Motorsport Monday – 18th March 2019

F1 Chat with Charli Andrews, Liam Hodgins and Connor Jackson.

Has Bottas got one major mental advantage over Hamilton already?

Where was Ferrari’s pace all weekened?

Should Claire Williams step down before the end of the season?

Will Kubica be shipped out mid-season to make way for another driver?

And who broadcast it better?  SkyF1 or Channel 4?

Motorsport Monday – 11th March 2019

First show of 2019!  Lester Forbes is joined by the Motorsport Radio website editor Connor Jackson and motorsport journalist Charli Andrews making her debut to discuss Formula E, IndyCars and Formula 1.

5min – Formula E / Review of Hong Kong
41min – IndyCar / Review of St. Pete
65min – F1 Chat / Australian GP Preview & Predictions

Vettel on Pole for tomorrow’s Baku GP

Sebastian Vettel claimed his third consecutive pole position today in Baku. He will start the race ahead of reigning champion, Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team mate, Valtteri Bottas.

The streets of Baku continued to provide us with plenty of drama for it’s third appearance on the F1 calendar. Championship leader, Sebastian Vettel threw his Ferrari on to pole for the third consecutive time this season. Both Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will line up behind him on the grid.

 

Q1: Romain Grosjean was only able to enjoy five minutes out on track before finding himself down the escape road, complaining of gear box issues. He told the team “the gear box is blocked, something is broken” which forced him to step out of the Haas without setting a fast lap time.

Minutes later and Sergio Perez followed suit, heading down the escape road after making an error on one of his first hot laps. A swift ballet spin saw him pointing the right way round again. However, he was insistent that he did not need new tires, despite his teams suggestion to enter the pits. He continued on to join his team mate into Q2.

 

After meeting on track last time out in China, the two Toro Rosso drivers found themselves tangled together again. “I had no idea he was coming up so fast behind me” Hartley commented to the media, after travelling slowly on track with technical issues. This resulted in Pierre Gasly clipping the back of his team mates car and flying down the escape road.

Hartley was left with a puncture and unable to set a fast lap, while Gasly was soon pushed down in the drop-out zone. The two drivers will start 18th and 16th respectively for tomorrow’s race.

After the chequered flag had fallen, Charles LeClerc put down a flying lap in the Sauber which rocketed him up to an impressive 11th and saw him through to Q2. Similarly, Stroll’s final flying lap pushed him up to 15th and also through to Q2. This meant that McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne will start the race from 16th, while Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson will start the race in 18th.

 

Q2: A quieter second qualifying saw much less drama than the previous track session.

Kimi Raikkonen locked up with 8 minutes left of the session and was sent down the escape road to avoid contact with the wall. This left him unable to set a competitive lap until the chequered flag had fallen. However, the experienced driver was able to rocket himself up to the top of the timing sheets for the end of the session.

Moments before, Nico Hulkenberg, who faces a five-place grid penalty after changing his gear box, was able to drag himself out of the drop-zone and into 6th after a final flying lap.

Despite not making it through to Q3, the two Williams drivers will start in 11th and 12th for tomorrows race, which is their best qualifying result of the season so far. Behind them is McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who has also not yet made it into Q3 yet this season.

The 14th and 15th places on the starting grid will be filled by Sauber’s Charles LeClerc and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen respectively.

 

Q3: The first flying laps of the session saw Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, then his teammate Hamilton, followed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel each take turns sitting at the top of the timings sheets.

Last years Baku winner, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, brushed the wall at turn 15 during his initial hot lap. Despite setting the 5th quickest time, he was forced to head to the pits to change the tires after this contact.

A small error on the kerb by Kimi Raikkonen saw him sitting at the back of the front runners pack for the first half of the session, in 6th.

The car then returned to the track with a mere two minutes remaining, to lay down their final flying laps. However, very little changed as all front runners made errors on their final lap.

The two Mercedes driver’s took the chequered flag first but, despite enjoying an engine boost for this weekend, they were unable to improve on 2nd (Hamilton) and 3rd (Bottas). Raikkonen then lost the rear end of the car at the same corner as his previous error, meaning that he could not improve on 6th position either.

Despite locking up in the first sector, Vettel was able to maintain his pole position, thanks to the previously mentioned errors by other drivers.

 

Both Force India’s line up in 7th and 8th, displaying a remarkable improvement in pace from both their drivers. The top ten is rounded off with both Renaults however, Hulkenberg will start in 14th after his grid penalty, promoting Carlos Sainz up to 9th.

 

“I’m a bit upset with my final run,” Vettel commented, “because I thought I had a little bit more But we got pole so we cant complain.” 

“We’re in the mix.” stated Hamilton once he stepped out of the car, “I’m going to try and give Seb a hard time tomorrow”

His teammate, Bottas, shared this sentiment, commenting that “We are there with both cars now. We are starting very close. You know the race here can be very crazy so we are up for the fight.”

 

Can Vettel win his third race of the season, or will Hamilton be able to snatch back momentum? Overtake Motorsport will have all the answer, so join us tomorrow for race day.

