How F1 engine change processes are clouding the Red Bull-Mercedes battle
The times set in the opening practice sessions for the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix suggest there is once again very little to separate Red Bull and Mercedes at the front of the Formula 1 pack. But one unseen element at power-sensitive Spa means neither can be sure it has an edge just yet
There was no doubting Mercedes’ position as the dominant force at Spa in 2020.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were able to chuck their W11s into the Belgian Grand Prix track’s famous and fearsome corners with breath-taking ease and simply ran clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the race – the Dutchman going from regular challenger to barely keeping Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo at bay from third in the closing stages.
Not so in 2021.
Across the two one-hour practice sessions at Spa on Friday, the general trends of 2021 re-emerged, but with a couple of key differences. Both of F1’s leading teams again appear to be very close on pace and small things led to differing results in FP1, which was topped by Bottas, and FP2, where Verstappen went quickest before crashing late on.
Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?
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OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history
Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead
Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why...
On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship.
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