F1 Extra Session is your favorite Formula One podcast. Daphne Seberich, Sebastian Becerra, and Zoé Guimard bring you post-race analysis and discuss other major stories surrounding the sport. We are Formula One fans just like you. As F1 journalists we also provide a unique perspective to what’s happening in the world of F1.
This week’s episode is a full-depth analysis about what went down in the season-opening race in Bahrain. We’ll cover some on the grid mishaps, some chaos in the cockpit and we’ll finish it off with some off-track chit-chat discussing David Coulthard’s 50th birthday and what Romain Grosjean is doing after last years’ Bahrain incident!
Don’t miss F1 Extra Session every Monday after the race!
Lewis Hamilton’s record-breaking results are known. The 36-year old driver that came from humble beginnings and moved up to be the most successful driver in F1’s history in ex aequo with Michael Schumacher. Both racers have earned seven Driver’s Championship titles and after his win at the Nürburgring in 2020, Hamilton became the athlete with the most F1 wins, tallying 95.
During the 2021 season, he will attempt to surpass the German Ferrari legend, as well as to move into the triple digits when it comes to victories. The Brit has the best car and the best team backing him, but is that necessarily the reason why he is so successful?
Lewis Hamilton had humble roots, as father Anthony worked three jobs to fund his son’s career. Lewis’s talent, along with the family’s determination and hard work, was what pushed him from obscurity into the limelight. The goal throughout his junior career was to go through the lower-tier Formula championships, winning as much as possible to gain attention from sponsors.
He then got offered to move up to GP2 (former comparable to Formula 2 competition) for only a single year before joining McLaren in 2007. It was maybe not the best year for McLaren (“Spygate” in 2007 ), but Lewis Hamilton almost won a Driver’s Championship in his first year in F1. Kimi Räikkönen denied the Brit the victory by one point. Someone could argue that even if Hamilton won that season it would be because of the Ferrari-copycat car.
In 2008 Hamilton was granted his first of seven titles, beating Felipe Massa for the championship at the Interlagos GP. Massa had won his home race already, as a wet Brazilian GP complicated Hamilton’s path to victory.
“Is that Glock?”, said Martin Brundle, as the German driver lost control over his Toyota, aiding Hamilton’s McLaren to pass him in the last lap and score the sole point that would put the Brit above the Prancing Horse’s driver. This became one of the most iconic moments in Formula One’s history.
The future was bright for the Brit but not for the team that was backing him up. The seven-time World Champion then took the, at that time, “risky” decision to move to Mercedes in 2013.
Hamilton’s gamble paid off. Mercedes’ partnership aided the Brit to secure his dominance in the sport since 2014. During his seven years at Mercedes, Hamilton won six Driver’s World Championships, has stood 73 times on the highest step of the podium and scored over 67 pole positions in his career with the Silver Arrows.
In each season with the German team, his dominance was obvious. Each season he has never had a lower victory percentage than 45%, which was measured during the 2017 championship. The most dominant season Lewis Hamilton has had in his seven years at Mercedes was the past one, winning over 64.7% of the races held during the five months of competitions.
Photo credits: Stats F1
It is obvious that Hamilton is a talented driver, but would someone else in his car do as well as him? Teammate Nico Rosberg managed to beat him only once for the world title, Valtteri Bottas still has to manage that. So, not all of the merit goes to the car, as Max Verstappen said to Marca that “90 percent of F1 drivers could win in Hamilton’s Mercedes”, but a remarkable percentage of Mercedes’ success comes from the stellar driver that brought them to the top.
What does Lewis Hamilton’s future have to offer? The Brit is the favorite contender to earn the 2021 title as well, as the teams are mainly preparing for the revolutionizing 2022 regulation changes. After that, there’s an unknown factor, as Hamilton’s recently renewed contract with the Silver Arrows will end in 2021. Will he stay in the sport? Only time will tell…
More and more teams are set to release their 2021 challengers in the next month. But who’s racing for which manufacturer? The 2020 silly-season is finally overThe 2020 silly-season is finally over and we’re ready to give you a rundown of it all.
