Monthly Archives: July 2012

Hamilton unbeatable in Hungary

Lewis Hamilton has stormed to victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix after dominating for the whole weekend. The Brit started on pole and kept the lead for the whole race excluding pit stops. Despite an early challenge by Romain Grosjean and a later challenge by Kimi Raikkonen, Hamilton could not be beaten and he crossed the line first.

As usual, The grid made its way around the track for the parade lap, but rather unusually, Charlie Whiting aborted the start. Michael Schumacher who mis-understood the lights, as a Red Flag, turned off his engine. This left him parked on the grid while the rest of the cars completed a second parade lap. Schumacher’s car was re-started and he lined up to start from the pit lane.

At lights out, Hamilton stormed away from Grosjean in 2nd, who fell back into Vettel’s clutches. The German couldn’t pass the Frenchman and was left defending against Jenson Button instead. Mark Webber had an excellent start, jumping from 11th to 7th. Kobayashi was pushed wide by Vergne into the first corner rejoining behind the Caterham’s of Kovalainen and Petrov. At the back, Schumacher’s problems were compounded when he received a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. After making a stop for fresh tires, Schumacher had been through the pits 2 times in the first 5 laps.

15 laps into the race, Hamilton and Grosjean were really pulling away from the rest of the grid while Grosjean slowly but surely kept on Hamilton’s tail. On lap 16, Button pitted to get the undercut on Vettel who would pit two laps later. It worked and Vettel came out even further behind Button than he had been when Button pitted.

Lap 19 and Hamilton pitted. A mistake however as Lewis was slow to pull away from his box, a 4.2 second stationary time. Grosjean was told to push as hard as he could to try to take Lewis, but a scruffy in lap, Slow pit entry and 4.7 second stationary time ensured that Hamilton got back out in front.

Raikkonen and Webber came into the pits and exited in formation, Kimi ahead of Alonso, Webber behind Alonso. For the next 15 laps, It was pretty much even at the front with Hamilton and Grosjean running within 2 seconds of each other consistently. Kimi Raikkonen found something, enabling him to push and catch the front-runners. His team-mate, Grosjean pitted as did Kimi and on the pit exit the two Lotus’ came together slightly, knocking Grosjean off the track and allowing Kimi into 2nd. Grosjean fell into place behind Raikkonen.

Pastor Maldonado was up to no good (again) on lap 49. While trying to overtake Paul Di Resta, he out braked himself, driving into the side of the Force India. His effort earned him a drive through penalty.

Red Bull were lining up 4th and 5th (Vettel and Webber respectively) with 15 laps left and decided to try a strategy. Webber pitted for a third time, coming out in 8th place behind Senna. Vettel pitted a few laps later, retaining 4th place.

Up front, Raikkonen was charging towards Hamilton but could not get that extra bit needed to pass the Brit. At the back, Schumacher was wheeled into the pits to retire the car. 5 laps were left when rather worryingly, Narain Karthikeyan’s front suspension broke, sending him into the barrier. Marshalls decided not to risk moving the car which was parked on the grass by turn 4 and race control announced that the yellow flags would stay in place for the last 5 laps.

Five laps later, Hamilton crossed the line to secure his 19th Grand Prix victory. Despite his best attempts at passing Hamilton, Raikkonen followed Hamilton over the line, ahead of his team-mate Grosjean.

Final Standings:

1. Lewis Hamilton
2. Kimi Raikkonen
3. Romain Grosjean
4. Sebastian Vettel
5. Fernando Alonso
6. Jenson Button
7. Bruno Senna
8. Mark Webber
9. Felipe Massa
10. Nico Rosberg
11. Nico Hulkenberg
12. Paul Di Resta
13. Pastor Maldonado
14. Sergio Perez
15. Daniel Ricciardo
16. Jean-Eric Vergne
17. Heikki Kovalainen
18. Kamui Kobayshi
19. Vitaly Petrov
20. Charles Pic
21.  Timo Glock
22. Pedro De La Rosa

Retired:

Michael Schumacher – Mechanical Failure
Narain Karthikeyan – Suspension Failure

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under F1

Alonso Makes It Three

Fernando Alonso has won the German Grand Prix, stretching his lead in the championship out to 34 points. He finished ahead of Sebastian Vettel in 2nd and Jenson Button in 3rd but a post race penalty demoted Vettel to 5th and promoted Kimi Raikkonen to the podium.

But even before the race there was drama. The FIA’s technical delegate Jo Bauer reported to the stewards that he felt that the engine torque maps of the RB8’s breached Article 5.5.3 of the technical Regulations as the engines were able to deliver more torque at a given speed in the mid rpm range and could artificially alter the aerodynamic characteristics of both cars, which defied Technical Directive 036-11.

But after questioning Red Bull and Renault and examining Engine Control Unit data, the Stewards decided that while they did not accept all the arguments being made by Red Bull, they concluded that as the regulation is written, the map did not breach the text of Article 5.5.3.

Therefore, Red Bull started the Grand Prix from 2nd (Sebastian Vettel) and 8th (Mark Webber).

At lights out, Fernando Alonso had a great start as Sebastian Vettel was left defending against Schumacher in P3. Behind them Mark Webber had a great start to leap frog both Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen off the line while Felipe Massa clipped the back of Raikkonen’s car, sending his front wing whistling off into the grass.

After starting from 7th and dropping to 9th at the start, Hamilton ran over shards of Felipe Massa’s front wing, rewarding him with a rear left puncture. The Brit who was in his 100th race, was left to limp back to the pits before strangely giving up and asking his team to retire the car when he realised he couldn’t win the race. The team however had none of it and sent him back out.

Up front Alonso continued to stretch out his lead ahead of Vettel who was battling with Schumacher for 3rd place. Jenson Button seemed to have recovered from his bad run and was charging through the field making it up to 3rd from 7th.

The next 20 laps or so was simply Alonso leading Vettel who was followed by Button. Vettel was catching Alonso at a rate of a couple of tenths a second a lap before he would make a mistake and be forced to start all over again.

The excitement came when the top three caught up to Lewis Hamilton to lap him. Alonso passed him quickly followed almost immediately by Vettel. However, Hamilton unlapped himself much to Vettel’s frustration and instead of charging ahead to unlap himself with Alonso, he hung around in front of Vettel, slowing him down and allowing Button to catch up.

This worked and Button was on Vettel’s tail with Alonso once again pulling out a gap out front. Button pitted to try to get the undercut on Vettel and with a whopping 2.31second pit stop, a new world record, Button made it out ahead of Vettel. It was now Alonso from Button from Vettel.

On Lap 58, McLaren retired Hamilton’s car when he was still running at the back of the field, and decided to save the parts for Hungary. Back on track, his team-mate was facing a challenge from Vettel who was slowly reeling him in. On the penultimate lap, Vettel got into DRS range of Button and passed him into the hairpin. But when the two cars turned the corner, Button pushed Vettel off the track. Vettel however, kept his foot down and kept the position.

A lap later, Alonso crossed the line to win his third Grand Prix of the season ahead of Vettel and Button. But McLaren were in an uproar. They ran to the stewards and insisted that Vettel had passed off the track, and astonishingly, the Stewards agreed, handing Vettel a drive through penalty which they changed to a 2o second time penalty as the race was over, dropping Vettel to 5th place. The revised podium took place at 6pm local time with Alonso on the top step with Button in 2nd and Raikkonen in 3rd.

Final Standings:

1. Fernando Alonso
2. Jenson Button
3. Kimi Raikkonen
4. Kamui Kobayashi
5. Sebastian Vettel
6. Sergio Perez
7. Michael Schumacher
8. Mark Webber
9. Nico Hukenberg
10. Nico Rosberg
11. Paul di Resta
12. Felipe Massa
13. Daniel Ricciardo
14. Jean-Eric Vergne
15. Pastor Maldonado
16. Vitaly Petrov
17. Bruno Senna
18. Romain Grosjean
19. Heikki Kovalainen
20. Charles Pic
21. Pedro De La Rosa
22. Timo Glock
23. Narain Karthikeyan

Retired:
Lewis Hamilton

Leave a comment

Filed under F1

Is Fernando to blame for Felipe’s Bad Run?

It’s no secret that Felipe Massa is doing badly. Not a single Grand Prix victory to his name since Brazil 2008, The race in which he nearly won the World Championship. And not a single Podium finish since 2010, The inaugural Korean Grand Prix. Massa’s horrific collision at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, which took him out of F1 for the rest of 2009, is the reason pinned to his lacklustre driving. But is it?

Felipe’s bad run began in 2010, And the new season brought a new team-mate, Fernando Alonso. There was much excitement in the paddock. Fernando Alonso, the man who is considered by most to be the best driver on the grid, joining forces with Scuderia Ferrari, one of the most famous team’s in the world.

The season started well for Ferrari with a 1-2 for the team, Alonso the victor ahead of Massa. The season continued on and the two team-mates raced on until the 11th round of the season. The German Grand Prix at Hockenheim was the first obvious display of Ferrari favouring Alonso over Massa. Felipe, In the lead, was on his way to winning the race until Rob Smedley, under instruction from Ferrari bosses, came on the radio with the infamous; “Fernando is faster than you” message. Felipe understood and moved over several laps later, giving Fernando the victory.

Needless to say the FIA took a dim view on this and awarded Ferrari with a smooth €100,000 fine for breaking the rules regarding team orders, which had been banned since the same team ordered Rubens Barrichello to move over for Michael Schumacher.

But the damage was done, The FIA did not award the win to Felipe and he was left to deal with it. And has Ferrari gone back to their Schumacher era style of management? Giving the driver with the best chance of winning the Championship all the new parts? It seems so.

But Ferrari aren’t all to blame. Realistically, Fernando Alonso cannot be the ideal team-mate.

In 2007, McLaren got it wrong, putting two strong-minded men together in the same team, both vying for the No.1 status within the team. This intense rivalry played out in several bitter occasions throughout the season.

In Monaco, Alonso won the Grand Prix, ahead of Hamilton in 2nd. An upset Hamilton moaned to the press believing there to be a conspiracy within the team citing an early pit stop as proof. The FIA however, cleared McLaren of any wrongdoing.

During the US Grand Prix, Hamilton and Alonso were in an intense battle for the victory. Alonso tried to overtake Hamilton up to turn one but Lewis firmly defended his ground, leaving Alonso disgusted and swerving towards the McLaren pitwall a lap later to show his complaint.

The Hungarian Grand Prix was possibly the most prolific fight. During Q3, The team ordered Lewis to move over for Fernando because he was on a fast lap. Lewis failed to do so, prohibiting Alonso. When Alonso pitted with 2 minutes to go, He got his change of tyre’s and proceeded to stay in the pit box, despite his engineers frantically waving him out to allow Lewis in. Alonso left the box at the last second, and the subsequent delay prevented Lewis from setting another lap time. Alonso got pole position.

During the Chinese Grand Prix, Alonso became so angry at the pace of Lewis’ car over his own that he broke a door during a tantrum in the McLaren motor home. He now fully believed there was a plot against him.

In 2008, Fernando partnered Nelson Piquet Jr. at Renault. Alonso was the No.1 driver and during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, Piquet deliberately crashed his Renault, to bring out the Safety Car and accommodate Alonso’s unusual pit strategy. Alonso won the race.

And now Fernando is at Ferrari. I myself used to think that Felipe’s bad run was down to his 2009 crash but now, after consideration, have decided that the reason for Felipe’s bad run is the combination of a No.1 driver and a team with a history of favouritism. Just bad luck.

Leave a comment

Filed under F1

‘Car Not To Blame’ Claims Marussia

Marussia have claimed that their car was not the cause of the accident which left test driver Maria De Villota in a life-threatening condition. The decision came after the Banbury based team completed a detailed investigation of the crash which happened at Duxford Airfield two weeks ago. 

The 32 year old was returning to the pits when her car suddenly lunged forward leaving her pinned under a truck, the same one that brought the car to the circuit, and had to be extracted by the Emergency Services before being removed to hospital with serious head and facial injuries. De Villota unfortunately lost her right eye during surgery.

But the findings of Marussia’s investigation now clears the car of any role in the collision.

“We are satisfied that the findings of our internal investigation exclude the car as a factor in the accident,” said team principal John Booth. “We have shared and discussed our findings with the HSE for their consideration as part of their ongoing investigation. This has been a necessarily thorough process in order to understand the cause of the accident.

“We have now concluded our investigatory work and can again focus on the priority, which continues to be Maria’s wellbeing. In that regard, we continue to support Maria and the De Villota family in any way we can.”

Meanwhile, Maria’s family have refused to comment on the announcement and is waiting for the findings of subsequent investigations before commenting. Both The Health and Safety Executive and the Independent UK regualtor for work related accidents, are holding investigations into the crash.

“This is their [Marussia’s] version, but it’s not an explanation,” someone ‘very close’ to de Villota’s family told the Spanish newspaper Marca.

The newspaper reported that Maria does not remember anything about the crash. “Maria is not yet in the sufficient condition that would allow her to take part in any of the investigations,” a statement issued by her family said. “There will be no comment until all the current investigations are finished,” the family added.

Leave a comment

Filed under F1

Mark Webber signs one year extension with Red Bull

Mark Webber has renewed his contract with Red Bull, Ending speculation that the Aussie would join Ferrari to partner friend, Fernando Alonso. And interestingly enough, The contract was signed almost two months earlier than last year. This news also means that Lewis Hamilton will probably stay at McLaren after rumours leaked that the 2008 World Champion was looking to make a move to the Milton Keynes team.

