No stopping Hamilton!

Will it be the same tomorrow?

9w ago
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There were points during qualifying, where it looked as though Verstappen may have a chance at pole, in fact after the first run in Q3, he was only a tenth behind Lewis. However, the 7 time champion then stretched his legs and destroyed everyone else. What is incredible about the turn around in pace, is that it isn’t just done on the straights, the car is good everywhere. I truly believe that the disqualification may have been a positive for the team in Brazil, as it fired up the team to fight back. In the race, if Hamilton leads into Turn 1, he should have the win, and given how dirty the inside is, I doubt Max can beat him. Bottas would do well to challenge Max, it is more likely he just sits in behind, and grabs the fastest lap point.

Is it starting to fall apart for Red Bull? Probably to early to say, but Perez qualifying in 11th is a huge blow, especially for the constructors, and it leaves Verstappen exposed to attack from all sides. The Red Bull car just looked too stable all weekend, which probably meant they went to conservative. We saw the Mercedes sliding about more, as it was on edge, which would produce lap time when handled correctly. 2nd is by no means a disaster for the team, and who knows what can happen tomorrow, Mercedes is clearly pushing the engine hard, and a DNF would almost hand Max the title. There is the worry hanging over the team of Max not slowing for yellow flags in Q3, as there were no yellow lights on the steering wheel or boards, I think the FIA may let it go, although it wouldn’t be out of the question to penalise him, and Bottas and Sainz for that matter.

Gasly was yet again right on the money, nearly able to challenge Bottas and Verstappen, in fact his final lap could potentially have beaten one of them. It wasn’t to be though, as he took the kerb aggressively in the 2nd to last corner, which ripped the front wing off, and cut the tyre instantly, an unfortunate way to end a great day. Tsunoda can hold his head high too, as 8th is promising for him, only 2 tenths behind Pierre. Can they get ahead of Alpine tomorrow?

To be fair to Alpine, they have fought back well against the challenge, with both their cars also in Q3, right behind the AlphaTauri’s. This could be really interesting to see who has the better race pace, and how much risk each team and driver will take to get one over on the other. Fair play to Alonso too, who is showing age is just a number.

McLaren and Ferrari had worse days than we expected, as Leclerc and Ricciardo were knocked out in Q2, with Charles seemingly totally lost with his car. Then, Sainz and Norris had nothing for Alpine or AlphaTauri, and lining up together again tomorrow, it could get even more spicy in the midfield tomorrow! Aston Martin sat on that 10th place bubble, with Vettel just inside it, and Stroll barely out. They seem to be one of the few teams with little to fight for!

Russell did his usual work on a Saturday, although it only gave him 15th, as the car just lacked the pace for anything more. Alfa Romeo usually race better than they qualify, however given how it should be hard to pass it here, I can’t see them getting near the points. Schumacher is beginning to latch himself onto the back of the midfield pack, which in that car is worth shouting about! You can’t blame Mazepin for the poor qualifying, as he missed nearly all of practice, on a brand new track for everyone!

The run from the start to Turn 4 will likely be the most exciting part of the race, with so much at stake, and dirty air being so bad after that. Sadly, Pirelli have gone a step too hard here I feel, although you can’t blame them much for it really. Even if it is slightly dull, given how important this part of the season is for so many reasons, you should not miss a second of the action!

-M

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