Monthly Archives: July 2016

Hulkenberg receives grid penalty for tyre mix up


It was announced late this afternoon that Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg will lose one place on the starting grid of the German Grand Prix following the tyre mix-up during qualifying.

Hulkenberg used a set of tyres during Q1 that the team had electronically returned after final practice.This mistake was an infringement of rule 24.4e of the sporting rules.

As a result, the race stewards have penalised Hulkenberg, who will drop from seventh to eighth on the grid. The penalty now means Williams’ Valtteri Bottas will now start in seventh place for the German GP tomorrow.


Hulkenberg being investigated for tyre mix up


It was announced late this afternoon that Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg is under investigation for a tyre mix-up during qualifying for the German Grand Prix.

The FIA stewards believe that the Force India driver had used a set of supersofts tyres in Q1 that the team should have returned after final practice.

The incident is a possible breach of article 24.4 of the sporting rules.

The article states that “two further sets [of the softest compound] must be returned to the Supplier before the start of the qualifying practice session.”

An FIA document said that Hulkenberg had used a set of tyres that had already been electronically returned. We are still waiting to see what the outcome of the situation is.

2016 German Grand Prix Post-Qualifying Press Conference Transcript


Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 German Grand Prix Ppst-Qualifying Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-


1 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

2 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

3 – Daniel RICCIARDO (Red Bull Racing)


Nico, under pressure there: only one run in the end in Q3 after, we understand, an electronics glitch on your first run. How satisfying is this pole under those circumstances?

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- Yeah, it was a great feeling. Just a great lap. Not only was it just one lap that I had but I also had extra fuel to make sure that I would have an extra shot if a mistake or something happens. So I had fuel for three laps. So that was some more time in the bag there, so I was really satisfied with that one. That was really cool.

Very well done. Lewis, a little lock-up there, I think into the hairpin, on your final run, only a tenth off Nico. It looks like it’s been a little bit of a tricky weekend, but did you feel it was all coming together for you in qualifying?

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- It’s been a good weekend, I had no problems. I had the pace today I just didn’t finish it off in the last lap, so…

Was it the lock-up ?

LH: I didn’t really have much of a lock-up. It was subtle; I didn’t lose any time.

Thank you for that. Coming to you Daniel, obviously a very close battle between Red Bull and Ferrari there. Do you feel though that you could have been a little bit closer to the Mercedes in the end than the two and a half tenths that it was?

Daniel Ricciardo (referred here after as DR):- I think we got pretty close to be honest. My first lap in Q3 was really good and I knew there probably wasn’t that much more on the table in the second run and in the end a couple of mistakes in that run. There was maybe a tenth or so in it with the perfect lap, but not enough to challenge the pole. We’re close enough.

I said yesterday that if we could be within half a second that’s not a bad day in qualifying, so hopefully it means something tomorrow. From what I understand we might have different tyres available for us for the race, so hopefully that makes it interesting.

Just coming back to you Lewis: your thoughts ahead of tomorrow’s grand prix? It’s going to be another tough battle in prospect?

LH: It’s should be a good day for Mercedes. That’s the goal and yeah, we’ll race it out.

And the final word from our pole sitter: your thoughts Nico then, the race in prospect? Another tough battle in prospect, not only with Lewis but with Daniel as well, and any worries for you on the electronics glitch going forward into the grand prix?

NR: No, I don’t know what it was. It just suddenly… how do you say… it just suddenly lost the throttle. So just cut completely the engine, just at the end of the lap. That was disappointing but I’m sure we’ll fix it for tomorrow. It’s never happened before, so I’m sure it will be OK. Definitely it will be an exciting race against Lewis and the Red Bulls and maybe also the Ferraris but they’re a bit further back it seems.


Q: Nico, maybe you could just tell us a little bit more about what you experienced with that electronics glitch – and also, I’m interested in the mental reset after that. You obviously get yourself psyched-up, you know you’ll have another run but to know it’s all on that one lap after you’ve had a setback, just tell us about that mental reset you have to do.

NR: Yeah, it was frustrating at the time because it was a good lap and then to lose it two corners from the end in a way that I’ve never experienced before was definitely tough in that moment. And then also to know that I had to put extra fuel for the last run, to be able to do three laps because just to have a little bit of a contingency plan in case lap one doesn’t work out. And then, yeah, just very happy with that first lap. That was awesome, it really came together well. Yeah, so as a result it was quite challenging to do that last run.

Q: Lewis, obviously it’s been a very strong couple of months for you. You’ve come right back to the point where you’re now leading the championship going into tomorrow’s grand prix. Just tell us a little bit about the importance for you of going into that summer break with a win under your belt. Is that something you particularly target? And how do you look back on this last few weeks?

LH: I think the importance is not particularly relevant. We’ve had, what, five out of six races wins, so it’s been a good mid-stint of the season, and hopefully tomorrow we get the first or second and that’ll still be great. We’ll still be in good position. Of course, every race you approach to win.

Q: Daniel, going into tomorrow’s grand prix, just looking back on your comments yesterday after the long runs, it seemed that you felt reasonably optimistic in terms of your pace relative to these guys. So tell us a bit more about that.

DR: Yeah. I felt that, on low fuel yesterday, Mercedes had a pretty good buffer over everyone and the long run pace we looked to be closer than that, so that was giving us a bit of optimism coming into Sunday. Obviously today we’ve got a bit closer on one-lap pace than we were yesterday so let’s see. Hopefully it translates into something tomorrow. Even to put a little bit of pressure on them at some point in the race would be nice.

But yeah, we’ll see. Obviously tomorrow, you never know what can happen, and racetracks change day to day with the temperature and whatever but yeah, obviously we’re looking pretty good. Obviously a lock-out with the second row and hopefully we can do something with it.

You hinted there that you have something different on the tyres there, so you think obviously strategies going to play a big part in the race tomorrow.

DR: Yeah, from what I understand, we’ve got different tyres available for the race, so there could be some different strategies amongst the first few cars. Hopefully it works out. If it does, the fans might have a race on their hands.


Q: (Dan Knutson – Speedsport and Auto Action) Nico and Lewis, last weekend the start  and the first couple corners set the race. How much different is it this weekend and how much easier is it to get past on this track?

NR: It’s a different world here because you can overtake on this track if you get a significant speed difference. Nevertheless it’s still going to be a good battle off the start and in the first couple of corners, for sure.

LH: It’s a much easier track (on which) to overtake. But that doesn’t mean you can but it is much easier, it’s one of the easier ones.

Q: And your thoughts just on that first corner and then the run down to turn two?

LH: Only one car can go through turn one so it’s whoever gets there first.

Q: (Graeme Keilloh – Grand Prix Times) Lewis, you said earlier that you just didn’t get it done in the final qualifying lap. Did you feel that pole was on today, was there a particular mistake or something else that denied you?

LH: Well, I’d been first in every qualifying session so yeah, it was definitely on. I was two tenths up on the lap and I just didn’t finish it. That’s it.

Sainz Jr handed a three grid place penalty for the German GP


It was announced this afternoon after qualifying that Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr will start the German Grand Prix three-places lower than he qualified after race stewards handed the Toro Rosso driver a penalty for blocking the Williams of Felipe Massa.

During Q2, Massa came across a slow Sainz at Turn 2, which cost the Brazilian time. Although Sainz tried to get out of the way by taking to the grass, it was too late.

Both Sainz and Massa were summoned to the stewards office to discuss the matter, with the stewards blaming Sainz.

With a three-place grid drop, Sainz Jr will start 16th, having qualified 13th on Saturday. He will also receive two penalty points on his F1 licence, taking his 12-month total to four.

2016 German Grand Prix Qualifying Review


But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But Ferrari, McLaren, Ferrari, Toro Rosso or Force India may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions.

Shortly after FP3 was finished, it was announced that Romain Grosjean will have to take a five place grid penalty for changing his gearbox after his incident on the track. To read more about this, please read my article here:-

It was also announced before Qualifying that Lewis Hamilton was cleared of any wrong-doing regarding the incident in the pitlane between himself and Romain Grosjean. The Mercedes AMG Petronas team were fined £10,000 Euros for releasing Hamilton’s car when it was not safe to do so.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in Q1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in Q1 and Q2. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

In Q1, we saw Lewis Hamilton topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.15.243, Nico Rosberg was second, Daniel Ricciardo was third, Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, Max Verstappen was fifth, Sebastian Vettel was sixth, Valtteri Bottas was seventh, Esteban Gutierrez was eighth, Sergio Perez was ninth and Jenson Button rounded off the top ten finshers.

At the end of Q1 we lose Kevin Magnussen, Pascal Wehrlein, Daniil Kvyat, Rio Haryanto, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

In Q2, we saw Hamilton topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.14.748, Rosberg was second, Verstappen was third, Raikkonen was fourth, Bottas was fifth, Perez was sixth, Ricciardo was seventh, Hulkenberg was eighth, Vettel was ninth and Massa rounded off the top ten finshers.

At the end of Q2, we lose Esteban Gutierrez, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz Jr and Jolyon Palmer.

During Q2, Carlos Sainz Jr is under investigation by the stewards after impeding Felipe Massa on a flying lap and Nico Rosberg on his first run in Q3 backed out of it for suspected electronic issues.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

Nico Rosberg claims Pole Position for the German GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Daniel Ricciardo in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg claims Pole Position for the German GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Daniel Ricciardo in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

At the end of Q3, Rosberg took Pole Position for the German GP, with a lap time of 1.14.363. Rosberg did it on the anniversary of the last time his father Keke Rosberg took his last ever Pole Position in the sport which is a fitting tribute.

Hamilton finished in second place 0.107 seconds behind Rosberg, Ricciardo finished in third place 0.363 seconds behind Rosberg, Verstappen finished in fourth place 0.471 seconds behind Rosberg and Raikkonen was fifth place 0.779 seconds behind Rosberg.

Vettel ended the session in sixth place 0.952 seconds behind Rosberg, Hulkenberg finished in seventh place 1.147 seconds behind Rosberg, Bottas finished in eight place 1.167 seconds behind Rosberg, Perez finished in ninth place 1.174 seconds behind Rosberg and Massa finished in tenth place.

It would seem that Mercedes genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend despite their form in Qualifying. Both of the Mercedes drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this and have been consistent and fast throughout every session so far this weekend; even if Hamilton has a challenge on his hands to get a result this weekend.

You cannot discount Ricciardo, Verstappen or Vettel even to be challenging also for the race win and could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes (and also Ferrari in Mercedes’ case) that could see gaining some points on their rivals to kick start their Constructors Championship.

Hulkenberg, Sainz Jr and Raikkonen could also have a decent race and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams. Will it rain? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix on Sunday? I really don’t know.

But let’s see what happens tomorrow on the Hockenheimring circuit on race day on Sunday…

Grosjean to take a five place grid penalty for the German GP


It was announced just after FP3 this morning that Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean will take a five-place grid penalty for the German GP after Haas changed his gearbox.

Grosjean felt something was wrong with the unit following a trip across the grass in third practice and he retreated to the pits. He said on team radio: “Guys, are you sure the aero is correct? I almost spun the car and something’s happening with the gearbox.”

Grosjean spent most of the remainder of the session in the garage, completing just four laps in total, with the team choosing to change the unit as a precaution.

As it was his race gearbox, the change puts Grosjean in breach of the rules that dictate gearboxes must last six consecutive events.

The only exceptions to these rules, for which a five-place grid penalty applies for a breach, are for non-starters and non-finishers – for technical reasons – of the last race.

2016 German Grand Prix Practice Review


Lewis Hamilton wins the Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Daniel Ricciardo in third place. Ferrari, Williams, Force India and McLaren all managed to pick up some much needed points from the event.

Heading into the race this weekend, it was announced that former Ferrari Technical Director James Allison has left the team with immediate effect. To read more about this, then please read my article here:-

The Hockenheimring circuit is located in Hockenheim 20 kilometers from Heidelberg, hosted the Formula One German Grand Prix for the first time in 1970. The originally circuit built in 1932 used roads in the forest and it was almost eight kilometers long and only for motorcycle racing. In 1936 the circuit was expanded to be used as a test track for cars. It was last rebuilt in 2002 and the new track guarantees exciting races and plenty of overtaking opportunities.

The Herman Tilke-designed track is almost completely flat and has long straights followed by slow corners and hairpins. Top-speed and good torque is vital and the circuit is one of the hardest on brakes. The circuit is 4.574 km long and features 17 corners and 6 straights. The minimum track width is 15 meters and the direction is clockwise. The circuit has a capacity of 120,000 spectators, most of them located in the grandstands surrounding the Motodrom stadium section. One of the grandstands are sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.

Do you want to stay at a hotel really close to the circuit? The hotel Motodrom is actually integrated into the main stand of the Hockenheimring, directly on the start/finishing straight. From the restaurant you can get an unique view over the racetrack.

In 2006 Bernie Ecclestone announced that there would only be one Formula One race in Germany per year from 2007, alternating between Nurburgring and Hockenheimring. The organizers have an agreement to host the race at Hockenheim until 2018. In 2015, for the first time since 1960, there was no German Grand Prix as Nurburgring opted out due to financial problems.

Practices 1, 2 and 3

Just before the start of Practice 1, it was announced by the FIA that the Halo safety device would be delayed until the 2018 season. If you want to find out more about this, then please read my article here:-

The main headline from the Practice sessions is that Mercedes and Ferrari look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management which will test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP1 and FP2.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP1 and FP2.

Practice 1 saw Nico Rosberg tops the timesheet with a time of 1.15.517 followed closely by Lewis Hamilton with a gap of 0.326 seconds behind, Sebastian Vettel was in third with a gap of 1.150 seconds behind, Kimi Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 1.335 seconds behind and Max Verstappen in fifth with a gap of 1.410 seconds behind Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo is sixth with a gap of 1.572 seconds behind, Fernando Alonso is seventh with a gap of 1.666 seconds behind, Jenson Button is eighth with a gap of 2.095 seconds behind, Daniil Kvyat is ninth with a gap of 2.49 seconds behind and Carlos Sainz Jr is tenth with a gap of 2.527 seconds behind Rosberg.

Just before FP2, it was announced by the FIA that there will be a new procedure under a wet Safety Car during the races. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:-

Practice 2 saw Rosberg tops the timesheet with a time of 1.15.614 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.394 seconds behind, Vettel was in third with a gap of 0.594 seconds behind, Verstappen in fourth with a gap of 0.842 seconds behind and Ricciardo in fifth with a gap of 0.876 seconds behind Rosberg.

Raikkonen is sixth with a gap of 0.898 seconds behind, Hulkenberg is seventh with a gap of 1.167 seconds behind, Button is eighth with a gap of 1.473 seconds behind, Perez is ninth with a gap of 1.534 seconds behind and Alonso is tenth with a gap of 1.611 seconds behind Rosberg.

In the intra-team fight at Mercedes, Rosberg out-paced Hamilton by over three tenths as he made it a perfect Friday on his return to Hockenheim, where he won Germany’s last grand prix in 2014. It will be a welcome boost for Rosberg, who lost the championship lead to Hamilton in Hungary and has seen his teammate win five of the last six races.

But during FP2, Jenson Button’s session was significantly shortened by a trip to the local hospital for what McLaren later confirmed was an eye irritation. Sergio Perez finished ninth in the other Force India after getting airborne early in the session when re-joining the track at Turn 1.

Just shortly after FP2, it was announced by the FIA that there will be a new procedure under double yellow flags. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:-

Practice 3 saw Rosberg tops the timesheet with a time of 1.15.738 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.057 seconds behind, Ricciardo was in third with a gap of 0.099 seconds behind, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 0.164 seconds behind and Vettel in fifth with a gap of 0.366 seconds behind Rosberg.

Verstappen is sixth with a gap of 0.444 seconds behind, Bottas is seventh with a gap of 0.662 seconds behind, Massa is eighth with a gap of 0.892 seconds behind, Alonso is ninth with a gap of 1.178 seconds behind and Hulkenberg is tenth with a gap of 1.234 seconds behind Rosberg.

But during FP2, we saw Daniil Kvyat twenty minutes into the session saying to his team via the radio that he has problems with the brakes. Also, we saw the stewards investigating the incident between Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton for an unsafe release in the pitlane after Grosjean had to stop in the pitlane to avoid an incident with Hamilton who was going rather slowly.

Shortly after the stewards announced there is an investigation between himself and Hamilton, on the rundown to the hairpin; we saw Grosjean going off the circuit and spinning onto the grass and reported suspected gearbox issues and aero issues. Grosjean coasted the car back to the pits in order for the Haas team to check it over.

At the end of the session, Sebastian Vettel sustained front wing damage to his Ferrari after going too far onto the “sausage” kerb. But he managed to get it back to the pits safely and will be replaced before qualifying later on this afternoon.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As the Mercedes drivers seem to be performing brilliantly at the moment and the momentum is with them from all the track mileage and their strong form from the last race. Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Perez, Hulkenberg or Sainz Jr also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top ten places at the moment.

However, I think that Toro Rosso, McLaren and Force India have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…