An Open Letter to Sebastian Vettel: The 2020 Edition.

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Dear Sebastian,

Some people often use the phrase “there are no words” during times like these; I am not one of them. Because I have words. Plenty of them. Words fueled by the multitude of emotions I’m feeling right now.

As I type this, I am flabbergasted. I am confused. I am disappointed. I am conflicted. I am sad. I am angry.

I am angry at Ferrari, for letting go of yet another World Champion and exceptional, once-in-a-generation talent (don’t get me started on this). I am angry at the world, for being so uncertain and unfair and generally horrible right now. I am angry at myself, for investing so much emotional energy over someone who does not know me at all.

But you know what, I’m not angry at you.

How could I be angry at you?

I’ve liked and supported you since you first burst into the F1 scene, during 2006. I’ve been a witness to your highest of highs and lowest of lows. I’ve tirelessly defended you. I’ve accepted you and all of your (fabulous) flaws and shortcomings.

The exultation and relief I felt when you signed for Scuderia Ferrari? The tears I shed when you had your first Ferrari victory? That pure, new brand of joy when I saw you win a Grand Prix in person after meeting you merely a day before? And everything else in between. Those tiny, little pockets of moments that eventually turned into a mountain of memories tinged in Red. I remember them all. Your thousands and thousands of fans remember them all.

Your hope and faith and unwavering belief in yourself and in teamwork, in talent, in hardwork. The laserlike focus. That next-level nerdiness. All of the times you laughed and cried and got shady and commiserated and celebrated with your team. Your endless stream of quotable quotes. Every single fan you signed for, took a photo with, took the time to speak with. You are more than a driver. You are more than an employee. You are a fan like millions of us. You get it. Your excitement and engagement and sincerity are palpable. That’s what sets you apart. You gave us all a gift. A gift we will always carry with us.

The news of your departure hurts. More than I can ever articulate. It’s a searing, impossible loss. I sit here stewing in sadness, partial denial, and complicated feelings, wondering why the world is filled with injustice and why good people cannot have good things, but ultimately, it is not about me. It’s about celebrating you, and what you have managed to achieve in the 6 years you were with the Scuderia.

Thank you for the leap of faith. Thank you for trying. Thank you for throwing yourself into the challenge with all of your mind, heart, body, and soul. You went absolutely all in and never backed down. Come hell and high water, you gave your best and hardest. That’s what matters. I am so ridiculously proud of you, it’s not even funny.

You are not The Michael Schumacher. Or his Second Coming. You never will be. And that’s a good thing, because you are The Sebastian Vettel and you are amazing just the way you are, and that is more than enough. When I think of the modern Ferrari driver, you will be the name that comes to mind. Whoever follows in your footsteps shall have a gargantuan gap to fill. What you have brought to and achieved for Ferrari? A unique blend of talent, passion, relentlessness and resilience that will leave a historic mark. You are a force of nature. A Phenomenon.

You love Ferrari with every single fiber of your being, a love that is both tragic and admirable. You are a Red. You will always be a Red. You are the Champion we wanted and the Champion we deserved. You’re Ours. Never forget that.

Whatever you decide to do next, I shall support and (eventually come to) accept unquestioningly. You’ve always been wise beyond your years and you know your worth better than anybody else. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to be appreciated, and you deserve to achieve them on your own damn terms.

Sebastian, go on and shape your own narrative, forge your own path, as you always have, stubbornly and magnificently.

I will miss you and your big, non-crystal, racing balls.

If you can only take a single thought from all of this rambling, let it be this: Thank you, Seb. With all of my heart. That is all.

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Sincerely,
Marj

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ICYMI: The F1 #AustrianGP Edition Roundup.

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The Roundup returns after a one-race break! The Austrian hills may not have come alive with the sound of (engine) music, but the Dutch contingent made sure to paint the town orange that weekend…

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A third DRS Zone was added in a bid to help overtaking:

Test yourself with this Austrian GP quiz:

Nico Hulkenberg looks really good in a…dress?

All four F1 rookies have previously raced on this track. Which one will impress the most?

Looks like the Mercedes lineup will be unchanged for 2019…

In things you never thought you’d read again: Kimi Raikkonen back to…McLaren?!

He doesn’t want to talk about it, though…

Updated PU Elements used by drivers pre-Austrian GP:

Pierre Gasly drove a badass KTM X-Bow around the Ring in an exhibition run:

Can Daniel Ricciardo notch a (positive) record on his birthday?

Max Verstappen has a special helmet for the weekend:

FP1: Sebastian Vettel & Stoffel Vandoorne almost collided in the pitlane. Yikes.

F1 teams want even less testing for next year…

McLaren then got fined for Vandoorne’s FP1 unsafe release:

That’s a lot of Freddos.

FP2: Pierre Gasly broke his suspension after riding a kerb, causing a Red Flag.

Spotted: Bernie Ecclestone in the paddock!

Perhaps he was waiting for his backgammon buddy, Seb Vettel?

Haas were also investigated for Kevin Magnussen’s unsafe release:

In really weird things to do at the Paddock:

Udderly ridiculous.

Meanwhile, The “Charles Leclerc to Ferrari 2019” talks have gone into overdrive:

FP3: It’s now Brendon Hartley who gets caught out by the kerb

Max’s car wasn’t very cooperative:

The Universal Fave Charles Leclerc, got a 5-place grid penalty for an unauthorized gearbox change

Quali: Vettel was put under investigation after seemingly blocking Carlos Sainz on a hot lap:

Drama at Red Bull, when Max was ordered to overtake Dan to give him a tow, but refused:

Meanwhile, the McLaren pitbox line has been…angled?

Ron Dennis just shuddered at the sight of that photo.

Valtteri Bottas coolly took pole, & then celebrated with…ice cream.

Magnum and Finns: A Winning Combination.

Vettel took a 3-place grid penalty for the incident vs Sainz. Opinion among fans and experts were divided. Were the stewards robbing the fans of a fair title fight?

Raceday:

Toro Rosso had to fit a new PU on Hartley’s car, demoting him to P20 on the grid:

The Red Bull drivers don their usual lederhosens for their home race:

#Fashion.

Fernando Alonso started from the pitlane after a late front wing change:

Ex-F1 driver Ant Davidson explains the buttons on the Mercedes steering wheel:

That three-way fight at the opening lap got fans yelling. Just look at that balls-to-the-wall racing!

Nico Hulkenberg was surprisingly the first to retire, though through no fault of his own:

From poleman to nowhereman. Bottas was forced to retire after a hydraulic failure:

Misfortune also struck the birthday boy, as Ricciardo retired due to a gearbox issue:

An odd stat for birthday boys in F1:

He got a pretty snazzy birthday cake from Red Bull, if it’s any consolation:

The Move of the Day: Sebastian Vettel’s thrilling overtake on championship rival Lewis Hamilton:

Seven laps from the end, Hamilton was also forced to retire. Shocker!

The stats on Mercedes retirements:

Max Verstappen and his lion helmet roared to a win, and recreated the same podium as his 1st win in Spain:

More Max stats:

He was voted DoTD:

Safe to say the Dutch fans who turned out in droves to support Max were pleased.

Kimi Raikkonen took a solid P2, and snatched the Fastest Lap, his 1st of the 2018 season:

The Sauber boys had a good race, too. Yes, not just Leclerc, Ericsson joined in on the party as well!

Haas finally got a break, and took their best finish so far this year:

Let’s not forget Fernando Alonso’s mega pitlane to P8 drive:

Just waiting for his quote saying it’s his best career drive…

Carlos Sainz got a reprimand post-race for the incident with Esteban Ocon:

Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez got investigated for an incident involving blue flags:

Stroll got a 10 second penalty and 3 penalty points:

Fans weren’t such…fans of the virtual advertising:

There seems to be a developing bromance between Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen:

#Sax? #Vetstappen?

The new Driver standings:

And the Constructor’s:

A new record for F1:

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How close is this Championship turning out to be?

They go again in a few days’ time, when F1 is “coming home”. Silverstone, you have a lot to live up to!

ICYMI: The F1 #CanadianGP Edition Roundup.

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Loads of F1 fans made it perfectly clear they found the Monaco GP insufferably boring. Surely Montreal won’t disappoint? Well…

10 years after his first and only win in F1, Robert Kubica talked about that accident in Montreal, missing his trophy, wanting to buy the race-winning car, and more:

Some Canadian GP Fast Facts for the geeks:

Toro Rosso continue their legacy of fickleness with drivers, as they allegedly look to replace Brendon Hartley midseason:

Ferrari posted a pre-GP video on Twitter, and CBC Montreal called them out for not doing proper geographical research:

This weekend marked Fernando Alonso’s 300th grid appearance:

One of the many reasons fans love this GP:

Wanna see hometown driver Lance Stroll make poutine?

More changes being considered for F1… *cue loud groaning from fans*

Meet the official mascot of the Canadian GP: VROUM!

Drivers now have to give even more prerace interviews. I’m sure Kimi Raikkonen is thrilled to hear this.

Max Verstappen? He ain’t changing anything, so save your shade!

Also. He kinda wants to channel his inner Zidane…?

Contrary to earlier reports, Daniel Ricciardo didn’t take an engine penalty for the weekend:

Who would the Renault drivers invite to their dream dinner party?

FAO Danill Kvyat fans! Here’s your man clad in Ferrari gear, making his first appearance at a GP this year:

Fellow ex-F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein also visited the GP to lend support to the Mercedes garage:

Drivers who are on the verge of grid penalties: *dun dun dunnnnn*

FP2: Ricciardo’s car got taken apart by his team, sending his fans worrying:

Carlos Sainz Jr hit a wall and caused a Red Flag:

Stoffel Vandoorne also touched the wall and caused a Yellow Flag:

Ricciardo made it to the track though with 20 minutes to go. Talk about a close call!

Hang on. Did Romain Grosjean really hit a groundhog?

He did. The aftermath:

Romain had to go apologize to Vroum!

Thankfully, Vroum forgave him.

Brendon Hartley got fined for speeding in the pitlane:

Fernando Alonso is his own hype man:

Plenty of Austin Powers memes were used on social media when Stoffel Vandoorne couldn’t quite get his McLaren out of the escape road in FP3:

Did Sebastian Vettel really nick his ex-boss’ phone?! Sneaky Seb!

Qualifying: Nico Rosberg demonstrated to Ted Kravitz one of the many pressures/forces the bodies of racing drivers have to endure:

Romain Grosjean had a problem even before he left the pitlane, and look who was behind him…

Marcus Ericsson joined the party and made contact with the wall:

Meanwhile, his teammate Charles Leclerc tied yet another Sauber record by making it into Q2 for the 4th time:

He didn’t look to be a strong contender during the practices, but Sebastian Vettel stormed to pole, and registered the first Ferrari pole in Montreal since Michael Schumacher’s back in 2001!

Max Verstappen took P3, and could not resist giving his boss some sass on team radio:

Qualifying in 60 seconds:

Vettel gets his 4th Pirelli pole tire. He can now kit a go-kart with them!

Sky’s Crofty attempted to do The Floss, which really put off Alonso doing the same:

Leave the dancing to the kids!

F1 Teams (all barring Ferrari) gathered round for the much-anticipated annual raft race. Williams took a surprise victory!

Relive the raft race here:

Raceday: 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve drove his father’s Ferrari, and what a sentimental moment that was:

The opening lap brought a rather scary crash that took out Brendon Hartley and Lance Stroll:

Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez subsequently had a tussle, which sent Perez asking for Sainz to be black-flagged:

Nope, the tussle wasn’t anywhere near worthy of a black flag.

