2020, a new chapter

It’s not often I do posts like these but I feel it’s time to give everyone the low-down on what’s been happening and what is going to happen from now on.

Over the past two days, I have finished the review of the final Formula One races and a review of the 2019 Season. Before publishing these posts, there had been a two month gap between posts. These posts should have included race reports and news stories on the last two races of the season – Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

This year, I finished school and started college. Currently, I’m studying a two-year course in Journalism at the City of Glasgow College and I’m happy to say that it is going really well and I am enjoying it. I’m learning new things everyday and it’s something I never thought would happen but due to this blog, it’s happening.

The reason for the two month absence was that I was busy with college and work and therefore I never got round to doing the reports or news stories. The race reports that I was writing were even being published four of five days later than the race. I knew something needed to change.

Over the festive period I have taken the decision to stop what I am doing on WordPress – this blog. I don’t have a crystal ball but I see this year and years down the line being very, very busy and trying to make the time for the blog will ultimately fall by the wayside.

So, this will be my last post. However, this will not be the last time you hear from me. In college, I have created a website on WIX, a personal website for me as an aspiring journalist to use which was part of the course outline. From now on, this will be my platform for showcasing my own work. There’s even better news. It has a blog!

So really, a slight change of scenery. My website link will be down at the bottom of this post and I’d be very grateful if you’d check it out.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank a few people and two of them are my mum and dad. They noticed all them years ago in 2014 that I would hop onto my dad’s laptop and would start writing simple and basic reports on the race that had just happened. They were the ones who suggested starting a blog. They have been amazing and really supportive throughout whether it was going through and proof-reading what I had just published on the blog, sharing my latest posts via social media or just saying to people that I was doing this.

I’d like to thanks all my friends and family who have all been really supportive and gave helpful feedback. I know I bore a number of them when I start talking about Formula One or motorsport so just them even listening to me rambling or reading my reports, I’m really grateful for.

Last but not least, I’d like to thank the readers and my following who follow the blog. This means you. I have been amazed by the amount of people who have read my blog, liked and retweeted my tweets, commented and liked my posts. The numbers which I share bellow truly stagger me and I’m really grateful for just people clicking on the links to come and visit and read what I have just written. Using a motorsport pun, this fuels my passion and I cannot thank you enough!

Blog Stats

Since June 2015, I have published 372 posts relating to F1 which has been viewed 3,500 times by 2,000 people.

It’s because of this blog and all the other things like writing articles in my local paper and writing reports of races for Essaar GP that I am doing what I love at college and what I aspire to become. A journalist. A motorsport journalist.

https://rhoncol28.wixsite.com/mysite

 

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F1 2019: A review on a great year of racing and action

From spectacular crashes to intra-team squabbles, Formula One in 2019 pretty much had it all. One driver took one step closer to equalling one of the sport’s greatest, one driver took an emotional maiden win of his career while one team made major progress with the help of a brand-new line-up. Here is a short review of the 2019 F1 Season.

03/01/2020

Driver of the Year?

Hamilton’s record breaking year while Verstappen and Leclerc deserve mention

It’s incredible to write, even say that Lewis Hamilton is just one more title away from matching Michael Schumacher’s record of seven. The Brit found a new level this year and on more than one occasion, demolished the opposition. Dominant performances in Spain, France and Abu Dhabi, an unlikely win in Mexico and an incredible fightback in Hungary overtaking Max Verstappen a few laps before the finish sums-up Hamilton’s great year. Taking 11 wins, 17 podiums and setting a new record of the amount of points scored during the season of 413, will go down as one of Hamilton’s best seasons.

This year saw a more mature Max Verstappen. Partnering with Honda, Red Bull and Verstappen thought this would be a trial year but three wins, nine podiums and two pole positions were all a result of Verstappen’s great driving. This driver will be world champion one day.

Making the step up to the Scuderia, Charles Leclerc came heartbreakingly close to winning on only his third outing for the team in Bahrain but car issues prevented the Monegasque from winning. This was definitely a year of learning for Leclerc and was able to win in Belgium and in Ferrari’s home race in Italy. His rivalry with Sebastian Vettel will be one of the major storylines next year and beating the German in the standings will boost his confidence heading into next season.

Team of the Year?

