What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track
Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping
“We’ve got a car that could win a championship…”
That’s what Mercedes thinks of its W12, the successor to what may well go down as one Formula 1’s best ever cars. But in 2021, Mercedes’ assessment comes with many caveats, despite the team currently leading the constructors’ championship ahead of Red Bull.
Even with a three-week gap since the season-opening race in Bahrain, the situation as F1 sets up at Imola for round two is well known: Red Bull has the season’s fastest car so far, and Mercedes is under pressure. That stress exploded into scenes of joy when Lewis Hamilton unexpectedly beat Max Verstappen in the desert darkness, but such celebrations only came after the hard work the world champion squad had logged between testing and the first race.
After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid
Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…
Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting
He’s fast, he’s smart, and he’s already shown he’s not going to let Max Verstappen intimidate him. George Russell won’t say it, but LUKE SMITH says he’s ready to take the lead at Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton moves on to a quieter life. And – whisper it – Mercedes and Lewis are starting to think so too
Fernando Alonso’s bombshell switch to Aston Martin sent shockwaves through Formula 1, not least at Alpine that finds itself tangled in a contract standoff with Oscar Piastri. Not shy of a bold career move and with a CV punctuated by them, there were numerous hints that trouble was brewing
OPINION: Ferrari's Formula 1 title hopes look all but over after another strategic blunder in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix denied Charles Leclerc the chance to fight for victory, while handing it to chief rival Max Verstappen. The Scuderia now faces intense scrutiny over what it must now do to finally become a genuine factor in championship battles
OPINION: Sebastian Vettel is set to leave Formula 1 at the end of 2022 and will, rather shockingly, be replaced by Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin. But what about the final chapter of the other driver that defined the post-Michael Schumacher era? In Hungary, Lewis Hamilton spoke about his future in the context of Vettel’s upcoming departure, which offered clues on how long it will last
OPINION: With more potential venues than there are slots in future calendars, rumours have been circulating that the Monaco Grand Prix could be a casualty of F1’s expansion into new markets. But MARK GALLAGHER thinks this is highly unlikely
Alonso: More to come from me than Alpine F1 car
F1 Emilia Romagna GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP1 and FP2