COMMENT: 9/10 June 2018 Canada, Texas & Switzerland

Some of the races I’ve been watching.

  • IndyCar – DXC Technology 600, Fort Worth, Texas;
  • FE – Zürich ePrix, Switzerland;
  • F1 – Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada;

Times are approximate and in British Summer Time.


Formula 1: Canadian Grand Prix

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Iles Notre Dame, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I watched the Channel 4 highlights which aired from 10:30pm to 00:40, so that this was a boring race after halfway helped me get off to sleep.

Big crash on the first lap when Stroll lost the back of the car and collided with Hartley. I’m not sure if he was scared off the track, if Hartley was too optimistic with an outside move, or if Stroll was going to crash anyway and Hartley was unlucky – we never quite saw the right angle for me. Stroll did at least make up a row by the first corner, that was impressive.

Off the line Bottas made a stout defence of Verstappen to keep 2nd place, showing he can get his elbows out when he needs to. Ricciardo made the only notable move in the top six when he jumped Hamilton through the pit stops.

I said in the preview that Vettel & Ferrari only needed to execute the race and they did so very well. Red Bull impressed me, I thought the red and silver cars would drop them yet they wound up both beating Hamilton and Raikkonen.

Leclerc had a good day, starting 13th and finishing 10th in the Sauber. Also the Renaults got themselves ahead of Ocon through better strategy.

Result:
Vettel (Ferrari);
Bottas (Mercedes);
Verstappen (Red Bull);
Ricciardo (Red Bull);
Hamilton (Mercedes);
Raikkonen (Ferrari);
Hulkenberg (Renault);
Sainz (Renault);

Points after Montreal
Drivers:
121 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 3 wins
120 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 2 wins
86  Valterri Bottas (Mercedes)
84  Daniel Ricciardo (Mercedes)
68  Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
60  Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

Elsewhere, Hulkenberg is now tied with Alonso.

Constructors:
206 Mercedes AMG;
189 Scuderia Ferrari;
134 Red Bull Racing;
56  Renault F1;
40  McLaren Renault;
28  Force India Mercedes;

Next:  The return of the French Grand Prix, at Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet.


Formula E:  Zürich ePrix

Zürich, Switzerland

Good fun first half to the race, lots of scrappy passes on bumpy streets which is the hallmark of Formula E racing. A good little track.

Unfortunately I think there must be a problem with the officiating? When 7 or 8 cars get pinged a drive-through penalty, including many of those running up front, there’s a problem. Did they miss the signs and flags? Did Race Control not allow them time to slow down? Was it a technical problem or a problem notifying the drivers? It totally transformed the race and I think there needs to be an explanation.

It does close up the points gap though, to just 23 when it was 40 before this race. Just the double-header in New York to go. Di Grassi leaps up to 3rd spot, oh what could’ve been had they started the season like this.

Result:
di Grassi (Abt Audi);
Bird (DS Virgin);
d’Ambrosio (Dragon);
Lotterer (Techeetah);
Buemi (Renault);
Heidfeld (Mahindra);

Points after Zurich
Drivers
163  Jean-Eric Vergne (Techeetah)  3 wins
140  Sam Bird (DS Virgin)  2 wins
101  Lucas di Grassi (Abt Audi)  1 win
92  Sebastien Buemi (Renault)
86  Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra)  2 wins
85  Daniel Abt (Abt Audi)  2 wins

Teams
219 Techeetah-Renault  3 wins
186 Audi Sport Abt  3 wins
157 DS Virgin  2 wins
116 Mahindra  2 wins
105 Jaguar

Next up:  The season finale double-header in New York.


IndyCar Series:  Texas 600km

Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

An interesting race. Aero package changes meant the drivers had to work to overtake, not a bad thing as it put the racing back in the hands of the drivers. This meant it wasn’t quite so spectacular in the old way – but it was definitely spectacular watching guys try different approaches and succeed.

Some drivers suffered blistering, others did not, so setup had a real effect. It seemed to affect the Penskes more, especially Newgarden. Pagenaud too but he seemed to be able to work on it as the race went on and worked his way up to a 2nd-place finish, the only Chevy to finish in the top ten.

Alexander Rossi was having a great run, passing cars here and there. Zach Veach impressed greatly, running near the front for long periods. Zachary Claman de Melo was also impressive with a top ten run until he and Power collided in a miscommunication (though he did block the leaders earlier).

It certainly seemed Honda also had a fuel mileage advantage – particularly after night fell they came to the fore. As I said before it is good that different engines come to the fore at different tracks, rather than one having an advantage all year, or worse still all being even and eradicating the point of competition.

Good stuff. The package allowed close racing but also allowed drivers to make a gap, as Dixon proved at the end. Just a few cars on the lead lap at times, ending up with 9 at the end, but for me that’s fine. This is a long race on a very short track with a package where drivers make a difference, so lapping is going to happen. This is a lot better than the lottery of the IRL days.

Result:
Dixon (Ganassi);
Pagenaud (Penske);
Rossi (Andretti);
Hinchcliffe (SPM);
Hunter-Reay (Andretti);
Rahal (RLL);

Points
357  Scott Dixon (Ganassi Honda)  2 wins
334  Alexander Rossi (Andretti Honda)  1 win
321  Will Power (Penske Chevy)  2 wins
308  Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Honda)  1 win
289  Josef Newgarden (Penske Chevy)  2 wins
250  Graham Rahal (RLL Honda)

Next up:  The excellent Road America at Elkhart Lake.


Coming Up

Le Mans! I’m going to try and write a preview while also watching qualifying.

Otherwise I’ll see you on Twitter on Saturday!

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