Verstappen has sixth sense
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Max Verstappen showed his “sixth sense” in wet-weather driving once again during the Chinese Grand Prix.
Verstappen started sixteenth but had a great race to finish third on the podium, showing from the start how good he is in the wet. He started that low because an engine problem meant he was unable to get out of Q1.
The Dutch teenager did the same thing in last November’s, Brazilian Grand Prix, in which he charged from sixteenth to finish third. Horner told Autosport “He appears to have an almost sixth sense in the wet. He doesn’t seem intimidated by it in any way, and is prepared to explore all the boundaries of the circuit available, to find where the grip is.”
“There was one move he made on the outside of Turn 6, where he went straight down the outside of two or three cars and then cut back, and it was very, very impressive,” Horner says that Verstappen is prepared to explore all the boundaries of the circuit available, to find where the grip is.
He added he thinks that Verstappen is “right up there now” among F1’s best-ever drivers in the wet. While singling out, Lewis Hamilton’s win at Silverstone in 2008 and Sebastian Vettel’s win in Shanghai in 2009, as “outstanding, but the great drivers always stand out in wet weather conditions.”
Alonso to miss Monaco
Fernando Alonso will miss the Monaco Grand Prix as he will be taking part in the Indianapolis 500. The move comes after a disappointing start to the season with McLaren failing to get the most out of the Honda power unit.
Talks between McLaren, Alonso and Andretti have been going on for weeks in secret, with an agreement being reached which will also see the Andretti Autosport, which will be painted in McLaren’s iconic orange livery.
It will be Alonso’s first attempt at IndyCar’s most famous race and his first experience of oval racing. He said “I’m immensely excited that I’ll be racing in this year’s Indy 500, with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport,”
“The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivalled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix, and it’s, of course, a regret of mine that I won’t be able to race at Monaco this year.”
Alonso says he will be back for Montreal and it’s expected that the team’s reserve driver Jenson Button will stand in for the weekend, however, this hasn’t been confirmed.
Mercedes underdogs mentally
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his team are the “underdogs” in the battle with Ferrari this season. Currently, Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel are tied on points and on countback.
Wolff told ESPN that it is clear that the two teams are very closely matched on pace. He told ESPN “China was a great way to hit back in the battle with Ferrari.
“We are very close on pace and I expect a bit of a ping-pong battle through the season, depending on the track. That’s exciting for everyone.
“What we have in 2017 is the perfect situation for the fans and also for us as a team. We are all racers and we are all properly excited for this fight.”
The margin between the two is slim and Wolff says that he doesn’t want the team to adopt the mindset of being champions. saying “Our one point lead in the constructors’ championship is anything but a comfortable margin.”
“We need to – and we will – keep working with everything we have got to develop our car, correct our errors and continue improving. Our mindset is that of the underdog — not the champion. And the fight has just begun”
Steiner criticises Grosjean’s penalty
Haas boss Gunther Steiner has criticised the decision to penalise Romain Grosjean in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Frenchman along with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer were given a five-place penalties after they improved their times after passing under double-waved yellow flags following Antonio Giovinazzi’s crash in qualifying.
The duo said they backed off, with Grosjean tweeting his data to support his argument, but the stewards ruled Palmer and Grosjean “attempted to set a meaningful lap time”, which is not allowed in the rules.
In accordance with article 38.3g of the sporting regulations, this type of penalty is not susceptible to appeal. Steiner was critical of the steward call, saying that the data showed Grosjean backed off.
He told Motorsport.com “The data that Romain tweeted speaks for itself – I don’t know if they look at all of this stuff. It’s pretty unfair and it’s not what they should be doing.”
“If there’s a doubt, they should call somebody and get it explained, but not jump to conclusions and think ‘this is what I think you did’.”
Steiner said that while he is moving on from the decision, he hopes governing body the FIA reassess the way it deals with penalties.
“I hope they learn from it and that the FIA learns from it to look into and analyse it and see what these guys did.”
Turkey set for return
The operator of the Istanbul Park says the circuit could return to the calendar next season. Yesterday Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet F1 Group CEO Chase Carey at the presidential palace in Ankara on Tuesday.
Also, at the meeting was the track operator Vural Ak, the chief of country’s motorsport governing body Serkan Yazici, minister of youth and sports Akif Cagatay Kilic and deputy secretary general and spokesperson of the presidency ambassador Ibrahim Kalin.
Ak told reporters at the Automotive Journalists Association dinner afterwards, Ak told reporters a deal was “agreed in principle” but not yet completed.
“All I can say at this point is that the meetings went really well and we agreed in principle, although the contract hasn’t been signed yet” he said.
Istanbul Park last held a race in 2011, but a deal couldn’t be reached after a financial dispute ended its contract, as the government refused to approve any future events on cost grounds.
The race could be the replacement for the Malaysian Grand Prix which has been dropped and would join the French and German Grand Prix’s which are returning for 2018.