2017 season gets thumbs-up from Minardi

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Former team boss Giancarlo Minardi has given his stamp of approval to the new season of Formula 1.

New regulations introduced over the winter have meant that cars are faster and more aggressive in 2017. However critics have complained that there has been less overtaking in the first four races.

The Russian Grand Prix saw just a single overtaking move for position all race, leading many fans to complain that it had been boring and processional. But Minardi doesn't agree.

"I analyse a Grand Prix with the times that the drivers are posting," Minardo told Italy's Autosprint magazine this weekend. "What was noticeable was how close the Grand Prix was.

"There were the three protagonists, Bottas, Vettel and Raikkonen, but also Verstappen who improved lap after lap.

"It was a beautiful fight."

Minardi was surprised by now much of a non-factor Lewis Hamilton proved to be in Sochi, seemingly overshadowed by his new Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas.

"I think first of all Hamilton underestimated Bottas," Minardi suggested. "Hamilton is a strong driver but he easily becomes demoralised."

Although Ferrari didn't win in Sochi, Minardi was pleased to see the progress being made by the Scuderia in 2017.

"I argued for years that we do not need to go looking for people abroad," he said. "Now the team must keep its head down and continue to work, and believe in creating a new winning cycle after the Schumi-Todt era."

Minardi praised Sebastian Vettel's performance in Sochi, but was less impressed by his team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

"I don't understand those fast laps Kimi did late in the race," he said. "What was he doing earlier? Even in Bahrain he complained of the tyres and then did his fast lap with two races to go.

"For me, Kimi remains a mystery. It's unfortunate, because if he went as fast as he should the constructors' title would be within reach for Ferrari."

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