After each Grand Prix, Nextgen-Auto.com invites you to find the tops and flops identified by the editorial staff. Who deserves to be applauded? Who, on the contrary, should be criticized? Finally, what are the questions or ambiguities that should be followed with interest during the next Grand Prix? Check it out below!
First issue 1: Max Verstappen as leader … as champion?
Max Verstappen could have had one of his best Grand Prix of the year, if not his career, last weekend in Montreal. It’s hard to criticize the Dutchman, who did everything right from Friday to Sunday. Of particular note is his performance in the standings: in difficult conditions even in a Red Bull (just ask Sergio Perez), Max Verstappen has not been wrong in showing an unquestionably higher pace, supremely superior to the competition. His nearly 7-tenths lead over Fernando Alonso in the standings, 8 over Carlos Sainz, not only rewards the speed of Red Bull, but also the infallible talent of the world champion.
In the race, Max Verstappen flew over the debates from the start, quickly placing his pursuer Carlos Sainz ten seconds behind. If Ferrari had a chance of victory, it was certainly only thanks to the appearances of the security car, virtual or not, that it could have deprived Milton Keynes’ beloved of an otherwise deserved victory. However, this closer end of the race could highlight another quality of Max Verstappen: his resistance to pressure, his error-free defense: a single mistake would have been enough to deprive him of a victory, as the one facing Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton at the last Grand Prix in Montreal.
Sovereign on Saturday and Sunday, Max Verstappen confirms his control over the F1 championship by sowing his pursuers to more than 40 points. Here he is even advancing Jim Clark and Niki Lauda to become the ninth most successful F1 driver. At this rate, he could quickly join Fernando Alonso on the list.
Top # 2: A great weekend that could have been great for Alpine
Alpine, despite the final result of Fernando Alonso, can still be satisfied with this Grand Prix. At La Belle Province, the French team was in good shape, very well. For once, the promises of free practice were again surpassed in the standings, with the magnificent time of Fernando Alonso, 2nd behind Max Verstappen. Esteban Ocon has not been unworthy but has been very far from his partner, more than a second and a half, wasting time noticeably in a chicane.
In the race, luck was reversed … without Fernando Alonso being fully responsible. Esteban Ocon had an impeccable, very clean clinical career, as in his victory last year at the Hungaroring; also taking advantage of the good timing of the virtual security car. On the other hand, Alonso suffered from a strange strategy (why not get him into a virtual security car when he was going to the media) and especially an engine problem that deprived him of more than 7 tenths per lap. Which explained, without justifying it, of course, his even tougher defense than usual (even if the Spaniard is a specialist) on Valtteri Bottas at the end of the race – Alonso got a well-deserved penalty in the matter that relegated him from 7th to 9th place. .
Undoubtedly, the harvest could have been excellent for Alpine, which still adds up to good points. The pace of the blue car is advancing and this is perhaps the main stimulus this weekend: Alpine can sometimes challenge Mercedes for 3rd force condition. Did you say ‘The Plan’?
Top # 3: Zhou finally awarded
After a series of setbacks, retirements and misfortunes, all the more pernicious as they deprive a beginner of a precious mileage, Guanyu Zhou was finally rewarded this weekend in Montreal. First Q3 of his career, best result in F1 (8th place): the Chinese were able to unleash a communicative joy much appreciated and appreciated by the team. Guanyu Zhou had so much more merit that he discovered this Montreal circuit 100%. Or because he wasn’t so spoiled by strategy, especially with a long stint behind Lance Stroll’s annoying but unmistakable Aston Martin F1.
The only dissatisfaction of the Sauber family this weekend may be Théo Pourchaire, because Alfa Romeo has no reason, neither sporting nor commercial, not to extend Guanyu Zhou next year.
Flop # 1: Haas airs a great qualifying session
The art of ruining everything. One would think that Haas, with the help received from Ferrari this weekend, is a specialist in this little-chosen discipline in the F1 ParcourSup (think of the Australian drama 2018 with loose wheels). And surely we would be right. This weekend in Montreal he set another example.
At the start of the race, Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher had to reap the rewards of a magnificent qualifying session, the best of Haas since Germany 2018 (5th and 6th places). Then: bum. In a collision on the first lap, Kevin Magnussen saw his front spoiler (its end plate) come off slightly and the FIA logically ordered him to go back to the pits to change it (black and orange flag). For Mick Schumacher, it was an unfair power unit issue (another at Ferrari) that probably deprived him of a well-deserved first top 10 spot this weekend. Too bad at a time when the German could have had a lot of confidence: he really needs it, but this weekend can and should give him hope.
As performance declines from race to race and Haas F1 will only evolve once, the team had to maximize results on Saturday. This 0 marks the risk of damaging the final balance of the team in the constructors’ classification.
Flop 2: Sergio Perez loses a lot for his title hopes
Time passes quickly in F1: there are still two races left, we were wondering if Sergio Pérez would be able to challenge the internal hierarchy. We don’t know what will happen in two Grand Prix again, but in Montreal the Mexican lost a lot. Perhaps he clarified, to his detriment, the fate of the two Red Bulls in the title race.
Unfortunately, Sergio Pérez should not only blame bad luck but also his own performance in the standings. On Saturday under a wet track, while his teammate Max Verstappen was flying over the process, the Monaco winner stumbled upon the mats when he left the track in Q2. Damaging your gearbox in the process, which had the consequences we know the next day. Plus, he never seemed comfortable spending the weekend on the Montreal track. Ten years ago, Sergio Pérez signed a very fine podium on this same circuit, ten years later, the memories will be less striking.
Flop 3: The pace continues to slow down for Williams
The absence of evolution is cruelly seen in Williams. At least when conditions do not deceive and allow Alexander Albon to express his talent in the classification (12th place, best classification of the year for Williams).
When the sun came up, a kiss also for the team blacker than blue who logically fell in the standings for their weak, very weak running rhythms. More than half a second to a lap, according to Alexander Albon on the competition, “Very fast” less according to Nicholas Latifi. To the weak car is added a weak driver: Nicholas Latifi, who almost appeared to do 70 laps of honor last Sunday. Fortunately, the FW44 will evolve soon, substantially: when you look at the pace of Williams F1, however, one wonders if what Grove needs is less of an evolution than a revolution.
We want to see
What will change with the changes at Silverstone?
This season it was hoped that the hierarchy could evolve rapidly from one race to another. Without changing anything, the hierarchy moves. We see alpine progress in this way, Haas and Williams are backing down, the Aston Martin F1 is giving sources of hope yet to be confirmed, while Mercedes still seems to be embroiled in its problems. It is precisely at Silverstone where Mercedes and Ferrari are to receive notable developments. Other teams will also take advantage of the close presence of their bases in the UK to make updates. It remains to be seen what the impact will be, knowing that it will also take several races and different routes to draw the quintessence (cf. Aston Martin F1 which picks up step by step the fruits of Barcelona’s evolutions).
A slightly upset hierarchy with a Mercedes capable of sometimes going to tickle Red Bull? A championship relaunched thanks to the developments of Ferrari? While Max Verstappen has widened the gap in the championship, not only Liberty Media and broadcasters are waiting for it.