How the 'Great F1 Rake-Off' delivered a Bahrain GP showdown
For the 2021 F1 season, the battle of Red Bull vs Mercedes looks set to be captured in the high-rake vs low-rake philosophy clash due to this year's technical rule tweaks. While bringing the grid closer together in terms of performance, it could be the deciding factor in the race for the world title
One of The Simpsons' most classic episodes, Cape Feare, features one of the most memorable moments of televisual brilliance. Sideshow Bob, having followed the Simpson family on its journey into witness protection, detaches himself from the underside of the car and steps onto a rake. He grumbles, before immediately proceeding to step onto another rake. And another. And another.
There's a very tenuous link between that episode and the beginning of the 2021 F1 season, with the best laid plans for victory (or, in Bob's case, the murder of spiky-headed ne'er-do-well Bart) put momentarily on pause by rake-instigated pain. The technical changes for 2021, those being the cuts in floor size and diffuser size, have been discussed at great length – but before running began, few were sure of the impact they would have on cars of differing rake.
Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...
Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.
OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.
Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition
Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory
Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.
As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival
How track limits became the talk of the Bahrain GP
Brawn hails Tsunoda as "F1's best rookie for years"