Mercedes had a slightly easier run to this year’s title but nevertheless deserve the glory

Mercedes stand tall as the German team secured the Team’s Championship for the sixth year running. This ties Ferrari’s record from 1999 to 2004 and just shows how dominant this team has been this decade. Racking up 739 points, falling just 26 short of their 2016 total, Mercedes went from strength to strength and were helped by the somewhat resurgence of Valterri Bottas and the poor early season pace of Ferrari to claim a deserving championship.

McLaren also deserve a very big mention hear as the turnaround in performance and attitude had been an absolute joy to watch. Coupled with a new driver line-up of Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris, the Woking based team secured their best finish in the championship since 2014 and their last podium in the same year. With the switch to Mercedes engines from 2021, we could see this team back at the forefront of F1 very soon.

Under-performers of the Year?

Ferrari leave this decade still without a title while Renault are left scratching their heads

It was looking so good Pre-Season for Ferrari. Finally, after a number of years trying to beat Hamilton and Mercedes, it looked like this was going to be their year. Failing to capitalise on their testing speed it was Leclerc at Belgium, 13 races into the season, who took their first win. They undoubtedly had the best engine despite questions over the legitimacy of it in the second-half of the season. The intra-team squabble between Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc with the team making strategy blunders and the odd bit of reliability failed to make any real impression and trouble Mercedes consistently race-on-race.

This was a kick in the teeth for Renault. Shocking the F1 community in the summer break of 2018 by signing Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull, Renault should have made serious progress this season. Finishing behind McLaren, who they supplied engines to, the works team lagged 54 points behind their nearest competitors. Signing Esteban Ocon to partner Ricciardo for next season will be exciting to see but results are clearly needed to ensure that their future is in Formula One.

In terms of drivers, Vettel, the four time World Champion, deserves a mention. There has been too many errors on his part and although we saw flashes of the driver who won all them titles at Red Bull, consistency is a big must for next year. His post race penalty in Canada, a race where he should he won, definitely changed his attitude towards the sport and his win in Singapore temporarily boosted his confidence.

Lance Stroll also had a mixed season with his qualifying pace, or his lack of it, making for difficult races. Although, his race starts were the best of any on the grid with the Canadian gaining more places than anyone else. Team-mate Sergio Perez out-qualified 18 times throughout the season and finished five places ahead of him in the championship with 31 more points.

In his first full season of competing in F1, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi had a season of two halves. A steady rise in results and confidence saw the Italian driver on three occasions after the summer break. Recently revealing that his last-lap crash in Belgium, where he on course to score points, put his drive for next season at risk but he was able to narrow the deficit to team-mate Kimi Raikkonen which was enough for him to keep his drive.

Best Race?

Rain throws race into chaos at Germany

The German GP at Hockenheim is one of my favourites and this year it provided much action. This race had it all. Rain. Crashes. Drama. And an unlikely podium. Celebrating their 125th year of competing in motorsport and their 200th F1 start, Mercedes went all out at their home race with a special lively and retro overalls. A miserable race followed as Bottas crashed with Hamilton crossing the line in 8th.

It would be the new “rain-master” of Verstappen who would take the win with a much-needed second place for Vettel. It’s races like this that the midfield teams have their best opportunity to get a great result and that’s what Toro Rosso and Daniil Kvyat did. Third place marked the team’s first podium since Italy 2008 and Kvyat’s first since China 2016.

The Austrian, British and Brazilian races all deserve a mention as well.

Rookie of the Year?

The F2 graduates shows the sport’s future is in good hands

This is a tough one to choose.

Alexander Albon started the year with Toro Rosso and drove a fantastic race in China where he started from the pit-lane to finish in 10th in only his third F1 race. Due to the poor results by Pierre Gasly at Red Bull, Albon was promoted to alongside Verstappen for the reminder of the season starting in Belgium. Matching a driver like Verstappen is no easy job but setting identical times in Qualifying for the Japanese is a very good effort and missing out on a potential first podium in Brazil will only motivate the Thai-Brit heading into next season.

Making his debut with McLaren, Lando Norris has become one of the funniest and likeable drivers on the current grid. His season was a mix of highs and lows and it was during these low that his relatable personality shown through. The “bromance” with Sainz made for great watching and definitely helped Norris to learn and grow. With a best finish of 6th, Norris wasn’t able to beat Sainz in the championship but beating the Spaniard in the head-to-head qualifying battle is a very impressive feat.

