Tag Archives: Paul Di Resta

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.

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Vettel on pole but only after near miss Q1 exit

23 Mar

3 winners and losers of qualifying, Malaysia 2013

Winners:

Sebastian Vettel: Q1 – 2 races this season and 2 pole positions as Vettel cruised to pole position by a whole 0.9 seconds, but it wasn’t as simple as it appears with Vettel almost leaving qualifying in Q1 after the strategy  taken by Red Bull went wrong and it was only through doing a second timed lap that he made it through to Q2 even so it left the Red Bull management shaken.

Felipe Massa: Q2 – This time last year Massa was a laughing stock and yet here he is now starting on the front row ahead of Alonso and having out qualified him for the 4th time in a row, can we now say the pre 2009 Massa is back with a vengeance and if so what’s to stop him making amends for the title miss in 2008, only time will tell.

McLaren: Q8 and Q10 – There’s definitely still a long way to go for McLaren but the team must see it as a step in the right direction to have 2 drivers into Q3 even if it was obvious that they would never take pole. With conditions set to be wet tomorrow I can see McLaren challenging for 5th place since both drivers are very accomplished in the wet and rain does seem to even out the cars.

Losers:

Paul Di Resta: Q15 – Probably should have made it into Q3 had a disastrous Q2 strategy left him out. Di Resta came in at the end of his banker lap (a lap set on tyres from the previous session so that the driver has a time even if something goes wrong) meaning he hadn’t set a time when rain came out and left him completely out of qualifying.

Romain Grosjean: Q11 – Grosjean suffered the same as Di Resta with problem of rain stopping him improving on his lap time leaving him just out of Q3. 2013 hasn’t gone well for Grosjean so far with a bad race last weekend and now this but he’s got talent and should return to the top of his game soon.

Valtteri Bottas: Q18 – It’s been a bad start for Williams so far with Maldonado out in Q1 last week and Bottas suffering the same fate this weekend the car just isn’t working like the team will have hoped and this could be a direct consequence of being the only team to miss the Jerez test.

BREAKING: Raikkonen given a 3 place grid penalty for impeding Rosberg in Q3, this means Raikkonen is now 10th whilst Button Sutil and Perez move up one place each to 7th, 8th and 9th respectively.

‘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.

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.

 

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 set to announce Mercedes move.

28 Sep

Today (Friday the 28th of September) Lewis Hamilton is expected to announce that he is leaving McLaren and will instead will be driving for Mercedes next year. After 5 season with the team in F1 and many more years being supported by the team in lower racing categories it will be an emotional farewell when Lewis drives his final race for the team in Brazil this year.

In this post I won’t be looking at the reasons behind the deal (my opinions on them can be seen here), instead I will be looking at which drivers could replace Hamilton and who will he replace.

Who will Mercedes drop?

  • Mercedes have one of two options for who will make way for Hamilton, they can drop either Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Schumacher is the obvious choice, there are many people who feel that Schumacher should leave sooner rather than later and in recent races there has been evidence that his powers are waining, most recently running into the back of Vergne in Singapore. If Schumacher is dropped by Mercedes I’d expect him to retire for good. But Mercedes may want to keep Schumacher as he’s a more attractive target for sponsors, and if this is the case the team may decide to drop Nico Rosberg, winner of the 2012 Chinese GP. This would be in my opinion the wrong decision as Rosberg has a lot of potential and Lewis will find it easier to get on with Rosberg than Schumacher (who he has had some disputes with in recent years). If Rosberg does leave I’d expect him to be quickly signed up by another team, maybe replacing Bruno Senna at Williams.

Who could replace Hamilton?

  • Sergio Perez will be touted as the favourite to replace Hamilton, Perez is a fantastic driver: light on his tyres, fast and able to overtake and in the longterm he could have the potential to be better than Hamilton, but there may be resentment to sign him in that the Mexican is part of the Ferrari young drivers program and McLaren may be worried that Ferrari would poach Perez off the team after only a couple of years. If I was Martin Whitmarsh I would sign Perez.
  • Paul Di Resta will also be a likely target and with him being British he’d look ideal to replace Hamilton, especially after last weekend’s performance in Singapore. Di Resta would supply them with a solid driver who probably wouldn’t challenge for next years championship but would give them points and be a possibility in the future.
  • Nico Hulkenburg has been on many team’s radars and is expected to move to a bigger team in the not to distant future, he’s quick, competitive and when he’s having a good day he’s one of the best drivers out there, qualifying 4th in Valencia and finishing 4th at Spa. Nico will be looking to put in another strong performance in the Brazilian GP this year where on his previous outing he took pole. I think Nico is 3rd favourite.

Vettel wins to put himself back in the championship hunt

23 Sep

Good day Bad day, Singapore 12.

Good Day:

Paul Di Resta: 9/10 S6 F4 #DriverOfTheDay

Paul lit up the race today, he wasn’t the most exciting driver to watch, but he picked up the big 12 points to show yet again why he should be on the wanted lists of the big teams.

Sebastian Vettel: 8/10 S3 F1 (S = started from, F = finished)

After a disappointing performance in qualifying yesterday the pressure was on for Vettel to pick up big points and he did just that, overtaking Maldonado at turn 2 before inheriting 1st from Hamilton due to Lewis retiring. Vettel is now 2nd in the championship and it would be a mistake to rule him out of a 3rd championship.

Felipe Massa: 9/10 S13 F8

After a disappointing qualifying session for Massa yesterday and a puncture on lap 1 it took some phenomenal driving skill to pick up 4 points. Massa gave a tutorial in overtaking today pulling a fantastic move on Senna despite being given little room to manoeuvre in. One thing that’s for certain we can’t rule Felipe out of driving for Ferrari next season.

Marussia: 8/10

With Timo Glock putting in a fantastic performance to finish 12th Marussia have moved into the very important 10th place in the constructors standings. If they can stay there then they will pick up a lot more money at the end of the year which will put them in a better position for next season.

Bad Day:

Lewis Hamilton: 7/10 S1 F ret.

Lewis hasn’t had a very lucky season and today’s incident may be the final problem in terms of the world championship. Lewis is now 52 points behind with 6 races left. Lewis had started the race brightly and was regarded by many as the favourite to win until the car lost drive and retired on lap 22.

Michael Schumacher: 3/10 S9 F ret.

Michael was on for a points finish when he lost concentration and just piled into the back of Vergne. In his defence he has had brake problems all weekend but I’d be very surprised if he isn’t disciplined after the race.

Williams: 6/10

Williams started today after getting a driver to the front row of the grid but the good form didn’t last. Senna had problems with his gearbox early on (despite taking a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change) before Maldonado retired with hydraulics problems. Senna then almost received a penalty for an incident with Massa before hitting the barriers once too often to retire with 2 laps remaining.

Sauber: 7/10

Sauber were never expected to be strong in Singapore but I’m very surprised that none of their drivers managed to pick up any points in a weekend where rivals Mercedes and Force India picked up big points. Luckily Sauber are expected to be a lot stronger at Suzuka and we could maybe see another Sauber podium there.