Hamilton still convinced Ferrari has the best car
Lewis Hamilton remains adamant that Ferrari still has the best car and that Sebastian Vettel is the best performing driver at the moment. Six races into the season both Hamilton and Vettel, as well as Daniel Ricciardo, have all won two races each.
However, Hamilton leads the championship by fourteen points over Vettel with Ricciardo a further twenty-four points behind. The German has taken the most poles this season making Hamilton convinced that Ferrari has the fastest car.
The Englishman told ESPN, “It’s definitely a three-way fight and Ferrari, I think, are still the strongest. Their car was quick in Monaco, their car was working quite well through the whole season so far.”
“They have dropped the ball a few times and we’ve capitalised on that. So we are further ahead than we would be if everyone had done the same job, if you know what I mean.” He says that he feels that Ferrari is the strongest team and Vettel was the strongest driver.
Hamilton also believes that Red Bull’s engine upgrade expected for Canada, will see the team get stronger and that all three teams will be fighting for wins. He says while the on track action may not be the most exciting to watch, it’s a great battle for fans to see between the top three.
Adding “We’re doing everything we can to win the race and then the Red Bulls win it and then the Ferraris win it and then we win. It’s great to have that. I personally love it and it’s challenging me more than I can express.”
Honda keeps quite about upgrades
Honda are keeping quite about their upgraded power unit upgrade for the Canadian Grand Prix, but the Japanese manufacturer are being “careful” not to hurt reliability to gain performance.
Honda are expected to bring upgrades to its power unit for next weekends race, they are expected to replace the MGU-H and turbocharger moving both drivers on to there final components without penalty.
Brendon Hartley’s have much less mileage after he took an entire fresh batch for the Spanish GP two races ago after a huge crash in final practice. Honda technical director Toyoharu Tanabe told Motorsport.com there was nothing official to communicate regarding upgrades for Montreal.
Pressed on whether Honda had validated reliability and would now search for performance, Tanabe said: “So far it [reliability] looks stable but I think we need to be careful not push too hard on the performance. We need balance.”
“We have a lot of things to do and not many short-term solutions, most are long-term. [If] we develop something and then apply it to the engine, we need to have a reliability test. Any tiny thing to improve the performance, we need time.”
The manufacturer has tried to avoid making public statements about there engine following heavy criticism over the last three years by McLaren.
Pierre Gasly says he is excided by the upgrade, adding “I’ll wait until FP1 to see exactly what the difference is on the computer.”
“I’ve learned that in Formula 1 it’s better to wait and see once you put the new parts on because sometimes it doesn’t work as well as you expect, sometimes it works better. But it can only go in the right direction, I think, so I’m really excited about this upgrade.”
Gasly finished seventh in Monaco, the third time the Frenchman has scored points this season. The pace of the car have been strong at particularly slow speed circuits, with Honda satisfied with the 2018 unit’s driveability and how it is operating its energy recovery systems.
Tanabe said “The key point [in Monaco] is low-RPM, and on-off throttle application. That’s one of the key parameters to set energy management.
“We have worked on the driveability very much to help the chassis behaviour through the corner and [the driver] accelerate earlier.
Renault ready’s B-spec power unit
Renault are due to introduce their B-spec engine at next weekends Canadian Grand Prix. The new spec of engine is being eagerly anticipated by Red Bull, who are still deciding on which power unit to chose for 2019.
Most, if not all, of the grid’s four engine suppliers, are expected to introduce new units for power-hungry Montreal as they move on to their scheduled second engines of the campaign. The interest in the first round of upgrades comes at the time when Red Bull need to make a decision about which power unit to use by mid June.
Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner has said he is expecting a “small” but “hugely important” upgrade from Renault. Technical director Nick Chester confirmed to Sky Sports, “There’s a B-spec engine for Canada and we’re looking forward to that, as it should bring a bit more performance.
Team principal Cyril Abiteboul added, “We have the next stage of our power unit development scheduled and a number of aero and mechanical upgrades (to Renault’s works car).”
The Renault boss cast doubt on whether all six cars that use their engines will receive the upgrade in Canada owing to contrasting engine usage so far this season. Earlier this week, he told Autosport “I think we have six engines available, subject to the last event on procurement in the supply chain.”
All of the Renault powered cars have used at least one element of the power unit. While Daniel Ricciardo already one more change away from the limit on engines, turbochargers and MGU-Hs.
Raikkonen files complaint over sexual assault claims
Canadian police are looking into a complaint of extortion by an unknown woman who has accused Kimi Raikkonen of sexually assaulting her at a bar in 2016.
The legal team working for Raikkonen, claims he has been threatened with public accusations of sexual misconduct unless he provided financial compensation.
In 2016 the woman alleged online that she was involved in an incident with an unnamed driver and his friend while she was working at a bar after that year’s Canadian GP. She says that Raikkonen touch her breast and put his hand down to touch her vagina.
Earlier this year she published a follow-up stating that she had protected the driver too long and would now act. A representative of Raikkonen’s legal team in Montreal told Motorsport.com that the woman informed them of the initial accusations.
They then received a letter last week, on May 23, stating she would go public with the accusations without recompense, which the representative told Motorsport.com was a “huge” amount of money.
He said Raikkonen denies the allegations completely and the only course of action to “protect the driver’s reputation” was to file an extortion complaint.
Motorsport.com says it understand that the woman has already given her version of events to police. Legal Logik, the firm representing the resident, told Motorsport.com that the extortion complaint “misconstrues what we wanted” when it first approached Raikkonen’s camp.
The firm’s founder Jamie Benizri said they had “a very short discussion that seemed to be going in the right direction” before the complaint was filed “abruptly”.
Asked about the financial settlement raised by Raikkonen’s side, Benizri said: “The idea of settling this, either with an opportunity to hear his version, sitting down in person or via video conference, meeting his camp, even money on the table – these are all things that we would have discussed.”
Keke Rosberg explains why he hid from media
Keke Rosberg has said he avoided the media during his son’s Nico’s Formula One career. The former world champion retread from the press in 2010 and gave his first major interview following his son’s title win in 2016.
At the Monaco Grand Prix, Keke and Nico took part in a joint demo, which was posted on YouTube. In an interview, he said “I am! I’ve withdrawn completely out of the public eye since 2010, really. I know it was the right decision.
“It mainly came because active drivers were very difficult to get. So, [journalists say] ‘dad’s there, he’s got nothing to do, let’s ask him’.”
“I found myself being in the public eye much more than I should have been on my own merit, only to comment about him. I said ‘No, no, I can’t continue with this’.”
Keke says he followed his son from home, but it was not the first time he backed away from Nico’s career.
He said the focus when Nico was racing karts was “spending weekends with your boy and letting him go as far as your wings carry you” but guided his early career “as a father”.
The Week Ahead
Teams head to Montreal next weekend for the seventh race of the season, we know that Honda/Renault are brining an upgrade to their power units. The following week, many expect Red Bull to make a decision on whether to switch to Honda next year but we need that to be done by or on Monday because of the engine deadline.
We have reported today on the allegations of sexual assault made against Kimi Raikkonen, he will most likely face media questions about the allegations. But do the police get involved when he arrives in Montreal or does he go to the police himself.
This race marks the start of Fernando Alonso’s busiest period as well as the teams, between now and the first week of July we have four Grand Prix’s in five weeks plus Alonso’s WEC commitments. The teams need focus at this busy time, upgrades will need a quick turn around.