crisis will reach a climax earlier than we all think.
Red Bull Racing is preparing to upgrade the engine to the stage in Baku, and the aerodynamics will be updated in Barcelona. Pierre Gusli had a good race, finished sixth and got a point for the best lap, but he was too inferior to Verstappen, tying the team hands on strategy. As long as they tolerate it, Pierre needs to catch up with his partner.
Daniel Riccardo spent his best weekend as part of Renault, but finished in a circle from the leader with Sergio Perez from the Racing Point on the tail. Given the next technical problems with the machine Nico Hulkenberg, this is another weekend that Renault will want to forget.
Alex Elbon had a great race and earned a point for tenth place. He started from the pit lane after a serious accident in Saturday’s workout, which was the result of his own mistake. But in the race he made a great impression – and was chosen as “Racer of the day”.
I like three young debutants – Norris, Russell and Elbon. They give the impression of intelligent and educated people, polite, able to communicate with the press, fully prepared for Formula 1. But I find myself getting used to the fighters, to the competitors charged for the fight, although these guys will not yield to the fight.
Kimi Raikkonen does an excellent job with his work at Alfa Romeo. He famously holds the race, brightly overtaking – it looks impressive for the most age-old racer in Formula 1.
It is a pity that the 1000th race was held in China, and not in Europe. In Shanghai, we saw only Lotus 49 Graham Hill, driven by his son Damon, and a small collection of historic cars and helmets. I would like to see on the track more old cars and racers of previous years – they are there and they are on the go.
It can be assumed that in the 2000th Formula 1 race, 12-year-old Martians will fight behind the wheel of a car with a levitation engine, but now I want someone to impose the fight on Mercedes in the good old-fashioned way. Three victorious doubles and comfortable leadership in both championships – a double pit stop at the end of the race, protecting them from leaving the safety car, further emphasized their control over the situation and self-confidence.
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