Monthly Archives: April 2013

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix Race Weekend Review

Fernando Alonso wins the Chinese Grand Prix and proves that the Ferrari team seem to have a car that is undoubtedly better than their car last year which keeps him in the championship hunt.  Also, Mark Webber finds himself having a three grid penalty heading into this race due to the incident with Jean-Eric Vergne in China.

I have previously that I was a bit surpised that Lotus and especially Kimi Raikkonen was not able to challenge for the win in China, but consistency and points scoring keeps you in the hunt for the title, as Alonso proved last season and will Kimi be able to keep himself in the hunt after this weekend?

Also, Hamilton in his Mercedes could be able to challenge this weekend and put a stop to Alonso’s, Raikkonen’s and even Vettel’s championship fights. But have Mercedes learnt their lessons and corrected their mistakes from last year? Meanwhile, Vettel despite all the media scruinity around him regarding his actions from the Malaysian Grand Prix still is still leading the fight for the championship and is the man to beat at the moment. Can anyone stop him?

Before heading to Bahrain, Heikki Kovalienen has now been announced as the reserve driver of the Caterham team, is testing out new parts for the team and takes Van Der Garde’s place in Friday’s Practice One. If rumours are true in the paddock, this is down to not receiving adequate feedback from Charles Pic and Giedo Van Der Garde. Personally, I believe that the team should have kept Heikki for another season to keep continuity within the team. But we shall see how Heikki performs in the first practice session and see if Caterham and more importantly Heikki has made the right decision for himself and if it will help the team.

In terms of the circuit, The Bahrain Grand Prix is one of the most modern circuits on the Formula One calendar. But the circuit does not get used very much throughout the year (and is known by the paddock to have ‘sandy’ conditions) and will take time to ‘rub in’ and evolve. Braking is also important for the teams and the drivers to keep control of due to the high ambient temperatures and will be closely monitored throughout the whole race weekend.

This Grand Prix will be one full of questions of who again can go longer on their tyres, who can save the most tyres for the race on Sunday, which car has got their car set up the most competitive and race ready? Alongside these questions, questions if Red Bull, Lotus or Mercedes will be able this weekend to help their own fight in the championships, can McLaren small improvements on their cars help them this weekend before Spain where an upgrade is planned to take place on the car, who will be competitive from the off, who has the quickest car and who will win this race on Sunday?

The race weekend begins now….

Strap yourselves in. The new season begins now…

Practices 1, 2 and 3

The main headline from the Practice sessions is that both the Ferrari’s and the Lotus’s look like the team to beat this weekend  as weather conditions test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Practice 1 saw Felipe Massa top the timesheets with a time of 1.34.487 followed closely by Alonso with a gap of 0.077 seconds, Rosberg in third with a gap of 0.134 seconds, Vettel in fourth with a gap of 0.303 seconds and Di Resta with an impressive fifth with a gap of 0.462 seconds. Adrian Sutil impressed the paddock again by topping the timesheets in 8th place with a gap of 0.632 seconds behind Massa. The McLarens of Button and Perez could only manage a brilliant 6th for Button and Perez in 11th places. And the Lotus’s of Raikkonen and Grosjean could only manage 9th and 10th places.

Within Practice 1, there was a lot of lock ups throughout the session. Max Chilton, Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber all experienced lock ups throughout the session. Meanwhile Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez both ran off the circuit while trying to find the grip throughout the session.

Practice 2 saw Kimi Raikkonen top the timesheets with a time of 1.34.154 followed by Webber with a gap of 0.030 seconds, Vettel in third with a gap of 0.128 seconds, Alonso in fourth with a gap of 0.156 seconds and Di Resta in fifth again with a gap of 0.389 seconds. Adrian Sutil again managed to achieve a top 10 finish with 10th place with a gap of 0.778 seconds behind Raikkonen showing that Force India may have the pace to get some good championship points this weekend.Button and Perez could only manage 11th and 13th places indicating that both maybe do not have the pace needed to have a strong weekend but very much hoping they can work on that during the weekend.

Practice 2 sees more incidents and spinning throughout the session. Sebastian Vettel again goes off at the final turn trying to find the grip on the track. But the main talking point of the session was the incident between Esteban Guiterrez and Charles Pic on track. On track, Guiterrez while trying to pass Pic touched in his Caterham and ended up suffering a puncture which did not have any other effects to his Sauber.

Practice 3 saw Fernando Alonso top the timesheet with a time of 1.33.247 followed by Vettel with a gap of 0.101 seconds, Webber in third with a gap of 0.133 seconds, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 0.199 seconds and Hamilton in a fifth with a gap of 0.208 seconds. Paul Di Resta also impressed the paddock with 8th place with a gap of 0.453 seconds behind Alonso. Again, the surprise of the session is Adrian Sutil managing to grab 7th place with a gap of 0.349 seconds behind Alonso showing that he does have good pace within the Force India car. The McLarens of Button and Perez could only make 12th and 13th places, which show that McLaren may have a fight on their hands to get into Q3 and to gain some championship points today. The biggest surprises of the session was that Massa did make the top 10 after showing very good speed and promise in the early sessions.

However, within Practice 3, Van Der Garde and Grosjean both experience lock ups within the session. Also, Sebastian Vettel has yet another off on the circuit again. Max Chilton experiences a problem with trying to cool down his KERS in his Marussia.

The main talking points within the session is that Fernando Alonso spins off at Turn 2 into the gravel as the car was unsettled. Rumours around the paddock believe that this could be due to the temperature surrounding the circuit but this has not been clarified. Also, Lewis Hamilton experienced a set back on his qualifying programme with a rear left puncture on his Mercedes that caused damage to the suspension and it also lost him valuable running time and also losing valuable information for the team also.

You would be stupid not to bet against Vettel to gain pole position again this weekend. As he is the master of qualifying at the moment and the momentum is with him from claiming Pole Positions in two rounds of the championship so far and being in the top 6 in all three sessions this weekend.  Alonso and Massa also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top five places at the moment.

Button seems to be getting happier with the McLaren and seems to be making good and solid progress and Perez at the moment seem to be struggling.  It seems from looking at their performances that the pace is coming slowly and steadily and both drivers I will admit will struggle to even make Qualifying 2 or maybe even the points in the race and it will take a lot of skill and talent to do that in a car that is not capable, unless a bit of unexpected rain happens (which is very unlikely). However, I think that Force India, Mercedes and Lotus have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix again like last weekend and could qualify well here. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

Qualifying

Before heading into qualifying, Lewis Hamilton and Esteban Guiterrez find themselves having a five place grid penalty. Hamilton after suffering a rear tyre failure in Practice 3 has had no choice but to replace the gearbox and also the suspension from the damage caused. And Guiterrez has a penalty from his part in the incident between himself and Charles Pic in the Caterham.

