GP SPAIN | IL POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “MERCEDES-HAMILTON UNSTOPPABLE”

Even if there was no need for confirmation Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton gave a new demonstration of their supremacy by winning the Spanish grand prix ahead of a just as excellent Max Verstappen who with the Red Bull tried everything to try and overturn a difficult situation.

Just like in Portugal we again witnessed an excellent duel, this time in three between Verstappen, Bottas and Perez, for the point for the fastest lap. This time the Dutchman did not miss the appointment leaving his team mate more than a second behind.

It was a GP that again saw Bottas lose the challenge with his team mate, paying a major gap, even if the number two driver brought home his “homework” of taking points away from his direct rival Sergio Perez. At the moment he cannot do more than this.

It was a masterpiece race by Leclerc who was the protagonist of a stupendous start in which he got the best of the Finn crossing the finish line in fourth place with a Ferrari that is growing but still pays about eight tenths per lap compared to the Mercedes. The driver from Monaco puts much of his own into it as the gap with his team mate showed.

The careless mistake made by Alfa Romeo during Giovinazzi’s pit-stop was incredible. It was a mistake that is rarely committed in lower categories. In this circumstance the mistake was made in both the preparation and the check of the set. In addition, not even the second set was ready. It was a festival of mistakes and always at Antonio’s expense. It was sad because his rhythm was superior to Kimi’s and he could have put himself into the fight for tenth place.

We file away a good weekend that, in addition to the excellent challenge between Hamilton and Verstappen, gave us very hard fought qualifying sessions, especially in Q2 with 14 drivers enclosed within barely 1”.

I look forward to Monte Carlo where I expect many drivers enclosed with the space of a few tenths of seconds. We all know how important qualifying is amongst the streets of the Principality.

Gian Carlo Minardi

 

F1 | GP PORTUGAL, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “BOTTAS CONFIRMS HE IS A NUMBER TWO DRIVER”

This was a grand prix that betrayed the expectations by giving us the best excitement only in the last three laps with the duel between Bottas and Verstappen for the extra point for the fastest lap. The challenge was won by the Finn, even if I find it absurd taking the time away from the Dutchman. Congratulations to both drivers and also to the mechanics. In this context it is not easy keeping the coolness necessary since a “blink of an eye” is enough to neutralize all the work.

Portugal confirmed that the battle will be between Mercedes and Red Bull with Toto Wolff’s men ahead, especially with Lewis Hamilton since Bottas for the umpteenth time showed he is a number two driver.

For its part Red Bull is trying to cancel the gap with the reigning champions. The choice of drivers has proven to be excellent with both Max and Sergio getting the most out of the car, just like the strategy was excellent when they tried everything with Perez by keeping him on the track as much as possible.

Excellent the grand prix by Norris and Ocon who showed that they are the future of this category. Ferrari lost the direct challenge with McLaren, finishing in sixth place with Leclerc and behind Lando. It was a pity for Sainz who, on the re-entry of the safety car, lost a number of places not managing to repeat the excellent start. A Ferrari that constantly paid the gap, including the 5-7 tenths per lap compared to the first places.

It was a good race also by the two times world champion Fernando Alonso. He was the protagonist of less than perfect qualifying, he recovered many positions finishing behind his team mate which contributed to bringing important points to the Alpine team. A point for Alpha Tauri as well, thanks to Gasly’s tenth place. On an unfavourable track, as emerged in the free practice, this represents a positive result, as well as continuing the positive trend.

We will be racing again in a week, arriving in Spain.

Gian Carlo Minardi

GIAN CARLO MINARDI “IMOLA DESERVES A FIXED SPOT ON THE CALENDAR”

Imola showed that it is second to no other circuit. The weather helped to give us a great grand prix won fully by Max Verstappen, the protagonist of a great race, as well as being one of the few not to make a mistake.

The duel with Lewis Hamilton, who was as strong as he was lucky, was very good. After his mistake the red flag and the re-start gave him a good hand but he was very skilled in coming back swiftly place by place reaching second place ahead of a very good Lando Norris who confirmed McLaren’s competitiveness.

Ferrari’s defence was very good. The fourth and fifth places by Leclerc and Sainz represent the best result possible but the team can finally count on both its drivers. Certainly Bottas was missing, in constant difficulty up to the collision with Russell. In this circumstance the Englishman was absolutely guilty since in the Finn’s attack he already held his foot and then lost control of his Williams. It was a serious mistake.

This weekend I expected something more from Alpha Tauri, even if it reached the points zone thanks to Gasly’s eighth place.

A weekend has ended; it was long but with decidedly positive implications. As a Circuit we received the compliments of the Federation and both Imola and the Motor Valley, together with the whole of the Emilia-Romagna region gave a great demonstration of their worth. Now it will be important go continue working to find a fixed spot on the calendar.

Even if it is too soon to come to a conclusion this weekend we had the confirmation of the good compaction of the performances but above all that it will all be a challenge between Hamilton and Verstappen.

Gian Carlo Minardi

GP BAHRAIN, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “IF THIS MERCEDES IS IN CRISIS THEN THERE IS NOTHING TO BE CALM ABOUT”

The Formula 1 season began with all the conditions for witnessing a thrilling championship. The tussle between Mercedes and Red Bull was very good with the latter confirming the positive trend of the end of the 2020 season by putting onto the track a further step forward helped by the Honda engine. Perez’s fifth place after starting from the pits is a further signal on the quality of their package.

But let’s be careful. If this Mercedes is in crisis then there is little to be calm about since they have always shown a very great capacity for reaction even if they made a mistake in the pits with Bottas, nullifying a possible double.

It is not clear what happened in the final laps with the overtake and counter overtake between Hamilton and Verstappen, also because the Dutchman was no longer able to attack the Mercedes driver. I absolutely did not like the decision of the race management to use two measures between qualifying and racing by deciding to not penalize the cut at curve 4. It is surely a terrible lesson.

We will file away a very tactical and technical first race. McLaren, which adapted very quickly to the Mercedes engine, also continues its growth by just missing out on the podium with Norris.

Despite the almost 60” delay paid in comparison to Hamilton and Verstappen Ferrari brought home a positive result, especially if compared to what happened only three months ago with Leclerc tenth a lap behind. Especially in qualifying the car has made a most important improvement even if the road is still long but positive signs can be seen.

Fabulous Yuki Tsunoda who marked his debut in the World Championship with the first two points ahead of a good Stroll. It was a decidedly negative weekend for Sebastian Vettel, the protagonist of two serious mistakes.

The World Championship will now move to the Imola track onto a demanding track that already gave us a good race last year. Too bad that it will be behind closed doors once again.

Gian Carlo Minardi
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F1 | GP ABU DHABI, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “RED BULL’S WIN IS POSITIVE IN LIGHT OF 2021”

We have come to the end of a season that at the start of the year was impossible to predict but Formula 1 was united and managed to put together a good calendar with seventeen grands prix with which it was able to give us great races and major moments, all wrapped up in an incredible domination labelled Mercedes.

This final round also gave us a great emotion with Max Verstappen’s pole position and the win in front of the two Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton.

It was a Red Bull that grew strongly in the final part of the season which bodes well for next year. Only a few reliability problems, together with the retirement in the previous grand prix caused by Leclerc’s collision with Perez, denied the Dutchman the satisfaction of taking the title of vice-champion but at the same time this saved the reputation of Bottas who today paid a gap of 15 seconds.

Once again Hamilton showed his qualities by firmly taking third place despite a less than perfect state of health dictated by Covid-19. The situation of his contract still remains to be resolved and an eventual divorce would create a real tsunami in the circus.

This was a championship that was able to give us excellent growth by McLaren that won its duel with Racing Point for third place and a Renault on the rise as shown by the fastest lap time set by Ricciardo in the last lap.

The only sore point is this Ferrari. It failed to go beyond sixth place in the constructor’s’ ladder (never this bad since 1980). There is a lot of work to do in Maranello and very little time considering that the number of days of winter testing will be reduced to three.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP SAKHIR, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “A MORTAL SIN TO LOSE PEREZ. RUSSELL DID NOT MAKE US REGRET HAMILTON’S ABSENCE”

This F1 world championship never ceases to give us incredible emotions. Once again we witnessed a grand prix full of twists and turns with the final placings uncertain up to the final lap on a track that, at least on paper, could have passed into anonymity.

