Tag Archives: Lotus F1

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.

Advertisements

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.

 

2014 F1 Australian GP: Practice

Melbourne – The 2014 season is here! Watching the live television feed through NBC Sports and the F1 timing app on my phone, I can tell you that practise down in Melbourne has been quite interesting, and possibly a cache full of interesting signs for Sunday’s race.

The first session began at 20.30 Chicago (16.30 Melbourne, 01.00 London), and was characterised by a mix of mechanical issues, good runs, and the lack of a completed lap for 4 of the drivers, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Catheram’s Kamui Kobyashi (JAP), and Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado (VEN) and Romain Grosjean (FRA).

Out of all the teams, Lotus had the most trouble. Frenchman Romain Grosjean didn’t make it out of the pit, whilst his Venezuelan teammate Pastor Maldonado did make it onto the track, only to continually slide and skid off of it before having the Lotus pit crew meet him in the Pit Lane carrying fire extinguishers with 8:00 minutes left in the session.

Image

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was unable to finish a lap in FP1 / BBC Sport

Likewise, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton made it out of the pit, but didn’t stay on the track for long, according to BBC Sport having oil pressure issues. His teammate, Germany’s Nico Rosberg finished FP1 in 6th at 0.764 seconds behind leader, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso (ESP). Also from Germany, reigning world champion Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel did fairly well in the session, however he was called back to the pit with 1:30 remaining due to some worries of mechanical issues.

My favourite team, McLaren, did fairly well for themselves in Free Practise 1, with veteran Jenson Button (GBR) coming in second with a time of 1:32.357, and Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen finishing in 8th with a time of 1:32.847. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished at the top of FP1 with a time of 1:31.840.

Free Practise 2 began at 00.30 Chicago (16.30 Melbourne, 05.30 London) with Sahara Force India’s Adrian Sutil (GER) being the first out onto the track. He was followed 3 minutes later by Hamilton, who at last managed to get a lap in. Soon there after an equally unlucky driver from FP1, Romain Grosjean of Lotus, made his way onto the track, however with 1:24:00, the Frenchman was reporting power steering issues, in particular using the words “force neutral” with his car. Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel came out at 1:22:00. Interestingly enough, at the start of FP2, according to the lads at NBC Sports, the top speed in the speed trap at Albert Park is 7 mph faster than in 2013.

For most of the first half of FP2, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (GER) was on top in regards to lap time. To give an example of the speeds being reached on this track, Vettel, with 1:15:00 left, went around Turn 1 in his Red Bull at around 140 mph. There certainly is some concern among Red Bull fans this year, as well stated on NBC that, “If Red Bull manages to win the race on Sunday it’ll be a minor miracle.”

Image

All of the teams have had overheating problems on Friday. Pictured: Valtteri Bottas (FIN) of Williams / AP from BBC Sport

Ferrari had a set of issues around the hour mark, with both cars overheating. Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) ended up having to be pushed back to the pit from the lane’s entrance. At the same point, Red Bull’s Daniel Riccardo (AUS) set the fastest time at the 1:00:00 mark. Soon there after, Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) became the first driver of the session to switch to the soft tyres. Meanwhile, by 00:58:00, all of the drivers save Caterham’s Kamui Kobyshai (JPN) and Lotus’ previously ill-fated Pastor Maldonado (VEN) had yet to leave their respective garages. Caterham continued to have issues when their only driver to leave the pits on Friday, Marcus Ericsson returned to the garage with, according to the team radio, hydraulic issues. Another rookie, 19 year old Russian Daniil Kyvat of Scuderia Toro Rosso had his own troubles, radioing in that, “It is impossible to warm the tyres.”

On the lighter side, Caterham’s new nose design is “pretty cool,” at least according to NBC Sports’ David Hobbes. Pit commentator Will Buxton said of the new designs, “I love this season because not all of the cars are the same in the pit lane.”

The great tragedy of the end of the session came when Lotus’ Romain Grosjean began to have issues at around 27:00, when his wheels began to lock up around T1. Meanwhile, most of the drivers in the top half of the table were working on their longer runs, in particular Massa and Bottas at Williams. Grosjean’s troubles came to a head when he hit the barriers at Turn 6, which snapped his rear suspension, initial observations according to the BBC said that it was the right side, whilst their friends at NBC said it was the left. Luckily, Räikkönen was able to avoid any sort of collision with the debris from Grosjean’s car.

At the chequered flag, Briton Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes AMG Petronas finished on top with a 1:29.625. In general at the end of Friday’s run, the major issue for all the teams was dealing with overheating. These new cars are certainly something to get used to, as comically pointed out on Twitter by one Brian Hambling, “Fantastic visual spectacle but the cars sound like Mopeds??” Generally, Lotus and Caterham are in the deeps, having trouble even getting cars out on track. Meanwhile, Caterham’s main competitor Marussia stands a decent chance of doing better in this race than in the past, perhaps even scoring their first point. Their driver, Briton Max Chilton said on the topic that, “There’s a lot more there for us to use.”

Free Practise 3 began at 22.00 Chicago (14.00 Melbourne, 03.00 London). This round ended much the same as the prior one, with Mercedes on top, only this time Nico Rosberg being the leader followed by the McLaren of Jenson Button and the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. The session was also noted for three drivers: Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez (MEX), and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean (FRA) remaining in their garages for the duration of the practise session due to various mechanical issues. Grosjean’s teammate Pastor Maldonado did make it out, only to break down whilst on a lap. This session was Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) first time out on the track of the weekend, during which he completed 19 laps, finishing 16th out of 22.

Looking at the practise information, I’d say that qualifications will be a fairly open field. I’d imagine that either Mercedes or Ferrari will take the first 2 rows on the starting grid with McLaren and Red Bull close behind. As for the rest of the field, it’s still pretty open and unsure to say just what will happen.

Qualifying starts at 01.00 Chicago (17.00 Melbourne, 14.00 London), and will be broadcast here in the United States on NBC Sports. Seeing as it’s starting so very late my local time, my upcoming article on qualifying will be out a few hours after the actual event. If you would like an online readable feed of what is going on at Albert Park in Melbourne, see this link to BBC Sport’s Formula 1 section.

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.

American Classical Music

Image

Courtesy of WGBY television.

Kansas City – I can’t think of a better way of spending my last night at my parents’ house before returning to my townhouse tomorrow at Rockhurst than watching the Boston Pops’ 75th Anniversary concert at Tanglewood on PBS. So far, they’ve played Copland and Bernstein, two of this country’s greatest composers. Right now, they’re playing a suite from Bernstein’s On the Town.

George Gershwin, my favourite American composer.The odd thing is that when it comes to American classical music, I tend to think more of the various orchestras about the country, the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Pops, and of course our fantastic Kansas City Symphony, just to name a few, than the composers who called this country home, or at least their birthplace. Quite honestly, there isn’t a single American composer in my top five list. That elite group consists of an Austrian, a few Frenchmen, and an Italian: Gustav Mahler (Austria), Giuseppe Verdi (Italy), Gabriel Fauré, Jean-Baptiste Lully, and Claude Deubssy (France). Even in the top ten, the Americans probably would only come in the bottom of those: W. A. Mozart (Austria), Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Wagner (Germany), Sergei Rachmanioff (Russia), and George Gershwin (USA). Below Gershwin however do come a number of American composers; numbers 11-13 being Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, and Philip Glass.

So, why exactly then, being a classical music lover who has lived the majority of my nearly 21 years in the States, do I, along with many others, tend to prefer European composers over our home-grown cast of colourful characters? I think it could very well go back to the fact that this country, along with the rest of the Americas, were once colonies of Europe, and therefore surely not on par with Europe’s high culture! Also, the American Revolution certainly didn’t help win the hearts of my fellow monarchist music lovers back in Europe. There is a general disdain for all things American in regards to high culture. Just look at the luxury status of a Mercedes or my favourite, a Jaguar, compared to their price tag equals from Cadillac, Chrysler, and Lincoln among others. Another area that this can be seen is in Formula One, my favourite of all motor sports, which features a largely European cast of drivers (go Lotus!)

Kimi Räiikkönen and Romain Grosjean, the 2013 Lotus F1 drivers

Kimi Räiikkönen and Romain Grosjean, the 2013 Lotus F1 drivers. Courtesy of grandprix247.com

"Satyagraha", my favourite Philip Glass opera

“Satyagraha”, my favourite Philip Glass opera. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

In this country we truly do have a great classical music tradition, with its own uniquely American flavour. I’d argue Broadway holds a similar place in American classical music that Gilbert and Sullivan holds in Britain. We don’t necessarily need to have grand operas of the same flavour as those that came out of Italy, France, Germany, Austria, and Russia. Our opera has a different flavour, a more, at least presently, popular flavour. Our opera buffa could be said to be Broadway, whilst our opera seria could be said to be works like those of John Adams, Philip Glass, and of course Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Bernstein’s West Side Story. Just like how in many a Verdi opera you can hear an all-too Italian flavour, for example the brass scales during the “Gran nuova! Gran nuova!” chorus in Rigoletto have always sounded quite Italian to my ears, so too West Side Story and most, if not all, of Gershwin’s major work has a distinctly American tone and texture to it. At the same time, because we are a nation of exiles, refugees, and immigrants, our composers have the flair and ability to write in the styles of many far distant lands, like Philip Glass in his Gandhi opera Satyagraha.

Tonight on PBS’ Great Performances, this testament to the power and uniqueness of American classical music stands firm, as both high art and popular art pieces are being performed side by side. When I started writing this entry, music that premiered on Broadway filled my parents’ living room, now it has been succeeded by the quietude of a Haydn Piano Concerto.

Until next time, tá!