Race Reports

2014

Belgium

Daniel Ricciardo drove to victory at the Belgian Grand Prix this afternoon, taking advantage of an early crash between the leading Mercedes drivers which resulted in a puncture for Hamilton and front wing damage for Rosberg.

Hamilton had take the jump on Rosberg into turn 1 and sped into the distance as Sebastian Vettel followed him past the Championship leader. In a mirror image of last year’s race, Vettel took a slingshot from Eau Rouge and gained rapidly on Hamilton, although it proved to be little to successfully pass the Mercedes for the lead. In fact Vettel got squeezed at the end of the Kemmel straight and was forced to take to the run-off area where he skipped over several kerbs and lost is position to Nico Rosberg.

With the meddling Red Bull cleared, the Mercedes men were free to bolt away to battle each other, but that battle never materialised as Rosberg challenged Hamilton into turn 7, hit his front wing against Hamilton’s rear left and gave his team-mate a puncture. Hamilton rushed back to the pitlane, dropping down the order and causing damage to his car as his tyre carcus flailed and whipped the body work. He returned to the pits and was sent back out to the race, while Jules Bianchi also pitted with a puncture following a first lap incident which left Maldonado out of the race. Another driver dropping out of the race on lap 1 was German rookie Andre Lotterer who, after outqualifying his team-mate by a second, lost engine power at the end of lap 1 and had to abandon his car. Kobayashi is expected to return to the cockpit in Monza.

Back at the front Ricciardo had moved past Vettel and set his sights on new leader Rosberg, eventually taking the lead of the Grand Prix when Rosberg pitted for a new set of boots on lap 9. Rosberg had lost time changing his front wing in the pitlane and lost more time when Force India’s Perez ducked ahead of him in the run to Eau Rouge. Rosberg’s superior pace saw him getting back ahead of the Mexican but on the next lap round, some debris was thrown from the Sauber ahead of him and caught itself on his antenna, swinging across Rosberg’s field of vision and refusing to dislodge as he pulled at it.

Rosberg eventually managed to clear the object and latched onto the Bottas and Vettel fight ahead of him. Challenging Vettel into the bus stop chicane, he suffered a huge lock-up and went wide, letting Vettel get ahead and falling into the clutches of the Williams behind him. Bottas used Rosberg’s mistake to get past the Mercedes on the Kemmel straight and set his sights on the third place occupied by Vettel, a task which should be easy given Williams’ usual straight line advantage. As it turned out, Vettel’s aerodynamic changes for the weekend worked a treat and he managed to keep the feisty Finn behind him for an impressively long time.

Out of the public eye, Hamilton was trudging around the back of the grid with a damaged car and a downbeat mood, asking the team to allow him to retire the car so as to save the tyres. His team thought otherwise and repeatedly insisted on keeping him on track, fobbing him off with the excuse “we’re discussing that, Lewis”. Bizarrely then, after refusing to allow him to retire, they radioed him to order his retirement with four laps left in the race.

His team-mate had come into the pits with nine laps left and adopted a set of the softer, quicker Pirellis in a bid to catch the Red Bull ahead of him, but this proved fruitless as he emerged twenty-seven seconds behind. He did, however, catch Bottas and pulled a ballsy move around the outside of Blanchimont and moved up the order into the bus stop chicane.

Behind them, the two McLarens, Alonso and Vettel were fighting tooth and nail for position. Button got slightly out of shape which opened the door for his team-mate on the Kemmel straight. Alonso tried to hop on the overtaking bandwagon and got on the grass, losing his place to Vettel and slotting in behind. The two McLarens went two abreast through Les Combes and into turn 10 where they tried to get four abreast in their fight. Their collective skill was on show as they all made it through the battle unscathed. Eventually Vettel won the battle with Magnussen, Button and Alonso slotting in behind.

But while Vettel won his own little battle, it was Ricciardo crowned the overall winner as he crossed the line 3.3 seconds ahead of Rosberg. Bottas won a late battle with Kimi to take the final spot on the podium to mark his fourth podium appearance.

Belgian Grand Prix Race Results:

  1. Daniel Ricciardo
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Valtteri Bottas
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Sebastian Vettel
  6. Kevin Magnussen
  7. Jenson Button
  8. Fernando Alonso
  9. Sergio Perez
  10. Daniil Kvyat
  11. Nico Hulkenberg
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Felipe Massa
  14. Adrian Sutil
  15. Esteban Gutierrez
  16. Max Chilton
  17. Marcus Ericsson
  • Jules Bianchi
  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Romain Grosjean
  • Pastor Maldonado
  • Andre Lotterer

Hungary

Daniel Ricciardo took victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix this afternoon, in a race affected by rain, stopped by two Safety Cars, and with a myriad of race leaders. Ricciardo had regained the lead after the first Safety Car, but lost his lead when Perez’s crash into the pitwall prompted the Safety Car again. Alonso led the race from that point on, but Ricciardo was unstoppable and pulled two late overtakes, on Hamilton and Alonso, to secure his second Grand Prix victory.

The rain that was expected to interrupt the race arrived early, soaking the track about fourty-five minutes before lights out. The track was still wet at 2pm local time for the race start, so all drivers started on the green intermediate tyres. At lights out, Rosberg maintained his lead as the drivers behind him battled through the spray thrown up by the tyres. Valtteri Bottas started well, as per usual, and jumped second-placed Vettel into turn 1. The entire grid emerged unscathed from the first corner while Kevin Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton and Daniil Kvyat set off from the pitlane – Magnussen and Hamilton opting to start from the pit lane following qualifying, and Kvyat starting from the pitlane after getting stranded on the grid.

Hamilton was keen to start cutting his way through the grid, but with cold brakes on his Mercedes, he spun at turn 3 and dropped behind the grid. Back at the front, Rosberg was leading with a comfortable gap to Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel, who were sliding around in the slippy conditions.

Rosberg’s lead was looking solid, and only set to increase dramatically, when Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson spun out of turn 3 and speared the barriers, destroying his car which swivelled to a halt on the side of the track. The Safety Car was deployed for the incident, but Rosberg was too far past the pits to act on the news, meaning that those outside the top four had to do another lap with reduced speed, while the rest of the grid pitted for dry tyres. Thus, Daniel Ricciardo inherited the lead, ahead of Jenson Button on the inters tyres and Felipe Massa. Then, as the Safety Car was preparing to pit, Romain Grosjean lost control of his Lotus in the same spot as Ericsson, hitting the barriers and spinning to a halt on the opposite side of the track, meaning the Safety Car would stay out for longer.

Second time around, Ricciardo led Button on the restart, but with the McLaren driver on the wet tyres, he swept clean past the Aussie and into the lead. On the very next lap though the tables were turned as Button was told that the expected rain would not materialise, and that he would need to pit soon. By the end of the second lap after the restart, his tyres were dead and Ricciardo had regained the lead.

Further down the order, the Force India duo were scrapping for position when Nico Hulkenberg locked up into the final corner and t-boned his team-mate, spinning himself out of the race in the barriers at turn 14. At the same time, Maldonado was getting too eager on the brakes and slid into Marussia’s Jules Bianchi, t-boning the Frenchman and spinning himself. Unlike Hulkenberg, however, the Venezuelan recovered his race and lived to fight another day.

Just as Hulkenberg’s car was cleared from turn 14, his team-mate spun out of the same corner and hit the barriers on the start/finish straight, throwing debris all over the track. Although Ricciardo had accumulated an impressive lead, his lead was anhiliated by the reappearence of the Safety Car. As Kobayashi parked his Caterham on the side of the track, the rest of the grid were led away by Fernando Alonso when the race restarted.

With the mixed-up order from two Safety Cars, Alonso now led the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne who was celebrating his fiftieth Grand Prix. The Frenchman was keen to keep his place on the podium and acted as a rolling roadblock for third placed Nico Rosberg who, incredibly, couldn’t find a way past the slower car. This allowed Sebastian Vettel to close up on the Mercedes, and was soon joined by Hamilton and Ricciardo who slotted in behind. The collection of race winners and Championship contenders behind Vergne didn’t faze him and he continued to lead the duo. Although Vergne didn’t make a mistake, Vettel spun out of the final corner as Rosberg pitted, mirroring Perez’s crash at the same spot. Luckily for Vettel, he missed the pitwall by inches, but unluckily for Rosberg, the spin had freed Hamilton.

Hamilton made short work of Vergne when given the chance, pulling a ballsy move on the Toro Rosso around the outside of turn 4. Meanwhile, Alonso pitted from the lead and Gutierrez became the sixth retirement of the race when he parked in the garage. Hamilton also pitted, and although he maintained his lead over Rosberg, a slow stop had put him behind Alonso. His position wasn’t solidified as his team began to radio him to let Rosberg through, as they were on different strategies. He consistently refused to, however, as Rosberg was not close enough behind him, meaning he would lose time to Alonso ahead of him. Although Rosberg continued to ask why he wasn’t being let through, Mercedes eventually gave up trying to enforce their team order.

Ricciardo pitted from the lead of the race, and was soon followed in by Rosberg, who had still not passed his team-mate. Rosberg came out further down the order, but Ricciardo was flying on his fresh softer compound tyres and was catching Hamilton at an almost unbelievable pace. He was soon on the back of Hamilton who himself was up the gearbox of a struggling Alonso, but nobody could get past each other and Alonso maintained his lead.

After several laps of shutting down overtake attempts, Hamilton went wide at turn 1 and allowed Ricciardo to challenge him into turn 2. Pushing Ricciardo offline, Hamilton handed him the inside line for turn 3, where Ricciardo squeezed up the inside and up to second. With the faster Mercedes cleared, Daniel set his sights on the Ferrari ahead – breezing past him at the end of turn 1. Ironically, he took the lead of the race with three laps remaining, as he did at the Canadian Grand Prix this June.

Hamilton failed to get past Alonso, and Rosberg closed up on the rear of the the battle, leaving Alonso, Hamilton and Rosberg to cross the line with the smallest of gaps between them.

Hungarian Grand Prix Race Results:

  1. Daniel Ricciardo
  2. Fernando Alonso
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Nico Rosberg
  5. Felipe Massa
  6. Kimi Raikkonen
  7. Sebastian Vettel
  8. Valtteri Bottas
  9. Jean-Eric Vergne
  10. Valtteri Bottas
  11. Jean-Eric Vergne
  12. Jenson Button
  13. Adrian Sutil
  14. Kevin Magnussen
  15. Pastor Maldonado
  16. Daniil Kvyat
  17. Jules Bianchi
  18. Max Chilton
  • Esteban Gutierrez
  • Kamui Kobayashi
  • Sergio Perez
  • Nico Hulkenberg
  • Romain Grosjean
  • Marcus Ericsson

Germany

Nico Rosberg breezed to victory at the German Grand Prix this afternoon, leading unchallenged from pole to flag. His only realistic rival, team-mate Lewis Hamilton, had been effectively ruled out of contention after a crash during the first part of Qualifying on Saturday, meaning he started twentieth on the grid. An alternated strategy for the Briton as a result of contact with former team-mate Jenson Button, saw him finish third behind Valtteri Bottas, who celebrated his third consecutive podium.

The five lights came on and went out, and the grid raced towards turn 11. Jules Bianchi had bogged down which forced the Caterham behind him to dive around him, while up the front, Rosberg had maintained his lead towards turn 1. Kevin Magnussen was looking to jump Felipe Massa into the first corner but the Dane ran out of room and his wheel connected with Massa’s, flipping Massa’s car and sending it scraping across the gravel in the run off at turn 1. Ricciardo was sent wide by the incident and narrowly avoided the inverted Williams, but rejoined far down the order while the Safety Car was deployed.

The Safety Car came in at the end of the second lap and Rosberg bolted away from the Williams of Valtteri Bottas behind him. In the mid-field, Ricciardo was told that Hamilton was behind him and pushing hard, following the Briton’s crash in Qualifying and subsequent penalty, which caused saw him starting from twentieth. Engaged in their own battle, Ricciardo and Hamilton came up behind Sutil, where Ricciardo pushed past into turn 6. When Hamilton tried to follow the Red Bull past, Sutil turned in and made light contact with Lewis.

Soon after, Ricciardo and Hamilton had left Sutil trailing and had caught up to the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. The Red Bull took the outside line while the Mercedes locked up the inside and sailed into the Ferrari, causing slight damage to the Ferrari’s front wing. Nonetheless, Hamilton had secured the position and had advanced two places.

Kimi was sandwiched into turn six again a few laps later when Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, repeating their close battle from the British Grand Prix two weeks ago, arrived behind the Finn. Again Kimi took slight damage in the scrap for position, which left Alonso in the lead and debris on the track.

Behind them, Perez was getting inventive with his overtakes: he pulled a move on Romain Grosjean into turn 8 which had him ahead briefly, before Grosjean moved back past the Mexican at the exit of the 9-10 section. While Grosjean came close to exceeding track limits during the overtake, Vergne had been abusing the track limits and was handed a five-second stop/go penalty for same. Grosjean soon became the race’s second retirement when his Lotus broke down on lap 28.

After pitting for the first time, Hamilton emerged in eighth, and behind his sparring partner from the beginning of the race. Making short work of Ricciardo second-time-round, he came up behind Button who provided a tougher opposition for his former team-mate. Again at turn 6, Hamilton dived down the inside of Button, but hit the McLaren’s sidepod on the exit and damaged his front wing. With a subsequent drop in performance, his team began looking for an alternate strategy.

Behind him, Alonso had caught up to Ricciardo and was looking to squeeze past. Together they passed the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg into turn 6, and then resumed racing on the clear track ahead of them. They were denied the chance to fight into the track’s permier overtaking point, turn 6, when Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso burst into flames on the back straight and parked in the run-off area of turn 6. The Russian jumped clear of his fiery cockpit and punched a barrier in frustration, rueing the lost opportunity to score some valuable points for his team.

Adrian Sutil also ended his race prematurely when he spun out of the last corner and reported that there was a problem with his car. The yellow flags were shown again, and his Sauber was in a very dangerous position but, incredibly, the Safety Car stayed park. It was not even deployed when Sutil resigned himself to a DNF and climbed from his cockpit, strolling to the pitwall and back to the paddock. Instead, the Sauber sat dangerously across the grid until some brave marshals sprinted from the opposite side of the track and wheeled it to the pitlane, two laps later. It was a farce by Race Control and an unnecessary risk.

Hamilton, on his alternate strategy to try to combat the damage caused to his front wing, expected a Safety Car and came into the pits for a fresh set of soft tyres. Ricciardo and Alonso were still battling behind him, and Alonso eventually managed to get past Ricciardo into turn 6, but the Aussie pushed back mid-corner and regained the lead of the Spaniard. This was repeated at turn 7 where Alonso pulled a ballsy move on the Red Bull, only to lose the position to Ricciardo again. Finally, Alonso moved past into turn 6, and kept Ricciardo behind him at turn 8.

Bottas and Hamilton were also fighting for position, but the Finn kept control of the battle and closed out the race merely half-a-second ahead of the faster Mercedes. Up the front, where he had been since the race start, Rosberg was completely unchallenged, and breezed across the line in front of his adoring home crowd. Bottas followed him twenty seconds later to secure his third consecutive podium, while Hamilton shadowed him as he took third. Sebastian Vettel took fourth for Red Bull while Alonso came home fifth ahead of Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Button, Magnussen and Perez to round out the top ten.

Race Results:

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Daniel Ricciardo
  7. Nico Hulkenberg
  8. Jenson Button
  9. Kevin Magnussen
  10. Sergio Perez
  11. Kimi Raikkonen
  12. Pastor Maldonado
  13. Jean-Eric Vergne
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Jules Bianchi
  16. Kamui Kobayashi
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Marcus Ericsson
  • Adrian Sutil – spin
  • Daniil Kvyat – fire
  • Romain Grosjean – mechanical failure
  • Felipe Massa – collision

Britain

Lewis Hamilton took victory in front of his adoring home crowd today following his team-mate’s retirement at the midpoint of the race. Hamilton had lost pole following a strategic mistake in the closing minutes of qualifying which benefited Rosberg. In an ironic twist of fate, it was Rosberg’s misfortune which benefited Hamilton on race day. Unfortunately, we were robbed of the opportunity to see Hamilton and Rosberg battle each other for victory, but given Hamilton’s pace, it seems likely that Hamilton could have beaten Rosberg himself.

Nico Rosberg made a good start, as per usual, and maintained his lead, while Lewis Hamilton jumped to fourth. Sebastian Vettel fell behind the Briton while Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen took second and third respectively. There was some contact through turn 1, and Sergio Perez was pushed into a half spin which knocked him down the order. Felipe Massa was painfully slow off his grid box and was at the very back by turn 1.

Kimi Raikkonen got out of shape going through the long left hand sequence at turns five and six and went off track, but hit a bump while re-joining and spun his car, going back off track and hitting the Armco barriers with impressive force before spinning back across the track. The majority of the remaining grid managed to avoid him but Massa, blinded by the Caterham in front of him, didn’t see the Ferrari until the last second. Impressively, instead of hitting the Ferrari sidepod straight on as a lesser driver would do, Felipe managed to spin his Williams so that the only part of his car which hit the Ferrari was his rear wheel. Kimi was understandably shaken and took time to get out of his car, then limped to the medical car and was taken to the medical centre.

The red flag was shown and the drivers parked on the grid, but when the Williams mechanics inspected Massa’s damaged FW35, the decision was taken to retire the car – a sad way for Felipe to mark his 200th race.

After an hours delay to fix the damaged Armco barrier at turn 6, the race finally got underway behind the Safety Car. A lap later the Safety Car came in and Rosberg got the jump on Button down the hangar straight, giving him a healthy lead into the final corner. Hamilton was stuck behind the McLarens and looking to push past Kevin Magnussen – finally forcing the Dane into a mistake at Copse and moving himself up to third.

Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas was charging and had passed Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo by the end of the first lap of the restarted race. Towards the front, Hamilton caught up to former team-mate Jenson Button and made quick work of the Briton into Brooklands, to a round of cheers from the local crowd. He was now chasing Rosberg, albeit five seconds behind the leader.

Fernando Alonso, starting from sixteenth following his mistake in qualifying, was up to tenth by lap five, having overtaken Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi following the restart. Ahead of the Ferrari, Ricciardo was fighting with his sparring partner from Austria, Nico Hulkenberg, as the Aussie tried to promote himself to seventh.

Before long, Alonso had passed Daniil Kvyat and was closing on the Ricciardo-Hulkenberg battle. After making an unsuccessful dummy on the Force India, Ricciardo was slower and left vulnerable to Alonso who pulled an incredible manoeuvre on the Red Bull on the outside of Vale corner. A lap later, he pushed past Hulkenberg around the outside of Brooklands, leaving Ricciardo and Hulkenberg to battle each other again. Despite the straight-line deficit, Ricciardo moved up the order at Stowe.

Pastor Maldonado was up to his old tricks and pulled out in front of Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber when the Mexican tried to overtake on the inside to Vale. The Sauber went wide from the collision and threw the Lotus into the air when the tyres made contract. Maldonado continued but it was a terminal blow to Gutierrez’s race as he pulled over after the first corner.

Alonso was charging and stormed past Kevin Magnussen for fifth, following the Williams of Bottas who had passed both McLarens and was running in third. At the same time, news broke that Alonso had been handed a five-second stop/go penalty, to be served during the pit stops, because he overshot his grid box at the race start. That type of mistake would usually result in an aborted start, but Charlie Whiting chose to allow the race to start anyways.

Rosberg made his first stop on lap 19 and Hamilton began his lap to try to close the three-second gap to Rosberg while he was in the pits. On lap 24, Hamilton finally came in and took on a set of the harder compound tyres, to go against Rosberg’s strategy, and re-joined in second.

Hamilton was closing very quickly on Rosberg – 2 seconds on lap 28 alone. As Rosberg went to lap Bianchi into turn 3, he failed to shift down the gears and frantically pressed the gears as he radioed for advice. The advice was useless and, as Hamilton breezed past into the lead, Rosberg was still trying to get the car to recover. He was forced to give up at the Maggots-Becketts section and climbed dejectedly from his cockpit – much to the delight of the local crowd.

Valtteri Bottas inherited second from Rosberg’s misfortune, and he retained it after his single pit stop, meaning a big haul of points for the Grove-based team if he could maintain the position. Further down the order, Alonso and Vettel were scrapping for P5, and Alonso was quick to move past the German into Copse corner, using the straight line advantage down the International pit straight. Alonso managed to hold off Vettel for a long stint, but Vettel finally got past the Spaniard into Copse corner.

Maldonado retired with an engine problem on the penultimate lap, but there were no problems for Lewis Hamilton who crossed the line to take his second home victory, six years to the day since he took his first victory at Silverstone. Valtteri Bottas crossed the line fourty seconds later to take second for Williams – a much needed cause for celebration given the team’s hard luck on Friday where both cars have incidents, Saturday where both cars were knocked out in Q1, and today when Felipe Massa was the innocent victim in the Raikkonen crash. Daniel Ricciardo came home third for Red Bull.

Provisional Race Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Daniel Ricciardo
  4. Jenson Button
  5. Sebastian Vettel
  6. Fernando Alonso
  7. Kevin Magnussen
  8. Nico Hulkenberg
  9. Daniil Kvyat
  10. Jean-Eric Vergne
  11. Sergio Perez
  12. Romain Grosjean
  13. Adrian Sutil
  14. Jules Bianchi
  15. Kamui Kobayashi
  16. Max Chilton
  17. Pastor Maldonado
  • Nico Rosberg
  • Marcus Ericsson
  • Esteban Gutierrez
  • Felipe Massa
  • Kimi Raikkonenw

Austria

Nico Rosberg stormed to victory at the Red Bull Ring, narrowly fending off team-mate Lewis Hamilton who was keen to reel in Rosberg’s lead in the Driver’s Championship. Williams, who locked out the front row after Mercedes’ misfortune in Qualifying, were demoted to third and fourth – Bottas taking his first Formula One podium and poleman Felipe Massa finishing fourth after a battle with Sergio Perez.

Felipe Massa continued his string of strong starts and shot away off the line, leaving team-mate Valtteri Bottas fighting Nico Rosberg into turn 1. The Finn dropped behind the German but Bottas made good use of Williams’ superior straight line speed to get back past the Mercedes into turn 2. Lewis Hamilton also had a good start and jumped from ninth to fifth where he met some temporary resistance from Fernando Alonso. He finally dived down the inside of his 2007 team-mate and moved himself up to fourth.

While Hamilton progressed, Sebastian Vettel was falling behind the grid as he reported a loss of power. His team was at a loss to explain the issue and told him to retire the car – but after the reigning World Champion ignored the order, he found himself back to full power. He was now lapped, however, and facing a long afternoon of fighting his way through the grid.

At the other end of the grid, the Williams duo seemed safely in control while the two Mercedes drivers battled each other for third. Rosberg pitted from the final podium position and had a 2.6s stop before rejoining and pushing to use the undercut. Hamilton pitted on the next lap but was a second slower than his team-mate. Massa was called in from the lead on the following lap but the Williams pit crew could not get him out fast enough and he dropped behind both Mercedes drivers who had successfully used the undercut. Rosberg would also get the jump on Valtteri Bottas whose 2.1s pit stop kept him ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

In the pitlane, Daniel Ricciardo had to jump on the brakes to avoid Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso who was released into the path of the Red Bull. The Toro Rosso was not penalised but Esteban Gutierrez was brought to the attention of the stewards when his team released him without his right rear properly attached. He was handed a ten-second stop/go penalty for the unsafe release and will take a ten place grid penalty for the British Grand Prix, as per the regulations.

Lewis Hamilton was prowling behind Valtteri Bottas and was looking to pass the Finn to secure yet another Mercedes 1-2. Up the front, Sergio Perez was much slower on worn tyres but managed to hold the two Mercedes and two Williams drivers behind him. Several laps later Nico Rosberg finally pushed past the Mexican into turn 2 and Bottas followed the German through. Hamilton also moved past the Force India but Massa, who controversially came to blows with Perez in Canada, could not overtake him.

Meanwhile, Daniil Kvyat became the race’s first retirement when his rear suspension buckled suddenly and without warning – sending the Russian bouncing across the gravel and out of the race. He was soon joined on the sidelines by Sebastian Vettel whose team decided it was pointless to keep him in the race.

For their second stop, Hamilton was the first driver called in before Rosberg on the following lap. Hamilton’s four second stop was slower than Rosberg’s three-second stop and Rosberg maintained the lead over his team-mate, although he had Alonso ahead of him until he too stopped for fresh tyres.

After Alonso stopped, Rosberg took the lead and Hamilton inherited second. Valtteri Bottas moved up to third and Perez took provisional fourth, although he was holding off Felipe Massa and still had to pit for the super soft compound. Meanwhile, Jean-Eric Vergne joined his team-mate in the pits with a brakes failure, and Adrian Sutil had a nasty lock up which left him slowing.

The race settled down in the final laps, except for the battle between Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen, the Mexican passing the Finn out of turn 1, and Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg fighting until the last lap where Daniel Ricciardo pulled a ballsy move around the outside for eighth.

Although Lewis Hamilton pushed hard towards the end, and Nico Rosberg struggled to get the car around, no one could stand in Rosberg’s way as he crossed the line to take the victory and increase his lead in the Driver’s Championship.

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Valtteri Bottas
  4. Felipe Massa
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Sergio Perez
  7. Kevin Magnussen
  8. Daniel Ricciardo
  9. Nico Hulkenberg
  10. Kimi Raikkonen
  11. Jenson Button
  12. Pastor Maldonado
  13. Adrian Sutil
  14. Romain Grosjean
  15. Jules Bianchi
  16. Kamui Kobayashi
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Marcus Ericsson
  19. Esteban Gutierrez
  • Jean-Eric Vergne
  • Sebastian Vettel
  • Daniil Kvyat

Monaco

Nico Rosberg took his second consecutive victory in the streets of Monte Carlo today after driving a commanding race and fending off team-mate Hamilton for the bulk of the race. Hamilton had shadowed Rosberg until the 56th lap before he began to drop back, but stayed ahead of a hungry Daniel Ricciardo who was looking to break the run of Mercedes’ 1-2s.

The race was essentially won when Rosberg made it to the first corner in the lead and Hamilton slotted in behind. They were denied the chance to do their usual party trick and bolt into the horizon when Sergio Perez and Jenson Button came together at Mirabeau, spinning the Force India into the barrier and bringing out the Safety Car. The stewards announced that they would investigate the incident after the race while Perez walked back to join Pastor Maldonado, who had failed to start the race after stalling on the grid during the formation lap.

Hamilton failed to get the jump on his team-mate on the restart and Rosberg again maintained his lead into the first corner. Vettel lost his podium position, though, and began to slide down the order as he reported an engine issue. He had dropped to last place before he finished the lap and, although the team sent him back to track, he came back in after two laps as his RB10 began to give up.

With Vettel out of the race, Raikkonen moved up to third and stewards announced that they were investigating both Marussias and Esteban Gutierrez for taking the wrong grid places on the grid. Eventually they handed each driver a five-second stop/go penalty to be served during a pit stop.

Speaking of the pits, Grosjean and Sutil had to come in earlier than planned to replace bodywork damaged in the Perez/Button crash. After leaving the pitlane, Sutil set his sights on Grosjean and threw his Sauber up the inside of the Lotus at the hairpin, forcing Grosjean off-line and moving up the order. He pulled the same move on Marcus Ericsson on the next lap, pushing the Swede wide and moving up a place.

Sutil’s pulled an impressive move on Max Chilton into the Nouvelle Chicane when he out-braked the Briton, but the German’s luck ran out a few laps later when he lost control at the same spot, hitting the barrier on the right and spraying debris everywhere before swiveling to a halt in the middle of the chicane. Luckily Sutil was okay after the shunt but his race was over and his overtaking now useless.

The Safety Car was deployed for the incident and the grid came into the pits, including the three men who were handed a 5-second stop/go penalty. However, the rules dictate that you can’t serve the penalty under a Safety Car, which they did, meaning they were handed a five second time penalty to be added to their race times. Also in the pitlane, Jean-Eric Vergne earned a drive-through penalty when his team moronically released him into the path of Kevin Magnussen, who was forced to stomp on the brakes to avoid a collision which would certainly have sent the Toro Rosso into the line of Williams mechanics beside them. Raikkonen made a second trip into the pits when Chilton hit him and gave him a puncture behind the Safety Car.

The Mercedes AMG SLS eventually came back in and Rosberg’s Mercedes AMG F1 car bolted away, shadowed again by Hamilton. For the third time, Rosberg made it to the first corner first and maintained his lead while Daniel Ricciardo occupied third after Raikkonen’s second pit stop. Vergne was taken off-guard by Kevin Magnussen at Rascasse and Magnussen was similarly caught off-guard by Sergio Perez who pulled an even more impressive move on the Dane into the Portier corner before the tunnel.

Kimi Raikkonen was trying to move up the inside of Kamui Kobayashi into the Nouvelle Chicane but the Japanese driver repeatedly out-braked himself and cut the chicane, much to the frustration of Raikkonen and prompting his team to radio him to instruct him not to cut the corner. Finally the Ferrari moved past the Caterham and Ericsson also slipped past his displaced team-mate.

With Kobayashi still recovering from this, Bianchi caught him out and put his Marussia up the inside of Rascasse, forcing Kobayashi to allow the Frenchman past into thirteenth, which would equal the team’s best result. Bianchi moved up one better when he passed Jean-Eric Vergne as his country-man as Vergne served his drive-through. Vergne’s bad luck continued and his engine soon blew, ending his race prematurely and giving Toro Rosso a double DNF.

Esteban Gutierrez was another driver ending his day early when he hit the barriers at Rascasse and spun around, stalling his car and failing to recover. As marshals wheeled his car away, Bianchi moved up to tenth and into the point-scoring positions.

Back at the front, Hamilton suddenly dropped back from Rosberg as he came on the radio to report that some dirt had gone through his visor and into his eye. He began to drop rapidly from Rosberg and into the clutches of Daniel Ricciardo who was looking to end Mercedes’ run of 1-2s on the podium.

As Ricciardo caught Hamilton, they lapped Kimi Raikkonen and Kevin Magnussen, but as Kimi tried to overtake the McLaren, he overshot the braking zone and sent both cars wide and into the barriers. The Safety Car was not deployed and both cars got going again but now Bianchi was past them and, incredibly, up to eight place.

The laps ran out before Ricciardo could pass Hamilton and while Nico Rosberg won the race, Hamilton led Ricciardo across the line for second and third. Fernando Alonso took his Ferrari to fourth while Nico Hulkenberg recorded an impressive fifth after starting eleventh. Jenson Button was sixth with Felipe Massa seventh, after starting sixteenth due to his crash with Ericsson in Qualifying. Jules Bianchi finished eighth but was demoted to ninth when his penalty was added, although he still scores the first points for Marussia, while Grosjean finished ninth and was prompted to eighth. Kevin Magnussen took the last point while Marcus Ericsson narrowly missed out on points for Caterham when he finished eleventh. Kimi Raikkonen finished twelfth after his late crash and Kamui Kobayashi finished thirteenth. Max Chilton was the last of the finishers, taking fourteenth for Marussia.

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Daniel Ricciardo
  4. Fernando Alonso
  5. Nico Hulkenberg
  6. Jenson Button
  7. Felipe Massa
  8. Romain Grosjean
  9. Jules Bianchi
  10. Romain Grosjean
  11. Marcus Ericsson
  12. Kimi Raikkonen
  13. Kamui Kobayashi
  14. Max Chilton
  • Pastor Maldonado – stalled on grid
  • Sergio Perez – first lap crash
  • Sebastian Vettel – turbo failure
  • Daniil Kvyat – engine failure
  • Adrian Sutil – crash
  • Jean-Eric Vergne – engine failure
  • Valtteri Bottas – engine failure
  • Esteban Gutierrez – spin

Spain

Lewis Hamilton has narrowly won the Spanish Grand Prix after a close battle with Nico Rosberg towards the end of the race. Hamilton had the measure over his team-mate for most of the race, but as the last ten laps rolled around, it was Rosberg who began charging and closing the gap.

Hamilton had narrowly taken pole position from Rosberg at the last minute in Qualifying but very little separated the two men and this promised a race-long battle between the Mercedes cars, who were expected to shoot away into the distance from the offset.

The predictions were half right: Mercedes did drive off into the distance but Rosberg could not stay on Hamilton’s gearbox. Hamilton bolted off the line while Rosberg slotted in behind, leaving Ricciardo to battle unsuccessfully with Valtteri Bottas who moved up to third by the first corner. Behind them, Grosjean retained his fourth place while Raikkonen led Alonso by inches through the first sector. Kevin Magnussen was battling with Sebastian Vettel before running wide out of turn 13, leaving him off line for the T14/15 chicane where he narrowly avoided making contact with Vettel.

Pastor Maldonado, after his rookie error during Qualifying which saw him crash on his first flying lap, was back in the wars today as he slid wide in turn 7 and hit Marcus Ericsson’s Caterham, sending the Venezuelan airborne briefly. Somehow, neither driver had taken too much damage to their respective cars so they both continued and Maldonado was handed a five-place grid penalty for causing the accident.

Daniel Ricciardo was right behind Valtteri Bottas and was told to either overtake the Finn or drop back to a gap of two seconds in order to maintain his tyres. In typical fashion, Ricciardo opted to try to overtake but failed to do so. Nonetheless, he stayed right behind the Williams in case he would make a mistake.

Sebastian Vettel was stuck behind Jenson Button who was himself stuck behind Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber as the race began to settle down. Button slipped past the Sauber and up to twelfth while Gutierrez turned his attention to keeping Vettel behind him. It was in vain, however, as Vettel pulled a great move around the outside of turn 10 and pulled past him in the run up to turn 11. After passing the younger driver, Vettel turned his attention to the experienced McLaren driver ahead of him who defended hard against Vettel before Vettel dived into the pitlane – the first driver to pit.

He rejoined all the way back in 21st while Daniel Ricciardo followed his team-mates example and ventured into the pitlane, emerging in twelfth. As Vettel fought to get back towards the front, he met a particularly tricky Kamui Kobayashi who he eventually out-dragged with the aid of DRS.

Romain Grosjean pitted from fifth and freed Kimi Raikkonen who was giving everything to keep his team-mate behind him. Alonso pitted to attempt the undercut while Daniel Ricciardo was temporarily held up by a slower Kvyat. Ricciardo got past the Russian and was obviously pushing hard, pulling a great move on the outside of Perez in turn 3.

Hamilton was the next man into the pitlane but the Briton’s stop wasn’t flawless and cost him an extra second. Rosberg pushed hard to take the lead through the pit stops, but he failed to close the gap and instead lost several seconds to the sister car. Behind them on the timing sheets were Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo but after the former emerged from the pits, it became clear that the latter’s blistering pace gave him the advantage and he moved into third.

Further behind them again, Raikkonen was scraping with former team-mate Grosjean and he pulled a DRS-assisted overtake into turn 1. He overshot the braking zone, however, and allowed Grosjean to pull back up the inside of the Ferrari into turn 3 – an incredible effort by the Frenchman. Raikkonen’s repeat attempt on the next lap was successful and he moved up to fifth. Meanwhile, Jean-Eric Vergne climbed dejectedly from his cockpit as he became the race’s first retirement.

Back on the track, Alonso was now chasing down Grosjean’s slow-looking Lotus but a mistake by the Frenchman into T10 went unpunished as Alonso seemed uncharacteristically unprepared to pounce. He made up for this mistake by speeding past the Lotus into turn 1 shortly afterwards.

As Hamilton reported slight oversteer, Kobayashi was left fighting to keep his Caterham out of the barriers at turn 1 following a brakes failure, similar to the one that Giedo van der Garde suffered at the same point on Friday morning. This left the Japanese driver carefully navigating the circuit and returning to the pitlane to become the race’s second retirement.

While Kobayashi cursed his bad luck, Vettel was storming towards the front of the grid, catching Felipe Massa unaware and slipping past the Brazilian into T10. Meanwhile, Hamilton was told to pit but bypassed the pitlane once before coming in for his final stop. It was another slow stop for the Briton who was being caught by Rosberg, but once Rosberg pitted and emerged from the garage, it was Lewis who was still in the lead.

The race began to reach a stalemate behind the Mercedes duo, and all attention was on Rosberg who was slowly cutting the gap to Hamilton. With ten laps left, Rosberg was hovering a second behind the leader, but crucially was not within the DRS range from where he could begin to close the gap. While they pushed to their limit, Alonso passed Raikkonen into turn 3 after a tight battle through the fast right-left first corners.

Five laps later saw Rosberg no closer to Hamilton – but he eventually got DRS on the penultimate lap on the run up to turn 10. He closed the gap to Lewis, now a mere 0.6s behind his team-mate and prepared himself for a final challenge. He was met with the issue of Raikkonen’s Ferrari however, as the Finn slowed to allow both Hamilton and Rosberg to lap him on the start/finish straight and obstructed an overtake attempt. Rosberg nonetheless continued to push, albeit in vain as Hamilton crossed the line first, a mere half a second ahead of Rosberg. Ironically, Hamilton lost the race to Vettel in Catalunya by the same margin in 2011.

Daniel Ricciardo took third to take his first podium (as he was disqualified after his podium in Australia) while Vettel finished fourth, an impressive effort by the German who started fifteenth. After winning today, Hamilton has now taken the lead in the World Driver’s Championship – 100 points compared to Nico’s 97.

Provisional Race Result:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Daniel Ricciardo
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Valtteri Bottas
  6. Fernando Alonso
  7. Kimi Raikkonen
  8. Romain Grosjean
  9. Sergio Perez
  10. Nico Hulkenberg
  11. Jenson Button
  12. Kevin Magnussen
  13. Felipe Massa
  14. Daniil Kvyat
  15. Pastor Maldonado
  16. Esteban Gutierrez
  17. Adrian Sutil
  18. Jules Bianchi
  19. Max Chilton
  20. Marcus Ericsson
  • Kamui Kobayashi
  • Jean-Eric Vergne

China

Lewis Hamilton drove to a controlled win at the Chinese Grand Prix today, winning his third consecutive Grand Prix and moving himself to within four points of first place in the drivers’ Championship in the process. The Briton had taken a dominant pole position on Saturday and simply rocketed into the lead at race start and stayed there throughout the race.

He was unchallenged off the line and into the first corner as several drivers made contact into the long right hand corner. Felipe Massa was one of the drivers to make contact with another driver after he darted wildly right following a good start and hit Fernandno Alonso’s Ferrari. Remarkably, neither man seemed to incur any major damage in the relatively heavy hit. The other Williams driver, Valtteri Bottas, was also in the wars at the start as he was tapped and forced wide by the slow starting Nico Rosberg.

Up at the front, Hamilton led from Sebastian Vettel who was fending from Fernando Alonso, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who dropped from second to fourth off the line. Grosjean made two places up, Raikkonen made three and Maldonado made four as he started from the back and cut through the backmarkers.

As the grid returned to the pit straight for the first racing lap, Jenson Button challenged Jean-Eric Vergne down the straight and into the long first corner as he tried to recover from a slow start. The Briton passed the Frenchman into T2 as Kevin Magnussen in the other McLaren also tried to recover from a botched start. Back at the front, Hamilton kept extending his lead at a rate of around a second per lap while Alonso began to fall back from Vettel.

Adrian Sutil lamented his back luck as he was told to box to retire for the third race running on the seventh lap, while Alonso began to reel in the Red Bull ahead of him. As he slowly edged towards Vettel, Ricciardo, shadowed by Rosberg, joined the tail of the battle for second. Despite the potential, it was a very stagnant battle.

Jenson Button became the first man to enter the pits as he took on the medium compound tyres and rejoined at the very back of the grid. Romain Grosjean follows him in on the next lap and rejoins the race in eighteenth. Inspired by their fellow racers, former team-mates Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen pitted for a fresh set of boots. However, as the Ferrari mechanics released Raikkonen, Massa was still parked in his box, shaking his head and looking around for the source of the delay: the rear tyres were not on his car and his mechanics ran frantically around the back of his car. They fumbled with these tyres and again failed to get the tyres onto the car, most likely due to damage he suffered during his contact with Alonso. Finally they fitted the tyres and released him, but he had lost more than a minute in the pits and he rejoined from last, ruining the Brazilian’s race. They later announced that they had accidentally swapped the two rear tyres, trying to fit the left tyre to the right side and so on, which cannot be done, hence the delay.

Massa’s former team-mate, Alonso, pitted for tyres and rejoined the race, while Vettel pitted on the following lap. To Vettel’s dismay, Alonso had taken advantage of the undercut and had moved past the German while in the pits. Vettel rejoined behind both Alonso and the out-of-place Daniil Kvyat who was yet to pit, but the Russian moved over immediately for Vettel in the sister team. Nico Rosberg pitted from a provisional third and rejoined in seventh, ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg. The other Mercedes of Hamilton is shown running very wide but his advantage over the rest of the grid means he didn’t need to worry about losing the time. He pitted at the end of the lap and rejoined easily in the lead.

Rosberg had been running without telemetry all race and had to manually tell the team how his car was performing, based on the readings on his steering wheel. At the same time, he was trying to pass Vettel for third, which he eventually did after an ambitious dive up the inside of turn 14. The two drivers ran wide and Vettel tried to out-drag Rosberg into the final corner, but lost time and fell back behind Rosberg. Although he again challenged his country-man into the first corner, he finally conceded as Rosberg began to build a gap and Ricciardo appeared behind Vettel.

Ricciardo tried to get past Vettel and chase after Rosberg but after two laps couldn’t make use of DRS to do it, prompting the team to issue team orders for the second race running. Although Vettel initially said “tough luck” and fought Ricciardo on the back straight, he ran wide at turn 1 and didn’t bother closing the door as Ricciardo dived up the inside and moved into P4.

Romain Grosjean was running in the points for Lotus, an impressive effort by the Frenchman, until his gearbox began to fall apart and he lost fourth gear. After a very big excursion into the gravel traps at turn 11, he trudged back into the pitlane and climbed wearily from his car.

As the race began to grow stagnant, the race attention turned to Nico Rosberg and Fernandno Alonso who were battling for P2, with a gap of only a second seperating the Mercedes from the leading Ferrari. The battle continued for several laps and built up to a big climax, only for Rosberg to open his DRS and breeze past Alonso as if in a video game. It was frustrating, I’m sure, for Alonso, but Vettel was even angrier as Kamui Kobayashi unlapped himself before Vettel entered the pits.

And with no one to challenge him, Hamilton crossed the line the victor, his first ever hattrick of wins. After taking his 34th pole position, the first Briton to take that many, he took his 25th race victory, to draw him equal with Niki Lauda and Jim Clark. Nico Rosberg followed him home in a distant second to give Mercedes their third consecutive one-two finish, with Fernando Alonso filling out the podium.

Provisional Race Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Fernando Alonso
  4. Daniel Ricciardo
  5. Sebastian Vettel
  6. Nico Hulkenberg
  7. Valtteri Bottas
  8. Kimi Raikkonen
  9. Sergio Perez
  10. Daniil Kvyat
  11. Jenson Button
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Kevin Magnussen
  14. Pastor Maldonado
  15. Felipe Massa
  16. Esteban Gutierrez
  17. Kamui Kobayashi
  18. Jules Bianchi
  19. Max Chilton
  20. Marcus Ericsson
  • Adrian Sutil – Power-unit failure
  • Romain Grosjean – Gearbox failure

Bahrain

Lewis Hamilton robbed victory from Nico Rosberg at the Bahrain Grand Prix, after a race long game of inches between the two Mercedes drivers. Although Rosberg started from pole, Hamilton took control at the first corner and led the race until a mid-race Safety Car benefited Rosberg and left Hamilton fighting to regain control – which he eventually did after some stunning overtakes from both drivers.

It was no surprise that Mercedes led the race as their dominance was evident all weekend. The real race lay with the battle for third, which belonged to Valtteri Bottas who qualified fourth but moved up to third after Ricciardo, who qualified third, was handed a ten-place penalty for a team mistake during a pit stop in Malaysia last weekend. So it was Bottas’ to lose – which he did at the race start. While the Mercedes duo stormed ahead, Felipe Massa jumped from seventh to third before the first corner after a lightning quick start in the Williams.

The entire field made it through turn 1 unscathed but Jean-Eric Vergne eventually became the first man to suffer damage when Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado tapped his rear right tyre at turn nine and caused a puncture for the Frenchman. This prompted Vergne to label Maldonado “absolutely mental” and claimed that “this guy tried to kill me” over his team radio. Kevin Magnussen also made contact with Kimi Raikkonen into turn 5 but neither driver took damage to their cars.

Third placed Felipe Massa was left fending hard against Force India’s Sergio Perez who was sniffing at third place. Despite the speed advantage, Perez couldn’t get past the experienced Brazilian. Further down the grid, Daniel Ricciardo overshot the first corner during an overtaking attempt on Kevin Magnussen and had to take to the run-off area. He subsequently battled Daniil Kvyat in the run up to turn 4, but Kvyat wasn’t too keen to pass his sister car and Ricciardo began to increase the gap to the Russian.

Valtteri Bottas was losing places as Jenson Button moved past the Finn into turn 2, who was then followed by Nico Hulkenberg. Eventually he pitted for a fresh pair of option tyres while his team-mate continued to battle Sergio Perez for third place.

Adrian Sutil became the second man, after Vergne, to leave the race when he was t-boned by Jules Bianchi into T1. They had made contact at T4 the lap before and when Bianchi braked later into the first corner, he saw his opportunity and dived – while Sutil was caught out and turned into the corner. He pulled over immediately while Bianchi was handed a drive-through penalty. Further up the grid, Red Bull told Vettel to move over for Ricciardo – which he did.

Back at the front, away from the other drivers, the Mercedes men were battling for the lead. Rosberg braked later than Hamilton into turn 1 but Hamilton swiped back in front at turn 2. Rosberg stayed on his tail until turn 4 where they battled out of the corner and Rosberg took control of the race – for a split second – as Hamilton swept back past his team-mate into turn 6. Real racing. Mercedes, not issuing team orders, pulled Hamilton into the pits later that lap and fitted Hamilton with the option tyres. Rosberg pitted two laps later and fitted the prime tyres, leaving both drivers on different strategies.

Bottas was third behind the Mercedes’, albeit far too behind the Silver Arrows to challenge for second. He was having enough trouble keeping Massa behind him as it was, but Massa was also trying to keep the Force Indias, led by Hulkenberg, behind him. Massa tried several times to get pass the Finn but couldn’t do so, but Bottas asked if he could pit earlier than originally planned, which would free Massa. The team brought him in and Massa sped into the distance, but Hulkenberg was firmly on his tail. Then, Massa pushed Hulkenberg towards the track limits on the run up to turn 4, which allowed Perez to sneak past his German team-mate, and it wasn’t long before Perez made it past the Williams too.

Daniel Ricciardo was battling the Ferraris and was on Raikkonen’s tail into T1 – perhaps too close, however, as he was caught out in the braking zone and nearly collided with Kimi. Valtteri Bottas caught the two a few laps later and did the same thing after overtaking Ricciardo, he went off track to avoid rear-ending the Ferrari in the braking zone. He finally passed his country-man a lap later, shortly before Massa moved past both Ricciardo and Raikkonen too. Simultaneously, Marcus Ericsson pulled over at turn 14 to end his race – reporting a “loss of power”.

Pastor Maldonado pitted for a new set of boots and when he rejoined the track, he was involved in yet another incident. He inexplicably dived up the inside of Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and the two cars touched tyres sending the Sauber upwards and flipping it twice. It was a terrifyingly fast and violent crash for the Mexican who remained silent and motionless in his cockpit for several seconds as he gathered his thoughts. Luckily, as the medical car arrived on scene, he began to climb from the cockpit. Maldonado was given a ten second stop/go penalty for the incident, and a five-place grid penalty for the next race in China – hardly a just penalty for such a dangerous move.

While the Safety Car was deployed, Kevin Magnussen ended his day prematurely.  The Safety Car may have bunched up the grid, but there was no way that anyone could hold onto the Mercedes who shot away into the distance. Rosberg was in the lead, the Safety Car benefitting his strategy, but Hamilton sweeped in at turn 1 to retake the lead. Despite this, he then reported that he had “no power”, a problem which seemed to vanish as slowly increased his gap to Rosberg.

The Force India’s squabbled for third, nine seconds behind the Mercs after three laps. Rosberg swept up the inside of Hamilton into turn 4 but, again, Hamilton regained the lead almost immediately. The next time they arrived at turn 1, he once again dived up the inside but he out-braked himself and fell behind again. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo moved up to P4 and set after Perez who was clinging onto the final podium place.

With two laps remaining, Button began slowing and the team called him into the pits – a sad way for him to end his 250th Grand Prix. Back on track, Vettel was fighting Massa on the run up to turn 4, pushing the Brazilian off track but still losing the place to Massa. Nonetheless, Vettel moved back ahead at turn 8.

At the front, Rosberg had lost steam as the tyres ‘hit the cliff’ and he crossed the line to win the Bahrain Grand Prix. Rosberg was a mere second shy of his team-mate as he followed him across the line. Sergio Perez came across the line in third to take Force India’s first podium finish since Giancarlo Fisichella took second at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.

Provisional Race Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Sergio Perez
  4. Daniel Ricciardo
  5. Nico Hulkenberg
  6. Sebastian Vettel
  7. Felipe Massa
  8. Valtteri Bottas
  9. Fernando Alonso
  10. Kimi Raikkonen
  11. Daniil Kvyat
  12. Romain Grosjean
  13. Max Chilton
  14. Pastor Maldonado
  15. Kamui Kobayashi
  16. Jules Bianchi
  17. Jenson Button (DNF but completed more than 90% race distance)
  • Jenson Button
  • Kevin Magnussen
  • Esteban Gutierrez
  • Marcus Ericsson
  • Jean-Eric Vergne
  • Adrian Sutil

Malaysia

Lewis Hamilton was unstoppable today as he led Mercedes to their first 1-2 since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix. The Briton had narrowly taken pole position from Sebastian Vettel in the soaked Qualifying session yesterday, but he was untouchable today as he led proceedings from the lights to the flag.

The rain which flooded the circuit during Qualifying was gone, but the threat still existed and a mid-race rain shower could not be definitively ruled out. While the team strategists fretted over this news, it was completely irrelevant to Sergio Perez whose Force India stalled during a practice start about half an hour before the race was due to start. The team failed to get the car going again and he missed the race.

For the remaining twenty-one drivers, there was no repeat of the aborted start as there was in Australia two weeks ago. Despite a few slow starts, the installation lap got underway and everyone, bar Perez, took their respective places on the starting grid.

Lights out and Hamilton shot away while Rosberg ducked up the inside of Sebastian Vettel, who pushed his countryman towards the pitwall in an attempt to keep him behind. He had to fight team-mate Daniel Ricciardo simultaneously and inevitably lost the position to Rosberg who jumped into second. However, a wobble nearly sent Rosberg into the gravel at turn 3 and he had to defend hard against the Red Bull duo into turn 4.

The grid, somehow, made it through the tricky turn 1 and 2 sequence unscathed, but Pastor Maldonado and Jules Bianchi came together at turn 4 when the Frenchman outbraked himself. The two were forced to pit for a replacement tyre and front wing respectively, before both retiring afterwards. Before he pulled into the pitlane to end his race, Bianchi became the first driver to earn a five second stop/go penalty.

Nico Hulkenberg challenged Fernando Alonso on the second corner of lap two, moving himself up the order. When Kevin Magnussen tried to do the same to Kimi Raikkonen, his front wing punctured Raikkonen’s rear right tyre, giving the Finn a puncture and earning the Dane a five second stop/go penalty.

As the drivers got settled into their positions, Williams deployed team orders against Valtteri Bottas while Felipe Massa tried to overtake Jean-Eric Vergne. He had been forced to back out of potential overtakes due to the threat of Bottas behind him, taking to the team radio and complaining. The team told Bottas to hold back.

Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo scrapped for fourth and Alonso pulled an incredible move on the Red Bull into the first corner. Daniil Kvyat also made in-roads after pulling a dummy on Esteban Gutierrez and swooping up the inside.

The first round of pit stops came and went and Hamilton kept his lead from Rosberg, who himself led from Vettel. As Jean-Eric Vergne dropped from the race, Ricciardo was told to drop further behind Vettel in order to save the tyres. On top of this, he was back ahead of Alonso after the pitstops, but was slowly falling into the clutches of the Ferrari as his fuel sensor failed. This left Red Bull using the FIA fuel monitors, which they blamed for Ricciardo’s disqualification at the Australian Grand Prix.

As if this wasn’t bad enough for Ricciardo, when he pitted for the second time, he was released from his pitbox without his front left tyre being properly attached. He pulled in further up the pitlane and waited, shaking his head, as his mechanics sprinted to the car and pushed it back down the pitlane to tighten the wheel nut. After everything, he had lost a full second to Alonso, who he led before the pitstop and who was directly ahead of him when he left the pits.

But Ricciardo’s bad luck wasn’t over with yet – his front wing, possibly damaged by the front jack in the pitlane, snapped on the start/finish straight and left him crawling around the entire circuit before having it replaced. He was subsequently awarded a ten second stop/go for the unsafe release. The end of a miserable day came with three laps left as he pulled into his garage.

The Saubers both failed to finish, the first double-DNF for the Swiss team since the 2011 Italian Grand Prix. Adrian Sutil pulled over on the exit of the last corner, a lap before his team-mate, smoking, pulled into the Sauber garage.

Nearer the back, the Caterham drivers spent their day holding off a surprisingly off-the-pace Raikkonen. Eventually he passed them and finished his race battling his former team-mate, Romain Grosjean, who will be celebrating eleventh – the race distance is probably the longest running the car has had this season.

Williams ended the race the way it started: with team orders. After several laps of ordering Massa to move over for Bottas, he had not moved over and Williams then told Bottas to fight his way past him to chase Jenson Button in sixth. Eventually, Bottas couldn’t get past his team-mate and the duo finished the race seventh and eighth.

Back at the front, though, it was Lewis Hamilton who took top honours as he crossed the line, in a league of his own, to take his 23rd career victory and his 100th points finish. Nico Rosberg followed his team-mate across the line, and secured the first Mercedes 1-2 since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel filled out the podium.

Provisional Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Fernando Alonso
  5. Nico Hulkenberg
  6. Jenson Button
  7. Felipe Massa
  8. Valtteri Bottas
  9. Kevin Magnussen
  10. Daniil Kvyat
  11. Romain Grosjean
  12. Kimi Raikkonen
  13. Kamui Kobayashi
  14. Marcus Ericsson
  15. Max Chilton
  • Daniel Ricciardo
  • Esteban Gutierrez
  • Adrian Sutil
  • Jules Bianchi
  • Pastor Maldonado
  • Sergio Perez


Australia

Nico Rosberg stormed to victory at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, a race which proved to be all about the survival of the fittest. Pole man Lewis Hamilton and reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel both retired very early on while two men took to the podium for the first time.

Even before the lights went out today, Romain Grosjean had been handed a drive-through penalty for leaving his garage before he was allowed to. The Frenchman suffered through a dismal Qualifying and later opted to start from the pitlane so that his team could work on his car. On the plus side, Grosjean was spared the chaos at the start of the race.

Max Chilton failed to take the formation lap when his car simply turned itself off, meaning he had to be wheeled slowly back to the garage while the grid weaved around Albert Park. Two minutes later, Hamilton led the 20 cars on the grid and the 2014 season was very nearly underway – until Jules Bianchi suffered a similar problem in his Marussia and prompted an aborted start. As he too was wheeled to the pits, the grid underwent another formation lap.

Finally the five red lights came on, went out, and the nineteen eager drivers rushed forward. Pole man Lewis Hamilton lost his lead immediately to fast-starting Nico Rosberg while Kevin Magnussen got sideways in his McLaren and missed an overtaking opportunity on local hero Daniel Ricciardo. Kamui Kobayashi, after his absolutely stunning Qualifying performance, braked far too late and smashed into the rear of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari. His front right tyre was completely disconnected from the car, and the left one subsequently came loose when he slammed into the back of Felipe Massa’s Williams, sending both Kamui and Felipe into the gravel and out of the race. Kamui later claimed responsibility for the crash and was eager to apologise, but said that when he pressed the brakes, the car simply wouldn’t slow. Massa slammed the Japanese returnee, who missed last season, for braking far too late.

Pole man Hamilton was dropping down the order fast: his Mercedes was noticeably struggling and it was not long before the team told him to pit to retire the car. He stayed out for a further lap, hoping against hope that the car might fix itself, but inevitably pulled in on lap three. A devastating weekend for the pre-season title favourite. The reigning World Champion fared no better, dropping like a HRT on the front row from his starting position of eleventh, eventually falling behind Max Chilton who overtook him on the back straight. He followed Hamilton into the pits on the fifth lap and started his title defence with a retirement.

Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas had a nice scrap for P6 with the Williams driver outmaneuvering his more experienced countryman and moving up to sixth. It was the start of a strong race for Bottas and a disappointing showing for Raikkonen’s first race since his return to Ferrari.

Once he had cleared Raikkonen, Bottas went in search of the next car down the road, which turned out to be Kimi’s team-mate, Fernando Alonso, who himself was chasing Hulkenberg for fourth. Bottas was closing Alonso’s gap and looking ready to overtake before he slid wide coming out of the turn 10 chicane and whacked the wall, losing his rear right tyre. The Finn hurried back to the pitlane where his car was given the all-clear and returned to the race. But as he got out on track, so did the Safety Car which was deployed to give marshalls a chance to clear the debris on the long back straight caused by Bottas’ accident.

The Safety Car stint led to an obvious flurry of pit stops as Rosberg, Ricciardo, Magnussen and Button leading the bulk of the grid in for the first tyre change. After a slightly prolonged Safety Car period and the warning of very light drops of rain, the Safety Car came in and Rosberg charged away in the distance ahead of Ricciardo and Magnussen.

The race recovery was back on for Valtteri Bottas who began his charge by passing former team-mate Pastor Maldonado for eleventh. Ricciardo was simultaneously told that he did not need to save fuel while Hulkenberg dropped further behind Magnussen and into the clutches of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. He was noticeably struggling to keep ahead of the Prancing Horse and suffered several huge lock ups. Bottas moved past Marcus Ericsson’s displaced Caterham when he made his first pit-stop, and subsequently passed Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso for ninth. Raikkonen, who let Vergne passed him following a huge lock up and slide wide, was now in Bottas’ sights.

Not long after his pit-stop, Marcus Ericsson compounded Caterham’s bad luck when he stopped his car at turn 4 due to an oil pressure issue. The same fate befell Maldonado’s Lotus which pulled over on lap 31 after a pit-stop. Button didn’t retire after his pit-stop, but did come out without the front tip of his nose after the front jack man accidentally knocked it off when he was lowering the car.

Hulkenberg pitted and opened the door for Alonso while Raikkonen went wide in the other Ferrari and allowed Bottas up to 5th place – much to the hidden delight of a noticeably nervous Claire Williams. Alonso was the next man to stop for a fresh pair of boots, swapping the soft compounds for the medium Pirellis, and rejoined the track narrowly ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. Ricciardo and Magnussen pitted and Magnussen hoped to echo Alonso’s overtake through pit strategy. He failed to do so, however, and rejoined the race very close behind Ricciardo’s Red Bull. Rosberg pitted from first and had no problem keeping his lead – rejoining almost twenty seconds ahead of Ricciardo.

Bottas was closing on Vergne, Magnussen was up Ricciardo’s gearbox but couldn’t pass the Aussie and Daniil Kvyat was closing on Raikkonen. Vergne had a huge sideways moment in the final corner and allowed Bottas to cruise past the Toro Rosso, while Magnussen was first told to save his tyres in case he has to defend against Button, but then told he was free to race Ricciardo.

Raikkonen was still defending hard against a feisty Kvyat and overtook the other car of Vergne following another error from the Frenchman. He was subsequently asked to let Kvyat past, but didn’t. Magnussen was unbelievably close and saved fuel for four laps before turning the fuel mix up to catch Ricciardo on the last three laps. He came mighty close but Ricciardo’s home crowd drove him on and Magnussen just about missed out.

Nico Rosberg crossed the finish line twenty-five seconds clear of Ricciardo, who led Magnussen across the line – both of whom were on the podium for the first time. Button was close behind his team-mate and finished fourth in the race which he has three times won, followed by Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas.

Nico Hulkenberg finally finished the Australian Grand Prix, having not completed a single racing lap in his previous three races at Albert Park. Kimi Raikkonen finished eighth, Jean-Eric Vergne in ninth and Daniil Kvyat in tenth to score points on his first race. Sergio Perez was eleventh, the Sauber duo of Sutil and Gutierrez twelfth and thirteenth respectively, and finally the Marussia drivers of Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi who, despite their pre-race troubles, made it to the chequered flag.

Final standings:

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Daniel Ricciardo
  3. Kevin Magnussen
  4. Jenson Button
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Valtteri Bottas
  7. Nico Hulkenberg
  8. Kimi Raikkonen
  9. Jean-Eric Vergne
  10. Daniil Kvyat
  11. Sergio Perez
  12. Adrian Sutil
  13. Esteban Gutierrez
  14. Max Chilton
  15. Jules Bianchi

Felipe Massa – Collision
Kamui Kobayashi – Collision
Lewis Hamilton – Engine issue
Sebastian Vettel – Engine issue
Marcus Ericsson – Oil pressure issue
Pastor Maldonado – MGU-K failure
Romain Grosjean – MGU-K failure

Brazil

Sebastian Vettel has taken his ninth consecutive victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix after a fantastic drive and was him joined on the podium by his outgoing team-mate Mark Webber and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. His performance wasn’t flawless as he battled with backmarkers and last-second pit stops, but it was good enough to win the race with a huge margin.

Surprisingly, Vettel lost the lead into the first corner, allowing Nico Rosberg to move up into the lead of the race while Hamilton battled Alonso for third. Massa had a strong start and was right behind Mark out of turn three, while Heikki Kovalainen bogged down on the grid and was seventeenth at the end of lap 1, having taken eleventh in Qualifying.

Rosberg fought hard to keep Vettel behind him but inevitably lost it on the start/finish straight at the beginning of lap 2, while Alonso passed Hamilton for third. Webber took strong pace out of the third corner to out-drag Hamilton to turn four and pull a stunning overtake on the Mercedes. Webber’s 2014 replacement was trying his hardest to get past the Lotus of Romain Grosjean – but didn’t have to wait long as Grosjean’s engine blew up as he went to cross the line for lap four, becoming the first retirement of the race.

Adrian Sutil was unhappy with Sergio Perez who seemed to force him off track at turn five, but stewards deemed the move to have been legal. Bottas began battling Vergne at the same time and was to trade positions with the Frenchman several times before using DRS to good effect and passing the Toro Rosso into turn 1. Slightly further up the gird, old sparring partners Massa and Hamilton were fighting tooth and nail for fifth when Massa was handed a drive-through penalty for crossing the white lines of the pitlane entrance. It was a blow for Massa who stayed out for as long as possible, seemingly to slow Hamilton into traffic and limit the damage of the drive-through.

Hamilton was now up to fifth but would not be there for long. Valtteri Bottas tried to pass Hamilton into turn five but the Briton moved across the Finn and made contact with the Williams. Bottas’ wheel went airborne and he retired on the spot, while Hamilton crawled around the track with a puncture and was then handed a drive-through for the incident. The Red Bulls anticipated a Safety Car and boxed both men. However, they were unready when Vettel came into the pits which saw Vettel held up, as well as Webber who was forced to park up behind the pit box as the team scrambled for the correct tires. Vettel’s eleven second lead was halved by the incident, but was saved as Alonso jumped Webber in the pits, forcing the Aussie to retake the Ferrari.

Charles Pic was the third man to retire from the race, running off track with a suspected suspension issue. He parked his stricken Caterham on the run-off area in turn six, which is sloped, leaving marshalls trying to push the heavy Caterham to a safer area for several laps. On track, Maldonado was fending off Jean-Eric Vergne and completely closed the gap into turn 1, forcing the Frenchman off the track and spinning his Williams.

The much expected rain would have been the only wet spell during a race all season but despite very slight drizzle for most of the race, a full downpour never materialized and drivers could keep using the dry Pirelli compounds. The wet weather could also have thrown a spanner in the works for Vettel, but he remained unchallenged. He crossed the line to win the Brazilian Grand Prix, the second time he has done it, while Webber finished second in his final race, and Alonso took third.

Final Standings: 

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Mark Webber
  3. Fernando Alonso
  4. Jenson Button
  5. Nico Rosberg
  6. Sergio Perez
  7. Felipe Massa
  8. Nico Hulkenberg
  9. Lewis Hamilton
  10. Daniel Ricciardo
  11. Paul di Resta
  12. Esteban Gutierrez
  13. Adrian Sutil
  14. Heikki Kovalainen
  15. Jean-Eric Vergne
  16. Pastor Maldonado
  17. Jules Bianchi
  18. Giedo van der Garde
  19. Max Chilton
  • Romain Grosjean – Engine Failure
  • Valtteri Bottas – Collision Damage
  • Charles Pic – Suspension

Austin

There were no surprises in Texas as pole-man Sebastian Vettel cruised unchallenged to his eighth consecutive victory of the season. Defying fears that Red Bull held over the state of Vettel’s gearbox pre-race, Vettel crossed the line after fifty-six laps with a twelve second lead in his pocket. Lotus’ Romain Grosjean crossed the line in second place while Webber finished third in his penultimate Grand Prix.

Vettel and Webber had their usual slow starts off the line but while Webber lost second to a faster-starting Grosjean, Vettel was able to defend from the Frenchman into turn 1 before beginning his predictable drive into the distance. The usual knocks and bumps occurred through the first sector as the grid formed into a single file line, but Adrian Sutil’s contact with Pastor Maldonado was more than just a tap. The German was racing the Venezuelan on the long back-straight and moved left across the Williams inexplicably. His Force India spun right and then left before hitting the barriers with quite a thump and completely shattering Sutil’s front suspension. Sutil was out, as was the Safety Car.

Bernd Maylander came into the pits after four laps in the Safety Car leaving Vettel bunching up the grid. By the time he rocketed away in the distance, the cars behind him were too busy falling over themselves to notice that he’d gone. Webber used DRS to pull a stunning overtake on Lewis Hamilton who was evidently uncomfortable in his Mercedes. Chilton, on the other side of the grid, pitted to take his drive-through penalty which was handed down to him for impeding during Qualifying. Lotus stand-in Heikki Kovalainen was also in the pits, recovering from a bad start and changing his front wing. The Finn would later lose his KERS and be restricted to the lower positions through no fault of his own.

The RS zone certainly provided plenty of action with the likes of Alonso and Hulkenberg batting tooth-and-nail through there on several occasions. Gutierrez and Vergne, Perez and Gutierrez, Kovalainen and Rosberg also fought for positions at the end of the kilometre long straight. Webber was driving a great race and traded fastest laps with Sebastian Vettel for the majority of the race, but when push-came-to-shove and Webber caught Grosjean, he soon fell behind the Frenchman and couldn’t close the gap.

Kovalainen went off track and re-joined, as did Paul di Resta when he tried to battle Jean-Eric Vergne around the outside of corner three – and failed. Valtteri Bottas made a breath-taking overtake on Vergne a few laps later at the same spot, leaving mere millimetres between the two cars as the Finn moved up the order. The other Finn on the grid, Kovalainen, was trying to recover his race and came close to the pitlane while passing Maldonado for 15th.

Hamilton held fourth from Hulkenberg and Alonso with ten laps remaining and a fantastic battle ensued. Setting purple lap times in the laps before, Alonso pulled a dummy on Hulkenberg and moved up to fifth in turn 1. Massa in the other Ferrari swept past Maldonado at the same point as Alonso set off to hunt down Hamilton’s Mercedes. Pic was handed a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags, to add to his five-place penalty for changing gearbox.

Back up front, however, Vettel was in a world of his own as he crossed the line to take his twelfth win of the season – his eighth consecutive victory. Grosjean crossed the line second, marginally clear of Webber whose badly grained tyres gave up on him in the closing laps. Hamilton managed to hold Alonso off while Bottas took eighth, and his first points finish, for Williams. While the checkered flag flew, Vergne and Gutirrez were still battling for position, resulting in the Mexican getting slightly airborne and spinning off track. He rejoined, but firmly out of the points. Vettel performed the now traditional post-race doughnuts en route to his podium finish leaving only one question – can Vettel equal Schumacher’s record of 13 wins per season?

Final Standings:

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Romain Grosjean
  3. Mark Webber
  4. Lewis Hamilton
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Nico Hulkenberg
  7. Sergio Perez
  8. Valtteri Bottas
  9. Nico Rosberg
  10. Jenson Button
  11. Daniel Ricciardo
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Felipe Massa
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Heikki Kovalainen
  16. Paul di Resta
  17. Pastor Maldonado
  18. Jules Bianchi
  19. Giedo van der Garde
  20. Charles Pic
  21. Max Chilton
  • Adrian Sutil – collision

Abu Dhabi

Almost unbelievably it was Vettel not starting on pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, admitting after qualifying that he had made a mistake into T1 on his flying lap. Nevertheless he was starting beside his team-mate on the front row, with both Mercedes’ drivers behind him. Kimi Raikkonen provided the talking point for Saturday evening when his car failed a post-qualifying scrutineering and was found to have an illegal floor. As a result he had his qualifying time deleted and he was given the option of starting from the back of the grid or from the pit lane. The latter would allow him to make changes to his car, but Lotus estimated that the time lost from starting in the pits would be too large and so decided to start from 22nd on the grid.

This led to a myriad of questions pre-race as to how the race would unfold with several key drivers out of position. Could Webber keep the lead? Could Alonso make an alternative strategy work to storm through the field? Could Raikkonen repeat Vettel’s run from last to podium in 2012?

As it turned out, Webber couldn’t keep his lead. With yet another dodgy start from the veteran, he dropped behind both Vettel and Rosberg while closing off Hamilton into turn 1, who was then passed by Grosjean. Alonso cleared the first corner melee but Raikkonen was overly ambitious and found himself driving into an ever closing gap between Charles Pic’s Caterham and the barrier. He made contact with the Caterham which damaged his suspension and he pulled over on track, the Finn’s first first lap retirement since the 2006 United States Grand Prix.

Vettel did what he does best and stormed off into the horizon like very competitive AI on a video game, while Rosberg, Webber, Hamilton and Grosjean battled for second and Alonso began a challenge on his independent team-mate. Jenson Button pitted for damage sustained on the opening lap and rejoined at the back where he was soon joined by team-mate Perez who opted to take an early stop. Webber took the lead from Rosberg and got to business early, reporting a KERS issue on his RB9.

Hamilton’s pit stop on lap ninth proved to be the finger that pushed the domino as Webber and Grosjean pitted to cover off Lewis’ attempts at making the undercut work. Stops completed, Webber led Grosjean from Hamilton as they set into battling the traffic ahead of them. Webber caught and passed the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez with a surprising ease and was shortly followed by Grosjean’s Lotus. The Sauber proved trickier for Hamilton who had to get comfortable behind the weaving Mexican. It was a similar story for Grosjean who couldn’t past Adrian Sutil when Webber had dealt with the German. This helped stretch out the order and handed Rosberg an opportunity to pit, reporting that his rear tyres were spent.

Rosberg rejoined sixth and Webber began chasing the Mercedes down while Vettel pitted from the lead and rejoined back in front, with Massa and Di Resta his provisional podium companions, with both men still to stop. Grosjean finally makes a move stick on Sutil while Gutierrez pits and frees Hamilton who was now been followed by Nico Hulkenberg. Massa pitted from second and provided a wedge between Hamilton and Hulkenberg while Webber used his DRS to breeze past Rosberg. Di Resta pitted and Webber assumed P2 while Alonso stole past Perez and Bottas, the latter who was yet to pit.

Hamilton got past Sutil into T10 and thought he’d secured the place until both Sutil and Massa used DRS on the back straight and cued an incredibly ballsy move from Massa into the T13 chichane to pass both men. Sutil ventured into the pits for a fresh set of boots and rejoined the track in the middle of a battle between Maldonado and Perez. Sutil sized the Venezuelan up into T13, locked up, took to the escape road and rejoined ahead of Perez who had just passed the Williams. The incident was investigated by Stewards but they took no further action. On the other hand, Hulkenberg was handed a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release into the path of Perez.

Back to the battle for fifth where Massa and Alonso were scrapping away, Massa had no obligation to obey the team orders and was instead called into the pits to clear the way for Alonso. Closer to the front, Webber covered Mercedes’ attempt at the undercut by joining Rosberg in the pitlane and rejoining ahead of the German. Whereas Massa had pitted, Alonso tried to bring his Ferrari to the line on a one-stop strategy. The effect on his time was too much, however, and he journeyed into the pitlane for a fresh set of Pirellis. Rejoining the circuit, he came out right in front of Vergne who pulled alongside and pushed him onto the kerbs. Alonso stayed off track, got small air and swerved to the other side of the track, forcing Vergne off the other side. Massa nearly ran into the back of the duo which left the Brazilian cutting the first chicane. The stewards weren’t impressed and announced that they would be investigating Alonso for exceeding track limits post-race.

Alonso, Grosjean and Vettel swapped the fastest lap in the closing stages and Hamilton was passed by Fernando but nothing could challenge Sebastian Vettel up front as he crossed the line to claim his seventh consecutive victory of 2013 – and with it, Red Bull’s 100th podium finish. He celebrated in style by pulling off track at turn 7 and doing doughnuts. However, don’t expect a penalty for Vettel as he got the car back to Parc Fermé, unlike leaving his car on the start/finish straight as he did in India.

Final Standings: 

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Mark Webber
  3. Nico Rosberg
  4. Romain Grosjean
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Paul di Resta
  7. Lewis Hamilton
  8. Felipe Massa
  9. Sergio Perez
  10. Adrian Sutil
  11. Pastor Maldonado
  12. Jenson Button
  13. Esteban Gutierrez
  14. Nico Hulkenberg
  15. Valtteri Bottas
  16. Daniel Ricciardo
  17. Jean-Eric Vergne
  18. Giedo van der Garde
  19. Charles Pic
  20. Jules Bianchi
  21. Max Chilton
  • Kimi Raikkonen – suspension failure

India

Sebastian Vettel became the youngest quadruple World Champion ever today by winning the Indian Grand Prix for the third year on the trot. His team-mate didn’t share his joy as RBR also clinched their fourth Constructors Championship, with Webber dropping from the race with an alternator failure. Alonso, the only man who could postpone Vettel’s Championship glory, sustained damage at the start and later got caught in traffic to finish out of the points in eleventh, while Grosjean battled from seventeenth to third.

The parade lap came and went and the grid took shape as the five lights lit up above the twenty-two assembled drivers. Lights out and they jumped forward, Vettel keeping his lead into turn one with the Mercedes duo fending off Felipe Massa. Mark Webber clobbered the curbs and tapped Kimi slightly before correcting himself and then nicking Fernando Alonso’s front wing. Further down the grid, Max Chilton had an ambitious start and hit Van der Garde at the first corner, prompting the Dutchman to pull over and become the first retirement of the race.

Alonso slowly fell back the grid whilst suffering from the damage and pitted on the second lap, taking a new nose cone and a fresh set of boots. Vettel, surprisingly, followed him into the pits on Lap 3 to swap his softer compound for the medium compounds to begin his chase after Mark Webber who started the race on the more durable tyre.

Massa led the race at this point while Vettel began his charge from seventeenth. By lap 10, Webber held the lead and the fastest lap while Vettel was quickly gaining ground on the other RB9. With the aid of DRS, he breezed past the bulk of the grid before overtaking Sergio Perez and slipping into second place where he slowed down, safe in the knowledge that Webber, ten seconds ahead, would have to pit sooner or later and allow him back into the lead.

Gutierrez served a drive-through penalty for a jump-start while Pic made a second pit stop for a second puncture, having suffered the first puncture on the first lap. The Frenchman now running dead last would later be the second man to retire from the race with an underlying ‘serious issue’ on the Caterham.

Alonso was preoccupied with pushing past Gutierrez whilst Massa was fending off Nico Rosberg. Webber pitted and Vettel took the lead, although it wasn’t too long before he himself entered the pits to change compounds. And Webber followed him in, only the bones of ten laps after swapping to the softer compounds, to fit the medium tyre and begin his final stint.

Vettel and Webber now held a 1-2, a position that would easily guarantee them their fourth constructors championship, but before long Webber’s car was once again giving up and he was told to shut the engine off, suffering from an alternator issue. If he had no luck, he would have no luck at all.

Stewards launched an investigation over Grosjean and Gutierrez making one than one maneuver, but this amounted to nothing, as did an investigation over Hulkenberg and Bottas exceeding track limits. Although Hulkenberg survived the investigation, he didn’t survive a mechanical issue on the Sauber which saw him crawl in to retire with just four laps remaining.

