Tag Archives: Kimi Räikkönen

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

Hamilton wins Singapore and Championship Lead

Marina Bay – The 2014 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix was above all else, hot and gruelling. With the track temperature hardly going below 32ºC (90ºF,) the cars and drivers were in nearly unbearable conditions for the entirety of Sunday’s 2 hour event, leaving many of the drivers thoroughly dehydrated, and in some cases desperate for relief.

The day was not in Nico Rosberg’s favour from the start. With a hardware problem, the Mercedes driver was forced to start from the pit lane, only to retire after 14 laps. The other early retirement was Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi, whose car shut down on the formation lap.

Hamilton took the race lead from the beginning, only briefly losing it to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel after Hamilton’s final pit stop. In many respects, Hamilton’s triumphs were overshadowed by Rosberg’s tribulations, and by the fight that lasted all 2 hours behind him amongst the rest of the grid.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso did quite well, keeping close behind the two Red Bulls in 4th throughout the race. His Finnish teammate, Kimi Räikkönen likewise was a hard fighter further down the field, keeping pace with the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, the McLarens, and Force Indias. Their stellar performance Sunday in Singapore is a great and marked improvement from the disaster that was Monza.

Red Bull kept their strengths in show, maintaining 2nd and 3rd for the majority of the race. Defending 4-time world champion Sebastian Vettel held back his Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo, enabling for both Red Bulls to earn a finish on the podium. Ricciardo remarked that Singapore did feel like a home race for him, as the city-state is equidistant to his hometown of Perth, Western Australia, as is Melbourne, home to the Australian Grand Prix.

For Williams, Singapore could have gone better. Brazilian Felipe Massa was able to finish in 5th, but his Finnish teammate barely scraped out 11th place after suffering a flat tyre on the last lap. That being said, Bottas was able to hold off his fellow countryman Räikkönen for the majority of the race until the tyre in question gave way.

Kevin Magnussen did fairly well for himself on his first time racing in Singapore. His 10th place finish not only outdid his veteran teammate, Jenson Button, who retired near the end of the race, but he also was able to outdo the extremes in temperature and fatigue that are par for the course in Singapore. Force India likewise did well on Sunday, with Sergio Pérez finishing in 7th and Nico Hülkenberg in 9th.

All of the drivers in that section of the field were outdone by Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne, who, after being penalised with a 5-second stop and go penalty for passing whilst over the track limits, roared past much of the field ahead of him, finishing in a solid 6th. His Russian teammate suffered the greatest in the Singaporean conditions, voicing his desperation over the team radio.

With Singapore completed, the Formula 1 circus heads north to return to Japan, where Nico Rosberg will give his all to restore his championship lead. At present, Lewis Hamilton holds 1st place in the Drivers’ Championship with 241 points, 3 points ahead of his German teammate and 60 ahead of Australia’s own, Daniel Ricciardo. Mercedes has a clear lead in the Constructors’ Championship with 479 points, ahead of Red Bull’s 305, and Williams’ 187.

Full results from the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix are:

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2:00:04.795
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, +00:13.534
  3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +00:14.273
  4. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, +00:15.389
  5. Felipe Massa, Williams, +00:42.161
  6. Jean-Éric Vergne, Toro Rosso, +00:56.801
  7. Sergio Pérez, Force India, +00:59.038
  8. Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari, +01:00.641
  9. Nico Hülkenberg, Force India, +01:01.661
  10. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, +01:02.230
  11. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, +01:05.065
  12. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, +01:06.915
  13. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, +01:08.029
  14. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, +02:20.037
  15. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, +01:34.188
  16. Jules Bianchi, Marussia, +01:34.543
  17. Max Chilton, Marussia, lapped
  18. Jenson Button, McLaren, retired, 52 laps
  19. Adrian Sutil, Sauber, retired, 40 laps
  20. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, retired, 17 laps
  21. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, retired, 13 laps
  22. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham, retired 0 laps

Mercedes, Williams lock out Top 4 at Monza

Monza, Italy – Monza can be described simply by one word: fast. The 53 lap grand prix tested not only the cars, but also the physical and mental abilities of the drivers. From the starting grid Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg took the lead, with his teammate Lewis Hamilton having an ERS problem that put him down from 1st to 4th as he was passed by McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Williams’ Felipe Massa. By Lap 3, Hamilton began to battle Massa for 3rd, forcing Massa to overtake Magnussen for 2nd on Lap 5.

Lap 6 saw the first retirement of the race as Marussia’s Max Chilton went into the wall at the second chicane. By Lap 8, the general theme of the race was beginning to unfold with the standings as: 1. Rosberg, 2. Massa, 3. Hamilton, 4. Magnussen, 5. Vettel, 6. Button, 7. Alonso, 8. Pérez, 9. Räikkönen, 10. Bottas. The pack of drivers fighting from 4th to 11th generally stayed quite close together throughout today’s race, resulting in some fantastic overtaking.

