F1Weekly podcast # 810

THE HOST ADMITS DEFEAT AND WILL LISTEN TO NASIR CONTINUE HIS PRAISE OF THE F1 2019 SEASON AND OF COURSE THIS WILL CONTINUE FOR YEARS TO COME!
BIG MOTORSPORTS NEWS OF THE WEEK…

CITROEN QUITS WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT…The French firm has a storied history in the WRC, winning nine consecutive drivers’ championships with Sebastien Loeb between 2004 and 2014, and eight manufacturers’ titles during that period. But it has struggled to compete with Toyota and Hyundai in recent years, finishing third in this year’s makes’ points. Ogier, who has won six drivers’ titles with Volkswagen and M-Sport Ford, was third in the drivers’ standings.

Ogier, who started his works career with Citroën in 2009, had returned to the firm this season on a two-year deal, but his unhappiness with the competitiveness of his C3 WRC became clear during the year. He is widely expected to switch to the title-winning Toyota squad for 2020. Finn Esapekka Lappi also drove for the team this year.

In a statement, Citroën Racing said that “following the decision of Sebastien Ogier to leave Citroën Racing after 2019 WRC season, Citroën decided to withdraw from its WRC programme in 2020 due to the absence of a first-class driver available for 2020 season.”

With sister firm DS a frontrunner in Formula E and Peugeot gearing up to return to the World Endurance Championship with a hybrid supercar in 2022, Citroën had been expected to leave the WRC in the coming years – but it is still a surprise for the firm to leave so quickly.

Citroën boss Linda Jackson said: “Our decision to withdraw from WRC programme as early as end of 2019 follows on Sébastien Ogier’s choice to leave Citroën Racing. We obviously have not wished this situation but we could not imagine 2020 season without Sébastien.

“I would like to thank Citroën Racing team for their passion and commitment. A part of Citroën’s DNA is intimately linked with the rally and we are proud to be one of the most titled brands in WRC History with 102 victories and eight manufacturer titles.”

Play Podcast: 11-19-19f1weekly810.mp3

FORMULA 1

MAX WINS CRAZY BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX

Verstappen secured the win on Sunday at the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix. After being robbed of the win at last year’s race in Brazil, Verstappen drove brilliantly to finish first after starting on pole and managing to hold back Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton.

In second place and on the podium for the first time of his career was Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly who made the most of Hamilton’s impact with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon in the final laps. The Thai driver took a wide line into turn ten, just ahead of Hamilton who went for the gap and came into contact with the right rear wheel of Albon’s car.

Gasly pulled ahead of both drivers and crossed the finish line approximately six seconds behind Verstappen. Hamilton recovered to claim third but stewards later handed him a five-second penalty that dropped him to seventh place. Albon dropped back to 15th and could only finish in 14th place.

Hamilton’s loss was McLaren driver Carlos Sainz’s gain, with the Spaniard moving up from his fourth-place finish to claim the third and final podium spot. Like Gasly, it was also the first time Sainz enjoyed a podium finish.

Both Gasly and Sainz were also helped by a collision between Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. At lap 66, following a safety car period to deal with Valtteri Bottas’ retired Mercedes, Verstappen led the race and was followed by Vettel, Albon and Leclerc. By turn one, Albon managed to pass Vettel who tucked in behind the Thai. At the same time, Leclerc closed right up to Vettel and passed him for fourth place, also at turn one.

Vettel got a better exit in the second part of the Senna Esses and chased after Leclerc, trying to take the place back. However, it resulted in the two men colliding on the straight and it spelt the end of the race for both of them.

With the two Ferrari men out, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was able to finish fourth followed by his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi in fifth.

Charles Leclerc #16
“It’s a real pity to end the weekend like this. I am sorry for the whole team, especially because today we were fast and we were looking good to bring home some decent points.
It had actually been an exciting race for me. Starting from the midfield, I enjoyed fighting my way forward and was satisfied with the way things were progressing.
We will move on from this in any case and continue to work together in the best way. Now it’s time for us to focus on Abu Dhabi to end our season in the best possible way.”

