Formula 1 good month, bad month: October 2021

James Elson charts the ups and downs of the F1 circus

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Good month

Michael Masi going up

F1’s greatest email exchange

The heat’s increasing between Horner and Wolff – and so is the entertainment factor. Everyone loves a feud, especially during one of F1’s great title battles – and email exchanges. Wolff to race director Michael Masi: “Michael we have sent you an email.” Masi: “Toto, I don’t access my emails during the race.” Instantly iconic.

Alonso Hamilton going up

Cheeky ‘Nando

At Silverstone, and then even more so at Hungary, newly 40’d Alonso put on one of the great defensive F1 displays. Making his Enstone car wider than a Northamptonshire combine harvester is the kind of chutzpah people love the Spaniard for.

New frontiers

F1 is pushing forward like never before – and it’s refreshing. While a deviation from the format we all love and sometimes yawn through, Liberty timed it perfectly, as a carnival-like Silverstone lapped up new proceedings. The sprint might have lost its fizz after a few laps, but overall the new format kept fans enticed throughout the weekend.

From the bonkers to the bizarre in Hungary

Every season needs a crazy race with a plodder winning to relieve the tension of a title fight. One car on the restarting grid, George Russell sneaking past the field in the pitlane, Verstappen’s car taped up like something from the Clangers – what was not to love about Budapest?

Leclerc up

Miserable Maranello

Ferrari’s pre-Hungary press release was brilliantly dour. For a team that’s won at the track seven times, it doesn’t seem to like it. “Still today, the Hungaroring attracts the attention of F1, despite the fact it is narrow, short, slow, always very dirty, with overtaking all but impossible,” it read. Bellissimo.


Bad week

Verstappen and Hamilton going down

Pot kettle Red Bull

Famously saintly Red Bull, who have never ever done anybody wrong and don’t have a lead driver who arguably entered F1 at too young an age and certainly didn’t serve his apprenticeship by mainly bouncing off other drivers – is now complaining that Hamilton committed “dirty driving” at Silverstone…

Speed king award

Pirelli Speed King award

Why don’t they give official pole to the fastest driver of Friday’s qualifying? As good as the sprint was, it didn’t feel like it was deciding ‘pole’ even if it did determine the starting grid for the GP.

Bowling Bottas ball

Fair play to Valtteri Bottas in Hungary – in a renewed attempt to keep his Mercedes seat, he tried something different, thought out of the box. What did Toto say to him pre-race? “Visualise how you’re going to help us win the title”? Something like that. Maybe.

Russell going down

Russell-ing up a point or four

Poor George Russell. Spends almost three years trying to score a single point for hopeless Williams, then gets beaten in the race by rent-a-drive Latifi when he finally does so.

Sebastian Vettel going down

Spinning around

Seb Vettel demonstrated that he still hasn’t lost it by spinning apropos of nothing in the Silverstone restart. He also cleaned up litter after the race – rumours yet to be confirmed that this was principal Otmar Szafnauer’s latest punishment.