Not sure how many mirrors Alonso has broken recently, but his car continued to be uncooperative, and his 300th race ended in retirement.

Nico Rosberg wasn’t happy with the lack of on-track action, and so he decided to hold an #AskNico session on Twitter midrace and spilled some scorching hot tea, particularly on Fernando Alonso:

Savage. Check his Twitter account for his other hottakes.

Model Winnie Harlow became the subject of the race’s biggest talking point when she waved the checquered flag too soon:

Look at this close finish between P2 and P3. Had the checquered flag not been waved prematurely, we would have gotten a mega battle from Bottas and Verstappen!

Poleman Vettel did not put a foot wrong, and he got away with the most spoils this weekend:

Bottas and Verstappen both comfortably beat their teammates. Leclerc continued to impress by notching up a point and erasing his Monaco GP nightmare.

Race winner Vettel saw the funny side of the Checquered Flag-Gate:

Winnie Harlow explained her side, complete with the reference to the iconic Shaggy song!

Because of the snafu, Ricciardo’s Fastest Lap did not count and the official Fastest Lap went to his teammate Verstappen instead. Poor Dan!

Brendon Hartley was medically-cleared after his first lap shunt:

The Canadian GP in 60 seconds:

And the Tweet of the Race:

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We go into the “unknown” next: Can the Paul Ricard Circuit spring a surprise on us? For the meantime, go check out the numerous debates on the shortcomings of modern day F1 on social media. If for anything, you’ll get a laugh on how hilariously myopic and entitled some of the “fans” are. You’re welcome.

ICYMI: The F1 #MonacoGP Edition Roundup.

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It’s the Glitz and Glamour Grand Prix! The one where we bemoan the lack of track action and overtaking, and roll our eyes at the numerous clueless celebrities taking up precious space at the paddock, and yet we still cannot bear to miss it. Then again, you already knew that, didn’t you?

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After 24 years of not having a Monegasque driver, Charles Leclerc’s presence on the grid officially made the F1 history books:

How’s your Monaco GP knowledge? Test yourself with this quiz:

For the stat geeks:

The grid girls (& guys) returned this GP, and the reigning World Champ was pleased about it:

Vettel and Hamilton as teammates…?! Could we actually see it happen?

It won’t be a proper Monaco GP if the drivers didn’t roll out their swanky, special edition helmets:

The most notable incident in FP1, care of the Dutch Whiz Kid Max Verstappen:

The Stewards’ decision:

Curiously, two other drivers also got fined for speeding in the pitlane:

2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg got a feel of the F1 car anew:

Er, that got a bit awkward in the end.

Also, he took to the Monaco track with his Dad, 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg:

Definitely the coolest Father and Son Moment in F1’s recent history!

Charles Leclerc met up with Philippe Bianchi, father of Jules, post-FP1.

Here they are at the Jules Bianchi Foundation booth:

Thousands of F1 fans got emotional. It’s tough not to think of Jules and all what-might-have-beens during moments like that.

The FP1 in 90 seconds:

FP2: Grosjean and Verstappen nearly collided at the hairpin. Yikes.

More speeding fines post-FP2. What’s going on with the twitchy throttle feet, guys?!

Friday. Party Time! Several drivers strutted their stuff at the yearly Amber Lounge fashion show:

Saturday. The incident of FP3 was Max Verstappen ramming his Red Bull car into the wall.

Compare that to his 2016 Monaco GP incident, and it’s almost eerily similar:

Red Bull had to change Verstappen’s gearbox, which incurred a 5-place grid penalty for him:

He never made quali and had to start at the back of the grid:

Verstappen’s season so far, in case you’re curious:

And he now has a website dedicated to his crashing– Has Max Verstappen Crashed Yet?

http://crashtappen.com

Ted Kravitz of Sky Sports F1 was really bothered by a misaligned line on Carlos Sainz’s car:

No shortage of stars/celebrities/sports personalities in attendance. It is the GP to see and be seen, after all…

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, aka Jaime Lannister of Game of Thrones:

Retired MotoGP Champion Casey Stoner:

Ducati MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo:

NBA Star Dwayne Wade and his actress wife Gabrielle Union:

Olympian Aksel Svindal:

Alfonso Ribeiro, aka Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:

Retired football star Francesco Totti:

Hugh Grant:

NFL player Tom Brady, model Bella Hadid, Kardashian Momager Kris Jenner, Game of Thrones actors Kit Harrington and Liam Cunningham:

Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso:

I’m sure there were plenty more.

Newly-retired driver Felipe Massa has no regrets leaving F1 when he did:

Double World Champion and ex-McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen casually cruising around Monaco on a scooter is the content we all need:

The grid girls and grid guys, complete with “motivational messages” for the drivers, from #FanMessengers:

Thank goodness the grid kids will take over once again next race.

After much hoopla, the FIA and Charlie Whiting finally declare that the Ferrari car is legal:

Raceday: Max “started from the back” Verstappen beats the track record!

Verstappen also took the fastest lap award:

Makes one think what he could have done if he hadn’t binned it during FP3, no?

Lance Stroll got some flak from the fans for his childish Team Radio outburst:

Lad, if you don’t want to race, can you please let Robert Kubica have a go in Montreal?

Home hero Charles Leclerc’s first Monaco GP ended in retirement, after a front brake failure sent him ramming to the back of Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley:

Sudden loss of power? Gearbox not working properly? Tires starting to grain? No problem! Pole-sitter Daniel Ricciardo managed all that and held off Vettel’s challenge to take his first Monaco GP win, and was voted Driver of the Day by the fans as well:

The drivers were explicitly told to avoid the royalty when spraying champagne, but of course Sebastian Vettel got trigger-happy and inadvertently doused the royalty during the podium celebrations:

Thankfully, he’s not banned from re-entering Monaco as of this writing.

Adrian Newey doing a shoey. Shall we call him Adrian Shoey now?

Dan promptly made good on his word and did a swan dive in the Red Bull Energy Station pool:

Fernando Alonso called this year’s race the most boring race ever.

Granted, fellow Champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen also called the race boring, but “the most boring race ever”? Hold the hyperbole now, Fernando.

The 2nd Edition of the Live F1 Show: Featuring Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, the Game of Thrones guys, Charles Leclerc getting a consolation burger and fries, and more!

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That’s all, folks. Time to go back to our regular, non-glamourous lives.

ICYMI: The F1 #AzerbaijanGP Edition Roundup.

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The Azerbaijan GP is like a steak–it (the action) is either rare or well done.

With that horrible analogy out of the way, here are the talking points from a rather action-packed weekend:

Daniel Ricciardo has allegedly signed a pre-contract with Ferrari for 2019. This rumor started around the time of the Bahrain GP, and has resurfaced, this time with more…emphasis? No concrete sources have been named, so this remains a solid rumor (for now).

Red Bull have allegedly given Ricciardo until August to sign a new contract:

Ricciardo has also promised to do something very interesting if he wins the title this year:

Over to you, Sebastian and Lewis!

He also managed to squeeze in a minor lip surgery in between races. Yes, you read it right: a lip surgery.

It’s very tempting to put the blame on the infamous shoey.

Nico Hulkenberg (and Stoffel Vandoorne) got some unexpected comedy relief when they arrived at Azerbaijan…

Vandoome sounds like a comic book villain. Move over, Thanos!

Speculation spread like wildfire about that mysterious 3rd paddle on Sebastian Vettel’s steering wheel. What did he say when asked about it?

Whether or not you are a McLaren fan, try this tricky quiz to see how geeky you are when it comes to F1:

Baku’s F1 Drivers’ Wall has become quite popular/controversial, to say the least:

Those images are sort of difficult to forget. Well done, Baku.

FOM started superimposing graphics on the halo during FP1, and fans approved:

Both Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin made it into Q2 for the 1st time this season. The Battle of the Rookies is On like Donkey Kong!

Sebastian Vettel was unimpressive in both FP1 and FP2, but managed a strong FP3 and then snatched pole during Quali. And in case you’re interested, he only needs 1 more pole to complete a set of go-kart tires from Pirelli.

The Toro Rosso teammates both had a scare during quali. It could have resulted in a horrific crash but thankfully, some fantastic reflexes from Gasly prevented any accident.

Nico Hulkenberg admitted he uses (/used?) a dating app. Apparently, half the paddock is on it, too.

There really should be a dating app exclusively for motorsport personnel and fans alike. Get on it, developers!

Meanwhile, his teammate Carlos Sainz likes rap music, and already has his very own rapper name:

Raceday: Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon clashed during the 1st lap, which ended the Frenchman’s race. Ocon was definitely not happy with Kimi and had harsh words for him:

Perhaps the most shocking, and biggest controversy of the race, was when the two Red Bulls collided, effectively ending their race and steady march to a points haul.

Adrian Newey and his notebook were not impressed.

Ricciardo and Verstappen were ordered to apologize to the whole team:

Pierre Gasly was hugely unhappy with Kevin Magnussen after they tussled during the SC restart. He branded him “the most dangerous driver I’ve ever raced with”.

Gasly and Hulkenberg should form a club of Magnussen non-admirers.

Romain Grosjean was doing so well, he quietly made up tons of places and was on his way to a points finish–that was, until he crashed behind the Safety Car.

With that crash, Grosjean now holds a stat that isn’t something to be proud of:

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was on his way to his (and Mercedes’) first win of the season, until he ran over some debris from previous incidents which blew up his right rear tire and led to his retirement. He was understandably crushed, and this photo spoke volumes of his heartbreak:

(Some are even saying this photo is already a strong contender for the F1 2018 Photo of the Season.)

Bottas’ teammate, and defending Champion Lewis Hamilton then went on to take the win, but before appearing for the podium ceremonies, Lewis went to see his teammate and offered his consolations. Look at him sharing his #blessedness…

Force India’s Sergio Perez also snatched a sneaky P3, despite having had a 5-second penalty earlier in the race. This was Perez’s return to the podium after nearly 2 years.

The feel-good story of the GP: Sauber’s Charles Leclerc scored the first few points of his F1 career by finishing P6, and became a Driver of the Day as well.

The Monรฉgasque also broke a 68-year old standing record!

Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley also registered his first F1 points, thereby breaking a 42-year old standing record by a Kiwi:

The race was definitely not short on incidents. So here’s the “Reprimands! Sanctions! Penalties! No further actions!” Section:

The 2018 Azerbaijan GP summed up in a GIF:

Or, if you prefer a superquick recap, here’s the race in 60 seconds:

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Four races in: three different winners, plenty of on-track action and off-track debates. 2018 is shaping up to be a nail-biting season!

ICYMI: The F1 #ChineseGP Edition Roundup.

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Three words: What. A. Race!

However, let’s back up a bit, shall we?

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Kimi Raikkonen proved his unparalleled popularity in China yet again:

F1 driver or rockstar? You decide.

Bonus: Here’s Kimi saying ‘I love you’ in Chinese:

This is the content you never knew you needed.

Sebastian Vettel engaged with the fans at the airport, and encouraged them to sing Happy Birthday to his trainer Antti:

Fernando Alonso opened a branch of his FA Karting School in China. It’s a pretty huge step, and hopefully will help find a future Asian F1 Champion!

Lewis Hamilton officially launched his collaboration with American Fashion Brand Tommy Hilfiger. The logo actually looks quite cool.

