The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku
OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue
Sporting podiums are not always packed with smiling faces.
In some contests, only victory will do – the losers’ medals from football finals often apparently cannot be located years after the event, or so goes the oft-trotted out explanation of many ex-professional pundits. Silver and bronze Olympic medals are mighty achievements to the individual recipients but will not be recorded in history with the same crowning achievement as the golden champion.
Then there’s victory celebrations being used for political point scoring (in many cases even hosting sporting events is intrinsically linked to politics, which is why those who bleat about ‘sport and politics not mixing’ when the point being made doesn’t suit their own agenda must be countered) or tarnished by controversy in the happenings of the contest. Formula 1 has plenty of experience of the last example.
The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score
The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull
Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.
After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again
Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes
OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot
Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview
The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars
Perez: No reason Baku F1 form can’t carry over to other tracks
Hamilton: There's still positives to take away from Baku pain