Tag Archives: Ferrari

Mercedes Marches On in Spain

Barcelona – Today’s F1 Spanish Grand Prix was simply an easy run in the park for Mercedes AMG Petronas. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg dominated the day, with neither Mercedes Works driver falling below 3rd place throughout the day. On the contrary, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso did not fare nearly as well as he would have hoped this year at his home grand prix.

The race started with a few grid penalties. Toro Rosso’s Jean-Éric Vergne (FRA) received a grid penalty which had him start at 22nd place on the starting grid. Likewise, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (GER) started at 15th, receiving a 5 place grid penalty for having his gear box changed following his breakdown in Q3.

From Lap 1, the two Mercedes quickly left the rest of the pack in the dust. Their next closest competitor was Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (FIN), who kept 3rd place for much of the first few laps of the race. At Lap 3, Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado made contact with Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson, earning the Venezuelan a 5-second stop and go penalty at Lap 11.

One could certainly tell that today’s grand prix was no longer within the Reign of Red Bull. At Lap 16, 4-year consecutive champion Sebastian Vettel found himself attempting a pass on Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi (JPN), the key word there being “attempting” as Kobayashi was able to defend against the German.

By Lap 25, Vergne, who already had been having problems with his car this weekend was forced to retire due to “an exhaust problem” as BBC Sport reported.

Out of all of the Mercedes engined cars, the McLarens have been the most disappointing. Neither of the two cars from Woking were able to finish with points in Spain, setting a rather unhappy scene for the races to come.

On the flip side, Ferrari’s performance improved dramatically today, with Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) holding onto 5th place until Lap 64, when he was passed by his teammate Alonso, much to the home crowd’s rejoicing. However, Alonso was outdone by Räikkönen’s countryman, Valtteri Bottas who finished in 5th.

By this point the Ferraris had been passed by both Red Bulls, with Ricciardo maintaining 3rd and Vettel taking 4th. The German had an impressive drive today, rising a total of 9 positions from his start at 15th.

All this being said, the Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg lapped everyone from Räikkönen at 7th on down the line. When the chequered flag fell with the top 3 being Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, the Australian in 3rd finished a total of 48.9 seconds behind the Briton in 1st.

Undoubtedly, the intrateam rivalry at Mercedes is growing, considering just how close Rosberg came to passing Hamilton, at one point being a mere 1.1 seconds behind the Briton. Perhaps it will all play out on the streets of Monaco on the 25th.

The final result from the 2014 Pirelli F1 Spanish Grand Prix are as follows:

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes (GBR), 1:41:05.155
  2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes (GER), +00:00.600 secs
  3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull (AUS), +00:49:000 secs
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull (GER), +1:16:700 secs
  5. Valtteri Bottas, Williams (FIN), +1:19.200 secs
  6. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari (ESP), +1:27.700 secs
  7. Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari (FIN), lapped
  8. Romain Grosjean, Lotus (FRA), lapped
  9. Sergio Pérez, Force India (MEX), lapped
  10. Nico Hülkenberg, Force India (GER), lapped
  11. Jenson Button, McLaren (GBR), lapped
  12. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren (GBR), lapped
  13. Felipe Massa, Williams (BRA), lapped
  14. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso (RUS), lapped
  15. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus (VEN), lapped
  16. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber (MEX), lapped
  17. Adrian Sutil, Sauber (GER), lapped
  18. Jules Bianchi, Marussia (FRA), lapped
  19. Max Chilton, Marussia (GBR), lapped
  20. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham (SWE), lapped
  21. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham (JPN), retired 34 laps
  22. Jean-Éric Vergne, Toro Rosso (FRA), retired 24 laps
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2014 Australian Grand Prix Qualifying questions 2013 norms

Coming out of the Free Practice sessions, qualifying for this year’s F1 Australian Grand Prix was bound to be both exciting and up in the air until the last minute. Not only did the famous Melbourne weather raise its standards with silver, though mostly grey, celestial trumpets which heralded the rains that would mark the session at the end of Q1, but the regulation changes equally added to the excitement of today’s highlight.
 
The rains greatly impacted the routines of the teams and drivers, leaving some like Lotus’ Romain Grosjean (FRA) in the paddock with a back of the line grid place. Other typically top tier drivers like Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen fell quite further back than usual with an accident in Q2. Alongside him in the paddock throughout Q3 was 4 time and defending world champion Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (GER) who earned the 12th spot, eliminating him from Q3 for the first time since the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. Likewise Williams’ Felipe Massa (BRA) and McLaren’s Jenson Button (GBR) were eliminated from Q3, having trouble in the second qualifying session.
 
Q3 was marked by surprise and excitement. Red Bull’s Daniel Riccardo went out to please his home crowd at Albert Park, making an excellent finish at 2nd place in his first race with Red Bull. Riccardo was outrun by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (GBR) who finished .3 of a second faster than the Australian. Hamilton’s German teammate Nico Rosberg came in third by less than a tenth of a second slower than Riccardo. He was followed by rookie McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen (DEN), and 2 time world champion Fernando Alonso (ESP).
 
The 2014 Australian Grand Prix will begin tomorrow morning at 01.00 Chicago (17.00 Melbourne, 14.00 London) and will be broadcast on NBC Sports in the United States, BBC1 in the United Kingdom, TEN in Australia, and TSN and RDS in Canada for English and French viewing audiences respectively.
 
The full qualifying results are as follows (Source F1.com):
 
01. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes (GBR): 1:44.2
02. Daniel Riccardo, Red Bull (AUS): 1:44.5
03. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes (GER): 1:44.5
04. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren (DEN): 1:45.7
05. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari (ESP): 1:45.8
06. Jean-Éric Vergne, Scueria Toro Rosso (FRA): 1:45.8
07. Nico Hülkenberg, Sahara Force India (GER): 1:46.0
08. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso (RUS): 1:47.3
09. Felipe Massa, Williams (BRA): 1:48.0 
10. Valtteri Bottas, Williams (FIN): 1:48.1
11. Jenson Button, Mercedes (GBR): 1:44.4
12. Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari (FIN): 1:44.4
13. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull (GER): 1:44.6
14. Adrian Sutil, Sauber (GER): 1:45.6
15. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham (JPN): 1:45.8
16. Sergio Pérez, Force India (MEX): 1:47.2
17. Max Chilton, Marussia (GBR): 1:34.2
18. Jules Bianchi, Marussia (FRA): 1:34.7
19. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber (MEX): 1:35.1
20. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham (SWE): 1:35.1
21. Romain Grosjean, Lotus (FRA): 1:36.9
22. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus (VEN): No result

2013 F1 US Grand Prix – a fantastic success

USGP 13

Walking on the circuit after the Grand Prix.

Kansas City – I returned a couple mornings ago from a holiday of a lifetime. For a couple Christmases worth of gifts, my Mom bought my Dad and I weekend passes to the F1 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. And what a fantastic weekend it was! As first-timers at going to an F1 race weekend, I thought we did a good job. Considering that the sport itself is worth a few billion, it makes sense that the prices were awfully high for most everything – the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team hat that I bought cost me a week’s wages, and the little 6″ personal pizza was $4.00 more expensive than the local Texas wine at the concessions, we did a good job at that ever present necessity known as “money management”.

The grand prix weekend itself began on Friday with Free Practices 1 and 2 (FP1 & FP2 for short).

Foggy Friday morning

Foggy Friday morning

The first of the two was delayed by about an hour because of heavy fog in Greater Austin, covering the circuit and downtown alike, which made it impossible for the medical helicopter to travel between the venue, Circuit of the Americas, and the local hospital where causalities as my British and Irish friends would say (injured people in American English) would be taken. It was a fairly sensible problem, though I rather liked the fog, and wouldn’t have minded if cloud cover remained throughout the weekend. However, the fog lifted, and the Texas sun began to shine, thus the necessity for purchasing that hat. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice hat, quite good at keeping my face out of the sun, though it does mean that I’m advertising for Vodafone whenever I wear it, which is a slight problem as my UK mobile is with O2. Of course, since the 2013 F1 season has ended as of this past Sunday, Vodafone is dropping its’ naming sponsorship of McLaren Mercedes.

Jenson Button (GBR) at Turn 12.

Jenson Button (GBR) at Turn 12.

Our tickets were for the bleachers at Turn 12, at the end of the long straightaway that starts at Turn 11 with the DRS zone. Approaching our corner down the straight, the cars were travelling at around 200 mph (321 km/h), however to make the hairpin turn at our corner they had to decelerate to around 65 mph (104 km/h) . For the first day or so we saw more of the Catheram’s and Marussia’s than any other team. However, as the practise sessions ran down and the qualifying sessions commenced, the Red Bulls, Ferraris, Lotuses and McLarens appeared in full glory. From the hairpin at Turn 12, the drivers have to make a u-turn up at 13 and again at 14 before going around 15 and into the wider turn around the base of the observation tower, which leads into the latter turns and the starting grid.

One of the major highlights of the weekend was getting to see one of my favourite drivers, Mark

Mark Webber (AUS) coming up to Turn 12.

Mark Webber (AUS) coming up to Turn 12.

Webber, on his penultimate Formula One weekend as a driver. Not only is he a fantastic man, no matter what the luck may say, but he is also a fine driver. I’ve enjoyed watching him race for Red Bull more than his now-former teammate, 4 time champion Sebastian Vettel, because Webber has seemed, since I first starting watching F1 3 years ago during the Belgian GP, a sort of everyman of F1. He has been a driver that everyone from the English-speaking world can relate to, as long as that Australia-New Zealand rivalry doesn’t come into play.

Parc_Fermé

The Parc Fermé post-race.

The weekend came to a head with Vettel’s 8th consecutive win, which further secured his place as 2013 World Champion. Though I have said that I have preferred Webber to Vettel, it would be foolish of me to pass by Vettel without giving him praise for what he has accomplished. And on top of that, the fellow has shown his humility in interviews and over the team radio. He is truly a master at F1, at driving that awesome Adrian Newey creation that is the RB9. This is truly a historic time in the world of motorsport, and I’m honoured and amazed to say that for 3 days I was able to see the fastest man in the world express those terrific talents in person.

If you have a chance to go down to Austin in 2014, I’d highly recommend doing it. Though our

Free Practise 2 from the Turn 1 berm.

Free Practise 2 from the Turn 1 berm.

seats were at Turn 12, I also enjoyed standing on the berm just opposite the pit lane exit at Turn 1 and also from the berm at the base of the observation tower. Our Turn 12 tickets for Sunday were US$249 per person, whilst the local NBC morning news programme said that Sunday general admission tickets were around US$79 per person. Or, if you’re looking at going posh, I heard from a Ferrari owner on the bus that a weekend pass to the Ferrari club was in the US$4,000 range. They also had a couple of other nicer venues from whence to watch the Grand Prix, including a Legends Club, where such notables as Sir Jackie Stewart and Al Pacino were seen on Sunday. Someday, after I win my Oscar, I’ll look into one of the main grandstand seats. Though by that point I’ll be living in the UK, so Silverstone it is.