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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Vettel Result Stands

The FIA have clarified the questions asked as to whether Vettel overtook Vergne under yellow flag conditions in the GP of Brazil.

Although he did overtake before the green light which indicates the clearing of the way ahead to normal race conditions, apparently there was a green flag before the green light but after the yellow light which takes precedence over the green light which was visible from Vettel's car.

So all clear then!

Alonso 2012 World Champion?

Youtube feed footage has been published which alleges that Sebastian Vettel overtook under yellow flag conditions in the final GP in Brazil.

If proven, a 20 second penalty may be imposed which would result in Alonso winning the 2012 F1 World Championship by 1 point.  Vettel would lose position and his third title would be removed.

The ramifications of such a harsh, retrospective penalty will be very controversial if imposed of course and heartbreaking for Vettel who appeared to conquer all adversity in fighting back through the field after being tagged at the outset from behind and ending up last.

Alonso however also fought to the limit to get his second place in the race.

The decision is in the hands of the arbitrators.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Button's Brazil

Jenson Button won the last race of the season amidst a cocktail of tension and drama.

He showed extraordinary composure in treacherous weather to hold it all together.

His team mate for one last race, Hamilton was knocked out in a tussle with Hulkenberg.

Meanwhile Sebastian Vettel made an incredible job of recovering from an apparently disastrous collision from behind by Bruno Senna to get just enough points to win his third GP title in three years finishing the year just three points ahead of Fernando Alonso. His sixth to Alonso's second place was enough.

As for Alonso he drove an astoundingly determined race in an imperfect car to get to second. He truly could not have done more in the circumstances.

It was fitting that on Michael Schumacher's final retirement from F1, Vettel joins him and Fangio as the only drivers with a consecutive hat trick of F1 titles. Vettel's claim is being the youngest ever.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Felipe - 'Sebastian's Tyres are in Front of Your Endplate'

The grid in Brazil reads - Hamilton, Button, Webber, Vettel.

The McLarens are finishing the season as the fastest cars.

A significant feature of the grid for the final race of the season however is Massa acting as rear gunner to Vettel.

Remember the days of Roman chariots fitted with scythes on their wheels?

Massa is too professional to attempt anything like that.

Damon Hill will remember Schumacher's side swipe which cost him a world championship. However then they both were in the title fight.

Vettel is unlikely to come into contact with Alonso but has collided with his own teammate in the past.

Whatever happens, only thirteen points separate Vettel and Alonso and Vettel needs above all to keep clear of any other cars to hold the points lead he has over his only rival for the title.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Red Bull Reviews its Alternatives

Whether or not Red Bull finish the season with the drivers championship to add to the 2012 constructors title they have won already could come down to something you may need for your private motor vehicle every few years- a Renault alternator.

Red Bull have decided to revert to the latest model of this seemingly insignificant part rather than the old one they have been using and which has cost them a number of points this season.

If Vettel fails to finish - as Webber did in the last race - then Alonso only needs to be in the top 3 to be world champion.

It could be electric...

Monday, 19 November 2012

Hamilton's Texan Storm

Sebastian Vettel failed to convert his pole position into victory in the inaugural Austin GP.

Lewis Hamilton fought his way past first Mark Webber then Vettel in a display of consistently positive driving.

Fernando Alonso took the title battle to the last race in Brazil by coming home from seventh to third behind Vettel.

If Alonso wins in Brazil he needs Vettel to be no higher than fifth. If Vettel finishes, this scenario looks very unlikely. Realistically Vettel would need to fail to finish as Webber did today for Alonso's 13 point deficit to be recovered.

Both participants and spectators were impressed with the new circuit which takes elements from many of the best circuits in the world such as Silverstone and Suzuka.

As Vettel came in to lap back markers Hamilton took his opportunity having saved up his KERS for this moment.

This gives Hamilton two consecutive victories in the USA in his penultimate race for McLaren. Next year he will be a Mercedes driver. It is good to leave on a high but now he has a car capable of passing Red Bulls it may be a difficult adjustment.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Alonso Positive

In several post-race interviews Fernando Alonso remained positive.

He described Abu Dhabi as a 10 pointer in that he expected to lose ten points to Vettel but actually gained 3 over him.

He says the glass is half full not half empty and remains confident to win the 2012 drivers world championship.

He does not expect to catch his rivals in the performance of the car but by a superior team effort saying 'we do not have the best car but we do have the best team'.

For full post race interviews with Alonso follow this link:-

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Kimi Kimi Kimi Some

The focused, fast Finn shrugged off his
final doubts about the wisdom of a comeback by winning the Abu Dhabi GP.

After Hamilton cruised to a halt with fuel feed issues, Raikkonen was unbeatable.

Even Vettel, assisted by safety car intervals charged from last to third but could not catch Raikkonen.

Fernando Alonso again was able to extract every ounce of performance from his Ferrari and took second place.

Kimi is now looking for more in the last two races and into next season. He could be critical in interfering with the slender 10 point margin between Vettel and Alonso at the head of the drivers table.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Hamilton Derby | Vettel Relegated

Lewis Hamilton sits on pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix today.

He dominated qualifying and Seb Vettel could only manage third. However Vettel was relegated several hours later to the back if the grid for a fuel infringement.

Vettel's nearest rival in the drivers championship, Fernando Alonso will move up from 7th to 6th due to Vettel's relegation.

Jenson Button could not match Hamilton's pace and was 0.66 seconds slower in 6th (promoted to 5th).

Mark Webber joins Hamilton on the front row. Pastor Maldonado completed a fine qualifying to join Kimi Raikkonen on row two.

So the order is Hamilton-Webber, Maldonado-Raikkonen, Button-Alonso.

Watch out for who brakes latest from the front row. Alonso's start and Vettel's first few laps will be spicy too.

Maldonado and Raikkonen may rub shoulders...

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Kimi to Stay at Lotus

Not surprisingly after a brilliant return season at Lotus, Kimi Raikkonen has been resigned for next year's F1 season.

With three races to go he sits in a solid 3rd place in the 2012 individual standings behind Vettel and Alonso.  He is in by no means the most competitive car and is ahead of both McLaren drivers and the Red Bull driver Mark Webber.

Raikkonen's speed was never in question but after his sabbatical in rallying, his fitness and commitment may have been an issue but the opposite has been the case.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Vettel Red Bud

Sebastian Vettel turned his pole position into another victory ahead of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber at the Buddh circuit today.

This order means the championship 1-2 positions remain the same.

Lewis Hamilton pushed Webber to the end but could not take a podium place.

Alonso now has a 13 point deficit.

Vettel's car seemed to be carrying a floor defect in the final laps and this was radioed to Alonso but he still kept a 9-10 second gap over his nearest rival.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Vettel Leads World Championship

Sebastian Vettel took the honours in Korea today to take the lead in the drivers World Championship.

His team mate and pole sitter Mark Webber was second with Fernando Alonso taking another podium place in third.

Felipe Massa continued his revival in fourth and could have closed the gap.

Kimi Raikkonen was fifth ahead of Hulkenberg and Grosjean.

The McLaren drivers had a poor day with Hamilton in 10th place and Button being involved on lap 1 in a collision with Kobayashi pushing Rosberg into him from behind.

Webber Korea Pole Number 12

Mark Webber stole pole position for the Korean Grand Prix with a very smooth lap.  His team mate Sebastian Vettel had a compromised late lap with Felipe Massa ahead of him.  He questioned his team as to why he was not told of this but later calmed down and credited Webber with a better lap.

Lewis Hamilton made the best of his car in third ahead of Alonso Raikkonen and Massa.

Romain Grosjean in seventh appears far enough back not to cause any trouble to the leaders on the first lap of this race.

Jenson Button missed out on the top ten in 11th place.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

KK Podium

Kamui Kobayashi took a very popular third place here in Japan today to make a very happy day for the local fans.

Sebastian Vettel retained his place from pole to flag to close within four points of Fernando Alonso.  How so close? - Alonso retired on lap one after a puncture when Raikkonen hit him from behind.

Jenson Button made up for his grid penalty to move up to fourth place in the race ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Second place was taken by none other than Felipe Massa which will do a lot for his confidence after a very difficult two years without results.

The other stat of the day was Romain Grosjean who made it 8/14 first lap incidents this season.

Impressive consistency now puts Kimi Raikkonen third in the championship standings 37 points behind Alonso.  If Lotus can give him a winning car he is well within reach of the title in his comeback year.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Vettel on Pole in Japan

Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka ahead of team mate Mark Webber, completing a Red Bull front row lock out.

Jenson Button was third quickest 0.861 seconds behind Vettel.  Despite his five place grid penalty (for gearbox change) he will still start the race ahead of Hamilton, his team mate until the end of the season who was 1.037 seconds slower than Button.

Local man Kamui Kobayashi is promoted to third, due to Button's penalty, ahead of Grosjean, Perez, Alonso, Raikkonen and demoted Button.  Hamilton and Massa start 9th and 10th.

After his recent dominant performances, Lewis Hamilton's time was 1.488 seconds of the pole time.  His decision to move to Mercedes is unlikely to have influenced his focus but this is out of character.

Fastest Mercedes driver today was Michael Schumacher.  His time was only 0.142 seconds slower than Hamilton's, his replacement for next year.  Schumacher was demoted to second last due to his shunt in the last race.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Hamilton Chooses Brawn

The management team that has David Beckham choosing Gillette now has Lewis Hamilton choosing Brawn.

The marketing potential appears to have more flexibility for XIX Entertainment than Lewis's backers of 14 years, McLaren.

The Ross Brawn led Mercedes team has had only one podium from Michael Schumacher and may be hoping for more for their money with Hamilton.

Former team mate Jenson Button left Brawn's team as World Champion and moved to join Hamilton at McLaren. Button will remain at the Woking team with a new team mate, Sergio Perez. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Singapore for Seb

Hamilton's hopes of closing in on Alonso expired when his gearbox gave way on lap 22 here in Singapore.

He was cruising to an apparently clear victory when McLaren's recent reliability troubles resurfaced leaving him bitterly disappointed.  Only last race in Monza, Button retired with fuel pump problems.  Whilst McLaren have what appears to be the most competitive pace on current form, they need to cross the finish line to deliver the points.

All this left the way clear for Sebastian Vettel to take the 25 points and was followed onto the podium by Button, whose car held together this time and guess who - the ever reliable Alonso.

Force India's Paul di Resta took a fine fourth ahead of Rosberg and Raikkonen.

So now Hamilton who looked to be closing in after Monza is relegated to fourth on the championship behind Alonso, Vettel and Raikkonen.

Although Alonso has not won for five races (Hockenheim), his consistent podium point scoring is keeping McLaren and Red Bull at bay.

The other Mr Consistent is Kimi Raikkonen who is third in the driver's standings.  Despite a lack of victories since his return, he is only one win, a second and a couple more points (45 in total) behind Alonso.  When Lotus's double DRS arrives, he could be a man to watch.

McLaren's Monza

McLaren again showed evidence of their resurgence after Button's victory in Spa.  This time it was Lewis Hamilton's turn to take the 25 points on offer for victory.

Like Button at Spa, Hamilton led after a fine pole position and was never threatened.

He moves to second in the championship behind Alonso.  The Ferrari driver battled from a poor 10th grid position to take third place.

Big news of the day was the excellent performance of Sauber and Perez in second place.  His team's strategy and his consistent driving moved him up 11 places from his grid position.

Another victory for Hamilton in Singapore in two weeks time, and another retirement like Alosno had in Spa will take Hamilton within 12 points of Alonso.

Spa Victory for Button

Jenson Button won from pole position here in Spa but is still 63 points behind Fernando Alonso.

Sebastian Vettel who started from 10th on the grid took a fine second place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

The race started dramatically with Romain Grosjean initiating the demise of Alonso and Hamilton.

Raikonnen, although not fully happy with the car showed not only his pace but the continuing threat the Lotus team pose to the rest of the grid.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Hamilton Still Hungry

Lewis Hamilton showed that he still is fighting for the 2012 world championship with a fine win in Hungary.

From pole position he led the field and came home in front of the two Lotus cars of Raikkonen and Grosjean.

Lotus have yet to fit the rear end aerodynamics of Ferrari Red Bull and McLaren.  Also Raikkonen had to struggle with faulty Kers but the two Lotus cars were still pushing Hamilton all the way.

Jenson Button appeared to be called in for mis-timed pitstops which put him back into traffic twice. This hampered his efforts and he ended up sixth behind Alonso and fourth-placed Vettel.

Raikkonen is now in fifth place (116 points) in the championship behind Hamilton (117) - a fine return season in F1.  Alonso still leads with 164 points in front of Webber (124) and Vettel (122).

Monday, 23 July 2012

Alonso Quick

After securing pole position, Fernando Alonso won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

He was followed home by Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button.  However Vettel was given a stop-go time penalty after the race for overtaking Button on the run-off strip.

This gave Button and Kimi Raikkonen the second and third podium positions leaving Vettel relegated to fifth behind Kamui Kobayashi.

Lewis Hamilton retired with a puncture after snagging Vettel.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Wet Wet Webber

After the wettest lead up for years, Mark Webber won the 2012 British Grand Prix.

He came home ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Felipe Massa managed his best result this year in fourth. Schumacher slipped from third on the grid to seventh.

 The two Lotus drivers Raikkonen and Grosjean took fifth and sixth.

Webber took the lead with a late daring move on pole sitter Alonso to reverse the starting grid. Hamilton and Button could only manage eighth and tenth.

Bruno Senna split the McLarens in ninth.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Alonso Rain from Spain

Silverstone has been hit by torrential rain preventing many spectators from even reaching the circuit.

Amid the chaos, Fernando Alonso managed to snatch pole position from Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher.

Vettel, Massa and Raikkonen completed the first three rows of the grid for tomorrow's race.

The two McLarens of Hamilton and Button could only manage 8th and 18th after Button failed to get beyond Q1.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Alonso's Homecoming

Sebastian Vettel scored a stunning pole position here in Valencia on Saturday.

However he could not hold off the relentless pressure of Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari.

Vettel retired with mechanical problems - his alternator giving way.

Alonso described this as one of his greatest victories. He was not expecting to win nor was he expected to do so.  He battled from 11th to victory in front of his home crowd.

Raikkonen worked his way through to finish an excellent second. Michael Schumacher had no idea he had finished third and said as much in the post-race interview of podium winners.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton ended the race throwing his steering wheel into the wall in frustration. He had slipped from second to third as Raikkonen passed him on better tyres, and was now struggling to keep Pastor Maldonado's Williams behind him. In third place with one lap to go but unable to countenance being passed, a tangle became inevitable and was reminiscent of last year's mishaps with Massa.

Mark Webber quietly came in fourth behind Scumacher. In doing so Webber moves to second in the drivers championship behind Alonso.  Red Bull's belated protest that Schumacher had his DRS open during the yellow flags that resulted from Hamilton's shunt was denied by the stewards.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Seventh Winner is...Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton took an outstanding victory in Canada to become the seventh winner of the F1 GP season.

This news was less of a surprise than the rest of the podium.

After Vettel and then Alonso's tyres started to fail whilst they held second and third, Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez took advantage and came in second and third respectively.

Perez started from 15th on the grid so this was a great effort from the Sauber driver.  Grosjean's second place was a very good result for Lotus who have looked competitive all season but have struggled with driver or team errors.

Jenson Button was at a loss to explain why he was 1.5 seconds off the pace of his team mate Hamilton as he limped home in 16th.

Hamilton described the race as one of his best ever.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Vettel Has One Finger on Win

Sebastian Vettel took pole position today in Canada. He pushed Hamilton and Alonso into second and third with a stunning lap. Mark Webber completed the second row of the grid. Jenson Button finished Q3 in the pits after almost missing the top ten shoot out and finished up 10th. Not a bad result considering the three hours his car spend in the garage during practice. Rosberg, Massa, Grosjean and di Resta headed Michael Schumacher in ninth.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Mark Webber | 6th Winner in 2012

It is hard to imagine a bigger contrast to the predictable 2011.

Mark Webber's win made it the sixth different winner in as many races bringing his Red Bull home from an inherited pole to victory.

Pole sitter Michael Schumacher, who expressed his view that he would still win despite being demoted five places for colliding in Spain with the back of Senna, was squeezed by Romain Grosjean on lap one and Grosjean retired damaged.  On this occasion Schumacher appeared relatively blameless as the cockpit camera showed a clear track ahead before Grosjean moved across the track.  Schumacher retired on lap 63.

This year seems to require consistency on the podium and, in coming third behind Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso now leads the drivers table.  Hamilton came in fifth behind Vettel to pick up some more useful points.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Schumacher Loses Pole on Penalties

Michael Schumacher took a sensational pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.

One week after  Bayern Munich qualified for the European Champions League final only to be beaten by Chelsea on penalties, Michael Schumacher had his pole position snatched away from him.  A five place penalty was awarded against him two weeks ago for colliding with the back of Brazilian Bruno Senna in Spain.

So Mark Webber takes pole by default, being the second quickest time (8/100s slower than Schumacher), followed by Rosberg, Hamilton, Grosjean and Alonso.  Schumacher will start sixth.

Massa, Raikkonen, Vetttel and Hulkenberg complete the top ten.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Williams | Maldonado | 5th Different Winner for 2012

Pastor Maldonado delighted the Williams garage with an impeccable victory in Barcelona.

He overhauled Fernando Alonso to take his fist win and the first for Williams since Juan Pablo Montoya took victory in Brazil 2004.

Kimi Raikkonen closed out the podium in third ahead of his Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean in fourth and Kamui Kobayashi in fifth.

Vettel and Rosberg were sixth and seventh, Hamilton and Button eighth and ninth, followed by Hulkenberg and Webber.

Lewis Hamilton gained most places moving up to eighth after he was demoted from pole to last on the grid for having insufficient fuel after qualifying.

The celebrations were severely blighted by a fire in the Williams garage.  One employee has been detained in hospital.  The team were overwhelmed by the support given by other teams to deal with the fire and offers of practical assistance.

Frank Williams attributed the win to the new team personnel structure for 2012, and felt his aero team in particular have excelled.  He described engine suppliers Renault as being charming and truly helpful.

Vettela and Alonso now tie the 2012 standings with 61 points followed by Hamilton on 53, Raikkonen on 49, Webber on 48 and Button on 45.  Pastor Maldonado has jumped to ninth behind Nico Rosberg in seventh and Romain Grosjean in eighth.

Five different drivers have now won in 2012 - Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Vettel and now Maldonado.  Try predicting the next race!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Hamilton Takes Pole

Lewis Hamilton described his pole position winning lap as one of his best ever at Barcelona circuit today.

While his team mate Jenson Button struggled setting up a car with alternate understeer and oversteer, Hamilton seized the moment to lead the grid in front of Pastor Maldonado and Fernando Alonso.

Alonso felt he had 'overachieved' and reached the absolute maximum of the car.  His team mate Massa could not reach the top ten.

The two Lotus Renaults of Grosjean and Raikkonen were fourth and fifth ahead of Sergio Perez.

Then came the German trio of  Rosberg, Vettel and Schumacher with Kobayashi completing the top ten.

This marked the 150th McLaren pole position.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Vettel Wins | Renault Awesome

Sebastian Vettel took an immaculate victory today.  He led from pole and in doing so returned to the top of the drivers' table for the first time this year.

Kimi Raikonnen and Romain Grosjean completed a Reanult threesome on the podium.  In fact Kimi could have taken victory if, after having closed up on Vettel, he had chosen the other side to overtake.  As it was, Vettel held him off and managed his tyres to the end.

