Now I'm back in the saddle with note-taking, I just need Baby Pitstop to give me some time before a Thursday to do the typing up...
Firstly, if anyone knows who the over-excited Qualifying interviewer was...?
For me, this is one of the most stunning tracks on the calendar. I love the contrast between the old town and the modern buildings. And also how tight the track is. It definitely produced a great race this year, with a contract between the old drivers and the new ones cutting through. Talking of old vs. new - Mariah Carey?
The race started with the anthem being performed by a singer in a massive flag dress - I wonder if Geri Horner gave her the idea?
It was an awful race for Toro Rosso (really anything Bull), who so many have picked this year. Not in Q3, running off and then spinning in Lap 1. Also a bad race for the Finns, if Bottas can avoid Raikkonen in the first corners, then I think the racing will be much improved during the season.
There was some quality radio transmission. Starting with Grosjean asking: "If the brakes become dangerous, stop me!" I would hope this was a given. Verstappen's: "Oh no! Here we go again..." as his engine blows was just comical. (Horner said that Verstappen "lost his engine", which hints at carelessness. The boy needs to start finishing races). A "whinge warning" should flash up instead of Hamilton's name for his broadcasts.
The restart at Lap 20 saw Massa in third, Hamilton and Vettel collide and bring about the notorious brake test and shunt response, giving Raikkonen a puncture soon afterwards, then the Force India's touch. Perhaps this is what should be compulsory in all races, not sprinklers (Bernie). The action continued apace. Two laps later the race was red-flagged and upon it's restart Stroll overtook Massa! It all went downhill for the Williams fans then, with Ricciardo being told to "stay ahead" after his double Williams overtake, it's this kind of top-notch pit wall support that led him to win the race. Then Massa breaks down, which was heartbreaking.
How much the track is responsible for all this action is debatable, but it definitely led to the highly-regarded Hulkenberg "kissing" the wall.
This wasn't the end though. Ten laps later, Hamilton's headrest became unsafe and Vettel was awarded a ten second stop go penalty. This put Stroll up to second! Massa would have been first! As Alonso said: "What a shame, we could have won this race!"
Following the matchy-matchy collisions, the Saubers collided on L38.
Hamilton's ego continued abound, requesting that Bottas slow down to allow him to catch up and overtake Vettel. He wouldn't have considered that this would have given Vettel DRS.
The biggest disappointment of the race was Bottas taking Stroll on the finishing straight. Overall, I think everyone enjoyed the podium. Ricciardo should have won driver of the day with his zero to hero win but Stroll deserved it too for keeping his cool to become the Youngest Driver to Take a Podium in His Rookie Season with Dark Hair in a White Car with His Father Present.