F1 Games

How's your F1 2017 career going?

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    Harry Westwood

    Didn’t see this thread for the last game and I missed it, so I’m starting one for the new F1 game! I feel like there’s so much more to write about now with power units and the advanced R&D system.

    In other news, 2016 rookie Harry Westwood has been showing promise in the simulator for Williams if rumours are correct, despite his being fired from McLaren Honda after the 2016 Monaco GP. Word around the paddock is he may replace Lance Stroll for this season!

    Bradley Downton

    Season 1 – McLaren-Honda #13 – Teammate: Fernando Alonso (Difficulty 90/110)

    Race 1: Australia
    Qualifying: 17th – Race: 6th
    Struggled in all three practice sessions with difficult on 100, ending up slowest in each, but I did complete all the practice programmes bar the perfect on qualifying performance – that pace just isn’t in the McLaren! Dropped the difficulty to 90 for qualifying and ended up 17th, but found the race too easy at the start so quite and restarted, going back up to 100. It was drizzling at the start but we were all on slicks, yet this seemed like ideal conditions for the McLaren. Got a great start and was into about 11th at T1, before slicing through the field up to fifth, with the same pace as the Ferrari and Mercedes cars. I was into third at one stage with quite a gap behind, but as it dried up around two thirds distance the pace vanished and I was suddenly about three second slower. The Red Bull’s quickly dispatched me and the rest were closing in rapidly, but thankfully the chequered flag came out before they could catch me, what a stunning start.

    Race 2: China
    Qualifying: 11th – Race: 9th
    Once again slowest in FP1 and FP2, then 16th in FP3 in very wet conditions. Thankfully these carried to qualifying but improved slightly, and once again the McLaren had great pace. Got through Q1 on Inters and a great lap in Q2 (still Inter conditions) put me 11th, about 3 tenths off a spot in Q3! Got another good start up to P6 in the wet, but had the pack behind like angry bees. Lost a spot to Massa by drifting off at T1, then another to Verstappen a couple of laps later with the same error. Grosjean jumped me in the pits but blew up shortly after, while the same happened to Perez, but just as he’d caught me. This brought out a late Safety Car which left me with no gap, and two laps to defend. Had to use Rich mix down the straights and Lean on the rest of the lap to even stand half a chance, and brake very late into the hairpin to get the place back that I’d lost. Unfortunately Stroll mugged me on the final lap, but more points again in a car that doesn’t deserve them.

    Race 3: Bahrain
    Qualifying: 19th – Race: 17th
    As we were always going to be awful in Bahrain (and I’d already burned through nearly an entire power unit in just two races – blasted Honda rubbish!) I bit the bullet and decided to take an entire new power unit and the penalties to go with it, just to have it in the bank. My gearbox was also at about 70-odd%, so not looking promising. I was 1.6 seconds off of anyone in practice, and jumped to Grand Prix mode to do some test, and eventually settled on dropping the difficulty to 90/110, which it will remain at. Qualified 19th after being baulked by Vettel, and started last with a 45-place grid penalty… KMag span at T2 from P7, which held a lot of people up and I jumped to P11, but quickly got mugged down the straights. At one point both Renaults and a Toro Rosso all passed me on one straight… but I got all three back with a very late braking move into T1. Fell back to 17th and was jumped in the pits by Ericsson when my gearbox started having problems, I’d lost 6th! Fernando caught me quickly but right on cue as he caught me, his engine blew up which just made me laugh. Had Supers in the final stint with Ericsson on mediums but a 9-second gap, and the tyres went off with about two seconds of that gap left. I then lost time getting lapped and settled for 17th, ahead only of Wehrlein and Ricciardo, who had problems early on and lost a lot of time.

    As for development, from now on I’ll include it per race, but I’ve decided against actually updating anything yet. Obviously the power unit is my primary concern (for those who have played, you’ll know how poor the Honda actually is on the game) but I want to maximise the efficiency and quality control first to get the parts as cheap as possible and reduce the chance of them failing (hopefully).

    Harry Westwood

    Season 1 – Race 1 – Melbourne
    For this round I started off with the difficulty level at 90, full length qualifying and 50% race length, manual suggested gears, manual pitstops/starts, medium tc and abs.

    I chose to take a seat in the Williams for this season as I figured it’d be fun and challenging to drag them to the front. I then discovered they are apparrently the fourth fastest team, so it should be easier.
    I went through practice okay, passing all the programmes set for me, except the tyre wear test. I was also able to achieve a perfect score on a few, and invested in the first durability upgade.

    Qualifying 1
    Qualifying one was a breeze, I’d chosen a soft tyre allocatio so I had an abundance of supersofts to use, which was good as there was rain forecast for the race, so I could do all my runs on them. I easily reached Q2 in 13th place on my banker lap set early on.

    Qualifying 2
    Qualifying two I was hopeful for as I had left a lot of time on the table. I upped the ante somewhat, and set a banker lap early on which placed me P8 after all the runs were done. Feeling I’d left at least a couple of tenths on the table, I went out as late as I could, except… It was too late to get out and do a lap. So I had to retire in my garage, where I saw I’d sadly fallen to 13th place.

    I was confident in my car having gone for the balanced setup, so I knew it could handle the conditions we faced. I was put on a two stop on intermediate tyres, and saw the rain was expected to remain constant all race. Had some trouble with tyre temps on the formation lap but the engine was cool and the brakes were nice and warm.
    I got an average getaway and pulled alongside Grosjean for 12th but he had the inside line covered and hung me out to dry. I managed to pick up a few positions into turn 3, and was up into 10th position. I took another place off of Perez into turn 6. Somehow got a good enough run to challenge Massa into turns 9 and 10, we were wheel to wheel on exit but I got a tow off of the car in front. Up next was Kvyat (somehow) and Hulkenberg. I was able to dispatch Kvyat into turn one the next lap, but Hulkenberg had a couple of seconds back to me which I spent a lap or two closing down. I was able to draft past him after the fast left right chicane, and progress to 6th position. However, on lap 8, Ricciardo had a problem and slowed right down. I had been promoted to 5th! He also held up the driver behind, nearly causing a big accident, thankfully he didn’t as it was Felipe now behind me.
    I didn’t have the pace to match the Mercedes and Ferarris so I just did my own thing and pushed to get a gap back to my teammate. This left me rather marginal on fuel. I pitted on lap 9 and the other two stoppers pitted on lap 10. This undercut gave me a gap of roughly 5 seconds back now to Massa. However it was lap 13 when I realised a lot of the guys ahead of me would only be stopping once. It took everything I had to push hard whilst staying in the green on fuel. I pitted again on lap 19 and fell to 7th behind Verstappen (who had started 14th) and Perez. I was able to slide up the inside of Max into turn 3, but I struggled to chase Perez. It was halfway through lap 26 I finally caught up, then I just bided my time and nicked his position into turn 13. Then I was able to pull away and gained a comfortable margin of 3.5 seconds across the finish line in 5th place.

    Round One Standings
    A 1-2 for Ferrari left Mercedes trailing slightly, with everybody else way off the pair of them.

    Drivers top 10:
    -(1) Raikkonen – 25
    -(2) Vettel – 18
    -(3) Hamilton – 15
    -(4) Bottas – 12
    -(5) Westwood – 10
    -(6) Perez – 8
    -(7) Verstappen – 6
    -(8) Massa – 4
    -(9) Ocon – 2
    -(10) Kvyat – 1

    -(1) Ferrari – 43
    -(2) Mercedes – 27
    -(3) Williams Racing – 14
    -(4) Force India – 10
    -(5) Red Bull Racing – 6
    -(6) Toro Rosso – 1
    -(7) Renault – 0
    -(8) McLaren – 0
    -(9) Haas – 0
    -(10) Sauber – 0

    Next round up next; it’s an absolute cracker!

    Season 1 – Race 2 – Shanghai
    Since I was getting some overly comptetitive times in practice and qualifying, the difficulty for the race is 95.
    Practice went well, perfect score on all except qualiying pace, which was concerning. Again, we were forecast for a wet race but it was starting dry this time. My durability part was fitted, allowing me to improve the durability of all parts except for the ES and gearbox, which should be ready at the next race.

    Qualifying 1
    Qualifying one was easy, set a banker on options to go 7th. Had no primes at the time.

