Categories
Formula One Open Wheel

THREE TAKEAWAYS: 2017 Singapore Grand Prix

Formula 1 treated fans to one of its most exciting races of the year as Singapore celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Marina Bay Street Circuit with the series’ first wet night competition.

On a circuit which is traditionally Mercedes’ bogey track, Lewis Hamilton led every lap to take his seventh win of 2017 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton is the first driver to take three in a row this year after Belgium and Italy.

He inherited the victory after a dramatic opening lap crash involving poleman Sebastian Vettel, teammate Kimi Raikkonen, and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Just 12 of the 20 drivers completed the two-hour distance as the contest had the highest number of retirements in 2017.

The drivers’ championship fight has decreased, with Hamilton extending his three-point advantage to 28, with a maximum of 25 for a win.

Has Vettel Thrown Away The Title?

One of the questions answered after the event was what role Vettel played in the incident.

From multiple viewings of the accident, it appears that the German gradually slides left to try and stop Verstappen from attacking him, with Raikkonen going on Verstappen’s left-hand side to attempt to and snatch first place.

The Finn’s right-rear tire collided with the front left of the Dutchman’s car, sending him speeding without stopping into Turn 1, hitting the side of the Red Bull before Fernando Alonso becomes involved. Vettel continued momentarily before spinning into the Turn 3 wall, destroying his front wing.

The last time before this the German had a DNF was in Malaysia last season. It was then that Hamilton suffered power unit failure and the championship fell away from his grasp and towards Nico Rosberg. Has karma gone back into his direction, with nothing to choose between the two drivers who both have shown strong previous form at the upcoming tracks?

Meanwhile, Alonso was almost up to third early on, but took his ninth DNF of the year, tying his worst career record set back in 2001 at Minardi. Water is wet for the Spaniard.

Hamilton Again Shows Wet Weather Class

The three-time champion is probably one of the few drivers on the grid you would want to drive in damp conditions, and he set multiple fastest laps on his way to victory. His time of 1m45.008s is a new record with the faster 2017 machinery.

He made his way from fifth on the grid thanks to the chaos ahead and an important move around the right-hand side of a slow-starting Ricciardo before carrying on at the very right of the track to avoid becoming a passenger in the debris above.

“I came in and I saw that it was raining and I knew that this balances everything out,” he said. “I love racing in the rain, then everything unfolded in the beginning. Starting on the Intermediates I thought it was going to be much closer pace-wise. These conditions give you the opportunity to really make a difference with your driving.”

Ricciardo’s job to finish 4.5 seconds off the winner seemed impressive when his team principal Christian Horner said after the race that he had to control an issue.

“After the [initial] restart (Lap 5 of 58), Daniel started to lose an awful lot of gearbox oil, which created a lot of problems with oil pressure, and we were feeling that it was looking unlikely that Daniel would get to the end of the race,” he said. “However, he managed to nurse the gearbox of the car incredibly well for three-quarters of the Grand Prix, and though able to hold off any threat from behind from Valtteri, unfortunately he could not attack Lewis ahead.”

It was a familiar story for Valtteri Bottas. Many have wondered whether he can match up in damp or wet conditions after his spin in China earlier in the year, and he finished 8.8s behind in third. Not only that, but his drinks bottle was not fully working in one of the most physically-demanding tracks the series visits.

“In the dry, the car was performing better than expected and the pace was very good for Lewis and me,” he said. “In the wet, I struggled a bit more than him. It’s nice to bring a trophy home after what has been a tricky weekend for me.”

Notable Drivers Suffer Ups And Downs

Days after news of Carlos Sainz swapping Toro Rosso for Renault and Renault powering McLaren next season, all three parties had a solid Singapore night.

Sainz took a career-best fourth-place, while the replaced Jolyon Palmer finished just ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne in sixth. Rumors still say Palmer could have had his last contest with the team, but a positive performance won’t hurt as he looks for a new home on the grid or in another series for 2018.

Two drivers suffered difficult results due to car problems. Nico Hulkenberg was fourth until an oil leak took him to pit lane. He also spent some laps in the top-three, but collects the record for most starts without a podium in F1 history, beating Adrian Sutil’s total of 128. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen was fighting for points until an electrical failure.

