Archive | July, 2012

HAMILTON HAT-TRICK AT THE HUNGARORING

31 Jul

The Michael Report- FORMULA 1 ENI MAGYAR NAGYDIJ 2012

McLAREN have dominated the weekend at the Hungaroring with a superbly fast car that clearly had the edge over the other teams in Budapest- Lewis Hamilton was fastest in all sessions bar one practice, in which he was second, and he managed to see off the competition to win the race, careful tyre management strategy and almost perfect pit stopping gave McLaren the win they’ve so desperately needed. This is Hamilton’s third Hungarian victory. His twenty five points were much deserved and McLaren need them as they go into the summer break.

It was enthralling from the start- Michael Schumacher’s 300th GP start was ruined when he accidentally switched off the engine and forced an aborted start and an extra formation lap and had to start from the pits, and to add insult to injury he had a drive through penalty for pit lane speeding, and did eventually retire from the race.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber had an – uncharacteristically – astonishingly quick start and jumped from 11th to 7th in the opening lap; Jenson Button made sure he overtook Vettel and took 3rd place, meaning that McLaren looked on course to have two drivers on the podium. However, Bruno Senna thwarted this because he got in front of Button on his pit stop out lap, and held him back until it was too late, and Alonso took over from Senna and prevented a double McLaren podium today, though he did finish a respectable sixth place, and got eight points.

Team Lotus were superb- Romain Grosjean endured the disintegrating tyres right up until the end, finishing in third, narrowly ahead of Vettel. The young Frenchman demonstrated the consistency of the Lotus car, though had a near miss with Kimi Raikkönen, his team-mate when exiting the pit lane; Raikkönen chased down Hamilton, but ran out of laps to take second place and eighteen points, but he and Grosjean should be impressed with the Lotus performance- thirty three points is a huge haul prior to the break.

Ferrari were left straggling in the midfield throughout the duration of this race, in which it is incredibly difficult to overtake; Fernando Alonso finished fifth with ten points, and Felipe Massa, whose Ferrari career is looking evermore precarious, did nothing to prove his worthiness today and finished ninth, picking up only two points.

Bruno Senna finished seventh and received six points for Williams; Mark Webber finished eighth with four points, and Mercedes need to up their game after the summer- all Nico Rosberg got was a single point for finishing tenth.

It was surprising to see that neither Sauber nor Force India secured points this weekend- they too will be looking for an improvement in Belgium.

The weekend was dominated by McLaren and Lewis Hamilton, but Lotus deserve credit for their consistent and impressive performance with two podium places- hopefully “God Save The Queen” though will continue to ring out at the Olympics whilst Formula 1 heads off for it’s month long summer holiday, and Lewis Hamilton is looking to keep it up to challenge for the Championship title in the remaining races this year.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

Fernando Alonso has extended his lead to a forty point advantage- his 164 points is miles ahead of Mark Webber with 124 points, and Sebastian Vettel is creeping very closely behind with 122 points; Lewis Hamilton is only a single point ahead of Kimi Raikkönen, who have 117 and 116 points respectively, but this can easily change following the next race in Spa. Sixth, seventh and eighth place are separated by one point; Nico Rosberg has 77 points, and Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean are tied on 76 points and their nearest competitor is Sergio Perez who has 47 points.

McLaren are back in second place in the Constructors Championships, with 193 points, but they still trail Red Bull who have 246 points. Lotus are just one point behind McLaren with 192 points, slightly ahead of Ferrari’s 186 points. Mercedes remain fifth with 106 points, and Sauber are sixth with 80 points. Going into the summer break, Williams’ 53 points see them in seventh place, marginally ahead of Force India, who have 46 points. Toro Rosso have a meagre 6 points and then Caterham, Marussia and HRT are still yet to receive points.

I’ll be back after the summer break for another update following the Belgian Grand Prix in the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit deep in the heart of the forest.

Hamilton takes pole as rivals falter

28 Jul

3 Winners and Losers of qualifying, Hungary 12

Winners:

McLaren: McLaren have received a massive change in fortunes since they added upgrades to the car for last weeks German GP. Last week Jenson used the upgraded car to finish 2nd and this week it looks even better, Lewis has qualified on pole, by a massive o.4 seconds, whilst Jenson is P4.

Bruno Senna: Bruno has struggled this year but it was a great performance by Senna in qualifying today to start in P9 after fighting for the fastest laps in Q1 and Q2.

Nico Hulkenburg: It was a phenomenal performance by Nico in qualifying last week where he went 4th fastest and it was another Q3 position for him today. Nico hasn’t been at his best since his return this year but he’s getting better and is looking the better of the Force India drivers. Nico will start in P10 tomorrow.

Losers:

Mark Webber: Being the driver second in the championship you’d expect him to qualify higher than 11th and to make Q3. This will make Mark’s race tomorrow very hard as the Hungaroring is a track where it’s hard to overtake, and Mark is renowned for not having good starts. To add insult to injury championship leader Alonso is starting 6th.

Mercedes: After a very promising start to the season and a race win in China you’d expect Mercedes to make it to Q3 but because they haven’t upgraded the car as much as rivals and others have started to copy their double DRS system they’ve started to struggle. The result of this is that Rosberg will start 13th whilst Schumacher will start from 17th.

Timo Glock: Timo is regarded as a talented driver at a weak team, but he;s starting to look slower and slower in comparison to his rookie team mate Charles Pic. Pic has really performed in the Marussia car and if he continues to perform he could be the first Marussia rookie to last more than one season.

There will be no driver ratings/tweet review/snapshot of the weekend for tomorrows race (sorry) but the Michael Report will be out on Monday and normal service will resume after the summer break.

FERRARI REIGNS SUPREME IN THE GERMAN FOREST

22 Jul

The Michael Report- FORMULA 1 GROßER PREIS SANTANDER VON DEUTSCHLAND 2012

As we approach the halfway point in the 2012 season Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is looking in very good shape following the tenth race at the Hockenheimring today. It was an exciting, but tense race as three contenders scrapped with each other in the battle to take the chequered flag, in which Alonso would ultimately emerge as the victor. He drove excellently, managing his tyres very effectively indeed, and pulled off at the start of the race as if he were Sebastian Vettel; Jenson Button started well and immediately overtook Pastor Maldonado, and then Nico Hulkenberg in the first few laps.

However, Felipe Massa’s front wing flew off and almost into the grandstands as the red lights went out, causing debris to litter the track, and unfortunately, Lewis Hamilton caught a rear tyre puncture which forced him to take a very premature pit stop, his chances of victory certainly quashed, as he was left straggling at the back.

It was a very controversial race for Red Bull. Mark Webber already faced a five place grid penalty for a gearbox change, and both cars nearly faced a pit stop start as their engine mapping came under scrutiny by the race stewards. Eventually facing no further action, Sebastian Vettel followed Alonso, but just didn’t have the pace to challenge Alonso to the lead, and some very controversial driving saw the German go off the circuit several times- at the Hockenheimring, many drivers found that they picked UP speed by going OFF the circuit, which is a severe downside to the circuit.
Eventually, Alonso, Vettel and Button were in contention for the chequered flag, as Button had incredible pace. Lewis Hamilton may have been lapped, but his car- at one point- was the fastest car on the track, and he managed to un-lap himself, keeping Vettel and Alonso at bay, allowing Button to catch right up; Hamilton did eventually retire, however, on his hundredth GP. Button reached second following a WORLD RECORD pit stop of 2.31 seconds- I think McLaren have hopefully recovered from their earlier garage woes- and held on until the penultimate lap, when Vettel overtook Button by going completely off the circuit in an unsportsmanlike manoeuvre, and the stewards are investigating the incident. As it stands, Alonso, master of the tyres and race, won the race and receives 25 points, Vettel has been demoted to fifth place (10 points) following a 20 second penalty for his atrocious manoeuvre, so Button has now been awarded second place and won a desperately needed 18 points.

Lotus had a mixed weekend- Kimi Raikkönen finished fourth and won 12 points but Romain Grosjean can simply forget the German Grand Prix as he finished 18th; Sauber had an exceptional pace in the dry Perez finished sixth, and Kobayashi finished fourth, and earned 20 points for their team. Michael Schumacher finished seventh for Mercedes (6 points); Webber finished eighth (4 points); Rosberg soared from 21st to ninth to receive 2 points and Nico Hulkenberg finished in tenth to receive the final point.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

Alonso’s 25 points have seen his position at the top of the Driver’s Championships soar even higher, extending to 154 points, which is 34 points clear of Mark Webber on 120 points; Sebastian Vettel’s penalty has cost him 8 points overall, meaning he is now third in the Championships with 116 points. Hamilton’s retirement has meant that Kimi Raikkönen has overtaken him into fourth place with 95 points ahead of Hamilton’s 92 points. A gap of 16 points separates fifth and sixth- Nico Rosberg has 76 points; Jenson Button has gained 18 well deserved points to claim back seventh from Romain Grosjean, who has 61 points compared with Jenson’s 68 points.

Concerning Constructors, Red Bull stand atop of the Championships with 230 points, leaving a significant gap between second placed Ferrari with 177 points; McLaren have gained one place into third with 160 points, marginally ahead of Lotus who have 159 points; Mercedes remain fifth with 105 points and Sauber are pulling away from the midfield with 78 points, and as usual, Caterham, Marussia and HRT are yet to score.

Next weeks Hungarian GP will only be covered by the Michael Report due to the editor spending Sunday travelling down to London for the olympics, but full service will resume after the 4 week summer holiday at Spa-Francorchamps (2nd September).

To see cars built by the next generation of F1 engineers go to https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.449468705074189.101040.432841420070251&type=3

Formula Student Silverstone 2012

15 Jul

There is something about entering the Silverstone circuit that makes your hair stand on end, maybe it’s the history of the circuit which held the first GP of the inaugural F1 championship all he way back in 1950, or maybe it’s the amazing future the track will have with all the money going into the circuit. The track holds every type of motorsport even possible from F1 to MaX5 racing, and for last weekend only, the Formula Student event.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Formula Student it is a event where cars made by universities are tested on a variety of dynamic and static events.

First of all the car has to pass a number of safety tests to make sure the car qualifies for the event and that it can participate in the dynamic events, these are: a noise test, a brake test, a tilt test and scrutineering. The car can then take part in the dynamic events which are: acceleration, skid pan, sprint and endurance, the cars are also scored on design, a business presentation and cost and sustainability. The car that picks up the most points overall from these areas wins.

Here are the cars that I found the most impressive:

  • Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands)

The car that really impressed was 75th but it was the only car running on a hydrogen fuel cell, and for that reason alone the car was my favourite. In a world where we’re all on the look out for new greener fuels for cars Delft deserve to be proud of their achievements and contributing to the hydrogen fuel cell awareness. Delft’s other car in the competition was an electric car which finished 2nd which is very impressive.

  • østfold University College (Norway)

østfold were competing in their debut event of Formula Student. The team finished 33rd in the overall standings and if the team can build on this year’s result then they could challenge for the top 10 in future years.

  • Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden)

It would be impossible for me to not mention Chalmers’ car as they won the event. The car was extremely impressive especially at the endurance event which it won to pick up 300 points. The main reason the car was so impressive was due to it being one of the few cars to have a front and rear wing which was widely regarded to be the way to go on the endurance circuit.

  • Monash University (Australia)

It was a brave step for the Monash team to travel halfway round the world to compete in the event and luckily for the team it all payed off as the team picked up a very strong 3rd place picking up the full points for the skid pan event.

  • University of Stuttgart (Germany)

For a team who came into this event with many expecting them to win it was disappointing for the team to ‘only’ finish 5th. Despite this it was a very impressive performance from the team who could have made the top 3 had they had wings which were considered very important for the sprint and endurance.

  • Oxford Brookes University (UK)

Oxford Brookes were by far the best British team, they were the only one to make it into the top 10, and what was even more impressive was that they did that on a 1 cylinder engine which struggled to keep pace on it’s 4 cylinder counterparts, the team should be proud of their achievements but their dream of 1st place goes on.

For the full final standings go to http://www.formulastudent.com/

For my photos from the event go to https://www.facebook.com/Formula1Formula (the photos should be out shortly)

Snapshot of the weekend

13 Jul

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

This picture has been chosen because I feel it sums up the mood of the fans watching the race. After a strong qualifying performance Fernando Alonso was the man to beat, and this idea was strengthened by Alonso leading through the first corner (see photo). It was only because Mark was running a better strategy that he eventually managed to win the race.

Schue for Ferrari?

11 Jul

Many drivers have been linked with replacing Felipe Massa next year: Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Mark Webber, Paul Di Resta, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel, but few have suggested that Michael Schumacher could replace Massa. Michael was Ferrari’s talisman between the years 1997 and 2006 winning the drivers championship 5 times in a row between 2000 and 2004 and was far and away the most successful driver ever in the history of F1.

Michael has been linked with replacing Felipe Massa before, in 2009 when Massa suffered a terrible injury from a flying spring Michael was lined up as the man to replace Massa. But due to Michael still recovering from a neck injury sufered in a motobike crash Schumacher wasn’t available to drive for the team.

Michael has currently been in the form of his reborn life since he returned in 2010, he was fastest in qualifying in Monaco, finished 3rd in Valencia and qualified 3rd in Silverstone, but still the elusive win evades Michael. Maybe that could be ended be a teaming up of old friends?

This post is based on a RUMOUR set up by @IrvineF1.

Mark Webber extends Red Bull contract

11 Jul

Mark Webber has signed an extension to his contract which will keep him with Red Bull till the end of 2013, after he had been linked to Ferrari. Mark said that he had been interested in a Ferrari deal but wanted to stay with Red Bull for 2013. Mark started driving for Red Bull in 2007 and has won 9 races for the team, and been on the podium 30 times. Despite never winning the championship Mark was close in 2010 when he led for most of the season.

Mark has been successful so far this season and sits second in the championship, 13 points behind Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso.