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

F1 NOTEBOOK: British Grand Prix Questions Answered

With almost a week passed since the British Grand Prix, some conclusions have been made about the failures experienced in Silverstone.

Teams have just one weekend off before competing in Hungary and then starting the traditional August summer break.

As a result, quick verdicts have been made over notable decisions.

Pirelli Investigates Ferrari Tire Failures

Pirelli says that Sebastian Vettel’s front left tire failure on the penultimate lap of British Grand Prix Sunday was due to a slow puncture.

The German looked set for his 10th straight top-four finish until the extra pit stop dropped him to seventh.

“As appeared clear since Sunday afternoon, a full investigation has now confirmed that the original cause of the failure was a slow puncture,” the manufacturer said in a statement. “The consequent driving back to the pits on an underinflated and then flat tyre led to the final failure.”

Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen’s front left tire is needing further analysis after initial tests could not find a clear reason for his failure.

“Further tests and analysis are still ongoing in Pirelli’s laboratories and indoor testing facilities. It will take a few more days to reach a definitive conclusion.”

Renault Developments

Renault’s chassis technical director Nick Chester has in-depth description why Jolyon Palmer did not start the British Grand Prix.

Palmer’s car developed a problem on the formation lap, meaning only 19 drivers took the start, which turned out to come from a piece that could be bought using coins.

“It was something as simple as an O-ring in the hydraulic system,” he said. “We’ve been investigating thoroughly to determine why it failed to ensure we don’t see this again.”

He does believe that the Renaults can make a step forward in the coming races after changes were made with the R.S.17 chassis.

“Both cars will have the new floor we validated [in Hungary],” Chester added. “We will evaluate updated front bodywork and a modified cooling package. We had significant aero upgrades in Silverstone and we expected to see improvements in overall grip and stability. We made the car more drivable with more downforce. It took a big step forward and we could see that in the measurements made in the car, so we are reasonably confident this will carry forward.”

Verstappen’s View

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen also explained where his team is aiming ahead of the Hungarian weekend.

With tight and twisty parts, the track could play to its aerodynamic strengths and help himself and Daniel Ricciardo fight for podium places.

“It’s always a bit too early to say how we’ll do in Hungary but we’re constantly improving, trying to get a better balance and more downforce on the car. Luckily there are not too many straights,” the Dutchman said.

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
Commentary Open Wheel

THREE TAKEAWAYS: 2017 Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton returned to usual form, dominating the Chinese Grand Prix for his 106th career podium, tying him second all-time with Alain Prost.

This continues Mercedes’ superb form at the Shanghai circuit as they always have at least one top-five each visit – even during development between 2010 and 2013 (Nico Rosberg third (’10), fifth (’11), first (’12, ‘16); Hamilton third (’13), first (’14, ’15, ‘17)).

Hamilton’s fifth career Chinese win means he is the first driver since Michael Schumacher (1992-2006) to win a race in 11 straight seasons.

He completes a ‘grand slam’ – claiming pole position, race win and fastest lap after leading every lap – for just the third time in his career. It is his 11th hat-trick of pole, win and fastest time, putting him second all-time with Jim Clark and 11 behind Michael Schumacher’s record.

The race win was potentially key for Hamilton ahead of his expected championship battle with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as he has never become champion after failing to win one of the opening two rounds of a season.

DRS Use Changes

This round was seen by many as a true test of drivers still being able to overtake with the new car design.

In the past, you tend to press the DRS button and go straight past drivers and take positions. This time, you opened the flap while behind somebody, and plan where you could attack. DRS has been transformed as a preparation tool to gear drivers up for an overtake.

The only time that DRS gifted drivers the opportunity to pass was when faster cars came up against slower opposition, such as Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas having to go by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in his recovery from an early spin down the long straightaway between turns 13 and 14.

Not many overtakes happened compared to 2016’s event, but they were worth waiting for.

Verstappen’s Eventful Race

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen once again produced a talented performance in mixed conditions to finish third after starting 16th.

In Brazil last year he produced superb driving to stand on the podium, and he again performed well in damp conditions.

His wet weather start was critical, overtaking nine drivers to be inside the top-10 under virtual safety car and safety car periods.

He then fought with teammate Daniel Ricciardo as they moved into the top three, and managed to keep Ricciardo behind late on again. His defense was similar to the victory in Spain last year, again showcasing the youngster’s skill.

The only thing that took away from his performance slightly was frustration over team radio in the heat of the moment near race’s end. Haas’ Romain Grosjean was a couple of seconds in front of him, with the Dutchman convinced Grosjean should have been shown blue flags to move out of the way.

Ferrari Strategy Error?

Not for the first time in recent history, fans were left debating Ferrari’s tire strategy.

Second-placed Vettel was unlucky to fall behind Ricciardo and Verstappen and teammate Kimi Raikkonen after pitting under a virtual safety car period before the full safety car came out when Antonio Giovinazzi crashed.

However, Raikkonen’s second stop for another set of super-softs came at an awful time on lap 40 of 56, meaning that he was not near Red Bulls’ pair as they fought at the end. They missed an opportunity to claim another podium as he finished 2.884 seconds behind Verstappen and 2.041s behind Ricciardo (48.076s off the lead). His day could have also got worse as he was just 0.732s behind Bottas.

One of the most emotional radio calls came from the Finn, saying “I have no front end and there’s only 20 laps to go.”

Raikkonen admitted that the race could have finished differently had he taken another strategy.

“It was not a very strong race, the car felt good with fresh tires, but we seemed to lose the front very quickly and I was struggling; in a place like this that’s very tricky and gives a lot of lap time away,” he said. “I feel that, even with that, we should have had a better result: maybe ­we could have changed the tires a bit earlier, but it’s always easy to speak after the race.”