In a statement released on the Tuesday after the British Grand Prix, taking the Paddock by surprise, Webber admitted that he had held talks with Ferrari but decided to stay with Red Bull with whom he has raced with since 2007.

“My main focus is on this year’s championship, which is very important,” Webber said. “In addition it’s an amazing bunch of guys and girls at Red Bull Racing and I really, really like working with them. That has a huge effect on me and how I perform in the car and it helped me in my decision.”

He added, with typical outspokenness: “There were discussions with Ferrari, but my decision was to stay here.”

Mark Webber currently stands in 2nd place in the Drivers Championship, Behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Leave a comment

Filed under F1

The Charging Bull tames the Prancing Horse

Mark Webber has won the British Grand Prix. The Aussie started in second place behind Fernando Alonso but a quick Webber out paced the prancing horse to pass with just five laps to the chequered flag. 

At lights out, Alonso swiped right immediately somehow managing to avoid tangling with Webber who had no choice but to go left. Behind them, Massa and Raikkonen made slight contact while Paul Di Resta also suffered at the hands of the Finn who gave the Scot a right rear puncture sending him off the track. Di Resta recovered but his home hopes were in tatters as he had to crawl around behind the field, eventually retiring with Suspension damage.

Massa and Schumacher battled for 3rd place with the seven time World Champion successfully holding his old team-mate up for 11 laps before Massa finally swept clean past Schumacher and up into third. Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado was up to no good, Slamming into Sergio Perez into Luffield, sending both of them into a synchronised spin and knocking Perez out of the race. Maldonado earned a reprimand from the stewards along with a nice €10,000 fine for his efforts.

Just 20 laps into the race, And most of the grid had pitted except for Lewis Hamilton who led the race after starting from 8th place. The Briton was urged to push as hard as he could to see if they could undercut the race leaders, but Alonso’s pace was so good, he caught and passed Hamilton before he could pit. But Webber was faster!

Mark was over half a second faster per lap than Alonso when Alonso made his second pit stop, but he was still five seconds ahead of Webber, when he exited the pits.

Kamui Kobayashi had a disastrous pit stop. He came in too far to the right when he came into the box and was carrying too much speed. He drove straight into two of his engineers and still, continued past his box, such was the speed he had.  Thankfully none was seriously injured, but stewards fined the Japanese driver €25,000 for ‘a very dangerous manoeuvre which had potentially serious implications’.

But back at the front, Mark Webber had continued to catch Alonso at half a second a lap and on lap 48 out of 52, he swept clean around the outside of the driver who most people rate as the best in Formula One. Alonso had no answer for the Charging Bull and was left staring at the back of his car which took the chequered flag five laps later.

Final Standings:

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

Retired:

Perez – Collision
Di Resta – Suspension damage resulting from Collision
Petrov – Did Not Start

Leave a comment

Filed under F1

Silverstone Begs Ticket-Holders To Stay Away

The organisers of the Silverstone Grand Prix have begged 20,000 General Admission ticket holders to stay away as heavy rain has turned the car park and campsite into a mud bath.

Today, The rain played havoc with traffic and tailbacks of five miles caused an eight hour wait for unfortunate fans trying to reach the circuit. The police were called in to help organisers turn angry fans away after their trek to get there. And for the lucky ones who did get in, it was a long day.

Rain in the first practice session showed drivers running next to no laps with Kamui Kobayashi completing the most laps, a lowly 18.

In the second session, Heavy rain left drivers confined to the garages while fans braved the conditions to wait for almost an hour before seeing any action. The last half an hour though did provide a bit of action after Bruno Senna hit the wall in quite spectacular fassion bringing out the red flags (And another delay). And just at the end of the end of the session, Fernando Alonso lost the car under braking and spun into the wall beside the pit lane, loosing his front wing in the process.

And even the F1 Supremo, Bernie Ecclestone was begged by the organisers to stay away and was finally persueded at the last moment.

In 2000, Massive floods destroyed the ground in and around the track causing tens of thousands of fans to miss the race due to massive tailbacks which stretched 15 miles from the track. At one point, the tailback was growing by one mile a minute. Only 15,000 managed to brave the weather for Qualifying, down from 60,000 the year before.

After this catastrophe, Bernie Ecclestone nearly cut the historic british circuit from the calender and there are fears that a similar situation may arise after this weekend.

Decisions on whether or not the race will take place will be made tomorrow (Saturday).

Leave a comment

Filed under F1