Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Next race: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo

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.

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.

F1's midfield cash in

Financial woes eased with good results but Grosjean is the star

Sidepodcast: F1's midfield cash in

by Adam Barton

As ever the Belgian GP provided the F1 world with plenty of intrigue. And while we weren’t treated to a classic GP in the Ardennes Forest, partly due to the weirdly sunny weather, there were still plenty of battles throughout the field. As expected, the long straights and flat out nature of the circuit provided the four Mercedes teams with a real edge but the twisty high speed sector two also offered a little something for everyone else, so long as they had a decent chassis.

Vettel avoids the madness to secure historic win

Safety car hit Hungarian race topples Mercedes' domination

Sidepodcast: Vettel avoids the madness to secure historic win

by Adam Barton

Remember the days when the Hungarian Grand Prix was a punchline, an annual snoozefest procession won from pole. Over the last 10 years, Budapest has put up several thrilling races, and the rest all seemed to have major significance in the championship fight. That streak continued on Sunday as an intriguing race exploded into a thriller after Nico Hülkenberg’s cruel misfortune, a scary front wing failure costing the German a shot at good points. It brought the field closer together and gave those further back a chance to launch an assault on the cars ahead. Meanwhile, there was little troubling the man at the front.

Massa stars as Williams strategy puzzles

Same old boring F1 yields familiar result despite spectacular journey

Sidepodcast: Massa stars as Williams strategy puzzles

by Adam Barton

The British GP served up a cracker. The race was made as both Williams got great starts to pass the Mercedes, rattling Hamilton into a mistake on the restart. But Williams were hesitant on strategy, leaving Bottas angry and potentially welcoming attack from Mercedes. Ultimately I think they made the correct decision, if a little slowly. Once the battle for the lead was ‘resolved’ mid-way through the race, attention turned to the sky and the on-off rain was a nightmare for teams, unable to commit to slicks or intermediate tyres.

Homecoming Hülkenberg puts old machinery to good use

Le Mans winner adjusts back to F1 in style

Sidepodcast: Homecoming Hülkenberg puts old machinery to good use

by Adam Barton

After diverting my attention to the sports car variety of prototype for a week, F1 was back on my mind as the sport returned to the European grind with a trip to the hills of Austria. Mercedes were striving for a year of pole positions, having slipped up in Spielberg this time last season. Oddly on their way to completing the year of Saturday dominance, not only did Lewis Hamilton spin (again) but Nico Rosberg had an off himself at the final corner on both of their final runs but this time neither Ferrari nor Williams were anywhere near close enough in terms of raw pace to take advantage.

Redemption for Maldonado

Mixed up Montreal grid puts limelight on the midfield

Sidepodcast: Redemption for Maldonado

by Adam Barton

It may not have been the best race of the season so far but with Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel chasing through the field after mechanical gremlins on Saturday and others out of position compared to their race pace, there was still plenty of action and incident. Montreal proved why it is a favourite on the F1 calendar with good overtaking and close racing. And with a mixed up grid, it gave a few of the drivers who haven’t had the best of starts to 2015 a chance to shine.

Rosberg reigns in Spain

Dominant display from German aided by Ferrari denting Hamilton’s challenge

Sidepodcast: Rosberg reigns in Spain

by Adam Barton

The start of the European season is always hyped as the start of the development race where we find out the true pecking order for the F1 season as teams bring new parts galore and race around the optimum testing track, highlighting the best chassis of the season. And unfortunately, Ferrari’s title credentials took a critical blow, as they watched the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg drive off into the distance.