On Thursday, 31 August, the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team announced that Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will stay with the team for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
This announcement came after months of speculation about Lewis's next move. Was retirement on the cards or a move to another team? Instead, he has signed with Mercedes for an extra two seasons.
The Russell/Hamilton duo has been together since the start of the 2022 season and have seen the ups and downs of Formula 1 play out in front of them.
Both drivers are looking to return to the previous Mercedes winning ways and signing these contract extensions signals they are sticking with the team for the foreseeable future.
© Mercedes F1 Media
Lewis has been with the Mercedes Formula 1 team since 2013; during their relationship, he has won six World Drivers' Championships, had 82 race wins and 78 pole positions and has broken numerous records and achieved many accolades.
George joined the team in 2017, as an 18-year-old in the Junior driver programme and spent the 2019 to 2021 seasons at Williams Racing before joining Lewis in 2022. George claimed the first win of his F1 career at the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
To read the official statement from the team and hear what Lewis, George and Toto had to say about the news here on the Mercedes Petronas F1 Team's website.
Writer @F1 Journal
Monza, the Temple of Speed, 1 of only 4 track from the original Calendar that we still race and she is still the fastest F1 Track on the planet!!! The home of the Scuderia both Ferrari & Alpha Tauri, 2 teams that despite good 2022 seasons, 2023 has been disappointing and the Tifosi for both are hoping for better luck at their home Grand Prix. Will Max make it 10 in a row at the Mighty Monza? Well this is not his favourite track, before he Won the race last year his highest finish was 5th and he didn't finish the race in 2020 or 2021 so if there was a race he may not win, my bet is on this one!!
Times Held- 73
First held- 1950
Finishing Percentage- 84%
Pole Record- 1.18.887 HAM 2020
Lap Record- 1.21.046 BAR 2004
Pole Sitters- 38
Podium Sitter- 97
Most Driver Poles- HAM 7
Most Team Poles- Ferrari 21
Most Driver Wins- HAM/SCH 5
Most Team Wins- Ferrari 19
Most Driver Podiums- HAM/SCH 8
Most Team Podiums- Ferrari 70
Times Won from Pole- 25
Times Won from Front Row- 40
1-2 Finishes- 20
Lowest Start Position to Win- 11th Peter Gethin 1971
Smallest Win Margin- 0.01 seconds Peter Gethin 1971
Largest Win Margin- Phil Hill 2 minutes 1960
Monza is a mighty track and has given us some of the best races and podiums of the last 10 years. Hopefully after Zandvoort and the most overtakes of any Grand Prix before it, Monza can put on a show to rival the Dutch Grand Prix.
Remember that the Formula 2 continue their season this weekend at Monza also and its the last race of the season for the Formula 3 boys and the Championship will be settled this weekend.
Writer @ F1 Journal
The Dutch Grand Prix 2023
When the race started the track was damp but as soon as the last red light lit up the rain started to fall and fall hard, the first corner was clean, Alonso passed both Albon and Russell in the first 3 corners to take 3rd, Sainz tried in vain to get past Albon, Piastri and Leclerc swapped position back and forth with the young Australian winning that battle but the ferrari being left with no right front wing end plate. But during all this action the rain was getting worse quickly and as Max Verstappen crossed the line to start Lap 2 others reacted to the rain on track and radar projections, Perez was the first man in followed by Chales Leclerc (to a totally unprepared pit crew who didn't have the intermediate tyres or themselves ready) and the cars of Gasly, Lawson and Tsunoda, a call that would ultimately get Gasly his first podium of the season
Lap 7 and Lawson gets a 10 second penalty for impeding Magnussen in the pit lane and Max Vertappen is up to 2nd after over taking a feisty Gasly and the Alfa Romeo of Zhou with 11 seconds between himself and team mate Perez in first.