Leclerc’s collision with Perez, which also involved the innocent Verstappen, gave us the first spark which forced the Mexican driver to a crazy comeback that ended with his first career win.

Applause certainly goes to Perez. After his retirement a week ago and despite his uneasy position, he showed great determination and cold bloodedness. It is a mortal sin to see such a motivated and strong driver in difficulty for 2021.

The mistakes made by Mercedes during the pit stops that (almost certainly) cost Russell his first win were also incredible. After having dominated free practice on Friday he closed qualifying in second place barely 26 thousandths of a second behind Bottas. At the start he did not let himself be intimidated, taking the race lead immediately and completing the grand prix without making the slightest mistake and overtaking beautifully and decisively many times despite a situation that was not easy even for him. He did not make us regret Hamilton’s absence and confirmed he is a top class driver. He gave the answers that were expected of him. Today’s performance could make Mercedes’ President, faced with Hamilton who has not yet signed the new contract, think.

It was a pity that Leclerc and Hamilton were not in the game as well. With the departure of the driver from Monaco there was no basis with which to compare Sebastian Vettel’s absolutely disappointing performance. The German driver made a lot of mistakes. Who knows if Racing Point, next Aston Martin, is still convinced of the choice made…

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP BAHRAIN, THE POINT BY MINARDI “MOTORSPORT IS DANGEROUS. NEVER LET THE GUARD DOWN AND FIA MUST INVESTIGATE THE EXPLOSION”

Motorsport is dangerous” We must never forget this.

We have undoubtedly seen first hand the gigantic steps that have been taken on the safety front and today we must say thank you for the Halo and the Hans, as well as all the rescuers. It is important to continue to work on this road without lowering the guard.

We had not seen such a frightening accident in decades and luckily everything went well. Grosjean was skilful and reactive managing to get out of that ball of fire in 20” but FIA must absolutely investigate the causes that set off the fire.

The grand prix was, to say the least, eventful, seasoned by the collision between Stroll and Kvyat after the restart and ended with the Canadian overturning but without any harm to the driver. For Racing Point it was surely an unlucky Sunday considering Perez’s retirement a few kilometres from the chequered flag due to the failure of the Mercedes power-unit.

It was a body blow for them considering the possibility of taking third place in the constructors’ ladder vanish and it is now firmly in the hands of McLaren thanks to today’s fourth and fifth places by Norris and Sainz.

It is a real shame, as well as absurd, that a driver fighting for fourth place in the world championship (Perez is fifth behind Ricciardo) will not be on the grid next year.

It was a grand prix based on the tyre strategy with many stops which rewarded Lewis Hamilton (95th win) ahead of the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Albon who returned to the podium. In Red Bull they are deciding about Albon’s fate and it will not be an easy decision since at this time it would be useless to break the balance inside the team. Verstappen is the first driver and needs a right hand man who brings the highest number of points to the team.

With today’s performance Ferrari definitively raised the white flag for taking new positions on the constructors’ ladder. Leclerc’s tenth place (1 point), the result of Perez’s retirement, is really too little. Next weekend we will see the second step in Bahrain (the penultimate round) but on a new configuration for the world championship which can be compared to an oval with a lap time that could be lower than a minute. This situation is even more unfavourable for the SF1000.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP TURCHIA, IL PUNTO DI GIAN F1 | GP TURKEY, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “9/10 FOR THE GRAND PRIX”MINARDI “GRAN PREMIO DA 9”

We file away an exciting weekend from which yesterday’s difficulties resulted in a grand prix that rates 9/10, full of suspense from the first lap to the last. Zero instead for the organizers who wanted to resurface the circuit against everyone’s opinion.

Hats off to Lewis Hamilton who once again gave us proof of all his talents by mathematically taking his seventh world championship, reaching Michael Schumacher, and his 94th win. Despite a difficult start from sixth position he reacted by managing the race in the best way possible despite a car that was not at its best today. He chose to stay on the track in spite of the worn tyres, confirming himself as the leader within the team, finishing the race with a pit stop less than all the others (as did Perez).