By Daphne Seberich
As the first Formula 1 race in Bahrain is getting closer, the excitement of the fans surrounding the start of the new season is beginning to show. The different teams are preparing to launch their new 2021 challengers ahead of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit. Many drivers have found their way to their new homes during the winter. Last year’s silly-season was full of surprise announcements, delayed contract signatures and unknown futures. Who’s exactly racing for which team you may ask? Let us give you a rundown of it all.
The first one to release their 2021 challenger is McLaren, who will publicly announce their MCL35M on February 15th. British sensation Lando Norris, who started competing in F1 with McLaren in 2019, will begin his third season with the Woking-based team.
The new addition to the 2021 McLaren driver-lineup will be Aussie superstar Daniel Ricciardo, who left Renault F1 team after securing them their first podium since 2011 at the Nürburgring. He then also scored third place in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, proving to be in top shape when it comes to performance. Many will have high expectations for Ricciardo in the MCL35M. Hopefully, he’ll adapt to his new drive soon enough to challenge the other midfielder for points.
Photo credits: Soymotor & Motorsport Magazin
Daniel Ricciardo’s move to McLaren was finalized as former driver Carlos Sainz left the Woking team to race for Scuderia Ferrari. Shortly after Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s team principal, announced that the Scuderia would not renew Sebastian Vettel’s contract for 2021, Sainz’s transfer was disclosed to the fans. The unsettling part of all this silly-season unfolding is the fact that by then, the 2020 championship hadn’t even started. Sebastian Vettel had to race with a team that abandoned trust and hope in his abilities.
Ferrari’s focus shifted midst the 2019 season towards youngster Charles Leclerc, who has a long-term project ahead with the Maranello-based team. He signed a contract with the prancing horse through 2023. Will he stay until then? Ferrari hasn’t done too well in 2020 and if the Scuderia can’t engineer a title-challenging car for the Monegasque star, he might choose a different route in the future.
The rejected four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel found himself in a tricky situation. The German sensation’s dream to win the Driver’s Championship with Ferrari was crushed to pieces. In addition to that, not many competitive seats were left for him to fill.
When Monza came around, rumors surrounding the German champion moving to Aston Martin Racing arose in the paddock. The problem was that there were no available contracts at the former Racing Point manufacturer. Team owner Lawrence Stroll’s son, Lance Stroll, would’ve never lost his seat. Stroll Sr. bought the company for his protegé to be able to compete in the circus. That was clear to everyone. The one who had to go, even though he had a contract until 2023 and was deserving to stay in Formula 1, was Checo Perez.
Perez, who saved the ex Force India team from bankruptcy, was forced to find a new home. As the season went by, Checo proved to be consistently at the top of the field, securing second place in Turkey. Most importantly, he triumphed in the Sakhir GP, recovering after an incident all the way from last place. He earned his maiden victory with the insecurity of being able to compete in the 2021 season.
As the championship ended, Perez’s future was still uncertain. Red Bull Racing was the only team that could’ve offered him a seat in 2021. Helmut Marko, Red Bull and Alpha Tauri’s driver consultant, saw the opportunity to finally sign a competitive teammate for Max Verstappen, one capable of pushing the team to the top of the standings.
After Sebastian Vettel’s last championship title win in 2013, the Milton-Keynes-based-manufacturer never managed to come close to Mercedes’s dominance in the field. Verstappen’s 2020 teammate, Alex Albon, couldn’t keep up with the pressure he was under and was dropped at the end of the season to make place for Perez. Sister team Alpha Tauriwas set to sign Yuki Tsunoda to replaceDaniil Kvyat.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes decided to keep everyone on their toes. His contract with the Constructor’s Championship titleholders expired at the end of the 2020 season. No one thought Hamilton was gonna retire, especially ahead of the 2022 FIA regulation change. Contract negotiations went down for over a year at Mercedes with the British champion only signing at the beginning of February. Lewis Hamilton is officially giving becoming the most successful Formula 1 driver ever a shot. He equaled Michael Schumacher, can he beat his seven titles as well?
Speaking of Schumacher, his son Mick will make his debut in the pinnacle of motorsport with Haas F1 Team. After having Romain Grosjean since their first appearance in the sport in 2016 and Kevin Magnussen since 2017, the South Tyrolean team principal Günther Steiner decided that the American manufacturer needed a refreshed driver lineup. It will be the first time after 2012 that F1 will see the Schumacher last name on the grid. Mick will be paired with the troublesome Nikita Mazepin, who has had controversies surround him in recent times. Will Haas score better results with an all-rookie driver lineup?
And last but not least important, Fernando Alonso is making his F1 return after leaving McLaren in 2018. The Spaniard will be joining the team that aided him to win his two Driver’s Championship titles, Renault. The French manufacturer will be called Alpine from 2021, their supercar brand department.
A full-circle moment. Ricciardo leaving Renault pushed Alonso towards rejoining the pinnacle of motorsport. We never know what to expect from the silly-season. What can we await from the manufacturers? We’ll find out in March when the 2021 championship will finally get underway.
Let’s settle this debate once and for all. Hamilton versus Schumacher: A topic that fires up fans and ruins friendships. Who is right you may ask? Well, there are no doubts for me.
Before cars became computers, like German journalist Walter Koster said in a press conference in 2014, racing still had excitement and passion. With KERS, DRS and all the different components of a modern Formula car, who can tell the difference between the driver’s and the car’s efforts? What are the variables of modern racing? The tires? Oh, please. Who can say to have driven in three different teams, have won podiums and set fastest laps for all of them? There’s only one guy that comes to my mind and his name is Michael Schumacher.
Why is he the greatest of all time you ask? Well, it’s obvious: Michael Schumacher won during an era where the difference was made by the driver, not by the car. He won twice with Benetton; 5 years in a row with Ferrari.
“Lewis Hamilton won with McLaren and with Mercedes, so that’s not an argument”, you’d say. Well, if you really know something about Formula 1 then you’d also know the “Spygate” scandal that surrounded McLaren as a “Ferrari-copycat” team during the 2007 season when the British driver was a contender for the world championship. Hamilton’s 2008 world title is stained by the mishap of his team, as the cars that year didn’t get major updates compared to the previous season.
In addition to that, the Mercedes domination has been over seven seasons long and is still going strong. It started with the 2014 regulation changes that pushed hybridization of the then-newly introduced V6 engine. It continued in 2020 with the introduction of the innovative DAS (Dual Axis System). Mercedes always had the upper hand since then. Either by having the most dominating engine or the most advanced aerodynamic balance out of all the teams.
The only real challenger Hamilton had the past seven years was Silver Arrows teammate Nico Rosberg before his retirement from the sport after his only world championship title in 2016. Since then he never had a real challenger for the top spot.
Did you make up your mind? No matter what team you cheer on or which driver is your favorite, the facts talk for themselves.
Before cars became computers, Formula 1 was all about the drivers. Can you say the same of it now?
Lewis Hamilton equals Michael Schumacher’s record for most Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship wins, thanks to a brilliant drive during an arduous but full of action Turkish GP.
By Daphne Seberich
After an atypical result during the Saturday session, LH44 assured his dominance in the top-class of motorsport, winning an incredibly challenging race where the chances didn’t see him as favorite. His brilliant class allowed him to nurture his intermediate tires to extend his stint to 51 laps, proving that his talent is superior to that of many other drivers on the grid. Will he beat the Ferrari legend’s record next season? The odds are in his favor.
Starting from P6, Hamilton had the task of driving up the field as quickly as possible. He needed to catch up the Racing Point drivers, which already had built an eleven-second-gap between them and the rest of the pack. Sebastian Vettel’s miraculous start didn’t make it easy for Lewis, overtaking his W11 and giving him a hard time to succeed passing him. Eventually, Hamilton beat the Ferrari driver to secure the last position on the podium. The mutating track conditions forced most of the drivers to switch to Pirelli’s intermediate compound option. The provisional leader of the race, Lance Stroll, was done wrong by a disputable strategy call of his team, pitting for a second stint of inters, which underperformed. Lewis suddenly found himself in P2, catching up to a struggling Checo Perez in first position. The enablement of the DRS played into Hamilton’s hands, allowing him to overtake the Racing Point driver.
From there on, the Brit showcased his brilliant driving abilities, proving to deserve the race win.
A last-lap mishap done by Charles Leclerc in P2 allowed Perez and his teammate Sebastian Vettel to step on the podium instead.
Lewis Hamilton’s masterclass is undisputed, but is he the greatest of all time?