Rosberg made his first major mistake of the race on Lap 9 when he missed Turn 1, choosing to weave between the obstacles on the escape-way. This soon was capitalised by Hamilton’s overtaking of Massa on Lap 10, leaving only Rosberg between the Briton and 1st place. Both Hamilton and Massa were quite smart to avoid colliding, as both drivers are working for top points this weekend. By Lap 11, Hamilton had set the fastest lap of the race, narrowing Rosberg’s lead down to 2.1 seconds.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas’ start was hardly what anyone at Williams was hoping for. Having fallen back from 3rd to 10th, it took until Lap 13 for Bottas to overtake his fellow Finn Kimi Räikkönen for 9th, after which Bottas began making his way past Pérez, Alonso, Button, and Magnussen taking 4th on Lap 21, which he would hold for the remainder of the race.

By Lap 17, tyre degradation was becoming a major factor in lap timing, leaving many with no choice but to pit. By this point, Hamilton was a mere 1.4 seconds behind Rosberg, ever closing the gap. The first to pit for fresh tyres was Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who did so on Lap 19. Choosing the hards, Vettel resumed his race, taking 5th from Magnussen upon track reentry.

On Lap 22, Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso pitted together, rejoining the field in 9th and 11th respectively. Lap 24 saw Sergio Pérez and Felipe Massa pit. Pérez rejoined in the middle of the pack, whilst Massa returned to find himself in 5th. Rosberg pitted on Lap 25, followed by his teammate Hamilton on Lap 26.

At Lap 28, Lewis Hamilton began to put more and more pressure on his German teammate, taking the race lead on Lap 29 as Rosberg cracked, missing Turn 1 yet again. At Lap 30, the local Italian fans found themselves aghast as Ferrari’s superstar driver Fernando Alonso was forced to retire at Turn 1 due to an engine shutdown. At Lap 31, an equally daring Valtteri Bottas attempted a pass on Magnussen, but to no avail as Magnussen forced Bottas off the track, resulting in a 5-second stop and go penalty for the young Dane.

By Lap 32, Hamilton had increased his lead over Nico Rosberg to 2.9 seconds with Felipe Massa a good 10 seconds behind Hamilton and Rosberg in 3rd. In 4th was Sebastian Vettel. Laps 39-42 saw an excellent battle between former McLaren teammates Jenson Button and Sergio Pérez, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo joining in the fun and games as well. Pérez won the duel at Lap 42, however Ricciardo had already left the pair in the dust, passing Magnussen at 6th to take on the Australian’s 4-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel for 5th. Lap 47 saw the Aussie make his move on the German, making quite a spectacle. No doubt Ricicardo will be heard from again in the years to come.

At Lap 51, Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez had a puncture after clipping the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. This was soon followed by the hair raising run off of Toro Rosso’s Russian Daniil Kvyat at Turn 1 on Lap 52 when his breaks failed, resulting in the Russian running far off the track into the grass. Amazingly though he was able to return to the track and finish the race with decent points.

The race finished with Hamilton taking the win followed by Rosberg in 2nd, Massa in 3rd, and Bottas in 4th. They were followed by Ricciardo (5), Vettel (6), Pérez (7), Button (8), Räikkönen (9), and Magnussen (10). With today’s results, Williams has jumped Ferrari in the constructor’s championship to take 3rd behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

Formula 1 returns on the 21st from the famed night race in Singapore.

Ricciardo takes Belgium as Mercedes suffers from internal troubles

Spa-Francochamps – Formula 1 returned this weekend from its Summer Break with a roar. The race in Belgium, which swiftly broke away from the plans set out by the Mercedes AMG Petronas team, was quick to be taken up by their rivals at Red Bull, leaving Australian Daniel Ricciardo to claim Sunday’s race victory.

After dominating both practise and qualifying, the two Mercedes drivers locked out the front row of the starting grid, leaving the possibility of yet another Mercedes 1-2 seemingly more of a probability. However, with the start of the race Red Bull shot into action, with 4-time champion Sebastian Vettel briefly taking 2nd on Lap 1, splitting the two Mercedes. However Vettel lost his place following an unfortunate loss of control, which led him off track for a moment too long.

Meanwhile, the Ferrari camp found themselves in serious trouble with the FIA following Fernando Alonso’s pit engineers staying out on the starting grid past the 15 second warning mark that began the pacing lap. Alonso would later be penalised with a 5-second stop-and-go penalty, which he served soon there after.

Perhaps the biggest incident of the race came quite early on at Lap 2, when the two Mercedes drivers made contact whilst German Nico Rosberg attempted a pass on Briton Lewis Hamilton at Les Combes, a chicane in the track. Rosberg’s front left wing made contact with Hamilton’s rear right tyre, resulting in the tyre going flat and Rosberg needing a new wing and nose. Unfortunately for Hamilton, his tyre damage also resulted in severe damage to the floor of his car, which caused the 2008 World Champion to retire on Lap 39.