Following the hoopla over Dickheadgate last Bahrain GP, Lewis and Max Verstappen looked to have cleared the air. Lewis said he will be more careful now over what he says:

Former McLaren and Red Bull driver, and now C4 F1 Pundit David Coulthard will have a new book out this May, focusing on the leadership, motivation, and business aspects of F1:

Remember Pierre Gasly’s Alonso-esque “Now we can fight!” radio message to his team post-Bahrain GP? He had to explain that it was meant to give credit to Honda, after some Spanish and Alonso fans apparently sent him negative/abusive messages on social media:

Come on, now. Leave Pierre alone!

The much-anticipated F1 TV will finally launch the weekend of the Spanish GP. Want to know if you can enjoy it from your country? Check out the list below:

Would you like to know the favorite songs of the Alfa Romeo Sauber drivers, Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc? Would you like to hear them sing? Of course you do.

Speaking of things that are difficult to forget, these F1 Driver…3D Caricatures(?)/Mascots are honestly something else. I for one cannot unsee them.

During Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel snatched pole from his teammate Kimi Raikkonen, and took the new track record at Shanghai.

Ferrari also broke a long-standing drought, registering their 1st back-to-back front row lockout in 12 years!

Nico Hulkenberg seems to have an affinity with P7, judging from his last 6 grid positions…

Raceday: Mercedes gave Ferrari a dose of their own medicine via Valtteri Bottas undercutting Vettel. How do you say “Take That!” in German?

The two Toro Rossos suffer a surprise collision, with Brendon Hartley’s car coming off worse and spewing debris onto the track. Pierre Gasly promptly complained on Team Radio about his teammate closing doors…

Polesitter and erstwhile race leader Sebastian Vettel was already trying to salvage a screwed-up race, but Max Verstappen thought he can make Seb’s race worse by diving for an overtake when there wasn’t enough room. The 2 cars collided and did synchronized spinning. Ferrari fans were not amused.

Overtake of the Race goes to Ricciardo on Hamilton. Scratch that, it goes to Ricciardo vs Bottas. Actually, let’s just have ALL of Dan’s overtakes as the highlights of the race. Bold, but clean–that’s how it should be done!

Dan “I don’t seem to win boring races” Ricciardo celebrated his victory by bringing back the infamous Shoey:

Kimi actually looked mildly amused on the podium! Sadly, Dan didn’t dare offer him a Shoey.

Meanwhile, fans who expected fireworks post-race were disappointed when they saw how calm Vettel and Verstappen were while discussing their ontrack tussle:

Max has admitted that he was at fault for the incident, and that he had already apologized to Sebastian.

Expectedly, Ricciardo also won Driver of the Day. There really was no contest!

This is basically the race in a tweetshell:

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The first three races have been mad in their own special ways–perhaps we need a nice, steady race to calm us down? Oh wait, Baku is up next…

ICYMI: The F1 #BahrainGP Edition Roundup.

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That break between Australia and Bahrain felt like forever, didn’t it?

Thankfully, F1 is back, and is crammed with more talking points than ever:

Pierre Gasly spills the tea on why he and Esteban Ocon are not friends anymore:

Speaking of Esteban Ocon, a random Twitter discussion on his mysterious famous lookalike led to the discovery of his incredibly long full name:

Who knew he had a mouthful of a name? (Source: French Wikipedia)

Back to Gasly, apparently, his big masterplan to attract good racing results is to not shave until the end of the season:

Sebastian Vettel arrived at the circuit on Thursday carrying a mysterious briefcase, and nobody knows what that was about:

Update: Autobild has confirmed the briefcase contained his Backgammon board!

Looks like the grid girls may be back–for Monaco and maybe even Sochi.

*sighs and judges in multiple languages*

And it seems there’s another driver (aside from Nico Hulkenberg) who wants the grid girls back:

Have you ever wondered how the F1 2018 grid will look like as ONE driver? Of course you have. Wonder no more, thanks to Reddit:

During a lull in FP1, Kevin Magnussen provided further proof he’s kind of obsessed with Balls…

The F1 Teams met on Friday to decide on the new rules starting 2021. Below is an outline of what has been decided:

Nothing too exciting or groundbreaking. Yet.

Both Red Bulls retired within the first few laps of the GP: Verstappen limped back to the pits with a puncture after a 1st lap tussle with Hamilton, while Ricciardo ended up parking the car minutes after the green light due to loss of power. The double retirement effectively ended Red Bull’s 38-race point-scoring streak.

Kevin Magnussen’s language was as colorful as ever, complaining about his teammate cutting him off and holding him up during midrace. He managed to finish P5.

Kimi Raikkonen unfortunately hit a Ferrari mechanic on his pit stop, and was released without the Left Rear tire getting replaced.

The mechanic, Francesco Cigarini, sustained a shinbone and fibula fracture:

Update: Francesco’s surgery went well, and he is now recovering.

And for those who think Kimi’s a heartless bastard, he’s already left a comment on Francesco’s post!

Ferrari was fined โ‚ฌ50,000 for Kimi’s unsafe release.

Marcus Ericsson of Sauber finally scored his first couple of F1 points after 50 races of trying! Now it’s up to Leclerc to step up.

Pierre Gasly took home his Toro Rosso in P4, 48 whole seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, and expertly trolled him by quoting him at the end:

Aside from being voted by the fans as Driver of the Day, Gasly has also now joined an illustrious club:

Fernando Alonso will be comforted by the fact that he is currently sitting P4 at the WDC table, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen!

Lewis Hamilton called Max Verstappen a “dickhead” while watching a replay of their tussle on the cool down room:

(Vettel’s reaction: Priceless!)

Of course he got asked about it in the post-race press conference, and Sebastian Vettel surprisingly defended his rival:

Even Mark Webber approves!

Sergio Perez and Brendon Hartley both got sanctioned for what seemed to be one of the most polite ontrack battles in recent years:

F1 is so flabbergastingly strange, sometimes!
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Well then, China should be fun!

ICYMI: The F1 #AusGP Edition Roundup.

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We’ve officially survived the season-opener!