    Qualifying 2
    I decided I was confident enough to try and get out on primes, so I fitted the softs and went for a lap on the lowest fuel possible. I absolutely nailed the lap, and secured a place in the top ten by well over half a second, with no need for a second run. This handed me an advantage over about 5 other runners, with 4 of the AI doing the same as me.

    Qualifying 3
    My first banker lap was good in this session, bagging me a net 6th place in front of Verstappen. I fell to 7th not long after he improved though. My second lap was an absolute stunner, and I bagged a front row spot; 0.083s off of Hamilton, 1.4s ahead of Felipe.

    After upping the difficulty, I felt it was much more fair. I was on a one stop, but I knew with rain coming I could be making any number of stops. I again borderline underfuelled the car, with plus half a lap. I was slow on the start due to my late reaction and struggled to draw alongside Lewis, and when a move up the inside failed (he was on supers) I almost ran wide, giving Vettel a nice space to fill. However with lower aero than him, a better exit and slipstream, I was able to go wheel to wheel with him down the inside at turn 6, and we were side by side on exit. I got better traction, but Vettel tried to reach the racing line despite me being there. I was rammed in the sidepod four times, each spinning me further round until I was sideways and slamming on the anchors through turn 7. Vettel clobbered the wall and I got myself facing the right way, and luckily yellow flags protected my position. However, I’d lost 6 seconds to Hamilon.
    I then set about cooling the tyres off and trying to get some laptimes in. Raikkonen chased me until about lap 7/8 when I began pulling away, leading to him making a pitstop. Hamilton had pitted also, but he ran into technical issues and fell far behind. The frontrunners were all soft runners now, and Ricciardo was an ever present threat, especially after turn one and through the middle sector where I had to hold him at bay a couple times. My pitstop was scheduled for lap 11, and luckily the light rain arrived when I was finishing lap 9. By lap 11 it was wet enough for inters (just about) and so I pitted in. Again, I was losing time to Ricciardo and luckily my straight line speed kept me safe down the long straight. However as the track conditions worsened, he fell back eventually by approximately 2 seconds a lap. Now the second pitstop was scheduled for lap18/19 ish, but the engineer told me heavy rain was on the way. I decided to risk my leadand stay out in the hope of getting the tyre switch right. At this point I had a 30 second gap back to Ricciardo, and a 39 second gap back to a recovering Hamilton. I ended up losing about 1-1.5 seconds a lap despite pushing hard. My engineer told me they were gonna switch the strategy and pit me on lap 23 for wets, but when I asked for tyre status he said inters were still the best. I was 23 seconds ahead at this point, and still stayed out.
    On lap 25, disaster struck. I got a left rear puncture through the long right hander onto the main straight. I had to trundle down the straight at low speed while my team chose my strategy for me. I saw they picked inters, so I risked wets in the hope I could gain some time in the final laps. The gap before the puncture had been 20 seconds, but Ricciardo was nearly past me as I approached the pits. I fell to 3rd, only 6 seconds off of Hamilton, but 10 off of Daniel. Turns out, the wets still werent working and I was losing 2 seconds a lap to all of the intermediate runners. Raikkonen was on me in no time, and for almost 3 laps I had to defend while fuel saving and on the worse tyres; I was braking as late as was physically possible in heavy zones, and running slightly wider lines through high speed turns in a futile attempt to find a small amount of extra grip. Just about managed to bring the car home in 3rd, after one of the most intense offline races I’ve ever had.

    Round Two Standings
    A win for Red Bull propelled both Ricciardo and the team back into contention within the championship, while a disappointed Vettel scored no points.

    Drivers top 10:
    -(1) Raikkonen – 37
    ^(2) Hamilton – 33
    ^(3) Ricciardo – 25
    ^(4) Westwood – 25
    v(5) Bottas – 22
    v(6) Vettel – 18
    -(7) Verstapen – 14
    v(8) Perez – 10
    -(9) Ocon – 8
    v(10) Massa – 5

    -(1) Ferrari – 55
    -(2) Mercedes – 55
    ^(3) Red Bull Racing – 39
    v(4) Williams Racing – 30
    v(5) Force India – 18
    -(6) Toro Rosso – 5
    -(7) Renault – 0
    -(8) McLaren – 0
    -(9) Haas – 0
    -(10) Sauber – 0

    Looking forward now to Bahrain!

