The first win is almost invariably the hardest to achieve. Many drivers hit a glass ceiling in Formula 1, where points and even podiums are regularly scooped up, while the race win remains elusive.
After 11 podiums from 81 races, Valtteri Bottas finally broke through that barrier on Sunday to clinch his first career victory in fine style. His fourth race for Mercedes and one which could prove to be a turning point in the unfolding 2017 narrative.
Bottas may be about to give Mercedes’ management a headache.
Sandbagging and testing are bedfellow terms and despite F1 firing into life every February for pre-season testing, the pecking order remains a mystery until the first race in March. Sometimes we have to wait even longer.
Niki Lauda has indicated that the formbook will become evident far earlier in 2017, with teams needing to know the true limitations and strengths of their cars prior to the first race.
It takes quite a news story to stop the F1 world spinning mid-week. For the second time in 12 months, F1 fans were sent into a frenzy of discussion and debate without even having a race to watch. Max Verstappen replacing Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull seemed set to be 2016 biggest bombshell news story until Nico Rosberg raised the bar, announcing his retirement from F1 just days after clinching his maiden title in highly dramatic circumstances.
A news story with an extraordinary amount of layers that has sparked widespread debate. Here is my take on the decisions and resultant shockwaves that could shake F1 for a while to come…
Ever since F1’s regulations were overhauled ahead of the 2014 F1 season, Mercedes have been the class of the field. A brace of Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles have been achieved in dominant fashion, with 701 and 703 points amassed by the team in 2014 and 2015 respectively. While 2016 has seen Nico Rosberg claim four victories from a possible four and Mercedes secure two one-two finishes, unreliability has hindered them, particularly on Lewis Hamilton’s side of the garage.
Following accusations that the team are deliberately favouring Rosberg this season, Mercedes have written an open letter to the fans looking to quell the speculation.
After months of speculation, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have confirmed today that they will continue their partnership, post 2015, with Hamilton signing a contract extension which will keep him at Brackley until the end of 2018. Ultimately, this announcement was rather a matter of when rather than if, particularly following Hamilton’s title success last season and the strength that Mercedes have shown under the sport’s current technical guise.