Raikkonen, Hamilton and Perez had a great scrap towards the end of the race for fifth place, but up front Sebastian remained unchallenged finishing thirty seconds ahead of Nico Rosberg as he crossed the line to claim his fourth consecutive World Championship and clinch the Constructors Championship for the team, again for the fourth time.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Romain Grosjean
  4. Felipe Massa
  5. Sergio Perez
  6. Lewis Hamilton
  7. Kimi Raikkonen
  8. Paul di Resta
  9. Adrian Sutil
  10. Daniel Ricciardo
  11. Fernando Alonso
  12. Pastor Maldonado
  13. Jean-Eric Vergne
  14. Jenson Button
  15. Esteban Gutierrez
  16. Valtteri Bottas
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Jules Bianchi
  • Nico Hulkenberg
  • Mark Webber
  • Charles Pic
  • Giedo van der Garde

Japan

Sebastian Vettel will have to wait until the Indian Grand Prix, at least, to take a fourth consecutive World Championship, with Fernando Alonso finishing fourth in Suzuka today, to keep his Championship hopes mathematically alive.

Vettel’s team-mate, Mark Webber, had taken pole position, his first since Korea 2012, with Vettel joining him on the front row, but both men bogged down at the start. Hamilton dived through the gaps between the two RB9s, but got caught on Vettel’s front wing and went wide at the first corner with a left rear puncture. Romain Grosjean, from fourth, jumped the top three following an extraordinary start and took the lead of the Grand Prix. At the back of the grid, Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde made contact and the duo spun into the gravel at turn 1 and climbed from their respective cockpits.

Hamilton circulated to the pitlane and fitted a new set of boots while Alonso scrapped with Massa, and Raikkonen passed Button. Massa, now his own man, was in no rush to be the team-player. Further up the grid, Hamilton became the third man to drop from the race due to damage suffered in his T1 contact.

Up at the very front, Webber boxed from second which left Vettel inheriting second and roaring after Grosjean who then also pitted and rejoined ahead of Mark. Rosberg earned himself a drive-through penalty following a very close call in the pits when his team released him into the path of Sergio Perez.

Lap twenty and Alonso cruised past Massa who then went wide in the hairpin and Esteban Gutierrez slid up the inside of the Brazilian who out-dragged the Sauber and retook the position. Raikkonen was next man behind the Sauber and he swept past the Mexican in a ballsy move at 130R. It was all kicking off and Massa tried taking the inside line of Alonso into the chicane as the Spaniard passed Daniel Ricciardo, but back out of the move and Hulkenberg creeped slowly towards the gearbox of the F138.

Back at the front, Webber had the bit between his teeth and was catching Grosjean at a rapid rate of knots. But as soon as he had caught the Lotus, Webber pulled right on the pit straight and came into the pits. It was clear that Webber was running a three-stop strategy as opposed to the double stopping duo of RoGro and Vettel.

Webber began to slowly open the Grosjean whilst catching Vettel at a pace of a second a lap. Vettel pitted and fitted a set of hard tyres for his last stint, coming out behind Grosjean but soon caught and passed the Frenchman. Webber came into the pits and fitted a new pair of the medium tyre with ten laps remaining. He came out behind both Seb and Grosjean and clearly had the speed to catch Vettel, but could he pass him for the win?

Turns out he wouldn’t get close. Grosjean was much slower than Webber but proved to be quite the moving roadblock and kept the Bull contained behind him. With two laps to go Webber finally shot past the Lotus into turn 1 amid a myriad of lapped drivers. Webber was more than a second clear of the Lotus after the first sector but it was too late for the Aussie as Vettel crossed the line to take his ninth win this season.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Mark Webber
  3. Romain Grosjean
  4. Fernando Alonso
  5. Kimi Raikkonen
  6. Nico Hulkenberg
  7. Esteban Gutierrez
  8. Nico Rosberg
  9. Jenson Button
  10. Felipe Massa
  11. Paul di Resta
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Daniel Ricciardo
  14. Adrian Sutil
  15. Sergio Perez
  16. Pastor Maldonado
  17. Valtteri Bottas
  18. Charles Pic
  19. Max Chilton
  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Giedo van der Garde
  • Jules Bianchi

Korea

Sebastian Vettel was unstoppable on his charge from pole to podium today at the Korean Grand Prix to seal his fourth consecutive win and eighth of the season. The German kept absolute dominance over the rest of the grid excluding his various trips down the pitlane. Right from the start he was untouchable – Hamilton dropped well behind him from second on the grid and led the fight for P2 which is the now common central battle.

There was no contact in the first corner but Felipe Massa spun on the kerbs at the third corner and spun towards his team-mate, Alonso forced to take to the run-off area to avoid contact. Both Jenson Button and Adrian Sutil damaged their front wings while trying to get through the ensuing chaos, but no drivers were forced to retire.

Almost as soon as the race started, the stewards were busy investigating Giedo van der Garde on suspicion that he forced Marussia’s Jules Bianchi off track – and he was penalised for same. Next up was Perez who was under a similar investigation for pushing Di Resta off the track, but stewards postponed the investigation until after the race in order to hear the driver’s point of view.

The Stewards were waiting to interview Di Resta after he finished, but that time came much quicker than they were expecting when Di Resta spun out and retired due to driver error for the fourth race in a row. Hamilton was complaining of tyre degradation and was begging to be allowed to change his tyres but before he could, the team had to wait for Rosberg to pit to fix his front wing which had partly detached itself and was now scraping the ground. He circled the circuit, fitted a new nose and was on his way.

No sooner Rosberg’s drama over then Perez suffered a tyre delamination and deployed the Safety Car. Mark Webber who was running right behind the Mexican suffered a puncture, merely seconds after coming out of the pitlane, due to debris left on track. Vettel survived the restart in the lead, but Sutil lost control of his car in a straight line and speared Red Bull’s Mark Webber into turn 3. Sutil continued on but Webber’s RB9 burst into flames and spurred an unathorised Fire Marshall jeep on track which in turn spurred a Safety Car.

Vettel was still safely in the lead but Hulkenberg was defending fourth place tooth and nail from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who just couldn’t make it past the young German. Further back, Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado, Esteban Gutierrez and Sergio Perez were in an all South-American scrap for position which resulted in Felipe Massa trumping the rest.

And so to the closing stages of the race when Adrian Sutil pulled into the pits for the umpteenth double DNF for Force India in 2013. Daniel Ricciardo also retired, pulling over on at turn 11 on the penultimate lap.

And so Sebastian Vettel crossed the line to take his 34th career victory. Kimi Raikkonen led team-mate Romain Grosjean home while ‘The Incredible Hulk’ crossed the line fourth, in a stunning effort from the Sauber driver. Fernando Alonso was sixth which means that if Sebastian Vettel wins the Japanese Grand Prix next Sunday, and Alonso is eight of lower, Vettel will be crowned Champion in Suzuka.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Kimi Raikkonen
  3. Romain Grosjean
  4. Nico Hulkenberg
  5. Lewis Hamilton
  6. Fernando Alonso
  7. Nico Rosberg
  8. Jenson Button
  9. Felipe Massa
  10. Sergio Perez
  11. Esteban Gutierrez
  12. Valtteri Bottas
  13. Pastor Maldonado
  14. Charles Pic
  15. Giedo van der Garde
  16. Jules Bianchi
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Jean-Eric Vergne
  19. Daniel Ricciardo *
  20. Adrian Sutil *

(*Driver completed 90% race distance and is classified)

  • Mark Webber – Collision
  • Paul di Resta – Driver Error

Singapore

Nobody could stand in Sebastian Vettel’s way as he eased himself to a mundane victory under the 6,000 lights of the Singapore street circuit. A brief spell of around four seconds proceeded the processional Grand Prix as Rosberg beat Vettel to the first corner and gave hope of a race, but overshot his braking and allowed Vettel to retake the lead. Fernando Alonso had a superb start to jump from seventh to third at one of the Spaniard’s strongest circuits, whilst Hamilton joined his team-mate by overshooting the first corner and illegally overtaking Felipe Massa. The entire grid made it unscathed through the first lap as Hamilton was ordered to give the place back to Massa.

Two laps down and Vettel led a two-second lead on Rosberg. Excluding several pit stops, nothing notable happened on track for the first twenty laps.

Eventually, Sergio Perez broke the procession and made a move on Nico Hulkenberg. Nico was forced to take to run off track as Perez was on his inside, but didn’t gain an advantage. However, the stewards made yet another of their infamous mistakes and ordered the German to hand the place to Perez – despite the fact that Nico was ahead of Perez before the incident and didn’t gain an advantage.

Two laps later Daniel Ricciardo out-braked himself and hit the barriers at the tunnel and prompted a Safety Car. On the restart, Rosberg failed to challenge Vettel and he shot off far into the distance.

Romain Grosjean was running high in the order following his third in Qualifying before being told that his engine pneumatic system lacked air. He sat in the box for over forty seconds as a Renault engineer got down on his knees and pumped the engine with air. However, the problem proved fatal and Grosjean was forced to pit two laps later to retire from the race.

Far back, Gutierrez held seventh from Webber and the Mercedes duo. Mark Webber was the first to make a move on the Mexican and slid past him into turn 7. Rosberg was held up behind the Sauber until turn 9 while Hamilton followed his team-mate on the exit of turn 12. The trio now hunted Jenson Button in third, Kimi Raikkonen in fourth, Sergio Perez in fifth and Nico Hulkenberg in sixth. Webber was catching the latter by a fantastic three seconds a lap.

The Trio was soon upon the German and he moved past him at the same point that he passed the sister Sauber as Kimi pulled a fantastic move around the outside of Button for the final podium position. Webber took the fight to Perez through turn 7 and passed him in turn 8 as Rosberg moved past Hulkenberg at the sixth corner.

Paul di Resta binned his Force India at turn 7 for his third retirement in three races, following yet another Q1 drop out for the Scott. Webber was still moving up the grid, taking fourth from Button into the first corner. Rosberg passed Perez a lap later and then targeted his McLaren team-mate as Hamilton overtook Perez towards the tunnel.

In the dying stages, Webber was told to short shift every gear on every corner. Could the Aussie drop out on the last lap after a fantastic late charge?

Felipe Massa was also fighting late on and moved passed Jenson Button – who had lost four place in five laps. Rosberg came right up to the gearbox of Webber’s dying car and was challenging for fourth as Button led Perez from Hulkenberg and Sutil in the remaining Force India. Webber was a sitting duck on the final lap and Rosberg cruised past the Aussie and Hamilton followed suit seconds later.

His next words were to radio “I’m in trouble, I’m in trouble”, and urged to carry on to the line. “Yeah, no can do” he replied. Massa coasted past the Red Bull which then burst into flames, as Vettel crossed the line to win the Singapore Grand Prix.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Fernando Alonso
  3. Kimi Raikkonen
  4. Nico Rosberg
  5. Lewis Hamilton
  6. Felipe Massa
  7. Jenson Button
  8. Sergio Perez
  9. Nico Hulkenberg
  10. Adrian Sutil
  11. Pastor Maldonado
  12. Esteban Gutierrez
  13. Valtteri Bottas
  14. Jean-Eric Vergne
  15. Mark Webber
  16. Giedo van der Garde
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Jules Bianchi
  19. Charles Pic
  • Romain Grosjean – Engine air-intake issue
  • Paul di Resta – Crash
  • Daniel Ricciardo – Crash

Italy

Ferrari failed to provide the Tifosi with reason to celebrate as an unstoppable Sebastian Vettel led from lights to flag. The German dominated for the whole weekend and claimed an easy pole position before finishing the race over five seconds clear of his closest rival, Fernando Alonso. 

There was plenty to talk about pre-race as it appeared that the race could be a wet one, rain falling on the track around fifty minutes before the race start. It soon died off however and left all cars starting on the dry Pirelli compounds. There was uncertainty at McLaren also, who discovered a fuel system issue relatively late in the pre-race build up and had to put in frantic work to get his car on the grid. Nonetheless, the Briton took his place on the grid.

The Red Bull’s locked out the front row with Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg impressively right behind them. Off the line, Vettel kept the lead while Webber made a good start and kept on his rear wing. Felipe Massa had a fantastic start and jumped to second while Vettel suffered a huge lock-up into the first corner and forced Webber wide. Hulkenberg dropped down the order as Alonso moved up to fourth. Kimi Raikkonen out-braked himself into turn 1 and nudged McLaren’s Sergio Perez into the run-off area, forcing the Finn to pit for a new front wing.

The other Lotus was also in the wars; Force India’s Paul di Resta out-braked himself into the second chicane and had a quiet spectacular shunt into the rear of Romain Grosjean’s E-21, losing his front left wheel and retiring immediately. Miraculously, Grosjean’s car was completely undamaged and he stayed in the race.

Alonso wasn’t waiting for an invitation from Mark Webber to move up to third, making a fantastic manoeuvre around the outside of the Red Bull. His next target was Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari, who he had soon caught and passed with a presumably orchestrated ease.

Lewis Hamilton was fighting to recover from a poor Qualifying, but was hindered by both a slow puncture and radio problems. The team called him into the pits several times but to no avail as he was receiving no audio from there end. Eventually, the good old pit board was brought out to instruct him into the pits where he changed to medium tyres, rejoining in nineteenth.

Jean-Eric Vergne was soon out of the race, struck with more horrible luck. The Frenchman’s engine had blown and left a trail of oil around the second chicane, where he pulled off to watch the remainder of the race.

The Red Bull duo made their respective pit-stops, with Mark Webber putting the undercut to good effect to pass Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. Alonso couldn’t use the undercut on Vettel, instead rejoining six seconds shy of the race-leader. Romain Grosjean was making overtakes though, pulling an impressive dive up the inside of Sergio Perez into turn 1. He seemed to open the idea up to other people who turned the corner into the center of the action; Kimi and Lewis fighting tooth or nail for several laps through the corner before the latter eventually trumped the former and moved up the order. Next, Lewis went looking for a points finish and passed both McLaren drivers on separate laps.

Late in the race, the last lap in fact, Adrian Sutil pulled his Force India into his garage to make it a double DNF for the Silverstone based team. On the other end of the grid, Vettel crossed the line first, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. Hulkenberg came home fifth in a fantastic performance for Sauber while Lewis Hamilton eventually finished ninth.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Fernando Alonso
  3. Mark Webber
  4. Felipe Massa
  5. Nico Hulkenberg
  6. Nico Rosberg
  7. Daniel Ricciardo
  8. Romain Grosjean
  9. Lewis Hamilton
  10. Jenson Button
  11. Kimi Raikkonen
  12. Sergio Perez
  13. Esteban Gutierrez
  14. Pastor Maldonado
  15. Valtteri Bottas
  16. Adrian Sutil (completed over 90% race distance and is classified)
  17. Charles Pic
  18. Giedo van der Garde
  19. Jules Bianchi
  20. Max Chilton
  • Jean-Eric Vergne
  • Paul di Resta

Belgium

Sebastian Vettel charged to victory at the Belgian Grand Prix. The German was untouchable since storming away from pole-man Lewis Hamilton on the first lap.

The entire grid made it cleanly through the first corner and Eau Rouge before Vettel made the overtake by massively out-dragging Hamilton into Les Combes. Behind them, the Marussias backed down the order to twentieth and twenty-first while Giedo van der Garde, who impressed on Saturday by taking fourteenth on the grid, dropped back to sixteenth. Fernando Alonso was a man on a mission, charging from ninth to fourth on the first few laps but Mark Webber suffered one of his usual bad-starts and dropped to sixth.

Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean were battling hard – the Mexican forcing the Lotus driver off the track at Les Combes and forcing Grosjean to take to the escape road. Perez earned himself a drive-through penalty for his efforts. Felipe Massa was the first man to pit while Charles Pic followed a poor Qualifying with a poor race, becoming the first driver to drop from the race, as the result of an oil issue.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton scrapped for third while Felipe Massa and Mark Webber traded fastest laps after their respective pit stops. Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez were also scrapping – the trio heading into Eau Rouge three abreast. Eventually Sutil trumped the McLaren and di Resta fell into place behind the Mexican.

Kimi Raikkonen struggled with the brakes on his Lotus race-long and finally lost braking power at the bus-stop chicane – shooting past Felipe Massa into the run-off area and pulling into the pitlane to retire the car. It’s the Finn’s first retirement since his return to F1 and brings to and end, the record breaking run of consecutive points finishes.

Not long afterwards, Pastor Maldoando and Esteban Gutierrez were fighting tooth and nail into the bus-stop chicane. Maldonado went wide around the outside and when rejoining the track, tapped Adrian Sutil and then hit the other Force India of Paul di Resta, ripping the rear wheels and rear wing off the car. As a result, Maldonado was handed a ten second Stop/Go penalty.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Nico Hulkenberg were also battling hard, the Frenchman pushing the German off track at Les Combes. Max Chilton was punished by stewards for ignoring blue flags. Gutierrez, also, won a penalty – this one for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

A late battle between Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton for third was uneventful and Sebastian Vettel crossed the line to win the Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso led an extraordinary charge from ninth to second while Lewis Hamilton dropped from pole to third throughout the race. Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde dropped from his fourteenth in Qualifying to sixteenth in the race and Daniel Ricciardo recovered his poor Qualifying to score a point with tenth.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Fernando Alonso
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Nico Rosberg
  5. Mark Webber
  6. Jenson Button
  7. Felipe Massa
  8. Romain Grosjean
  9. Adrian Sutil
  10. Daniel Ricciardo
  11. Sergio Perez
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Nico Hulkenberg
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Valtteri Bottas
  16. Giedo van der Garde
  17. Pastor Maldonado
  18. Jules Bianchi
  19. Max Chilton
  • Kimi Raikkonen – Brakes
  • Paul di Resta – Collision
  • Charles Pic – Oil

Hungary

Lewis Hamilton has taken his first Grand Prix victory with Mercedes. It makes it the fourth time Hamilton has won at the Hungaroring, nearly fifteen seconds clear of Kimi Raikkonen in second and Sebastian Vettel in third. Mark Webber fought from tenth to fourth for Red Bull while Adrian Sutil retired from his 100th Grand Prix. Romain Grosjean, who showed a strong early pace lost out on a possible podium when he was handed a penalty for overtaking off track limits. 

Lights out and twenty-two cars shot forward. Lewis Hamilton maintained his lead from pole while Sebastian Vettel pushed Romain Grosjean towards the track limits as he defended second from the Frenchman. This allowed Nico Rosberg to try to sneak past Vettel but eventually stayed in fourth. Then Fernando Alonso charged at the Mercedes and pushed Rosberg wide at the exit of turn 3 while Felipe Massa and Rosberg came together at turn 5 and the German went off track once again. He rejoined down in twelfth, having started fourth.

Hamilton’s first lap lead of 1.1 seconds was reduced to .5 by Vettel on the second lap which put the Red Bull in the DRS zone of the Mercedes ahead albeit to no avail as it only helped Vettel equal Hamilton’s straight line pace. Soon Vettel had dropped from the DRS zone and slowly fell towards the clutches of a menacing looking Grosjean.

After his disappointing Qualifying session, Mark Webber opted to start the race on the harder Pirelli compounds and was running as fast as Kimi Raikkonen ahead of him on track – although the Finn was held up behind Massa who was nursing a front wing injury. Back at the front, Hamilton was the first man to venture into the pitlane on lap 10 and he emerged behind Jenson Button in eighth.

The other Mercedes was brought into the pits from twelfth and given a fresh pair of boots while his team-mate passed Button which critically gave him free air to try to maintain the lead when the pit stops were over. Vettel was the next man to pit which left Grosjean inheriting the lead of the race. The German took on a new set of the hard compound Pirellis and came out behind Button who provided Hamilton will some all-important breathing space. Alonso also boxed from fourth and rejoined seventh ahead of Perez.

Grosjean finally pitted on lap 14 and ‘double-stacked’ with team-mate Raikkonen. Grosjean had dropped incredibly far, falling behind Hamilton and Vettel while Raikkonen slotted into tenth behind Massa. Up front, Webber was running 1.27.8s while leading the race on the hard tyres. It was an impressive effort by the Aussie who was fifteen laps into the race on the same tyre.

Vettel was getting frustrated behind the McLaren and attempted a few all-or-nothing dives up the inside Button into turn 3 but got nothing except a slightly damaged front wing. Grosjean was incredibly close behind and soon Vettel was radioed from the Red Bull pit wall and told he was running with technical gremlins meaning he had to slow down during the middle sector, leaving him an open target in the DRS zone. Grosjean came quite close to making it past the German but had to back out of the manoeuvres as Vettel slipped and slid across the track.

It was a disappointing day for Force India’s Adrian Sutil who was celebrating his 100th Grand Prix when forced to retire. The German was in the pits and had just suffered a dreadfully long pit stop as mechanics failed to change his rear left tyre before being told he had suffered a hydraulics issue which left him unable to change gears. And so he rolled back into his garage and became the day’s first retirement. It wasn’t long before Esteban Gutierrez also pitted and climbed from the cockpit of his Sauber with a gearbox failure to blame for his premature retirement.

Vettel continued to lurk behind Button but decided enough was enough. Ignoring calls to back off in the middle sector, he put his foot down and made it past Button. Grosjean tried to follow suit into the chicane but when he moved back in front of Button to take the corner, he made contact with the McLaren and left Button pitting for a new set of boots. This left both drivers under investigation while Grosjean earned himself another investigation for overtaking Felipe Massa off track limits at turn 4. Stewards eventually ruled that Grosjean had exceeded track limits during the overtake and awarded him a drive-through penalty. He rejoined in sixth, while Nico Hulkenberg was also given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

Mark Webber pitted from second and took on a fresh set of Pirellis on Lap 44 and imeadietly became the fastest man on the circuit, trading fastest laps with race leader Lewis. Hamilton took to the pitlane himself and when he rejoined, it was right behind Webber. Instead of waiting for a DRS zone, Hamilton showed some initiative and simply ran Webber wide into turn 4, which is probably the easiest way to make an overtake. Valtteri Bottas, on the other hand, was off the track for a different reason as his Williams ground to a halt just on the exit of the final corner. The threat of a Safety Car subsided when marshalls quickly took the car out of the danger zone and the racing continued.

Nothing could touch Lewis Hamilton as he made it to his fourth win at the Hungaroring, while Kimi Raikkonen narrowly fended second place from Sebastian Vettel before pulling over at the end of the pit lane. Mark Webber was an impressive fourth from tenth on the grid while Alonso, Grosjean and Massa finished fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. Pastor Maldonado took the final points finish for Williams.

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Kimi Raikkonen
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Mark Webber
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Romain Grosjean
  7. Jenson Button
  8. Felipe Massa
  9. Sergio Perez
  10. Pastor Maldonado
  11. Nico Hulkenberg
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Daniel Ricciardo
  14. Giedo van der Garde
  15. Charles Pic
  16. Jules Bianchi
  17. Max Chilton
  • Paul di Resta – Gearbox
  • Nico Rosberg – Engine
  • Valtteri Bottas – Engine
  • Esteban Gutierrez – Gearbox
  • Adrian Sutil – Hydraulics

Germany

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel crossed the line this afternoon at the Nurburgring to take his first German Grand Prix victory in his Formula One career. Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were extremely close to the German but couldn’t make it past, while pole-man Lewis Hamilton suffered from tyre degradation to drop to fifth. 

Lights out and the twenty-two drivers raced towards the tight right hander that is turn 1. After his devastating start at the last weekend in Silverstone, Mark Webber had perhaps the best start this weekend. The Australian joined his team-mate in passing pole-man Lewis Hamilton into Turn 1. Webber was took the outside line but ran quite wide and Sebastian Vettel slipped into first while Webber filed in second ahead of Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso.

The race had barely begun, lap four to be precise, when Felipe Massa suffered a bizarre spin into Turn 1. He came on the radio to tell the team that while trying to change gears his engine simply shut down – he was out of the race. Meanwhile, there was drama in the pitlane as Force India had a ridiculously dangerous release as they released Paul di Resta into the path of Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso. Neither driver made contact but this was due to Vergne’s quick reactions and a sharp stomp on the brake pedal. Despite being an obvious unsafe release, stewards decided to investigate the incident after the race.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were engaged in a tight battle for the lead of the race when Vettel pitted from the lead and gave Webber the lead. Webber pitted on the next lap but a problem with the rear right tyre saw the mechanics struggling to take the wheel from the car. They put the new Pirelli on, after several seconds, but Webber was given the green light before it was attached and he drove off. His loose tyre shot across the pitlane, missed the Lotus mechanics, hit a wheel gun, launched into the air and struck and FOM cameraman on the back of the head. It was a very heavy blow but luckily, the cameraman was later reported to be alright – although he was given a concussion by the flying Pirelli. Red Bull wheeled Webber back to the pit box, attached a new wheel and sent him on his way – albeit now lapped and 80 seconds down on the next man – Marussia’s Max Chilton.

While Nico Rosberg defied team-orders to hold off team-mate Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean was charging up the front and closing the gap to Sebastian Vettel. Vettel would have to pit soon and with Grosjean closing in it was a dangerous position to be in. Jules Bianchi came to Vettel’s rescue when his engine blew up in spectacular fashion and then burst into flames. The in-car fire extinguisher deployed and put out the fire but the Frenchman was out of the race. He climbed from his stricken Marussia but when the tractor came down to clear the car, it began to roll backwards down the hill from the final chicane. It rolled back, crossed the track and came to a rest against a UBS advertising board – Safety Car deployed.

It worked out incredibly convenient for Mark Webber who now managed to catch the back of the pack – which he had been 75 seconds shy of. Meanwhile, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne pulled back into the pits to retire his car as he had suffered a hydraulics issue. It was a devastating blow for the Frenchman who is struggling with Ricciardo for a possible seat at Red Bull.

On the restart, Sebastian Vettel bolted away from second placed Romain Grosjean while Mark Webber shot past Giedo van der Garde, Charles Pic and Max Chilton before being held up by Esteban Gutierrez. Having been the fastest driver on track until then, Webber was now firmly held behind Gutierrez. The Saubers proved to be rolling road blocks as Lewis Hamilton was also stuck Nico Hulkenberg in the other Sauber.

