Monthly Archives: April 2012

Vettel wins in Bahrain

World champion Sebastian Vettel cruised to his twenty-first Formula 1 win and his first of the 2012 season at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain. The defending champion had not won a Grand Prix since the inaugural Indian Grand Prix last year but made the controversial Bahrain GP win his own on Sunday. In 2nd place was the brilliant Kimi Raikkonen who drove a great race showing that the Iceman is well and truly back, and his second place capped a superb day for Lotus with Romain Grosjean, finishing third.

Sebastian Vettel lead from the start of the race, getting clean off the line and was followed by Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and the fast starting Romain Grosjean.. Going into the first three corners, the pack got too close for comfort but aside from a few a few stray pieces of carbon-fibre, the pack was largely unscathed. Michael Schumacher, starting from 22nd, resulting from botched Qualifying and a penalty for a gearbox change, had a great start and was up to 16th by the end of Lap 2 however team-mate Rosberg dropped to 9th. Heikki Kovalainen made contact at the start of the race and pitted with a left rear puncture, a disappointing occurrence for the Finn who enjoyed a great Qualifying session. Also left disappointed was Daniel Ricciardo who after starting in 6th place for Toro Rosso had an awful start and was down to 17th by the end of Lap 2.

Romain Grosjean made small work of the cars ahead, was in 2nd place after seven laps, and immediately set a new fastest sector time. Ricciardo pitted from 19th to change his front wing and tyres and the cars quicker lap times on the prime medium tyre set off a chain reaction of Button, Massa, Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso and Webber. Hamilton has a massive delay on his left rear tyre with a jammed wheel nut, resulting from a mis-thread of wheel nut to hub-cap, and Lewis could only sit and shake his head as his race took a huge set-back. Coming out of the pits, after a 9.9-second stop, the Englishman came out behind former karting team-mate Nico Rosberg who then pushed Hamilton fully off the track. The stewards then announced that the incident would be investigated after the race, however it was later decided that Rosberg gave Hamilton enough room (a full cars width) although replays seemed to suggest otherwise.

Raikkonen made massive improvements to come up behind Grosjean to battle for 2nd place, the Franco-Swiss driver managed to hold him up for three laps that turned out to be a crucial amount of time as Sebastian Vettel increased his lead. Lewis Hamilton meanwhile came in for his second stop and yet again McLaren could not solve their left-rear wheel-nut issue that also cost Jenson Button in China. Again, with the wheel stuck on Hamilton was left to stew in the pit box for 12.7 seconds while they tried to get the wheel. Back on the track Nico Rosberg then appeared to run Fernando Alonso off track whilst trying to defend against him; the Spaniard complained vigorously on his team-radio however as with the earlier incident with Rosberg, no punishment was handed out. Behind them, Maldonado suffered a puncture in the Williams and spun 360 before pulling in to retire the car and on the same lap Charles Pic pulled in to retire his Marussia.

On Lap 34, Raikkonen pulled into DRS range and there was a moment when the whole world thought that Raikkonen has passed Vettel until he suddenly braked and backed out of the manoeuvre. He followed Vettel closely until the third pit stop where Vettel got out ahead and just sped away, Raikkonen was then told to keep going in the hopes that Vettel’s tyres would degrade quickly however unfortunately for the Finn the world champion managed them superbly, increasing his lead.

Jenson Button and Bruno Senna were both late retirees and capped a thoroughly miserable day for both British teams, however out front Sebastian Vettel came out of turn 14 to take the chequered flag much to the delight of the Red Bull team.

After an indifferent start to the season from the current constructors champions Vettel hauled Red Bull back up to the top of the drivers and constructors championship, as the teams now head to Mugello for the mid-season tests.

Lotus F1 secured a superb 2/3, the first time a team carrying the name Lotus have had two drivers on the podium since 1979, when Mario Andretti and Carlos Reutemann finished second and third in the Spanish Grand Prix. Other stand out performers included Paul di Resta who notched a fantastic sixth battling tooth and nail with the likes of Alonso and Rosberg and Felipe Massa who finally notched his first points finishing in ninth.

