Tag Archives: Jules Bianchi

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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

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.

Vettel wins in Malaysia but not through fair play

24 Mar

Good Day, Bad Day, Malaysia 13.

Good Day:

Nico Hulkenburg: Q12 F8 8/10 – In a race full of errors Hulkenburg stood as a driver who – apart from the pit stop incident – refused to put a foot wrong, he showed he can start well, overtake and hold off guys in stronger cars. Hulkenburg is a fan of races where the surface is changing – as we saw in Brazil last year – and although the Sauber isn’t the most competitive car on track Hulkenburg’s talented enough to take it beyond it’s potential.

McLaren: 7/10 – This weekend signified a improvement for McLaren with Button fighting for 5th before the retirement and both cars making it into Q3. Having said this McLaren aren’t back yet, rain is good at evening out the field – if you want proof look at last season’s Malaysian GP won by Alonso – and both Button and Perez are better than average in the wet so the hard work isn’t over yet.

Jules Bianchi: Q19 F13 8/10 – Bianchi performed well on his debut and he’s continued in Malaysia yet again showing why he’s part of Ferrari’s development scheme, whilst the cameras were on the leaders Bianchi was working hard yet again, he was strong in qualifying (only a few tenths off the Williams in front) and maintained that today consistently setting fast lap times, with Bianchi Marussia should have a promising year.

Bad Day:

Red Bull: 7/10 – It’s going to take one hell of a diplomat to sort out this mess, if you missed the incident I’ll quickly paraphrase it for you: both cars had pitter for the last time and Webber was ahead of Vettel in a Red Bull 1-2, Horner told them to not race and to continue in those positions to the end of the race, Vettel then overtook. This led to the frostiest podium since Hockenheim 2010 and whilst in post race interviews Vettel did say he was sorry and didn’t mean too you’d have to be a Red Bull employer to swallow that, if he was sorry why didn’t he just give the place back? Apart from that though they did have a good race and looked strong throughout.

Nico Rosberg: Q6 F4 7/10 – Rosberg drove well today he was always on (or setting) the pace and showed Mercedes that he’s as good as Hamilton, despite this Mercedes also tried some team strategy today, this time telling the faster Rosberg to stay behind the fuel conserving Hamilton. Rosberg will fell aggrieved at that but his ability to follow team orders has brought him a lot respect from F1 fans (Vettel take note).

Fernando Alonso: Q3 F n/a 3/10 – It looked promising for Alonso this morning, he had a quick car, he’s a good starter and Malaysia has a long run to turn 1 but then it all went wrong, problems started at turn 2 when his tyres locked up and he gave Vettel a little shunt, this broke one of the columns supporting the front wing leaving him lacking downforce, but then the decision was taken by Ferrari not to being him in for a change of front wing (reason for this is probably that they wanted him to come in once it was time for slicks) and Alonso pretty much immediately ran over his front-wing (which lost him all control of the car) and beached it.

Kimi Raikkonen: Q10 F7 5/10 – After his phenomenal performance last week in Australia this race was a bit of a disaster he was penalised for blocking in Q3 yesterday and was pretty lack lustre today, if Raikkonen is to become a double world champion this year he needs more of what he did in Australia and less of what he did today.

Force India: 4/10: To say Force India were awful at pit stops today would be putting under-egging it they had a disaster every time one of their cars stopped, first they double stacked (where both cars come in at the same time) and sadly the rear left of Sutil (the first car in) refused to budge which meant the stop took an extra 16 seconds than normal, this also delayed Di Resta the 2nd car in the stack. Then when Di Resta came in for his second it took 2 minutes to remove the front left, and the for Sutil’s second stop they couldn’t remove the front left. Needless to say neither of them made it to the end.

Max Chilton: Q21 F16 6/10 – Whilst team mate Bianchi stars in the Marussia looks average at best, this is the second race where Chilton has been thoroughly out shone by Bianchi and if this is how he continues he could find himself back in GP2 next season, Daddy’s millions may have got him to the grid but remaining there is a problem that rests on Max’s shoulders.

Lotus claim first blood but rest aren’t far behind!

17 Mar

Good Day, Bad Day: Australia 2013.

Good Day:

  • Kimi Raikkonen: Q7 F1 10/10 – What a way for Raikkonen to start 2013, not only winning but winning in style in Australia with his closest challenger Fernando Alonso 12 seconds down the road, Lotus took a big gamble opting for the 2 stop strategy but it paid off with Raikkonen now the man to beat. 
  • Fernando Alonso: Q5 F2 8/10 – Fernando has a right to feel aggrieved for not winning the race he started the race well moving into 3rd on the first lap alone and the timing of his second stop was arguably the decision of the race undercutting both Vettel and Sutil after running behind both of them in 3rd. But if Alonso is disappointed with how his race today he needs only to look at his result here 12 months ago to be cheered up.
  • Sebastian Vettel: Q1 F3 7/10 – Vettel was out played by both Raikkonen and Alonso today on the strategy front, the 3 pit strategy was definitely the slower of the two and losing out to Alonso’s undercut was just unlucky, but Vettel will not be disappointed he’s only 10 points behind Raikkonen and the year isn’t over yet.
  • Felipe Massa: Q4 F4 8/10 – The pre 2009 Massa appears to be back for good, after some impressive races this year Massa started this season as he means to go on, racing for victories, he qualified ahead of Alonso which isn’t common and you never know he could be in championship contention this season.
  • Mercedes: 8/10 – When Hamilton moved to Mercedes many – I included – wrote him out of contention due to Mercedes’ not building good enough cars but they’ve changed that for this year, both cars were competitive in qualifying (Rosberg fastest in Q1 and Q2) and Hamilton qualifying 3rd and they were competitive today until they’re luck soured, Hamilton was ‘only’ 5th because of a massive lock up that moved him from his 2 stop strategy to a 3 stop and Rosberg was unlucky to suffer an electronic problem, Mercedes are definitely contenders this season.
  • Adrian Sutil: Q12 F7 9/10 – You wouldn’t believe that Sutil had missed 2012 looking at his performance today, he made a big call starting on the mediums but it payed off moving him up to 1st before his first pit stop and with his second pair of mediums he returned to the front, sadly he changed too early onto the ‘option’ tyres which cost him a lot of time and left him trying to hold drivers off.
  • Jules Bianchi: Q19 F15 10/10 – WOW! I knew Bianchi would be good in Formula 1 but I never thought he’d be this good, his times were stunningly fast he won the class B race and he was challenging midfield drivers during the race, Marussia have produced a fantastic car this season and I don’t think it would be going to far to say Bianchi could pick up points this season.

Bad Day:

  • Mark Webber: Q2 F6 6/10 – It was the dreadful start to the race that left Webber all but out of it but Webber definitely hates this track (even if it is his home GP) because it’s never worked out for him before here and if he wants to ever become F1 champion he’s going to need to do much better than that.
  • McLaren 5/10 – McLaren have a lot of work to do since their car does not look good in any way at the moment, only Button made it into Q3 and he didn’t even set a lap and in the race both drivers were fighting for the lower points, if this is going to be a good year for McLaren they need to up their game pronto.
  • Romain Grosjean: Q8 F10 5/10 – Whilst Raikkonen was winning the race Grosjean was struggling, yes he managed to avoid hitting anyone at the start but he finished a massive 84 seconds behind Kimi, Grosjean is seen as a quick driver but it all went wrong today and if he wants to fight for big points this season he needs to regain the speed he had last season.
  • Nico Hulkenburg: Q11 F- 6/10 – Hulkenburg’s race was over before it even began with him retiring before the race started due to problems with the fuel system, this is a real shame as Nico is one of the most talented drivers on the grid and maybe could have picked up some points today.

New kid on the block: Jules Bianchi

1 Mar

So give us the basics.

Jules is a 23 year old French driver born in Nice and nephew of Lucien Bianchi a Formula 1 driver between the years of 1959 and 1968.

So what categories has he won in so far?

It’s a very impressive list, after starting racing single seaters at the start of 2007 he won the 2007 French Formula Renault 2.0, in 2008 he was 3rd in the Formula 3 Euro Series and 1st in the Masters of Formula 3, in 2009 he won the Formula 3 Euro Series (again), 2010 saw him finish 3rd in GP2 and in 2011 he finished 3rd in GP2 again as well as finishing 2nd in the GP2 Asia Series and in 2012 he was second in the Formula Renault 3.5 series.

Wow, that’s very impressive, has he had much F1 experience?

Despite being only 23 he’s very experienced in the world of Formula 1, he’s been a member of the Ferrari young drivers program for many years and over time has been test driver for Ferrari in 2011 and Force India in 2012 (he got 9 friday practice sessions with Force India), he’s also drove for Ferrari in the young drivers tests in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and for Force India also in 2012, as well as this he’s also done testing for Ferrari as part of his young drivers program.

That is a lot of experience, what’s expected from him?

Lots, he’s clearly talented and he’s well regarded, but he’s going to need to show he can fulfil his potential. I expect Marussia have found themselves a gem of a driver in Bianchi he easily has the potential to blow Chilton out of the water and if the cars are similar wipe the floor with Caterham.

How do you rate his chances?

8/10 Ferrari will be following his closely and if he shows his talent this year then France could have found it’s next world champion.