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Lewis Hamilton sets the pace in Practice 1 

Lewis Hamilton sets the pace in Practice 1 
Lewis Hamilton sets the pace in Practice 1 


The first practice(FP1) of the 2017 Formula One, Austrian Grand Prix took place on Friday. 

Lewis Hamilton set the pace ahead of Max Verstappe, he recorded a time of 1 minute 5.975 seconds, which put him 0.190 seconds ahead of Verstappen. 

Max Verstappen enjoy an early lead as he was the first to set the time, whilst Raikkonen and Vettel had some early problems, spinning their cars a few times apart. 

Mercedes Benz drivers weren’t bothered by Ferraris problems, as their two driver, Hamilton and Bottas traded places. Sabastain Vettel tried to split them apart, to no avail, after his car spun. 

Verstappen could’ve caused headaches for Hamilton and Bottas if it wasn’t for his car spinning, which curtailed his efforts. 

Force India endures ugly civil war as Lewis Hamilton wins Canadian Grand Prix

 

Force India endures ugly civil war as Lewis Hamilton wins Canadian Grand Prix

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Hamilton claims Canada GP win

LEWIS Hamilton has cut Sebastian Vettel’s world championship lead to 12 points with a dominant victory in the Canadian GP.

Hamilton led from start to finish, delivering a masterclass of frontrunning to secure his sixth victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and finish almost 20 seconds clear of teammate Valtteri Bottas, while Daniel Ricciardo was third, picking up his third podium finish in a row. It’s the first time in Hamilton’s career he has won the same race six times.

But the Brit’s serenity was in sharp contrast to the drama which unfolded behind his Mercedes as Vettel finished fourth after bravely gaining three positions in the final five laps, capitalising on ugly in-fighting at Force India and a brake failure for Kimi Raikkonen.

Lance Stroll scored his first points in F1 as the Canadian youngster claimed ninth for Williams at his home race while, once again, Fernando Alonso was let down by his Honda engine before making new friends by jumping into the Montreal crowd. The Spaniard’s retirement means McLaren remains without a single point this term.

UGLY CIVIL WAR ERUPTS

All eyes were on the pole-sitting Hamilton and Vettel, starting alongside the Mercedes on the front row, at the start. But it was Max Verstappen who then stole the limelight as the Red Bull youngster dived up the inside of the Ferrari to leap from fifth to second. The two cars made contact as the Red Bull snuck ahead, Verstappen clipping the front-wing of Vettel’s Ferrari and instantly destabilising the SF70-H.

The damage forced Vettel into an early stop and a two-stop strategy while Verstappen’s surge would be cruelly curtailed by a battery failure that left the teenager banging his steering wheel in frustration.

