The five F1 stars struggling in new teams - MPH
Two races in, those experienced drivers new to their teams this year – Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo – are all struggling relative to their…
Kimi Räikkönen and Daniil Kyvat together made Nico Rosberg’s day easier than it would otherwise have been – but make no mistake, Nico would almost certainly have joined the elite list of six consecutive grand prix winners regardless. The combination of the Merc’s pace with the strategic masterstroke of getting him through Q2 on the soft rather than the super-soft – and thereby giving him a better first stint tyre than everyone around him – would have ensured that. In the various scenarios that might have played out, the differences would only have been Nico’s route to victory, not the victory itself.
Kimi and Daniil and the first corner contretemps that revolved around them defined the shape of the race for pretty much everyone else too. It delayed both Ferraris, brought up short Lewis Hamilton’s planned charge from the back, severely compromised what could have been a brilliant day for Daniel Ricciardo, brought out the safety car for debris from the accident which caused mixed un-pitted slow cars near the front with fast cars behind them recovering from pit stops, bringing about a big overtaking fest that looked very dramatic, but meant less than it looked.
With Sergio Marchionne looking on, Räikkönen had briefly locked up into the first turn and begun running wide, Vettel filling the gap to his inside – with Kvyat in turn trying for the inside of him. It would all probably have been fine had Räikkönen not then chopped across back towards the middle of the track, where Vettel already was. Alarmed by Kvyat so close and travelling so fast, Seb essentially had the choice of being hit hard by the Red Bull or making gentler contact with Raikkonen. Choosing the second option left Vettel sinking down to the midfield, Räikkönen crawling to the pits for a new nose – and Seb using the radio to blame it all on Kvyat’s “suicidal move”. It was all just the stuff of racing rough and tumble – as was the discussion between a hacked off Vettel and an amused Kvyat behind the podium after they’d finished second and third respectively – over half a minute behind Rosberg, only the fourth man ever to have won six consecutive Grands Prix or more.
So, back to the ‘old-style’ of qualifying here after the teams had stood united against Messrs Ecclestone and Todt. The earlier heavy rain had stopped, the track almost dry as Q1 began. But beneath the two ‘bridges’ that traverse the pit straight, the rainwater had dripped and formed into two wide wet strips.
Rosberg’s task for the weekend was made at least 50% easier from the opening seconds when team-mate Hamilton felt a drastic lack of power from his Mercedes as he took to the track. Even the delay caused by Pascal Wehrlein crashing – with his DRS open over the first of those wet strips where the cars are still accelerating hard, the wheels spooled up and in a moment he was clanging the Manor off the barriers – wasn’t enough to allow Hamilton even a single timed lap. An ERS-H failure that couldn’t be repaired ensured Lewis would be starting last.
After Lewis’ withdrawal, Rosberg’s main challenge became the Ferraris, which had shown an impressive turn of speed on Friday, Räikkönen and Vettel going 1-2 in the afternoon practice – but that was when the track was hot, at around 41-deg C. In the much cooler conditions of Saturday it remained to be seen if the red cars could still get the super-soft working better than on the Mercedes. We wouldn’t really get to find this out until Q3 – because in Q2 Mercedes correctly estimated that it could get Rosberg comfortably through to the run-offs using only a set of softs, thereby allowing him these more durable tyres for his opening race stint (the tyres used to set your Q2 time must be used at the start of the race if you make it through to Q3). Over a single lap they were around 1s slower than the super-softs everyone else was using – but the Mercedes had comfortably more than 1s in hand over the 10th-place cut-off pace.
In theory the Ferraris could have copied this strategy – for they too would have been comfortably fast enough to surrender the super-soft’s grip and still be in the top-10. But they didn’t have enough soft tyres left to be able to do this and have two sets available for Sunday. The original choice of both Räikkönen and Vettel was four softs for the weekend to the five of Rosberg – and by the time of Q2 the Ferrari drivers had used all but two of those sets. They duly went first and second on their super-softs, with Rosberg’s soft-tyre lap good for third. The one-lap Mercedes vs Ferrari super-soft showdown would have to wait until Q3.
