Tag Archives: Lewis Hamilton

SEBASTIAN VETTEL WINS THE CANADIAN PROCESSION

15 Jun

The Michael Report- FORMULA ONE GRAND PRIX DU CANADA 2013

TWO YEARS ago, Jenson Button, driving for McLaren, endured six pit stops, numerous safety cars, horrendous weather and still managed to overtake the entire field to take the lead from Sebastian Vettel on the last lap of an enthralling Canadian Grand Prix. Sadly on sunday, we witnessed a rather mundane sporting spectacle which saw Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull steal the show with a runaway maiden victory on the Île De Notre-Dame today.

Sebastian led the race from lights out to chequered flag- he made it look effortless, lapping all but four cars in an easy cruise around 70 laps of the Circuit Gilles Vileneuve. No opponent came close to preventing the young German take twenty-five points, which are arguably the easiest points for Vettel this year. It was slightly more exciting with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. The former had managed to hold onto second place for over sixty laps, pit stops excluded, but the latter overtook Lewis on the home straight, just a few laps before the end; it was a close call, and they clipped briefly, but fifteen points for Mercedes will be some consolation- they failed to end their rubber degradation woes, but it didn’t affect the team as much as it did in Barcelona two races ago. Alonso picks up eighteen points for second.

Mark Webber finished fourth, with twelve points, despite losing some of his front wing in a collision with a snail’s pace Caterham (Giedo Van Der Garde) which failed to obey the blue flags. As a result, he was penalised with a stop/go penalty. Nico Rosberg fought hard, and managed to hold on to fifth place, only just avoiding the embarrassment of being lapped by Vettel. He receives ten points. Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric-Vergne will be elated with his best ever finish- sixth place- today. Vergne demonstrated progress in Red Bull’s younger sister team to qualify in yesterday’s changing conditions, and finished satisfactorily, winning eight points.

Many teams complain about the tyres, but Paul Di Resta will be smug after an astonishing seventh place, after qualifying seventeenth. The young Scot nursed his harder tyres for a whole fifty-four laps, amend managed to overtake cars and leave enough of a gap to pit only once and hold on to his treasured six points. Felipe Massa finished eighth place, which is an achievement following yesterday’s hefty crash during qualifying. He overtook eight cars and brought home four points for Ferrari.

Ice Man Kimi Raikkönen survived a clip with Adrian Sutil and a poor pit stop to finish ninth with two points, and despite driving in a spin, at one point, and undergoing a drive-through penalty for his collision, Force India’s Adrian Sutil brought the car home to finish tenth and pick up the final Championship point. Alas, McLaren finished eleventh and twelfth (Perez and Button respectively) and did not score. They qualified poorly and their lacklustre performance was heightened by the fact that this is the first time in sixty-four races that they didn’t score. Can they improve their cars and overcome technical and performance gremlins to make a second half of the season comeback? McLaren fans will hope so.

It was a sad end for Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. The Finn qualified in an amazing third place, proving that there is pace in their cars, but that pace did not transfer over to today’s dry conditions, and he finished fourteenth. Today’s retirements were Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Guttierez, who lost control into the first corner towards the end of the race and Giedo Van Der Garde, who lost his front wing in a collision with Hulkenberg.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

Sebastian Vettel has increased his lead to 36, and now holds 132 Drivers’ Championship points. This is more than a race victory, and he can afford to take a holiday next race and still hold onto the lead. He leads the Championship, ahead of Fernando Alonso with 96 points. Fernando has overtaken Kimi Raikkönen, who is now third with 88 points. Lotus need to find some more form if they wish to compete once more with Vettel for the title. 11 points behind lies Lewis Hamilton, currently fourth with 77 points. In fifth place, we have Mark Webber with 69 points, and Nico Rosberg is sixth with 57 points. Felipe Massa remains in seventh with 49 points.

Paul Di Resta is eighth with 34 points, and Romain Grosjean is ninth with 26, one point ahead of Jenson Button with 25 points.

In the Constructors’ Championships, Red Bull have extended their lead even further, with 201 points. Their lead has been extended from 41 to 56 points. Ferrari are second with 145 points. Mercedes have stolen third place from Lotus, with 134 points, 20 points ahead of their British rival with 114 points. Force India are fifth, a huge 63 points adrift with 51 points; McLaren are sixth with 37 points. Toro Rosso have increased their points tally to 20 points in seventh, and Sauber remain eighth with 5. Williams lead Marussia who lead Caterham and are still yet to score.

I will be back in three week’s time, when Formula One heads to the home of British motorsport, Silverstone. Mark Webber won an incredible race last year, with a wash out qualifying session and an exciting Grand Prix

Michael

Since this report was written we have found out that a marshall died whilst rescuing Esteban Gutierrez’s car. Marshalling is a job full of hazards and the men and women who do it show a lot of bravery and our thoughts are with the marshall’s family and friends at this difficult time.

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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.

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

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.

VETTEL VICTORIOUS IN THE BULL FIGHT BUT “HAS EXPLAINING TO DO”

24 Mar

The Michael Report- 2013 FORMULA ONE PETRONAS MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX

A GOOD old scrap isn’t a bad way of summing up today’s action packed Malaysian Grand Prix. We witnessed team principals arguing with their drivers, disastrous pit stops, crashes, lots of near-misses and a spot of rain at the start of the race that fired up the tyre strategy battle between the cars in Sepang today.

To the victor goes the spoils, but unfortunately today, second placed Mark Webber felt that the podium was cruelly taken away from him by his eager team-mate Vettel. As the rainwater evaporated from the circuit and the track dried up, Vettel was the first to pit to change on to the dry tyres, and struggled in the parts of the track that still held moisture, whilst Mark Webber held on for longer, pitted later and looked after his tyres superbly in the race, leading for much of the Grand Prix. However, towards the end of the race, Vettel and Webber were scrapping for the lead, and came very close- it could have all ended in tears, but somehow both men remained unscathed. However, Christian Horner and Adrian Newey from Red Bull were unhappy that drivers were racing each other- isn’t that the idea of a motor race? Vettel was clearly ordered to maintain position, but didn’t listen and overtook a fuming Webber. He expressed his concerns and his disappointment clearly during the podium interviews, stating he was “disappointed at the outcome of the race”. Red Bull would argue that they were trying to prevent an accident, but Vettel will be talking with his team for a very long time indeed. He formally apologised in the formal press conference immediately after the race, but will that be sufficient enough to settle the dispute?

Team friction was also felt within the Mercedes team- principal Ross Brawn ordered a desperate Nico Rosberg- who finished in fourth place with twelve points- to stay in fourth place, despite having more fuel in which to push forward and an evidently faster car- but the team weren’t having it, and Lewis Hamilton denied his team-mate a podium, something he was remorseful about atop the podium; the new Mercedes recruit had to nurse the car home, or risk running out of fuel. Nevertheless, it was fifteen points for third place and his maiden podium race for his new team, but again, will the in-team battling affect the drivers’ performance? We will have to wait and see.

Outside the top four, Ferrari suffered a disastrous misfortune in the opening laps of the race- Fernando Alonso was a little too keen when the lights went out at the start of the race, and nearly overtook Vettel. Unfortunately, he touched Vettel’s car and this front wing broke, dangling by a thread. He had the opportunity to come into the pits to have it changed, but either Alonso didn’t notice the damage, or Ferrari were gambling to keep him out until they could change to dry tyres, but Alonso left the Formula One casino in dramatic style, as on the pit straight, the front wing came off, and went under the Car sending debris everywhere, and the car cruised straight into the barriers. Thankfully, no other car was involved, and Alonso was free from injury, but it cost Ferrari dearly, as Felipe Massa scored just ten points in fifth place- we may have seen a Ferrari driver on the podium today, but a crash and a satisfactory performance denied them this opportunity.

The Lotus cars of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkönen may have dominated last week’s maiden Grand Prix of 2013, but today they were average at best. Grosjean was sixth and takes home eight points; Raikkönen managed to take a trip on the grass, lose some front wing, and somehow finished seventh, taking home six points for the team.

Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg finished eighth today, and scored four points in his first race this year, managing to fend off McLaren’s Sergio Perez, who finished ninth with two points. The final championship point was awarded to Jean Eric-Vergne from Toro Rosso in tenth, but one can’t help but feel that technical gremlins denied some key contenders a good result from today’s race. Beginning with Jenson Button, he managed- at one point- to lead the Grand Prix in a resurgent McLaren car, managing to even match the pace of the Red Bulls- he took care of his tyres, and managed to remain around fifth place, until we saw the return for the embarrassing McLaren pit stop. The front right tyre wasn’t attached properly, due to a slightly faulty nut, and the car left the pit stop box, and jutted to a stop- the mechanics had to push Button back to the pit stop, attach the tyre correctly, and the Brit rejoined the race in fourteenth, and looked as if he might be able to claw back to the points positions, but the team decided to retire the car, just in case further damage ensued. However, McLaren can take back the positives, and slow gains were clearly made today, and they will be hoping that they will continue to slowly make improvements, and keep building and progressing as the season continues.

Force India were once again a dominant force, but pit stop woes prevented points finishes for Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta- the wheel nuts and tyre guns weren’t working properly, and Di Resta had to remain in the pit lane for at least a minute, meaning his components were overheating as the mechanics tried everything they could to get the tyres attached, even resorting to hammers! In case the tyre wasn’t properly attached, they retired Paul Di Resta, and had to retire Sutil when he had to pit- otherwise a serious incident may have occurred. One final pit stop error occurred when Lewis Hamilton accidentally stopped in the McLaren pit stop, before being guided by the mechanics into his new box- does he still miss his old team? Does he want to come back?

In a race filled with excitement, despair and controversy, the Marussia of Jules Bianchi may have been slow, but he managed to keep it on the track, finishing in thirteenth and ensured that his team remains in front of the Caterhams in this early part of the 2013 season. Vettel may have won, but you can’t help but feel the victory was tainted somewhat by the bitter battle between the two world class Red Bull drivers.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

A controversial victory for Sebastian Vettel nonetheless meant that he received 25 points and propelled him into first place in the Drivers Championships, with 40 points. Kimi Raikkönen has lost his first place the German, and now has 31 points in second place. Mark Webber has jumped up the leader board to third place, and now has 26 points, with Lewis Hamilton a solitary point behind in fourth. In fifth place, Felipe Massa holds strong with 22 points; Alonso’s pointless finish today means that he has fallen from second to sixth, still retaining 18 points.

In seventh place, we have Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg with 12 points, and Romain Grosjean is eighth with 9 points. Force India’s Adrian Sutil has 6 points in ninth place; both Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg have 4 points in tenth and eleventh respectively. We see the two McLaren’s next- Sergio Perez is twelfth, Jenson Button in thirteenth, both holding just 2 points each. Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric- Vergne is fourteenth with a single point.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull have taken first place from Ferrari and now have an impressive 66 points- Lotus and Ferrari are second and third respectively, each  with 40 points. We have Mercedes close behind in fourth place with 37 points, and Force India are fifth with 10 points. Even Sauber have overtaken McLaren into sixth place with 4 points; McLaren have the same points tally, but the DNF for Jenson Button today has pushed them down the standings further. Toro Rosso are off the Mark in eighth place with 1 point. Williams are ninth, followed by Marussia in tenth and Caterham in eleventh, though none of them are yet to score.

I will be back in a three weeks time as Formula One heads to China for the third race of the season. Hopefully, the Bull fighting will have ceased, if the Toreadors Horner and Newey spend a long time having a talk with their drivers. It was a good old scrap today, with exciting racing, but this unsportsmanlike demonstration has showed some uncomfortable conflict within F1 teams, which can hopefully be resolved before too long.

Michael

‘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.