F2 champion George Russell had the toughest of times this season and it’s due to the poor performance of his team, Williams, to gauge his overall season. In the struggling Williams team, Russell quickly became the team leader and finished the season out-qualifying team-mate Robert Kubica a staggering 21 out of 21 times. Finishing behind Kubica in Germany was the Brit’s best chance of points as after the race and penalties applied, Kubica nabbed 10th and a single point. However, making it into the second part if Qualifying in Hungary shows the speed and talent he has and hopefully we’ll be able to see more of this next season.

All three drivers graduated from F1’s junior series F2 with Russell taking the honours but these young guns, who have shown incredible speed, maturity and certainly a bit of character, were one of the highlights of this year. The fans voted Norris as their driver of the year and on this occasion, I agree with them.

 

 

 

F1 2019: Verstappen and Hamilton end 2019 in style

The fight for the 2019 Driver’s World Championship crown was over. Lewis Hamilton had taken his sixth title and Mercedes was crowned champions again. But there was still two races left and a whole lot of racing to get through. Here are the final races of the F1 2019 Season.

03/01/2020

Brazilian GP

Verstappen wins as Ferrari implode in Interlagos thriller

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the Brazilian GP ahead of podium newcomers of Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. Verstappen led from pole and squabbled with Lewis Hamilton throughout most of the race, momentarily losing the lead to the Brit, but due to strategy, Verstappen stayed out to lead.

Following a late safety car due to the collision between the Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, the racing was tense and now the jumbled and unusual race order could see the rewards if they could make it to the end. Verstappen’s team-mate, Alexander Albon, was on course to take his first podium but was tagged by Hamilton thus falling out of the points. The newly crowned champion was too ambitious and this allowed Gasly through. Successfully defending his podium place, right to the line, the Frenchman was over the moon by the result. There was also hope for Sainz who crossed the line in 4th. He had his fingers crossed that Hamilton would receive a penalty for the incident with Albon.

Hours after the race, McLaren and Sainz got what they so rightfully deserved. Hamilton was given a penalty and dropped to 7th promoting McLaren and Sainz to the podium. It was a great result for Alfa Romeo as Kimi Raikkonen headed team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi in 4th and 5th. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo settled for 6th but rued his earlier tangle with Haas’s Kevin Magnussen.

Abu Dhabi GP

Hamilton dominates to take 11th win of season as the battle for 6th in the Driver’s Championship goes down to the wire

Lewis Hamilton converted his 50th pole position into his 11th victory of the season with a dominant and straight-forward drive. Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc rounded out the podium and therefore settled who finished 3rd in the championship with the Red Bull driver overcoming Pre-Season odds.

There was a scare for Leclerc as he was under investigation by the stewards but was cleared of any wrongdoing. A spirited drive by the other Mercedes driver of Valterri Bottas provided racing action unlike his team-mate as he fought through the field having started in 20th and last place. His progress was hampered by the unavailability of DRS in the first 18 laps of the race which made for unusual action as the drivers did not have this extra help when overtaking. Sebastian Vettel finished in 5th after a penultimate lap pass on Alexander Albon while the racing behind made for great viewing.

On fresher tyres, Lando Norris was being hounded by Sergio Perez in the battle for 7th. Perez passed the McLaren driver on the last lap to get the “best of the rest” finish while behind, Daniil Kvyat claimed 9th for Toro Rosso with Carlos Sainz in 10th after a do-or-die overtake on Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo. This move gave Sainz a point in which he could secure 6th place in the Driver’s Championship. In his final F1 race, for the moment, Nico Hulkenberg finished in 12th but received the “Fans Driver of the Day”.

 

F1 2019: Albon to stay Red Bull as Toro Rosso stick with Gasly and Kvyat for 2020

After being promoted to the senior team after the summer break, Alexander Albon has impressed in his first year as an F1 driver and will be staying at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen for 2020.

13/11/19

In his first season as an F1 driver, Alexander Albon’s early races as a Toro Rosso driver impressed management at Red Bull. Fast-forwarding just a few races and these performances that Albon was putting in, was putting Pierre Gasly, who was at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen, under serious pressure. In the run-up to the Belgian GP, Red Bull made the announcement that Gasly and Albon would switch for the rest of the year.

Just a few days prior to the announcement that Albon would be staying with Red Bull, Team Principal Christian Horner admitted it was Albon’s “seat to lose.” Talking to Sky Sports F1 after the USA GP, Horner continued to say that Albon’s “got his bum in the seat at the moment and he’s doing a good job. Everybody has been impressed with the work he’s doing so far.”