The Championship Battle

After one win each, Vettel and Hamilton are equal on 43 points in the Drivers’ Championship and Mercedes lead Ferrari by just one marker (66 to 65) in the Constructors’ – the smallest lead a team has ever held in this era. It is also the first time that two drivers have been tied in points after two rounds for 20 years (Jacques Villeneuve and David Coulthard in 1997).

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

Innovative Design to Red Bull’s RB13

After a few teams had started to use similar solutions in creating their 2017 Formula 1 cars, one team decided to introduce some new ideas to the drawing board.

Red Bull released its new RB13 car with the team continuing to try and find different responses to the regulations like it has done in previous years.

It features exciting innovations that have not yet been on any other car in the sport, including a hollow element of the ‘puzzle’ front wing design which has lovingly become known to some on social media as the ‘Pingu Duct.’ This resembles the mouth of the cartoon Penguin that has become known for online memes in recent times.

The RB13 also contains the typical designs included in the new regulations, the lower rear wing assembly and wider arrow-shaped front wing.

This was released on social media in a much more understated manner than their official presentation of its predecessor, the RB12, playing with the theme of the supposedly unlucky number 13.

The number is usually seen problematic in motorsport with some series including GP2 skipping the number when teams receive their designations for the new season.

It faces the potentially difficult prospect of trying to help the team win a race in two straight years for the first time since the 2013 and 2014 F1 seasons. No driver has won in two different years for the team since Sebastian Vettel in 2012 and 2013.

Mercedes has failed to win just eight times during the last three years, with Red Bull winning five of these through drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

Both Ricciardo and Verstappen spent time in the car during the first days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

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

VIDEO – A Video Game Glance Back at 2016

The calendar has turned and a new year is officially upon us. However, before we head full tilt into 2017, it’d be a good idea to reflect back on the year that was.

Formula 1 saw an exciting season of racing with action from top to the bottom, with close battles on-track and stories off the track.

The year started off with the debut of a new team – Haas F1, which seemed to re-energize the American fan base a touch with optimism and excitement. Romain Grojean only made the fire burn brighter with his strong performances.

There was the sight of a star being born in the form of Max Verstappen becoming the series’ youngest winner, only to be matched by the retirement of veterans Felipe Massa and Jenson Button.

Of course, everything culminated together by a back-and-forth battle for the championship between Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Everybody knows by now Rosberg came out on top, then announced a shocking retirement from the sport.

In a unique, cartoonist way – which seems strange for a series stuck on certain ways, they released a video review of the season done as a eight-bit video game.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

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

Verstappen Gets Closer to Stardom

Whenever rain falls on a Formula One circuit, the one team that is touted for a race victory is Red Bull, with their cars aerodynamic strengths.

Therefore, it is not surprising that fans are raving about a Red Bull drive after a wet Brazilian Grand Prix; however, the praise is more for their driver – Max Verstappen.

He really is becoming the celebrity of the season in 2016. Whether he wins a race or has a rule ‘brought in because of his driving’, he is making the headlines.

The race unlocked something that hasn’t yet been seen from him, potentially making him a more rounded driver in some people’s eyes. The British GP started in wet conditions, although it was mainly a dry race. However, this was the first real time he has impressed, for Red Bull, in fully wet conditions for an extended period in a race.

His overtakes on Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg were superb, and at one point he was slightly catching leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen also again seemed to do something different from most of the other racers, using different lines on track to try and find the ultimate speed.

Verstappen lost out on a position in the top four by having to pit on lap 55, with 16 laps left, to go from intermediates to full wet tires. Red Bull were the highest of the teams to try the inters; however, nobody could get them to work with the track in the difficult conditions.

The times of drivers on the intermediates were not miles away from those drivers on wets, but the crossover period never came for drivers on the green-walled tire to suddenly find a significant amount of time.

He was left in 16th place but started making many overtakes to move up to third at the end of the race, five places ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo who had the same strategy call, pitting two laps earlier and potentially having better tire conditions by the restart at the end of lap 55.

With 16 laps to go, even the most optimistic person would surely have thought that both Red Bulls were done for, but Verstappen again confounded.

As a result, this has caused even more comparisons to fly from people over his talent. Some comments on social media included that the race was like Ayrton Senna in the 1984 Monaco GP or Michael Schumacher in the wet. The emergence as Verstappen as a good driver in all climates.

Team principal Christian Horner also praised his young driver after such a race.

“Having got ourselves into a good position at the start of the race, at the restart Max made an unbelievable pass on Rosberg round the outside of Turn 3 which set up his afternoon of audacious driving and passing moves,” Horner said.

“The last 15 laps were something special to witness as Max made his way back through the field to achieve a quite remarkable podium.”

It just makes you wonder what could have been if the strategy wasn’t used. He only finished 21 seconds behind winner Hamilton and he was setting fastest laps. Although Hamilton himself was also setting the agenda with fastest laps, it would have been interesting if Verstappen was in the top three with 15 laps to go.

Verstappen’s only moment came when he lost control of his car on lap 38 around the final corner and almost headed into the wall. A late heroic maneuver stopped this and kept him in the race, something he described as being “50/50, I guess” between luck and skill.

Maybe this moment is the best way to think of him as the end of the 2016 season approaches. Some of his racing seems a bit mad or eccentric to some, but ultimately he is a quality racer in the end. The performance underlines the fact that he is the headline of the season.

The big debate is whether this will transcend to the next season and beating Ricciardo over a season. It is potentially the first step towards stardom, but the second season may be harder.

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.