5 F1 drivers that really need to shine at the British GP

5 F1 drivers that really need to improve

By: Jake Rajala

The F1 season has finally approached a weekend without racing. The Championship picture simply becomes more clear at this late stage in June. With that said, there are certainly many drivers that need to focus less on relaxing and more on bouncing back at the British Grand Prix next weekend. I’m going to simply untwine five F1 drivers that need to improve at the British GP.

Valtteri Bottas

The F1 driver from Finland, Valtteri Bottas, has certainly been in the spotlight this week. Bottas fashionably drove an Alfa Romeo F1 in the streets of Milan for Brand’s 112th Birthday. Although, there has also been strong criticism of Bottas after his last racing performance — notably from Jacques Villeneuve. Per Planet F1, Villenveue stated, “So no, Bottas this year should never get beaten by Zhou (his teammate). It’s just not on. Not a driver of his experience that has won so many races”. Bottas didn’t only finish behind his racing pal in the Canada GP, but he also hasn’t finished in the Top-6 since the Spanish GP. Bottas has 46 points on the season, 0 wins, and 0 podiums.

Sergio Perez

It doesn’t take Captain Obvious to acknowledge that Sergio Perez had a rough outing in Montreal. Perez had a DNF after placing second at the Baku GP, winning the Monaco GP, and having a seven-race streak of getting points. Per Formula 1, Perez stated, “It’s been a weekend to forget”. Perez is still mouth-watering over the possibility of being in the first place (as he sits second with 129 points). He also has expressed his respect for Max Verstappen. Per Fox Sports, Verstappen, “The special thing about Max is the ease of going to the limit. Max goes to the limit from the first lap, every change he makes to the car is important and it’s not that he changes his conditioning style, he always goes to the limit.”

Daniel Ricciardo

The McLaren driver, Daniel Ricciardo, finished 11th in his last GP. It has been less than an impressive string of races for Ricciardo since the Australian GP (where he placed eighth). Ricciardo still feels optimistic about the team’s direction and his ability to bounce back. Per Race Fans, Ricciardo stated, “But I felt like we did have a little breakthrough after Monica over at the factory on the sim, we tried a few things and I think even though our result today wasn’t good, I think the last couple of weekends have certainly been better and shown more promise”. Zak Brown has stated that his relationship with Ricardo is still strong, as well. Per Pit Pass, Brown stated, “We had dinner a couple of weeks ago in London, we have good laughs together and enjoy racing together so the relationship with Daniel’s never been better”. Ricciardo has 15 points, 0 wins, and 0 podiums on the season at this point.

Sebastian Vettel

The 34-year-old, Aston Martin driver, hasn’t had a sexy season, to say the least. He finished 12th at the Canadian GP after having a fine show-case at the Baku GP: 8 points. Vettel only has 13 points on the season, 0 podiums, and 0 victories. His current predicament doesn’t properly his impressive career: 53 wins and 122 podiums. Vettel, who has won BBC Overseas Sports Personality World Sport Star of The Year, is rightfully recognized for having a strong passion for the environment. He may decide to leave F1 to help protect the environment. It’s clear that the Aston Martin principal Mike Crack wants him to stay. Per Motor Sport, he stated, “we have a very good relationship and don’t have to set each other deadlines but at one point if we drag that too long we will run into trouble and he’s aware of that. But they are trustful discussions. From our side, we want to show him that we can improve the car. Barcelona was the first step. I’d like to show him another step then maybe it will be his desire to continue. We’ll see where we are after Silverstone, then we’ll talk”.

Kevin Magnussen

The Haas team hasn’t been very inspiring to its close followers as of late. Kevin Magnussen and his team certainly need to be be lethal and stay on the track. He has 15 points on the season, but he hasn’t scored points since the Emilia Romagna GP. He had unique obstacles with the orange and black flag incident at the Canadian GP. His former (potentially biased) team-mate Romain Grosjean expressed dis-taste with the incident, too. Per Planet F1, Grosjean stated, “I wasn’t really impressed with the penalty, I really thought it was very harsh and ruined Kevin’s race that was already damaged by the front wing, and there was nothing he really could have done to avoid that – it was just a racing incident”. Magnussen was also frustrated with his call to repair the scratched wing. Per Motor Sport Week, he said, “The front wing was safe, it was not broken off. Think back to Jeddah last year, Lewis Hamilton won the race with half a front wing … which I think is correct, you know let us race even if we can”. Magnussen and his squad will need to dig something deep in their box of tricks for a moving performance at the next GP.

Honorable Mention:

Mick Schumacher

It would only be fair to Magnussen if his teammate with fewer points/success grabbed a place on this list. Mick Schumacher has yet to finish in points this season — as he also had two upsetting crashes. Schumacher is only 23 years old, but it would be risky if he doesn’t show any potential/Top-10 finishes in the future. His boss in Guenther Steiner has expressed public dis-taste in the driver’s recent hiccups. Per The Mirror, he stated, “It’s not very satisfactory having a big crash here again. We need to see how we move forward from here.”

