2019 Austrian Grand Prix Blog

What a difference a week makes. The French GP was, to put it politely, not the most exciting Grand Prix we have ever witnessed. This weekend the F1 roadshow moved onto the Austrian mountains and we were treated to the best race of the season so far. That’s sport for you…

What made the Austrian Grand Prix so good? Qualifying was genuinely close. For the past few events one got the impression Mercedes could turn up the heat when they needed and that they were quite comfortable. Not at Spielberg! In the end none of the drivers had an answer to Charles Leclerc’s 1:03.003. Lewis Hamilton did well to snatch second spot from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the dying seconds, but he was subsequently demoted to fourth when he was deemed to have impeded Kimi Raikkonen. His teammate Valterri Bottas therefore took third spot on the grid. And where was Sebastian Vettel? A problem with his air pressure line ruled him out of Q3 and he started ninth on the grid.

So, onto race day and nearly everyone was pleased to see a different order at the front of the grid. At only 21, Leclerc must have felt huge pressure on his shoulders in the build-up, but he didn’t fluff his lines and the Ferrari got off to a flying start. The same can’t be said for Max Verstappen whose anti-stall kicked in as he crawled off the line. Cars swerved round the Red Bull, and audible groans could be heard from the Orange section of the crowd as their hero found himself down in seventh spot at the end of lap one.

The early laps of the race were entertaining as drivers jostled for position. Leclerc held onto first place convincingly but behind him Kimi Raikkonen found himself in forth spot with McLaren’s Lando Norris in fifth. Both drivers did well to defend their positions however in the end the superior speed of Verstappen and Vettel saw them force past the slower cars.

More drama at lap 20 as Mercedes decided to pit second placed Valterri Bottas. Ferrari immediately called in Sebastian Vettel, who was in fourth, to cover the move. The problem? Nobody told the Ferrari mechanics who weren’t ready when Vettel came to a standstill, resulting in a 6.6 second pit stop. Vettel was rightly furious as he re-joined in eighth place. These schoolboy errors need to stop if Ferrari have serious aspirations about regaining the Constructors Title.

The race built to a riveting conclusion as Verstappen began one of his trademark charges. On lap 50 the Dutchman passed Vettel to take third spot, then he passed Valtteri Bottas on lap 56. Now in second place, Verstappen had about 5 seconds to make up on Charles Leclerc and 15 laps to do it. It was edge of seat stuff and by lap 68 the Red Bull had caught the Ferrari, they jostled for a lap or so with Leclerc defending brilliantly, but on the following lap Verstappen forced his way past at turn 4. The Red Bull went on to claim victory amid wild celebrations from fans, the team, and Honda for whom it was a first race win since 2006!

Verstappen said afterwards: “Wow! After that start I thought the race was over but we just kept pushing hard, I was quite quick so the pace was actually not too bad but I had quite a bad flat spot on my first tyre, and then after the pit stop we were flying… Of course extremely happy for the whole team and also for Honda – we just started working together this year but to win here is incredible.”

Was his overtake on Charles Leclerc unfair? The stewards looked long and hard, deliberating for over 2 hours, before ruling that the coming together of the two cars was a racing incident and didn’t deserve a penalty. We’re not completely sure on this, but if Verstappen hadn’t passed where he did, the Red Bull would surely have overtaken the Ferrari before the end of the race. It was rough on Leclerc, who could do nothing more, but the right result.

Silverstone is up next, which is always a highlight. Let’s hope Red Bull and Ferrari can keep the pressure on Mercedes and for another race like this one.

If you would like to join us at a F1 race in 2019, please call us on +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email us at f1@edgeglobalevents.com

2019 Canadian Grand Prix Blog

Another race, another Mercedes victory… But this one was much more contentious than normal because Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel passed the chequered flag in front. A mistake at Turn 3 on Lap 48 saw Vettel skid across the grass and then re-join the track still just ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The problem? Lewis had to slam on his breaks and was forced wide to avoid a collision. The stewards looked long and hard before handing Vettel a 5 second time penalty for re-joining the circuit in an unsafe manor.

Was it the right decision? Social media went wild with both Mercedes and Ferrari fans shouting their points of view. For what it’s worth we’re on Ferrari’s side. The circuit layout in Montreal is such that Vettel had nowhere to go other than re-join the track as he did. It was a mistake but, in our eyes, it was just a racing incident and the punishment seems harsh.

Vettel was understandably upset but didn’t cover himself with glory in his post-race antics. Swapping the number 1 and number 2 signs in parc fermé produced a cheer from the crowd but won’t have helped his cause with the FIA…

Team boss Mattia Binotto was more controlled and said afterwards: “We are not happy. From our perspective, he could have not done anything else and he was even lucky to remain on track… No intention in what he did, he was still ahead and he tried to keep his position and simple as that. We disagree with the decision but we all may have our own opinion.”

Toto Wolff’s counter argument was: “My view of the incident is that it is very difficult for the stewards to interpret regs so everyone is satisfied and that incident could be judged 60-40 on either side but we mustn’t put the stewards under pressure so they struggle even more in the future to come up with consistent decisions… Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it goes against you.”

Toto is right of course, and in all sport, decisions can go against you, but Ferrari must be starting to think they really are cursed as their run of bad luck continues.

Perhaps article 38.1 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations needs rethinking? Safety is, and always should be, paramount in Formula 1 but the scenario on Sunday would have happened with or with out this rule. All the 5 second penalty achieved was to cheat fans out of what could have been a grandstand finish.

Once he’d calmed down Vettel himself summarised quite succinctly, saying: “It’s not making our sport popular with these kind of decisions. People want to see us race and that was racing. It is a shame when we have all these funny decisions.”

These arguments could rumble on for months but more immediately we have the French Grand Prix in two weeks’ time. Le Castellet is not dissimilar in style to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and this may provide a ray of hope for Ferrari. They qualified on pole in Canada. Can they do the same again in France?

If you would like to join us at a F1 race in 2019, please call us on +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email us at f1@edgeglobalevents.com

2019 Monaco Grand Prix Blog

The end of May means only one thing – Monaco GP time again! We enjoyed another action-packed weekend. It was great to catch up with all our contacts down there and to see clients having such a wonderful time at the Grand Prix.

Thursday night kicked things off with the Red Bull Energy Station party. What a fabulous bit of kit that is! At around 30,000 square feet, and weighing 800 tons, it’s too big to be put together in Monaco and is instead built in the port of Imperia, Italy. Once constructed it takes 6 hours to make the 40-mile journey down the coast so it can occupy pride of place in the harbour. Only in Monaco!

Onto Saturday and we had a full house in our Ermanno 7th Floor suite, and lots of clients who did a ‘Combo Package’ which is Saturday on our trackside yacht and Sunday on the 7th Floor Ermanno Terrace.

The yacht this year was moored in a superb position, on Tabac corner and with trackside views off the bow and the stern. Watching Qualifying from here it was great to see the two Mercedes flying through the harbour section and setting scintillating lap times. They deserved a front row lock out. The only disappointment was Charles Leclerc getting knocked out in Q1. Another strategy error from Ferrari and it was a shame the local boy didn’t get chance to show what he could do round his home track.

Sunday was the big day and most of our guests were in our Ermanno 7th Floor Suite. There was a lot of admiration for the wraparound balcony which has views over 70% of the circuit and is directly above the action at Turn 1. You won’t find a better view anywhere in Monaco!

It’s important to say a special thank you to Paul Oz who did a live painting session during the day and kindly donated two hand embellished prints to Promise Dreams, who raise money in aid of terminally ill children.

The Grand Prix itself was a nail bitter. A safety car on lap 11, due to debris falling off the floor of Charles Leclerc’s damaged Ferrari, triggered a series of early pit stops for both Mercedes, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel. The timing was on the cusp of being able to get medium tyres to the end of the race. Mercedes took this risk, whilst Verstappen and Vettel opted for the hard compound.

Fast forward to the final 10-15 laps and Lewis Hamilton found himself defending with all his might from Max Verstappen, on tyres he felt were not going to last. If there’s one driver you don’t want behind you in a situation like this, it’s Max! There was the inevitable lunge by the Dutchman right at the end, but Hamilton handled the situation well and he deserved to take maximum points.

Hamilton dedicated his win to Niki Lauda, saying “I was really fighting with the spirit of Niki… I know he’d be looking down and he would take his hat off today. I was trying to keep my focus and make him proud … we truly miss him.” Well said. Mercedes fans around the circuit were delighted, horns were going off from the yachts in the harbour, and we all celebrated with a few glasses of Champagne in the suite.

Monaco is a special place for Formula 1. If you haven’t been before it really is worth making the trip to be part of this fantastic event.

If you would like to join us at a F1 race in 2019, please call us on +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email us at f1@edgeglobalevents.com

2019 Spanish Grand Prix Blog

You’d be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu watching the Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes stormed to another crushing victory. That’s five 1-2 finishes in a row, the first time any team has achieved such a feat in Formula 1, and a remarkable achievement. The problem is it’s all getting a bit repetitive. What we want to see is wheel to wheel racing between all the top teams, not just between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas…

Ferrari looked poor this weekend, there’s no two ways about it. They arrived at Circuit de Catalunya with a new engine, a major aerodynamic upgrade, and the clear intention of serving it up to Mercedes. The problem? Mercedes had made aerodynamic upgrades of their own and reports suggest the Silver Arrows revised front wing and bargeboard area were worth up to 0.4 seconds a lap.

No surprise then that Qualifying went the Brackley based outfit. What did raise a few eyebrows was Bottas’ time of 1:15.406, a full 0.6 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Lewis looked punch-drunk in the post session interviews and was clearly surprised how far behind he was. This obviously didn’t sit well and come Sunday he flew out of the blocks with one of the fastest starts we can remember. What followed was a nightmare scenario for Bottas, a split second slower, who found himself sandwiched between Hamilton and Vettel as a result. Seb left it too late on the breaks, flat spotting his tyres, but Hamilton took full advantage sneaking round the inside and into first place.

Truth be told the race was won at the first corner. It was brave from Hamilton, and momentarily heart-stopping for Mercedes, but from that moment on their victory never looked in doubt. But even as race winner, Lewis Hamilton seemed to acknowledge the need for a closer championship, commenting: “It’s not as much fun, for sure as when you’re competing against another team… That’s what Formula 1 is about. That’s the exciting part, when you arrive and you’re competing against one or two other teams who are also bringing their A-game. Naturally in those teams, that’s another two drivers. That puts another spanner in the works and often when the cars are close, there’s strengths and weaknesses of either team, and how you play those and benefit from those, it’s awesome.”

Sebastian Vettel was equally frank in his assessment, saying: “Obviously a big step back in terms of pace with Mercedes being far away, but it is what it is. I know everybody is very keen to do better but it is a question of time. It is not easy. Other people are doing a very good job and you need to respect that.”

Lando Norris blotted his almost perfect copy book, making contact with Lance Stroll on lap 46. Both cars span out of the race and the safety car was deployed. Who was at fault? The stewards deemed it a racing incident and stated that neither driver was ‘wholly or predominantly to blame’, but this was not the result the young Briton had been hoping for. The safety car bunched up the pack but at the re-start it was a case of business as usual with both Mercedes pulling clear and Hamilton claiming one of the more straightforward of his 76 career wins.