By lap 9 that gap was down to 6.1 seconds and closing fast and behind them the Ferrari pit wall was swapping the Scuderia drivers because the damage to car of Charles Leclerc was holding up his team mate Sainz behind him, a decision they didn't live to regret. Despite the more rain forcast the track was drying fast and the Albon & Piasti who had held out on the soft tyre through the wet conditions were flying and making great moves up the field along with the HAAS of Magnussen. The rest of the grid took the hint and in a flurry of activity pit for the dry soft compound, Redbull decided to pit Max Verstappen before lead driver Perez meaning the Championship leader under cut his team mate and Perez had no clue till after he had stopped and saw it on the timing board, not a choice he seemed happy about. Even less happy was Gasly after the stewards decision to give him a 5 second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Lap 16 and Piastri finally pit for new soft tyres but much to the dismay of the advancing rookie, as he left the pits Sargeant had a big incident at turn 8 bring out a Safety car and negating any advantage Piastri had gained from riding out the wet track with his dry starting tyres. Had the Mclaren team left him out 1 more lap Oscar could have had very different fortunes today. During the safety car Mercedes and George Russell made the questionable choice to put the hard tyres on which landed him whey down the order and Stroll pit for new softs. lap 21 the safety car dipped in to the pit lane and Verstappen lead the grid around for the 1st restart of the day. It was a clean first corner with Perez holding onto the back of Max briefly, a great battle between Sainz and Gasly, and the latter held onto his position in 4th behind the Aston Martin of Alonso. Magnussen made a dangerous move while braking in defense of his position against an advancing Albon that the HAAS driver got a black and white flag for and Albon got the position, not long after Ocon also over took Magnussen, Piastri put a cracking move on Bottas and then Hamilton and Piastri passed an ailing Chales Leclerc, another fiery impressive move from the young aussie driving the tyres off the Mclaren.
Lap 38 and Charles Leclerc was losing yet more places, being over taken by the Alfa Romeo of Valteri Bottas and Liam Lawson in his first race in formula 1, before Ferrari retired the damaged car just 3 laps later.
When Alex Albon finally pit to change the soft tyres he started on, on lap 45 (a truly impressive stint through the rain at the start) and was up to 5th behind Gasly, but unlike all the cars who switched to the intermediate in the rain Albon( and Piastri) had to run a 2nd soft compound and was force to put the medium tyre on, Piastri and Mclaren did the same when he pit a lap later. Alonso had a slow stop that dropped him from 2nd to 4th. In the flurry of pit stops Yuki tsunoda had made his way up to 5th but over the next 5 laps drops down 6 places. More overtakes going on all over the track, Albon passing Russell, Hamilton got Norris, Gasly and Sainz had another great battle and Hamilton makes another brilliant move on the Alpine of Ocon, putting the Mercedes cars together on track with Hamilton on a much better strategy and Russell being told to let his team mate past but not without pushing hard enough to stay in front he dips a tyre on to the grass and has to make what you can only describe as a miracle catch to keep the car on the track altogether.
Lap 60 MORE RAIN!!! Lots more rain and this time no one is risking it stopping and making the soft work, the whole grid pit for inters except Ocon and Verstappen who put the full wet tyres on, with Redbull doing the same with Perez just 1 lap later and....at the same moment Zhou hits the wall bringing out a safety car and then being upgraded to a red flag while Perez was in the pit lane on lap 64 and with the rain only increasing in intensity the grid stat it out in the pits till it was safe to run.
With 2 laps to go Hamilton was trying everything he had to pass the sole surviving Ferrari of Sainz but despite some fantastic racing between the 2, Sainz held off the Brit who had a rapid Lando Norris on his tail, ready to pounce had either of the drivers in front made a mistake. Also fighting to the end was Albon and Piastri, with Albon staying ahead and finishing 8th a head of Piastri in 9th.
