Don’t mention the halo

 

OK, I won’t. So, how about talking about a remarkable British GP instead… still. Hamilton, Bottas and Raikkonen. But the race belonged to Lewis Hamilton – his 57th career victory today, fifth at the Silverstone Circuit, and fourth of the 2017 season. it was his fifth career Grand Slam, claiming pole, the victory, fastest lap and leading every lap of the Grand Prix.

His 67th pole position – only one short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record – equals legends Jim Clark and Alain Prost’s tally of five British Grand Prix victories.

The race

It got off to a false start as an extra formation lap was needed because Palmer had stopped on track. This meant the race distance was down to 51 laps. Then came a collision between the two Toro Rossos which brought out the Safety Car. Racing restarted on lap 5, with Raikkonen matching the leader’s pace, while his team-mate had to be patient before getting his place back.

It was a thrilling duel, but in the end, it was decided on the strategy call: a scheduled pit stop for Vettel on lap 19 saw the German fit the Soft tyres. The number 5 Ferrari came out ahead of the Force India duo in fifth place. Verstappen therefore had to pit to cover Ferrari’s strategy, but when he rejoined he was behind the Ferrari. Vettel then banged in a fastest lap, before passing Hulkenberg for fourth place. On lap 24, it was Raikkonen’s turn to pit to go from the Supersofts to the Softs.

Shortly after that, Hamilton did the same, but on fresh rubber the Iceman was the fastest man on track. Bottas came down the pit lane on lap 32 and came out behind the Scuderia Ferrari duo. Vettel reacted, setting his best lap in 1:31.872. On lap 43 came the first duel, as Vettel repulsed the attack under braking.

But the move ruined his tyres and he lost the position on the Hangar Straight. “I can get to the finish” came his reassurance over the radio and indeed he would, while out in front, with only two laps remaining, Raikkonen’s left front tyre suddenly let go. The Finn pitted and took on Supersofts, while he was helped by the fact Verstappen also needed to make an unexpected stop.

But on the last lap, Vettel also got a puncture, again a left front. He dived into the pit lane and managed to stay in the points.

Lewis Hamilton: “I’m so happy… this has got to be one of my sweetest wins here. I was gunning for this victory. There was so much negativity ahead of the race, with people questioning how I prepared for the race. But this weekend has been one of my strongest of the weekend.

“I made a solid start and then after that I managed the car and the balance, and the boys did a fantastic pit stop. I really can’t find a fault at the moment. The team did an exceptional job this weekend and Valtteri obviously drover a stormer today – I’m proud of him. It’s great to have him in the team.

“I’m surprised to see the issues the Ferrari had because I didn’t see any debris. I did not expect to come away from this weekend just one point behind Sebastian. This result really opens up the championship – and we go to Hungary next, where I’ve always gone well.

“Every time I came around Turn 7, I could see the fans cheering every single lap. It was really reminiscent of 2008, my first Grand Prix win here. I’ve got some great supporters here, not only in the crowd, but in the garage as well. I’ve got my brother here, some of my aunties and family has come too. There’s this amazing young kid who’s come from South Africa, Michael, who is fighting cancer. It was amazing to see him. And Billy Monger is with us, who is just such an inspiration.”

 

Valtteri Bottas: “What a race! I’m really happy for us as a team, to get the second 1-2 of the season. Of course I would have liked to win, but I’m happy anyway because that was definitely one of my best ever races. I had to fight hardcore out there a couple of times, but I ended up in a good position.

“We could actually go longer than expected in the first stint on the Softs and the tyres were really good. In the last stint the team told me to just take care of the tyres, because we saw a few failures out there for some other teams, but for me they were fine. We’re just at the half-way point of the season and it could definitely be worst.

“It’s still just my first year with the team and I’m still right in the championship fight. As a team we did a really good job today. The strategy right from the start of the race worked really well. It was a flawless race for us and the 1-2 was our prize – the team really deserve this. We definitely got lucky with Kimi’s puncture in the end, to take P2, but that’s racing and today luck was on our side.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “My race wasn’t going too bad until a few laps before the end. I suddenly had the problem, my front left tyre let go with no warning; the air stayed in the tyre but the rubber part, came off. It’s disappointing because without that issue the second place was secured, and we deserved a better result.