F1 Preview: 2017 Canadian Grand Prix


With the opening leg of European rounds on the 2017 calendar now out of the way, this weekend sees Formula 1 venture to North America for the first time this season for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Sebastian Vettel arrives in Canada with a healthy 25-point advantage at the top of the drivers’ championship following his victory in Monaco two weeks ago, where he led Ferrari to its first one-two finish in almost seven years.
Monaco proved to be a tougher weekend for his title rival, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who suffer a shock knock-out at the second stage of qualifying. Although the Briton was able to recover to seventh in the race, he was powerless to stop Vettel taking the biggest lead yet in their title battle.
The Canadian Grand Prix rarely disappoints. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has a knack for producing the unexpected, and the city of Montreal embraces F1 with a warmth that few other locations on the calendar can match.
2017 Canadian Grand Prix – Talking Points
Vettel out to extend championship lead
Sebastian Vettel’s flying start to the season has seen him take three race wins and three second-place finishes from the opening six rounds, enjoying the kind of form reminiscent of his Red Bull title-winning days.
The German’s march for a fifth world championship – and, more poignantly, first in Ferrari colors – has been impressive thus far. The results have done much to break the hoodoo that has seemed to blight the Scuderia in recent times, with Vettel’s Monaco victory being Ferrari’s first since 2001.
Another drought could end this weekend, with Ferrari having not won in Canada since Michael Schumacher’s victory in 2004. If Vettel can hit the top step once again – particularly given the Mercedes’ line-up’s strength in Montreal – it would be another signal that Ferrari is in charge of this title battle.
Can Mercedes’ Montreal specialists win?
Mercedes’ Monaco showing was pretty miserable. To get neither car on the podium despite both finishing has been a rare occurrence for the Silver Arrows in the V6 hybrid era, making a response in Canada this weekend all the more important.
Luckily for Mercedes, it has two of the strongest drivers around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Valtteri Bottas finished third in each of the last two years for Williams, and famously charged to third on the grid in 2013 in the wet.
The real favorite will be Lewis Hamilton, though. The three-time champion took his maiden F1 win in Montreal back in 2007, and has since taken another four, putting him second only to Schumacher for Canadian Grand Prix victories.
Mercedes may not have the quickest car in Montreal, but you’d be hard-pressed to find two drivers more suited to this circuit.
Back to the grind for Fernando
Fernando Alonso will make his F1 return this weekend following his Indianapolis 500 adventure. It was a story that captured the attention of the racing world, acting as a rare slice of good news for the struggling McLaren-Honda partnership, even if Alonso did end up retiring from the race due to an engine failure.
But the Spaniard will now return to the stark reality of his current F1 standing. With a power unit that lacks both reliability and performance, he will not be dicing for the lead as he was at IMS. Points – hell, not even plural, a point – would be a big breakthrough for McLaren, the team having not scored a single one thus far in 2017.
Alonso will be encouraged by the evident step we saw from McLaren in Monaco (albeit partly down to the circuit), and given his hurculean habit of dragging the car further up the order than in rightfully be, points are not totally out of the question in Canada. That said, the power-hungry nature of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and the absence of the promised Honda updates doesn’t make it a favorable outlook.
Tires to be testing once again
The big debate following last month’s Monaco Grand Prix was tire management, with Pirelli’s softest compound selection once again causing trouble for some teams in Monaco. Mercedes’ woes with the ultra-soft have been particularly clear this year, with Hamilton unable to get to grips – quite literally – with the tires last time out.
The same tire selection is on tap for Montreal, and given last year’s race was won by Hamilton with just one pit stop, one would expect that strategy to be the way to go once again, particularly with the added durability of the 2017-spec tires. Managing them will be the key to victory, and perhaps the decisive factor between Hamilton and Vettel once again.
Hopefully we’ll have more overtaking than we got in Monaco, with the long back straight and DRS zone giving drivers plenty of chances to close up and make a pass.
Will Stroll’s homecoming yield maiden points?
Lance Stroll will end an 11-year drought on Sunday when he becomes the first Canadian driver to start his home F1 race since Jacques Villeneuve last appeared in 2006.
Stroll, 18, stepped up to F1 at the beginning of the season with Williams, but has experienced a baptism of fire. After failing to finish any of his first three races, Stroll managed to get to the finish in Russia, ending up 11th. Further classified finishes have followed, yet he is still without points despite the evident quality of the Williams FW40 car.
At the track named after Canada’s greatest F1 talent, Gilles Villeneuve, Stroll will aim to become just the third Canadian to score points – and the first whose surname is not above the door of the circuit.
2017 Canadian Grand Prix – Facts and Figures
Track: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Corners: 14

Lap Record: Rubens Barrichello 1:13.622 (2004)

Tire Compounds: Ultra-Soft/Super-Soft/Soft

2016 Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2016 Pole Position: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:12.812

2016 Fastest Lap: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:15.599

Sebastian Vettel wins Monaco Grand Prix 


Sebastian Vettel wins in Monte Carlo ahead of Kimi Raikonnen, Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton finishes in P7

Jenson Button retired on Lap 66

Vettel now leads the Championship by 25 points

Vettel beats Hamilton in Bahrain

Vettel beats Hamilton in Bahrain
Vettel beats Hamilton in Bahrain

RACE RESULTS
POS. DRIVER TIME POINTS

VET

1:33:53.374 25

HAM

+6.660s 18

BOT

+20.397s 15

RAI

+22.475s 12

RIC

+39.346s 10

MAS

+54.326s 8

PER

+62.606s 6

GRO

+74.865s 4

HUL

+80.188s 2

10 

OCO

+95.711s

Sebastian Vettel leads the drivers’ championship after winning a tense 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton on Sunday. A late charge from Hamilton wasn’t quite enough to prevent a Ferrari victory, as his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas took third.