What’s Next?

The 10th running doesn’t end Singapore’s story for now, as it signed a new four-year deal before the weekend to continue hosting the sport until 2021, confirming its place on 2018’s 21-race calendar.

Drivers now head to Malaysia for the final event in that country in two weeks’ time as the fight to become champion comes down to the next two months.

EMAIL CAMERON AT @cpatersonf1@gmail.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @PatersonCameron

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Formula One Open Wheel

THREE TAKEAWAYS: 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The latest addition to the Formula 1 calendar, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, produced one of the most dramatic races of this decade as chaos ensued at the Baku City Circuit.

After polesitter Lewis Hamilton had suffered an unusual incident with his headrest not being secured and Sebastian Vettel being given a time penalty, putting both in the pitlane one more time, Daniel Ricciardo took his fifth win in the sport.

Valtteri Bottas rebounded from a first lap puncture to finish second after beating Lance Stroll on the line.

Every team that had one car left in the event scored, with Renault being the only team to suffer a double retirement.

Ricciardo’s Fifth Win

Red Bull is rarely having a straightforward day in 2017, and Daniel Ricciardo certainly worked hard to claim another victory.

Ricciardo started in 10th after a qualifying crash and was forced to pit on Lap 6 to remove debris from his brakes, pushing him down to 17th.

As drivers around him suffered incidents, teammate Max Verstappen became the sixth team retirement of the year, and he made passes, Ricciardo was already up to 10th by a Lap 13 safety car period and fifth by the red flag ten circuits later. The safety car stint also saw him move onto the faster supersoft tires while the rest of the top-10 continued on the soft compound.

The Australian also again showed his gutsy overtaking abilities on his mission to the front. He passed both Marcus Ericsson and Carlos Sainz in turn 1 on Lap 10 for 13th, jumping on Sainz’s overtake of the Swede. A move by both Williams of Stroll and Felipe Massa took him to the podium positions at the inside of Turn 1 on Lap 24 thanks to late braking before the two leaders disappeared.

His run of four straight podiums since Spain is the best of his career and the chances of a third top-four championship finish are looking brighter by the weekend. That is if Red Bull’s unreliability problems do not develop.

Stroll’s First Podium

Fans of the sport are now left on a cliffhanger over whether the Canadian racer is beginning to blossom.

Stroll looked fantastic all weekend and rarely made an error on track in practice or qualifying.

His first points finish of ninth in Canada and more track time seemed to have given him more confidence.

He out-qualified teammate Felipe Massa for the first time in qualifying, leaving McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer as the only permanent racers to not do this after eight rounds in 2017.

This is Williams’ 16th podium of this decade. Stroll is the fourth competitor to claim a top-three finish alongside Bottas, Pastor Maldonado and Massa.

He is the youngest person to score a podium in their rookie season, at 18 years and 239 days. It happened over a year since the team’s last top-three finish at the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix.

A third top-10 finish in a row in Austria may help the argument over his ability. Only five other Williams entrants have done this in the last 10 years – Nico Rosberg (2007, ’08), Rubens Barrichello (’10), Bruno Senna (’12), Bottas (’14, ’15, ’16) and Massa (’14, ’15, ’16).

Vettel and Hamilton Take Gloves Off

This contest sparked to controversial life as the safety car pitted at the end of Lap 23. Lewis Hamilton prepared for the restart, and Sebastian Vettel made contact with his rear before pulling alongside and hitting his right sidepod.

The German was penalized on Lap 32 with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, resulting in a pit lane time loss of around 30 seconds. Vettel eventually recovered to fourth place, extending his Drivers’ Championship lead by two to 14 points.

Vettel’s incident had memories of 2010 when he was involved in some dramatic events while fighting for his first title, including his infamous ‘crazy’ gesture towards Mark Webber when the Red Bull rivals crashed at Turkey. In a way 2017 is like 2010 for him, when many may have thought he was not ready to become a champion because of his crashes. It is the first time since then he hasn’t had as much control of his destiny.

From 2011 through 2013, he had arguably the fastest car on the grid and had the mental advantage of being reigning champion. This year, like seven years ago, he is fighting to take the title against the odds.

