Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Next race: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa

Written by Adam Barton

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Adam Barton

A Formula One fan since he was six, back while Häkkinen and Schumacher were having many an epic battle, Adam has seen a great deal. From German domination (twice), to British determination (once) and a Spanish invasion. A near compulsive fan who one day hopes to write about the sport for a living, outside of F1 Adam also authors his own blog One Guy's Opinion.

Ricciardo pushes Mercedes to breaking point

Aussie continues to show the pace of a future world champion

Sidepodcast: Ricciardo pushes Mercedes to breaking point

by Adam Barton

There may not have been masses of wheel to wheel action in Germany but there were still some fascinating battles and some great drives throughout the field as it became clear who was fully focused right until the summer holidays. Unfortunately it also showed that while Rosberg was giving it everything, making aggressive moves to reduce the loss to Hamilton, his mind, and clearly that of his chief mechanic had started to wonder a day early.

Ricciardo’s efforts finally rewarded

Aussie proves he can take the fight to Mercedes when luck isn’t against him

Sidepodcast: Ricciardo’s efforts finally rewarded

by Adam Barton

While Hungary has tended to go against the grain, with better races than expected, Sunday was a bit of a return to the norm. It wasn’t terrible, with close racing and tactical battles but overtaking on track was clearly an issue, leaving many to use strategy and quick pitstops, like Renault, to jump up the field. As ever though, the cream rose to the top and there were several strong performances resulting in good points.

Button stars in changeable conditions one last time

Mixed up grid and unknown tyres keep everyone guessing until the final lap

Sidepodcast: Button stars in changeable conditions one last time

by Adam Barton

Another fascinating race in 2016. Who knew that not having the fastest cars at the very front would spice up the action, with a Mercedes and a Ferrari starting further back and a Force India, McLaren and Manor further forward than expected? And even despite cars being out of position on the grid, the strategies came together in a scintillating climax. Rosberg tried and failed to prove a point, while others capitalised on their opportunity to secure an unexpected result.

Bottas puts Williams back on track

Sterling drive brings much-needed points for the Grove squad

Sidepodcast: Bottas puts Williams back on track

by Adam Barton

Another 2016 race, another intriguing tactical battle as all 11 teams sat on the knife edge between preserving the tyres to eke out a one stop strategy and getting aggressive and using the grip advantage of stopping an extra time. In the end, it depended on your scenario and whether you committed to your strategy; the two stop strategy appeared the fastest option in a vacuum but at the end of the day, Hamilton overtook Vettel to win the race using a one stop strategy as Ferrari once again failed to convert a guilt edged opportunity into victory.

Ricciardo out of luck in Monaco

Polesitter puts in spectacular performance but fails to win

Sidepodcast: Ricciardo out of luck in Monaco

by Adam Barton

Usually I try to dig deeper for the best drivers down the field for this piece but Sunday’s Monaco GP was a clear example of the cream rising to the top. There were some decent drives from further down the grid, and the concentration of the 15 finishers was immense to keep the cars on track in tricky, changing conditions, but there were some truly sensational drives at the top of the field.

Verstappen shocks the world

Mercedes calamity and poor Ferrari strategy pave the way for Verstappen to become youngest ever winner

Sidepodcast: Verstappen shocks the world

by Adam Barton

What a race! For the first time in a long time, no one knew who would win throughout the Grand Prix. Would a two-stop work for Verstappen and Räikkönen before their tyres fell off a cliff? Could Max keep his nerve? How fast would Ricciardo be on fresher tyres in the final stint? In the end, it was the teenager who came out on top and to be fair, the Mercedes incident had no impact on the Red Bull/Ferrari fight, though it did highlight it and raise the stakes with a rare opportunity of a win, rather than just a podium, as Mercedes failed to score a point for the first time since the 2012 US GP.

Great Dane-ish performance by K-Mag

Magnussen and Alonso secure first points of season with outstanding drives

Sidepodcast: Great Dane-ish performance by K-Mag

by Adam Barton

The Russian GP and indeed the World Championship took a major turn at 3:48pm local time on Saturday when it became clear that Lewis Hamilton’s MGU-H had failed, leaving him stuck in tenth on the grid, with Nico Rosberg in a perfect position to profit with an easy pole and odds on for the win with the pace advantage Mercedes had. However, there was still intrigue with Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel coming through the field, and then more intrigue after the second corner as Daniil Kvyat triggered mayhem, knocking Vettel out of the race and hampering several of the front runners, which opened the door for the lower midfield to fight for points.

Red Bull resurgence can’t stop Rosberg's dominance

Two very different races see Milton Keynes squad close gap to Ferrari

Sidepodcast: Red Bull resurgence can’t stop Rosberg's dominance

by Adam Barton

It really would help if the championship contenders formed an orderly queue behind Nico Rosberg rather than tripping over each other. China saw a sixth straight win for Rosberg, as he became the fourth driver in history, and the third German, to achieve such a feat. But he knows better than anyone that the fight is far from over, so long as the chasing pack can cobble together some consistency, reliability and even a little luck.

