Month: July 2016

Front to back: the German Grand Prix

Reviewing every F1 team and driver from a great day for Red Bull at Hockenheim.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton:
qualified 2nd, finished 1st
Nico Rosberg: qualified 1st, finished 4th
Rosberg led all three practice sessions and took pole with a superb lap after an electronics glitch wrong-footed him on Saturday, but it’s on Sunday that the world championship points are handed out, and the German came up short again, this time in front of his home fans. Hamilton was ahead by the time the silver cars negotiated the 310 metres to the first corner and was never troubled, upping the pace when he needed to and taking a fourth win in succession, and a sixth in the past seven races. The reigning world champion’s 43-point deficit to his teammate after they clashed in Spain in round five seems like an eternity ago, with Hamilton taking a 19-point lead into the summer break and with momentum on his side. His 49th career victory saw him draw within two of Alain Prost’s 51 for second on the all-time win list. Rosberg’s dreadful start saw him fourth by the second corner, and while he fought on, a five-second time penalty for pushing Verstappen off track at the hairpin as he tried to overtake on lap 29 thwarted any chance of a revival, especially when Mercedes kept him stationary in the pits for closer to eight seconds rather than the required five when he took his final pit stop on lap 45. The gap to third-placed Verstappen at the finish? Just 2.432 seconds.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel:
qualified 6th, finished 5th
Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 5th, finished 6th
Vettel and Raikkonen were in a race amongst themselves for much of Sunday’s 67 laps, too slow to challenge Red Bull, let alone Mercedes, and comfortably ahead of the rest. Vettel finished 32 seconds off the win at his home GP, and any doubts as to who is running the show at Ferrari came when he was asked to pit on lap 44 and flatly refused, asking “who do you want to undercut?”, and staying out when the answer came back that he was supposed to be sneaking past Verstappen, who was well up the road ahead of him. The four-time world champion pushed past his Finnish teammate on lap one and stayed there for the rest of the race, Raikkonen finishing four seconds adrift, but under no pressure from behind. Red Bull’s charge of late has placed Ferrari’s second place in the constructors’ championship – which it has held since Australia – in increasing peril, and it was finally demoted to third on Sunday after a lacklustre performance.

Front to back: what happened in Budapest?

Williams
Felipe Massa:
qualified 10th, did not finish
Valtteri Bottas: qualified 8th, finished 9th
Things seem to go from bad to worse for Massa, who was baulked by Sainz in qualifying (which earned the Spaniard a three-place grid penalty), and then hit by Palmer’s Renault on the first lap at the Turn 6 hairpin, damaging his car and condemning him to a frustrating race largely outside of the points before he retired with suspension damage on lap 38. Bottas rolled the dice with a two-stop strategy, but tyre wear brought him undone in the latter stages, and he only barely held on to ninth from a fast-closing Perez on the final lap. With Force India scoring seven points to Williams’ two, Williams maintained fourth in the constructors’ race, but for how much longer?

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo:
qualified 3rd, finished 2nd
Max Verstappen: qualified 4th, finished 3rd
Red Bull’s first double podium of the season showed just how far the team has come since its start, and owed nothing to reliability misfortunes or woes of others. Verstappen made a bold move around the outside of Ricciardo at the first corner and slotted into second place, but Ricciardo had far superior pace on supersoft tyres in his third stint, setting up what looked to be a big Bull fight for second place with Rosberg’s time penalty eliminating him from contention. Ricciardo then set the fastest lap of the race on lap 48, the second lap of his final stint after his third pit stop, to quickly end that discussion and solidify his third place in the drivers’ standings. Verstappen was content enough with his third podium in the past four races, and the team enjoyed having two drivers finish on the podium for the first time since last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Better still, Red Bull now leads Ferrari by 14 points in the ‘other’ world championship – the one that’s for ‘best of the rest’ after Mercedes. Consider team principal Christian Horner happy. “It was a great team effort, they worked with each other to ensure they both cleared Rosberg with his five-second penalty,” he said. “To move ahead of Ferrari before the summer break was our target.”

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg:
qualified 7th, finished 7th
Sergio Perez: qualified 9th, finished 10th
Bit by bit, inch by inch, Force India is catching Williams as it chases its best-ever finish in the constructors’ championship. It wasn’t the smoothest weekend for the team, Hulkenberg being penalised one grid spot after what amounted to an elementary clerical error over tyres that weren’t supposed to be used in qualifying, but the German had the best of the battle with the Williams drivers and scored points for the sixth time in the past seven Grands Prix. Perez got shoved back from ninth on the grid to 16th on lap one after some mid-pack scuffles at the first corner, but pushed his way past Alonso’s McLaren at the hairpin with three laps left to give Force India its fifth double-points finish this season, matching its total from all of 2015. Perez’s future created as many headlines as anything he did on track at Hockenheim, with the Mexican and his wealthy backers being linked with a move to Renault or even Williams, despite team principal Vijay Mallya saying at Silverstone two races ago that the Mexican would be staying at Force India in 2017.

Renault
Jolyon Palmer:
qualified 16th, finished 19th
Kevin Magnussen: qualified 17th, finished 16th
Palmer made it through to Q2 for the first time since Australia and managed to finish ahead of teammate Magnussen again on Saturday, but any chance of scoring his maiden points went out the window on lap one when he hit Massa’s Williams, and an early pit stop for repairs left him towards the back for much of the rest of the race. Magnussen wasn’t shy in the many fights he found himself in for the majority of the 67-lap journey, but points remain a long way off for Renault at the moment.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat:
qualified 19th, finished 15th
Carlos Sainz: qualified 13th, finished 14th
A weekend to forget for Red Bull’s junior squad, with Kvyat cutting a forlorn figure on Saturday after being eliminated in Q1 and starting just 19th. “I had a s*** session. They weren’t good laps. I had a very bad lap with many mistakes. I was expecting to be out of Q1,” was his brutally harsh assessment, and 15th 24 hours later means he’s scored just two points in eight races (compared to 26 for Sainz) since returning to STR. Sainz was apologetic for blocking Massa in qualifying, and felt the year-old Ferrari power plant being used by Toro Rosso left his car with no answer on Hockenheim’s straights. After three consecutive eighth-place finishes, 14th was a low note on which to enter the mid-season shutdown.

