Tag Archives: Bottas

Bottas Handed Grid Penalty For Impeding Ricciardo

Valtteri Bottas has been handed a post-Qualifying grid penalty for impeding Daniel Ricciardo.

The Finn was called to the Stewards office after Red Bull referred the matter to race officials. Ricciardo blasted Bottas over the radio during Q2 for driving slowly ahead of him on more than one occasion. Bottas, however, was one of the only drivers using intermediate tyres in the hopes of reaching Q3, but he was driving much slower than everyone else on the grid. At the time that Ricciardo complained about him, Bottas was dead last.

Eventually the stewards found that Bottas had indeed impeded Ricciardo and handed him a three place grid penalty. This demotes Bottas to eighteenth and promotes Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and Adrian Sutil to fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth respectively.

The Stewards also handed Jean-Eric Vergne a €1,000 fine for twice speeding in the pitlane. To catch up on all the happenings of today’s exciting Qualifying session, click here.

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Alonso Leads Opening Practice Session

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso got the ball rolling for Ferrari as he topped the timesheets in the opening practice session of 2014. The Spaniard set a fast lap relatively early on and kept his position on top of the table as the other drivers focused on getting some solid laps done. The main talking lies with Lewis Hamilton and Lotus, both of whom failed to do just that.

Lewis Hamilton was the cause of the first yellow flag of the season, stopping his slightly smoking Mercedes just after the Turn 10 chicane after just four minutes. It was later found that an oil pressure sensor alarm turned the engine off as a precaution and Hamilton, the pre-season title favourite, failed to restart the engine. His one lap was enough to place him nineteenth of twenty-two after the hour and a half.

Lotus’ problems came to light in the other end of the session; with ten minutes to go Pastor Maldonado was finally suited and booted and emerged on track. However, after passing turn 10 his cockpit started smoking and he lost power. Remarkably he made it back to the pitlane, including an off-road adventure between turns 13 and 14, and this ended Lotus’ FP1 running. Romain Grosjean was limited to the pitlane and didn’t even sit in the cockpit, as he sat at the back of the garage staring longingly at the screens.

Due to Mercedes’ dominance in pre-season testing, it was surprising to see Ferrari take the top spot. Alonso’s 1.31.840 was about six-tenths clear of McLaren’s Jenson Button, who was also impressive to finish that high up. Williams strengthened their promising position when Valtteri Bottas took third ahead of Felipe Massa. It’s a promising sign for the team who will be aiming for a double podium this Sunday.

Daniel Ricciardo was the first of the Red Bull’s to brace the track at his home Grand Prix and he ended the session a respectable fifth. His team-mate stayed put until much longer, due to the fact that Red Bull still had the car in pieces when the green light came on at the start of the session. Vettel’s running was enough to finish seventh and raise questions as to the real pace of the defending World Champion, whose pre-season test predicted a much lower placing in Australia.

Nico Rosberg, whose pre-season track time spelled the opposite, was caught between the Red Bulls in sixth. His running was smooth and he completed 17 laps, ending the session eight-tenths behind Alonso. McLaren’s rookie Kevin Magnussen was impressive on his debut – merely half a second down on his far more experienced team-mate. He finished the session eighth, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, the latter ending the session in the gravel after out-braking himself.

The Force India duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were eleventh and twelfth for the Silverstone based outfit who looked stronger during pre-season running. They’ll be happy, at least, that they had a faultless session and have both cars for FP2. Daniil Kvyat cut the grass at turn 1 during a particularly violent trip off-track when he carried too much speed into the first corner, mere seconds before his team-mate and Kimi Raikkonen followed him off. His first F1 practice session ended with him thirteenth, ahead of Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil.

Jules Bianchi narrowly avoided a spin between turns 13 and 14 while team-mate Max Chilton clattered into a trolley in the Marussia garage when he botched his pit-entry. Luckily nobody was injured. Next door at Caterham, neither man had running as Marcus Ericsson suffered an electrical problem and  a fuel issue was discovered on Kamui Kobayashi’s car.

Free Practice 1 standings:

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

Image courtesy Scuderia Ferrari. 

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Martini Announced As Williams Title Sponsor

Williams F1 Team have announced a title sponsorship deal with Martini which will see the team race under the name Williams Martini.

“We are thrilled to welcome Martini to the Williams family and officially launch Williams Martini Racing,” Team Founder Frank Williams said at the media launch this afternoon. “Williams and Martini share a rich history in the world of motorsport, and the values of our two brands and our shared passion for racing make this partnership a natural fit. It will be great to see the distinctive stripes of Martini Racing return to Formula One once again in unison with Williams.”

Andy Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer with Bacardi said, “The decision to partner with Williams was a natural one for us as it provides an unparalleled opportunity for the Martini brand to connect with consumers through one of their lifestyle passions, Formula One racing.

“Martini will give consumers a taste of life in the fast lane, bringing a renewed sense of Italian style and glamour to the track and beyond. Williams Martini Racing provides a powerful, integrated marketing platform and delivers dynamic opportunities that will strengthen the Martini brand.” 

Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will pilot the FW36 this season, and look promising to take a win.

Images courtesy Williams Martini Racing.

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Hamilton Cements Mercedes’ Strength As Testing Draws To A Close

Hamilton cemented Mercedes’ strength on the final day of testing
(c) Mercedes AMG F1 Team

Lewis Hamilton finished pre-season testing by giving Mercedes their third day on top of the order. The Briton recovered from a slow start at the hands of a gearbox issue to take the fastest lap by six-tenths of a second.

After his trouble yesterday where he failed to complete a single lap, Sebastian Vettel was the first man to grace the track this morning, and was also the first to cause a red flag – the first of eight throughout the day. The team blame a brakes failure for his spin into the gravel at turn 1 three hours into the morning. His car was collected by the recovery truck and shipped back to the Red Bull garage where it stayed in the garage until the afternoon session. He eventually got out on track but his tally of 77 laps could only get him up to ninth on the time sheets – and five seconds off Hamilton’s best lap.

Hamilton’s day got off to a slow start as Mercedes nursed a gearbox issue which restrained them to the garage until twenty minutes before the lunch break. However his running didn’t last long as he had done a mere five laps before Romain Grosjean ground to a halt on the back straight and prompted the second red flag – and an early lunch.

Bottas was second fastest for Williams
(c) Williams F1 Team

Hamilton was the first back on track and was keen to make up for his lost time, but Jenson Button threw a spanner in the works when his McLaren stopped at the same place as Grosjean after just eight minutes. This caused the third red flag. Fifteen minutes later and the green flag was shown, prompting a keen Hamilton and Kobayashi to take to the track immediately.

Running continued for an hour before Grosjean’s E22 came to a smoky end on the side of the track. The recovery teams had plenty of practice and so the green flags were out pretty quickly. This time it was Bottas and Gutierrez to take to the track for Williams and Sauber respectively. Hamilton eventually re-emerged and jumped to second in the timesheet, behind Bottas, before a fourth red flag. This time it was Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India which had stopped on track at turn 3.

The VJM-07 was shipped back to the garage and the track went green for ten minutes until Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari pulled over after the back straight. His car was cleared and returned to the track relatively quickly, but the Spaniard had only just grabbed second place when Bottas pulled over on the start/finish straight. Once his car was cleared, it was the turn of Esteban Gutierrez to cause a stoppage when his Sauber stopped out on track. His team explained that it was simply a fuel system test, meaning they basically ran out of fuel on purpose.

Jean-Eric Vergne was one of the few men not to cause a stoppage today and his reward was fifth overall for Toro Rosso. Chilton’s Marussia also had a good day’s running with 61 laps under his belt. After Marussia missed the first test and had limited track time during the second test, three consecutive days of running will be more than welcome.

It still seems to be an uphill battle for the Renault teams, however, with three of the four Renault-powered teams (Lotus, Red Bull and Caterham) occupying the bottom spaces. With twelve days of testing completed, it is very much advantage Mercedes. Any last-minute work will have to be done before the Australian Grand Prix, which kicks off with Free Practice 1 in twelve days.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.33.278 69 laps
Valtteri Bottas Williams 1.33.987 108 laps
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.34.280 74 laps
Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1.35.577 74 laps
Jean-Eric Vergnne Toro Rosso 1.35.701 74 laps
Adrian Sutil Sauber 1.36.467 91 laps
Max Chilton Marussia 1.36.835 61 laps
Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1.37.303 86 laps
Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1.37.468 77 laps
Jenson Button McLaren 1.38.391 22 laps
Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1.38.391 106 laps
Romain Grosjean Lotus 1.39.302 32 laps

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Perez Takes Force India To Top As Testing Continues In Sakhir

The third and final pre-season test got underway at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir today and Sergio Perez was the man who finished the day on top of the order.

The Mexican set his fastest lap in the morning session and remained there until the chequered flag as his rivals completed race simulations or worked to fix issues on their respective cars. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas ran a race simulation in the afternoon but spent the remaining hour running fast laps and set the second fastest time in the final thirty minutes. Bottas clocked up an impressive 127 laps in total, with no issues.

Kimi Raikkonen was back in the car after his spin into the barriers last Saturday. The Iceman set a mediocre 53 laps with a fastest lap time of 1.36.432, compared to the 1.35.290 set by Checo in the Force India. Nico Rosberg in the promising looking Mercedes racked up 89 laps, again with no issues. Although it’s not a good policy to read too much into pre-season testing, Mercedes are emerging as the clear Championship favourites.

Their rivals at Red Bull should hold that honour but their problems, which Renault admitted should have been solved in Jerez, have spilled into the third week as Daniel Ricciardo’s running was limited due to overheating issues. Although there were no sudden grinding halts or fiery engines on the RB10, failing to get a clear-day running at this stage of the game is a very worrying omen indeed.

The other team who had issues was Caterham whose CT-03 started smoking from the rear during the morning session and prompted the red flags. This left Kobayashi’s lap count at a poor 19, but Caterham say they know what the issues were and what caused them, which is some consolation at least.

Adrian Sutil was fifth overall for Sauber with a smooth run of 88 laps for the Swiss outfit. McLaren’s Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen was sixth for the Woking based team, and used the afternoon session to practice a race distance.

The Lotus also stopped on track with Maldonado at the wheel. The exhaust issue which caused the stoppage (and subsequent red flag) was serious and the car was retired so it could be stipped down in the afternoon. This set Maldonado’s total lap tally at just 31 laps, a difficulty given that Lotus missed the first test. Max Chilton and Marussia also missed the first test and took a break from their consistent lack of running to complete 44 laps today, a strong performance compared to their technical misery last week. Daniil Kvyat was third from last, ahead of Lotus and Caterham, and completed 56 laps in his STR-9.

Sergio Perez Force India 1.35.290 104 laps
Valtteri Bottas Williams 1.36.184 127 laps
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1.36.432 53 laps
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1.36.624 89 laps
Adrian Sutil Sauber 1.37.700 88 laps
Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1.37.825 109 laps
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1.37.908 35 laps
Max Chilton Marussia 1.38.610 44 laps
Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.39.242 56 laps
Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1.40.599 31 laps
Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1.42.285 19 laps

Image courtesy Sahara Force India.

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Button Fastest As Pirelli Test Wet Compounds

Jenson Button led the way on the second day of pre-season testing in Jerez today.

Pirelli opted to take advantage of the overnight rain and moved their wet tyre test to today, sending a tractor and tanker out on track to sprinkle water on the surface. All teams except Toro Rosso and Caterham took to the track to test the wet compounds before the lunchtime break – as the afternoon session reverted to dry running.

Jenson Button, known for his excellence in wet conditions, took to the track almost immediately in order to make up the lost time that McLaren suffered due to mechanical issues on Tuesday. Button had a near flawless run and ended the day with a best lap time of 1.24.164, three seconds faster than Kimi Raikkonen’s timesheet-topping time on Tuesday.

Raikkonen was second down the order, seven tenths of a second behind Button’s best lap. Raikkonen too had a straight forward day with a brief trip across the gravel the only extracurricular activity for the Finn. Fernando Alonso will take the reigns of the prancing horse tomorrow.

Valtteri Bottas was third overall for Williams, recording a 1.25.344 best lap time. His 35 lap day went smoothly and the Finn raved about the FW36 – all good in the Williams camp, then. Nico Rosberg and Mercedes were also trying to make up for lost running following Hamilton’s crash on Tuesday, and completed a full race simulation. In total, he had a best lap of 1.25.588, which was two tenths slower than that of the Williams.

Sergio Perez was fifth for his new team, completing an average 37 laps and securing a time of 1.28.376 – some two tenths shy of Rosberg. Esteban Gutierrez set 53 laps, his running curtailed when he tried to run with the slicks on the wet track and slid into the gravel. Luckily he stopped just shy of the gravel but time was cost retrieving the car and analysing the C33.

Marcus Ericsson was back in the car for Caterham today, the Swede completely a mere 11 laps in the Renault power car. His CT-03 ground to a halt in the pitlane when he left his garage this morning as Renault were blighted with issues. He eventually got back out on track for some laps, albeit a short run, during which he set a 1.37.975 best time.

Sebastian Vettel had another poor day in Jerez, his Renault powered car also suffering problems. He completed three laps on Tuesday and a further eight laps today but was eventually forced to call it a day when his Energy recovery Systems faulted.

  1. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1.24.165 – 43 laps
  2. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari1.24.812 – 47 laps
  3. Valtteri Bottas – Williams1.25.344 – 35 laps
  4. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes1.25.588 – 97 laps
  5. Sergio Perez – Force India1.28.376 – 37 laps
  6. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber1.33.270 – 53 laps
  7. Marcus Ericsson – Caterham1.37.975 – 11 laps
  8. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull1.38.320 – 8 laps

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Day Three: Williams

On the third day of Christmas, Ben Sweeney gave to me…. Williams

Driver: Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas
Championship standings: 9th
Highest finish: 8th (Bottas, USA)

For the fifth year in a row, Williams was starting the season with a new driver. Bruno Senna had lost his seat at the Grove based team while Pastor Maldonado would be joined by the team’s former test driver, Valtteri Bottas. The combination of the 2012 race winner and the hotly tipped rookie seemed to suggest a stronger year for the struggling team.

It was a disappointment then when the team out-qualified only the four ‘backmarkers’ and Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber. It was hoped that the race would be more of a success but Maldonado spun out on lap 24 to retire from his third consecutive Australian Grand Prix. In the other Williams, Bottas finished ahead of only the backmarker quartet.

The next round in Malaysia was a mixed affair. Maldonado retired again to make it his third retirement out of three races in Sepang, while Valtteri Bottas converted a poor Quali performance into an eleventh in the race. Fifteenth and seventeenth for Maldonado and Bottas respectively in Chinese qualifying saw them finish in formation with Bottas thirteenth and Maldonado fourteenth.

Maldonado replicated the team’s best result when he finished eleventh in Bahrain while Bottas finished a distant fourteenth. Catalunya, the scene of Maldonado’s 2012 win, showed no mercy to the Venezuelan who dropped out of Q1 and started the race in eighteenth. He went on to finish the race in fourteenth ahead of Bottas in sixteenth, in a quiet race for the team. Moving onto Monaco, Maldonado suffered his third retirement of the season, and his third consecutive DNF at the principality when the Marussia of Max Chilton moved across in a botched overtaking attempt and sent the FW35 into the barrier at Tabac in a whopping 9G impact. The buckled barrier blocked the track and prompted a red flag. Bottas took advantage of the drama to move from sixteenth to twelfth, where he finished the race.

The Canadian Qualifying session saw an absolutely stunning performance from Bottas who placed his Williams in third place on the grid. Maldonado was nowhere near as fast and qualified in thirteenth. Despite the strong Quali pace, Bottas dropped steadily back to fourteenth in the race while Maldonado dropped from thirteenth to sixteenth by the end of the race. The duo took fifteenth and sixteenth in Qualifying at the British round and were spared the mid-race tyre dramas. However, they failed to use the drama to score a point, instead finishing painstakingly close when they placed eleventh and twelfth.

The German Grand Prix was the team’s 600th Grand Prix, although they held the celebrations at their home round in Silverstone. However, there were no cause for celebration as both drivers dropped from Qualifying during Q1. It was no more successful during the race when they finished fifteenth and sixteenth. The team’s first point was finally scored at the Hungarian Grand Prix when Maldonado went from fifteenth to tenth in the race. Valtteri Bottas suffered the first retirement of his Formula One career when he pulled over on the last corner with a smoking engine.

Coming back from the summer break, Maldonado and Bottas qualified seventeenth and twentieth respectively. Mid-race, Maldonado had progressed closer to the point-scoring positions when he tangled with the Force India duo. Adrian Sutil attempted to pull a pass on the Venezuelan into the bus-stop chicane and clipped his front wing, prompting Maldonado to bolt for the pitlane and hitting Di Resta. Maldonado pitted for a new front wing and later took a ten-second stop/go penalty while di Resta retired on the spot. Pastor eventually finished in his starting position while Bottas progressed to fifteenth.

In Monza, Maldonado started and finished fourteenth while Bottas jumped from eighteenth to fifteenth in a pretty dull race. The Singapore Grand Prix two weeks later was equally as monotonous as Italy, although Maldonado narrowly missed out on a points finish when he took eleventh. Bottas was thirteenth.

Maldonado had a pretty dismal weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka; losing his rear wheel at Spoon Curve and crashing out during the first practice session, before spinning into the gravel and becoming beached in the second session. He finished a lap down in sixteenth, with Bottas behind him in seventeenth. Pastor moved from eighteenth to twelfth at the Indian Grand Prix while Bottas finished sixteenth, down one place from his qualifying position. Maldonado also finished eleventh, just shy of a points finish, in Abu Dhabi.

The United States Grand Prix, was a bittersweet affair for Williams. On the one hand, Maldonado announced he was leaving the team (for Lotus, as it turned out), then qualified eighteenth and ridiculously blamed the team for sabotaging his car in qualifying. He went on to finish seventeenth. In the other Williams, Rookie Bottas qualified ninth and progressed to eighth during the race, securing Williams’ best finish (quadrupling their points tally).

And so to the final round of the season where Bottas lined up thirteenth in comparison to Maldonado’s seventeenth. Unfortunately for Bottas, (who had just been announced as homeboy Felipe Massa’s team-mate to-be at Williams in 2014) he fell down the order during the race and was eventually hit by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes when the Finn tried to unlap himself. Maldonado survived the race, but finished a lap down in sixteenth – a disappointing ending to yet another disappointing season for the team.

It’s not been the season Williams and their supporters were hoping for when they partnered Bottas with Maldonado. Claire Williams becoming the team principal in April saw no immediate improvement and the overall sense of impending glory seems to have passed without recognition. Williams’ decision to recruit veteran Massa is surely a strategic move, in the hopes that the Brazilian can help in the recovery of the team. Bottas, on the other hand, seems to be talent who has, of yet, not had the opportunity to shine his brightest. Williams will have to hope for a break when the field is levelled with the new regulations in 2014.

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