But before that happened, with just over a minute of Q2 left – when all those fighting for the lower reaches of the top 10 were out there trying to catch the track at its fastest when on their new super-softs – Nico Hulkenberg pulled off to the side as the Force India’s left-front wheel parted company with the car. Grinding to a three-wheeled halt in an awkward place, the session was red flagged – denying Massa, Alonso and Button realistic shots of making it into the top-10 at the possible expense of one or other of the Force Indias or Toro Rossos which were allowed a relatively uncontested passage – though Hulkenberg was obliged to sit Q3 out (the rules do not allow a car that has stopped on circuit to continue into the next session) and in addition would take a grid penalty for the team’s unsafe release of his car. The Ferraris, Rosberg, the Red Bulls and Bottas’ Williams were comfortably through.
Rosberg and Räikkönen had conventional Q3 run programmes – two new super-soft runs. Vettel, by contrast, had decided to save one of his super-softs for the race and committed to just a single Q3 run. He remained in the pits as Rosberg and Räikkönen circulated, ready to give the first reading on how the single lap pace of Mercedes and Ferrari stacked up. With the track temperature nudging up to 24-deg C, a couple of degrees higher than earlier, the Ferrari seemed to be responding. Through the first sector there were only four-hundredths in it (in Merc’s favour). Through the fast sweeps of sector two, Rosberg was untidy in turn six and dropped a chunk of time, putting Räikkönen provisionally ahead. He remained faster to the end of the lap – though both braked too deep into the hairpin of turn 14 and lost time there. In contrast to those error-strewn laps, Ricciardo had hooked up his Red Bull perfectly and despite being on old tyres on this first run was just 0.3s adrift of them.
Vettel came out for his single Q3 run. Would this lap reveal the Ferrari’s ultimate pace? At no stage during the weekend up to this point did he appear to have his usual couple of tenths advantage over Räikkönen – and inside the team they confirmed that Kimi was in a happy place. Seb’s sector one and two times were pretty much identical to Raikkonen’s first effort – but then he too went too deep into the hairpin, even more messily, and failed to match Kimi’s benchmark. He was annoyed with himself. “Second on the grid at least was up for grabs. But the lap wasn’t good enough. I started off on the wrong foot, probably asked too much from the tyres already on the first sector, and from then on I was playing catch up. I was confident I could do the same job with just one set. Now I know I couldn’t, because the lap wasn’t as good as it should have been. It was not my best lap of the weekend.” It would end up good only for fourth.
Vettel’s sole run came at the same time Rosberg, Räikkönen and Ricciardo were making their second attempts. Tension ran high. The Ferrari and Mercedes were again comparably quick through the first sector. This time Rosberg got cleanly through the middle sector – but still it was no quicker than Raikkonen. Remarkably, Ricciardo on his new tyres was just 0.1s adrift of them at the end of sector two. Everything hung on their respective runs through turn 13, down that long back straight, into the hairpin and the short dash from there to the final corner onto the pit straight. The Red Bull seemed likely to be out-powered and it seemed sure to be a straight Nico vs Kimi shoot-out. Nico picked out his braking point into the hairpin perfectly this time and rocketed out of there. A few hundred metres behind, both Ferrari drivers were over-shooting – again. Three Ferrari driver Q3 attempts at that corner, three run-wide lock ups. Pole was sealed in Rosberg’s favour – but Ferrari was definitely closer than at either of the previous two tracks thus far.
“I think without Kimi’s mistake it would have been close,” said Rosberg, “but I think we still have the quickest car. It was just a case of putting the lap together.”
Ricciardo’s lap was a peach and had Christian Horner reaching for the superlatives. It got him to within 0.5s of Rosberg – and onto the front row, ahead of the error-riddled Ferraris. “It was all about finessing the balance as we went along,” beamed Daniel afterwards. “It wasn’t very good at the start of qualifying and we only really got it right into Q3. The [super-soft] is a tricky tyre around this place, you have to manage it heavily. Understanding that as the session went on was the key. I didn’t expect this at all.” He had definitely flattered the Red Bull, underlining once again his credentials as one of the mega-stars. Daniil Kvyat was left railing 0.4s off and back in sixth. But actually that wasn’t a bad effort on scrubbed tyres rather than new.
Williams’ sole Q3 representative Valtteri Bottas did well to get within a few hundredths of Vettel’s time, squeezing between the Ferrari and Kvyat on the grid. It was a big lap, and all weekend he’d had a decisive advantage over Massa. Felipe would probably have made it into Q3 were it not for the red flag, but he’d been trailing Bottas by 0.5s throughout. The new short nose was again on and off both cars during the practices – eventually it being discarded after Massa had damaged it. Felipe had suffered two rear tyres failures on Friday morning as a result of the rear brake ducts fouling and damaging the rims which then cut the inner tyre sidewall.