FORMULA 3

MACAO ROOKIE VERSCHOOR TAKES SENSATIONAL VICTORY

Macao rookie Richard Verschoor upset the form book by holding off pre-race favourite Jüri Vips to secure a sensational victory in the Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 World Cup.

The race got off to a dramatic start, front-row starter Robert Shwartzman out of the running before getting to Lisboa Bend on the opening lap. The Russian’s undoing was light contact with Christian Lundgaard on the way into Mandarin, the resulting front-right puncture ending his day on the spot.

That left polesitter Vips out front, as Verschoor snuck up the inside of Lundgaard into Lisboa to snatch second place.

Vips found the best part of two seconds over Verschoor on the opening lap alone, but his early advantage disappeared when Ferdinand Habsburg crashed on his way out of the Solitude Esses on the third lap, bringing out the Safety Car.

The Lap 8 restart proved to be bad news for Vips. The Estonian was powerless to stop Verschoor from getting a run through the first two corners, his Dutch rival sweeping into the lead at Lisboa Bend.

Hopes of a quick fightback were dashed when Sophia Floersch rolled to a stop on the way into Mandarin, the recovery requiring a short Virtual Safety Car intervention.

When the race went green and DRS was enabled Vips piled pressure on the leader, even getting next to Verschoor into Lisboa on Lap 11. But he couldn’t find a way past, Verschoor holding on to become the first Dutch driver to win the Macau Grand Prix.

“To be honest I can’t really believe it just yet,” he said. “It was such a hectic race and I was under a lot of pressure. I think we had really good pace, but to be honest Jüri was a bit too fast for me. I didn’t expect to be able to keep him behind. I saw he tried to do one big move and then I had a big gap, but he still closed the gap. I thought for those last two laps he’d be able to fight me. So I made sure I had a good sector three and sector four so I could have a big enough gap to not get overtaken.”

Vips, meanwhile, was left devastated by missing out on victory after a near-flawless weekend. “I’m just disappointed,” he said. “I feel like it was a perfect weekend, minus the Safety Car restart. I don’t really know what happened there, I think I picked up something on my tyres. I don’t know if it was debris from the crash. But that’s how Richard got close to me and passed me. Then I ruined my tyres by taking a risk. In the end I had big flat spots, I don’t know how I managed to keep Richard under pressure in the middle sector because my tyres were finished.”

Logan Sargeant made it two Macao rookies on the podium, the Carlin driver sealing a fine third thanks to a fast start from sixth on the grid, followed by a Lap 9 move at Lisboa Bend on Lundgaard.

“I had a decent-enough start,” said the American. “I got a good run through Mandarin and I think I picked up a couple of positions. And then it was just picking them off one by one and trying to catch the leaders. The VSC was a bit of a shame. I felt like after that I really lost the confidence in the grip I had in the tyres. But I’m happy, we’ll be back next year to try and win.”

Lundgaard came home fourth ahead of Alessio Lorandi and Callum Ilott, as Liam Lawson capped off a brilliant day for MP Motorsport with a charge from 20th on the grid to seventh.

Fellow Kiwi Marcus Armstrong was another hard charger, turning a 17th grid slot into eighth, as David Beckmann and Frederik Vesti rounded out the top 10.

FORMULA 1

MAX ON POLE FOR BRAZIL

Max has a pole position he now will dearly want to convert into a victory after a win was snatched from his grasp in the same race last year. The Red Bull driver was rightly pleased with a performance of control and pace to take the top spot but acknowledged the task is to complete the job. Despite his form at Interlagos, victory is never a given.

Although this is the first time he has qualified in the top three at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Verstappen has great form at this track, including a standout performance in the wet in 2016. Last year he had also driven a superb race and was comfortably leading when he was struck and spun by Esteban Ocon who was attempting to unlap himself, costing the Dutchman the win. The two exchanged words and a spot of pushing and shoving afterwards.

Verstappen was furious but has the opportunity to put it behind him with victory on Sunday. He put himself in the best place to do so with a commanding performance. The car, he said, had been “on fire”, a welcome change from the majority of races where it has struggled against the power of Mercedes and Ferrari. “The car was flying and really enjoyable to drive. I’m really happy with this pole,” he said. “I’ll try to finish it off.”

The Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, acknowledged his performance. “He just got the car really hooked up and the whole package has been working really well,” he said. “It was brilliant from him.”

Verstappen’s rivals certainly had no answer as Ferrari’s’ Sebastian Vettel was held to second and Lewis Hamilton third, both over a 10th back. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was in fourth but will receive a 10-place grid penalty for taking a new engine. Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Mercedes, in front of Red Bull’s Alexander Albon.

FORMULA 3

VIPS TAKES SPECTACULAR POLE FOR QUALIFICATION RACE

Jüri Vips took a spectacular pole position for the Qualification Race for Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 World Cup.

The Estonian was in the fight for pole throughout the session, one of a number of drivers to enjoy a spell as the pacesetter in the first half of the second qualifying session.

But it was only after a stoppage to clear pole contender Marcus Armstrong’s crashed car that Vips really showed his hand, breaking the two minute, five second barrier with a stunning 2:04.99 lap – five seconds faster than last year’s pole time – with seven minutes to go.

While that time initially left him six-tenths clear of the field, the gap was swiftly closed to just under four-tenths by Robert Shwartzman. However, that was as close as the Russian could get, a late red flag due to a stranded Yuki Tsunoda confirming Vips as the 2019 Qualification Race polesitter.

Callum Ilott will start the Qualification Race from third, the Briton impressive on what is his outright debut in an FIA F3 car.

Most of the top 10 broke into the two minute five seconds, with Christian Lundgaard, Richard Verschoor, Jake Hughes, Frederik Vesti and Arjun Maini locking out positions fourth to eighth.

Armstrong, meanwhile, will start from ninth, despite his session-ending crash with 20 minutes to go. The Kiwi’s afternoon started with a brush of the wall at Moorish Hill on an early run, which required some minor repairs before he could set a representative time.

He then became the first driver into the ‘fives’ with a 2:05.95, which he promptly followed up by slamming the wall at Police on his next run.

The Armstrong red flag was great news for Dan Ticktum, as his Carlin Buzz Racing crew scrambled to repair his car after his practice crash with David Beckmann. In the four-hour break, the team had to replace the engine, gearbox, rear wing and more, the stoppage creating just enough of a time buffer for the Briton to get out on track. Despite only getting eight laps in he was able to qualify 13th.

It was a similar story for Beckmann, the German only getting out for a five-lap run that left him 24th for the session.

Formula 3

HUGHES TAKES PROVISIONAL POLE

Jake Hughes is the provisional polesitter for the 2019 Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 World Cup after narrowly beating David Beckmann in the first of two qualifying sessions.

The Briton smashed this morning’s unofficial lap record in the process of topping the session, his 2:06.793 time now the fastest ever Formula 3 lap around the Guia circuit.

It was Marcus Armstrong who set the early qualifying pace, a 2:10.154 putting him a tenth clear of SJM Prema Theodore Racing teammate Robert Shwartzman after the first representative runs.

On 10 minutes the session was stopped for the first time, Enaam Ahmed bringing out the red flag thanks to a trip down the Lisboa Bend escape road.

The restart was followed by a wave of improvements, with Shwartzman leading the way as times dipped into the 2:08s. But the green running was brief, Lisboa Bend striking again as Max Fewtrell hit the outside wall to spark a second stoppage.

Once again, the restart brought a new benchmark, Jüri Vips charging to the top with a 2:06.943. But the Estonian’s stint at the top was brief, Jake Hughes banking the time that would ultimately top the session minutes later. At the same time David Beckmann slipped into second, his time just 0.05s short of Hughes and less than a tenth faster than Vips.

With five minutes to go there was another stoppage when Olli Caldwell’s Trident Motorsport entry rolled to a stop on the way out of Fishermen’s Bend. But this time there was no improvement from the restart, a run of yellow flags, and a final red when Yuki Tsunoda hit the wall at Maternity Bend, helping Hughes’ lap remain unchallenged.

Armstrong ended up fourth behind Vips, the Kiwi struggling with traffic throughout the session. Logan Sargeant was an impressive fifth, followed by two-time race winner Dan Ticktum and Callum Ilott.

Frederik Vesti was eighth quickest, with Shwartzman left in ninth after a bad run with yellow and red flags, and an out-lap spin on his final run.

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