Max had over come 6 pit stops, 2 rain storms and changeable conditions to win his 3rd Dutch Grand Prix and his 9th Consecutive race this year beating/equaling the record held by Sebastian Vettel. It was a master class from the Championship leader but other drivers deserve some genuine applause, like Piastri for his mega and many over takes, Hamilton who again in the face of adversity came alive in the Mercedes, Norris who raced brilliantly after a bad call on tyres at the start that took his chances of better than 7th. Lawson who not only kept it on the road in a car he had never driver before Practice 3 Saturday morning, he also beat his experienced team mate Yuki Tsunoda, Gasly of course deserves a massive shout out, the team made a great call to pit him behind Perez for inters and the he did them proud by driving beast of a race making great overtakes and showing his real race craft.
WHAT A BLOODY BRILLIANT RACE( Please pardon the language but it really was)
Writer @ F1 Journal
Practice 3- WET
When the pit lane lights went green again with 26 minutes to go the Mclaren's were loving the conditions and their cars, swapping top times lap after lap, Russell and Perez however were both low down the order in 15th & 16th. Both Ferrari's and Fernando Alonso took further trips into the run off at turn but didn't hit the wall, Ocon was not so lucky and he hit the wall with a fair bump damaging his front wing but recovering to return to the pit lane.
Q2- Wet but drying
Q3- Almost a dry track
Only 4 driver chose to start the final session on the dry tyres, despite the track being very close to the whole field choosing the dry option. Russell, Albon, Sargeant & Sainz chose the dry tyre but only 2 minutes into the session Sargeant found the wall backwards in his Willams racing car, not his ideal end to his first Q3 but unfortunately he just kissed a wetter part of the track and dropped the rear and hit the wall hard.
After a lengthy barrier fix all 10 cars came out on dry soft tyres. Russell came out of the garage flying beating the times from before the red flag by over 3 seconds until the 2 Mclaren's went faster. Then with 4 to go a 2nd red flag for Q3 as Charles Leclerc hits the barriers on the exit of turn 9, leaving Norris top Piastri 2nd & Verstappen 3rd with 4 minutes left on the clock with a rapidly drying track.
Writer @ F1 Journal
Practice 1- Dry
Stroll while on a warm up lap was told to return to the pits with an issue, which turned out to be a terminal power unit problem which prevented him from taking any further part in the session.
17 minutes to go and a Red flag was called for the stranded HAAS of Nico Hulkenburg at turn 13. Running resumed with 10 minutes to go and both Mclaren's set decent times putting them safely inside the top 10. Alonso set a brilliant lap putting him 2nd at the closing of the first practice session. Max Verstappen topped the times by 0.278s, with less than a second covering the top 10.
Practice 1 Result
1 VER 2 ALO
3 HAM 4 PER
5 ALB 6 NOR
7 SAR 8 PIA
9 TSU 10 OCO
11 RUS 12 GAS
13 RIC 14 MAG
15 BOT 16 LEC
17 ZHO 18 HUL
19 SHW 20 STR
Practice 2- Dry
The rest of the session was predominantly long runs and race pace tyre testing and the soft was working well and had less degradation on the race simulation runs than expected, the difference between the hard and soft tyre was between 2 & 3 tenth faster on the softer compound. These long soft tyre runs showed the potential advantage the Redbull of Max Verstappen may already have with his laps being 3-4 tenths faster per lap than fastest man Lando Norris. Carlos Sainz & Lance Stroll found themselves coming in too hot to turn 11 and having to bail across the gravel missing turn 12 but both managed to escape any damage to the car and Sainz again found the gravel trap at turn 13 with just 30 seconds of the session left and again escaped with no damage to the car. The sessions ended with Lando Norris & Mclaren top, Verstappen second and Williams Racing Alex Albon having a great session in third.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz had a tough session for Ferrari with Leclerc genuinely struggling to get off the bottom of the times till the end of the session after managing 11th and Sainz just didn't seem comfortable in the car. Alonso strangely after a strong P1 finishing 2nd could only manage 10th in P2 and Yuki Tsnondo had another strong session finishing 5th behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, with his team mate George Russell only managing 14th despite finishing on the podium here last year.
Practice 2 Result
Writer @ F1 Journal
First Held- 1952
Finishing Percentage- 53%
Pole Record- 1.08.885 VER 2021
Lap Record- 1.11.097 HAM 2021
Pole Sitters- 21
Podium Sitters- 54
Most Driver Poles- Arnoux 3
Most Team Poles- Lotus 8
Most Driver Wins- Clark 4
Most Team Wins- Ferrari 8
Most Driver Podiums- Clark/Lauda 6
Most Tea Podiums- Ferrari 25
Times Won From Pole- 14
Wins from Front Row- 24
1-2 Finishes- 11
Lowest Starting Position to Win- 10th Arnoux '83/Lauda '85
Largest Win Margin- +1 lap Clark '63/Brabham '66
Smallest Win Margin- 0.232 Lauda( Mclaren) '85
1 VER 1.08.885
2 HAM 1.08.923
3 BOT 1.09.222
1 VER (2 stop)
2 HAM (3 stop)
3 BOT (2 stop)
Fastest lap- 1.11.097 HAM 2021 lap 72
1 VER 1.10.342
2 LEC 1.10.363
3 SAI 1.10.434
1 VER (4 stop)
2 RUS (3 stop)
3 LEC (4 stop)
Fastest lap- 1.13.652 VER lap 62
- James Hunt won the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix to become the first man to win Grand Prix on their birthday. Hunt took the win on his 29th birthday and to this day is only 1 of 2 drivers to have done this, the other being Jean Alesi at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix on his 31st birthday
- 2505 laps of Zandvoort have been completed.
- of the 725 cars to enter a Dutch Grand Prix
356 Finished a Dutch Grand Prix
= 53% finishing rate for cars that enter the Dutch Grand Prix
- Considering its finishing rate percentage, a Safety Car had not been used at Zandvoort untill 2022.
- Zandvoort is the 2nd shortest track, with the 2nd highest lap count.
- 5/32 Races have been effected by rain
- In 2022 there were only 3 overtakes that were not DRS assisted.
- In 1979 only 7 cars finished the Dutch Grand Prix.
The first half of the season was reduced to 12 races with the cancellation of the Round Six the Imola Grand Prix, but that didn't stop Max Verstappen from gaining an enormous lead from second-placed Sergio Perez, with Max leading over Sergio with 314 points to 189 in the Championship standing.
Championship Standings Top 5 After Round 13
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 314points
2 Sergio Perez Red Bull 189points
3 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 149points
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 148points
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 99points
Constructors Championships Top 5 After Round 13
1 Red Bull Racing 503points
2 Mercedes 247points
3 Aston Martin 196points
4 Ferrari 191points
5 McLaren 103points
With the historic circuit of Monza to the street of Singapore and Las Vegas, there are many more iconic race tracks to look forward to for the rest of the season.
Let's take a look at what's to come for the rest of the season:
Dutch Grand Prix August 25-27 - Round 14
The first race back after the summer break is the exciting home race for Max Verstappen with free practice starting on Friday, August 25. Zandvoort first held a Grand Prix in 1952; despite its historical precedence, many drivers consider this circuit quick and old-school.
Number of Laps: 72
Circuit Length: 4.259km
Race Distance: 306.587km
Lap Record: 1:11.097 Lewis Hamilton (2021)
2022 Top 3: Verstappen, Russel, Leclerc
2021 Top 3: Verstappen, Hamilton, Bottas
Italian Grand Prix September 1-3 - Round 15
The last of the European races for the season, the Italian Grand Prix is one of the oldest races on the calendar. The Autodromo Nazionale Monza held its first Grand Prix in 1922 and has been part of the Formula 1 calendar since 1950, missing just one year. Monza is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar, with cars on full throttle for 80% of the lap.
Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix September 15-17 - Round 16
The Singapore Grand Prix is a street circuit which twists and turns around Singapore's iconic skyline in the dark. Joining the calendar for the first time in 2008, this is one of the most physically demanding races for drivers with humid conditions, a bumpy street circuit and high-speed laps. For the 2023 race, there is a revised circuit layout with a reduction in the number of corners from 23 to 19. Will Max win the Championship in Singapore?
Considered by many as their favourite circuit on the calendar, Suzuka is a high-speed track which first appeared on the calendar in 1987. The Japanese Grand Prix’s high-speed ‘s’ curves make it one of the best to watch on the calendar. 2022 saw a podium comprising Verstappen, Perez and Leclerc, but who will win this year in Suzuka?
Rolex Grande Premio de Sao Paulo November 3-5 - Round 21
Interlagos is another driver's favourite with banked corners, the Senna S, a snaking in-field section and challenging camber changes. George Russell won the Sao Paulo Grand Prix last year. Can he win again at Interlagos? It’s anyone’s game with the Sprint format weekend.
Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix November 16-18 - Round 22
The first of a doubleheader ending with the season's final race in Abu Dhabi, the Las Vegas Grand Prix is a massive unknown in its inaugural Grand Prix. Unusually this race will take place on a Saturday night and is the first of many to be held in Las Vegas, with the race being on the calendar until 2032. Predicted to be one of the year's biggest sporting events, Las Vegas has pulled out all the stops in the usual Vegas fashion, with 50 laps through the streets past the iconic Caesars Palace, the Bellagio and the Venetian. This could be anyone's game with speed expected to match Monza's.
Round 14: Heineken Dutch Grand Prix - August 25-27
Round 15: Pirelli Gran Premio D’Italia - September 1-3
Round 16: Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix - September 15-17
Round 17: Lenovo Japanese Grand Prix - September 22-24
Round 18: Qatar Airlines Qatar Grand Prix - October 6-8
Round 19: Lenovo United States Grand Prix - October 20-22
Round 20: Gran Premio de la Ciudad De Mexico - October 27-29
Round 21: Rolex Grande Premio de Sao Paulo - November 3-5
Round 22: Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix - November 16-18
Round 23: Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - November 24-26
When will Max win the Championship? Who will finish second? Will Mclaren or Mercedes win a race this season? Only time will tell, but it's finally race week again.
Writer @F1 Journal
Alpine ended their weekend in Spa and the first half of season in slightly better spirits than the previous two weekends, with both drivers collecting points. Gasly moved up the grid during Saturdays sprint racing from 6th to 3rd, picking up six points. However, his Sunday didn’t go to plan as he just missed out on being in the top 10, finishing 11th on the grid. The French driver was unfortunately stuck behind a damaged McLaren of Oscar Piastri after a collision in turn one. Estaban Ocon managed to secure points on both days, finishing the sprint in ninth and gaining seven places on the Sunday, finishing eight on the grid.
Alpine go into the summer break parting ways with Team Principle Otmar Szafnauer, Sporting Director Alan Permane and Pat Fry their Chief Techinal Officer, Fry will be joining Williams. Bruno Famin announced as Alpine’s interim Team Principal, Julian Rouse as Interim Sporting director and Matt Harman in Enstone as Technical Officer.
Bruno Famin has told Formula one media “there is no hurry” to decide who will be the new Team Principal.
Jack Doohan finished his weekend with back-to-back feature race wins in Formula 2. Doohan won his first race of the season, in Hungary, following it up back on the top step of the podium in Spa. The aussie pulled out an impressive drive, capitalising on his competitors’ misfortunes and his alternative strategy, starting in 11th to win the Belgium Grand Prix. His fellow Alpine academy driver Victor Martins started Alpines winning streak in Formula 2 three weeks prior, with him winning Silverstone’s feature race. However, his luck wasn’t as good as Doohans this weekend, Martin narrowly missed out on the podium both days. Finishing the sprint in fourth and the feature race in fifth.
Lower down the series Alpines formula 3 driver Sophia Floersch became the talk of the paddock in Spa after collecting her first points, finishing seventh from 24th. Floersh not only picked up her first points in the series but the first points for a woman in Formula 3.
Writer @F1 Journal