Next up is Monaco, a track Mercedes have traditionally struggled with, but one gets the sense this year they have an edge with the low speed corners too. If any team can give them a race you’d have to look towards Red Bull. Their car has an excellent chassis and Daniel Ricciardo’s imperious performance in Monte Carlo last year shows exactly what the team are capable of.

If you would like to join us at a F1 race in 2019, please call us on +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email us at f1@edgeglobalevents.com

2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Blog

We were really looking forward to Baku. It’s been arguably the race of the season for the past two years, but this time didn’t quite deliver the blockbuster we were hoping for.

All the right ingredients were there. Qualifying turned into a 2-hour endurance session as first Robert Kubica and then Charles Leclerc crashed in the same spot. Red flags were waving galore. The track temperature was falling and dusk approaching. At one point it looked uncertain if the session would be completed. They got there in the end though and it was the newly reformed Valtteri Bottas who pipped team mate Lewis Hamilton to pole. What would have happened if Leclerc had made it to Q3? Who knows, but he would have been close.

The race itself started with a tussle between Hamilton & Bottas. It was heart in mouth stuff for Mercedes, with millimetres between the two cars, but the Finn held his ground and deservedly kept the lead. Everyone thought Sebastian Vettel would close ground quickly on the Silver Arrows. Wrong! We’re not sure if it took longer for the Ferrari’s tyres to warm up, but it was the two Mercedes who pulled away.

Meanwhile Leclerc started his own charge, and on a new set of tyres he quickly jumped from 8th to 4th place and was behind his team mate. Surely not more team orders? Thankfully not as Ferrari quickly pitted Vettel. Both Mercedes also came in, leaving Leclerc in the lead but needing to go very long on his medium tyres.

It was always going to be a tall order for the young driver to stay in front and by lap 31 Bottas was on Leclerc’s tail, passing him a lap later. Surely time to pit? Nope, Ferrari kept their man out saying they were concerned about the soft tyres making it to the end of the race. As it turned out they waited just 2 laps before bringing Leclerc in, but this delay cost him around 8 seconds to race leader Bottas (including having to let team mate Sebastian Vettel by).

Lap 32 saw a bizarre incident where Daniel Ricciardo tried to overtake Daniil Kvyat. The Renault man locked up and went down an escape road. What Ricciardo didn’t realise was Kvyat also had problems breaking and had come to a stop right behind him. Ricciardo promptly reversed into the Toro Rosso, effectively ending both their races. In the stewards room afterwards he was handed a three-place grid penalty for Spain, plus two points on his licence. Ricciardo said afterwards: “Kind of crappy on my part, I certainly feel bad for the team and for Daniil. It’s not cool.”

Back at the business end and Leclerc found himself re-joining down in 5th place after his pit stop. Without the added performance expected from the soft tyres he struggled to gain any ground on Max Verstappen in 4th. By this stage of the race Mercedes were in complete control and Lewis Hamilton began a final charge to close down his team mate. He didn’t have enough left in the tank though, and a slight error during a VSC ensured Bottas’ victory.

Toto Wolff summed things up pretty well afterwards, saying: “I’m really happy, this was another fantastic performance from the entire team. We didn’t make any major mistakes today and that’s what has won us this race; our car was quick, the strategy calls were right, the pit stops were executed flawlessly, and the drivers didn’t put a foot wrong.”

Sebastian Vettel was slightly more cryptic in his assessment of Ferrari’s performance: “We have a good car, but we’re not using it in the way to get the results we should be getting. It’s like a Rubik’s cube where you have to have everything in the right order. We have a lot of clever people in the team who could solve that puzzle in less than two minutes, but in this case the cube is a bit bigger.”

We read that to mean the Scuderia are struggling for answers, but Toto is correct in that it was superior tactics, as much as anything which won the day for Mercedes. Will Ferrari finally get things right in Spain? We’re only 4 races in but they need to start performing sooner rather than later.

