Monthly Archives: November 2013

Tribute to Mark ‘Aussie Grit’ Webber: His Best 10 Races to Date

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As you all know, Mark Webber has decided to leave the Infinity Red Bull Racing team for 2014 to move to Porsche. I decided to pay tribute to Mark’s years in the sport by analysing his best 10 races of his Formula One career to date. All I want to say is a big thank you to Mark for making the last few years for me amazing and great especially as a McLaren fan by providing some great wins and memories for me as an F1 fan.

It has been very hard to even judge the best ten races Mark has done. But I have managed painfully to do it. The countdown begins now in ascending order…

10. Spanish Grand Prix 2010

Superb win for Mark. A brilliant and dominant race. Mark at his absolute best. A cracking race win for him! 

9. British Grand Prix 2010

Mark wins his first British Grand Prix in a dominant display in front of the British crowd. We all remember this race when Vettel attempted to force Mark off the track on the approach to Corpse corner, but Mark held on and Vettel made contact with Hamilton. This was his third victory this season and what a drive. [No video avaliable]

8. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2013

Mark took Pole Position away from Vettel with an amazing lap time. I could not believe it. Mark showed all the skill, determination, speed and commitment to produce one of the best Pole Positions I have ever seen him do. And he drove solidly to claim second place in the race! [No video avaliable]

7.  Monaco Grand Prix 2010

Great drive from Mark to win the Monaco Grand Prix since Sir Jack Brabham since 1959. And it was all the sweeter when Mark took the lead of the Driver’s Championship of that year. 

6. Monaco Grand Prix 2012

Mark’s second victory at Monaco was amazing. This victory created a new record for the sport as there had never been six different winners of the opening Grand Prix of the season. He also became the first multiple Australian Grand Prix driver to win multiple victories of the circuit. Well deserved. 

5. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2009

Mark battled his way to second place in the race and holding off an attack from newly crowned World Champion Jenson Button in the final lap. Mark once again showing the ‘aussie grit’ and determination that we all know and love. [No video avaliable]

4. Brazilian Grand Prix 2009

The second win of Mark Webber’s career. The opening lap was separated by three different incidents. The first was Kovalainen making contact with Vettel coming out of the Senna ‘S’. The second took place two corners later with Sutil trying to pass Trulli out of the fifth corner. Both cars were eliminated. The third took place in the pit lane Kovalainen was released from his pit box with the fuel hose still attached to the car, took it with him and a spray of fuel. Luckily no one was hurt, the Brawn mechanics got the fuel tank release off his car. Barrichello led the first part of the race. Mark Webber took the lead as Barrichello struggled with the pace and took the win. Also, Jenson Button was declared the World Champion and Brawn GP. But Mark fully deserved this victory! 

3. British Grand Prix 2012

Mark 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! His second race win at Silverstone. And what a win! [No Video was avaliable]

2. Australian Grand Prix 2002

This of course is Mark Webber’s debut race in Formula One. Mark was driving for the Minardi team on a three race initial contract. He qualified 18th and was 1.4 seconds ahead of Yoong. Mark managed to bring the car home in fifth place and become the fourth Australian Grand Prix driver to score World Championship points and the first points for Marc Gene since 1999. 

And Finally 1. German Grand Prix 2009

Mark’s first Formula One win. I have never wanted any other driver to win so badly. Mark finally tasted victory after 130 race wait which is the longest any driver in the sport has taken to score his first win. And what a win! Mark Webber had finally entered the winning circle. 

I wish Mark every success in the future. He will be missed by everyone in the paddock and it has been a privilege to seen him drove and mature into what I think is one of the most respected and well loved drivers by the paddock and fans of the sport.

Track Preview: Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo

All Right Reserved to www.fia.com

All Right Reserved to http://www.fia.com

Sebastian Vettel wins in Austin, Romain Grosjean drives a cracking 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 gain some points. And Sauber and Williams also picked up some much needed points for their teams. And people are still wishing that the Red Bull or Vettel still do not have the pace in qualifying…

The Brazilian Grand Prix is an event that has seen drivers and teams win titles and lose titles also. The circuit used to hold the record for bumpiness, but since it has been resurfaced Singapore now holds the record. The circuit runs anti-clockwise with high speed sections and compressions which makes it a difficult race for the drivers and their necks.

Top speed can be achieved before Turn 1 or Turn 4, depending on the direction of the wind. The cars need to have a lot of traction to have a good race here. However, the weather can quickly change around this circuit, anything can happen and it usually does around Interlagos.

And here we go guys with nineteenth and final race of the 2014 Formula One season, the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo…

Facts and Figures

  • Brazil has hosted the Grand Prix at the circuit since 1973.
  • Alain Prost is the most successful driver with six wins.
  • Felipe Massa and Mark Webber are the most successful drivers currently at the track with two wins each.
  • McLaren is the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with twelve wins.
  • Race distance: 305.9km (190.08 miles)
  • Number of turns: 15
  • Top speed: 320kph
  • Lap record: Juan Pablo Montoya- Williams (2004)- 1.11.473
  • Winners from pole 10/30 (33%)
  • Winners from last five Brazilian Grand Prix: 2008- Felipe Massa, 2009- Mark Webber, 2010- Sebastian Vettel, 2011-Mark Webber, 2012- Jenson Button

My top 5 Brazilian Grand Prix

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

  1. 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix- Juan Pablo Montoya wins the race ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Rubens Barrichello. Barrichello took Pole Position at his home race. The race in its early stages was in changeable conditions and the battle between Raikkonen and Montoya was ongoing. To take the lead, Montoya pulled off a brilliant move that he deemed himself to be ‘brave’. Montoya took what would be Williams’s last victory until the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix.  This race would signal the end of Barrichello’s retirements at the race in ten years. [No Video was avaliable]
  2. 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix- Ayrton Senna wins the race ahead of Riccardo Patrese and Gerhard Berger. I have only just recently just watched this race as I was only two years old when the race was on. Senna led the race from start to finish with an outstanding drive from the Brazilian. Even though Senna’s gearbox was failing and he was driving in sixth gear as he lost fifth and third gears with Patrese catching him rather quickly but could not pass Senna due to problems with his own gearbox. After the race, it became apparent that the effort to win his home race in style at last had taken its effect on Senna. Senna was unable to move after suffering muscle cramps and a fever and had to be lifted out of the car. I have ever seen anything like it and I do not think we ever will. A legend. 
  3. 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix- Mark Webber wins the race ahead of Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton. The opening lap was separated by three different incidents. The first was Kovalainen making contact with Vettel coming out of the Senna ‘S’. The second took place two corners later with Sutil trying to pass Trulli out of the fifth corner. Both cars were eliminated. The third took place in the pit lane Kovalainen was released from his pit box with the fuel hose still attached to the car, took it with him and a spray of fuel. Luckily no one was hurt, the Brawn mechanics got the fuel tank release off his car. Barrichello led the first part of the race. Mark Webber took the lead as Barrichello struggled with the pace and took the win. Also, Jenson Button was declared the World Champion and Brawn GP Constructors Champions at the end of the race after a brilliant year. 
  4. 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix- Jenson Button wins the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. I have never seen a race like this ever with Alonso and Vettel battling each other for the title. Vettel had a poor start and then a spin with Bruno Senna sending him back to 22nd position with a lot of work to do. Rain began to fall and Button and Hulkenberg stayed out while others pitted for Intermediate tyres. Debris on the track brought out the Safety Car on Lap 23. Hulkenberg on Lap 56 tried to pass Hamilton but slid into him, which made Lewis with damage to his left front suspension, handing the lead to Button. The race ended with Di Resta crashing out on the start/finish straight. Vettel won his third consecutive world title. Caterham managed to finish ahead of Marussia for 11th place in the Constructors. It was also the final  race for HRT who withdrew from the season due to financial issues. But Button drove a magnificent race! 
  5. 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix- Felipe Massa wins the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. With one of the best races I have ever seen, Brazil and its weather create a championship showdown between Massa and Lewis. Lewis is passed by Vettel when Kubica unlaps himself and all hopes of the championship is gone… unless Glock makes a mistake, promoting Lewis into the position that he needs to win the championship from Massa (regardless if Massa takes the win). Glock makes that mistake on the final lap while Massa crosses the line for the win, thinking he has won the world title. But Lewis manages to keep Glock at bay and becomes the 2008 world champion!!! I was so emotional that day, tears in my eyes, punching the air with Lewis! A great race!  or  (from 3.23 to end is the best bit!).

If the Brazilian 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, Mercedes and Lotus to win again and gain some points in the Constructors championship lead for Ferrari? 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) 11.45pm and 3.45pm [Replays throughout Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 12.45pm and 3.00pm [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 2.30pm
  • BBC- Friday Saturday- (Qualifying) 4.0pm, Sunday (Race Highlights on BBC1 and Race Highlights on BBC 3) 4.00pm and 4.00pm (Times are still to be confirmed!)

My next blog post will be a full Race Report on the Brazilian Grand Prix and also a Tribute to Mark Webber by the end of next week. Loving the start of the weekend of Formula One, Hope you will be enjoying every single moment of the weekend as much as me!

2013 United States Race Weekend Review

Sebastian Vettel wins in Abu Dhabi, Mark Webber with a good drive to second place and Romain Grosjean 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 score some much needed points. And people are still wishing that Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes’ drivers still do not have the pace with their cars in qualifying…

Prior to the Grand Prix, the driver market has absolutely moved and shaken us all. Firstly, Felipe Massa confirmed that he will be partnering Bottas next year at Williams. I am extremely happy for Felipe. He will be able to bring his experience to the team and I am sure that Bottas will only gain from this and this will hopefully push the team under the direction of Pat Symonds onto good things next season.

Secondly, McLaren have announced that Kevin Magnussen is partnering Jenson Button in the team for 2014, leaving Sergio without a drive. I was absolutely shocked by the news. As Sergio has done I believe a cracking job for the team despite the car not being the most competitive on the grid and deserved a second season. I should point out that I am not against Magnussen joining the team. But I believe he is a talent of the future absolutely but he might be joining the sport a bit too early. Now Sergio is now fighting for a drive in the sport and his career. I hope Sergio goes back to Sauber next season as he has shown especially in the last few races that he can perform with the tools he has in front of him. But we shall see.

Also, things are not all great at Lotus at the moment. Firstly, the news that Kimi Raikkonen is having back surgery and will not be driving for the rest of the season left Lotus with the question of who will fill the seat. The Formula One world was abreast on Twitter with rumours of talented drivers who could fill the seat. Everybody was betting on Davide Valsecchi on filling the seat, however it was Kovalainen who got the call to replace Kimi’s seat. How will Heikki perform this weekend?

There is a lot of conspiracy surrounding Kimi’s decision to have back surgery. As we all know Kimi has not been paid by the Lotus team for this year and there was rumours going around that he may not finish the season. Personally, I believe that Kimi had finally had enough of waiting around for answers (I will discuss Quantum Motorsports next!) and he decided to leave the team and have his back surgery before switching to Ferrari in 2014.

Next, there is the issue surrounding Lotus’s financial troubles and the impending deal with Quantum Motorsport. Rumours are rife about the status of the deal and when the deal is supposed to be closed. The deal with Quantum Motorsport could also decide the fate of the two contenders gunning for the second drive in the team who are Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado. But if you believe the rumours Hulkenberg is linked very highly to Lotus and the team would like him on board. However, Pastor has sponsorship from his home country reported to be around $30 million and has insisted that he is not out of the running yet.  But we shall see in the next few weeks who will Lotus choose for next year.

I should also mention that Sebastian Vettel could beat the record for how many consecutive wins in a season this weekend if he wins, beat the record that is currently held by Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari. Also the fight continues for second place in the Constructor’s Championship between Mercedes, Lotus and Ferrari.

The United States Grand Prix is an event that was a very pleasant surprise to all the teams and drivers last year. Everyone loved the city, the atmosphere and also the track. The circuit has a lot of elevation changes and the high-speed changes of directions means the cars need to have a good set up. The first corner is impressive and it is not an easy corner. The circuit has medium to low brake energy but braking and high-speed stability are important for good lap times.

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 Hungary 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 Red Bull look to have 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.

Prior to Practice 1, fog descended on the Circuit of the Americas which meant that the air ambulance which is needed for the teams and drivers to race on the circuit could not take its place. The session was reduced to an hour but then the Red Flag was brought out at 15 minutes into the session due to the helicopter not being in place. However, the session did get going and Danill Kvyat made his debut in a Toro Rosso and Rossi was in the Caterham.

Practice 1 saw Fernando Alonso top the timesheet with a time of 1.38.343 followed closely by Button with a gap of 0.028 seconds, Bottas in third with a gap of 0.045 seconds, Guiterrez in fourth with a gap of 0.189 seconds and Rosberg in fifth with a gap of 0.314 seconds. I should also mention that Kvyat finished the session for Toro Rosso in 17th place two tenths off Riccardo which is an incredible achievement for his debut with the team.

Within Practice 1, Gonzalez in his Marussia stopped on the circuit at Turn 12 due to problems with his engine.

Practice 2 saw Sebastian Vettel topping the timesheets with a time of 1.37.305 followed by Webber with a gap of 0.115 seconds, Rosberg in third with a gap of 0.480 seconds, Hamilton in fourth with a gap of 0.653 seconds behind and Kovalainen in fifth with a gap of 0.768 seconds behind Vettel. Jenson Button managed to achieve a top 10 finishes with 9th place. The early pace is showing that McLaren may have the pace to get some good championship points this weekend.

Within Practice 2, Max Chilton in his Marussia stopped at Turn 20 with brake failure and his brakes on fire.  Also Jenson Button has a three place grid drop after overtaking another car under Red Flag conditions.

Practice 3 saw Vettel tops the timesheet again with a time of 1.36.733 followed by Webber with a time of gap of 0.203 seconds behind, Hamilton in third with a gap of 0.331 seconds behind, Hulkenberg in fourth with a gap of 0.539 seconds behind and Grosjean in a fifth with a gap of 0.612 seconds behind. The surprise of the session is Bottas managing to grab 10th place showing that Williams may have good pace within their cars. Button looks to be having a good weekend so far with claiming 6th place which show that McLaren might be able to get into Q3 with a fight and to gain some championship points on Sunday.

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

Button and Perez even with their upgrades and making good and solid progress with points finishes in previous races, seem to have made an improvement.  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 Toro Rosso, Force India or Sauber 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 Red Bull, Mercedes or even the Lotus’s are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session look set to challenge Ferrari, McLaren and the rest of the field for pole position today due to current form that they have shown. But Force India or Sauber may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions. And it is looking likely that it will be a challenge for the Williams drivers of Bottas and Maldonado to clear Q1 and also the McLaren drivers of Button and Perez to clear Q2 as both teams do not have the pace within their cars to challenge the top teams this weekend.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

In Q1, Bottas tops the timesheets with a time of 1.37.821, Hamilton was second with a time of 1.37.959, Guiterrez was third with a time of 1.38.082, Webber was fourth with a time of 1.38.161 and Hulkenberg was fifth with a time of 1.38.339. Perez, Kovalainen, Vettel, Button and Grosjean managed to get 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places for their teams. At the end of Q1, we lose Sutil, Maldonado, Van Der Garde, Bianchi, Pic and Chilton.

In Q2, Vettel tops the timesheets with a time of 1.37.065, Webber is second with a gap of 0.247 seconds behind, Alonso is third with a gap of 0.303 seconds behind, Bottas is fourth with a gap of 0.374 seconds behind and Grosjean is fifth with a gap of 0.458 seconds behind. The big surprise of the sessions was Hulkenberg finishing in 6th place and Kovalainen finished the session in 10th place. At the end of Q2, we lose Riccardo, Di Resta, Button, Rosberg, Massa and Vergne.

The battle for pole position is on…

In Q3, Vettel tops the timesheet and gets pole with a amazingly fast lap time of 1.36.338 ,Webber was second fastest with a gap of 0.107 seconds behind, Grosjean was third fastest with a gap of 0.817 seconds behind, Hulkenberg was a cracking fourth fastest with a gap of 0.958 seconds behind, Hamilton was fifth fastest with a gap of 1.007 seconds behind, Alonso was a credible sixth fastest with a gap of 1.038 seconds behind, Perez was seventh fastest with a gap of 1.114 seconds behind,  Kovalainen was eighth fastest with a gap of 1.377 seconds behind, Bottas was a credible ninth fastest and Guiterrez 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.

Button, Perez, Massa, Hulkenberg and Riccardo could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for McLaren and Sauber before heading to the final race in Brazil. 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 Charles Pic received a five place grid penalty for changing his gearbox. Also, Esteban Guiterrez and Max Chilton received a penalties for their behaviour in Qualifying.

While lining up for the formation lap, it seems that Lewis Hamilton could have a problem with his brakes on his Mercedes. There was a huge group of Mercedes personnel and engineers trying to correct the problem and it seems that all is well. Also Sebastian Vettel had to check his gearbox before the race. Even though Vettel’s gearbox has done five races, it was deemed necessary to change the oil value ready for the race.

The F1 world is watching and waiting to see if the 2013 United States 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!!!!!!!!

Grosjean gets off the line well and is now alongside Webber who has had a miserable start again and was bogged down off the line. Vettel now leads going into the first corner and closes Webber off who now has been passed by Grosjean for second place. Now Hamilton is gaining on Webber for third place. Nico Hulkenberg does not appear to have had a good start and has lost several places. Perez passes Alonso. Kovalainen has had a cautious start and is now in 10th place and has Riccardo behind him.

Meanwhile, Massa has been squeezed for position by Sutil. And Guiterrez taps Massa. There is also a collusion between Button and Vergne. Towards the end of the opening lap, Sutil bangs wheels with Maldonado and crashes into the barriers and making contact with Guiterrez. This collusion brings out the Safety Car and Guiterrez pits suffering a puncture on his rear tyres.

Lap 5 and we are RACING again. Vettel leads Grosjean by 0.5 seconds. Hulkenberg and Perez are battling for fifth place. Perez tries Hulkenberg but cannot do so. Max Chilton at the end of the lap receives his drive through penalty. The next lap sees Hulkenberg, Perez, Alonso and Bottas battling each other for fifth place on the track.

Lap 7 sees Vettel building his lead up to 2.4 seconds. Hamilton and Webber are battling for third place. Guiterrez passes Bianchi for 17th place. The next lap sees Maldonado complaining about vibrations on his front wing of his Williams and pits at the end of the lap.

Lap 11 sees Vettel leading the field by 3.9 seconds. Alonso once again tries to get past Perez on track but cannot do so. By Lap 13, Vettel has extended his lead by 4.5 seconds. The battle for third between Hamilton and Webber is still ongoing. But Webber passes Hamilton at last with a brilliant move! Riccardo, Rosberg and Kovalainen are battling for 10th place. The next lap sees Kovalainen now gaining on Rosberg.

Lap 15 and the lead is now 5.3 seconds. Button tries to pass Massa but cannot do so. Lap 17 and Hamilton has lost 4 seconds due to suffering with his tyres which now bringing Hulkenberg into play. At the end of the lap, Kovalainen pits with a stop time of 4.0 and rejoins the race in 16th place.

Lap 19 sees Vettel leading by 7.5 seconds. Guiterrez is now catching Vergne on track. Vergne is battling his team mate Riccardo for 14th place. Rosberg tries to pass Vergne and gains the place. The next lap sees Massa and Button still battling for 12th place. At the end of the lap Button pits with a stop time of 3.6 seconds and rejoins the race in 16th place.

Lap 21 sees Vettel leading by 8.3 seconds. Button has suffered front wing damage on his McLaren. A battle for sixth place between Perez and Alonso is ongoing. At the end of the lap Massa pits with a stop time of 2.7 seconds and rejoins the race in 15th place. The next lap sees Alonso trying to get past Perez. At the end of the lap Perez pits with a stop time of 2.8 seconds and rejoins the race in 10th place. Also Di Resta, Pic and Rosberg pit for new tyres.

By Lap 23, Vettel leads the field by 8.3 seconds. Di Resta tries to pass Kovalainen and cannot do so. At the end of the lap Bottas pits his Williams for new tyres. The next lap sees Kovalainen, Di Resta, Rosberg and Riccardo battling each other for 11th place. Guiterrez is now gaining on Vergne. Lap 25 sees Guiterrez pass Vergne and Perez now looking to pass Vergne himself. At the end of the lap, Hamilton pits for new tyres with a stop time of 3 seconds and rejoins the race in 6th place.

Lap 26 sees Vettel leading by 7.7 seconds. Vergne and Perez are battling for 8th place. Perez then passes Vergne for 8th place. At the end of the lap, Alonso pits with a stop time of 2.6 seconds and rejoins the race in seventh place. At end of Lap 27, Vettel and Hulkenberg make their pit stops and rejoin the race in 3rd and 5th places. At the end of Lap 28, Webber pits with a record braking stop time of 2.3 seconds and rejoins the race in 3rd place.

Lap 29 sees Grosjean leading Vettel by 12.3 seconds. Guiterrez and Alonso are battling for sixth place. Guiterrez is then able to pass Alonso. Alonso is then able to re pass Guiterrez. Di Resta passes Kovalainen. At the end of the lap Grosjean pits with a stop time of 2.8 seconds and rejoins the race back in second place.

Lap 30 sees Vettel retake the lead of the Grand Prix ahead of Grosjean by 9.2 seconds. Webber is now starting to gain on Grosjean for second place in the race. Guiterrez and Perez are battling for seventh place. The next lap sees Perez passing Guiterrez. Rosberg passes Kovalainen for 11th place. At the end of the lap, Kovalainen makes a 15.2 second pit stop and rejoins the race in 17th place.

Lap 33 sees Vettel leading by 10.2 seconds. Rosberg passes Di Resta for 10th place. Di Resta tries with all his might to fight back but cannot do so. The next lap sees Rosberg and Di Resta battling for 10th place and Guiterrez and Bottas are battling for 8th place. By Lap 35, Bottas has finally passes Guiterrez for eighth place and Webber is gaining on Grosjean rapidly.

By Lap 36, Webber looks like he is losing time in the battle with Grosjean and it may look like he has a problem. At the end of the lap, Guiterrez pits with a stop time of 3.9 seconds and rejoins the race in 15th place. The next lap sees Rosberg catching Bottas. Lap 38 sees Vettel still leading Grosjean by 9.5 seconds. The battle between Grosjean and Webber for second place ongoing. At the end of the lap, Massa pits with a stop time of 3.1 seconds and rejoins the race in 16th place.

Lap 41 and Vettel leads the field by 10.5 seconds. Di Resta and Riccardo are battling for tenth place. Riccardo tries to pass Di Resta for track position and cannot do so. By the next lap, Alonso is gaining rapidly on Hulkenberg and Hamilton. By Lap 44, Vettel extends his lead by 10.6 seconds. Hulkenberg is battling with Alonso for fifth place. Riccardo is able to pass Di Resta. Alonso is able to pass Hulkenberg for 5th place a lap later.

Lap 46 and Vettel leads the Grand Prix by 10.4 seconds. Kovalainen’s KERS system is not working properly on his Lotus. Di Resta and Button are battling with 11th place. Massa is able to pass Maldonado for 15th place. The next lap sees Alonso gaining on Hamilton and also Webber yet again gaining on Grosjean.

Lap 49 sees Vettel’s lead on the field at 8.6 seconds. The incident between Pic and Hamilton under blue flags is being investigated by the stewards. Pic receives a drive through penalty regarding the incident with Hamilton by the stewards. At the end of the lap Di Resta pits.

The next lap sees Di Resta, Button, Vergne and Guiterrez battling for 11th place. Lap 51 sees Grosjean and Webber gaining on Vettel but it will not be enough to catch him before the end of the Grand Prix. Hulkenberg is now gaining on Alonso yet again.

Lap 55 and Vettel still leads the field by 7.3 seconds. Riccardo and Button are battling each other for the final point in the race. Button tries to make a move on Riccardo but cannot make it stick. A few corners later Button makes the move stick and gets 10th place away from Riccardo. Hulkenberg is still pushing on to try and catch Alonso.

The final lap of the race sees Vettel leading Webber by 7.5 seconds. Hulkenberg passes Alonso. Alonso regains the place back away from Hulkenberg. Vettel completes the final lap and he wins the Grand Prix and clinches his eighth consecutive race win and sets a new record of race wins in a season, Grosjean is a brilliant second 6.2 seconds behind Vettel equalling his best Formula One finish, Webber finishes a brilliant third and claims the final spot on the podium (his fourth podium in the sport) 8.3 seconds behind Vettel, Hamilton is a credible fourth 27.3 seconds behind Vettel, Alonso finished fifth 30.4 seconds behind Vettel, Hulkenberg was a credible sixth 30.4 seconds behind Vettel, Perez finishes seventh 46.6 seconds behind Vettel, Bottas was a fantastic eighth 54.5 seconds behind Vettel, Rosbger finished ninth 59.1 seconds behind Vettel and Button picked up the final point in tenth.

Sebastian Vettel wins the Driver’s championship with 372 points, Alonso is second with 227 points, Hamilton is third with 187 points, Raikkonen is fourth with 183points, Webber is fifth with 187 points, Rosberg is sixth with 161 points, Grosjean is seventh with 132 points, Massa is eighth with 106 points, Button is ninth with 61 points and Di Resta is tenth with 48 points.

Red Bull wins the Constructor’s championship with 553 points, Mercedes is second with 348 points, Ferrari is third with 333 points, Lotus is fourth with 315 points, McLaren is fifth with 102 points, Force India in sixth with 77 points, Sauber in seventh with 53 points, Toro Rosso are eighth with 32 points and Williams are ninth with 5 points.

Conclusion

The Grand Prix tested the drivers throughout the race with the high level of tyre degradation, just like the many races we have had this season. However, I am glad that the small changes that Pirelli made to the tyres have worked this weekend and they have not compromised safety or the racing.

I was not happy that Jenson did not have some pace to challenge today and just managed to score a point for the team. Jenson had a battle to finish 10th today and I am sure the team are thankful for his efforts.  But Sergio managed to gain some points for the team. This just shows how much they are making improvements 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 and Sergio managed to do his best this weekend for the team and they were rewarded with Sergio bringing home some good points. Sergio has once again for the third race running outqualified and out raced Button and has shown himself in a good light and is showing why he deserves to keep in the sport next season.

But they need to try and make the car competitive and understand the issues surrounding their problems and learn the lessons from this year’s car 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.

Lotus this weekend may not have gained another victory this weekend but they have scored some good points from Romain this weekend that will help their fight in the Constructors Championship. I was impressed with Grosjean this weekend. Romain has been in top 10 form all weekend and thoroughly deserves his place on the podium. He has showed that he has the potential and the maturity to pass a car for position and to follow the rules straight away shows that he handled the pressure very well indeed and had a great drive.

Who knows what would have happened if Heikki did not have issues with his front wing and his KERS system this weekend. I was impressed with him this weekend. Considering his lack of experience with the car, he has been in form all weekend throughout the sessions and showing the world that he is need a racer, through and through. He is a racing driver. It runs through his blood. Sadly, this weekend luck was not on his side.

I was a bit surprised that Lotus 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, the Lotus team have managed to get again score some points, even though they are now fourth in the Constructor’s Championship.

The biggest surprises this weekend for me was the 8th place of Bottas. Firstly, he has had an impressive weekend but he has impressed me a lot this weekend.  He drove a cracking race to bring home some much needed points for the team. Luckily, his pit stop strategy worked and he was rewarded with good points. I believe that Bottas this year is starting to slowly develop his racing talent that Williams first saw in him to sign this year. I really believe that Bottas is starting to become a high quality driver that he is and I was happy to him get some good points today after a great drive.  I think that Bottas does have the form that is required to have a successful weekend. And I think that his performance will show everyone of his ability and qualities that made Williams sign him up for his year. This drive from Bottas should spur him on for the next race and put him in great shape for next year.

Rosberg, Hamilton and Alonso do deserve a mention. Firstly, Mercedes 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 Rosberg and Hamilton extends their and the team’s points into the championships today moving into second place in the Constructors.

While both of the Mercedes drivers undoubtedly have the car to challenge Red Bull at qualifying on Saturdays but still need to work on the pace on Sundays. But I believe that Mercedes seem to have a car that is undoubtedly better than their car last year and will get there eventually.  And I think that Nico and Lewis both drove solidly despite battling Alonso, Hulkenberg, Perez and Button very hard today and  both drivers deserved to take some points for their efforts.

Alonso drove a solid race this weekend. He has been on top 10 form all weekend and managed to gain some good points this weekend.  Once again, Alonso is showing his talent and surpassing the achievements of the car. Alonso is now fighting to keep Ferrari in third place for the Constructors Championship. But will they stay there?

Once again Hulkenberg 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 point for the team. I believe that Nico this year has learnt his lessons from his last and this season from the sport and is working harder than ever to impress with his performances in the sport this year and trying to get some much needed points for Sauber. I really believe that Nico when is good is a high quality driver that he is and I was happy to him get a point today after a great drive. But the question is, when will the top teams give this man a chance? Nico deserves in my view to be in a competitive car! Please Lotus, sign him, please!

I would also like to say that Webber drove to my mind a really good race today and deserved to take some good points home today after finishing in third place.  The qualifying lap Mark did to claim get second place was really good. The commitment and the speed showed by Webber was thrilling to watch.

Mark drove solidly with the grit and determination that all fans and the paddock admire, respect and love about him and his battle with Grosjean for second place had us all hooked. I really will miss Mark next year and I really hope that he can win a race before the end of the season in Brazil. As Mark deserves to leave the sport with a bang and I am sure the Red Bull team would like to reward him with a win for his services.

All that is left to say about this race is that Vettel sadly deserved to win today. His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. 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 extended his and his team’s points into the championships today and even though the title has already been decided.

Sebastian Vettel now joins a very exclusive club in the sport: eigh consecutive race wins in one season, surpassing Michael Schumacher’s and Alberto Ascari’s record of seven consecutive wins in the sport. And I don’t like Vettel, but I will congratulate him on this remarkable achievement especially after only being in the sport for six years as a driver.

Now that the champions have been crowned, will Sebastian be able to win his nineth consecutive race win in Brazil ? Can Hamilton, Webber, Raikkonen, Grosjean or Alonso be able to challenge?  We shall see in a week’s time!

My next posts will be my Track Preview on the Brazilian Grand Prix which will be uploaded before the start of the race weekend.

Track Preview: United States Grand Prix, Austin

All Rights Reserved to www.fia.com

All Rights Reserved to http://www.fia.com

Sebastian Vettel wins in Abu Dhabi, Mark Webber drives to second place and Nico Rosberg 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 gain some points. And Force India also picked up some much needed points for their teams. And people are still wishing that the Mercedes or Vettel still do not have the pace in qualifying…

The United States Grand Prix is an event that was a very pleasant surprise to all the teams and drivers last year. Everyone loved the city, the atmosphere and also the track. The circuit has a lot of elevation changes and the high-speed changes of directions means the cars need to have a good set up. The first corner is impressive and it is not an easy corner. The circuit has medium to low brake energy but braking and high-speed stability are important for good lap times.

And here we go guys with eighteenth race of the Formula One season, the United States Grand Prix in Austin…

Facts and Figures

  • The United States has hosted the Grand Prix on and off since 1908.
  • Austin has hosted the Grand Prix since 2012.
  • Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver with five wins.
  • Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver currently at the track with two wins.
  • McLaren is the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with two wins.
  • Race distance: 308.89km (191.94 miles)
  • Number of turns: 20
  • Top speed: 317kph
  • Lap record: Sebastian Vettel- Red Bull (2012)- 1.39.347
  • Winners from pole 0/1 (0%)
  • Winners from last five United States Grand Prix: 2004- Michael Schumacher, 2005- Michael Schumacher, 2006- Michael Schumacher, 2007-Lewis Hamilton, 2012- Lewis Hamilton

My top 5 United States Grand Prix

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

  1. 2007 United States Grand Prix- Lewis Hamilton wins the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. A great race from Lewis despite a challenge from Fernando mid-race. [No video was available]
  2. 1991 United States Grand Prix- Ayrton Senna wins the race ahead of Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet. Senna led the race from start to finish with an outstanding drive from the Brazilian. [No video was available]
  3. 2006 United States Grand Prix- Michael Schumacher wins the race ahead of Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella. Schumacher scored his third win of the season which ended Alonso’s run of four consecutive wins and reducing the championship lead to 19 points. [No video was available]
  4. 2005 United States Grand Prix- Michael Schumacher wins the race ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Tiago Monteiro. This race is one of the most controversial races we have ever seen in the sport. Six cars using Bridgestone tyres entered the race (Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi). While the remaining fourteen cars using Michelin tyres completed the Parade Lap (to avoid punishment!). This was due to several tyre failures before the race (especially Ralf Schumacher’s Toyota during Friday’s Practice). Without a speed reduction in Turn 13, the Michelin tyres would not have lasted any more than 10 laps. The FIA refused to provide a chicane to allow the Michelin runners to take part during the race leaving them no choice not to race in order not to brake the Indiana Law. 
  5. 2012 United States Grand Prix- Lewis Hamilton wins the race ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. This race was the inaugural race for the Grand Prix. Vettel started from Pole Position. But Lewis on Lap 42 in the DRS zone passed Vettel and won the race. An amazing drive from Lewis! 

If the United States 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 in 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-  Saturday- (Qualifying Highlights) 10.30pm, Sunday (Race Highlights on BBC1 and Race Highlights on BBC 3) TO BE ANNOUNCED!

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

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Race Weekend Review

Sebastian Vettel wins in India, Nico Rosberg with a good drive to second place and Romain Grosjean 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 score some much needed points. And people are still wishing that Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes’ drivers still do not have the pace with their cars in qualifying…

Prior to the Grand Prix, the biggest talking point is the new rumours circulating in the paddock is if Ross Brawn is leaving the Mercedes team at the end of the year, hereby leaving Paddy Lowe in charge. Niki Lauda on Sky Sports F1 has made his feelings clear by saying that he would like Ross to stay. But the question is will Ross leave?

Also, things are not all great at Lotus at the moment. Firstly, not only are they answering questions about who is going to take Kimi’s place in the Lotus team for next year. The two contenders gunning for this place is Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado. But if you believe the rumours Hulkenberg is linked very highly to Lotus. You cannot also discount Paul Di Resta or Felipe Massa for the drive either. But we shall see in the next few weeks who will Lotus choose for next year.

And secondly, the ‘Team Radio’ saga that happened in the Indian Grand Prix is still being felt. Kimi did not show up for the Grand Prix until Thursday evening which fuelled the flames that Kimi is threatening to stop racing for the team due to not being paid and could be taking the team to court because of this. Personally, I think that Kimi will continue to race until Brazil and then decide on a course of action to try and get paid by the team. But if the rumours of Quantum Motorsport investing into the team are correct, then the future of the team looks secure, Kimi will be paid before leaving for Ferrari and Hulkenberg partners Grosjean next season? All will be revealed in the coming weeks.

I should also mention that Sebastian Vettel secured his fourth consecutive drivers title and Red Bull’s fourth consecutive Constructors Championship in India so the fight continues for second place in the Constructor’s Championship between Mercedes, Lotus and Ferrari.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a very special event. And the circuit is one that the teams and the drivers seem to like and is one of the highlights of the season. The race starts at dusk and finishes at night. It has a high percentage of low and medium speed corners. It is a medium to high energy brake circuit and braking stability is vital. The two special features of the track are the passage under the Yas Hotel and the pit lane exit which feels like coming out of an underground parking garage.

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 Hungary 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 Red Bull look to have 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 Romain Grosjean top the timesheet with a time of 1.44.241 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.192 seconds, Vettel in third with a gap of 0.258 seconds, Grosjean in fourth with a gap of 0.417 seconds and Hamilton in fifth with a gap of 0.500 seconds.

Practice 2 saw Sebastian Vettel topping the timesheets with a time of 1.41.355 followed by Webber with a gap of 0.155 seconds, Hamilton in third with a gap of 0.355 seconds, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 0.391 seconds behind and Rosberg in fifth with a gap of 0.423 seconds behind Vettel. Sergio Perez and Jenson Button managed to achieve a top 10 finishes with 6th and 7th places. The early pace is showing that McLaren may have the pace to get some good championship points this weekend.

Within Practice 2, Max Chilton in his Marussia experiences a spin at Turn 1and also his brake duct braking and going onto the track. Paul Di Resta experiences a puncture on the inside shoulder when the tyre deflated on his Force India. Also, Gideo Van Der Garde spins his Caterham at Turn 17.

Practice 3 saw Vettel tops the timesheet again with a time of 1.41.349 followed by Webber with a time of gap of 0.222 seconds behind, Hamilton in third with a gap of 0.231 seconds behind, Rosberg in fourth with a gap of 0.372 seconds behind and Grosjean in a fifth with a gap of 0.372 seconds behind. The surprise of the session is Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Guiterrez managing to grab 7th and 8th places showing that Sauber may have good pace within their cars. Button looks to be having a good weekend so far with claiming 6th place which show that McLaren might be able to get into Q3 with a fight and to gain some championship points on Sunday.

Within Practice 3, Jules Bianchi in his Marussia at Turn 2 experiences a spin due to touching the kerb and losing the rear of the car and braking the driveshaft leaving the team a lot of work to do before Qualifying.

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

Button and Perez even with their upgrades and making good and solid progress with points finishes in previous races, seem to have made an improvement.  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 Toro Rosso, Force India or Sauber 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 Red Bull, Mercedes or even the Lotus’s are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session look set to challenge Ferrari, McLaren and the rest of the field for pole position today due to current form that they have shown. But Force India or Sauber may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions. And it is looking likely that it will be a challenge for the Williams drivers of Bottas and Maldonado to clear Q1 and also the McLaren drivers of Button and Perez to clear Q2 as both teams do not have the pace within their cars to challenge the top teams this weekend.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

In Q1, Hamilton tops the timesheets with a time of 1.40.693, Massa was second with a gap of 0.561 seconds, Raikkonen was third with a gap of 0.583 seconds, Maldonado was fourth with a gap of 0.672 seconds and Alonso was fifth with a gap of 0.704 seconds. Rosberg, Grosjean, Webber, Hulkenberg and Di Resta managed to get 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places for their teams. At the end of Q1, we lose Guiterrez, Sutil, Van Der Garde, Bianchi, Pic and Chilton.

In Q2, Rosberg tops the timesheets with a time of 1.40.473, Hamilton is second with a gap of 0.004 seconds behind, Webber is third with a gap of 0.102 seconds behind, Vettel is fourth with a gap of 0.308 seconds behind and Perez is fifth with a gap of 0.339 seconds behind. The big surprise of the sessions was Riccardo finishing in 6th place and Hulkenberg finished the session in 7th place. At the end of Q2, we lose Alonso, Di Resta, Button, Vergne, Maldonado and Bottas.

The battle for pole position is on…

In Q3, Webber tops the timesheet and gets pole with a amazingly fast lap time of 1.39.957 ,Vettel was second fastest with a gap of 0.118 seconds behind, Rosberg was third fastest with a gap of 0.462 seconds behind, Hamilton was fourth fastest with a gap of 0.544 seconds behind, Raikkonen was fifth fastest with a gap of 0.585 seconds behind, Hulkenberg was a credible sixth fastest with a gap of 0.619 seconds behind, Grosjean was seventh fastest with a gap of 1.040 seconds behind,  Massa was eighth fastest with a gap of 1.088 seconds behind, Perez was ninth fastest and Riccardo was tenth fastest.

During the latter stages of Q3, Lewis Hamilton spun his Mercedes on his last qualifying run and suffered a suspension failure.

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.

Button, Perez, Massa, Hulkenberg and Riccardo could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for McLaren and Sauber before heading to the next race in Austin. 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, Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus after Qualifying failed a floor test conducted by the FIA. The front left floor broke and was clearly damaged. This also happened with Kimi’s team-mate Grosjean in Hungary when his was clearly broken. Kimi now has to start from the back of the field.

While lining up for the formation lap, it seems that Lewis Hamilton could have a problem with his rear brakes on his Mercedes. There was a huge group of Mercedes personnel and engineers trying to correct the problem and it seems that all is well.

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

All 22 drivers are lined up on their grid positions, five red lights and its GO!!!!!!!!

Hamilton gets off the line well and Vettel is ahead of Rosberg and Webber. Grosjean has also made a decent start. There is a battle between Perez and Massa and Massa runs wide. Hamilton now has had a bad start and appears to be going backwards. Alonso passes Perez for position.

Meanwhile, Raikkonen is out of the race at Turn 2 when Kimi took too much kerb, broke his steering and collided with Pic. This is the first time since the 2006 United States Grand Prix that Kimi has failed to finish a race due to a first lap incident. There is a battle between Rosberg and Webber and Alonso and Massa. Jenson Button has a damaged front wing after running into Di Resta. Perez is now looking at Alonso. Maldonado and Guiterrez find themselves in 11th and 13th places.

Lap 2 and Vettel leads the field by 1.9 seconds ahead of Rosberg. Massa and Alonso are battling each other for seventh place. The next lap sees Button pit for a new front wing and he rejoins right at the back of the grid. Sutil passes Guiterrez for 13th place.

Lap 5 sees Vettel extending his lead by 3.7 seconds. At this stage of the race, Grosjean is looking good on his tyres if he can make this stint stretch for as long as possible. Webber reports a KERS charging problem to his team. At the end of the lap Maldonado and Bianchi pit. The next lap sees Guiterrez and Riccardo battle for 13th place. Riccardo tries to get past but cannot do so. At the end of the lap Perez pits with a stop time of 3 seconds and rejoins the race in 17th place.

Lap 7 sees Vettel’s lead extended to 6.3 seconds. Webber and Grosjean are battling for third place. Grosjean is now really starting to gain on Webber. At the end of the lap Hamilton pits with a stop time of 2.6 seconds and rejoins the race in 12th place. At the end of Lap 8 Webber and Grosjean pit and rejoin the race in 10th and 11th places. On Lap 9, Webber passes Guiterrez for 10th place. However, a battle for 9th between Webber, Guiterrez, Grosjean and Hamilton is ongoing. At the end of the lap, Hulkenberg pits with a stop time of 3.7 seconds and rejoins the race in 12th place.

By Lap 10, Vettel leads the field by 8.2 seconds. Guiterrez and Grosjean are battling for 9th place on the track. Grosjean is able to pass Guiterrez. At the end of the lap, Rosberg pits with a stop time of 2.8 seconds and rejoins the race in 6th place. The next lap sees Vettel leading Massa by 22.4 seconds. Rosberg, Sutil and Webber are battling for 6th place and Guiterrez and Hamilton are battling for 10th place.

Lap 14 sees Vettel leading Massa by 24 seconds exactly. On track, Webber passes Sutil. At the end of the lap, Vettel pits. By Lap 16, Vettel leads by 6.4 seconds. Sutil and Grosjean are battling for eighth place. Grosjean is able to pass Guiterrez for 8th place, Webber passes Vergne for 6th place and Sutil is able to re pass Grosjean. Guiterrez and Hamilton are still battling for the final point in the race. At the end of the lap, Alonso pits with a stop time of 2.8 seconds and rejoins the race in 12th place.

By Lap 18, Vettel leads the field by 12.4 seconds. Hulkenberg is now gaining on Hamilton and Guiterrez. Grosjean is finally able to pass Sutil. Sutil tries to re pass Grosjean but cannot do so. At the end of the lap, Massa and Guiterrez make their pit stops. The next lap sees Hamilton, Massa and Hulkenberg are battling for 7th place and Di Resta, Rosberg and Webber battle for 2nd place.

Lap 20 sees Webber and Rosberg gaining on Di Resta. Webber passes Rosberg for third place. At the end of the lap, Di Resta pits with a stop time of 3.3 seconds and rejoins the race in 10th place. The next lap sees Alonso finally able to pass Perez for 10th place after a brief battle.

Lap 22 sees Vettel leading Webber by 27 seconds exactly. Alonso is now eying up Bottas for position on track and is able to pass him for ninth place. Lap 23 sees a tea radio row taking place at Caterham between Van Der Garde and Pic. At this stage of the race Van Der Garde was faster than Pic. The team asked Charles to give way to Gideo. Pic then challenges the team and still maintains position.

Vettel by Lap 24 has built up a 28.1 second gap on the field. Van Der Garde is able to finally pass Pic. Sutil and Hamilton are battling for fifth place on the track. At the end of the lap, Bottas pits. The next lap sees Massa, Hulkenberg and Alonso joining Sutil and Hamilton in the battle for 5th place. Hamilton is then able to pass Sutil. Sutil then re passes Hamilton but Massa passes both drivers with a cracker of a move!

Lap 26 sees Vettel extending his lead to 28.5 seconds. A battle for eighth place between Hulkenberg and Alonso taking place. Alonso passes Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg re passes Alonso for position. Massa is then able to pass Sutil. The next lap sees the battle for 6th place intensify between Sutil, Hamilton and Alonso. Hamilton passes Sutil finally. At the end of the lap, Hulkenberg pits with a stop time of 4.5 seconds and rejoins the race in 13th place.

Lap 28 sees Vettel’s lead of 28.5 seconds unchallenged. Alonso and Sutil are battling for 7th place. Maldonado passes Sutil. Hulkenberg re passes Maldonado for 14th place. At the end of the lap Sutil and Riccardo pit. The next lap sees Perez trying to pass Maldonado but cannot do so. At the end of the lap, Hamilton pits with a stop time of 2.9 seconds and rejoins the race in 10th place.

Lap 30 sees the stewards announcing that the incident between Hulkenberg and Perez regarding the unsafe release in the pit lane being investigated. On track, Sutil leaves the track ahead of Perez. At the end of the lap, Guiterrez pits. Lap 33 sees Vettel leading by 30.5 seconds. Rosberg is hanging onto Webber. There is a drive through penalty for Hulkenberg regarding the unsafe release in the pit lane with Perez. At the end of the lap Webber and Rosberg pit and rejoin the race in 3rd and 4th places.

Lap 34 sees the stewards investigating Sutil and Maldonado regarding track limits. Alonso is now starting to catch his team mate Massa. By Lap 37, Vettel leads the race by 40.1 seconds. At the end of the lap Vettel and Grosjean make their pit stops and rejoin the race in the lead (Vettel) and fourth (Grosjean). Lap 38 sees the stewards taking no action against Sutil. Grosjean comes out of his pit stop just ahead of Massa. Grosjean, Massa and Alonso are battling for fourth place in the race. At the end of the lap, Massa pits.

Lap 42 sees Vettel leading by 32.7 seconds. Sutil and Perez are battling for 11th place in the race. Hamilton is now catching Vergne. The next lap sees Hamilton still gaining on Vergne and Massa is now gaining on Hamilton. Lap 44 sees Hamilton able to pass Vergne for seventh place. At the end of the lap sees Alonso pits with a stop time of 3 seconds and rejoins the race in seventh place.

Lap 45 sees Vettel extending his lead by 33.2 seconds. Alonso goes over the circuit to get seventh place ahead of Vergne after his pit stop. Massa was very lucky not to go into Vergne while this was taking place. At the end of the lap, Bottas pits. The next lap sees Alonso, Vergne, Massa, Bottas and Sutil all battling each other for 7th place.

Lap 47 sees Vergne and Massa battling each other for eighth place. Massa then passes Vergne. Sutil is now gaining on Vergne. Hamilton is gaining on Di Resta. Alonso is now under investigation by the stewards regarding track limits. Perez is now gaining on both Vergne and Sutil. The next lap sees Sutil passing Vergne for 9th place. And now Perez is looking at Vergne.

Lap 49 sees Vettel leading by 31.1 seconds. Maldonado is now gaining on Perez. Perez now passes Vergne for position. The next lap sees Alonso gaining on Hamilton. Hamilton is now gaining on Di Resta. Maldonado passes Vergne for 11th place. Di Resta, Hamilton and Alonso are battling each other for 5th place. Alonso tries to pass Hamilton but cannot do so. Hamilton then passes Alonso for 6th place. On Lap 51, Vergne pits.

Lap 52 sees Vettel leading Webber by 30.6 seconds. Alonso passes Di Resta for 5th place. The investigation with Alonso and track limits will be investigated by the stewards after the race. The next lap sees Grosjean gaining on Webber slowly. Di Resta and Hamilton are now battling each other hard for 6th place and Hamilton is gaining steadily on Paul. Lap 54 sees Di Resta driving strongly to keep Hamilton at bay.

The final lap of the race sees Vettel leading Webber by 31.3 seconds. Vettel completes the final lap and he wins the Grand Prix and clinches his seventh consecutive race win and equals Michael Schumacher’s record in a season, Webber is a brilliant second 30.8 seconds behind Vettel, Grosjean finishes a brilliant third and claims the final spot on the podium 33.6 seconds behind Vettel, Grosjean is a credible fourth 34.8 seconds behind Vettel, Alonso finished fifth 1.07.1 seconds behind Vettel, Di Resta was a credible sixth 1.18.1 seconds behind Vettel, Hamilton finishes seventh 1.19.2 seconds behind Vettel, Massa was eighth 1.22.8 seconds behind Vettel, Perez finished ninth 1.31.1 seconds behind Vettel and Sutil picked up the final point in tenth.

Sebastian Vettel wins the Driver’s championship with 347 points, Alonso is second with 217 points, Raikkonen is third with 183 points, Hamilton is fourth with 175 points, Webber is fifth with 175 points, Rosberg is sixth with 159 points, Grosjean is seventh with 114 points, Massa is eighth with 106 points, Button is ninth with 60 points and Di Resta is tenth with 48 points.

Red Bull wins the Constructor’s championship with 513 points, Mercedes is second with 334 points, Ferrari is third with 323 points, Lotus is fourth with 297 points, McLaren is fifth with 95 points, Force India in sixth with 77 points, Sauber in seventh with 45 points, Toro Rosso are eighth with 32 points and Williams are ninth with 1 point.

Conclusion

The Grand Prix tested the drivers throughout the race with the high level of tyre degradation, just like the many races we have had this season. However, I am glad that the small changes that Pirelli made to the tyres have worked this weekend and they have not compromised safety or the racing.

I was not happy that Jenson did not have some pace to challenge today and could not score some points for the team. Jenson had a battle to finish 14th today and I am sure the team are thankful for his efforts.  But Sergio managed to gain some points for the team. This just shows how much they are making improvements 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 and Sergio managed to do his best this weekend for the team and they were rewarded with Sergio bringing home some good points. But they need to try and make the car competitive and understand the issues surrounding their problems and learn the lessons from this year’s car 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.

Lotus this weekend may not have gained another victory this weekend but they have scored some good points from Romain this weekend that will help their fight in the Constructors Championship. I was impressed with Grosjean this weekend. Romain has been in top 10 form all weekend and thoroughly deserves his place on the podium. He has showed that he has the potential and the maturity to pass a car for position and to follow the rules straight away shows that he handled the pressure very well indeed and had a great drive.

Who knows what would have happened if Kimi started from the pit lane this weekend. As for the conspiracy theories, there is no way that Kimi would deliberately crash out of the race to make a point about not being paid. Kimi is a racer, through and through. He is a racing driver. It runs through his blood. Sadly, this weekend luck was not on his side.

I was a bit surprised that Lotus 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, the Lotus team have managed to get again score some points, even though they are now fourth in the Constructor’s Championship.

The biggest surprises this weekend for me was the 6th and 9th places of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil. Firstly, Paul has had an impressive weekend but he has impressed me a lot this weekend yet again as in early races of the season.

He drove a cracking race to bring home some much needed points for the team. Luckily, his pit stop strategy worked and he was rewarded with good points. I believe that Paul this year has learnt his lessons from his last and this season from the sport and is working harder than ever to impress with his performances in the sport this year and trying to get some much needed points for Force India. I really believe that Paul when is good is a high quality driver that he is and I was happy to him get a point today after a great drive.  But Paul needs to keep this up until Brazil if he has any chance of keeping his seat at Force India for next season.

But the question is, when will the top teams give this man a chance? Paul deserves in my view to be in a competitive car! Come on Lotus, give him a chance if you do not want Nico!

Also Sutil scored points in the race this weekend and he did it the hard way keeping drivers such as Guiterrez behind him. I think that Sutil had the form that is required to have a successful weekend. And I think that his performance will remind everyone of his ability and qualities that made Force India sign him up for his year.

Rosberg, Hamilton and Massa do deserve a mention. Firstly, Mercedes 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 Rosberg and Hamilton extends their and the team’s points into the championships today moving into second place in the Constructors.

While both of the Mercedes drivers undoubtedly have the car to challenge Red Bull at qualifying on Saturdays but still need to work on the pace on Sundays. But I believe that Mercedes seem to have a car that is undoubtedly better than their car last year and will get there eventually.  And I think that Nico and Lewis both drove solidly despite battling Webber, Sutil, Perez and Massa very hard today and  both drivers deserved to take some points for their efforts.