Since making the jump to the senior team, Albon has finished in the top six in every race he has contested for the team and has outscored Verstappen by 19 points. This included a best finish of 4th at the Japanese GP at the home of the team’s engine supplier Honda. Although, the London born Thai driver has yet to out-qualify his Dutch teammate.

Meanwhile at Toro Rosso, the team has decided to stick with Gasly and Daniil Kvyat for 2020 with both drivers now feeling more relaxed at the Faenza-based team. Kvyat, who finished in 3rd at the German GP, said: “I’m really happy because I feel very comfortable with everyone here, I know the team and they know me very well, so it’s easy to understand everyone’s needs.”

Gasly, who has put in great performances since returning to the team he made his debut for in 2017, said: “Toro Rosso has always given me the best chances to perform every season and I’m super motivated and dedicated to repaying them with the best results possible next year.”

Team Principal, Franz Tost, was full of praise for his drivers and was optimistic about next season: “This young but experienced duo, combined with hopefully a competitive car, will be the best factors to achieve a very successful season in 2020 and I’m looking forward to this extended cooperation.”

What effect does this have on the driver market?

With Red Bull and Toro Rosso confirming their driver line-up for next season, it just leaves Williams as the only team to announce a second driver to race alongside George Russell.

The Grove based team will be parting ways with Robert Kubica at the end of the season and is in no rush to make a decision regarding their choice to partner Russell. Deputy Team Principal, Claire Williams, said: “We won’t be making our driver announcement for that second seat for 2020 until after Abu Dhabi this year.”

This seat although is expected to be taken by F2 racer Nicholas Latifi, who lies in 2nd in the championship and has competed in a number of F1 practice sessions for the team including recent races in Mexico and the USA.

Current Renault driver, Nico Hulkenberg, who is out of a seat at the French team for next season has been linked with a possible return to the team to which he made his F1 debut for in 2010. However, it has emerged that it is highly improbable that this will happen.

F1 2019: Mercedes boss to miss first F1 race since 2013

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is to miss this weekend’s Brazilian GP and is to stay in Europe “to focus on other open topics” as both championships have now been decided.

11/11/19

Having not missed a single F1 race since 2013, Wolff, 47, will stay in Europe and manage other issues in his role as head of Mercedes Motorsport. Leading the F1 team through the weekend’s race at Interlagos (Brazil) will be Technical Director James Allison.

One of the reasons in which Wolff will be dealing with is the German manufacturers debut in the electric racing series, Formula E. Taking part in the sixth season of competition for the first time, Mercedes will go up against the likes of racing rivals Porsche, Audi and BMW as the racing start on the 22nd of November in Saudi Arabia.

“With both championships secured, it gives me more time in Europe to focus on other open topics.

“It’s great to be able to do this and to know that the team will represent the three-pointed star in the best way possible both on and off the track.”

Mercedes Team Principal and CEO, Toto Wolff

Both the Driver’s and the Team’s Championships have already been decided this year with Mercedes taking a sixth consecutive title at the Japanese GP and with driver Lewis Hamilton taking a sixth driver’s title two races later in America.

Out of the 19 races so far, Mercedes have taken 14 victories with Hamilton and Valterri Bottas sharing the spoils. The team are 216 points clear of nearest rivals Ferrari and although the championship has been decided, they are aiming to end this record-breaking season on a high.

“We have two races to go in the 2019 season and we want to end this season on a high” said Wolff.

F1 2019: Giovinazzi stays at Alfa for 2020

Alfa Romeo will go into the 2020 F1 Season with an unchanged driver line-up as the Italian car manufacturer confirmed that Antonio Giovinazzi will remain with the team.

10/11/19

As the only Italian on the F1 grid, Giovinazzi lies in 18th in the Driver’s Championship with only four points. Meanwhile, veteran teammate and 2007 World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen, sits in 14th with 31 points.

Giovinazzi scored his and Alfa’s last points with a 10th places in the Singapore GP. Since, Alfa’s race form has dipped and both drivers have not had a great run with both finishing in the bottom-half of the midfield. However, Giovinazzi has been able to fight back when it comes to Qualifying on a Saturday. He now trails Raikkonen 10-9 with only two races to go this season.

The 25-year-old was was happy to be staying for on for another year of racing: “I am very happy to be staying with the team for 2020. I am grateful for the incredible level of support I received in my first full season in Formula 1: everyone in the team has stuck by my side since I joined and I am really looking forward to continuing our journey together.”

“Antonio has done really well this year and I am extremely pleased to be able to confirm he will stay with Alfa Romeo Racing for 2020.”

