Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Monza, 2020

2020 Italian Grand Prix Star Performers

2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr and Pierre Gasly were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Italian Grand Prix. Here’s why.

Stars

Carlos Sainz Jnr

He may have finished second to Gasly but Sainz gets top billing here after a consistently strong performance throughout the weekend. His full-attack qualifying lap, which put him ahead of the midfield pack by a slender margin, meant he was on course for a great result even without the Safety Car.

Having picked off the slow-starting Valtteri Bottas, Sainz could well have taken second place on merit. The red flag handed an advantage to several rivals, however. He quickly passed most of them, but fell four-tenths of a second short of catching Gasly.

Pierre Gasly

While Gasly was fortunate with the timing of his pit stop, others had already come in by that point, but only he was far enough up the order to fully capitalise. This was thanks to another of his first-rate qualifying performances.

He also had to pass Lance Stroll at the restart, which he did easily. As Sainz loomed in, there was never a hint Gasly was about to buckle under pressure, making this a fine performance.

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Strugglers

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Monza, 2020
Bottas blew his chance to cut Hamilton’s points lead
After fluffing his start again, Valtteri Bottas never found his way back into the race. It may well be the case that stripping drivers of their ‘quali modes’ made overtaking more difficult, but he still went from the front row to fifth in a car which was easily quick enough to win.

Alexander Albon

He was only three-tenths of a second of Max Verstappen in qualifying, which was one of his better performances, but it bears pointing out Monza has just six proper corners.

Albon collided with Romain Grosjean at the start, and though the stewards said the incident was “not intentional”, it led to a five-second penalty. He came in 15th, with only only Antonio Giovinazzi behind him, a painful result given Gasly’s triumph.

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And the rest

It should have been another routine win for Lewis Hamilton and would have been had he spotted the ‘pit lane closed’ signs. In his defence, other drivers overlooked them as well, and either copped the same penalty (Giovinazzi) or were saved by their teams’ quick reactions (Sergio Perez). Finishing two places behind his team mate was a remarkable piece of damage limitation.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Monza, 2020
Stroll squandered lucky break with poor restart
Lando Norris looked very fortunate to avoid a penalty for backing the field up when they pitted under the Safety Car. Nonetheless he backed Sainz up with an excellent fourth, though he couldn’t find a way around Stroll to make it a double podium for McLaren.

The Racing Point drivers had sharply differing fortunes. Perez pitted under the Safety Car, lost time behind the dawdling Norris and was swiped by Verstappen at the restart, leading to a 10th-place finish. Stroll lucked in by not pitting which meant he could change tyres during the red flag period, restarted second and had a chance to win, but lost out to Gasly at the restart and was passed by Sainz as well.

The Renault pair collected sixth and eighth, lacking the turn of pace their car enjoyed at Spa. Daniel Ricciardo hounded Bottas in sixth while Esteban Ocon was justifiably unimpressed at his team failing to keep his tyres warm for the restart.

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Monza, 2020
Raikkonen fell from second to 13th
Kimi Raikkonen made sure his team didn’t make the same mistake by badgering them on the radio to wrap his tyres in blankets. But it wasn’t enough to prevent his eventual descent from second at the restart to 13th at the flag, his Alfa Romeo easy pickings on the straights for his rivals. He had once again been waved past by Antonio Giovinazzi, who collected the same penalty as Hamilton, despite Alfa Romeo having around a minute longer to avoid the same mistake.

It wasn’t a good weekend to have a Ferrari engine. Charles Leclerc was making a better job of another poor weekend for Ferrari when the ill-handing SF-1000 got the better of him. Sebastian Vettel was already out by that point with brake failure. Kevin Magnussen’s power unit failed in the race after he went off in qualifying, and Romain Grosjean regretted a ride height change before qualifying which made his handling tricky.

While Gasly won, Daniil Kvyat lucked out at the same Safety Car period and could only manage ninth.

There was no joyful points-scoring send-off for Williams, though Nicholas Latifi got within 10 seconds of the top 10 after an excellent start, having jumped ahead of George Russell by pitting before the Safety Car period which changed the course of the race for so many drivers.

