Monday, September 25, 2023

F1: Verstappen’s Win Streak Ends!

Push ‘em Back Carlos, Way Back!


Ah, doesn’t Singapore seem like such a long time ago, Eh? Especially after that vengeful, utterly Dominant weekend Smackdown MaxiMillions’ just Threw down upon us at Suzuka!


Although as I still, somewhat bask in the afterglow, or is that Aspen Glow? Two immediate thoughts following the Singapore Grand Prix came to mind. First I couldn’t even remember when I last “watched”, Err listened to a Grand Prix? Which I believe it must have been the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles villeneive Wayback’ on Bloody June 18th!


Along with is it wrong to wanting the Pole sitter to lead wire-to-wire? Especially after “Switching Off” from following Formula 1 for two months for this very same reason. Ergo the MaxiMillions factor…


I’m a Huge Fan of Carlos Sainz, Jr. for several reasons. As the Spaniard just seems to keep His Head down and get on with the job without All of the wingeing the Brat Pack does! Not to mention He seems to be treated like a Number Two driver at la Scuderia. Thus my desire for Carlos to win from Pole at Singapore!


Not to mention how Uber’ refreshing it was for Verstappen to not only not be a factor for the race win, along with barely being mentioned during the broadcast. But the icing on the cake was Max being legitimately passed on-track by five different drivers; George Russell, Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon when dropping back from second to seventh!


Still don’t quite understand Sky Sports Pundits Kroftie’, aka David Kroft and Martin BilyBob’ Brundle’s comments about Ferrari sacrificing Leclerc to ensure a win when the Monegasque was dutifully following Sainz in second place. Although may be this had something to do with Sainz masterfully managing the gap, since I thought they said His lead was only 0.7-seconds ahead of Leclerc at this point of the race? As Leclerc was the only driver in the Top-10 to start on Soft tyres vs. everbody else on mediums.


Although reportedly Ferrari told Leclerc first they needed Him to drop behind by three seconds, and then further told Him they needed it to be a five second gap.


On lap-20 the Safety Car came out for Williams Logan Sargeant who Hit the wall! Seeing the leaders dive into the Pits, with Ferrari and Mercedes Double Stacking their drivers, notably to Leclerc’s detriment. While the two Red Bulls stayed out, seeing Max and Checo’ (Perez) inherit P2-4.


Yet Sainz still led when the Safety Car pulled off on lap-22 and began His Master Class performance of driving as slow as possible to keep His lead, but preserve His Hard tyres, intending to nurse them to the finish…


And then things got interesting when the Virtual Safety Car (VCS) was deployed on lap-43 for Ocon’s smoking Alpine, having limped off track. As Mercedes rolled the dice and decided to go for broke! Pitting both drivers on lap-44 for fresh medium Pirelli rubber whilst Sainz, Norris and Leclerc stayed on-track.


On lap-50 Carlos held a slim 1.3 second lead ahead of Norris; 5.5 seconds on Scuderia teammate Leclerc, and 9.8 seconds over Russell with Hamilton 12.6 seconds adrift. Yet the two Silver arrows were cutting sizeable chunks of time each lap, with Russell and Hamilton some 1.5-2 seconds quicker per lap! As believe it was lap-53 when I began crossing my fingers and chanting Carlos! Since the Mercedes were ah-Comin’ Fast, and I really wanted Sainz to win!


First Russell, and then Hamilton passed third place Leclerc, whose tyres were shot. And that’s when it got Uber’ sstrange for Mwah! As I unexpectedly began chanting Lando-Lando-Lando! Whom happens to be one of the F1 Brat Pack members I dislike…


As lap-59 of 62 saw Sainz holding a razor slim 0.7-second lead over Norris. Who in turn was holding up Russell and Hamilton, with the top four only 1.7 seconds adrift! As Norris masterfully held off Russell, with Hamilton heard on His in-car radio telling George (Russell) to Hurry Up!


But it was all for naught, as Russell brushed the wall on the final lap before crashing with Sainz leading Norris across the stripe with Hamilton third. And it was interesting hearing Norris during the podium interview repeatedly saying that Sainz had been generous with DRS, letting Lando stay within the required one second gap to enable the Drag Reduction System to work. Which the Englishman thought not only helped Him hold off Hamilton for second, but helped Carlos win also…


Leclerc held onto fourth and Verstappen finished fith. While I was most impressed with AlphaTauri rookie Liam Lawson who finished an excellent ninth, scoring His maiden Formula 1 points in only His third F1 race.


And with Lawson’s more experienced teammate Yuki Tsunoda pulling off on lap-1, surely this just adds more pressure for AlphaTauri to retain the Japanese driver next year…


Sainz definitely lived up to His nickname of “Smooth Operator” by controlling the race while making His Hard Pirelli tyres last 42-laps! With Carlos popular win ending Verstappen’s consecutive win streak of ten races, and Red Bull’s run of 15 consecutive W’s. While Carlos took His second victory for Ferrari, and the Prancing Horse’s first W’ since Leclerc’s win at Austria last July.


As now the $64k question is will Max go back to dominating the remainder of the F1 calendar, or can Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes continue Harrying Verstappen and keep Red Bull off the top step of the podium?


Hmm, why is that ‘Ol Supertramp song Dreamer, You know You’re A Dreamer popping into my Head right now?