Grosjean pitted from second and a lap later Vettel pitted from first while Kimi took the lead of the race – as Mark Webber set purple track times. Vettel rejoined ahead of Grosjean and began to chase down Kimi but was soon halted by Hamilton who had finally cleared Hulkenberg and was in no mood to simply let Vettel past. Finally both Vettel and Grosjean breezed past the pole-man while Raikkonen tried everything to extend the gap to Vettel, hoping to retain the lead during the pit stop.

With ten laps to go, Kimi pitted and Vettel took the lead with Grosjean right behind him. On the softer tyres, Kimi was naturally faster than Vettel and began to slowly but surely close the gap as we had our second nail-biting finish in  a row. Lotus put into action some team-orders which saw Grosjean pulling over for Raikkonen who was incredibly close to the win… But just one lap short.

For the second week in a row, we finished the race thinking that just one more lap would see a different winner. Nonetheless, Sebastian Vettel crossed the line and took his first ever home victory and his first ever race win in July. Kimi was second, Grosjean third and Alonso fourth with Mark Webber taking seventh place from Sergio Perez on the last lap.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Kimi Raikkonen
  3. Romain Grosjean
  4. Fernando Alonso
  5. Lewis Hamilton
  6. Jenson Button
  7. Mark Webber
  8. Sergio Perez
  9. Nico Rosberg
  10. Nico Hulkenberg
  11. Paul di Resta
  12. Daniel Ricciardo
  13. Adrian Sutil
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Pastor Maldonado
  16. Valtteri Bottas
  17. Charles Pic
  18. Giedo van der Garde
  19. Max Chilton
  • Felipe Massa – Suspected engine failure
  • Jean-Eric Vergne – Hydraulics issue
  • Jules Bianchi – Engine failure

Britain

Nico Rosberg has stormed to victory at the British Grand Prix to claim his second win of the season. Red Bull’s Mark Webber drove a fantastic recovery to claim his fifth consecutive podium after a botched start while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso pulled a last minute pass on Kimi Raikkonen to grab the final podium position.

Rosberg’s win was down to luck when Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes suffered a delamination while Sebastian Vettel ground to a halt on Lap 42. Hamilton’s delamination was only the tip of the iceberg in a scary incident. Mere minutes following Hamilton’s problem, Felipe Massa spun out of turn four with a similar puncture. While the Brazilian limped back to the pits, Jean-Eric Vergne suffered a delamination on the hangar straight. This time, Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen came dangerously close to getting a face full of rubber as he was following the Frenchman down the straight.

It was a ridiculous display following on from which Charlie Whiting deployed the Safety Car while all marshalls were deployed to the track to clean the surface. The Safety Car eventually came back in but Sergio Perez would later suffer a delamination coming down Hangar straight, missing Alonso by mere centimetres. It was the Mexican’s second tire blow-out of the weekend, suffering one on Saturday.

With Lewis far down the grid, Sebastian Vettel was left storming away at the front of the grid. Nico Rosberg fought hard to keep up with his countryman, pulling away from the rest of the grid. Hamilton, spurred on by home support, was up to fourteenth by the time the Safety Car boxed, having gained eight places before it was deployed. Mark Webber was also a man on a mission, pulling moves on both Lotuses, both McLarens and Kimi Raikkonen into Luffield – the spot where he took the race win last year.

The pitlane was also active. Between the delaminated cars pitting, Alonso and Raikkonen came within a hair of each other when the Spaniard left his box and the Finn entered his own. Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado came mighty close too when Maldonado narrowly cut ahead of the German in the exit.

And mid-field saw action too. Adrian Sutil cut Daniel Ricciardo off while the Aussie tried to overtake the German into Stowe corner. The stewards didn’t call him on it, but Ricciardo vented with the traditional wave of his hand. Paul di Resta in the other Force India started from 21st in the grid following a penalty, but used home support to make it to tenth and into the points. The Scotsman held one of the racing highlights of the race when he battled Lewis Hamilton for eleventh over several laps in true wheel-to-wheel racing.

Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull ground to a halt on Lap 42 on the start/finish straight and the Safety Car was deployed to clear the car. Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber pitted for fresh tires while Raikkonen, in second, was told to stay out. Mark Webber was the man to beat in the final laps, leading a charge which saw him past Daniel Ricciardo, Adrian Sutil and Kimi Raikkonen  and coming within .7 of Nico Rosberg before the German crossed the line and took the checkered flag.

It’s Nico’s third career win and the second of this season, while Webber took to the podium for the fifth consecutive time. Lewis Hamilton had a dead-set win stolen from him by the blow-out but did fantastic to pull himself back to fourth. Jean-Eric Vergne, Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez all pulled into the pits near the end with various problems. Finally, Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen finished fifth which means he has finished in the points for a stunning twenty-five continuous races to eclipse Schumacher’s record of twenty-four.

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Mark Webber
  3. Fernando Alonso
  4. Lewis Hamilton
  5. Kimi Raikkonen
  6. Felipe Massa
  7. Adrian Sutil
  8. Daniel Ricciardo
  9. Paul di Resta
  10. Nico Hulkenberg
  11. Pastor Maldonado
  12. Valtteri Bottas
  13. Jenson Button
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Charles Pic
  16. Jules Bianchi
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Giedo van der Garde
  • Jean-Eric Vergne
  • Sergio Perez
  • Sebastian Vettel
  • Romain Grosjean

Canada

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has led a pole-to-flag victory at the Canadian Grand Prix, ending the team’s North American drought. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso classified second having fought his way past Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber and then Lewis Hamilton throughout the race. The aforementioned Lewis Hamilton took the final spot on the podium. 

Valtteri Bottas was the star of Qualifying, taking full advantage of the mixed conditions to place his Williams firmly on P3. The rookie lined up behind Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. who had taken his third Canadian pole position, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who had his last second dash for pole ruined when he out-braked himself and cut the final corner in Q3.

Kimi Raikkonen, the other Finn on the grid, was far from happy down in 10th, made worse when he dropped a grid place for having jumped the traffic ham at the pit exit during the restart of the Q2 session. Felipe Massa was the cause of the red flag in the session, losing grip into the T3 chicane and slamming into the barriers, for his third heavy crash in two weeks. Romain Grosjean carried a ten-place grid penalty over from the Monaco Grand Prix for his mid-race clash with Daniel Ricciardo. Combining this with an absolutely dismal P19 in Qualifying, the Frenchman started the race from P22.

Sebastian Vettel retained top spot at lights out as Lewis Hamilton filed in behind him and Webber jumped Valtteri Bottas. Fernando Alonso was next to demote the Finn and dropped him to 5th. Felipe Massa, recovering from his poor qualifying, started his charge up the grid by making a fantastic move on William’s Pastor Maldonado in the final corner.

Max Chilton, worryingly, was soon on the radio to report that his brakes weren’t working – despite the fact that the Briton would make it to the checkered flag. Meanwhile, Adrian Sutil and Valtteri Bottas were engaged in an intense battle which came to a climax when they both tried to take the apex on turn 3. Sutil spun a full 360 degrees but miraculously avoiding both the TecPro barriers and the oncoming cars. Just when he thought he was in the clear, Pastor Maldonado kissed the rear of the VJM-07 and left the Force India trailing parts down the back straight, something Pastor Maldonado was handed a drive through penalty for.

Sebastian Vettel was pushing hard, despite leading by over five seconds on lap 15, and nicked the barriers at turn 4. He, luckily, came off unscathed and it did nothing to slow him down, either. Mark Webber, in the other Red Bull, was chasing down Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg while Kimi Raikkonen was told to increase fuel saving, while trying to maintain his speed.

Felipe Massa was on the ball today. Having already pulled a great pass on Pastor Maldonado, he pulled another on Jenson Button for P11 and set his sights on Adrian Sutil’s Force India. Sutil proved a more worthy opponent, successfully holding off Felipe’s advances for lap after lap. Massa tried the inside of turn 1, the outside of turn 1, the outside of the last corner – all his well rehearsed overtaking spots, but to no avail.

Mark Webber eventually made it past Nico Rosberg and had a lurking Fernando Alonso behind him to deal with. That’s not all that was on the Aussie’s plate. Coming up behind the Caterham of Giedo van der Garde, the Dutchman seemingly opened the door for Mark, but when the Red Bull took to the inside of the Caterham, Giedo closed the door and pushed the RB9 onto the grass at turn 10. Mark was left with a front wing with minor damage, while van der Garde was handed a 10-place grid penalty.

Van der Garde wasn’t yet out of the wars. Now being lapped by Nico Hulkenberg on the back straight, the Sauber moved back to the racing line to take the final corner, but found his way blocked by the Caterham. The two clashed, leaving Giedo with a front wing under his car, and Hulkenberg with a broken rear left suspension. They were the first two retirements from the race.

Fernando Alonso, in the meantime, took 3rd from Mark Webber and began a charge after Lewis Hamilton. Adrian Sutil was handed a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags, getting in the way of the Webber/Alonso fight for P3. And having passed Webber, Alonso was remarkably quick in catching Hamilton. He was nearly to overtake the Briton as he had been to catch him, and Alonso slipped up to P2.

Esteban Gutierrez sliding into the barriers at Turn 1 could do nothing to stop Vettel’s charge as started and finished his 70th lap to claim his first win in Canada. Alonso finished 2nd, Hamilton came in a close second, and Mark Webber set the fastest lap on lap 69, on his way to 4th place. Jean-Eric Vergne finished an impressive sixth place while Valtteri Bottas slipped from third to fourteenth. Both McLaren’s were also out of the points, to end a hugely disappointing weekend for the duo. Esteban Gutierrez was the last classed competitor, having completed over 90% race distance.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Fernando Alonso
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Mark Webber
  5. Nico Rosberg
  6. Jean-Eric Vergne
  7. Paul di Resta
  8. Felipe Massa
  9. Kimi Raikkonen
  10. Adrian Sutil
  11. Sergio Perez
  12. Jenson Button
  13. Romain Grosjean
  14. Valtteri Bottas
  15. Daniel Ricciardo
  16. Pastor Maldonado
  17. Jules Bianchi
  18. Charles Pic
  19. Max Chilton
  20. Esteban Gutierrez
  • Nico Hulkenberg
  • Giedo van der Garde

Monaco

Nico Rosberg has won the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix in an extreme show of dominance from the German who survived a red flag and several Safety Car stints to keep the lead from lights to flag, having grabbed his third consecutive pole position. 

Jules Bianchi was off to a bad start. Having pulled over in the opening seconds of Qualifying yesterday, he failed to make it off the grid for the parade lap. Nico Rosberg led the remaining 21 drivers around as Bianchi was pushed back for a pitlane start.

Two minutes later the grid formed up, the lights went on, the lights went off and they all charged forwards. Surprisingly, the drivers managed to make their way safely through the first corner including a particularly reserved through Saint Devote. Giedo van der Garde was in the wars at the hairpin as he made contact with Pastor Maldonado and lost a front wing.

The top eight consisted of Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Webber, Raikkonen, Alonso, Perez, Button as the Hamilton began to hold up the Red Bull’s behind him. The yellow flag came out at turn 10 for debris while the McLarens were in the wars, Sergio Perez forcing Button towards the barrier before cutting the Nouvelle chicane. Several corners later, he attempted the same, forcing Jenson towards the barrier and cutting the swimming pool chicane. Perez’s recklessness wasn’t anywhere near finished.

Yellow flags came back out again, this time as Charles Pic was parked on the pit entrance with a fiery Caterham. The Frenchman was out of the car in no time as smoke-filled up the Rascasse section.

The next fifteen laps or so resulted in all but one overtake as Paul di Resta made a nice move on Felipe Massa into Saint Devote. Several laps later, the Brazilian repeated the bizarre incident which took him out of Qualifying. He locked his brakes in the run up to Turn 1 and hit the barrier, sliding sideways into the TecPro barrier across the track. He climbed out of the car but a Safety Car was deployed as the Medical Car was needed. Dr. Ian Roberts got his first race appearance as he attached a neck brace to the Brazilian who was complaining of shoulder problems after his shunt on Saturday. Several laps later the Mercedes left turn 1 to take Felipe to hospital for a check up, and allowed the Safety Car to come in and let the racing resume.

Nico Rosberg caught Sebastian Vettel sleeping on the restart as he darted away from his countryman while third placed Mark Webber was left defending hard against the other Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Further down the grid, Sergio Perez saw a gap into the Nouvelle Chicane and stuck his nose up the inside of Jenson Button. It was a cheeky move but it paid off. However, this successful overtake would prove disastrous for Perez as the race progressed.

Jules Bianchi was suddenly shown limping back to the pits with a truly mangled front wing and a red flag was thrown. It seemed a bit extreme for front wing damage until Pastor Maldonado’s utterly destroyed William’s was shown in the barriers at Tabac. Replays explained that Max Chilton moved across the Venezuelan which caused the William’s front wing to buckle and fall under the car which launched the front of the car upwards and into the TecPro barriers. Bianchi subsequently hit the barriers which caused the damage to his front wing.

Thirty-five minutes later the race restarted under Safety Car conditions, as per usual for a red flag. After one lap the Mercedes came in the pits which allowed Rosberg to again charge away from Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull as Hamilton launched another attack on Webber for third. Race control also announced that Max Chilton was awarded a drive through penalty for causing the William’s aerial display.

Sergio Perez, having earlier tried a similar, failed, overtake on Fernando Alonso, stuck his McLaren up the inside of Kimi Raikkonen at the Nouvelle Chicane. By stuck, I mean he pretty much drove straight on and forced the Finn to cut the corner to prevent a collision. Kimi blasted the Mexican on the radio, saying“That idiot was tried to hit me, tried to ruin my race”. 

Adrian Sutil caught Fernando Alonso sleeping a few laps later to pull off a spectacular overtake at the hairpin while Jules Bianchi stuck his Marussia in the barrier at Saint Devote. It was a very light collision in comparison to Massa’s shunt but it ruled Bianchi out of the race – an end to an awful weekend for the Frenchman. With two of the French racers out of the race, two remained – until Romain Grosjean was involved in a huge crash with Daniel Ricciardo. In the run down to the Nouvelle Chicane, again, Ricciardo seemed to break early and Grosjean was sent straight onto the rear wing of the Toro Rosso. Ricciardo retired on the spot while Grosjean pitted, rejoined and returned to the pits where Lotus retired the car.

The Safety Car was back out for this incident and pitted with 12 laps of the race remaining. Sergio Perez was straight over the back of Raikkonen and attempted an overtake on the Finn. Not long after his first attempt failed, his second attempt failed too. He stuck his nose up the inside of the Lotus as Kimi turned into the chicane and gave the 2007 World Champion a puncture. Next lap, Perez swerved at the same spot as if trying to make an overtake on an invisible car and went straight on. He got wide at Rascasse several corners later before turning into the escape road to retire the car, presumably nursing damage from his careless driving.

With Perez out-of-the-way, the surviving cars raced to the end of the race as “Rosberg became the first Rosberg to win the Monaco Grand Prix since Rosberg” as one Twitter used put it. Indeed, Nico Rosberg followed his father’s example, leading from lights to flag to secure the win ahead of Sebastian Vettel in second and Mark Webber third.

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Mark Webber
  4. Lewis Hamilton
  5. Adrian Sutil
  6. Jenson Button
  7. Fernando Alonso
  8. Jean-Eric Vergne
  9. Paul di Resta
  10. Kimi Raikkonen
  11. Nico Hulkenberg
  12. Valtteri Bottas
  13. Esteban Gutierrez
  14. Max Chilton
  15. Giedo van der Garde
  • Sergio Perez
  • Romain Grosjean
  • Daniel Ricciardo
  • Jules Bianchi
  • Pastor Maldonado
  • Felipe Massa
  • Charles Pic

Spain

Fernando Alonso has won the Spanish Grand Prix, becoming the lowest starting driver to win at the circuit. Kimi Raikkonen finished second for the third consecutive race while Felipe Massa joined his team-mate on the podium, his first podium finish since last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Mercedes were the big surprise on Saturday.  Having focused on long runs during the free-practice sessions, they were essentially ruled out for the top spot on the grid. The sandbagging ended with a stunning lap set by Lewis Hamilton in Q2, bettered again by Nico Rosberg’s Q3 lap to make it three consecutive Silver Arrow pole positions.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez were both dropped for impeding – Massa slowing Webber in T12 while Gutierrez essentially parked on the apex into the T14/15 chicane. So the top five consisted of Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen and local-boy Alonso.

Lights out and the Rosberg stormed off the line, followed by Sebastian Vettel who had jumped Lewis Hamilton into T1. Fernando Alonso made a fantastic move around the outside of Hamilton to demote the Briton fourth while Webber dropped down to twelfth and fourteenth placed Jenson Button dropped down to nineteenth.

Rosberg brought back the infamous ‘Trulli Train’ over the next few laps, leading Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen and Massa while trying to save his tires. Raikkonen eventually tried to throw the order up, passing Lewis for P4 while Webber made his first stop to try to make up for his poor start.

The yellow flag came out on lap 9 and it was for Romain Grosjean whose Lotus was running with suspension damage. Replays showed that the suspension had seemingly just buckled while racing against Adrian Sutil who too came into the pits with issues. Force India mechanics crawled under the VJM07 and eventually got the German going again, but after a huge delay.

Different pit strategies paid off for Alonso as emerging from the pits, he had jumped Vettel and was challenging Rosberg for second – essentially the lead as Gutierrez was in the provisional lead having not yet pitted. Maldonado was handed a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane as Felipe Massa passed the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel passed Rosberg for P3. Soon Massa demoted Rosberg to fourth and into the clutches of Kimi Raikkonen as the Mercedes’ pace had just evaporated overnight.

Daniel Ricciardo was flying, passing Paul di Resta and then Lewis Hamilton – who had started second and was now eighth. Hamilton may have been disappointed, but not as disappointed as Giedo van der Garde who lost his rear left wheel between T10 and T11. The Dutchman managed to make it back to the Caterham garage but the damage to the undertray was too substantial to continue racing and he became the second retirement of the Grand Prix.

Another round of pit stops saw Fernando Alonso leading team-mate Felipe Massa up front while Kimi Raikkonen attacked – and passed – Sebastian Vettel for the third place on the podium. Lewis Hamilton came on the podium to reluctantly report that he had just been overtaken by the Williams of Pastor Maldonado. He did make it back past the Venezuelan on the following lap, but it was still an embarrassing incident for the front row team.

There was more drama in the pits, this time Nico Hulkenberg was let out of the pits behind Jean-Eric Vergne. The Toro Rosso went to move into his pit slot but found a Sauber blocking his way and the two made contact. Hulkenberg showed no apparent damage, and whatever damage Vergne had picked up could be rectified straight away while in the pits. Nonetheless, it was a silly move which put Sauber under investigation for an unsafe release, eventually culminating in a ten second stop/go penalty for Hulkenberg.

Alonso and Massa pitted and left Raikkonen leading the race. Despite setting a fastest lap while Alonso was in the pits, the Spaniard was soon only 1.5 seconds behind the Finn and made short work of the 2007 World Champion.

Vergne was in the wars again, his rear tire delaminating again, as di Resta’s tire did during FP2 on Friday. It’s the latest in the string of issues for the tire supplier but so far Pirelli have blamed all issues on debris on track. New pair of boots for the Frenchman and he was back out on track but his team were soon back on the radio to tell Vergne he has to box to retire with damage on the STR8 thus making him the third retirement of the race.

Both McLarens were in the top ten with ten laps remaining while Rosberg for Mercedes was fending sixth from Paul di Resta. Lewis Hamilton on the other hand, was far down in twelfth in what will be a race to forget for the 28-year-old. One last surprise for the race as Esteban Gutierrez grabbed the fastest lap of the race when he pitted late in the race for a fresh set of boots.

Last lap of the race and Fernando began his lap of glory at his home race, cruising across the line to take the second win this season. Kimi Raikkonen came home in second for the third consecutive race while Felipe Massa made it onto the podium for the first time since Suzuka last year.

The two Red Bull’s finished fourth and fifth while Rosberg dropped from pole to sixth in sixty-six laps. The McLaren’s were looking somewhat stronger than Saturday, Button eighth and Perez ninth while Ricciardo rounded up the top ten.

  1. Fernando Alonso
  2. Kimi Raikkonen
  3. Felipe Massa
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Mark Webber
  6. Nico Rosberg
  7. Paul di Resta
  8. Jenson Button
  9. Sergio Perez
  10. Daniel Ricciardo
  11. Esteban Gutierrez
  12. Lewis Hamilton
  13. Adrian Sutil
  14. Pastor Maldonado
  15. Nico Hulkenberg
  16. Valtteri Bottas
  17. Charles Pic
  18. Jules Bianchi
  19. Max Chilton
  • Jean-Eric Vergne
  • Romain Grosjean
  • Giedo van der Garde

Bahrain

Sebastian Vettel has charged to victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of the Lotus’ of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in an identical podium to the one seen in Bahrain 2012.

Nico Rosberg lined up first on the grid ahead of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Lewis Hamilton who qualified in 4th lined up 9th having been handed down a 5-place grid penalty for a gearbox change following a rear tyre puncture which damaged the gearbox. Mark Webber also lined up out of position, 7th for the Aussie with a three-place penalty for his Shanghai clash with Vergne while Gutierrez was the final man in the troublesome trio to be given a penalty, a five-place drop for his crash with Sutil in China meaning the Mexican started in 22nd.

Rosberg led the grid around on the parade lap and took his place on pole position. The last time Rosberg started first, he won. What seemed like an eternity after Rosberg took his place, Gutierrez at the back slotted into 22nd and the man with the flag, excuse me – I don’t know his name, signaled to Charlie Whiting that all was okay.

One, two, three, four, five lights. And they were away.

Sebastian Vettel was straight on Rosberg’s gearbox and looking for a way past, pulling alongside his fellow German on the run into Turn 4. He scraped past the Mercedes but out braked himself and allowed Rosberg retake the lead of the race from Vettel and Alonso. At the back of the grid, Esteban Gutierrez stuck his nose in too deep and lost his wing in a Caterham sandwich while Giedo van der Garde went into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso and gave the Frenchman a rear puncture.

Vettel lined his prey up once again, failing to stick a pass into T1 but trying again out of T3. This time Vettel had the slip stream again and managed to creep past Rosberg and make the move stick, demoting Nico to 2nd and into the clutches of a fiesty Fernando Alonso who didn’t need to be asked twice try and take 2nd from the German, but can’t quite make it past. Half a lap later and Alonso geared up for a charge past the MGP-04 down the start/finish straight and this time can push past. Di Resta in a strong looking Force India made short work of Rosberg and pushed him down to P4.

Now Alonso’s team-mate, Felipe Massa, was hunting down Rosberg despite running with a damaged front wing as a result of light contact with Sutil on the opening lap. Massa darted this way and that way behind Rosberg and finally made his way past the German and demoted the pole man to 5th. In the meantime, Fernando Alonso in second was forced to pit with a broken rear wing. The Spaniard had opened DRS on the back straight but when he braked, the rear flap opened even wider and wouldn’t close. If you remember Montreal 2012, Schumacher was blighted by a similar problem which saw his eventual retirement from the race.

Ferrari, however, managed to manhandle the rear wing closed and sent the Spaniard on his way with a fresh pair of boots. However in the same DRS zone on the very next lap, the same problem hit Alonso and he was forced to return to the pits for the second lap in a row where they once again manhandled the wing closed, telling the double world champion to keep his wing closed. Nevertheless, he was now far down in the grid and his race ruined.

The McLarens scrapped while Raikkonen looked for a way past the distracted drivers and Sebastian Vettel allowed Paul di Resta to lead the race when he pitted for fresh tires. At the same time, Rosberg was still dropping down while being attacked left, right and finally centre, this time being passed by Jenson Button to demote the German from 1st to 7th in 15 laps.

Perez lined up behind Grosjean and an unbelievably fiesty Mexican was sticking his nose here, there and everywhere and getting far to close for comfort. Out braking into turn 8, he ran very close to Grosjeans rear tyres but avoided any contact.

The McLarens were still scrapping with each other, now joined by Rosberg. Perez came up behind Rosberg and passed him on one side while Button went the other side and tried to pass Perez out of turn 3 but was blocked by his team-mate. Next lap up and di Resta passed Grosjean into T1 while Button followed suit to pass Checo at the same spot merely seconds later. Perez wasn’t letting his team-mate off that easy and passed him into T3 while Button used the slip stream to get passed him into Turn 4 before Perez tapped the rear of Button’s car, losing a front wing endplate in the process but otherwise safely passed.

Rosberg, now in eleventh, was finally fed up and began a charge, beginning with Pastor Maldonado on the back straight to move back into the points. Meanwhile, Mark Webber had slowly crept up the grid on his 200th GP start and was emerging from the pits when attacked by Nico Rosberg. Mark was having none of it and closed the door in T2 but at this stage Rosberg was too far along the inside of the Aussie, meaning when the door was closed, Rosberg was hit. The Mercedes got sideways across the Chicane but caught himself and kept his position while Mark raced off in the front. The incident is to be investigated after the race so keep on here for any news regarding the clash.

The race was wrapping up but not before Hamilton could pass Webber and make a mistake into T14 to allow Webber back past him. With four laps remaining, Webber had a fight on his hands but kept Hamilton behind him – at least until the last lap when the Briton slipped around the Aussie out of Turn 1. Perez was still fighting and nudged Alonso off the track into turn 4 and made a pass on the Spaniard stick. He then followed Hamilton’s example and passed Mark into turn 4.