    Bradley Downton

    Race 4: Russia
    Qualifying: 15th – Race: 9th
    With two long straights and no rain in qualifying, I once again expected to be awful, so decided to add another power unit to the bank and take another raft of grid penalties, simply because the Honda does not last at all. What an awful decision! Breezed through all of the qualifying programmes and even set a time good enough for 16th and four tenths faster than Alonso in FP2. Went out for FP3 when the gearbox played up and I spent an entire lap in 7th gear, gearbox at 76% wear and clearly not going to last, so that was another penalty I decided to take just to get a fresh one.

    First lap in qualifying was good enough for 16th which surprised me as it wasn’t all that brilliant, while the second took me to 13th place! Went out on a fresh set of Ultras as Q1 was ending and somehow found a second, which after dropping to 17th put me back in 13th and into a shock Q2! As I was going to start last anyway and had already hit my qualifying target and beaten Fernando, there was no point trying so I did one slow lap to register a time and get the bonus resource points, and ended the session 15th.

    The race started dry but was meant to rain late on, so I started on Ultras with the intention to pit for another set of them before switching to Inters/Wets late on. Got a half decent start up to 17th and continued to make progress as many drivers got stuck behind a slow Stroll, and I moved into 10th before the first stop. Chucked on a fresh set of Ultras gambling on the late rain, and rejoined as cars fell apart in front: Vettel and Verstappen retired, and then Ricciardo picked up a puncture, and I was into a rather surprising 6th. I was quick in the sections before the DRS zones which helped massively in keeping Perez and Magnussen behind, with rain starting to fall with ten laps to go.

    I waited and waited and eventually the times started to drop off, but not enough and I was starting to panic. Eventually I bit the bullet and pitted for Inters with three laps to go, but no-one else did! I rejoined in 13th just behind Fernando, devastated that I’d just thrown away a 6th place. Caught Fernando 1.5 seconds in the middle sector and wondered if I’d made the right call after all, but started the final lap in 12th place. I scythed through however, blasting past Stroll at T1, a double overtake on a lapped Ricciardo and then Sainz in the middle sector, then slipped up the inside of Hulkenberg at T15 as he struggled to get the power down. I was 10 seconds quicker than anyone on the final lap and finished the race just behind the Magnussen-Perez-Palmer train that was sixth to eighth. Delighted with more points at a track I didn’t expect to do well at, but bittersweet in that it could have been sixth had I not gambled on the weather and fitted Supers at my stop, or had the race just been one more lap! Even so, 12 points from four races is a great start, but I don’t expect anymore in Spain even though it should suit the car better, I’ve always been miserable at Spain.


    I wrote this little review for someone who asked me whether he should buy the game;

    Let’s be honest, it’s a F1 2016.2. They found some things they could improve but forgot the overall idea. I mean you’re still choosing from the same helmets since 2010.

    The development tree is fun for a while but doesn’t feel like I’m involved in it bar some clicks here and there. Shouldn’t I test upgrades? Doing the same programmes every single weekend isn’t going to ruffle any feathers either.

    The AI is their ultimate selling point but even then the highest difficulty is still easily mastered. Legendary that is not. They still drive like trains on tracks.

    Sure, classic cars add some fun, and the alternative championships are almost well thought out but they won’t distract you from the once more dreary career that should’ve been so much more by this stage.

    Perhaps Codemasters should look for less aid with these Youtube fellas and address real problems for the average gamer.

    That being said, my career as a Renault driver is going stellar.

    Difficulty 100/110
    R1 Melbourne – Q16 – P14
    R2 China – Q16 – P5
    R3 Bahrein – Q16 – P8
    R4 Sochi – Q16 – P8 (got a +3sec penalty in the second to last corner = P5 > P8)

    I’m focusing my development on reliability in the early stages so I can finish the season with all parts and don’t have to go the Honda way. Codemasters should’ve really copied the Project CARS manner of getting news across from the different teams. I only know about my gearbox, and my engine and my development,…

    I’m not so hungry to complete a full season as I was with F1 2016 even though the AI is more fun. It just feels like I’ve did this before to much. There’s to little new compared to last year and really does feel like a F1 2016.2 with some updates.


    Season 1 – Sauber #92 – Teammate: Pascal Wehrlein (Difficulty 101/110)


    Never expected it to be this difficult. I was quite a way off of the pace, and only able to complete the track acclimatisation programme. I was fairly close on a couple of others, but just proved too difficult.

    I was able to close up the gap somewhat, to within 7 tenths of Wehrlein, which was a considerable improvement, but just not enough to qualify anything but last. Doesn’t help that the Sauber is a hard car to drive.

    Opted for a one stop in the race, which seemed like the favourable strategy amongst most of the teams other than the front runners, so started on the super softs. Got a fairly decent start and out-dragged Pascal into turn one, and got a night slip stream on Wehrlein heading into turn three. With a nice slingshot move, I shot passed both Mclaren drivers and was attacking Perez. Unfortunately, he wasn’t giving any quarter, and pushed me wide, allowing Alonso to get the jump on me. I tried to keep pace, but was losing a couple of tenths on him per lap.

    This was the status quo for the entire first stint. Vandoorne chased me, we had fairly similar pace, though I was probably holding him up slightly, but we were escaping from the other Sauber.

    Pitted a lap earlier than both guys behind me, which I thought would help, but somehow Vandoorne got the jump on me by a mere couple of tenths, and just didn’t have the speed to make a move into turn three. For the rest of the race, I chased as hard as I could, but over the remaining 15 or so laps, he grew the gap to 4 seconds.

    Started – 20th
    Finished – 16th (Ahead of my team mate, thankfully) due to a few retirements.

    Think I’ll turn the difficulty down to 100 and I think it might be more even.


    Well I’m finding it harder than last year to be honest. I unfortunately am not a pro, so I have to set difficulty to 80 and even there I’m struggling. It also comes down to the fact that my brain is still in 2016 mode, so a corner that I had to previously brake for may now be taken just by lifting off. That costs seconds, though I think I’m getting the hang of it.

    Season-wise, just started out on STR alongside Carlos Sainz, because obviously I was looking to replace an expendable driver :) Practice programmes prove hard but I manage to clear them out, then line up 15th in the grid, mixed feelings for the team as they expected me to start 13th or better, however, I did beat my teammate. Come race day, it’s raining and I go “are you f*****g kidding me”. That’s the great thing about this game, it makes you realize that the prospect of a wet race are exciting for a fan but for drivers and engineers it has to be the most annoying and frustrating thing, to have all your programmes rendered useless because it had to godddamn rain!

    A good start puts me 11th behind Grosjean, however, a couple of bad corners put me within striking distance of Stroll, behind me. Thank god there’s no DRS as it’s just pouring right now. So I keep my cool and try to shortshift as much as I can (I should explain that the only assist I have on is automatic gears, the reason being that my wheel is a Logitech DFGT, the paddles are so small and hard and these cars require so much shifting that my fingers end up hurting a lot). SC out because of an incident in the fast chicanes, after the restart I’m able to get close to Grosjean and after a bit of a fight, get past him. Up next is Magnussen, he’s struggling as well so I can catch him easier than Grosjean. 9th place was awesome so far, but strangely, two other drivers in front of me pit, I imagine it’s for inters but by that point there were so few laps that I just stuck with the wet tyres and looked for damp places to keep them in good shape.

    Final result: 7th, teammate DNF. Was a good day. Then got invited to drive the R26. Also a good day!


    Apparently finishing 5th in a Renault in Spain after starting 20th does not impress Mercedes or Ferrari one bit. Although the fact I’ve beaten Massa in the last lap to that position increases the bar by almost 1000%. Meanwhile McLaren is dying to get me as their driver.

    Bradley Downton

    Race 5: Spain
    Qualifying: 18th – Race: 16th
    Never expected to go well in Spain so was pleasantly surprised to be on the pace of Fernando in practice. Nailed all the programmes but struggled with qualifying, only getting a perfect when it rained in FP3. Qualifying was very wet, so I just set four laps early on using the full wets and pitted while sitting seventh. My engine only had about 35 laps left in it and the race was 33, so I was reluctant to go out again, and ended up 18th, just behind Fernando. As such, I decided to bite the bullet and add another entire power unit to the pool for later in the season (we’re up to 7 in total!), and start last. While I was at it, the gearbox I used in Russia is already on 21% and I didn’t want any problems in Monaco or Canada as I’m usually strong at both, so I chucked a new gearbox in too.

    Started 19th between Kvyat and Ocon (I assume they both had penalties too), yet after the formation lap my driver pulled into 16th on the grid… No idea what happened, but that was three easy places! Got a rather sluggish start but braked late into T1 and ended up behind a wall of Palmer, Magnussen and Grosjean through turn 3, though a bit of wheel banging between them saw me into 11th. Passed a slow Stroll again and into the top ten, but then we got back to the start finish straight and they all went back past… Managed to fight a little but at one point Magnussen dived down my inside at T1, I thought I’d left him the room but obviously not enough and we made contact (hands up, my error). I half spun and he flicked back into Fernando, breaking my team mates front wing – sorry!

    Dropped to about 16th and spent the majority of the race scrapping with Magnussen and Palmer. They both got past me however when my engine started smoking with about 10 laps to go. I’d decided on a Soft-Medium-Soft strategy while Sauber had gone Medium-Hard, and Alonso was also on the Hards late on. My scrapping had allowed him to catch me, and I came out behind after my last stop. Got Ericsson early but the lack of power from my engine halted further progress, and with a few retirements I came home 16th as the team expected, but just behind Fernando. I’d expected the power unit to fall apart, but the gearbox wear was really troubling me, so I bit the bullet on upgrades and did the first durability one, hoping it might help somewhat.

    I also surprisingly got promoted to first driver, despite having been beaten by Fernando in both qualifying and the race in Spain. Still, it means bonus resource points, so I will take it!

    Bradley Downton

    Race 6: Monaco
    Qualifying: 14th – Race: 3rd
    I was hopeful of a strong result in Monaco given the car, so was very disappointed to miss out on the perfect for qualifying performance, though managed to pull out a mighty lap in FP3 to secure it, though still only ended up 16th. As my Spain engine was pretty much toast I took nearly an all-new power unit from my ever-growing pool just before qualifying. First lap was a cracker with a 14.0 and put me third ahead of Bottas, though he had only run SS. I was happy with this and decided to let the clock run down, and was so lucky to just squeak through in 15th. First banker in Q2 was a 13.7 and put me ninth, and I intended to go once more towards the end, but completely mistimed it and the flag fell just before I started my lap! Everyone improved and I ended up 14th, but I’m not sure I could have done a much faster time anyway.

    Got a huge surprise in the race build-up to see I was ninth on the grid, as it appeared nearly every man and his dog had a grid penalty of some sorts; at least half the field. This left Vettel and Verstappen on the front row with the Mercs 6th and 7th and Raikkonen P12! Got a decent start but fell into line, while ahead Stroll missed his braking point for turn one and put both Mercs into the wall! Amazingly no-one retired but it caused mass delays and both Stroll and Hamilton had to pit, and in the carnage I sped up the hill in fifth behind Hulkenberg.

    Stroll massively slowed everyone behind while he limped to the pits so we had a big gap, which left me a number of laps to determine I was quicker than Hulk and risk a move. Dived up the inside of Rascasse but he held it around the outside, and we went side-by-side all the way from there to the exit of Casino where he got ahead, but I braked later into Mirabeau and stole the place. Started to pull away but had no hope of catching the Red Bulls or Vettel ahead and drove largely my own race. Massa pitted early onto the softs and he was behind after my stop but about six seconds back and I appeared quicker, so didn’t worry. I settled into a rhythm to get to the end in an excellent fourth, until with six laps I got a message that race leader Vettel was out, I was on the podium! Started driving a lot more cautiously but managed not to lose too much time and came home third to take the first – surprising and very lucky! – podium for McLaren.


    I had a SC in Monaco, and when it finally came in everyone kept on driving under SC regulations except for me. So I decided to slot back into my position as everyone was ghosting. In the end everyone got DSQ, and I had to redo the race.

