Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

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Pink panthers on the prowl

Force India impress but did pitwall blow golden podium chance?

Sidepodcast: Pink panthers on the prowl

by Adam Barton

As ever, Canada didn’t disappoint. While Lewis Hamilton was dominant at his favourite circuit with a sixth win – though Hungary could equal that record later in the year – there was drama through the pack. Let’s not forget that on Sunday morning, Hamilton was ready for a fight, he raised his game in qualifying to set a monumental lap time and once Vettel was wounded and Verstappen was halted, the Brit did everything he could to cut Sebastian Vettel’s championship lead.

Wehrlein continues his return to form

Chaos upfront puts the spotlight on the midfield pack

Sidepodcast: Wehrlein continues his return to form

by Adam Barton

We may have been starved of action in Russia but the true return to Europe more than made up for it, as the Spanish GP, traditionally a procession, turned into a near classic. Most drivers were involved in one battle or other throughout the race, various strategies were used and the win wasn’t ensured until the final few laps. There may have been a lack of overtakes but it was still intriguing and exciting, oh and a boy met his hero too – well done FOM and Ferrari!

Confusion is nothing new

Räikkönen's revealing radio message in Russia

Sidepodcast: Confusion is nothing new

by Christine Blachford

Kimi Räikkönen’s now infamous radio transmission during the Russian Grand Prix, where the Finn was confused by which Mercedes driver was storming out front, and which was lagging behind somewhat. There are two interesting sides to this radio message – firstly, Kimi’s humourous inability to keep up with what’s going on, and secondly, the fact that no one was really expecting Bottas to dominate his teammate in Sochi quite so much.

Squeaky Bottas time

Valtteri holds off Vettel to join the winning club

Sidepodcast: Squeaky Bottas time

by Adam Barton

As the Russian GP settled into a processional pattern, there were two drivers who were the class of the field. Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel were barely challenged with only a brief flash from Kimi Räikkönen the only thing to concern their duel, bar lapping distant midfield runners. In the end, it may have been Mercedes' turf on paper but Bottas stole this one from Ferrari by catching four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel napping not once but twice in the first four laps.

Sebastian shows his mettle

Ferrari take control with the duel in the desert

Sidepodcast: Sebastian shows his mettle

by Adam Barton

We know a little more about the title race now. Mercedes showed Ferrari a fresh pair of heels on Saturday but when the points were counted on Sunday, Ferrari came away with the win. They're now leading both championships after an aggressive strategy allowed them to easily control Merc’s threat, with a little help from two Lewis Hamilton errors.

King Carlos of rain

Sainz stars to put Ferrari and Mercedes on notice

Sidepodcast: King Carlos of rain

by Adam Barton

The Spaniard deserves his place atop this list, not least for his nerves at the start, but his race pace was also the most impressive of anyone’s. Sainz was the only man who dared to try slicks at the start. Having narrowly missed out on Q3 by six hundredths and perhaps felt the need to try something different to get the edge on his teammate and challenge for more than a point or two.

Giovinazzi takes his chance

Sauber inherit a three-driver conundrum of a different kind

Sidepodcast: Giovinazzi takes his chance

by Adam Barton

The new season is here and boy did the Australian GP add to the intrigue. With many sceptical of Ferrari’s title potential, they more than kept Mercedes on their toes on Saturday and then on Sunday, Vettel showed that Ferrari had the pace, as well as the ability to manage their tyres, to beat Mercedes, regardless of strategy. Is this the end of single team domination? It’s too soon to tell but it won't be long before we find out.

Put to the test

Team wrap ups after two weeks in Barcelona

Sidepodcast: Put to the test

by Christine Blachford

“I don’t remember how it was last year, but this felt like a good couple of weeks.” So says Lewis Hamilton, who wrapped up two weeks of testing for Mercedes, alongside teammate Valtteri Bottas. The pair of them completed over 1000 laps between them, and saw barely any reliability problems, which should give them both confidence for the season ahead.