Over to you

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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54 comments on “2020 Italian Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. I would probably rate Norris with the stars too – he did a solid lap in qualifying, had an excellent start and first lap to get right behind his teammate in 3rd for the first phase, held off Bottas for the whole race too. But Sainz and Gasly are clearly deservedly there.

    1. @bascb Norris has been kinda disappointing these past three races, and been outperformed by Sainz. This weekend, he was slower than his teammate in qualy, and clearly slower in race as well…especially in the second half after the red flag as he couldn’t keep up with Stroll, who had similar pace to Sainz. It’s a bit hard to consider him as a star when he didn’t extract as much out of his car as his teammate did throughout the weekend.

      1. @neutronstar Agreed – Norris was good, but not quite a star. In fact, he has been out-driven by Sainz in every race after the opening round, but luck has not been on Sainz’s side.

      2. Off course he has been somewhat lacklustre the last couple of races compared to Sainz @neutronstar, but here we are rating the last race weekend. The gap between the two (in qualifying) of them was not large though. And again, Norris made up a good chunk of that by his great start (the first one).

        With the second start, sure, you can argue against him for not being able to get past Stroll (or rather getting past but then Stroll passing back in front right away), but realistically after the first few laps nobody in the field was able to overtake anyone, save Hamilton slipping forward through those backmarkers in the fastest car in the field by a second – and even Hamilton wasn’t able to get past more than the back of the midfield.

        1. @bascb I’m not saying Norris didn’t have a good race, actually he didn’t put a foot wrong, but if Sainz is a star for this weekend…then Norris shouldn’t be in my opinion, because he was just slower overall.
          I have been following Norris since he was 13 and had quite high hopes for him, but there seems to be developing a trend with him since his GP2 days, that he starts off the season kinda strong, but then fades away a bit as it progresses. I still rate him highly, but I think if he wants to keep up with Ricciardo next season he needs to show a bit more.

        2. @bascb
          Of course, that being said, the season is still long and there are many races to go. Let’s see how it pans out.

          1. you certainly bring up good points there @neutronstar. I agree that Norris had a good start but needs to push himself to keep on an upwards trend and be best prepared to stand his ground against Daniel next season.

      3. Disappointing? Without the red flag for Leclerc’s crash, McLaren would likely have finished P1 & P2.

  2. I feel Red Bull should be with the strugglers as a team entry. Apart from Albon’s problems mentioned above, Verstappen struggled to find any balance in the car throughout the weekend.

    And Ferrari. It’s sad that by this point we don’t even frown over both Ferrari’s being out in Q2 and put those mentions in the “and the rest”-section of these articles.

    1. I think by rule only drivers are classified in these articles.

  3. Fully agree with Bottas as a struggler. If anyone here follows MotoGP, he reminds me of Maverick Viñales – can be quick, but as soon as the going gets tough and he drops back into the pack he’s utterly average, or worse. Would happily see Bottas out of F1 – he doesn’t add anything to the grid. Wishy-washy.

    1. that’s a good comparison right there.

    2. @tflb what on earth is happening in MotoGP? Lorenzo, Pedrosa had some terrible seasons that were partly bike-related although Lorenzo had trouble on 2 bikes.

      Quartararo, Vinales, and even Rossi look less spectacular than I expected.

      Mir is finally showing the potential we’d seen in him. Zarco can be extra-ordinary and very ordinary at the same time.

      They call Dovizioso Mr.Consistent but he seems to be falling behind.

  4. What I found most dispiriting about Alex Albon’s entire weekend was the way that he seemed not to be able to take the Parabolica without having his time deleted every other lap or so. It seemed that he was incapable either of learning from the mistake or (just maybe) of getting the car to do what he wanted it to do, although he may well be at that whole over-driving stage by now.

    It has also been interesting to see how little Christian Horner has appeared in the media since the race. For somebody who is usually not shy of coming forward and planting some little dig or other this weekend must have really hurt, all the way from the whole party mode thing to Gasly taking the win.

  5. Hamilton should be a star too – I know his performances have become boringly good, pretty much every week, but he was on another level at Monza. I wonder if he loses points for his laughably churlish complaints about not being able to pass very easily – he makes himself hard to love at times!

    or does he lose “points” because Bottas was so woeful? you can only beat what’s in front of you but Hamilton utterly dominated Bottas this weekend.

    1. Hamilton did a great recovery, but arguably in the best car. Before that, i’d say he did the job. It’s not being negative, the guy is one of the greatest all time. But his machine is super dominant and his teammate just a good second driver (and well, Bottas was not even that at Monza, he was sub par). For me, good performance from Lewis in Monza, but not a star indeed… just my opinion

    2. @frood19 Hamilton would have passed everyone given more laps and another safety car:-) These types of penalties bring out the best in him.

      Actually Kimi was stellar in his ability to be overtaken without an accident. He made everyone look brilliant but anyone who knows F1 knows that it was all Kimi negotiating every inch to perfection.

    3. A self-inflicted 10 seconds stop and go penalty can’t be considered as a star drive imo.

    4. @frood19

      Hamilton made a major mistake by entering the pits. That cost him any chance of being a star.

  6. I can understand that Bottas is a struggeler, but then Max should also be. What makes Max:s weekend so much better than Bottas, please explain?

    1. He was at least largely in front of his teammate ? The RedBull were strugglers, no doubt. And this time, Verstappen did not really deliver « magic », but he did the job with what he has and that’s not being a struggler, IMO

      1. I have a different opinion. Being largely in front of a struggling teammate, that is not convincing. “He did his job with what he has”, he has the second fastest car on the grid. By the way, a struggling Bottas finished in front of his team mate. IMO Bottas is regularly judged significantly harsher than most, e.g. Leclerc and Verstappen.

        1. Red Bull weren’t the 2nd fastest cars at Monza – I think that was fairly clear. Also “Bottas finished in front of his team mate” seems a very strange point to make. He was 5th in the fastest car and only finished in front of Hamilton because he had a 10 second stop/go penalty that he had to serve just after a safetycar….

          1. @petebaldwin Red Bull should have been the second fastest car. The fact that, just like in Hungary, Verstappen did not manage to get a working setup doesn’t give him a free pass for performing poorly. And even from that low bar he went further back.

          2. @f1osaurus

            Who says that Red Bull can be 2nd best with a good setup?

          3. @aapje The previous race in Spa and that they were 2nd fastest at Monza in 2019

          4. @f1osaurus
            Aah, good ol’ f1oclown, never to shy to make a fool of himself:

            “The fact that, just like in Hungary, Verstappen did not manage to get a working setup doesn’t give him a free pass for performing poorly.”

            Should be: “The fact that Verstappen has been capable of setting up what is by everyone in the paddock considered to be a horrible piece of machinery with many inherent flaws into a race winning or podium finishing car simply underlines the genius off the kid, and he is therefor allowed a free pass here and there. Like Hungary or Monza, where it became painfully clear what an undriveable car the RBR16 is, tainting the reputation of Mr. Newey.”

  7. I think Hamilton was a star – as the excellent analysis showed, only Russell would not have made the same mistake. He then made up almost half the places he lost.

    Leclerc’s mighty crash earns him struggler status. At least Bottas brought his Merc home in one piece.

    1. Are you seriously suggesting Leclerc did a worse job than Bottas ? Bottas is in the best car, get again beaten in Qualy, starts 2nd and struggles to 5 th Place without major issue ! Leclerc has a dog of a car, extremely hard to drive because Ferrari basically removed all downforce to compensate the lack of speed. He beats his teammate un Quali and basically overdrives the car until he crashes. Sure crashing is not positive, but the struggles is Ferrari, not Leclerc

      1. Bottas (and Verstappen) both struggled to finish where they normally do. I’ll leave others to determine if they had car problems or just poor performances.

        Normally I’d not considered someone who gets a penalty a star, but in my view Hamilton was perfect except for a freak mistake, an extra hurdle that he wasn’t placed properly to deal with.

        While I admire his valent effort, crashing is worse than finishing a few spots down. You lose classification position and destroy millions in equipment. Plus,
        Leclerc is one of Ferrari’s best assets, and he could have hurt himself. So I’m sticking with struggler.