Final Results:

1. Vettel
2. Raikkonen
3. Grosjean
4. Webber
5. Rosberg
6. Di Resta
7. Alonso
8. Hamilton
9. Massa
10. Schumacher
11. Perez
12. Hulkenberg
13. Kobayashi
14. Vergne
15. Ricciardo
16. Petrov
17. Kovalainen
18. Glock
19. De La Rosa
20. Karthikeyan




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2012 Chinese Grand Prix Race Report

For the first time since 1955, Mercedes filled the front row. Nico Rosberg starts in 1st with a 1.35.121 lap in Qualifying with his team-mate Michael Schumacher in 2nd as Lewis Hamilton, who had qualified 2nd, was given a 5-place grid penalty for changing a gearbox.

Nico got clean off the line, much to everyone’s surprise who expected both Mercedes’ to be swamped into the 1st corner. However, both Nico and Michael Schumacher had kept their starting position. Behind them, Button started well from 5th, jumping to 3rd while Mark Webber dropped two places to 8th and team-mate Sebastian Vettel lost four places off the line in an uncharacteristic mistake.

Heikki Kovalainen had a good start and was nearly passed Vettel when Bruno Senna nudged the back of Felipe Massa into turn one before careering across the track into the path of Pastor Maldonado who had to go wide off the corner to avoid a collision. Jean-Eric Vergne for Toro Rosso started from his pit box after he changed the body work on the car after Qualifying yesterday. Meanwhile at the back of the grid, Pedro De La Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan in the Hispania’s had an awful start and were 10-12 seconds behind the cars ahead, by the first corner.

On lap 13, Schumacher pitted for new tyre’s from second. He had a fast stop as usual but an error in the pit lights had seen the German driving out of the pits without his right front wheel being secured to the car. As a result he had to pull over in Turn 3 and make his way back to the pits to watch his team-mates progress.

The on-track action died down for a while with a few passes, mostly on the Force India’s who seemed to have resigned from the race, and Lewis Hamilton very nearly colliding with his old rival, Felipe Massa, as he went to pass him for P12. Several pit stops were also made but all the attention was on Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, trying to decide if Button could pull up a big enough gap to make sure he comes out of the pits ahead of Rosberg.

The answer was no. Jenson was 12 seconds ahead of Rosberg going into the pits, a usual pit stop taking about 20 seconds. However, Jenson’s rear left tyre failed to come off the car and the Mechanic’s who had dropped the car off the ‘Jack’s’ to release him, had to hoist him back up so they could get the tyre on. All in all, Button’s pit stop was 11 seconds compared to the usual 3 seconds. As if this wasn’t bad enough, When Jenson Button rejoined, he had a very close group of Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Mark Webber and Bruno Senna ahead of him and then a gap of 25 seconds to Nico Rosberg. Button’s chance of winning had gone.

Over the next 15 laps, some of the best wheel to wheel racing in a few years took place. Heikki Kovalainen pitted and had a problem with his left rear tyre leading him to cruise slowly around the track to get back to the pits, while Mark Webber went wide coming onto the back straight and launched himself into the air. No, it was nothing like his nerve-racking flip in Valencia but for a tall driver like Mark who’s spine would be just millimetres off the ground, it definitely hurt! Nevertheless, the tough Aussie kept going.

Mark caught and passed Bruno Senna for P6 while Felipe Massa pitted from 2nd promoting Raikkonen to 2nd. Hamilton sweeps past Pastor Maldonado for P8 and Fernando Alonso goes wheel to wheel with the Venezuelan. The Spaniard lost grip on the ‘Marbles’ and went off the track, nearly collecting Sergio Perez as he rejoined the track. Next up is Romain Grosjean who runs wide at the same place as Fernando Alonso, while under pressure from Webber, rejoining in P8.

