2019 China Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: And now the domination, though not as much, swings back to Mercedes. The problem is, though early, Mercedes gained ground in every race despite who had the speed.
TRACK: Ironic, in the year they seemed to have corrected the ability for cars to follow closely, and thus increase passing opportunities, on a circuit which is known as a good passing track, there wasn't that much action.
EVENT: All the grandstands were full. That's what we heard. Of course, the caveat is all the grandstands they open up. There are still a whole slew they cover up. However, it's still far better than the days when they had to "forcibly" bus college students in to avoid embarrassment.
QUALIFYING: This time Mercedes is back to being fastest, Bottas continues to mean business, Vettel regains team superiority, Max is mad as hell, Kimi fails to make Q3 for the first time in 53 races, and Stroll fails to get out of Q1 for the seventh straight time.
RACE: A disappointment.
START: Hamilton finally beats his teammate off the line, youth wins out once again at Ferrari, Perez begins his march, and the Torpedo strikes again.
HAMILTON: Lewis is already putting his stamp on the championship.
BOTTAS: But we're not ready to go back to Valtteri of old just yet.
MERCEDES: Pit stop perfection.
VETTEL: Sebastian gets the call from his team, but blows the opportunity with sloppy driving.
LECLERC: It only took to the third race for Charles to start questioning his team's decisions favoring Vettel.
FERRARI: They continue to not be able to get out of their own way.
VERSTAPPEN: Max did the only thing he could do, and managed to get one spot out of it.
GASLY: He got the fastest lap. Good for him. He finished in the points essentially where he's expected to. Good for him. However, he is still not fast enough for Helmut Marko's standards. And that's all that matters.
RICCIARDO: Daniel is starting to fit in nicely at Renault.
RENAULT: CEO in attendance. And still reliability issues.
PEREZ: The obvious team leader at Racing Point with some impressive overtaking moves despite the ... umm ... organizational structure. Yeah, that's what we'll call it.
RAIKKONEN: Kimi continues to impress with a mid pack car
GIOVINAZZI: While Antonio continues to not impress with the same mid pack car.
ALFA ROMEO: Okay, we know it's not really an Alfa Romeo. Just a Ferrari rebranded. However, in F1's 1,000th race, we need to give a shout out to Alfa Romeo since they won the first F1 race in 1950 by Giuseppe Farina from the pole. In fact, Alfa swept the podium. Talk about domination.
ALBON: His best race of the year. To comeback from his big FP3 crash, no qualifying time, starting from pit lane, and still score a points paying position, was impressive. But, let's not link him to Gasly's seat just yet. Alexander has a ways to go to prove himself.
HAAS: No race pace. Again.
MCLAREN: Ultimately done in at the start. But overall, their weekend was not as impressive as Bahrain.
WILLIAMS: They made the news because of what someone else did. Mercedes has started the season with three consecutive one-twos. That has not been done since 1992 by Williams.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Hoopla.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 1000 -- Or is it? Do you count the 11 times the Indy 500 counted for the World Championship? Only F1 races you say? Then, what about 1952 and 1953 when the World Championship ran under F2 rules? And let's not forget there was FIA F1 racing for four years before a world championship started in 1950. Then, you got those races during the FIA-FOCA wars which were removed from counting for points at the last minute. And it certainly is not the 1,000th grand prix, as the first grand prix was the 1906 French GP.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Let's go back to that first grand prix in France in 1906. It was held in Le Mans, but went through various towns on a course which was 64.11 miles long. It ran for 12 laps for a total distance of 769.36 miles. Ferenc Szisz, a Hungarian, won in a Renault in 12:14:07.4. The margin of victory was 32:19.4 over Felice Nazzaro in a FIAT. And people today complain of runaway races...
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Lewis Hamilton responding to Max Verstappen's complaint about drivers breaking unwritten rules in qualifying with a very short and to the point tweet, "Nope."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Sebastian Vettel becoming a bit testy with the media as the pressure mounts for him to produce, "I'm a little bit against the way you -- all of you -- work because you take bits out of answers here and there and put it into the wrong light."
SCHEDULE: Eagerly awaiting the mayhem at Baku.
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