If you would like to join us at a F1 race in 2019, please call us on +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email us at f1@edgeglobalevents.com

2019 Chinese Grand Prix Blog

We reached a milestone this weekend with F1’s 1000th race. Ferrari started in China as favourites, but they were always lacking a bit of pace against Mercedes. We get the impression the Scuderia threw everything at Q3 on Saturday, but they still came up short with Mercedes securing a front row lockout. Valtteri Bottas did well to take pole against his team mate. The Finn is fighting for his seat and this won’t have done his prospects for 2020 any harm at all.

So, onto Sunday and at Lights Out it was a dash between the two Mercedes to the first corner. Lewis Hamilton got there first after a wheel spin from Bottas. A white line just in front of the pole box is being cited as the possible cause, with Valtteri saying afterwards: “I guess I was a bit unlucky with that… Now if I could do it again, on the formation lap I would just light up the rear tyres and make black lines on it…. I thought maybe with warm tyres it’s going to be OK, but it wasn’t. That’s life.” A white line seems like a strange thing to lose a Grand Prix over, but those are the fine margins that drivers are dealing with.

Someone else on the wrong side of the margins was Danill Kvyat. We said after Melbourne what a good race he drove but ‘The Torpedo’ reverted to type in Shanghai and collided with not one but two McLaren’s on the first lap. It was clumsy and earned the Toro Rosso man a drive through penalty, at the same time effectively ending Lando Norris’ race and seriously compromising Carlos Sainz. Kyvat said afterwards he felt the penalty was “quite harsh”, we don’t agree.

Once everything had settled down again it was obvious the two Mercedes were starting to pull clear of the field. Ferrari went into early panic mode, with the team ordering Charles Leclerc to let Sebastian Vettel past. Leclerc questioned the decision at the time, saying: “But I’m pulling away,” however he did as he was told. The problem was that having been given third spot Vettel failed to make any inroads and made an unforced error, locking his wheels, to further frustrate his team mate. There will be friction bubbling under the surface at Ferrari after this weekend…

After the race Nico Rosberg suggested that Ferrari’s aerodynamics could be the biggest problem, saying: “Mercedes are big, big favourites at the moment. They’re just looking so strong… Ferrari have pitched their car in the wrong place aerodynamically. They have way too little drag and just not enough downforce in the corners. That’s where they’re losing a lot of time.”

It will be all hands-on deck at Maranello to readdress this balance. A glimmer of hope for Scuderia fans is that Azerbaijan is next up. Baku City Circuit is the second longest on the calendar, with huge straights. If Ferrari can take advantage of their straight-line speed anywhere, it’s there.

If you would like to join us at a F1 race in 2019, please call us on +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email us at f1@edgeglobalevents.com

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix Blog

What a Grand Prix we enjoyed on Sunday evening! This one had everything, with action from the start all the way to the chequered flag. The only disappointment was that Charles Leclerc didn’t win, because he deserved it.

After the race Lewis Hamilton consoled a despondent Leclerc saying: “You drove great this weekend, man… You really drove fantastic. You’ve got a long old future ahead of you. I know it sucks in this moment, but you’ve got a long, long way to go.”

Hamilton and Mercedes will be delighted with their points tally from the weekend, but they also know this was probably the most fortunate of Lewis’ 74 race victories to date.

Somebody else looking nervously over their shoulder is Sebastian Vettel. Currently he’s regarded as Ferrari’s number 1 driver but for how long? The German didn’t do anything to enhance his reputation when he spun his SF90 in a tussle for second place with Lewis Hamilton. Vettel ultimately finished 5th after his front wing detached itself and he was forced to pit for a new nose. It was a scary moment, which could have ended up much worse.

Lando Norris had another blinder, steering his McLaren home in 6th sport, just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo. It’s worth pointing out that both gained a place when Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault lost power, almost in unison with Daniel Ricciardo’s car, on lap 53. Renault have not confirmed if both incidents were linked but it seems like a mighty coincidence if they were not. Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul was succinct with his analysis, saying: “After a very intense winter, it has been a very bad start.”

