Archive | May, 2013

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON- NICO ROSBERG WINS AN ACTION PACKED MONACO GRAND PRIX

27 May

The Michael Report- FORMULA ONE GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2013

IT HAS been thirty years to the very day that Nico Rosberg’s father, Keke, won his only Monaco Grand Prix, and today his son delivered a well deserved victory, manoeuvring the tight and twisting streets of the tiny Principality for seventy eight laps to win in spectacular style.

The narrow roads of Monaco are a definite challenge for any driver, let alone for the drivers of ultra- fast Formula One cars, and if a driver makes one mistake, then they are duly punished with a trip into the barriers- to win in Monaco requires a sublime balance between speed, skill and a little dose of luck on your side, and the historic street circuit claimed six cars in the two hours that ensured once the five red lights went out.

The day started rather ominously for the Mercedes team, since both Red Bull and Ferrari  have lodged an official complaint against Rosberg’s team, since they admitted that Pirelli- the tyre manufacturers- had asked them to conduct a 1,000 km tyre test with the Mercedes cars, which they feel breached the FIA regulations. Hopefully, this incident will not detract from the excellent driving we witnessed from Nico, who has taken his second Grand Prix victory in style.

The race started off with the retirement of Caterham’s Charles Pic, who suffered a gearbox seizure which then caused the engine to set alight; thankfully a safety car was not needed. Meanwhile, many predicted that the race would be dominated once again by tyre degradation, but a red flag and two safety car periods wreaked havoc with the tyre strategists. Firstly, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was cruising along the home straight, but locked up and tapped the barrier, before sliding into another barrier at Sainte-Devote with significant force; Felipe was taken to hospital for a check up, and wasn’t badly injured, thankfully.

After the deployment of the safety car, Nico and Lewis Hamilton were first and second respectively, but although Nico pitted for fresh rubber and got away with his lead in tact, his team-mate fell back two places, and re-emerged from the pits behind Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in fourth. This was the final formation of the top four; Hamilton finished fourth and gets twelve points, Webber third with fifteen and Vettel second with eighteen points. However, the action did not stop there.

In French, the name for a Formula One driver is a “pilote”, and Pastor Maldonado took to the air literally in an incident with Marussia’s Max Chilton; after contact, part of the Williams driver’s front wing was sucked underneath the car, causing the vehicle to take flight and collide into the barriers at Tabac corner. The impact was sufficient enough to distort the barriers and a red flag was waved. This played beautifully into the hands of Paul Di Resta. The Force India driver qualifying in a terrible seventeenth place yesterday, but after pitting really early (probably anticipating a safety car after Pic’s retirement), the Scot was suffering with badly worn tyres. Red flag regulations decree that drivers may replace tyres before the restart, and Di Resta eventually finished ninth, and received two points. Who said you couldn’t make up positions in Monaco?

After restarting under the safety car, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean was involved in yet another collision with a car upon exiting the tunnel, and careered into the back of Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, damaging the cars considerably, and causing debris to be strewn across the track, and this led to the third deployment of the safety car, which has made up for five grands prix without its invaluable service.

The final retirement was Sergio Perez. He had risked, and pulled off, some impressive overtaking manoeuvres in his McLaren car; he overtook Fernando Alonso at La Nouvelle Chicane, and because Alonso defended by cutting the corner, he decided to allow Perez to overtake him after the restart to avoid a penalty from the stewards. However, Perez’s glory was short lived, because he lost most of his front wing after colliding with Kimi Raikkönen, again at the end of the tunnel at La Nouvelle Chicane. Kimi pitted for fresh tyres, but Sergio managed to limp on, but unfortunately began losing control and had to crawl down the escape road at La Rascasse, just a couple of laps before the chequered flag. But, McLaren should be pleased with a competitive performance from both of their drivers- maybe this is a turning point? Monaco, though, does require completely different set-ups than the over Grands Prix on the calendar.