BREAKING:Hamilton wins Shanghai 


LAP 56/56: #CHINESEGP 🇨🇳
FINISHERS
HAM

VET

VER

RIC

RAI

BOT

SAI

MAG

PER

OCO

GRO

HUL

PAL

MAS

ERI
#F1

F1 China preview – Ferrari can put Mercedes on the ropes with a win in Shanghai 


If Ferrari’s victory in Australia caused an upset, following it by triumphing in China would put Mercedes on red alert – figuratively and literally. So can the Scuderia keep the roll going – or will Mercedes strike back over what promises to be an intense weekend in Shanghai?

Do the Scuderia hold the early advantage?
It was Sebastian Vettel’s ability to stretch his first stint longer than Lewis Hamilton’s that proved key to the Ferrari man’s victory in Australia – and that could bode well for this weekend.
The Shanghai International Circuit has long been hard on tyres, and even though Pirelli’s wider 2017 tyres feature harder, more durable compounds, the long and fast corners could still play into Ferrari’s favour if Australia is a reliable guide.

History isn’t exactly with them however: Ferrari last won here in 2013, and were last on pole in 2004, the inaugural event. Mercedes? They’ve secured the front of the grid for the last five consecutive years – and have triumphed four times over the same period…
Part of that trend has been down to the strengths of Mercedes’ power unit, so richly rewarded on the season’s longest straight at 1.2 kilometres. But the indications are that Ferrari have closed the gap significantly – indeed customer team Haas even suggested the Scuderia could be ahead in the power stakes. 
As has been the case all season Ferrari are not saying much, but Mercedes certainly expect a fight again this weekend.
“There are still many areas where we can be better,” says team boss Toto Wolff. “We have been focused on these during the past week. It’s not a case of looking at the competition for inspiration but of getting our own homework done to maximise our performance.”

 
WATCH: VIRTUAL CIRCUIT GUIDE – CHINA

Will rain throw up a wildcard?
According to pre-weekend forecasts, rain is extremely likely Sunday morning – and while it may abate by the time the lights go out, low temperatures mean a wet start is extremely possible.
The good news for drivers is that they should have time to prepare – Friday is also set to run under similar conditions, with only Saturday predicted to be dry throughout.
Teams and drivers have already had a chance to sample their new machines in wet conditions of course during pre-season testing – but then they were lapping in isolation, rather than in the heat of battle and the middle of a pack.
All of which means we could get a wildly different order between Saturday and Sunday – and that’s before we get to the added strategic elements of trying to call conditions and pit stops on what might be a damp but drying circuit…

 
Last year’s ‘freak’ race
Several seasoned observers look forward to a gripping race here. Last year saw a one-off number of overtaking moves – 181 due to several sets of circumstances – but the 2015 event produced a decent 28, partly helped by DRS. 
Some say that the greater grip and thus reduced braking distances will militate against overtaking this year, but the fact that Vettel was able to hound Hamilton closely for the first 17 laps in Australia (a circuit not renowned for passing) suggests that the latest Pirellis fare much better when running in another car’s wake. That could set up some interesting challenges.
Some also expect any passing moves to be more spectacular because the zones are necessarily shorter and thus the drivers must be more committed – perhaps more ‘elbows out’ – when seeking to pull a manoeuvre off. 

 
Giovinazzi fills in again
Over at Sauber, Pascal Wehrlein will sit out a second successive race as a result of lingering fitness issues caused by his crash in the Race of Champions. Italy’s Antonio Giovinazzi, reserve driver at Ferrari, will once again deputise.
The Italian acquitted himself well on debut in Australia. Despite having not run on Friday, when Wehrlein was in action, and a more limited pre-season schedule, the Italian qualified in 16th and brought his car home in 12th, the team’s only finisher.
But while the Italian’s focus will be firmly on his first full F1 weekend, he might not have to wait long for a second. By Wehrlein’s own admission he might not be ready for Bahrain either, meaning Giovinazzi might once again get the nod.
“For me the most important is that I can train intensively to ensure a 100 percent performance,” was Wehrlein’s verdict. 
“I will then be well-prepared for my first complete Grand Prix weekend for the Sauber F1 Team. Hopefully this can be in Bahrain but, if not, then we will take the time it needs until Russia to make sure I am completely ready.”

