In one of Spike Milligan’s autobiographies he recounts a story of a speech given by one of the senior officers in the North African Campaign who told the troops that there would be “many hours of boredom with brief moments of excitement”. Welcome to F1 2017 Up until the mid-season break we thought we might have a title fight on our hands but from Belgium onwards Lewis Hamilton decided that he had enough of messing about with what was, without doubt, the best car on the grid and slapped all the other drivers back in to place, dominating the races in way we haven’t seen since Vettel in the all-conquering Red Bull RB9 in 2013. In the early part of the season Ferrari flattered to deceive. Well, Vettel in the Ferrari did anyway whilst Kimi played the good No.2 to maximise Sebastian’s chances in the title race. The same could be said of Bottas at Mercedes as well but Valterri did at least manage to snaffle a couple of wins during the season. Kimi never looked like he wanted or was able to challenge right at the front. By being good boys for the season both have been rewarded with new contracts for 2018. As Ferrari went backwards during the season so Red Bull moved forwards. Max Verstappen took a couple of wins and Danny Ric managed one. It has to be said that apart from in Malaysia Red Bull were only able to win when Merc and Ferrari failed and Vettel starting from the back in Sepang helped their cause enormously at that race. 2017 served us up a few good races, the destruction derby in Azerbaijan for example, and some absolute stinkers, Russia and Abu Dhabi spring to mind. I’m sure some of you will remind me that I gave Russia a 10 in the CTA poll but this was because it was the first win for Bottas not because I especially enjoyed the race. So what were the stand out moments and events for me in 2017? Estaban Ocon looks like the real deal. The battle between him and Perez through the season was fascinating to watch and the way it was handled by Force India also intriguing. Kevin Magnussen was great value in the Hass, his total lack of respect for anyone and anything took me back to days or yore when drivers would bang wheels, make life difficult for the leaders when being lapped and say what they thought at press conferences. I believe he was told off by the authorities quite regularly in the sanitised world we inhabit today. Meh, suck my balls honey! We had some musical chairs with Renault finally working out that Jolyon Palmer was a bit crap and borrowing Carlos Sainz from Toro Rosso. This made Hulkenberg up his game but I suspect Sainz will beat him over the season in 2018. Sainz’s departure from Toro Rosso made them decide to give a couple of others a run out and we ended the season with Pierre Gasly and Porsche refugee Brendon Hartley having a go. Neither really set the world alight but then with the Renault engine turned down (really? Did no one else see the Red Bull pace in the last few races?) and little testing they were always going to be up against it. Jenson Button made a special guest appearance at Monaco as Fernando Alonso was fed up with Honda engines breaking in the back of his McLaren so had one break in the back of an Andretti at the Indy 500 instead. Probably the stand out moment of the season was when he threatened to piddle in the cockpit of Alonso’s car. Says it all about F1 in 2017 really doesn’t it. Paul di Resta also had one race in Hungary when Felipe Massa was a bit poorly sick. Wiki makes the following comment on di Resta’s performance “In Q1, Williams reserve driver Paul di Resta made his first start since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix and quickly got up to speed with little prior practice.” He was 19th in qualifying and only Marcus Ericsson was slower, in the Sauber, with a 2016 Ferrari engine. GO PAUL! In fairness he managed 60 laps in the race and didn’t really get in the way too much. Williams were so impressed they decided that a bloke with only one good arm might be a better choice to replace Massa in 2018 than him. What else caught my eye? The cars were faster. Yes, really, they were. They still can’t get within 2 seconds of one another on the track without the risk that they will slide off in to a gravel trap, sorry, massive run off area so what difference does it make if they are faster than last year? It gave the commentators something to get over excited about as lap record after lap record tumbled during the year and we were all told how exciting this was. The cars also sprouted coat hangers on the advertising bill board above the engine. Now they looked nice didn’t they! So, in conclusion, F1 2017 was rather dull. It had its moments but both qualifying and the races are extremely predictable unless there is some major catastrophe in qualifying or on the first lap to one the six cars on the grid that has a chance of winning. Lewis was sublime; he was also ably assisted by a much more compliant teammate. Vettel was erratic and without his compliant teammate would probably still have finished in exactly the same place he did in every race. Max Verstappen was exciting, in a Gilles Villeneuve sort of way, and Danny Ric smiled a lot and wondered why everyone wasn’t praising him in the same way as the little Dutch boy. Think you need a new PR adviser Danny, either that drive a bit quicker. Bring on 2018. It can’t be any worse, surely?