2020 Eifel Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: For a professional racing series to be successful, it needs factory support. For a professional racing series to survive, it needs independent support. For a professional racing series to thrive, it needs the proper balance between the two. F1 has been at the mercy of factory support since the hybrid engine rules. And that's becoming more precarious now that they are down to three engine manufacturers.
EVENT: F1 got an unplanned test run for a two-day weekend. Fog will do that.
TRACK: Drivers like it, but the new Nürburgring never really produces great racing.
QUALIFYING: Mercedes remains perfect, Verstappen gave it his best, Leclerc pulls an amazing lap, Albon is solid, Renault impresses again, Giovinazzi finally gets out of Q1, and Vettel is useless again.
RACE: The suspense was for third place.
START: Hamilton tries to shove, Bottas brushes that off and repasses, Albon locks them up, and despite everyone "missing" the first turn, it's all clean.
HAMILTON: Eventually it became inevitable. But it's still amazing Lewis was able to match Michael Schmacher's career win total.
BOTTAS: Showed a whole new side of himself. Then, Valtteri resorted back to the old self.
HONDA: After all that, they will just up and leave. They certainly have done it before, always with bad timing.
VERSTAPPEN: Studying all his out clauses in his contract...
RED BULL: Once again, left powerless.
ALBON: A sloppy race. Then the punctured radiator "saved" him.
RICCIARDO: He really seems to be enjoying racing on the Renault team. Yet, he is going to leave.
RENAULT: For the fun factor alone, Renault would probably rather have Ricciardo than Alonso next year.
PEREZ: Thought he had third place in sight until the Safety Car.
HULKENBERG: Another super drive by supersub Nico. From last to eighth.
RACING POINT: Leaped up into the lead for the great three-way battle for third place in the constructors standings.
GASLY: Continues to make a statement.
LECLERC: Continues to be the only Ferrari point scorer.
VETTEL: Does Sebastian even care anymore?
FERARRI: Will Ferrari get caught by AlphaTauri...?
GROSJEAN: Finally got his first points of the year. Maybe Romain should get whacked on his fingers by gravel trap stones more often...
GIOVINAZZI: Strong weekend all around. But probably too little, too late for Antonio.
RAIKKONEN: Breaks Rubens Barrichello's record for most starts with 323. And Kimi, being Kimi, doesn't give a damn.
WILLIAMS: The last time F1 went to the Nürburgring in 2013, Williams qualified 17th (Bottas) and 18th (Pastor Maldonado). This year, they qualified 17th and 18th.
FIA: Another safety car fiasco.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Brrr.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 24 -- That was the original standard for career victories in F1 set by Juan Manuel Fangio. Then, it slowly crept up -- 25 by Jim Clark, 27 by Jackie Stewart -- until the sport became much safer, seasons got larger, and driver careers lasted much longer. And the old standard was blown out of the water.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The Eifel GP is the fourth named grand prix hosted by the Nürburgring. There has also been the German GP, European GP, and Luxembourg GP. The latter was held twice. In 1997, Jacques Villeneuve won in a Williams-Renault, his last career F1 win. In 1998, Mika Häkkinen won in a McLaren-Mercedes. Both times, the winner of the Luxembourg GP went on to win the world championship that year.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: Not so much a tweet, but a photo in a tweet showing fans holding up a sign which read, "HULKENBACK."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Max Verstappen on the future engine prospects for Red Bull, "I hope I’m not going to end up like Fred Flintstone and pedal it myself! It’s quite physically demanding."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: After Daniel Ricciardo was genuinely shocked he completely forgot about the shoey on the podium, he said, "I'm actually sad right now."
SCHEDULE: Off to another track F1 has never been to, the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, and the return of the Portuguese Grand Prix.
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