Vettel now has nine penalty points, and if he were to offend again in Austria and gain another three-point penalty, he would be given a one-race ban for gathering 12 on his license. He may need to be careful and drive conservatively.

EMAIL CAMERON AT @cpatersonf1@gmail.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @PatersonCameron

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Formula One Open Wheel Power Rankings

POWER RANKINGS: Azerbaijan

f1 rankings logo

Throughout the season, POPULAR SPEED will rank the top-10 drivers in Formula 1 following each event. Feel free to comment on the story at the POPULAR SPEED Facebook page.

Team Rankings

2017 Constructor’s Championship After Azerbaijan

  1. Mercedes (NC)
  2. Ferrari (NC)
  3. Red Bull (NC)
  4. Force India (NC)
  5. Williams (+1)
  6. Toro Rosso (-1)
  7. Haas (+1)
  8. Renault (-1)
  9. Sauber (NC)
  10. McLaren (NC)

The Rankings reflect no movement in the top four. Lance Stoll’s first podium moves Williams up one spot to number five, while Daniil Kvyat’s failure to score points leaves Toro Rosso one space down in sixth. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen had a spectacular drive earning seventh, so his team is now also in seventh. Renault lost seventh place due to Nico Hulkenberg’s unexpected DNF.

Driver Rankings After Azerbaijan

  1. Sebastian Vettel continues to occupy the first spot, and his lead over Lewis Hamilton has increased by two points.
  2. Lewis Hamilton is still in second and remains behind Vettel as he’s been all season.
  3. Valtteri Bottas remains third.
  4. Daniel Ricciardo’s win in Baku pushes him up one position to fourth in the championship.
  5. Kimi Raikkonen’s DNF drops him one place to fifth
  6. Max Verstappen remains sixth.
  7. Sergio Perez is still seventh.
  8. Esteban Ocon remains in the number eight position.
  9. Carlos Sainz no movement this race, still ninth.
  10. Felipe Massa cannot buy a break so stays tenth.

Our rankings resume in two weeks, after the Austrian Grand Prix.

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Formula One Open Wheel

What We Learned from Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2017

The Big Picture: Formula One arrived in the capital of the emerging nation in 2016 when the race was branded as the European Grand Prix – although Baku on the Caspian Sea is so close to Asia that the name was stretching it a bit. Under the Ecclestone regime, any nation willing to cut a large enough check could host a Formula One event.

The Event:  This race is run on a course of 3.7 miles on the streets known as the Baku City Circuit. The concrete canyons that make up Baku are some of the narrowest in Formula One, and unlike Monaco, they don’t have cranes to remove cars that need it. The crowds seem to love the racing despite the three digit temperatures.

In Our Last Episode: Lewis Hamilton achieved the fourth career grand slam of his career taking a dominant victory in Montreal.

Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton delivered a blistering final qualifying lap of 1:40:593, a track record and his 66th P1 start. In the words of one commentator, the list of all-time Formula One poles now reads: Schumacher, Hamilton, and Senna. Joining Hamilton on row one will be was his teammate Valtteri Bottas. The Ferraris lined up on row two, Verstappen in fifth, and then the pink car twins, Sergio Perez, and Esteban Ocon.

Start:  The rivalry between Mercedes and Ferrari boiled over at the beginning when Kimi Raikkonen made a speculative move on Bottas eventually ruining the Ferrari driver’s race.

Race: Wow. Most F1 races are pretty boring. This one was crazy and unpredictable. Victor Daniel Ricciardo started in tenth place. Consider that Vettel has only won from a top three start, this is quite the accomplishment. Bottas claimed second (see below). Teenager Lance Stoll got his first podium of his F1 career. So, shut up Jacques (Villeneuve)! Hamilton might have won despite multiple ramming by Vettel, but he was forced to pit because a head restraint needed to be replaced. Force India cars might have podiumed if not for its drivers ramming one another. And so it went. Oh, but Fernando Alonzo scored his and McLaren’s first points of the season.

Best Team: Easily, it was Mercedes once again. They provided two win-worthy cars to drivers Hamilton and Bottas. The Finn was able to make an improbable recovery from the first lap contact with countryman Raikkonen to take second place. Four-time world champion Vettel twice rammed Hamilton, but still managed to finish fifth.

