Tag Archives: Sebastian Vettel

Vettel makes it a hat-trick in the night of Singapore

22 Sep

Welcome to the new look race review, I hope you like it!

So who won the 2013 Singapore GP?

Sebastian Vettel won his 7th race of the season and his third Singapore GP win in three years. It was a dominant victory for Vettel taking pole, fastest lap and leading every lap of the race.

Was there much competition?

Not really, after 3 laps Vettel was well ahead and despite a safety car on lap 25 which let the rest catch up he went on to win the race by 32.6 seconds. On the first lap Rosberg came close to stealing the lead and led through the first corner but he ran slightly wide at the second and that was it Vettel went on to win.

How did Rosberg do after that?

Rosberg ended up finishing 4th, being overtaken by Alonso before being undercut by Mark Webber during their second stops. Rosberg was then overtaken by Raikkonen before Webber’s engine problems let Rosberg back up to 4th.

So Alonso and Raikkonen completed the podium? I thought they started way down the grid.

Yes and yes, Alonso started 7th before finishing second whilst Raikkonen started 13th and finished 3rd, showing that it is possible to gain places on a street circuit. Alonso had a blistering start overtaking 4 drivers before the first corner before eventually overtaking Rosberg, but his best moment came when he managed to finish the race on 36 lap old tyres. Whilst Raikkonen showed his strength by racing with an injured back – which destroyed his qualifying – and still finished 3rd.

You mentioned a safety car earlier, what was that for?

Soon to be Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo crashed at turn 18 leading to a safety car which ensured Singapore’s 100% safety car rate. Turn 18 was always me undoing when I raced Singapore on F1 2009 so I can sympathise with Daniel for crashing there, what I can’t sympathise with is the FIA’s rule for letting lapped cars unlap themselves in a safety car, it wastes time and means the safety car has to be out for a couple more laps. If you end up behind a lapped car during a safety car period, bad luck hopefully it will be someone else next time.

So how did the Brits do?

Hamilton finished 5th after a dubious strategy, whilst Button looked like a good bet for a podium before his tyres became destroyed and ending up 7th. Paul di Resta had a very strong race and looked set for a very strong points finish before an accident on lap 54 ended his race. Rookie, Max Chilton finished ahead of team mate Bianchi and Pic but he’ll be lucky to race in F1 next year.

Any post race steward decisions?

Yes, lots. As previously mentioned Webber had a engine problem that meant he had to retire from 4th place on the final lap when his car set on fire, but luckily he got a lift back to the pits with Alonso who was on his slowing down lap at the time, in doing so both drivers broke article 30.9 (b) of the regulations and were both issued with reprimands and since this was Webber’s third reprimand he’s been given a 10 place grid penalty for the next race. Lotus were also issued a reprimand after a mechanic wasn’t wearing a helmet during a pit stop.

So who was the best driver and how good was the race?

Personally my driver of the day was Alonso for his fantastic start and his tyre management in the later stages of the race, but Vettel and Raikkonen are up there. Sadly the race was pretty dull and so I’ll rate it a 3/10, if you want to watch the best bits I recommend the first lap and the last 10 laps , the others aren’t worth watching.

So how does the championship stand now?

Ferrari gained 1 point in the constructors championship over Red Bull, but they’re still 103 points behind. Ferrari also extended their small lead over Mercedes by 4 points to take their lead to 7 points. In the driver’s championship Vettel added an additional 7 points to his now 60 point lead over Alonso. Alonso now has 187 points with Hamilton third on 151 points and Raikkonen 4th on 149 points. Which means that all the top 4 drivers drive for different teams.

Korea is the next race on the calendar and it’s a Red Bull stronghold so expect to see them on the podium again in two weeks time.

For full race results go here.

Back at Last

22 Sep

I haven’t blogged in a while, mainly due to exams, holiday and now UCAS applications but exams and holidays have happened and the UCAS form will be finished (at last) shortly. 

Despite this it’s likely that there will be times when I don’t post as often as you and I would want me to and I will apologise now for when this happens and try and catch up whenever possible.

Almost finally you will notice that the style of my posts will change to a more question and answer style, I got this idea from the i newspaper’s page 3 profile and tried it out last winter. I prefer this way of writing and I hope you’ll prefer reading it.

