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

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. Whether it’s passion for covering the industry (as

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.

Whether it’s passion for covering the industry (as we do), or passion for manufacturing components (as so many of our partners do), or passion for creating horsepower and engines (as all of our readers do) – there’s certainly no lack of passion here. That all said, where I’ve seen the most passion for what our industry is all about is on the track. That’s where the proverbial rubber meets the road, and where the manufacturing, the engines, the cars, and the people all come together to earn a longed-for result.

PRI 2021: What a Show

First things first – Happy New Year to you all. I sincerely hope you got to be with friends and family during the holidays and that you all had a safe and fun end to 2021. We’ve now officially welcomed 2022, and as the holidays have quickly come and gone, as they always do, I

New Year’s Resolution

It’s crazy to think that 2021 is coming to a close. The days and weeks in a year always feel long, but the months and the year itself, absolutely fly by. It’s strange how that always is the case. There’s no stopping Father Time as they say! All we can do is forge ahead and

Not Your Father’s Engine Builder

I’ve actually lost track of how long it’s been since people started claiming print was dead. It’s been a while! Now, I understand the ‘print is dead’ claim might be different for newspapers than it is for magazines, but I can tell you this – the content landscape has certainly been shifting. Related Articles –

Should Driving Be Outlawed by 2050?

As the world changes, so too does the automotive industry. Will self-driving cars eventually take over?

Other Posts

Formula 1 to Launch Female ‘Formula Academy’ Series in April

Officials with Formula Academy—the Formula 1-backed all-female driver series—have confirmed five teams will compete during its inaugural season, which opens in Spielberg, Styria, Austria, on April 28–29. Related Articles – Chevrolet to Retire Camaro After Sixth Generation – Formula DRIFT Outlines New Format, Technology Set for 2023 – IndyCar Extends NTT Entitlement Partnership with Multiyear

Liqui Moly Sponsors Formula 1 for Fifth Year

The German oil manufacturer, LIQUI MOLY, announced it will return to the “pinnacle of motorsport” with renewal for 2023 season of Formula 1 after signing a 1-year contract with the racing series. This will be the company’s fifth consecutive year sponsoring Formula 1. Related Articles – All Star Circuit of Champions Promote Kevin Nouse as

FIA Launches Applications for Prospective Formula 1 Teams

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has launched an application process to identify prospective teams seeking to participate at a competitive level in the FIA Formula One World Championship. Related Articles – UTI Welcomes New Early Employment Partner RDO Equipment Co. – Alltech Automotive Expands Operations to New Distribution Center – Dayco Strengthens Aftermarket Team Structure with

F1 Announces 24-Race Calendar for 2023

Formula 1 has announced the calendar for the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship, which the World Motor Sport Council has approved. Related Articles – PennGrade1 Partners with American Motorcycle Racing Association – Ryan Hunter to Retire from SCE Gaskets – Tick Performance is Under New Ownership Kicking off in Bahrain on March 5 and