While it’s easy to get lost in the hundreds of articles recounting the race and post-race events, I’ve decided to compile a list of raceday’s interesting and real talking points, you know, the stuff that truly matters most?

No need to thank me, I do this all for love.

รœberraschungssieg means “surprise victory” in German. Which is a fitting description for Sebastian Vettel’s masterstroke. From P3 to P1 in a difficult-to-overtake-in track? Sorcery*! Now try to pronounce that German word quickly five times in a row. You’re welcome.

(*More like luck + a well-timed pitstop under the VSC.)

Speaking of Vettel, his “signature dance” from last year was notably absent from his post-race celebrations, but not to worry, The Finger made a very visible comeback.

Nico Rosberg officially began his punditry career in F1–with stints in both RTL and Sky Sports F1–and still managed to take the time to introduce himself to a young F1 fan who had no idea who he was:

The grid kids made their debut. Just look at them in their snazzy F1 race suits! Hopefully there will be more diversity in the coming races. And admit it, did you even notice the absence of the grid girls?

A sandwich bag may be at fault for Sergey Sirotkin’s retirement from his first F1 race. And no, I cannot confirm whether it was of Polish origin or not.

A faulty drink tube nearly made Carlos Sainz Jr. vomit inside his helmet during the race. The said faulty tube was forcing the poor guy to drink too much water, and coupled with the G-forces he was enduring, Sainz experienced nausea but thankfully overcame it in time. Todo bien.

Update: Sainz later claimed a “poisoned banana” was the cause of his problems during the race. Yes, you read that right.

Kimi Raikkonen thinks his P3 finish is “Ok”.

He also owned his brand by posting an Iceman pic on his IG story.

(You really should get Instagram by now–following Kimi is so worth it.)

Also, did Kimi’s wife just shade his team Ferrari in her own IG story…?

The new graphics were generally well-received, until the battle of Lastname vs Lastname appeared on the telly and made social media crazy. And yes, that became an actual trending topic. Lastname FTW!

Charles Leclerc’s debut was much-anticipated but surprisingly ignored by the race directors. As in he was never shown driving his Sauber during the race broadcast at all. Leclerc can take comfort in the fact he’s got the best pose in the new starting grid graphics, though. Can you say swag?

The Haas drivers were actually having a good race. As in P4 and P5 good. Until they didn’t, as a result of 2 botched pit stops. Romain Grosjean’s parenting skills took center stage as he took his time to comfort his colleagues, while Kevin Magnussen found a perfect book to console him.

Some people on Twitter actually believed that Haas sabotaged the races of both their drivers so Ferrari can win. Come on, guys. Seriously?!

Hometown fave Daniel Ricciardo overcame his grid penalty, made up 4 positions to finish P4 and took the 1st Fastest Lap Award. He had quite an exciting cat-and-mouse chase with Kimi Raikkonen and dropped another quotable line (Ricciardoism?) in, “I don’t wanna let him breathe”. Erm, if that is your kink Dan, we won’t judge.

Both McLaren cars finished the race. And in the points! Sadly, the Toro Rosso-Honda partnership got off on a rocky start, as Pierre Gasly had to retire due to a PU issue, and Brendon Hartley limped home bringing up the rear.

Red Bull Racing took the Fastest Pit Stop Award. Surprisingly, Mercedes only ranked 10th. A blip in the famous German Efficiency?

Someone not named Max Verstappen won Driver of the Day. Who could it be? It’s the Papaya King himself, Fernando Alonso!

Nico Hulkenberg still wants the grid girls back. And made a Tom & Jerry comparison to emphasize his point. Oh deer. Just let it go, Hulk. It ain’t worth it.

Nine out of the Top 20 Worldwide Trends on Twitter, within an hour of the race finish, were F1-related. And they say F1 Fans are losing interest?

Giant cardboard driver faces are a little bit terrifying, but also hilarious. Are those an in thing this season, now?

(P.S. Where do I get some?)

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Darn it, Bahrain is now going to feel like a lifetime away.

The Alternative Guide To The 2018 F1 Grid.

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The countdown is on. Within a few days, the F1 Circus will wreak havoc in our lives (and body clocks) yet again, and oh how we love it!

Let’s get to know the twenty drivers who will take part in this year’s championship, not by stats or scientifically-measured data (come on, surely you can easily Wikipedia them), but by the common perceptions (and misconceptions) they are known within social media*:

(*N.B. Remember to take these with a humorous grain of salt! )

Lewis Hamilton

#Blessed. Defending Champ. Menswear Ambassador of Tommy Hilfiger (i.e. He gets to rub elbows with Gigi Hadid). Resident Fashionista of F1. The British Racing Messiah. Will most likely dominate again if rivals don’t step up. Pawrent to dogs Roscoe and Coco. Shows off his abs on Instagram. Still not friends with Nico Rosberg.

Valtteri Bottas

The Other Finn. Cool as a cucumber but needs to rile Lewis up a bit. Famously and sensibly turned down a Ricciardo podium shoey. Owns a cat named Turbo. He likes Moomin, apparently? It’s been awhile since #BOTTAS took off–will we see the return of it this season?

Sebastian Vettel

The Finger. Does the Egyptian dance on the podium when he wins because of an inside joke with his kids. Demands blue flags over the radio. Names his cars after women. Ferrari AF. Yells “Grazie Ragazzi!” at the drop of a hat. Refuses to join social media. Lawnmowing gives him satisfaction. Mr. Honestly and Obviously.

Kimi Raikkonen

(Will) The Iceman (cometh?). Officially the oldest driver on the F1 grid. Still the last Ferrari Champion. Still the sentimental fave of many. Ex-Shampoo endorser. Most-followed Finnish racer on Instagram. Future owner of a karaoke bar. Sleep is Life. Sassy when he wants to be. Allergic to BS.