    Bradley Downton

    Race 7: Canada
    Qualifying: 16th – Race: 8th
    Discovered in practice that I still had the pace around Canada that I’d always done, so was very disappointed when a lap I felt there was no chance of improving on left me 16th and out in Q1. Started 15th thanks to a penalty for Grosjean and risked everything with a move as late on the brakes as I possibly dared down the inside at T1. Jumped up to about 9th before going around the outside of Perez and Verstappen at T2 as they tangled slightly. Passed Stroll on lap 2 to move into 6th and got Massa as well a couple of laps later with another very late braking move into T5, while incidents behind allowed me to build a small gap. Bottas spun at the final corner which put me into 4th, but before long Vettel pitted and was rapidly closing me. I forced him to the outside into the final chicane but he braked late, bounced over the second apex and spun out, before being collected by Ocon. The Safety Car was thrown and I dived into the pits next lap to make my only stop onto Supers, though it was a couple of laps early from my scheduled lap of 15.

    At the rate the Ultras dropped off and the Supers were starting to, I quickly decided I’d probably be better off pitting again and sticking another set of Ultras on with about 12 laps to go, which dropped me out of 5th and down to 9th. Perez (who had been massively help up in the Vettel-Ocon accident) ahead was on very old Softs so my fresh Ultras got me ahead, and left me defending for the last five laps from Perez, Sainz, Kvyat and Hulkenberg. Used my rich mix on the straights to keep ahead, and coupled with Perez’s poor tyres I just held on to 8th. Wehrlein and Massa also retired leaving just 16 finishers, with most of those behind me having had problems somewhere along the way. Given I was only able to hold on in Canada thanks to having always been quick there, I am not looking forward to Baku.

    Bradley Downton

    Race 8: Azerbaijan
    Qualifying: 19th – Race: DNF
    Had to completely switch the setup to maximum straight line speed in free practice to achieve the perfect qualifying programme (and only just made it!), and failed to hit one of the teams goals of average top speed in the speed trap. Put in one of my best ever laps on an F1 game to go 17th in qualifying before being bumped to 19th, and upon trying one final lap I found myself two tenths down and thumping the wall at the castle section, definitely putting me out and ahead only of Fernando.

    Added my eighth power unit to the pool and put in the worst combination of components that should get me to the end as I had no hopes for this race at all. Got a decent start up to P15 but a collision with Palmer later on the opening lap left me and Kvyat without front wings. Pitted for mediums and rejoined ahead, but my massively down on power engine gave him a huge advantage. He got a run coming into the castle but was on the outside line, and predictably hit the wall, but turned me into it too, taking off another front wing. At this point I had no intention of pitting again and falling yet further behind, and then waiting for a safety car just to battle with Fernando, so I parked it down a run-off and retired.

    Bradley Downton

    Race 9: Austria
    Qualifying: 18th – Race: 14th
    Using only a partly worn engine, I couldn’t even beat the track acclimatisation programme in practice, so I threw a totally new power unit at the car for the weekend. Also had some problems with the gearbox in practice so I took a new gearbox too and copped a 5-place grid penalty. Again felt I couldn’t improve in qualifying but ended up just 18th – 0.002 behind Fernando! – and as I’d be last anyway, decided to add an eighth power unit to my pool.

    A half decent start got me up to P14 but I just got mugged by everyone on the straights with the exception of Magnussen, who gave me a decent battle. Got undercut by Wehrlein and had to throw everything at him to get the place back, before switching to Inters late in the race and just toddling along to P14 ahead of Ericsson, Alonso and Wehrlein, with three retirements.

    Race 10: Britain
    Qualifying: 17th – Race: 5th
    Wasn’t confident before my home race as I’ve always struggled at Silverstone, but found I was much better on this game during practice. Qualified P17 with a two tenth gap to Fernando, while the race was set to start in heavy rain and only let up slightly throughout.

    Got a decent getaway on the full wets and jumped up to P9 with a late braking move in Village. Found I had more pace in the full wet conditions than the two Williams drivers and overtook both Massa and Stroll at Village on laps 4 & 6 respectively. Didn’t have the pace to close any of the Mercs, Ferraris, or Red Bulls ahead but pulled away from Stroll, until the Red Bull’s tangled and Verstappen had to pit, putting me up to P6. I felt the track was ready for Inters and saw Ricciardo dive in so I followed him, only to realise the AI were only pitting for fresh wets! It quickly transpired my call was correct however as I set fastest lap and rapidly caught Verstappen by six seconds the next lap, with everyone else now switching to Inters too. This jumped me up to third and I fought valiantly to keep Vettel behind for four laps, but he eventually got me. Bottas went by too at Copse and I was about to settle for sixth with Ricciardo desperate to get past too, when with three laps to go I noticed I was closing back in. Vettel clearly had a problem but as soon as I caught up at Stowe on the penultimate lap, Bottas got through and my podium chance vanished. I flew past an ailing Vettel at Vale and defended hard from Ricciardo, only for him to mug me out of Club and drop me to – a still excellent – P5.

