Singapore GP: Winners and Losers

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Winners

  • Carlos Sainz: It's hard to go past the man of the moment (after Hamilton perhaps), and despite being with the junior sibling Red Bull squad, Sainz managed to pull a Ricciardo-esque "take advantage of everyone else screwing up" drive to finish just shy of the podium.
  • Jolyon Palmer: If it weren't for Sainz's effort, Palmer would have stolen the day with a career-best P6. Forget that if the cars ahead hadn't crashed he'd have finished P10, it was the perfect response at exactly the right time because if he wants to stay in F1 he's got limited opportunities and needs to impress.
  • Hamilton's title chances: All kinds of permutations are already being thrown around about Vettel finishing lower than P3 in Malaysia and Hamilton finishing P2 in all the remainder of the races. Fact is, this has gone from a close championship to almost a blow-out in the course of a single race.

Losers

  • Sebastian Vettel: No, not for causing an unfortunate racing incident into Turn 1, but for his championship hopes taking a serious body-blow. Before the race, and particularly the qualifying result, most expected this to be a slam dunk and Vettel had probably scripted a scenario where he re-claims the championship lead. Now it'll take everything going his way if he's going to claim his 5th drivers' championship title.
  • Max Verstappen: Sure, he had nowhere to go. But it's a bit rich for his dad to go on twitter posting diagrams of the drivers' lines and stuff. Even saying "when you're fighting for the championship you shouldn't take risks like that" is tough to accept from the guy who drove into his own teammate on the first lap just three races ago.
  • Eddie Jordan: Lewis doesn't want to sit down, get over it.

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Singapore Driver of the Day: Poll closed

Italian GP: Winners and Losers

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Winners

  • Lewis Hamilton: What more can you say about the guy who claimed pole, won the race and became both the first driver this year to win back-to-back races AND snatch the lead in the championship? 
  • Daniel Ricciardo: Another remarkable comeback drive from P16 to finish P4. There was absolutely nothing about his race that suggested he was resting on his laurels, and he wanted to stand on the podium 
  • Esteban Ocon: A drive that will (hopefully) silence the doubters. After the scrambled qualifying grid, it could very easily have been Ocon standing on the podium alongside -- or even between -- the Mercs. 

Losers

  • Jolyon Palmer's transmission: Come on man, are you serious?
  • Felipe Massa: With his teammate qualifying up the business end of the grid, there was a real risk Felipe was going to come off 2nd-best in Italy. After scrapping with a few drivers (and arguably ruining a few races) he then traded paint with Stroll putting the team's double-points finish in jeopardy. 
  • Fernando Alonso: Somewhere, days after the race, he is still asking where Palmer is.

Have your say

Who is YOUR Italian GP Driver of the Day?

​Alonso's "clear route" to Indy

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BREAKING: Incredible developments overnight with the news that Fernando Alonso could, possibly, maybe, as an outside chance, turn his back on Formula 1 and switch to IndyCar. Perhaps permanently, but potentially only for 1 year. Or even not at all.

I'll give you a minute to recover from that shocking news.

"What will Fernando do?" has become the hot topic of the day. I'll say right now, I don't know. My best guess would be he'll stay at McLaren for another year of torment, regardless of whether they stick with Honda or switch to Renault (and introduce unfamiliarity and teething problems that having a new PU supplier entails).

Maybe he'll go to Indy. When asked recently for his highlight of the season so far, Fernando listed the Indy 500.

Lately that story has been gathering momentum faster than Alonso's sidepods gather nonchalant birds. These have been mostly fuelled by "developments Stateside".

Will Buxton speaking on Sky:

"Andretti, [the team] that Fernando ran with in the Indy 500, will be back with Honda engines next year. There was some debate over whether they would switch from Honda to Chevy ... But crucially, with the dithering over the engine scenario in IndyCar, Takuma Sato -- who won the Indy 500 this year for Andretti Honda -- has moved teams. Meaning Andretti has an open seat for next year.

"That now marks a clear route for Fernando to either get out completely, or take a sabatical. Go and do Indy for a year, see if McLaren can sort their problems out in Formula 1, and come back in 2019."

Calling this a "clear route" for Fernando is quite a stretch, for a few reasons.

I can't say I follow IndyCar closely, or even casually, but a precursory look at the wikipedia page for IndyCar season 2017 shows at least 22 instances of potential driver changes. Drivers changed teams, some left, new drivers came in, some on a permenant basis, some temporary. None of them were seen as a "route to IndyCar" for him, for some reason now they are.

However there is the link between Honda and Andretti. But, let's be blunt. If Alonso was commited to leaving Formula One he could go to any team with a driver opening. He doesn't need to manipulate McLaren's back-channels to find someone interested in giving him a seat. If Alonso went knocking, plenty of doors would surely open.

So, I call bullshit.

Smash cut to Thursday's driver press conference where Fernando announces he's signed a 12-month lease on a luxury apartment overlooking the Indianopolis Speedway.

Belgium GP: Winners and Losers

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Winners

  • Nico Hulkenberg: Finally another solid result for Renault. It looked like Palmer might have delivered P6 or P7 after running strong in the lead-up, but it was the ever-reliable Hulkenberg who finished just behind the top 5 and grabbed a few more precious points as his team reels in Haas and Toro Rosso.
  • Lewis Hamilton: A familiar name among the winners list, but was pushed by Vettel all race and closed the gap in the championship battle.
  • Mick Schumacher: At the race where his dad made his debut and took his maiden victory, seeing Schumi Jnr doing laps in the old Benetton was exactly what F1 needs right now.

Losers

  • Sergio Perez: For whatever reason Force India just can't keep their drivers off the "losers" list. Whether Ocon should have challenged ahead of Eau Rouge or not, putting your teammate into the wall is inexcusable. 
  • Honda: Failed to deliver their Spec 4 engine "upgrade". No wonder Alonso went back on this claim on Thursday that we wouldn't rant and rave about their lack of performance.
  • Verstappen's reliability: I'd be banning Mark Webber from coming anywhere near the garage and spooking his car if I were him. Ricciardo might be joking when he says he massages his car in a sort of "foreplay", but anything is worth a shot right now.

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Vote for the Belgian GP Driver of the Day

Hungary Grand Prix: Winners and Losers

Winners:

  • Fernando Alonso - Targeted P7, maybe top 6 if something went wrong at the front, and absolutely delivered while also claiming the fastest lap. Tops it off by sunning himself in a folding chair like a total boss. 
  • Kimi Raikkonen - Arguably should have won the race. Even if Seb had a steering issue, the Iceman might just have done enough to ensure himself a set of red overalls for next year. 
  • Mercedes - With Bottas letting Hamilton through in the late phase of the race, the team perfect executed the old switcheroo and Hamilton deserves praise for sticking to his word to give it back. Class all round. 

Losers: 

  • Max Verstappen - Despite apologising after the race, his mistake took out his teammate and the resulting penalty cost him any chance at a podium, at one of the tracks Red Bull could really have challenged. 
  • Magnussen/Hulkenberg - It got ugly in the pen after the race. When anyone has to tell anyone to suck their balls, you know things didn't go well on the track. 
  • Stomach bugs - Wash your hands, folks.

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