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June 5, 2018 | by  | in News Sports | [ssba]

Formula One Season Heating Up for Some

Let me tell you how to create the perfect winning recipe for motorsport’s biggest spectacle, the Monaco Grand Prix. You start with a strong base of consistent laps in practices one, two, and three, a concise amount of aggression in qualifying, topped off by a smattering of a cool, collected temperament.
Daniel Ricciardo had all these ingredients, resulting in his 7th Formula One victory last week at the iconic Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo. His team, Red Bull Racing, looked strong all weekend, dominating all three practices. Despite his team mate Max Verstappen crashing out in the third and final practice, Ricciardo took the momentum he had from practices and posted a sensational qualifying lap that landed him on pole position for the start of the race. From there, Ricciardo was able to dictate the race and managed to fend off a daring Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari.

Opposed to the highs of Australian-born Ricciardo over the weekend, Kiwi Brendon Hartley was unlucky not to finish the race in a battle for a points position, after being taken out by local hero Charles Leclerc just six laps before the race finished. Leclerc suffered a brake failure, losing control and smashing into the back of Hartley, ending both drivers’ races prematurely.
The crash comes after weeks of speculation surrounding Hartley’s position in Formula One this season. The Palmerston North-born driver debuted in Formula One last year, looking promising for team Toro Rosso despite only starting in the last four races of the season. However, in the six races this year, Hartley has only managed to finish in the points (top 10) once so far, further calling into question his ability to race under pressure with some of the world’s greatest drivers.
It was an unfortunate end to Hartley’s otherwise strong race, one where he needed to prove himself as someone Toro Rosso could rely on to help develop the young team and push for points finishes, in what has been a very tightly contested battle among the backmarkers thus far in the season.
Motorsport in New Zealand is often overshadowed by popular team sports such as rugby, netball, and football, and so it would be a real tragedy if Hartley was replaced before his Formula One career really took off. By racing in motorsport’s highest pedigree, Hartley is able to bring the excitement and interest of Formula One to New Zealanders. Without him, the sport will struggle to find a place among its peers.
If Hartley is to secure his spot for the season and give Motorsport in New Zealand any chance of survival, he really needs to start stringing some results together. His next chance is in Montreal, Canada this weekend, a track notorious for long straights which may see backmarkers struggle against the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari. While a few unlucky incidents have gone the wrong way for Hartley, he of all people knows his seat is getting warmer by the day and the pressure to perform is mounting. It may require something special over the next few weekends if he is to keep his seat at Toro Rosso.


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