Category Archives: Formula 1

F1: Lewis Hamilton wins the 2014 World Championship in Abu Dhabi thriller

Abu Dhabi – From the chequered flag in Sâo Paulo, the world knew that the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship would end with a bang. With double points on the line, and a mere 17 point gap between them, the fight was on between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg once again proved himself as the fastest in qualifying, beating Hamilton out for pole by a mere 0.386 of a second. Close behind the Mercedes were the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who played a major factor in Sunday’s season ending race at Yas Marina. Meanwhile, the starting grid was shaken up after the FIA disqualified the qualifying times of the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo due to a pair of illegal front wings.

The race began with Hamilton getting an amazing start over his teammate, rushing up the left-hand side of the track and never looking back. Rosberg held his own against Massa, while Bottas was swamped by the pack, falling back considerably from his 3rd place start.

Rosberg’s troubles began on Lap 23, when his car suffered an ERS failure, crippling the German’s Mercedes and leaving Hamilton wary to push his own car too hard. In part because of this, Hamilton laid off for a good portion of the race, letting Massa take the lead, and have a decent chance at his first Grand Prix win since that fateful day in Brazil in 2008 when Hamilton won his first World Championship, beating the Brazilian out by just a few seconds. Rosberg was able to stay in the race to the end, despite the recommendations from the team that he retire. He finished the race in 14th, having been lapped by Hamilton on the last couple of laps.

Red Bull was able to recover from their pit-lane start, with Daniel Ricciardo challenging Williams’ Valtteri Bottas for 3rd and Vettel taking the fight to his 2015 team Ferrari. Fernando Alonso finished his final race at the Scuderia in 9th, finishing the season in 6th with 161 points. The Spaniard has yet to conform where he will be in 2015, though the rumours of a return to McLaren are still circulating.

McLaren’s Jenson Button had a good finish in 5th, on what could be his last Formula 1 race. The Briton has been in the sport since 2000, winning the World Championship in 2009. His Danish rookie teammate, Kevin Magnussen, finished in 11th, having spent the race in a dogfight with the Ferraris, Toro Rossos, and Force Indias.

Sunday saw only one incident, with Pastor Maldonado’s tailpipe erupting in flame on Lap 26. Other retirements included Toro Rosso’s Russian rookie, and soon to be Red Bull driver, Daniil Kvyat on Lap 14, and Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi of Japan on Lap 42. Caterham’s No. 2 driver for the weekend, Will Stevens of Great Britain, finished in 17th.

The results of the 2014 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are as follows:

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes AMG Petronas, 1:39:02.61, 50 pts
  2. Felipe Massa, Brazil, Williams Martini Racing, +00:02.500, 36 pts
  3. Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Williams Martini Racing, +00:28.800, 30 pts
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, Infiniti Red Bull Racing, +00:37.200, 24 pts
  5. Jenson Button, Great Britain, McLaren-Mercedes, +01:00.300, 20 pts
  6. Nico Hülkenberg, Germany, Sahara Force India, +01:02.100, 16 pts
  7. Sergio Pérez, Mexico, Sahara Force India, +01:11.000, 12 pts
  8. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Infiniti Red Bull Racing, +01:12.000, 8 pts
  9. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Scuderia Ferrari, +01:25.800, 4 pts
  10. Kimi Räikkönen, Finland, Scuderia Ferrari, +01:27.800, 2 pts
  11. Kevin Magnussen, Denmark, McLaren-Mercedes, +01:30.300, 0 pts
  12. Jean-Éric Vergne, France, Scuderia Toro Rosso, +01:31.900, 0 pts
  13. Romain Grosjean, France, Lotus, lapped, 0 pts
  14. Nico Rosberg, Germany, Mercedes AMG Petronas, lapped, 0 pts
  15. Esteban Gutierrez, Mexico, Sauber, lapped, 0 pts
  16. Adrian Sutil, Germany, Sauber, lapped, 0 pts
  17. Will Stevens, Great Britain, Caterham, lapped, 0 pts
  18. Kamui Kobayashi, Japan, Caterham, retired, 42 laps, 0 pts
  19. Pastor Maldonado, Venezuela, Lotus, retired, 26 laps, 0 pts
  20. Daniil Kvyat, Russia, Scuderia Toro Rosso, retired, 14 laps, 0 pts

There will be a season recap article coming your way in the next week or so, looking back at the key moments of 2014. Also, the 2015 Formula 1 season preview will be on its way come New Years’ under the banner of my new newspaper, The Tern.

Thanks so much for following the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship with me here at sthosdkane.com . I will be back in a week or so with a season recap article.

Rosberg wins Brazil, Massa finishes 3rd

São Paulo – Unlike years past, Brazil does not mark the final race of the 2014 season. That honour falls in two weeks to Abu Dhabi. That being said, the question of who will win the drivers’ championship could very well have been made more clear on Sunday in São Paulo, had Hamilton won.

In a surprisingly dry race, much of the decisive action fell to tyre degradation. By Lap 5, the first of the pit stops, made by Maldonado, were undertaken as the new surface at Interlagos were none too friendly to the Pirelli tyres on hand. This in particular effected Lewis Hamilton, who spun out, going far off track at Turn 4 on Lap 28, which could very well have cost the Briton his sixth consecutive race win.

Local hero Felipe Massa had a troubling time after being handed down a 5-second grid penalty for speeding in the pit lane on Lap 9, which he served during his next pit stop on Lap 26. Massa was able to keep his Williams in the top of the field, finishing in 3rd. His teammate, Valtteri Bottas, had some major problems regarding his seat belts during a pit stop on Lap 27. This dropped the Finn down below the points-scoring positions for the majority of the rest of the race, finishing in 10th after some great battles with fellow Finn Kimi Räikkönen and German Nico Hülkenberg.

One of the great success stories from Interlagos was McLaren’s Jenson Button, who held his own throughout the race, staying within the middle of the points-scoring positions. Button was able to finish just behind Massa in 4th. Earlier in the weekend, Button hosted the British media for dinner, as is his tradition in Brazil, quite possibly, as NBC’s pit commentator Will Buxton pointed out, for the last time.

The Red Bulls had a decent race. Four time, and defending, World Champion Sebastian Vettel had a good race, staying in competition with Button, and the Ferraris to finish in 5th. His Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo had a far more troubling race, retiring on Lap 39 due to a suspension failure on his front-left tyre. This retirement ended the Australian’s 15 race points scoring streak. That being said, Ricciardo still stands in 3rd overall in the drivers’ championship.

Ferrari saw some great racing between their drivers, Spain’s Fernando Alonso and Finland’s Kimi Räikkönen. The duel of Ferraris began after Räikkönen passed fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas on Lap 42, after Bottas was forced off track by Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg. The fight between the Ferraris for 6th during the last few laps of the race was monumental. Alonso eventually was able to win out, finishing in 6th, leaving Räikkönen to finish in 7th.

The race finished with Rosberg on top, followed by Hamilton, who trailed the German by one second. However it was the man in third who got the greatest reaction from the crowd, as Felipe Massa was greeted at the chequered flag by chants of “Olé, olé, olé, olé! Massa! Massa!”

Sunday’s crucial win for Rosberg leaves him with a chance of winning the World Championship in two weeks in Abu Dhabi. After Brazil, Hamilton leads with 334 points, Rosberg standing a mere 17 points behind at 317. With double points in mind, if Rosberg finishes in 1st and Hamilton in 2nd, the German will finish the season with 367, whilst the Briton will finish with 370. So, for Rosberg to win the championship, he will have to win in Abu Dhabi, and Hamilton will need to finish third or lower. However, if Hamilton finishes in first or second, no matter where Rosberg finishes, the Briton will win his second world championship.

The 2014 Formula 1 Petrobras Brazilian Grand Prix finished as follows:

  1. Nico Rosberg, GER, Mercedes, 1:30:02.555, 25 pts
  2. Lewis Hamilton, GBR, Mercedes, +00:01.457, 18 pts
  3. Felipe Massa, BRA, Williams, +00:41.031, 15 pts
  4. Jenson Button, GBR, McLaren, +00:48.658, 12 pts
  5. Sebastian Vettel, GER, Red Bull, +00:51.420, 10 pts
  6. Fernando Alonso, ESP, Ferrari, +01:01.906, 8 pts
  7. Kimi Räikkönen, FIN, Ferrari, +01:03.730, 6 pts
  8. Nico Hülkenberg, GER, Force India, +01:03.934, 4 pts
  9. Kevin Magnussen, DEN, McLaren, +01:10.085, 2 pts
  10. Valtteri Bottas, FIN, Williams, lapped, 1 pt
  11. Daniil Kvyat, RUS, Toro Rosso, lapped
  12. Pastor Maldonado, VEN, Lotus, lapped
  13. Jean-Éric Vergne, FRA, Toro Rosso, lapped
  14. Esteban Gutierrez, MEX, Sauber, lapped
  15. Sergio Pérez, MEX, Force India, lapped
  16. Adrian Sutil, GER, Sauber, lapped
  17. Romain Grosjean, FRA, Lotus, retired, 63 laps
  18. Daniel Ricciardo, AUS, Red Bull, retired, 39 laps

F1: Hamilton storms to win US Grand Prix

Austin – The 2014 United States Grand Prix got off to a roaring start on Sunday, as the 18 car field barrelled around Turn 1 and down to my vantage point on the Turn 2 berm. Nico Rosberg led the field for much of the first quarter of the race, maintaining his pole position despite the constant threat coming from his teammate, Lewis Hamilton’s challenges to that first place.

Lap 1 resulted in the first safety car deployment in the three years that the US Grand Prix has been held at Circuit of the Americas in Austin. On Turn 11, Force India’s Sergio Pérez gave all of his fellow Mexicans at the circuit a shock when he clipped Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari, causing Räikkönen to in turn hit Sauber’s Adrian Sutil. The collisions resulted in Pérez and Sutil’s retirements, leaving both Force India and Sauber with only one driver apiece on track, and for Sauber their greatest chance at point scoring all season. Sauber’s remaining driver, Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, remained at the back of the pack for the remainder of the 56 lap race, finishing in 14th over a lap behind race winner Hamilton.

After 16 laps, Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg retired after his car shut down on the track. Thankfully, there were no other major collisions or retirements on Sunday.

Perhaps the greatest surprise drivers on Sunday were the Lotuses of Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean, who each were challenging the McLarens and Ferraris for the last couple points scoring places. Maldonado was successful, finishing in 10th, whilst Grosjean was a less successful, finishing in 11th and being lapped in the process.

Ferrari did decent today, with Spaniard Fernando Alonso maintaining 6th throughout most of the race, though he was running a full minute and five seconds behind the Williams of Valtteri Bottas for the latter half of the race. Kimi Räikkönen did not fair well at all following the collision on Lap 1, falling back eventually to finish in 13th after being lapped.

The McLarens of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen remained soldily in the back half of the points throughout the majority of the race. Despite this, Button fell behind to finish in 12th, a dramatic drop in the field from the season’s opener in Australia.

Williams did very well on Sunday, starting in the second row and staying largely in the upper half of the points throughout the day. Both Williams were overtaken by Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull, resulting in Massa and Bottas finishing in 4th and 5th.

The Red Bulls succeeded in holding the crowd at their mercy. Sebastian Vettel rose up from his start at 18th in the pits to finish at 7th, running the fastest lap of the race at 1:41.379.  His Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo advanced from his 5th place start to take 3rd on the podium Sunday, no doubt keeping the eyes of the F1 world on him, as well as on the Mercedes.

The two Mercedes stayed within the reaches of 1st and 2nd for the entirety of the race, not looking back for even an instant. Hamilton overtook Rosberg on Lap 24, securing his second victory in three years in the United States.

As a result of Sergio Pérez’s causing of the collision on Lap 1, the Mexican will receive a 7 spot grid penalty at the next race in Brazil. Also, a statement by Sky Sports released after Sunday’s race revealed that there may be a chance for Marussia to return to the grid in Abu Dhabi.

 

F1: US Grand Prix Qualifying & Other News From Austin

Austin – The 2014 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix weekend is in its second day, with Qualifying taking centre stage at Circuit of the Americas, which is located south of Downtown Austin a few miles further down the road from the local airport.

In general, qualifying was as expected considering the buildup to Sunday’s race: Vettel didn’t make it past Q1, as per plan, due to his starting from the pit lane on Sunday after having changed his engine unit. Likewise, with the reduced grid, the Lotuses of Grosjean, the Sauber of Gutierrez, and the Toro Rosso of Vergne failed to make it past Q1.

Q2 once again only saw 4 drivers eliminated, due to the absence of the Marussias and Caterhams from the field. Maldonado’s remaining Lotus qualified 11th, followed by the Force Indias of Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg, and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

Q3 saw one big, and well deserved surprise, namely the 10th place that Sauber’s Adrian Sutil earned today. It is the Swiss team’s first Q3 appearance in 2014, and Sutil’s first since the 2012 British Grand Prix. Qualifying was headlined by the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, followed by the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. Red Bull’s smiling Aussie, Daniel Ricciardo qualified 5th, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso coming in 6th. McLaren’s Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen qualified in 7th and 8th, though Button will face a penalty. Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari came in 9th.

In other major F1 news, following the financial troubles of Marussia and Caterham, other mid-level teams such as Sauber and Force India are likewise feeling the economic strain. A report released by The Independent this past week said that it costs 94.4 million EUR to run an Formula 1 team, according to Monisha Kaltenborn. The Sauber chief urged the FIA to undertake drastic changes within the sport to allow for smaller teams, such as Sauber, to receive equal amounts of money “that allows every team to at least live decently,” the BBC reported on Friday.

In a move that has further intensified the monetary situation here in Austin, Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley said on Saturday that the team may boycott Sunday’s grand prix in protest of what the team refers to as a financial crisis within the sport. This of course would leave the multitude of Mexican fans without one of their two countrymen, Sergio Pérez, to watch on Sunday. Despite the statements from Force India, Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director, said in an interview to the BBC, “It’s not real for us. It’s not even been thought about or discussed.”

Force India’s team principal Vijay Mallya countered Fernley’s statements, saying that no such boycott would take place and that all 18 cars would run in Austin on Sunday. Later on Saturday, Bernie Ecclestone said that he takes the blame for the financial troubles faced by the smaller teams in Formula 1, and even Max Mosley, former President of the FIA, argued in favour of finding some way of levelling out the playin gfield in regards to team finances.

Williams has also caused a bit of a stir this weekend in Austin, with the absence of Sir Frank and his daughter, Claire Williams. Sir Frank was admitted to hospital in the UK to treat a pressure sore on his back. Despite the absence of their team principal, the Williams team still qualified 3rd and 4th.

Sunday’s Formula 1 United States Grand Prix will be broadcasted live in the United States on NBC starting at 13.30 Austin (14.30 New York, 11.30 Los Angeles). The race will be televised in the UK on Sky Sports from 18.30, with the race starting at 20.00. It will also be broadcasted by BBC Radio 5 Live.

I will be tweeting any major developments live from Circuit of the Americas through my Twitter handle @sthosdkane.

Mercedes clinches Constructors’ Championship in Russian GP

Sochi – In an all-around unique race, Mercedes has once again come out on top, only this time they have done so in such a way that is invincible. In Formula 1’s first visit to Russia, the Mercedes Works team started 1,2 with Lewis Hamilton taking pole. Close behind the Silver Arrows was this weekend’s Flying Finn, Valtteri Bottas, who stood a decent chance at taking pole in qualifying. Unfortunately for Bottas, he veered slightly off track at the last moment, losing 0.7 seconds and qualifying in 3rd.

The race featured only 21 drivers, as Marussia decided to not race Bianchi’s car with a different driver. Rather, Bianchi’s car remained in the pit, ready for his wishful arrival at the circuit.

The first two laps showed off the resilience of the drivers and speed of the track, with Nico Rosberg making quick work of passing his teammate Hamilton, unfortunately though for the German, he lost 1st through locking up his front brakes and going off the track. This resulted in Rosberg having to change tyres on Lap 2.

Beyond the first few laps, the race itself was terribly uneventful. With only two retirements, Marussia’s Max Chilton retiring after 9 laps with car trouble, and Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi retiring after 21 laps with a strange case of “team orders.” There was one collision between Adrian Sutil and Romain Grosjean, however the incident did not garner much attention from the FOM television producers, who chose not to show it.

One unique feature of the Sochi Autodrom is the long corners, which frankly are quite beautiful with speeds reaching nearly 280 kph (173 mph.)

The weekend was capped off by the presentation of Mercedes’ 1st place and constructor’s trophy by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who made an appearance midway through the race at the side of F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Formula 1 returns next to the United States with the grand prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. I will be heading south some 800 miles from Kansas City to Austin to witness Free Practise 3, Qualifying, and the Grand Prix in person.  I will only be able to tweet out coverage of Free Practise 3, Qualifying, and the race from Turn 1. You can follow me @sthosdkane.

Final results for the 2014 F1 Russian Grand Prix are:

  1. Lewis Hamilton, GBR, Mercedes, 1:31:50.744, 25 pts
  2. Nico Rosberg, GER, Mercedes, +00:13.657, 18 pts
  3. Valtteri Bottas, FIN, Williams, +00:17.425, 15 pts
  4. Jenson Button, GBR, McLaren, +00:30.234, 12 pts
  5. Kevin Magnussen, DEN, McLaren, +00:53.616, 10 pts
  6. Fernando Alonso, ESP, Ferrari, +01:00.016, 8 pts
  7. Daniel Ricciardo, AUS, Red Bull, +01:01.812, 6 pts
  8. Sebastian Vettel, GER, Red Bull, +01:06.185, 4 pts
  9. Kimi Räikkönen, FIN, Ferrari, +01:18.877, 2 pts
  10. Sergio Pérez, MEX, Force India, +01:20.067, 1 pt
  11. Felipe Massa, BRZ, Williams, +01:20.877
  12. Nico Hülkenberg, GER, Force India, +01:21.309
  13. Jean-Éric Vergne, FRA, Toro Rosso, +01:37.295
  14. Daniil Kvyat, RUS, Toro Rosso, lapped
  15. Esteban Gutierrez, MEX, Sauber, lapped
  16. Adrian Sutil, GER, Sauber, lapped
  17. Romain Grosjean, FRA, Lotus, lapped
  18. Pastor Maldonado, VEN, Lotus, lapped
  19. Marcus Ericsson, SWE, Caterham, lapped
  20. Kamui Kobayashi, JPN, Caterham, retired, 21 laps
  21. Max Chilton, GBR, Marussia, retired, 9 laps

Bianchi critically injured in typhoon drenched Japanese GP

Suzuka – From the very start of Sunday’s Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, the race was bound to be eventful. After having been delayed due to the extreme weather conditions, the race began behind the safety car, which stayed on track for the first 5 laps.

Thereafter, the Japanese Grand Prix was a bit of a free-for-all, leaving the two Mercedes in front, and Jenson Button and the Red Bulls floating between 3rd and 5th. Williams fared poorly Sunday, falling dramatically back behind the Red Bulls, and for the most part staying out of the picture for this year’s visit to Suzuka.

The race began with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson both retiring very early on, Alonso early enough to not be classified with a final position.

The impact of Typhoon Phanfone on Sunday’s race cannot be understated. Not only did it leave the event starting later than scheduled, but it also initiated the chain of events which led to the race’s premature conclusion at Lap 47.

At Lap 43, Sauber’s Adrian Sutil went off the track, crashing into the barriers at Dunlop, making this his seventh retirement this season. As the recovery crews rushed into position, things became quite chaotic on track. The safety and medical cars were deployed, the former escorting Jenson Button rather than race-leader Lewis Hamilton, the latter rushing to Dunlop, initially it seemed to tend to either Sutil or a Marshal that might have been injured.

By Lap 46, the television pylon began to show Marussia’s Jules Bianchi had retired, however it seemed as though that hadn’t yet been noticed by much of the field, save the worried Marussia pit team. Twitter was the first to make known what had actually happened. Bianchi’s car had gone off, perhaps by hydroplaning as Sutil had previously done at the same corner. The difference with the Frenchman was that the recovery crane was in place. According to what information I have thus far gathered, Bianchi seems to have hit the recovery crane, which seemingly shaved off the top part of the back half of his car.

Bianchi was pulled from his car unconscious, and taken by ambulance to hospital, where he underwent surgery. As of 14.00 Chicago (20.00 London, 04.00 Monday in Tokyo), Bianchi is out of surgery but still in critical condition.

As Bianchi recovers there is still the matter of Typhoon Phanfone to attend to. The F1 circus is due to race in Sochi, Russia next weekend, with the possibility of flights out of Tokyo on Monday appearing to be far from likely.

At the end of the race, Lewis Hamilton was in the lead, thus taking the win, followed by Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel to replace Alonso at Ferrari

Christian Horner announced that 4-time world champion Sebastian Vettel will move from Red Bull to Ferrari for the 2015 season to replace 2-time world champion Fernando Alonso. Russian Daniil Kvyat moving to Red Bull from Toro Rosso.

27 year old German Sebastian Vettel, who helped bring Red Bull Racing to dominance during the 2010-2014 seasons, will leave the Austrian team for Italy’s Scuderia Ferrari at the end of the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship in November. Vettel has driven for Red Bull since 2009, having previously driven for Red Bull junior team Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2007 and 2008. He entered Formula 1 with BMW Sauber during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

Vettel made history in 2013, winning 9 consecutive races at the end of season. Vettel’s performance with Red Bull has been significantly worse since the start of the 2014 season, in large part due to the change in car regulations and designs. He has been outscored by his teammate Daniel Ricciardo in 10 of the 14 races already run this season. Vettel currently stands in 5th place in the  drivers’ championship with 124 points.

Vettel will move to Scuderia Ferrari, where he will take the seat held for the past four years by Spaniard Fernando Alonso. Alonso, a 2-time world champion, has been linked by rumour to McLaren-Honda for the 2015 season. Alonso’s status at Maranello has been put into question recently due to a series of poor results, including a retirement on Lap 29 at the Italian Grand Prix in front of Ferrari’s devoted Tifosi.

Vettel will be replaced at Red Bull by Russian Daniil Kvyat, who is in his rookie season in Formula 1, driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2014. The 20 year old Russian currently stands in 15th place on the drivers’ championship with 8 points. He will join Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who was promoted from Toro Rosso in 2014, has had a fantastic season currently standing in 3rd with 181 points having won the 2014 Canadian, Hungarian, and Belgian Grands Prix, and finishing in 3rd in Spain, Monaco, Great Britain, and Singapore.