Tag Archives: Kamui Kobayashi

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.

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

Australian Grand Prix a memorable start to the 2014 season

Melbourne – From before the start, or rather before the start, this year’s Australian Grand Prix was one not to miss. After a false start resulting from Frenchman Jules Bianchi’s Marussia dying on the starting grid, the race began with a crash at the first corner caused when Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) ran into Brazilian Felipe Massa’s Williams, forcing both of their retirements from the race.

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Kobayashi retired at Turn 1 on Lap 1 after crashing into Felipe Massa of Williams. / Photo Credit: AP, from BBC Sport

Further along, mechanical issues forced Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton, who had started off at pole, to retire, whilst a couple of laps after that Red Bull’s 4 time world champion Sebastian Vettel (GER) retired due to software trouble with his car.

From those two bombshells, the race continued onwards, surprising the world with each passing lap. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (FIN) had a bit of a scare after hitting the wall at the exit of Turn 10, which caused his right rear tyre to puncture and fly off, but thankfully for him and for Williams, Bottas was able to return to the box and get a new tyre on the back of the car in time that he finished 6th.

More excitement was to follow as Bottas’ countryman, Kimi Räikkönen of Ferrari, had an issue with his tyres locking up fairly often throughout the race. In turn, this caused Räikkönen, last year’s winner in Australia, to finish 8th. His teammate, Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, did fairly well for himself in the first weekend of the new season, finishing in 5th just behind McLaren’s Jenson Button (GBR).

Today was by far a race for the drivers who either didn’t perform as well last year, or were new to the sport in general. McLaren’s rookie Danish driver Kevin Magnussen finished in 3rd today in his first ever Formula 1 race. Likewise in firsts, Russian Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso finished in 10th, making him at 19 years of age the youngest driver to ever win points in Formula 1.

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Daniel Riccardo on the podium in Melbourne / BBC Sport

The two biggest names at the end of the day in Melbourne were by far race winner, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (GER), and second place, Red Bull’s Daniel Riccardo who’s first Formula 1 podium came happily in his home country of Australia. Unfortunately for Riccardo, the FIA revoked his 2nd place finish after the race because his car, “exceeded the required fuel mass flow of 100kg/h.” (Source: F1.com).

According to the article on F1’s website, the Red Bull team decided to use a different fuel sensor on Riccardo’s car starting on Saturday after finding that the original one was unreliable. The stewards ordered the team to replace the new sensor with the old one in the parc ferme on Saturday evening, but Red Bull decided not to do so, “considering the sensor unreliable.” Rather they used their own internal measurement models, which was “in violation of the procedure outlined in the technical regulations,” according to the stewards. Red Bull Racing is appealing the steward’s decision, and good on them for that. Following Riccardo’s disqualification, the results stand as follows:

01. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes (GER): 1:32:58.710
02. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren (DEN): +26.7 sec
03. Jenson Button, Mercedes (GBR): +30.0 sec
04. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari (ESP): +35.2 sec
05. Valtteri Bottas, Williams (FIN): +47.6 sec
06. Nico Hülkenberg, Sahara Force India (GER): +50.7 sec
07. Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari (FIN): +57.6 sec
08. Jean-Éric Vergne, Scueria Toro Rosso (FRA): +60.4 sec
09. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso (RUS): +63.5 sec 
10. Sergio Pérez, Sahara Force India (MEX): +85.9 sec 
11. Adrian Sutil, Sauber (GER): 1:45.6 +1 lap
12. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber (MEX): +1 lap 
13. Max Chilton, Marussia (GBR): +2 laps
NC Jules Bianchi, Marussia (FRA): +8 laps
Ret. Romain Grosjean, Lotus (FRA): ERS
Ret. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus (VEN): ERS
Ret. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham (SWE): Oil pressure
Ret. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull (GER): Power unit
Ret. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes (GBR): Engine
Ret. Felipe Massa, Williams (BRA): Accident
Ret. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham (JPN): Accident
DSQ: Daniel Riccardo, Red Bull (AUS): +24.5 sec
 
For more information on today’s race, I recommend these articles from the BBC, NBC Sports, and F1.com.
 

2014 Formula 1 World Championship – Predictions

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Courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald

Kansas City – Happy New Year to all! 2014 officially began about 9 days and 13 hours ago here in the Midwestern states. With a new year comes new excitement and new opportunities, and as every other year since 1950, a new season of the Formula 1 World Championship! Though the season doesn’t properly begin until the Australian Grand Prix (14-16 March), the teams and many press writers (myself included in a freelance capacity) are hard at work preparing for the lights to go out and the race to begin in Melbourne.

So, what should we expect for 2014? If you want to start with the big question of “Who will win the 2014 championship?” odds are that that answer could be Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (GER) for the fifth time in a row. After his strong 9 race winning streak at the end of 2013, I would not be surprised if the Newey, Vettel, Horner team outmatch all the other drivers like they did last year. No doubt the new engines will lessen the power of the RB10 in comparison to its immediate predecessor the RB9, but with the design skill of Newey, and the stamina and skill of Vettel, I would be surprised if anyone else took the crown this year.

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Sebastian Vettel (GER)
Courtesy of Planet F1.com

How about second and third then? In terms of constructors, my guess is another repeat of Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG-Petronas, however the prediction as to who will get second and who will get third between the pair is still up for grabs. No doubt the Alonso Räikkönen pair will be one to watch out for, as both are world champions and just fantastic drivers all around, but at the same time the Mercedes team has done quite well in their own right, with Rosberg and Hamilton performing very well for themselves throughout this past season. Considering the fact that Mercedes has lost Ross Brawn, at least only for this season if Niki Lauda has anything to say about it, I could see an off chance of them suffering from what I’d call sudden loss of leadership syndrome, though perhaps not as badly as Manchester United has so far this season. In this light I’ll go for Ferrari taking second in the constructor’s championship, with Alonso and Räikkönen both performing equally well.

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Kevin Magnussen (DEN)
Courtesy of Oradea Magazin.ro

With the top three out of the way, it comes down to the rest of the field. Despite their poor performance in 2013, McLaren’s acquisition of Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen could help bring them back to strength. Having won the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series with 274 points, earning pole in nearly all of the races, not to mention never finishing below second place, Magnussen could help reinvigorate the lads from Woking. Frankly though, I was sad to see the team drop Sergio Pérez (MEX), especially considering how promising the end of the season was for him in regards to his on track performance.

Whilst on the topic of Pérez, I do think he’ll has a promising career ahead of him at Force India. In fact, this could be the season when Force India takes their first win. With the combination of Hülkenberg (GER) and Pérez, they certainly seem stronger than the next competition, Lotus, who I think will be lucky to end up higher than 6th. True, Romain Grosjean (FRA) has been showing great potential with the team, especially at the end of the 2013 season, but I tend to doubt Pastor Maldonado (VEN) will do anything that spectacular this season, though I do expect him to have a few points winning finishes here and there.

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Felipe Massa (BRA)
Courtesy of Auto123.com

The 7th and 8th places in the constructor’s championship could very well go to Sauber and Williams. The Swiss team’s choices of Mexican Esteban Gutiérrez and German Adrian Sutil seem quite suited to the team’s strengths. Though I don’t expect Sauber to win any Grands Prix this year, they could have a decent shot at a few pole positions in the next few years plus a win or two. Williams on the other hand does seem to be on the verge of something good. Though perhaps not the glory of the ’90s so fondly remembered by their Brazilian driver Feilipe Massa, who has left Ferrari after 7 seasons driving for the Italians, Williams’ future is still quite bright. Between Massa and his Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas, Sir Frank’s team could very well bring in a win or two here or there. I especially admire the resilience of the Williams team, the sort of everyman of F1, who has stuck with the sport, with their passion, despite their generally dismal performance since the team’s last podium at the 2008 Australian Grand Prix.

Finally, in regards to the three teams that I’ve yet to mention: Scuderia Toro Rosso, Marussia, and Caterham, I’d imagine they will stay in that order. True, Toro Rosso’s new young Russian driver Daniil Kvyat did a fantastic job in GP3 this past year, especially for someone who’s only 19 years old, but honestly I don’t see him making much of a mark in Formula 1 for a couple years still. Now, if he does I’ll eat my words right away. Meanwhile his French teammate, Jean-Éric Vergne, doesn’t seem to be setting himself up for anything spectatular either, looking at his 17th place finish in the 2012 tables and 15th place the following year. In any case, Vergne could do some damage to the other teams standings, particularly to Sauber and Williams, but overall I am skeptical.

The big question remaining for the lineup is just who will take the last remaining seat at Marussia and just generally who will be driving for Caterham? Last I checked, Marussia has only confirmed Frenchman Jules Bianchi as one of their two drivers. Judging by his 19th place inaugural performance in 2013 in Formula 1, I could see him staying in about the same area. It really is too bad in that my most striking memory of him from 2013 was when his car caught fire in Germany and proceeded to roll out onto and across the track, taking out a UBS sign on the way. Caterham on the other hand is still a fairly big question. The names proposed on 8 January in an article on F1.com were Frenchman Charles Pic, Dutchman Giedo van der Garde, Finn Heikki Kovalainen, Britons Max Chilton and Paul di Resta (whose name has also come up in Indy Car speculation), Swede Marcus Ericcson, and Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi. Whatever the case, the races between Caterham and Marussia will be as enjoyable as usual.

In any case, these are all just my own musings and predictions based upon what I saw in 2013. If you want to see another angle on predicting the 2014 championship, look no further than Ladbrokes’ 2014 F1 Drivers’ Championship Odds, in which the chances for winning the crown go from Vettel’s 10/11 odds all the way down to Jules Bianchi’s 1000/1 chance. Click here to see the full listings from Ladbrokes, and do gamble responsibly.

Thats’ all for now for my F1 writing. I’ll be back for certain in a few weeks, probably after NBC Sports has their annual season preview broadcast.