Like sand through the hour glass, the pages of the F1 calendar continue to be flicked over. We’ve seen the Singapore Grand Prix come and go. It is a race where the spectators sitting in the grandstands sweat as much as the drivers do due to the humidity. It was in all respects, just another race around the Marina Bay streets with only for two incidents making any news.
Firstly, I’ve got to say that ‘Checo’ in his pay for his seat role at Force India must consider himself as being a protected species. He drove into his team mate Ocon without rhyme or reason and received the most pathetic of penalties, whilst Ocon was left to watch the race from the garage after having been forced into the wall, bending his VJM11. It’s wrong that Ocon is on the brink of losing his seat as a promising driver whilst Perez pays for the privilege. The other incident at Singapore was Grosjean, the Prince of promise and his inability to give way when blue flags are being waved. He ignored the repeated waving of flags saying that he was in his own world, battling with Sirotkin in the Williams. Why Haas have renewed his contract for 2019 is anyone’s guess, its beyond me.
Next on the calendar we headed north and back into Europe for the Russian Grand Prix. The location at Sochi, the former Olympic site never induces any excitement for me. The long-left hand bend that is turn three, at 650 metres is the length of the average bread line during the days of the former Soviet Union. The rest of the circuit is about as boring as opening a kitchen cupboard and staring at your Tupperware collection.
There is no challenge or corners that push the drivers, it’s like Valencia with salt spray from the Black Sea and the odd glimpse of a snow-capped mountain. The race itself showed what Max Verstappen can do when he puts his mind to the task at hand. His start from 19th place on the grid was inspiring. He had the perfect amount of traction and weaved his way through the traffic like he was threading a size one sewing needle with abseiling rope.
The race of course struck controversy when James ‘JA’ Allison got on the horn to Bottas and effectively directed him to allow Hamilton to pass, to be able to take the win. Hamilton wasn’t happy to win by default, but it was a decision made by Toto Wolff to protect the mother ship, that being the team. For me, the win should be earned and not handed to a driver. I acknowledge the mark of respect by Hamilton in trying to hand the winner’s trophy to Bottas whilst on the podium. A nice gesture but not enough. Bottas has confirmed his position as the new Barrichello.
So, we then moved to the next race, the Japanese Grand Prix. What will be written in the next chapter of the F1 history books from this race at Suzuka, a place that has seen triumph and tragedy over the years. Let us await the Japanese chapter from the original F1 Armchair Expert.