FormulaY Round 2 Power Rankings : Under the Lights, Under the Microscope

Excitement, mayhem and the undercurrent of predictability alluded to last week. Bahrain’s bright lights were an early stress test, kicking up the intensity from round 1.

Missed Round 1 Power Rankings? Right this way.



1 – Sebastian Vettel  pufferfishemoji upemoji2

Our beloved Pufferfish sits atop the Power Rankings after winning his second Grand Prix in a row. Decaying, rotting softs and a charging Bottas would have inflated his defenses at times last season but Seb adjusted his performance on the fly to meet Sunday’s changing demands. Fifty Points– Momma mia! At some point we may finally say “this is the Hamilton vs Vettel matchup we’ve been waiting for” and mean it.

2 – Lewis Hamilton  blessedemoji downemoji1

The five-place grid penalty to Lewis hid his true performance. Hamilton isn’t the one “chasing” a title, so he can afford to pick up his podium and know Seb’s grid spot penalty will come around later in the year. Lewis executed a good portion of the overtaking starting from 9th and working up. The “will he, won’t he catch up to Vettel?” question kept gave fodder for 20 odd laps. Funny bit of miscommunication with Hamilton and the pitwall on Sunday. Race Engineer Peter Bonnington was quite deliberate in detailing the projected pace of 1.34.0. Lewis, for the life of him, couldn’t piece it together and for a few brief seconds a four time World Champion’s humanity made us all feel better.


Vettel taking his top dog status seriously, protecting the #2. 



3 – Scuderia Ferrari prancinghorse-emoji newemoji

Whatever Tifosi thought of Ferrari’s moves heading into 2018, they must be happy they didn’t tear down everything. The Ferrari Power Unit continues to have the speed advantage during the race and despite it’s smoking engine, it has proved reliable enough through two weekends. What jumps Ferrari onto the list is the second week in a row of in-race strategy adjustments paying off– a pain point in past years. Power moves with results. Ferrari also gets a bump with Liberty re-mentioning of killing Ferrari’s automatic bonuses and instituting a $150 million cap of sorts. Mercedes may be affected as well, but it will be Ferrari at the front lines huffing and puffing and bluffing their way to keeping free money.

4 – McLaren-Renault  sexypeachemoji  upemoji3

Seems McLaren really want to be called just “McLaren”. No title sponsor, no sharing name, and a color rebrand… It’s manicured appearance highlighting heritage. It hasn’t hurt performance. Alonso didn’t have his best weekend and Renault admitted on Sky that they needed to do an investigation into their qualifying troubles and issue finding the power. Beyond that, things are overall as they should be. McLaren talking heads on TV coverage every weekend, two cars in the points. THIRD IN CONSTRUCTORS. McLaren’s Sunday strategy seems to align with best guesses at their season arc: long term pace, conserve the car for the final season push when it should be podium worthy, win a race.


5 – Haas F1 Team  rollercoasteremojiupemoji6

The traveling circus that is Haas didn’t disappoint. Carbon fiber flying off at 200 MPH, teammates jostling for positioning and cursing each other out. The American team is a roller coaster of success and failure. Are they running a 2017 Ferrari repainted? Probably. Is it good for Liberty Media and entertainment quality? Possibly. The up and down rollercoaster may have a new twist if Grosjean can’t keep up with Magnussen.


6 – Valtteri Bottas mooseemojinewemoji

The Finn didn’t need the added pressure of the Power Rankings last week and was mercifully left off. A few drivers are gunning for his seat and Mercedes is open to shopping. Bottas showed pushback in Round 2 though and that can’t go unnoticed. Like the pictures of Moose (Meeses?) he travels with, Bottas has a lot of power to throw around in that Silver Arrow. That alone should be enough advantage to stave off competition for his job.


7 – Pierre Gasly ghostemoji newemoji

The French rookie had to remind everyone Carlos Sainz Jr. isn’t the automatic Ricciardo replacement for Red Bull should Danny leave. Hauling a Honda to P4 involves some luck (like both RBRs  and a Ferrari DNF-ing) but can we give it up for the boy? Hartley wasn’t able to come close to the performance Pierre was getting in each session, so it wasn’t all on Honda getting it together.


8 – Daniel Ricciardo  koalemoji downemoji4

Danny drops solely due to lack of track time. Whatever the battery/power issue was it doesn’t reflect on Ricciardo. Who wasn’t gutted to see his steering wheel go blank few minutes into a race? Heading into Sunday, RBR still had a chance at a podium and being a bee in Ferrari’s and Mercedes’ bonnets. For #3, he wasn’t given a chance to impact the outcome and the promise went unfulfilled.

9 – Kimi Raikkonen  iceemojicoolguyemoji downemoji4

You have to hope that Kimi was unaware of the pitlane injury as he walked back to and through the garage on Sunday. His response if he was aware, as my friend Zach said, “left a bit to be desired.” Much like RIC, Kimi lost out with too little time spent on the track. But he is still in the hunt, he looks to be much improved from last year, and his instagram game is elite.


