Jeddah GP: The pre-race

Ok so the title fight has become an amazing show of force between two remarkable teams, Redbull and Mercedes. Both teams have had a remarkable year, but, in my opinion, Honda were slightly better in terms of strategy and tech compared to Mercedes. Not only did the Honda engine prove to be one of the best F1 engines in the past 10 years, but we also saw Max and Checo perform remarkably well with a consistent pace and performance.

Any-who we are in the penultimate race of the season in a track which was built in record time. This track is somehow disappointing to me in certain aspects. It is the fastest track on the calendar yes, but, it is extremely narrow. The corners are tight very limited run-off areas, and this would be ok if this wasn’t a track with the speeds averaging at 160mph. Jeddah Corniche is the second longest F1 track, only surpassed by Spa and most of the corners are high-speed ones. The biggest issue I have with the track is the fact that it is extremely narrow and tight, so narrow that garage exits were reported to be a problem for some drivers. The narrow nature of the track obviously offers very limited areas for overtaking, making this perhaps another boring track that might offer little or no excitement.

Now we move to the weekend. The practice gave us a brief look of what the pace should look like. Hamilton dominated most of the weekend and the track does seem to favor the Mercedes. Both Aston Martins and Haas cars were eliminated in P1, with Sainz, Alonso and Ricciardo eliminated in Q2. Sainz exceeded track limits twice, with one of the instances resulting in him clipping his wing. Ricciardo had better pace compared to Norris over the weekend and up-to Q1, but this pace dropped as the qualy progressed. Hopefully he’ll have an amazing battle with Sainz today and next year they will design a car suited for him rather than giving him sloppy seconds… yes I said it.

Hamilton took the pole home with Bottas following him closely. Verstappen was on the way to snatch that pole, pushing that Honda to the limit only to find the last corner a bit too much, clipping the rear wheel with the barrier resulting in a retirement. Hopefully the gearbox was not damaged with that impact as a replacement will result in a 5 place grid penalty at the most crucial race of the season.

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Charles Leclerc finished in 4th in a remarkable qualifier. He did have a nasty crash over the weekend but he seems to have recouped well. Perez, Gasly and Norris followed.

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Tonight we will be seeing another show… an epic battle between Mercedes and Redbull as Hamilton and Verstappen face off for the world title. This season has been perhaps the most exciting in ages, and I will be looking forward to see what this track will provide. I am suspecting that Lap 1 will result in a safety car… hopefully not though.