Motorsport 2.8.2018 10:03 am

Race livens up at the end

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton takes a selfie after taking the pole position in the qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo in the outskirts of Barcelona on May 12, 2018 ahead of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton takes a selfie after taking the pole position in the qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo in the outskirts of Barcelona on May 12, 2018 ahead of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Hungary Grand Prix the first following the sudden death of Marchionne.

Hungary once again catapulted large spanners into the works last weekend.

After a solid performance throughout the practice sessions from both Ferrari and Red Bull, it all came to naught when the weather gods decided to play a definitive role in Saturday’s qualifying.

The onset of variable rainfall turned the grid on its head, with Mercedes-Benz ultimately gaining a front-row lock out.

With Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in first and second, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel found themselves nearly half a second down on row two.

Max Verstappen had to settle for seventh while his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was back in 12th.

Good efforts from Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly to grab fifth and sixth as Gasly’s team-mate Brendon Hartley took eighth ahead of the two Haas entries of Magnussen and Grosjean.

From the start Hamilton took control of the race as his teammate attempted to keep the two Ferraris at bay.

The race was rather processional and the result looked set to remain as it had been for most of the 70 laps.

Then Vettel attempted a pass on Bottas, resulting in the German taking second place.

He was then hit in the rear by the Finn, who damaged his front wing and allowed Raikkonen through into third place.

Later, in a tussle with Ricciardo, Bottas could not slow enough due to a lack of front downforce and the Mercedes hit the Red Bull, both leaving the track before rejoining with the Aussie up to fourth.

Race stewards deemed that Bottas was to blame and handed him a 10 sec penalty.

The final result saw Hamilton take the win and increase his lead over Vettel to 24 points going into the summer recess.

Max Verstappen had a lot to say, most of the rant bleeped out by TV controllers, when his Renault power unit cried enough on lap seven.

Good job they move to Honda next season.

The talk of the paddock was the news that last Friday a London court had placed Sahara Force India under administration, but not all is doom and gloom.

Otmar Szafnauer, chief operating officer of the team is reported as saying, “Within a week or at the most two, our financial future will become more clear and I believe much more secure. “I know there are discussions in the background, but I am not privy to those because it is a shareholder issue and I am not a shareholder.”

Rumours have abounded about a takeover for months now, with several names in the mix.

Auto Motor und Sport has indicated an American businessman, a New York investment fund, plus BWT, may become sponsors of the beleaguered team.

Other possible buyers include Dmitry Mazepin, a Russian fertilizer billionaire whose son Nikita is currently a development driver for the team.

The name most featured is Lawrence Stroll, father of Lance, who is currently driving for Williams. If this proves to be the new deal, will Williams find themselves without another driver, but more importantly without the millions of dollars that Stroll has invested into the Williams team?

The race was also the first since the sudden death of the FCA Group chief executive and president of Ferrari Sergio Marchionne.

The 66-year-old Italian-born Canadian died from complications following a shoulder operation and will be sorely missed.

Marchionne had the reputation of being a tough negotiator and transferred his skills and attention to the Formula One team.

He was not always appreciated but the team has seen positive results since his intervention.

He will be succeeded by Mike Manley, pending board approval. Liberty Media have experienced a setback and the proposed Miami Grand Prix will not be held next season, but is postponed until 2020.

The reason given is failure to secure the necessary contracts due to complicated negotiations.

It seems the city is not as willing to party as originally suggested.

 

 

 

 

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