Massa drove a solid race this weekend. He has been on top 10 form all weekend and managed to gain some good points this weekend. Massa is now fighting to stay in the sport after Ferrari announcing that Raikkonen would be teaming up with Alonso for next season. Felipe I believe is now showing the passion he has always had in order to gain a seat for next year.

I would also like to say that Webber drove to my mind a really good race today and deserved to take some good points home today after finishing in second place.  The qualifying lap Mark did to claim Pole Position was one of the best I have ever seen him do. The commitment and the speed showed by Webber was thrilling to watch.

Mark drove solidly with the grit and determination that all fans and the paddock admire, respect and love about him and his battle with Vettel had us all hooked. I really will miss Mark next year and I really hope that he can win a race before the end of the season. As Mark deserves to leave the sport with a bang and I am sure the Red Bull team would like to reward him with a win.

All that is left to say about this race is that Vettel sadly deserved to win today. His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. 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 extended his and his team’s points into the championships today and  even though the title has already been decided.

Sebastian Vettel now joins a very exclusive club in the sport: seven consecutive race wins in one season, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record in the sport. And I don’t like Vettel, but I will congratulate him on this remarkable achievement especially after only being in the sport for six years as a driver.

Now that the champions have been crowned, will Sebastian be able to win his eighth consecutive race win in Austin? Can Hamilton, Webber, Raikkonen, Grosjean or Alonso be able to challenge?  We shall see in a two week’s time!

My next posts will be my Track Preview on the United States Grand Prix which will be uploaded before the start of the race weekend.

Track Preview: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina

All Rights Reserved to www.fia.com

All Rights Reserved to http://www.fia.com

Sebastian Vettel wins in India, Nico Rosberg drives to second place and Romain Grosjean 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 gain some points. And Force India also picked up some much needed points for their teams. And people are still wishing that the Mercedes or Vettel still do not have the pace in qualifying…

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a very special event. And the circuit is one that the teams and the drivers seem to like and is one of the highlights of the season. The race starts at dusk and finishes at night. It has a high percentage of low and medium speed corners. It is a medium to high energy brake circuit and braking stability is vital. The two special features of the track are the passage under the Yas Hotel and the pit lane exit which feels like coming out of an underground parking garage.

And here we go guys with seventeenth race of the Formula One season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in New Delhi…

Facts and Figures

  • Yas Marina has hosted the Grand Prix since 2009.
  • Sebastian Vettel is the most successful driver currently at the track with two wins.
  • Red Bull is the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with two wins.
  • Race distance: 305.35km (189.74 miles)
  • Number of turns: 21
  • Top speed: 315kph
  • Lap record: Sebastian Vettel- Red Bull (2009)- 1.40.279
  • Winners from pole 1/4 (100%)
  • Winners from last 4 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: 2009- Sebastian Vettel, 2010- Sebastian Vettel, 2011-Lewis Hamilton, 2012-Kimi Raikkonen

My top 4 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Here are my top four Abu Dhabi Grand Prix races (there is only been four!) and in no particular order:-

  1. 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix- Lewis Hamilton wins the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. This race will be forever remembered for Sebastian Vettel retiring for the first time in 2011 after spinning out at Turn 2 and getting a puncture! Best 30 seconds I have ever seen! (Sorry to all Vettel fans!) 
  2. 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix- Kimi Raikkonen wins the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton was leading the race very dominantly and sadly had to retire, passing the lead to Kimi. This is the first win for Kimi since his Formula One comeback and what a win! 
  3. 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix- Sebastian Vettel wins the race ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. This was Sebastian’s second win at the Yas Marina circuit and allowed him to become the world champion and also the youngest champion of the sport at the age of 23 years and 134 days. [No video was avaliable]
  4. 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix- Sebastian Vettel wins the race ahead of Mark Webber and Jenson Button. This race was the inaugural race for the Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton suffered a brake failure and had no choice but to hand the lead to Vettel. [No video was avaliable]

If the Abu Dhabi 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 in 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) 8.45am and 12.45pm [Replays throughout Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.45am and 12.00pm [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 11.30am
  • BBC- Friday Saturday- (Qualifying) 17.10pm, Sunday (Race Highlights on BBC1 and Race Highlights on BBC 3) 16.00pm and 19.30pm

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

Happy 1st Birthday to McLarenf1messiah!

I cannot believe it! The blog is a year old! And what a year it has been. I have been privileged to write some amazing Race Weekend Reports, articles and F1 News piece for you guys that you all seem to get some enjoyment out of.

A year ago, if someone asked me how I would like my blog to be, I would say that I would like to be out there in the world and maybe 10 people would read it. But as I speak, the blog is gaining readers and followers all the time and I am always receiving positive (sometimes negative) comments that I love to receive and love replying back to you guys.

So without further ado, I would to thank a lot of people who have had the courage to believe in me and my blog and I am forever indebted to:-

My Twitter Family

You guys are the best in the world and I thank you all for reading my blog, following me on Twitter. And also for your continued RT’s promoting the blog and I thank each and every one of you who do this post after post.

The first group of people I have to thank are the first guys of my F1 Family who have supported me from the very beginning last October and gave me the confidence to continue:- @NickDevilleF1, @Sophie_G_Paris, @ImNotBillCosby, @tyres2u, @compusime, @WORLDF1FANS, @F1_Fans_Updates, @thepitstopblog, @f1predictions1, @Formula1extra, @colinmc1983, @jude_mac, @anthonydolan1, @alex_gr8, and @sonia_jones 7. Thanks again guys x

The last group I have to thank are everyone who has followed me over the last year, kept RT’ing my tweets and are absolutely awesome people and I am glad you are my F1 Family:- @FirePhoenix23, @walkingleaf79, @AlanSabatino, @TomWilkinsonF1 (great F1 reporter!), @zdravkost, @DavidAnnisF1, @brin_7, @ALewis_FAFan, @katemackay55, @Podium_Finish (great blog!), @McLarenFamily, @Andayroo, @mattymc91, @F1Rebecca, @funnyF1pics, @Formula_F1_News, @f1leewebb, @f1morgan, @mclarenboy0310, @stephenhibbert1, @Fenderstratfan2, @JeffHervel, @simplesi3, @LiamJSimRacing, @gaffer101, @tutt11, @8_enginerule, @Formula1nutjob, @Luke_R_J, @F1Guy, @elliotball94, @stecoopz, @F1UK, @nigeljf40, @caysie21, @iFredy29, @l4ur4m, @F1_Obessed, @Driving4Pleasure (great blog!), @saj_86, @Rog____, @alexf1man, @Mike_CannonF1, @Engfootyfan, @snowy_f1_bear, @RichMoore20, @GenerationF1, @Ragde77, @atoby, @Ewan99F1, @JaySiyani, @sandyformula1, @AJDinan, @Mark_Whitelegge, @f1nath25, @SJohnstone77, @BelieveInF1, @MaraJbRomano, @pat869, @saratundi, @f1mclarenfan, @BenIssat, @BeckyMoore623, @X44BAX, @TrueMcLarenFans, @DC_F1, @badmatt12, @SarahBailey40, @F1orFu, @becca_F1, @LiveF1Chat, @Steve_BabbF1, @paulwadf1, @JakeDDCreative, @f1plus, @DharmaBodhi, @TinkerBell2100, @James_Greeny94, @McLarenFanatics, @thomasraymond, @Forbesie10, @JamesHailey1. Big thanks to you guys x

@F1Fans Mag A big massive thank you to you for allowing me the opportunity to write and also publish my Felipe Massa article in this month’s magazine. Also thanks for your continued support! X

And finally…

My friends and family They all know who they are and what they mean to me. You have always supported me through everything and I could not live without you all (even if you do stupid/ weird/ crazy things!). You are my world and I love each and every one of you! Xxxx

And all that is left for me to say is let’s make it another incredible year!

Sarah (MF1M) xxxx