Team Principal of Alfa Romeo, Frederic Vasseur

With Giovinazzi remaining at Alfa, it just leaves four remaining seats at just three teams for next season. The seat at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen, the seat at Williams alongside George Russell and the two seats at Toro Rosso.

This likely means that Nico Hulkenberg, who currently drives for Renault, will be out of a drive for next season. The German isn’t interested in a reserve or development role within a team by stating: “that’s not an option.”

 

F1 2019: Bottas wins USA GP as Hamilton takes 6th Drivers Championship

Mercedes’ Valterri Bottas wins the United States GP but by finishing in 2nd, Lewis Hamilton wins the 2019 Drivers Championship and takes his 6th title. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finishes in 3rd as Ferrari have a disaster of a race.

03/11/19

Starting Grid

1.Bottas  2.Vettel  3.Verstappen  4.Leclerc  5.Hamilton  6.Albon  7.Sainz Jr  8.Norris  9.Ricciardo  10.Gasly  11.Hulkenberg  12.Magnussen  13.Kvyat  14.Stroll  15.Grosjean  16.Giovinazzi  17.Raikkonen  18.Russell  19.Kubica  Pit Lane: Perez

Valterri Bottas must win as there is only 52 points left to claim after the race today. Lewis Hamilton meanwhile, only has to score 4 points today to secure the championship, therefore he must finish in 8th.

Race

It’s either going to be a one or two stop race today. Alexander Albon, Carlos Sainz Jr, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and Kimi Raikkonen will start on the Soft tyre while Nico Hulkenberg and Daniil Kvyat will start on the Hard tyre. Everyone else will start on the Medium tyre.

The lights go out and it’s a very good start by Valterri Bottas. Max Verstappen follows him, who made a fine start himself from 3rd on the grid to get alongside Sebastian Vettel and then claim his 2nd place. So it’s Bottas, Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton and Leclerc but Vettel looked to be struggling, and as they reached turn 8, Hamilton swept around the outside of the German to claim 3rd, as Vettel fell back even further into the clutches of Leclerc, who had passed him by turn 9.

Meanwhile, Valterri Bottas leads by 1.1 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen with Lewis Hamilton in 3rd. Daniel Ricciardo has now gotten past Sebastian Vettel into turn 1 with the German reporting on team radio that he has “crazy understeer” although he’s no signs of damage. Alexander Albon pits at the end of the first lap after slight contact with Carlos Sainz Jr. An excellent start by Kimi Raikkonen sees the “Iceman” now running in 11th after starting in 17th. At the end of lap 3, Bottas sets the fastest lap and extends his lead to 1.4 seconds.

Sebastian Vettel is still behind Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris with Norris in the McLaren leading the trio in 5th, 6th and 7th. Charles Leclerc is in 4th albeit 9 seconds behind Bottas but is 4 seconds ahead of the trio of drivers behind him. Ferrari tell Leclerc that they are moving to “Plan B” – will this be a two-stop strategy for the lead Ferrari driver?

Sebastian Vettel’s race is run. His right-rear suspension has collapsed. The German pulls over after his suspension has broken after running wide over kerbs. He stops between turns 11 and 12 with the marshals able to recover his car and get it out of the way. Daniel Ricciardo overtakes Lando Norris into the braking zone of turn 12 for 5th place. Lap 10, Kevin Magnussen has now been overtaken by Daniil Kvyat as the Dane drops from 11th to 12th. Kimi Raikkonen now runs in 9th while Valterri Bottas’s lead grows to 2.2 seconds over Max Verstappen.

Onto lap 13, Max Verstappen is now coming under pressure from Lewis Hamilton for 2nd place. Verstappen is complaining of the balance of his Red Bull in the high speed corners as Valterri Bottas extends his lead to over 3 seconds. Lap 14, Verstappen bails out and pits. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 4th. What do Mercedes do now? Do they react? Oh yes they do!

On lap 15, race leader, Valterri Bottas pits from the lead, rejoins on the Hard tyre and in 3rd – ahead of Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton now leads ahead of Charles Leclerc. On fresher tyres, Bottas get past Leclerc for 2nd on the exit of turn 1. With DRS, Verstappen overtakes Leclerc for 3rd into turn 12. Alexander Albon now runs in 13th and has slight aero damage to his Red Bull. Carlos Sainz Jr pits from 8th and rejoins in 13th with Kimi Raikkonen in 14th after making his pi-stop. Lando Norris pits from 6th and rejoins in 10th.

