THE EDITOR MAKING YOUR OWN LUCK
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t’s a fickle thing, this motorsports game.
When we started planning our Formula 1
content for this issue of RACER, Sebastian
Vettel was leading the points for Ferrari,
Max Verstappen was the unluckiest man in
racing, and a warring Sergio Perez and
Esteban Ocon looked odds-on for pink
slips from the pink-hued Force India team.
One month on, Verstappen is still the
unluckiest man in racing. No change there.
But Perez and Ocon are playing nice
again and remain gainfully employed,
while Vettel now has a mountain to climb
if his fifth Formula 1 World Championship
is to become a reality in 2017.
Vettel’s change in circumstance – from
seven points ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis
Hamilton, pre-Monza, to 28 points in
arrears, post-Singapore – was partly down
to Mercedes getting in the groove with its
fast, yet flighty W08. But the bigger factor
by far was Vettel’s split-second decision
to block Verstappen on the run down to
Singapore’s first turn. With Vettel’s Ferrari
teammate Kimi Raikkonen also closing in,
the inevitable clash removed all three.
You don’t always make your own luck
in racing, but in Vettel’s case, the vast
majority of a 35-point swing in just two
races was self-inflicted. If, as seems likely, he
does miss out on the title, he can look back
on his ill-conceived and crudely-executed
move in Marina Bay as a defining moment.
For the most part, Verstappen’s awful
2017 luck hasn’t been of his own making.
Seven DNFs in the first 14 GPs sounds like
a statistic from the 1970s, and Red Bull
Racing knows the pressure’s on if it’s to
keep him beyond 2018. Despite it all, the
20-year-old Dutchman remains upbeat and
pragmatic, as RACER ’s Chris Medland found
when he sat down with Max (see page 42).
Speaking of upbeat, check out Mark
Glendenning’s interview with newly-crowned IndyCar champ Josef Newgarden
(page 18). At 8:15a.m., the morning after
the night before, Team Penske’s newest star
proved remarkably lucid and insightful...
“If Vettel does miss out on the
title, he can look back on his
ill-conceived move in Marina
Bay as a defining moment”
Josef Newgarden’s maturity and – that word again – pragamatism
belie his 26 years. His take on the pressures of racing for Team
Penske, for example: “If you want to have a race seat and be
paid as a driver, you’ve gotta deliver. That’s how racing works.”
Big thanks to
(ABOVE) for gamely
explain to us mere
mortals what it’s like
to ride a 215mph-
plus MotoGP bike.