    Harry Westwood

    Season 1 – Race 3 – Bahrain
    I had lots of my durability parts arrive this weekend, and that put me in a jolly good mood for the race, as well as knowing I enjoy this track and it suits the Williams; top 5 was the aim.

    Qualifying 1
    I had used FP3 to fit a new ICE (was at 68%) and a new turbocharger (was at 60%) and found the increase in horsepower to be refreshing. Decided on one step away from the lowest downforce setup, and was able to make it to Q2 in just rich mix.

    Qualifying 2
    Once again I went out and set a run on softs, which put me in 7th place and I was happy with that. Went out at the end of the session on supers just in case those around me improved, but once again I only just missed the cutoff time. I was knocked out by Grosjean by 0.036 of a second…

    I was confident at this track as I knew my low aero would provide fantastic speed. I customised my strategy to be a 2 stop from supers, to softs, to mediums. I got a lightning start and rose to P7 before the braking zone, and that became P5 after I did some late braking and then drove right around Verstappen who was slow through turn 2. I then threw it up the inside of Vettel into turn four and almost ran wide, but held on. Spent the next lap chasing Hamilton (all of the mercs and ferraris were on softs except for Raikkonen) before launching it up the inside at T1, spotting the apex beautifully.
    The next couple of laps were spent trying to follow Bottas, and whilst he wasn’t pulling away, I wasn’t getting any closer. However, after turn 1 on lap 4, Bottas merely pulled to one side, and retired. Brilliant, easy second place! Raikkonen however, was well up the road.
    At the start of lap 5 things got really interesting. Hamilton attempted a move around the outside into turn one, and I left him the space. He didn’t manage the position but when I went for the apex of turn 2, because I came from a wider angle he ended up tagging the rear of my car, which sent him and Vettel round. they then caused a roadblock that Perez ran into at high speed, retiring. They all left masses of debris littered over the race track. (Yellow flags didn’t stop in that corner until lap 11).
    Anyway, on lap 7, Hulkenberg unfortunately retired in a difficult spot close to the wreckage, and after all that I think Charlie finally decided a safety car was needed. Perfect for me, that was when my stop was scheduled. I came out in 4th, with Verstappen first and Palmer second due to not pitting! We got underway again on lap 11 where I was able to take Raikkonen for 3rd with a brilliant run off the restart. I managed to put Palmer between him and my car going into the hairpin in the middle sector, which gave me some breathing room until Palmer pitted a lap later. Raikkonen and I were then going wheel to wheel until the finish basically, with some very close racing, but the straight line speed I had on my side was enough to hold him at bay. However, in the dying laps, Hamilton was coming at us; fast. I ran wide at the penultimate corner on lap 27 and he went through, but I managed to compromise his line by forcing him to go defensive into the last corner, and demolished him on the straight. End of that lap, I backed him into Raikkonen and they spent the last lap scrapping, giving me room to cruise home to my first career win! Another fantastically fought race in my eyes.

    Round Three Standings
    A strong win saw me rise up the table, with Raikkonen’s lead coming under threat.

    Drivers Top 10:
    -(1) Raikkonen – 55
    ^(2) Westwood – 50
    v(3) Hamilton – 48
    v(4) Ricciardo – 37
    ^(5) Vettel – 24
    ^(6) Verstappen – 24
    v(7) Bottas – 22
    ^(8) Ocon – 12
    v(9) Perez – 10
    ^(10) Grosjean – 8

    -(1) Scuderia Ferrari – 79
    -(2) Mercedes AMG Petronas – 70
    -(3) Red Bull Racing – 61
    -(4) Williams Racing – 55
    -(5) Force India – 22
    ^(6) Haas – 8
    v(7) Toro Rosso – 7
    ^(8) Renault – 1
    v(9) McLaren – 0
    -(10) Sauber – 0

    Should be doing Russia tonight!

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