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Ricciardo Handed Ten Place Grid Drop For Bahrain

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Daniel Ricciardo has been handed a ten place grid drop for an unsafe release during today’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Aussie was released from his pit box without a properly attached front left tyre, meaning he had to stop further up the pitlane and wait for his team to run up the pits, push him back to his pits, reattach the tyres and release him again. After everything, he had lost a full lap.

For the unsafe release, the team were awarded a ten-place grid penalty for Bahrain, which means that the best that Ricciardo can Qualify is in 11th.

Ricciardo’s day got no better after the pits incident as the front jack, which lifts the front of a car during the pit stop, damaged the front wing and led to it breaking on the start/finish straight a lap later. He was left tiptoeing around the circuit and taking on a new front wing  and set of Pirellis.

Besides the ten-place grid drop, he was given a ten second stop/go penalty. Red Bull have also been called to the stewards for having personnel in the pits without helmets.

This is all ahead of the FIA International Court of Appeal where Red Bull are challenging the FIA’s decision to disqualify Ricciardo from his home Grand Prix last weekend, where he finished second.

Image courtesy Red Bull/Getty Images.

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Hamilton Storms To Malaysian Victory

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

Image courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

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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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Rosberg Leads Raikkonen In Afternoon Session

Nico Rosberg took to the top of the time sheets during the Friday afternoon practice session, taking over from Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton who led the morning session. Rosberg’s fastest lap of 1.39.909 was just enough to edge out Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who was in second. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was merely three-hundredths of a second behind Raikkonen, and held a similar gap over Hamilton in fourth.

Fernando Alonso led former team-mate Felipe Massa, who himself led Daniel Ricciardo and Jenson Button. Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg filled out the top ten. Jean-Eric Vergne was eleventh for Toro Rosso, ahead of Kevin Magnussen who reported oversteer throughout the session. The Sauber’s of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez in thirteenth and fifteenth respectively were split by Toro Rosso’s rookie, Daniil Kvyat, who last week became Formula One’s youngest ever points scorer.

Romain Grosjean was seventeenth for Lotus – an improvement, at least, from finishing twenty-second in the morning session. However, his running was still riddled with issues in the afternoon, and his session ended with him jumping from the car with twenty minutes left on the clock. His team-mate failed to get out on track following his smoky exit from FP1. Kamui Kobayashi also failed to run this afternoon, with Caterham still trying to recover the car after finding a problem in the energy store this morning. Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi were eighteenth and nineteenth for Marussia respectively, while Marcus Ericsson was the final person to set a lap, in twentieth.

Free Practice 2 Results:

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

Image courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

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Red Bull To Appeal Ricciardo’s Disqualification

Red Bull have announced that they are to appeal Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix.

Post-race scrutinizing found that Ricciardo’s Red Bull had been consuming more than the permitted 100kgs per hour that the regulations have set this season, meaning that he was in breach or the regulations and would thus receive a disqualification.

However, a spanner was thrown in the works when Red Bull argued that the FIA was to blame. The equipment which is used to monitor the fuel flow had caused problems on Saturday and led the FIA to change the apparatus before the race, which Red Bull claimed had caused inconsistencies. The stewards spent over four hours deliberating and finally ruled that Red Bull had exceeded the limits. Red Bull disagree and say they are in compliance with the rules, blaming the fuel flow meter for giving faulty data.

A statement from the team read: “Following the decision of the FIA that Infiniti Red Bull Racing is in breach of Article 3.2 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations with Car 3, the Team has notified the FIA of its intention to appeal with immediate effect.

“Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane. The Team and Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations.” 

Ricciardo battled for most of the race with McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen who finished third on his Formula One debut. Unusually, Ricciardo was told mid-race that he did not have to worry about fuel conservation. This suggests that Red Bull may have misread the fuel data, or been given faulty information.

As a result of Ricciardo’s disqualification, Kevin Magnussen has been promoted to second place on his debut Grand Prix, and his team-mate Jenson Button takes the final podium position.

You can see the full report on today’s race here.

Image courtesy Red Bull/Getty Images.

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Rosberg The Wizard Of Aus

(c) Mercedes AMG F1 Team

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.

Sebastian Vettel falls behind Marcus Ericsson
(c) Red Bull/Getty Images

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.

Hulkenberg leads Alonso, Vergne and Ricciardo
(c) Sahara Force India F1 Team

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

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Hamilton Grabs Pole In Rain Affected Melbourne

Lewis Hamilton took Mercedes’ 100th pole position today by taking the first non-Red Bull pole since the Hungarian Grand Prix last year.

Hamilton had led the second practice session on Friday afternoon, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso taking first in FP1 and Nico Rosberg taking the fastest time in FP3 by over a second. However, any of the predictability from the practice sessions was gone when rain hit the Albert Park circuit about ten minutes into the opening Qualifying session this morning.

Eventually Hamilton slid to pole, three-tenths ahead of his closest opposition which was the miraculously recovered Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in his first race with the team. However, while Ricciardo will be typically beaming with the result, his World Champion team-mate will start tomorrow’s race in twelfth after the wet weather got the better of him.

Another big Q2 drop-out was Kimi Raikkonen who spun his Ferrari into the barrier after turn 3 – embarrassingly on his in-lap. He will start tomorrow’s race in eleventh while his team-mate, Fernando Alonso, will line up fifth, behind Nico Rosberg in third and McLaren’s rookie Kevin Magnussen in fourth.

Jean-Eric Vergne was an unexpected sixth for Toro Rosso and  his team-mate, Daniil Kvyat, qualified eighth in his first F1 qualifying session with Nico Hulkenberg in between the two for Force India. The other Force India qualified far down the order in sixteenth.

The Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas just slipped into Q3 and didn’t set a competitive lap during the session, meaning they qualified ninth and tenth respectively. However, Bottas was given a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change which means that Jenson Button will start tenth after he narrowly missed out on the final Qualifying run.

Adrian Sutil will start from thirteenth, while Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi will, unbelievably, start from fourteenth. Caterham had struggled so far this weekend and Kobayashi had failed to set a single lap on Friday, making his performance today even more impressive. Marcus Ericsson qualified twentieth in the other Caterham. The Marussia duo lined up seventeenth and eighteenth, Chilton leading Bianchi, for the opening session and Esteban Gutierrez was close behind them for Sauber. He too will take a penalty for a gearbox change.

It was a real day to forget for Lotus who both dropped out in the first session, Grosjean in twenty-first ahead of Maldonado in twenty-second, and last. It was so bad for the team that Maldonado failed to even set a lap and was left pleading to the stewards to waive the 107% rule, which they did. Therefore he just slipped in and will start from twenty-first, ahead of penalised Gutierrez.

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

*Incurred a five-place penalty for a gearbox change.

Image courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

 

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