F1 Today – 21/04/2021

F1 Today

Bottas says he didn’t break the gentleman’s agreement

Valtteri Bottas says he did not break any gentleman’s agreement between drivers in his defence against George Russell prior to their Imola crash. Bottas and Russell brought out the red flag when they crashed on lap thirty-four while fighting for ninth place as the Williams driver was trying to overtake the Mercedes into Tamburello

Both drivers in the immediate aftermath blamed each other, with the Mercedes car with a significant amount of damage that could limit the team’s upgrade plans for the rest of the year.

Russell claimed in the immediate aftermath of the incident that Bottas had broken a gentleman’s agreement between the drivers. Saying the move to Max Verstappen’s actions under braking in 2015 which prompted a rule rewrite.

He said on Sunday, “Between all of the drivers, we’ve had this gentleman’s agreement that when there’s a faster car approaching with the DRS, you don’t jolt the steering wheel at the very last moment. It’s the smallest of moves, but when you’re going at 220 mph, and you’re going 30 mph quicker than the car ahead, it’s massive.”

Since making those comments in the immediate aftermath, Russell has taken responsibility for the collision that left Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff saying the young Briton had “lots to learn”.

Asked by Motorsport.com if he had broken any gentleman’s agreement, Bottas replied: “No, I don’t see it that way at all. I didn’t make any sudden moves. I think it’s quite clear from his onboard as well, I always left a space.”

“No, from my side, it was clean. And of course, I’m defending, I’m not going to make any room for him. But also when I race, I have respect. So I see it differently than him.”

The stewards decided the incident at the Tamburello chicane was a racing incident, saying Bottas did not change his line at all on the approach. The Finn admitted he could have been “a lot more aggressive” when defending the position, and that Russell should have been aware that the outside line would have been damp still.

Adding, “He knew that it was going to be damp there because we have gone there lap after lap. I knew as well, and it was just not a place to go in those conditions on slicks. But he still went there.”


Hamilton consoles Russell following crash at Imola

Sir Lewis Hamilton offered George Russell words of encouragement and “respect” following the Williams driver’s apology to Valtteri Bottas over their Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, having previously also posted his support for Lando Norris, another crestfallen young Brit, over the Imola weekend.

Bottas and Russell blamed each other for the collision on lap thirty-four, Bottas and Russell collided while fighting for ninth place as the Williams driver was trying to overtake the Mercedes into Tamburello. Russell then apologised to Bottas on Monday saying on social media he admitted he had “to take responsibility” for the “risk” of attempting to overtake Bottas’ Mercedes.

Having also accused Bottas of a “dangerous” move after the race and asking him “if he was trying to kill us both”, Russell added in his statement: “I know I should have handled the whole situation better. Emotions can run high in the heat of the moment and yesterday mine got the better of me.”

Over the weekend Hamilton also offered support to Norris, after his fastest time good enough for third on the grid. After qualifying, Norris posted a picture of himself looking downbeat with the caption, “How I feel right now. Inches away from P3. My mistake, I misjudged it and the time was deleted. Sorry to everyone at McLaren, I effed up, you deserved better today.”

To which Hamilton, who started his F1 career with McLaren, replied on Saturday night: “Nobody can knock you for giving it your all. Amazing lap, it’s great to see you and the team shine. Move on, let’s race.”

In the race, Norris went on to join Hamilton on the podium and told Sky Sports after the race, “It’s nice. I get messages from a lot of people, my fans and everyone – but support from Lewis, it means probably a little bit more.”

“It’s a guy talking from experience, he’s made the same mistakes, he still makes mistakes now but he’s a seven-time champion.”


Williams pace at Imola gives more opportunities to score points

Williams head of vehicle Performance Dave Robson, says the team’s pace has strengthened the team’s belief they will have more opportunities to score points in 2021. The team had targeted Imola as a place where they could score points in their plan to target certain races, however, both George Russell and Nicolas Latifi retired from the race.

On the opening lap, Nicholas Latifi knocked into the wall after colliding with Haas driver Nikita Mazepin. Halfway through the race, George Russell crashed into Valtteri Bottas after attempting to overtake the Mercedes driver. Despite a “deeply frustrating” race, there was encouraging pace for the team.

For the first time since 2017, both cars made it through to Q2 and Russell was able to fight Bottas for ninth. Robson told Motorsport.com, “It has been a day and a weekend of mixed feelings. Qualifying couldn’t have gone a lot better. Obviously, Tsunoda made a mistake, which was a gift for us, but otherwise, all the places we got were achieved on merit.”

“Today we really thought we had a good chance to score some points. The mixed conditions at the start were not really ideal but I think we took them in our stride and we made some good decisions. And then to finish with nothing is obviously deeply frustrating. But I suppose the only positive is the car was good, the pace was good.”

But Robson says at least the accident came from attacking the Mercedes, which they have not been able to do for a long time. There is hope at Williams that they will be able to score points this year, something it has not been able to do since Hockenheim 2019.

When asked if he was bullish about the rest of 2021, Robson said, “I don’t know about bullish. I think happy in that the car did perform well. I think there are going to be circuits ahead where the car behaves more like it did in Bahrain [where Williams’ only finisher Russell finished a distant 14th] and somewhere it’s more like here.”

Robson said that didn’t mean being bullish at every race, but better opportunities were ahead for the team and they know where opportunities are.

Sainz believes that Ferrari can be ahead of McLaren

Carlos Sainz says Ferrari can be ahead of McLaren at circuits which suit its car because of the progress the team has made this year. The Italian manufacturer in the opening two races appear to have addressed the weakness of the 2020 car, which was down on power and proved to be draggy.

In the opening two races, Sainz and teammate Charles Leclerc have fought at the front of the midfield pack, appearing to put them into a tight battle for third with their former title rivals McLaren.

Despite McLaren managing to edge out Ferrari in both Bahrain and Imola, Sainz thinks that at circuits that better suit the characteristics of its car, it can defeat the Woking-based squad.

Asked by Motorsport.com, if McLaren or Ferrari had the best car right now, Sainz said: “I think it is very tight, honestly. It is very difficult to pick from. I think the McLaren has its strengths and its weaknesses. But what makes it a really nice fight is that we are quick in very different places on the track and that makes it a very fun battle.”

“It looked like in Imola, Lando did a very good job of exploiting the whole car potential, and he was on it the whole weekend especially from Saturday onwards, and he did a good race.”

The Spaniard says McLaren appears to have the upper hand with straight-line speed which appeared to hamper Ferrari’s fight in the closing stages of the race, but it had also opted for a higher downforce setting because of the wet weather.


Justice done for George Floyd – Hamilton

Sir Lewis Hamilton has reacted to the guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd. The jury in Minneapolis found the former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on three charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin knelt on the neck of Floyd for more than nine minutes during his arrest, was pronounced dead about an hour after an ambulance had been called. Hamilton, the only Black driver in F1, has been a long-time activist for social rights said he was “overcome with rage” in the aftermath of Floyd’s murder last May.

Speaking on his social media channels on Tuesday evening following the verdict, Hamilton wrote: “JUSTICE for George! The emotions I feel right now are hard to describe. Derek Chauvin has been found guilty. This is the first time that a white officer has been convicted for killing a black man in Minnesota. This is monumental, George’s death is not in vain.”

“The result of the Derek Chauvin trial today is the right one. Convicting him of all three charges marks a new dawn in the fight for racial justice.

“This trial was an opportunity for the justice system to hold Derek Chauvin accountable for his actions when he took the life of George Floyd. We can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that the right decision has been met, and that justice has been served.”

Hamilton says the guilty verdict was a sombre victory for George and his family, and efforts to promote justice are not in vain.


Hamilton tests 2022 eighteen inch tyres

Sir Lewis Hamilton has taken part in testing at Imola of the eighteen-inch Pirelli tyres which will be introduced next year. The Mercedes driver is the third to test the new compounds after both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz kicked off the Italian tyre manufacturer’s test programme at Jerez in February

The seven-times champion was using a re-livered 2019 Mercedes mule car to test the tyres before teammate Valtteri Bottas took over on Wednesday at Imola. Ferrari had a second test following the season-opener in Bahrain and was joined by Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and returning two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.

Alpine, Red Bull and Alfa Romeo will test the 18-inch tyres again in Barcelona following the Spanish Grand Prix in May, while Mercedes will conduct a wet weather test at Paul Ricard the same month, before carrying out a further test at the Hungaroring in August.


Williams aims for 100 pit stops in Portimao

Williams have announced plans to join the Captain Tom Moore 100 Challenge during the Portuguese Grand Prix. During the first UK lockdown, the former army captain raised an astonishing £38.9 million as his efforts captured the imagination of the British people.

He was knighted for his amazing fundraising efforts and passed away earlier this year at the age of 100, after catching coronavirus.

To mark his 101st birthday, on April 30, the Captain Tom Foundation has invited people to take on a challenge centred around the number 100, and Williams will be aiming to complete 100 pitstops over the three days of the Portuguese Grand Prix weekend.

The effort will be in aid of the team’s official charity, the Spinal Injuries Association.

CEO Jost Capito said “Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired millions around the world, with his simple message of hope, “Tomorrow will be a good day” and brought comfort and joy to so many around the world during the pandemic.”

“It has been a challenging time for everyone and still is, and we want to take this opportunity to do something in his memory, whilst also raising money for a very worthy cause”

Captain Tom captures the heart of the world and F1 drivers such as George Russell of Williams, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton and McLaren’s Lando Norris paid tribute when he passed away in February.


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