The bottom four places of Q3 were the preserve of Force India and Toro Rosso, a significant way off Williams and Red Bull. Pérez headed this little group, fractionally ahead of Sainz. Pérez was his usual tidy, composed self in tricky conditions in a Force India that’s generally well-balanced. The Toro Rossos lost out in the final sector – possibly as a result of having over-used their tyres earlier in the lap. All weekend, Sainz had a handy couple of tenths advantage over Verstappen and that translated through all the sessions, with Max in ninth, 0.3s off. The non-running Hulkenberg was 10th, before his penalty.
Alonso was particularly distraught about having to abort his final Q2 flyer for the red flag, convinced the McLaren-Honda had the pace to make Q3 for the first time. Both he and Button were left relying on their first Q2 runs on used tyres, leaving them 12th and 13th, just behind Massa.
“I was surprised when we had a red flag for the Force India,” said Button. “He had pulled off and there was an opening for the car to be pulled back into. But then we had the [marshal’s] car parked at the pit entry, which was directly in the way of us, and there was no red flag for that…”
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Behind the McLarens, Romain Grosjean’s Haas never had Q3-challenging pace, Romain deeply frustrated by the ‘ridiculously high’ minimum pressures imposed by Pirelli here (23.5 psi front/21psi rear). “It’s like driving on pieces of wood,” he complained, after struggling with locking front brakes as a result. One of the official stipulations made of Pirelli by the FIA for the 2017 tyres is that they can be used safely at or near to the optimum performance pressures, not something that can be said of the current rubber. The Haas seemed more adversely affected by the resultant shortfall of tyre grip than most other cars. Even though Romain was another left relying on his used tyre Q2 time because of the red flag, it looked unlikely he’d have improved on 14th anyway. Team-mate Esteban Gutiérrez – on Friday quick in the wet, as ever – was 0.3s slower after a couple of errors and failed to progress out of Q1, in 18th.
The problems of Hamilton allowed both Saubers to make it through to Q2, Marcus Ericsson going 15th, around 0.8s adrift of Grosjean but ahead of team-mate Felipe Nasr who continues to experience dire handling difficulties with his particular chassis for reasons the team has not yet established. He’s due to get a new chassis for Spain and it cannot come soon enough for him. Unpredictable behaviour under braking and serious time-consuming understeer in the longer corners left him deeply frustrated.
Although 17th fastest and failing to get out of Q1 might not sound anything remarkable for Kevin Magnussen, in reality it was a superb performance from the Renault driver. That qualifying lap was his first lap in the dry all weekend, his first time on super-softs. He had been forced to sit out most of Friday after suffering a frightening 300km/h rear suspension failure – that and the subsequent drive back to the pits causing extensive damage. With Saturday morning practice rained out, Q1 represented his first serious running – and his lap was 0.9s quicker than team-mate Jolyon Palmer’s, two places back. The latter was making no bones about how things had gone. “It was catastrophically bad,” he surmised. “In Australia the pace was there, in Bahrain it was falling away and here it’s worse. I need to understand it. There’s something fundamental that we’re missing. You can see it on the data and in the balance but we can’t understand why it’s happening. I’ve been struggling all weekend with it but we didn’t have the other car running to compare across the two. But now Kevin’s running [his] looks to be a hell of a lot better so we have to understand what’s going on.”
An F1 engineer will tell you that the soft tyre makes the car less accelerative than the super-soft to the tune of around three metres in the vital first four seconds. That was the only downside of Mercedes’ strategy of getting Rosberg through Q2 on the harder tyre – and it duly played out in front of the 100,000 who’d come to watch. In those four seconds Ricciardo sliced his super-soft-shod Red Bull past the pole-sitting Mercedes, with no ambiguity at all. Behind them, however, uncertainty reigned.
