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June 23, 2016 @ 8:11 am

European Grand Prix 2016

Hot on the heels of the European Grand Prix, the Pitpass team have headed to the studio for the latest episode of the show in which they discuss carpets, SLR cameras, cats and toe-tapping national anthems.

It was the flying carpets that got editor Chris Balfe's mind racing ahead of the start of the race around the streets of Baku, dredging up memories of Morocco. Max Noble meanwhile was salivating at the thought of telling his cat all about the track as he commentates his way around the circuit on the latest Formula 1 video game.

Yes, carpets and cats, all the ingredients are there for a hugely entertaining podcast, or at very least a couple of poor choices in floor coverings.

Still, when they were serious the team lamented the new circuit, which they agreed lacked soul, atmosphere and, as Balfe pointed out, spectators. It also lacked any sort of reference to show the speed of the cars down the long front straight, meaning the bragging rights of it being the fastest street circuit of the world were more or less meaningless. Plus it kind of ruins the rest of the lap the team agrees, since any gains on the fiddly bits are lost in the slipstream down towards turn one.

Those fiddly bits caught out almost everyone, and Lewis Hamilton's qualifying misdemeanor didn't go without mention. It was an off weekend for the world champion, with Mat Coch suggesting he should spend a little more time reading the instruction manual.

But if Hamilton's performance was a surprise Red Bull's wasn't as the Renault, or is that TAG Heuer, engine puffed and wheezed its way down the straight. The team might blame the Pirelli tyres but nothing beats horsepower down a drag strip reckons Noble.

There's discussion about radio rules, compliments for Sergio Perez and eyebrows raised over Williams' performance – not to mention that of Toro Rosso. Whichever Nico it was in the Mercedes in Canada and Monaco looks to have jumped into the Force India since Hulkenberg had a dismal weekend when Rosberg showed the form with which he started the season once more. It raises questions on both fronts, with no easy answers on either.

There's a host of other topics covered too such as Noble being accused of animal cruelty, Sergio Marchionne's emergency sweater surgery and Balfe's displeasure at having the end of Le Mans ruined by some overzealous television commentary.

June 16, 2016 @ 6:03 am

Canada 2016

Just where was Nico Rosberg at the Canadian Grand Prix? That’s the question being asked by the Pitpass team as they once again gather to run their critical eye over Formula One.

Following an intriguing Monaco Grand Prix and a week in which Chris Balfe had been performing daily rain dances in an attempt to spice up the action in Canada, the weekend proved comparatively reserved. There were casualties and the race wasn’t bad, and unusually cold, but it wasn’t the blockbuster the Giles Villeneuve circuit can sometimes deliver.

Lewis Hamilton’s performance, particularly at the first corner, set chins wagging and raised the question of driving standards; not because the reigning world champion had done anything wrong but because Formula One seems to be the outlier in terms of world motorsport according to Mat Coch.

Sebastian Vettel may not have stolen victory following his lightning start but he did steal the show post-race according to Balfe after hijacking Lewis Hamilton’s television interview to share his love of ornithology. It was unscripted, off the cuff and showed the personalities of both Vettel and Hamilton and that, according to Balfe, is where the sport could win so many new fans.

There were notable mentions for Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz while a quiet pondering over Force India’s weekend, not to mention a chink of the glass for McLaren and Fernando Alonso.

In that glass is of course the sport’s official frosty elixir, as announced over the Canadian Grand Prix.

With another race this weekend the team also shares its thoughts on the forthcoming European Grand Prix, and why getting your hair cut this weekend might be a bad idea.

June 7, 2016 @ 2:54 pm

Monaco 2016

Having finally dried out after a soggy Monaco Grand Prix weekend, the Pitpass team have found their way into the studio to discuss everything that happened around the streets of the Principality.

Chris Balfe is back on the grid alongside Mat Coch and Max Noble as they sink their teeth into the meaty issue that is Red Bull and its inability to perform a pit stop. The former world champion team put in an amateur performance in Monaco which cost its de facto lead driver a likely win – and probably his loyalty to the squad too. For that reason and others Balfe suggests heads should roll at the Milton Keynes squad

Speaking of heads, while they roll away from the Red Bull factory there's some serious work that needs to be done inside Max Verstappen's. Following a breakthrough win in Barcelona both Balfe and Noble share concerns that he's perhaps starting to get a little too big for his britches. It might have been the perfect way to start his career at the time, but the duo are left questioning whether in reality it was the worst possible thing that could happen as it hasn't given the youngster time to adjust and acclimatise to his surroundings. His attitude across the Monaco weekend didn't do the teenager any favours.

Almost missed under the steaming pile left in Red Bull's pit box was Lewis Hamilton's performance, the Mercedes driver putting in a solid day's work to make the most of his performance. It wasn't lost on the Pitpass team who all agree that while he wasn't the fastest car out there he did all he needed to do to remain in contention, as the very best always do.

In many respects the same can be said for Sergio Perez who seemed to out drive the Force India to nab third place from under Ferrari's nose. More than that the Mexican racer is beginning to embarrass Nico Hulkenberg, leaving Noble to question whether Perez is getting better or Hulkenberg is getting worse.

Thankfully there will be plenty of opportunity for Noble to assess that in the coming weeks as the championship heads off on an eight week tour that takes in six different countries. It's an important phase of the championship, one which the team hopes Nico Rosberg bothers to turn up for.

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