Pit Chat: Ferrari, from contenders to clowns



Haikus, Hakkinen and how do Ferrari continue to find new ways to mess things up? Here are the best (and worst) bits from the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.

But first…

Hats life

Without going all Lewis Hamilton on you all, Japan does genuinely have some of the best Formula 1 fans in the world.

Remember this funky hat from last year?

Well Fernando Alonso showed off one that was even better this year. Check out that flashing light.

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Only in japan 🇯🇵😍

A post shared by Fernando Alonso (@fernandoalo_oficial) on

Then, not for the first time this season, McLaren were outshone by Toro Rosso, with the designer even going to the trouble of adding aero rakes. Would not like to be sat next to them though with the fear of becoming blind.

Pouring Red Bull into a Renault engine may actually work better. You never know…

And the Ferrari team aren’t the only ones horsing around. Their poor fans are getting in on the act, too.

Kimi Haikuonen

When we stopped sniggering at Ferrari launching a new livery with ‘Mission Winnow’ plastered all over it (Mission Winagesago would have been more apt), part of the branding that was absolute genius was the release of Kimi Raikkonen’s book of Haikus.

And our pick of the bunch…

Its release sparked hundreds of other attempts at Kimi haikus and, even though the structure of the first and last lines having five syllables and the middle line seven, there were some cracking efforts. Even Mercedes got involved…

Kimi’s new-found fame as a poet could have changed him. But he is, and always will be, the Ice Man.

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My gang.

A post shared by Kimi Räikkönen (@kimimatiasraikkonen) on

An Ice Man who will do anything to avoid being pestered…

…especially when you prompt this reaction.

Cheeky chap

While Raikkonen remains firmly on the quiet side, one man who certainly isn’t is Max Verstappen.

Well, it certainly isn’t now…

And, when treasuring every remaining minute with Daniel Ricciardo before he departs for Renault, there was a real zinger on his new team-mate on their way to sign some autographs.

If you want to skip the video, then here is what he said…

Ricciardo: “I’m always holding this camera, what are you going to do next year? I can’t hold it anymore.”

Verstappen: “I’ve got Pierre for that.”

Ricciardo and Verstappen were also in good form here, especially the former’s description of the Japanese fans…

Take Ricciardo’s observation and the following image, it all starts to make sense.

Toro Ross-oh

For Red Bull’s junior team, Toro Rosso, the Japanese Grand Prix was the big one. Honda’s home race, a new Spec-3 engine packed in, it was time to make a statement. And tease Fernando Alonso…

But a double Q3 appearance was converted into a grand total of zero points come race day. Serves Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley right for becoming so big-headed.

Max Verstappen is liking what he is seeing, though, ahead of Red Bull’s upcoming deal with Honda. You would rather be in his shoes rather than Ricciardo’s in 2019.

Wrong turn

One of the great moments at the Japanese Grand Prix was seeing Mika Hakkinen back in his MP4-13, 20 years after claiming his first Formula 1 title at the iconic Suzuka circuit.

Some habits die hard, though, that’s the old pit lane entry!

But, an even bigger mistake at McLaren, we suspect, is their tyre choices in Japan.

Does it strike you as a little odd compared to the rest?

There was a rumour going around that McLaren had forgotten to submit their tyre choices and were given a standardised allocation by Pirelli. It certainly looks that way.

McLaren denied it, of course…

But we still have our doubts.

You could have been a contender…

On the subject of underperforming teams, that moves us neatly onto Ferrari.

This pretty much sums up the reaction of Ferrari fans after another error-strewn weekend.

From serious title contenders to the butt of all jokes. It’s sadly a familiar feeling.

And coming to a cinema screen near you…

At least Sebastian Vettel got to overtake at least one Mercedes in Japan…

Any other business

Ma(r)x Verstappen points out a few creative differences to one fan…

British Prime Minister Theresa May continues to show she is a die-hard Formula 1 fan

Force India’s administration revealed they owed money to absolutely everybody. And we mean everybody.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff gives us all we have ever wanted…

Lando Norris is taken on a wild ride in a hilarious new feature as part of Formula 1’s official live coverage.

And incredible footage has been revealed about what it has been like for Daniel Ricciardo going up against Mercedes and (early season) Ferrari this year.

Last word

There was so much for Lewis Hamilton to like in Japan. So much…

Catch you again after the Get In There Lewis Grand Prix in Austin, Texas…

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