In a Ferrari always a little slow generating front tyre temperature – and a race in which the Pirelli-imposed minimum front pressures were a super-high 23psi, making front locking particularly easy – Räikkönen locked up and was pulled towards the outside of the ever-turning one-two-three. Vettel moved into the clear air to his team-mate’s inside, Kvyat made an aggressive move to the inside of them both. If Kimi had not forced his way back on track, he’d have been elbowed down many places. The natural racing reaction was to do what he did – but it pincered Vettel into the accident, the Ferraris touching, Räikkönen being flicked into a secondary brush with Kvyat’s sidepod, Daniil nonetheless sliding through in third as Kimi, with punctured tyre, limped pitward for a new nose. Vettel, with the loss of a front-wing endplate, scrabbled around in eighth, fending off Bottas’ Williams, which had been baulked as Kimi ran wide. The mess of slowed and half-spun cars triggered secondary incidents behind: Ericsson’s Sauber took off the nose of Grosjean’s Haas. Nasr in avoiding Räikkönen, steered hard right into the path of Hamilton – who’d made a great start from the back. The Merc’s front wing folded back beneath the nose, seriously damaging the underfloor before falling off entirely. Lewis was off the track on his way back to the pits for the replacement nose.
Ricciardo led Rosberg and the dicing pack across the line, with Kvyat ahead of Pérez, Hulkenberg, Sainz and Vettel – who’d passed Button into the hairpin of turn 14. Behind the McLaren ran Massa, Bottas, Verstappen, Ericsson, Alonso, Magnussen, Wehrlein, Palmer, Gutiérrez and Haryanto. Behind them, Räikkönen, Hamilton, Grosjean and Nasr would subsequently pit and rejoin in various stages of compromise.
Given the nature of the track, DRS and the respective end-of-straight speeds of the Red Bull and Mercedes, Ricciardo probably wasn’t going to be able to keep Rosberg behind, but it was a glorious opening salvo. It came to an end prematurely though; on the second lap he passed over what was suspected to be debris from Hamilton’s wing and, accelerating through turn 13, felt the left-rear puncture and headed pitwards. Rosberg swept by into the lead. He wasn’t going to lose from there.
Rosberg’s position was further strengthened by the race director bringing out the safety car in response to the Ricciardo puncture; the debris needed to be cleared.
What this did was split the field in two: essentially those who had started on the soft and so didn’t need to stop yet and those on the super-softs, who did. The latter tyre, initially around 1s faster, degraded by around 0.4s per lap, the limitation imposed by the left-front which takes a big pounding through the long sequence at the start of the lap, the long, quick turn eight and the building speed turns 12-13 onto the back straight. Its estimated total life was no more than a dozen laps, around half that of the soft – and it was calculated to be slower than the soft after four. The soft was therefore much the better race tyre around this place, especially with the track temperatures in the low-40deg Cs. It is why Rosberg’s Q2 strategy brought such a powerful advantage on race day, as the next eight cars behind him on the grid were obliged to start on the super-soft. No-one had started on the medium – which was significantly slower than the soft but which could last 35 laps or so.
With the safety car coming out on lap four, the super-soft runners made for the pits to change to softs – all except Vettel, that is. He had saved a fresh set of super-softs by doing only one Q3 run, and Ferrari had decided to use these to give him a quick boost past the slow traffic.
Also coming in was the soft-shod Hamilton. Given that he was running near the back, Mercedes reasoned to bring him in to fit the obligatory second tyre compound, get back in after a single safety car lap – and resume once more on a fresh set of softs. Under the safety car he wouldn’t be losing time to the pack – and could then be on the superior soft for the whole distance – as he had three sets. Or so they thought. He was just doing his solitary super-soft lap when a check of the softs that had just come off – and which were due to go back on – revealed a deep debris cut. That meant he had just two sets of softs available for the remaining 51 laps – which probably wasn’t going to be enough for a busy race from the back of the field. They were probably going to have to fit a set of mediums for the final stint.
It was a chaotic pit lane as all the super-soft runners piled in – and several teams were going to need to stack their second driver behind the first, Force India among them. Hulkenberg was thus proceeding slowly down the pit entry road, to give the team time to turn Pérez around whilst holding up those behind. This is frowned upon if done too blatantly – and Hulk was adjudged to have been a little heavy handed. Attention had been focussed upon his ruse however by the fact that Vettel – second in the queue behind the dawdling Force India – used his knowledge of the rule book to put two wheels on the grass and overtake both Sainz and Hulkenberg. This was before the pit lane entry line and after the safety car line – a section in which it is permissible to race even when the main track is subject to the safety car. It was more a gesture than anything else – as the place to Sainz was lost again as Vettel’s damaged nose was replaced. Others losing time in the pit lane stacking game included Verstappen.