 
McLaren expecting to struggle
The troubled McLaren-Honda alliance looked better than expected in Melbourne, but team boss Eric Boullier says he is anticipating a fraught weekend in China as Honda’s power deficit becomes truly apparent.
“Shanghai is known to be an unpredictable weekend for a number of reasons: it’s tough on cars, tyres and power units and the weather is often precarious, but I can predict that we won’t be as fortuitous with our pace, compared to our rivals, as we were in Australia.
“The characteristics of the Shanghai International Circuit are very different from Melbourne, and its long, fast straights will likely expose the weaknesses in our package more than Albert Park did. However, we will of course attack the race with our usual fighting spirit, and the most important thing will be to ensure reliability with both cars before focusing on performance.” 
Honda’s Yusuke Hasegawa concurs, adding: “We expect the Chinese Grand Prix to be even more challenging [than Australia]. The track itself also places a lot of stress on the power unit with its slow- and medium-speed corners, and two very long straights. The key will be preparation and set-up.”

 
The weekend’s outlook
It’s expected to be warm in the build-up to Sunday’s race, with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees Celsius – although a drop to around 15 is expected for the Grand Prix, with rain forecast for the morning and possibly returning mid-race.

F1 is “authentic” again, says Wurz

Formula 1 is back to being “authentic” thanks to the 2017 cars leaving drivers happy and challenged again, claims GPDA chairman Alex Wurz.
With the bigger wings and larger tyres set to result in cars smashing lap records this year, drivers have talked about the new generation of machinery being much harder to take to the limit.
And after the hard-fought season-opener in Australia – which swung Sebastian Vettel’s way after Lewis Hamilton got trapped behind Max Verstappen – Wurz is in no doubt that fans should celebrate the fact they are seeing genuine racing again.
The Austrian, who has been in charge of the GPDA since 2014, says his feedback from drivers is encouraging – even though he admits some areas, like the gap between teams, could be improved.
“The drivers like the cars,” Wurz told Motorsport.com. “It is authentic and that comes across, which makes it much easier to sell.
“If you hear a multiple world champion short of breath on the radio, because he is pushing and he can push all the time, that doesn’t require anyone to explain that it is physically tough and challenging to drive.
“Every lap they were pushing. That is cool. So I think the direction we are going is definitely one that is good.”
Areas to improve
Although happy with how the cars have developed, Wurz does admit that there are areas that F1 should be looking to address – like the gap between the top three teams and the rest.
“If I would have a wish list, I would say that if we manage now to get the field a bit closer together in terms of first to last and the top teams, that will bring a bit more competition,” he said.

Vettel stuns Mercedes with Melbourne win


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Race – Vettel stuns Mercedes with Melbourne win
FERRARI AUSTRALIA SEBASTIAN VETTEL

 26 Mar 2017
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Ferrari proved that their pre-season testing form was no fluke on Sunday, as Sebastian Vettel soundly beat Lewis Hamilton to win the 2017 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton’s new Mercedes team mate, Valtteri Bottas, completed the Albert Park podium.
RACE RESULTS
POS. DRIVER TIME POINTS