It looks like Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus or Red Bull are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session who look set to challenge each other for pole position today. But Force India may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions. And it is looking likely that it will be a challenge for the Williams drivers of Bottas and Maldonado to clear Q1 and also the McLaren drivers of Button and Perez to clear Q2 as both teams do not have the pace within their cars to challenge the top teams this weekend.  Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

In Q1, Alonso tops the timesheet with a time of 1.32.878, Vettel is second with a time of 1.33.327, Rosberg is third with a time of 1.33.364, Grosjean is fourth with a time of 1.33.498 and Hamilton is fifth with a time of 1.33.498. And a surprise for Di Resta who finished the session in 6th place and also Sutil who was in 10th place. At the end of Q1, we lose Maldonado, Guiterrez, Pic, Bianchi, Van Der Garde and Chilton.

In Q2, Vettel tops the timesheets with a time of 1.32.746, Rosberg was second with a time of 1.32.867, Webber was third with a time of 1.33.098, Raikkonen was fourth with a time of 1.33.146 and Alonso was fifth with a time of 1.33.316.  Button could only manage 10th place. Di Resta and Sutil set brilliant times to gain 6th and 9th places. At the end of Q2, we lose Grosjean, Perez, Riccardo, Hulkenberg, Bottas and Vergne. The battle for pole position is on…

In Q3, Rosberg tops the timesheet and claims a brilliant pole position with a time of 1.32.330, Vettel was second fastest with a time of 1.32.584, Alonso was third fastest with a time of 1.32.667, Hamilton was fourth fastest with a time of 1.32.762, Webber was fifth fastest with a time of 1.33.078, Webber was sixth fastest with a time of 1.33.207, Di Resta did a brilliant lap to claim seventh fastest with a time of 1.33.235, Sutil was eighth fastest with a time of 1.33.246, Raikkonen was ninth fastest with a time of 1.33.327 and Button was tenth fastest.

It would seem that Mercedes and Ferrari genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend which I am absolutely not thrilled about. However, both drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this. You cannot discount Massa, Raikkonen or Vettel to be challenging also for the race win in order to keep their seasons off to a flying start. Rosberg could also be the dark horse to take the win away from Red Bull and Ferrari to gain some points on his rivals for the championship.

Di Resta, Sutil and Button could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for Force India and McLaren before heading to the next race in Spain. Will it rain tomorrow? Nope. Who will win the Grand Prix tomorrow? I really don’t know (hoping for a Button win!). Who will lead the championship after this race? Will it be Vettel, Hamilton, Massa, Hamilton or Alonso? I don’t know.  The Grand Prix has been set up nicely, just like the last race. Let’s see what happens…

Race

Prior to the race, Mark Webber now starts from ninth place on the grid due to the three grid place penalty from his part in the incident between himself and Jean Eric Vergne. This is one driver I will be watching as Webber could spring a surprise and could fight his way back into contention for some good points today.

The F1 world is watching and waiting to see if the 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix will live up to expectations and who will be the winner? Here we go…

All 22 drivers are lined up on their grid positions, five red lights and its GO!!!!!!!! Rosberg gets off the line and covers Vettel to keep his position and leads into the first corner. While this is going on, Alonso manages to get past Vettel and takes second place. Massa and Raikkonen at the start seems to have been bogged down and not had good starts. Di Resta has had a brilliant start and is now in third place and has Massa trying to pass him for position.

There is also a battle between Button and Perez and Van Der Garde and Perez for position. Into the first lap, Massa and Sutil have a collusion at Turn 4 which sees Sutil running slowly on the track. And at Turn 7, Vettel tries to pass Alonso for position at Turn 7 but cannot get past.

Lap 2 sees Rosberg lead the Grand Prix by 0.277 seconds to Alonso. Vettel manages to pass Alonso for second place and then tries to pass Rosberg for the lead. Meanwhile down the field, there is a battle between Button and Raikkonen for track position. Vettel passes Rosberg for the lead but then has to yield his position. At the end of the lap, Guiterrez pits and Vergne pits with a puncture.

The next lap sees Rosberg lead Vettel by 0.146 seconds. Vettel then tries at Turn 1 to pass Rosberg and can’t. By Turn 4, Vettel has passed Rosberg for the lead of the Grand Prix. Raikkonen and Perez are battling down the field for position. Alonso then passes Rosberg for second place. It seems that Rosberg seems to be struggling for pace and tyres at this early stage of the Grand Prix.

Lap 5 sees Vettel lead the Grand Prix by 1.7 seconds to Alonso. Alonso is then able after a great battle to pass Rosberg securely for second place. Lap 6 sees Di Resta pass Rosberg for third place. Massa after his collusion with Sutil at Turn 4 on the first lap looks to have damage on his wing but is still able to try and challenge Rosberg for position. Meanwhile, further down the field Van Der Garde seems to have lost his front nose.

Lap 7 of the race. Vettel has a 3.5 second gap lead to Alonso. Di Resta is now looking at trying to pass Alonso. Massa is also trying to pass Rosberg. At the end of the lap, Alonso pits as his DRS on his rear wing is stuck and needs to be fixed. Alonso has a 4.5 second pitstop and rejoins the race in 16th place. The next lap sees a battle between Perez and Button taking place on the track. Alonso’s DRS on his rear wing is stuck again and needs to pit to fix the problem at the end of the lap. Also, Webber and Grosjean pit for new tyres at the end of the lap.

Lap 9 and there is a 5.2 second gap to Di Resta. Massa finally is able to pass Rosberg. At this point of the race, Di Resta’s tyres look to have finally reached the ‘cliff’ (no grip at all). At the end of the lap, Button and Rosberg pit for new tyres which sees them rejoin the race in 13th and 12th places. The next lap sees Vettel, Massa and Perez pit for new tyres.

Lap 11 sees Paul Di Resta leading Kimi Raikkonen by 4.8 seconds. Rosberg and Button are able to pass Pic on track for position who pits at the end of the lap. The next lap, Jenson is able to pass Nico on track for position and Hulkenberg pitting for new tyres.

Lap 14, Di Resta leads by 3 seconds. Perez and Grosjean are battling for track position on track. At the end of the lap, Di Resta pits for new tyres with a pitstop of 3.2 seconds and rejoins the race in 9th place and gives the race lead to Raikkonen. On Lap 16, a battle for fourth place between Rosberg, Button and Massa is ongoing. At the end of the lap, Raikkonen pits for new tyres with a pitstop time of 3.6 seconds and rejoins the race in 10th and hands the lead back to Vettel.

Lap 17 sees Vettel leading Webber by 8.3 seconds. On track, Grosjean and Perez passes Massa for position. Massa is going slowly on track due to rear damage on his Ferrari and has to pit at the end of the lap. Also, Vergne has to retire his Toro Rosso. By Lap 19, the battle for third place between Rosberg and Button is hotting up.

Lap 20, Vettel has a 12.8 second lead. The battle between Rosberg and Button is still ongoing. However, Button manages to pass Rosberg for third place! And Rosberg is losing places quite rapidly and loses his position with Grosjean and Perez able to pass him easily. At the end of the lap, both Perez and Rosberg pit for new tyres. The next lap sees Button and Webber pitting for new tyres and rejoining the race in 12th and 9th places.

Lap 22, Vettel leads by 16.4 seconds. Yet again, the battle between Rosberg and Perez is ongoing, with Perez winning the battle this time. There is also a battle between Massa and Bottas for track position further down the field. Lap 23 sees Mark Webber passing Alonso and Maldonado for position, Rosberg trying to retake the position just lost of Perez.

On Lap 24, Vettel leads Grosjean by 22.1 seconds. Jenson manages to pass his team mate for position. At the end of the lap, Alonso pits for new tyres with a pitstop of 2.7 seconds and rejoins the race in 15th place. The next lap sees Vettel pit from the lead of the race for new tyres with a pitstop of 2.7 seconds and goes back into the lead of the race.

Lap 26, Vettel has a 3.1 gap to Romain Grosjean. Di Resta in third is now looking at trying to pass Grosjean for second place. The battle between Perez and Button continues and Perez manages just to stay ahead of his team-mate. Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg manages to pass Rosberg on track to claim 8th place in the race and then has to pit at the end of the lap. Lap 27 sees Paul Di Resta passing Grosjean to take 2nd place in the race with a great move. Button is able to take 6th place away from his team mate Perez and also Grosjean has to pit for new tyres with a stop of 3.3 seconds and rejoins the race in 9th place.

Lap 28 sees Vettel leading the race from Di Resta by 7.2 seconds. The battle between Perez and Button is still ongoing and swapping places all the time. Hamilton further down in the field takes 10th place away from Bottas. At the end of the lap, Massa pits for new tyres with a pitstop of 2.7 seconds and rejoins the race in 13th place.  Lap 30 sees the battle between Perez and Button intensify when Perez clips Button’s tyres which could have stopped both cars continuing in the race.

Lap 32 sees Vettel leading by 14 seconds. Kimi Raikkonen is now chasing Di Resta’s Force India quickly. Perez again tries to get past Button again, but is forced onto the road as Jenson holds on using the racing line. The next lap sees Grosjean able to pass Perez for 6th place.

On Lap 34, Vettel leads Raikkonen by 17.8 seconds as Raikkonen has caught Di Resta and has been able to pass him to take second place. Grosjean then passes Button on track for position. At the end of the lap, Button and Raikkonen pit for new tyres.

Lap 36 sees Vettel having a 20.9 second lead on Raikkonen. Hamilton is able to pass Perez on track for position. At the end of the lap, Di Resta and Massa with right rear damage on his Ferrari this time pit for new tyres. Lap 38 sees Raikkonen on track passing Perez. Also, Jenson is now looking at trying to pass Webber and on track both Webber and Rosberg touch each other. At the end of the lap, Hamilton pits for new tyres with a pitstop of 3.3 seconds and rejoins the race in 10th. Lap 39 also sees Perez and Alonso pitting for fresh rubber.

Lap 40 sees Vettel leading the race by 28.4 seconds. The incident between Rosberg and Webber will be investigated by the FIA. Lap 42 sees Vettel and Grosjean pit for fresh rubber and rejoin the race in the lead and in fourth place. By Lap 44, Vettel has a 8.4 second lead. The incident between Rosberg and Webber will be investigated by the FIA after the race has finished. On track Grosjean passes Lewis for position and Perez passes Alonso for position. At the end of the lap, Rosberg pits for fresh rubber with a pitstop of 3.2 seconds and rejoins the race in 10th.

Lap 45 sees Vettel lead by 8.3 seconds. Hamilton is able to pass Jenson on track. By the next lap, Jenson has also lost another position on track as his team-mate Perez and then Alonso are able to gain track position which would suggest that Jenson is struggling with grip and pits at the end of the lap with a stop of 2.9 seconds and rejoins the race in 10th.

Lap 47 sees Alonso passing Perez on track. Lap 49 and Vettel leads by 9.7 seconds. And Hamilton in his Mercedes is looking to catch Webber on track for fifth place before the chequered flag.  Lap 51 and Vettel is leading Raikkonen by 9 seconds. Grosjean is trying to catch Di Resta for third place. Lewis meanwhile is trying to get past Webber and passes him on Turn 4 on the track to claim 5th place.

On Lap 52, the FIA have announced that they will be investigating Gideo Van Der Garde for unsafe release at his last pitstop. And Grosjean finally is able to pass Di Resta and British hearts everywhere sink. Lap 53 sees Webber re-passing Hamilton for track position. Lap 54 sees Perez re-passing Alonso for track position.

Lap 55 and Vettel is comfortably leading the race by 9.7 seconds from Raikkonen. And the battle between Hamilton and Webber is still ongoing on the track and on the last lap, Hamilton gets the job done and passes Webber. And Sebstian Vettel wins the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of second place Kimi Raikkonen 9 seconds behind him, Romain Grosjean claims third and the final spot on the podium 19 seconds behind Vettel, Paul Di Resta equals his best position in Formula One with a fourth place 21 seconds behind Vettel, Hamilton drove a brilliant race to claim fifth place 35 seconds behind Vettel, Perez drove well to claim sixth place 36 seconds behind Vettel, Webber claims seventh place 37 seconds behind his team mate, Alonso after all the problems gets eighth place 37.5 seconds behind Vettel, Rosberg claims ninth place 41 seconds behind Vettel and Jenson Button claims the final point with tenth place 46 seconds behind Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel leads the Driver’s championship with 77 points, Raikkonen is second with 67 points, Hamilton is third with 50 points, Alonso is fourth with 47 points, Webber is fifth with 32 points, Massa is sixth with 30 points, Grosjean is seventh with 26 points, Di Resta is eighth with 20 points, Rosberg is nineth with 14 points, Button is tenth with 13, Perez is eleventh with 10 points, Sutil is twelfth with 6 points, Riccardo is thirteenth with 6 points, Hulkenberg is fourteenth with 5 points and Vergne is fifteenth with a point.

Red Bull lead the Constructor’s championship with 109 points, Lotus is second with 93 points, Ferrari is third with 77 points, Mercedes is fourth with 64 points, Force India is fifth with 26 points, McLaren in sixth with 23 points, Toro Rosso in seventh with 7 points and Sauber are eighth with 5 points.

Conclusion

What a race! It didn’t disappoint. The Grand Prix tested the drivers throughout the race with the high level of tyre degradation.

I was happy that Jenson did have some pace to challenge today and gained a point for his efforts. I am also glad for the team that Perez managed to gain some much needed points for the team. However, the ongoing battle between the two of them was very good for the fans to watch but I believe that Perez has shown that he can fight for position. But I do agree that Perez does need to think about battling for position more with his head. He was very lucky this time not to have caused them both to retire from the race with damage to their cars, but next time he may not be so lucky…

But it shows that McLaren are taking slow and steady progress to try and get to the front of the field once again. But I am happy that Jenson managed to points for the team that should encourage the team further to look into why Jenson and also Sergio are struggling with pace and grip with this year’s car. The team this weekend I believe have made small steps into looking at solutions to help and cure this problem before the championships, race wins, podiums and even point finishes are no longer within their reach. As I said last weekend, I know McLaren will bounce back to the performance they and their fans crave and when that happens, it will make it all the more special. Bring on Spain where the team are looking at a new package for the car!

Lotus this weekend may not have gained another victory this weekend but they have scored some brilliant points from their two drivers this weekend that will help their fight in the Constructors Championship. I was a bit surprised that Lotus, especially Raikkonen was not able to challenge for the win this weekend, but consistency and points scoring keeps you in the hunt for the title, as Alonso proved last season. And I am glad that Grosjean got a good result in order to get his season off to a good start as we have not heard much from him so far but he has been consistent and scored some good points for the team which is an improvement from last year.

Alonso again has had a solid weekend. First showing top 10 form in the Practice sessions  and then battling throughout the field to gain some solid points. I think Alonso is driving solidly this year and is carrying on his form from last year.  Who knows where Alonso would have been if he could have not had his DRS braking down twice in the race.

The biggest surprise this weekend for me was the 4th place of Force India’s Paul Di Resta. Paul has had a brilliant weekend and start to the season and impressed me a lot this weekend. He drove a fantastic lap in qualifying and drove a cracking race to bring home some much needed points for the team. I believe that Paul this year has learnt his lessons from his first two years and is working harder than ever to impress with his performances in the sport this year. And surely, people will have noticed him this weekend.  He deserved the podium today, he really did. He is a great driver with a lot of potential and Force India have shown this weekend that their performance since Australia is no fluke and they have a car that is able to be competitive and fight for good points in the race. And I think they could be the dark horse of the midfield teams this team and could surprise us all throughout the season

All that is left to say about this race is that Vettel was a best driver on the field today. Red Bull unfortunately seem to have a car that is undoubtedly better than their car last year. They seem to be able to make sure that their race performance is also consistent and reliable. And if Vettel keeps this up, he may find himself able to claim the championship like last year and take his fourth consecutive title. Can Vettel do it? (Hope not!!) We shall see…

My next post will be my Track Preview to Spain which will be on the blog before Practice 3 of the weekend!

Track Preview: Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir

Fernando Alonso wins in China, Kimi Raikkonen with a stunning drive to second place and Lewis Hamilton claims the final place on the podium after a stunning drive to claim Pole Position in Shanghai. McLaren yet again have made small improvements to their car in order to gain their way back to the front and picked up some much needed points for the team. And again tensions are still brewing between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are still ongoing due to events from the Malaysian Grand Prix thanks to Vettel’s Press Conference in China.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is one of the most modern circuits on the Formula One calendar. But the circuit does not get used very much throughout the year (and is known by the paddock to have ‘sandy’ conditions) and will take time to ‘rub in’ and evolve. Braking is also important for the teams and the drivers to keep control of due to the high ambient temperatures and will be closely monitored throughout the whole race weekend.

And here we go guys with fourth race of the Formula One season, the Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir.

Facts and Figures

  • Bahrain has hosted the Grand Prix since 2004, when it was added to the calendar.
  • Fernando Alonso is the most successful driver to win the Grand Prix with three wins
  • Ferrari are the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with four wins
  • Race distance: 308.23km (191.53 miles)
  • Number of turns:15
  • Top speed: 299kph
  • Lap record: Michael Schumacher- Ferrari (2004)- 1.30.252
  • Winners from pole 4/8 (50%)
  • Winners from last 5 Malaysian Grand Prix: 2007- Felipe Massa, 2008-Felipe Massa, 2009-Jenson Button, 2010-Fernado Alonso, 2012-Sebastian Vettel

My top 5 Bahrain Grand Prix

Here are my top five Bahrain Grand Prix races and in no particular order:-

  1. 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix- First race at Bahrain since the cancellation of the 2011 event. Sebastian Vettel wins the race from Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Raikkonen on the day deserved the win after driving a cracking race but sadly couldn’t get past Vettel to take the victory. But was an enjoyable race.
  2. 2008 Bahrain Grand Prix- Felipe Massa wins the race ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica. Massa drove a brilliant race and had a brilliant first few laps to gain the lead from the Pole Sitter Kubica. An incident between Alonso and Hamilton suffered in Hamilton pitting for a new front wing and was battling at the back of the field for position. [No video was available]
  3. 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix- First ever Grand Prix held in Bahrain. Michael Schumacher wins the race ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button. Jenson did an amazing job to get a podium place. [No video was available]
  4. 2005 Bahrain Grand Prix- Fernando Alonso wins the race ahead of Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. A great drive from Kimi to gain third from starting at the back of the grid. Rosberg set the fastest lap of the race and became the youngest Grand Prix driver to do this, taking the record away from Alonso. [No video was avaliable]
  5. 2009 Bahrain Grand Prix- Jenson Button wins the race from Vettel and Trulli after starting from fourth place on the grid. A truly magnificent drive from Button!

If the Bahrain Grand Prix from last year is anything to go by from last year, we look set to witness a great race next weekend. Will Kimi Raikkonen be able to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari to win again and get back his championship lead? Will Red Bull be able to achieve pole position and try to win the race without team orders in the background? Will Alonso, Massa, Button, Perez, Hamilton or be able to challenge them?

Sky Sports F1 are showing uninterrupted coverage of every practice session, the qualifying and race for the Grand Prix (and every race of the season) and the BBC are also showing coverage, details for both are below:-

  • Sky Sports F1:- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 7.45am and 11.45am [Replays throughout Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 8.45am and 11.00am [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 11.30am
  • BBC- Saturday (Qualifying Highlights) 5.30pm and Sunday (Race Highlights) 5.00pm

My next blog post will be a full Race Report on the Bahrain Grand Prix. Loving the double dosage of Formula One, Hope you will be enjoying every single moment of the weekend as much as me!