It was a pity for the mistakes by the young drivers Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc who handed third place to a perfect Sebastian Vettel.

The German driver put together his best performance in two years, assisted by a good strategy. He was maybe the only one who did not make the slightest mistake, optimizing the SF1000 to the fullest, a car that is certainly not yet ready to win despite the steps forward. In normal conditions all the limits in regards to the very fierce competition emerged.

With Hamilton and Vettel there were eleven world championships on the podium. Between them was an excellent Sergio Perez. Despite a stupendous performance he is still a driver without a contract for 2021. Unfortunately, this is the nonsense of our sport but I am sure that we will soon find an arrangement.

In front of the two Red Bulls was Carlos Sainz’s McLaren. I have always maintained he is an excellent driver and team man. Once again he brought home vital points for the team. An excellent purchase by Ferrari as I already pointed out a number of times.

In a peculiar year, and certainly not the best for Formula 1, these grands prix rehabilitate our sport, which is still the best.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 |GP EMILIA ROMAGNA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “MERCEDES DOES NOT STOP AMAZING. I HOPE TO SEE IMOLA AGAIN IN 2021”

Even here in Imola Mercedes did not betray the expectations by putting onto the track its overwhelming power assisted by a perfect strategy. The people on the wall kept Hamilton out to give him the possibility to make up the gap from Bottas, so giving him the lead right in front of his team mate who, with second place, completed the latest perfect weekend by taking its seventh consecutive Constructors’’ title.

As well as setting a new record by overtaking Ferrari’s six titles during the Schumacher era it is disarming to see their strength. Hamilton took the fastest lap in the final lap stopping the watch at 1:15.484, bettering the performance by Bottas who could not go under 1:15.902.

Max Verstappen’s bad luck favoured Daniel Ricciardo who, with an excellent third place, took his third podium finish for the season season with a Renault this is growing. It was an equally positive result for Alpha Tauri which took fourth place with Kvyat.

Leclerc’s fifth place was a positive result in terms of the result, even if the gap in lap times is important. The Ferrari driver’s best time was 1:18.173 (1:17.767 for Sebastian Vettel).

Plaudits for the Imola circuit. Going back to the Santerno on the occasion of an F1 weekend was very good and everything went nicely, receiving the compliments of the drivers who appreciated the historic layout of the track. I hope that Imola can be put back into the World Championship again next year.

I take this opportunity to thank them once more for the lifetime achievement award that was given to me on Saturday.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP PORTUGAL, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “HAMILTON PULVERIZED BOTTAS. GREAT RAIKKONEN”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W11 driving through the gravel.
24.10.2020. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, Portuguese Grand Prix, Portimao, Portugal, Qualifying Day.
Рwww.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Portimao confirmed that it is a spectacular track, perfect for hosting a Formula 1 grand prix, by giving us exciting monuments in both qualifying and the race, also enlivened by a few drops of rain with a surprising start that saw Sainz take the lead for a few laps, as well as the spectacular start by Raikonnen who had taken sixth place.

Hamilton not only put way his 92nd win and set a new record for the number of win which will soon be updated but he outclassed Valtteri Bottas leaving him more than 25” behind more than 14 times and stopping the clock at 1’18”750. Ferrari managed to catch up with the second ranked teams, even if the fourth place came mainly thanks to Leclerc. It was surely a positive result, even if it still pays a second from Mercedes.

It was a race in which many drivers put themselves on show, starting with Gasly’s excellent fifth with Alpha Tauri. Like him Ocon was also good at managing his car and tyres managing to delay his pit stop and staying on the track for more than 52 of the 66 laps. As already stated, Sainz was also the protagonist of a good race, like Raikonnen who fought to take the point which was lost only to Vettel (tenth across the finish line).

Considering the initial presumptions we have witnessed an entertaining season. Leaving aside the double races on some circuits, which I honestly would not repeat, the new circuits did not betray the expectations.

