Archive | April, 2013

How’s he doing? Valtteri Bottas

29 Apr

We’re four races in to F1 2013 so lets see how the new drivers have been getting on.

Remind me, how did you rate him before the season started?

I expected him to pick up points and classed him as one of the most exciting new talents into F1 in a long time.

And how’s he got on so far this season?

No where near as good as everyone expected him to be, he hasn’t qualified higher than 15th and has failed to score points at every race so far.

How does that compare to his team mate?

Pastor Maldonado has also struggled to get pace out of his Williams he also hasn’t performed well in qualifying and has failed to pick up points, but Maldonado has had to retire from two races so he has got more excuses.

Since both drivers have really struggled to put in good performances in the Williams it appears that it’s more the car’s fault than anything else, but Bottas will need to really up his game if he’s to remain in F1 next season since he’s one of the few drivers not their due to financial backing.

How would you rate his performances so far?

5/10 I expected more of him and so far he’s been rather unimpressive.

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DÉJÀ VU IN THE DESERT FOR RED BULL AND LOTUS

21 Apr

The Michael Report- 2013 FORMULA ONE GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX

POLITICAL controversy overshadowed last year’s running of the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir. Thankfully, this year, there was little, if any, disruption, and with Pirelli providing the tyres, this year’s race was made truly unpredictable, it was set to be an exciting race, and apart from the top three, this was achieved.

From the start, Nico Rosberg fought bravely hold on to first place, but unfortunately, the Mercedes car struggled to maintain a suitable grip, and began to slow down, allowing the field to begin overtaking the pole sitter, and once Sebastian Vettel took the lead, he stormed off into the distance and was never to be seen again until he took the chequered flag an hour or so later, only stopping for routine tyre changes, and taking care of the rubber that threw spanners into the works of the other cars, unless your car was a Lotus.

Kimi Raikkönen and Romain Grosjean demonstrated the durability of the harder compound tyres, and managed to outperform the other cars, who may have been quicker, but they weren’t able to cope with the thermal degradation that took place under the roasting heat of the desert sun. In a full replication of last year’s Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel received twenty five points in first, Raikkönen eighteen in second, and Grosjean fifteen in third.

Paul Di Resta demonstrated a superb Force India car today, and if it weren’t for the degrading rubber in the closing stages in the race, he could have achieved his first Formula One podium. Alas, he finished fourth and received twelve points. Neverthelss, it was one of the best races Di Resta has ever had, and paves the way for a possible challenge to the top teams, and securing Force India as the main mid-field team by far. Team-mate Adrian Sutil, however, suffered badly following contact in the early stages of the race, and finished thirteenth.

Technical gremlins wreaked havoc for Ferrari today. Felipe Massa clipped his front wing with the Lotus of Kimi Raikkönen, and had to struggle throughout the race, suffering a puncture in the process, finishing fifteenth. Team-mate Fernando Alonso started promisingly, but his rear-wing flap remained open, and he had to pit twice to have it shut again, meaning that he lost time as well as the use of DRS. However, the Spaniard proved his worth with sublime driving, and finished in a respectable eighth with four points.

McLaren are back on the rise, it seems. Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were tussling and pushing each other to the edge, quite literally, several times. The two cars from Woking were challenging the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber. Unfortunately for Jenson Button, he lost his war of rubber, and was forced to pit four times, instead of his planned three, but did manage to finish tenth with one point. On the other hand, Sergio Perez demonstrated why McLaren signed him, and pounced at every opportunity, eventually overtaking Mark Webber on the last lap to finish in sixth place, and received eight points. Lewis Hamilton finished fifth, and took home ten points, and team-mate Nico Rosberg finished ninth, and got two points.

Mark Webber had an average race, and maintained a good pace, but dropped back at the very last minute. In the space of the two last laps, he dropped from fifth to seventh, and finished with six points for Red Bull.

In the conflict between Caterham and Marussia, Caterham fought back today, since Charles Pic finished seventeenth, ahead of Sauber’s Esteban Guttierez, whilst Jules Bianchi only managed to finished nineteenth for Marussia, ahead of his team-mate Max Chilton, who turned 22, and his present was not finishing in last place!

Overall, it was an interesting race plagued with inter-team competition, overtaking and the tyre strategy once again dominated proceedings in today’s race, and the ‘finger’ stood atop the podium for the second time in four grands prix. Sebastian Vettel  has scored points in every race so far, and as the first fly-away leg of 2013 comes to a close, the other Constructors will need to do something to act as a constant threat to Red Bull dominance.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

After Bahrian, Sebastian Vettel now boasts a ten-point lead in the Drivers’ Championships, with 77 points to his name, with Kimi Raikkönen in second place with 67 points. After battling with his tyres today, Lewis Hamilton leapt into third place for Mercedes, with 50 points. Fernando Alonso has dropped down to fourth place with 47 points, and Mark Webber is fifth with 32 points.

A mere two points behind, we see Felipe Massa in sixth place with 30 points, and Romain Grosjean has jumped two places into seventh, now with 26 points. Paul Di Resta received twelve points today, and now has 20 points to his name. Nico Rosberg is eighth with 14 points, Jenson Button ninth with 13 and Sergio Perez tenth with 10.

In the Constructors’ Championships, Red Bull have broken through the century barrier, and now have 109 points in first. Lotus have retaken second place, and now hold 93 points. Ferrari have only gained 4 points, but are third with 77, and Mercedes are now fourth with 64 points. Paul Di Resta’s fantastic performance has meant that Force India have surged back into fifth place with 26 points, ahead of McLaren with 23, who drop back into a lowly sixth place. Toro Rosso have no more points to add, and remain seventh with 7 points. Sauber are eighth, and keep 5 points.

Williams lead Marussia who lead Caterham, but they are still yet to score.

I will be back in three week’s time, when Formula One begins its return to Europe, at the Circuit De Catalunya in Spain. Last year, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado was triumphant, but if they have any chance of emulating their success this year, serious work will need to be done. McLaren, showing baby steps towards improvement, will also be bringing upgrades to Spain. These two teams are probably the most in need of a boost, and we will wait and see who will reign supreme in Europe.

Michael

ALONSO WINS THE CHINESE RUBBER BATTLE

16 Apr

The Michael Report- 2013 FORMULA ONE UBS CHINESE GRAND PRIX

THE CHINESE Grand Prix this year was won by the driver who could best manage the tyre degradation, make the best pit stops and pick the right tyre compounds to achieve maximum potential, and today, Fernando Alonso drove brilliantly, overtook carefully and took great care of his tyres to fend off the competition and win Ferrari’s first victory since Germany last year.

Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel were the two big name drivers who began the race on the harder compound tyres, deciding to wait until the very last moment to switch to the softer, and less durable, tyres and one could argue that on the whole, this strategy delivered reward. Vettel chased down Lewis Hamilton to the very last second in the closing stages of the race, and was only denied a podium finish by two tenths of a second; Jenson Button also fought off Felipe Massa to finish fifth with ten points; Vettel received twelve points and finished fourth.

However, although both Button and Vettel both improved upon their qualifying positions, the vast majority of drivers today began on softer tyres, and changed to the harder tyres to finish off the race on much more durable tyres- Kimi Raikkönen collided into the back of Sergio Perez, damaging part of his front wing, but somehow managed to survive and remained competitive until the end, finishing in second place with eighteen points. Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes may have been quick in qualifying, but it didn’t quite have the pace to fend off Alonso or Raikkönen. Nevertheless, it shows that Mercedes is capable of challenging for the podium and possibly even a race victory this year. China has always granted rewards for Ross Brawn’s team, and this trend continued for Lewis, but not for team-mate Nico Rosberg, who was forced to retire with a suspension failure.

Other race casualties in the Chinese Grand Prix today were Mark Webber, Adrian Sutil and Esteban Guttierez. Mark Webber was unfortunate in that he regained places after starting from the pit lane, but he was involved in a collision with Jean Eric- Vergne, and damaged his front wing. After limping back to the pits, Red Bull decided to change his tyres as well as the front wing, but one of his tyres wasn’t affixed properly in the rush to get him back out onto the cricuit, and he ended up retiring, with the tyre rolling onto the track, nearly hitting Sebastian Vettel in the process! Next, Sauber’s Esteban Guttierez was travelling too fast, missed the ideal braking point, and crashed into the back of Adrian  from Force India, and both cars were forced to retire from the race.

Felipe Massa finished in a comfortable sixth place, earning eight points, and Daniel Ricciardo achieved his best ever finish, seventh place, for Toro Rosso, building on a spectacular qualifying session yesterday. Six points is a great achievement for the Australian, considering that he only received ten points in twenty races last year, and he will be hoping to build on his success in Bahrain next week.

Paul Di Resta finished in eighth and received four points, which is something that he will be pleased with after nearly being pushed off the track by his team-mate in the opening stages of the race. Romain Grosjean continues his ‘average’ performance of late, finishing ninth and getting two points and Nico Hulkenberg, who led at one point, finished tenth for Sauber. Unfortunately, they gauged the tyres wrong for him, since he switched from hard to soft to hard again, and that middle stint cost the German dearly, compared with Button and Vettel who switched from hard to hard to soft.

Sergio Perez under performed again today, scoring nothing by finishing eleventh for McLaren, and Williams finished thirteenth and fourteenth, and are still yet to score points, with three races now completed. Jules Bianchi once again won the battle of the back markers, finishing fifteenth ahead of Charles Pic, team- mate Max Chilton and Giedo Van Der Garde.

Fernando Alonso will be pleased with his driving today, and Ferrari certainly proved that they chose the best strategy in terms of tyres, and will be chasing down the Red Bulls in the coming week as the Championship battles tighten rapidly in this early stage in the season. Mark Webber will be wallowing in pity this evening, whilst McLaren, or at least Jenson Button, can feel somewhat relieved after managing to score a satisfactory position, and are glimmers of hope beginning to shine through? Martin Whitmarsh will hope so, but work still has to be done.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

Before the European leg of the Formula One season gets underway in one race time, the leaders in the first fly- away leg in the Drivers’ Championships are engaged in a true scrap to the top. Sebastian Vettel leads with 52 points, followed closely by Kimi Raikkönen with 49 points. Mark Webber has been usurped from third place by Fernando Alonso with 43 points, Lewis Hamilton with 40 points and Felipe Massa with 30 points. The Australian now lies in sixth place, after receiving nothing from China, and just showing how one mistake can cost drivers significantly. Thankfully with sixteen races to go, there will still be all to play for. In seventh place, we see Nico Rosberg with 12 points, and Jenson Button in eighth, who also has 12 points. Romain Grosjean has 11 points in ninth, and in tenth, Paul Di Resta with 8 points.

In eleventh place, Daniel Ricciardo has six points, as too does Adrian Sutil in twelfth. In thirteenth, Nico Hulkenberg with 5 points and McLaren’s Sergio Perez resides in a lowly fourteenth place with just 2 points. A solitary point is held by Jean Eric- Vergne in fifteenth.

In the Constructors’ Championships, Red Bull still lead with 78 points, but only five points ahead of Ferrari, who are second with 73 points. Lotus have continued their point scoring to great success, as they are third with 60 points. Mercedes are fourth, and they have 52 points. McLaren have recovered, and are now fifth with 14 points. Force India’s poorer finishing positions mean that they are sixth, despite also having 14 points. Daniel Ricciardo’s race has meant that Toro Rosso are seventh with 7 points, and Sauber are eighth with 5 points. Williams lead Marussia who lead Caterham, but none of them have scored any points thus far.

I will be back next week as Formula One heads to the desert in Bahrain- with (hopefully) no political upheaval due to overshadow the action, we look forward to the front- runners battle it out to see who will take the next chequers flag. The desert normally means high temperatures and an endurance test for the drivers, and it should hopefully be as interesting, if not more so, than today’s rubber dominated race in China.

Michael

Mark Webber, is he leaving?

14 Apr

Today following the Chinese GP rumours burst out alluding to the idea of Mark Webber joining Porsche next season. Lets look deeper into it and find out some more information.

So what is the rumour exactly?

Well it was broken by @F1Kate almost immediately following the race saying “Don’t know if this has done the rounds on Twitter yet, but the talk in China is that Webbo has signed a 5-year sportscar deal with Porsche.”

So what evidence is there for this happening?

Well on the face of it it appeared to be just another F1 rumour, a bit early for the silly season but that wasn’t seen as a problem. It wasn’t until @GTPorsche, the twitter account of a monthly Porsche magazine that it started to look true, they tweeted:

  • “To clarify, our sources tell us Mark Webber has agreed a 5 year deal to race for Porsche – not us, we’re a mag – in its LMP1 car from 2014”
  • This was met with scepticism:
  • “And yet you clearly haven’t checked if your ‘sources’ are reliable! Just let me ask this; what sort of magazine are you? Geez…”
  • But then @GTPorsche replied:
  • “we’re a mag with a very good source and have sat on the story until the F1 paddock started talking about it this morning,”

I don’t know about you but to me that pretty much says he’s definitely moving.

