Formula 1 good month, bad month, January 2022
James Elson charts the ups and downs of the F1 circus
Wolff at the door
Toto Wolff was briefly possessed by the spirit of the average F1 fan as Hamilton finally passed Verstappen in Brazil – cameras caught the moment perfectly. The image went viral with Merc devotees goading Red Bull rivals.
Red Bull’s magic tape
The Milton Keynes kids were worried their rear aerofoils might struggle for structural integrity in Mexico City’s thin air, but some sticky tape proved to be just the ticket as Max blasted round the outside of the Mercs and ruined the race for everyone, nullifying it after one corner anyway.
Big Shaq’s wheels
In an incredible upgrade from the Crypto Truck, NBA star Shaquille O’Neal turned up to present the Texas trophy in what can only be described as a Mad Max Sunday runaround.
Big hand for Christian ‘We do our talking on track’ Horner – he never misses a chance to lampoon a member of Red Bull’s junior team. “We got Tsunoda’d,” he said postqualifying in Mexico.
Haas chief engineer Ayao Komatsu cut in beautifully via radio to tell Mazepin he was, indeed, “not having a laugh” when instructing the ‘RAF’ driver to stay put in Mexico Q1.
Quintessential Bottas in Mexico – snatches pole after just the right amount of Quaker Oats, doesn’t do his job off the line and lets Verstappen past, gets nerfed out at the first corner, then snags fastest lap, preventing a Red Bull point, but not even getting one for himself, finishing a very Sauber-esque 15th. Hinwil must be salivating.
Special edition helmets
Well done to those who didn’t have special edition helmets in the US. Not sure we need more variations on the standard lids with those great Land of the Free slogans like ‘Route 66!’, ‘America!’, ‘Hey!’, ‘Burger!’
Ricciardo’s breaking point
What was worse? Ricciardo’s fake Texas accent or the desertion of his famously deft deceleration abilities at Mexico’s first corner?
Nando’s nowhere (in qualifying)
The self-proclaimed greatest driver ever has never actually been a great qualifier (or that good in the wet for that matter), and he suffered possibly his nadir of the season by getting knocked out in Mexico’s Q1. Did score a mighty ninth on Sunday though.
More Prost-like stuff from Ocon in Mexico City, eliminating two competitors in 0.5sec at the start en route to a scintillating 13th place.