Posts Tagged ‘race’

Another racy weekend in China

April 18th, 2010 No comments

Those people who declared Formula One dull and processional after the opening round in Bahrain must be eating their words now.

Today’s rain-splashed Chinese Grand Prix proved to be yet another exciting race with Jenson Button powering to his second victory of the season thanks to another successful tyre strategy. While team mate Lewis Hamilton made a sudden dive into the pits for intermediates, Button stayed out on slicks. Hamilton said:

Jenson made the better choice on the tyres. It wasn’t easy making the call when to change the tyres. I chose very late halfway around the last corner. Clearly it wasn’t the right choice.

But while it may have been the wrong decision, Hamilton again showed what an amazing talent he is by charging back through the field to finish second despite four pit stops.

And is it just me or is the quality of the stewards’ decisions much better this year? There was a mighty battle between Hamilton and Vettel as they both struggled to regain lost places; a battle that continued down the pit exit when Hamilton was released at virtually the same time as Vettel.

Hamilton got exuberantly sideways as he tried to dive in front of Sebastian and the German then proceeded to squeeze Hamilton perilously close to the wheel guns of the other pit crews.

In previous years this probably would have resulted in a post-race 25 second penalty or place drop, potentially altering the very result of the race itself. As it turned out the two drivers only got a stern talking to.

It seems the policy of having an experienced race driver to advise the stewards at each race is a big improvement.

There is now a mini holiday in F1 which is just as well as the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajoekull volcano continues to close European airspace. Until it reopens the teams are stuck in the Far East.

2010 Chinese Grand Prix Race Results

Pos Driver Team Grid Time Points
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 5 1:46:42.163 25
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 6 +00:01.530 18
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 4 +00:09.484 15
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 3 +00:11.869 12
5 Robert Kubica Renault 8 +00:22.213 10
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1 +00:33.310 8
7 Vitaly Petrov Renault 14 +00:47.600 6
8 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2 +00:52.172 4
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 7 +00:57.796 2
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 9 +01:01.749 1
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 10 +01:02.874 0
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 11 +01:03.665 0
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 12 +01:11.416 0
14 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 21 lapped 0
15 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 16 lapped 0
16 Bruno Senna Hispania-Cosworth 23 lapped 0
17 Karun Chandhok Hispania-Cosworth 24 lapped 0
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 20 retired, 26 laps 0
19 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 22 retired, 8 laps 0
20 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 17 retired, 7 laps 0
21 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 13 crash, 1 laps 0
22 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 15 crash, 1 laps 0
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 18 crash, 1 laps 0
24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 19 retired, 1 laps 0

Image: Greg Baker/AP

Categories: 2010 Season Tags: ,

Formula One is alive and well

March 28th, 2010 2 comments

The reports of Formula One’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

I said after the Bahrain Grand Prix that judging the entire Formula One season after one race was premature and the thrilling Australian Grand Prix just proves that Formula One is far from dull.

The race was filled with action throughout and one could argue that it was the new rules that added to the excitement. Without having to stop for fuel, drivers had to decide whether to come into the pits for fresh tyres and risk losing places or stay out on worn tyres and hope to maintain their position.

An early gamble on switching to slicks and a smooth driving style meant that Jenson Button only had to stop once and was able to dominate the race from an early stage.

Further back in the field there was all kinds of action. Lewis Hamilton drove spectacularly well and if it wasn’t for a questionable decision to stop for fresh tyres and Mark Webber running into the back of him on lap 56 there would almost certainly have been two McLaren drivers on the podium.

Schumacher had another disappointing race spending most of it fighting with the Toro Rosso of Alguersuari. At one point he was even passed by the newcomer Lotus and Virgin cars.

Lewis’s charging drive also provided a classic bit of Brundle commentary:

It was an invitation to pass and Hamilton RSVP’d immediately.

Kubica’s second place finish is encouraging for both Renault and the talented Pole and Felipe Massa’s refusal to yield to his team mate shows that after only two races there is no number one driver at Ferrari.

The Australian Grand Prix proves that Formula One is still as exciting as ever, perhaps even more so. Let’s hope the excitement continues in Kuala Lumpur next week.

2010 Australian Grand Prix Race Results

Pos Driver Team Grid Time Points
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 4 1:33:36.531 25
2 Robert Kubica Renault 9 +00:12.034 18
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 5 +00:14.488 15
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 3 +00:16.304 12
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 6 +00:16.683 10
6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 11 +00:29.989 8
7 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 13 +00:59.847 6
8 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 8 +01:00.536 4
9 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2 +01:07.319 2
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 7 +01:09.391 1
11 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 17 +01:11.301 0
12 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Cosworth 14 +01:14.084 0
13 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 19 lapped 0
14 Karun Chandhok Hispania-Cosworth 24 lapped 0
15 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 21 retired, 41 laps 0
16 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 22 retired, 26 laps 0
17 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1 retired, 25 laps 0
18 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 10 retired, 9 laps 0
19 Vitaly Petrov Renault 18 retired, 9 laps 0
20 Bruno Senna Hispania-Cosworth 23 retired, 4 laps 0
21 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 12 crash, 1 laps 0
22 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 15 crash, 1 laps 0
23 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Cosworth 16 crash, 1 laps 0
24 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 20 retired, 0 laps 0

Image: Renault F1

Categories: 2010 Season Tags: ,

Another Red Bull 1-2 in Abu Dhabi

November 2nd, 2009 No comments

Sebastian Vettel, Abu, Dhabi, 2009Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber secured Red Bull’s fourth 1-2 finish of the season in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

After qualifying it looked like Lewis Hamilton would easily drive away from the two Red Bulls in the race but despite setting six consecutive fastest laps and opening a gap of two seconds on Vettel, a brake problem forced Hamilton to retire after 20 laps.

The billion dollar Yas Marina circuit looked spectacular as twilight faded into night and while there are some interesting sections to the track, including a pit exit tunnel, for the most part the race was pretty uneventful.

The most excitment came in the closing laps as Mark Webber came under attack from Jenson Button and only just managed to hold him off with some great defensive driving.

It’s hard to see how an old airfield in Northamptonshire can compete with a city that sits on one-tenth of the world’s oil reserves and whose citizens (not including foreign workers) are worth about $17 million each. But Sunday’s race showed that while money can buy spectacular, it can’t buy history and it can’t neccessarily buy good racing.

2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Race Results

Pos Driver Team Grid Time Points
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2 34:03.414 10
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 3 34:21.271 8
3 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 5 34:21.881 6
4 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 4 34:26.149 5
5 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 8 34:29.667 4
6 Kamui Kobayashi Toyota 12 34:32.757 3
7 Jarno Trulli Toyota 6 34:37.780 2
8 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 10 34:44.708 1
9 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 9 34:49.355 0
10 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 7 34:51.594 0
11 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 18 34:56.212 0
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 11 34:57.731 0
13 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 13 35:03.253 0
14 Fernando Alonso Renault 15 35:13.014 0
15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 16 35:37.814 0
16 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 20 lapped 0
17 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 17 lapped 0
18 Romain Grosjean Renault 19 lapped 0
RET Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1 retired, 20 laps 0
RET Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 14 retired, 18 laps 0

Image: Red Bull

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: ,

Webber wins in Brazil. Nobody notices.

October 18th, 2009 No comments

Jenson Button, Brazil, 2009Mark Webber picked up the second win of his long Formula One career at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday. Unfortunately for Mark, Jenson Button drove a fantastic race from 14th on the grid to finish 5th and in so doing clinched the 2009 Drivers’ Championship, stealing Webber’s glory somewhat.

Brawn GP also picked up the points they needed to win the Constructors’ Championship.

For the fifth time in a row the Interlagos circuit played host to the Championship decider. And what a race it was.

After a washed out qualifying that saw both Button and Vettel dropped in the first session, determined drives from Button, Vettel and Hamilton gave us one of the most thrilling races of the season.

After dispatching Romain Grosjean and Kazuki Nakajima, Button became stuck behind Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi who was filling in for Timo Glock. The young Japanese driver in his first Formula One race put in a gutsy performance. He seems to come from the Takuma Sato school of driving; not afraid to throw his car around the track with willful abandon. Jenson described him as “absolutely crazy.” I agree! Let’s hope he gets a drive next year.

Lewis Hamilton made the most of his KERS powered McLaren by switching to a one-stop strategy when the safety car came out on the first lap. He started from 17th on the grid but drove an aggressive race, passing Alguersuari and Grosjean on a single lap before making Barrichello’s day even worse by passing him on lap 62 to finish 3rd. Hamilton’s podium moves McLaren to 3rd in the Constructors’ Championship, one point ahead of Ferrari.

Speaking of Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen proved how cool he was when a trailing fuel hose from the back of Kovalainen’s McLaren briefly turned him into a human torch. This seemed to have little effect on the Finn and he went on to finish 6th.

The new Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi looks spectacular but it’s hard to imagine it producing a more thrilling race than Brazil. Interlagos had it all: unpredictable weather, loads of overtaking, spectacular crashes, even very nearly a trackside punchup between Adrian Sutil and Jarno Trulli.

This is what Formula One should be.

2009 Brazilian Grand Prix Race Results

Pos Driver Team Grid Time Points
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2 32:23.081 10
2 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 8 32:30.707 8
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 17 32:42.025 6
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 15 32:42.733 5
5 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 14 32:52.086 4
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 5 32:56.421 3
7 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6 32:59.072 2
8 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1 33:08.535 1
9 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 16 33:11.481 0
10 Kamui Kobayashi Toyota 11 33:26.081 0
11 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 19 33:33.746 0
12 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 20 33:34.469 0
13 Romain Grosjean Renault 13 lapped 0
14 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 12 lapped 0
RET Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 9 crash, 30 laps 0
RET Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 7 retired, 27 laps 0
RET Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 18 retired, 21 laps 0
RET Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 3 crash, 0 laps 0
RET Jarno Trulli Toyota 4 crash, 0 laps 0
RET Fernando Alonso Renault 10 crash, 0 laps 0

Image: Brawn GP

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

Vettel keeps the dream alive

October 4th, 2009 No comments

Sebastian Vettel, Japan, 2009There was a chance both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships might have been decided at Suzuka.  Instead, after a dramatic qualifying session and a race dominated by Sebastian Vettel, we leave Japan with both titles still up for grabs.

Many expected Brawn GP to seal the Constructors’ Championship this weekend and they came very close to doing so.  While Red Bull are still in with a chance (mathematically), Brawn only need half a point to seal victory, something they are almost certain to do in Brazil.

The Drivers’ Championship is a lot less certain, though.

Sebastian Vettel was untouchable around the demanding Suzuka circuit, starting from pole position and leading from lights to flag.

What a race! We already had pole position and strategy-wise we were the favourites, but, you know – first of all you have to do the start! We were pretty confident that we could defend our position, as we’ve had good starts in the past, but it was closer than I thought it would be! Going into Turn 1, I suddenly saw a silver arrow on my left-hand side, but I had the inside line so it was my advantage. After that I put my head down and tried to push with every single lap.

Lewis Hamilton was on target to claim second until a problem with KERS saw him fall into the clutches of Toyota’s Jarno Trulli.

When we were behind the Safety Car, I asked the team if they could get the KERS working again so that I could shoot past Jarno but they couldn’t do it and I wasn’t close enough to get in his slipstream at the restart.

In a weekend marked by a string of shunts, rookie Jaime Alguersuari crashed spectacularly through a trackside sign to bring out the safety car on lap 43.  Rosberg pitted under the safety car and went on to finish 5th behind Kimi Raikkonen.

Barrichello and Button picked up the final two points-paying positions behind Nick Heidfeld.

Button now goes into Brazil 14 points ahead of Barrichello and 16 points ahead of Vettel.  In 2007 Kimi Raikkonen was 17 points behind Lewis Hamilton with two races to go and he ended up winning the Championship.

2009 Japanese Grand Prix Race Results

Pos Driver Team Grid Time Points
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1 28:20.443 10
2 Jarno Trulli Toyota 2 28:25.243 8
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 3 28:26.843 6
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 5 28:28.343 5
5 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 7 28:29.143 4
6 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 4 28:29.943 3
7 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 6 28:31.043 2
8 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 10 28:31.843 1
9 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 9 28:32.143 0
10 Fernando Alonso Renault 16 28:33.443 0
11 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 11 28:34.143 0
12 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 14 28:34.943 0
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 8 28:35.343 0
14 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 18 28:36.143 0
15 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 15 28:38.343 0
16 Romain Grosjean Renault 17 lapped 0
17 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 19 lapped 0
RET Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 12 crash, 43 laps 0
RET Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 13 retired, 11 laps 0
RET Timo Glock Toyota 20 did not start, 0 laps 0

Image: Red Bull

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , , ,