The Undercut: Get ready for Mercedes smugness and Ferrari flapping in Mexico
Here we are then, the Mexican Grand Prix, round 18 of 20 and surely this one will be the title decider, where Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari will finally be put out of the misery they have been in since it all went pear shaped in Asia.
Lewis only needs fifth place to win the title, regardless of what Ferrari do and as he seems able to win at will while they look like an F1 version of the Keystone Cops, it looks like a done deal.
Maranello big cheese, Sergio Marchionne, he of the bad jumpers and grumpy demeanour, has said that sacking one person for their debacle of a season end is not the answer. Presumably this means he’ll just sack everybody, which is so very Ferrari.
Talking of misery, last week of course Jolyon Palmer was put out of his and now finally, so has Daniil Kvyat, who will not be going back to Toro Rosso and most likely nowhere else in F1 either. The Russsian was in and out of the team so often that they may have well fixed a revolving door at the factory for him.
As for Palmer, it can’t have been easy viewing for him, assuming he could bear to watch the United States Grand Prix, when his replacement, Carlos Sainz, drove, according to Renault boss, Cyril Irritable, a ‘remarkable’ race, getting 7th place and six valuable points. This means, that in 37 (count them) Grand Prix entries for Renault, Jolyon only scored three more points than Sainz did in one.
That is a painful statistic however you dress it up with excuses.
On the subject of the US GP, we did of course see a change to the format, with the frankly AWFUL pre-race driver introductions, with a famous (I’d never heard of him) boxing chap taking forever to announce the drivers, with some oh-so-predictable moments of pronunciation.
Instead of using the word ‘marque’ when referring to a team he’d say ‘marquee’ and when it came to shouting out Vettel’s birth town (Heppenheim if you are interested, which I doubt you are) he was utterly flummoxed. It was beyond dreadful and if he were dead, Bernie Ecclestone would be spinning in his grave.
Other changes by F1 owners, Taking A Liberty, are set to be on track ones. German newspaper Bild, reckon they want the grid to be three abreast, thus closing the field up and making the start more exciting. Bild though, are from the Eddie Jordan school of reporting. Basically, you just come out with a lot of utterly crazy stories and every now and then one will come good.
In other (real) news it looks like Max Verstappen might be in trouble for calling the steward who adjudicated on him being kicked off the grid in Austin an ‘idiot’. Agreed, it probably is not the right thing for Max to say but given that Vettel told the far more important Charlie Whiting in Mexico last year to f**k off, you’d hope he’d get the same punishment. As in nothing.
So, what to expect on Sunday? As mentioned, you have to be looking at the title for Lewis and a huge amount of smugness from Mercedes on Twitter. Sebastian will console himself by thinking of his bank balance, while Kimi Raikkonen will say next year will be better. Again.
I’d bet that the Red Bull pair, knowing that Lewis may well be cautious and go for the points he needs, will go hammer and tongs for the first corner, assuming they qualify well enough. A couple of quid on one of them for the win might be a good shout.
Another driver to watch for will be local boy Sergio Perez. He’ll be keen to put on a good show, so good luck to Force India should they feel the need to try any more team orders on him. Also, keep an eye on Kvyat’s replacement, Brendon Hartley, now in full on audition mode for a 2018 drive.
See you there!