Tag Archives: Hamilton

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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VIDEO: Lewis Hamilton’s Malaysian Grand Prix Pole Lap

Watch Lewis Hamilton’s lap which gave him his 33rd career pole position, equalling the British pole position record.

Hamilton narrowly edged out Sebastian Vettel to pole position this morning, after a Qualifying session which was initially postponed for fifty minutes and red flagged twice. You can read my report on Qualifying here.

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Hamilton Takes Pole In Soaked Sepang

Lewis Hamilton narrowly took pole ahead of Sebastian Vettel in an enthralling Qualifying session which saw a very delayed start and two red flags as a downpour hit the Sepang International Circuit.

The Briton was the quickest driver on Friday morning’s opening practice session, but he had lost his advantage to team-mate Rosberg who, coming from a race win in Australia, had been the quickest man in the second and third practice sessions. It seemed definite that Mercedes would ease themselves to a front row lockout after their 1.7 second gap to rivals in FP3, but when rain arrived thirty minutes before Qualifying, all predictability was washed away.

The rain was undetected by weather radars until it flooded the track, but it was expected to dry up just in time for Qualifying. However, the rain was showing no sign of going away as the scheduled start time rolled around. This prompted race control to delay Qualifying by fifteen minutes, and then by another fifteen minutes, and finally by a subsequent fifteen minutes.

When Qualifying eventually got underway, there was a line of 22 drivers in the pitlane and, excluding the McLarens, they were all on Intermediate tyres, perhaps suggesting that it was postponed for too long. Marcus Ericsson was left behind in the pits with some sort of mechanical issue, while the others went out on track.

Hamilton was the first driver to set a lap, meaning he went straight to the top of the timesheets. However, his time was then beaten by Nico Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel crossed the line in seventh before being told to “box because the car has issues”. He did so and the team discovered a problem with the Energy Recovery System (ERS), a similar problem to the one which saw Kamui Kobayashi miss Friday practice. Red Bull, out of pure desperation, rebooted the system and miraculously it worked, allowing Vettel to rejoin the fight on the rapidly drying track.

With five minutes left in Q1, Esteban Gutierrez went off track and momentarily prompted yellow flags, as did Vettel two minutes after the Mexican. However the big disturbance came when Marcus Ericsson slid on a white line exiting turn 3, got sideways through the gravel, hit the barriers and rejoined the track in a terrifyingly close call with the speeding Sauber of Gutierrez who missed the out-of-control Caterham by mere centimetres. This crash, with 35 seconds left on the clock, caused a red flag. Adrian Sutil was the big loser from this stoppage and ended the day in eighteenth, while Maldonado joined him in seventeenth. The other four drivers to drop out at the first hurdle were the predictable four back markers.

By the time Q2 got underway, the rain had intensified and necessitated the use of the full wet Pirelli tyres. Raikkonen and Alonso had tried to run with intermediate tyres while the rest of the grid fitted wet tyres. The so-called ‘rooster tails’, the spray which comes out from the wheels, blocked the TV cameras’ vision and the drivers could see even less. Amid the chaos, Daniil Kvyat and Fernando Alonso came together. Alonso, tiptoeing around the circuit, had taken a wide line into turn 11 which Kvyat mistook for the signal to overtake. He also outbraked himself and had nowhere to go as Alonso turned in to take the corner. Kvyat’s STR9 made contact with the Ferrari and broke the Scuderia’s front wishbone – a usually unrepairable damage.

A red flag was shown after the collision and this gave Ferrari time to work on the car. Like Vettel’s problem, Ferrari somehow fixed the suspension and allowed Alonso to return to the circuit. As the green light was shown, everyone bar Alonso took to the track. Valtteri Bottas put on a set of inters but his gamble failed as the drivers on wet tyres blasted past him.

Although his strategy was clearly failing, and he occupied last place, Williams called Massa in to fit him too with a pair of the green intermediate tyres. On the other hand, Hamilton, Rosberg and Magnussen occupied the top three places with wet tyres. The Red Bull drivers completed their laps and Ricciardo jumped to P2, sandwiching Rosberg as Vettel took fourth. Massa realised his mistake and quickly took a set of wet tyres while Bottas improved slightly to twelfth. Daniil Kvyat narrowly made it to Q3 with a tenth place – until his team-mate jumped into the top ten and pushed the Russian down to eleventh. Grosjean also missed a place in the top ten when he spun out on his final lap.

Q3 got underway, and everyone, excluding McLaren, had fitted wet tyres. The gamble wasn’t working, as Jenson Button, whose strength is in the wet conditions, was crawling around the track in tenth. Determined to use inters, he returned to the pits for another set while his team-mate took on a pair of wets. Up front, Raikkonen set the fastest lap, and was then beaten by Hamilton. Rosberg took second, and was then eclipsed by Alonso and Vettel. The drivers, excluding Button, pitted for fresh tyres ahead of the final fight for pole position, but the conditions were getting worse.

Vettel missed out on the chance to challenge for pole position, crossing the line a mere two seconds after the chequered flag flew. Hamilton gave up when he drove wide at turn 4, and left the chance of keeping his pole position to the speed of the others. Button finally conceeded defeat and drove into the pits while Rosberg took P3. Alonso went fourth ahead of Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Magnussen. Jean-Eric Vergne took ninth while Button was left settling for tenth.

With other drivers failing to beat his time, Hamilton took his 33rd career pole position – equalling Jim Clark’s British record which was set at the 1964 American Grand Prix.

Provisional Grid: 

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

Image courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team.


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Rosberg Keeps Mercedes In World Of Their Own

Nico Rosberg kept Mercedes firmly fastest in the final piece of track action before Qualifying at the Malaysian Grand Prix. The German kept his dominance over team-mate Lewis Hamilton as he looks to take a back-to-back win this Sunday, trumping Hamilton’s time by three-tenths of a second.

Kimi Raikkonen was the closest driver to the Silver Arrows,  but he was still a full 1.2 behind the title favourites. Behind Raikkonen was Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull, who himself led from Force India’s promising Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, who will be eager to make the podium after being disqualified from second at his home Grand Prix two weekends ago.

Fernando Alonso was noticeably slower than his team-mate as he occupied seventh place and narrowly fended off former team-mate Felipe Massa for Williams. Massa’s team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, took ninth while Sergio Perez filled out the top ten for Force India.

The Toro Rosso duo of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne took eleventh and twelfth ahead of the Sauber pairing of Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil, thirteenth and fourteenth. The Lotus drivers finally got some running under their belt, although Romain Grosjean had an off-track excursion in the final seconds of the session and subsequently declared the E22 a ‘disaster’ over the team radio.

Max Chilton was seventeenth for Marussia, ahead of team-mate Jules Bianchi and the Caterham duo of Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi. Kobayashi failed to get any noteworthy running on Friday due to technical gremlins, and needed to maximise the hour today. However, another technical issue reared its head and saw him ending his session after seven laps. McLaren report ‘hardware issues’ in their cars which saw them finish twenty-first and twenty-second this morning, and these problems will be tough to fix before Qualifying.

Free Practice 3 Results:

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

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Hamilton Sets The Pace In Malaysia

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest man during Friday morning’s practice session ahead of this Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. The Briton, whose best result in Sepang was second in 2007, edged out Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg who finished second and third respectively.

It was a promising omen for Hamilton who failed to set a single lap as the same session at the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago. While Hamilton’s run was free of any technical gremlins, the same could not be said for the Lotus drivers, both of whom had to be recovered: Romain Grosjean pulled over after twenty minutes, while Maldonado went up in smoke with around twenty minutes left in the session. While Grosjean’s E22 was fixed up and he got back out on track, Maldonado climbed from his cockpit and left his mechanics to try to have the car ready for the afternoon session

Caterham who, like Lotus, run Renault power, were forced to call an end to his morning activity when a problem was discovered in the energy store. Aside from Kobayashi and the two Lotus’, no one else seemed to be suffering from any noteworthy issues.

The majority of extracurricular activity this morning came as a result of spins: Adrian Sutil spinning at the pit entrance, Marcus Ericsson spinning out of the last corner and Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa both spinning into the run-off area at turn 10. Lewis Hamilton out-braked himself at turn 14 and took the scenic route through the gravel in the final seconds of the session, as if to celebrate his fastest lap. Finally, Kevin Magnussen had a peculiar issue when the car shut itself off in the pit entrance: he required the assistance of marshals who pushed him some bit towards the pits before simply giving up and walking away, leaving the Dane stranded until marshals from a different post had run to him.

Free Practice 1 Results:

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

Image courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

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VIDEO: Lewis Hamilton’s Australian GP Pole Lap

Watch Lewis Hamilton’s pole lap at the rain affected Australian Grand Prix.

The Briton slipped and slid his way to Mercedes’ 100th pole position, narrowly beating local favourite Daniel Ricciardo, who lines up on the front row of the grid for his first Grand Prix with Red Bull.

The big surprises from Saturday were Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen failing to make Q3, Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen qualifying in the top ten on their debut, fourteenth place for Caterham, and Lotus filling out the last two places. For the full report, see here.

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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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Hamilton Recovers From Missed Running To Lead Mercedes 1-2 In Second Practice

Lewis Hamilton recovered from his morning difficulties to take the top spot during the second Free Practice session ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

The Briton, who is favourite for the Championship, stopped after just four minutes in the morning session, with a problem that was later identified as a sensor failure. Despite the lost time, he threw in his challenge for pole position in the afternoon by grabbing the top time, 0.157 ahead of his team-mate, Nico Rosberg.

Fernando Alonso, who was the quickest man in the opening session, was the next man down the order, taking third for Ferrari. While Alonso’s day was pretty straight forward, Kimi Raikkonen in the sister car suffered a gearbox issue in the pitlane. The Finn was lining up in the pitlane to do a practice start with Alonso waiting behind him, however, the ’07 Champion simply couldn’t engage first gear. Ferrari mechanics ran up to him and rolled him back to the garage and he was back out on track after a fifteen minute stint in the garage. He finished the session in seventh.

Sebastian Vettel was fourth for Red Bull and seems to be in a much stronger position that they appeared to be in pre-season testing. Daniel Ricciardo, in the other RB10, was sixth at his home Grand Prix. “Friday was good – we got a lot of laps done,” Ricciardo said post-session. “The guys are happy. The performance doesn’t seem as slow as we thought”.

Jenson Button was in between the Red Bull’s and finished in fifth, looking like McLaren could be running with a much improved car. Valtteri Bottas was eighth for Williams, who finished surprisingly low as their pre-season pace suggested that they would be right behind, if not ahead of, Mercedes. Indeed, Felipe Massa finished a low 12th, in contrast to the third and fourth that Bottas and Massa secured in the opening session respectively.

Kevin Magnussen was ninth for McLaren and doing a good job with familiarising himself with the car, with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg filling out the top ten. The German spun under braking with five minutes left on the clock and beached his VJM-07. At the same time, ironically, Romain Grosjean suffered some sort of brakes failure and spun into the gravel at turn six, and he too became beached in the gravel. He finished the day down in a miserable eighteenth.

Jean-Eric Vergne was eleventh for Toro Rosso and had a straight-forward day, especially in comparison to his rookie team-mate who spent more time acting as a rolling roadblock and not checking his mirrors – at one point forcing Hamilton to stand on the brakes as the Russian weaved in front of him on an off-lap. The Russian, 19, is the youngest driver on the grid and also the first man to go straight from GP3 to Formula One. He ended the day in sixteenth.

Sergio Perez was twelfth for Force India, followed by the Sauber duo of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez who finished a tenth apart in fourteenth and fifteenth respectively. Jules Bianchi finished seventeenth for Marussia and got a solid day running under his belt. Like Bianchi, his team-mate Max Chilton set 29 laps. In stark contrast, Marussia’s rivals, Caterham, failed to run a single lap: Marcus Ericsson discovered a hydraulics issue on his installation lap while Kamui Kobayashi’s car had its engine removed following a fuel issue in Free Practice 1. This leaves Ericsson’s lap total from today at two laps, with no laps for Kobayashi.

Pastor Maldonado was twenty-second, and last, as his technical issues from the morning session spilled over into the afternoon and left the Venezuelan watching his mechanics tinkering with his car.

Session results:

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

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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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Mercedes Strong As Red Bull Falter Again

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes topped the timesheets today as the third day of pre-season testing in Bahrain drew to a close.

The Briton clocked up a tally of 67 laps between the morning and afternoon sessions which gave him a best lap almost half a second clear of his former team-mate, Jenson Button in the McLaren MP4-29. Button, whose engagement to girlfriend Jessica Michibata also became public knowledge today, set a noble 103 laps and came close to trumping the time set by team-mate Magnussen who took the car out yesterday.

Valtteri Bottas had control of the FW36 in the morning and ran 55 laps while Felipe Massa was also back in the car for Williams and set 60 laps. With their reliability already looking good, the Grove based team opted to focus on a lot of pit-stop simulations which took up the bulk of their running.

Force India had their garage door closed for the first two hours this morning as they battled a battery issue that hit them last night. Sergio Perez finally got out on track and clocked up a best time that was over three seconds shy of Hamilton’s best, but still good enough for fifth in the standings. The Prancing Horse also suffered problems in the morning which limited Kimi Raikkonen’s lap count to 12. The afternoon session saw the Finn completing a further 32 laps, bringing his total to 44.

Pastor Maldonado caused two red flags today due to a Gearbox and Energy Recovery System failure respectively. With a big chunk of time lost to repairing the issues, Lotus only managed to run 26 laps which put Maldonado eighth overall. Marcus Ericsson was in the Caterham today and completed 98 laps which he says was enough to earn him his FIA Super License. By regulation a driver must complete 300 miles in an F1 car to earn a Super License, which all drivers must have before competing in an F1 race meet.

Daniil Kvyat finally had a solid day of running for Toro Rosso while Marussia’s Max Chilton was left bemoaning another day of issues when, after four laps, he had to jump from his smoking car. The team’s woes show no sign of going away.

The last day of the second pre-season test is tomorrow at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.34.263 67 laps
Jenson Button McLaren 1.34.976 103 laps
Felipe Massa Williams 1.37.066 60 laps
Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1.37.180 95 laps
Sergio Perez Force India 1.37.367 57 laps
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1.37.467 44 laps
Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.38.974 57 laps
Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1.39.642 26 laps
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1.40.781 28 laps
Marcus Ericcson Caterham 1.42.130 98 laps
Max Chilton Marussia 1.46.672 4 laps
Valtteri Bottas Williams 55 laps

Image courtesy Mercedes F1 Team. 

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