Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Class of the Field
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.

Sainz best of the rest once again - Super Saturday proves launchpad for great Toro Rosso result


With the eyes of the motorsport world watching, F1 had to take a supporting role to their own two-time champion’s efforts at Indianapolis. While Ferrari kept everyone guessing with questionable tactics, the midfield and tail-enders waited until the final 30 laps to make things interesting.

Sainz Devote

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Toro Rosso: Started 6th, Finished 6th

Sainz navigates the Monaco tunnel
Credit: Dan Istitene/Getty

It may have been a rather anonymous drive but Carlos Sainz was the man who outdrove his machinery most in the principality, delivering on the practice promise shown by Toro Rosso. Once again, the Spaniard put in a performance that can only make the top teams notice.

Sainz was in the top 10 all weekend, with the second Italian team finally showing their preseason pace. Ninth, fifth and seventh in practice meant that the pressure was on in qualifying. He put in a blistering time in Q1 for seventh, but was on the bubble in Q2 when Vandoorne hit the wall. Sainz was improving, but ultimately he was just over a tenth from suffering the same cruel fate as Lewis Hamilton. That said, you have to expect an incident in Monaco and when everyone is pushing to the limit in the dying seconds of a qualifying session, the barriers are only more likely to cause an incident.

Once into Q3, Sainz got the maximum out of the car, improving by over two tenths to qualify sixth, just 0.16 of a second behind Red Bull senior Daniel Ricciardo and comfortably ahead of Romain Grosjean and Sergio Pérez. On Sunday, Sainz continued to impress, opening a comfortable 10 second gap on the rest of the midfield before he mirrored Bottas and Verstappen’s strategy by stopping on lap 37. The stop dropped Sainz to ninth behind Grosjean, Hamilton and Vandoorne before their stops but by lap 46, he was back to where he started.

Sainz’s hopes were helped and hindered by the safety car period to put Pascal Wehrlein back the right way up

Sainz’s main action came over the last 30 laps, with Hamilton rapidly closing in on the Spaniard after the Brit’s stop. Hamilton had suddenly found confidence in the car and was taking seconds out of the gap every lap. Sainz’s hopes were helped and hindered by the safety car period to put Pascal Wehrlein back the right way up, limiting the number of laps he had to defend while also closing the gap further. In the end, Sainz made light work of his defence of sixth place, making his car as wide as it needed to be and avoiding any silly errors that would have lost him his best result of the season.

Haas join midfield battle

Romain Grosjean & Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team: Started 8th & 11th, Finished 8th and 10th

While Haas have shown good early season pace at times, reliability and bad luck has stood in the way of collecting the points that they have deserved. Monaco didn’t seem an ideal opportunity for points for the American team given their notorious braking issues but the car performed admirably, working well in traction zones on the exit of Monaco’s slow corners.

Haas secure double points finish in Monte Carlo
Credit: Haas F1 Team

Magnussen showed well in practice, in the top ten in Practice 2 and 3, while Grosjean couldn’t place any higher than 14th before Saturday afternoon. Both cars made it through Q1 comfortably but Kevin Magnussen's good pace was thwarted in Q2, as he was knocked out when Vandoorne hit the wall at the end of the session after a poor first lap. It left Magnussen 13th, though he’d later jump both McLarens through penalties to start 11th, despite outpacing teammate Grosjean all weekend. Meanwhile the Frenchman made Q3 by three tenths and suddenly showed a turn of pace, qualifying eighth and giving Haas a fantastic chance of points.

Come Sunday, things looked very positive early on for Haas with Kevin Magnussen making a great start to jump up to ninth ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Nico Hülkenberg, leaving him one place behind Grosjean. It got even better on lap 16 when Force India pitted Sergio Pérez to replace his front wing, leaving Haas on for 10 points, enough to double their tally for the season.

Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be able to maintain positions, despite the best efforts of the drivers. Both were jumped by Hamilton as the Brit made the most of the undercut to move past several drivers up to seventh. Things took a turn for the worse once again in the form of bad news for K-Mag as, just after making his only planned stop, the Dane punctured his left rear tyre at Saint Devote. It was his second puncture in two races though this one was no fault of his own, resulting in a long crawl back to the pits and an extra stop, dropping Magnussen out of the points to 13th. His race was still far from over, as he managed to jump up to tenth in the late stages, benefitting from Pérez and Kvyat’s clash as well as Stoffel Vandoorne crashing out on the restart.

Haas had to settle for eighth and tenth bringing home five points, moving level with Renault and within range of Williams in sixth place, showing good form and scoring points despite bad luck on a track that didn’t suit their car.

Massa continues to fly flag for Williams

Felipe Massa, Williams F1 Team: Started 14th, Finished 9th

Massa outperforms Stroll again in Monaco
Credit: Glenn Dunbar/Williams F1

Once again, Williams appear to be a one-man team, with Felipe Massa continuing his impressive season with a fourth points finish this year. Maybe it’s a measure of Valtteri Bottas’ ability or perhaps the Brazilian has a new lease of life but Massa seems to be performing better than in recent years. Williams struggled on Friday and Saturday, unable to challenge the top ten at all, with Massa qualifying 15th without a representative time in Q2.

If Williams want to finish in the top half of the constructors’ championship, they need to make changes quickly

Massa was one of a few to try a two-stop strategy, with nothing to lose and seeing if there was everything to gain from a safety car. The plan worked as Massa had struggled to move up beyond 12th. With fresh tyres in the closing stages, the Williams had better pace and with late retirements, Massa was another to make a late charge for points, moving up to ninth for two points. Even after a tough weekend, at a track that has never suited the slick, low downforce Williams, Massa was a comfortable 30 seconds ahead of Stroll before the safety car came out as the pressure continues to mount on the Canadian. If Williams want to finish in the top half of the constructors’ championship, they need to make changes quickly.