What did we learn from Azerbaijan?

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Charles Leclerc F1 Rookie.
Charles Leclerc F1 Rookie.

Well, we learned that today’s F1 drivers are a bunch of clowns, with only a few notable exceptions. Seven retirements with seven crashes plus other scrapes but managed to continue with new noses, wheels and tyres. And these are the best drivers in the world?

This sentiment is not just mine from the front of the TV screens, but is echoed by some F1 drivers themselves. Fernando Alonso saying, “Today’s race was very complicated – right from the very first lap,” Fernando said. “The first lap in the midfield is the same old story; people preferring to crash into other cars rather than lifting off.” Quite frankly, this is the standard of driving I see in the mid-fielders in local club racing and not what I expect from our F1 multi-million dollar drivers.

Top of the heap in the crashing department was Red Bull, with Mad Max (Verstappen) solidly blocking his team mate Daniel Ricciardo until he finally got shafted from behind. And what did the FIA do to temper Mad Max? Nothing, told the two drivers not to do it again. Pathetic, 40 slaps on the wrist with a wet tram ticket.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, who has encountered problems with team-mates before when Vettel was partnered there with Mark Webber, pulled no punches as he assessed the catastrophic accident. “I don’t care who is to blame,” he growled. “Both drivers should have enough brain to avoid such an accident. We will take measures to guarantee it won’t happen again.”

The final few laps were just mayhem, with leader Bottas (Mercedes) suffering a puncture with two laps to go and being classified as a non-finisher, Vettel (Ferrari) who was 2nd outbraking himself and ending up 4th, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) keeping his nose clean (auto and personal) and inheriting 1st and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 2nd and the midget Mexican Perez (FIndia) squeezing onto the podium in 3rd.

Driver of the day was Rookie Charles LeClerc in the Sauber who brought his Sauber home in 6th and in one piece. A great effort on a difficult track.

Result

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:46.842 51

2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2.460s 51

3 Sergio Perez Force India 4.024s 51

4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 5.329s 51

5 Carlos Sainz Renault 7.515s 51

6 Charles Leclerc Sauber 9.158s 51

7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 10.931s 51

8 Lance Stroll Williams 12.546s 51

9 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 14.152s 51

10 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 18.030s 51

11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 18.512s 51

12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 24.720s 51

13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 30.663s 51

Did not finish

Valtteri Bottas Mercedes puncture

Romain Grosjean Haas crash

Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull crash

Max Verstappen Red Bull crash

Nico Hulkenberg Renault crash

Esteban Ocon Force India crash

Sergey Sirotkin Williams crash