      2. I don’t really get the saying over-driving. you can’t deliver more than the car is capable of. One way of putting that way would be he overdrove by trying too hard and he put he foot on the throttle too early and went wide then crashed. Leclerc was pretty good until that point and while Bottas wasn’t, he didn’t make a mistake. Leclerc made a mistake that cost him a race finish so yea, i think it is even fair to say Bottas did a better job.

        1. @thegianthogweed – There’s a huge difference between someone like Leclerc, Hamilton or Verstappen and someone like Bottas though… Bottas will accept 5th and will drive around at a comfortable speed to bring the car home which is great for the team and great for the number 1 driver but also means he’ll never be a Champion.

          Leclerc pushed things too far, made a mistake and crashed but he’s also got some great results for Ferrari this year in a rubbish car. If it was Leclerc, Hamilton or Verstappen in the Mercedes stuck in 5th, they’d have done something about it – either found more pace in the car or pushed the car past it’s limits and crashed. None of them would have cruised around in 5th, struggled to pass Norris and then backed off like Bottas did.

          1. The team did say that Bottas had to keep backing off because of engine temperatures overheating as well as some tyre issues too. I bet if he’d driven up Norris’s back for some time and had an engine failure like he did behind Leclerc last year in Brazil, people will have said he should have listened to his team.

            I think it is fair to say Bottas does this at times on other occasions when he doesn’t have any problems, but this time, even he implied on the radio that he can’t be racing if he has to keep backing off. You just can’t confirm for certain what any driver would have done in bottas’s exact situation.

          2. @thegianthogweed Indeed, Verstappen did continuously stay within a few tenths of Bottas and Verstappen’s powerunit did suffer a malfunction.

          3. @f1osaurus
            Sure, because clearly the best thing for him to do was drive slower, let everyone pass him who were in a couple of tenths, make sure he’ll get to the end of the pack, leave a gap of a couple of seconds and conserve the engine, right?

  8. Magnussen and leclerc and FIA are the stars of the race.
    Well done.

  9. Stroll should get five stars just for his un-be-lie-va-ble luck. After the safety car, he was the only one not to have pitted and was running on old softs, so he was bound to have to pit soon which would have put him dead last (well, except for Giovinazzi and Hamilton). The ONLY thing that could save him at that point was a red flag in the next few rounds, a 1 in a 1000 chance, and it actually came and didn’t just save him but put him in 1st position instead of last.

    Why didn’t RP pit him during the SC? Did they actually gamble on there being a red flag? Or am I missing something here?

    1. He was behind Perez at that moment. Maybe Racing Point didn’t want to dou a double stacked pit stop? It was probably for the better, given how slow Perez’ stop was anyway.

    2. @krommenaas I agree, Stroll threw away a golden opportunity for a race win here. I had thought about classifying him as a struggler, but perhaps that would’ve been too harsh since his pace was ok and he did make a couple of decent moves. But he was behind his teammate before the safety car reshuffle and had a bad restart, being lucky not to wipe out himself and Kimi after outbraking himself at the chicane.

      Not pitting under safety car was imo a bad gamble that like you said would have ruined his race unless a red flag happened within the first few laps after the end of the safety car period… a bizarre thing to gamble on in their position. They may have lost positions due to having to double stack, but it would have been 1-2 places rather than falling to the back as would have happened when he pitted in green flag conditions. I could understand a team like Williams making that gamble, since it was maybe the only way they would score points, but it didn’t make sense for Racing Point. Glad Stroll didn’t win because it would have been far less deserved than it was for Gasly, who had at least pitted – although maybe it would have shone more light on the red flag tyre change rule, which I think could use some tweaking to make it more fair.

      1. @keithedin however, Gasly, Ocon, Latifi, Raikkonen, Russell, Albon and Hamilton also changed their tyres during the red flag period – part of the reason why Gasly made a comparatively good start was because he could use a brand new set of medium tyres, whereas Sainz had to use a scrubbed set.

        I wouldn’t say that he was that much of a struggler though – he was all of 6 seconds behind Perez, and that was largely because he was stuck in the train of 8 cars that was stuck behind Norris for most of the opening stint (the gap between Norris in 3rd and Gasly in 11th, on the lap before he pitted, was less than 12 seconds).

        If he was a struggler, how do you then describe every other single driver ahead of him who were stuck in the same position for lap after lap?

    3. @krommenaas How about Gasly jumping from P10 to effectively P2 by a lucky pitstop?

      1. That was very lucky. Stroll’s luck however was off the scale.

        Gasly’s luck was having an SC, which happen regularly, and it made the difference between P10 and P2.
        Stroll’s luck was having a red flag, which happen very rarely, and it made the difference between P17 and P1.

        I can’t recall any instance in my 35 years of watching F1 where a driver has been as lucky as Stroll was last Sunday.

        1. Before things got messed up, Stroll was running ahead of Gasly by 2 places. With the safety car and the restart Stroll gained 6 positions from where he was originally. Gasly didn’t do any genuine overtakes (which Stroll didn’t either other than for positions he lost) Gasly gained all those places after he pitted from 15th to 3rd. So from the position he was in before pitting, he gained 7 positions. Then Stroll didn’t have a great restart and Hamilton had to serve his penalty so Gasly got gifted another two positions. Stroll may have had a free pitstop, but Gasly’s tyres at the final restart were only 4 – 5 racing laps older than Strolls.

          Stroll didn’t make the most of his opportunity admittedly, but I can’t understand how you think Gasly was less lucky than Stroll. Gasly gained more places than him by his well timed pit stop and I’m not discounting the ones Stroll lost.

          The safety car coming out and Stroll staying out will have admittedly will have got him down this low – but that will only have been the case because the team didn’t decide to pit him and the field will have bunched up by then – which will have been bad luck on his side. Gasly would have been just as unlucky if the team didn’t pit him when they did. Gasly was the one with incredibly good luck here. Both were, but certainly more on Gasly’s side. If Stroll got a decent strategy that was as good as Gasly’s without any of the incidents, he will have easily beaten him. Gasly was far slower than Stroll in the first stint too.

  10. Again impatience ended the race for Lec. His position on the restart was great. But totally ruined by his unnecessary crash. There still is a lot to learn.
    Lewis should be a struggler, missing essential trackside information (2 times!) ruined his race. Of course part of the blame goes to the merc team. That again is unable to act under time pressure. Not the first time.
    Red bull should also be as a struggling team. They messed up completely. Just on a moment ver should have profited from Lewis mistake.
    50 potential points lost on engine problems.

    1. Hamilton did ruin his own result by a slight lack of observation and in that sense was responsible for finishing behind Bottas who was a struggler. But his pace was mighty and there was no sign of him struggling at any point. I disagree with those who think he should be a start performer when you take him mistake into account, but I don’t think I could possibly suggest Hamilton struggled this weekend.

    2. @ erikje Agree about Leclerc, but that impatience possibly comes from the pressure too of being the only real Ferrari driver now, given Vettel was effectively kicked out of the team and is driving for himself only. But (you’re not going to like this) Verstappen also struggled. That may be a lot down to engine and car issues, but sometimes he can drive round them. On other occasions, around this point of the season, when even a remote prospect of the title challenges seems to have vanished, he has these brief dips before recovering strongly at the end of the season. Given the despondency he expressed about his title prospects, it looked reflected in his performance.

      1. That may be a lot down to engine and car issues,

        really, do you think an not working ERS and overheating motor is something VER can drive “round them”.
        He already complained about the engine immediately after the start.. so not much he can do.

        Agree about Leclerc, but that impatience possibly comes from the pressure too of being the only real Ferrari driver now

        of course the pressure rises with his status and Hype Ferrari created around him and the resigning. But the simple fact is he did not perform when presented a really good position.

        you’re not going to like this

        if it was true i do not have any problem with it ;)

    3. Verstappen should be struggler though. Couldn’t find a setup to make the second fastest car perform at the level it should have been. Again!
      Then during the race, ruined his powerunit, overheating it by hanging needlessly close behind Bottas without ever having a decent go anyway.