An unchallenged Vettel cruised across the line followed by Kimi and Romain to, as I’ve said, fill out the podium as it was in 2012. Mark was a mediocre 7th for his 200th Grand Prix start while Fernando Alonso in 8th was robbed of a great race due to DRS issues. Nico Rosberg was ninth having started in 1st and will be questioning what caused such a poor showing while Felipe Massa finished far off the pace, down in 15th having suffered two punctures. Charles Pic was the top back-marker while Max Chilton finished 20th on his 22nd birthday. Jean-Eric Vergne was the only retirement, the team retiring him very early on as a result from the damage caused by his clash with Vergne.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Kimi Raikkonen
  3. Romain Grosjean
  4. Paul di Resta
  5. Lewis Hamilton
  6. Sergio Perez
  7. Mark Webber
  8. Fernando Alonso
  9. Nico Rosberg
  10. Jenson Button
  11. Pastor Maldonado
  12. Nico Hulkenberg
  13. Adrian Sutil
  14. Valtteri Bottas
  15. Felipe Massa
  16. Daniel Ricciardo
  17. Charles Pic
  18. Esteban Gutierrez
  19. Jules Bianchi
  20. Max Chilton
  21. Giedo van der Garde
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (damage)

China

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has stormed to a dominant victory at the Chinese Grand Prix. The Spaniard trumped Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen in second and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in third, both of whom had started ahead of him.

Mark Webber was starting from the pitlane as opposed to his grid position of 22nd. The Aussie ran out of fuel during Q2 as a result of a fuel rig malfunction and that left Webber with a penalty for failing to supply an adequate fuel sample. Hamilton had taken his first pole position for Mercedes, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen – starting from the front row for the first time since 2009. Fernando Alonso was third ahead of last year’s winner Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean while Daniel Ricciardo impressed in Qualifying to line up 7th .

The grid underwent the usual procedure, starting the formation lap two minutes before scheduled race time. While 21 other drivers weaved the circuit in preparation for a charge into Turn 1, Mark Webber left his garage to take his position at the end of the pitlane to await the start.

Lights out and Lewis Hamilton charged away in P1. Kimi Raikkonen in P2 had an uncharacteristically bad start and slugged away from his grid box. Neither Ferrari needed to be asked twice and Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa took the chance to jump the Lotus while Nico Rosberg slotted in behind Kimi.

The entire grid – somehow – managed to make it through the first corner without incident as Mark Webber chased the rest of the field. On the 1.2 mile back straight near the end of Lap 1, the Aussie had caught up with the back-markers and was mingling with the Marussias but then pitted at the end of the lap to change to the more durable prime Pirelli tires.

The Force Indias were in the wars at the end of the lap, Sutil making contact with his Scottish counter-part on the run into the final corner and pushing him off the track. Both VJM-07s were in working order and stayed out while Mark Webber began a new charge at the back of the grid.

Lewis in front was fending from fiesty Ferraris behind him and just couldn’t pull a gap from Alonso who began a challenge for P1 on Lap 4. The Spaniard couldn’t make a move stick into the hairpin at the end of the straight and so made good use of the DRS to pass the Briton into the first corner while Massa used Hamilton’s distraction to catch him unawares and slip up the inside.

Nico Hulkenberg pulled a pass on Sebastian Vettel while Esteban Gutierrez out-braked himself into the penultimate corner at the end of the long straight and slammed into the back of Adrian Sutil to take both men out of the race.

Webber was doing a good job recovering from his pitlane start until a misreading between Jean-Eric Vergne and Webber saw the Frenchman spin around and the Aussie damage his front wing. Webber returned to the pits to change wings and emerged with a fresh set of boots aswell. Webber didn’t have to worry about the degradation on the tyres as he couldn’t go fast on them. His rear right wasn’t attached to the car and he had to painstakingly crawl the circuit back to the pits. Coming around the hairpin before the pits, his tyre decided to make a break for it and rolled across the traffic. It was dodged by Vettel and Hulkenberg before making its way back across the track to come to a rest against a barrier. Webber climbed from his car, surely wondering why these things only happen to his side of the garage.

At the same time, Raikkonen came together with Perez when the Mexican pushed him onto the kerb into turn 5 and the Finn lost control. He tapped the rear of the McLaren and with a few choice Finnish words chased Perez down and passed him.

Up front, Vettel was trying to keep his lead safe from a lurking Alonso but ultimately failed when the the Spaniard made short work of the German and moved himself into the lead. The two pitted and Vettel came out ahead of Alonso, but once again the Ferrari driver made it look easy and breezed past him again.

Raikkonen, Button and Hamilton were third, fourth and fifth respectively and despite calls from Button’s engineer to fight Hamilton, Button barely had time to say the word ‘defend’ before Hamilton was past him.

This put the top four as Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton with just five laps left, but Red Bull made the call to pit Vettel. Emerging from the pits, he was 13 seconds behind Hamilton, but astonishingly made four seconds a lap on the Briton. The final lap began and Vettel was a second behind Hamilton and looking strong – before a meddling Caterham got in the way. Parking on the apex of the corner, Vettel out braked himself and went wide and then went wide in the following corner which gave Hamilton the breathing space he needed.

A huge lock up into the final corner for Lewis did nothing to help Vettel as they crossed the line 3rd and 4th behind Kimi in 2nd and Fernando Alonso – the winner in Shanghai.

  1. Fernando Alonso
  2. Kimi Raikkonen
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Jenson Button
  6. Felipe Massa
  7. Daniel Ricciardo
  8. Paul di Resta
  9. Romain Grosjean
  10. Nico Hulkenberg
  11. Sergio Perez
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Valtteri Bottas
  14. Pastor Maldonado
  15. Jules Bianchi
  16. Charles Pic
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Giedo van der Garde
  • Nico Rosberg
  • Mark Webber
  • Adrian Sutil
  • Esteban Gutierrez

Malaysia

Sebastian Vettel has won the Malaysian Grand Prix from pole position ahead of Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton. The German flanked his Aussie team-mate for most of the race, eventually passing him despite calls from his team to the contrary. 

Lights out and 22 drivers stormed towards the first corner. Fernando Alonso was too eager and tapped the rear of Sebastian Vettel’s RB9 into turn 2, damaging his front wing. It was a nasty break but Fernando refused to come in to the pits when he passed it the first time and continued to battle Mark down the pit straight. That’s when the front wing buckled and went under his F138, disabling the steering and sending Alonso off into turn 1 where he was beached and out of the race.

With Fernando out of the race, a surprisingly strong starting Mark Webber was chasing his team-mate. Massa on the other hand had an awful start, dropping from his first front row start in 2010 all the way down to 6th by the end of the first lap. While Vettel lead Webber by almost four seconds in the drying track, Rosberg was battling hard with Jenson Button, the former eventually trumping the latter.

Winner of the season opening Australian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen was surprisingly off the pace, dropping to 12th when he ran wide on lap four. Vettel was the first man to box on lap five, swapping from the Intermediate to Dry Pirellis. He was followed in by Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil. Sutil’s stop was awful, the left front tire simply refusing to come off the car and keeping the German fuming in the box.

Toro Rosso let Jean-Eric Vergne out of his pit box and straight into the path of the Caterham of Charles Pic meaning the team had to pull Vergne back into his box to replace his front wing. First round of pit stops over and Webber was now leading from Vettel, Lewis and then Rosberg. The sparring Red Bull’s were slowing each other down while both Mercedes’ took full advantage of it to catch up on them.

There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing as Webber extended his lead to have it reduced again, eventually being the first of the top five to box for a second time. Sutil also came in for a second time to have exactly the same problem as the first when his wheel nut on the front left simply refused to budge. The team eventually got him going but when di Resta came in and lost a lap to the problem, he retired the car.

Second stops all completed and Webber led from Vettel, Hamilton and Rosberg in identical formation to that of when they boxed initially. Vettel was really catching his Aussie team-mate now and was himself facing the threat of Hamilton behind him and soon reached Mark’s DRS zone. While Sutil was wheeled into the Force India garage to retire his VJM-07 for the same reason as di Resta, Vettel and Hamilton were trying unsuccessfully to move up the order with Webber doing a good job to keep them behind him.

Hamilton pitted again followed by Webber and Rosberg a lap later and Vettel another lap after that. Hamilton had jumped Vettel in the pits meaning the new order was Webber, Hamilton and Vettel narrowly leading Rosberg. Surely nothing could hold Lewis back now that he had a free track to attack Webber – or so we thought. Ordered over the radio to lift and coast, it became obvious that Lewis’ fantastic pace was due to a high fuel setting and he was now suffering from it and in fuel saving.

Webber stormed ahead and Vettel made quick work of Hamilton, Rosberg ordered not to pass Hamilton. Further down the grid, Raikkonen still wasn’t feeling comfortable, battling Hulkenberg out of the pits. A close call out of turn 4 saw the German move across as the Finn tried to overtake, merely pushing and pushing until Raikkonen was nearly on the grass.

Force India weren’t the only ones suffering pitlane woes. Lewis Hamilton made a return to the McLaren garage instead of the Mercedes one while Jenson Button pitted in the right box but leaving the pits without a properly connected front right wheel meaning the Briton had to pull over at the end of  the pitlane and wait to be wheeled back down to his garage to have it reattached.

Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel pitted again for the last time while Webber boxed on lap later. He could not have emerged any closer to Vettel who tried to overtake Webber on the outside of Turn 1. Webber cut him off and they fought tooth and nail out of turn 2 and in the run up to turn 3. Webber keeps control for three laps until Vettel, aided by DRS, renewed his charge for the lead.

To Christian Horner’s words of “This is Silly Seb, come on” Vettel was pushed to the edge by Webber who was then pushed off-line in Turn 1 by Vettel, the German eventually getting his nose in front and storming away. Similarly at Mercedes, Rosberg was contesting the team orders prohibiting him from overtaking a much slower Hamilton. Ross Brawn assured Rosberg that Hamilton could go much faster but that they needed to take it easy.

Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado took a trip through the gravel and became beached, retiring for the second consecutive race, which is exactly what happened in 2012 too. Jenson Button had badly worn tires and decided to retire on Lap 55 of 56.

And so, Sebastian Vettel met the checkered flag first, followed by Mark Webber who drove as far away from the pit wall as possible to show his distaste. This spilled over into the post-race room where Webber shouted “Multi-21! Multi-21!” at Vettel, which is a code for fuel saving. Vettel later apologised in the press conference, saying that the race should have been Mark’s, but Mark refused to accept it. There’s a storm a-brewing.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Mark Webber
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Nico Rosberg
  5. Felipe Massa
  6. Romain Grosjean
  7. Kimi Raikkonen
  8. Nico Hulkenberg
  9. Sergio Perez
  10. Jean-Eric Vergne
  11. Valtteri Bottas
  12. Esteban Gutierrez
  13. Jules Bianchi
  14. Charles Pic
  15. Giedo van der Garde
  16. Max Chilton

Retired:

  • Fernando Alonso
  • Paul di Resta
  • Adrian Sutil
  • Pastor Maldonado
  • Jenson Button
  • Daniel Ricciardo

2013 – Australia

Kimi Raikkonen has stormed to victory at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. The race was led from pole by reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel who lost his lead during pit stops where Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso jumped the German.

Nico Hulkenberg who was looking promising in his Sauber was robbed of a chance to prove it when his team found an issue with his fuel pump and opted not to run the car on safety grounds. So, twenty-one drivers were left filing around Albert Park on the parade lap. The front row of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were left waiting for what seemed to be an age as the rest of the grid formed.

Lights out and Mark Webber lost yet another strong qualifying, dropping from second to seventh in the run up to turn 1 alone, while Massa jumped from fourth to second ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. The entire grid, surprisingly, made it through the first lap completely unscathed although Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso did have to take drastic action to avoid separate incidents.

Vettel was storming away at the front but Massa was feeling feisty while fending off Alonso. Eventually Massa began to reel the German in, soon taking the gap to a second when the first round of pit stops arrived. Vettel pitted on Lap 7 with Massa a lap later and Alonso and Raikkonen both a further two laps afterwards.

Up front, both Mercedes’ – led by Hamilton were storming away while Vettel was clawing back up the grid after his pit stop, walking straight past Sergio Perez who was worryingly off the pace, as was Button – especially surprising as Melbourne is usually one of JB’s strongest races.

Lewis pitted and Rosberg followed suit allowing Adrian Sutil to take the lead of the Grand Prix in his return, albeit temporarily. It looked as if he would not even last a full lap in the lead as by now, Vettel leading the Ferrari’s had caught up with the Force India’s gearbox and were looking to get past without delay. However, Sutil wasn’t much in the mood for letting the traditionally faster cars past him and he raced on. It was for several laps he stayed in front of them, indeed even pulling away from Vettel before both German’s boxed on Lap 21. Alonso had boxed just one lap earlier and had the undercut, jumping the RB9 and the VJM07 while they battled themselves.

On the other end of the field, Maldonado was the first starter to drop out of the race when he got on the yellow track-lining paint and spun round to become beached in the gravel in turn 1. Trying to drive out saw his tires do nothing but spin uselessly and the crane arrived to clear the FW35 so Maldonado had no choice but to call it a day.

At the same time, Nico Rosberg who was battling with the leaders, pulled off the track at turn 4 with yet more technical woes for the team.  Light rain arrived which left Hamilton and Alonso battling for P3 in slippy conditions, the Spaniard eventually trumping his 2007 team-mate.

While Daniel Ricciardo was wheeled back into his garage to retire the car, Alonso was pushing his hardest to try to close the seven second gap that existed between himself and race leader Raikkonen. His efforts were in vain as Raikkonen continued to pull away, setting a new fastest lap on lap 56 of 58.

And so, Kimi Raikkonen was the first man to meet the checkered flag, followed by Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel in an identical podium to Kimi’s other Lotus win in Abu Dhabi last year.

Vettel seemed slower than expected today while one can’t judge Red Bull’s pace as Webber got caught behind traffic and couldn’t show his hand. McLaren seem shockingly off the pace, playing no part in the race except as temporary challenges for the front-runners to pass. Lotus look mixed with Raikkonen on great form but a fairly inconspicuous Romain Grosjean while Ferrari seem to have the best pairing of the race.

  1. Kimi Raikkonen
  2. Fernando Alonso
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Felipe Massa
  5. Lewis Hamilton
  6. Mark Webber
  7. Adrian Sutil
  8. Paul di Resta
  9. Jenson Button
  10. Romain Grosjean
  11. Sergio Perez
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Esteban Gutierrez
  14. Valtteri Bottas
  15. Jules Bianchi
  16. Charles Pic
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Giedo van der Garde
  • Daniel Ricciardo
  • Nico Rosberg
  • Pastor Maldonado
  • Nico Hulkenberg (DNS)

Brazil

Jenson Button has won the Brazilian Grand Prix, having won the race at the start, a race in the middle and the race at the end. Sebastian Vettel also clinched the Championship by just 3 points in one of the best races in the history of the sport. 

At lights out, the cars sped off the grid and pandemonium ensued. Massa had a fantastic start to vault into P2 right behind Hamilton while Fernando Alonso in the other Ferrari bypassed a really slow starting Sebastian Vettel to go into P4. Kimi Raikkonen got caught out on the long straight between turn 3 and turn 4 while Senna stuck his nose where it wasn’t wanted and ended up spinning Sebastian Vettel with quite a hefty shunt. A less than impressed Vettel reversed down into turn 5 while he waited for the grid to pass him so he could turn the right way round.

The damage looked terminal for the championship leader as Perez and Senna were forced to retire but the German was told there was nothing the team could do and he had to try his best to get points. To compound Vettel’s problems, Alonso was now past Massa and into P3. From here, Alonso would win the championship by two points. But never count out Vettel! Somehow, he managed to take his broken car and put in fast lap after fast lap and it was no time until he had caught the back of the pack again.

Alonso going wide into the tricky 1st corner gifted Webber P3 while Alonso rued his mistake. At this stage, Vettel would be champion. Vettel was storming and all of a sudden he was in P8! Alonso just did not have the pace and he had to rely heavily on his rear-gunner Massa who was right behind him and doing all he could to restrain the big line of drivers behind them.

Kamui Kobayashi was diving up the inside of Mark Webber in his best attempt to grab points and spun the Aussie in the process. The Red Bull driver was forced to wait for the rest of the grid to pass him before he could make the correct himself. Romain Grosjean was also struggling. The Frenchman was chasing down Nico Rosberg when ambition surpassed adhesion and he was sent out of the race and into the barrier with a heavy shunt. Not the way he would have wanted to end the season.

Up front, the McLaren duo of Hamilton and Button were scrapping away for the lead of the race. Button triumphed and took the lead of the race. He is always the best driver in the mixed conditions and the heavens were beginning to open. It was definetly the best race of the season and it was only lap 8!

Nico Hulkenberg and his Force India were on a charge through the grid and he didn’t need to be asked twice to pass Fernando Alonso. The German was now up to P3 and he was looking good. The backmarkers were also looking good with Heikki Kovalainen in P11 and Timo Glock in P12.

The rain was starting to affect the drivers and they opted to pit. Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel were amongst the first to pit while Button and Hulkenberg were promoted to P1 and P2 respectively with the latter looking menacing in Button’s mirrors. Webber and Vettel were involved in a scrap when they came out of the pits until the Aussie moved over for a plain and simple “Thank you” from his race engineer.

Back at the front, Nico Hulkenberg was acting as Button’s shadow and finally made it past him. The German was now leading the race! The irony of course is that Jordan’s last win was in Interlagos in 2003 and Force India are the remnants of Jordan. And if Hulkenberg could keep in the lead, He would be the 9th winner of the season!

A safety car was called out on for debris that was on track after all the incidents and everyone bunched back up. Nico Hulkenberg and Jenson Button were the big losers with the Safety Car depleting their 42 second lead. At the restart, Hulkenberg had a great start, pulling away from the pack, as Button had to fend off a racy Lewis Hamilton but couldn’t quite manage it and Hamilton stormed past.

Adrian Newey on the pitlane was looking at a picture of Vettel’s damage on his car and they were starting to look increasingly worried. Terminal problem for Vettel?

Vitaly Petrov spun himself into turn 8 but it was only a warm-up for Nico Hulkenberg drifting wide there on the next lap, a la Sebastian Vettel in Canada. Lewis Hamilton now lead the race. But it was really raining now and the drivers needed to pit. Strangely, Sebastian Vettel pitted for the Hard tires! Everyone, including Jenson Button were pitting for intermediates while Vettel took dry tires. Was it the right call? No. He was forced to come straight back in to change for intermediates a la Hamilton in Hungary 2011.

Kimi Raikkonen got caught out in the wet and went off the track at turn 12. Instead of trying to rejoin the track over the slippy green paint, he opted to go through the gap in the wall for recovering cars where he knew there was a place to rejoin the track. But he was wrong. He was forced to come back out of the marshall area and rejoin the track, loosing almost a minute in the process.

Nico Hulkenberg also got caught out in the wet conditions. and the back stepped out when he was overtaking Hamilton for the lead of the race and BOOM. Hamilton was left without a front right wheel and Nico Hulkenberg was left with a drive through penalty. Fernando Alonso was now up to P2 but Vettel was in P7 and soon let past Michael Schumacher for P6. Vettel would be champion.

Kobayashi spun his Sauber and Paul di Resta had a whopping crash into the barriers on the final straight which brought out a safety car. The race would finish behind a Safety Car and it did.

Sebastian Vettel is the 2012 World Champion and the youngest triple world champion.

America

Lewis Hamilton has won the inaugural American Grand Prix, passing Sebastian Vettel on Lap 42 and keeping control of the race until the checkered flag. Red Bull have also won the constructors championship, but not the way they wanted to, with one car retiring.

At lights out, Mark Webber jumped Lewis Hamilton in P2 while Sebastian Vettel shot away at the front. Fernando Alonso had a superb start and jumped from 7th to 4th. His team-mate’s penalty had paid off for Alonso as starting from the ‘clean’ side of the grid enabled him to make the fantastic start he did. Schumacher dropped places like mad, proving that he himself was to thank for his P5 in Qualifying, Not the car.

Meanwhile, Jenson Button had possibly the worst start, dropping from 12th to 16th at the start. Perez on the other hand had a fantastic start, going from 15th to 12th and then taking Senna up the inside into turn 16 in a very ballsy move. Sebastian Vettel up the front was leading Mark Webber by roughly 2 seconds while lapping a full 2 seconds faster than Alonso in P4. Lewis Hamilton wasn’t happy in P3 though, and really got himself moving. It only took him a couple of laps to catch and pass the Aussie for 2nd, before he could start his attack on Vettel.

Button was trying his hardest to get into the points and was involved in a very close and very vicious mid-field battle. Eventually, he managed to slip past Kobayashi, Maldonado, Senna and Perez. Romain Grosjean was flying in P5 and battling for P6 before he became the first man to get caught out by the infamous turn 19. He spun the car and immediately lost 3 places before loosing several more places in the next few laps.

Kimi Raikkonen proved wrong the theory that there would be on overtaking in the first sector by bullying Nico Hulkenberg out of the way in the S’s. Meanwhile, Jean-Eric Vergne became the first driver to drop out of the race, pulling onto the grass in turn 7, as he did in Practice, with an identical steering failure. In the sister car, Mark Webber was warned that his KERS had failed just before his alternator failed, sending the Aussie out of the race.

Hamilton began to lose a lot of time to Sebastian Vettel while Fernando Alonso had an uncharacteristically bad pit stop, a problem with his right rear tire to blame. He pulled out of the pits while Kimi Raikkonen pulled into his pit box and also suffered a bad pit stop, similarly, a rear right tire. Sebastian Vettel got very held up behind Timo Glock which allowed Hamilton to close right up behind him. Yet the Brit couldn’t just make the pass despite having DRS to his aid for at least 10 laps.

Eventually Hamilton managed to make it past the championship leader at the end of the straight but Alonso was too far behind him to catch him. Vettel would not give up though and he chased Hamilton, sticking right behind the Brit, but just not making it past him.

Maldonado and Senna were having a big inter team battle. Senna was doing very well to block Maldonado until Pastor came on the radio to ask if he could race. He was given the go ahead and sent himself up the inside into the 1st corner, pulling off a fantastic overtake.

Back at the front, Sebastian Vettel could do nothing to stop Hamilton winning, even setting the fastest lap on the last lap, and Hamilton crossed the line first, to win the very first Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.

Interestingly, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have never stood on a podium together before, and after five seasons, it’s finally happened.

Final Standings:

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

Retired:

Mark Webber – Alternator
Jean-Eric Vergne – Steering

Abu Dhabi

Kimi Raikkonen has stormed to his first Grand Prix win since his return to the sport. Lewis Hamilton was leading the race but dropped out roughly halfway through. Sebastian Vettel started from the pit lane after failing to have enough fuel to give a sample to the FIA, but still recovered to finish in a fantastic 3rd place. 

At lights out Lewis Hamilton got clean off the line while Mark Webber, as usual, got bogged down, allowing Pastor Maldonado and Kimi Raikkonen to sweep past him. Mark Webber dropped to P4 while Raikkonen fought Maldonado for P2 and made the pass. Behind them, Nico Hulkenberg was fired up and felt a calling to dart between Paul di Resta and Bruno Senna, but the racing gods weren’t with him. He drove straight into the back of Paul di Resta, giving the Scot a puncture, and sending Hulkenberg into Senna. Both Nico and Bruno were sent off the track into Turn 1 but Bruno managed to recover while Hulkenberg had to climb out of the car.

Romain Grosjean made contact with Nico Rosberg out of turn 10, giving the Frenchman a front right puncture for his efforts. The stewards though, decided that the incident was a racing incident and decided to have no further action. Sebastian Vettel was also in the wars. He made contract with Bruno Senna while trying to pass him as quickly as he could, but refused to come into the pits to change his wing.

Sebastian Vettel made great progress, going from P24 to P13 in just FIVE laps! On Lap 9, All hell broke loose. Narain Karthikeyan’s engine began to go with Nico Rosberg running right behind him. Narain going into Turn 15 had to back out of the throttle to stop himself going off the track. Rosberg got completely caught out with the difference of speed, sending him straight into the back of the HRT and into the air. It was a frightful collision and Rosberg was sent at a very high-speed into the TecPro shock observing barriers. Nico, luckily, got safely out of the car, as did Karthikeyan who was lucky not to be injured.

A safety car came out while the debris was cleared. Vettel came on the radio, blasting Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo who had suddenly braked while weaving his car behind the safety car. Vettel had to take precautionary action, which was to drive into one of the polystyrene advertising boards at the side of the track. As a result, he now had a very badly damaged front wing and he was forced to pit for a new front wing.

The safety car came in on Lap 14 with Vettel back in 21st. Hamilton streaked away from the grid while Kimi seemed to fall asleep and dropped back. Mark Webber pressured Alonso immediately but he could do nothing to get past the prancing horse. At the back, Vettel was hassling Grosjean for P19 but Romain was putting up a fight. Vettel eventually managed it out of turn 10 but was forced to give it back, after the team feared a penalty for overtaking off the track, as Vettel ran onto the painted blue line on the outside. But as soon as he let him pass him, he sped up and passed him back!

Hamilton was untouchable at the front, as he had being all weekend and had just stretched his gap to Kimi by 0.4 seconds when his engine gave out! Such cruel luck! Just like what had happened in Singapore when Hamilton was leading by a big margin, he was again out of the race!

Raikkonen stormed past Hamilton with a snigger while Hamilton plodded back to the pits. Meanwhile, Webber who was catching Maldonado tried to take a pass around the outside of the Venezuelan. If you remember back in Silverstone, when Webber passed Alonso for the lead into Luffield? Well this was an identical remake, except Maldonado doesn’t yet have the extreme skill needed in such a situation to prevent a collision, and the two came together. Webber spun round and rejoined in 7th place. The stewards deemed the incident a racing incident and everyone carried on.

But just a couple of laps later, Webber tried to overtake Massa just a few laps later. Massa has had his fair share of fights out on track but while Mark cut the corner, Massa took the corner too tight, sending himself into a spin. The stewards agreed that this too, was a racing incident.