As the race progressed, the problems for Ferrari’s Alonso kept coming, with the penalty bringing him back out onto the track behind rookie Danish driver Kevin Magnussen of McLaren, who kept the veteran Spaniard at bay for the majority of the race. In the last five laps, the Spaniard and Dane found themselves engulfed in a four way battle with Magnussen’s British teammate Jenson Button and German Sebastian Vettel. In the end Alonso suffered front wing damage, which left him finishing in 8th, with Vettel coming in 7th, Magnussen in 6th and Button in 5th. As a result of his blocking, Magnussen was handed a 20-second penalty and 2 driver penalty points by the FIA following Sunday’s race. These will come into effect on 7 September at Monza.

The race concluded with Ricciardo on top, with Rosberg in 2nd, and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas in 3rd. Off the podium, but scoring points were Ferrari’s Finnish veteran Kimi Räïkkönen (4), Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (5), McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen (6) and Jenson Button (7), Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso (8), Force India’s Sergio Pérez (9), and Toro Rosso’s Russian Daniil Kvyat (10).

They were followed in the non-points scoring category by Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg (11), Toro Rosso’s Jean-Éric Vergne (12), Williams’ Felipe Massa (13), Sauber’s Adrian Sutil (14) and Esteban Gutierrez (15), Marussia’s Max Chilton (16), and Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson (17).

Sunday’s retirements were Marussia’s Jules Bianchi on Lap 39 (18), Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on Lap 38 (19), Lotus’ Romain Grosjean on Lap 33 (20) and Pastor Maldonado on Lap 1 (21), and Caterham’s stand-in driver Andre Lotterer (22) whose Formula 1 debut ended on the first lap.

Formula 1 will return once again in 2 weeks time on 7 September, this time to the fast-paced circuit at Monza in Italy, possibly for the last time according to reports that came out earlier this year from Bernie Ecclestone’s office. Looking forward from Belgium, the championship is now open not just to two, Rosberg and Hamilton, but quite possibly to a third, Ricciardo. Will the Western Australian make his country proud and win a third straight on the 7th? We will just have to wait and see.

F1 Midweek – Schumacher update and looking ahead to Austria

Kansas City – If you haven’t heard, on Monday seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher at long last came out of his coma that had been caused by a skiing accident on 29 December at the French resort of Meribel. That being said, after having been in a state of comatose for that long, it will undoubtedly take quite a while for the German to fully recover, which in itself is unlikely.

News bulletins flew around the world on Monday from the Grenoble University Hospital, announcing that Schumacher had been taken out of France to University Hospital Lausanne in neighbouring Switzerland. Despite this, The Independent reports that Schumacher still is unable to talk. According to a 16 June article by John Lichfield of The Independent, Schumacher has a “one in ten chance of making a full recovery.”

That being said, at least the poor man is out of his coma at long last. I can’t imagine what his family has been going through during all of this. No doubt the F1 world will continue to have “Schumi” in their thoughts as they descend on a circuit which was last won by the seven time world champion, the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria this weekend for the resurrection of the Austrian Grand Prix, which was last run in 2003.

Formerly known as the Österreichring from 1969-1995, and the A1-Ring from 1996-2004, the circuit has since been bought by the energy drink company Red Bull, who have since become famous within motorsport for their ownership of two of the current eleven Formula 1 teams, Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso respectively. I have little doubt that the pressure will be on the two Red Bull drivers to win their team’s home grand prix.

At the same time, as we have seen throughout this season no one has been able to compete with Mercedes AMG Petronas as long as the silver arrows make it through the race damage free. We saw two weeks ago in Canada one of the weaker points of the Mercedes cars, namely brake failures, which resulted in Lewis Hamilton retiring and Nico Rosberg finishing in second behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. At the same time, knowing the Mercedes team I have little doubt that the will have fixed that problem by now in preparation for Austria.

The Red Bull Ring track runs clockwise, with ten corners. It runs 4.326 km (2.688 mi) in length. To date, the fastest lap record stands with Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher, who finished Lap 41 during the 2003 Austrian Grand Prix at 1:08.337. Only three of the current Formula 1 drivers, Kimi Räikkönen, Jenson Button, and Fernando Alonso have driven in the Austrian Grand Prix before, Button having competed in the 2000-2003 Austrian Grands Prix, whilst Räikkönen and Alonso have only competed in the 2001-2003 Austrian Grands Prix.

We will have to wait until this Sunday to see how the teams compete at the Red Bull Ring in Formula 1’s triumphant return to Austria after 11 years away. Hopefully Schumacher will be well enough to see at least a couple of the races this season.

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