Tag Archives: Nico Rosberg

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

27 May

The Michael Report- FORMULA ONE GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

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

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

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

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

Michael

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Rosberg leads from start to finish as carnage rules in Monaco

26 May

Tweet review, Monaco 13

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

Rosberg complete hat-trick on streets of Monaco

26 May

3 winners and losers of qualifying, Monaco 13.

Winners:

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

Losers:

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

Prediction:

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

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

Mercedes Tyre Troubles

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

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.

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

Hamilton moving closer to Mercedes

5 Sep

Today big news broke in the F1 world. According to BBC analyst Eddie Jordan – former owner of Jordan F1 team – Lewis Hamilton is very close to agreeing a deal with Mercedes to drive for them next year, replacing Michael Schumacher who is expected to retire. This news comes following news in recent weeks that Lewis has been struggling to get McLaren to agree to his high wage demands which would make him the highest paid driver in the grid.

Now many people will take this news as a surprise – I for one – so lets discuss the reasons for the move. Remember it hasn’t been officially announced yet so we don’t know that this is definitely going to happen.

Reasons for the move:

  • Mercedes have fallen a long way behind in the development race after starting brightly, this suggests that already the team has moved fully into 2013 car mode, in a move similar to what Ross Braun did in 2008 before the championship wins in 2009.
  • Mercedes may be more willing to pay him high wages, McLaren have repeatedly told us that they can’t afford his wages, especially with McLaren having to pay for their Mercedes engines for the first time next year.
  • Mercedes would need a big name to replace Schumacher, and Hamilton would definitely give them that.

What would be the immediate consequences of this move:

  • Michael Schumacher would be retiring for the second time following a poor return to F1.
  • Current Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg would almost certainly be sidelined to the 2nd driver spot, this could lead to him becoming unhappy and maybe wanting to leave the team.
  • McLaren would need to replace Hamilton, the obvious choice is Paul Di Resta who is the only other Brit in F1 and could make it as a race winner. But other names should be put in the hat, ex-McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen who McLaren negotiated with in 2010 before signing Button and Nico Hulkenburg, Paul’s Force India and arguably more talented teammate. For any of these three drivers to move McLaren would have to pay their current team compensation.

Reasons why it may not happen:

  • Michael Schumacher may still want to stay in F1.
  • Mercedes were set up to be a team to only use German drivers, I may not be the greatest geographer but I’m sure Stevenage isn’t in Germany.
  • Hamilton has been with McLaren since he was 10, and only made it to F1 due to his McLaren backing, surely he feels he owes the team.
  • If Mercedes give in to Hamilton’s wage demands it will make Lewis the highest paid driver in the field, is that value for money when there are more talented drivers who will be on smaller wages. (By smaller I mean only living on the ‘measly’ wage of £15 million a year).

With an announcement still to be made what do you think will happen, will Hamilton join Mercedes or will he stay with McLaren.