2013 Chinese Grand Prix Race Weekend Review

Well, tensions between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber from the Malaysian Grand Prix are still being debated by fans and the paddock still. Everyone who loves, works or are involved within the sport was looking forward to Red Bull and especially Vettel’s Press Conference before the start of the race weekend. And boy, did we get a Press Conference.

Vettel within the press conference stated publically that he has had ‘no support from Mark but has from the team and the team is supporting both of us. But I do respect Mark.’ Vettel then goes on to state that Mark could have ‘… on one occasion helped him and the team (Brazil 2012 is the time Vettel is indirectly mentioning), but he didn’t.’ The media then asked Vettel if this was ‘payback’ for Brazil 2012, but he did not publically say so, but ‘subconsciously’ yes. Vettel was then asked further if he would do this again and he replied back yes.

So, it would seem that Vettel like I have mentioned in previous posts is not sorry and is determined to win his fourth consecutive title on his way, his terms and his rules. Also, I believe that this conference has given Vettel the opportunity to extend the feud and ‘strained relationship’ that was present within the team for a number of years that he has with Mark and I believe publically now has undermined the authority of Christian Horner who is supposed to be controlling the situation at hand here. But to me it seems like Vettel is controlling the situation and seems to have the ‘protection’ of the team like Mark said.

In terms of the circuit, The Chinese Grand Prix is one of the trickest corner combinations on the calendar and is quite technical for the drivers and the teams in order to get their set ups right for qualifying and also for the race on Sunday. This is a test for the drivers to see who has a consistent and fast car around the track.

This Grand Prix will be one full of questions of who again can go longer on their tyres, who can save the most tyres for the race on Sunday, which car has got their car set up the most competitive and race ready? Alongside these questions, questions if Red Bull or Mercedes will be using Team Orders this weekend to help their fight in the championships, can McLaren small improvements on their cars help them this weekend before Spain where an upgrade is planned to take place on the car, who will be competitive from the off, who has the quickest car and who will win this race on Sunday?

The race weekend begins now….

Strap yourselves in. The new season begins now…

Practices 1, 2 and 3

The main headline from the Practice sessions is that both the Ferraris and Mercedes look like the team to beat this weekend  as weather conditions test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Practice 1 saw Nico Rosberg top the timesheets with a time of 1.36.717 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.454 seconds, Webber in third with a gap of 0.941 seconds, Vettel in fourth with a gap of 1.225 seconds and Alonso in fifth with a gap of 1.248 seconds. Adrian Sutil impressed the paddock again by topping the timesheets in 8th place with a gap of 1.408 seconds behind Rosberg. The McLarens of Button and Perez could only manage 6th (for Button) and 16th places.

Within Practice 1, there was a lot of spinning throughout the session. Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 10 spins his Lotus and has badly flat spotted the tyres severely. Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes runs wide due to the ‘green’ track and also low grip levels on the circuit. Esteban Guiterrez also had a little off on the track. But the main incident on the track was Sergio Perez in his McLaren locking up the front rear tyres in the pitlane by taking too much speed and scraping his front wing which will need to be replaced before Practice 2.

Practice 2 saw Felipe Massa top the timesheets with a time of 1.35.340 followed by Raikkonen with a gap of 0.152 seconds, Alonso in third with a gap of 0.415 seconds, Rosberg in fourth with a gap of 0.479 seconds and Webber in fifith with a gap of 0.757 seconds. Jenson Button again managed to achieve a top 10 finish with 6th place with a gap of 1.092 seconds behind Massa and also Paul Di Resta in 9th place with a gap of 1.255 seconds behind Massa and also Adrian Sutil in 8th place with a gap of 1.174 seconds, showing that Force India may have the pace to get some good championship points this weekend. Perez and Grosjean could only manage 11th and 12th places indicating that Perez nor Grosjean do not have the pace needed to have a strong weekend.

Practice 2 sees more incidents and spinning throughout the session. Max Chilton at Turn 5 had to park his Marussia due to a fluid leak occurring on the car. Both Adrian Sutil and Van Der Garde spinning off the track with low grip levels on their tyres chosen by Pirelli this weekend. Jenson Button also suffered a severe puncture with his tyres.

There were two main incidents that happened in the section. Firstly, Nico Hulkenberg on a flying lap in the session found that both Mercedes were blocking the racing line and Nico expressed on team radio that he would like the stewards to look at this in further detail. Sergio Perez again in his McLaren had another incident where he again locked up his car due to losing it with a change of direction and went into the gravel and lost some of his bodywork which will again need to be replaced before the start of Practice 3.

Practice 3 saw Fernando Alonso top the timesheet with a time of 1.35.391 followed by Massa with a gap of 0.622 seconds,Hamilton in third with a gap of 0.674 seconds, Vettel fourth with a gap of 0.895 seconds and Webber in a fifth with a gap of 1.029 seconds. Jenson Button also impressed the paddock with 8th place with a gap of 1.302 seconds behind Alonso. Again, the surprise of the session is Adrian Sutil managing to grab 6th place with a gap of 1.158 seconds behind Alonso showing that he does have good pace within the Force India car. The biggest surprises of the session was that Perez did make the top 10 after two incidents in the previous Practice sessions.

However, within Practice 3, Nico Rosberg experienced a set back on his qualifying programme with a hydraulics problem on his Mercedes which lost him valuable running time and also losing valuable information for the team also.

You would be stupid not to bet against Vettel to gain pole position again this weekend. As he is the master of qualifying at the moment and the momentum is with him from claiming Pole Positions in the previous two rounds of the championship and being in the top 6 in all three sessions this weekend.  Alonso and Massa also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top five places at the moment.

Button seems to be getting happier with the McLaren and seems to be making good and solid progress and Perez at the moment seem to be struggling (even though Perez had a great last practice session).  It seems from looking at their performances that the pace is coming slowly and steadily and both drivers I will admit will struggle to even make Qualifying 2 or maybe even the points in the race and it will take a lot of skill and talent to do that in a car that is not capable, unless a bit of unexpected rain happens. However, I think that Force India, Mercedes and Lotus have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix again like last weekend and could qualify well here. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

Qualifying

It looks like Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session who look set to challenge each other for pole position today. But Force India may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions. And it is looking likely that it will be a challenge for the Williams drivers of Bottas and Maldonado to clear Q1 and also the McLaren drivers of Button and Perez to clear Q2 as both teams do not have the pace within their cars to challenge the top teams this weekend.  Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

In Q1, Hamilton tops the timesheet with a time of 1.35.793, Rosberg is second with a gap of 0.166 seconds, Massa is third with a gap of 0.179 seconds, Webber is fourth with a gap of 0.355 seconds and Alonso is fifth with a gap of 0.460 seconds. And a surprise for Button who finished the session in 7th place and also Perez and Hulkenberg who were 9th  and 10th places. At the end of Q1, we lose Bottas, Guiterrez, Bianchi, Chilton,  Pic, and Van Der Garde.