Drive time

A journey through Formula One's driving opportunities

Sidepodcast: Drive time

by Christine Blachford

This is a quote from Claire Williams, deputy team principal of the Williams team, as she shared her thoughts about Valtteri Bottas. With the Finn’s departure to Mercedes, an emotional hole has been left at the Williams team, as he’s been with them for many years, building up the team, as well as working through the stages of his own career. And it was Claire’s words here that made me realise just how many different types of drivers there are in Formula One, and just how many words there are to describe them.

Don't drop back in anger

Hamilton's change of heart in the heat of the battle

Sidepodcast: Don't drop back in anger

by Christine Blachford

“If I am out ahead I want to be as far ahead as possible.” The eager words of Lewis Hamilton, who was ruling out the possibility of doing anything other than racing his heart out in Abu Dhabi. Red Bull chief Christian Horner had suggested it would be prudent to get out in front of the pack and then start to back the field up in an effort to mix up the position Nico Rosberg ended up with, giving Hamilton half a chance at taking home the 2016 World Championship title.

Vettel best of the rest as Rosberg secures maiden title

Sebastian frightens Mercedes on way to rare podium

Sidepodcast: Vettel best of the rest as Rosberg secures maiden title

by Adam Barton

The marathon 2016 season is finished, and the final round followed a pattern that seemingly everyone but Mercedes expected. Lewis Hamilton had a clear pace advantage throughout the weekend over the rest of the field, but he needed luck, help or a little ingenuity to secure a fourth world title. He tried everything, but came up just short, running against team orders and helping to set up a thrilling finale to the season.

The Hulk unleashed

Was the backwards move perfect to release the 'real Hülkenberg'?

Sidepodcast: The Hulk unleashed

by Adam Barton

The Mexican Grand Prix was a race that will be remembered for the stewarding precedents it set, as well as a bizarre battle for third but more importantly it kept the title battle alive for another race. Lewis Hamilton may have got away with it into turn one but it likely made minimal difference with his pace. And it was those further back who made the most of their machinery.

Verstappen back on top form

Flying Dutchman splits Mercedes in standout drive

Sidepodcast: Verstappen back on top form

by Adam Barton

The focus was on the front but the action was further behind with great overtaking moves and tense tactical battles in the midfield. 13 thousandths made a big impact on the championship battle, as Nico Rosberg secured pole and Lewis Hamilton made a terrible start, slightly impacted by a damp gridslot, from which he would never fully recover and taking the championship hunt out of Lewis Hamilton’s hands.

Shoeys all round!

Ricciardo cashes in as his luck finally changes

Sidepodcast: Shoeys all round!

by Adam Barton

A chaotic race where it appeared all teams were making it up as they went along to fit to Virtual Safety Car windows went from an intriguing battle to a key moment in the championship as Lewis Hamilton’s engine went up in smoke, creating a 28-point championship swing, proving it’s better to have your misfortune at the start and recover than late on. Hamilton had been the class of the field all weekend but there were others who starred and delivered crucial points, with machinery that didn’t let them down.

Ricciardo shines again but can’t silence the tifosi

Strong drive secures more than expected but Ferrari and Mercedes prove out of reach

Sidepodcast: Ricciardo shines again but can’t silence the tifosi

by Adam Barton

Monza may have been spared the dramatics but it could prove a significant weekend in the championship. In fact, there were 100 metres that could prove decisive. Buoyed by a strong damage limitation display at Spa, with three new fresh engines to use, Lewis Hamilton looked on form and blew his teammate, let alone the field, in qualifying on Saturday, securing pole by an emphatic near half second. But in the vital moment, his luck was out, and he faltered at the start, dropping down to sixth and, on a track where Mercedes were so dominant, a fairly automatic win for Nico Rosberg.

Alonso storms through the field

Fernando scores unlikely points as McLaren’s redemption continues

Sidepodcast: Alonso storms through the field

by Adam Barton

While it may not be endurance racing, the Belgian GP really did feel like a sprint, with drivers desperate to hit the front early. As it happened, the chaotic first six laps led to a stalemate for the rest of the race, as everyone attempted to stretch out their stints beyond their optimum and few daring to risk an aggressive strategy. That said, with so many drivers out of place, there were still some good performances in Belgium.