What We Will Remember:  The most entertaining race in many a moon, featuring the improbable win of Daniel Ricciardo and the dastardly performance of Vettel.

Quote of the Weekend: “I have never really had a boring win and today was certainly not that. After all the chaos and the red flag I felt that a podium was in reach but then once Lewis had to pit and Seb had the penalty I knew the win was possible. I kind of said yesterday that after my qualifying mistake and starting in tenth place, today was going to be a race of no mistakes, capitalising on moments and opportunities and I felt like we did everything we could this afternoon. The odds of a podium or win got pushed even further back when we had to make an unscheduled pit stop early in the race and I think I was back in seventeenth place. Then things fell in to place quite nicely and on every re-start I was able to make up positions and make it happen. The last re-start was the most important and I think it was Stroll, Hulkenberg, Massa and me, all nearly four wide but I managed to get third and I think that was, in a way, the winning move. Once I saw the gap I was going to do everything I could to brake as late as possible and get that position. It was a real shame for Max today but it is great to get this victory for everyone in the team. I felt like this weekend was better for us overall and hopefully both of us can be on the podium together soon. What a day, it’s crazy and it’s slowly sinking in.” Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull driver

Runner-up Quote of the Weekend: “It’s difficult to swallow a result like this after a strong weekend. I drove my heart out today right to the line – I gave it everything. I know the team will be devastated about the issue with the headrest, but what we have to take away from this weekend is the great performance we have shown. We all feel that pain, but it’s on me to gather my thoughts and try and lead the team through this adversity. We’ll pull together and move forwards. I’m proud of my performance and I hope we can take the speed we’ve shown this weekend forward. I definitely didn’t brake-test Sebastian. I controlled the pace under the Safety Car and, just like with the other restarts, I slowed down in the same place on the entry to T15. At that point, it is up to me to control the pace and then I felt a bump from behind. But that wasn’t the issue for me – everybody saw clearly what happened after. All the young kids in other series look up to us, as champions, to set an example and that is not the behaviour you expect to see from a multiple champion. But we know that when times get tough, true colours show, and we have managed to apply some good pressure in the last weeks. Personally, I want to do my talking on the track and win this championship in the right way. More than ever after this weekend, I believe we can.” Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes driver

Schedule:  In two weeks, the series moves to Spielberg, the town, not director Steven’s place, for the Grand Prix of Austria on July 9th.

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Formula One Open Wheel

Abiteboul: Renault Were ‘Complacent’ With V6 Development

After reflecting upon Renault’s last three years in developing power units, managing director Cyril Abiteboul admitted the team had been ‘complacent’ in developing the new V6 power units in 2014 compared to champions Mercedes.

Speaking on the Autosport Stage at the first day of the Autosport International event, Abiteboul described the struggles they initially faced with the new style of power.

The 2015 season, in particular, saw many failures with Red Bull, especially in the early races of the season and a tense atmosphere between themselves and the Austrian team.

“Pressure is on anyone who is in Formula One, because the pressure is there every single weekend when you go out for qualifying or for a race,” he said. “Clearly we have disappointed with the new generation of engine, with the new power unit when they were introduced in 2014. It’s not in Renault’s DNA to disappoint either the fan or the customer teams, and obviously Red Bull were very vocal about it.

“In 2015 it was about to reset, restart, from a clean sheet of paper. We changed a lot [in] the management structure and processes in Viry-Chatillon in the French engine workshop. I think we’ve been a bit too complacent about we were doing based on the success we had with Red Bull with the V8s and all the data we obtained.”

The 2016 season produced a massive step forward for Renault in their first year back in the sport as a team, with a power unit upgrade in Monaco coinciding with Red Bull’s first pole position since 2013 with Daniel Ricciardo.

Red Bull then went on to claim many podium finishes, including a one-two finish in Malaysia, with Renault also making steps forward with appearances into Q2 and Jolyon Palmer scoring his first points in Kuala Lumpur.

Abiteboul confirmed the team is now focused on making steps to compete with Mercedes’ level of power next year after completing the 2017 season. He also named Renault’s target to win another championship by the end of this decade.

“Now we have really the appetite to demonstrate the capacity and to be true to what we have been doing in history. Before being capable of innovating, I think it’s important that we completely catch up to Mercedes, which we hope to be able to achieve at the start of 2018, so it’s not something for this year.

“What we’ve done, more importantly, is that we’ve put together a very clear road map of innovation that we want to bring in F1 and more specifically in the power unit. That’s something that will support us in this quest for [a] championship by 2020.”

EMAIL CAMERON AT cpatersonf1@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Formula One Open Wheel

Mexico Fall-Out: Ferrari Appeal Vettel’s Penalty, Whiting Explains Stewards’ Thoughts

The repercussions from penalties from the Mexican Grand Prix continued as the paddock starts to concentrate for the race weekend for the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the 2016 season.

In the last race, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel were both penalized after the race for separate incidents, putting them from third and fourth to fourth and fifth in the final classification of the event.

Verstappen was given a five-second time penalty for gaining an advantage, cutting a corner when Vettel was close to his car, while Vettel was penalized for ‘potentially dangerous’ driving when defending from his teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

FERRARI APPEAL

Ferrari has put in an appeal over Vettel’s time penalty from the Mexican Grand Prix, saying they have found new ‘elements’ over the incident.

With the ruling over his behavior being relatively new to the sport, the team looks to gain an understanding of what to do going forward.

“Scuderia Ferrari considers that a number of new elements have come to light after the decision was rendered that make the decision reviewable under Article 14.1 of the International Sporting Code,” a statement from the team read. “Scuderia Ferrari is aware that championship rankings will not change, regardless of the outcome. But in light of its important as a precedent for the future, and in order to provide clarity in the application of the rules in future events, Scuderia Ferrari believes that the decision should be reconsidered by the stewards.”

The German driver disagreed with the decision and continued to do so while questions about it were asked in the Drivers’ Press Conference at the Interlagos circuit.

“Well, obviously I don’t agree with the decision that was made,” Vettel said. “I think I moved over once to defend my position, after that yeah, I think I gave Daniel enough room on the inside; I kept the car straight for more than the majority of the braking, so I think the reason, why, from my point of view, why Daniel locked up so bad is because there was no grip on the inside and it’s something that, yeah, I think we all knew.

“There were people locking up on other corners when they were offline, so I think it actually looks a bit worse than it was. I don’t think it was actually dangerous for Daniel at that point, but okay, I have to deal with the decision.”

WHITING EXPLANATIONS

To fully analyze the stewards’ decision-making processes, in a unique situation for Formula One, FIA race director Charlie Whiting joined the six drivers in the Drivers’ Press Conference to explain rulings from the Mexican Grand Prix.

Whiting sat in the front row alongside Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Williams’ Felipe Massa, and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, with the three involved in the Mexican events – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ricciardo, and Vettel – in the back. He sat next to a television screen where he showed replays of the incidents as a backdrop to him explaining the situations.

THE STORY BEHIND THE INTRODUCTION OF DEFENDING RULES

He began by talking about the new defending ruling that has recently come into the sport, which would have impacted the stewards’ outcome.

“We had the incident with Max and Lewis in Japan where the first thing (sic) that Lewis said over the radio was ‘He moved. He moved when we were braking’. We looked at it after the race,” Whiting said. “The stewards, as you know, felt that there wasn’t a case to answer there, which gave rise, of course, to a lengthy discussion in the drivers’ meeting in Austin [, TX]. I then issued a clarification of existing regulations to say exactly what we felt should be reported to the stewards. With that as the backdrop, so to speak, Mexico was really the first race where that rule was applied.”

VETTEL AND RICCIARDO’S MEXICAN FIGHT

Whiting uses the ruling to delve further into the incident between Vettel and Ricciardo and describe reasons why the penalty is given.

“There are three fundamental points there within the rules,” he continues. “Firstly, if a driver has to take evasive action; if a driver makes an abnormal change of direction in the braking zone; and if it could be potentially dangerous to another driver. If those three conditions are satisfied then the stewards felt it was a dangerous manoeuvre and should be penalized.

“That’s how the stewards looked at it and they felt Sebastian had moved under braking; that was very clear from the data, and also pretty clear from the video, of course; it was potentially dangerous and it was an abnormal change of direction which could have led to an accident.”

He continued to show further replays of the incident, saying that the stewards may have taken the decision as there was the possibility of Ricciardo damaging his front right tire against the side of the Ferrari.

“There’s one view I doubt anyone has actually seen. This is from the track camera. I think you can see very clearly that both cars are on the left of the track; Sebastian moves to the right and then, in the braking zone, moves to his left and then you can see quite clearly that Daniel had to take evasive action. And then the onboard [replay].

“I think you can see very clearly that, had Daniel’s right front [tire] hit Sebastian’s left rear [tire] it would have been a significantly different scenario. That’s, I think, what the stewards really looked at was that it was a potentially dangerous situation. It’s close and I think that’s what the stewards looked at.”

EMAIL CAMERON AT cpatersonf1@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Formula One Open Wheel

Ricciardo, Verstappen, Vettel Bring Late Drama to Mexico Party

After a mostly calm second half of the Mexican Grand Prix where Lewis Hamilton was strolling to a 51st career victory, the race imploded into chaos that would see a blur of comments and stewards’ meetings for the next few hours.

Instead of the traditional piñata for the F1 party, drivers decided to play pass the podium, with Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo all having the third place trophy throughout the day.

Verstappen and Vettel both lost positions, victims of penalties after racing ended, handing Ricciardo the podium, with the Australian going up there with his team in the dark to simulate the experience.

VERSTAPPEN’S LOCK UP

In the first flashpoint of action, Verstappen locked up on older tyres, going off track and staying ahead of Vettel as the Red Bull driver held on to third place. Rules state that if you go off track, you should really give the place away if you have gained an advantage.

It was clear why he is defending at this point. Verstappen’s pit stop was on lap 12 of 71 for medium tires, while Vettel’s stop was at the start of lap 33 for mediums, and Ricciardo’s second stop was on lap 51 for softs. Both drivers behind would have much better grip, and may have easily got away from Verstappen if they were let past and given clean air in front.

The degraded rubber left on his tires probably contributed to the lock up in the first place.

He took a five-second time penalty just after the race had finished, moving him provisionally from third to fifth. This caused Vettel running through the pit lane to get up to the podium to collect third place.

VETTEL’S DEFENDING

A couple of hours later, however, the German was given a ten-second time penalty for ‘potential dangerous’ driving after Ricciardo attempted an overtaking move up the inside of his Ferrari.

A lot was not said at the time about the move, maybe due to the fact that Vettel’s cursing while everything was going on was taking over the show. The rules over changes of direction under braking came into force here to penalize him.

On a closer look it does like look Vettel makes a move to the left and then a late move over slightly to the right, where Ricciardo has already made the move down the inside. The closing of the Ferrari’s DRS flap in the rear wing is the sign to show he should be braking and losing speed.

In contrast, in front, Verstappen took a line far to the right into the same corner, a different manner to Vettel’s. Therefore, it does look like the FIA have got the decision correct. There does appear to be a second move late on.

Verstappen certainly thought himself that the stewards made the right call on the last decision.

“I think it was a small bit of justice that the stewards made the decision to penalize Seb,” he said.

“It was clearly a wrong move which has been punished according to the rules. As long as we can stick to the rules every week then we won’t have the frustration we felt after the race.”

RAMIFICATIONS

The result means that Ricciardo confirms third place in the World Championship for the second time in three years, equalling his achievement in 2014. He moves onto 242 points, four more points than he has ever had before in one season.

He finishes ahead of his teammate in the standings for the third time in four years, having beaten Jean-Eric Vergne and Vettel at Toro Rosso and Red Bull in 2013 and 2014, and lost to Daniil Kvyat last season.

His eighth podium also equals the most he has had in one season, like in 2014, while Red Bull’s Constructors’ Championship points total of 427 points in second place is the most they have had since winning it in 2013.

In the fight for fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship, Vettel (187 points), Kimi Raikkonen (178 points) and Verstappen (177 points) are separated by just ten points going into the final two races, with plenty more on-track battling surely to come in Brazil and Abu Dhabi over the final maximum total of 50 points on offer.

It is easy to wonder what would have happened if Verstappen just decided to give the third place away, let Vettel through and the German kept away from an incident with Ricciardo.

EMAIL CAMERON AT cpatersonf1@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.