Monthly Archives: August 2015

Nico Rosberg becomes a father for the first time

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It has been announced this morning that Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg and his wife Vivian have become parents for the first time after welcoming their new baby girl into the world on Sunday afternoon.

Rosberg broke the news over Twitter, saying he and Vivian were “overwhelmed and totally in love” (see Nico’s Tweet below).

A week ago, the Mercedes driver had made special plans to leave the Belgian Grand Prix as quickly as possible if necessary and revealed he had spent most of the August break preparing for the new arrival.

Rosberg will be racing this weekend at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza and will want to celebrate his new arrival to the family in style.

But a massive congratulations to Nico, Vivan and both of their families on the arrival of their baby daughter. Hope everyone is doing well and I wish you every luck in the future with your little girl.

Classic #jonesonf1: The 1995 Argentine Grand Prix

The most iconic picture of the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix.

The most iconic picture of the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix.

The Argentine Grand Prix: Round 2 of 17 in the 1995 Formula One World Championship. Heading into the race, Benetton driver Michael Schumacher leading the Drivers’ Championship by 10 points ahead of Williams driver David Coulthard in second place with 6 points ahead of Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger who was in third place with 4 points.

The race marked the return to the Formula One calendar for Argentina after being off the calendar since 1981. The race was removed from the calendar originally due to the retirement of former F1 driver Carlos Reutemann and Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands.

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Carlos Reutemann driving the 1994 Ferrari 412 T1 before the 1995 Argentine GP.

It was reinstated following President Carlos Menem’s rise into power in 1989.To celebrate its return to the calendar, Reutemann drove a demonstration lap aboard the 1994 Ferrari 412 T1 car around the wet Autodromo Oscar Galvez circuit on the Thursday afternoon before the race.

The track, however, was criticised due to its “dirtiness”. The track was held on the “No.6” configuration, the previous Argentine Grands Prix were all held at Oscar Galvez, but on the “No.9” and the fast and rather dangerous “No.15” configurations.

During the break between the Brazilian Grand Prix and the Argentine Grand Prix, the FIA rescinded the rule requiring that holes be cut in the airboxes; consequently, all the cars arrived at the circuit with their airbox holes filled.

Qualifying for the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix was split into two one-hour sessions; the first was held on Friday afternoon with the second held on Saturday afternoon.

Qualifying was packed with incident as car after car gyrated into the lush green grass or the claggy red earth sandtraps. Thursday was bad and Friday was just awful. On Friday, there were a few minutes at the end of the first qualifying session of the weekend when the track was vaguely dry and David Coulthard took provisional pole position.

But if the Williams-Renaults seemed to take the wet in their stride, the Benettons were dreadful, both spinning several times and ending the day ninth and tenth.

The weather on Saturday was not much better and final qualifying began in the middle of a torrential downpour. It was only in the final 10 minutes of the session that the track suddenly became as quick as it had been the previous day. There was a rush as cars came out and three days of practice were condensed into 10 frantic minutes.

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David Coulthard claims his first Pole Position of his career at the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Getty Images.

Coulthard confirmed his promise and claimed his first F1 pole position ahead of his team mate Damon Hill in second place and Michael Schumacher in third place. Eddie Irvine qualified in fourth place ahead of Mika Hakkinen in fifth place, Jean Alesi in sixth place and Mika Salo in seventh place. Gerhard Berger qualified in eighth place ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen in ninth place and Rubens Barrichello who rounded off the top ten finishers of the session.

Jean Alesi spun his Ferrari on the first start of the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Jean Alesi spun his Ferrari on the first start of the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On race day on Sunday, the race was stopped on the first lap after accidents in the first three corners. Ferrari driver Jean Alesi spun on the inside of the first corner, causing Mika Salo to brake sharply and be hit from behind by Luca Badoer.

The first lap incident at the 1995 Argentine GP between Olivier Panis, Luca Badoer, Mika Salo, Rubens Barrichello and Ukyo Kataymama. All rights reserved to Getty Images and AFP.

The first lap incident at the 1995 Argentine GP between Olivier Panis, Luca Badoer, Mika Salo, Rubens Barrichello and Ukyo Kataymama. All rights reserved to Getty Images and AFP.

The resulting jam of cars caused Olivier Panis to hit the back of Pierluigi Martini and slide into the gravel on the outside of the corner. Salo’s ailing Tyrrell then tangled with Johnny Herbert on the exit of the corner. At Turn 3, Barrichello was knocked from behind by Herbert and slid to a halt, only to be rammed by the damaged Minardi of Badoer. Ukyo Katayama’s Tyrrell was also damaged in the accident.

Alesi, Panis and Barrichello returned to the pits on foot for their spare cars while Badoer was left without a car as teammate Martini was given the Minardi spare. Herbert and Katayama had managed to drive back to the pits for their spare cars while Salo’s car was repaired on the grid.

The start of the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix.

The start of the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix.

On the second formation lap, Sauber driver Karl Wendlinger stalled and started at the back alongside Barrichello who was late coming out of the pits. At the second start, Coulthard led from Schumacher and Hill.

Mika Hakkinen retiring from the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix

Mika Hakkinen retiring from the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix after a left rear puncture. All rights reserved to Getty Images and Mike Hewitt.

McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen and Jordan-Peugeot driver Eddie Irvine touched on the run down to the first corner, with Häkkinen’s left rear tyre punctured which caused him to spin off.

Further back, Wendlinger managed to tangle with both the Pacific cars of Bertrand Gachot and Andrea Montermini at the first corner, putting all three out. Irvine made it back to the pits for a replacement nose.

David Coulthard leading the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix in the early stages.

David Coulthard leading the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix in the early stages.

Coulthard was leading when his throttle failed and restarted; thereby dropping him to third place. Hill passed Schumacher for the lead on lap 11 and built a lead of 12 seconds before pitting on lap 16, when Schumacher was then passed by the recovering Coulthard for the lead.

Jean Alesi is in front of Michael Schumacher

Jean Alesi is in front of Michael Schumacher after their first pitstops on Lap 27 of the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Getty Images and AFP.