Sauber
Felipe Nasr:
qualified 21st, did not finish
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 22nd, finished 18th
The good news came early and was short-lived for Sauber, was Nasr making up five places off the start to be 16th after the first lap by brilliantly avoiding the inevitable first-corner Hockenheim contact in the midfield by jinking to the inside of Turn 1. The Brazilian was the subject of Vettel’s customary in-race rant over blue flags as he was being lapped, and he eventually stopped in the pit lane after being called in with six laps remaining. Ericsson started last, ran a long first stint, was lapped for the first time on lap 28, and finished ahead of only Palmer and Haryanto.

McLaren
Jenson Button:
qualified 12th, finished 8th
Fernando Alonso: qualified 14th, finished 12th
Points for Button were just reward for a trying weekend for both driver and machinery – the Briton had a left-rear brake assembly problem hamper his running in Saturday practice, which came after he’d been forced to visit hospital after Friday’s second session when a carbon brake fragment managed to become stuck in his left eye. Button jumped into the top 10 on the opening lap and stayed there for most of the rest of the race, and dived past an ailing Bottas with three laps remaining to secure eighth. Alonso celebrated his 35th birthday on Friday in a country where he’s scored three Grand Prix wins, but couldn’t repel Perez for the final point on offer after an entertaining battle with four laps left.

Manor
Pascal Wehrlein:
qualified 18th, finished 17th
Rio Haryanto: qualified 20th, finished 20th
Manor would have been fine if the race had been held on the drag strip adjacent to the Hockenheim layout; Haryanto (349.9km/h) was fastest through the speed trap, while Wehrlein (343.4km/h) was fourth. But it was the corners that linked Hockenheim’s straights that were more of a problem for what is more than likely the least developed chassis in F1, and a clash at the hairpin between the teammates on lap six left the Indonesian without part of his front wing. Wehrlein’s Hockenheim experience from his DTM days and junior career at home in Germany was undoubtedly a factor in him finishing 48 seconds ahead of Haryanto, whose immediate F1 future seems uncertain, Renault tester (and Mercedes junior) Esteban Ocon discussed as his replacement for the next race in Belgium.

Haas
Romain Grosjean:
qualified 15th, finished 13th
Esteban Gutierrez: qualified 11th, finished 11th
Gutierrez looked like making Q3 for the first time all season on Saturday before being nudged out at the death, the fourth time in the past five races that a Haas has been 11th on the grid. The Mexican was the only driver to start the race on the more durable soft-compound Pirelli tyre in an attempt to run a very long opening stint, but a poor start saw him drop seven places on lap one. He passed Alonso on the penultimate lap of the race to finish – you guessed it – 11th. Gutierrez was seven seconds ahead of Grosjean at the finish, the Frenchman’s weekend taking a turn for the worse on Saturday after a gearbox change following final practice and subsequent five-place grid penalty.

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The Dan Diaries: 0-100

In his latest exclusive driver column, Daniel Ricciardo remembers the key milestones along the way to his 100th Grand Prix start this weekend.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU

It’s June 2011, and I’m home in England. The mobile rings and the caller ID says ‘Helmut (Marko)’ – you answer those ones quickly! – and he got to the point. He said “some things have happened, and you’ll be on the grid at Silverstone in a week’s time. Oh, and it’ll be for HRT“. He probably said some other really important stuff as well, but all I heard was “you’ll be on the grid, you’ll be on the grid”. And then he hung up. I remember that moment like it was yesterday and I’ve been thinking about that this week, because Germany this weekend is my 100th Grand Prix.

More from the Dan Diaries: Catching my breath

Because Formula One is always about the next thing – the next day, the next flight, the next race – you probably don’t pause and reminisce that much. You’re always surrounded by people who are in the same space as you, so you’re in that traveling group that’s always next this, next that. Generally speaking I only tend to get reflective about things if I’m home in Monaco, if I’ve got quiet time to myself. But when you get to a milestone like 100, you can’t help but think of people, places, races you did, the big moments.

But anyways, back to 2011. To get to join F1 halfway through a season was pretty unexpected, but to join a team that had no affiliation with Red Bull was very random. I turned up for work on the first day at Silverstone like the new bloke in any job – I knew absolutely nobody. I was asked to get to the track as soon as the engineers arrived, I had a seat fitting, someone measured me for some overalls – it was crazy really. The first race and that whole weekend was all about survival, trying not to stuff anything up and getting through it. You feel like you’ve made it, and then you pull up at the grid – at the back – and you realise that all you’ve done is start something else. I was at base camp, HRT was the bottom team – I think we were four seconds a lap off the pace – so it was being back at square one again. I remember being absolutely exhausted mentally after the first weekend.

I’d been around the paddock for a bit and people knew me to an extent back then, but it becomes different when you make the grid and you’re actually racing these guys. I was in the press conference for that first race at Silverstone – yes, there’s some photos floating around that showed how much growing up I had to do! – and I vividly remember Lewis (Hamilton) hanging back afterwards to talk to me, welcoming me and telling me not to get overwhelmed by everything and just enjoy myself. That was actually quite cool.

In the early days, you don’t try to make yourself known too much, and I was definitely happy to go under the radar in things like the drivers’ briefings. The first time I got some recognition from the other drivers was probably my qualifying in Bahrain for Toro Rosso the next year when I got sixth on the grid. On the drivers’ parade, everyone was talking to me. Even Kimi (Raikkonen) came up and said ‘good luck’, and we all know Kimi isn’t one for small talk, so it must have been alright! That was before my first lap of that race, which we don’t need to talk about again, I reckon …

Thinking of some other moments that I’ll always remember from this first 100, Canada 2013 was another one that didn’t go well, but it might have been the turning point in my career. We knew Mark (Webber) was leaving Red Bull, and Canada that year was honestly one of the worst races of my life. (Toro Rosso teammate) Jean-Eric (Vergne) was sixth which was almost like a victory in a Toro Rosso, and I was 15th and absolutely nowhere. Sometimes you’re slow and you can rationalise that because you know why, but that weekend I was bad and I wasn’t sure why. Maybe knowing there was a Red Bull seat available made it worse. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t really like race cars much after that weekend. I had to try something different because it just didn’t make sense. I went to New York for a week after Montreal and tried not to think about racing at all and stop beating myself up about it. I’ve had better memories in Canada since then of course, but that 2013 weekend and how I decided to react to it was maybe the most important of my F1 career. Without that, who knows how it would have turned out?

The strongest memories are the wins of course, but Australia 2014 was one of the best weekends of my life. OK, so I didn’t get to keep the podium, but the whole thing was just awesome. For me, the second place (well, for a while anyway) and just how pumped the crowd was … added to that was the team was so happy after we’d had such a terrible pre-season and we probably didn’t even expect to be running at the end of the race. Walking out onto that podium was surreal in one way but strangely familiar too, as I’d had a picture of what that might be like at my home Grand Prix before, and it was as I’d imagined it would be. There was some pretty intense smiling going on there! I felt the whole weekend that everyone was on my side, there was so much positive energy there. I’m not sure where that sits in terms of favourite memories from these 100 races, but it’s right up there.

