Here's my nominations:
1. Sebastian Vettel - I'm going to play a bit here with what I expected from Vettel, which was to at least be on pace with Stroll - best case scenario, he would beat him. But holy hell, what was Seb's weekend? I'm not sure if he ever particularly looked comfortable in the car, and even if it seems Aston have suffered quite a bit with the rule changes, it does not explain the full story. While I think his qualifying penalty was way too harsh for what it was - Seb did slow down and follow procedures (the whole penalty seems weird) - he still seemed slower than Lance over a lap. And the race wasn't much better. While he did make a good start and ran well in the first half of the race, he eventually fell back with a very uninspired strategy call, and he topped it all off with that rather silly crash into Ocon, which led into perhaps one of the dumbest excuses for a crash that I heard on team radio since "Ericsson hit me". And, honestly, following up on what mario said above: where is Vettel's headspace right now? I firmly believed that this would be Vettel's chance of redemption, but his morale just seems as low as it was last year with the Ferrari shambles.
2. Nikita Mazepin - Honestly, I expected nothing from Maze(s)pin, but his performance all weekend long was atrocious. He spinned 4 times across the weekend, and never seemed comfortable at all with the Haas. While, I will say, that I don't think that is entirely his fault - Schumacher himself also struggled - his exit from the race was one of the most embarassing moments I remember a rookie doing for quite a long time. But, well, not that I particularly have any love for Mazepin (Free Russia t-shirt during We Race As One, really?), but the Haas seems such a pig to drive. Schumacher also spinned on his own, and I don't think Haas are particularly going forward for the rest of the season.
Now, for the honorable mention, which I do legit think it deserves the award more than the two above, but that it requires a rather lengthy analysis:
Stewarding - Ok, this is not a problem only from this weekend, but I do think we hit a peak of shenigans this weekend all across F2 and F1 with not only the consistency of decisions, but the overall judgement and lack of clarity that Michael Masi and his friends are showing. The F2 race was complete shenanigans: it all started with Ticktum's penalty - he ruined Verschoor's race clearly, his full mistake. Result? 5 second penalty. Lundgaard, the next race does something very very similar. Result? 10 second penalty. The moves are very similar between themselves if you check the video, so what's the difference in criteria here? And Lundgaard was the result of another shenanigan in that race, as he served that penalty in the pitlane under SC, and the stewards themselves got confused if that was allowed (I swear it isn't, but they let Lundgaard get away scot free). And if that all wasn't enough, then come the outright crapshoot of today's feature race, with the VSC and subsequent SC deployment following Pentecof's retirement.
See, I'm not a big fan of VSC (mainly, as I do think the FIA have been using it for other purposes other than safety), but that moment of VSC and SC was just shenanigans. Race leader Oscar Piastri was just coming out of the pits when VSC got deployed (Pentecof's car had been at the turn 1 runoff for almost a full racing lap at this point, so see the time it took for them to decide), so racing was stopped as Piastri was about to be overtaken, so he leapfrogged his rivals. But what annoyed me wasn't just the timing of the SC, it's that it got followed about 15-20 seconds by the SC getting triggered - then what's the point of the VSC? And this is not the first time that the FIA have done thi, where they throw a VSC for like 10 seconds and then throw a SC. And the SC wasn't necessary, as in the end of the following lap, they sent the SC in! And there was only 5 cars behind it! What the hell?? It was a total farce, and this subsequent show gave 5 or 6 drivers a time penalty for SC infrigement. On the subject of that: SC deltas are a farce and need to be removed, effective imediatelly. All the cars were on the lead lap, so why weren't they all allowed to come back behind the SC before it came in? And a few laps later, after this, we once again got a car beached at turn 1, but this time VSC got deployed only.
Once again, this reveals a problem of consistency, which is something that I think that Michael Masi has not fixed, but rather made much worse. I have no clue who is he trying to please, but I do believe that he is much more competent than what he is showing right now and what he has showed since he took the job. And the consistency problem once again showed up in the F1 race. The whole discussion if Max overtook outside the track was fair or not because Lewis went outside the track at the same corner (apparently 29 times) because drivers were told track limits were not being enforced. How are you not enforcing track limits? I understand why Max had to give back the position - overtaking outside the track should not happen - but this whole grey area around track limits that has been source of discussion for the past year and something is dumb. They should fix this situation and determine exactly, for the ENTIRE WEEKEND, what is or not allowed. Changing it mid-weekend or, even worse, mid-race, is absolutely terrible stewarding.
Oh, and before I finish the rant, let me remember: Verstappen's restart wasn't problematic, but he did exactly the same Bottas did at Mugello. So I see that F1 have completelly forgotten to change the procedure after that destruction derby of a restart. Fantastic. Change the rules or change Masi. The sport needs consistency, and this lack of consistency will not help in the long term.
Alpha Tauri - Haven't seen them mentioned, but despite Tsunoda's points, where did their pace go?
Mario on Gutierrez after the Italian Grand Prix wrote:He's no longer just a bit of a tool, he's the entire tool set.
18-07-2015: Forever in our hearts Jules.
25-08-2015: Forever in our hearts Justin.