One lap later, Coulthard stopped with throttle problems; this time permanently and retired from the race. Alesi who was using a 2-stop strategy, took the lead after Hill and Schumacher’s pit stops and held it until pitting on lap 26. Alesi was able to rejoin just in front of Schumacher for second, 26 seconds behind Hill.

Damon Hill leads the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix in the latter stages.

Damon Hill leads the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix in the latter stages.

Hill and Schumacher made their second stops near the half-way point, with Schumacher getting delayed about 7 seconds by a refueling problem. Hill then led by 9 seconds from Alesi, with Schumacher another 30 seconds behind. Alesi then closed on Hill, getting the gap down to 4 seconds by around lap 50 when the top three all made their final stops.

Damon Hill wins the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix ahead of Jean Alesi in second place and Michael Schumacher in third place.

Damon Hill wins the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix ahead of Jean Alesi in second place and Michael Schumacher in third place.

Hill was then able to pull away from Alesi again, getting the gap up to 12 seconds and winning the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix. Jean Alesi finished the race in second place but on his last set of tyres, Schumacher was able to close on Alesi and set the fastest lap of the race; but was much too far behind to challenge for second place and finished in third place behind Alesi.

Johnny Herbert finished in fourth place ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen in fifth place and Gerhard Berger in sixth place. This put him in the championship lead briefly before Coulthard and Schumacher’s points from Brazil were restored on appeal. Olivier Panis finished the race just out of the points in seventh place ahead of Ukyo Katayama in eighth place ahead of Mimmo Schiattarella in ninth place.

The 1995 Argentine Grand Prix saw Damon Hill achieve his tenth win in Formula One which is a fantastic achievement. Hill drove a good race and showed the world once again that when he has the car underneath him, he can deliver and he showed this when he finally won the world championship in 1996 at the Japanese Grand Prix.

This race will always be remembered for Bertrand Gachot’s 75th Grand Prix start, Mark Blundell’s and Ukyo Katayama’s 50th Grand Prix starts and also the 100th Grand Prix starts for Ligier Gitanes Blondes and Mugen-Honda. But also we saw in this race David Coulthard in his tenth Formula One race claiming his first Pole Position of his career and also Williams’ 75th Pole Position in their history in the sport.

However, this race will also be remembered for Tyrrell driver Mika Salo was running 5th (and catching 4th placed Johnny Herbert) when he collided with the lapped Aguri Suzuki. A pitlane punch-up followed, and Salo later told the BBC that “drivers like Suzuki should not be in Formula One.”

And as the 1995 World Championship leaded towards the next round in Italy at the San Marino Circuit, Schumacher was leading the Driver’s Championship by 14 points ahead of Hill with 10 points and also ahead of Alesi who had 8 points in third place.

Former F1 driver Justin Wilson dies after IndyCar crash

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I am sad to report that on Monday night, Former Formula 1 driver Justin Wilson passed away on  following an freak accident at the ABC Supply 500 IndyCar race at the Pocono Raceway.

The 37-year-old, who drove for Minardi/Jaguar Racing during the 2003 F1 season, scoring a single point thanks to an eighth place finish at the United States Grand Prix, was struck on the head by a piece of debris from a rivals car.

The leader of the race rookie Sage Karam span as he entered Turn 1 on lap 179, hitting the barriers and causing debris to fly into the path of Wilson. He was then transferred to hospital where he was reportedly in a coma, until his death on Monday.

In an statement to the media on Monday, Mark Miles CEO IndyCar’s parent company stated the following regarding Wilson’s tragic passing as follows:-

‘This is a monumentally sad day for IndyCar and the motorsports community as a whole. Justin’s elite ability to drive a race car was matched by his unwavering kindness, character and humility — which is what made him one of the most respected members of the paddock.

‘As we know, the racing industry is one big family, and our efforts moving forward will be focused on rallying around Justin’s family to ensure they get the support they need during this unbelievably difficult time.’

Also in a statement to the media, Wilson’s family thanked all the fans and the hospital staff for their support and well-wishes as follows:-

‘The family would like to thank the staff at the Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital,  Pocono Raceway, Andretti Autosport, and the Verizon IndyCar Series as well as the entire racing community for the amazing outpouring of support from fans around the world.’

Justin has had an amazing career in racing and whatever he competed in; he did it with all of his heart and gave 110% to it as well. Most recently, Wilson also competed in a single Formule E race for the Andretti Autosport team, scoring a single point at the Moscow ePrix which is a fantastic achievement.

Even though it is extremely sad to lose an amazing gentlemen, husband, father, friend or colleague in this tragic way; Justin is now at peace and is not in any pain. But it is clear that we all miss him for the person that he was and he has left a legacy that will always be remembered.

The F1 Family and the Motorsport family will always remember him and is now a big shining star in the sky that will be truly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Justin’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time. #RIPJustin #PrayersforJustin

Renault interested in buying Force India

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According to Autosport, Renault has held talks with Force India in regards to purchasing a majority stake in the Formula One team.

As we know, Renault are currently looking to return as a full-works manufacturer with Lotus, Force India or Toro Rosso arising as the most likely teams they are interested in.

According to reports circulating in the paddock, Force India boss Vijay Mallya spoke to Renault consultant and four-time Formula One world champion Alain Prost on Friday evening.

When asked about this in his interview with Autosport this afternoon, Mallya stated the following on the subject as follows:-

‘Yesterday was a conversation from their side to update me on the fact no decision has been taken, they haven’t made a proposal about the board of Renault.  Secondly, he wanted to know how I would feel about shareholding. Would we be willing to consider being a minority. If so, what would be our aspirations.

‘We didn’t talk about engine supply at all. We talked generally about their interest in about potentially becoming a constructor, that they are talking to multiple teams and about what is my vision and what is possible and not possible.

‘They asked me: ‘Would you be prepared to part with a majority stake?’ If I said no, maybe it would have been end of conversation. I said it has to be considered, in light of a potential offer, and secondly I asked what are the minority protection rights you offer? There is no deal on the table. They have not made a decision about their plans. It’s very preliminary.’

From what Mallya has stated in his interview this afternoon, he has not denied that he has spoken to Renault about them buying out or even buying into the team and what their goals, dreams and aspirations would be if they were successful. Mallya has made it quite clear that there wasn’t any talk of engine supply and that having a stake in the team wouldn’t be beneficial for him and that nothing has been decided as a result of these talks either.

In case you didn’t know Force India’s board consists of three parties, Mallya, the Sahara Group and the Mol family, all of whom will have to agree to any potential deal. As Mallya confirmed  in his interview today, Renault are interested in purchasing other teams including Lotus, who are the most likely at this current stage.

But even though Mallya has spoken with Renault regarding their interest into buying out the team completely or buying a stake in the team, nothing has been decided and as he says, Renault at the moment are looking into every viable option they have in order to secure their future in the sport.

Personally, I would be surprised if these talks went further and if the situation was right for Mallya and the board in charge of the Force India team; it could happen. But as the legendary Murray Walker says “anything can happen in F1 and it usually does” and all we can do is see what Renault decide in the next few weeks regarding their plans for the 2016 season.

Red Bull will await Renault’s announcement of their 2016 plans

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It has been announced this afternoon that the Red Bull team are waiting on Renault to make a decision about their future in Formula 1 from 2016 onwards.

The Red Bull and Renault partnership beyond 2016 has been in serious doubt for some time, with the former world champions having frequently fired criticism at Renault due to the performance and reliability of their power unit this season.

At this present time, Renault has been weighing up its options in the sport also, with the French manufacturer being linked to a takeover of Toro Rosso and more recently the Lotus team.

In an interview with the media this afternoon, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has implied that there was a possibility of the team cutting their ties a year before their contract expires as per speculation of performance clauses existing in the contract, and the links of Renault buying a majority stake in the Lotus team growing stronger. Horner has stated the following about the situation as follows:-

‘The bigger question is what are Renault’s plans for the future – and hopefully that will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

‘That [Red Bull’s plans] depends on Renault. We have an agreement with Renault until the end of 2016 and anything more than that is speculative.’

“Our aim is to be as competitive as we can as quickly as we can and first of all we want to understand what the situation is with Renault and what commitment they have to reducing the deficit.’

It is clear for all to see that Red Bull are not announcing anything about their 2016 plans until Renault have decided what their plans will be which you can understand but it is also annoying as well. Even though both parties have a contract that is binding for next season, we all know that there is a performance clause in the contract that could be used if things continue to deteriorate between them.

I can see Horner’s perspective of wanting Red Bull to be as competitive as possible and if Renault can show them that they are working hard to try and catch up to their rivals, things could be salvaged between them until their contract runs out.

As we all know, Red Bull are contracted to use Renault power units until the end of next year, although Horner suggests further on in his interview today that there needs to be more investment in Renault’s resources for F1 to be able to honour the agreement fully. Horner added the following:-

‘We have a contract with Renault and there are obligations on both parties. It needs a root-and-branch review. There are some very capable people at Renault but it feels under-resourced. There is no silver bullet – it is probably an element of everything: equipment, personnel, and obviously finance is required for that.’

As Horner rightly says, there is a legally binding contract with Renault in place for next year and it could be tricky for them to try and get out without the other perusing legal action against either side; even with a performance clause in the contract. I would agree with Horner slightly that Renault needs to fully investigate and analyse why they aren’t competitive and see if they can put together  a plan to try to get back to the level of competitiveness that we know they can achieve.

Renault have a great history of success in the sport and have everything at their disposal to be competitive again; just like Red Bull have and they must not forget that fact. Things aren’t so great between them right now, but what will Red Bull do if Renault decide to buy Lotus? You’ll be thinking Sarah, they will go to Mercedes?

I understand the reasons why many would think that but will Mercedes, their biggest rivals want to give them the best engine on the grid and have competition firmly in their own ball park? Think again.

Overall, things between Red Bull and Renault still remain unclear and there’s probably a lot more to this situation than we realise. But personally, if I was in the Red Bull team or Renault, I would refrain from saying anything more about the situation anymore as you never know what could happen in the next few weeks and what will happen if either party says something they regret and could have implications in the future? That is something they both need to think about before they speak to the media.

Hulkenberg: This weekend has been a real shame for us

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In an interview with the media after the race this afternoon, Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg was disappointed when his Belgian GP came to an end before it had even begun.

The Force India driver had hoped for a strong showing at Spa on Sunday but it all came to naught before the lights even went out.

His VJM08 lost power on the formation lap and although he took his place on the grid, his car was soon being pushed back into the pits by the marshals.

In an interview with the media this afternoon, Hulkenberg is disappointed not to have raced today but understands that these things happen. He goes on to explain further that he suffered a loss of power and the team did their best to fix the problem but it didn’t work. Hulkenberg stated the following:-

‘It’s disappointing to finish your race before it’s even started, but sometimes these things happen in racing. On the way to the grid I just felt a loss of power. We tried to understand and fix the problem on the grid, but it came back during the formation lap.

‘There were a few moments when the power returned, but it disappeared again just before the start and I had to retire.’

You can understand why Hulkenberg is disappointed not to have raced today, but there was nothing that he nor the Force India could have done to fix the power issue they encountered. It is a shame for them especially given what his team mate Sergio Perez has achieved this weekend and Hulkenberg showed a lot of promise over the weekend as well.

Hulkenberg’s disappointment was compounded by the fact that Force India had a good car at Spa, which allowed his team-mate Sergio Perez to claim fifth place. Further on in his interview, Hulkenberg believes that this weekend saw them being competitive and could have scored points as a result. Hulkenberg added the following:-

‘It’s a real shame because the car has been very quick this weekend and we had a good opportunity to score some important points.’

Overall, I’d have to agree with Hulkenberg and I feel that if he could have raced today, he certainly would have been battling for points. This weekend, Hulkenberg has shown that he had the pace and was very unlucky with what happened in qualifying and also in the race as well. But all Hulkenberg can do is just use the data and the performances he had shown over the weekend to good use in Monza in a few weeks time and I hope that is the case for him as he deserves it.

Tyre mix up for Bottas cost him fifth place at Spa today

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At the Belgian Grand Prix today, the Williams pit crew got things horribly wrong and in an interview with the media after the race; Valtteri Bottas believes it cost him fifth place.

Bottas found himself in the mix for P5 during the early stages of the race at Spa before he made his first visit the pits, but he lost quite a bit of pace after he re-emerged on track.

It all became clear within a few laps why he lost pace as the Williams team had fitted one medium tyre and three soft tyres on his FW37 and he was handed a drive-through penalty for the mistake.

He eventually finished ninth, but in his interview with the media after the race; Bottas he feels he missed out on a good haul of points. Bottas stated the following:-

‘I was told that just maybe there was a mistake with the tyre pressure or something. The car wasn’t too bad, it felt a bit strange. Then I heard the wrong tyre was in there. Looking back at our pace, we lost about fifth place I think.’

It is clear that Bottas felt that it was strange that this happened to him and feels that as a result of this incident he lost fifth place today which could have been very handy for him and the Williams team to catch Ferrari in the Constructors Championship.

Although the Finn started the race in third place, Bottas believes further on in his interview with the media that he didn’t get off the line quick enough and got sucked into the battle for fifth place. But he also believes that the car needs more work in order to be competitive. Bottas added the following:-

‘My main problem was tyre warm up. I had a lot of wheelspin at the start, the first two laps were slow and it just felt slippery. The cars around me seemed better with tyre warmup.. The pace today wasn’t top three either. The day has turned out a lot worse than I thought.

‘We still need a more efficient car aero-wise. If we added more downforce for the middle sector, we lost out a bit in the first and third sectors so we never really found the ideal compromise.’

From what Bottas has stated in his interview after the race today, it is clear that he feels that the tyres were not up to the temperature that they needed to be and this didn’t help him at all and contributed to a disappointing day for him and also for the Williams team.

I would agree with Bottas and I feel that Williams have a lot of hard work ahead of them to get the car more competitive for the rest of the season ahead; especially if they want to try and catch Ferrari in the Constructors Championship. Overall, even though the tyre mix up affected Bottas’ race; Williams simply wasn’t competitive enough this weekend to their rivals and all they can do is learn their lessons from this weekend and look forward to Monza in two weeks time.

2015 Belgian Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

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Here is the official 2015 Belgian Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference transcript as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 – Romain GROSJEAN (Lotus)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by David Coulthard)

Lewis, your 39th grand prix victory, your 80th time on the podium – equalling your great hero Ayrton Senna – a pretty good day at the office?

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- Wow. How you guys doing, you good? We’ve had such a great crowd here this weekend. It’s been incredible, the whole circuit just packed out with all you fans, so thank you all for coming. And for me, just an amazing weekend again. Incredible job done by the team throughout the pit stops, throughout the whole weekend, the guys back at the factory… You know, today was a dream. The whole weekend the car was fantastic, so thank you guys.

It seemed to me that the only real concern you had after the start was after the Virtual Safety Car and Nico was able to get that gap down to just a few seconds. Any other concerns during the race?

LH:- No. Nico had obviously good pace but I was able to answer most of the time, so I was fairly relaxed at the front. The car was feeling great and it was really about looking after the tyres, particularly at the end when I saw that one of the tyres had blown on another cars I was being very cautious, so in the last two laps Nico was allowed to close the gap. No, I felt in control all the way and as I said a lot of good assistance from the team, so I felt like 100 per cent all weekend.

OK, Lewis, congratulations, your summer holiday obviously treated you well. Just come to our second-placed finisher here.

Nico, congratulations. It seemed it all went away from you at the start. You were able to come back at Lewis later in the race, but just talk us through what went wrong there?

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- Yeah, I just completely messed up the start, so that was very annoying. I fought my way through. I gave it absolutely everything, I mean we were both on the edge all the way through. The car has been amazing, so I’m really thankful to the team again for giving us such a car. It’s awesome to drive it. And Lewis did a great job, so deserved to win. I tried to give it everything but not enough.

Well, you certainly kept him honest. We know that you have a big event coming up in the coming few days, so you’ll not be wanting to spend too much time on the interviews. Your lovely wife is expecting your first child, so you’re rushing off after this?

NR:- Yeah, I’m rushing off very, very quickly yes, because we’re expecting our first child any moment, so a very exciting time, looking forward to that, probably next week, let’s see.

We’ll, good luck and congratulations for that. Now, Romain, welcome back, your 10th podium. This circuit saw one of the low points in your career I guess when you got a one-race ban, but focusing on this high today: fantastic and very timely for the Lotus team.

Romain Grosjean (referred here after as RG):- Hello, everyone. It has been an incredible weekend for us. A great qualifying yesterday, unfortunately we had the grid penalty, and a good race. I still can’t believe that we are on the podium. Those guys have been working hard to give us that car to be able to be here today.

Of course going into turn one, every time I take a start in Spa, I will remember 2012 but I think it made me stronger and indeed allowed me to be 10 times on the podium. Being here today is kind of special I think, it has the feel of a race win.

Well congratulations, fantastic to see you back up here and you’ve never stopped smiling through the difficult times? Lewis, as you recognise the fans down there, just a closing question from us. As you look into the second half of the season, it’s still very close with your team-mate, but do you start to feel now that you’re getting your hands closer to another world title?

LH:- It definitely way too early for that. But as I said coming into this weekend, you want to get those pole positions and translate them into wins and hopefully today is the beginning of that, so I’m looking forward to the next races, I hope to see many of these fans at some of the other races coming up.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Lewis, Mercedes’ seventh one-two finish of the season, 2015, you just said on the podium there you were under control. Obviously a great start but obviously Nico was closing at various phases before the virtual safety car. I just wonder if the virtual safety car, also the cloud cover coming over, just helped you to bed in those medium tyres because after that initial spurt from Nico in the first lap or two after the virtual safety car, you were able to just stretch away from him. Maybe you could just tell us about that phase of the grand prix and his challenge at that point?

LH:- It was really just about utilising the tyres, not having to push. I didn’t really push very hard on the out-laps, took it quite easy for the first three or four laps in which there was areas where Nico would be closing. And then I started to push after that – but I was really never in a position where I was nervous or anything.

I had great pace in the car, the balance felt fantastic. It actually was getting better throughout the race. There was no real need to push any more than I was already. I had a comfortable gap and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if it’s won by a tenth or won by ten seconds.

