Wow! Just wow. The idyllic setting of Spielberg Austria, the championship points implication, fallout from Baku, Honda-McLaren relationship status, and would the rain hold off. All those questions and variables would come up at point in what has turned out to be another exciting installment of the 2017 F1 season.
Sorry for Alonso who had no quarrel with his Honda power plan this weekend, no it was suspension damage courtesy of Daniil Kvyat with Toro Rosso who hit Max Verstappen of Red Bull retiring him as well. Although the critical issue for Verstappen was mechnical (clutch failure) prior to entering the turn, and the incidental contact at turn 1 only made withdrawal from the race official. He now is focusing on single victories this season as he admitted his championship aspirations are all but through. Does he have a mechanical performance clause in his contract? Does Alonso?
Lewis Hamilton took a grid penalty for switching a gearbox that Mercedes was quick to state was not a result of the two collisions his car had at the hands of Sebastian Vettel in Baku. Besides Lewis Hamilton alluding to two weaknesses that he “knows” Vettel possesses no further race action was taken by the RC after reviewing the incident. The RC did however award Vettel 2 penalty points against his license. Prior to those penalty points he had 7 already. The implication is that if he or any drive obtains 12 points with a 12 month span of receiving their first points they will subsequently be suspended from the next race. Vettel now stands at 9 points with a about another month or so on his current 12 month period. Lewis despite the setback on the grid managed to climb his way to points, but no podium finishing fourth behind Riccardo, Vettel, and Bottas. Which brings up another point, with Bottas winning two GP’s this season, and now just 15 points behind the larger figure and 3 time world champion Hamilton who will become or remain the second driver in the Mercedes stable? Add to the fact that Vettel claimed Bottas got a jump start ahead of the timing lights which resulted in the RC to review and decide that Bottas just got a great start, and one has to wonder that if Bottas wins more races ahead of Hamilton will their relationship change?
Rain held off which Sergio Perez of the Force India team reporting one sole drop of rain falling towards the late sixties in the lap count of the race’s 71 total laps. This impacted a few of the team’s pit strategies. Most drivers/teams opted for the purple rimmed Pirellis of the Ultra Soft compound whereas Lewis Hamilton opted for red banded Super Soft. The idea was the super soft that Hamilton chose would allow him to run longer than the others who would need to pit in the planned 1 stop strategy, and it would also benefit him in a big way in the event it rained.
Let’s see what happens next weekend at Silverstone!