  11. Well, disagree with quite a lot of this

    I can see why Bottas was a struggler but I think verstappen’s weekend was worse then his. he also had a poor start and given his reputation, surely he should have been able to pass a “struggling” Bottas, btu he couldn’t. At the safety car restart, he got investigated for pushing Perez into the gravel. It may have not been investigated further, but it was not clean racing at all. He made Perez lose 3 places.

    At the standstill restart, Verstappen locked up and lost 3 places – falling behind Perez, Grosjean and Latifii…

    His bad restart was what caused this. Fair enough a few laps later he retired which was not his fault, but I don’t think there is any way his weekend could be considered better than Bottas’s.

    Those saying Hamilton should be a star performer should still take into account that he has to take a large percentage of the blame for getting his penalty – which was deserved. You should be paying attention to any chance of danger. If you can’t see signs like these travelling at safety car speeds, then what sorts of excuses would drivers have for not seeing all sorts when racing at full speed? He had a signs and a repeater sign. As they were part way round a right hand corner, they were initially on right, then will have gone across his view twice. He admitted he was looking at his dash – but this is an indication he should have been paying more attention. The team are also at fault, but we know from the past that Hamilton is excellent at ignoring the teams advice and making his strategy work. He had something more obvious than normal that should have warned him that the teams decision was wrong and he had the time to ignore it. His performance was flawless, but his penalty was deserved and I think that has a reason to remove him from the star performers.

    You have really got to question just how many times Leclerc doesn’t get listed as a struggler on this site. Germany 2018, Monaco 2019, Germany 2019, Japan 2019. All of them were shockingly bad.

    In Germany, Ericsson finishes 9th Leclerc goes off track, then later spins and finishes a minute and 15 seconds behind Ericsson – who himself wasn’t good enough to be considered a star performer.

    Both Monaco and germany the following year were self inflicted retirements. Monaco especially was very clumsy as he wrecked the car by going back to the pits way too quickly.

    He may have recovered to 6th in Japan, but he was a lap down on Vettel for a great deal of that race due to crashing into Verstappen at the start.

    The only time Leclerc ever was listed as a Struggler was Styria this year, when bizarrely, the only bit of the race we say was a few corners of lap one with both him and Vettel crashing and it was a racing incident. Admittedly I think we all blame Leclerc, but there was less of a race there than any of the other times I’m comparing – So I’d say there is less of a reason to list him as a struggler here than all the others.

    This time, I think the reasoning for his crash is a bit strange. Has there been confirmation that it was ill-handling that caused him to crash? It looked like he spun his wheels and it was entirely his own fault to me. The commentators on Sky and Channel 4 seemed to think the same.

    I think Kvyat did a lot better than he seems to be getting credit for, but I think his team mate simply wasn’t a star this weekend. He was just decent at best.
    In qualifying, Kvyat was on target to get through to Q1 had Magnussen not triggered the yellow flag. Gasly set his final time well before this. Then interestingly, Gasly’s time in Q3 was slower than Kvyat’s Q2 time. To me this indicates that had Gasly got through – he would have outqualified Gasly.

    Anyway, that is the part of the weekend that i though Gasly underperformed a little. At the start of the race, Kvyat on hard tyres was far faster than Gasly on mediums. He was all over the back of him for the first 15 or so laps until gasly pitted. Gasly was also dropping back from the train infront of him which sort of indicated how slow he was.
    Gasly was incredibly fortunate and although it wasn’t a free stop, due to all the others pitting and then Stroll getting a free stop and messing up as aswell as Hamilton getting a penalty, he got into first place. He was very solid and kept Sainz behind in the 2nd stint so in this instance alone, you can give him a lot of credit But was very slow in the first stint and didn’t do a single genuine overtake the entire race. Without the safety car, Kvyat would have gone long on his hards and given his pace advantage, he quite possibly would have been able to come back on Gasly on quicker tyres and finish ahead.
    Kvyat restarted the race in 13th and when Hamilton and Giovinazzi pitted, he then got back to the position he was before. Kvyat at least did manage to recover to 9th and keep perez behind, who should have been quicker than him.

    I can’t really see that gasly had a better weekend than Kvyat and was at least if not more fortunate than Kvyat was in Germany 2019 (and he wasn’t a star performer then).

