All posts by f1weekly

F1Weekly podcast # 784

NASIR CAN’T BELIEVE FERRARI FAILED TO DELIVER ON THE OPENING RACE AND THE HOST KNEW THIS WAS COMING! PLUS …WE HAVE A SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH THE 2018 MAZDA PRO CHAMPION RINUS VEEKAY!

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Newly crowned FIA Asian F3 Winter Series Champion Rinus VeeKay has completed his pre-season preparations and is now eagerly anticipating the opening rounds of the 2019 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.

VeeKay will be sporting the Mazda Motorsports soul red colors thanks to his Indy Pro 2000 Championship victory last year, and expectations are high for the new season as he continues to strive towards achieving his ambition of reaching the NTT IndyCar Series. The final step of the Road To Indy ladder system will provide the young Dutchman with the opportunity to race at some iconic venues for the first time, including the Circuit of The Americas, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval for the crown jewel event, the Freedom 100.

However, the focus now turns towards this weekend, where VeeKay and his Juncos Racing team will aim to start the season in a positive fashion on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

“I am super happy to come back again to St. Pete for the start of the 2019 Indy Lights championship,” VeeKay commented. “I have a good history here so I feel confident that Juncos Racing and I can fight for wins. My goal for the 2019 season is to win the Indy Lights Championship, which I know the team and I are able to challenge for! I must also say I am super excited to represent Mazda Motorsports, along with Jumbo, La Place and the Dutch KNAF Talent First program. Finally, a big thanks to all of my family for their terrific support!”

Official practice gets underway tomorrow (Friday, March 8 at 8:05 am E.T.) and all practice and qualifying sessions will be streamed live via RoadToIndy.TV. Rounds One and Two of the championship will be aired live on NBC Sports Gold.

About Rinus VeeKay
Rinus was born and raised in the Netherlands and, at the age of 18, he already has 10 race wins and 22 podiums on the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. In 2018, the Dutch phenom won the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with powerhouse team Juncos Racing. This winter, Rinus won the FIA F3 Asian Winter Series Championship with Hitech GP, securing his second championship title in six months. Veekay now advances to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires with Juncos Racing thanks to the Mazda Scholarship. You can follow Rinus via his website FollowRVK.com as well as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Play Podcast: 03-19-19f1weekly784.mp3

FORMULA 1

BOTTAS SAYS TO THE WORLD…I’M NOT A NUMBER TWO

The Finn was in a league of his own in the Melbourne sunshine and cruised home well ahead of Hamilton, who failed to convert on an Albert Park pole for the fifth time since 2014.

“I don’t remember when we last saw Lewis Hamilton beaten fair and square like this – and by twenty seconds,” former driver Paul di Resta said on Sky Sports.

Bottas was lost for words when he stepped out of the car having notched his first win since November 2017.

He eventually said: “I don’t know what to say. The start was really good – definitely my best race ever.

“I don’t know what happened but it felt so good, everything was under control. Truly enjoyable.”

Defending world champion Hamilton finished second, a staggering 22 seconds behind Bottas. It was his fourth runner-up finish in a row at Albert Park from four-consecutive poles.

Bottas also claimed the fastest lap of the race which is now worth one championship point.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen showed good pace on his way to the bottom step of the podium, while Ferrari were once again outgunned despite promising pre-season speed.

Sebastian Vettel was passed on-track by Verstappen and finished fourth, while new recruit Charles Leclerc recovered from an early off to finish fifth.

Vettel was shocked by the lack of pace, asking over team radio: “Why are we so slow?”

Ferrari hadn’t missed the podium in Melbourne since 2014.

Making matters worse for Ricciardo was the fact his teammate Nico Hulkenberg enjoyed a strong race for Renault.

He moved up from 11th on the grid to eighth on the first lap and eventually finished in seventh.