Romain disproves beginners' luck theory

A second race of good form for the Haas driver

Sidepodcast: Romain disproves beginners' luck theory

by Adam Barton

The expected farce on Saturday, with Williams running cars in Q2 “for the good of the sport”, was once again rescued by a stonking race in the desert night. F1 seems to have stumbled across a good idea introducing three tyre compounds and increasing the variability of strategy, though it’ll be interesting to see how long the variation lasts as teams revert to the mean. Ultimately though the first two races have been exciting because over half the field have been putting in strong performances, undoubtedly motivated by the potential drives up for grabs at Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren, but here are the best performances from Bahrain.

Grosjean’s skill (and luck) secure debut points for Haas

Former employees shown what they’re missing from Grosjean and Magnussen

Sidepodcast: Grosjean’s skill (and luck) secure debut points for Haas

by Adam Barton

F1 needed a good day after the exciting new elimination qualifying designed to liven up the grid led to a farcical loss of running and a severe lack of suspense. The race on the other hand had two key factors that added extra spice: Ferrari jumping from third and fourth on the grid to first and second by turn three and then Fernando Alonso’s world being turned upside-down down under leading to a red flag on lap 17. But several drivers, including the pair at Renault who haven’t raced in over a year, showed no rust and started the season with good performances.

Hulk back to his old tricks

Max makes the moves but Hulkenberg was best of the rest

Sidepodcast: Hulk back to his old tricks

by Adam Barton

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg went to war in Brazil, both on track and off it, kicking off the age old debate of whether or not to reduce the aero on F1 cars, removing it as the pinnacle of technology to improve the spectacle. Rosberg once again had the Brit’s number with another win from pole, though it's fair to say that Hamilton hardly had the best week of preparation. As the Mercedes pair squabbled with Sebastian Vettel just beyond striking distance, the best battles were once again for lower end points.

Red Bull’s Renault revolt hindered by good showing

Kvyat edges teammate in one of many intra-team duels

Sidepodcast: Red Bull’s Renault revolt hindered by good showing

by Adam Barton

There are always a few surprises on a new track with teams struggling to replicate the exact conditions they will face on a track they have never raced on before. While F1 has raced at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez before, it was on a different layout, with a full Peraltada and fewer sweeping corners in the middle sector. Teams also had no information on track surface and how the tyres would behave. Matters were made worse by a damp first practice session, reducing the precious minutes cars had on track to prepare.

Boys show the men how it’s done

Top form from Toro Rosso as drivers work hard for points

Sidepodcast: Boys show the men how it’s done

by Adam Barton

Even with the world title sealed we were treated to a fantastic race after a long wait for track action in Texas this weekend. With fans rightly disappointed to be locked out of FP3, which would potentially set the grid, only to sit in the stands waiting for a qualifying session that never came, they were rewarded for their patience with an action packed Sunday. Lewis Hamilton won a shootout with his teammate to seal his third crown after both Red Bulls and Sebastian Vettel had appeared to be in race winning positions.

Podium pride for Pérez

Lack of running leads to unpredictable results and close racing

Sidepodcast: Podium pride for Pérez

by Adam Barton

After a tricky introduction in 2014, the Russian GP delivered a cracker in 2015. While Lewis Hamilton was unchallenged at the front to all but wrap up a third world title (Russian officials can’t affect Nico Rosberg’s throttle damper), there was intrigue up and down the field. Romain Grosjean’s accident – one of two that were a cause for a concern regarding the safety of the circuit – created havoc for strategists, who had to choose between maintaining track position and opening a gap or going aggressive and managing a long final stint.

Midfield highlights in Mercedes blackout

Hülkenberg stars ahead of Honda’s horror show

Sidepodcast: Midfield highlights in Mercedes blackout

by Adam Barton

With the Mercedes team given the silent treatment in Japan, there was plenty of time to watch the battles further down the field. Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas fought Nico Rosberg for a spot on the podium while Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat, Sergio Pérez, Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa all tried to fight their way back through the field with varying levels of success after an assortment of ailments ruined their weekends.

Sublime Sebastian stars in Singapore

Tables are turned under city centre night lights

Sidepodcast: Sublime Sebastian stars in Singapore

by Adam Barton

What a turn up for the books; on the weekend that Mercedes and in particular Lewis Hamilton looked set to emulate his childhood hero Ayrton Senna, he and his team were rather upstaged by Ferrari, and indeed Red Bull. Alarm bells were ringing from Friday afternoon as Merc simply couldn’t match their rivals, unable to open the taps on their Mercedes power unit, allowing Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s chassis to shine on the street circuit.

Comeback kings fuel Monza excitement

Räikkönen and Red Bull work their way through the field after calamities

Sidepodcast: Comeback kings fuel Monza excitement

by Adam Barton

Hopefully that wasn’t the last time that the F1 circus travelled to Italy. The Tifosi made for a splendid atmosphere as Lewis Hamilton took a giant step towards a third world title, equalling his hero, Ayrton Senna, and his boss Niki Lauda. But while it was a stroll in the park for the newly blond Briton, others had to work a lot harder to earn results at Monza.