To finish first, first you must finish. I’m sure that Lewis Hamilton has those words ringing through his head after this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix. A sure win after his teammate’s bad luck to start the race would put him back on top of the World Drivers’ Championship. Instead, he’s now 23 points behind Rosberg after his car spit more hot fire than he does on his album.
Twenty years ago, the Monaco Grand Prix featured a downpour, changing conditions and only three cars running at the end of the two-hour time limit. Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix looked like it could go the same way but the difference was that 15 cars finished. A series of strange moments throughout the race saw Lewis Hamilton luck his way into his first win of the 2016 World Championship.
The big controversy of the last week in Formula One was completely overshadowed in less than two hours on Sunday. Red Bull’s driver swap dominated conversation from when it was made official last Friday through to the start of the race on Sunday. After a fourth turn collision between the two Mercedes, suddenly that controversy was put on the back burner and a new Mercedes one rose to the forefront.
The other thing that ended the Red Bull controversy? That would be Max Verstappen taking the opportunity that Red Bull handed him and scoring his first victory in Formula One in his first race for Red Bull Racing.
All the luck at Mercedes seems to go one way. It either goes all to Lewis Hamilton or, as it has lately, Nico Rosberg. With two engine failures in qualifying and a water pressure failure that looks to have rendered another useless, it looks like luck isn’t on Lewis’s side. Nico, on the other hand, has a nearly two-race points lead after winning the first four races of the season including the Russian Grand Prix.
For all the rules changes during the off-season involving qualifying and the radio ban, all it took was new rules over tyre selection and usage and a red flag to shake up the Australian Grand Prix. Remove the red flag and it’s likely that Sebastian Vettel would have won the season-opening race. However, a red flag for a massive crash involving Fernando Alonso and a questionable strategy call gave the win to Nico Rosberg.
The weekend started with literal and figurative dark clouds hanging over Suzuka. The weekend started with rain as the teams returned to the site of Jules Bianchi’s fatal accident in similar weather conditions. The skies cleared over the weekend but it didn’t give way to a particularly exciting weekend. Lewis Hamilton won the race in a dominant effort but all the real interesting happenings in Formula One aren’t happening on-track.
As much as I don’t like bestowing massive praise on a relatively young event but the Singapore Grand Prix has quickly established itself as one of the signature events of the F1 season. Along with the old standards of Monaco, Silverstone and Monza, this is one of the races that everyone seems to race with extra motivation to win.
With that in mind, it was quite a surprise to see Mercedes off the pace in Singapore. In fact, with the lights shining bright, it was Ferrari that was fastest through the night. Sebastian Vettel scored a grand slam by qualifying on pole, setting the fastest lap, leading all the laps and winning the race.
As per usual, it was a Mercedes 1-2 in the British Grand Prix. The difference was how we got to that result made the race much more exciting than the standard Mercedes 1-2. Lewis Hamilton won but he sure looked unlikely to pull that off for a good portion of the race.
Meanwhile, for all the action on-track, there was even more action happening off track as the teams start gearing up for the 2016 season.
Sometimes, all you need is a little luck to put on a good race. A combination of changing conditions, multiple safety cars, tyre strategy and DRS made for the best Hungarian Grand Prix ever and the best finish to a race this season since the last time the guy who won this race won a race. That man would be Daniel Ricciardo. Just like his maiden win at the Canadian Grand Prix, Ricciardo made a late charge through the field to pick up well-deserved surprise win.
The only exciting part of this race was the banging and crashing at the start. For the third consecutive Grand Prix, it was Lewis Hamilton who won the race. Without an interruption from the safety car, Hamilton stormed away with his largest margin of the victory of the season. At least the race officials did something to keep us on our toes.