Vettel had a fantastic run and was up to 2nd place after the first round of stops. He had not stopped since coming in during the safety car, but he was forced to come in after his tires began to hit the cliff. Nevertheless, he came out in 4th place, behind Raikkonen, Alonso and Button.

Sergio Perez has really dropped off form since he signed with McLaren and today was no different. He bullied Paul di Resta off the track, then shot across the track and nearly hit the barrier on the opposite side. He then dived left into Romain Grosjean, who then had no control as his car hit Mark Webber’s. Webber’s rear wing and two rear tires were completely destroyed and both Webber and Grosjean were out. It was entirely Perez’s fault and he was awarded a 10-second stop/go penalty for his efforts.

Another safety car was coming out while Charles Pic was coming in. The Marussia driver had been having a strong race and was up to 17th but he was called into the pits and had to retire. The field bunched up while Vettel thanked the racing gods. The safety car came in and Raikkonen bolted away from the pack. Alonso did his best but couldn’t quite keep the up with Raikkonen’s pace. Vettel stormed past Button and destroyed Button’s all podium record at Abu Dhabi.

But despite not being able to keep up with Kimi at the restart, he was soon catching him at 0.2 seconds per lap. This increased to over 0.6 seconds near the end and it really seemed that Alonso could pass Raikkonen with 2 laps to go. But right on cue, Alonso’s Pirelli tires gave up and he could no longer push. Lucky Kimi!

And so Kimi was clear to cross the line to win his first Grand Prix since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix. Vettel’s fantastic charge made sure that he is still 10 points ahead of Fernando Alonso. Kimi Raikkonen, despite finishing 1st, has dropped out of contention. The 2013 Champion will now definitely be either Alonso or Vettel.

Final Standings:

1. Kimi Raikkonen
2. Fernando Alonso
3. Sebastian Vettel
4. Jenson Button
5. Pastor Maldonado
6. Kamui Kobayashi
7. Felipe Massa
8. Bruno Senna
9. Paul di Resta
10. Daniel Ricciardo
11. Michael Schumacher
12. Jean-Eric Vergne
13. Heikki Kovalainen
14. Timo Glock
15. Sergio Perez
16. Vitaly Petrov
17. Pedro de la Rosa

Retired:
Nico Hulkenberg – Collision
Narain Karthikeyan – Collision
Nico Rosberg – Collision
Lewis Hamilton – Fuel pressure issue
Mark Webber – Collision
Romain Grosjean – Collision
Charles Pic – Mechanical

India

Sebastian Vettel has stormed to his fourth consecutive win this season, bringing the number of laps he has led in a row to 205.

At lights out, Vettel had a bit of trouble from Webber who started alongside him. Mark was unsuccessful and then came under pressure from Jenson Button who had jumped Lewis Hamilton into Turn 1. Lewis tried to retake Button into turn 3 and pulled it off. However, He was vulnerable to both Button and Fernando Alonso, both of whom swept straight past him, Button, Alonso and Hamilton 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.

In the middle of the field, Jean-Eric Vergne locked up his tires and could do nothing as his car went straight into the back of Michael Schumacher’s car. Schumacher, the innocent victim, was left with a very bad right rear puncture and he was forced to crawl very slowly back to the pits. Somewhat fortunately, he had no damage to the bottom of his car and he was ok to rejoin the race, albeit in 24th and a minute away from Pic in 23rd.

Vettel and Webber stormed away while Alonso passed Button for P3 on Lap 5. Button fell back slightly into the clutches of Hamilton but Lewis could do nothing to pass him. Right behind them was Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen who were catching the McLaren’s while fighting each other.

Sergio Perez was fighting Nico Hulkenberg for P8 and lost all grip in his tires. For probably the first time in a few years, we got the chance to say a Sauber was pitting first! He rejoined and came out behind the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo. He dived down the inside of the Aussie into turn 1 before getting clipped, and with it, a puncture. This was a carbon copy of the Schumacher/Vergne incident as they came together in T1 before both ditching the carcass of the tire in T5. Perez crawled back to the pits while the stewards deemed it to be a racing incident.

Just when we were getting into a rhythm of constant parading, Maldonado and Kobayashi were scrapping for position when the Japanese driver clipped the Venezuelan’s rear tire. Guess where? Turn 5! All the action was in Turn 5, except for Pedro de la Rosa’s scary failure. Narain Karthikeyan had been warned that his brakes were too hot, just before de la Rosa’s brakes failed. The car spun around before going through the gravel backwards and into the barriers at turn 4. Luckily, the gravel slowed him down and it wasn’t a big crash. Still, a brake failure isn’t exactly what one needs when driving an F1 car at the end of the longest and fastest part of the track!

Vettel was still charging away at the front when Alonso was fighting Webber for P2. He got past him when the Aussie lost his KERS unit during the race. Alonso sped away while Hamilton looked menacing in Webber’s mirrors. But Webber managed to hold him off to finish just 0.6 seconds ahead. The bottom of Vettel’s car was scraping off the ground but this did nothing to taint his form as he crossed the line to win the race.

Michael Schumacher and Sergio Perez both pulled into their garages to retire their cars as a precaution. Schumacher pulled in with 4 laps to go and had completed more than 90% of the race distance and so will be classified as 22nd.

Vettel has expanded his lead over Alonso by another 7 points and now leads the Spaniard by 13 points. Lewis Hamilton is now 75 points behind Vettel and so, if he was to win the Championship, he would need to win the last 3 races while Vettel retires from all 3, albeit very unlikely. Jenson Button has also been wiped out of contention after this Grand Prix.

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

Retired:

Sergio Perez – Precautionary retirement
Pedro de la Rosa – Brakes Failure

Korea

Sebastian Vettel has won the 2012 Korean Grand Prix, his fourth win in 2012, his third win in a row and his second win in a row while leading every single lap. In doing so, he has taken the lead of the Championship, now 6 points ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in 2nd. 

At lights out, Mark Webber had a slower start than his team-mate Vettel and he was left open to being overtaken by the German into Turn 1. He did overtake him but Webber hadn’t given up and fought him out of turn 2, turn 3 and turn 4, coming breathtakingly close to replicating their Turkey 2010 collision. Vettel triumphed and stormed away from the crestfallen Aussie. Behind them, all hell was breaking loose. Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen in 3rd to 6th respectively were going four abreast down into the tight turn 3.

Somehow, they all made it through unscathed but Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button was the innocent victim of a ram by Kobayashi. The Jap, who in the last race at Suzuka had scored his first podium, out-braked himself into turn 3 and hit both Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg. He broke the Brit’s front right suspension, forcing Button to crawl the circuit for a few corners until he finally had to give up and parked his McLaren in a run-off area. Nico Rosberg nursed his problem but was eventually forced to abandon his Mercedes a lap later on the straight. Kobayashi was given a drive-through for the incident and later retired the car as he was two laps down on the field.

Sebastian Vettel was pulling away from Mark Webber who was pulling away from Fernando Alonso. The DRS zone which is the 600 metres between turn 2 and turn 3 was useless as Charlie Whiting disabled the DRS. The reason was Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes parked in a gap in the wall and a piece of front wing on the dirty side of the track. This disruption proved costly especially for people like Mark Webber who would have been hoping for a DRS boost to try to catch his team-mate. When it was later reactivated on lap 10, Vettel was long gone.

Felipe Massa, returning from his first podium in almost two years, was once again very strong in Korea. He boldly fought Kimi Raikkonen wheel to wheel out of the DRS zone and amazingly triumphed over the Finn. It also didn’t take long for him to start catching his team-mate Fernando Alonso. Romain Grosjean who must feel the world is against him, was notably reserved during the race. First battling Sergio Perez in the opening stages of the race, then Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg in the later stages of the race, he didn’t once make a daring attempt to overtake, essentially stuck between a rock and a hard place; He can’t throw his nose into battles like Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher are known for but he can’t just cruise around the track been extremely careful as he’s trying to keep his seat with the team for 2013.

Hamilton had a miserable afternoon, never quite getting as happy as we would have liked to be, never happy on the tyres and at the end, he ran over a strip of Astroturf after going wide. The Astroturf got stuck onto his right sidepod and cost him anywhere between two or three seconds per lap for the last few laps. He had been battling for eighth but as he crossed the line, he was just milliseconds ahead of Sergio Perez.

Sebastian Vettel  now leads the championship, followed by Fernando Alonso and then, amazingly, Kimi Raikkonen! Without winning a race, Raikkonen is third in the championship ahead of Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button who have all won at least two wins this season.

Final Standings:

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

Retired:
Jenson Button – Collision
Nico Rosberg – Collision
Kamui Kobayashi – Precautionary retirement
Pedro De La Rosa – Brakes

Japan

Sebastian Vettel has won the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix from Pole Position, and in doing so has closed the gap to Fernando Alonso, who spun out of the race, to just 4 points. 

There was utter havoc off the line. Romain Grosjean was up to no good, as usual, and had yet another first lap crash when he smashed into the rear of Mark Webber and sent the Australian into a spin. Championship leader Fernando Alonso was clipped by Kimi Raikkonen who tried to overtake him into turn 1 and the Spaniard got a wheel on the grass. There was nothing he could do as his car spun off the track and got beached in the gravel.

Bruno Senna tried to take advantage of the chaos to overtake Nico Rosberg but instead just smashed straight into the side of him, sending the German into a spin and out of the race, just several metres beside Fernando Alonso. Senna, Minus a front wing, made his way back to the pits with Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber as the Safety Car came out while they cleared away the first lap debris.

The race restarted after three laps and Vettel led home-boy Kamui Kobayashi who was in second. Sergio Perez, who will be at McLaren next year, tried to overtake Kimi Raikkonen into turn 1 but the ‘Iceman’ was having none of it and pushed him wide off the track. Sergio Perez then tried to take Lewis Hamilton on the upside into the hairpin and completely caught the Brit sleeping. Even though Perez locked up, he proved his worth and overtook Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean was given a 1o-second stop/go penalty for smashing into Webber. Webber was feeling the effects of the damage on his car while running down in 19th after a pit stop. Vettel had a massive lead over Kobayashi while Felipe Massa piled on the pressure to Button, culminating in Massa coming out ahead of Button after the first round of pit stops.

Perez tried to overtake Hamilton the same way he had overtaken him just 10 laps earlier, before the pit stops, but he got it wrong and spun onto the gravel and out of the race. Mid-way through the race, the stewards struck up an investigation into Senna’s crash with Rosberg. They deemed Senna to be at fault and gave him a drive through penalty.

On Lap 32, Hamilton came out of the pits after a 2.6 second pit stop, right into Kimi Raikkonen’s clutches. What followed was some fantastic driving that Romain Grosjean would do wise to learn from. Into turn 1, Raikkonen had the outside line but was ahead of Hamilton. Hamilton kept his foot down and Kimi Raikkonen’s sharp reactions ensured that the two driver’s didn’t end up in the gravel. It was brave stuff! Narain Karthikeyan suffered his 2nd retirement in a row, pulling into his garage to retire the car, as did Chales Pic just a few laps later.

Vettel was untouchable up the front while Massa behind him also seemed out of reach. Kamui Kobayashi in 3rd was the only driver on the podium who could have been knocked off it. Jenson Button began to really catch him, despite McLaren’s obvious bad pace at Japan, but just on the final few laps, Kobayashi found a new pace and managed to keep Button at bay, crossing the line just 0.5 ahead.

It is Felipe Massa’s first podium since Korea 2010 and Kamui Kobayashi’s first podium in his F1 career! It is also the first time since 1990 that a Japanese driver is on podium at home.

Final Standings:

1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Felipe Massa
3. Kamui Kobayashi
4. Jenson Button
5. Lewis Hamilton
6. Kimi Raikkonen
7. Nico Hulkenberg
8. Pastor Maldonado
9. Mark Webber
10. Daniel Ricciardo
11. Michael Schumacher
12. Paul di Resta
13. Jean-Eric Vergne
14. Bruno Senna
15. Heikki Kovalainen
16. Timo Glock
17. Vitaly Petrov
18. Pedro de la Rosa
19. Romain Grosjean

Retired:
Narain Karthikeyan – Engine
Charles Pic – Engine
Sergio Perez – Spun off
Fernando Alonso – Collision
Nico Rosberg – Collision

Singapore

Sebastian Vettel has won the Singapore Grand Prix, taking his second win of this season, the other being in Bahrain.

Lewis Hamilton was on pole position, in front of Maldonado, Vettel and Button for the race. At lights out, Hamilton sped away from his line followed Maldonado, Vettel and Button. In Turn 2, Maldonado went wide and he was swamped by Vettel and Button, dropping him back to 4th. There was absolute carnage behind them. Webber, Schumacher and Raikkonen went three abreast into Turn 1 while Massa was hit by Petrov which dropped Massa down to last place with a puncture and left Petrov without a front wing.

Several other drivers including Webber and Rosberg cut the first corner but Stewards let them off, on the basis that they had taken avoiding action. After that, the driver’s made it safely around the rest of the lap. After Massa made his pitstop, he was flying! He straight away set a new fastest lap and would prove to be the fastest driver on the grid, despite the fact he was almost a minute down.

Hamilton continued to pull out his lead to Vettel and was shaping up to become ‘SingaBore’ as the fans have dubbed it. Timo Glock went wide into the tunnel on lap 10 and damaged the barrier but, miraculously, had no damage to his car. At the same time, Bruno Senna was warned not to use his 1st gear as he was nursing a problem with his gearbox.

Vettel pitted on Lap 15 and came out behind four cars battling for position. Not what the reigning World Champion was looking for. Hamilton had clean air ahead of him and pushed to make sure he came back out of the pits in front of Vettel. He pushed hard though and was left loosing 0.3 of a second per sector in a lap, Forcing him into the pits. He made it out ahead of Vettel.

Kobayashi had a close call while being passed by Rosberg. Nico went around the outside of Kamui into the corner and he started going sideways. His car like reactions ensured he kept racing.

The action really started to die down and Jeremy Clarkson came onto twitter saying “If I wanted to watch loads of cars driving along, I could stand on a motorway bridge.”

5 laps passed by and people began to fall asleep before the unthinkable happened. Race leader Hamilton was stopping! In the word’s of Martin Brundle “He had a box full of neutrals”. A very angry Lewis pulled into a run-off area while Vettel slipped past into the lead, no doubt with a wide grin.

The safety car wasn’t needed and the racing kept going. All of a sudden, the race picked up. Alonso made several attempts at passing Maldonado and I had to cover my eyes at some very close calls with Maldonado swiping in front of him at one point. I could see a collision between the two about to happen before Narain Karthikeyan stuck his HRT in the barrier in the tunnel. It was bad luck for the Indian, his championship challenge is surely over!

The Safety Car came out and Maldonado was told over the radio to box; they were retiring the car. The safety car stayed out for a few laps, maybe a couple too many, but when it was finally coming in, Jenson Button nearly took himself and Vettel out of the race. Sebastian sped up to brake suddenly and make sure his brakes were warm, but Button mis-read it as a re-start and he had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

But when the race was going again, Schumacher hit the back of Vergne. It was almost completely identical to his 2011 crash with Perez and this time, Vergne and Perez were fighting for position with Schumacher behind. Schumacher locked the brakes and could do nothing as he sailed straight into the back of the Toro Rosso. A very angry Ross Brawn came on the radio saying “What was that, What was that?”. But when Schumacher got back to the garage, he confirmed that he had suffered a brakes failure. He was pressing the brakes but they were not slowing the car down. He was very lucky that Vergne was there or he would have had a very hard impact with the barriers. Nevertheless, Has this cemented Schumi’s retirement at the end of the year?

This brought the safety car out again. Petrov pitted and came out of his box with a loose wheel nut. He stopped at the end of the pit lane and the team had enough time to bring him back to the pits, re-attach the wheel and send him back out before the Safety Car came back in.

Massa was really flying at the restart. He was right behind Senna at the start and challenging. Coming out of the ‘Singapore Sling’ chicane, He went up the inside of Senna and Senna completely closed the door. Senna shoved his fellow Brazilian into the wall but Massa kept the pedal down and showed fantastic car control to stop the car spinning. The stewards were very fair on Senna and let him off.

Massa then stormed straight up to Ricciardo and flew past him too. Down the field, Kobayashi, Webber, Hulkenberg and Perez were all battling for position. Perez saw a gap to Hulkenberg and went for it, but only resulted in him loosing his front wing’s right endplate. Hulkenberg kept his position and half a lap later Webber overtook Kobayashi. Hulkenberg sensed his opportunity and went up the inside of Kobayashi but only got a whack of a front wing of Kobayashi for his efforts. Hulkenberg was left with a puncture, Kobayashi had no front wing and Webber raced away from them.

The Singapore Grand Prix is also a long one and this year was no different. Instead of a lap counter, A clock countdown was introduced on top of the screen with 12 mins to go. Webber was storming through the field now and caught Senna at 1 second a lap. He passed the Brazilian and focused his efforts on passing Ricciardo in the sister car. The stewards then announced that they were investigating Webber’s pass on Kobayashi as it may have been an off-track pass. As of yet, there is no decision.

With two minutes left on the clock, Vettel was 7 seconds up on Button and soon set upon his final lap. Bruno Senna was forced to retire his car on the last lap with a hydraulics problem, the same thing that took Maldonado out of the race.

But nothing could stop Vettel from winning; No faulty Alternator’s to take him out of the race and he crossed the line first, Followed by Button, Alonso and Di Resta in his highest ever F1 finish.

Timo Glock finished 12th, Charles Pic finished 15th (But was demoted to 16th following his 20-second penalty from FP3), and this promoted the Marussia team to 10th in the standing’s, ahead of Caterham.

Alonso still lead’s the championship, Followed by Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton.

Final Standings:
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Jenson Button
3. Fernando Alonso
4. Paul Di Resta
5. Nico Rosberg
6. Kimi Raikkonen
7. Romain Grosjean
8. Felipe Massa
9. Daniel Ricciardo
10. Mark Webber
11. Sergio Perez
12. Timo Glock
13. Kamui Kobayashi
14. Nico Hulkenberg
15. Heikki Kovalainen
16. Charles Pic
17. Pedro De La Rosa
18. Bruno Senna
19. Vitaly Petrov

Retired:

Lewis Hamilton – Gearbox failure
Narain Karthikeyan – Collision
Jean-Eric Vergne – Collision
Michael Schumacher – Collision
Pastor Maldonado – Hydraulics

Italy

Lewis Hamilton has won the Italian Grand Prix from pole position, leading Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso. 

At lights out, Hamilton lead the field away, while Massa in 3rd jumped Button and challenged Hamilton into Turn 1 but Hamilton dove up the inside and blocked him off. Apart from that, Everyone was very well-behaved through the start although both Webber and Rosberg has bad starts, falling back several places. At the end of the first lap, Alonso was the big winner, gaining four places, up to 6th from 10th. Schumacher in 4th was doing well and holding off Vettel for several laps but Vettel dived up the inside into turn 1. Massa tried his hardest to hold on to Hamilton but was no match for his 2011 rival who just kept extending his lead.

Lap nine saw Vergne launched into the air after his suspension broke and he spun round and over a Kerb. The french-man had a sore landing and his car was wrecked. Lap 10 and Massa had a big queue of Button, Vettel, Schumacher and Alonso right behind him. Button got past him into the Della Roggia chicane and left him trailing as he charged after his team-mate. Down the field, Di Resta and Senna were battling into the Della Roggia for 9th place. Di Resta pushed him wide into the corner, sending the Brazilian straight on. When rejoining the track, He pulled out in front of Webber who had to take action to avoid a collision.

Perez was on the ball and overtook Raikkonen into the Della Roggia chicane in probably the overtake of his career. On Lap 20, Ferrari lost telemetry to the cars, leaving them effectively blind as to fuel consumption. Vettel and Alonso pitted with a close call on the release with Vettel just edging out Alonso in the pit lane. They rejoined behind Massa and battled each other and the slower cars as they made they’re way back up the field. A few laps later, Alonso and Vettel were battling each other for position in the Curva Grande when Alonso tried to pass Vettel on the outside. Vettel stuck to the normal racing line and Alonso was forced out onto the gravel. He kept the foot down and returned to the track behind Vettel complaining of being forced off the track. Unbelievably, Vettel received a drive-through penalty.

On Lap 34, Button’s car failed, sending him onto the grass just before Parabolica. Over the radio, Button guessed that the engine was gone but his engineer informed him that it was a problem in the fuel tank. This brought two Ferrari’s onto the podium, Massa in 2nd and Alonso in 3rd. But Alonso was looking menacing in Felipe’s mirrors, and it wasn’t long until Rob Smedly came on the radio to tell Felipe to slow down and “Preserve the tyre’s”. Massa let Alonso go a few laps later. But Felipe still wasn’t safely on the podium with Perez, one of his possible replacements for 2013, lurking behind him and it wasn’t too many laps before Perez stormed past him.

But it wasn’t over. Perez was so fast it only took him a couple of laps to catch the back of Alonso, and another lap to pass him and make it up to 2nd. With 8 laps left, Perez was 12 seconds behind Hamilton but catching him very quickly. On Lap 43, Mark Webber’s engineer came on the radio warning that Vettel could stop at any second, as he was running with a problem. Four laps later, this became a reality and Vettel’s engineer told him to pull over to preserve the engine. But with more than 90% of the race completed, Vettel would still be classified in the results. Five laps remaining and Schumacher breezed past Webber into P6 and 2 laps later, Webber spun the car coming out of the Ascari chicane. He came very close to slamming the car into the wall but kept it going. However, he had serious flat spots on his tyre’s and had to cruise around for the rest of the lap and pull into the pits to retire, with just 2 laps remaining. Also retiring his car was Nico Hulkenberg who pulled into his garage at the same time.

But despite Perez’s fantastic pace, Nothing could keep Hamilton from winning the Italian Grand Prix, making it a McLaren hat trick of wins. Perez was 2nd and Alonso filled out the podium.

Final Standings:
1. Lewis Hamilton
2. Sergio Perez
3. Fernando Alonso
4. Felipe Massa
5. Kimi Raikkonen
6. Michael Schumacher
7. Nico Rosberg
8. Paul Di Resta
9. Kamui Kobayashi
10. Bruno Senna
11. Pastor Maldonado
12. Daniel Ricciardo
13. Jerome d’Ambrosio
14. Heikki Kovalainen
15. Vitaly Petrov
16. Timo Glock
17. Charles Pic
18. Pedro De La Rosa
19. Narain Karthikeyan
20. Mark Webber – Completed more than 90% and so classified as a finisher
21. Nico Hulkenberg – Completed more than 90% and so classified as a finisher
22. Sebastian Vettel – Completed more than 90% and so classified as a finisher

Retired:
Jenson Button – Fuel distribution problems
Jean-Eric Vergne – Suspension Failure

Belgium

Britain’s Jenson Button has won the Belgian Grand Prix in spectacular fashion. Starting from his first ever McLaren pole position, he had a great start and lead the race from start to finish, not even losing the race during pit stops. But that is not why people will remember the race.

While lining up on the grid, Kamui Kobayashi’s brakes started smoking heavily. If that wasn’t bad enough for Kamui, it took longer than usual for the grid to fill up. Button had a great start but behind him all hell broke loose. Romain Grosjean careered across the grid into Lewis Hamilton’s front wing, sending Lewis into a spin who then mounted Grosjean’s rear wing. Grosjean was sent flying sideways into Alonso’s car, missing Fernando’s head by millimetres before ending up in the wall. Hamilton, Alonso and Grosjean were all out immediately and Perez had to pull up a few seconds later, minus a rear wing. It was a worrying minute or two for everybody as Alonso sat motionless in his car with medics running to him before he moved his head, and was slowly helped out of the car, obviously very shaken up.

Pastor Maldonado who had a fantastic start, lost his front wing and had to pull off the track on turn 5 to retire the car. The safety car came out with Button first, Raikkonen 2nd and Hulkenberg 3rd. At the restart, Button bolted away from Raikkonen while Hulkenberg passed Raikkonen into Turn 4. Schumacher was the big winner from the start, jumping from 14th to 6th.

Jenson continued to pull out his lead as Schumacher chased Raikkonen for 3rd, pulling a fantastic move into turn 4 to pass Raikkonen. Webber and Raikkonen pitted on Lap 8, Raikkonen re-joining 8th, Webber 13th. In the other end of the pits, Kovalainen and Karthikeyan has a collision in the pits. The Caterham was released into the path of the Hispania. It was nothing major, but it did leave the Stewards investigating the incident. Another unsafe release was Webber being released almost directly into the path of Massa, leaving some quick thinking McLaren engineers diving out of the way. This time, there was no actual collision but it was still a close one.

On Lap 20, Schumacher and Vettel had a very close shave. Vettel darted up the inside to take Schumacher into the last chicane while Schumacher locked up all four tyres. Schumacher turned into the corner and had to pit leaving him darting across Vettel. Sebastian had to act quickly to prevent a spin. The stewards certainly weren’t short of work! Also into the pits was race leader Button who set a blistering pit time of 2.6 seconds, keeping his lead when he exited the pits.

Halfway during the race and Sauber discover a problem. Kobayashi has been carrying damage since the start of the race, including a hole in the sidepod that kept getting bigger. Despite everything he continued on, much credit to his character.

Lap 32 and Schumacher, Raikkonen, Webber and Hulkenberg, in that order, were very close together and really fighting. Schumacher and Raikkonen were on the form of their lives passing each other several times. Who said the old drivers weren’t good? In the midst of it all, Narain Karthikeyan spun into the gravel on turn 14, sending him into a barrier at very high-speed. A front left wheel went skywards and landed beside the car. The yellow flags around turn 14 failed to dampen the racing and Raikkonen and Schumacher continued to attack each other, culminating in a fantastic pass by Raikkonen just before Eau Rouge. Schumacher had lost his pace and was left open to an attack by Hulkenberg straight after Eau Rouge. With 10 laps left in the race, Schumacher was forced to pit. His hopes of a podium for his 300th Grand Prix were ruined.

