F1 2018: 5 corners that will catch you out

F1 circuits are not easy to drive, but some corners can sneak up on you and ruin your whole race if you get them wrong

Toby Durant by Toby Durant

Everyone who place racing games has one corner they hate more than any other. One that no matter what they do is just impossible to get right, or even survive consistently. F1 2018 is no different. The 21 tracks are filled with tough corners and difficult sectors. Esses are notoriously hard to string together quickly and consistently, while the street circuits are narrow ribbons of tarmac encased in Armco barriers. But what are the toughest corners to get right in F1 2018?

Hardest corners in F1 2018

For the purposes of this article we are excluding the hardcore street circuits of Azerbaijan, Monaco, and Singapore. These tracks are all tough to navigate successfully, with each corner posing its own problems. Instead, we will look at those corners that can really catch you out. Either they tighten surprisingly, are prone to producing lockups, or simply demand perfection or they will end your race quickly. They are a singular problem in tracks that can otherwise be conquered.

Eau Rouge/Raidillon – Spa-Francorchamps

Spa is perhaps the most famous circuit in F1, and a favourite of drivers and fans alike thanks to the sweeping corners and spectacular setting of the Ardennes forest. For the most part the track is simple. There are long blasts of full throttle and sweeping corners that are relatively easy to take. there is also run off at places like Pouhon and the final chicane that can save you from a mistake. There is run off through Eau Rouge/Raidillon too, but you are taking it at full speed and it can’t help you if things go wrong.

In previous versions of the game this corner was a simple, flowing, left right left that was little more than an elevation change for drivers. In F1 2018 though, this corner is a race-killer that requires tiny, precise, steering changes or you will be off into the wall harder than Kevin Magnussen in 2016. The increased challenge of Eau Rouge/Raidillon turns Spa into truly testing circuit to drive that demands the perfect setup if you are to register a good time or even survive.

Spoon Curve – Suzuka

Suzuka is one of the most technical, testing circuits on the F1 calendar. However, modern F1 cars have somewhat conquered it. Turn 15, better known as 130R, used to be a terrifying, nerve-wracking, experience but now it is as simple as any corner in Formula 1. This is not true of Spoon Curve, a double-apex left hander that would be hard enough if it quickly led into another corner, instead it leads to the longest straight on the circuit, meaning a poor exit or overly-cautious approach will lose you bags of time in qualifying or leave you vulnerable in the race. Meanwhile, the barriers and grass are close enough that a bad exit will end your race in a hurry.

It’s also tempting to use the braking zone as an overtaking place, but taking coming off-line on entry to Spoon only puts you in an even worse place for the second part of the curve, and going wheel-to-wheel through it is only going to end in misery, as Sebastian Vettel learned this year.

Wall of Champions – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

The Canadian Grand Prix is one of the most user-friendly circuits on the F1 calendar. There are very few mid-speed corners, leaving you with far more forgiving slow chicanes and a hairpin. However, there is one chicane that is entirely unforgiving thanks to the Wall of Champions.

The final corner of the lap is bordered by a wall, that’s not too bad in itself but it happens to be the second part of a chicane that comes at the end of the length Casino Straight and is the primary overtaking spot of the lap. The kerbs that mark out the chicane are sizeable, and clipping one will send you right into the wall. Trying to outbrake another driver and make an overtake will change your entry angle into the corner too, resulting in an even tougher angle on exit.

Second Lesmo – Monza

Monza is known as the Cathedral of Speed for good reason. You can hit 200 mph on four different parts of the track, making a high-speed, low-drag setup a necessity. While a lack of downforce lets you cut through the air on the straights, it does compromise you in the corners. This isn’t too bad since Monza features two low-speed chicanes and a fairly simple final corner (Parabolica), this does make the two mid-speed corners very tricky.

The first Lesmo isn’t too bad. It has a nice wide entry and there is only a short run into the second one, minimising any time lost from a cautious approach. The second Lesmo however, is a different animal. It exits onto the lengthy Curva del Serraglio, a long flatout blast that is also a DRS zone. This means you have to get a good exit otherwise you’ll be swallowed up by the rest of the field, and with the gravel trap waiting on the outside if you push the limits you will be in serious trouble. The second Lesmo is a fifth-gear corner, and after the first one you feel like you can push the limits and carry more speed through, but you can’t.

Turn 9/10 – Bahrain

The Bahrain circuit is a combination of long straights surrounding a relatively simple in-field sector. It is not particularly challenging except for one part; turn 9 & 10. Turn 9 is a gentle left hander that by itself is no problem at all, but it leads into turn 10, a painfully tight left that is every bit as slow as the hairpin turn 1.

The braking zone for turn 10 extends well into turn 9, making it a rare curved braking zone and prime for a lockup that will ruin your race strategy and send you spearing off toward the wall. Even if you avoid a lockup it is punishing on the tyres to brake so heavily while turning, and you are likely to end up running wide. The exit of turn 10 leads into a long straight with a DRS zone, meaning you will be a sitting duck for anyone that does get it right, and lose a huge amount of time in qualifying.

So there you have it, our 5 trickiest corners in F1. Which corners do you struggle with the most? Let us know in the comments below!


Toby Durant