Experience Always Wins - Engine Builder Magazine

Experience Always Wins

Formula 1 racing often tells smaller stories within each individual race; the final stretches of the Russian Grand Prix proved in my eyes that experience always wins.

Recently, I’ve been paying much more attention to Formula 1 racing than I ever have in the past. Admittedly, part of that reason is Netfilx’s documentary series on F1 called Drive to Survive, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. It has helped reinvigorate the sport for me. The other reasons have been some of the story lines in recent years, and of course, the great racing itself.

Who didn’t hear about the horrific crash that Romain Grosjean miraculously escaped from during the first lap of the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix? Everyone saw that! How about the constant carousel of drivers going to rival teams? It’s part reality TV show sometimes. Then, there’s the ongoing battle for supremacy between Mercedes and Red Bull, and at the top of the heap of story lines, is Lewis Hamilton.

Obviously, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have been the longest chapter in those story lines due to their dominance of F1 for the better part of a decade now. The team, and Hamilton in particular, just keep winning races. Period.

After the 2020 season, Hamilton had tied Michael Schumacher’s seven F1 World Championship titles and 91 career Grand Prix race wins. In fact, Hamilton has since surpassed Schumacher’s Grand Prix record and now stands alone with 100 victories after winning the Russian Grand Prix on September 26 in Sochi.

Which brings me to the point of my column this month that experience always wins. I tuned in for the second-half of the Russian Grand Prix, but the most exciting racing came in the final laps. McLaren’s Lando Norris was leading the field with Lewis Hamilton just a couple seconds behind. Watching the race, you just got the sense that, arguably the best F1 driver of all-time, Lewis Hamilton, was going to win this race somehow. But it wouldn’t be done on pure driving skill alone.

In those final five laps, the good weather turned to rain, which all teams knew was coming before the end of the race. As such, many teams further back in the pack switched from slick tires to intermediates in anticipation. The fight at the front, however, was too fierce to pit so early.

Lando Norris could taste his very first F1 Grand Prix victory. He had run well all day and did all the right things to be in a position to win. He just had to hang on for five laps. You couldn’t help but root for him! These weren’t a simple, five finals laps, however. 

Teams had to strategize how bad the rain would be and how the other teams in the top-five would react.

Essentially, every team pitted between seven and five laps remaining, except for Hamilton and Norris. Hamilton initially ignored his team’s directive to pit for different tires – but only for a lap or so – before his experience level, and that of his team, trumped any ego or adrenaline at play. Norris and McLaren let adrenaline win out over experience and opted to stick it out on slicks.

The decision was the wrong one and it backfired for Norris and McLaren, and proved why Mercedes and Hamilton don’t often lose.

Norris stayed on the track, slipping and sliding through turns as the rain came down – going slower and slower on the straights as other teams caught up quickly. Hamilton came flying out of the pits with just three laps remaining, but with what felt like an eternity to catch the struggling Norris.

The dagger came when Norris spun off the track momentarily, ending his day with a 7th-place finish. Hamilton crossed the line in first place for his 100th win, increasing his record total further. Max Verstappen of Red Bull closed a large gap to claim second after employing a good bad-weather strategy, and Carlos Sainz of Ferrari rounded out the podium in third.

In the end, it was a dramatic, emotional and historic weekend at Sochi, and yet another reason I’ve been enjoying Formula 1 racing. EB

You May Also Like

Brand Loyalty – is it a Thing of the Past?

Well folks, it’s late September and summer has officially come to a close. If you’re like me, you’ll miss those warm weather days and longer hours of daylight, but it’s been a great few months of race events, car shows, seeing customers, visiting shops, and of course, creating tons of content. In fact, one of

Well folks, it’s late September and summer has officially come to a close. If you’re like me, you’ll miss those warm weather days and longer hours of daylight, but it’s been a great few months of race events, car shows, seeing customers, visiting shops, and of course, creating tons of content. In fact, one of those content pieces that will be big for us this fall is Engine Builder’s Dream Engine Giveaway – a twin-supercharged 427 small block Ford we are building with Chris Wright of Pro Car Associates / MVT. You can enter to win this engine here: . We’ll be sharing updates via our website, YouTube and social media channels as we get the build done in time to be given away at PRI in December. But, all of that is for another time.

Engine Builder Attends SBI’s 40th Anniversary Gala

If there’s anything that these past couple years has demonstrated, it’s that nothing is for certain in life or in business. In these days of such ever-changing environments, economies, consumer habits and the like, it’s more than impressive when a company reaches a major milestone. In July, the team at S.B. International, located in Nashville,

SBI Gala
Summer Vibes and a Dream Engine Giveaway

How can you not love summer? Sure, it gets hot, but it definitely beats the cold, and there’s so much going on to occupy your time. Here at Engine Builder, our team has stayed extremely busy attending racing events, shows, visiting manufacturers and engine shops, as well as our usual content work.

Think You Got What it Takes to Brawl?

First things first, I’m not referring to a fist fight, but I’m sure most of this crowd could hold their own. Rather, I’m referring to a new drag race event called Builder’s Brawl.

Passion Runs Deep

Having had the distinct opportunity to view this industry from my chair as editor of Engine Builder has certainly opened my eyes to a lot of great things this industry has going for it. However, my favorite thing about it – hands down – is the passion. Related Articles – PRI 2021: What a Show

Other Posts

GM Registers as a Formula 1 Power Unit Manufacturer

General Motors announced it has formally registered with the FIA as a Formula 1 power unit manufacturer starting in the 2028 season. “We are thrilled that our new Andretti Cadillac F1 entry will be powered by a GM power unit,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “With our deep engineering and racing expertise, we’re confident we’ll develop a

Formula 1 And LIQUI MOLY Extend Partnership in Multi-Year Deal

LIQUI MOLY has been an “Official Partner” in the globally popular racing series since 2019. As an Official Partner, LIQUI MOLY will continue to have physical and virtual trackside signage at select race events. Additionally, as part of the extension, LIQUI MOLY will have the opportunity to build on their growing business networking programme, by hosting

Rob Marshall to Join McLaren Formula 1 Team

McLaren Racing has announced the appointment of Rob Marshall as technical director, Engineering & Design, for its Formula 1 team. He joins after 17 years with Red Bull Racing, most notably as CEO. Related Articles – Stanadyne to Debut New Performance Product Line at PRI – SADEV Racing Transmission to Showcase New Innovations at PRI

Charles Leclerc to Auction Monaco Grand Prix Race-Worn Apparel for Italy Flood Victims

RM Sotheby’s has announced a charity auction of Charles Leclerc’s race-worn helmet, race suit, gloves, and boots, all worn during the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix weekend. The ‘Charles Leclerc for Emilia-Romagna!’ sale, which represents an important personal initiative by Leclerc, offers a rare opportunity to acquire highly coveted race apparel directly from the Scuderia Ferrari