Hello again

I apologise that I couldn’t make our last session. I caught a very nasty virus.


Oh god no – not that bloody tedious covid thingy. Much worse. Russian porn spammers managed to hack into my c-panel and created a sub-domain which was pumping out naughty emails.

Took ages to get over that. Mind you, I was very relieved that “unrasiertem teengirl” didn’t mean what I thought it might.

Anyway, all better now and we’re not here to talk about me.

How do you think things have been going since our last chat?


What do you mean by that?

Yes I remember Twin Peaks. What the giant said to Cooper? Ah yeah – “It’s happening again” Yep I get you.Gasly soaks up the emotions at Monza

Mmmm 2016 does seem a long time ago. The last time that Lewis was seriously challenged. Even so you’ve got to admit he has been in imperious form. Well yes, there has been a bit of luck, but five wins from the last eight races is not just down to luck, nor six poles. And all eight starts on the front row. He is just at a level that Bottas can only occasionally match. I’ll concede that winning on three wheels at Silverstone was lucky but the rest? Of course Bottas was unlucky where on the track he lost his tyre that day but he was never going to beat Lewis. Or at most of the other races, and he never should have finished behind Max in Spain. When he’s on form he can be unbeatable but he’s just not as relentless as Lewis, there’s not many that are.

 Well there is Max I suppose. Hasn’t finished off the podium so far and that win at Silverstone was right out of the top drawer wasn’t it? Apart from the two retirements in Italy he has totally maxed (yep pun intended) the potential of that car. Hasn’t done Alex any favours. Unfortunately his race performances seem to be dropping off now and that used to be his saving grace. He just can’t seem to put it together in qually can he? I mean, only twice on row two while Max has only been lower than row two twice. Mugello apart, and that was a pretty weird race, his results have been drifting downward all year, and only tenth in Russia? Good grief Charlie Brown. An even worse race at the Nonburgring, only in the top six for a few laps and then clattering into others, just not good enough, was it? Have you noticed that Christian’s supportive comments seem to be disappearing and now Helmut is hinting at the Hulk being a possibility. Apparently he has until Turkey to show a marked upturn in form but, and I hate to say it, I’m just not sure he has it in him at the moment. He seems thoroughly demoralized, although I think he has the talent to be in F1 but it is a cruel world for Red Rag drivers. Just ask Danii. Not entirely sure I like his chances either. Oh, you hear that Red Rag are thinking of taking the Honda engine in-house in ’22 now that Honda are bailing out again? Apparently it all depends on an engine freeze coming into effect that year or not. They’ll have to decide fairly shortly as they will need to know if it’s Honda or Renault before they start work on the ’22 cars design. And of course Renault will need some time to ramp up to supply two more teams.


Speaking of whom, haven’t Renault been coming on strong lately. Danny boy has scored more points since Spa that anyone except the Merc lads. And after his podium last time out Cyril now must decide just where he gets his painful piece of body art. What do you reckon it will be? Honey badger in lederhosen drinking from a race boot? I do hope we get to see whatever the final result will be. Dan’s another one not doing his team-mate any favours this year isn’t he? Ten to one ahead in qually and nine to two in the races. More than twice as many points as Esteban so far. I remember some clot in the pre-season suggesting that Ocon would destroy Danny’s reputation. I wonder if Cyril now thinks it was such a good idea to drop the Hulk. And hasn’t he just produced some super performances while subbing for Racing Point. Third on the grid at Silverstone was simply stunning. And things aren’t about to get any easier for Esteban when King Fernando returns next year. Another one for utter relentlessness is the old royal. Those four are probably worst team-mates you could have as they will just grind you down in the end.


 A few years ago you might have added Vettel to that list but now? Seb is lucky that we don’t still have the points system they used in the 70’s and 80’s. He would have scored just 1, single, solitary point so far. Seventeen sounds much better. Mind you, Charlie’s sixty three shows just what a crap season Seb is having. Never finished in tenth before in his career and he has done it three times already this year. Just one point since Spain and that was six races ago. In that time he has been outscored by Raikkonen and Grosjean, and matched by Giovinazzi, all in cars with the same rubbish motor and whose teams are operating with budgets hundreds of millions of dollars less than Ferrari. Not entirely sure I understand Aston Martin/Racing Points decision to dump Perez for him but maybe he’ll prove me wrong. It has been known, you know. Me being wrong that is.


 One thing I am most definitely not wrong about though is the undoubted feel good high point of the last fourteen months or so. After being demoted by Red Rag and then losing his close friend, Antoine Hubert, in the space of about a month, you could have forgiven Pierre Gasly to go through a Danii type downward spiral. Instead he dusted himself down and fought back hard. His podium in Brazil may have been handed to him via Lewis KO’ing poor Albon but winning the Italian GP at Monza, while mildly fortuitous, showed just what a talent he is. Seeing him sitting alone on the podium after all the others had left, just soaking it all in, was what all sport is really about. I cannot even begin to comprehend the range of emotions he must have been experiencing, but I know what mine were. And yes, I shed a few tears of joy for the kid. Whether or not he will ever be allowed the opportunity again, or if the history books will consign it as a weird fluke, it was one of the most wonderful, wonderful moments in any sporting contest in history.


Isn’t it nice that the TV directors have moved on from the 80’s when they would just show the leaders churning round and around? These days we do get to see that almighty midfield brawl that has been enthralling this year. Eleven races in and from Danny in fourth to Sainz in eleventh place is just 27 points. There is just four points between Perez, Norris, Albon and Leclerc. Six points between Racing Point, McLaren and Renault. Apart from the top three, seven drivers have made the podium so far this year. You just never know which of those teams will hit the sweet spot at each race although Ferrari is still sliding out of that group. With Alpha Tauri just 13 points behind it could well end up that the lowest three points scoring teams could all be using the Ferrari engines.


Unless Williams scrapes a point or two. On which topic, it was sad to have to say toodle-pip to Sir Frank who was one of the most highly regarded fellows in the paddock. A constant for over fifty years, from the early days of customer cars and a shoestring budget, to the pomp and glory of the 80’s and 90’s and the eventual slow slide, Williams was probably the team that everyone, always, wanted to be competitive. He was, well still is, it’s not as if he has carked it, a sort of latter day Ken Tyrrell.  Lets hope that the new owners can bring the team back to the right end of the grid and build on his great heritage.


Sam Snape


14-10 2020.