And so with nothing else to procrastinate about here is Michael’s review of the Italian GP (it’s very late but that’s my fault not his)

ALONSO RELIES ON LADY LUCK FOLLOWING SIXTH VETTEL VICTORY

AS Sebastian Vettel took his sixth chequered flag of the 2013 season yesterday, a dejected Tifosi were left wondering what their hero Fernando Alonso could do to achieve a World Championship title for Ferrari. He admitted after the race that he will need luck on his side if he is to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, as although he was strong, he couldn’t come near the reigning World Champion at Monza.

Vettel’s race began perfectly for him- he led from the front and raced off into the distance in classic Vettel form. He managed to create a large enough gap so he could pit and re-take the lead of the Grand Prix. The German driver won very comfortably and faced little difficulty in cruising around the Monza circuit. With seven races left this season, another twenty-five points to his tally will mean that it would take complete and utter disaster in several of the upcoming races to steal the 2013 crown.

Alonso and Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber accompanied Sebastian atop the podium, amidst the roars and boos, and earned eighteen and fifteen points respectively. Felipe Massa finished in an impressive fourth place and earned himself twelve points. Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg finished in fifth place which was his best finish so far this year. Although he was unable to prevent being overtook twice during the race, Hulkenberg has proved himself a capable driver, and one that would be worthy of a place next year in a better car. The F1 world is awash with rumours about driver transfers, and Nico has been tipped for a place in Ferrari or possibly Lotus. It would certainly be a shame if he was to lose a drive prior to next year’s season.

Nico Rosberg finished sixth for Mercedes and earned himself eight points, and Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh, with six points. Lotus’ Romain Grosjean earned four points in eighth and Lewis Hamilton overcame a slow puncture to finish ninth and earned himself two points. Jenson Button finished tenth and gained a point for McLaren in its 50th year in Formula One.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

Vettel currently leads the Drivers’ Championships, with 222 points. Alonso is in second place, 53 points adrift with 169. Lewis Hamilton, who wrote in his BBC column that his Championship contention is over, is third with 141. He is 7 points ahead of Kimi Raikkönen, who has 134, who is 4 points ahead of Mark Webber’s total of 130.

Nico Rosberg is sixth with 104 points and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa has 79 points and lies in seventh. Romain Grosjean is eighth with 57 points, 9 points ahead of Jenson Button in ninth. Paul Di Resta is tenth with 36 points, and his team-mate Adrian Sutil is eleventh with 25. Sergio Perez is twelfth and Nico Hulkenberg is thirteenth, each with 18 points. Daniel Ricciardo is in fourteenth place with 17 points. Team-mate Jean Eric Vergne is fifteenth with 13, and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado is sixteenth with 1 point. Valtteri Bottas has no points, but due to previous results, is ahead of Esteban Guttierez, Jules Bianchi, Charles Pic, Giedo Van Der Garde and Max Chilton.

For the Constructors, Red Bull are first with 352 points, nearly 100 ahead of their nearest rivals, Ferrari, who have 248. Mercedes are third with 245, and Lotus are fourth with 191 points. McLaren are fifth with 66 points, 5 ahead of Force India with 61. Toro Rosso lie seventh with 31 points and Sauber are eighth with 17. Williams are ninth with a solitary point, and Marussia lead Caterham, despite not scoring yet.

The European Grands Prix are over for another year, and the final fly-away phase of the season will begin in a fortnight. It looks as if Sebastian Vettel is increasing his tightening grip around a fourth World Championship title, and it will be indeed Lady Luck who will have her say, should he be unfortunate enough to loosen his grip.

Michael

Sorry it’s so late.

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.

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

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

DÉJÀ VU IN THE DESERT FOR RED BULL AND LOTUS

21 Apr

The Michael Report- 2013 FORMULA ONE GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX

POLITICAL controversy overshadowed last year’s running of the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir. Thankfully, this year, there was little, if any, disruption, and with Pirelli providing the tyres, this year’s race was made truly unpredictable, it was set to be an exciting race, and apart from the top three, this was achieved.

From the start, Nico Rosberg fought bravely hold on to first place, but unfortunately, the Mercedes car struggled to maintain a suitable grip, and began to slow down, allowing the field to begin overtaking the pole sitter, and once Sebastian Vettel took the lead, he stormed off into the distance and was never to be seen again until he took the chequered flag an hour or so later, only stopping for routine tyre changes, and taking care of the rubber that threw spanners into the works of the other cars, unless your car was a Lotus.

