Kansas City – The past week has been quite an eventful one in the wild world of Formula 1. Lewis Hamilton won his 4th consecutive race this past weekend in Barcelona, Pastor Maldonado crashed, again, and finally Max Chilton was on top of the leaderboard for a while. Don’t worry, your screen isn’t dirty, Chilton was on top of the leaderboard for a while this week at the First Test Day in Barcelona following Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Pardon the interjection of some humour here, but my original title for this article was “Chilton tops all, Bernie’s heart gives out.” Thankfully for F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, that wouldn’t be good journalism because it hasn’t actually happened. Now, back to serious writing…
This past weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix certainly has taught the F1 world something, despite Mercedes’ continued dominance, some from the rest of the field are starting to catch up to the Silver Arrows. In particular, if I were Lewis Hamilton, I’d be a bit worried about his teammate, Nico Rosberg’s, ability to catch up to the No. 44 car. At the chequered flag, the German was just .600 of a second behind the Briton. With Monaco coming up, both drivers stand a good chance at winning, but I’m putting my support on Rosberg. He will want a repeat of last year’s Monaco victory. On top of that, a Rosberg win seems to be the way that the F1 winds are blowing from the tailpipes of fortune.
The chase of the Silver Arrows has been taken up full-heartedly by last year’s champions, the Red Bulls. Both Australian Daniel Ricciardo and German Sebastian Vettel have been driving fantastically. Ricciardo earned his first podium, that wasn’t revoked by the FIA, of his career this past weekend. Likewise, Vettel came back from the adversity of starting in 15th to finish in 4th, just shy of his new Aussie teammate. If this continues, within the next couple races we could see a Red Bull once again finishing first.
As for the rest of the field, the lapping of everyone who finished in 7th or lower is something that certainly concerns the crowd. Force India and Williams continue to be forces to be reckoned with, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas finishing just below Vettel in 5th and the two Force Indias finishing in 9th and 10th with Pérez over Hülkenberg this past weekend.
On the flip side of things, my own preferred team, McLaren, has not been doing nearly as well as they seemed like they’d do following the opening round in Australia. Both drivers had their own set of troubles in Spain, finishing with Jenson Button just in the lead over his rookie teammate Kevin Magnussen in 11th and 12th. As NBC Sports’ F1 commentators put it, “McLaren is about the only team using Mercedes engines that hasn’t been doing well.”
The next round in Monaco, which starts with Free Practise 1 a little less than a week from today, will be a good judge of what is to come for the rest of the season. I will be back with more F1 thoughts next Wednesday. This article is coming out a day late from my usual F1 Midweek day of Wednesday because I was moving out of my house at university for the Summer all day yesterday.