VET

1:24:11.672 25

HAM

+9.975s 18

BOT

+11.250s 15

RAI

+22.393s 12

VER

+28.827s 10

MAS

+83.386s 8

PER

+1 lap 6

SAI

+1 lap 4

KVY

+1 lap 2

10 

OCO

+1 lap 1

See full standings

After shadowing polesitter Hamilton throughout the race’s opening stages, Vettel leapfrogged the silver car at the first round of stops. From there the German never looked back, taking the chequered flag almost 10 seconds clear to clinch Ferrari’s first win since Singapore 2015, with team mate Kimi Raikkonen fourth.
Hamilton won the start, leaving Vettel to chase him, but the Mercedes had consumed its ultrasoft Pirelli tyres after 17 laps, whereas Vettel managed to get his to the 22nd lap before making his sole pit stop.
Hamilton ought still to have been able to regain the lead, but he came out of the pits behind Max Verstappen’s fifth placed Red Bull, and simply could not pass it despite running on fresher rubber. Thus Vettel was able to make his stop and emerge still in the lead, to the chagrin of Mercedes.
Thereafter, there was no stopping Ferrari, who made up for fumbling what should have been victory here last year by setting out their stall for all to see.
Hamilton did what he could, while coping with what he thought might be a floor problem and some intermittent power surges, which meant he also had to keep an eye on team mate Bottas who, having fallen well behind the two leaders in the opening stages, was coming back strongly in the second half of the race.
In the end, though, there was no way either could challenge the red car, as Ferrari scored a hugely important victory which ushered in the new era of F1 in the most popular way, as far as many fans round the world were concerned.
Raikkonen never gave the top three a moment’s concern and finished a distant and uncompetitive fourth, challenged at one stage by Verstappen until he woke up and set the fastest lap on the penultimate tour.
The ‘unretired’ Felipe Massa was a likewise lonely sixth for Williams as Sergio Perez just kept his Force India ahead of a charging Carlos Sainz’s Toro Rosso, and the Spaniard’s Russian team mate Daniil Kvyat.
Tenth place fell to Esteban Ocon after a heady dust-up with Fernando Alonso, who had kept his uncompetitive McLaren in the final points-scoring position for lap after lap until a suspension problem enabled both Ocon and the Renault of a closing Nico Hulkenberg to pass him in one corner on the 52nd lap.
As Alonso retired, Pascal Wehrlein stand-in Antonio Giovinazzi made an excellent F1 debut with Sauber to take 12th place ahead of a struggling Stoffel Vandoorne, who at least finished in his McLaren MCL32.
The other retirements included the Haas cars of Romain Grosjean, who fell from seventh with suspected engine failure, and Kevin Magnussen who crashed with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson on the opening lap and later suffered suspension failure; Ericsson, whose engine broke; Daniel Ricciardo, who joined the race on the second lap after starting from the pits following a sensor problem on his way to the grid which jammed his Red Bull in sixth gear, then went out with suspected engine failure; Jolyon Palmer whose Renault had persistent brake problems; and Williams rookie Lance Stroll, who jumped from 20th to 14th on the opening lap but later suffered brake problems too.
Vettel thus leads the drivers’ points table with 25 points to Hamilton’s 18, Bottas’ 15, Raikkonen’s 12, Verstappen’s 10, Massa’s eight, Perez’s six, Sainz’s four, Kvyat’s two and Ocon’s one.
Ferrari head the constructors’ stakes with 37 points to Mercedes’ 33, as Red Bull have 10, Williams eight, Force India seven and Toro Rosso six.

Formula 1 starts this weekend, and we still don’t know who’s going to win


Good news, everyone: the 2017 Formula 1 season starts this weekend. As has become tradition, the first race of the year is in Melbourne, Australia, meaning those of us in Europe or North America can expect a late night or very early morning. This will be the first year under new management—with Liberty having purchased F1 from CVC, ousting Bernie in the process—and also the first year for new aerodynamics regulations and new tires. The two preseason tests have come and gone, but yet again—and despite more than 20 years following the sport—I still have no idea who’s going to come out on top.
Black and round
The principal complaint about F1 in recent years—along with inaudible engines, exorbitant ticket prices, and the boredom of overwhelming Mercedes domination—has been the Pirelli tires. Specifically, it’s about the tires’ inability to cope with more than one heat cycle. With most racing slicks, if you push too hard and overheat the tire, backing off for a few corners lets them cool down, and everything goes back to normal. But when the F1 Pirellis of the past few years overheat, they’re ruined. (It’s possible this is caused by a particular chemical used in the manufacturing process that makes the tire compound extrudable.) That won’t be the case this year; now the tires will suffer little to no drop-off or degradation, so expect a lot of one-stop strategies, at least for the first few races.
If the new tires are going to make life easy for the strategists, they’ll have the opposite effect on the drivers. The chief consequence of those old tires was that in a race, everyone was cruising around two to three seconds slower than the ultimate pace of the car. Pushing it and ruining a set of tires simply wasn’t worth the risk. That’s no longer a concern; add in the extra downforce and larger contact patches from the new tire sizes and you get a recipe for F1 drivers having to work a lot harder in the car than any time since 2011. As it should be.