Paul di Resta had a great result to take sixth behind Rosberg and Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton came in eighth.  Massa and Schumacher completed the top ten.

Jenson Button had a trialsome day with more issues with wheelnuts and finally retired with a broken exhaust.  McLaren may need to review their use of aluminium nuts on a titanium axle.  The risk of misthreading relatively soft material is costing them for two races in a row.

As above, Vettel leads the table now with Hamilton, Webber and Button behind him.  So it looks like normal service with Red Bull and McLaren fighting over the points at the top of the table.

However, this year we have seen Mercedes make great progress and Lotus Renault are a big threat if they can continue to finish races.  Raikonnen is due a victory based on pre-season promise and in-race competitiveness and will take it as soon as he can.  Grosjean needs to keep it on the road more often and he too will continue to be a podium threat.

Vettel is Back | Bahrain Qualifying Results

After a struggle at the start of the season and being beaten by his team mate, Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position in Bahrain.

Lewis Hamilton will sit alongside him on the front row with Mark Webber behind Vettel on the grid and Jenson Button behind Hamilton in fourth place.

Nico Rosberg, the star of China could not repeat his pole position and came in fifth.  He was however confident of a strong race performance in post-qualifying interviews.

Daniel Ricciardo was an impressive sixth in his Toro Rosso.  Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez make up the fourth row and Fernando Alonso and Paul di Resta complete the top ten.

If you are looking for most places gained in the race then Raikkonen and Schumacher look likely candidates.

It is two years since the last Bahrain GP - then Alonso won from Massa and Hamilton after Vettel retired with exhaust failure.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Nico Rosberg on Pole

Nico Rosberg gave the Mercedes car their first pole position in a fully Mercedes branded car since 1955.  Then it was Fangio - now Rosberg who beat  his team mate Michael Schumacher into third and beat second place Lewis Hamilton by 0.57 secs.

Hamilton has to take a five place grid penalty for fitting a new gearbox which puts Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi into third.  His time was less than 1/10 behind Schumacher.

The result of this gives an all Mercedes front row.  How pleased they must be that their modified, front and rear wing actuating version of DRS has been deemed legal.

Picture credit:-

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Hamilton Gears Up for China | Grid Penalty

Lewis Hamilton has been given a five place grid penalty in advance of the China GP this weekend.

His McLaren team had to change his gearbox.  He will therefore be a likely candidate for most places gained for anyone taking part in the Castrol Edge GP challenge.

Kimi Raikkonen had the same penalty for the Malaysian GP but managed a 5th place finish.  He has not been able to show his true pace so far due to this and other issues but maybe this weekend will have a clear run in qualifying and the race.  He was quickest in pre-season testing and has shown a very rapid return to race pace.  A win in China looks possible.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Alonso Wins in Malaysia

Fernando Alonso has just taken victory ahead of (rumoured Ferrari target driver) Sergio Perez and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

In doing so Alonso now leads the World Driver Championship.

His car, the object of heavy criticism this year, performed very well in the variable wet/dry conditions.  The team were spot on with pit stop and tyre tactics and Alonso handled the conditions masterfully.

Massa however languished in 16th.

So the World Championship leaderboard now reads Alonso 36 points, Hamilton 30, Button 25, Webber 24, Perez 22, Vettel 18 and Kimi Raikkonen 16.

Vettel retired after a puncture with Karthikeyan and then, after rejoining the race, the team asked him to stop.  Button came in 14th after a meeting with Karthikeyan.

Malaysia Update

After Lewis Hamilton set an excellent pole, with Button behind him and none other than Michael Schumacher third, the race is proving anything but predictable.

Fernando Alonso's Ferrari is handling in the rainy conditions like Schumacher's Ferrari of bygone years.

After 35 laps Alonso leads from Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen and Webber.

Button is moving up the field from 16th after losing a front wing end plate on lap 16 hitting Karthikeyan.

Lap 47 and Perez is hunting down Alonso for the lead. He may catch him for Sauber's first ever win. However if things stay as they are, Alonso will lead the driver's world championship.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Jenson Buttons It

McLaren driver Jenson Button led from start to finish from second place on the grid.  Lewis Hamilton was good for second from pole but was jumped by Vettel on restart after the pace car paused play.

