Driver of the Weekend
Quite a few contenders for this one; A strong performance from the mighty Sainz Jr in fourth for Toro Rosso; A very decent 8th for Lance Stroll; Another podium for Daniel Ricciardo. But I think I’m going to have to give it to Lewis Hamilton.
On a weekend where very little was expected from Mercedes in terms of out and out speed, they managed a double podium and have taken a massive step to retaining the constructors’ title in the process. Of course, Lewis had a stroke of luck when the Ferraris and Max Verstappen decided a game of ten pin bowling was the most appropriate thing to do for the start of F1’s first wet night race. Regardless, he showed some serious pace throughout the race and secured a seventh win of the season. Maybe his new diet can be attributed to some of his success, as during the week Hamilton announced plans to turn vegan. Either way, Vettel has a mountain to climb in this championship now.
Crash of the weekend
What can I say about that turn one incident that hasn’t been said? As a Ferrari fan, it crushed me deep down watching that disaster unfold. Knowing the implications it will have on the wider championship, with Hamilton’s now 28 point lead, and a potential penalty coming for Vettel, this could prove to be a real turning point in 2017. Having said that, the manner in which Hamilton conducted himself after the incident was nothing short of stellar. The man is a machine in the wet, no question about it.
As the track was drying, Kevin Magnussen was on a charge through the pack, and expertly dispatched the Williams of Felipe Massa and then the Force India of Esteban Ocon all within a few corners. It was a rare moment of wheel-to-wheel action in a race that saw most of the field carefully trying to tiptoe around in tricky conditions.
Magnussen was clearly up for today’s race, and was the first of the runners to switch to the slick tyres, and looked on for a strong result until he was forced to retire. Despite this, he did his 2018 prospects a world of good today with an attacking drive.
Young talent: Best performance
While Max was getting involved in yet another first lap incident, the other younger lads showed the future of the sport is in very capable hands. For large parts of the race, Carlos Sainz was running in a superb fourth, eventually fending off attacks from Perez and Hulkenburg to secure his career equalling best finish. His recently announced move to Renault on loan from Red Bull for 2018 seems to have reinvigorated him somewhat. Vandoorne managed a very solid 7th for McLaren, who will feel for Alonso as he may well have been able to challenge for a podium had he not been collected in the turn one incident.
Other stand out drives
Oh Jolyon, dear, sweet Jolyon. The man Sainz will replace next season finally enjoyed a 2017 race to remember as he drove strongly to finish sixth and take his first points of the season. As the Briton fights to save his F1 career, he picked a good time to score his best result to date.
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