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F1 2021

MickyD

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Dec 30, 2004
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Just under a month to go, so I think we can start the thread!

Precious little action early on, but I'm looking forward to seeing Alonso return and to some interesting new driver/car combinations - Vettel at Aston Martin, Sainz at Ferrari, Perez at Red Bull, Ricciardo at McLaren. Maybe they'll even give us some hope of a serious contest until Lewis Hamilton starts to run away with it after about half a dozen races!

Unless something pretty drastic has changed in the close season, I can't really see far past this prediction for the championship, except maybe with 2 and 3 reversed:

1. Hamilton
2. Bottas
3. Verstappen*

I reckon that it will be a close-run thing between Alpine (formerly Renault), Aston Martin (formerly Racing Point) and McLaren for the Second DIvision constructors' championship - in other words, third or fourth place dependent on whether Ferrari have got their act together. (They can't be that bad again, though, can they?)

And if Hamilton gets championship number 8, given his single-year contract extension I think he'll retire. That or a "vanity" stint at Ferrari, although that looks highy unlikely with two top young drivers now in place there. Maybe if they'd hung on to Vettel for just one more year...

* Edited to add: But OK, Formula1.com understandably begs to differ:

5 key reasons why the F1 pecking order could be shaken up in 2021
 
Apr 20, 2008
3,911
96
Plymouth
More than a hint of conjecture in that F1 article methinks Micky ;) but hopefully will be pleasantly surprised and we can see a proper multi-team title battle for the first time really since 2012!

From a fanboy point of view, I hope Ferrari can sort themselves out. It feels weird seeing them without a world champion in their team - only the 2nd season since 1995 that that has been the case. I fancy Leclerc to probably have the better of Sainz, but it'll be closer than last year's battle.

Predictions on some of other team-mate battles:
- Hamilton was obviously beat Bottas again
- Verstappen will fairly easily beat Perez
- Ricciardo-Norris will be very tight, Danny Ric to just edge it
- Stroll-Vettel will be a lot closer than everyone thinks, I think Stroll might even win out
- Alonso will beat Ocon but I think it might be fairly tight too - FA is surely past his peak a little.

Max is the only one I can see stopping Lewis from winning WDC number 8. I reckon it'll be Hamilton, Max, Bottas, Leclerc and Perez in the championship standings.

And finally, my annual constructors championship prediction:

Merc
Red Bull
Ferrari
McLaren
Alpine
Aston Martin
Alpha Tauri
Alfa Romeo
Williams
Haas
 
Sep 13, 2003
1,691
32
After todays practice Lando Norris has jumped from 50/1 to 16/1 for the race win on Sunday. Well worth an each way bet. Bottas and Perez struggled on the long runs in FP2.

Can't call it between Max and Lewis, it's so close. Going to be a great season!
 
Jul 3, 2013
1,258
4
Interesting to see that Hamilton is racing in Bahrain after his recent comments about equality and diversity. Clown!
 
Apr 20, 2008
3,911
96
Plymouth
Just like last year, an absolute thriller to start the season. The battle between Lewis and Max at the end was everything we wanted, and more - a stunning head to head.

The track limits matter at turn 4 was an interesting one, and Max could well have been right in saying that it might have been better to just stay ahead, pull away and take the 5 second penalty. However, it seems like RB's hands were tied by the stewards. That said, it looks so close between Merc and RB, bodes so well for the rest of the season. A stunning drive from Hamilton to hold on this time, but Max and RB will be back - and Perez did a solid job to come back to 5th too.

The expectations around McLaren might be a little tempered after today's race. Yes, they may be the 3rd quickest car, but they're nowhere near the leading pace. Still, very good drive from Lando.

My boys did a good job this weekend. Being realistic, we were never going to jump forward to the front, but to be just about on a par with McLaren and ahead of the others is encouraging. Two good drives from Charles and Carlos too, plenty to build on for the season.

Alpha Tauri look very fast, Tsunoda drove very well to get P9 on his debut. They could be a threat to the top 4 teams as the season goes on.

Aston Martin, well well well... I made a bet with a friend that Stroll would finish the season on more points, and I'm even more confident now. To those fanboys giving me sh*t all of last year saying he was being sabotaged, saying he was still brilliant, saying that he was going to maul the Ferraris this season... be quiet now will you. Sebastian Vettel is, and has been since 2014 (especially since 2018), rubbish. Finished. Done.

Solid race from Alfa Romeo, they maybe have the 7th quickest car. Alpine looked poor, Alonso yet again might have made a bad team decision unless their 2022 car comes good. Williams as expected kind of on their own in 9th. And whilst Schumacher did have a spin too and their car is garbage, Mazepin is quickly becoming more of a meme than an F1 driver. 3 spins in quali/the race, a very very poor beginning to his career.

Roll on Imola - can't wait for some more of that.
 

MickyD

Pasoti Donor
Dec 30, 2004
3,311
81
Brighton
Shouldn't you have prefaced that with (Sponsored by Bromleigh House Ltd)? :greensmile:

Excellent summing up of a cracking start to the season, and the first of many close races by the look of it. I think psychologically that was huge - if Verstappen had nicked it, as he should have, it could have felt like the beginning of the passing of an era. Now maybe he's wondering, and probably not for the first time, whether Hamilton has supernatural powers.

And you won't get any argument from me about Vettel - I've been saying much the same for a long time! For the umpteenth time in recent seasons he ends up in a needless collision and tries to blame the other driver when the fault was all his.
 
Apr 20, 2008
3,911
96
Plymouth
Quite possibly I should have, MD!

It is a big psychological blow to Max from Lewis, but at the same time I think they'll take a lot of heart from the fact that they are genuinely right on the pace it would seem for the first time since 2013. Max will be so pumped for the fight too. Maybe, just maybe, for the first time since 2012 we could have a title battle right to the final race between two different teams.
 

MickyD

Pasoti Donor
Dec 30, 2004
3,311
81
Brighton
Dan Ellard":3757jw5v said:
Quite possibly I should have, MD!

It is a big psychological blow to Max from Lewis, but at the same time I think they'll take a lot of heart from the fact that they are genuinely right on the pace it would seem for the first time since 2013. Max will be so pumped for the fight too. Maybe, just maybe, for the first time since 2012 we could have a title battle right to the final race between two different teams.
Yes, for sure - it proves that RBR are right there with Merc, in race conditions as well as everything that went before. Here's hoping for a belter of a season!
 

Alan Turing

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A brilliant start to the season.

I still feel Red Bull is the team to beat this year, as they have more pace than the Mercedes. That may of course change as modifications are made later on.

My team, McLaren, continue to push for podium spots, which is nice to see after a few years in the doldrums.

Where are Ferrari? But frankly, who cares? (Paraphrasing Barry Davies)
 
Apr 20, 2008
3,911
96
Plymouth
Max hits back! I can barely think of a driver who didn't make some kind of big error in the race, it was chaos.

Whilst not being a massive Hamilton fan, that comeback was the stuff of a champion. Yes he had a quicker car but he had to make those passes count on a track that was still a little damp and never easy to overtake on. The difference between him and Perez, who dropped out of the points after his error and went nowhere (albeit may have been stuck in a DRS train to be fair to him) was huge.

Correct decision to go no further on the Max-Lewis incident at the 1st (2nd) corner - its exactly what Lewis did to Rosberg in Japan a few years ago, and it is and should be allowed. An early marker from Max in the title fight.

On the Bottas-Russell incident i'm not sure, need to see his onboard again but it looked like it was just a racing incident... the track goes slightly left so maybe Bottas by going straight closed down GR a bit.

Great drive from Lando. It may have just been an off-weekend from Danny Ric or perhaps he's still getting used to the car, but Norris is walloping him so far.

Another solid race for my boys, although a little disappointed in Charles for a poor restart that ultimately cost him a podium, and two early spins for Carlos. 4th and 5th is decent though. Good of Charles to get his spin out of the way on the formation lap too!

Impressive result for Alfa Romeo, capitalising on mistakes from Alpine and Alpha Tauri. Vettel actually drove well today for Aston and was unlucky.

And Mazepin, once again... the Latifi incident was zero percent his fault, not great pace but at least he hadn't spun... until the penultimate lap. Albeit, Mick's spin too showed just how difficult that car is to drive.
 

GreenThing

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Sep 13, 2003
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It was a good drive from Lewis, but without the red flag enabling him to unlap himself he would have been nowhere. He was also helped by the Ferraris gambling on a wet setup, which is why he was closing quickly on them down the straight when they had drs and he didn’t. Mercedes also lucked out with the Bottas crash as without it both he and Lewis would have managed only a few points between them instead of 19!
 

MickyD

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Dec 30, 2004
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Russell has since made a full public apology for the Bottas incident and for the way he reacted, but I can't help but wonder whether we would have heard anything at all if he weren't contracted to Mercedes and hoping for a glittering future there himself, quite possibly at Bottas' expense!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/56809267

Russell is a Mercedes-contracted driver and the German company's F1 boss Toto Wolff made it clear after the race that Russell should have taken into account who he was racing.
Another exciting race (two in a row!?) aided by the unexpected rain, and great to see the highly anticipated Max-Lewis showdown still very much on. If Hamilton ends up winning it by a few points he can look back at that huge stroke of fortune at his teammate's expense. I didn't think he was even going to make it out of the gravel, let alone charge through to second place plus fastest lap to stay that solitary extra point ahead of Verstappen in the standings. It's far too early to call it a classic season, of course, but things are certainly shaping up nicely.
 

GreenThing

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I’m looking forward to it Mickey. Personally I would have preferred a reverse grid for the qualifying race, based on championship order with only the grid spot for the main race up for grabs. However, the way it’s planned has its merits.

The best part of this is that F1 are willing to try new things for a small number of races on a test basis. That is definitely the way forward.
 

MickyD

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Dec 30, 2004
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Brighton
Yes, there will actually be genuinely significant things happening on all three days - along with some extra points to be had.

It's interesting to see that they're drastically altering the tyre situation for the whole weekend, too - including everyone having to run softs in qualifying. I think some real mayhem could result, which is always fun for us spectators!

I remember some absolutely terrible new quali format they tried about ten (?) years ago.* I can't remember the detail, but they dropped it after a single race as it turned out that they all ended up playing chicken and most teams stayed in the garage for most of qualifying: televisual disaster. Everyone was left wondering how no-one at the FIA/F1 could have anticipated that in advance, given the format. This all sounds much more like it.

* Edit: Here it is (and only five years ago, so time doesn't always pass faster than you think after all!).

https://www.express.co.uk/sport/f1-auto ... estone-SNT