Getting to 100 races now means that more than half the grid is younger than me, and I definitely don’t feel like the new kid anymore. I still feel like I’m on the younger side in terms of my energy, my drive, my determination and all of that, but in saying that, I get on better with the older guys – Felipe (Massa), Jenson (Button) and those guys – these days, and I feel I’ve earned their respect now. We probably have more in common than I do with the younger guys – Max (Verstappen) is nearly 10 years younger than me, remember, so there’s a bit of a generation gap there for both of us.

My perspective on the sport has changed over the 100 races, and that’s a good thing. My time in F1 has taught me that I don’t think the sport should consume you. For me, having other interests and a life outside of F1 is really healthy. When I was 15 and desperately wanting to be in F1, that’s all you think about. You thought that F1 drivers trained for hours and hours every day of the year, they never sit on the couch watching TV because they’re smashing out another 100 push-ups, that sort of thing. Once I realised that all-consuming mentality wasn’t the way to go, the better I started to perform because I was more balanced in life, and I became a happier person. I generally perform my best when I’m balanced and I’m having a good time doing it.

Anyway, Germany is going to be fun this weekend. We didn’t race there last year, but it’s good to go back to Hockenheim again after a podium in Hungary. For about half the race last Sunday I felt we had the chance to fight for first or second, and Mercedes didn’t seem that rapid at that stage. But then they pulled it out afterwards, and the last few laps were tough – my tyres were going, and I’d made a mistake with about 10 laps to go when I’d flat-spotted one of them pretty bad. So the last 10 laps I was more occupied with hanging onto third, and I was relieved when I crossed the line because Seb (Sebastian Vettel) was getting closer and closer.

Hungary has been kind to me and it was good to be up there on the podium again. Hockenheim is a very different circuit of course and it’ll be tougher for us this weekend, but we’ve had some strong results in the last few races, so hopefully there’s something to celebrate as well as my 100th on Sunday night.

The MotoGP report card

Nine races down, nine to go. Who has shone – and who has bombed – in 2016?

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU

For MotoGP, school is officially out. Nine races in the books, the mid-season test at the Red Bull Ring in Austria ahead of the next Grand Prix done, and nine races remaining. As the paddock, riders and fans catch their collective breaths over the next few weeks, the pause gives us cause for reflection – and a chance to run the rule over the field.

Marc Marquez has re-asserted himself as the MotoGP benchmark this season, but in a markedly different way than the swift Spaniard usually goes about his business. The Repsol Honda rider is the headline act, but what of the rest of the grid?

With the season in recess, let’s run through a report card of the year that has been – and get some pointers of what might come next as we grade the field.

Dux of the class

Marquez takes a 48-point championship lead into the summer break – the equivalent of almost two race wins – and should he convert that into a third premier-class title, it’ll be one earned by consistency and risk management as much as outright pace. Hands up who saw that sentence being written 12 months ago? Marquez’s win it or bin it approach bit him hard last year – his five victories were second only to eventual world champion Jorge Lorenzo, but six DNFs were more than any other rider in the top 10 in the standings – and saw him finish a whopping 88 points off Lorenzo’s points tally when the season came to a close. Marquez has three wins to the mid-season break, the most recent coming in his happiest hunting ground of the Sachsenring last time out – but it’s his approach when he can’t win that has been an eye-opener, second-place finishes at Catalunya (to Valentino Rossi) and Assen (to Jack Miller) prompting celebrations usually reserved for wins, especially at Assen when title rivals Rossi (DNF) and Lorenzo (10th) were nowhere. Eight podiums in the first nine races and a 100 per cent finishing record means that surely the only man who can stop Marquez from here is Marquez himself.

Encouragement award

There’s four candidates here, four riders at very different ages and stages of their careers, but all with plenty to be optimistic about at the halfway stage.

Maverick Vinales sits fifth in the standings after nine races, and after letting a golden opportunity for a maiden podium slip in Argentina in round two, he bounced back three races later at Le Mans to finish third, and has two front-row starts to his credit. Inking a contract with the factory Yamaha squad to partner Rossi from next season onwards overshadows anything he’s done on track, impressive as that has been. There’s still a tendency for Vinales to get pushed around on the opening lap of races, but in the dry, he and Suzuki have been strong.

Hector Barbera has more points than any other Ducati rider at the halfway stage of the season, which is as much a comment about the Spaniard’s consistency as it is an indictment of the other riders to ply their trade for the Italian marque. Barbera, on a two-year-old GP14, sits seventh in the title race, and with 65 points, he’s almost doubled his tally from the entire 2015 season already. A MotoGP-best second on the grid in Germany – in his 112th start – was the highlight.

Speaking of consistency, Eugene Laverty is one of just three riders (Marquez and Barbera are the others) to have finished every race, and the Northern Irishman sits 10th in the championship with 53 points; by contrast, his Aspar Ducati teammate Yonny Hernandez has three. Laverty hasn’t qualified better than the 14th on the grid he managed in the Qatar season-opener, but he’s always there to take whatever points are on offer, his fourth in Argentina on a day plenty of other riders lost their heads his standout result.

The last man in this category might have made the biggest turnaround of all – Miller. The Australian had an injury-compromised pre-season after a motocross accident, and a big off in practice in Austin saw him miss that race altogether. The season was looking pretty miserable until Catalunya, with a 10th-place result there a testament to his growing maturity and control, where he pushed the bike to its limits but no further. Assen was his crowning glory, a spectacular ride in dreadful conditions seeing him break through for his maiden MotoGP victory, and he backed that up with a strong display at the Sachsenring in similarly inclement weather, running inside the top five for much of the race before his lack of experience in flag-to-flag races saw him pit too late for a bike with dry tyres, dropping him to seventh at the flag.

With his battered leg healing, his confidence rising and the pressure removed from his shoulders, Miller will only get better from here.

Could do better

The theory – and the fear for Rossi fans – was that 2015 was his best and perhaps final chance to snare that elusive 10th world title that he’s been chasing since 2009 – and the first half of this season hasn’t done anything to dispel that. Rossi sits third in the title chase with 111 points and took superb wins at Jerez and Catalunya, but three non-finishes have left him with 68 points fewer than the halfway mark of last season, and with a mountain to climb. A mechanical DNF at Mugello was cruel, but self-inflicted crashes at Austin and later at Assen when he was second in the rain might have slammed the door on his championship quest.

Rossi’s teammate – at least for the rest of this year – is in similar strife. Lorenzo is second to Marquez in the standings, and his season has come unglued in the past three races, after he was taken out by Andrea Iannone in Catalunya, and was nowhere in the rain at Assen and the Sachsenring. His careful ride to 15th and one championship point in Germany after a weekend of crashes was almost painful to watch, and it was jarring to see the reigning world champion look so busy on the bike – when he’s in his element, pounding out lap after lap with precision that nobody else on the grid can match, it looks like he’s barely trying.

Dani Pedrosa re-signed with Repsol Honda until the end of 2018 in May, but went into the mid-season break with just two podiums, one of them a gift in Argentina when Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso combined for a Ducati disaster on the final lap. By contrast, he had six top-three finishes last year despite missing three of the 18 races with injury. Failing a dramatic turnaround, Pedrosa looks set for a third straight fourth-place championship finish – as in being the ‘other’ guy from the two powerhouse teams yet again.

Room for improvement

Dovizioso took pole at Assen and has five other starts on the front two rows of the grid, but has just 59 points to be ninth in the standings at the summer break. The Italian never seems to have any luck, but as the Andrea within the factory Ducati squad staying to partner Lorenzo next season, he’ll have wanted better.

For Cal Crutchlow, it was great that second in Germany came with 20 world championship points – and not-so great that those 20 points doubled his tally from the opening eight races before the Sachsenring. Four non-finishes in nine races ties with Dovizioso, Iannone and Hernandez as the most on the grid.

Crutchlow’s compatriot Bradley Smith is off to KTM next season, but isn’t exactly leaving the Tech 3 Yamaha squad with a bang; the Briton has 35 points after nine races compared to 87 at the same stage last year, and has out-qualified teammate Pol Espargaro just twice in nine races. If he maintains his 16th place in the standings, it’ll be by far the worst of his four MotoGP campaigns.

Meanwhile, Tito Rabat’s debut MotoGP season has been a nightmare; the 2014 Moto2 champion has qualified in the bottom three on the grid in every race, and added injury to insult when he broke his left collarbone at Mugello and missed the Italian GP altogether.

Extra detention

The MotoGP naughty corner could almost be named after Iannone, who has spent much of his final year in Ducati red in the bad books before he heads to Suzuki next season. Taking out teammate Dovizioso in Argentina on the last lap as they were in podium contention was bad enough, but harpooning Lorenzo in Barcelona earned him a demotion to the back of the grid for the next race at Assen. Mixed in with the madness have been podiums in Austin and at Mugello, and the fastest lap of the race in Italy, where he and the Ducati absolutely flew, touching 354.9km/h on the straight to set a new MotoGP top speed record. The word ‘enigma’ may have been invented with Iannone in mind; that said, you wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest that if a Ducati was to a win a race this season, ‘The Maniac’ would be the rider spraying the champagne of victory.

Front to back: the Hungarian Grand Prix

Reviewing every F1 team and driver from Sunday’s battle of Budapest.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton:
qualified 2nd, finished 1st
Nico Rosberg: qualified 1st, finished 2nd
Don’t let the final margin of victory – 1.9 seconds – fool you; this race was as good as over when Hamilton made a cleaner start than his pole-sitting teammate Rosberg, survived a bold move around the outside from Ricciardo at the first corner, and then streaked away to lead by a second after one lap at a circuit that, as the next 69 proved, is close to impossible to pass on even if the driver behind is faster, which Rosberg plainly wasn’t. Hamilton’s lead ebbed and flowed in the traffic that comes with 21 of the 22 starters finishing the race, and by the end, he’d lapped everyone up to and including Alonso in seventh. What’s more, his fifth win in Budapest set a record for the Hungarian Grand Prix, and his fifth win in the past six races this season saw him take the championship lead for the first time. Rosberg’s first podium in Hungary in 11 visits was bittersweet, as his championship lead that was established in Australia and ballooned to 43 points after Russia in round four is gone, and on current form, it’s hard to imagine him getting it back. The German’s biggest win over the weekend was signing a two-year contract extension to stay with the Silver Arrows until the end of 2018, but if those two years continue along the same lines as the past two, perhaps that won’t seem like such a victory after all. At a circuit where Mercedes hadn’t won since the advent of the V6 turbo hybrid era, the sport’s powerhouse outfit was what team principal Toto Wolff said it needed to be before the weekend – “flawless” – and then some.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel:
qualified 5th, finished 4th
Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 14th, finished 6th
With Mercedes doing as it pleased up front at a circuit where Red Bull and Ferrari were expected to challenge their superiority, Vettel and Raikkonen found themselves in spirited battles with Ricciardo and Verstappen respectively in the closing laps, but neither could get ahead. Vettel’s race was steady rather than spectacular for the most part, but he came after Ricciardo hard in the final stint, running out of laps to attack his former teammate and finishing six-tenths of a second adrift. The four-time champion was less than impressed by the masses of lapped traffic he encountered on the twisty Hungaroring layout, his displeasure over the team radio showing a solid grasp of English profanities. Raikkonen recovered strongly from a disastrous qualifying, and used a soft tyre-led strategy from 14th on the grid to run long in the first stint and get in the fight with the Red Bull of Verstappen, the two connecting at Turn 3 on lap 57 and leaving the Finnish veteran furious, and with bits of his front wing missing as he tried to snatch fifth to no avail. Those two extra championship points would have been handy, as Raikkonen dropped to fourth in the drivers’ standings, one point behind Ricciardo. Speaking of one point, that’s the slender margin Ferrari now leads Red Bull by in the constructors’ championship, with Mercedes – who Ferrari had targeted beating at the start of the season – a whopping 154 points in the distance.

Front to back: what happened at the British Grand Prix?

Williams
Felipe Massa:
qualified 18th, finished 18th
Valtteri Bottas: qualified 10th, finished 9th
Ninth for Bottas and a miserable weekend for Massa made it a total of just four points in the past three races for Williams, who struggled mightily at a circuit with no straights of note and plenty of twists and turns, which couldn’t play less to the FW38’s strengths. Bottas gained one place from his starting position – a result of Button’s retirement for McLaren – and was in no man’s land, seven seconds behind Sainz’s Toro Rosso and seven seconds ahead of Hulkenberg’s Force India to collect two points, while Massa’s weekend started badly and didn’t get a lot better; after crashing in qualifying, the Brazilian veteran’s build-up to the race was fraught when the team had to change his steering rack in the final minutes before the start.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo:
qualified 3rd, finished 3rd
Max Verstappen: qualified 4th, finished 5th
A second podium for 2016 was a long time coming for Ricciardo, especially as his other one had been at Monaco, where the second step that day left him feeling decidedly second-rate. A third podium in as many years in Hungary was just reward for being the only driver who looked capable of giving Mercedes a hard time for the entire weekend, although his final pit stop on lap 33 – an early and bold move to make Mercedes blink and perhaps pit Rosberg – almost backfired when Vettel came hard at him in the closing stages. Finishing 27 seconds from the winner at a race Red Bull targeted as perhaps its best chance for another win this season was less than the team wanted, but Ricciardo did very little wrong, and reclaimed third in the drivers’ standings. Verstappen’s race was less straightforward and more colourful – his comment that he was driving “like a grandma” early in the race was both amusing and more ammunition for those who deride the driving style required in the Pirelli tyre era, while his post-race comment about Raikkonen’s complaining after their tense battle – “I think it’s good to finally hear Kimi talk on the radio” – would have incensed the Finn even further. After showing so well against Ricciardo in their six previous races as teammates, the Australian had the Dutch teenager’s measure on this weekend – but Verstappen’s ability to keep his cool under pressure was evident once again.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg:
qualified 10th, finished 10th
Sergio Perez: qualified 13th, finished 11th
Force India has made a habit of taking chunks of points out of Williams’ advantage for fourth in the constructors’ championship of late, but couldn’t make it happen in Hungary, Hulkenberg finishing in the same spot he started, and a communications breakdown condemning Perez to a pointless afternoon. The Mexican started ahead of Raikkonen and planned to use a similar strategy of a long stint on the softer tyre to start the race as his way through the field, but his second stop on lap 42 undid all of those gains, Perez arriving in pit lane to the surprise of his team, who didn’t have tyres ready for him. It was a familiar tale of woe at a circuit that has been less than kind to Force India; Hulkenberg’s point was the team’s first at the circuit since 2011, when Paul Di Resta finished seventh.

Renault
Jolyon Palmer:
qualified 17th, finished 12th
Kevin Magnussen: qualified 19th, finished 15th
British rookie Palmer was heading for his first F1 points while running inside the top 10 on lap 49 before he spun off at Turn 4; while he able to regroup and continue, his big chance to get off the mark was gone. “It’s a disaster because I was running 10th, I had no more pit stops – it was there for us,” he said afterwards. “It was the best drive of my career, but I spun it and we didn’t get any points. I’m gutted.” It was by far the most convincing display of the 2014 GP2 champion’s F1 career, but promising unfortunately doesn’t add up to points. Teammate Magnussen had a tough weekend too, the Dane beginning his final qualifying run on Saturday on a drying track on wet tyres rather than the appropriate intermediates, and fell backwards in the race after a long opening stint on supersoft tyres had him inside the top 10 as others around him pitted.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat:
qualified 12th, finished 16th
Carlos Sainz: qualified 6th, finished 8th
Sainz continues to impress, a season-best qualifying on Saturday after he’d struggled badly in third practice a pleasant surprise, and his cool head in finishing eighth for the fourth time this season most definitely not. The Spaniard spent most of the race in close proximity to compatriot Alonso, finishing just 3.4 seconds behind the McLaren driver after 70 laps, and jumped inside the top 10 in the drivers’ standings. Kvyat’s weekend unravelled when he was erroneously released into traffic as he attempted his final lap in Q2 on Saturday, and any chance of a top-10 finish went up in smoke when he was hit with a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane during his first pit stop. Second place in Budapest 12 months ago must seem like a very long time ago for the Russian.

Sauber
Felipe Nasr:
qualified 16th, finished 17th
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 20th, finished 20th
Nasr was one of the standouts in Q1 on Saturday, standing atop the timesheets for a time in the heavy rain, and the Brazilian made Q2 for the third time this year. Teammate Ericsson crashed in Q1 and caused one of the four red flags, and was forced to start from the pit lane in a new chassis for the second race in a row after his big shunt at Silverstone a fortnight previously. While neither driver looked likely to trouble the scorers in the race, Sauber’s troubled financial future was at least given some clarity ahead of the Hungarian round, with Swiss financial investments company Longbow Finance taking over the ownership of the team. Team principal and CEO Monisha Kaltenborn will stay on, while the team’s name – first seen in F1 in 1993 – will remain intact.

McLaren
Jenson Button:
qualified 8th, did not finish
Fernando Alonso: qualified 7th, finished 7th
Both Button and Alonso made it to Q3, the first time the team has had both cars in the top 10 in qualifying in this latest chapter in the McLaren-Honda partnership, but that was as good as it got for Button, whose race unravelled on lap five with a hydraulics issue that played havoc with his brakes, a controversial drive-through penalty for unauthorised radio communication while attempting to address the problem, and then a retirement eight laps from home with an oil leak. As for Alonso, his first points since Monaco five races ago came after a weekend of metronomic consistency …

Manor
Pascal Wehrlein:
qualified 21st, finished 19th
Rio Haryanto: qualified 22nd, finished 21st
Was Sunday Haryanto’s final Grand Prix? The Indonesian finished 21st and last of the classified runners after a heavy crash 24 hours earlier had caused the fourth red flag of a marathon qualifying session, and came on a weekend where there was plenty of paddock chatter that a funding shortfall could see McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne take over from the rookie sooner rather than later. Teammate Wehrlein started a spot ahead of Haryanto, managed to beat the Sauber of Ericsson, and finished more than half a minute ahead of the man in the sister car – for now at least.

Haas
Romain Grosjean:
qualified 11th, finished 14th
Esteban Gutierrez: qualified 15th, finished 13th
Grosjean so very nearly found himself back in Q3 for the first time since round two in Bahrain, missing out by one-tenth of a second on Saturday, while teammate Gutierrez was 1.2secs and four places further back. The Frenchman put the brakes on Raikkonen’s charge in the early stages with some spirited defence before fading, while Gutierrez earned the ire of race-leader Hamilton – and an angry hand gesture from the world champion – when he was being lapped late in the race, Gutierrez hit with a five-second time penalty after the chequered flag fell that dropped him behind Palmer’s Renault.