The last 10 laps was just show-boating for Jenson as he cruised to his 14th career win. Despite some brilliant fighting between the two Marussia’s, there was no change up front and a delighted Jenson crossed the line.

Final Standings:

1. Jenson Button
2. Sebastian Vettel
3. Kimi Raikkonen
4. Nico Hulkenberg
5. Felipe Massa
6. Mark Webber
7. Michael Schumacher
8. Jean-Eric Vergne
9. Daniel Ricciardo
10. Paul Di Resta
11. Nico Rosberg
12. Bruno Senna
13. Kamui Kobayashi
14. Vitaly Petrov
15. Timo Glock
16. Charles Pic
17. Heikki Kovalainen
18. Pedro De La Rosa

Retired:

Narain Karthikeyan – Spun off
Pastor Maldonado – Collision
Sergio Perez – Collision
Fernando Alonso – Collision
Lewis Hamilton – Collision
Romain Grosjean – Collision

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

Germany

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

Silverstone

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

Retired:

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

Valencia

Fernando Alonso has won the European Grand Prix, making it the second time he has won at his native spain and also making him the first repeat winner of the 2012 F1 Season.

The race looked to be a bore as usual for Valencia with Sebastian Vettel running away with it at the front until a Safety Car caused by a Senna/Kobayashi crash brought out the Safety Car. With Vettel’s lead reeled in, Grosjean and Alonso behind him got ready to pounce, albeit uselessly as Vettel once again charged away until sensationally, Renault’s reliability dissapeared, leaving Vettel with a broken alternator and out of the race.

Alonso was then leading the race with a fiesty Romain Grosjean behind him until lightening struck twice, sending a highly dissapointed Grosjean out of the race with an identical problem to Vettel’s. The race then began to really hot up with Alonso, Hamilton Raikkonen, Schumacher, Webber, Maldonado and both Force India’s all looking for a podium finish. It seemed that Schumacher was about to beat his best result of the season – 10th – while running in 4th until bad deg on his tyre’s caused him to pit. Mark Webber who had started the race in 19th and repeated his 2011 Chinese Grand Prix glory, was looking good for a high finish until he too had to pit. He came out right behind Schumacher which provided huge action as the two drivers stormed through the field, together.

Meanwhile Jean-Eric Vergne, the inexperienced French driver was driving like a mad man and seemingly dived into the side of Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham while breezing past him. The stewards were not happy, handing him a 10 place grid penalty for Silverstone and charging him €25,000 for the severity of the situation. Similarly, Kamui Kobayashi tested Felipe Massa’s sidepod when he outbraked himself and T-boned the unfortunate Brazilian. Kamui was handed a 5 place grid penalty for Silverstone but no fine.

The race was reaching its conclusion with Alonso a shoo-in for the win with Kimi Raikkonen behind him. Hamilton held provisional 3rd place but had very bad tyre wear and a fiesty Pastor Maldonado behind him. Pastor sensed his oppurtunity at the 12/13 corner but Lewis was having none of it and pushed Pastor off the track. Pastor, again driving dangerously, drove straight back on to the circuit, T-boning Lewis Hamilton, sending Hamilton out of the race on the penultimate lap. However, this did promote Michael Schumacher to 3rd place, and his first F1 podium since 2006. Despite being run tight by Mark Webber, he stayed put and finished in 3rd place.

All the attention however, was on the home-boy Fernando Alonso who had won the race. Stopping his car on track after the race, he was cheered by the crowd and worshipped by the Marshall’s, some of whom bowed down to him as a sign of respect, showing the Spanish fans love for the double World Champion.

But if you asked me to pick a driver of the day, I wouldn’t be able to! True enough, Fernando Alonso has an amazing race with some spectacular overtakes after starting from 11th, but you would also have to consider Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber. Michael Schumacher started in 12th place but still managed to make it up to 3rd place. Similarly, Mark Webber started in 19th and finished in 4th, Which is no mean feat in a track which is as kind to overtaking as Monaco. But I am sure that my top three drivers are Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber.

Post race, Michael Schumacher’s 3rd place was in doubt after it was revealed that he had used his DRS in the Yellow flag zone. This would lead to a time penalty for the seven time World Champion, knocking him off the podium, but the FIA cleared him, after deciding that he had slowed down sufficently to meet rules and regulations. Also, Pastor Maldonado was handed a 20 second time penalty for his reckless collision with Lewis Hamilton, demoting him from 10th, to 12th.

For my thoughts on Pastor Maldonado, click here – http://wp.me/p26kfb-aV

Final Standings:

1. Fernando Alonso
2. Kimi Raikkonen
3. Michael Schumacher
4. Mark Webber
5. Nico Hulkenberg
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Paul Di Resta
8. Jenson Button
9. Sergio Perez
10. Pastor Maldonado
11. Bruno Senna
12. Daniel Ricciardo
13. Vitaly Petrov
14. Heikki Kovalainen
15. Charles Pic
16. Felipe Massa
17. Pedro De La Rosa
18. Narain Karthikeyan

Retired:
Lewis Hamilton – Collision
Romain Grosjean – Engine Failure
Sebastian Vettel – Engine Faulure
Kamui Kobayashi – Collision
Jean-Eric Vergne – Collision

Canada

Lewis Hamilton has won the Canadian Grand Prix, making him the 7th Grand Prix winner in as many races. The Brit started in 2nd place behind reigning World Champion, Sebastian Vettel, but great pace secured him the win, despite him making an extra pit stop.

At lights out, The drivers sprinted down to the 1st corner and arrived at the 2nd corner in exactly the same order as they started, except for Paul Di Resta who leapfrogged Romain Grosjean. Vettel began to pull away from Hamilton ensuring that the 2008 World Champion would not have a DRS advantage on the back straight.

Nico Rosberg has a squabble with Mark Webber over 4th place but the Aussie triumphed when he pushed Rosberg wide into Turn 3. Just after that, Felipe Massa stormed passed Rosberg to move up to 5th. A gap began to build between all the top 5 runners but Massa in 5th showed remarkable pace to begin reeling in Mark Webber. He was showing extraordinary potential to grab his 1st podium since 2010 until he spun in Turn 1 and dropped down to 13th.

Vettel set a new fastest lap to add half a second to his lead over Hamilton until Hamilton set a new fastest lap and shortly had the gap down to 1.8s. Over the next few laps Vettel would pull away only for Hamilton to reel him back in, while Fernando Alonso hung in the background and watched the battle for 1st.

Felipe Massa was the first to pit, after wrecking his tyre’s when he spun. The Brazilian changed to the Yellow marked soft tyres, which were the hard tyre’s for this weekend’s Grand Prix. Di Resta and Schumacher follow him in. Di Resta emerged in 15th in clear air, but Schumacher came out in 17th, behind the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen who held Jenson Button up for half the Monaco Grand Prix.

Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso were the top three before Vettel pitted. Hamilton led the race for a lap, before handing the lead over to Fernando Alonso when he pitted. Alonso continued for two more laps before pitting and when he rejoined the track, the top three had swapped positions, Alonso 1st, Hamilton 2nd and Vettel 3rd. But, Lewis Hamilton made short work of Alonso’s Ferrari and passed him on the back straight with the aid of DRS.

Karthikeyan spun his HRT in Turn 1 and pulled the car over just before his team-mate De La Rosa pulled into the garage with a brakes issue, to retire the car. Up front, Hamilton continued to stretch out his lead to Alonso and was soon up to a 4 second gap while Vettel stuck to Alonso’s gearbox.

Mark Webber started to set fastest laps and was doing well until he arrived at the back of the Perez/Raikkonen fight for 5th place. He was held up here for 10 laps while he waited for both of them to make their first stop. Rosberg caught Webber in an instant and was ready to pass him before darting off into the pit lane. Webber had a bit of breathing space until he lost it in Turn 3 and nearly spun the car. He dropped away from the Perez/Raikkonen battle and back into Grosjean’s clutches.

Nico Rosberg made a very risky but successful pass on Raikkonen into the last corner while his team-mate was again blighted by bad luck. This weeks bad luck for Schumi is a broken DRS flap which is supposed to fail with the flap down, but instead has left the rear wing wide open. This is of course illegal and it gave him great speed on the straight but cost him badly in the corners. He was shown the black and orange flag and so returned to the pits where his team attempted to man handle the wing down, albeit unsuccessfully and they rolled him back into the pits to retire the car.

With 20 laps to go, Hamilton complained that his rear tyre’s are degrading badly. After asking the team if they are sure that Vettel and Alonso are pitting, he pitted to change tyres. Alonso and Vettel however, do not pit and Hamilton was left with a lot of work to do if he wanted to win the race.

Hamilton however, put in his usual strong performance to reel Alonso and Vettel in by 1.5 seconds a lap to catch them after 12 laps. He made short work of Vettel and went straight on to pass Alonso and regain the lead of the race. Vettel pitted while Grosjean passed Alonso who’s tyre’s had ‘hit the cliff’. Perez was next up to pass Alonso. Vettel was the last to pass Alonso, demoting Alonso from 1st to 5th in 5 laps!

And so, Exactly 5  years today since Lewis Hamilton’s first F1 win, which was also at Montreal, he cruised to his third Canadian win, followed by Grosjean and then Perez. Hamilton’s team-mate however, didn’t have the same success and finished in a dismal 16th after qualifying 10th.

Final Standings:

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

Retired:

Timo Glock: Mechanical Failure
Michael Schumacher: Rear-Wing Failure
Pedro De La Rosa: Brakes Failure
Narain Karthikeyan: Mechanical Failure

Monaco

Mark Webber has become the sixth winner in as many races after winning the Monaco Grand Prix for the second time. The Aussie had qualified second but Michael Schumacher who had qualified in his first pole position in his return to F1, was demoted to 6th place after his penalty for his collision with Bruno Senna was put into place.

The big question was, can Mark get off the line in 1st place? Mark is no stranger to bad starts but when the lights went out in Monaco, Mark led the pack into the first corner. Behind him, Romain Grosjean drove Michael Schumacher into the barrier, sending Grosjean into a spin but not supposedly damaging Schumacher’s car. Kamui Kobayashi was the innocent victim, and had nowhere to go but straight into Grosjean’s car, and then sideways into the air. Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg and Jean-Eric Vergne were forced off the track and cut the corner but were not penalised. Pastor Maldonado, who was given a 10 place grid penalty for purposely crashing into Sergio Perez, crashed into the back of Pedro De La Rosa’s HRT, Sending both of them out of the race and deploying the Safety Car.

Webber keeps the lead on the restart on Lap 3, followed by Rosberg, Hamilton and Alonso. Felipe Massa, who had been promising in Qualifying was clearly faster than his double world champion team mate but no team orders were issued and Felipe Massa could not find away around the Spaniard. Webber really began to pull away from 2nd placed Nico Rosberg with fastest lap after fastest lap.

Then came the suspense. Warnings of rain started to come over the team radio’s with MeteoFrance predicting rain around Lap 30. The ideal pit stop would be lap 25-30 but the teams then had to stretch out the life of their tyres, not wanting to have to pit twice in quick succession. Eventually the teams decided to risk it and the pit stops began. Nico Rosberg the first front runner to pit and he changed to the yellow marked hard tyres. Mark Webber kept the foot down and managed to come out just ahead of Nico Rosberg. Jenson Button, to continue his miserable form, came out behind the 13th placed Heikki Kovalainen, much to his frustration. Fernando Alonso put in two extremely quick laps while Hamilton was in the pits and he managed to jump him during his pit stop.

Then Sebastian Vettel who started in 10th place stepped up to lead the race. Mark Webber was 10 seconds behind him after his pit stop and he seemingly slowed down slightly to slow down the pack to allow Sebastian Vettel to come out higher up the field when he pitted. By lap 46, Vettel was 18 seconds ahead of Webber and then he pitted. He lost positions to Webber, Rosberg and Alonso but made it out ahead of Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was on the radio to complain about bits of the pit boards, falling off and hitting him in the head. Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen had a collision on the way into the Pits when Perez darted in from the wrong side of the track while Raikkonen went up the inside to pass him. Perez was handed a drive through penalty for it.

With 18 laps left, Schumacher came on the radio to complain about a ‘problem’ with the car, presumably from damage from his collision with Grosjean. He pitted 5 laps later but it was to retire the car. Jenson Button also retired his car with damage from contact with Kamui Kobayashi at the start.

The last 18 laps were full of excitement. Webber, Rosberg, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Massa were all seperated by just 5 seconds as they had to negotiate back markers and wet conditions. None of the leaders decided to pit and eventually the ground began to dry and Webber got the grib he needed to pull away. Despite a last lap attempt by Nico Rosberg, Webber crossed the line first.

Final Standings:

1. Mark Webber
2. Nico Rosberg
3. Fernando Alonso
4. Sebastian Vettel
5. Lewis Hamilton
6. Felipe Massa
7. Paul Di Resta
8. Nico Hulkenberg
9. Kimi Raikkonen
10. Bruno Senna
11. Sergio Perez
12. Jean-Eric Vergne
13. Heikki Kovalainen
14. Timo Glock
15. Narain Karthikeyan

Retired:

Jenson Button – Damage
Daniel Ricciardo – Failure
Charles Pic – Failure
Michael Schumacher – Damage
Vitaly Petrov – Failure
Kamui Kobayashi – Damage
Pedro De La Rosa – Crash
Pastor Maldonado – Crash
Romain Grosjean – Crash

Spain

Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado has scooped up his first Grand Prix victory at Catalunya, just 24 hours after securing his maiden pole position in Formula One. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton had set the fastest time in Qualifying, only to be disqualified for not having sufficient fuel in his car for a sample for the stewards, hence promoting Maldonado to P1.

Maldonado had a good start at lights out only to be passed by Fernando Alonso into Turn 1, in an almost exact replica of the Spaniards  2011 start. Behind him, the Lotus’ who normally have lightning starts, fell into place behind Maldonado. Nico Rosberg passed Romain Grosjean into turn 2 and was followed through by Sauber’s Sergio Perez. Grosjean fought hard to keep his position, ending in a puncture for Perez. Hamilton had a great charge from the back of the grid and was up to 19th by the end of the first lap.

It was not long before the gaps began to form. Alonso got out of the one second gap needed to rob Maldonado of DRS while Maldonado did the same to Raikkonen. Behind Raikkonen, a gap of a few seconds formed to Rosberg.

Mark Webber was the first come in for a scheduled stop, unusually early on Lap 7, and changed to the hard tyres. The following lap, team-mate Sebastian Vettel pitted for his own set of hard tyres. The top three cars of Alonso, Maldonado and Raikkonen began to build massive gaps to each other and the rest of the grid while Rosberg in P4 led a long train of cars.

Romain Grosjean went for the overtake on Bruno Senna into turn 1 before getting the whack of a Williams for his efforts. He lost his front wing end-plate but this didn’t have any effect on him. Schumacher came up next to try to pass Senna before smacking into the back of him and sending both of them off the track. A very angry Schumacher threw his wheel out of his cockpit as he lamented his third DNF in five races, while Bruno Senna pulled the car in to the side of the track to retire.

While all this was happening, Lewis Hamilton made his first pit stop of the race which was going well until he ran over his old tyre which a rather clumsy engineer had dropped into Hamilton’s path. No damage was done to the car however, and Hamilton continued on.

Suddenly, on Lap 17, Webber lost positions to Di Resta, Massa, Hamilton and Vergne in very quick succession, The ‘Unlucky Aussie’ then headed into the pits at the end of the lap for a new front wing. Whatever Webber’s problem was, was fixed, and he set a new fastest lap on his first lap out of the pits. The front three continued to stay in a class of their own while Grosjean battled hard to catch them, albeit unsuccessfully.

On Lap 23, The Stewards announced that both Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel were under investigation for speeding under yellow flag conditions, caused by the Senna/Schumacher crash. Both drivers were handed drive through penalties. A few laps later, Narain Karthikeyan pulled his HRT over at the side of pit exit to retire. Maldonado moved up to 1st place after Alonso pitted.

Fernando Alonso passed the Marussia of Charles Pic into Turn 1, with the wave of his hand, giving out to him for holding him up. Pic received a drive-through for it. However, while serving his penalty, he pulled into his garage to retire his car.

Perez pitted on Lap 42 to change his tyre’s and after a very clumsy pit stop, he had to pull over at the pit exit with an unattached rear wheel.

Maldonado pitted from the lead on Lap 42, suprisingly early, and rejoined in P3, behind Alonso and Raikkonen. Alonso pushed all he could for three laps before making his pit stop, but it was not enough and he rejoined behind Maldonado. Maldonado cruised past Raikkonen into turn 1, followed by Alonso. Raikkonen pitted the lap after.

Maldonado and Alonso fought their hearts out, Maldonado for a first win, Alonso for a home win, but Kimi Raikkonen played himself into a chance of winning when he left the pits to set a new fastest lap, almost a full two seconds faster than Maldonado and Alonso. Grosjean mirrored his team-mates lap times but was too far behind to catch the trio at the front.

Over the last ten laps, Alonso and Maldonado had a great fight but eventually, Alonso’s tyre’s ‘hit the cliff’ and Maldonado pulled away. Raikkonen got very close but finished 0.6 behind Alonso in the end.

It is Maldonado’s first ever F1 victory and William’s first win since Brazil 2004.

Final Standing’s:

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

Sergio Perez – Rear Wheel Failure
Charles Pic – Mechanical Issue
Narain Karthikeyan – Mechanical Issue
Bruno Senna – Collision
Michael Schumacher – Collision

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. Sebastian Vettel
2. Kimi Raikkonen
3. Romain Grosjean
4. Mark Webber
5. Nico Rosberg
6. Paul Di Resta
7. Fernando Alonso
8. Lewis Hamilton
9. Felipe Massa
10. Michael Schumacher
11. Sergio Perez
12. Nico Hulkenberg
13. Kamui Kobayashi
14. Jean-Eric Vergne
15. Daniel Ricciardo
16. Vitaly Petrov
17. Heikki Kovalainen
18. Timo Glock
19. Pedro De La Rosa
20. Narain Karthikeyan

Retired:

Charles Pic – Engine
Pastor Maldonado – Puncture
Bruno Senna – Vibration
Jenson Button – Exhuast

China

Nico Rosberg has won the Chinese Grand Prix. Mercedes hasn’t filled the front row since 1955 but Rosberg started 1st and Schumacher started 2nd. 

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

Retired:

Michael Schumacher – Pit-Stop error

Malaysia

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso won the 2012 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix. The Spaniard started the race in 9th place, but terrible weather conditions played havoc with the grid and Alonso drove spectacularly to secure his 7th Ferrari win.

Before the race began there was much doubt about how it would begin. Rain was creeping over the circuit and there was a strong belief that the race would begin behind a safety car. However, Race Director Charlie Whiting decided that the race would be started under normal conditions.

Hamilton had a good start from pole and Button followed him closely, Nearly colliding in the 1st corner. Behind them, Schumacher started uncharacteristically slowly and fought off Webber, Vettel and fast starting Grosjean. Webber pulled a spectacular pass on Schumacher coming out of turn 2 whilst Grosjean, Much to my frustration, Drove straight into the back of Schumacher. Both cars spun  around followed by Bruno Senna’s Williams in an un-related incident. Pedro De La Rosa who stalled his Hispania on the parade lap left the pits to follow the pack. Up ahead, Hamilton still lead from Button while Webber lead team-mate Vettel. Grosjean again spun the car and beached himself in the gravel.

On Lap 7, Yellow flags and a safety car were deployed as the rain thickened and thunder and lightening took out the power at the track. On Lap 9, The race was red flagged.

40 minutes later, The race re-started under the safety car. The big surprises were Sauber’s Sergio Perez in 3rd, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in 7th and the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan in 10th. The Safety Car went in after 5 laps and Webber was immediately swamped by Vettel and Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen who both overtook him. The HRT of Karthikeyan lacked the pace needed to defend against the cars around him and slowly began to fall backwards.

The pit stop phase began and the big looser from this was Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso scored big, overtaking several cars, including Lewis Hamilton and he got to the lead, followed by Hamilton, Button, Perez, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen and Webber.

Vettel, Raikkonen and Webber launched an attack on the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and one by one got passed him. Button tangled with the HRT of Karthikeyan and damaged his front wing, Resulting in a double front puncture. He crawled back to the pits and came out 23rd, Last. Button who usually thrives in these conditions, Remember Canada 2011, Failed to make the tyre’s work and failed to make much of a charge on the field, as people were expecting of him. Hamilton also got unlucky with a botched pit stop which saw Sergio Perez leap frog him and into 2nd. Incredibly, Alonso lead the race while Sergio Perez followed him in 2nd.

A very on-form Perez began to pull away from Hamilton AND catch Fernando Alonso at a whopping 1.5 second per lap! With 15 laps to go, Much of the world were egging him on and expecting him to catch and pass Alonso but with 7 laps to go, Perez lost it on Turn 13. Alonso pulled up a gap of 5.5 seconds before the end of the lap and Perez couldn’t catch him fast enough.

Vettel became the next driver to tangle with Narain Karthikeyan and suffered a right rear puncture while running in 4th. Team mate Webber took him as he went into the pits, and so did half the grid! Vettel came out in 13th, Finishing in a lowly 11th.

Pastor Maldonado had very bad luck again on the penultimate lap of the race for the second race in a row. The engine in his Williams blew, promoting Schumacher to 10th, giving Mercedes their first point of 2012.

Meanwhile, On the last lap, Guillaume Rocquelin came on the radio to tell Sebastian Vettel that he must drive into the pits to retire the car. Just seconds later, another radio message was sent out, telling him to stay OUT and not to come in the pits. Again, Just seconds later, “Rocky” came back on the radio and told Vettel that he MUST stop the car immediately and get out of it, due to a possible KERS issue. However, Vettel made it to the line and finished the race.

Fernando Alonso crossed the line first, followed immediately by Sergio Perez, Perez’s first ever podium and Sauber’s best ever race result. Hamilton crossed the line in third position to round of the podium. It is the 1st time in 18 races that someone either than Webber, Vettel, Button, Hamilton or Alonso were on the podium!

Final Standings:

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

Retired:
22. Pastor Maldonado – Engine
23. Kamui Kobayashi – Brake Failure
24. Romain Grosjean – Spun Off

Australia

McLaren’s Jenson Button has secured victory at the season opening race at Melbourne. The 2009 World Champion started 2nd but had a great start to leap frog team mate Lewis Hamilton into the first corner. Michael Schumacher jumped from 4th to 3rd as Lotus’ Romain Grosjean had a bad start and was swamped off the line. Mark Webber continued his bad run of starts which blighted him last year, dropping him to ninth while his team mate, defending world champion Sebastian Vettel made it up to 4th.

Rookie Jean-Eric Vergne highlighted his inexperience in F1 by smashing sideways into slow starting Mark Webber at the first corner. Webber was then pushed into Force India’s Nico Hulkenburg and this caused a chain reaction leading to Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo making contact with the Williams of Bruno Senna.

Jenson Button soon built a gap over team mate Lewis Hamilton in 2nd place as Nico Hulkenburg retired with a damaged car and Romain Grosjean made contact with Pastor Maldonado on lap 2, breaking Grosjean’s front right axle and sending him into the gravel.

Sebastian Vettel hunted down the third placed Mercedes of Michael Schumacher until Schumacher went wide on turn one with gearbox problems. The 7-time world champion cruised around the lap before pulling up in the pit lane to retire from the race.

Returning World Champion Kimi Raikkonen clawed his way up from 17th place, making it up to third place during the pit stop phase but finishing in seventh. Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber had a scrap for position which Webber finally came out on top of.

On Lap 37, The Caterham of Vitaly Petrov pulled off on the pit straight. A safety car was deployed to clear the car while the pack was held up by a recovery truck coming out to move the stricken car. Petrov’s team mate, Heikki Kovalainen was handed a five place grid penalty for Malaysia for overtaking two cars under the safety car, as he entered the pits and the pack continued on. Kovalainen then retired for suspension problems.

On the restart, Button led from Vettel from Hamilton from Webber from Alonso from Kobayashi. Button wasn’t long building up a gap from Vettel while Vettel, Hamilton and Webber pulled away from Alonso.

Perez collided lightly with the back of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa who suffered a puncture. Bruno Senna tried to overtake the fellow brazillian but Massa could not turn the corner due to the puncture and went into the side of Senna. The two became locked together and drove from turn four to turn six joined together before Senna went off at the Gravel. Felipe Massa pulled into his garage to retire from the race while Bruno Senna pitted for new tyres.

Pastor Maldonado proved that Williams have improved leaps and bounds from last year while attacking Fernando Alonso for 5th place. However on the penultimate lap, The Venezuelan got onto the grass at Turn 6 and flew into the wall in a very hard collision. He retired instantly.

The race finished with Perez eighth, Ricciardo ninth and Paul Di Resta having a fabulous lap to make it into the points in 10th position.

Nico Rosberg was unfortunate on the last lap as he makes contact with Perez and has to endure a lap at a much slower speed, dropping him to 12th place.

Final Standings:

1. Jenson Button
2. Sebastian Vettel
3. Lewis Hamilton
4. Mark Webber
5. Fernando Alonso
6. Kamui Kobayashi
7. Kimi Raikkonen
8. Sergio Perez
9. Daniel Ricciardo
10. Paul Di Resta
11. Jean-Eric Vergne
12. Nico Rosberg
13. Timo Glock
14. Bruno Senna
15. Charles Pic

Retired:
Nico Hulkenburg – Collision
Romain Grosjean – Collision
Michael Schumacher – Gearbox Failure
Vitaly Petrov – Steering Wheel issue
Heikki Kovalainen – Suspension Failure
Felipe Massa – Collision
Pastor Maldonado – Collision

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