10- NicostopwatchemojifranceemojiraceremojitrophyemojiHulkenbergupemoji9

Competitive in Free Practice and Qualifying, Hulkenberg had an understated race Sunday. He fought battery issues and spent a lot of time sandwiched in between KMag and Alonso, two guys who don’t make sharing the track easy. Renault still isn’t ready to aim for podiums but Hulkenberg is establishing himself as the #1 driver relative to his new teammate Sainz and that is a great start to a big year for him.


11 – Alfa Romeo Sauber  artemoji upemoji5

Last week listed under “Alfa Romeo Sauber’s Livery,” Sauber and Marcus Ericsson are back in the points with a P9 finish. Leclerc finished 12th and beat out the rival Ferrari engined Haas’s Grosjean. A good looking weekend on track for a team who usually only exceeds at looking good should translate to more $$$ down the line. Sauber is not the worst team on track!

12 – Max Verstappen  mccaulcaulkinemojidownemoji6

Another early, bold move by Mad Max sets him on the sidelines while his competitors rack up points. Nothing terribly wrong with the move, and you would hate to see VER hesitate against Hamilton but this is the year Max needs to build up restraint. Don’t get me wrong– Hamilton arguably should have backed out and shown restraint too but he’s a four time champion. I love the excitement Max early pushes from the back bring but you lose Power when you can’t stay in the game. An unexpected eight points through two races, half that of Alonso’s total. Good news, Sky caught Max chatting with and saying goodbye to pit crew and it all looked copacetic. That’s part of the maturing angle too.


13 – Liberty Media  flyingmoneyemoji downemoji5

Liberty made public their scratch pad of big picture ideas for Regulations Rewrite. Little progress was made from what was kicking around Twittersphere for months and what was contained in the doc. FormulaY bud Javier Alonso noted, Liberty likely benefits from waiting for more buy-in and feedback from teams before moving forward in any one direction given the time left before real detailed work on regulations need to kick off. So until then all we get is bullet points and mantras like, “We believe how you spend the money must be more decisive and important than how much money you spend.” Part of that rabbit hole–how they decide to structure any accepted Cap/Budget– will have big effects.

14 – Kevin Magnussen loudmouthemojinewemoji

Haas’ Qualifying surge was dampened by Gasly and Honda’s jump but Magnussen had the pace on Saturday to keep up and somehow made it to the finish line on Sunday in 5th place despite losing bits off the car, bumping and grinding and being around all types of chaos. KMag could obviously be higher on the list but dare I trust him?


*cheeky bastard*


15 – Charles Leclerc springchickenemoji downemoji2

Caught up with wrong strategy, Leclerc probably outperformed on Sunday than P12 suggest–though nay year P12 is good for Sauber. He still needs to straighten up in FP and Qualy to give himself better chance come Race Day (see: “I’m so stupid. I am so stupid.” spinout). The benefit of the doubt will run out soon though if he can’t start beating out Ericsson, he won’t be on here much longer.


16 – Esteban Ocon alienemoji downemoji1

The Force India car looked better than in Australia but far from the Pink Panther it was last season. Maybe FI should have used a 2017 Ferrari instead, like Haas. Ocon made it to Q3 unlike his teammate Perez and although Perez couldn’t help getting tagged early in the race, Ocon got the only point of the year so far Sunday. Ocon’s form is fine, just held back by machinery and budget at the moment.


17 – Carlos Sainz Jr.  horseemojidownemoji5

Last week Sainz got bonus points for fighting through adversity. This week Sainz gets knocked for underperformance. His teammate was able to finish ahead of both McLarens yet Sainz could only take it to them in Qualifying. Gasly’s performance only drops Sainz down more as his spots at Red Bull and Renault grow more tenuous.

18 – Renault Power Units greenbatterydownemoji4

Good enough juice to back McLaren, Red Bull, and Renault to 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively in the Constructors Championship ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari customer engine teams. But gremlins still persist (Like a 150hp surge that sent Max into a wall and Daniel’s battery/power issue) and the power still lags to the point that podiums are still a big ask for Red Bull let alone McLaren and Renault. Not worried results won’t come. It is more of a bad clam fever of anxiety.

19 – Romain Grosjean croissantemoji downemoji2

One to forget for Romain. The pressure is only going to get worse as Magnussen continues to make use of the same tools Grosjean has. Will GRO push back like we saw flashes off Sunday (jumping back in front of Kevin last second to continue his fight with the car ahead), or will he fall apart and drown in complaints about brake pads again.  Part of me wants good guy Grosjean to do well. Part of me wants a driver like younger Magnussen to be the guy for Haas. Both parts of me wants #TeamHaasChaos to continue whatever that means.


20 – Red Bull Racing bullemoji newemoji

I’m starting to wonder if Tag Heuer even makes F1 engines…

This is another nightmarish start for the Energy Drink outfit and with Aston Martin, Red Bull, Tag Heuer, and Renault names attached to this year’s project there’s room enough for blame to go around. It’s not dire–should RBR get back on track in Shanghai–but 35 points further down the road from Mercedes and 45 points from Ferrari this early is bad for business. Red Bull can’t spend time tussling with McLaren and Renault for “best of the rest,” they need to be leaving the “best of the rest” behind and join Mercedes and Ferrari. Sauber doing well, Honda engines aren’t a joke–there isn’t much to drag these days besides Williams. If Red Bull isn’t careful they will be easy pickings for us all.


penemoji KRU



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