So, at the end I saw that there was a blow-up so I was being very cautious with my tyres. I’d done pretty well up until then so I was just going to make sure I bought it home.

Q: You said on Thursday this wasn’t one of your favourites. Is it moving into becoming one of them again now?

LH:- I didn’t mean that it wasn’t one of my favourites. Monaco of course is definitely a favourite but this is a great circuit. It’s incredibly challenging. The weather’s been great this weekend so for sure when the weather’s as good as it is today it really does make it a great weekend. Incredible turnout from all the fans, which is really good to see.

A lot of British flags, which I really appreciate but the track is really fun to drive. It’s a historic circuit. Eau Rouge. You can never get tired of driving through Eau Rouge. So it’ll always be a special circuit, for sure.

Q: Coming to you Nico. Obviously a terrific recovery after a poor getaway. Some good strategy as well that got you up into second place around the first pitstops – but tell us, from your perspective, about the way that gap seemed to come down and then just rose again.

NR:- Yeah, the start was really bad so I need to practice that a bit more I think, and then after that I just benefited from the fact they weren’t racing me, in front of me. They were just racing all the people behind, so they just pitted, I suppose, because I wasn’t their opponent. They assumed I was too quick anyway – rightly so – and then, yeah, I had a clear path in front, chased down Lewis.

I was always coming closer except for this one phase in the second stint, towards the end where Lewis pulled away. So that definitely cost me a bit. Then on the Option felt great again. I was qualifying lap every lap trying to hunt Lewis down but he did a great job and it wasn’t enough.

Q: Romain, welcome back. 31 races since we last had you here, Austin 2013 when you had that big Stetson on as I recall. Lots of great overtakes today, I want you to pick out a few of your favourites. I know you were building to a pass on Vettel at the end when he had the tyre go. Obviously he changed his strategy. What were your thoughts around that final period of the grand prix? What was going through your head?

RG:- I was really closing the gap on Seb. It’s very unfortunate he had that puncture and it was a bit of a scary moment just being behind. I think we got everything we could get today, starting from P4 on the grid I’m sure we would have had a much easier race but it was really good fun. All the overtaking into Turn Five, I was really taking it as hard as I could on brake. Probably one of my best races ever.

I remember Austin, a long time ago, but I still remember I was a bit drunk at the press conference! A little bit too much champagne on the podium with Seb. It has been up and down here for me. Of course Spa 2012 with Lewis was a bit of a tough time but on the other side it’s helped me because who I am today and being able to be on the podium with how we are during the weekend shows how strong our guys, and how strong we’re capable of building a car and be there. It was a great race, I enjoyed every minute and if we can do it again, let’s go.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speedsport magazines) Nico, talk us through that start. Was that a direct consequence of the new clutch rules?

NR:- It was more a consequence of… well, yes, for sure but mostly also because we did another formation lap and that always puts more temperature in everything and then things change. But eventually it’s my job to do it well and I didn’t’ do a good job.

Q: (Frédéric Ferret – L’Equipe) Question for Romain Grosjean. Was it your call to pit during the virtual safety car and can you explain how do you gain the speed this weekend with your car?

RG:- I unfortunately cannot explain the gain of speed – but the call on the safety car, I went through Eau Rouge on that lap and they just told me on the radio “safety car window is open” and I did finish the lap and ‘safety car’ came up on the steering wheel and we pitted as planned. We needed to fit the prime tyre for the end of the race.

I think then I lost a positon to Seb, they stayed on the one-stop strategy which was quite aggressive and we didn’t think we’d be able to do it. I knew the safety car window was open, and if the safety car, the virtual safety car, was lasting long enough for me to rejoin the pit or get in the pit before it ended, it was the strategy for me to stop, yeah.

Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) To Romain, we know there are some issues in the team in this period. I would like to know how tough is it to deal with this situation and try to be focused only on the race.

RG:- I think engineers, driver, mechanics, we are focusing more on the racing side and I’m probably not aware of everything going around but I didn’t want to neither, I think. I’m here to race as hard as I can, to give it 100 per cent all of the time. I think driving around Spa, every time you go through Eau Rouge and Pouhon, Turn 10-11, it’s a special feeling and I think you just enjoy it. I don’t really care about what’s going around.

The only thing I want is to do my best to give the guys who are really working hard a good reward.

Q: (Angelique Belokopytov – Auto Digest) My question is for you Romain. Since a moment the future of Lotus was unknown and last days we’ve heard a lot about the potential comeback of Renault. So, did it give you motivation to step up on the podium?

RG:- No. I think, as a racing driver in general, every time we start a race the idea is to try to win it. You know what you have in your hands and you know that sometimes it is not possible but as long as you do everything with 100 per cent of your performance you can fly home in the evening being proud of what you did. That’s what I want to achieve.

Sometimes there’s been times in the past year where you score one point or two points and it has been an incredible performance, probably you can’t see it on TV because it’s hidden by the fact that the car is not as good – but every time I just in the car it’s to give my best. It’s cost me a little bit in the past but putting things in the right order makes it good today.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Lewis, Nico just mentioned that he might have been caught out by the second formation lap. I think you had a similar drama in Budapest. Did the experience from Budapest help you to overcome that?

LH:- I don’t think so. I think, of course we were wary of it but going into the weekend we knew that that may be a scenario and we prepared for it. So, when it came to doing the start, I was very much prepared for it. The engineers prepared me for that potential restart, so, yeah, maybe it was a small benefit. I’m happy. My start was really good.

Q: (Mike Doodson – GP Plus) A question for Romain. You’re a father. My question is – and try to be honest – does becoming a father have an effect on your performance and what advice would you like to offer to Nico and his wife?

RG:- Sleep as much as you can while the baby’s not here! It’s going to get bad! I think it helps your life in general. You don’t do things for yourself anymore, you do them for them. They are everything for you. And it’s your blood that goes through their body. When you have a tough weekend – or a tough day – you call then, you Skype then in the evening, you see the face of your son, or your sons, and you just laugh.

It probably helps to relax your mind in the evening, to think about something else and come fresh in the morning. Once the helmet is on, visor closed, going flat out through Eau Rouge. If you think about your family, you’re not going to stay flat out. We’re racing drivers, we love doing what we do. We know it’s dangerous – we had a good example recently. But, it certainly changes your life. And, to be fair, I’ve never been a world champion, never won a grand prix but the feeling and the emotion I had on the birth of my two sons, has been far better than everything else I’ve known in the world. I wish Nico the same thing. He’ll probably tell us in Monza how it is.

Q:  (Sarah Holt – CNN) Romain, you said that the big crash you had here in 2012 made you stronger. Can you explain in what ways: racecraft, mentally, other things?

RG:- Well, I think it’s no secret that since that day I’ve been working with a psychologist specialising in sport and top athletes. There’s a lot of people in the sporting world, especially in the Olympic Games or in professional rugby or football teams, that are working with psychologists and they succeed in overcoming their problems, to understand.

Being a father is not always easy either, so sometimes we can speak about fatherhood, about being an husband, being a racing driver, having problems at the start, what was the key, what was the problem? Was I focusing on the right way, the wrong way?

All of that work, which has not always been nice and easy – you know, you can have a bad night after a good session – but help you to understand things and to be able to pull out some performances as we did today.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and Speedsport Magazines) Lewis, yesterday you said one of your concerns about starting first was that someone might get by you going up the hill and Perez actually got ahead of you; the timing screens showed that at the end of sector one. How did you get back in there and take the lead again?

LH:- It was very similar to last year, actually. I think Sebastian had slipstreamed me and was pretty much past but by having the inside line and braking later, I was able to hold the position and that’s really what I did with Perez. He braked earlier than me and I outbraked him and managed to get back in the lead after he just took it for a second but he was very fair which was good of him.

Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Lewis, you said that it’s too early to speak about clinching the World Championship trophy, but yesterday, with your pole position, you already secured the pole trophy. Does that mean anything to you?

LH:- The pole trophy is not particularly exciting but getting poles is definitely a great thing. Naturally winning the World Championship is the goal. I would give up everything else, all the poles, the pole position trophy for the –  yeah, you can have it, no problem – for the World Championship so that’s really the goal but I’m really happy with how the qualifying has gone this year.

It’s been a huge step for me and today the plan was to try and convert that pole position and the speed that I had in qualifying into the race. I feel like I did that and I’m sure that there will be areas to improve on  which I will continue to try and work on.

NR:- I never got my trophy for last year, so don’t expect a trophy coming your way for that. Ask  whoever is responsible.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Romain, as Monza is similar to Spa, can you expect the same result in two weeks?

RG:- I think Monza is a big difference in a way that there are special aero packages for Monza and it’s one race out of 19 where it’s always difficult to know exactly what’s going to be there. I’m sure in term of pole everything is going to be under control.  Hopefully is working as well as it is today but I think right now I’m just thinking about having a good drink tonight!

Q: (Giusto Ferronato – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Lewis, we remember that in the final part of the last year, I mean from Monza, you started to win a lot of races. Do you feel the same sensations as last year?

LH:- At the moment, it’s a lot different to last year, obviously at this point. Last year I came away from here… it was a very difficult time but after that, no great pace and great results, so for sure that’s the  goal, to continue that from here so this has already been a much much better year than last year and the plan is to try and continue with that. I still feel there’s improvements to be made, particularly in the race so that’s what I will continue to do but I’ll definitely take today’s result.

Vettel “fuming” over his late puncture at the Belgian GP

All rights reserved to Getty Images.

All rights reserved to Getty Images.

In an interview with BBC F1 this afternoon, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was left fuming over the state of the Pirelli tyres after suffering a puncture on the penultimate lap of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Vettel was the only one to opt for a one-stop strategy and was set for a third-placed finish until his puncture happened on Lap 42 of the race while running in second place. In his interview with BBC F1 this afternoon, Vettel stated the following about the matter as follows:-

‘Things like that are not allowed to happen, full stop. If it happens 200 metres earlier I’m not standing here now I’m doing 300 stuck in Eau Rouge. I don’t know what else needs to happen.

‘What’s upsetting is one thing the result: this is racing, for sure we deserved to finish on the podium. But the other thing as I said is if this happens earlier I don’t… I think it’s the sort of theme that keeps going around, nobody’s mentioning, but it’s unacceptable.’

Further on in his interview with BBC F1 this afternoon, Vettel was also unhappy with Pirelli’s response to Rosberg’s tyre blow-out which took place in practice on Friday. Vettel added the following:-

‘Yeah well there was cut debris, there may be something wrong with the bodywork, the driver went wide’ – bullshit”. If Nico tells us that he didn’t go off the track, he didn’t go off the track. Why should he lie to us?”

‘Same with me I didn’t go off the track it’s just out of the blue, the tyre explodes.’

I agree with Vettel here and these types of incidents shouldn’t be happening at all and I totally understand the frustrations that he has which has lost him a third place finish this weekend in Spa. With the spotlight firmly on Pirelli after this failure with Vettel and also Nico Rosberg’s in FP2 on Friday, it is clear that Pirelli need to analyse and investigate both incidents thoroughly and put measures in place to stop this happening again before anyone gets hurt.

You could argue the other side of it in that Ferrari made have made a mistake and got their calculations wrong on their strategy; but they wouldn’t make this strategy and adopt it without the advice of Pirelli in the first place.

But let’s face it, safety is paramount for all and that cannot be risked for anything and I think that is the reason why Vettel is mostly angry about what has happened today and then also sadly losing a third place finish would have helped them extend the gap to Williams in the Constructors Championship.

Finally, Pirelli in my opinion have got to find solutions to what has happened with Vettel and Rosberg this weekend and try to reassure the teams and the drivers that their tyres do the job that the FIA have asked them to do which is to provide great but safe racing.

2015 Belgian Grand Prix Race Review

Spa-Francorchamps_overview

On Saturday, we saw Lewis Hamilton taking Pole Position for the Belgian Grand Prix ahead of his team mate Nico Rosberg and Williams driver Valtteri Bottas.

After Qualifying yesterday, it was announced that Romain Grosjean was to receive a five place grid penalty for changing his gearbox and also that Max Verstappen would also have a ten place grid penalty for changing his as well.

However, this morning we learnt that Kimi Raikkonen will also be dropping five places on the grid as Ferrari decided to change his gearbox.

On the formation lap, Nico Hulkenberg reports to his team that he has no power from the engine. The Force India team tell Hulkenberg to pit at the end of the lap and then they retract their decision and tell him to take the start.

Nico Hulkenberg being pushed back into the pitlane. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Hulkenberg being pushed back into the pitlane. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

However, Hulkenberg on his grid slot waves his hands in the air to inform the marshals that he has a problem. The start is then aborted and an extra formation lap is needed in order to get Hulkenberg back to the pit lane.

On the extra formation lap, Carlos Sainz Jr also tells his team that he also has no power in his Toro Rosso and has been told to report to the pit lane.

Lewis Hamilton leads the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton leads the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Belgian Grand Prix is underway! Lewis Hamilton gets a good start as does Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez is now up to second place. Nico Rosberg had a bad start and got bogged down and now sees Sebastian Vettel closing up on him.

Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez battling each other on the first lap of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez battling each other on the first lap of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

As we head into the next few corners, on the way up Eau Rouge to the next corner, Perez gets a slipstream from Hamilton and manages to pass him for the lead shortly but Hamilton was able to get the position back heading into Les Combes. Daniel Ricciardo is now up to third while Rosberg and Bottas heading into the final corner battle for fourth place but Rosberg hold on to the position despite a lock up.

Lap 2 sees Nico Hulkenberg retiring from the race with a terminal problem with his Force India and it is a real shame after a promising weekend for the German driver. Pastor Maldonado meanwhile reports to the Lotus team that he is having engine problems and is going slowly on the track. He manages to get it back to the pits and officially retires from the race.

Lap 4 sees a battle for tenth place between Ericsson, Verstappen and Raikkonen. Verstappen heading into Les Combes passes Ericsson for tenth place. Sainz Jr is going slowly on the track but that is only because he is letting the lead cars lap him. Meanwhile the next lap, Raikkonen passes Ericsson for 11th place on the Kemmel straight.

Lewis Hamilton leads the Belgian GP on Lap 7. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton leads the Belgian GP on Lap 7. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 7 sees Hamilton leading Perez by 5.7 seconds while Ricciardo is catching Perez relatively quickly. At the end of the lap, Ricciardo pits for new tyres. The next lap sees Grosjean passing Bottas for fifth place. At the end of Lap 8, Perez pits for new tyres and Ricciardo has gotten in front of him; with the undercut working beautifully.

Romain Grosjean on Lap 10 of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Romain Grosjean on Lap 10 of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On Lap 10 of the race, Grosjean passes Perez on track. Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas when he pitted has been allocated the wrong tyre compound and has a mixture of the yellow and white tyres on his Williams; with 3 yellow tyres and a white tyre. He will then have to pit in order to change his tyres to one compound as it is against the technical and sporting regulations.

The next lap sees Verstappen and Nasr battling for 11th place. Verstappen tries to pass Nasr but cannot do so. But he is able in a beautiful move at the Bus Stop Chicane passes him for track position. Lap 13 sees the stewards announcing that an investigation is underway with Bottas for having incorrect tyres fitted onto his car.

At the end of Lap 13, Lewis Hamilton makes his pit stop and hands over the lead to Sebastian Vettel who hasn’t yet stopped for tyres. The stewards announce on Lap 14 that Bottas will receive a drive through penalty as a result of having incorrect tyres fitted onto his Williams on his first pit stop.

At the end of the lap, Vettel pits for tyres and hands the lead back to Hamilton who had a 3.4 second lead to his team mate Nico Rosberg in second place. On Lap 16, Fernando Alonso is being caught by Felipe Nasr for 13th place. The next lap sees Nasr passing Alonso for 13th place.

Kimi Raikkonen catching

Kimi Raikkonen catching Felipe Massa and Daniil Kvyat in the early stages of the Belgian GP. All rights reserve to Sutton Images.

Lap 18 sees the battle between Kvyat, Massa and Raikkonen ongoing with Massa looking very likely to pass the young Russian soon. Meanwhile, Grosjean passes Ricciardo for fourth place on the track with a great move and is quickly catching Perez for third place. On Lap 20, Grosjean passes Perez into Les Combes for third place with a brilliant move.

Daniel Ricciatdo retires on Lap

Daniel Ricciatdo retires on Lap 21 of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On Lap 21, Daniel Ricciardo stops just after the Bus Stop Chicane while catching Perez for fourth place and after locking up his front right tyre, he lost hydraulic pressure which caused him to lose the throttle. Ricciardo has to sadly retire from the race and a virtual safety car has been deployed in order to get the car removed safely.

Lewis Hamilton leading Nico Rosberg on L

Lewis Hamilton leading Nico Rosberg on Lap 26 of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

We are backing racing the following lap with Raikkonen catching Massa for seventh place on the track. Two laps later, several teams in the pit lane reporting to their drivers that there could be a threat of rain in the latter stages of the Grand Prix as Hamilton leads Rosberg still by 2.4 seconds.

Daniil Kvyat in the second half of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Daniil Kvyat in the second half of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On Lap 27, Kvyat is starting to be caught up by Perez for fifth place. Two laps later sees Kvyat passing Perez for position. At the end of Lap 30, Hamilton pits for new tyres and hands the lead over to his team mate. At the end of the next lap, Rosberg pits for new tyres and re-hands the lead back to Hamilton.

Sergio Perez in the second half of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to XPB.

Sergio Perez in the second half of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to XPB.

Hamilton leads the race from Rosberg on Lap 32 by 7.4 seconds. We also see Nasr passing Alonso for the second time in this race for track position while Perez and Massa battle each other for fifth place on the track.

At this stage of the race, showers are roughly thirty miles from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit; will we see the threat of rain hit the circuit in the latter stages of the race? Lap 35 sees the Toro Rosso team informing Carlos Sainz Jr that they will be boxing the car to retire from the race officially after being two laps down on the leaders and are probably thinking of this in order to keep mileage on the engine at a minimum.

The battle for third place between Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean caught everyone’s attentions; with Grosjean being urged on by his team to “keep pushing” and that “he can catch Sebastian” on the track. Lap 37 sees Kvyat passing Raikkonen with a good move to take seventh place.

Lewis Hamilton leading with five laps to go of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton leading with five laps to go of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

With five laps remaining, Hamilton still leads the race by 4.1 seconds. The battle for fifth between Perez, Massa, Kvyat and Raikkonen is building up nicely.

Vettel leads Kvyat by 5.9 seconds on the final lap of the race. The stewards then announce that there will be no further action regarding Ricciardo and Rosberg. Vettel takes the chequered flag and wins his second race of the season at the Belgian Grand Prix with a fantastic performance in an action-packed and ever changing race.

Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat on Lap 40 of the Belgian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Kvyat is successful with passing Massa for sixth place on Lap 40 and passes him with a great move into Les Combes; despite locking up his front right tyres in order to complete the move. The next lap sees Kvyat managing to pass Perez with another great piece of driving to get fifth place.

On the Kemmel straight on Lap 42, Sebastian Vettel’s right rear tyre blows up and he is going slowly to try and get into the pits. Vettel’s chances of a podium finish has now gone in their 900th Grand Prix start and Romain Grosjean now takes the place. On the final lap of the race, Max Verstappen tries to pass Kimi Raikkonen for position; but Verstappen couldn’t make it work and Raikkonen retains the position.

Lewis Hamilton wins the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Romain Grosjean in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton wins the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Romain Grosjean in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Hamilton leads Rosberg on the final lap of the race by 3.2 seconds and wins the Belgian Grand Prix. Hamilton now also equals the most podium records of 80 with his hero the great Aryton Senna which is a fantastic achievement.

Rosberg is a credible second 2 seconds behind Hamilton ahead of Grosjean who was a great third 37 seconds behind Hamilton and scores his first podium position of the season; at a time when Lotus needed that result.

Kvyat is a credible fourth 45.6 seconds behind Hamilton, Perez finished fifth 53.9 seconds behind Hamilton, Massa was sixth 55.2 seconds behind Hamilton, Raikkonen finishes seventh 55.7 seconds behind Hamilton, Verstappen finished in eighth place 56 seconds from Hamilton, Bottas finished in ninth place 1.01 seconds down on Hamilton and Ericsson picked up the final point in tenth 1.31.2 seconds behind Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton leads the Drivers’ Championship with 227 points, Rosberg is second with 199 points, Vettel is third with 160 points, Raikkonen is fourth with 82 points, Massa is fifth with 82 points, Bottas is sixth with 79 points, Kvyat is seventh with 51 points, Ricciardo is eighth with 51 points, Grosjean is ninth with 38 points and Verstappen is tenth with 26 points.

Mercedes lead the Constructors Championship with 426 points, Ferrari is second with 242 points, Williams are third with 161 points, Red Bull are fourth with 108 points, Lotus are fifth with 50 points, Force India are sixth with 49 points, Toro Rosso are seventh with 35 points, Sauber are eighth with 23 points and McLaren-Honda are ninth with 17 points.

Conclusion

I feel that McLaren have had an awful weekend after all their problems. With a double points finish for Alonso in fifth and Button in ninth in Hungary showed that McLaren have had a small step with their performance and pace with the car. But the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car that they need in order to get back to competitive ways once again as quickly as possible. And this has been brought to light this weekend despite a an engine upgrade from Honda.

The biggest surprise this weekend for me was Grosjean getting third place in the race today. I do feel that Romain drove a superb race to gain third today and it is very well deserved. He did a brilliant job today and has shown that despite not having the outright pace to challenge their rivals, he drove a great race to claim this result today and showed why he is a future race winner and world champion in my eyes.

Ericsson, Bottas, Verstappen and Massa do deserve mentions. Firstly, Ericsson deserves a mention for most of the weekend with the car been able to extract a little bit more pace and performance. As I have already stated before, I believe that Ericsson managed to extract some performance from the car and was rewarded with a point for his efforts after everything that he encountered during the race.

Also, Bottas did a credible job to finish ninth. Bottas this weekend has managed to struggle to extract pace and performance from the car; despite what happened during the race with a mix up on the tyres and I feel that the results that Bottas achieved today will only spur on the Williams team to try and keep this momentum going further into the 2015 season and try to catch the Ferrari team for third in the Constructors Championship.

Verstappen battled his way through today to get eighth place today. He battled his way through the field and created some great overtaking moves to get there. Verstappen may not have had the weekend that he wanted with Toro Rosso after what happened to him this weekend, but he did the best that he could do and picked up some more points for the team who have extended their lead over their rivals in the Constructors today.

Despite everything, Massa did a credible job to finish in sixth place today. His race may have been a challenging one but he battled through to get some points after showing form throughout the weekend and this will only motivate the team and himself further to keep this up as the season moves to Monza in a few weeks time.

Raikkonen hasn’t had the best weekend to celebrate his new contract with the Ferrari team for next season. Raikkonen was unlucky with the car stopping on him in qualifying but he did a solid job today to get some much needed points for himself and his team.

Perez did a super job to get fifth place today and deserves a mention. He drove a solid race today and had to battle his way through but he did a great job to secure some much needed points for his team after a good performance this weekend and it is clear that the B car is working well for them as well.

Kvyat drove a solid race to get fourth place today. Even though Kvyat didn’t manage to beat Grosjean for third place but we have seen Kvyat showing why he was approached by Red Bull in the first place and that he is without a doubt a potential winner in the near future if he can get everything together in a weekend.

Rosberg deserves a mention. He drove a solid race today to second place. He may not have won the battle with Hamilton; and had to battle his way through but he did a great job to secure a podium today. What a fantastic job from him and this will only give him more confidence as he goes on into the season.

All that is left to say about this race is that Hamilton deserved to win today and he needed to in order to keep the battle going in the championship.  His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far this season with him and have shown that they are just the  best team on the grid at the moment. All credit to Lewis for doing a superb job this weekend.

Will Monza in two weeks time be yet another race Mercedes will win? Or can their rivals catch up to them? And who will be leading the championship, will it be Rosberg or will it be Hamilton? Only time will tell!