Tag Archives: Caterham

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.

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‘Classic’ GP ends 2012 season as Vettel makes it 3 in a row

25 Nov

Good Day Bad Day, Brazil 12.

Good Day:

  • Sebastian Vettel – S4 F6 8/10 – it comes to something when you can afford to have an incident on the first lap, have a poor pit stop and complete 71 laps with a big chunk of bodywork missing and still manage to finish 6th and win a world championship. Vettel did what he needed to do today, and on the basis of today’s performance he deserves this 3rd championship.
  • Nico Hulkenburg – S6 F5 10/10 – The Hulk has found his form at this track and came close to his maiden victory. Hulk had a great time on the slick tyres in the wet moving all the way to 1st before a safety car and a hot on his heels Hamilton could overtake, sadly Nico’s race was marred by an incident at turn 1 where he collided with Lewis which despite it’s innocent appearance gave Nico a drive through penalty.
  • Felipe Massa – S5 F3 8/10 – There’s nothing more special than finishing on the podium at your home GP especially after you’ve had a proper good race overtaking the new world champion and defending like mad to make sure your team mate can pull away. Today Massa showed why he’s such a valuable commodity for Ferrari, he’s fast but equally importantly he’s loyal.
  • Michael Schumacher – S13 F7 8/10 – Despite yesterdays poor qualifying performance Michael has finished his career on a high after battling his way through the field to finish with 6 points. Michael even had a part to play in the championship waving Vettel through to promote the new German legend from 7th to 6th securing him his 3rd title.
  • Jenson Button – S2 F1 7/10 – Jenson may have only won this race because Hamilton and Hulkenburg collided but his ability in the wet was second to none today and it was only when the track became dry that he couldn’t keep up. Timing of Jenson’s win couldn’t be better with McLaren no.1 Lewis leaving and McLaren needing a new man to promote to lead driver.
  • Caterham – 8/10 – Not only were they only 1 place off their inaugural points but most importantly, by Vitaly Petrov finishing 11th Caterham returned to 10th in the constructors championship netting the team millions of pounds more for next season to see them carry on their improvements.

Bad Day:

  • Fernando Alonso – S7 F2 8/10 – You couldn’t have asked for Alonso to do more today he fought valiantly and dug deep but sadly that just wasn’t enough for the Ferrari star to claim his 3rd title. Alonso needs to hope that Ferrari produce a car that is competitive from the off next season if he wants next year to be the year.
  • Marussia – 7/10 – Marussia were unlucky today, despite fighting for places way above what they should have been fighting for a few spins demoted their cars nearer the back of the pack and left them 11th in the constructors championship. Despite this bad news for the team they should be proud of what they’ve achieved this year and they’ve moved further forward, next years needs to be onwards and upwards.
  • Lewis Hamilton – S1 F ret. 7/10 – Lewis will have been dreaming of a victory today so that he could leave McLaren on a high, how wrong he was. Lewis put in a great race but despite fighting his way back up to 1st position after making a mistake with the tyre strategy, but after an incident with Hulkenburg at turn 1 Lewis had to retire.
  • Paul Di Resta – S10 F ret 6/10 – It was a comedy of errors for Paul today, regularly spinning and just struggling to control the car in the slippery conditions, and the final incident added insult to injury. With only a couple of laps left Paul had another slip and ran along the wall for a few seconds ruining the car and leaving the race to finish behind a safety car.

It’s disaster for Alonso whilst Hulkenburg proves metal

2 Sep

Driver Ratings, Belgium, Pt.1, Caterham, Ferrari and Force India.

Heikki Kovalainen: 6/10 Q19 S18 F17

Heikki had a customary great start rising to 10th before the safety car, but as soon as the safety car returned to the pits Kovalainen found himself swamped by faster cars. Heikki would have been the fastest of the ‘new’ teams until a spin during a chicane saw him drop to the back, a place he would struggle to get out from until he pipped De La Rosa at the end.

Vitaly Petrov: 7/10 Q20 S19 F14

Vitaly profited from the turn 1 collision to rise to 14th and after inheriting 17th from Kovalainen it was a dominant performance by Vitaly to win the ‘new’ team race.

Fernando Alonso: 5/10 Q6 S6 F ret.

Would surely have finished high up in the points had he not been forced to retire, but it hadn’t been a dominant weekend for Alonso, despite going fastest in FP3. Alonso will need a better weekend at Monza if he is to keep him being the favourite.

Felipe Massa: 7/10 Q14 S14 F5

It hasn’t been the year Felipe would have dreamed of but Massa won’t be upset with his race today. It wasn’t a good qualifying performance but Massa drove a blinder of a race, the strategy was good and Massa drove well to pick up a vital 10 points.

Nico Hulkenburg: 9/10 Q12 S11 F4 #DriverOfTheDay

Nico drove phenomenally to show people why he should be regarded as the best driver at Force India, despite now shining in qualifying Nico negotiated the collision superbly to find himself in 3rd before overtaking Raikkonen to go into 2nd, only to find himself behind Kimi again after pitting. Maybe could have made the podium with some more luck.

Paul Di Resta: 6/10 Q10 S9 F10

Performed impeccably in qualifying to make it to Q3, but couldn’t find that speed in the race and should have finished 6th if he’d performed to qualifying expectations.

Alonso loses lead in final laps whilst the old Massa returns

8 Jul

Driver Ratings, GB 12, Pt.1, Caterham Ferrari and Force India

Heikki Kovalainen: 5/10 Q20 S19 F17

In the past Week Heikki has had lots of people talking about him driving for a quicker team next year but his race today will have silenced all that talk. It was average at best and it was hardly surprising the only drivers Kovalainen finished ahead of were the Marussias and HRTs, not a good race for the Finn.

Vitaly Petrov: 6/10 Q19 DNS

It had been a promising race for Vitaly, he qualified ahead of Kovalainen which hasn’t happened often this year. Sadly Vitaly never made it to the grid an engine problem on his way round.

Fernando Alonso: 9/10 Q1 S1 F2

It was an inspirational call for Alonso to start on the hard tyres, which were faster than the softs this weekend which saw him fly off at the start, and he would have finished that way had he done two extra laps a stint on the harder tyres. As it was he was found waning on the softer tyres and Webber overtook late on to record his 2nd British GP victory.

Felipe Massa: 9/10 Q5 S5 F4

It was a sublime weekend for a driver who’s regularly struggled in recent years, qualifying 5th (his highest this year) will have been a big boost, he was brave on the first lap going round the outside of Vettel but he suffered behind Schumacher and he’ll feel that if he could have cleared Schumacher earlier he could have been on the podium, as it was Massa pulled a great move on Schumacher. Sadly Massa’s first stop was a bit too late letting Vettel through and it was a good race for 4th place Massa.

Paul Di Resta: 6/10 Q11 S10 F ret.

Sadly for Paul it’s now two home GPs two retirements, this time after a small racing incident with Romain Grosjean which saw Paul pick up a puncture which forced him to retire on lap 2, Paul will just be hoping that he’ll perform better in Hungary.

Nico Hulkenburg: 7/10 Q9 S14 F12

Was unlucky to receive a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change but ‘the Hulk’ impressed during the race running in the points for most of the race. Sadly his tyres petered off at the end and a bag first corner to the final lap saw him slip from 9th to 12th.

Photo of the day: Friday, Great Britain 12

6 Jul

This is a new feature whereby a photo is chosen that I feel sums up the day. Today’s photo is one of Heikki Kovalainen.

Photo courtesy of formulaone.com

This photo was chosen because it shows just how bad the weather was at Silverstone.

Fernando turns P11 into P1 with a supreme drive

24 Jun

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

Driver Ratings Europe 12, Pt.1, Caterham, Ferrari and Force India

Heikki Kovalainen: 8/10 Q16 F14

What a lap Heikki drove on saturday to make it to Q2 and then he impressed further to start from 16th on the grid. Heikki’s race wasn’t so good, he had a rare bad start and then lost more time when Vergne collided with him. But a strong post safety car performance gave Heikki 14th place.

Vitaly Petrov: 8/10 Q20 F13

Qualifying wasn’t as impressive as Heikki, but it was a very impressive race by the Russian. He put in some great laps post safety car to find himself in 10th, but Caterham couldn’t pick up their first points as he was swiftly overtaken by Schumacher and Webber. Petrov was later swiped by Ricciardo which left Petrov needing to pit, but some quick last few laps saw Vitaly finish an impressive 13th place.

Fernando Alonso: 10/10 Q11 F1 #DriverOfTheDay

May have been dreadful in qualifying not making it to Q2 but Alonso was phenomenal in the race. He moved up to 8th at the start, but it was the charge after his first pit stop that  got people interested as he overtook for fun. He overtook Hamilton in the pits then was sublime overtaking Grosjean before profiting from Vettel’s retirement to finish first. Inspirational.

Felipe Massa: 6/10 Q13 F16

Really unlucky, only just behind Alonso in qualifying, and was running 10th early on, but after receiving a big hit from Kobayashi just after the safety car he was destined to run low down.

Nico Hulkenburg: 9/10 Q8 F5

What a drive from such a young driver, he looked promising early on but found himself down in 11th when the safety car came out. Hulkenburg then profited from drivers retiring and other pitting to find himself up in 5th. From there he looked set to finish 7th when Schumacher and Webber passed him, but Hamilton and Maldonado’s clash on the same lap saw him reinstated as 5th. Great job.

Paul Di Resta: 8/10 Q10 F7

Set great pace early on in the race, even finding himself up in 2nd at one point. He then put his one stop strategy to good use, to storm up to 6th. Like Hulkenburg he was passed by Schumacher and Webber but profited from Hamilton and Maldonado, Paul was very unlucky to lose 6th to Rosberg on the final lap to leave Di Resta to pick up 6 points for P7.

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

Driver Ratings, Pt.1, Monaco 12. Caterham, Ferrari and Force India

27 May

Heikki Kovalainen: 10/10 Q18 S17 F13#DriverOfTheDay

What a drive by Heikki! He was fantastic! Heikki has gained a reputation as a good starter this year which is very important for Monaco and saw him rise to 13th from the start, ahead of Jenson Button, and once he was ahead he never let him past. Sadly his last ten laps weren’t good, he had an incident with Perez that saw him lose his front wing and 11th place.

Vitaly Petrov: 5/10 Q19 S18 F ret.

It wasn’t Vitaly’s race, he lost 3 places in the first 10 laps and then he was forced to retire with an electrical fault.

Fernando Alonso: 9/10 Q6 S5 F3

After a lacklustre start to the season the Ferrari is suddenly looking quick and Fernando is currently leading the championship. He benefited from Grosjean’s retirement on lap one to move up to 4th and then a sublime pit stop brought him out ahead of Lewis Hamilton and into the top 3. Maybe he could have caught Nico Rosberg but Ferrari and Fernando are moving from strength to strength.

Felipe Massa: 10/10 Q7 S7 F6

Maybe not your standard performance to deserve a 10 but it was a weekend of dreams for Felipe. He was very quick in practice and he was fastest in Q2 meaning he qualified for Q3 – the first time he’s managed that this year. Felipe had a great first 20 laps and was driving quicker than Alonso for a lot of it but he couldn’t keep the momentum for the whole race and 6th place is another step in the right direction for Massa.

Nico Hulkenburg: 7/10 Q11 S10 F8

He was quickest in Q1 and was so close to qualifying for Q3, only o.1 seconds off the time required. Nico did drive a good race as well especially as he had never completed a race lap of Monaco having crashed on the first lap in 2010. Maybe Hulkenburg will be upset to have finished behind Di Resta but it’s a well earned 4 points for Nico.

Paul Di Resta: 7/10 Q15 S14 F7

Qualifying didn’t go well for Paul but he came alive come race day. Last year he needed 3 noses to finish the race, this year he was fantastic. He gained 3 places on the first lap and it was a sign of things to come as he kept on moving up the places to pick up 6 points.