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May 17, 2017 @ 7:36 am

Spain 2017

Was the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix the most exciting race of the Formula 1 season to date? Well, yes, say the Pitpass team of Chris Balfe, Max Noble and Mat Coch, but that's hardly anything to shout about.

The battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel was enthralling, on that they agree, and that made for a welcome change following the snoozefest that was the Russian Grand Prix. However what Spain didn't provide the team with was a clear indication of the new pecking order.

There was an abundance of updates up and down pit lane, but just how much influence did they have on the pecking order? One thing that's clear is that Red Bull remains the clear third best team, though Force India is punching well above its weight - as we've come to expect - and could mount a challenge to Red Bull if it's not careful.

Force India's secret has been its driver combination, suggests Noble and Balfe, a strength not all of its midfield rivals can boast. Indeed there is a smattering of lopsided lineups out there, and the Pitpass team highlights two that need an urgent reversal in fortunes, for failing that a firm hand from management.

It's what's missing at Mercedes, suggests Balfe and Coch, after news that Hamilton has been racing without a drinks bottle in 2017 to save weight. Having come across the team radio with the sort of voice you normally pay for by the minute, the post-race revelation prompted some fairly serious discussion among the Pitpass ranks.

As did news of Silverstone's uncertain future. Of course we've been here before, so much so it feels like we never left, all the while the future of the British Grand Prix hangs by a thread with Formula 1's new owners unwilling - or is it unable - to throw the BRDC a bone.

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May 3, 2017 @ 11:14 am

Russia 2017

Hot on the heels of Valtteri Bottas' first Grand Prix win, the Pitpass crew assembles to digest that latest round of the Formula 1 world championship.

Chris Balfe, Mat Coch and Max Noble all squeeze in to the Pitpass recording studio to reflect on the Russian Grand Prix, a race the trio agree was far from a classic. About as far from a classic as they came, or, a classic non-classic race from start to finish.

Still, there were glimmers of hope, enough to keep the team enthralled if not particularly entertained, and optimisitic ahead of the European leg of the season beginning.

Bottas' performance was of course a stand out, but there are others who rate a mention. Jolyon Palmer, for instance, is mentioned at least once, as is three-time world champion Nelson Piquet.

The truth is, the Russian Grand Prix wasn't a grandstand event, but it injected interest back into the sport at a time when it needed it most. As pressure from some corners mounts on Mercedes to back Lewis Hamilton's tilt at another world championship, Bottas has thrown his hat in the ring and shown he's not about to roll over for his more illustrious team-mate.

There's also the prospect of a Ferrari versus Mercedes tussle to enjoy, with the German team seemingly on the ropes for the first time in years. Can Ferrari actually deliver for Sebastian Vettel or, to ask the question a different way, did Fernando Alonso leave too soon?

Naturally there's talk about Fernando, though it's an old topic that seems to do nothing but go around in circles. Ironic, really. Then there's McLaren and the fate in front of it. Still, at least it can console itself knowing it's partnering up courtesy of Honda with that F1 powerhouse that is Sauber.

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