Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021

Gasly predicts Verstappen will win title if he’s still ahead after Jeddah

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In the round-up: Pierre Gasly believes Max Verstappen should be the favourite to win the 2021 title, especially if he leaves Jeddah with a points lead.

In brief

Gasly: Verstappen has the championship advantage

AlphaTauri driver Gasly expects Verstappen’s rival Lewis Hamilton will be very competitive in Jeddah this weekend but tipped his former team mate to prevail.

“Max has the point advantage,” Gasly said. “I see him winning in the end, and he’s got two races. It’s only two races, he’s got eight points advantage, so he’s clearly in the better position.”

However, Gasly added, “I don’t think it’s going to be an easy one” for Verstappen this weekend. “I think Mercedes is going to be very strong here.

“But if he arrives in Abu Dhabi with the points advantage, I think he’s going to get the championship.”

Gasly said he was pleased to see an “entertaining” fight for the championship this year.. “Obviously we don’t see all the action, racing with them but seeing everything that happened through the season it’s a pretty good year.

“We’ll see who wins in the end but obviously that’s what we want to see more and more in the future, and hopefully with even more cars fighting for the championship.”

Leclerc: cracked Losail chassis felt “weird”

Ferrari are yet to fully get to the bottom of the problems he experienced with a cracked chassis during qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix. The problem was discovered after qualifying, which meant his mechanics had to work swiftly to switch his chassis before the race.

“The car felt weird,” explained Leclerc. “We haven’t gone through all the checks yet of this chassis.

“How much did it affect the performance? I don’t know. But I just didn’t have the right feeling for qualifying.”

Red Bull has all possible rear wing set ups available for Jeddah

Sergio Perez said that concerns about Red Bull’s limitations on a medium downforce setup should not be a factor at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The team switched to its maximum downforce rear wing in Qatar after encountering further problems with a slimmer wing flapping at speed.

“I think it’s all under control and [we have] no issues with it,” said Perez. He confirmed that “we have available every single rear wing on our car” for the Jeddah race.

Mortara fastest in Formula E pre-season test

Edoardo Mortara set the fastest overall lap time in Formula E’s pre-season Valencia test. The Venturi driver, whose car is supplied with defending champions Mercedes’ powertrain, put a 1’25.763 time in, nearly a second quicker than previous best set by Mercedes factory driver Stoffel Vandoorne.

Lap times were significantly slower than at the previous year’s testing, when Max Günther set the best lap of 1’11.760, as this year Formula E was using the adjusted layout, with added chicanes, that it did for the Valencia Eprix. In the previous season, even the chicane used in prior years on the start/finish straight was removed in an effort to save bodywork while FE scrambled for spares during the pandemic.

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Comment of the day

Ahead of the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah, F1 Frog is unhappy about the race for more than one reason:

To be honest, I am not at all impressed with the running of the Saudi Arabian GP this weekend. Obviously the first reason for this is the human rights problems that Hamilton and others have spoken up against. It is very disappointing to hear Domenicali claiming that F1 going there will improve the situation, when not going would be far better as the leaders of the country would see that they have to improve human rights if they want large events like a Grand Prix. Clearly it is just about the money.

The second reason to be concerned about the race is that I am just not very confident about the safety of the track. Having seen computer simulated laps of it, it looks extremely fast, but with walls so close the likelihood of a high-speed crash, and another car colliding with the crashed car, seems too high.

And the fact that it has only been approved the day before practice is considerably more worrying. Had it been approved months ago, preferably before the race was confirmed on the calendar, that would be convincing that it had been properly checked, but leaving it so late makes it seem like a close call, and with the financial loss of cancelling the race now F1 may be more inclined to give the race the go-ahead in a situation like this.

Obviously, the counter to this is that they didn’t try to race in Spa, but that was very clearly too dangerous. Given that the track isn’t even exciting anyway, I think it is very obvious that money is the only motivation for this grand prix, and it saddens me that Liberty’s intentions have turned out to be no different to Bernie Ecclestone’s, when they initially seemed to be such an improvement. Hopefully I will be wrong and the track will be fine, but I would prefer for this race not to be taking place.
@f1frog

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Riise, Speed Damon, Colm and Rick!

On this day in motorsport

  • Born today in 1924: Roberto Mieres, who went on to score three fourth-place finishes in F1 but never made it onto the podium.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 12 comments on “Gasly predicts Verstappen will win title if he’s still ahead after Jeddah”

    1. That’s a very bizarre comment from Bernie (why am I surprised…). I suppose if Clark made the choice to retire to protect Fangio’s record, he may well still be alive, but that’s not how racing drivers are made!

      1. I have agreed (understood) most of bernie’s comments but this, even in Bernie’s level is weird. Maybe he wants to live in that world that Michael is and will be the greatest there ever will be with his 7 titles. Maybe Bernie thinks that 7 is unbeatable and doesn’t want Lewis to break it so fast.

    2. I watched the safety car lap and it made my mouth dry. That track is so narrow, so fast, and the runoff is jokes. The pit entry seems to narrow the track to one lane. If a car goes down the middle of the road you are not getting by fully intact. And remember these race cars are s-class sized boats.

      1. Yep, it seems as narrow as Monaco across large sections of the track. Baku is this narrow only in the castle section.

        I think there will be lot of red flags, no safety cars

      2. I watched it too and it was actually much better than expected.
        Walls close on inside of corners but decent enough run off compared to Baku and Monaco. So on most corners you could go wide.

    3. Now we see what it means for Sir Lew to make every sacrifice

      1. *yawn* – are you not bored yet?

    4. My guess is that Lewis has a bigger probability to clinch the WDC than Max, but by a small margin. Maybe 55-45.
      It’s not necessarily in disagreement with Gasly comment, though. Max is in a better position than Lewis in a sense that more varied outcomes do favour him. But Lewis would have the most likely ones for his avantage. So if chaos plays a huge part in this double-header season finale, this is more interesting news to Max than it is to Lewis.
      Max will be the one chasing, so it will be slightly easier from him to release the pressure as such.

    5. Well, he’d still lead if he again finishes 2nd to HAM, especially if the FLAP point goes to him or neither, but two or a single-point gap is nothing, so one can’t base things on standings order.

      I didn’t even notice the green shade difference yesterday.

      I disagree with BE.

      I don’t really share COTD’s views either. The first part is trivial, while the safety aspect, I’m not worried about for now despite the high-speed nature & getting approved yesterday. I certainly find the track exciting as I immediately started liking it when first driving it myself. Ridiculously fast, the best temporary track ever.
      Losail International Circuit, being Mugello-like, quickly joined my favorites driving-wise, but this one tops Losail.
      The lap flow more than enough compensates for the possible scarce racing quality/overtaking.

      1. Absolutely, unless he manages to take hamilton out in a way that doesn’t scream “purposeful”, with both retiring in the last race, going into the last race 1 point in the lead or something like that makes it a winner takes it all situation, however it’s true he can afford to over defend if he’s sure it won’t happen that hamilton survives a crash and he doesn’t.

    6. Technically the Aston still is British racing green…

      1. The “Saudi” green looks infinitely better than the “British” green.

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