Kimi Raikkonen fought his way from 17th to seventh showing he will be a force to be reckoned with over the season.  His team mate, Romain Grosjean crashed out after a collision on lap one with Pastor Maldonado and most likely would have had a top 5 finish.  He can be proud of his third place on the grid.  Based on pre-season form, Raikkonen would have qualified ahead of him had he not misjudged the time left in quali. 1.

Webber came in fourth ahead of Alonso and Kobayashi.

Michael Schumacher was going well until his gearbox packed up after 10 laps but his team mate could only manage 11th.

Button secured fastest lap on his way to victory.

So what do we learn from race 1 of the season?  McLaren and Red Bull still are the cars to beat with only four seconds separating the top four at the end of the race.  Next weekend we will see the true pace of Lotus in Kimi's capable hands.  Ferrari will likely finish behind Schumacher, both Lotus cars and maybe Rosberg putting them 8th or 9th unless they can tune the chassis before the weekend.  Not an easy task for the new design team.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

All McLaren Front Row in Oz

Lewis Hamilton took pole position today ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton.

The Lotus Renault of Romain Grosjean took third.  His team mate Kimi Raikkonen lost out of the top ten shoot out by one tenth although he said if his team has called him he could easily have pulled it back.  He had just slipped off the line and thought he had more time for another lap.

Michael Schumacher closed out the second row in his Mercedes ahead of Webber and Vettel's Red Bulls.

So the 'sandbagging' suggestions against Red Bull in pre-season testing have proven unfounded and McLaren seem to have the raw pace in qualifying at least.

Watch out for Kimi tomorrow has he forces through the field in his evidently competitive Lotus Renault.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Mercedes Engines Top Times in Australia

Jenson Button took fastest lap in Practice 1 and Michael Schumacher in Practice 2 as the F1 season kicked off in Australia.

Button was quickest with 1:27.560 followed by Lewis Hamilton with 1:27.805.  In session 2 as the weather worsened Schumacher set 1:29.183 in his Mercedes followed by Hulkenberg in the Force India Mercedes with 1:29.292.

Significantly Schumacher was also in the top 3 in the first session following the McLarens home.  Red Bull's best positions were 5th and 10th over the two sessions but Christian Horner revealed that they have yet to run on low fuel.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Williams Letter Box

Much has been made of the 'driver cooling' aperture in the nose of the 2012 Red Bull and its possible use to direct air over the rear of the car.  However, little comment has been made on the Williams arrangement.

Images seem to show a cover over this area in launch photos and pit lane shots.  However on track the car seems to have a similar arrangement to Red Bull.

Williams driver Pastor Maldonado was quickest in Barcelona testing last week.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Red Bull Gets a Hole in One

So you may have been hibernating over winter but the F1 teams have been doing anything but that.

The designers have been wrestling with constraints as all good architects, product and industrial designers have to on a daily basis.  This year the challenge is among other things how to resolve the height differential between the new maximum nose height and the drivers comfortable and safe cockpit line.

McLaren have come up with the most elegant solution so far with a continuously variable curve taking up the differences.  The other teams have come up with a more literal resolution by adding a rather brutal step in levels or rather odd stepped nose.

However as ever Adrian Newey (OBE) has made a virtue out of a constraint.  There appears a vent hole where other teams have a solid step.  What otherwise merely disrupts airflow and gives a potential increase in pressure difference between upper and lower surfaces,  Newey appears to have channelled rearwards to aerodynamic effect. This may be the 2012 trump card.  It could be a way to claw back rear downforce otherwise restricted in the new rules.

How long will it be before the other teams get the hacksaw out to add the third nostril?  McLaren will struggle to do a similar thing with their more beautiful curvaceous design.  Of course as ever copying Red Bull will not be that simple.  We can be sure that the whole car works as an integrated unit and it is not a case of a retrofit any more than other teams could quickly follow their diffuser designs of past years.

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