Within Q2, Mark Webber was told to save fuel and was not able to participate any further into the session. This was a great shame for Webber as he was showing great promise and pace throughout the practice sessions. There were talks from conspiracy theorists that Red Bull knew not to fill the car up with the correct fuel needed. Personally, I think this is unsubstantial claim to make. Yes, Mark may have problems within the team right now, but this would not give the team the excuse to do this. They would not jeopardise their car and also Mark’s chances to have a good weekend either. Sadly, the team had problems with trying to get the fuel into the Red Bull of Webber and are looking into investigating this matter further.

In Q2, Hamilton tops the timesheets with a time of 1.35.078, Alonso was second with a gap of 0.070 seconds, Vettel was third with a gap of 0.265 seconds, Massa was fourth with a gap of 0.459 and Rosberg was fifth with a gap of 0.459 seconds behind Hamilton.  Raikkonen could only manage 6th place. Button and Ricardo set brilliant times to gain 7th and 9th places. At the end of Q2, we lose Di Resta, Perez, Sutil, Webber, Maldonado, Vergne. The battle for pole position is on…

In Q3, Hamilton again tops the timesheet and claims pole position with a time of 1.34.484, Raikkonen was second fastest with a gap of 0.277 seconds behind, Alonso was third fastest with a gap of 0.304 seconds behind, Rosberg was fourth fastest with a gap of 0.377 seconds behind, Massa was fifth fastest with a gap of 0.449 second behind, Grosjean was sixth fastest with a gap of 0.880 seconds behind, Riccardo did a brilliant lap to claim seventh fastest with a gap of 1.514 seconds behind, Button was eighth fastest with a gap of 31.189 seconds, Vettel was ninth fastest and Hulkenberg was tenth fastest.

It would seem that Mercedes and Ferrari genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend which I am absolutely not thrilled about. However, both drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this. You cannot discount Massa, Raikkonen or Vettel to be challenging also for the race win in order to keep their seasons off to a flying start. Rosberg could also be the dark horse to take the win away from Red Bull and Ferrari  to gain some points on his rivals for the championship.

Riccardo and Button could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for Toro Rosso and McLaren before heading to the next race in Bahrain. Will it rain tomorrow? Nope.  Who will win the Grand Prix tomorrow? I really don’t know (hoping for a Button win!). Who will lead the championship after this race? Will it be Vettel, Hamilton, Massa, Hamilton or Alonso? I don’t know.  The Grand Prix has been set up nicely, just like the last race. Let’s see what happens…

Race

Prior to the race, Mark Webber now starts from the pit lane due to suffering lack of fuel within Q2 to get back to the pit lane. Mark and the team decided to change the gearbox and also check that he had enough fuel to start the race. This is one driver I will be watching as Webber could spring a surprise and could fight his way back into contention for some good points today.

Also, Paul Di Resta had a fuel leak an hour before the start of the pit lane and was fixed just in time by the team to reach his grid position. The F1 world is watching and waiting to see if the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix will live up to expectations and who will be the winner? Here we go…

All 22 drivers are lined up on their grid positions, five red lights and its GO!!!!!!!! Hamilton gets a very good start and leads Alonso into the first corner. Alonso has had a decent start also and manages to get ahead of Raikkonen into second place. Raikkonen has not had a great start and finds himself in fourth place. Riccardo has also had a brilliant start and is still in 7th place. All the drivers in the field are battling each other towards Turn 1. Massa while defending his position goes wide into Turn 1. Rosberg and Grosjean are battling for position and Rosberg manages to pass Grosjean. Jenson is trying to get past Riccardo but cannot make the move and sees Webber behind him. Di Resta and Perez are battling for position and Di Resta makes the move stick. Webber pits at the end of the lap with a stop of 4.3 seconds and sees him in last place.

Lap 2 sees Hamilton have a 0.3 gap to Alonso. The battle between Di Resta and Perez is intensifying and Perez is defending his position. The battle for second place between Alonso and Massa is heating up. Massa tries a look at Alonso but cannot get past. The next few laps sees Vettel and Hulkenberg battling for track position with Riccardo.

Lap 5, a 0.5 gap has formed between Hamilton and Alonso. Alonso tries to get past Lewis and Alonso manages to make the move stick and claims the lead of the race. Raikkonen is now trying to battle for third position. Vettel has now passed Rosberg for seventh place. Perez has found himself with a broken wing. On track, Guiterrez tries to pass Sutil for position and ends up clipping Sutil and locks up and has to retire from the race. This incident will be investigated by the FIA after the race. Lewis pits from second place with a stop of 3.3 seconds and rejoins the race in 16th place. Rosberg also pits with a stop of 3.3 seconds and rejoins the race in 18th place. Sutil pits for a new rear wing after the incident with Guiterrez and finds that his brakes are overheating. Also Riccardo pits for new tyres this lap.

Laps 6 and 7 sees a number of drivers making pitstops to change tyres handing the race lead to Hulkenberg. There are also battles on track for position. The first driver to make a pitstop was the race leader Alonso with a stop of 2.6 seconds to rejoin in 11th place. Raikkonen was next with a stop of 3.4 seconds to rejoin in 13th place. Lap 7 sees Massa and Grosjean make their pit stops. The battle for 11th place with Alonso and Hamilton is still ongoing and also Vergne and Bottas are also battling on track.

Lap 9, Hulkenberg is leading the Grand Prix from Vettel. On track, Alonso passes Vergne for position. The battle for 6th place hots up between Alonso, Vergne and Hamilton. Hamilton also finds the correct place to pass Vergne on the track for 7th place. Massa also is able to pass Mark Webber for 11th place. The next lap, Massa is able to pass Bottas for position.

Lap 11 sees Hulkenberg lead by 0.7 seconds. An incident between Bottas and Vergne on track will be investigated after the race by the FIA. Raikkonen is able to manage to get past Vergne at Turn 1. Lap 13 sees Alonso able to pass Di Resta for position on track.

Lap 14 sees a 0.9 gap to Vettel. Alonso manages to gain fourth place away from Perez. Hamilton is also looking at making a move on Di Resta for track position. Hamilton pits for new tyres with a stop of 6.1 seconds and rejoins in 11th place. Vettel also pits for new tyres with a stop of 2.5 seconds and rejoins in 9th place.

