As this GIF shows, Bottas actually got going before the lights went out, but cars are allowed to move the tiniest amount before the start because they’ll often shake or jolt a little when the drivers select first gear. By pure luck, Valtteri’s early movement was within the tolerance allowed, which the stewards described as “fortuitous”.
In 2015 Dan Ticktum received a 12 month ban for crashing into a rival behind the safety car during a Formula 4 race. Sebastian Vettel might consider himself lucky to get just a 10s stop/go penalty for a similar offence. Drivers crash into each other all the time in motorsport but they rarely do so deliberately when they’re not actually racing. There is a very big difference between a heat-of-the-moment mistake and a conscious decision to drive into someone else when the race has been neutralised. Using your car like that can be considered a blatant professional foul.
Perhaps the Bahrain Grand Prix would be more interesting if organisers used the circuit’s ‘outer layout’ instead of the standard F1 track. It would be an incredibly fast low-downforce lap with the potential for lots of high speed slipstreaming – like a compact version of the old Hockenheim. If nothing else it would be nice to see a modern venue offering something different.
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Max Verstappen’s first lap in China was straight out of a video game. Not only does he make it look easy passing 8 cars, but it’s interesting that he starts the race in 2nd gear and also that he gains at least 100 metres on Dani Kvyat under braking for the final hairpin.
This year GP2 will be rebranded ‘Formula 2’ which is a small but helpful step towards creating a more coherent Formula One feeder system. Here are a few more ideas the FIA and F1’s new owners could look at to make it easier for the world’s best young drivers to reach Grand Prix level.
This short video is a great behind-the-scenes look at Red Bull’s F1 factory (including their cool storage warehouse) and it helps show how much work is involved building a Grand Prix car. No surprise they featured a guy with a can of Red Bull on his desk.