“We were a little bit lucky today,” said Sebastian Vettel after having grabbed victory in the opening round of the 2018 Formula 1 season. Buying a lottery ticket on the way home might not be the best option for him – lightning doesn’t strike twice.
When Romain Grosjean’s Haas crawled to a stop on the exit of Turn 2, Vettel suddenly stole a race defining advantage. As the only front-runner yet to make his pitstop, Vettel dived into the pitlane under the subsequent virtual safety car conditions.
Long-time race-leader Hamilton, who had stopped during the green flag running, could do nothing at that moment to stop Vettel emerging from the pits ahead and in the lead of the race. With Albert Park being the second hardest track on the F1 calendar at which to overtake, it was game, set and match to Ferrari in that race-defining moment.
Had it not been for the deployment of the VSC, Vettel would have finished second at best. Luck played a key role but was not the only factor propelling Vettel to victory.
The eve of a brand-new Formula 1 season is one of the year’s most exciting times. The anticipation of discovering which teams have done the best job at scaling the pecking order over the winter, and conversely, which teams have the most work to do?
Predicting the final constructors’ championship results pre-Melbourne is never more than the art of guesswork but in the name of fun, I’ve had a go anyway.
Here is my predicted pecking order for F1’s 2018 season;
IndyCar’s 2018 season-opener at St. Petersburg was a modern classic. Unfortunately for rookie Robert Wickens, classics aren’t that easy to forget.
Sebastien Bourdais won a second consecutive race at St Pete. This being the Frenchman’s first win since returning from his 215mph horror crash during Indy 500 qualifying last season, coming at his home venue no less, meant that it was an emotional scene in victory lane.
It would take an extraordinary circumstance to make Bourdais’ story a subplot but the ‘heartbreak’ suffered by Wickens, who was skittled out of the race lead by Alexander Rossi with just two laps to go, was just that.
It doesn’t take much to outrage a fanbase as a racing driver at the top of the game. One misinterpretation or one moment of madness in front of a microphone can trigger armies of fans to rally against you.
Williams’ Lance Stroll may be feeling the wrath of the internet’s legion of Felipe Massa fans for a while. In an interview featured on Autosport, Stroll extinguished the idea that former team-mate Massa had been a mentor to him in his rookie 2017 season, stating that he received “no guidance whatsoever” from the now-retired Brazilian.
The start of the IMSA SportsCar championship comes as a welcome relief to motorsport fans feeling deprived following a quiet winter. The historic Daytona 24 Hours rarely fails to deliver competitive action and thrilling conclusions throughout the classes.
In 2018, the IMSA curtain raiser promises to attract even more eyeballs courtesy of an unprecedented invasion of talent from single-seater disciplines, all looking to test their mettle against sportscars elite names.
Video games have come a long way in a short space of time. As technology has developed the archaic Space Invaders has been replaced by games which place realism and immersion at the heart of the gameplay. Racing games are no exception.
McLaren’s World’s Fastest Gamer contest has offered gamers a unique opportunity to prove that their virtual skills can be utilised by a professional race team at the pinnacle of motorsport. The winner, Rudy van Buren, a former Dutch karting champion, can become a pioneer as motorsport has suddenly become more accessible.
Sport does a really bad job of remembering those who finish second, even when their defeat is dealt by the smallest of margins. However, Felipe Massa is somewhat of an exception, having been one half of a 2008 world championship tussle that will surely be remembered as long as racing cars lap racing circuits.
Last week, Massa announced that the final two races of the 2017 season will be his last in Formula 1. A familiar position following his announcement last season that he would retire at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign, only to be recalled just weeks later as Williams needed a late replacement for the Mercedes-bound Bottas.
With Massa already setting his sights on other categories, the chances of a second return to F1 range between slim and none. All-out for 15 years at the pinnacle of motorsport, 11 victories, 41 podiums and a starring role in the most dramatic sporting spectacle F1 will likely ever host.