Michael Schumacher is the original ‘Schuey’ and he has no replacement. His achievements in the sport have earned him legendary status. His footprint is indelible. But another ‘Shoey’ has emerged and he is rapidly smelting a victory-associated name for himself.
If action-adventure is your type of thing, Formula 1′s Azerbaijan round delivered beyond expectations. Name all the iconic circuits that form a part of the F1 globetrotting season and reflect on the races we have seen at those circuits, then add what we have seen thus far in 2017. It is my view that a sound argument could be made that what we witnessed, in Azerbaijan on Sunday, was one of the best F1 races in a very long time!
Action was never in short supply . Treachery was evenly distributed among the drivers and the claustrophobic nature of the street circuit meant that carnage was omnipresent.
It appears as if callous, calculating, overly selfish and exponentially ambitious, platinum drivers, were hurled into the Magic Bullet. Because what emerged in our salubrious theaters, via television sets that are now smarter than we are, was a race which was as stimulating as anything that an evening with your superior half can offer!
Yes, the race was that good!
Daniel Ricciardo was not explosive in qualifying – P10. Shortly after the race began, the misfortune bug bit. He was forced to pit to remove debris from his brakes. He rejoined the pack – P17! The difficulty level of his race multiplied by a factor greater than 100!
Ricciardo is a resilient competitor and he was able to recalculate and weave his way to P5. And then the race was red flagged. In F1 nothing is handed to you on a platter.
Despite what some may think, drivers have to pedal their machines to secure victory. Ricciardo did not need a reminder. When the race resumed he was ready – Red Bull ready!
The Williams duo – Massa and Stroll – benefited from high drama at Azerbaijan. A Force India-only fracas promoted the Williams pair. Ricciardo sat P5. Race restart. While the Williams boys tyre-wrestled, in what was arguably the move of the race, Ricciardo’s snorting Red Bull charged past both Williams machines and left them licking their wounds! Ricciardo – P3. And we all know what happened next.
World Champions, Hamilton and then Vettel were victims of different circumstances and both were forced to surrender the lead. Ricciardo’s clinical, forceful and daring driving created his opportunity, so when it knocked he was ready. Ricciardo slid with a beaming smile into the only position that matters – P1!
From that point there was no return. The ever-grinning Australian romped to victory. Bottas made a miraculous recovery and completed the session with an assassin’s bullet – passing Stroll at the line!
The Australians (F1 and MotoGP) introduced the champagne-from-shoe tradition to the world and as such each time Ricciardo wins a joyous swig is anticipated. Want to know how champagne-from-shoe tastes? Ask Lance Stroll. It does not appear as if he enjoyed it!
What should we expect at the next round? Will we see more fireworks between Hamilton and Vettel? Will Ricciardo continue his winning ways?
Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer