Monthly Archives: June 2013

Track Preview: British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Rights reserved to:- http://www.williamsf1.com

Rights reserved to:- http://www.williamsf1.com

Sebastian Vettel wins in Canada, Fernando Alonso drives to second place and Lewis Hamilton claims the final place on the podium after a good drive. 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 people are still wishing that the Mercedes or Vettel still do not have the pace in qualifying…

The British Grand Prix is a very interesting circuit for the teams and the drivers. Not only is it a home race for most of the teams who are based closely by the track but the support for the race from the British public is at its best. It is a high fuel effect circuit which means the weight of the car is crucial for a good weekend here. The circuit is also very good on brakes, even though the circuit is very bumpy which could make the car bottom out.

And here we go guys with eighth race of the Formula One season, the British Grand Prix in Silverstone…

Facts and Figures

  • Silverstone has hosted the Grand Prix in Britain since 1926, even though the first Formula One race was in 1950.
  • Jim Clark and Alain Prost are the most successful drivers to win the Grand Prix with five wins each.
  • Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso are the most successful drivers currently to win the Grand Prix with two wins each.
  • Ferrari is the most successful constructors to win the Grand Prix with fifteen wins.
  • Race distance: 306.19km (190.26 miles)
  • Number of turns:18
  • Top speed: 300kph
  • Lap record: Fernando Alonso- Ferrari (2011)- 1.34.908
  • Winners from pole 16/46 (34%)
  • Winners from last 5 British Grand Prix: 2008-Lewis Hamilton, 2009- Sebastian Vettel, 2010-Mark Webber, 2011-Fernando Alonso, 2012-Mark Webber.

My top 5 British Grand Prix

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

  1. 2003 British Grand Prix- Ruben Barrichello wins ahead of Juan-Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen. Just a great drive from Rubens 🙂 [No video avaliable]
  2. 2000 British Grand Prix- David Coulthard wins the race ahead of Hakkinen and Schumacher. Safety car spices the race up. A brilliant drive from David to win his second British Grand Prix. [No video avaliable]
  3. 2012 British Grand Prix- Mark Webber wins the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Just a brilliant drive from Mark to take away victory from Alonso in the latter stages of the race! [No video avaliable]
  4. 2008 British Grand Prix- Lewis Hamilton wins the race ahead of Heidfeld and Barrichello. Persistent rain meant intermediates for all the drivers at the start of the race. A lot of spins. But Lewis kept it on the road to take his first British Grand Prix. Was amazing and I was cheering Lewis all the way to the line!
  5. 2001 British Grand Prix- Mika Hakkinen wins the race ahead of Schumacher and Barrichello. What a race. The race saw 5 cars retire. Also Frentzen was then sacked after the race by the Jordan team. This race is one the best I have ever seen Mika win. I was so happy for him. As this was one of his last wins in the sport I had tears in my eyes. Just epic.

If the British Grand Prix from last year is anything to go by from last year, we look set to witness a great race next weekend. Will Fernando be able to challenge Red Bull and Lotus to win again and gain the championship lead? Will Red Bull be able to achieve pole position and try to win the race Will Rosberg, Raikkonen, 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) 9.45pm and 1.45pm [Replays throughout Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.45pm and 12.00pm [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 11.30pm
  • BBC- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 9.55am and 1.55pm, Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.55am and 12.15pm, Sunday (Race and highlights) 12.10pm and 7pm

My next blog post will be a full Race Report on the British Grand Prix. Loving the start of the weekend of Formula One, Hope you will be enjoying every single moment of the weekend as much as me! Let’s hope the best of our British drivers do us proud!

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F1 News 17th June-24th June 2013

This week sees Mark Webber quitting Formula One at the end of the season, Murray Walker recovering from cancer, McLaren playing down chances at Silverstone, Hamilton looking forward to Silverstone, Raikkonen not announcing his future, Vettel wanting a say on his team-mate and of course the result of ‘Tyre Gate’

Read on my friends….

Murray Walker

I was so sad to hear that the legend that is Murray Walker is sadly recovering from cancer. Murray has stated to the media that he is eager to ‘getting back to form as quickly as he can.’

All I say is that I wish Murray the best of luck and hope he gets better soon. I grew up with Murray commentating on the sport when I was growing up and have a lot of fond memories, respect and admiration for him. Get Well Soon Murray from everyone who loves the sport as much as you do!

‘Tyre-Gate’

On the 21st June (My birthday!), the verdict of the International Tribunal with Mercedes was announced. And much to everyone’s surprise, they are banned from the Young Driver’s Test.

The team after the Spanish Grand Prix did a 1,000km tyre test for Pirelli which was deemed by Ferrari and Red Bull in particular and many members of the sport to be in breach of sporting regulations against in-season testing. Mercedes have defended throughout this case stating that he did not gain anything from the test and had the permission of Charlie Whiting to use their 2013 car in the test. Mercedes have also stated that the purpose of the test was to help Pirelli resolve tyre issues to do with safety.

Ross Brawn after the verdict was announced stated that ‘We have a blemish free record here and it was very important to Mercedes that the facts of the case were understood. It does strengthen your resolve rather than weaken it but now it’s cleared away we can concentrate on the rest of the year.’ The FIA have accepted that either Pirelli or Mercedes acted in bad faith. The FIA hope that ‘lessons have been learnt and the decision is handed down.’

In my own view, I am not surprised about the verdict. As I have stated over the last few weeks, I believed that Mercedes would get away relatively scot free. The ban from the team participating in the Young Driver’s Test demonstrates this. Yes, it will affect the team and will probably allow them the chance to gain some data at the event, but how do we know if they gained anything from the test that they did that got them into this mess?

Well, you could say yes. As they won Monaco not long after the test. But Monaco is impossible to overtake and Nico Rosberg deserved the victory that day as he was the best driver. But then, they didn’t as their form did not continue into the Canadian Grand Prix. I’d say it’s up to you what you think about this.

But my main concern is this:- Will this stop other teams from trying this? I really don’t know. But I would place money on the fact that it won’t stop them trying to find a loophole in the rules to do what Mercedes did. Why? Because they saw Mercedes did and got away scot free and will probably chance it like they did as they got in my eyes the wrong penalty. The FIA had an opportunity to refine and make clear the rules that they set out for racing and they have basically opened the door for other teams to try their luck and see what happens.

The FIA needed to impose a bigger penalty onto Mercedes to avoid the teams even considering the chance to take the risk that Mercedes did when they did. Why do I sense we’ll be going through this again very soon?

McLaren win at Silverstone?

McLaren have stated this week that the chance to challenge for a podium at Silverstone will be tricky. Jonathan Neale has stated that taking points away from the race is a more realistic target as ‘…there is still a big gap from us to the front of the grid.’

Neale has said that he would like both cars to reach Q3 if they can and then race hard for points. He said that they have a range of updates for the weekend and also testing fundamental understanding issues as well.

I really hope that McLaren can have a fantastic race at Silverstone. It’s one of my favourite tracks and I would love it if they could give me a good result as a belated birthday present. This week in case you don’t know McLaren launched their ‘Believe in McLaren’ feed in Head Quarters (which I have contributed to). This is showing the team how much support the team have at the moment and hopefully will spur the guys and girls on to keep doing the amazing job they have been doing.

All I say is that I am a McLaren supporter through and through. We stand together as a team, good and bad. McLaren will get there, I believe it 100% and when we do, it will be sweeter than anything. I believe in McLaren as much as I do when I first loved them, maybe more!

Rooting for them at Silverstone, you can do it. I believe in McLaren and so do the fans!

Hamilton looking forward to Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton this week believed that this year is his best chance to win the British Grand Prix again for the second time. Lewis believes that the car will go very well here and that he will be competitive throughout the weekend.

Lewis believes that they have made good progress with braking issues and tyre cooling and that the long pace into races is still continuing. On the subject of not being able to participate in the Young Driver’s Test Lewis is ‘gutted’. Lewis explains that they had a lot of upgrades to test and it will set them back.

Well, that is the price they will have to pay. But wishing Lewis luck in Silverstone as if any British driver has a chance to win, Lewis is best placed!

Webber Quitting Formula One at the end of the year

It is sad news that Mark Webber is quitting Formula One at the end of the year to join Porsche’s new sports car programme and in Le Mans for the manufacturer. It has been stated that Mark had options to stay with Red Bull or move to another team but feels it is the right time to move on.

Webber feels that it is an honour to drive for Porsche and is looking forward to the challenge ahead after being in the sport for 12 years. Webber in his years in the sport has driven for Minardi, Jaguar and Williams, won 9 Grand Prix, achieved 36 podium finishes, 11 poles and 15 fastest laps (so far).

Webber is well respected within the paddock and the media as a fair competitor and a great driver. However, the relationship between himself and Sebastian Vettel during his time with Red Bull Racing has been characterised by this.

As we know, tensions with the drivers have boiled over on several occasions, most recently at the Malaysian Grand Prix when Vettel ignored team orders to stay behind Webber and took the victory away from him. Vettel did apologise after the race but would do the same if he had to all over again.

It has been speculated in the press that Webber does not have the backing of Helmut Marko who fuelled the fire that he would leave the team at the end of the year even though Red Bull owner Deitrich Mateschitz (who Webber is close to) was quite happy for Mark to stay in the team.

All I can say is that I’m not surprised Mark is leaving the sport at the end of the year. I will be sad to see Mark go as he is a brilliant driver who is well respected within the paddock and by the fans. We will miss him and his personality. And even though things have not worked out to plan for Mark, what he has achieved in the sport is great and he should be proud of himself. I wish him every success in the future!

Vettel wants a say on his new Team Mate

As we know Mark Webber is leaving Red Bull at the end of the season to race for Porsche. Sebastian Vettel has announced that he would like some input into his new team mate for next year. At the moment Kimi Raikkonen is looking like the favourite to replace Webber for next year, even though the team do have Daniel Riccardo and Jean-Eric Vergne as options.

We shall see what happens

Raikkonen’s future undecided

This week speculation about Kimi Raikkonen’s future is rife. It has been speculated that Raikkonen could move to Red Bull at the end of the season to replace Mark Webber. Raikkonen announced that he ‘…does not have a contract for next year and I can do whatever I want because I do not have a contract.’

Raikkonen goes on further to explain that whatever decision he makes will not be busy for him as he does not know whatever decision he will take will be the right or the wrong decision until further down the line.

My view on this is that Raikkonen will be tempted to go to Red Bull as they have had the fastest car for the past few years and have won 3 consecutive drivers and constructors championships and have the pace at the moment. But Lotus will be determined to keep Kimi as Kimi has performed fantastically well since returning to the sport by winning races and also coming third in the championship last year.

The world awaits Kimi’s decision…

And that’s all the F1 News for this week. We will be back next week for the British GP Track Preview which will be on the blog at before the race on Sunday!

F1 News 10th June- 17th June 2013

This week sees a marshal sadly pass away at the end of Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel extending his contract with Red Bull, James Allison stating that he is not going to Honda, New Jersey announcing a long term contract for their Grand Prix, Sutil demanding blue flag talks…

Read on my friends….

Marshal killed after Canadian GP

After Esteban Guiterrez crashed his Sauber at Turn 2 at the Canadian Grand Prix last week, an unnamed man who was marshalling at the event has been killed while trying to retrieve the car.

The marshal was sent straight to hospital, was given treatment and was died later on. He is the first marshal to be tragically killed since 2001Australian Grand Prix where Graham Beveridge was sadly killed. The Formula One world and fans are in unison and send our thoughts and prayers to his friends and family.

Hearing for Mercedes on the 20th June

Just in case you haven’t read by Canadian Grand Prix Review on my blog, it was announced that Mercedes will face an international tribual into their Barcelona test on the 20th June.

The tribunal will take place at the FIA’s headquarters in Paris at 9.30am with the decision being published to the media as soon as possible. Mercedes still protest their innocence regarding the matter, while Ferrari and Red Bull believe the team have broken and breached the sporting regulations.

The committee at the hearing will have all options available to them in regards if they find Mercedes guilty such as a fine all the way to exclusion from the championship. We shall see what happens on the 20th!

Sutil seeks Blue Flag clarification

After the Canadian Grand Prix, Adrian Sutil has asked the FIA for ‘further clarification’ in regards to blue flag situations in races. Sutil during the race while Hamilton was trying to lap him kept Lewis at bay for 10 laps.

By the stewards Sutil was judged to have broken Article 20.6 of the Sporting Regulations, but he feels his penalty was out of step. Sutil says ‘I just want a real clarification of what do you do when you are in front and someone is lapping you, how many corners do you have to do it in.’ Sutil says ‘… that I had no clear instruction and [the stewards] are not consistent in their actions.’

Even though physical blue flags are waved by marshalls on the track, Sutil should have seen the lights on his dashboard (which he did) and just let Lewis pass as quickly as possible. But I feel that there should be a system in place so this does not happen again, even though I am not sticking up for Sutil, he does have a point. Sutil is now going to raise this point to Charlie Whiting at Silverstone, let’s see what happens.

Button doubtful of a 2013 win

This story broke my heart. Jenson Button announced this week that ‘no one’ knows if McLaren will win a race this year. McLaren’s season hit a new low at Canada after failing to score no points in 65 races.

Whitmarsh has insisted to the media that the team are still trying to work through their problems and hoping to remerge in the latter part of the season which they have done since 2006. I really hope they do. If any team does, McLaren deserve a win this year.

Vettel extends contract

It has been announced this week that Sebastian Vettel has signed an extension on his Red Bull contract and will be racing for the team until 2015. Vettel has been in the past few months linked with a move to the Ferrari team. Both team and driver are very happy with this deal and it puts to bed the rumours circulating around the paddock.

Allison moving to Honda?

Rumours in the paddock this week have speculated that Lotus’s ex Technical Director James Allison will be joining Honda in 2014 when McLaren take on their engines.

It was rumoured that Allison would oversee the production of a car and test team for the manufacturer throughout 2014. McLaren have dismissed these rumours. The future of Allison looks unclear as Red Bull announced on Twitter than he would not be joining the team.

New Jersey Deal

It has been announced this week that the organisers of the New Jersey race have a deal in place to stage the race for 15 years. New Jersey was supposed to staging the Grand Prix this year but sadly due to problems, they will not be ready to race this year. But they have confirmed that the race will be going ahead as planned on June 2014.

New Pirelli tyre NOT being introduced

Tyre gate continues. Pirelli have announced that the new tyre that was being tested by the teams at the Canadian Grand Prix was limited due to the weather conditions and that the teams could not agree to run it.

Pirelli have also announced that they will not be changing the tyre construction but will be looking into the production process and eliminating issues that could make the tyres unsafe.

Horner receives OBE

Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner has this week received an OBE for services to Motorsport after turning around Red Bull Racing in a short period of time. Horner has also played a part in nurturing new talent for the sport with Arden team which includes Kovalainen, Bruno Senna, Buemi and Perez.

Horner becomes the second team member to receive an OBE. Adrian Newey was awarded the honour in the 2012 New Year honours.

Congratulations to Christian!

Ferrari legend Gonzalez dies at 90 years old

Tributes have been flooding in for Ferrari driver Jose Frolian Gonzalez who achieved Ferrari’s first Grand Prix win in the 1951 British Grand Prix has sadly died at the age of 90. Gonzalez died on Saturday in hospital in Argentina.

Ferrari President Luca Di Montozemelo has paid a tribute to Gonzalez saying that ‘As a driver and a man he played an integral part in our history. His death means we have lost a true friend.’

His Grand Prix career span over a decade and 26 Grand Prix. He won at Silverstone again in 1954 and won Le Mans for Ferrari in the same year. Our thoughts go to his family and friends at this sad time.

And that’s all the F1 News for this week. We will be back next week for some more F1 news which will be on the blog at the end of next weekend!

2013 Canadian Grand Prix Race Weekend Review

Nico Rosberg wins his home race in Monaco, Sebastian Vettel with a good drive to second place and Mark Webber claims the final place on the podium after a good drive. 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 people are still wishing that Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes’ drivers still do not have the pace with their cars in qualifying…

Also, the tyre debate [I called it tyre-gate] that is ongoing with Pirelli from the Spanish Grand Prix does not look like being stopped. As I mentioned in my F1 News piece a few weeks ago on the blog, many pundits, fans, teams, drivers or anyone associated in the sport has spoken out about the situation. As I discussed a few weeks ago, Pirelli is now making tyre changes to the compound as soon as Canadian Grand Prix. But now it is believed that the compound will be tested at this Grand Prix and will be introduced in Silverstone at the end of June. This is itself has been debated heavily by everyone within the sport and we’ll see how this situation develops throughout the coming weeks.

Also, it has been announced that Mercedes after doing a 1,000km test with Pirelli for three days after the Spanish Grand Prix will have to explain themselves to an international sporting tribunal on the 20th June (one day before my birthday!). Mercedes Benz before the Grand Prix issued an statement saying that ‘…we believe in sporting integrity and that we have every confidence in the FIA.’ We will see what will happen.

In terms of the circuit, the Canadian Grand Prix is quite challenging for the teams and the drivers as it is only used when the Grand Prix is on every year. The circuit because of that as low grip but has a very high track evolution over the weekend. It is also a high energy braking circuit that tests the brakes and its cooling and braking and braking stability is crucial for a good result here. Traction out of the chicanes and also not too much down force will also help the drivers to get a good result around this tricky 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? Have McLaren and Williams made a significant step forward with their upgrades in their fight to get back to the front?

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 Silverstone where more upgrades are 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 it seems that it is unclear (well to me) who is the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Practice 1 saw Paul Di Resta top the timesheets with a time of 1.21.020 followed closely by Button with a gap of 0.088 seconds, Grosjean in a fantastic third with a gap of 0.283 seconds, Alonso in fourth with a gap of 0.288 seconds and Raikkonen

with a gap of 0.588 seconds. Daniel Riccardo impressed the paddock by topping the timesheets in 6th place with a gap of 1.048 seconds behind Di Resta. The McLaren of Perez could only manage 9th place. The Red Bull’s of Vettel and Webber could only manage 10th and 11th places. The shock of the session was Massa only managing to gain 11th place and Hamilton only getting 16th place.

Within Practice 1, the drivers were pushing the limits of the circuit. Bottas, Bianchi, Chilton, Hamilton, Vettel and Sutil experienced lock ups while pushing the limit. Meanwhile, Maldonado managed to hit the barriers while pushing for the limit.

Practice 2 saw Fernando Alonso top the timesheets with a time of 1.14.818 followed by Hamilton with a gap of 0.012 seconds, Grosjean in third with a gap of 0.265 seconds, Webber in fourth with a gap of 0.394 seconds and Rosberg in fifth with a gap of 0.431 seconds. Adrian Sutil managed to achieve a top 10 finish with an 8th place for Adrian with a gap of 0.578 seconds behind Alonso showing that Force India may have the pace to get some good championship points this weekend. Riccardo again managed to get tenth place in the session. Button and Perez could only manage 9th and 12th places indicating that both maybe do not have the pace needed to have a strong weekend, but could be in the hunt for some much needed points for the team and to carry on working through their upgrade programme.

Practice 2 sees more incidents and spinning throughout the session. Pastor Maldonado while pushing the limit smacked into the barrier while carrying too much speed and causing some damage to his Williams. Van Der Garde, Di Resta, Webber and Vettel experienced lock ups on the track. Also, towards the end of the session Di Resta and Button experienced problems. Button had sensor issues on his McLaren and Di Resta had fuel pick up problems in his Force India.

Practice 3 saw Mark Webber top the timesheet with a time of 1.17.895 followed by Sutil with a gap of 0.353 seconds, Hamilton in third with a gap of 0.837 seconds, Alonso in fourth with a gap of 1.082 seconds and Vettel in a fifth with a gap of 1.236 seconds. Pastor Maldonado also impressed the paddock with 7th place with a gap of 1.562 seconds behind Webber. Again, the surprise of the session is Paul Di Resta managing to grab 7th place with a gap of 1.607 seconds behind Rosberg showing that he does have good pace within the Force India car. Button could only make 9th which show that McLaren may have a fight on their hands to get into Q3 and to gain some championship points today.

The session was reduced to 30 minutes due to the track organisers making changes to Turn 11. Within the session, Felipe Massa went off at Turn 1. Also, Van Der Garde, Perez and Maldonado while pushing on track for the limit, went off the circuit.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As both drivers seem to be excelling in qualifying at the moment and the momentum is with them from claiming Pole Positions in four rounds of the championship so far. Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Webber and Raikkonen also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top five places at the moment.

Button and Perez even with upgrade programme and making good and solid progress with points finishes in previous races, 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 have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

Qualifying

It looks like Mercedes is looking like the team to beat heading into the session look set to challenge Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus or Red Bull for pole position today due to current form that they have shown. But Force India or Toro Rosso 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.

There is a queue of drivers waiting to leave the pit lane on the Intermediate tyre as the threat of the wet weather hangs over the session. Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

In Q1, Sebastian Vettel tops the timesheets with a time of 1.22.318, Alonso is second with a gap of 0.906 seconds behind, Webber is third with a gap of 0.929 seconds behind, Bottas is an impressive fourth with a gap of 1.128 seconds behind and Massa is fifth with a gap of 1.417 seconds. The big surprise of the session was Hulkenberg and Vergne who finished the session in 8th and 9th place. At the end of Q1, we lose Di Resta, Pic, Grosjean, Bianchi, Chilton, and Van Der Garde.

Within the session Chilton, Sutil and Hamilton went off the track while trying to push the limit on the track.

With a queue of drivers waiting to go out, In Q2, Hamilton tops the timesheets with a time of 1.27.649, Webber was second with a gap of 0.496 seconds, Vettel was third with a gap of 0.517 seconds, Bottas again was fourth with a gap of 0.770 seconds and Rosberg was fifth with a gap of 0.771 seconds.  Vergne, Sutil and Riccardo managed to get 6th, 9th and 10th places from their teams. At the end of Q2, we lose Hulkenberg, Perez, Maldonado, Button, Guiterrez, and Massa. The battle for pole position is on…

Within the session, Sutil and Hamilton went off the track while trying to push the limit on the track. Felipe Massa has yet another crash in Turn 3 and the session had to be Red Flagged in order to pick up the debris.

In Q3, Vettel tops the timesheet with a lap time of 1.25.425 , Hamilton was second fastest with a gap of 0.087 seconds behind, Bottas was third fastest with a gap of 0.472 seconds, Rosberg was fourth fastest with a gap of 0.583, Webber was fifth fastest with a gap of 0.783 seconds, Alonso was sixth fastest with a gap of 1.079 seconds, Vergne did a brilliant lap to claim seventh fastest with a gap of 1.118 seconds, Sutil was eighth fastest with a gap of 1.923 seconds, Raikkonen was ninth fastest with a gap of 2.007 seconds and Riccardo was tenth fastest.

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

Sutil, Vergne and Bottas could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for Force India, Toro Rosso and Williams before heading to the next race in Silverstone. Will it rain tomorrow? Maybe. 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, Alonso, Raikkonen, Alonso or Hamilton? 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, the sporting committee with the sport agreed with the teams that there will be testing after races next season even though Mercedes are now going to an international tribunal on the 20th June. It would seem in my opinion that it would make sense slightly but not as well. As it would mean that the competitive teams in the sport will be spending more money onto performance on the car and leaving the others teams either battling each other or other teams struggling even more to catch up. This would then in turn would bring the sport back to square one and not having a solution for the problem and I think it needs to be resolved quickly.

It have been suggested in the paddock that there could be 21 races in the calendar for next year. There could be two new additions to the calendar which are Russia and New Jersey. This could be a problem as it could impact on the staff working in each of the teams and their families but we see what happens over the coming weeks.

Also, Daniel Riccardo has a grid penalty and is to start from the back of the grid. The F1 world is watching and waiting to see if the 2013 Canadian 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!!!!!!!!

Vettel gets off the line and has a good start and leads into the first corner. Bottas in third is under pressure from Webber and Webber passes him on the outside. Bottas is also under pressure from Alonso after losing two places at the start and Alonso manages to take 5th place. While this is going on, Webber is pressuring Rosberg for position and Vergne is pressuring Sutil for position.

Lap 2 and Vettel leads Hamilton by 2 seconds. Button is now up to 15th place. On track, Massa passes Maldonado for position. By Lap 6, Vettel leads by 4.5 seconds. A battle for 6th place between Bottas and Vergne is ongoing. And Vergne passes him for position. Sutil spins his Force India after overtaking Bottas while then touches Maldonado and his front wing.

Lap 8 and Vettel’s lead is 4.4 seconds. A battle for 8th place between Riccardo and Raikkonen is ongoing. Massa passes Perez for position. Di Resta for a few laps has experienced problems with his DRS system but reports that it is working again. The next lap sees the battle for 8th extending to Hulkenberg, Massa and Perez. At the end of the lap, Sutil pits.

Lap 10 sees Massa with help from DRS pass Hulkenberg for 10th place. Massa then tries to pass Raikkonen but cannot do so. Kimi at this stage of the race looks on track to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of points finishes, but we shall see. At the end of the lap, Pic pits. The next lap sees both Felipe and Kimi able to pass Riccardo for position on track.

Lap 13 sees Vettel leading Hamilton by 7.4 seconds. The battle between Webber and Alonso for fourth place is continuing until Webber pits at the end of the lap with a stop time of 20 seconds and rejoins the race in 5th place. Also, Riccardo and Perez pit at the end of the lap for fresh tyres. The following lap sees Rosberg and Bottas pit for fresh rubber.

Lap 15 and Vettel extends his lead to 7.7 seconds. Rosberg and Webber are battling for 4th place on the track. The stewards are also investigating the incident between Sutil and Maldonado. The next lap sees Maldonado receive a drive through penalty as a result of the incident with Sutil. Both Vettel and Alonso pit at the end of the lap for fresh tyres.

On Lap 17, Hamilton leads the Grand Prix by 7.4 seconds. At the end of the lap, Massa pits for new tyres. Lap 19 and Hamilton pits at the end of the lap with a stop time of 3.2 seconds and rejoins the race in second place, handing the lead back to Vettel. Guitterrez and Massa are battling for 13th place on track and Massa takes 12 place.

Lap 21 and Vettel leads Hamilton by 10.9 seconds. Both Bottas and Perez pass Guiterrez for position which leaves him in 15th place. The next lap sees a battle between Sutil and Massa on track on Turn 1 but Massa is unable to pass. At the end of the lap Guitterrez pits. The next lap sees Vergne pass Raikkonen. At the end of the lap, Raikkonen pits for new tyres with a pit stop time of 7.6 seconds and rejoins the race in 14th.

Lap 24 and Vettel leads by 13.8 seconds. Both Massa and Sutil pass Jenson on track for position. The next lap sees Sutil again keep Massa behind him on track and the battle still continues. Webber also tries to pass Rosberg for position but cannot do so. On Lap 27, Alonso and Webber are battling on track for position for fourth place. At the end of the next lap, Jenson pits for new tyres.

Lap 29 sees Vettel leading by 15.7 seconds. Webber again tries to pass Rosberg but cannot do so. The next lap sees Webber finally managing to pass him. On the Lap 31, Alonso is also able to pass Rosberg. At the end of the lap, Rosberg pits for fresh rubber with a time of 3.1 seconds and rejoins the race in 5th place.

Lap 33 and the lead is 17.7 seconds. Perez passes Bottas for 11th place. The next lap sees Kimi trying to pass Bottas but cannot and the battle continues. Lap 36 an incident between Van Der Garde and Webber leaves Webber’s front wing damaged while Webber was trying to lap the Caterham.

Lap 38 and Vettel leads by 16.2 seconds. Webber and Alonso are battling for 3rd place. An investigation between Van Der Garde and Webber is being investigated by the stewards. At this stage of the race Di Resta and Grosjean have NOT pitted for new tyres which shows that the tyres can last if they are managed correctly! The next lap sees Van Der Garde receiving a stop and go penalty.

Lap 42 and Vettel leads by 15.6 seconds. Alonso after many laps battling with Webber is able to pass him for position. At the end of the lap, Massa pits for new tyres with a time of 2.7 seconds and rejoins the race in 12th place. By Lap 43, Vettel has lapped every car up to seventh place which shows just how dominant he has been in the race. At the end of the lap, Grosjean pits for new tyres with a time of 3.1 seconds and rejoins the race in 11th.

Lap 46 and the lead is now 15.1 seconds. The battle for 12th between Perez and Button is ongoing on the track. At the end of the lap, Webber pits for new tyres with a time of 5.1 seconds and rejoins the race in 4th place. Lap 47 and Van Der Garde’s front wing has now gone and is limping back to the pits. At the end of the lap, Alonso pits for new tyres.

At the end of the Lap 48, Hamilton pits for fresh rubber with a time of 3.4 seconds and rejoins the race in 2nd. Again the battle for 3rd between Alonso and Webber is ongoing. At the end of Lap 49, Vettel pits for new tyres and retains his lead in the race.

Lap 51 and Vettel leads Hamilton by 18.4 seconds. Di Resta still has NOT stopped for new tyres in the race. Lap 53 Massa is able to pass Grosjean for 10th place and Grosjean pits at the end of Lap 54 for new tyres. By Lap 56, Alonso is challenging Hamilton for second place. At the end of the lap, Di Resta stops for fresh tyres with a time of 3.2 seconds and rejoins the race in 7th.

Lap 57 and Vettel leads by 16.4 seconds. Alonso is catching Hamilton for second place at a fast rate. At the end of the lap, Rosberg pits for tyres and rejoins the race in 5th place. The next lap sees Vergne pit for new tyres. Lap 59 sees Sutil not have moved on track. However by Lap 61, Massa and Raikkonen are catching him and Sutil is issued with a drive through penalty.

Lap 62 and Vettel extends his lead to 17.1 seconds. Alonso and Hamilton are still battling and Alonso is trying everything to get past Lewis but Hamilton stays calm and holds his nerve and line. The next lap sees Alonso finally able to pass Lewis and gains second place.

By Lap 64, Vettel now leads Alonso by 19.6 seconds. Raikkonen and Massa are battling for 8th place on track. However, Lewis is trying hard to regain second place back off Alonso. By Lap 66, Guiterrez smacks the barrier at Turn 1 and has to retire from the race.

Lap 69 and Vettel has a 16 second lead to Alonso. On the last lap, Massa passes Raikkonen for position.  78 laps are complete and Sebastian Vettel wins the Canadian Grand Prix with a dominant drive, Fernando Alonso finishes in second place 14.4 seconds behind Vettel, Lewis Hamilton claims the last podium finish with third 15.9 seconds behind Vettel, Webber finishes fourth 25 seconds behind Vettel, Rosberg gets fifth place 1.09.725 seconds behind Vettel, Vergne gets a creditable sixth place 1 lap behind Vettel, Di Resta with a brilliant finishes in seventh 1lap behind Vettel, Massa drove a good race to finish in eighth place 1 lap behind Vettel, Raikkonen gets ninth place and equals Michael Schumacher’s consecutive points finishes 1 lap behind Vettel and Sutil storms through the field after suffering a spin and a drive through penalty to claim the final point in tenth place 1 lap behind Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel leads the Driver’s championship with 132 points, Alonso is second with 96 points, Raikkonen is third with 88 points, Hamilton is fourth with 77 points, Webber is fifth with 69 points, Rosberg is sixth with 57 points, Massa is seventh with 49 points, Di Resta is eighth with 34 points, Grosjean is ninth with 26 points, Button is tenth with 25 points, Sutil is eleventh with 17 points, Vergne is twelfth with 13 points, Perez is thirteenth with 12 points, Riccardo is fifteenth with 7 points Hulkenberg is fourteenth with 5 points.

Red Bull lead the Constructor’s championship with 201 points, Ferrari is second with 145 points, Mercedes is third with 134 points, Lotus is fourth with 114 points, Force India is fifth with 51 points, McLaren in sixth with 37 points, Toro Rosso in seventh with 20 points and Sauber are eighth with 5 points.

Conclusion

The Grand Prix tested the drivers throughout the race with the high level of tyre degradation, just like the last race in Monaco. And now it is leaving the fans questioning the Pirelli tyres again. In the last few races, Pirelli announced that a new compound was being introduced in this race weekend. But sadly, the teams did not agree and will be tested again at Silverstone. Also, Paul Hembrey did not turn up at the Team Principals Press Conference on receiving advice from their legal team. But this weekend showed that the tyre can go far if its managed correctly. Both Grosjean and Di Resta demonstrated that it is possible to go further on the tyre. Maybe Pirelli need to look at this and see if this can be brought forward for the tyre they expect to be using at Silverstone. We shall see.

I was not happy that Jenson did not have some pace to challenge today and did not score some points for the team in 65 races. This just shows how much they are struggling at the moment. 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 top the timesheets in the sessions before the race which should encourage the team further to look into why Jenson and also Sergio are struggling with pace and grip with this year’s car. But they need to either try and make the car competitive or cut their losses and focus on 2014.

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 race, 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 Silverstone where the team are bringing on more of their upgrade programme for the car!

Lotus this weekend may not have gained another victory this weekend but they have scored some a point from Kimi 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. Despite the problems of this weekend with Grosjean especially and talk of his ability as a racing driver after the incident with Riccardo in Monaco, the Lotus team have managed to get again score some points, even though they are now third in the Constructor’s Championship.

Di Resta, Sutil and Webber all again have had solid weekends. First all of them showing top 10 form in the Practice sessions and then battling throughout the field to gain some solid points. I think that all of them are driving solidly this year and are improving their form from last year. I still cannot believe how long Di Resta went on those tyres for!

The biggest surprises this weekend for me was the 6th place of Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne. Firstly, Vergne has had an impressive weekend but he has impressed me a lot this weekend yet again. 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 Vergne this year has learnt his lessons from his first year and gap year from the sport and is working harder than ever to impress with his performances in the sport this year.

And surely, people will have noticed his performance this weekend.  He deserved to get into the points today, he really did. He is a great driver with a lot of potential and the team has shown this weekend that their performance is good, they have a car that is able to be competitive and fight for good points in the race and I think they have the potential to improve throughout the season.  And I think they could be the dark horse of the midfield teams this team and could surprise us all in the up and coming races.

Lewis again has impressed me (even though I am a massive Jenson fan!). Ever since leaving for McLaren, not only has he been able to out-qualify his team mate but he has been able to also consistently gain some good points for the Mercedes team. I believe that Lewis is carrying on the form he has shown from the latter half of the 2012 season and is driving solidly at the moment. And I think that Lewis drove solidly despite not being able to keep Alonso behind him deserved to get some decent points today despite of what is going on in the paddock with his team.

Alonso also drove solidly this weekend to claim second place. Even though he only managed to qualify in sixth place on Saturday, I believe that he had the potential to challenge Vettel for the win if he qualified further up the grid. Alonso and Ferrari need to keep working on their qualifying pace as they have a really good car this year and could challenge Vettel if this problem was rectified.

All that is left to say about this race is that Vettel was a best driver on the field today. His driving unfortunately was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. 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 qualifying performance is also consistent and reliable, while it seems they have improved their race pace today. And yet again Vettel extends his lead into the championship.

Will Vettel be able to win at Silverstone? We shall see…

My next post will be the latest F1 News of the week which will be on the blog by the end of next weekend.

Track Preview: Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal

All rights reserved to www.formula1.com

All rights reserved to http://www.formula1.com

Nico Rosberg wins his home race in Monaco, Sebastian Vettel drives to second place and Mark Webber claims the final place on the podium after a good drive. 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 people are still wishing that the Mercedes or Vettel still do not have the pace in qualifying…

The Canadian Grand Prix is quite challenging for the teams and the drivers as it is only used when the Grand Prix is on every year. The circuit because of that as low grip but has a very high track evolution over the weekend. It is also a high energy braking circuit that tests the brakes and its cooling and braking and braking stability is crucial for a good result here. Traction out of the chicanes and also not too much downforce will also help the drivers to get a good result around this tricky track.

And here we go guys with seventh race of the Formula One season, the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal…

Facts and Figures

  • Montreal has hosted the Grand Prix in Canada since 1961, even though the first Formula One race was in 1967.
  • Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver to win the Grand Prix with seven wins.
  • Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver currently to win the Grand Prix with three wins.
  • McLaren and Ferrari are the most successful constructors to win the Grand Prix with thirteen wins each.
  • Race distance: 305.27km (189.69 miles)
  • Number of turns:14
  • Top speed: 315kph
  • Lap record: Rubens Barrichello- Ferrari (2004)- 1.13.622
  • Winners from pole 14/33 (42%)
  • Winners from last 5 Canadian Grand Prix: 2007- Lewis Hamilton, 2008-Robert Kubica, 2010-Lewis Hamilton, 2011-Jenson Button, 2012-Lewis Hamilton

My top 5 Canadian Grand Prix

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

  1. 2007 Canadian Grand Prix- Lewis Hamilton wins his first ever Grand Prix victory ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Alexander Wurz. Just a great drive from Lewis! 🙂 
  2. 2012 Canadian Grand Prix- Lewis Hamilton wins the race ahead of Grosjean and Perez. Safety car spices the race up. A brilliant drive from Lewis to win his third Canadian Grand Prix.
  3. 2008 Canadian Grand Prix- Robert Kubica wins the race ahead of his team mate Nick Heidfeld and David Coulthard. Hamilton failed to finish the race due to an incident with Kimi Raikkonen in the pitlane. It was to be BMW-Sauber’s only 1-2 win before pulling out of the sport in 2009. 
  4. 1999 Canadian Grand Prix- Mika Hakkinen wins the race ahead of Fisichella and Irvine. Safety car was deployed four times during the race. Zonta, Schumacher and Hill hit the ‘Wall of Champions’. Just a great drive by Mika. [No video was avaliable]
  5. 2011 Canadian Grand Prix- Jenson Button wins the race ahead of Vettel and Webber. What a race. One of the longest races in history and one of the longest races broadcast in history. Vettel starts the race in the lead behind the safety car. Lap 26 saw the race red flagged for 2 hours due to heavy rain on the track. Jenson and Lewis come together on the track, which pushes Jenson right to the back of the grid. Jenson storms through the field. On the final lap, Vettel makes a mistake and Jenson wins the race. This race is one the best I have ever seen. I was so happy for JB. I had tears in my eyes. Just epic. 

If the Canadian Grand Prix from last year is anything to go by from last year, we look set to witness a great race next weekend. Will Fernando be able to challenge Red Bull and Lotus to win again and gain the championship lead? Will Red Bull be able to achieve pole position and try to win the race Will Rosberg, Raikkonen, 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) 2.45pm and 6.45pm [Replays throughout Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 2.45pm and 5.00pm [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 5.30pm
  • BBC- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 3.45pm and 7.00pm, Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 2.55pm and 5pm, Sunday (Race) 6.15pm

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

F1 News 27th May-3rd June 2013

This week sees Rosberg’s Monaco Grand Prix victory confirmed, Mercedes could be sanctioned after doing a 1,000km test with Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix, ‘tyre gate’ is still ongoing, Lotus not worrying about Grosjean, Hanhook maybe testing a tyre for 2014, Williams announcing Mercedes engines for next year and could Vettel be retiring in 5 years…

Read on my friends….

Rosberg’s Victory is confirmed

After Ferrari and Red Bull lodged a formal protest against Mercedes regarding their 1,000km test with Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix, it has been confirmed that Nico Rosberg’s victory at Monaco will stand and will not be protested.

That is great news for Rosberg, Mercedes and his fans. Nico drove a great race and deserved the victory exactly 30 years after his Dad Keke won at Monaco!

10 Place Grid Penalty for Grosjean

Due to his part in the incident with Toro Rosso’s Daniel Riccardo, Romain Grosjean will receive a 10 place grid penalty in the Canadian Grand Prix. This again has put Grosjean in the spotlight regarding his abilities in his driver and if he deserves his place within the sport. This brings me onto the next piece of news surrounding Grosjean…

‘We are not worried about Grosjean’- Boullier

After the Monaco Grand Prix, Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier has stated that he is not worried about Grosjean at this stage of the season. Over the weekend, Grosjean’s abilities as a driver was questioned yet again even though he has received a 10 grid place penalty for his incident with Riccardo in the race.

Boullier has stated that he will be sitting down with Grosjean and discussing his performance from the Monaco Grand Prix and he will be ‘going through the weekend, showing that he had the pace and also making sure that he’s back under control like at the beginning of the season…’ Bouiller has also said publically at this stage Lotus will not be bringing in their reserve driver Davide Valsecchi at this stage of the season.

Raikkonen speaks out against Perez

Kimi Raikkonen after the Monaco GP was very vocal about expressing his views on McLaren driver Sergio Perez. Kimi goes on to state that ‘…the one mistake and move from Perez made him lose ground.’ Kimi goes further by saying that ‘…Perez hit me from behind and it’s not the first time he’s hit someone…’

You cannot really blame Kimi for thinking this as Perez today not only showed that he can race (his move on Alonso was really good!) but also that by defending his position his moves can be seen as ‘dirty’ (such as the battle between himself and Jenson in Bahrain) and unsafe.  Kimi has also stated that ‘he should be punched in the face’. I’m closely watching Perez in the next few races…

‘We didn’t know anything’

It has emerged that after the Monaco GP that Lotus and Force India were not approached to do a tyre test after the Spanish Grand Prix by Pirelli.

The FIA after the race announced that Mercedes and Pirelli could be going to an International tribunal regarding this matter [I call it test-gate!]. FIA has found no evidence from the other teams that were apparently approached by Pirelli to do this test.

Lotus Team Boss Eric Bouiller has announced that he is ‘not happy’ with the incident as he feels that it has breached the sporting and testing regulations and they have ‘gained an advantage’ from the test. This brings me onto the next news item…

‘Mercedes’s test was worth a second’-Marko

Red Bull’s Helmut Marko has publically spoke out about the Mercedes test with Pirelli. He believes from talking to Red Bull’s Technical Director Adrian Newey that Mercedes ‘have gained nearly a second’ from the test. He also believes that the current regulations that are in place cannot be ‘overridden’ and state clearly when you can test within the season. And he also believes that there will be a hearing on the matter just like where was on ‘spy gate’ in 2007.

Which brings onto the next point on ‘test gate’…

Pirelli speak out about ‘test gate’ and how it didn’t help Mercedes

Pirelli have denied their Barcelona tyre test favoured Mercedes over the other Formula 1 teams, reiterating that the rubber used was their 2014 compound. The controversy which swept through the Monaco paddock last Sunday morning has overshadowed Nico Rosberg’s victory in Monte Carlo after it emerged the Silver Arrows had completed 1000km of testing over three days following the Spanish GP.

In a statement released on Friday, the Italian manufacturer said: ‘Pirelli, in development testing with teams carried out in 2013, has not favoured any teams and, as always, acted professionally, with transparency and in absolute good faith.

‘The tyres used were not from the current championship but belonged to a range of products still being developed in view of an eventual renewal of the supply contract. Further, none of the tests were carried for the purpose of enhancing specific cars, but only to test tyre solutions for future championships.

‘The use of the car utilised by Mercedes, in particular, was the result of direct communication between FIA and the team itself. Pirelli did not ask in any way that a 2013 car be used: not of Mercedes nor FIA nor the teams which, during the year, were offered the opportunity of participating in tests for the development of tyres for 2014.

‘With regard to the rules which govern its conduct, the company has always respected the contractual limits which bind it to the FIA, teams and championship’s organizers, and has always respected the principles of sporting loyalty.

‘The tests were conducted in observance of the contract between Pirelli and FIA, which gives the supplier the possibility of carrying out tests for the development of tyres with each team of up to 1,000 kilometres, without specifying the type of car to be used, nor sanctioning the simultaneous presence of all the teams for the running of the tests.

‘In this regard, Pirelli has since 2010 made it clear that it is neither possible nor useful to carry out this type of test with all the teams simultaneously. In fact, this type of testing aimed at technological development and researching new solutions, involves many tyres of different types which must be tested with a single car at a time.

‘Already in March 2012, Pirelli sent an email to all the teams, FIA and FOM, inviting the teams to indicate their availability for testing for the development of tyres for 2013. Further, the company explained that it was necessary to conduct the tests with the teams’ cars because it did not have a suitable one of its own (Pirelli has the use of an adapted 2010 Renault and, before that, a 2009 Toyota).

‘The invitation was subsequently repeated in various official contexts and repeated to some teams last March for the development of tyres for 2014.

‘This test, as always, carried out with a single compound never used in a championship, regarded structures not in use in the current season and not destined to be used later during the 2013 season. The tyre tests were conducted “in the dark”, which means that the teams had no information on which specifications were being tested or about the goal of the testing; nor did they receive any type of information afterwards.

‘Further, the tests did not regard delamination in any way, as that problem was dealt with and resolved by Pirelli’s technicians through laboratory tests, with the support of data gathered during the first races of the season.

‘Pirelli always asked for representative cars, that is, with performances comparable to those of the cars being used in the championship underway, without ever referring to those effectively used in the 2013 races.

‘The Barcelona test was conducted in cooperation with Mercedes between May 15 and May 17, 2013. The teams made available one car and two first tier drivers, who alternated at the wheel on different days.

‘The trials were done with a base compound, not in use this year, and 12 different structures which had never been used in 2013, only one of which with Kevlar. The team did not obtain any advantage with regard to knowledge of the behaviour of the tyres in use in the current championship.

‘The type of car used during the tests was the subject of direct discussions between Mercedes and FIA, as shown in the exchange of emails between the team and Pirelli. In particular, Mercedes informed Pirelli that its 2011 car could not be used and that it had already contacted FIA regarding the use of the 2013 car.

‘There is no doubt that the questions relating to the vehicle were the exclusive domain of the team and that Pirelli was excluded from these questions (notwithstanding Pirelli’s need, from a technical point of view, to have a representative car in terms of impact on the performance of the tyres).

‘To confirm that this was an ordinary development test and not aimed at specific interventions, Pirelli made no specific requests about the drivers or about the tyre of Mercedes staff that would be present during the tests and had fielded its normal team for development testing.’

‘Tyre gate continues…

New Pirelli tyre NOT being raced at Canadian Grand Prix

Pirelli have denied their decision to restrict the use of their new tyres to Friday’s practice sessions at the Canadian GP is related to the ongoing ‘Testgate’ furore.

In the wake of the backlash triggered by the Spanish GP featuring over 80 pit-stops, F1’s tyre supplier revealed their intention to produce beefed-up compounds, featuring ‘elements of the structure from last year’, in Canada.

However, having already been warned by the FIA that the regulations only permitted changes made for safety reasons, the Italian company has now confirmed their amended compounds will just be used in the Friday practice sessions at next week’s Canadian GP.

Nevertheless, Pirelli remain hopeful that their new tyres will be used in the British GP at the end of next month.”We’ll be bringing two sets per team for Friday practice with a view to implementing the new rear tyres in Silverstone,” a spokesperson has told Autosport. “As the regulations allow for this and for reasons of sporting equity, we think that this is the best way forward.”

Pirelli, who are still yet to sign a deal to continue as F1’s sole tyre supplier in 2014, have endured a crisis-filled month following the revelation that Mercedes ran a secret three-day test at Barcelona after the Spanish GP.

However, the news that the revamped compounds will only be used in practice in Canada should serve to take some of the sting out of the controversy. Had Mercedes prospered in Montreal while running the new tyres then their success would have been readily attributed to the extra running they enjoyed in Barcelona even though it is unclear which tyres were used during the three-day event.

I believe that this development might avoid the Canadian GP being run under another protest, even though it has been suggested that all the teams did not want to run the tyre over the weekend. I sense that this will be going on for quite some time!

FIA looking into a Ferrari Test

Well, surprise, surprise. The FIA are looking further into a test between the Bahrain and Spanish Grand Prix.

The difference between the two, however, is that the Ferrari test was conducted with a two-year-old car. Their belief is that, because the Mercedes test used a 2013 car, then they have breached the FIA’s Sporting Regulations.

However, a statement released on the governing body’s website on Friday evening confirmed that Ferrari too have been dragged into the row. It read: ‘The FIA has asked Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 and Scuderia Ferrari Team which have taken part in tyre tests in the 2013 season to reply to a disciplinary inquiry in pursuance of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules.

‘This follows the Stewards’ Report from the Monaco Grand Prix and represents supplementary information required by the FIA in the light of the replies received from Pirelli, who were asked for clarifications on Tuesday May 28th.’

Oh deary me…

Button believes Mercedes will not get a penalty

Jenson Button expects Mercedes to merely suffer a ‘slapped wrist’ for their part in ‘Testgate’ and admits Nico Rosberg probably would have won at Monaco even without the additional running.

The Silver Arrows are current under investigation after Red Bull and Ferrari both lodged complaints with the FIA after it emerged that the German-marque had completed 1000km of testing with Pirelli over three days at the Circuit de Catalunya following the Spanish GP.

In-season testing is banned under the Sporting Regulations, but both Pirelli and Mercedes maintain they did nothing wrong. “Mercedes have done a great job and even without that tyre test I think they would have won the race,” Button was quoted by The Guardian.

“I think the teams that protested are more surprised that it happened. I can’t see the result changing. I don’t know what they can do, if anything at all. Maybe a slapped wrist. I think the teams that protested just wanted clarification because we’d all love to do 1,000km to understand [the tyres] a bit more because we’re all so limited on testing.”

Toro Rosso will have Renault engines for 2014

It has been announced this week that Toro Rosso will be switching to Renault engines for 2014. Toro Rosso have announced their decision earlier than planned has they need to ‘finalise’ plans as quickly as possible. There are doubts over Lotus and Williams as Renault have announced that they want to ‘reduce’ clients as early as next year.

Williams will have Mercedes engines for 2014

Williams have confirmed their deal with Mercedes-Benz that will see the German manufacturer supply engines from the 2014 season onwards.

The much-anticipated ‘long-term’ partnership coincides with next season’s rule changes that will see the introduction of 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged engines and a greater reliance on energy recovery systems.

Mercedes will supply both to Williams. However, the team will continue to build their own transmission systems.

“I’m delighted to announce our new association with Mercedes-Benz for the 2014 Formula One season and beyond,” Team Principal Sir Frank Williams said.

“Mercedes-Benz has been one of the sport’s most successful engine suppliers and we believe that they will have an extremely competitive engine package.”

The announcement signals the end of Williams’ two-year deal with Renault. The partnership, which yielded five world constructors’ titles in the 1990s, brought the team their first victory in eight seasons at last year’s Spanish GP.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Renault for their continued hard work since we renewed our engine partnership at the beginning of the 2012 season,” Williams added.

“We have enjoyed a strong relationship that has resulted in much success over the years, including powering us to winning ways once again last year at the Spanish Grand Prix.”

Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams said: “The announcement of this partnership is exciting news for Williams. Securing the right engine supply partnership is a key milestone in the implementation of our strategy for long term success.”

The backdrop for the rule change is an attempt to improve the efficiency of F1 cars. They will have to complete races with a fuel load of just 100kg – the current figure is around 150kg – with additional power coming from an Energy Recovery System (ERS).

The ERS is expected to provide ten times more power than the KERS systems F1 cars currently use. Besides KERS, the new system will also recovery energy via the exhaust turbine.

Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes AMG HPP, said: “Williams is one of the sport’s iconic names and we are very excited to be working together towards a successful future under the new regulations.

“A further positive is that this new agreement provides Mercedes-Benz with the long-term stability of supplying our works team and at least two partners from the 2015 season onwards, following the conclusion of our relationship with McLaren at the end of next season.”

With Force India also running Mercedes power in 2014, the deal means that they will supply four teams in all, although McLaren switch to Honda the following year.

Mercedes’ Executive Director Toto Wolff, who held a similar position at Williams until the start of this year, added: “It is a win-win situation for both HPP and Williams, which will ensure HPP is able to supply at least three teams on a long-term basis under the new regulations and could open interesting new perspectives for technology transfer.

“We look forward to enjoying much success together over the coming years.”

For their part, Renault Sport F1 President Jean-Michel Jalinier said: “We would like to thank Williams for the warmth it has extended to Renault over the last two years and wish the team the very best for the future.

“We will continue to actively work with the team until the Brazilian Grand Prix in November to end the second incarnation of the partnership with results that do justice to its reputation.”

Renault has 2014 deals confirmed with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, although Caterham and Lotus are both expected to renew their agreements soon. In a statement released on Thursday, the French manufacturer said that it ‘would supply up to five teams if there was a requirement to do so, but this would not make sense economically or be ideal for our resources.

‘Three, or up to four, teams is the ideal for us so the departure of Williams normalizes the situation and makes things much clearer from our side. ‘We will announce the next team within a matter of days, and then confirm the final stage before the end of June. We remain incredibly motivated about the challenge of the 2014 engines.’

Vettel retiring in 5 years?

World Champion Sebastian Vettel has said that he may quit Formula One in 5 years time. The 25-year-old made the remarks in German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag in response to a question about whether he would leave Red Bull one day.

Vettel, who has won the last three titles made it clear he was talking in  the abstract.

“I can’t say. Perhaps I will no longer be driving in five years’ time because I no longer have the urge to,”he said.  “Perhaps I will compete for another team in five years because I feel ready for a fresh challenge. Every human being evolves as time goes by, priorities shift. Right now I feel completely at ease here and I could not imagine driving anywhere else. The car is quick, the team does well – I see no reason to leave. But that does not automatically mean I will stay forever.”

 

Vettel has long been linked to a move to Ferrari but any possibility of a move seems some years away.Red Bull have publically said that he is contracted to the end of 2014 and it is believed he has actually signed until 2015 and has options to stay with the team beyond that.

 

A more immediate question for Red Bull is the identity of his team-mate in 2014.

Vettel has had a tempestuous relationship with Webber,  his colleague since the German joined the team in 2009, and their relationship took a turn for the worse when Vettel ignored team orders not to pass Webber to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Although Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has said Webber can stay if he wants, it is considered likely that the 36-year-old will leave the team – and probably F1 altogether – at the end of the season.

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen – one of Vettel’s two main title rivals this year, along with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso – have been linked with the team. Asked whether he would like the Finn as his team-mate, Vettel said: “I don’t know how realistic that is. But I get along very well with him.”

The two men are said to be friends and occasionally meet up socially, including to play badminton. But asked if an F1 driver could be friends with his team-mate, Vettel said: “Well, friends is perhaps a bit exaggerated. “We see each other at races and – time permitting – also between the events. We are both uncomplicated, straightforward, honest. We get along fine. But true friends, people you trust with everything, those do not exist in Formula 1.”

What a thought that would be eh guys!

 

Hankook- Coming into the sport in 2014?

Hankook will not be bidding to replace Pirelli should the Italian tyre manufacturer not renew its Formula One contract.Pirelli are out of contract at the end of this season and although the company has spoken of a desire to continue, recent events could change the picture. Should that happen, Hankook won’t be vying to replace them.

“For 2014, it’s completely impossible not only because of the lack of tyre development time,” competition engineer Michael Eckert told Autosport. “Even if Hankook wants to take three, four, five years to jump into Formula 1 as a supplier, the lack of testing opportunities would make it impossible.

“With the current cars and drivers, it’s impossible [to test] so you need to find a suitable number of vehicles and drivers that would allow you to get some reliable feedback.”

He added that uncertain regulations in the long-term would also put the company of entering Formula One.

“Even if we started this year with the first tyre test, it would take easily three years until you can finish a safe and performing F1 tyre. Now the regulations are changing; engine formula, chassis, and aerodynamics… nobody even knows about the dimensions of the tyres for 2014 – they are still not fixed. It’s not 100 per cent certain they’ll continue with 13-inch tyres. It might be 15 or even 1. It could happen in the next five years that F1 cars are on 18-inch tyres.”

Eckert insisted that a presence in Formula One is not the goal, although that doesn’t mean Hankook won’t consider it in the future.

“It’s not obligatory that F1 has to be the final destination series,” he said. “From an engineering point of view, F1 is the greatest challenge, but from a financial point of view it is a huge investment.

“You have to be ready with all aspects of your company, not only with the tyre itself but the infrastructure regarding the logistics. Currently, all the Hankook tyre production is in Korea and it would be a big help to have a European base like Pirelli does with Turkey. We are not ready to jump into Formula 1 for 2014, it’s not our goal short-term. Certainly we will follow up on it and we are interested in new opportunities from a business point of view and also, from a branding point of view, to go into new market.’

And that’s all the F1 News for this week. My next blog post will be a preview of the Canadian Grand Prix which will be on the blog before Practice 1 on Thursday!

2013 Monaco Grand Prix Race Weekend Review

Fernando Alonso wins his home race in Spain, Kimi Raikkonen with a stunning drive to second place and Felipe Massa claims the final place on the podium after a good drive. 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 people are still wishing that Sebastian Vettel still does not have the pace with his Red Bull in qualifying…

Before heading to Spain, Mclaren’s Paddy Lowe has left the team and his contract with the team earlier than planned to go to the Mercedes AMG F1 Team. For McLaren, Paddy will be missed by the team and the drivers for his input and dedication. But never the less, Lowe will be missed by McLaren massively and will Lowe’s departure affect the team throughout the season? We shall only see.

Also, the tyre debate [I called it tyre-gate] that is ongoing with Pirelli from the Spanish Grand Prix does not look like being stopped. As I mentioned in my F1 News piece last week on the blog, many pundits, fans, teams, drivers or anyone associated in the sport has spoken out about the situation. As I discussed last week, Pirelli is now making tyre changes to the compound as soon as Canadian Grand Prix. This is itself has been debated heavily by everyone within the sport and we’ll see how this situation develops throughout the coming weeks.

In terms of the circuit, The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most unique, challenging and demanding in terms of downforce and concentration for the teams yet most exciting circuits not only in motorsport but also on the Formula One calendar. This is one of the two circuits on the calendar that have a special aero package needed for the cars to compete here. The drivers and engineers know that you need good brake cooling and there are no room for mistakes around here.