Elsewhere, Carlos Sainz’ first race with McLaren lasted only 11 laps before smoke plumed from the back of his car and he was forced to park near the pit entry.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean notched his sixth retirement at the Australian Grand Prix after his wheel came loose before he could make it into pit lane.

Verstappen’s new Red Bull teammate Pierre Gasly didn’t finish inside the top ten and was even passed by Daniil Kvyat in the sister Toro Rosso car.

Robert Kubica finished 17th in his first race back in Formula One since a life-threatening rally crash in 2011.

FORMULA 1

MERCEDES FRONT ROW LOCK OUT…NO SURPRISE REALLY!

LCH will lead the pack for the season opener after setting a record time of 1.20.486, 0.112 seconds ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished qualifying a distant third (+0.704), while Max Verstappen was fourth (+0.834).

Hamilton also equaled the record for the most pole positions at a single circuit, making it eight in Melbourne. Only legends Ayrton Senna (Imola) and Michael Schumacher (Suzuka) have claimed eight at one track.

“I didn’t know about that. It is news to me,” Hamilton said when told about his record-equalling effort.

The record wasn’t the only shock for Hamilton. He couldn’t believe Mercedes had made such great strides at Melbourne since Ferrari had dominated recent testing in Spain.

“It’s a real shock. But I know Ferrari will be pushing hard tomorrow and they will put up a good fight,” he said.

Earlier in Q1, Australian hearts were in mouths as Ricciardo languished in the dropzone when the clock ran out.

The Australian flirted with an early exit, but pulled himself out of the bottom five after the buzzer by less than a tenth of a second.

Red Bull new boy Pierre Gasly wasn’t so lucky and was shockingly dumped out in Q1 to make the worst possible start to his life as Ricciardo’s replacement.

Gasly said he was happy with his lap but added: “Clearly the track evolution was big and it was quite a surprise (to be eliminated).”

Also eliminated in Q1 was Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, and new Williams pair George Russell and Robert Kubica.

Kubica was in his first F1 qualifying session since 2010, when his career, and life, were nearly ended by a serious rally crash.

On Saturday, he kissed the wall twice – once in practice and once in qualifying – and ended up on the grass in Q1.

The biggest shock of Q2 was reserved for McLaren youngster Lando Norris, who scraped into the final session on F1 debut.

Elsewhere, Ferrari recruit Charles Leclerc qualified in fifth, while Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were quick enough for sixth and seventh respectively.

Kimi Raikkonen was ninth in his new Alfa Romeo.

FORMULA 1

LCH DOMINATES PRACTICE ONE AND TWO…COULD BE DEJA-VU ALL OVER AGAIN!

LCH headed a Mercedes one-two in second practice at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton beat Valtteri Bottas by 0.048 seconds but the two were 0.8secs clear of the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly.

Ferrari, who appeared to have the quickest car in pre-season testing, were fourth with Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel was 0.8secs slower than the Mercedes on both short, qualifying-style runs and longer race-style runs, which is completely contradictory to their form in testing, when all their rivals felt Ferrari were ahead.

Vettel ended the day 0.873secs slower than Hamilton, a result that, if it were repeated on Saturday afternoon would surprise the whole paddock.

Vettel was just 0.03secs slower than Hamilton in the first session of the day, as 0.084secs covered them and Verstappen.

But while Mercedes found a second’s worth of pace for the second session, Vettel improved by just 0.164secs and Verstappen by only 0.392secs.

Vettel said he had not been happy with the Ferrari’s behaviour on track…

Vettel said: “It was a tricky day for us, we are not there yet where we would like to be, not in terms of lap time but more in terms of car feel and handling.

“We didn’t really get into the groove and rhythm and that is quite important around here. If we can get that confidence and groove back there is a lot of time to find around here.”

Asked about Mercedes’ pace, he said: “They looked really quick and I don’t know if it was just us struggling a bit today but they were in a league of their own. So maybe everyone else was struggling and we can turn it around bit they look certainly very strong and much stronger than they claimed before the weekend. I am optimistic because I know the car can do much better.”