Wow, so what is the LMP1?

The LMP1 is Porsche’s attempt to return to the WEC (world endurance cars)  and so is therefore a Le Mans car, Porsche will start showcasing the LMP1 mid 2013 with it’s racing debut in 2014. This would make the signing of Mark Webber a massive coo for the team and will get it some good publicity.

For more info on the LMP1 go here!

What do you think caused this move?

Well Webber isn’t a young driver and it’s been a regular feature of the season for everyone to expect his retirement over the last few years, but also he hasn’t had much support from Red Bull recently, they sided with Vettel in the Malaysia incident then there has also been the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP and the incident  at the 2010 British GP when he wasn’t given the latest updates to the car.

So who do you expect to replace him at Red Bull?

Well lots of names have been mentioned: Kimi Raikkonen has recently had a lot of rumours around him about a move to Red Bull; also there’s the Toro Rosso due of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo; Red Bull’s newest protege Antonio Felix Da Costa and Nico Hulkenburg’s name has also been bandied around.

Of those I’d say the favourites were Raikkonen and Ricciardo, Raikkonen is quicker, but he would also want equal treatment with Vettel. Whilst Ricciardo isn’t as quick at the moment but he may have the potential, also he’ll be more willing to move in as a definite number 2.

But of course since this hasn’t been confirmed it could still be a rumour, this isn’t likely but there is still a chance.

Alonso wins in China by a country mile

14 Apr

Good Day, Bad Day, China 13.

Good Day:

Fernando Alonso: S3 F1 10/10 – Alonso was far and away the best driver on track today, he overtook, managed the tyres and set blistering pace to ultimately win the race by a fantastic 10 seconds. It started well for Alonso overtaking Raikkonen off the line and it just got better, his corner of choice for overtaking was T1 where he overtook: Hamilton, Vettel (twice) and Button. Alonso only just missed out on the championship last season but he’s back with a vengeance this season.

Sebastian Vettel: S9 F4 9/10 – Vettel was killed by his strategy this weekend otherwise he could have challenged Vettel to the victory. Vettel didn’t set a lap in Q3 yesterday (this is because Red Bull didn’t have the 1 lap pace to challenge Ferrari/Lotus/Mercedes for pole) and after being overtaken by Hulkenburg early on he had to spend multiple laps being held up by around 0.5 seconds a lap. But when Vettel did his stint on the soft tyres he set the timing boards alight and missed out on a podium place by less than a second.

Jenson Button: S8 F5 8/10 – McLaren’s problems aren’t solved yet but Button showed today that the team are on their way to getting themselves on par with the competition. Button did a successful 2 stop strategy showing the McLaren is at least light on it’s tyres. Yesterday  Button admitted that McLaren are still around 0.7s off the pace but if they carry on improving and bringing upgrades to the car they could (potentially) be on the pace by Spain.

Daniel Ricciardo: S7 F7 8/10 – Daniel hadn’t finished a race this season prior to today and immediately started his points tally with 6 points. Ricciardo had a uneventful race, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t drive very well, his lap times were always strong and unlike the last time he started in the top 10 he didn’t botch up the start.

Nico Hulkenburg: S10 F10 7/10 – Many (me included) see it as a travesty that Hulkenburg isn’t driving for one of the top 5 teams this season, but Nico isn’t letting that stop him, he was great today, he overtook Vettel early on in the race and then he led the race for a few laps and put in a good performance holding up Vettel who had a fastest car and the use of DRS.

Jules Bianchi: S18 F15 8/10 – What a driver Bianchi is, so far he has impressed in all of his 3 races and looks like he is capable of taking the Marussia far and beyond it’s potential, fighting with Williams during the race. Bianchi will be looking for a seat with a big team at the end of this season, and if he carries this on he could have a long line of teams desperate to sign up the young Frenchman.

Bad Day:

Caterham: 5/10 – This must be the nail in the coffin for Caterham, three times in a row they’ve been outperformed by Marussia and every weekend the gaps been getting bigger. Will Caterham ever catch up to the midfield?

Max Chilton: S19 F17 5/10 – Chilton hasn’t fulfilled the hype set out for him by the British press before his F1 debut and to be honest I doubt he ever will, for the third race in  a row he’s been thoroughly out performed by team mate Bianchi and although many will sight the difference as being due to Bianchi’s previous experience in Formula 1, it is down to more than that. The main difference being that Bianchi has genuine talent and potential.