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? Have McLaren and Williams made a significant step forward with their upgrades in their fight to get back to the front?

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 Canada where step 3 of their 3 step upgrade programme 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 Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes look like the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management 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 1.16.195 followed closely by Alonso with a gap of 0.087 seconds, Grosjean in a fantastic third with a gap of 0.185 seconds, Massa in fourth with a gap of 0.199 seconds and Hamilton with a gap of 0.274 seconds. Pastor Maldonado impressed the paddock by topping the timesheets in 6th place with a gap of 0.798 seconds behind Rosberg. The McLarens of Button and Perez could only manage 8th for Jenson and Sergio managed 9th place. The Red Bull’s of Webber and Vettel could only manage 7th and 10th places. The shock of the session was Raikkonen only managing to gain 11th place and Paul Di Resta only getting 12th place.

Within Practice 1, the drivers were pushing the limits of the street circuit. Grosjean, Guiterrez, Hamilton and Webber experienced lock ups while pushing the limit. Meanwhile Bianchi and Sutil both at Turn 1 managed to hit the barriers while pushing for the limit [Sutil broke off an endplate on the rear wing]. Meanwhile, Gideo Van Der Garde was fined for speeding in the pitlane.

Practice 2 saw Nico Rosberg again top the timesheets with a time of 1.14.759 followed by Hamilton with a gap of 0.318 seconds, Alonso in third with a gap of 0.437 seconds, Massa in fourth with a gap of 0.519 seconds and Webber in fifth with a gap of 0.645 seconds. Paul Di Resta again managed to achieve a top 10 finish with a 10th  place for Paul with a gap of 1.287 seconds behind Rosberg showing that Force India may have the pace to get some good championship points this weekend. Button and Perez could only manage 8th and 12th places indicating that both maybe do not have the pace needed to have a strong weekend, but could be in the hunt for some much needed points for the team and to carry on working through their upgrade programme.

Practice 2 sees more incidents and spinning throughout the session. Romain Grosjean while pushing the limit smacked into the barrier at the first corner while carrying too much speed and causing some damage to his Lotus. Also, Alonso at Racasse while on a flying lap missed Hulkenberg on track luckily.

Practice 3 saw Nico Rosberg again top the timesheet with a time of 1.14.378 followed by Grosjean with a gap of 0.661 seconds, Vettel in third with a gap of 0.883 seconds, Alonso in fourth with a gap of 0.908 seconds and Hamilton in a fifth with a gap of 0.933 seconds. Pastor Maldonado also impressed the paddock with 9th place with a gap of 1.483 seconds behind Rosberg. Again, the surprise of the session is Paul Di Resta managing to grab 8th place with a gap of 1.216 seconds behind Rosberg showing that he does have good pace within the Force India car. The McLarens of Perez and Button could only make 11th and 12th places, which show that McLaren may have a fight on their hands to get into Q3 and to gain some championship points today.

Within the session, both Massa and Grosjean have crashed into the first corner again after trying to push the limit on the circuit. Will Massa and Grosjean be able to make qualifying? We shall see. Also, Sutil again into Mirabeau corner went into the barrier, causing some damage on his Force India. Meanwhile, Raikkonen himself going into Mirabeau corner lock up his right front tyre.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As both drivers seem to be excelling in qualifying at the moment and the momentum is with them from claiming Pole Positions in three rounds of the championship so far and for topping the timesheets in all three sessions this weekend.  Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Webber and Raikkonen also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top five places at the moment.

Button and Perez even with the second step of their 3 step upgrade programme and making good and solid progress with points finishes in previous races, 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 have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

Qualifying

Before heading into qualifying, Felipe Massa has a five place grid penalty for changing his gearbox after experiencing damage during Practice 3. But the main concerns heading into the session is will Massa and even Grosjean be able to make the qualifying session after the damage they suffered within Practice 3? We shall see.

It looks like Mercedes is looking like the team to beat heading into the session look set to challenge Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus or Red Bull for pole position today. But Force India or Toro Rosso 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.

There is a queue of drivers waiting to leave the pit lane on the Intermediate tyre as the threat of the wet weather hangs over the session. Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

In Q1, Pastor Maldonado in his Williams with a quick time, Vergne is second with a gap of 0.247 seconds behind, Alonso is third with a gap of 0.260 seconds behind, Grosjean is fourth with a gap of 0.286 seconds behind and Button is fifth with a gap of 0.292 seconds. The big surprises of the session was Bottas who finished the session in 9th place, Van Der Garde making Q2 for the first time this season and Paul Di Resta who did not make Q2 since Belgium 2010. At the end of Q1, we lose Di Resta, Pic, Guiterrez, Chilton, Bianchi, and Massa.

Within the session, Jules Bianchi while trying to start his programme to do a flying lap had problems with air box in his Marussia that caused him to stall his car and forcing him to stop.

In Q2,Vettel tops the timesheets with a time of 1.15.988, Raikkonen was second with a gap of 0.052 seconds, Rosberg was third with a gap of 0.147 seconds, Hamilton was fourth with a gap of 0.277 seconds and Alonso was fifth with a gap of 0.522 seconds.  Button and Perez managed to get 7th and 10th place for McLaren. Sutil and Vergne both set brilliant times to gain 6th and 9th places. At the end of Q2, we lose Hulkenberg, Riccardo, Grosjean, Bottas, Van Der Garde, and Maldonado. The battle for pole position is on…

In Q3, Rosberg tops the timesheet and claims a brilliant pole position with a stonker of a lap with a time of 1.13.876 , Hamilton was second fastest with a gap of 0.091 seconds, Vettel was third fastest with a gap of 0.104 seconds, Webber was fourth fastest with a gap of 0.395, Raikkonen was fifth fastest with a gap of 0.946 seconds, Alonso was sixth fastest with a gap of 0.948 seconds, Perez did a brilliant lap to claim seventh fastest with a gap of 1.262 seconds, Sutil was eighth fastest with a gap of 1.507 seconds, Button was ninth fastest with a gap of 1.771 seconds and Vergne was tenth fastest.

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

Sutil, Button, Vergne and Perez could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for Force India, Toro Rosso and McLaren before heading to the next race in Monaco. 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, Alonso, Raikkonen, Alonso or Hamilton? 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, a formal protest has been lodged by Red Bull and Ferrari against the Mercedes team regarding the team doing a 1,000km tyre test with Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix. Ferrari and Red Bull believe that Mercedes has broken racing and testing regulations. Meanwhile, the Mercedes team have publically stated that this test was signed off by the FIA and they have the documentation to prove this claim. We shall see what happens at the end of the Grand Prix.

Also, Max Chilton has a grid penalty and is to start from the back of the grid. The F1 world is watching and waiting to see if the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix will live up to expectations and who will be the winner? Here we go…

During the formation lap, Jules Bianchi in his Marussia has yet again got problems with his car and has to start the race from the pitlane.  All 22 drivers are lined up on their grid positions, five red lights and its GO!!!!!!!!

Rosberg gets off the line and covers Hamilton and Vettel to keep his position and leads into the first corner. Hamilton did try and overtake Rosberg for the lead of the Grand Prix but just could not get past. While this is going on, Vettel has made a cracking start off the line and tries to take Hamilton for second place before the first corner but can’t get past.

Meanwhile further down the field, a battle between Button, Perez and Sutil is ongoing around Mirabeau (especially between Jenson and Sergio just like in Bahrain). Charles Pic in his Caterham has contact at the Lowes hairpin with another car. Also a battle between Vergne, Bottas and Di Resta is ongoing. Pastor Maldonado in his Williams pits at the end of the lap. Lap 2 sees Rosberg leading the race by 1.2 second ahead of Hamilton. On track, Vettel is still trying to pass Hamilton. At the end of the lap, Van Der Garde pits his Caterham due to his front wing being damaged.

The next lap sees a battle ongoing for fourth place between Webber, Raikkonen and Alonso hotting up on track. By Lap 6, Rosberg is still maintaining his lead to Hamilton by 1.2 seconds. At this stage of the race, the top 12 are covered by 10.2 seconds, which could mean that all the drivers seem to be pacing themselves in this race. Over Team Radio at Marussia, it seems that Max Chilton has been asked by the team to speed up his pace in the race as this seems to be affecting Bianchi who looks to be going faster at this stage in the race and cannot get past.

Lap 7 sees Rosberg lead by 1.1 seconds away from Lewis. On track, Perez has run off two sections of the track in order to keep his team-mate behind him. At the end of the lap, Bottas pits his Williams for new tyres. By Lap 8, Raikkonen is now seen to be gaining on Mark Webber.

Lap 9 sees Rosberg leading by 1.9 seconds. Towards the end of the lap, Pic is limping his way to the pit lane and experiences an engine fire near the pit lane entrance that may cause the safety car to come out. At the end of the lap, Di Resta pits for new tyres, just in case the safety car does come out regarding Pic.

By Lap 11, a battle for sixth place is ongoing on the track between Alonso, Button and Perez. Rosberg is leading the race by 1.5 seconds. Three laps later, the battle for sixth place is the battle to watch on track. Alonso, Button, Perez, Sutil, Vergne and Hulkenberg are trying hard to attack for the position, yet defend their current position on track.

Lap 18 and Rosberg has a 2.4 second gap to his team mate. By Lap 22, the lap has decreased to 2 seconds to Hamilton. At this stage of the race, 10.9 seconds covers the top 7 drivers, which would seem that the drivers are watching and managing their tyres. At the end of the lap, Riccardo pits for new tyres. On Lap 23, Chilton also pits for new tyres.

Lap 25 sees Rosberg leading the race by 2.2 seconds. At the end of the lap, Webber and Van Der Garde pit for new tyres. The next lap sees Paul Di Resta make a cracking move on Felipe Massa for 15th place. At the end of the lap, Massa, JB and Raikkonen pit for new tyres. By the end of Lap 27, Hulkenberg also pits for new tyres.

Lap 28 and Rosberg has a 2.8 second lead. Di Resta again makes a cracking move on Guiterrez for 13th place. At the end of the lap both Guiterrez and Alonso pit for fresh rubber. The next lap sees a battle for 8th place on track between Raikkonen and Alonso taking place. At the end of the lap, Vergne and Perez pit for some fresh new rubber.

Lap 30 and Felipe Massa has again gone off at Sainte Devote with the same carbon copy accident that he experienced in Practice 3 on Saturday. While trying to brake, the front locks up and slams him into the barrier forcing the safety car to be deployed. At the end of the lap, Maldonado, Grosjean and Sutil pit for new tyres. The next lap sees Rosberg and Hamilton make their pitstops and rejoining the race back in 1st and 4th places. Lap 35 sees Van Der Garde unlapping himself behind the Safety Car. At the end of the lap, Bianchi pits for new tyres.

Lap 38 and the safety car is going in at the end of this lap. Lap 39 and we are back RACING!!! Rosberg has a 0.9 second gap to Vettel. On track, Hamilton tries to pass Webber for position and cannot make it stick. Also, Alonso is also trying to pass Raikkonen but cannot do so. By the next lap, a battle for 5th place is ongoing between Raikkonen, Alonso and Button.

By Lap 42, Rosberg is leading Vettel by 1.6 seconds. Alonso while trying to pass Button manages to touch him, but Perez while this is going on manages to pass his team mate for position. Lap 44 sees Perez on track trying to pass Alonso for position and Alonso uses the escape route to defend his position.

Lap 45 sees Rosberg leading by 2 seconds. On track, Vettel and Webber are battling for second place. Maldonado and Chilton on track get involved into an accident that throws Maldonado straight into the barriers and Chilton loses his front wing. This accident has left the barrier in need of repair and the FIA have no choice but to stop the race until the barrier is fixed on Lap 46. Meanwhile, Maldonado and Chilton’s accident is currently being investigated by the stewards. Also, the incident between Perez and Alonso on Lap 44 has been resolved and Alonso is to hand the place back to Perez as soon as the race is underway again.

After a break, the racing begins again on Lap 47. Perez has now been allowed past Alonso to claim the place he should have been in. By Lap 48, Chilton has been given a drive through penalty for his part in the incident with Maldonado. Lap 49 and Rosberg is leading the race by 0.5 seconds. On track, Alonso is trying to regain the place he had to give back to Perez but cannot do so.

Lap 50 and on track the battle for 5th is hotting up. Raikkonen, Perez, Alonso, Button and Sutil are battling on track closely together for this position. The next lap sees Hamilton again trying Webber for third place into Turn 1 but cannot do so. Lap 52 sees Button losing a place on track to Sutil.

Lap 53 and Rosberg has increased his lead to 2 seconds ahead of Vettel. By Lap 55, the gap has increased to 2.5 seconds. On track, Sutil is trying to get past Alonso. On Lap 57, Sutil manages to make a brilliant move on Alonso to take seven place in the race.

Lap 60 sees Rosberg leading by 3.4 seconds. On track, Bianchi’s problems continue with a lock up. Two laps later, Rosberg has increased his lead by 3.9 seconds. An incident between Romain Grosjean and Daniel Riccardo has taken place leaving significant damage to both cars. The safety car has been deployed again to let the marshalls get rid of the debris. By the end of the lap, Grosjean pits to fix the damage on his Lotus. By Lap 65, the incident is under investigation from the stewards.

Lap 67 and we are RACING again. Battles between Sutil and Alonso and Di Resta and Vergne are taking place. Lap 69 and Rosberg is leading by 1.8 seconds. An incident between Perez and Raikkonen results in front wing damage to Raikkonen’s Lotus and throws Perez into the barrier. Lap 70 and Raikkonen after the incident is suffering a puncture and will have to pit. And Button is able to pass Alonso on track.

Lap 72 and Rosberg leads by 2.5 seconds. At this stage of the race, 4 seconds covers the top 4 drivers. The next lap sees Button try and pass Sutil for position on track but cannot do so. Lap 74 and Sutil while trying to pass Perez makes contact and the contact is enough for Perez to have to retire his McLaren.

Lap 75 and Rosberg has a 4.4 second lead to Vettel. The battle for second hots up between Vettel, Webber and Hamilton. A lap later, another battle on track for 7th place is hotting up between Alonso, Vergne and Di Resta. 78 laps are complete and Nico Rosberg wins the Monaco Grand Prix exactly 30 years after his Dad Keke won with a brilliant drive, Sebastian Vettel finishes in second place 3.8 seconds behind Rosberg, Mark Webber claims the last podium finish with third 6.3 seconds behind Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton finishes fourth 13 seconds behind Rosberg, Sutil again with a brilliant drive to get fifth place 21.4 seconds behind Rosberg, Button gets a creditable sixth place 23 seconds behind Rosberg, Alonso finishes in seventh 26.7 seconds behind Rosberg, Vergne drove a good race to finish in eighth place 27.2 seconds behind Rosberg, Di Resta gets ninth place 27.6 seconds behind Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen storms through the field after suffering a puncture to claim the final point in tenth place 36 seconds behind Rosberg.

Sebastian Vettel leads the Driver’s championship with 107 points, Raikkonen is second with 86 points, Alonso is third with 78 points, Hamilton is fourth with 62 points, Webber is fifth with 57 points, Rosberg is sixth with 47 points, Massa is seventh with 45 points, Di Resta is eighth with 28 points, Grosjean is ninth with 26 points, Button is tenth with 25 points, Sutil is eleventh with 16 points, Perez is twelfth with 12 points, Riccardo is thirteenth with 7 points, Hulkenberg is fourteenth with 5 points and Vergne is fifteenth with 5 points.

Red Bull lead the Constructor’s championship with 164 points, Ferrari is second with 123 points, Lotus is third with 112 points, Mercedes is fourth with 109 points, Force India is fifth with 44 points, McLaren in sixth with 37 points, Toro Rosso in seventh with 12 points and Sauber are eighth with 5 points.

Conclusion

The Grand Prix tested the drivers throughout the race with the high level of tyre degradation, just like the last race in Spain. And now it is leaving the fans questioning the Pirelli tyres again. In the last few races, tyres in the practice sessions seem to be experiencing failures and delamination. Then into the race, more and more drivers cannot get to grips with the demands of the new compounds and are having to pit more. Which in turn does not let the drivers race each other with 100% confidence and trust into the tyre compounds, at best its 80% at the moment. Today, it was again tyre management and making sure that the tyres could last the distance and also when drivers pitted they did not lose or try to lose any places.

I was happy that Jenson did have some pace to challenge today and gained some points 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. There seems to be a lot of criticism about Perez at the moment. And all I can say is that it’s a long season and it will be interesting watching Perez settle into life at McLaren. But I do agree that McLaren do let their driver’s race, which is good for us to see. However, due to speculation surrounding Martin Whitmarsh at the moment, I’m sure that Martin just wanted both drivers to bring the cars home and get the much needed points for the team.

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 race, 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 Canada where the team are bringing step 3 of their 3 step upgrade programme for the car!

Lotus this weekend may not have gained another victory this weekend but they have scored some a point from Kimi 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. Despite the problems of this weekend with Grosjean especially and talk of his ability as a racing driver after the incident with Riccardo, the Lotus team have managed to get again score some points, even though they are now third in the Constructor’s Championship.

Vettel, Webber and Vergne again have both had a solid weekend. First both of them showing top 10 form in the Practice sessions and then battling throughout the field to gain some solid points. I think Webber and Vergne are driving solidly this year and are improving their form from last year. Meanwhile, Vettel is consistently scoring points in every race just like Kimi and is extending his advantage in the championship.

The biggest surprises this weekend for me was the 5th place of Force India’s Adrian Sutil and the fourth place of Lewis Hamilton. Firstly, Sutil has had a rocky weekend but a brilliant start to his first season back in the sport and impressed me a lot this weekend yet again. 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 Adrian this year has learnt his lessons from his first year and gap year from the sport and is working harder than ever to impress with his performances in the sport this year.

And surely, people will have noticed his performance this weekend.  He deserved to get into the points today, he really did. He is a great driver with a lot of potential and Force India has shown this weekend that their performance since Australia is no fluke, they have a car that is able to be competitive and fight for good points in the race and I think they have the potential to improve throughout the season.  And I think they could be the dark horse of the midfield teams this team and could surprise us all throughout the season.

Lewis so far in the season has impressed me (even though I am a massive Jenson fan!). Ever since leaving for McLaren, not only has he been able to out-qualify his team mate but he has been able to also consistently gain some good points for the Mercedes team. I believe that Lewis is carrying on the form he has shown from the latter half of the 2012 season and is driving solidly at the moment. And I think that Lewis drove solidly despite his mistake of slowing down before his pitstop deserved to get some decent points today despite of what is going on in the paddock with his team.

All that is left to say about this race is that Rosberg was a best driver on the field today. And Nico won exactly 30 years after his Dad Keke managed to win the race. Nico should be proud of himself. His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race and his restarts after the safety car showed that he is a top class talent. Mercedes 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 qualifying performance is also consistent and reliable, while it seems they have improved their race pace today. It is unfortunate that this victory could be taken away from him due to the protest lodged by Ferrari and Red Bull who could argue that the advantage from the Pirelli test gave them this win. I hope it does not come to that. Nico deserves this victory.  And this incident will be ongoing throughout the week and will be felt in Canada where anything can happen in the race and it usually does…

My next post will be the latest F1 News of the week which will be on the blog by the end of next weekend.