Kimi Raikkönen and Romain Grosjean demonstrated the durability of the harder compound tyres, and managed to outperform the other cars, who may have been quicker, but they weren’t able to cope with the thermal degradation that took place under the roasting heat of the desert sun. In a full replication of last year’s Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel received twenty five points in first, Raikkönen eighteen in second, and Grosjean fifteen in third.

Paul Di Resta demonstrated a superb Force India car today, and if it weren’t for the degrading rubber in the closing stages in the race, he could have achieved his first Formula One podium. Alas, he finished fourth and received twelve points. Neverthelss, it was one of the best races Di Resta has ever had, and paves the way for a possible challenge to the top teams, and securing Force India as the main mid-field team by far. Team-mate Adrian Sutil, however, suffered badly following contact in the early stages of the race, and finished thirteenth.

Technical gremlins wreaked havoc for Ferrari today. Felipe Massa clipped his front wing with the Lotus of Kimi Raikkönen, and had to struggle throughout the race, suffering a puncture in the process, finishing fifteenth. Team-mate Fernando Alonso started promisingly, but his rear-wing flap remained open, and he had to pit twice to have it shut again, meaning that he lost time as well as the use of DRS. However, the Spaniard proved his worth with sublime driving, and finished in a respectable eighth with four points.

McLaren are back on the rise, it seems. Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were tussling and pushing each other to the edge, quite literally, several times. The two cars from Woking were challenging the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber. Unfortunately for Jenson Button, he lost his war of rubber, and was forced to pit four times, instead of his planned three, but did manage to finish tenth with one point. On the other hand, Sergio Perez demonstrated why McLaren signed him, and pounced at every opportunity, eventually overtaking Mark Webber on the last lap to finish in sixth place, and received eight points. Lewis Hamilton finished fifth, and took home ten points, and team-mate Nico Rosberg finished ninth, and got two points.

Mark Webber had an average race, and maintained a good pace, but dropped back at the very last minute. In the space of the two last laps, he dropped from fifth to seventh, and finished with six points for Red Bull.

In the conflict between Caterham and Marussia, Caterham fought back today, since Charles Pic finished seventeenth, ahead of Sauber’s Esteban Guttierez, whilst Jules Bianchi only managed to finished nineteenth for Marussia, ahead of his team-mate Max Chilton, who turned 22, and his present was not finishing in last place!

Overall, it was an interesting race plagued with inter-team competition, overtaking and the tyre strategy once again dominated proceedings in today’s race, and the ‘finger’ stood atop the podium for the second time in four grands prix. Sebastian Vettel  has scored points in every race so far, and as the first fly-away leg of 2013 comes to a close, the other Constructors will need to do something to act as a constant threat to Red Bull dominance.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

After Bahrian, Sebastian Vettel now boasts a ten-point lead in the Drivers’ Championships, with 77 points to his name, with Kimi Raikkönen in second place with 67 points. After battling with his tyres today, Lewis Hamilton leapt into third place for Mercedes, with 50 points. Fernando Alonso has dropped down to fourth place with 47 points, and Mark Webber is fifth with 32 points.

A mere two points behind, we see Felipe Massa in sixth place with 30 points, and Romain Grosjean has jumped two places into seventh, now with 26 points. Paul Di Resta received twelve points today, and now has 20 points to his name. Nico Rosberg is eighth with 14 points, Jenson Button ninth with 13 and Sergio Perez tenth with 10.

In the Constructors’ Championships, Red Bull have broken through the century barrier, and now have 109 points in first. Lotus have retaken second place, and now hold 93 points. Ferrari have only gained 4 points, but are third with 77, and Mercedes are now fourth with 64 points. Paul Di Resta’s fantastic performance has meant that Force India have surged back into fifth place with 26 points, ahead of McLaren with 23, who drop back into a lowly sixth place. Toro Rosso have no more points to add, and remain seventh with 7 points. Sauber are eighth, and keep 5 points.

Williams lead Marussia who lead Caterham, but they are still yet to score.

I will be back in three week’s time, when Formula One begins its return to Europe, at the Circuit De Catalunya in Spain. Last year, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado was triumphant, but if they have any chance of emulating their success this year, serious work will need to be done. McLaren, showing baby steps towards improvement, will also be bringing upgrades to Spain. These two teams are probably the most in need of a boost, and we will wait and see who will reign supreme in Europe.

Michael

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.