The Hungary games

What to watch for as the F1 battle for Budapest heats up this weekend.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU

The F1 traveling roadshow rolls on to Budapest this weekend, with the Hungarian Grand Prix the first leg of yet another back-to-back with Germany that will see the weary teams, drivers and small armies of personnel to their mid-season break. And with the championship lead poised to change hands for the first time all year, inter-team rivalries hotting up and Mercedes looking to conquer its bogey track, there’s plenty of talking points ahead of round 11 of the season.

1. Can Hamilton make his point?
Two more points than Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg will do, as that’s all reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton needs to snare the series lead for the first time this year after the German dominated the opening part of the season. The Briton comes to Budapest with four wins in the past five races, and if he salutes on Sunday, he’ll become the most successful driver in the history of the Hungarian Grand Prix with five victories. Hamilton’s first win for Mercedes – when victories for the Silver Arrows were rare – came in Budapest in 2013, but he’s had two scruffy races at the Hungaroring since, an engine fire in qualifying and a row over team orders with Rosberg seeing him finish third in 2014, and he was sixth last year after an off on the opening lap. Hamilton’s momentum appears irresistible, and you can’t help but wonder if Rosberg will lead the championship again this season if he’s beaten by his teammate on Sunday.

2. Seeing Red?
Hamilton will be desperate to finish in front of Rosberg, but will he finish ahead of everyone else? Recent history suggests it will be tough – remarkably, given their domination everywhere else, the Hungaroring is the only circuit where Mercedes hasn’t won since the advent of the V6 turbo hybrid era, Daniel Ricciardo winning for Red Bull in 2014, and Sebastian Vettel taking victory for Ferrari 12 months ago. While Max Verstappen won in Spain and Ricciardo could have won in Barcelona (and absolutely should have in Monaco), Hungary was the race Red Bull would have surely circled at the start of the season, its lack of anything resembling a long straight and seemingly endless succession of medium-speed corners playing right into the hands of the RB12. And Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff knows it. “We will need to be flawless to come out on top at this track,” he said earlier this week. “We face a very different challenge – this circuit has not been kind to us over the past two years, and it plays to the strengths of our rivals. The Red Bull is a car that functions well where high drag isn’t penalised as much as at other types of circuit.”

Front to back: what happened at the British Grand Prix?

Against the backdrop of the inter-term rivalry that’s bubbling at Red Bull, the Ricciardo v Verstappen fight this weekend could well be for the biggest prize on offer. Verstappen has scored 77 points to Ricciardo’s 64 and taken three podiums to one in the six races they’ve been teammates, but the Australian is dynamite in Budapest, backing up his victory there two years ago with third last season.

3. Remember me?
Carlos Sainz has been the ‘other’ guy in Red Bull’s quartet of drivers this year, going about his business as former Toro Rosso teammate Verstappen was promoted to the senior team, Ricciardo was taking a mesmerising pole at Monaco, and Daniil Kvyat was demoted back to the company’s ‘B’ team after a calamitous race in Russia. But the Spaniard has shone of late, scoring points in five of the past six races, and fighting the good fight with a chassis propelled by a year-old Ferrari power plant that’s starting to look a little breathless – at the last race at Silverstone, the Toro Rosso was slower than only the Renault and the Honda-powered McLaren through the speed trap, but the Spaniard still managed to make Q3 and raced to eighth 24 hours later. Sitting 12th in the championship isn’t going to win Sainz too many headlines, but he’s doing a very strong job.

4. Stopping to go faster?
It’s the question teams wrestle with in the season ahead of a major regulatory change – how much time and money do you spend on developing a car that’s soon to become obsolete? With less than half of the season remaining and the new-for-2017 rules approaching at the speed of a Mercedes – rules that mandate wider cars with wider tyres, a shorter rear wing and, perhaps, some form of cockpit head protection – is it worth chasing performance and allocating resources to climb a spot or two in the constructors’ race, or is it better to think solely of next season?
Ferrari came into the season confident of challenging Mercedes but are now looking over their shoulders for second in the constructors’ race, the Prancing Horse now just six points ahead of the stampeding Red Bulls. Short of Vettel reprising his Budapest brilliance from last year, will the week after Hungary see a change of focus at Maranello?
Further down the grid, Force India is grappling with balancing an unforeseen opportunity to chase a best-ever constructors’ result with the harsh realities of development and expense for next season. The Indian-owned British-based squad is only 19 points behind fourth-placed Williams with 11 races to go and has superior momentum, but the upgrade introduced for the Spanish Grand Prix, which featured a new front wing, floor and sidepods, will be the team’s last.
“If I said we wanted to continue development during 2016 just to beat Williams, then I might compromise myself in 2017,” team principal Vijay Mallya said.
“2017 is a big opportunity for us to be really competitive, and I don’t want to lose that opportunity; 100 per cent of our resources are on ’17. There will be no more development on this year’s car.”

5. F1’s changing face
Hungary represented a seismic shift for F1 when the sport went behind what was the ‘Iron Curtain’ in 1986, but times have changed, and fast. Thirty years on from that first race (which featured one of the best overtakes in F1 history when Nelson Piquet put some manners on Ayrton Senna), the Hungaroring has become just the 10th track in F1 history to host 30 races, and only six circuits on this year’s calendar have held more Grands Prix.
The global imprint of F1 may have expanded, but genuine passing opportunities at the sinuous circuit remain slim. One statistical nugget to consider when watching this weekend unfold: just two of the 30 races in Hungary have been won from outside the first two rows on the grid, making qualifying more important than usual – and Red Bull’s chances of Sunday success hinging very much on what it can do on Saturday. Q3 will be very, very tense.

Miller Time: Going for it in Germany

Aussie MotoGP rider Jack Miller writes about being in the thick of the podium fight at the Sachsenring.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU

Hi everyone,

It’s Sunday night at the Sachsenring and we have an early start before we head off to Austria for a test tomorrow, but it’s been another good weekend. Finishing seventh considering where I started is a really good result, and I had to catch myself when I was doing an interview straight after the race and saying that I was a bit disappointed. When you spend as much of a race inside the top five as I did, seventh means you’re not the happiest afterwards. But I would have done anything for that three races ago.

More Miller Time: A day I’ll never forget

If I’m going to be pissed off with anyone it’s myself, as I probably should have listened to my team and come in earlier to swap bikes and go with the slicks. But seventh is a definitely a good day at the office, and to be able to run inside the top five on merit and not because of any luck was awesome. And then to be able to pick off (Hector) Barbera and Valentino (Rossi) in the dry on that last lap was great, and I reckon I could have had Dani (Pedrosa) too, but I ran out of time and he finished about a tenth of a second ahead of me. So seventh, I’ll take that.

