Shame on me, for the second grand prix in a row, I had to miss out as I was with the parents and the girlfriend in the Mosel area for a very nice weekend (with Lego loot, more on that in a later post).
But it was another odd weekend especially with the run up in the lower end teams.
First off there was Caterham, who not only showed up with a revised car with a more Williams like nose instead of the snow-shovel from the early part of the season, but also with a fresh driver. Andre Lotterer was to be replacing Kamui Kobayashi for this grand prix, but he was actually faster then Marcus Ericsson. In an ideal world, the rest of the seasons line up would be Andre and Kamui, but I doubt that considering the size of the money bag Marcus hauls along. Ironically, because Lotterer is a sportscar driver who`s only F1 experience was... test driver for Jaguar 12 years ago.
Then there was the issues at Marussia. Chilton was to be replaced by test driver Rossi right until the thursday night before the Grand Prix. Now, I expect Rossi to be in that car at the US GP for sure (and he can turn a wheel decently).
Talking the US GP, it will also see the debut of Max Verstappen, son of former GP driver Jos and at age 17 he would be the youngest F1 driver ever. Actually that young that he can`t even have a drivers license for a regular car yet, but his results in GP3 show he is made of the right stuff. Recently having joined the Red Bull programme, he will be replacing Vergne for the Austin race.
Back to the race itself, i can`t say to much about it apart from what has been shown in the newspapers so far, but the war at Mercedes IS turning out to be a next Prost vs Senna 1988 battle. Rosberg took out Hamilton early on, and this has raised the discussion it was intentional. Mercedes management is putting by all sails, but this is going to be an escalating battle, as Lewis is now 29 points down again on Nico and needs a win vs a non finish to get back in the title race.
And the laughing third? Well, literally a laughing person as Ricciardo took his third win of the season, once again besting Vettel in the in team battle. The reigning champions mood definitly isn`t improving.
The most unfortunate driver of the pack must be Magnussen though. He scored some nice points, but due to an incident time penalty fell back to 12th place. As such, the result became:
1. Ricciardo - Red Bull Renault
2. Rosberg - Mercedes
3. Bottas - Williams Mercedes
4. Raikonnen - Ferrari
5. Vettel - Red Bull Renault
6. Button - McLaren Mercedes
7. Alonso - Ferrari
8. Perez - Force India Mercedes
9. Kvyat - Toro Rosso Renault
10. Hulkenberg - Force India Mercedes
11. Vergne - Toro Rosso Renault
12. Magnussen - McLaren Mercedes
13. Massa - Williams Mercedes
14. Sutil - Sauber Ferrari
15. Gutierrez - Sauber Ferrari
16. Chilton - Marussia Ferrari
17. Ericsson - Caterham Renault
In two weeks we will be going to Monza in Italy, a circuit Ferrari usually can grow above itself, but my money never the less is on a... Williams over there. They have the straight line speed over the Mercedes themselves, and Monza is all about straight lines.
But I did come without a meter of Ricciardo and Vettel!!!!
We where waiting in a traffic jam for the closed off road to Antwerp, when the Red Bull Infinity convoy passed us under police guidance. So it was in a car, and at a decent speed, but I doubt many regular fans ever came that close to a GP winner (in a sort of way).
For the rest, we did lose an hour extra to get home as there was a car accident with a lot of smoke at the next interchange, but heck, the weekend had been worth it...
Blast from the past: Pacific Grand Prix
With all the talks of paydrivers returning in Belgium, what better team from the past to have a look at then Pacific. It was a succesfull team in the lower formulae, beating my beloved Il Barone Rampante team in F3000, and it was active in Formula One for the seasons 1994 - 95.
The first year, they had a car far to fragile, and barely managed to put mileage on. It was the actual 1993 car but as they didn`t make the entry list that year, it was moved one year, but the car saw barely any development. With an underpowered Ilmor V10, neither Gachot nor Belmondo managed to finish a single race, with them from the French GP onwards not even managing to qualify.
In 1995 the structure of the team improved as they absorbed the now defunct Lotus team, and they actually had a pretty car (with an odd cup tray front wing). But finances where an issue, and in the faithed era of the Pay Driver, they certainly did their share.
With Larrouse and Lotus of the grid and only Forti coming in, they where guaranteed a start at every race, and they had the more powerful Ford engines at their disposal now. Belmondo had been replaced by Montermini, but shareholder Gachot, having had no luck, vacated his seat halfway the season for infamous names like Lavaggi and Deletraz. However, when their money dried up and the other candidates where refused Super Licenses, Gachot took the wheel again for the final two grand prix of the season, but the team never did better then 2 measly 8th place finishes (back then, only the first 6 scored points).
The team then folded, and returned to F3000 and other classes of racing, where Keith Wiggins`s outfit are still active (though under a different name) today.
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