Words by Tony Robertson (@TonyRob84).
Welcome to week five of Overtime Online’s Formula 1 column Life In The Fast Lane. Ironically, I think it’s safe to say this has been a relatively slow week when it comes to F1 news.
As such, this weeks column may be a little shorter than previous editions. There is the next Virtual Grand Prix on Sunday (April 19) which is replacing the Chinese Grand Prix but that will be covered in detail in next weeks column, so keep an eye out.
That being said let’s get into what happened this week.
A Stirling Man:
On April 12 we learnt of the unfortunate passing of Sir Stirling Moss who was aged 90.
Moss is often referred to as one of, if not, the greatest Formula 1 drivers to never win the World Driver’s Championship.
The Briton raced in F1 across 10 years, competing in 66 races and winning 16 of them. He also won 212 races out the 529 he entered across other racing format competitions.
Moss was unfortunate to race in the same era as the great Juan Manuel Fangio, as he finished runner up to him every year between 1955 and 1957.
The Argentine won five titles in all as he and Moss created a formidable partnership at McLaren.
Moss was forced to retire in 1962 following a major crash at Goodwood.
He went on to become a sports correspondent and remained involved in Formula One for many years before retiring from public life in 2018.
Sir Stirling Moss: 1929-2020
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 12, 2020
Diary of A Daniel Ricciardo:
Daniel Ricciardo cut through the boredom on Twitter in the week as he shared his diary.
On this occasion he shared who he believed were the five most underrated drivers he has gone up against.
Starting off with Marcus Ericsson, he said the Swede was “always properly quick” ever since their days in the development stages of racing.
Ricciardo said he thought his reputation didn’t really last when Ericsson was in F1, but that the pace was definitely there.Embed from Getty Images
He also cited the emergence of Charles Leclerc at Alfa Romeo as another reason the Swede didn’t quite realise his potential, saying he felt his speed “was probably underrated”.
His second driver was Jules Bianchi, who sadly never raced in F1. Ricciardo said it wasn’t that the French driver was underrated but rather not enough people truly appreciated how good he was or how good he would have been.
He said: “It’s another part of what makes his story so sad, because he would have been in a top team and a race-winner by now for sure.”
The next pick was his first F1 teammate Tonio Liuzzi. Ricciardo began by talking about the Italians career in karting, calling him the “Michael Schumacher of karting.”
Ricciardo recalled Budapest in his debut F1 season where he believed he had nailed his qualifying pace but was shocked to see Liuzzi had pipped him.
On his former teammates F1 career he said: “His race pace probably let him down, but his ability to push the car over one lap definitely got my attention.”
His penultimate choice was another former Marussia driver Roberto Merhi. Despite only racing for one season in Formula One Ricciardo mentioned the Spaniard as someone who could simply rag the car and had the lack of fear which meant he could takes risks.
However, Ricciardo also felt this contributed to his failure to adapt to F1 racing, as tyre management wasn’t Merhi’s strong suit.
He cited their time together in Formula Renault in 2007 which he said suited Merhi’s style because it was the fastest way to drive those cars – “with constant oversteer, loose and fast.”
His final pick was 2009 world champion Jenson Button.
Ricciardo said Button was the best driver he had seen in “not-quite-wet, not-quite-dry conditions” and described him as a silky smooth operator citing the 2011 season as the Brit’s best year, as he beat his teammate and current world champion Lewis Hamilton, despite Button winning his sole World Drivers Championship in 2009.
Ricciardo gave honourable mentions to Robert Kubica and Paul Di Resta.
He said he remembered when he was new to F1, that Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso were both fearful of the Pole and he described Di Resta as always being solid in F1 despite being thrown around a lot.
Howdy.— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) April 15, 2020
Hope you’re all staying safe.
I’m gonna do something a little different for 2020 and share a diary. Some inner thoughts on racing, a few on life outside of F1, some lists, a bit of music & other sports.
Here is the first one, I’ll aim to do one a month 🙂
As I said this week’s column would be a little shorter but fear not because next I’ll be looking at the Virtual Chinese Grand Prix so keep an eye out for that.
In the meantime you can check out last weeks column here.