Sunday was one of those days when just finishing was a challenge. It was pretty treacherous out there early on, but I was confident I could make a good start as I had good pace when it was really wet in the Sunday morning warm-up. Being third in the warm-up gave me some confidence that I could make up some ground early on, and I was only after the race that I realised I’d made up six places into the first corner and was sixth after the first lap after starting from 16th! I felt really good from the start and was able to pick some guys off, and then getting past Marc (Marquez) who had started from pole on lap six was pretty good! He paid me back later on when he was on the right slick tyres and I was on the wrong wet ones, he was so much faster than me at that stage that there was nothing I could do other than get back to the pits as fast as I could to make the change.

I was at the back of the front five riders for a lot of the race and not under any real pressure from behind, but we all kept going, ‘Dovi’ (Andrea Dovizioso), Cal (Crutchlow), Vale and Barbera. We were all being told by our pit boards to come in and it wasn’t like I only elected to stay out because they all came in ahead of me – yes, it meant that I got to lead a lap, but I probably should have come in too because my pit board had been telling me to for two laps. My aim at that stage was sit on the back of the pack, keep calm and not make any mistakes, and I think I managed to do that pretty well, but I probably should have come in earlier. Anyway, in the end I was able to finish ahead of two of those four guys who pitted a lap earlier, so that was a good result. It was a really fun race to ride, there was a lot going on and it’s always such a busy lap at Sachsenring, so really enjoyable.

For whatever reason, I’ve always liked Sachsenring, even though it’s not to everyone’s taste. It’s a very different track being so tight and with all the left-handers, and Turn 11, the ‘Waterfall’, is a big challenge in the dry, and pretty hairy in the wet when there’s a big stream of water running across the track on the way from Turn 10 and the last of all of those left-handers in a row. Some of the riders don’t really like the place, but I’m glad we go there. I made my GP debut there back in 2011 and knew it from the German championship, and it’s always been a pretty good circuit for me, plus I won there in Moto3 in 2014. It’s not unlike anywhere else we ride and that’s why I like it – you wouldn’t want to have 18 circuits like that, but it’s a different challenge because it’s so tight and so technical.

Austria is coming up next and I’m really looking forward to that, but first we get to take a break for a few weeks after we do a two-day test there this week. I’ve raced at the Red Bull Ring before and it’s a completely different sort of track than Sachsenring – it’s long straight into tight corner, another long straight into another tight corner … probably a circuit that will favour the Ducati riders more than the rest of us, I reckon. We have some new things to try on the bike in the test and it’ll be good to do that – hopefully some of them make us as fast as the Ducatis are probably going to be on those straights!

In some ways it’s shame we’re having a mid-season break, because the last three races have been great for me and it would be good to keep it going. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want some time out. The attention after Assen was pretty incredible and more than I was expecting to be honest, but it was all good – I always wondered what it would be like if I won a MotoGP race, and it was pretty intense.

I usually come back home to Australia during the mid-season break, but this year I’m staying in Europe for a couple of reasons. One is that I was able to catch up with some friends from back home in Hawaii a couple of weekends ago, because one of my mates got married to an American girl – they must have figured that Hawaii was halfway to Townsville! There’s worse places for anyone to get married, I reckon. It was great to be there and I managed to do some training when I was there too, the weather was amazing for some beach runs. I also did some surfing which I haven’t done for a while. After how crazy things had been after Assen, it came at a good time.

The other reason – well, one of them – is that some of you would have seen that I’ve recently become a proud ‘parent’ to Bruce, my new French bulldog.

I’ve wanted to get a dog for ages and now I have my base in Andorra, I have space for one. I had a bit of a false start with getting one earlier this year, but we found Bruce in Holland and I got him after Assen. Not the most Dutch name I suppose, but there you go. I’ve always loved animals, my mum says that if I wasn’t out riding as a kid, I’d want to be inside watching David Attenborough documentaries!

Bruce has to stay in Holland for another few weeks so he can get his injections and what not, and then he’s allowed to travel with me. So it’ll be back to Holland after the test to see him, and then hopefully I can bring him home soon.

Catch you next time.

Cheers, Jack

Front to back: the British Grand Prix

Reviewing every F1 team and driver from Sunday’s race at Silverstone.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton:
qualified 1st, finished 1st
Nico Rosberg: qualified 2nd, finished 3rd
An exemplary performance from home hero Hamilton, who took his third British GP win in succession, his fourth home win overall, and his fourth victory in the past five Grands Prix to narrow the gap to teammate and championship leader Rosberg to a single point, the closest the Mercedes pair have been all season. The reigning world champion had few scares of note save for a leery off at the treacherous first corner on lap 28, but that was as bad as it got as he sent the majority of the 139,000 fans in attendance home happy. For Rosberg, this was no ordinary third place – in stark contrast to his teammate, the German’s afternoon was a struggle as early as lap nine, where he’d already fallen to five seconds behind Hamilton and relinquished any chance of a win as he slithered around in the wet conditions. Verstappen made an audacious move on Rosberg into Chapel Curve on lap 16 stick, and it took Rosberg until lap 38 to restore order in a plainly faster car, albeit one that was struggling with gearbox gremlins late. After the race, Rosberg had a 10-second penalty added to his time for breaching F1’s radio rules regulations on driving “the car alone and unaided” after he asked his team how to combat losing seventh gear, which dropped him to third behind Verstappen and cost him three precious points.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel:
qualified 6th, finished 9th
Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 5th, finished 5th
Ferrari can forget challenging Mercedes for the constructors’ championship; that was the big takeaway from an underwhelming Sunday at Silverstone that saw the pre-season title challengers fall to 131 points behind the Silver Arrows, and stay just six points ahead of the stampeding Red Bulls. Another five-place gearbox penalty for Vettel, his second in as many races, saw the German start from 11th, and after he was the first driver to be brave and fit dry-weather tyres on a semi-wet track on lap 16 in an attempt to vault up the order, Vettel spun just two laps into his stint and ruined any chance of a decent points haul. A five-second penalty applied after the race for forcing the Williams of Massa off the track when he passed the Brazilian veteran was the full stop on a bad day that saw him drop to fifth in the drivers’ standings. Raikkonen’s biggest win for the weekend came off track, the 36-year-old signing a contract extension with Ferrari that was surely based on continuity rather than performance. The Finn had a messy qualifying with a spin and lock-up but still out-qualified Vettel, and started and finished in the same spot, a whopping 69 seconds behind race-winner Hamilton.

Front to back: what happened in Austria?