Lap 15 sees Button leading the race from Alonso. An incident with Webber and Vergne on track battling for position sees Webber do some damage to his front wing and will need to pit which he does at the end of the lap. The incident will be investigated after the race by the FIA. The next lap sees Perez and Raikkonen battling on track through Turn 6 onwards. Raikkonen is able to gain fourth place away from Perez. Webber meanwhile is coasting around the track and is stuck in third gear. The next lap sees Webber’s wheel come off his Red Bull and wandering on the track and this forces him to retire on a weekend where the F1 world was willing him to do well.

Lap 18 still sees Button lead the race from Alonso by 0.6 seconds. Hamilton passes Di Resta. The Perez and Raikkonen incident will be investigated by the FIA after the race. The next lap sees Hamilton and Raikkonen battling for 3rd place on track. Vettel passes Massa. Massa and Rosberg pit for new tyres. Lap 20 sees Vettel passing Perez and also Alonso trying to get past Button for the lead of the race.

Lap 21 sees Alonso regaining the lead of the race. The battle for 3rd between Hamilton and Raikkonen is still ongoing. Rosberg, Hamilton and Raikkonen all pit for new tyres. Lap 22 sees Alonso leading Button by 1.7 seconds. The FIA announce that no further action between Perez and Raikkonen and Bottas and Vergne is going to be taken.

Lap 23, there is a gap of 2.7 seconds between Alonso and Button. Rosberg retires from the race. Alonso and Button make pitstops for new tyres at the end of the lap. Lap 24 sees Vettel gaining the lead of the race from Hulkenberg by 2.8 seconds. Button and Grosjean are under investigation by the FIA regarding usage of the DRS under a yellow flag. Perez pits at the end of the lap for new tyres.

Lap 25, the gap is 3 seconds. A battle between Di Resta and Massa for 7th place is heating up on track. The next lap, the FIA announce that the Button and Grosjean will be in investigated after the race regarding usage of the DRS under yellow flags. On track, Vergne passes Riccardo for position on track.

Lap 28, the gap is 2.1 seconds. Lewis is trying to pass Jenson for 4th place. The next lap sees Hamilton pass Button for 4th place and Alonso regaining the lead of the race from Vettel. Hulkenberg also pits for new tyres at the end of the lap with a stop of 3.3 seconds and rejoins in 8th place.

Lap 31 sees Alonso building up at 2.3 seconds gap to Vettel. Raikkonen passes Jenson for position. At the end of the lap both Vettel and Perez pit for new tyres. The next lap sees Vettel passing both Massa and Di Resta on track and is now in 6th place. Lap 33 sees Riccardo passing Perez and Vettel passing Hulkenberg for 5th place.

Lap 34, Alonso has an 11.1 second lead. Button and Vettel are battling for 3rd place and Vettel is able to pass Jenson.  Massa pits at the end of the lap with a stop of 2.4 seconds and rejoins in 10th place. Also Hulkenberg and Hamilton pit at the end of the lap to change tyres. Lap 38 sees the battle for 5th get hotter with Riccardo and Hamilton. And Hamilton wins this battle.

Lap 40, the FIA announces that 6 cars will be investigated after the race regarding their usage of DRS under a yellow flag. The next lap sees Alonso pit for fresh rubber when Raikkonen and Hamilton battle for four in the race. Lap 42 sees Vettel retake the lead of the race and Alonso is trying to pass Vettel, while Hamilton is trying to pass Raikkonen. Lap 43 sees Alonso retake the lead from Vettel.

Lap 44, the lead is 1.5 seconds. The battle for 3rd is still continuing between Button, Raikkonen and Hamilton. Raikkonen is able to pass Jenson for position. The next lap sees Jenson defending hard from Hamilton but at Turn 4, Hamilton is able to make the move stick. Perez is also passed by Grosjean on track.

Lap 49, the lead is 7 seconds. Lewis at this stage of the race is catching Kimi quite steadily. Jenson pits for new tyres with a stop of 2.6 seconds and rejoins the race in 7th place. Lap 51 sees the gap increase to 7.2 seconds. Jenson manages to pass Massa for 6th place and at the end of the lap, Vettel pits for new tyres with a stop of 3.4 seconds and rejoins in fourth place.

Lap 53, Alonso leads Raikkonen by 10 seconds. By Lap 55, Vettel is catching Hamilton at a quick and steady rate. The final lap sees Vettel trying Lewis for 3rd place but the traffic is helping Vettel. Vettel while trying to pass Lewis goes in too deep and cannot get past.

But Fernando Alonso wins the race with a good and solid drive for the Ferrari team to claim their first win of the season. Raikkonen claims second place 10.168 seconds behind Alonso, Hamilton after a good drive takes home third place 12.322 seconds behind Alonso, Vettel is fourth 12.525 seconds behind Alonso, Button takes fifth place after an amazing drive 35.285 seconds behind Alonso, Massa takes sixth place 40.827 seconds behind Alonso, Riccardo after a great weekend takes a solid seventh place 42.691 seconds behind Alonso, Di Resta is a credible eighth place 51.084 seconds behind Alonso, Grosjean is ninth place 53.423 seconds behind Alonso and Hulkenberg is tenth place 56.598 seconds behind Alonso.

Sebastian Vettel leads the driver’s championship with 52 points, Raikkonen is second with 49 points, Alonso is third with 43 points, Hamilton is fourth with 40 points, Massa is fifth with 30 points, Webber is sixth with 26 points, Rosberg is seventh with 12 points, Button is eighth with 12 points, Grosjean is ninth with 11 points, Di Resta is tenth with 8 points, Riccardo is eleventh with 6 points and Sutil is twelfth place with 6 points.

Red Bull lead the constructors championship with 78 points, Ferrari are second with 73 points, Lotus are third with 60 points, Mercedes are fourth with 52 points, McLaren are fifth with 14 points, Force India are sixth with 14 points, Toro Rosso are seventh with 7 points and Sauber are eighth with 5 points.

Conclusion

What a race! It didn’t disappoint. The Grand Prix tested the drivers throughout the race with the high level of tyre degradation.

I was happy that Jenson did have some pace to challenge today. It shows that McLaren are taking slow and steady progress to try and get to the front of the field once again. But I am happy that Jenson managed to points for the team that should encourage the team further to look into why Jenson and also Sergio are struggling with pace and grip with this year’s car. The team this weekend I believe have made small steps into looking at solutions to help and cure this problem before the championships, race wins, podiums and even point finishes are no longer within their reach. As I said last weekend, I know McLaren will bounce back to the performance they and their fans crave and when that happens, it will make it all the more special. Bring on Spain where the team are looking at a new package for the car!