In a week’s time Italy will host its third round, After Monza and Mugello it is now Imola’s turn. This is a historic track that needs no introduction and known to few drivers where there is gravel along the sides of the track. For the first time the weekend’s programme will be grouped in only two days. Another novelty.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP EIFEL, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI

The latest grand prix ended under the sign of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton who put away his 91st career win and rightfully entered into legend by equalling Michael Schumacher’s record. The gesture by Mick who gave his father’s helmet to the British driver was emotional.

It was a more than deserved win, even if it is not very proper to make these comparisons since in Schumacher’s era the championships were made up of a lower number of races. Hamilton confirmed he is a great champion and ready to equal the German also in the number of championships won but just as lucky since when there is a problem with the car it happens to Bottas.

Very good also Max Verstappen who tried to keep up with the Englishman’s pace, taking the podium ahead of Ricciardo’s Renault which is growing.

Renault’s result can be a good omen for the future after the announcement of Honda’s withdrawal, even if it still has reliability problems as we saw with Ocon and Norris.

We must also highlight the good performance by Antonio Giovinazzi who brought his Alfa Romeo Racing into tenth place taking the third point for the season. Antonio is showing he deserves to be confirmed by defending his place from the attacks by Sebastian Vettel.

On the Ferrari front Leclerc was able to patch things up with the flying lap in qualifying as he showed on Saturday with the fourth time but he could do nothing in the race where he could not go beyond seventh place.

The grand prix ended with seven cars in the first seven places and it took a new step forward to the conclusion of this anomalous season. In two weeks (October 25) the circus will go to Portimao in Portugal for GP number 12.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 |GP RUSSIA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “THE PENALTIES FOR HAMILTON WERE CORRECT”

The regulations must be studied and I am surprised that at these two mistakes by a six times world champion like Lewis Hamilton. After the penalties I saw him disheartened, even if he tried to set the fastest lap but this time Bottas did not want to give him a thing.

His bad day certainly favoured the Finn and Verstappen, as well as having given us spectators a finish that had not yet already been defined.
The grand prix slipped by without too much excitement, on a track that is decidedly anonymous and does not exalt the quality of the drivers.

Effectively there was no driver in particular who put himself on show. Certainly Valtteri Bottas made himself the protagonist of a perfect Sunday during which he did nothing wrong followed by a good Max Verstappen.
I

t was also a good race by Sergio Perez who shows with results on the track that he deserves to stay in F1 despite being badly dumped by the team.

It was a difficult weekend Ferrari as well. I do not find it correct to be satisfied with Leclerc’s sixth place. The small updates introduced at Sochi were useful but the road is still long.

In two weeks we will arrive in another historic track like Nurburgring before touching two tracks which are new to this Formula 1, Portimao and Imola.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | TUSCAN GP, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “I DO NOT LIKE THIS F1”

I do not like this F1 because it wants to favour the spectacle, even to the detriment of safety as we saw on the occasion of the first restart at the re-entry of the safety-car. There have been modifications to the regulations without having tried them beforehand, causing accidents and chaos. In this circumstance the drivers have no fault.

Mugello passed the test and showed how the drivers are no longer used to racing on historic circuits with the gravel immediately after the curbs. Twelve cars crossing the finish line had not been seen for a long while and certainly they do not tell the real forces at play correctly, even if I am pleased at Albon’s third place with Red Bull. Good also Renault with Daniel Ricciardo.

Once again Mercedes toyed with its rivals. They were immediately able to gain a two second advantage at every restart which they then managed, lap after lap. They have unique strength, as shown also by the fastest lap set by Hamilton at the very end.

Ferrari’s agony continued, finishing in the points zone thanks to the many retirements. Otherwise both Leclerc and Vettel would have remained outside the top-10. Compared to the other teams it is not carrying out updates. Most probably they want use all the developments allowed at one go to remedy a project that was completely wrong. Therefore the ordeal will still continue.

However, F1 must not do “go back to square one” as this is not good. They cannot continue changing the regulations which, amongst the other things, also destabilizes the reading of the race.

Formula 1 will now stop for two weeks before moving to Russia.

Gian Carlo Minardi