Tag Archives: Ferrari

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].

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Time to say goodbye: Michael Schumacher

21 Dec

So what’s he managed in his career then?

Not much, he was only the world champion 7 times and that includes five years in a row from 2000 to 2004, only managed to win 91 races.

So his resume’s not very impressive is it. When did it all start?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, or as it’s usually put in Belgium in 1991. After impressing in F3 and the World Sportscar Championship Schumacher was spotted by Eddie Jordan and was signed to replace on a one off basis to cover for the imprisoned Bertrand Gachot. Despite not having driven the track before qualified 7th despite the fact that the Jordan was a pretty average car, that hadn’t qualified higher than 7th all season.

Wow that’s very impressive, where did it go from there?

After that impressive debut most of the other teams were intent on signing Michael, but it was Benetton who were graced with getting the driver who would go on to smash pretty much every record.

I guess a few people were a bit upset by that decision.

You’d be right there Schumacher’s first few months were rigged with controversy, Jordan appealed in court for them to block the move after claiming they’d already agreed a contract but since it hadn’t been signed the move was allowed to go through. Then at the end of the 1991 season Sauber joined Formula 1 with Mercedes’ backing and looked to sign the German due to a clause in one of Schumacher’s previous contracts meant that Schumacher would join Mercedes if they entered F1. But due to Schumacher not wanting to move Peter Sauber decided not to push it.

Did it turn out to be the correct decision? 

Definitely Schumacher’s first full season went with a bang, winning the Belgium Grand Prix and then going on to finish 3rd in the drivers championship, and then in 1994 he won his first of two world championships with Benetton winning the second in 1995.

So I guess he stayed there since they were clearly providing him with a very good car.

You’d be wrong. Once he’d won his second championship Schumacher moved to Ferrari for the 1996 season.

How did that go?

Phenomenal, despite it taking four years to win his first world championship with Ferrari (he almost won  the championship in 1997, but was disqualified from the season for dangerous driving). But once the 90s were over Schumacher became king, winning five consecutive championships beating the likes of David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, team mate Rubens Barrichello and his nemesis from 1998 and 1999 Mika Hakkinen. But he couldn’t hold off Fernando Alonso’s Renault who broke the run in 2005 before adding to that by taking 2006 too, this led to Schumacher retiring from the sport in 2006.

He retired in 2006? I thought he’d only just retired?

Well he retired for the first time in 2006 but after being linked to a return in 2009 when Felipe Massa’s horror crash left him out of half the season, but it was in 2010 he returned with Mercedes who had been Braun F1, the 2009 world champions.

So I imagine that was as successful a move as his his previous ones?

You’d think so, but sadly it was a disaster. In the three years since the return Schumacher finished on the podium once and once only, at this years European GP. Apart from that good results had been good to come by for Michael.

So has the great name been tarnished? 

Yes and no. Despite ruining his average points and win percentage there have been good things to come from it, he added another podium to the record and took his tally to over 300 races, also it represents the passing of the baton from one German king of F1 to another with Sebastian Vettel taking over the reigns.

So what 3 will he forever be remembered for?

Winning 7 world championships, appearing on Top Gear and for being to put it simply the best driver F1 has ever seen.

 

F1 starts to get predictable as Vettel takes (another) pole.

27 Oct

3 winners an losers of qualifying:

Winners:

Sebastian Vettel: Qualified 1st – Vettel has been dominant since F1’s second journey to the east, winning in all of the last three races and using this abundance in points to put himself as the favourite for the championship. Vettel put in another fantastic qualifying lap today and it’s looking likely that Vettel will claim his fourth victory on the trot.

Sergio Perez: Qualified 8th – Despite missing FP1 yesterday with a stomach bug Perez appears to really understand this track and has done fantastically in qualifying, especially when you consider that qualifying has been his weakness this season, from 8th Perez will be looking to pick up a top 5 finish. Whilst Perez did fantastically in qualifying the same can’t be said for team mate Kobayashi who will start from 17th.

Kimi Raikkonen: Qualified 7th – Kimi has had a fantastic return to F1 he’s been Mr. Consistent and regularly has picked up big points. Starting from 7th Raikkonen will be looking to pick up more points.

Losers:

Ferrari: Qualified 5th (Alonso) and 6th (Massa) – With the drivers championship hanging in the balance you’d expect Ferrari to be bringing new parts to every race to try and eek out that extra tenth of a second, but due to problems with their development cycle Alonso is falling behind in the drivers championship. Despite all this negativity it was quite a good performance for Ferrari in qualifying seeing as they’d not made the top 8 in practice.

Bruno Senna: Qualified 13th – After a very optimistic performance in FP3 – going 6th fastest – many expected Bruno to make it through to Q3 and battle for one of the better starting positions, but after a disappointing lap in Q2 Bruno only made it to 13th whilst his team mate Maldonado – who’d struggled in FP3 – made it to Q3 and will start 9th.

Paul Di Resta: Qualified 16th – It’s starting to become apparent why Sauber signed Hulkenburg over Di Resta, whilst Hulkenburg put his car 12th Di Resta could only manage 16th, seven tenths of a second slower. It will take a fantastic drive tomorrow for Di Resta to pick up any points.

Prediction:

This will sound narrow minded but I can’t see anyone beating Vettel to the chequered flag tomorrow unless breaks on the car, but who else will make the top 3 isn’t as clear cut. I would expect Webber to finish second with Hamilton 3rd but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they finished the other way round. Button should also be considered for a podium tomorrow because he set some fantastic times during Q2, and Alonso shouldn’t be discounted as the Spaniard puts in his best performances when under pressure. Massa and Raikkonen will likely fight for 6th/7th with only a miracle letting them finish on the podium, whilst if Sauber can find the sweet spot tomorrow Perez could take the teams 5th podium.

 

VETTEL CRUISES TO VICTORY AMIDST OPENING ‘NUTCASE’ CRASH

8 Oct

The Michael Report- 2012 FORMULA ONE JAPANESE GRAND PRIX

SEBASTIAN Vettel has made Suzuka one of ‘his’ circuits- he has achieved pole position on the last four consecutive occasions, and has won three of them. However, this time around, the Championship has not settled, and the margins between the top two have closed significantly, and this race could perhaps prove a turning point for some of the contenders.

It was a typical Vettel race- pole position and after the lights went out the Red Bull stormed off and was not to be seen until the car pitted for tyres, and then until the chequered flag dropped. Twenty five points were awarded to the current World Champion, and every last point counts in this crucial point in the season, and an exciting start to the race ruined Fernando Alonso’s chance of increasing his lead.

Immediately after the chequered flag dropped, the cars raced forward into the crucial, narrow first corner, where position is crucial. Cars scrapped for the best line, and  light contact came between Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, leading to a small puncture that sent Alonso spinning off the track, dust flying everywhere, but most importantly out of the race, and no points. After this incident, “first lap nutcase” (according to Webber) Romain Grosjean was concentrating on Sauber’s Perez overtaking him, and carelessly crashed into Mark Webber, then subsequently Nico Rosberg was crashed into by an erratic Bruno Senna! Grosjean- in his seventh first lap incident- was given a 10 second stop-go penalty, and Senna a drive-through penalty for causing their collisions.

To make matters worse for Webber, the safety car retired just one lap later while Webber was still in the pits, leaving him with a huge time gap to chase down. Webber was furious, but nursed his tyres excellently to race right up through the pack to ninth place, where two points were just a small consolation for a difficult race for him.

The drivers who benefited considerably from the opening incident were Felipe Massa and the McLaren drivers. Apparently Massa used to win Grands Prix and stand on the podiums in the past, and he actually performed very well today, and his Ferrari management will be hoping for second places and podiums to continue if they want to keep him at the team. Massa looked elated to receive his first trophy in two years, and eighteen points, and frankly he deserved it after sensible driving quick pit stops and fending off Kobayashi.

Kobayashi’s third place and first F1 podium was like winning the race to him in front of the partisan crowds, and he- and Sauber- clearly loved the atmosphere in Japan earlier today. Fifteen points could indicate that the young Japanese driver’s place at Sauber is a little more secure than rumours suggested prior to the race. Kobayashi did well to fend off Jenson Button, who narrowly missed out on a podium in fourth place. Martin Whitmarsh should also be pleased with two McLaren finishes- twelve points to Button and ten to Lewis Hamilton, who finished fifth from starting in ninth. His driving was very passive; even Perez overtook him at the hairpin that Hamilton could easily defend against (but later Perez went off at the hairpin whilst trying to pass Hamilton for the second time), However, ten points is better than none and he must ensure high place finished in order to catch the leaders with five races to go.

Kimi Raikkönen finished sixth for Lotus, earning eight points, and Force India should be pleased with Nico Hulkenberg, who managed to finish seventh – he will be pleased with the extra points (six from today); Pastor Maldonado earned points today for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix- he finished eighth and earned four points; the final point was awarded to Daniel Ricciardo in tenth place for Toro Rosso. In his final Japanese Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher agonisingly missed out on points, finishing eleventh.

It was an easy victory for Vettel, and the first back to back victory this year, but with five Grands Prix to go, there are still 125 points up for grabs, all it could take is 1 mistake to lost the championship, but as the paddock pack up and fly to Korea for next week, I have a feeling that Formula One in 2012 could go down to the wire.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

Fernando Alonso must be feeling bitter if he looks at the Driver’s Championship, as his lead has been reduced to just four points. He remains on 194 points, with Sebastian Vettel breathing down his neck with 190 points. Kimi Raikkönen has retained third place, increasing his points tally to 157, just five points ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s score of 152. Two strong races for Hamilton or Raikkönen and disasters for Vettel or Alonso could still see a McLaren Champion or even a Champion who hasn’t even won a race yet- an F1 first.

Fifth and sixth place are separated by a mere three points, with Mark Webber on 134 points and Jenson Button on 131 points. Although mathematically possible for either driver to gain victory, realistically their chances are very slim indeed. Both Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean remain in seventh and eighth place with 93 and 82 points respectively. Felipe Massa has moved into ninth place 69 points, and Sergio Perez has dropped to tenth with 60 points.

Concerning Constructors, Red Bull have now amassed 324 points, now 41 points clear of McLaren with 283 points, who are ahead of Ferrari by 20 points- Scuderia have 263 points. Lotus have a secure fourth place with 239 points, but Sauber are catching Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton’s 2013 team remain on 136 points, and Sauber are only 20 points behind on 116 points and in sixth place. Force India are seventh with 81 points, Williams are eighth with 58 points and Toro Rosso have increased their tally by one point to 15. Marussia remain tenth despite not scoring, and Caterham and HRT remain at the bottom.

As F1 heads to Korea I will be back next week for another update as the season draws to a close, and the Championships draw tighter and closer together. Who will win? No-one can yet put their hands firmly around the Championship trophy but Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkönen and Alonso will all be hoping for a disaster free race- it will be a tense, crucial and exciting race.

Vettel delivers in Suzuka to throw title fight wide open

7 Oct

Good Day Bad Day, Japan 12.

Good Day:

Sebastian Vettel: 8/10 S1 F1

  • What a dominant performance by, pole yesterday, fastest lap today, led every single lap and won the race to complete the grand slam. This track is Vettel’s playground, he’s been pole here for the last 4 years and it wouldn’t be a big exaggeration to suggest he could have won that race in a Robin Reliant. Of course the icing on the cake will be that Alonso crashed out on lap 1 so Fernando’s title lead is down to 4 points.

Felipe Massa: 9/10 S10 F2 #DriverOfTheDay

  • Massa may not have shone yesterday but his speed today was second to one (Vettel). Felipe had a fantastic start capitalising on he carnage at turn 1 to move up to 4th before taking advantage of Kobayashi and Button’s early pit stops to move up to 2nd, a place he held for the rest of the race to take his first podium since the 2010 Korean GP.

Kamui Kobayashi: 9/10 S3 F3 #DriverOfTheDay

  • There is a little bit of Kamui’s brain that switches on when he races in Japan and when it’s switched on Kamui turns into one of the best drivers on the grid. Kamui put in a fantastic performance yesterday to qualify 3rd but a quick and consistent performance today paid dividends as Kobayashi has claimed his 1st podium, the first Japanese podium in Japan. Great timing for Kamui but I doubt he’ll be in F1 next season unless he can perform like this on a regular basis.

Lewis Hamilton: 7/10 S9 F5

  • It wasn’t the greatest performance by Hamilton finishing 21 seconds behind Button who finished 4th, but due to Alonso’s turn 1 retirement Lewis is now back to being one of the major candidates for the championship.

Nico Hulkenburg: 8/10 S15 F7

  • With the season end drawing near and still chances of Hulk moving to Ferrari the timing of this great result could have only been made better by Massa struggling at the same time. Nico had a great start moving up 7 places to 8th and was lapping quicker than Hamilton before he pitted, even better for the German is the knowledge that Di Resta’s performance was at best average in comparison.

Bad Day:

Romain Grosjean: 3/10 S4 F ret.

  • After being banned from racing in Monza Grosjean knew he needed to improve his percentage of completing the first lap. This time he collided with Webber ruining both of their race and I imagine making a trip to the stewards office inevitable.

Sergio Perez: 7/10 S5 F ret.

  • Perez had been having a fantastic race before his retirement on lap 18, he was outperforming Hamilton (the man he’ll replace at McLaren), but a poor pit stop left him back behind Hamilton before Perez pushed too hard going into the hairpin and spun off.

Fernando Alonso: 6/10 S6 F ret.

  • Alonso must have been hoping to pick up a podium finish today so that he could reduce how much Vettel reduces his lead by but a puncture caused by Raikkonen left Alonso beached and unable to carry on leaving his championship lead destroyed down to 4 points. Just to add salt in the wounds the car was clearly quick around the circuit as proved by Massa and so if Alonso hadn’t retired he could have challenged for 1st place. Ferrari are going to need to give Alonso a better car if he is still to win the championship.

 

And then there were 3

2 Oct

Ferrari have announced that the fight for their second seat is between 3 drivers now, after letting Sergio Perez slip through their fingers. The three contenders are: Felipe Massa, Nico Hulkenburg and Paul Di Resta.

Ferrari have had a mixed year, they started out with a car barely worthy of a Q3 place but have somehow managed to lead the drivers championship by 29 points and have won 3 races. But while Alonso has been taking the car above and beyond the car’s potential Felipe Massa has in comparison been rough round the edges and has only picked up 51 points and is 10th in the driver’s championship, despite this Massa’s form has improved since the start of the season and he has driven well recently, especially in Singapore where a puncture left him in 24th before charging up to 8th.

The Force India duo of Nico Hulkenburg and Paul Di Resta is one of the best driver line ups and both of their young drivers have the potential to go a long way. Nico and Paul have driven in F1 for the best part of 2 years (which is ironic because Perez was ruled out of moving to Ferrari for only having 2 years experience).

Hulkenburg has had a good season, he stated slowly after his year off but has really shown his worth, finishing in the top 5 twice and making it into Q3 three times and has accumulated 31 points.

Di Resta has been much more consistent, he’s been to Q3 on five occasions but only has 1 top 5 finish and has picked up 44 points.

In my opinion the 2nd driver for Ferrari should be one of the Force India drivers, Massa’s not bad but he’s had his chance and should make way for a younger driver with more potential, but it would be a hard job to decide between Hulkenburg and Di Resta both of whom will go far.

Hamilton dominates whilst it all erupts in Monza

9 Sep

Good day Bad day, Italy 12

This will replace the driver ratings, but it is a similar concept, the main difference being that not every driver gets rated.

Good Day:

Lewis Hamilton: 9/10 S1 F1 (S is where he started F is where he finished)

  • After a week that has seen Hamilton become a massive talking point, with a rumoured move to Mercedes, Lewis shrugged off the pressure to take a monumental victory. It was almost a start to finish lead and has brought him back into WDC contention now standing 2nd with 142 points.

Sergio Perez: 10/10 S12 F2 #DriverOfTheDay

  • Coming into this season did anyone see Sergio Perez having 3 podiums by the time F1 left Europe. Few drivers could do what Perez did today, rising from 12th to 2nd by an inspired strategical decision to be the last driver to come in for his first pit stop. Today Perez showed he can overtake, manage tyres and drive fast, surely Perez is a must sign for any team.

Fernando Alonso: 8/10 S10 F3

  • Fernando put in a fantastic performance today after struggling in Q3. After mechanical problems on friday and saturday there would always be fears that the car wouldn’t go the distance. Fernando had a bright start quickly making it to the top 5 and then a successful move on Vettel, a Button retirement and an all too simple overtake on team mate Massa. Sadly he couldn’t finish 2nd with Perez overtaking in the closing stages. With the big rivals crashing out Alonso now has a 37 point lead and I struggle to see anyone taking the championship off him.

Felipe Massa: 8/10 S3 F4

  • Felipe came into the race having not stood on the podium in 33 races and that record was extended today despite opportunities. Massa had a fantastic start splitting the McLarens before Button retook 2nd place right before the pit stop. From there Massa was fast, but not fast enough. Although many will say Massa would have been on the podium if it hadn’t been for the team orders, Alonso was always going to be too fast for Felipe.

Bernie Ecklestone: 8/10

  • I for one have always considered Bernie to be a man who only chases money, but today Bernie did something human. After Alex Zanardi’s phenomenal achievements in the Paralympics many called for Zanardi to present the trophy’s, although few thought it would happen and expected instead some politician/sponsor. In the end it was a politician who gave Hamilton his trophy but only because Zanardi refused Ecklestone’s invitation saying he’d rather go to the closing ceremony. It’t the thought that counts.

Bad Day:

Sebastian Vettel: 7/10 S5 ret.

  • It was an unfair decision to give Vettel a drive through penalty, but it wouldn’t have changed the outcome to his race, retiring on lap 47 with alternator problems. The alternator has been a problem for Vettel this season, he suffered problems with it earlier in the weekend and had to retire from the European GP with the same problem. If it hadn’t been for the drive through and the retirement I’d have expected Vettel to finish either 6th.

Mark Webber: 6/10 S11 ret.

  • It’s been a disappointing weekend for Webber, he didn’t make it out of Q2, and then struggled in the race, not making it higher than 6th before he retired after a massive spin with just 2 laps remaining. With 0 points from the weekend Webber will know he’ll have to pull out all the stops if he is to take this opportunity to become a world champion.

Jenson Button: 7/10 S2 ret.

  • Button didn’t have the best of starts quickly finding himself looking at the rear of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari. But Button kept the pressure on and got past just before the pit stops. From there Button would surely have finished 2nd had it not been for the problem with the fuel system.

Paul Di Resta: 6/10 S9 F8

  • After a fantastic performance in qualifying yesterday Paul’s performance today was a bit of a let down. Although the young Scot managed to finish 8th, it would have been 11th had it not been for retirements. With Paul aiming to impress bigger teams this season he’ll need to make sure he doesn’t squander opportunities like this again.