Adrian Sutil was propelled into fifth place after Perez retired, and earned a well deserved, and badly needed ten points after suffering some misfortunes and errors over the first few races this season. Jenson Button finished in a strong sixth place, and picks up eight points; Fernando Alonso finished seventh and receives six points. Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric- Vergne will be more than pleased with four points after finishing eighth, as will Kimi Raikkönen, who managed to make his way through the pack in the dying moments of the race to pick up a point in tenth. This is Kimi’s twenty-third consecutive point scoring finish, nearly beating the world record set by Michael Schumacher.

Nico Rosberg becomes the first son of a winning driver to achieve victory amidst the glitz, glamour, prestige and heritage associated with the world’s most  prestigious and most famous motor race, a feat that he should duly celebrate, and hopefully the threat of protest (which, at the time of writing, has yet to be resolved) will not detract from a truly amazing performance.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

In the Drivers’ Championships, Sebastian Vettel maintains his lead, and now has 107 points to his name, and he has increased his lead to 21 points, ahead of Kimi Raikkönen, who is second with 86 points. Alas, Fernando Alonso would have been hoping for a better result today, and he now lies third with 78 points, 16 ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who is fourth with 62 points. Mark Webber has now reclaimed fifth place, and holds 57 points. Felipe Massa’s trip to the hospital has meant that he has fallen from fifth to seventh- Nico Rosberg has climbed three to sixth place with 47 points. Massa has 45.

Paul Di Resta is eighth with 28 points, 2 ahead of Romain Grosjean in ninth, who is one point ahead of Jeson Button in tenth place with 25 points.

In the Constructors’ Championships, Red Bull have raced further ahead into the lead, and now have 164 points. Their nearest contenders are Ferrari, who have 123 points in second. Just 11 behind lie Lotus with 112 points, and Mercedes are in a comfortable fourth place with 109 points. A huge chasm has been forged between the teams now, since 65 points separate Mercedes and Force India, who are fifth with 44 points. McLaren are now chasing Force India more carefully now, with 37 points in sixth. Toro Rosso have entered double digits, with 12 points in seventh, ahead of Sauber in ninth with just 5 points to their name. Williams lead Marussia who lead Caterham, but are yet to score.

I will be back in a fortnight when Formula One flies off to Montreal and the Canadian Grand Prix. Last year saw Lewis Hamilton take his first victory for McLaren last year, and he will be hoping to take his first Mercedes chequered flag, especially since his team-mate has had his first victory of the year in Monaco, but can he pull it off? Or, will the car succumb to that annoying gremlin that is the tyres? Find out in two weeks’ time.

Michael

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Rosberg leads from start to finish as carnage rules in Monaco

26 May

Tweet review, Monaco 13

  • The grid is: 1.ROS HAM VET WEB 5.RAI ALO PER SUT BUT 10.VER HUL RIC GRO BOT 15.VDG MAL DIR PIC GUT 20.CHI BIA MAS – @formula1formula 12:38
  • Bianchi got left on the grid at the start of the formation lap abut may be able to start from the pits – @espnf1 13:03
  • Pastor Maldonado & Giedo VDG are back in the pits after contact coming into the Loews hairpin. Sutil also made contact in the same place. – @sarahholtf1 13:06
  • Into lap 3 – top 10: ROS, HAM, VET, WEB, RAI, ALO, PER, BUT, SUT, VER – @ByTheMinF1 13:08
  • Jenson grasses up his team mate for cutting the chicane. Share the love guys…. – @grandprixdiary 13:09
  • a caterham on fire – @easonf1 13:15
  • Charles Pic has stopped on pit entry with a car fire, this may be a safety car – @f1onnbcsports 13:16
  • Pic suffers a engine fire at the pit lane entrance. The car is removed without the need for a safety car. – @jamesallenonf1 13:18
  • So Van De Gar in a Caterham (last place) is doing 1:21.7. Rosberg leading is doing 1:22.5. – @literalf1 13:19
  • The Mercedes train has pulled away and now Alonso is the train leader. He is over 3 seconds behind Raikkonen now – @formula1_com
  • With Alonso going so much slower than the rest I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrari were trying to 1 stop him – @formula1formula 13:26
  • L18 Alonso picks up his pace, last lap was 0.9s faster than Rosberg’s. – @f1fanaticlive 13:28
  • The only person happy with this pace is Grosjean, no risk of making a mistake and planting it in a barrier. – @fakewhitmarsh 13:30
  • Brave stuff from Bianchi on Maldonado – @rookief1 13:38
  • GET IN! @pauldirestaf1 passes Massa on the outside of Ste Devote. Amazing move – who says you can’t overtake in Monaco? – @clubforce 13:40
  • Massa crashes at St Devote, the place where he crashed yesterday, debris all over the track, expecting the safety car to come out – @formula1formula 13:44
  • Safety car – the first this season. – @f1times 13:45
  • Mercedes queue their drivers in the pits from P1 and P2. Hamilton has lost out to Vettel and Webber under the safety car – @f1onnbcsports 13:47
  • SC: ROS, VET, WEB, HAM, RAI, ALO, BUT, PER, SUT, VER, DIR, HUL, RIC, GRO, BOT, CHI, GUT, MAL, BIA, VDG, [MAS, PIC out] @formula1_com
  • Massa’s crumpled Ferrari has now been removed. Rosberg has to get ready to defend his lead from Vettel, who made a quick start earlier. – @sarahholtf1 13:54
  • Rosberg told: “We expect it to go green this lap so really try to get temperature in.” Safety car coming in. – @f1fanaticlive 13:59
  • HAM SO nearly gets past WEB! But WEB JUST stays ahead! – @f1_fans_updates 14:03
  • Button taps Alonso going through the Loews hairpin, no damage done to either driver. Perez makes a great overtake on Button for P7 – @f1onnbssports 14:06
  • Red Flag: Maldonado has had a biggie and took out the barriers at Tabac – @formula1formula 14:11
  • Presumably cars will change tyres at red flag, and there’ll be a safety car restart. So, any position changes will have to be on track. F1 – @talkingaboutf1 14:14
  • Red Flag: ROS, VET, WEB, HAM, RAI, ALO, PER, BUT, SUT, VER, DIR, HUL, RIC, GRO, BOT, GUT, CHI, VDG, BIA, [MAL, MAS, PIC out] – @formula1_com 14:17
  • The race will be resumed at 15:35 local time. – @autosportlive 14:26
  • Hmmmm. Really interesting replay of Alonso going to shake Perez’s hand when the cars go back to the grid. Respect.. maybe some gamesmanship? – @sarahholtf1 14:28
  • Race restarts behind the safety car – @mercedesamgf1 14:36
  • Everyone in top 10 on supersoft for the restart, except Kimi who’s on softs. Alonso gives place to Perez. – @bytheminf1 14:37
  • Max Chilton has been issued with a drive-thru penalty for causing the collision with Pastor Maldonado. – @richlandf1 14:38
  • Sutil ambushes Button at Station Hairpin (nearly tags Alonso as he does so). – @talkingaboutf1 14:44
  • L56 Sutil gets Alonso at the hairpin! – @f1fanaticlive 14:51
  • Bianchi is in the barrier… – @irvinef1 14:55
  • Grosjean and Ricciardo have collided at Turn 10. Safety Car deployed. The Frenchman just slammed into the rear of Ricciardo. – @richlandf1 14:59
  • Potential problems for Raikkonen as the team tell him the engine is overheating… – @irvinef1 15:05
  • Hamilton complains of graining, so will be happy that Raikkonen is under pressure from behind. – @autosportlive 15:08
  • Lotus decide to end Grosjeans race on safety grounds. The car is fine, it’s the other drivers they’re worried about. – @notposhpete 15:09
  • Raikkonen and Perez seemed to make contact, Raikkonen caught and saved the car and retained the position – @formula1_com 15:10
  • Perez clashes with Raikkonen while trying to pass at the chicane. Loses his front wing endplate and Raikkonen is looking slow too – @espnf1 15:11
  • Button has also taken Alonso. The Ferrari’s having a dreadful day! – @formula1_com 15:12
  • L74 Perez outbrakes himself at Rascasse, then pulls off at Anthony Noghes – @f1fanatic_co_uk 15:16
  • Perez gambled one too many times at Monaco. The house always wins. – @f1grid 15:17
  • Rosberg wins after leading from start to finish, fantastic achievement in his home GP – @formula1formula 15:21
  • Points Scorers: 1.ROS 2.VET 3.WEB 4.HAM 5.SUT 6.BUT 7.ALO 8.VER 9.DIR 10.RAI – @formula1formula 15:24

Rosberg complete hat-trick on streets of Monaco

26 May

3 winners and losers of qualifying, Monaco 13.

Winners:

  • Nico Rosberg – Q1 – Three poles in a row for Rosberg. So far he’s dominated this weekend, going fastest in all of the practice sessions as well as qualifying, if it weren’t for his car’s poor race performances he’d look by far the favourite to win the race.
  • Giedo van der Garde – Q15 – After a slow start for VDG he really put in a strong performance yesterday to make it through to Q2. This is Caterham’s best ever qualifying position (not including grid penalties for other drivers), of course, if this is a high attrition race he could potentially pick up Caterham’s first ever points.
  • Sergio Perez – Q7 – Two races in a row now he’s out-qualified his more experienced team mate. Perez has struggled this season in a dreadful McLaren but he now appears to have found his form and is taking the inter-team battle to Button.

Losers:

  • Felipe Massa – Q22 – Massa suffered a huge crash in FP3 which meant that he couldn’t take part in qualifying, and with grid position so vital in Monaco this could cost him. Despite this it could also have it’s advantages, he should be able to overtake the slower drivers early on and will miss any turn 1 crashes that could occur. Also Massa will have extra tyres available which could potentially help him receive points.
  • Jules Bianchi – Q21 – Bianchi suffered a mechanical failure on his first lap of qualifying meaning that he, along with Massa props up the grid. But since Bianchi is with one of the newer teams he’s easily within reach of beating team mate and Caterhams.
  • Pastor Maldonado – Q16 – Monaco specialist, fastest in Q1 and then slowest in Q2, it was a tale of ups and downs for Pastor in qualifying. After setting the fastest time in Q1 he was ill advised in Q2 and couldn’t make the most of the drying conditions. Despite that don’t rule him out for points, this is the track that he’s best at and anything can happen in Monaco.

Prediction:

It will all come down to how the tyres are, if they are degrading quickly then Mercedes can kiss their chances of victory goodbye and I’d expect a Red Bull 1-2, with Raikkonen completing the podium. But if the tyres last a long time then Mercedes are the likely victors, if this is the case I’d predict Rosberg 1st, Vettel 2nd, and Webber 3rd.

Yesterday we saw rain, and if this occurs again then it’s anyone’s guess as to who will win. If it does rain then my top 3 would be Webber 1st, Vettel 2nd and Alonso 3rd.

Mercedes Tyre Troubles

19 May
We’re 5 races into F1 2013 and so far Mercedes have really struggled, despite qualifying on pole 3 many times they have struggled in the races, only finishing twice on the podium, and recently had a dreadful Spanish GP where after qualifying 1st and 2nd they could only finish 6th and 12th.
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK’S THE PROBLEM?
Well for a team to have such a contrast between qualifying and the races it indicated that there is a problem with the way that they use their tyres, and with thus year’s Pirelli tyres degrading very quickly Mercedes are being left for dead by the rest of the top teams.
WHAT COULD THIS PROBLEM WITH THE TYRES BE?
Well all F1 teams have to do a compromise with the design of the cars when it comes to tyre degradation.
Qualifying is a vital part of a race weekend, if you can qualify high up you have a much better chance of winning the race and winning points, and for qualifying you want a car that can heat up it’s tyres quickly so that it can have the tyres at the optimum temperature for a qualifying run, but this erodes the tyres quickly.
Whilst in the races you want a car that is light on it’s tyres so they can last longer and you don’t have to do as many pit stops.
As you can see this means team’s have to compromise when designing the car, but almost every team will make a 70-30 split towards race pace since championship points are only available in the race.
SO MERCEDES HAVE FAVOURED THEIR DESIGN TO QUALIFYING?
It appears that way and this is giving the team nightmares in the race where they simply don’t have the tyres to race and compete.
IF THIS COMPROMISE IS THE CASE, THEN HOW COME THE TEAMS WHO WIN RACES ALSO GO FASTEST IN QUALIFYING?
I understand where you’re coming from, but since every team favours the compromise towards race pace then it evens out and so generally the teams fastest in qualifying are also fastest in the race.
Of course teams change the balance around occasionally and that is well shown by Ferrari this season, at Spain they were the fastest on race pace, but were off the pace in qualifying indicating that their compromise is even more set on race pace than other teams. This could potentially be a good decision for the team since points are only available in the race, but on the other hand they could struggle to pick up points at tracks where it’s hard to overtake e.g. Monaco.
CAN MERCEDES SORT THEIR PROBLEM OUT?
They of course can, but the time put in to sort out this problem is time which isn’t being spent on other important parts of this year’s car and also time being lost on next year’s car.
SO SHOULD MERCEDES PACK IT IN FOR 2013 AND CONCENTRATE ON 2014 WHEN THE RULES CHANGE?
That is of course an option for Mercedes and could be a great decision for the team as it will give them a big head start on the competition, and of course Brawn has taken this strategy before in 2008 when he quickly gave in on the 2008 Honda to concentrate on the 2009 car which was eventually branded as Brawn GP and dominated the 2009 season.
One problem with this though is that sponsor’s only want immediate success, they want the team winning now not in 12 months time, so by cutting their losses on this season they could lose sponsorship and funding which could leave them without enough to be as competitive next season.

How’s he doing? Jules Bianchi

10 May

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 start of the season?

I rated Bianchi as the best of the new drivers, I touted him to be France’s next world champion and thought he would be all to good for his Marussia team mate (Max Chilton).

And has he fulfilled this potential?

Bianchi has more than exceeded my expectations, of his 4 races so far he’s been a star in three of them and has more than outperformed Chilton. He’s constantly been the best qualified and finished of the newer teams and has spent times racing against midfield cars. If this season continues like it has been so far Marussia could qualify for Q2 and if a high attrition race come along they could pick up points.

How have Marussia done so far?

Marussia have been one of the best teams so far, they’ve started the season strongly and are easily quicker than Caterham. It looks like it would take a miracle for Marussia not to finish 10th in the constructors standings.

So how do you rate his season so far?

9/10 easily the best rookie so far and it looks like he’ll just get better and better.

How’s he doing? Esteban Gutierrez

4 May

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 start of the season?

I rated Esteban highly (7.5/10) despite the large amount of money that he brings to Sauber. This high rating was given because of his strong performances at every level he’d driven in pre F1.

And how’s he got on so far?

Dismally, he’s been well and truly out performed by team mate Hulkenburg and has been knocked out of qualifying in Q1 three times out of four, and at the Chinese GP he ran heavily into the back of Adrian Sutil which saw Esteban receive a 5 place grid penalty.

How does that compare to his team mate?

Whilst Esteban has struggled to make it out of Q1 team mate Hulkenburg has comfortably made it to Q2 every week and in China made it through to Q3. Hulkenburg has also picked up points (unlike Gutierrez) and has performed well, at times competing with those drivers at the front.

Sauber’s car for this season does not appear to be as good as last year’s car, this one is already losing out to Force India, but it may be that Sauber have already started work on the 2014 car which would explain why they haven’t performed so strongly this season.

How would you rate his performances so far?

3/10 So far the least impressive of the rookies.

How’s he doing? Max Chilton

1 May

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 classed Max as a driver who’d got to where he was due to his father’s money, but said that he was clearly talented and deserved his place in F1. I rated him 7/10.

And has he lived up to those expectations?

He’s been no where near them, he’s been thoroughly outperformed by team mate Jules Bianchi and does not appear to be taking his Marussia to the level it can compete at.

How’s he done in comparison to his team mate?

Dreadfully, in qualifying Chilton hasn’t been far off Bianchi, but the gap’s been larger during races where Bianchi’s regularly been fighting with midfield teams whilst Chilton’s had to try to beat Caterham.

This year’s Marussia has been much better than last year’s and appears to be more than capable of beating the Caterham’s week in week out.

How would you rate him so far?

6/10 A let down so far, maybe it’s just his lack of time in a Formula 1 car before this season, or maybe he’s never going to be good enough.