Spanish Grand Prix predictions

Latest predictions for the Spanish GP

By: Jeremy Trottier

While the next F1 race is two weeks removed from the Miami Grand Prix, there is still time to talk about how this next race can pan out. Two weeks of travel is most definitely necessary as the drivers and teams go from Miami, Florida to Montmelo (Catalonia), Spain. With 4,685 miles to cover, and a week to prepare, every team will be looking to build off of their success in the southeastern US, or create new successes and forget their failures. In this article, I will be going over the 5 drivers who I predict to round out the top 5 spots in Spain, and why I believe they will finish in that respective spot. So without further ado, let us begin with our predictive winner:

Position #1: Charles Leclerc – Ferrari

After a somewhat disappointing last two races in Imola and the US, Charles Leclerc still holds onto the Drivers Championship by 19 points due to an early season surge. One of the main things worth noting throughout Leclerc’s career is his ability to win through adversity. Most notably, his maiden win in Formula 1, which was the Belgian GP in which he dedicated his win to a good friend of his Anthoine Hubert, who had passed away that Saturday in a crash on the same track. While there is nothing that drastic currently happening, he has accrued a lot of doubt in the media as to whether he can hold off the charging Red Bull and reigning WDC Max Verstappen.

If Ferrari wants to show the world they are ready to compete, this is the time to do it, as they need to be able to take race wins at the end of the day while Max Verstappen is driving. Max winning every race in which he finished this season is a concern, and the Monegasque driver in Leclerc needs to pull this one off to create a larger gap in points. With this being a track relatively favorable to the Ferrari all time (12 wins all time at this track, 3 more than 2nd place Mercedes) they need to take advantage of the slower section 3 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and bring home a win.

Position #2: Max Verstappen – Red Bull

Simply put, either of these first two drivers could win the race just as easily as the other. According to betting odds, Verstappen has slight favor at +110 compared to Leclerc at +120, which shows just how narrow this margin is. The next closest driver is Carlos Sainz at +1200 and Sergio Perez at +1600. Verstappen has been absolutely dominant this season, aside from early race troubles in Australia and Bahrain due to reliability issues in the car. This should be a point of concern, even after 2 straight wins, as Verstappen has still failed to finish 2 of his 5 races this season.

Regardless of this however, Verstappen is going to be one of the favorites in every race he is competing in, and the straightaway speed of the Honda engine is extremely hard for Ferrari to match. With this, we should see some dominance in the two DRS straights in Spain, specifically the main straight as it is the length of the whole track. As long as the RB18 and it’s RBPTH001 engine hold up during the race, we should see another tight battle between Verstappen and Leclerc.

Position #3: Sergio Perez – Red Bull

Next up we have the secondary driver at Red Bull, that being Sergio Perez. Perez has had a quietly great season for RB, accruing two podiums (both 2nd place) and 2 4th place finishes. While he also had a DNF on the season, that was due to an engine defect at Bahrain, same as Verstappen. He currently has 66 points, which if you compare that number to last season is a significant improvement as he had 44 through the first 5 races with 0 podiums. This type of consistency warrants recognition, as it shows he has improved as a driver, and as a teammate, giving Red Bull an even better shot at the Constructors Championship in 2022. Perez will gain the same benefits as Verstappen in the power unit department and has some of the more stout defensive capabilities in Formula 1. This combination bodes well for his chances in Spain at another podium on the season.

Position #4: Carlos Sainz Jr. – Ferrari

Rounding out the Red Bull and Ferrari tandems, we have Carlos Sainz, who to say the least has had some struggles in recent races. A podium at Miami was a nice start to getting back on track, but that does not negate the two back to back DNFs at Imola and Australia very early in each race. While he has finished on the podium in every race he has completed this year, it is worth noting that he also has two DNFs under his belt like Verstappen does, as well as a straight line disadvantage that Leclerc shares. It seems like Sainz has had struggles getting the hang of things in the new 2022 Ferrari, but when he does have a good handle over the car, he has been phenomenal this year. Another top 5 would add to this and prove he is back from a short run of races not finished.

Position #5: Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo

A potential surprise entry for some, and not a surprise for others, we have Valtteri Bottas. Bottas has been able to finish in the points in every race he has completed this year, which is all but one (Jeddah due to an engine overheating issue). Bottas has also finished P8 or above in every race this season as well, including one top 5 at Imola. Bringing home points for Alfa Romeo after a relatively poor 2021 campaign is extremely promising, and shows the true driving talent of Bottas. He has always been up there during races this year in the mix for good points, and I fully expect him to be a driver to watch for the upcoming race in Spain.

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