Mark Webber: S24 F ret. 3/10 – There are some days where nothing goes right for you, today was one of those days for Webber. After the disaster yesterday where the car stopped due to a fuel pressure problem in Q2 Mark will have thought it couldn’t get much worse, it did. Webber started strongly, his pit stop on lap 1 looked an inspired decision when he was setting the early pace and he was competing with the guys who started at the front, until, he hit Vergne (an incident that has got him a 3 place grid penalty for Bahrain). This was followed by a pit stop to change the front nose, during which the rear right tyre was attached properly, it came loose on his lap out and when he made it to the hairpin at the end of the long straight the tyre and the car left each other. To sum up his day in 1 word, disaster.

Adrian Sutil: S13 F ret. 6/10 – After starting his reborn career well today was a day for Sutil to forget, he made contact with his team mate on the first lap 1 but his race ended on lap 5 when Gutierrez hit his back.

Esteban Gutierrez: S17 F ret. 5/10 – Esteban hasn’t started the season as well as I expected him too, he’s had a disaster so far this season and it didn’t help him when he takes out another driver on lap 5 because he didn’t know where to break.

Phenomenal Alonso is champion of China

14 Apr

The tweet review, China 13. (All times are BST)

so the grid is: 1 HAM RAI ALO ROS MAS 6 GRO RIC BUT VET HUL 11 DIR PER SUT MAL VER 16 BOT GUT BIA CHI PIC 21 VDG WEB – @formula1formula 7:52

If you haven’t already heard, Mark Webber will start the race from the pit lane. – @RichlandF1 7:58 [this is due to a fuel pressure problem in Q2 yesterday].

Button, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Di Resta, Perez, Vergne and Bottas are all on the prime tyre. Everyone else on options – @Formula1_com 8:02

LAP 1 of 56 Ferraris leap into P2 & P3 with Hamilton leading through turns 1 & 2 as Raikkonen falls back to P4. – @F1racing 8:05

Webber pitting on lap 1 as the Force India’s make contact with each other – @formula1formula 8:06

Hulkenberg gets Vettel. Alonso all over Hamilton. – @F1grid 8:11

L5 Both Ferraris pass Hamilton with DRS. – @F1fanaticlive 8:11

Double stack at Mercedes..! Both drivers pit for new tyres, Rosberg re-joins in P18… @Irvinef1 8:14

Sutil rear wing broken, car on fire in pits – @JamesAllenonF1 8:15

Small brake fire there on Sutil’s car after Gutierrez smashes into the back of him – @rookief1 8:16

Kimi comes out next to Webber, that shows how well Webb has done starting from pit lane he’s in the race – @JamesAllenonF1 8:17

Hulkenberg then leads for Sauber after a strong start on medium compound. – @autosportlive 8:18

race currently being led by those on mediums, but they have to do 1 extra pit stop – @formula1formula 8:19

Massa passes Webber for 11th using DRS – @ESPNF1 8:21

Bottas and Vergne are now under investigation by the stewards for allegedly overtaking under yellow flags. – @RichlandF1 8:22

Seb just came on the radio. “Hulkenberg is too slow, get him out of the way.” – @AndyC_F1 8:27

Vettel an Hulkenberg both pit from first and second – @Formula1_com 8:29

Vettel comes out behind Webber, but Webber collides with Vergne letting Vettel past – @formula1formula 8:30

Raikkonen runs into the back of Perez, nose cone is broken! – @Formula1_com 8:31

“What the hell is he doing?” – Raikkonen on the radio – @F1Grid 8:32

Webber reports a loose Rear Right wheel – @F1PitRadio 8:33

Webber’s wheel comes off. Just misses Sebastian Vettel! – @Formula1_com 8:34

Amid all of that confusion, Jenson Button is leading the race for McLaren. – @RichlandF1 8:37

Alonso (1 pitstop) overtakes Button (0 pitstops) gee that McLaren must be slow – @Formula1formula 8:39

Rosberg pits twice in the space of two laps, either that Mercedes eats tyres for fun, or someone didn’t attack the tyres properly – @formula1formula 8:42

Rosberg pits yet again from 18th and this is his fourth stop of the afternoon. It could be game over this time. – @autosportlive 8:43

