F1 | Gp Brazil, THE POINT by Gian Carlo MINARDI “Wrong not to punish Vettel. A foul action”

We witnessed a good grand prix that was characterized by different strategies between drivers of the same team in a weekend dominated by Verstappen, just as we announced.

This was also race characterized by two incredible mistakes by two world champions who have won ten world titles between them. They were two very different episodes. Once more Leclerc was able to make Vettel nervous who, with an action that was as incredible as it was insane that ruined both his own race as well as that of his team mate and gave Ferrari an incredible zero in the score sheet. In Maranello they will have a big problem to solve. Hamilton instead spoilt second place for an excellent Albon and denying Honda a historic treble. The 5” second penalty was also too little. For his part the British champion apologized but it was not a simple weekend for the team from Stuttgart, orphan in Brazil of Toto Wolff. They had problems of reliability and from the sporting point of view.

All this however arose from the entry of the safety car, which did not make sense since Bottas’ car was off the track and not in a dangerous position. The management seemed “too American” to me.

Congratulations to Gasly for both having brought Toro Rosso to second place in the race and the excellent weekend, He was reborn and answered the “failure” with deeds. Carlos Sainz was just as good as the protagonist of a good recovery. This was a historic result by Alfa Remo’s two drivers as well who took fourth and fifth place. I was especially happy for Giovinazzi who managed the race very well while protecting his team mate’s back as the times showed.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 |Gp USA, THE POINT by Gian Carlo MINARDI ” Mercedes’ undisputed supremacy. Ferrari indecipherable”

The third last round of the Formula 1 world championship has been archived under the sign of Mercedes that was the protagonist of a supremacy that was never questioned with Bottas who won first set pole position and then achieved the win and with Hamilton who put his hands on his sixth world title.

This grand prix must make Ferrari think, especially in light of next season in which there will be only minor changes and these final rounds could represent the first design of the forces in the field next season. Ferrari said goodbye to Austin with Leclerc’s fourth place who however paid a gap of 52” from the leader and with Vettel’s retirement due to a failure. This was surely a step backwards from what we have seen in this second part of the season. It was a heavy null score for Vettel who now finds himself in fourth place on the ladder and behind his team mate. This year’s ladder could influence the hierarchy within the team.

The people at Maranello must understand, amongst other things, what did not work, especially in the first stint when both drivers paid the large gap compared to its direct rivals Mercedes and Red Bull. Once more they struggled to interpret these tyres that have a minimal difference from one mix to another.

It was another positive weekend for Albon who brought home important points after a race aimed at recovering, for Ricciardo’s Renault and the two McLaren drivers. In qualifying we saw a good compaction of the times, something that was not respected in the race with only seven drivers covering all the laps.

Two weeks and then Formula 1 will go to Brazil for the penultimate round.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Mexico, THE POINT by Gian Carlo Minardi “The best driver won. An incredible mistake by Verstappen in qualifying”

It was the correct order of finishing that rewarded an excellent Lewis Hamilton and a perfect Mercedes that scored its 100th win and confirmed that it is the car to beat. They managed to perfectly exploit all the track conditions led by a great driver.

The result was not so obvious in the long run on Friday. After Saturday’s front row with both red cars Lewis Hamilton won today, even if the party for his sixth world title has been postponed. It was a good performance by Ferrari that was helped by the foolishness and the incredible mistake by Max Verstappen during qualifying.

Despite a pit stop in the first lap and having run the whole race with the hard tyres he also set excellent times up to the finish, finishing in sixth place behind his team mate. The mistake at the start is the result of what happened in qualifying. Today he would surely have been in the struggle for the win together with Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas and Leclerc. The driver from Monaco unfortunately paid the mistake in the pit stop. Those 3.7” seconds were fatal for him in the struggle for the podium. When you do a pit stop more the risks and/or the mistakes grow, just as happened during his second stop.

A great grand prix that was fought with many tactical consequences has been filed away. Four machines within barely 6” after 71 laps represents a nice visiting card for this Formula 1 even if the tyres truly last too long and especially as there is not much difference between one mix and another.

Now we go to Austin where we will be able to see another god fight with Mercedes still the car of reference.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Japan, THE POINT by Gian Carlo MINARDI “Leclerc’s penalty was correct. Mercedes was better than Ferrari”

(updated at 14.34) In a matter of hours the Japanese Grand Prix concentrated all the beauty of this Formula 1 into full grandstands, a splendid battle fought on the edge of thousandths of seconds between Mercedes and Ferrari that unexpectedly managed to take pole position with Vettel and all the front row, as well as good overtaking and struggles. For Ferrari this was the fifth consecutive pole and the eighth for the season.

Unfortunately the masterpiece was wiped out by a mistake by both drivers, something that had not happened for some time. Vettel stalled at the start, staying however within the tolerance of the sensor and thus avoiding a penalty by the marshals, while Leclerc was let off in the scuffle with Verstappen that led to the Dutchman going off track. After the end of the race the marshals made the right decision to inflict a 15” penalty on the driver from Monaco which slid him down to seventh place. Vettel’s second place saved the weekend, also thanks to a risky strategy by the people on the wall, with the German driver managing to stay ahead of the charging Hamilton and giving us a good duel.

With Bottas’ win and Hamilton’s third place, Mercedes equalled Ferrari’s record by winning its sixth consecutive Constructors’ title, while the British driver is a step away from his isxth title that he could already celebrate in Mexico. He confirmed that he is a true team man. He was exemplary and Mercedes confirmed it is better than Ferrari.

Today’s result showed how much Ferrari and Mercedes are war machines where the slightest mistake truly makes the difference between a great result and a placing. This should make us think about the near future. It is not enough to develop the car well but it must be absolutely perfect, drivers included.

It was also a good result for Albon and Sainz who finished the grand prix with all the laps to bring home important points for their respective teams.

The post grand prix twists and turns have not yet finished as a strong dispute arose between Racing Point and Renault with Lawrence Stroll’s team that presented a technical protest that, due to its complexity, will be analyzed over the next few days.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Russia, THE POINT by GIAN CARLO MINARDI “ Was Leclerc fslowed by excessive consumption?”

28.09.2019- Qualifying celebration, Pole Position Charles Leclerc (MON) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 and 2nd place Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10 EQ Power

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes returned to success, interrupting a run of positive results by Ferrari that in any case said goodbye to Sochi with pole position and Leclerc’s third place behind Bottas. In the light of these results, from now to the end of the season Ferrari must wager on the driver from Monaco to try and take away second place from Mercedes’ Finnish driver.

This result was the child of events that are part of motorsport, even if we must congratulate Hamilton for his excellent management of the race. He drove like a champion. Up to the moment of his retirement Vettel was making up for his performance in qualifying where he finished with the third time, dictating the pace thanks to an authoritative start and a clean charge compared to his teammate.

It was a pity that the order from Ferrari’s people on the wall to park the car came in an especially unfavourable part of the track that forced the stewards to call in the Virtual Safety car, condemning in fact the driver from Monaco who had made his pit step, betting on an aggressive strategy to aim for a win with the Softs..

On the other hand, I was surprised that Leclerc did not attack Bottas. Unlike the previous grands prix where, without the DRS, he managed fight his way back on his rivals. In this circumstance the Ferrari driver could not get closer despite a gap of less than a minute. Twice he asked in vain for more power from the people on the barrier. This could have been due to excessive fuel consumption, something that is not new to the red cars.

Behind Mercedes and Ferrari were the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Albon with the two McLarens in the points (sixth Sainz and eighth Norris) that extended their lead on the direct rivals of Renault (tenth with Hulkenberg). In this period there was the announcement of the agreement between McLaren and Mercedes for the supply of the engines starting in 2021. This makes me think that Renault could say goodbye to the Circus at the end of 2020.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Singapore, THE POINT by Gian Carlo MINARDI “Ferrari is reborn. Well done Giovinazzi”

Singapore gave us a weekend characterized by a number of surprises, starting with Leclerc’s pole position, followed by Ferrari’s double with Vettel’s’ first win this season and Mercedes off the podium after finishing in fourth and fifth position behind Verstappen.

This was a weekend that will give morale to both the drivers and to Ferrari that has been resurrected after being in free fall. After the wins in Spa-Francorchamps and Monza that was the moment of truth and the answers were there. All the new developments worked perfectly, reducing the gap with its direct rivals after managing to bring in the best result possible on a track that should not have favourable to them.

It was a win that allowed them to bring home the third straight win and to continue the race for second place in the constructors’ title and also reopened the challenge with Valtteri Bottas for vice-champion. This was a very tight race with three safety cars and ended on the limit of two hours.

We are getting ready for a growing and interesting end of season. Leclerc would surely have wanted to win after Saturday’s fantastic lap but it is right that he is at the team’s disposal. The people on Ferrari’s wall had a great job, even if the strategy was to the German’s advantage. This was an understandable operation in light of the near future.

Congratulations to Antonio Giovinazzi who, after Monza once again was in the points zone, despite the team doing practically everything to damage him. Luckily the three safety cars gave him the chance to partially remedy the strategy. For the first time we saw him also in the lead in the grand prix, helped by the game of strategies.

In a week’s time we will be back on track with the Moscow Grand Prix where last year Mercedes scored a double with Hamilton and Bottas in front of Vettel and Raikonnen. Will Ferrari manage to give its fans another win?

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Italy, THE POINT by Gian Carlo MINARDI “Leclerc is the first driver”

It was a double win for Charles Leclerc who for 53 laps, with great cool-headedness and determination, held off the assaults first by Hamilton and then by Bottas in the final part, leading the two Mercedes drivers to commit come mistakes.

Even in his slips he showed that he knows the rules of the game very well, especially during Lewis Hamilton’s assault during breaking. He was absolutely fantastic from the 32nd to the 42nd laps in which he constantly set his best lap.

We are surely faced with a talent and a World Champion of the near future whose potential was not discovered only in these recent two weeks in which he won two grands prix because his curriculum vitae talks for him. In the lower categories he won everything there was to win. Praise must be given to the FDA which, together with the Federal School, is carrying out a solid programme.

It is undeniable that we are faced with a first driver and they must review their strategies in Ferrari. With this win he overshadowed and put into difficulty Vettel who was the protagonist not of one but of two mistakes that were as serious as they were unexplainable.

Bravo to Antonio Giovinazzi. With a solid race that finished in ninth place and in the points zone, he made up for the mistake he made in Belgium by running the laps with constant results on the clock.

Next stop Singapore which is a track that will be more complicated for Ferrari and could bring a smile back to Red Bull that can look forward with confidence after the solid comeback by Verstappen who started last on the grid and finished in eighth place and the good race by Albon.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Belgium, THE POINT by Gian Carlo MINARDI “Extraordinary job by Ferrari”

Ferrari broke its fast and won its first grand prix for the season by dominating the stage in Belgium on the demanding Spa-Francorchamps track thanks to a super performance by Charles Leclerc.

The driver from Monaco drew the perfect weekend with pole position and the win to become the youngest driver to triumph at the wheel of a Ferrari and to win the Belgian Grand Prix, taking the record away from Michael Schumacher.

The win was also the result of an extraordinary strategy by Ferrari’s people on the wall who guessed all the moves and managed to hold back the final come back by Lewis Hamilton. At this time we saw Ferrari’s problems that they managed to stem on a very track. We hope that this win could be a good omen in light of the Italian Grand Prix scheduled for only a week’s time. Remaining on the Italian colours, I am sorry for Antonio Giovinazzi who, only two laps from the chequered flag, wiped out the excellent work and lost precious points for both him and the team.