Alonso passes Perez for P10 as Rosberg, some 25 seconds ahead of P2 man Raikkonen, is told to slow down and mind his tyre’s. A slow Raikkonen is holding up Vettel, Button, Hamilton, Webber, Senna, Maldonado, Grosjean, Kobayashi and Alonso. In this long train of cars, Webber and Hamilton are having a fierce battle for P5, Hamilton the eventual Victor as Webber runs wide.

Raikkonen makes a mistake, allowing Vettel and Button through followed by Hamilton in turn 14 and Webber in turn 16. Raikkonen gets really under pressure as he looses all his grip and is swamped by the drivers behind. Grosjean, Senna, Maldonado, Alonso, Kobayshi, Perez, Di Resta and Massa all get passed the Finn in the next two laps. In two laps, Raikkonen has lost 12 places.

Kobayshi and Perez make contact on the back straight as Kobayashi attempts a successful overtaking manoeuvre. Button passes Vettel for P2 and is followed by Hamilton a lap later. Now team-mate Webber has his eyes on Vettel. He passes Vettel at the Hairpin at the end of the straight. Vettel tries to out drag him but its useless as Webber holds his ground and forces Vettel off the line.

And after 57 years Mercedes win the race! Nico Rosberg comes across the line with his hands in the air, 20.6 seconds ahead of Button in P2 to secure his first ever Grand Prix win, in his 111th Grand Prix.

There was only one retirement from the race, Michael Schumacher and he was on hand to celebrate with the Mercedes mechanics in the Garage as Rosberg crossed the line while a very emotional Norbert Haug was on the podium to collect Mercedes’ Constructors Trophy.
Final Standings:
1. Nico Rosberg
2. Jenson Button
3. Lewis Hamilton
4. Mark Webber
5. Sebastian Vettel
6. Romain Grosjean
7. Bruno Senna
8. Pastor Maldonado
9. Fernando Alonso
10. Kamui Kobayashi
11. Sergio Perez
12. Paul Di Resta
13. Felipe Massa
14. Kimi Raikkonen
15. Nico Hulkenberg
16. Jean-Eric Vergne
17. Daniel Ricciardo
18. Vitaly Petrov
19. Timo Glock
20. Charles Pic
21. Pedro De La Rosa
22. Narain Karthikeyan
23. Heikki Kovalainen


Michael Schumacher – Pit-Stop error

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Ecclestone Says Bahrain Decision Up To Teams

Bernie Ecclestone has said that he can’t force teams to attend the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Tensions have risen in Bahrain with both the upcoming arrival of the F1 community and a hunger strike by an imprisoned activist. Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was jailed for life after last year’s uprising, and will be the subject of an appeal to be held the day after the Grand Prix.

On Monday evening, seven policemen were injured when a bomb exploded in a skirmish with protestors. A government spokesman said it was being treated as an “act of terrorism.” And just a week ago, A 22-year-old man was shot dead by militia supporting police during anti-F1 protests.

Ecclestone insists that the race is still on, although his latest statement appears to be an attempt to divert responsibility for any decision away from himself, as clearly the teams themselves are waiting for action from the FIA and FOM.

“We’ve no way we can force people to go there,” he told Ian Parkes of Press Association Sport. “We can’t say ‘you’ve got to go’ – although they would be in breach of their agreement with us if they didn’t go, but it doesn’t help. “Commercially they have to go, but whether they decide to or not is up to them. I’ve had no one say anything other than ‘we’re going to be racing in Bahrain.'”

When asked about the prospect of the race being canceled, Ecclestone insisted that the Bahrainis were happy for it to go ahead.

“We’re not involved in any of the politics in Bahrain, over who is right or wrong. When you go to somebody’s country you have to respect exactly how they run their country and the laws of that country,” he said. “The National Sporting Authority in that country are the people who can say, ‘Well, we think we’d prefer not to run the event.’ The promoter can also say we don’t want it because there is too much risk. “We’ve an agreement with the FIA that Bahrain is a round of the World Championship, and we’ve a contract with the promoters, but I want to make clear it’s nothing to do with finance.”

This announcement comes just days after the team principal of one of the leading teams said that the paddock wishes that the Grand Prix will not go ahead

The race is scheduled to go ahead on April 22nd.

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F1 Teams want Bahrain GP scrapped

The F1 teams want the FIA to scrap, or in the very least postpone the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix. The race which is scheduled to be held on April 22nd has faced much opposition from fans on Twitter and Facebook and until today, the teams had backed the FIA’s decision. But now it seems that opinions have changed.

A team principle of one of the leading teams (Who wished to remain name-less and said his views were representative ) told The Guardian in an interview “I feel very uncomfortable about going to Bahrain. If I’m brutally frank, the only way they can pull this race off without incident is to have a complete military lockdown there. And I think that would be unacceptable, both for F1 and for Bahrain. But I don’t see any other way they can do it.”

Jean Todt, President of the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone, the commercial rights holder have both insisted that the Grand Prix will go ahead. But the team principal interviewed said “We’re all hoping the FIA calls it off. From a purely legal point of view, in terms of insurance and government advice, we are clear to go. But what we find worrying is that there are issues happening every day.”

Last years Grand Prix was called off after more than 40 people died after clashes with police in protest against the Kingdom. Just a few days ago a 22 year old man was killed after being shot by Militia supporting the police in anti-F1 protests.

See here for details

If you still believe that the Bahrain Grand Prix should go ahead, please take a look at this video –

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30 Day F1 Challenge

For a bit of fun for you (and me) I will be doing the 30 day F1 Challenge. I will be answering a list of 30 pre-determined questions, one per day, for 30 days.

Day 1:

Your Earliest F1 Memory:

My earliest F1 Memory was when my Dad and Brother used to watch F1! I was fairly young at that stage so I wouldn’t have known what was going on, but sure enough I succeeded in driving my Dad and Brother mad during the race by jumping all over the place and making a racket! I seriously regret what I did and if that happened to me today, I would seal myself of in a sound-proof room so I could get a bit of piece and quiet for the race!
On the plus side, Me making noise led Dad to record the race so he could go back and watch them again later on, which means that I have a library of old races that I can watch whenever I want!


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Civilian killed in F1 protest

A man has died in Bahrain following an F1 protest in the unsettled kingdom. 22-year-old Ahmed Ismael Abdulsamad was shot in the right thigh on Saturday as he filmed a protest in the Shia village of Salmabad that plainclothes security forces tried to break up with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Opposition groups blamed “militiamen” accompanying security forces, saying they fired live bullets at the protesters from a civilian car, hitting Abdulsamad. Police fired tear gas to disperse the small gatherings and made some arrests, according to footage taken by protesters..

Activists have intensified their campaign to push Formula One to cancel the Bahrain round of the world championship, slated for April 20-22 at the Sakhir circuit, southwest of Manama.

Last years Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled due to the unrest that gripped the Shiite-majority state after a mid-March brutal crackdown on protests demanding democratic reforms that would challenge the power of the Sunni Al-Khalifa ruling dynasty. This year, on Twitter, a whole campaign has been launched against the return of the Grand Prix to Bahrain.

“Stop, my blood is flowing” and “race over blood,” were two slogans posted by activists on Twitter, where hashtags like BloodyF1 and NoF1 generate scores of tweets.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has insisted that the outbreak of fresh violence will not affect this year’s grand prix.

Defending champion Sebastian Vettel and seven-time winner Michael Schumacher lately supported the return to Bahrain.

If you follow me on twitter, you will know that I am strongly opposed to the race going ahead, given the circumstances in the kingdom, especially the way the police forces are treating civilian protesters, and this further shows that the kingdom is not stable and not yet ready to stage a race.

The race is scheduled to take place on April 22nd.


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