FORMULA 1

CHARLIE WHITING SUDDENLY DIES AT 66

LCH and Sebastian Vettel have led the tributes to Charlie Whiting, the Formula One race director who died suddenly on Thursday, three days before the first grand prix of the season in Australia. Whiting, who had been at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne on Wednesday, died as a result of a pulmonary embolism. He was 66.

Whiting had been the FIA race director since 1997 and was responsible for all activity on track over a race weekend including safety, starting the race and enforcing rules and regulations. He had been a driving force in promoting safety in F1, including the introduction of the halo cockpit protection device last year, which subsequently proved invaluable in preventing Charles Leclerc from being hit by an airborne car at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Well-liked and hugely respected, the paddock was left shocked at the news of his death. “I have known Charlie since I started in 2007,” said Hamilton. “Incredibly shocked to hear the sad news and my thoughts and prayers are with his family. All he did for the sport, his commitment, he really was a pillar, such an iconic figure within the sporting world and he contributed so much to us. May he rest in peace.”

Hamilton also recognized Whiting’s commitment to making F1 safer. “Charlie did so much for this sport and helped push on so many areas for the drivers and their safety,” he posted on Instagram.

Vettel, who has also known Whiting since he began in Formula One in 2007, was with the race director the day before his death. “I spoke to him yesterday and walked the first corners of the track with him,” the Ferrari driver said. “It is difficult to grasp when somebody is just not there any more. I have known him for a long time. He has been our man, the drivers’ man – there’s the regulations and there’s us, and he was the middle man.

“You could ask anything at any time, he was open to anyone; his door was always open. He was a racer, just a very nice guy. I am shocked. All out thoughts, the whole paddock, the whole family of F1, our thoughts are with him and his family.”

F1Weekly podcast # 783

CLARK AND NASIR ARE SO EXCITED WITH THE F1 SEASON STARTING THIS WEEKEND AND ALL THE POSSIBILITIES OF A GREAT FIGHT AT THE FRONT OF THE SPEAR. WE ALSO BRING YOU AN INTERVIEW WITH INDYCAR DRIVER MAX CHILTON!

HERE ARE SOME THOUGHTS FROM SERGIO PEREZ ON THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX…

Sergio Perez: It’s been such a long winter and I’m excited to be back in the car in Melbourne. I enjoyed some rest time at home with my family and my friends, but just a few weeks after Christmas I started missing being in the car. Australia is one of my favourite places to visit and definitely a cool place to start the season. Melbourne is a city I love: the fans are great and they make you feel really welcome. I am so happy to go there again.

Sergio Perez

I am ready to start a new chapter in the history of this team. I feel very strong both physically and mentally, and seeing the great spirit of our group of people gives me that extra bit of motivation. Last year was an exhausting one, on and especially off the track, but now I feel very relaxed. I worked a lot on my fitness throughout the winter because this season is going to be very long, all the way into December. I have to be ready for what is going to be a marathon.

The track in Melbourne is bumpy and very technical, as well as being quite narrow. It’s certainly a big challenge as the first race back after the break. Races in Melbourne tend to be unpredictable and that could give the opportunity for a special result. It’s a cool track to drive, especially when you’ve missed the thrill of racing for so long. It’s still too early to say where we will be in the pecking order, but the first weekend should give us some indications for the season ahead.

I am also looking forward to the on-track battles – winter testing showed me that the cars are losing less downforce when following closely, so that should help the show. So far, I think F1 has done a great job with the new rules, but we need to wait for the first race and for our first experience of racing with more cars around you and on similar pace. Hopefully the racing will live up to the promise.

Away from the track, I hope to find some time to see the country. I love Australian wildlife – it’s not just kangaroos and koalas, you know! It’s one of the most incredible places on Earth and every year I wish I had the time to explore a bit more.

Play Podcast: 03-12-19f1weekly783.mp3