Haas are another team who were expecting a reasonable points haul at Sakhir but Guenther Steiner and co were left disappointed. We suspect that patience may be wearing thin with Roman Grosjean. In 2018 he made it to July without scoring a point. 2019 has started in a similar fashion. And as we all know, you only get so many chances in this sport…

After two races Mercedes have a commanding lead in the Constructors Standings with 87 points to Ferrari’s 48. That doesn’t tell the whole story, but Ferrari need to start converting some of these chances sooner rather than later.

Next up is China, a race Mercedes have won for 4 of the past 5 years. Mattia Binotto, take a deep breath…

If you would like to join us at a F1 race in 2019, please call us on +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email us at f1@edgeglobalevents.com

2019 Australian Grand Prix Blog

This was going to be Ferrari’s year wasn’t it? Ask anyone in the Paddock and they all thought the Scuderia had the fastest car. But nobody told Valtteri Bottas…

The ‘Flying Finn’ put in a devastating display to pass Lewis Hamilton at the start and then kept extending his lead, before coming home 20 seconds clear of the field. He also set the fastest lap to boot, taking his points tally for the weekend to 26. This was, without doubt, the best race of Valtteri Bottas’ life.

So what’s changed? Bottas hid himself away for the winter, first in the Chilean mountains and then back in his native Finland. It seems this time to reflect has transformed him into a stronger and more determined character. He’s also under no illusions that if he doesn’t deliver this season then he will lose his Mercedes seat. When asked about it he said: “It is quite difficult to explain what has been going on last winter inside my head but something changed about how I feel about things and life in general.”

It was the perfect weekend for Mercedes. With Lewis Hamilton finishing in second place they stand on 44 points, already double Ferrari’s score of 22, in the Constructors. Hamilton is perhaps the only member of the team left disappointed. He was seen checking his car immediately after the race as if something were amiss, and Mercedes later reported: “We have discovered damage to Lewis’ floor in the area just in front of the left-rear tyre. There is a chunk of the floor missing, but we are not 100 per cent sure why yet.”

This should be comforting news for Hamilton but will bring a sense of dread to Ferrari. It wasn’t just that Mercedes beat them this weekend, it’s the fact they weren’t even close. We suspect the team at Maranello will be working round the clock to try and eek out further improvements before Bahrain in 2 weeks’ time.

Ferrari also came under further criticism when they decided not to let Charles Leclerc pass an obviously struggling Sebastian Vettel. The radio transcript has since emerged:

CL: “Should I stay behind Sebastian, yes or no?”
Team: “Yes, and back off to have some margin”
CL: “OK”

Team orders for race one is not something fans want to see. Hopefully this won’t be repeated over the coming weeks and months…

The midfield battle looks tighter than ever this year. Sadly, Williams are well off the pace, but all other teams will go into each race knowing there’s the potential to score points. Haas will have been pleased with Kevin Magnussen’s 6th place. Kimi steered his Alfa Romeo home in 8th and Lance Stroll did well to finish 9th for his new Racing Point team, ahead of team mate Sergio Perez.

Lastly, Daniil Kvyat is one to keep an eye on this year. ‘The Torpedo’ is perhaps a bit unfair as a nickname because the Russian has matured from his earlier misdemeanours. That said, he is very much a livewire and capable of pulling off moves that other drivers would not attempt. Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost certainly has faith, saying: “Daniil is a high skilled driver with fantastic natural speed, which he has proven several times in his career… We’ll push very hard to provide him with a good package, and I feel the best is yet to come from his side.” Watch this space…

Next up is Bahrain, a race which Vettel has won for the past two years. Ferrari will be praying for a hat trick and to put some of the pressure back on Mercedes.

If you would like to join us at a F1 race in 2019, please call us on +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email us at f1@edgeglobalevents.com

2019 Pre-Season Blog

Well January came around quick! We hope you enjoyed the festivities.

Autosport International returns to the NEC in Birmingham this week and we’ll be there as usual on Thursday and Friday. If anyone fancies catching up, drop us a line.

One person we are looking forward to seeing is our friend Paul Oz. Paul is launching his sculpture project. The works are stunning, and we highly recommend checking out his stand if you get a chance.

And as for us? Well, we’re looking forward to F1 Testing in Barcelona, which starts in just 6 weeks. If you’d like to be amongst the first to see the 2019 cars, we have options available with: Aston Martin Red Bull Racing; Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport; Racing Point Force India F1 Team; Renault Sport F1 Team; along with Piso Box Hospitality.

Before all that of course there’s the F1 car launches. Testing starts a week earlier this year and we know the teams are working around the clock to have their 2019 challengers ready in time. The following launch dates have been confirmed so far:

12 February – Renault (Enstone, UK)
13 February – Racing Point (Toronto, Canada)
14 February – McLaren (TBC)
15 February – Ferrari (Maranello, Italy)

On the subject of Scuderia Ferrari, we were genuinely surprised earlier this week to learn that Maurizio Arrivabene is to be replaced as team principal by technical chief Mattia Binotto. There’s no doubt that strategy errors cost Ferrari last season but, in our minds, Arrivabene was in the best position to lead the team forward. Time will tell if this is a good move or not.

Wishing everyone all the best for 2019 and plenty of wheel to wheel racing!

If you would like to join us at a F1 race in 2019, please call us on +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email us at f1@edgeglobalevents.com

2018 Mexican Grand Prix Blog

Many congratulations to Lewis Hamilton who entered the record books yesterday, clinching a 5th World Championship at the Mexico Grand Prix, which makes him the joint second most successful driver of all time.

It speaks volumes about Mercedes commitment that Toto Wolff was disappointed and said afterwards: “We have had a very bad race and we need to understand it but we should be happy when it comes to the championship… I didn’t say anything to Lewis on the radio when he crossed the line because I was so upset with the race.”

Hamilton is driven by his desire to race and shows no signs of slowing down, despite his gruelling schedule and doing more air miles per year than most complete in a lifetime. Who would bet against him equalling or even surpassing Michael Schumacher’s all-time record?

The one thing that may stop Lewis is improvement from the other teams. Ferrari had the fastest car for a large part of this season and without a series of strategy and driver errors, the title would still be very much alive. Red Bull have the best chassis and more power would put them firmly in the mix too. Maybe this is something that Honda can provide next year? We certainly hope so and that 2019 treats us to an open Championship between all three teams.

So what else happened in Mexico? Well Daniel Ricciardo is challenging Valtteri Bottas as the unluckiest man in Formula 1. He looked certain of a place on the podium until a mechanical problem caused his sixth retirement in the last eleven Grands Prix. “I don’t think ‘frustration’ is the word anymore,” Ricciardo said after the race. “Everything feels hopeless… Honestly, now where I am, I don’t see the point of coming on Sunday, I don’t see the point of doing the next two races.”

It will be of no comfort to the Australian that he started the race on pole, only to get a poor start and watch teammate, Max Verstappen, saunter to an easy victory. Verstappen for his part looked the complete package this weekend. Gone are his moments of ‘youthful exuberance’ seen at previous races. Given a reliable car, he is a force to be reckoned with.

Special mention must also go to Charles Leclerc, who steered his Sauber home in 7th place and treated us to some wheel to wheel racing with Sergio Perez during the race. It’s easy to see why Ferrari signed the young Monégasque and he will be winning races sooner rather than later.

We’ve seen cracks in Sebastian Vettel’s armour at various points this season and perhaps he is not quite the force of old. If someone is to end Lewis Hamilton’s reign at the top, will it be one these exceptionally talented 21-year olds who take it from him?

If you would like to join us at a F1 race in 2018, please call us on +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email us at f1@edgeglobalevents.com