Comment of the Russian GP: A kick in the crotch


Russian GP has shown many things and put a lot of competitors in the right place. I’m not just talking about the top drivers fighting for the title, but also about those in the background. There were, of course, some bright surprises, which are always a pleasure to see, but…

McLaren and Renault were terrible, what else could I say about these two teams sharing common power unit?  They were on the same level of Williams, which is today nothin close to a compliment. They were simply slow. At Toro Rosso, they were not even slow, because they had immediate double retirement. The crisis in Renault is even worse,  they build the whole car, invest a lot of money, and such performances in qualifications and race are nothing to be proud of.

On the other hand, both Red Bulls with an older specification of the power unit and grid penalties were very fast and Max Verstappen was, in my opinion, really showing great racing for his twenty-first birthday. Leclerc was perfect as well, but he is still inexperienced. In my opinion, he still needs time to grow, races like this are perfect, but on others, he can perform much worse. I hope that he will not succumb to pressure Ferrari will put on him next year, because it would really be a pity thing for such talent.

But of course all above are secondary themes, everyone is interested in the fight for the championship. First, let’s clarify something, does anyone disagree with the team orders at Mercedes? I agree it’s against the sporting spirit of the competition, but for the difference of seven championship points, that spirit can be easily stuck up somewhere. The problem is elsewhere, Sebastian Vettel and  Ferrari, except for a few moments, weren’t able to be in front of Hamilton. Today, at least a second place could be something, but we only saw an average third place and that in my opinion only because of the Red Bull penalties. Fifty points of difference are not like “One Hamilton retirement and everything is open again”. Hamilton must retire twice and at the same time, Vettel has to win those races. And all have to happen in the remaining five races.

Where is the cause? If you ask me, the cause is more on the personal political level, which has now also appeared on the technical one. The departures of both Sassi and Resta are known facts, but technical development is behind main opponents. If previously mentioned gentlemen were really incompetent, as some claimed, how good are their successors? We see it on the finish line. The car easily became the second, if not the third power on the grid. Let’s add all the weird choices from the pit wall, tire choices, usage of Räikkönenen in championship perspective and general strategy and we’re there, fifty points behind. But if is somehow commonly accepted that Maurizio Arrivabene is a guy who is responsible, don’t forget of Clear and Binotto, the two operatives just after him.

What should Ferrari do now to win the world championship? Win the remaining five races, and pray to all saints in heaven that Hamilton will be only third or worse. Well, this would be easier with a help of the second driver, something well known at Mercedes, but at Ferrari with such race management, they could achieve just more kicks into the crotch than better results.

Simon Jazbec


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