Enlarge

Lap times in testing mean nothing
Times from the preseason tests in Spain confirm that test lap times don’t mean much. Fastest of all was Finnish driver Kimi Räikkönen in one of the Ferraris, lapping Catalunya in 1:18.634. To put that in some context, at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, the fastest time of the weekend was Lewis Hamilton’s pole-winning lap in Q3 at 1:22:000. (The absolute fastest lap we can find is from 2008, when Fernando Alonso turned a 1:14.648 in qualifying.) What’s more, Kimi set that time on the super-soft (rather than the ultra-soft) tires. His teammate Sebastian Vettel claimed the second-fastest overall time, suggesting that the red team from Maranello may finally be back on form.
But this is F1, and things are never that simple. No one wants to show their true hand in preseason testing, and we have no idea of fuel loads—and therefore car weights—for any of the fastest times. Did Ferrari run the car significantly lighter than Mercedes to keep the bloodthirsty Italian press happy? I still have no real idea and won’t until after qualifying rounds in Australia this weekend.
Mercedes drivers Valteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton weren’t far behind the Ferraris in testing. Were the Silver Arrows sandbagging? If so, it’s going to be a very boring season again, particularly if Bottas needs some time to take the fight to Hamilton. What we do know is that the team covered 3,170 miles (5102km) during those eight days, equivalent to at least an entire F1 season.


Both teams look to have the advantage over Red Bull, which still needs more power from its Tag Heuer engines. The most interesting thing to watch this coming year will be the relationship between Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. The Dutch wunderkind is still only 19, and amid flashes of brilliance, we’ve also seen hints of petulance and impatience. Expect fireworks between the two if the car becomes a title contender.

The midfield
2017 is going to be a building year for Williams. Paddy Lowe returns to the team, having just led Mercedes to three consecutive titles. Lowe started his F1 career with Williams when the team was similarly dominant and is the engineer responsible for the very clever active suspension system of the early 1990s. Williams remains the second most successful F1 team in history, and many would like to see it return to those winning days.
But that will take some time—and probably some more money. In the meantime, the team has a relatively weak driver lineup for 2017. Reigning World Champ Nico Rosberg’s sudden mic drop at the end of last year left a hole in the Mercedes team, filled by Bottas in exchange for a rather large check. Bottas was set to pair up with 18-year-old Canadian rookie Lance Stroll; instead, Felipe Massa unretired and will be back on the grid in 2017. Massa didn’t have a great 2016 run, and Stroll seems quick but inexperienced, with more than a few mistakes in testing that left him beached in the gravel.

Williams will be fighting with Force India, Toro Rosso, Haas, and Renault for the rest of the points on offer. Force India has a snazzy new pink livery. Renault has an air of optimism and a new team leader in the shape of Nico Hulkenberg. Haas has a year under its belt and the experience that brings. And Toro Rosso has a pair of drivers with statements to make—Carlos Sainz Jr. surely deserves a seat at a top team in the near future, and Daniil Kvyat will want to prove he deserves to stay in F1 when the energy drink giant is done with him.
Back of the pack
Then we get to the sad end of the grid. Sauber has struggled for funding ever since BMW left the sport, and this year looks to be no exception. It narrowly beat Manor in the 2016 constructor’s championship; that team went to the wall, but Sauber soldiers on into 2017. Its fastest time in testing was still three seconds slower than Kimi’s 1:18.
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But the saddest story of F1 2017 belongs to McLaren. For fans of the team—and I count myself among that number—it has been a rough few seasons, and this year looks little better. Like the sport itself, McLaren is under new management; long-time team boss Ron Dennis was forced out, replaced by Zak Brown. That change has meant a new nomenclature for the cars and the return of orange in the team’s livery. But Brown is still stuck with Honda engines, and for the third year running, they appear to be a total dud. Over eight days of testing, McLaren managed just 15 percent as many laps as Mercedes, not even cracking the 2,000km mark. (The team managed 425 laps/1,229 miles/1978km).

The midfield
2017 is going to be a building year for Williams. Paddy Lowe returns to the team, having just led Mercedes to three consecutive titles. Lowe started his F1 career with Williams when the team was similarly dominant and is the engineer responsible for the very clever active suspension system of the early 1990s. Williams remains the second most successful F1 team in history, and many would like to see it return to those winning days.
But that will take some time—and probably some more money. In the meantime, the team has a relatively weak driver lineup for 2017. Reigning World Champ Nico Rosberg’s sudden mic drop at the end of last year left a hole in the Mercedes team, filled by Bottas in exchange for a rather large check. Bottas was set to pair up with 18-year-old Canadian rookie Lance Stroll; instead, Felipe Massa unretired and will be back on the grid in 2017. Massa didn’t have a great 2016 run, and Stroll seems quick but inexperienced, with more than a few mistakes in testing that left him beached in the gravel.

Sahara Force India

Following the preseason tests, Sahara Force India revealed this fetching new pink livery. I like it, and in honor of the new color scheme I’ve assembled a small gallery of some of my other favorite pink racing cars.
Williams will be fighting with Force India, Toro Rosso, Haas, and Renault for the rest of the points on offer. Force India has a snazzy new pink livery. Renault has an air of optimism and a new team leader in the shape of Nico Hulkenberg. Haas has a year under its belt and the experience that brings. And Toro Rosso has a pair of drivers with statements to make—Carlos Sainz Jr. surely deserves a seat at a top team in the near future, and Daniil Kvyat will want to prove he deserves to stay in F1 when the energy drink giant is done with him.
Back of the pack
Then we get to the sad end of the grid. Sauber has struggled for funding ever since BMW left the sport, and this year looks to be no exception. It narrowly beat Manor in the 2016 constructor’s championship; that team went to the wall, but Sauber soldiers on into 2017. Its fastest time in testing was still three seconds slower than Kimi’s 1:18.
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But the saddest story of F1 2017 belongs to McLaren. For fans of the team—and I count myself among that number—it has been a rough few seasons, and this year looks little better. Like the sport itself, McLaren is under new management; long-time team boss Ron Dennis was forced out, replaced by Zak Brown. That change has meant a new nomenclature for the cars and the return of orange in the team’s livery. But Brown is still stuck with Honda engines, and for the third year running, they appear to be a total dud. Over eight days of testing, McLaren managed just 15 percent as many laps as Mercedes, not even cracking the 2,000km mark. (The team managed 425 laps/1,229 miles/1978km).

Enlarge / An all too common sight at the preseason tests. Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren stopped on track, about to be hauled off on the back of a flatbed.

Dan Istitene | Getty Images

In fact, we’re not even sure the team managed to string together more than 11 laps in a single run. No one—including the techs at Honda—is entirely sure what the problem is, but it’s both down on power and unreliable. This is the third year Honda’s engines have missed the mark, and Karun Chandok made an excellent point in Motor Sport’s F1 preview podcast, wondering why Honda hasn’t stuck an engine or two into a test mule to pile on some miles at Suzuka. We wonder, too, and the entire effort seems a far cry from Honda’s glory days in the sport.
Therefore it’s no surprise that rumors have been circulating that McLaren is looking to ditch its Japanese partner for customer Mercedes engines. This is an option now that Manor is gone and Mercedes has spare capacity, but it would leave a massive hole in McLaren’s (already diminished) budget. The team’s complete lack of pace is bad for fans, too. Who wouldn’t relish seeing Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne given the equipment he needs to take the fight to Hamilton et al?
The cars will hit the streets of Albert Park at 12pm local time on Friday for the first practice session.

Liberty Media complete Formula One takeover as Bernie Ecclestone ends 40-YEAR reign

Liberty Media complete Formula One takeover as Bernie Ecclestone ends 40-YEAR reign
Liberty Media complete Formula One takeover as Bernie Ecclestone ends 40-YEAR reign


I’m proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula 1, and would like to thank all of the promoters, teams, sponsors and television companies that I have worked with,” Ecclestone said.
“I’m very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1.”
In an interview with German publication Auto, Motor and Sport on Monday, 86-year-old Ecclestone said his reign in the sport was over.
“I was deposed today. This is official, I do not run the company any more,” he said.

Ecclestone’s 40-year rule of Formula One has come to an end, with Liberty confirming their takeover, although he will remain involved as chairman emeritus.

Nico Rosberg wins F1 title as Lewis Hamilton wins in Abu Dhabi

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Nico Rosberg wins F1 title as Lewis Hamilton wins in Abu Dhabi

By Andrew Benson

Chief F1 writer in Abu Dhabi

27 Nov From the sectionFormula 1 1110

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Nico Rosberg won his first Formula 1 world title despite Lewis Hamilton disobeying Mercedes orders not to back his team-mate into rivals.
Hamilton won the Abu Dhabi GP driving slowly in an attempt to bring other drivers into the battle, knowing he needed Rosberg to finish below third.
Hamilton was repeatedly told to speed up but told the team: “Let us race.”
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Rosberg came under pressure from Sebastian Vettel but held off the Ferrari driver to finish second.
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Hamilton controlled the race from the front but was under instruction from Mercedes management not to try any strategic games to delay Rosberg.
However, he disregarded message after message to speed up and prevent Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen from closing on Rosberg.
The German in turn complained on the radio to the team to “consider doing something” and the tense title battle will do nothing to improve the cool relationship between the two drivers.
At one point, as Vettel homed in on Rosberg in the closing laps, Mercedes executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe, who only speaks to the drivers on the radio in extreme circumstances, told Hamilton: “Lewis, this is Paddy. We need you to pick up the pace to win this race.”
Hamilton replied: “I’m in the lead right now. I’m quite comfortable where I am.”
But his tactics were not enough and Rosberg whooped with delight as he crossed the line and, after wife Vivian congratulated him over the radio, did doughnut spins on the pit straight before climbing on to the nose of the car to take the cheers from the crowd.

Hamilton and Rosberg in shoot out for Formula 1 World Title 

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Bull Formula 1 team principal Christian Horner believes Lewis Hamilton would be “smart” to try to compromise title rival Nico Rosberg’s race in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
If Hamilton wins at Yas Marina on Sunday, he needs Rosberg to finish fourth or lower to overturn the German’s 12-point lead in the standings and win a fourth world championship.
Horner, whose Red Bull team is likely to be Mercedes’ closest challenger, understands that means Hamilton needs drivers such as Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to get ahead of Rosberg.
“First of all to my drivers I’d say just go for it because it’s not our championship battle,” Horner told reporters at a Red Bull media event on Wednesday.
“We could be Lewis’s best friend on Sunday if we manage to get both cars ahead of Nico.
“There’s no point Lewis being ahead by half a lap – if he’s smart he’s going to back the cars up so there is racing behind him because that’s the only way the result will fall his way.
“Nico has got everything to lose.
“In reality a top three finish is a straightforward result for a Mercedes driver but he’s probably going to be watching his mirrors harder than everybody else in the field. He’s got everything at stake.
“Lewis’s job in some ways is easier as Nico is the one with the pressure on him to close out the championship.”
Ricciardo reckons trying to hold Rosberg back might compromise Hamilton too.
“I’m sure he wants us to get up there but I think he should still focus on his race, because if he starts playing around, then we might beat him as well,” he said.
Horner believes the way Sebastian Vettel snatched the title from Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber in 2010 is an example of how the focus on securing a championship can upset title contenders’ rhythm.
“It’s an FA Cup final for Lewis, he’s just got to go for it,” he added.
“That was very much the scenario with Sebastian in 2010 – he paid no attention to what was going on around him, just got on with the job and drove a great race.

“The others tightened up a bit, particularly Fernando focusing on what Mark was doing and forgetting what Seb was doing.
“[Alonso] went into that race similar to Nico just needing to finish in the top three to be world champion.
“Lewis still has a pretty decent chance going into this final race.”

F1 TITLE BATTLE PERMUTATIONS
Rosberg wins the title if:

He finishes in the top three, regardless of what Hamilton does

He finishes fourth, fifth or sixth and Hamilton doesn’t win

He finishes seventh or eighth and Hamilton isn’t in the top two

He finishes ninth or 10th and Hamilton isn’t in the top three

Hamilton isn’t in the top three
Hamilton wins the title if:

He wins and Rosberg is outside the top three

He is second and Rosberg is outside the top six

He is third and Rosberg is outside the top eight
Ricciardo believes title fight nerves affecting Mercedes will be Red Bull’s best hope this weekend.
“You think about Rosberg’s position – all he has to do is finish third,” said Ricciardo.
“Even if he drops back to fifth at the start, the car is still quick enough that he could get through during the race.
“If he’s a bit cautious, I’ll try to take some advantage.
“They’re normally too fast, but if they’re a bit more vulnerable this weekend it’s better for us.”

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