Daniel Ricciardo

The Honey Badger. Bearer of a smile that deserves a toothpaste endorsement. Currently in a limbo–this season will determine whether he stays with Red Bull or moves on to greener pastures. Occasionally does the infamous (and disgusting) shoey. Will sneakily nick your phone and take silly selfies. Friendly but ruthless. Game for practically anything.

Max Verstappen

The Great Dutch Hope. No titles in junior formulae or in F1 (yet), but already has grandstands named after him in various GPs. F1 Legacy Kid, but already surpassed the achievements of his opinionated (i.e. annoying) father. Likes to annoy the Ferrari drivers. Horner’s fave. Prince of Social Media Polls. Plays video games a lot.

Sergio Perez

Got caught with a facial expression that launched many memes. He used to be a McLaren driver. New dad. (Alleged) Tom Cruise doppelganger. His Mission (Impossible): To keep his highly-rated teammate behind him at all costs.

Esteban Ocon

Monsieur (O)Consistency. Has the longest name among the 2018 drivers: Try saying Esteban Jose Jean-Pierre Ocon-Khelfane 5 times in a row. Not afraid to rub his teammate the wrong way (on-track, at least). Tipped by many to get at least a podium finish this year. Likes to post gym photos and videos. Nice to fans. Eerily looks like someone famous–if you can figure out who, please let me know.

Nico Hulkenberg

The (Not Yet So) Incredible Hulk. Is this the year he finally gets a podium finish? Needs to deliver so he can shake off those unwanted F1 records. He won Le Mans, so there’s that. Occasionally puts foot in mouth with his statements on controversial issues. The Tall One. Impressive hair. Not a fan of Kevin Magnussen.

Carlos Sainz Jr.

Had Renault and Toro Rosso fighting over him. Can you blame them? Alonso fanboy. Possible heir to Alonso? He makes helmet hair look good. Lowkey fella. His (racing and hair) rivalry with Hulkenberg should be an interesting one. Not afraid to eat out alone. Dates himself because he’s worth it.

Romain Grosjean

Monsieur Snitch/Monsieur Savage–Depending on which driver he’s discussing with Charlie Whiting. Takes his GPDA role very seriously. Likes to cook in his spare time. Doesn’t crash during first laps anymore. Still has his sights set on a Ferrari drive.

Kevin Magnussen

Told Hulkenberg to suck his balls on live tv. Gives 0 f*cks about what other drivers think of him. Another F1 Legacy Kid. People forget he once got P2. New Dubai resident. Not a fan of oysters.

Fernando Alonso

The Best Driver on the Grid. Or so his fans say. This year will be his year. Another thing his fans say. Most Distinctive Eyebrows in F1. Second oldest driver on the grid. Will be unfaithful to F1 several times this season to chase an elusive motorsport victory. Sticks Kimoa decals on a lot of things. Generally a good sport about his questionable career choices. He once sat on a deck chair and turned social media batshit crazy.

Stoffel Vandoorne

Possibly has the patience of a saint. Give him a good car already! Handles Alonso like a champ. Silent waters run deep. Difficult to dislike. He may be Belgian, but he’s not a waffle fan.

Pierre Gasly

Circle game aficionado. Don’t look at his hands when he posts a photo or a video. Got denied a Super Formula title by a typhoon. Benedict Cumberbatch lookalike. Decent at bellydancing. Nicknamed his car Gasmobile. Already affectionately messing with his teammate.

Brendon Hartley

Look, a Kiwi! Super chill and laidback. Made a surprise “comeback” to F1. Again, a Kiwi: Don’t put the Aussie flag next to his name. Has an interesting hairstyle history (search his old pics on Twitter).

Lance Stroll

Grumpy Richie Rich? Didn’t pay much attention to what Felipe Massa taught him. Got one back on Jacques Villeneuve when he managed a podium in Baku last year. CBA with Twitter, stays mainly on Instagram. Couldn’t do a royal wave as well as Nico Rosberg.

Sergey Sirotkin

Not Robert Kubica. Also not a bad driver but will always have the bad rap of preventing the Kubica Comeback. Missed out on a Renault seat. Must overcome the label of Pay Driver.

Marcus Ericsson

“Why is he still here?” Not Pascal Wehrlein. Must perform well or risk being overshadowed by a rookie. His helmet design this year is retro decent, though.

Charles Leclerc

Hype! The rookie to watch out for. Self-confessed Harry Potter lookalike. Can he work magic in F1? Fave of the teenage girls and Mums alike. He’s not French, he’s Monรฉgasque. Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari fanboy. Chronic liker of tweets.

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So who among the 20 will emerge as the ultimate victor? Who will surprise and who will disappoint? Who will shatter their narratives and rewrite their stories? Only way to find out is to stay tuned (and online). Don’t get left in the dust!

An Open Letter To Sebastian Vettel, Post-2017 Season.

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Dear Sebastian,

You’re unbelievable, you know that?

Honestly, I don’t think I like you very much right now.

Where do I even begin? So you started the season with a win in Australia, and officially broke Ferrari’s drought. That made me hope, so much. The kind of hope that is beautiful, yet dangerous; because while it can move mountains, it can also lead to monumental heartbreak.

Was this the year, finally? Part of me was scared, but you looked so sure, so confident. Gina, your car, was in her element. You took another win in Bahrain and steadily racked up points and podium finishes.

Monaco was weird. I was happy you won but also felt uncomfortable because Kimi somehow felt played by the team. My heart was so confused. But then again, judging from your behavior, It was clear that you had nothing to do with what happened, so I gave you a pass and moved on.

Let’s get it out of the way and talk about Baku and THAT incident. What on earth went through that brain of yours to make you pull that move? I was bemused, and aghast, and so deeply disappointed. It was an opportunity to win that blew up in smoke because of a lapse of judgment in your part. You lost your cool, and things got ugly. I couldn’t even defend you on social media after that. You were in the wrong, and there was no way for me to rationalize that. If I could turn back time, I’d do everything in my power to stop that moment of madness from happening. Sigh.

We all make mistakes, and thankfully, you were not punished harshly, but of course it became a giant blot of stain in your title charge. As early as that point, critics were already questioning whether you deserve the title at all after that…infamous nudge.

Then there was that minor disaster in Silverstone. The Mercs slaughtered the Ferraris in qualifying. And of course you and Kimi just had to get nearly identical tire punctures in the last lap. I wanted to kick things and flip tables but miraculously, you both managed to pit and get back to the track to take the checquered flag. Sure, finishing 7th wasn’t ideal, but every single point counted now that Lewis was making a charge of his own.

History was on your side. Records show that you have not yet lost a title battle that you’ve led. I wanted that record to stand, and although you snatched that win in Hungaroring again from Kimi, I held on to the thought that so far, only the Michael Schumacher has managed to win the Hungarian GP and the Driver’s Title in the same year, and if any other driver can duplicate that rather strange record, then it’s you.

Things seemed to be going smoothly, until Monza, when you first lost the WDC lead. You couldn’t fight for the win that weekend but I couldn’t take it against you. Strangely enough, I wasn’t that worried yet then, I was pretty sure you’d snatch back the lead soon enough. And when you preached to the Tifosi on the podium in Italian, no less? My heart melted in a puddle of emotions. You are truly one of us. You are the driver Ferrari deserves.

But then, the Asian leg happened. So much potential, so much promise. But only heartaches ensued. That Singapore pole was spectacular, I yelled so loudly when you snatched it. You said on team radio that you wanted that one badly, and it showed. You went all in, and it paid off.

It still pains me to think about that Night Race weekend, the weekend where what happened on that track forced me to feel and face all the pain from real life. I was so sad but could not even cry. It was the type of sadness that was beyond tears. Tears could not properly express the desolation that washed over me. It got so bad that I took a break from social media, I could not bear to look at anything F1-related.

Things marginally got better in my life enough for me to regain some calmness and catch the Malaysian GP, but of course there was another disaster in Qualifying that sent you to the back of the grid. The wolves were already salivating at the thought of your title charge starting to crumble, but in my heart, I knew that you’re up to the challenge. And we did indeed see Sebastian The Road Runner that raceday. A charge from the back all the way to P4 that was a sight to behold. It was clear you were not going down without a proper fight, like the Champion that you are.

I had to miss the Japanese GP due to an appointment, but when I checked my phone a few hours after the race and was greeted with various iterations of “Nooooo!!” and expletives, I knew another disaster had befallen on you.

By the end of the Suzuka weekend, my (external and internal) tears have run out. A strange calm took over me and I decided to let fate be. Que sera, sera.

It pained me so much to see how sad you were after Austin. For the first time this season, I sensed your despair. The title was slipping away, and staying in contention was proving to be a Herculean task.

However, you weren’t quite ready to throw in the towel. You pulled an astonishing pole position in Mexico. That fightback in the race? It was so worth staying up until 4:41am for. Unfortunately, finishing P4 was not enough and the Driver’s Championship was decided there. Still, I was so proud of you for the effort you put in. Seeing you so dejected after the race was difficult, but you had enough grace and class to congratulate your opponent and to focus on the positives.

And then you gave us that Interlagos win. Ferrari’s first win there since 2008. I was imploring all gods that will listen for them to let you hang on to the win. You need it. I need it. The Tifosi need it. My stomach was churning, my legs were doing the jiggles, but I could not take my eyes off from the tv. And you did it.

Abu Dhabi was, for lack of a better term, an anticlimax. Both Championships have been decided and the Mercs dominated a nondescript race yet again. I stayed mainly to see you on the podium, and to see the new logo of F1 unveiled.

After all of that, came the…emptiness. the realization that it is finally over.

I had to say goodbye to the 2017 season. I had to say goodbye to Gina, the loveliest and feistiest Ferrari I’ve seen in ages.
I had to say goodbye to your title charge.

I had to look at you and assess just how I really feel.

So yes, I don’t like you very much right now because “like” is not the appropriate term to describe how I feel about you. I don’t like you as a racing driver–I love you, actually. I love you as a racing driver. And I mean that in the most platonic, respectful way possible. It’s a kind of love fueled by gratitude, and admiration, not just for your talent but for you as a whole, as a person.

I love that you’re passionate about what you do, that you put in 100% of yourself, criticisms be damned.
I love that you respect and protect the team. I love that you foster a family atmosphere.
I love that you don’t blame anybody else when the car fails.
I love that you stay away from mind games and unnecessary politicking.
I even love how you’re still such a big kid and that you are, by and large, a monumental dork.
I love that you’re imperfect and that you both own and own up to your flaws.
I love that while you remind me of Schumi, you are very much your own person, too.

Throughout the year, your title challenge with Ferrari was a bright spot in my oftentimes dismal and challenging life. You represented a form of escape, something to look forward to when things aren’t going right. Every emotion–good or bad–was heightened because I wanted it so much for you. We wanted it so much for you.

Let me be clear: I’m in no way, shape, or form, angry at you. How could I be when I know in my heart that you did your absolute best? I never expected you to be perfect or be some kind of Ferrari Messiah, I wanted you to be yourself. You are enough.

You may not have a tangible trophy to hold aloft this season, but there’s plenty of invaluable lessons learned. Setbacks are only prologues to bouncebacks. And you’re pretty damn good at that.

As I’ve said on Twitter: Sometimes in life, you have to go through the 1996-1999 Schumi in order to get to the 2000-2004 Schumi. You will get to it, and soon. I trust you to not give up, because we, your supporters, will never give up on you.

Just be you, Sebastian. We wouldn’t change you for the world. I know I wouldn’t.

Rest up and recharge. We will go again next year. And you know what? I have all the faith in the world that you will win that title with Ferrari. Get ready for it.

Sincerely,

Marj.

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Grazie, Seb.