Monday, April 11, 2016

F1 China: April 17: Predictions!

Well race fans, the third round of F1 2016 comes up this weekend from Shanghai China! Good news- with the NBCSN Live Extra App you can watch the race anytime you want! Bad news- if you want to watch it live, it's still at 2AM Eastern Sunday morning!

After totally nailing one prediction about rookie Stoffel Vandoorne finishing 10th in this first ever race, I'm going to go CRAZY this time and make more predictions. These aren't just boring and safe predictions like "Oh, they'll probably have a race" and "Some cars will be faster than others", but some REALLY GALACTICALLY CRAZY PREDICTIONS that will likely all be wrong! Buckle in, here we go!

I enjoy following the sport, rooting for my favorite teams (Ferrari, Haas, Williams) and drivers (Bottas, Vettel, Kimi, Rosberg), and all the other drama and politics. Mostly I think it's all about the coolest cars in the world duking it out on tricky race circuits that turn both left and right! Feel free to join in and discuss, argue, disagree, etc. That's what makes it fun.

Last week I read that the Ferrari dealer in Washington DC was having a race watching party at their dealership, so I'm thinking that would be a great way to watch a race, with a bunch of other fans. Ideally not in the middle of the night, but oh well, that's why the word "fan" comes from "fanatic".

So, let's make some crazy predictions here. These are all very hopeful and crazy, so I'm likely to be wrong on all of them:

1--Ferrari will WIN! Mercedes is due to have some brake problems or screw up their tire strategy, or forget to tell their drivers to not smash into each other or something like that, and Ferrari has a DNF and a DNS in the two races so far, so the Italian squad really needs to turn this around. 

2--Haas will continue to score points! In China, this means again with Grosjean in the top ten PLUS they will get Gutierrez to the finish line also. More than just finishing, they should be close to getting BOTH cars in the points. 

3--McLaren-Honda will see Alonso come back from missing the last race due to injuries, and I'll go way out on a limb and say he scores points too. This is a tough one to predict right now, since we likely won't hear about an official medical OK on Alonso until Thursday.

4--The battle at the back of the pack might see some clarification, so thanks to China's long straights, the higher powered cars should have an advantage. Between Manor, Renault, and Sauber in the "pointless team battle" so far,  it just might be Manor that finishes ahead of these teams. Based on the speed trap in Bahrain, the Mercedes powered Manor cars hit 333kph, while Sauber trailed at 329kph, and Renault was last at 324kph. 

While flat-out top speed at one spot on one track in one race is not the only story, it might apply in China. For what it's worth, here's the top speed trap results from each team in the Bahrain race. You can read the results for yourself, but I thought it was interesting how the Williams and Force India cars are at the top of the list, but certainly they are not winning the championship. Overall the Mercedes engine takes 4 of the top 5, and Renault takes the bottom 2, so that part seems very clear.

 ENGINE                  TEAM               DRIVER               KPH

Valtteri Bottas
Force India
Nico Hulkenberg
Romain Grosjean
Pascal Wehrlein
Lewis Hamilton
Scuderia Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen
Ferrari 2015
Toro Rosso
Max Verstappen
Felipe Nasr
Jenson Button
Renault TAG Heuer
Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo
Jolyon Palmer

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