Tag Archives: Sergio Perez

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.

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 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.

It’s 4 from 4 as Vettel increases title lead to 13

28 Oct

Good day, Bad day. India 2012.

Good day for:

Sebastian Vettel: 10/10 Started 1st  Finished 1st – Vettel is far and away my driver of the day, he was pole, won the race and led every lap and was close to setting the fastest lap of the race, this means that Vettel has won every race in India and won 4 races consecutively in the calendar. It looks like  Vettel already has 1 hand on the drivers championship despite the lead being only 13 points.

Fernando Alonso: 9/10 Started 5th  Finished 2nd – Despite losing more ground to Vettel in the championship battle it was an optimistic performance in the race for the Ferrari driver. Despite struggling in qualifying yesterday leaving him 5th on the grid Alonso showed that his Ferrari has fantastic race pace beating both of the McLarens and one Red Bull. If Ferrari can bring some new developments to next weeks Abu Dhabi GP we could see this championship go to the wire.

Nico Hulkenburg: 8/10 Started 12th  Finished 8th – Hulkenburg has been the dominant Force India driver in recent weeks and showed his class today he overtook 3 drivers on the first lap before overtaking an ailing Perez to put him 8th. Hulkenburg did very well near the end of the race to hold off the faster Romain Grosjean who had the gap at under 1 second for many of the final laps.

Bruno Senna: 8/10 Started 13th  Finished 10th –  Senna struggled yesterday in qualifying despite performing strongly in FP3 but today Senna was vastly improved. He had a solid start before using a fantastic strategy to put him 11th near the end of the race. Senna then showed his class by overtaking Rosberg to pick up the final point.

Charles Pic: 8/10 Started 24th  Finished 19th – Charles has looked very strong this season and has more than deserved a second season in F1. Today he showed his skill again by overturning a weak performance in qualifying to not only beat Glock but to finish a lap ahead of him.

Bad day for:

Kamui Kobayashi: 4/10 Started 17th  Finished 14th – It’s been a disaster of a weekend for Kamui and it couldn’t happen at a worse time with his F1 career hanging in the balance. Kobayashi couldn’t get to grips with the car in qualifying yesterday to leave him 17th on the grid before an unagressive strategy left him fighting with the back end of the midfield.

Pastor Maldonado: 6/10 Started 9th  Finished 16th – Maldonado put in a good performance in qualifying to put him 9th but it was the opposite in the race, he lost 2 places on the first lap alone before being overtaken by him team mate. After changing his tyres Maldonado returned to the pits 3 laps later after receiving a puncture whilst trying to overtake Kobayashi a sags that ruined his race.

Sergio Perez: 5/10 Started 8th  Finished ret. – Sergio’s retirement today means he’s now retired from 2 of the last 3 races. Perez wasn’t having a good race before the retirement, he’d worn his first set of tyres out way too quickly (very uncharacteristic for Sergio) before almost immediately picking up a puncture when he tried to overtake Ricciardo, leaving Perez to pull out.

 

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.

 

Vettel delivers in Suzuka to throw title fight wide open

7 Oct

Good Day Bad Day, Japan 12.

Good Day:

Sebastian Vettel: 8/10 S1 F1

  • What a dominant performance by, pole yesterday, fastest lap today, led every single lap and won the race to complete the grand slam. This track is Vettel’s playground, he’s been pole here for the last 4 years and it wouldn’t be a big exaggeration to suggest he could have won that race in a Robin Reliant. Of course the icing on the cake will be that Alonso crashed out on lap 1 so Fernando’s title lead is down to 4 points.

Felipe Massa: 9/10 S10 F2 #DriverOfTheDay

  • Massa may not have shone yesterday but his speed today was second to one (Vettel). Felipe had a fantastic start capitalising on he carnage at turn 1 to move up to 4th before taking advantage of Kobayashi and Button’s early pit stops to move up to 2nd, a place he held for the rest of the race to take his first podium since the 2010 Korean GP.

Kamui Kobayashi: 9/10 S3 F3 #DriverOfTheDay

  • There is a little bit of Kamui’s brain that switches on when he races in Japan and when it’s switched on Kamui turns into one of the best drivers on the grid. Kamui put in a fantastic performance yesterday to qualify 3rd but a quick and consistent performance today paid dividends as Kobayashi has claimed his 1st podium, the first Japanese podium in Japan. Great timing for Kamui but I doubt he’ll be in F1 next season unless he can perform like this on a regular basis.

Lewis Hamilton: 7/10 S9 F5

  • It wasn’t the greatest performance by Hamilton finishing 21 seconds behind Button who finished 4th, but due to Alonso’s turn 1 retirement Lewis is now back to being one of the major candidates for the championship.

Nico Hulkenburg: 8/10 S15 F7

  • With the season end drawing near and still chances of Hulk moving to Ferrari the timing of this great result could have only been made better by Massa struggling at the same time. Nico had a great start moving up 7 places to 8th and was lapping quicker than Hamilton before he pitted, even better for the German is the knowledge that Di Resta’s performance was at best average in comparison.

Bad Day:

Romain Grosjean: 3/10 S4 F ret.

  • After being banned from racing in Monza Grosjean knew he needed to improve his percentage of completing the first lap. This time he collided with Webber ruining both of their race and I imagine making a trip to the stewards office inevitable.

Sergio Perez: 7/10 S5 F ret.

  • Perez had been having a fantastic race before his retirement on lap 18, he was outperforming Hamilton (the man he’ll replace at McLaren), but a poor pit stop left him back behind Hamilton before Perez pushed too hard going into the hairpin and spun off.

Fernando Alonso: 6/10 S6 F ret.

  • Alonso must have been hoping to pick up a podium finish today so that he could reduce how much Vettel reduces his lead by but a puncture caused by Raikkonen left Alonso beached and unable to carry on leaving his championship lead destroyed down to 4 points. Just to add salt in the wounds the car was clearly quick around the circuit as proved by Massa and so if Alonso hadn’t retired he could have challenged for 1st place. Ferrari are going to need to give Alonso a better car if he is still to win the championship.

 

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.