A great weekend ended that was just a tragic due to the premature death of Hubert, a young man who, having attended at our championships, I had the chance to see directly in action on the track. Unfortunately, these episodes remind us how dangerous and also unpredictable our sport is. We must continue to work on safety, even if it will be impossible to eliminate the risks.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Germany, THE POINT by Gian Carlo Minardi

We saw a German grand prix full of twists and very interesting that rewarded who did not make the slightest mistake, such as Toro Rosso that celebrates an incredible third place with Kvyat to whom I extend my most sincere congratulations and Ferrari with a perfect Vettel. The German driver managed to straighten out a dark weekend for Maranello after the double debacle on Saturday during qualifying.

Sebastian took advantage of every occasion that presented itself without making a mistake and managing to not fall into the trap of the last bend that had famous victims, amongst which the Mercedes drivers and his team mate, as well Raikonnen (very skilled in the road holding) and Nico Hulkenberg.

Ferrari certainly showed that it is growing and very close to its first win. In Germany the team showed important competitiveness in both the heat and the rain. Unfortunately Leclerc made a youthful mistake and this can happen in these difficult conditions.

Verstappen deserved the win, the second in the season, and he must be recognized as the best driver in the GP, together with Vettel. The Dutch driver managed the race by constantly occupying the top places. Congratulations to Honda that won first and third places with two teams. With this result Toro Rosso forced out Renault for fifth place and places itself behind McLaren that is growing strongly.

This was a strong result for our flag bearer Antonio Giovinazzi who put four points on the board jumping over Grosjean on the ladder. Once again he respected team orders and I have a lot of faith for his end to the season. He must continue on this road, without making mistakes and the results will speak for him.

Congratulations also to Lance Stroll, fourth place that rewards him for all the criticism received up to now and that have been accompanying his in his career. Even with a risky strategy, he showed his has what it takes to stay in Formula 1.

Before making an appointment for the next grand prix in Hungary, it is right to highlight Kimi Raikonnen’s excellent work. Once again the Finn, at the wheel of a car in which he does not have to show he is a world champion, he gave the best of himself by achieving important results, just as he had already done with Lotus when he came back from the period in rally. His control during the exit in the curve was a text book move. In Hungary he and Antonio will be able to achieve another good result.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Britain, THE POINT by Gian Carlo MINARDI “Leclerc extraordinary on Gasly but these tyres are an unknown factor”

Silverstone entered by rights as one of the hardest fought grands prix of the season, although unfortunately there are still too many unknown factors tied to the tyres.

The mixes change but not the lap times, just as we saw with the best time set by Hamilton in the 52nd lap with the Hards when he beat his team mate’s time who had just mounted the Softs. Mercedes confirmed that it is the uncontested queen of the season but I am astounded by this situation. All the teams (with the exception of Ricciardo, Racing Point and Kubica) had only brought Hard sets, a symptom that was not part of the strategy and instead proved that they were decisive in the final result. Hamilton even indulged himself by setting the race’s best lap time.

We file away a race full of duels starting with the struggle between team mates Hamilton and Bottas in the first laps, but the masterpiece, in both the preparation and the execution, was when Leclerc overtook Gasly. I am pleased in the revival from the driver from beyond the Alps and I hope he finds consistency in his results.

After Austria Verstappen and Leclerc gave us another incredible chapter in their personal duel. Luckily they let them continue racing. Ferrari’s driver from Monaco is winning supremacy within the team although they still make mistakes in the strategies in his regards, even if the final result would not have changed. Mercedes is decidedly superior.

Silverstone will also be remembered for Vettel’s latest absolutely incomprehensible mistake.

Despite the final result, it was a positive weekend for Antonio Giovinazzi. The dynamic of his exit from the track makes me think he was betrayed by a technical problem. After the point gained in Austria in qualifying he managed to stay in front of his team mate. I think he has found the right path.

Silverstone will file away its weekend with 351,000 spectators. This important number represents a great ad for all Motorsport. The public was a stupendous setting for a beautiful sunny afternoon. I hope that the income is in the black because last year, just like Monza, they finished in the red.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Austria, THE POINT by Gian Carlo Minardi “Verstappen-Leclerc, the rivals of the future”

We are waiting for the marshal’s decision and I would not want to be them. We are faced with the latest interpretation of a rule that must absolutely be changed and rewritten. I am sorry for Leclerc, author of a fantastic grand prix in which he did everything well and putting on show all his determination in defense from Verstappen’s first assault but for me we are faced with a race contact that is not subject to a penalty. These scrimmages are F1’s DNA and if we eliminate them we might as well switch off the TV,

Max Verstappen won on the track to give Honda its first win since it came back to F1 and in the hybrid era after dark and difficult years. As well as interrupting Mercedes’ domination. After a poor start in which he slipped back he came back with determination completing the job when he overtook Leclerc in the end. Leclerc and Verstappen will be the rivals of the future and have just written the first chapter of an exciting battle between two great champions.

We witnessed a very tactical grand prix with a lot of overtaking and also dictated by problems with the tyres. Ferrari brought home precious second and fourth places but the team must ponder since up to the 9th lap, as we understood from the team radio, Leclerc had problems managing fuel consumption.

A swallow does not make a summer and Mercedes is still the car to beat. For all the weekend they were never competitive on a track that they feared. They never managed their tyres well and their drivers were not exempt from some errors. An off weekend is allowed.

Sainz’s excellent performance in a McLaren that is on the rise is to be highlighted. From last to eighth place with Norris who finished in sixth place ahead of Gasly’s Red Bull. With his tenth place Antonio Giovinazzi broke his fast and won his first world championship point behind Kimi Raikonnen. These were three very important points for Alfa Romeo Racing in terms of the Constructors’ ladder.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP Canada, THE POINT by Gian Carlo Minardi “These penalties are killing motorsport”

I do not agree that a race as tight as the Canadian Gran Prix with three drivers within a bare 6” after 70 laps should be ruined by judge’s decision. These decisions are killing Motorsport.

We saw a hard fought race between two great drivers. Vettel certainly made a mistake by coming long into the bend, which in a race as frantic as this one could make sense, just like the struggle between drivers who are part of the history of this sport.

I am not worried about the points lost be the German in view of the world championship but about these decisions that compromise the credibility of Formula 1.

I had not seen such big gaps in a long time. Behind the first three drivers, Bottas paid with a gap of 51” which rose to 57” at Verstappen’s expense who finishing fifth over the line and in front of Ricciardo, the first of the lapped drivers and the second Renault driven by Hulkenberg. A point for Kvyat with Toro Rosso completed the top ten with Gasly (8th) and Stroll (9th).

Before closing I find Kevin Magnussen’s declarations to his team improper when he said that he had never driven such an ugly car. Pity that he was the one who destroyed it against the wall and that his mechanics had performed a miracle in rebuilding it to give him the chance race the GP.

This is all for this evening but I will give you an appointment in the next few days to go deeper into the episodes of this seventh round of the world championship in Montreal.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Montecarlo, THE POINT by Gian Carlo Minardi “Hamilton perfect. Ferrari, how many mistakes”

Lewis Hamilton won one of the most exciting Montecarlo grands prix with four drivers within barely 4 seconds. The Mercedes driver confirmed he is a very great champion since, despite his problems with the tyres, he brought home an important win in front of Max Verstappen who never have him a moment of respite. On the other hand, faced with the difficulties with his car Vettel made a number of errors in qualifying and crashed with the FP3.

Verstappen committed a moment of carelessness without which he could have come back in fourth place. Maybe he took away Mercedes’ chance for a sixth consecutive double, even if I saw Bottas under subdued. I thought the 5” second penalty was right.

With the second place Vettel and Ferrari saved a weekend in which they committed unjustifiable mistakes, even if during the race they kept pace with the leaders. What happened on Saturday during qualifying was inexplicable. A team such as Ferrari cannot make such mistakes and, above all, I find it unacceptable that they appealed to the luck of others, especially if these words come from their CEO.

There is no justification ruining a grand prix for your driver that had shown he had an extra gear on the others by giving us two masterly overtakes in the race, as well as a mistake that will surely help him for the future. At that moment Leclerc was unloading all his frustration. In qualifying he had made a serious mistake in assessment which is synonymous with anxiety and nervousness.

Gian Carlo Minard