Verstappen took pole at Suzuka by roughly six tenths ahead of McLaren duo Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris . Having both drivers in the top three was a huge result for McLaren, but at the same time, Stella felt it was humbling to see how much faster Verstappen was on the challenging layout, having hoped that his drivers would be closer to the Red Bulls. "We expected to be more competitive than Singapore," Stella said. "We were unsure as to whether this would have put us as second best team, or whether Mercedes and Ferrari would have been there with us. "We were pretty certain that Red Bull would have been the quickest car here, considering the track layout. "If you look at the overlays, Verstappen gains in every kind of speed range, so it's quite remarkable. It gives us again the measure about how much work we have ahead of us." He added: "In fairness, I would have expected to be a little closer. We are P2, P3, it's a good result for the team, but six tenths is a … [Read more...] about Stella: “Remarkable” Red Bull F1 gap highlights scale of McLaren’s work
Red star v le mans
The iconic figure-of-eight track has always been punishing on its rubber, but things could well be a bit more extreme this time around. Race day is expected to be another scorcher, and complaints that George Russell mentioned on Friday about a "strange" sliding have been caused by a track surface that has had a 15% drop in macro roughness (so effective grip) compared to 12 months ago. As Ferrari's Charles Leclerc said: "Especially with the very warm temperatures this year, the overheating is really, really bad. So, I expect that it [the race] will be all about the tyre management and the strategy." A two-stopper looks nailed on then, but it comes with not all teams having the luxury of what appears to be the ideal tyre allocation to get them through without much drama. F1 tyre supplier Pirelli thinks the best approach to the race is to start on the soft, run through until laps 12-18, and then split the rest of the grand prix up into two hard stints. But that is … [Read more...] about Are Red Bull and Ferrari on back foot for potential Japanese GP tyre wrecker?
George Russell believes Mercedes are facing a tough race on Sunday at Suzuka, admitting it’s not the best circuit for the W14. The British driver qualified in eighth place for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, just behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton – the swooping and flowing Suzuka circuit not playing to the strengths of the W14. Having been amongst the star performers at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, the contrast from weekend to weekend – particularly with Red Bull resuming their usual position at the front of the field – had George Russell shocked after the qualifying session ended as he was 1.3 seconds slower than Verstappen’s pole time. George Russell: The drop down the field is a shock to the system Speaking to media after claiming his eighth place grid slot in what was a subdued qualifying session from Mercedes, Russell said that their final positions sum up where the car is in the pecking order at a track demanding huge aerodynamic efficiency. “I’d say it’s a … [Read more...] about George Russell ‘shocked’ after seeing gap to Red Bull after qualifying
The legendary father of Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz believes Fernando Alonso has earned the right to decide when he retires from F1. Despite turning 42 in July, Alonso has enjoyed his most competitive season in years in 2023 by claiming seven podium finishes with the Aston Martin team. However, Sainz was the one flying the flag for Spain at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix where the Ferrari star secured his second F1 victory with arguably the greatest drive of his career to date. Fernando Alonso praised by Carlos Sainz’s father Alonso, who became Spain’s first F1 World Champion in 2005, acted as something of a mentor to Sainz in his early career, though it has been claimed in 2023 that the relationship between them has suffered of late . Sainz’s father, Carlos Sainz Sr, is Spain’s original motorsport icon having won two World Rally Championships in the early 1990s. And having won the challenging Dakar Rally event as recently as 2020, the 61-year-old is in awe of … [Read more...] about Carlos Sainz’s father weighs in on Fernando Alonso F1 retirement debate
Qualifying day at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka brought yet another fast-paced day of F1 news and views. Max Verstappen claimed his latest inevitable pole position and then had a message for the people who assumed Red Bull had been found out by the Singapore GP technical directive, while Mercedes were once again plunged into crisis with Lewis Hamilton airing his frustrations. Just another standard F1 2023 day, then. Here’s today’s roundup… Max Verstappen’s ‘to whom it may concern’ moment As bite backs go, Verstappen’s message to his doubters wasn’t quite on the level of Valtteri Bottas’s famous Australia 2019 radio call, but it was a juicy one nonetheless. There were more than a few who wanted to believe Red Bull had finally been found out in Singapore last weekend, but pole position by sixth tenths at Suzuka was an emphatic response. So what exactly was Max’s message to those people? “Go suck on an egg.” He went on to explain how the reaction to Red Bull’s poor … [Read more...] about Max Verstappen bites back as Mercedes crisis continues – F1 news roundup
Marquez’s existing deal with Honda covers the 2024 season, but in recent weeks has he become heavily linked to a shock switch to Gresini to ride a year-old Ducati amid ongoing difficulties with the RC213V in 2023. Following a difficult test at Misano earlier this month where the 2024 Honda prototype failed to perform as per his expectations, Marquez openly said he has three options at his disposal, without naming what exactly there are. Ducati sporting boss Paolo Ciabatti fuelled the Gresini rumour on Saturday at the Indian Grand Prix when the stated in a TV interview that the way is open for Marquez to join the Ducati satellite squad next year. Responding to comments from Ciabatti, Marquez said that doesn’t want to share his thought process as he finalises his plans for next year, but made it clear that he will take into account how his decision could impact others - including Honda. “Obviously, I heard about those comments,” he said following the Indian GP sprint race on … [Read more...] about Marquez will take Honda’s interests into account while finalising MotoGP future
After a "nightmare" Friday, Hamilton was much happier with his W14 thanks to overnight changes, but he still faced a tricky balance come qualifying. As high as fourth in Q2, Hamilton took seventh place in Q3, immediately ahead of team-mate George Russell . The outcome clearly benchmarked the Mercedes as the fourth-best car at Suzuka after the Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari . Hamilton admitted that he couldn't have got any more out of the car after some set-up changes overnight. "I was really much, much happy with qualifying," he noted. "Yesterday, it started off looking like it was not going to be so great! But I think the set-up was in the right direction. And then from P3 to qualifying, I made another setup change. "And I was really happy with that. But just really hard to pull any more out of it. I'm already on the knife-edge with the rear end the whole way through the lap, all the way through." He added: "We have a very peaky car. When we talk about … [Read more...] about Hamilton: Lack of rear downforce leaves W14 on “knife-edge” at Suzuka