 

Image Credit: Formula 1

 

Feature Image Credit: Formula 1 twitter


Posted on 28th April, 2018 for Overtake Motorsport

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Billy Monger’s Incredible Recovery – Charli’s Motorsport Moment

2017 has been the year I began my career at Overtake Motorsport as their Formula E correspondent. And what a year of highs and lows the motorsport world has provided us with.

For me, the highest moment was Lucas DiGrassi taking the Formula E title in Montreal. The lowest moment was, undoubtedly, the passing of MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden, who has been a hero to me for many years.

But one moment, above all others, has shone brighter than all others and I believe it to be the most inspirational motorsport moment of the year.

 

 

On the 16th of April, the Formula 4 grid were racing at Donnington Park. The conditions were tricky, to say the least, with the young-guns battling slick tyres on a wet track. With 15 minutes left of the race, 17-year-old, Billy Monger was trying to charge past his nearest competitors when a stationary car, on the racing line, stopped him in his tracks.

All racing fans know the horrors that unfurled. Monger lost both his lower legs as a result of the impact. But the achievements of this young Brit, over the 8 months that followed, are the stuff of legends.

But who is Billy Monger? – or Billy the Whizz as he is affectionately known. Gatwick born and bred, Monger has been karting from an early age. After a successful Ginetta Junior career, Monger made the move to Formula 4 in 2016.

Monger spent just two testing sessions behind the wheel of the JHR Developments car before he managed to throw himself to just three tenths of a second behind the fastest time. Once his first F4 season began, Monger had secured three podium finishes in no time at all.

Billy was quickly making a name for himself in the world of single-seater racing and he had caught the attention of many bigger and better teams. This guy was on a path to incredible things.

 

And incredible things are certainly what Monger has achieved this year. It just hasn’t been following the path we all expected it to.

 

After spending a month in hospital, recovering from his injuries, Monger made his intentions for the future plainly clear. “I’ll be back racing as soon as I can. All the support just makes me more determined.” was the statement he made to the media.

And it only took Monger 11 weeks of recovery before he found himself behind the wheel again. Monger completed a testing session at Brands Hatch, in July 2017, with Team BRIT who specialise in getting disabled service men behind the wheel. This test gave Monger his first experience of driving a race car with steering wheel mounted controls.

 

Just days after receiving his prosthetic legs, Monger was able to take part in his charity walk at Brands Hatch, during the BTCC race weekend. He was joined by around 1,000 people as he walked 200 metres of the track, all in aid of the Air Ambulance, who played a key role in helping Billy in the aftermath of his accident.

Monger’s lasting achievement will be the changes to the FIA rulebook that he has enforced. Previously, no disabled driver was allowed to compete in any single seater racing championship. However, this is no longer the case thanks to Monger’s hard work and dedication to the cause.

This change in ruling has allowed other drivers, who also face an uncertain future within their sport, to fight with their fellow competitors once again.

 

So, what does the future hold for Monger? His intentions to race have been made very clear. But he has commented that “I’m not 100% committed to anything yet”. Monger explains that his team are “just looking at different options to see what’s best for me in the future. There’s a lot of work involved in what’s going on with my own rehabilitation, but that’s all going well, so hopefully we’ll be back out on track soon.”

Monger has expressed a wish to join Frederic Sausset in his target to reach the Le Man 24hr. Sausset is hoping to bring together a team of disabled racing drivers to compete in the world-renowned endurance race in the near future. Undoubtably, Billy would be a phenomenal addition to such a team.

 

 

Billy Monger has been a true inspiration to countless motorsport fans and future racing drivers everywhere, including myself. And yet, his outlook remains simply grounded and beautiful.

“People keep saying I’m the inspiration,” Monger explained, “but I think all these people coming together to support someone who has gone through an accident like this, they’re the true inspiration.”

 

Feature Image Credit: “Billy Monger’s first day back behind the wheel of a race car at Brands Hatch


Posted on 10th January 2018 for Overtake Motorsport

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McLaren Ends Partnership with Honda, Replacing them with Renault

After another disastrous season with Honda power units, McLaren have ended their partnership with the Japanese manufacturer. From 2018 the team, who haven’t been on the top step of the podium since Brazil 2012, will use Renault power units.

For long-term followers of F1, the words “McLaren-Honda” used to conjure up images of intense battles between team-mates Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. It brings back fond memories of 4 consecutive years of securing both the drivers and constructors titles.

 

So in 2015, news of this partnership being rekindled brought excitement and anticipation to F1 fans across the globe. However, recent results have replaced these fond memories with a brand new nightmare.

 

The revived partnership has given McLaren rotten reliability and a poverty of power since the very first race of 2015, when booth drivers scored just 27 points and suffered 12 retirements. This left McLaren finish the constructors championship in 9th place, their lowest result since 1981. The following season saw mild improvement, with the team scoring a total of 76 points and finishing in 6th place.

 

The announcement that McLaren were able to terminate their deal with Honda almost came as a relief to many fans. From 2018 onwards McLaren drivers, who are yet to be announced, will drive Renault powered cars.

 

It is understood that the deal will last for 3 years, taking us to 2020, when engine regulations are due to change. Rumours suggest that this new deal has, in turn, ended Renault’s deal to power Toro Rosso cars.

 

 

McLaren driver, Fernando Alonso, is yet to make a decision about his future within the team. “If I don’t see any projects that will allow me to fight for the win, I will look outside F1” the Spanish driver boldly stated. “For sure, it is not easy to race like this, as you cannot have any good wheel-to-wheel battles.”


Originally posted on 13th September 2017 for Overtake Motorsport

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Bottas Signs New 2018 Contract with Mercedes

After a consistent first season with Mercedes, Finnish Driver Valtteri Bottas has been rewarded with an extension of his contract with the championship leading team. This new contract keeps him in the driving seat until the end of the 2018 season.

 

Valterri Bottas, after scoring 9 podiums in 13 races, still had an uncertain future within the sport. That was until today, when it was announced that he will remain with Mercedes for another season.

Bottas is currently 3rd in the drivers championship, with a solid 197 points, and still feeling confident that he can win the title this season. “I believe that I can beat Lewis and Sebastian. I already done both this year. There is no limit for me” He made these comments after explaining that “The team has made it clear, right from the beginning, that we are both treated and respected equally.”

 

During his first season with Mercedes, Bottas has taken his maiden pole position in Bahrain and later his maiden win in Russia. In this season alone, he has already doubled his podium finishes and there are still 7 races left on the calendar.

 

Team principle of Mercedes, Toto Wolff stated that “We gave Valtteri a big challenge this year: joining the team at the eleventh hour, stepping up to the forefront of F1 and pairing with the sport’s best driver as his team-mate. With that in mind, his results have been probably even more impressive.” He later explained that “Overall, the balance of his performances and his upward trajectory made it a no-brainer for us to continue with him into 2018”.

Bottas, himself, commented that “I am honoured and proud to continue to work with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in 2018 and to remain part of the Mercedes family. Together, we continue to grow stronger day by day, and by keeping up our hard work I believe the sky is the limit.” He added that “When the team hired me for the 2017 season, they took a leap of faith by putting their trust in my skills. This new contract for 2018 shows that I’ve earned that trust.”

 

This news comes just days before Bottas and his race-winning Mercedes will take to the track for the only night race of the season. The Singapore Grand Prix will take place on Sunday the 18th of September.

 

Feature Image Credit: “Silver Arrows and Valtteri Bottas together in 2018

Originally posted on 13th September 2017 for Overtake Motorsport

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Lee McKenzie: “You have to be prepared for anything in live TV”

Lee McKenzie has been a leading figure in the F1 paddock for many years now. In this exclusive interview for Overtake Motorsport, we get a sense of Lee’s role and her experiences in the paddock.

 

Lee’s journalistic career began at an early age, providing club rugby reports to her local newspaper, aged just 15. Shadowing her father, also a sporting journalist, Lee built up the knowledge and passion which placed her in the career she is in today. “I always have been involved in sport and Fleet Street journalism through my family. I always knew this was the plan, not on TV but writing initially which I still love.”

 

Most Overtake Motorsport readers will know Lee solely as a Formula 1 commentator, but her job has, and continues to, involves all manner of events.

“People see me as a Motorsport person but I started as a news journalist which is what everyone should do, no matter where you want to end up. I covered the Lockerbie Trial, general elections etc. A journalist needs to be experienced as that with an ability to see news lines, too many are simply fans. For the last few years I have missed F1 races to cover other sports. I love Wimbledon and rugby and they would be my favourites. Events like the Olympics, commonwealth games are incredible events too.”

 

But as for her motorsport career, Lee plays a vital role within the Channel 4 presenting team, taking the role as pit lane reporter. “There is no such thing as an average day,” Lee told us when discussing her job. “Thursday is the day to get all the driver interviews done. Every Thursday afternoon is split into 10 minute blocks and all journalists get to speak to the drivers.” If the coverage is live, Lee will present all three practise sessions, before returning to the pitlane for drivers interviews during qualifying. “Sunday is by far the easiest day and takes care of its self!
When asked what, if anything, surprises Lee about her career, she simply replies by saying “you have to be prepared for anything in live TV!”

This lead me to question if this always Lee’s career aim, or did she fall into thanks to her family’s involvement? It would seem both are true! “I have been in the F1 paddock since I was in my early teens so I am very used to that environment. I also started as a journalist, writing for local newspapers when I was 15! I did go to uni but continued to work in newspapers during that whole experience.”

 

So I ended my interview the way I end them all, asking Lee which three Motorsport figures she would invite to a fantasy dinner party.

“Senna – I never met him but my Dad knew him and was at the funeral. I know the Senna family so would love to have met Ayrton.
Jim Clark – a humble man by all accounts and would love to have met him. So different to today’s drivers!
Seb – always great fun, intelligent and good company. If I have no chat with the others then I could chat to him although he would have plenty to talk about with those two!”

 

Lee will be back in action, alongside her Channel 4 comrades, when F1 returns from the summer break, in Spa-Francorchamps on the 27th of August.

Feature Image Credit: Lee Mckenzie’s Website


First published on 5th August 2017 for Overtake Motorsport.

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