Despite the many dramas that Hulkenberg endured in the race, his driving today was superb. Under great pressure from Vettel, Hulkenberg showed that despite leaving Force India, he can still deliver and score some good points for the Sauber team. I am also happy that Force India scored points this weekend with Paul Di Resta today. Force India have shown this weekend that their performance since Australia is no fluke and they have a car that is able to be competitive and fight for good points in the race. And I think they could be the dark horse of the midfield teams this team and could surprise us all throughout the season.

Lotus this weekend may not have gained another victory this weekend but they have scored some brilliant points from their two drivers this weekend that will help their fight in the Constructors Championship. I was a bit surprised that Lotus, especially Raikkonen was not able to challenge for the win this weekend, but consistency and points scoring keeps you in the hunt for the title, as Alonso proved last season.

Massa again has had a solid weekend. First showing top 10 form in the Practice sessions  and then battling throughout the field to gain some solid points. I think Massa is driving solidly this year. He seems to have come back refreshed and a totally different character that is showing that he can hold his own in a team that is very much run by Alonso. It seems to me that Massa is showing the form that we all saw in 2008. Who knows where Massa would have been if he could have produced a lap time in qualifying like in Practice 2.

Mercedes surprised me this weekend. They have been competitive all weekend long. They have shown that their car is a significant improvement from last year and is competitive throughout the course of the weekend and the race. And for Lewis to achieve 3rd place in his third race for his new team is an achievement. I was slightly disappointed that Nico had to retire, he was showing pace and promise in the early stages of the weekend and deserved a good result at a track that suits his driving style a lot. Vettel drove his own race to gain fourth place and extends his lead in the championship still. But after what he said in the press conference this weekend, I believe that Vettel now controls the team and this incident in Malaysia is going to be under even closer scruinity throughout the year.

The biggest surprise this weekend for me was the 7th place of Toro Rosso’s Daniel Riccardo. Daniel has had a brilliant weekend and impressed me. He drove a fantastic lap in qualifying and drove a cracking race to bring home some much needed points for the team. I believe that Daniel this year has learnt his lessons from his rookie year and is working harder than ever to impress with his performances in the sport this year. And surely, people will have noticed him this weekend. He is a great driver with a lot of potential and I believe he will keep his drive for the Toro Rosso team if he can keep up his performance.

All that is left to say about this race is that Alonso was a best driver on the field today. Ferrari seem to have a car that is undoubtedly better than their car last year. They seem to be able to qualify better than they did last year and their race performance is also consistent and reliable. And if Alonso keeps this up, he may find himself able to challenge for the championship like last year and could stop Vettel taking his fourth consecutive title. Can Alonso do it? We shall see…

My next post will be my track preview of the Bahrain Grand Prix which will be on in the week!

Track Preview: Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai

McLaren have made small improvements to their car in order to gain their way back to the front and picked up some much needed points for the team. Tensions are still brewing between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are still ongoing due to events from the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Chinese Grand Prix is one of the trickest corner combinations on the calendar and is quite technical for the drivers and the teams in order to get their set ups right for qualifying and also for the race on Sunday. This is a test for the drivers to see who has a consistent and fast car around the track.

And here we go guys with third race of the Formula One season, the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

Facts and Figures

  • Shanghai has hosted the Grand Prix since 2004, even though China had a provisional track and Grand Prix added to the calendar in 1999.
  • Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver to win the Grand Prix with two wins
  • Ferrari and McLaren are equally are the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with three wins each
  • Race distance: 305.06km (189.56 miles)
  • Number of turns:16
  • Top speed: 317kph
  • Lap record: Michael Schumacher- Ferrari (2004)- 1.32.238
  • Winners from pole 5/9 (55%)
  • Winners from last 5 Malaysian Grand Prix: 2008- Lewis Hamilton, 2009-Sebastian Vettel, 2010-Jenson Button, 2011-Lewis Hamilton, 2012-Nico Rosberg

My top 5 Chinese Grand Prix

Here are my top five Chinese Grand Prix races and in no particular order:-

  1. 2008 Chinese Grand Prix- Lewis Hamilton won the race from Pole Position and was leading the championship from Felipe Massa. Massa in order to keep his championship hopes alive passed Raikkonen with seven laps remaining taking second place and took the championship to Brazil. 
  2. 2004 Chinese Grand Prix- The first race ever held in China. Michael Schumacher started the race from the pitlane due to spinning out in qualifying. Jacques Villeneuve returned to Formula One with Renault, replacing Jarno Trulli. Ralf Schumacher also returned to racing following his accident at Indianapolis. But Rubens Barrichello wins the race. [Couldn’t find any videos on YouTube]
  3. 2011 Chinese Grand Prix- Lewis Hamilton wins the Grand Prix for McLaren and cuts Vettel’s lead in the championship to 21 points. And becomes the first ever multiple winner of the Grand Prix. Just a great drive. 
  4. 2012 Chinese Grand Prix- Nico Rosberg with a stunning Pole Position converts this to his first win in Formula One with a superb driver. He also became the first German driver to win driving a German car. The race had a lot of really good battle for track position and 23 cars finished the race. But a brilliant win for Rosberg.
  5. 2010 Chinese Grand Prix- Jenson Button wins the race from Hamilton and has the lead of the championship with 60 points after the race. There was a big incident in Turn 6 when Liuzzi spinning under braking and launching himself backwards into the path of Kobayashi and also eliminates Hulkenberg who was trying to take action to avoid the incident. Also, we had a spot of rain, a safety car (due to the accident mentioned above), the weather questioning which tyres the drivers should take. A race full of action and Button was rewarded with the win.

If the Chinese Grand Prix from last year is anything to go by from last year, we look set to witness a great race next weekend. Will Kimi Raikkonen be able to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari to win again and keep his championship lead? Will Red Bull be able to achieve pole position and try to win the race without team orders in the background? Will Alonso, Massa, Button, Perez, Hamilton or be able to challenge them?

Sky Sports F1 are showing uninterrupted coverage of every practice session, the qualifying and race for the Grand Prix (and every race of the season) and the BBC are also showing coverage, details for both are below:-

  • Sky Sports F1:- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 2.45am and 6.45am [Replays throughout Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 3.45am and 6.00am [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 6.30am
  • BBC- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 2.55am and 6.55am [Replay will be shown], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 3.55am and 6.00am [Replay will be shown], Sunday (Race) 7.00am

My next blog post will be a full Race Report on the Chinese Grand Prix. Formula One, we have missed you these last three weeks! Hope you will be enjoying every single moment of the weekend as much as me!