Palmer earns ROTR for China; Kvyat tops all-around plaudits for Red Bull in IIDOTR
Jolyon Palmer set himself apart from the rest of the field by recording a season’s first – finishing a race in 22nd position – and earning him Reject of the Race to go with it. It was poor timing for turning in a bad performance, given the entire field ran from start to finish. All twenty-two runners were not entirely unscathed either, with those battered and bruised from the trials and tribulations of the race still managing to drag themselves to the finish ahead of the Renault, including the oft maligned Rio Haryanto and the hobbled Haas of Romain Grosjean. He also received the ire of those further up the field for his indulgence in chicanery of an altogether different kind, with Daniil Kvyat making his opinions clear via team radio with some colourful choice of English.
Only a handful of points behind in the ROTR standings was Palmer’s employer, Renault. Try as he might, Kevin Magnussen failed to wring much performance out of his machinery, but at least mixed it up with Saubers and Manors to save some face for the French marque when Palmer risked making them the outright backmarkers of the weekend. Some might say Palmer’s driving would suggest he came down the Siene on a banana boat; last weekend’s performance might suggest the Renault is a banana boat.
Sebastian Vettel may have driven a reasonably good race to the second step of the podium, but that didn’t stop the GPR community giving him a clear thumbs down for his post-race argument with Daniil Kvyat. Vettel was insistent that Kvyat had been reckless at the start of the race and forced him into his own team-mate, compromising the Finn’s race, but it seemed he was alone in that viewpoint. The court of public opinion ruled in Kvyat’s favour, and as a result Vettel nabbed a second podium last weekend, this time on the final step of the ROTR rostrum.
Last year’s Reject of the Race, the Chinese Marshals, attempted a run at taking the prize for the second year in a row, but with their antics mostly consigned to qualifying, they weren’t given the same chance to strut their reject credentials during the race proper. Kai Ebel also made his debut appearance on the ROTR leaderboard – surprisingly not for his fashion sense – rather his fuelling the fire of the Vettel-Kvyat argument.
Full Reject of the Race results
After spending last season kicking and screaming their way through the midfield, Red Bull Racing finally looked to be a top team once again, with Daniel Ricciardo vying for the lead with the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg until his left rear punctured on debris. However, it was his younger team-mate Daniil Kvyat who scooped the Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race award, not just for turning around his form following a disappointing opening pair of races, but also the manner in which he dealt with Vettel’s vociferous questioning over the pair’s opening lap altercation.
There was also plenty of love for Manor Racing’s pair of drivers as usual; Wehrlein being complimented for holding back the tide of cars as long as he did after resuming in 4th place following the safety car period, while Haryanto received a smattering of praise for simply not being the last car running. Some were also quick to point out how improbable all twenty-two cars making the end of the race was, something that still resembles an impressive feat despite the modern era of great reliability.
Full Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race results