This put all the slow cars between Rosberg and his actual rivals, amplifying his already big advantage. The leading pack behind the safety car comprised the yet-to-stop soft-shod cars of Rosberg, Massa, Alonso, Wehrlein and Gutiérrez. Only then came the next of the quick cars – that of Kvyat in sixth ahead of Haryanto, Pérez, Bottas, Button, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Ericsson, Vettel, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Räikkönen, Hamilton, Grosjean and Nasr.
The pre-race plan for Rosberg was open: starting on the soft allowed the flexibility of either a two or a three-stop. It meant that even if he made bad start – and Mercedes was acutely aware that it doesn’t have the best car off the grid – and dropped a place or two, it didn’t matter, for the super-soft cars ahead of him would soon be peeling off. The longer the race went on and those slower cars behind delayed the likes of Kvyat and Vettel from getting directly behind, the more Mercedes extended Rosberg’s stint, so moving him towards a two-stop with most of the rest of the field three-stopping. This implied a final stint on the slower medium – but on a Merc that was still more than a fast enough combination. Besides, the W07 actually works the medium very well – much better than any other car. If there’s a compound that makes Mercedes nervous, it’s the super-soft.
The safety car was brought in at the end of lap eight – and Rosberg sprinted away into the late afternoon. The action was fantastically hectic for a few laps as the fast guys negotiated their way by the yet-to-stop slower cars: Kvyat was up to third within a couple of laps and chasing down Massa. Vettel picked off several cars before arriving on the tail of Bottas on lap 11, trying to go down his inside at turn six, but snagging his front wing on the Williams as they exited, losing him an endplate for the second time. Ricciardo too was making great progress, as was Hamilton who had passed Räikkönen. But Lewis’ charges were brief. “There was a massive loss of aero performance from the front as a result of the underfloor damage,” explained Toto Wolff, “and at first this was masked by the new tyres, but after a few laps he would be struggling.”
“I seemed to be overtaking cars everywhere – I lost count,” said Lewis, “but it didn’t seem to be getting me anywhere!”
Kvyat found a way by Massa for second place, using DRS down the back straight on lap 12 but already Rosberg was 8s clear and going away. Räikkönen was brought in for a set of mediums a couple of laps later. Vettel, having maximised his super-softs in getting past a whole flurry of cars to be sitting behind Massa, was in for a set of softs on lap 17.
As the slower cars either got overtaken or came in for their first stops, the order gradually sorted itself. Rosberg pitted without losing the lead on the 21st lap having been fitted with a set of softs. Kvyat and Massa had already done the same, bringing Bottas up to a brief second before he too was in. Rosberg now led by over 12s from Kvyat, Vettel, the long-running Button artificially high, Massa, Pérez, Bottas, Ricciardo, Sainz, Räikkönen, Hamilton and the rest. Button was actually embroiled in a close contest with team-mate Alonso just out of the points on transposed tyre strategies, JB trying to pull out enough time over Fernando to buy his pit stop. Alonso would emerge with the upper hand, leading Jenson to throw the dice one final time with a late switch to super-softs with which he could chase his quarry quickly down over the remaining laps.
In Rosberg’s middle stint he extended his lead out to almost 30s while Vettel kept up the pressure on Kvyat for second – and the Williams pair of Massa and Bottas fell away into the clutches of Ricciardo. Fifth-place Bottas pitted for the third time on lap 30, team-mate Massa came for his second stop (he’d started on softs) from fourth a lap later. Both were fitted with mediums with the intention of going to the end without stopping again.
The FW38 was just no match for Red Bull pace, even though the latter was running with compromised low-wing levels to give it competitive end-of-straight speeds. Vettel’s slightly damaged Ferrari – running its engine conservatively because of a turbo design fault that cannot be fixed for another couple of races – was quite closely matched with Red Bull. But Ferrari had a plan they believed might jump Seb ahead of his first-corner nemesis Kvyat. Vettel had a fresh set of softs waiting for him in the pits whereas Kvyat had only mediums left. They each headed pitward for the third stops on the 35th of the 56 laps, leaving in the order they came in. On their out laps, the extra grip and traction of the new softs versus the mediums was used to clinical effect by Vettel through the long, looping turn 12-13 onto the back straight, getting the Ferrari close enough to the back of the Red Bull that he got DRS on the straight. Daniil wasn’t surrendering easily and they almost touched as they went side-by-side into the hairpin – but the Ferrari was through and up to second.
A lap later and Rosberg was in from the lead and fitted with the mediums on which he intended to complete the race. He rejoined, still leading, 26s clear of Ricciardo who had yet to make his final stop. Daniel pitted for a set of mediums – bringing Vettel and Kvyat back into the podium places – and came back out behind Hamilton’s damaged car and, just ahead of Lewis, the two Williams. None of those ahead of him had any great pace but as Ricciardo chased down Hamilton so Lewis was able to put a tyre-smoking move up the inside of Bottas into turn nine – not normally a passing place. Next lap Ricciardo was able to pick off Bottas into the hairpin and set chase for Hamilton once more. Lewis was struggling in that the understeer the aero damage was giving him meant it was particularly difficult getting close to the car ahead through the entry onto the back straight – hence his choice of turn nine on Bottas. On lap 44 Ricciardo was able to pin a beautiful, swooping pass on the Mercedes into the tight turn six and later in the same lap he nailed Massa for fourth place into the hairpin of 14.
Hamilton tried a repeat of his Bottas move on Massa but from just too far back and Felipe fended him off. Räikkönen – on soft tyres seven/eight laps newer than the mediums on the Williams and having just passed the old-tyred Pérez and Bottas in quick succession – was able to capitalise on Hamilton’s failed move on Massa, getting to within DRS detection point through turns 12-13, then going by on the exit of 14, rubbing wheels as he did so. Next target: Massa’s fifth place – captured into the hairpin one lap later.
By staying out very late, the earlier-delayed Verstappen was able to get onto softs rather than the mediums team-mate Sainz had been obliged to have six laps earlier. This brought Max out 10s behind Carlos but on much faster tyres he was closing him down at around 1.5s per lap. They each passed the old-tyred Button in quick succession and were catching Pérez – but which of them would get to the Force India first? Just as they converged into a train, Sainz obeyed team instructions and allowed Verstappen through to attack Pérez. Forming a double attack, they both went through at the hairpin, after which Verstappen, using his tyre advantage, pulled away from Sainz and closed on Bottas. With two laps to go, Verstappen was challenging into the hairpin and Bottas braked too late for his worn-out front tyres and ran wide. Verstappen was through – and Sainz was able to take advantage too, Bottas hanging on for a solitary point. Max was almost within launching range of Hamilton on the final lap but couldn’t quite get in position to try a move.
In the other team-mate battle, three-stopping Button on his super-softs was up with two-stopping Alonso for the last few laps but Fernando had it all in hand, finishing 12th just behind Pérez.
One-and-a-half minutes earlier Rosberg had joined Alberto Ascari, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel as someone who has won six or more Grands Prix in succession. It wasn’t his toughest of wins, but he’s unlikely to be worrying about that. The opposition had simply taken itself out without him doing anything – Hamilton with his ERS failure in qualifying, the Ferraris with each other at turn one, and with a bit of encouragement from Kvyat.
In the green room before the podium ceremony, taking a drink, Nico was clearly finding it hard not to smirk at the discussion going on to his right. “Keep going like that and we’ll crash,” ranted an irate Vettel at Kvyat in reference to the first corner of the race. Daniil simply refused to accept he’d done anything wrong – or to show any animosity in return. “Well, don’t keep going like that, then,” he responded, smiling. Vettel tried again: “If I didn’t move we would have crashed,” he fumed. “So don’t move then,” suggested Daniil – before giving Seb a friendly pat on the shoulder as he walked off.
“It was a bit risky,” accepted Kvyat later. “But you see the gap, you go for it. You see one car, it’s hard to see both. Yes, it was a risky move, I agree, but moves like this can get you a podium.” And it did – a timely one for him too. Although Ricciardo finished just behind, to have done so despite the early puncture that dropped him from race leader to 17th says all that needs to be said about the quality of the driver Kvyat is constantly measured against. It was difficult not to wonder if the pressure resulting from that comparison in the Red Bull environment might not have played its part in Kvyat’s take-no-prisoners attitude. Just one more unconnected thing helping make Rosberg’s day.
View the race on the Motor Sport Database here.
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