Getty Images

F1 2017 driver review: Marcus Ericsson

Leave a comment

Marcus Ericsson

Team: Sauber
Car No.: 9
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P11 (Spain and Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 0
Championship Position: 20th

Marcus Ericsson entered 2017 hopeful of bigger and better things after showing signs of improvement late in 2016, yet it proved to be another underwhelming and point-less season for the Swede.

Ericsson may have been hamstrung by the Sauber car’s own deficiencies and, more damningly, those of the 2016-spec Ferrari power unit, but any chances that did come soon passed by.

The best shots for points came in Spain and Baku, both races where teammate Pascal Wehrlein was able to reach the top 10. And they were both races where Ericsson fluffed his lines, with his poor pace in Baku prompting Sauber to tell him to move aside for Wehrlein, who went on to finish 10th.

Just as he did in 2016, Ericsson looked strongest through the closing races of the season, and nearly made Q2 on a couple of occasions. But his score in the end remained zero.

Going two seasons without points isn’t enough to end Ericsson’s F1 career, though. He’ll be back at Sauber next year, but with Ferrari keen to get Antonio Giovinazzi into a seat as soon as possible, the pressure will be on Ericsson to impress and prove he deserves a place on the grid.

Season High: P11 in Spain.

Season Low: Blowing a chance for points in Baku.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
1 Comment

SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).