“We had made some changes to the car and they seemed to have improved the feeling. When it’s like this you are confident and you can push; I hope that it will be a similar story in the future races. However, today we were lacking a little bit of speed against our rivals. We did what we could but obviously there’s some work to be done to catch up the Mercedes in places like this.

“This is definitely not our strongest type of circuit. I’m interested to see what happens in the next race, I guess the Hungarian track should suit our car better.”

Williams uses F1 tech for the emergency transport of infants

Baby Pod

 

Technology which protects Formula One drivers in the event of a crash, has been used to create a safe environment for new-born babies needing emergency transportation.

The advanced engineering arm of the Williams Group has designed and manufactured the Babypod 20 in collaboration with Advanced Healthcare Technology (AHT).

The hi-tech carbon fibre transport devices – which can withstand a 20 G-force crash – have been launched in Intensive Care Ambulances used at Great Ormond Street Hospital and run by the Children Acute Transport Service which also advised on design requirements.

Transporting new-born infants requires a safe, secure and temperature regulated environment, which has previously required the use of heavy and cumbersome incubators. These devices not only require an electricity supply, which is not always readily available, but also dedicated vehicles costing health services more.

The Babyhood 20…

… has been designed to provide the environment that a baby needs at a significantly reduced price of a standard transport incubator. Lightweight and easy to handle, Babypod 20 can attach to any transport stretcher whether on a trolley or in an ambulance, car or even helicopter.

The parallels between a Formula One car and transport device for babies may not be immediately apparent, but both demand a lightweight and strong structure that keeps the occupant safe in the event of an accident, and can monitor vital signs whilst remaining easily transportable and accessible.

Williams has taken the existing Babypod product and worked with AHT to create a device that is not only more compact and user-friendly but, crucially, can be scaled up in its production. Furthermore, accessibility has been improved with a slide and tilt mechanism to give greater ease of access for hospital staff. New, sleek styling has also been employed by the team.

Williams film

 

A documentary from BAFTA-winning director Morgan Matthews is coming out this summer. The film is based on the 1991 book by Lady Virginia Williams – A Different Kind of Life.

The film features legendary racing footage, interviews with much-loved Formula One stars including Sir Patrick Head, Sir Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet and candid never-before-seen accounts of what really went on behind closed doors. It is an honest, authentic and incredibly revealing portrait of one of the most extraordinary stories in motorsport.

Curzon Artificial Eye is hosting the world premiere of Williams on Tuesday 11 July in the Curzon Mayfair in association with Martini, Williams Martini Racing and Minnow Films. Representing Williams will be Claire Williams, Williams drivers past and present and two of the team’s iconic Formula One cars.

Williams will play nationwide previews on Wednesday 2 August including an exclusive filmed Q&A with Claire Williams, Morgan Matthews and special guests. Williams will go on general cinema release and on Curzon Home Cinema from Friday 4 August. To find the nearest cinema playing the film visit – WilliamsFilm.com #WilliamsFilm

Ron bows out… finally

Ron Dennis CBE has reached agreement with his fellow shareholders in McLaren Automotive and the McLaren Technology Group to sell his shareholding in both companies.

Ron celebrated his 70th birthday on 1 June, after 37 years at the helm of McLaren, and 51 years spent working in Formula 1 and other top-level motorsport series.

During his 37 years at McLaren, Ron led the team to 158 Grand Prix wins and 17 Formula 1 World Championships, managing some of the greatest drivers in the history of motorsport (including Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton, who all won World Championships under Ron’s management) as well as the world-renowned Le Mans 24 Hours race in 1995.

In 2004 Ron announced the launch of McLaren Applied Technologies, which focuses on applying motorsport-bred innovations and technologies so as to improve the performance and product innovation of blue-chip companies in a wide variety of industries.

In 2010 he oversaw the formation of McLaren Automotive, now one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-performance sports cars.

On 18 December 1980, Ron merged Team McLaren (as it was then known) with his own company, Project Four, to form McLaren International, then valued at £3 million. Fewer than 100 people were employed by the new company at that time. In the 37 years since then, supported by the investment of TAG Group in 1984, Ron has presided over a period of remarkable and prodigious growth. The McLaren Group is today valued at £2.4 billion, had a combined turnover in 2016 of £898 million, and now employs more than 3400 people.

Well, that was somewhat unpredictable

Not sure what happened really, but my eyes tell me Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has won, with Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in second place and, quite remarkably, Williams driver Lance Stroll in third.

In between, we had three safety cars and several crashes, and a reappearance of Sebastian Vettel’s unsavoury behaviour. He was given a 10-second stop-go penalty for swerving into Hamilton’s Mercedes, claiming the former braked back into him as they prepared for the re-start after the second safety car period.

Hamilton ended up finishing fifth, a place behind Vettel after a pit stop for a loose headrest dropped him from the lead. He is 14 points behind after eight of the 21 races.

Valtteri Bottas: “Today was a crazy race, especially for me. I had a puncture on the first lap after the contact with Kimi on Lap 1. I was a lap down, then had to overtake the field under the Safety Car. The second Safety Car after that really helped me out and, step by step, I moved forward from there.

“My main goal today was to fight for the win but that went out of the window after the first lap. I was actually last at one point, but I got my head down, gave it absolutely everything and tried to get the absolute maximum out of every single corner. We didn’t quite manage to win but P2 from where we were is a great feeling. Importantly for the team, we scored more points in the fight with Ferrari and I got some good points for myself as well.”

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s difficult to swallow a result like this after a strong weekend. I drove my heart out today right to the line – I gave it everything. I know the team will be devastated about the issue with the headrest, but what we have to take away from this weekend is the great performance we have shown. We all feel that pain, but it’s on me to gather my thoughts and try and lead the team through this adversity. We’ll pull together and move forwards. I’m proud of my performance and I hope we can take the speed we’ve shown this weekend forward.

I definitely didn’t brake-test Sebastian. I controlled the pace under the Safety Car and, just like with the other restarts, I slowed down in the same place on the entry to T15. At that point, it is up to me to control the pace and then I felt a bump from behind. But that wasn’t the issue for me – everybody saw clearly what happened after.

“All the young kids in other series look up to us, as champions, to set an example and that is not the behaviour you expect to see from a multiple champion. But we know that when times get tough, true colours show, and we have managed to apply some good pressure in the last weeks. Personally, I want to do my talking on the track and win this championship in the right way. More than ever after this weekend, I believe we can.”

“Street” and super quick: Baku is a set-up puzzle

Baku is the “youngest” circuit on the calendar and, at 6.003 kilometres, the second longest after Spa.

It is undoubtedly one of the most unusual tracks on the Formula 1 calendar. It’s a street circuit, running through the centre of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, but nevertheless it boasts a straight of 2.1 kilometres, which is over a third of the total distance and is tackled flat out.

Last year, the highest recorded speed was in excess of 378 km/h. This year, it is unlikely the F1 cars will hit those sort of numbers because of their increased downforce and wider wheels. However, finding the right set-up for Baku tomorrow will still be a difficult task for drivers and engineers, because when deciding on the optimal level of aerodynamic downforce, one has to weigh up the demands of the slowest section, with the need for speed down the straights.

This type of circuit also requires excellent traction in the twistier corner and it is also tough when it comes to energy recovery.

The forecast is for sunny weather, but cooler than the heatwave conditions affecting parts of Europe at the moment. Pirelli is bringing its Medium, Soft and Supersoft compounds, as degradation here is higher than in Monaco and Montreal.

Lewis storms to Azerbaijan Grand Prix pole

After an incredible last lap, Lewis Hamilton claimed his 66th career pole position to move into second on the all-time pole list.

It is Hamilton’s first pole in Baku, the fifth of the 2017 season, and his seventh in 10 races.

Valtteri Bottas will start from P2, as the Silver Arrows took a second front-row lockout of 2017. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen rolled in third.

Lewis Hamilton: “My pole lap in Montreal was pretty special, but I think this one here tops that. My first run in Q3 was actually really good, but I was a bit greedy into the last corner, locked up and cost myself time. After the red flag, there was a lot of pressure on that final lap.

“All weekend we’ve struggled to switch the car on over a single lap, but it was an all or nothing moment so I just gave it everything I had. Valtteri was on a great lap as well, so when I came across the line and saw that I had pole, it was such a good feeling. Even if that time had only been enough for P2 it was a lap to be proud of.

“We were struggling yesterday but we made a lot of changes overnight. A big thank you to the team who stayed late last night to get the car to where it is today – they did a fantastic job.”

%d bloggers like this: