Vettel: Story Of A Few Hundredths & Tenths

A Few Hundredths Here & A Few Tenths There

Valtteri Bottas drove a calm, consistent and composed race to win ahead of Sebastian Vettel. As for Vettel, this race was where he lost pole by a few hundredths and then the win by a few tenths. Vettel knows that he’s in the marginally slower Ferrari, but he’s still leading the Drivers’ Championship by 20 points. As for Hamilton, he’s faced three car-related issues in the last two races. A loose headrest in Baku, a brake issue in FP3 and a gearbox issue in Austria. He should’ve actually closed the gap to Vettel drastically, instead of losing a few more. But that’s how the sport is – you got to be quick and you got to be lucky.
Mithila Mehta and I have partnered with Firstpost for the 2017 Formula 1 Season and will feature in their Firstpost Pole Position videos all through the season. Basically, we’re now available in text, audio and video! 

Who Will Fernando Alonso Race For In 2018?

The million dollar question for Formula 1 – who will Fernando Alonso race for next season? Ferrari and Mercedes have declined his advances, while Mclaren are doing everything they can to keep him. Red Bull Racing have their own ‘problem of plenty’. Now, the Haas F1 Team has thrown their hat in the ring. It has taken Haas all of 9 races this season to equal their performance from the last season – also their debut. Will Force India be next? They’ve managed 7 double points finish out of 9, could Alonso do better than that and score podiums consistently? And finally, what about Williams? They’re an iconic former World Champion team too. And we know how important an ‘older’ Formula 1 driver is for them.
Maybe Fernando Alonso should do what no other driver has done. Drive a few races for every team that would want him. While every team will find space for him, will Force India be able to find space for the sponsors he would attract? They’ve sold out almost all of their obvious sponsor positions for this season.

The Red Bull Shit Luck

Talking of luck, Max Verstappen needs to woo his Lady Luck BIG time. In the last 7 races, he’s had 5 DNFs – all down to car issues or accidents, and in this 7 races, Ricciardo has scored 5 podium finishes including a win. In fact, Ricciardo has scored more points than any other driver in the last 7 races. While that’s a heartening stat, I doubt he’s in contention for the Drivers’ Championship this year – a claim he made post-Austria. Maybe the champagne + sweat mixture was too heady for the bubbly Australian to handle.

What Kind Of Driver Do Ferrari Want As Their No. 2?

The former World Champion team is back to behaving funny with Kimi Raikkonen. On one hand, they’re calling the sport’s favourite driver, Kimi Raikkonen, a ‘laggard’ and on the other hand, they’re being laggards with his in-race tyre strategy. It was evident in Austria too. Ferrari almost forgot that they had to pit Raikkonen in response to Hamilton’s pit call. Instead, they decided to ruin his race by letting him remain out long enough to delay Bottas by a few seconds in his gap to Vettel. While their tactics are perfectly valid, they need to answer what sort of a ‘number 2′ driver are they seeking. One that will score points and help their Constructors’ Championship standings (a la Bottas), or one that will do all he can (and one they will do all they can with) to help Vettel win the Drivers’ Championship.

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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