Williams
Felipe Massa:
qualified 12th, finished 11th
Valtteri Bottas: qualified 7th, finished 14th
A desperately unhappy race for Williams in its home Grand Prix, the much-loved British team failing to get either car into the points for the first time this season. Bottas felt he “got everything out of the car” in qualifying, which was a bit of a worry as he was 2.270secs off the pace and seventh, and he spun on lap 11 from eighth place and never figured in the points conversation thereafter. Massa didn’t even make Q3 on Saturday and complained of rear tyre issues, and while a final stop on lap 39 for the faster soft-compound Pirellis threatened to drag him into the top 10, the Brazilian just missed out.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo:
qualified 4th, finished 4th
Max Verstappen: qualified 3rd, finished 2nd
Verstappen took his third podium in six races at Red Bull and his second in seven days with arguably the drive of the day at Silverstone, and his pass on Rosberg to take second place will go down as one of the moves of the season. The Dutch teenager’s tyre management and ability in semi-wet conditions was a standout, and he did all he could to resist the much faster Rosberg for as long as he could late in the race, earning some criticism from the German for his robust defence. In the wash-up, Rosberg’s belated penalty promoted him to second again. Verstappen’s weekend really came alive 24 hours earlier, when he qualified a career-best third and broke Ricciardo’s unblemished record on Saturdays with his teammates this season. The Australian was a frustrated fourth for the fifth time this season and over 15 seconds behind Verstappen at the finish after a lonely race; he pitted for tyres at the end of the first flying lap of the race on lap six, but any chance of an undercut on Verstappen and the Mercedes drivers was scuppered by the top three getting a pit stop in under virtual safety car conditions a lap later when Wehrlein’s Manor spun out of the race. The one bit of good news for Ricciardo was that he jumped one spot in the drivers’ championship to – you guessed it – fourth overall.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg:
qualified 9th, finished 7th
Sergio Perez: qualified 11th, finished 6th
Perez was once again the Force India driver who came out smelling like roses, taking advantage of a well-timed decision to pit under virtual safety car conditions to jump Ricciardo into fourth and stay ahead of the Australian for 13 laps in treacherous conditions that rewarded his renowned tyre management skills. Raikkonen in his much faster Ferrari finally passed Perez with four laps to go, but sixth was a strong return after a qualifying session that didn’t go to plan on Saturday. Hulkenberg was 0.7 seconds in arrears of his teammate after 52 laps, using the same wet-intermediate-medium tyre strategy as the Mexican, but being caught out by pitting as soon as the race was released from its safety car start, the chaos in the pit lane making a routine stop take longer than normal. A haul of 14 points, combined with Williams’ disastrous day, saw Vijay Mallya’s team creep to within 19 points of taking over fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

Renault
Jolyon Palmer: qualified 18th, did not finish
Kevin Magnussen: qualified 16th, finished 17th
A difficult Sunday in a season of difficult Sundays for everyone at Team Enstone. Palmer failed to advance out of Q1 for the third straight race at his home circuit, and what slim hope he had of progressing too far in the race ended on lap 17, when he was released from his pit stop with no right rear wheel attached, condemning him to an extra stop for a 10-second penalty. He eventually retired on lap 40 with cooked brakes after ranting about the blue flags he was receiving for being lapped. Magnussen’s Saturday was similarly fraught – the Dane survived an investigation for exceeding track limits in Q1 to make it to Q2 and was fortunate to escape a penalty for getting in Kvyat’s way late in the session – and he was the 17th and final car classified as Renault’s struggles continue.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat:
qualified 15th, finished 10th
Carlos Sainz: qualified 8th, finished 8th
Times have been tough for Toro Rosso of late, so a fourth double-points finish of the season was gratefully received by Red Bull’s sister squad. Kvyat broke a four-race points-scoring drought by coming home 10th and doing well to advance from 15th on the grid, finishing in the points at Silverstone for the third time in as many visits. Sainz had a few sideways moments that evoked memories of his legendary rally-driving dad Carlos Snr in the wet, but held off Vettel late to finish eighth. His qualifying lap late in Q2 on Saturday to sneak into the top 10 at Perez’s expense was a mighty effort, while Sunday’s four points saw him draw level with Hulkenberg for 11th in the drivers’ standings.

Sauber
Felipe Nasr:
qualified 21st, finished 15th
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 22nd, did not finish
Nasr briefly ran in the top six as he stayed out on wet tyres while many of his rivals pitted once the race got underway properly on lap six, but tumbled down the order thereafter to stay pointless for the season. The Brazilian’s weekend was a lot more straightforward than Ericsson’s, the Swede missing qualifying altogether after a massive shunt at Stowe in FP3 which saw him taken to hospital for checks and a CT scan. The cash-strapped team rebuilt Ericsson’s chassis overnight, but he struggled with engine problems from the outset after starting from the pit lane, calling it a day after 11 laps.

McLaren
Jenson Button:
qualified 17th, finished 12th
Fernando Alonso: qualified 10th, finished 13th
Another British team to have a disappointing weekend at home, with Button’s barren run at Silverstone continuing for another frustrating year. The Briton had the rear wing endplate on his car come loose in qualifying, and despite frantic repairs, he was left in the garage in 17th and out. Button finished ahead of Alonso largely due to the latter’s spectacular high-speed spin at Turn 1 on lap 24, the Spaniard’s McLaren rotating three times before lightly nudging the barriers in an incident that could have been far worse. Alonso was less than happy during the race with what he felt were unnecessarily conservative calls on strategy from a team with little to lose, but he was more positive afterwards, commenting that Sunday was the first race he’d felt competitive, especially in the wet-dry conditions in the first half of the Grand Prix.

Manor
Pascal Wehrlein:
qualified 20th, did not finish
Rio Haryanto: qualified 19th, did not finish
A harsh dose of reality for Manor after the highs of Austria seven days’ previously, with Wehrlein aquaplaning off the circuit on lap seven at Turn 1 and triggering a virtual safety car, and Haryanto going off at the same corner on lap 26 and finding the barriers. It was the first time neither Manor had seen the chequered flag since the Canadian Grand Prix of 2014, a span of 36 races.

Haas
Romain Grosjean:
qualified 13th, did not finish
Esteban Gutierrez: qualified 14th, finished 16th
A quiet first British Grand Prix for the sport’s newest team, with Grosjean retiring on lap 18, and Gutierrez finishing ahead of only Magnussen after feeling points were in play after their Q2 exits on Saturday. “Everything was open and I would have loved to get some more laps on such an amazing track,” was Grosjean’s lament afterwards.