Rosberg has retired from the race. – @F1Times 8:44

LAP 24 P1 Alonso & P2 button pit. – @F1racing 8:45

ALO passes HUL for 2nd. VET is leading. – @F1_Fans_Updates 8:50

Hamilton passes Button with DRS on the main straight. McLaren will be focusing on making a two-stop strategy work – @F1onNBCSports 8:55

ALO close behind VET and he us past VET for the LEAD of the race! – @F1_Fans_Updates 8:55

Your top runners in China 1. Alonso (2 stops) 2. Hamilton (2 stops) 3. Raikkonen (2 stops) 4. Button (1 stop) 5. Vettel (2 stops) – @Sarahholtf1 9:03

Hulkenberg and Massa pit, side by side down the pit lane, and Massa gets ahead into turn one. Sauber still on for good points – @F1onNBCSports 9:08

Alonso reclaims the lead and should now win the race by around 20-25 seconds – @formula1formula 9:18

Button in for his mandatory switch to soft tyres. Six laps to go. – @f1fanaticlive 9:30

Button gets past the Ferrari of Massa – can’t help but think that bad pit call really wrecked Massa’s race today. Deserved better. – @IrvinF1 9:32

Fastest lap from Vettel, a 1:36.808 – a full 4 seconds quicker than Hamilton. Can he catch the Mercedes for the final podium position? – @F1onNBCSports

Fernando Alonso wins the Chinese Grand Prix! – @SkySportsF1 9:41

VET is right behind HAM and they are in traffic! HAM JUST holds on for 3RD. – @F1_Fans_Updates 9:41

Alonso has to be my driver of the day, phenomenal driving – @formula1formula 9:42

The top 10 in China: Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel, Button, Massa, Ricciardo, Di Resta, Grosjean and Hulkenberg. – @SkySportsF1 9:42 [but with so many drivers to be investigated by the stewards post race this could all change].

It’s magic for Mercedes as Hamilton is on pole

13 Apr

3 winners and losers of qualifying, China 13.

Winners:

Lewis Hamilton 10/10 Q1 – Before this season many said that Hamilton would struggle with Mercedes and how wrong we’ve all be proved. Hamilton set blistering pace throughout all of qualifying going fastest in all 3 sessions and ultimately going fastest in Q3 by 0.3 seconds.

Marussia 9/10 Q19 and Q20 – Marussia have created a fantastic car for this season and with Bianchi at the wheel should make it into Q2 by the end of the season and may pick up points. Today both cars out-qualified the two Caterhams showing just how far Marussia have come since last season.

Daniel Ricciardo 9/10 Q7 – This is Daniel’s first time into Q3 since Bahrain last year and over the last 3 races has improved his qualifying position every time, showing just how much form he’s on at the moment. Despite this he does have two problems, first he hasn’t finished a race so far this season and second last time he started in the top 10 he had a dreadful start. Lets hope it works this time.

Losers:

Mark Webber 6/10 Q14 – Webber was unlucky today suffering a fuel pressure problem which left him stuck on an exit road watching others beat his time. Webber will need a good start tomorrow (a rarity for Webber) if he’s to finish in the good points. Since writing this Webber has been relegated to the back of the grid for failing to provide a 1l fuel sample leaving his chances of a good finish almost impossible.

Esteban Gutierrez 5/10 Q18 – Whilst team mate Hulkenburg made it to Q3 Gutierrez was out in Q1. Esteban hasn’t started this season as well as I expected him to, but since his race pace is better than his 1 lap pace he could prove to be a worthy driver by the end of the season.

Sebastian Vettel 7/10 Q9 – Red Bull haven’t had the one lap pace to challenge Mercedes/Lotus/Ferrari to the pole all weekend so they have opted for a different strategy where they start on the harder tyre which will be the preferred tyre in tomorrow’s race, this explains why he’s so far back, but with Button on the same strategy and 1 place ahead on the grid he could have his work cut out if he wants to win tomorrow.

Prediction:

I envisage the top 6 will all have to pit early on (within the first 10 laps) tomorrow so the key question is wether they’ll be able to pull far enough ahead. They will come out behind Vettel and JB, but if the top 6 can get themselves on Button and Vettel’s tails they should win easily. Of the top 6 I’d say it’s a contest between Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkonen for first place with Massa, Rosberg and Grosjean looking to pick up a podium. So I’ll go out on a limb and say it will finish: 1 Hamilton 2 Alonso 3 Raikkonen.