    I would say Sainz is the only star performer this weekend.

    Strugglers:

    Bottas
    Verstappen
    Albon
    Leclerc

    1. @thegianthogweed You make some good points, a lot of which I agree with. I’m probably overanalysing the terminology here, but technically a ‘star’ of the race doesn’t mean they put in a great performance (although usually it does). A ‘star’ is just someone who stood out, made an impression, grabbed the limelight etc, so from that point of view you would definitely call Gasly a star, even if his performance wasn’t outstanding compared to some of the others. He was flawless after the red flag though – great restart, good pace and held up under pressure, so I don’t disagree with his star rating, even if he was very fortunate.

      Kvyat was really unlucky, as many drivers were, but he was definitely faster in the first stint, maybe because he was on the better tyre. I don’t understand why the team didn’t order them to switch positions, given that they were on different strategies, and it’s hard to say how it would’ve worked out in a normal race.

      I don’t know about the other instances, but I wouldn’t say Leclerc was a struggler here. His qualifying and race pace were very good, given where Ferrari are at the moment. The bad handling and unpredictability of the car probably contributed to the crash, though in the end it is his responsibility. But I think a strong performance that ends in a mistake doesn’t necessarily make you a struggler – he was perhaps one snap of oversteer away from being a star.

      I think Verstappen’s race flew somewhat under the radar, especially given that he had some engine troubles which ended in retirement. I don’t remember seeing his incident with Perez for example. But with the way you’ve laid it out, I’d agree with putting him as a struggler, since he seemed to be having difficulty with the car balance and made several mistakes at the start and restart.

      1. @keithedin

        I also didn’t see Verstappen’s incident with Perez – they didn’t show it on the live coverage or post race show I think.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyfPqWipmJs at 06:25

        I was possibly a bit harsh on Verstappen here. It was probably more fair than I first realised when watching it, but it was because of verstappen’s oversteer that forced Perez off track. I think Perez had the right to stick with this move and Verstappen struggling with his grip was what caused Perez to lose places.

        I’m not convinced the harder tyre was the quicker one, but can be said it was possibly better to be on that tyre in the first stint first. I think it can be confirmed that Gasly was certainly slow both in Q3 because of a mistake and the first stint. Had he gone about as fast as his Q2 time, he would have qualified 8th. So I think he underperformed a little there – or did the stand out lap at the wrong time. It was only his last stint that was solid IMO. But because of the fact he had no genuine overtakes this race and several elements of his weekend were rather underwhelming, I myself just don’t think he was a star performer, but can sort of see your point with a different view to this.

        I think Leclerc possibly half the times either he or the team are underperforming in qualifying, he seems to have this rush to get up the grid. Maybe he can get excused this time as the car is slow, but I don’t know what evidence there is that the handling is a pain. This is the 4th or 5th race at Ferrari where he’s qualified low or was running further back that what we would expect for this team (not usually his fault) but he’s crashed out or made big mistakes. I think it is related to him not being patient enough and possibly over driving at times. A bit like Verstappen in early 2018 though more spread out. Maybe this one incident isn’t enough for him to be considered a struggler, but I think it is related to his driving rather than the car.

  12. Stars: GAS, SAI, and NOR
    Strugglers: BOT, VER, ALB, and OCO.

  13. I don’t think you can put Bottas’ struggles down to the car or engine modes. Lewis finished around 10sec behind Bottas after having a penalty and fighting his way through the pack.

    1. Well it wasn’t just due to this, but from what mercedes said in their video, the overheating engine issues was more of an issue for Bottas than Hamilton. Both did have it but we can’t really compare them directly.

      Also, Bottas was behind a Mclaren which arguably was the 2nd best car this weekend. Other than Perez, Kvyat and Ocon (who still seemed slower than Sainz), there rest of the cars Hamilton got by were significantly slower than the Mclarens. If Hamilton had Bottas’s issues, He still may have struggled a little too get by them, but we just don’t know this. hamilton was recovering and passing slower cars than what bottas was stuck behind.

      Still would say Bottas was a struggler though, but his issues will have hampered his performance a little.

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