Lap 21, Charles Leclerc pits from 4th and rejoins in 6th on the Hard tyre. This could be a very lonely race for the only remaining Ferrari as he doesn’t seem to have the pace of both Mercedes drivers and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. Lap 22, Daniel Ricciardo pits from 4th, rejoins in 7th and still ahead of Lando Norris. Ricciardo senses a chance to challenge Leclerc for 4th and overtaking Sergio Perez into turn 1 gets the Australian to within 7 seconds of the Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton should have pitted last lap. He decides to stay out for a bit longer and this allows Valterri Bottas to creep onto the back of his Mercedes teammate. Bottas overtakes with ease before turn 12 for the lead with Hamilton bailing out and pitting. He rejoins in 3rd behind Max Verstappen on the Hard tyre. Hamilton is going to the end of the race whereas Bottas and Verstappen will have to pit again.

Great scrap for 11th is being fought between Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat. Stroll did occupy 11th but pits for the second time this race. Alexander Albon is now in 8th and hunting down Carlos Sainz Jr for 7th. Lap 31,Valterri Bottas’s lead grows to 7 seconds.

Lap 32, Alexander Albon overtakes Carlos Sainz Jr into turn 12 for 7th place. Daniel Ricciardo’s hopes of challenging Charles Leclerc has taken a tumble as the gap between them has grown to 20 seconds. Lap 33, Williams decide to retire Robert Kubica from the race with a hydraulic issue. Albon now overtakes the second McLaren of Lando Norris for 6th place and is starting to catch Ricciardo for 5th.

Lap 35, Max Verstappen pits from 3rd and goes onto the Medium tyre. Will this trigger a pit-stop from Mercedes? Its does! Lap 36, Valterri Bottas pits from the lead. He rejoins in 2nd on the Medium tyre. Lewis Hamilton now leads but will have Bottas and Verstappen catching him down at the end of the race. But now, Hamilton is starting to doubt his strategy. Lap 37, Hamilton’s lead is only 8 seconds. Lap 39, Alexander Albon overtakes Daniel Ricciardo for 5th.

Alexander Albon pits for a 3rd time on lap 41. He rejoins in 10th having been running in 5th after a string of overtakes. Lewis Hamilton asks his race engineer if anyone else has made this long on the Hard tyre. His engineer replies and says their looking into pitting again and battling for 2nd. Charles Leclerc pits from 4th and rejoins in 4th on the Soft tyre.

This has not been a great phase of the race for Valterri Bottas. The Finn has been hampered by lapping drivers with the blue flags not being effective, however, on lap 45, he is now 3 seconds behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The gap between the Mercedes drivers is now only 1.5 seconds. After pitting for a second time, Lando Norris is in 10th and is only 7 seconds behind team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr in 7th.

Lap 49, both Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas are going to encounter traffic with the gap being only 1 second. Don’t forget Max Verstappen who is only 4 seconds behind the pair. Locking-up into turn 11, leaves Hamilton vulnerable down the straight with Bottas attacking but Hamilton fends Bottas off!

Again, Lewis Hamilton is slow into turn 11. Valterri Bottas in the slipstream pulls to the left and overtakes to take the lead! Will Hamilton’s 2nd place come under threat from a catching Max Verstappen?

Onto lap 54, Valterri Bottas leads ahead of Lewis Hamilton with Max Verstappen less than 2 seconds behind the Brit. Right now, Hamilton will take the championship. Lap 55, Kevin Magnussen is stick in the gravel trap at turn 12. There are yellow flags and this will prevent Verstappen from overtaking into this spot. Onto the final lap, Hamilton is still keeping Verstappen at bay. Bottas crossed the line to win but with Hamilton in 2nd, he wins the championship and becomes a SIX TIME WORLD CHAMPION!!!

Charles Leclerc takes the Fastest Lap and therefore takes the bonus point that goes with it as Alexander Albon wins the “Fans Driver of the Day”. Daniil Kvyat receives a 5 second time penalty after an incident with Sergio Perez. He drops from 10th to 12th.

Race Result

  1. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 56 Laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +4.148s
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +5.002s
  4. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +52.239s
  5. Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing Honda, +78.038s
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, +90.366s
  7. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, + +90.764s
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  9. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  10. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  11. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  12. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  13. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  14. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  15. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  16. Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, DNF
  17. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  18. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, DNF
  • Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, DNF
  • Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, DNF