Montreal Overview -F1

Sun 13 Jun 2010

So welcome to Montreal in Canada and what turns out to be a really exciting race.

Hamilton got way cleanly and lead from Vettel, Alonso, Button, Webber and Kubica.  After Liuzzi and Massa collided a number of times, both came in for new body parts, as did De La Rosa after a prang with Petrov.  Kobayashi was not so lucky and after hitting a wall his day was over early.  Early on Button was struggling with his option tyres and Webber, who was on primes, took him for fourth.  Button came in early for a tyre change, but Hamilton relented for an other couple of laps, even though Vettel is all over him.  When Lewis does come in, he and Alonso nearly collide in the pit lane, but the Spaniard comes out to take fifth.

Some more activity as Schumacher exits from the pits onto the track, and goes straight into the path of Kubica who has the racing line, and they battle for the next few coroners until Schumi goes over the grass and takes the lead… I thought this was F1 not Rallycross !

After Vettel pitted for soft tyres, Buemi took the lead -you won’t hear that often !  But after he pits Hamilton takes Alonso on the straight from turn 12.  It stays that was until lap 26 when Alonso and Hamilton are again side by side, but rather than battle it out Lewis dives for the pits, and as everyones tyres are struggling he is followed on the next laps by Button and Vettel.  Jenson manages to get out ahead of Vettel, and when Alonso pits he hands over his lead to Webber.

By lap 39 Webber reports his primes are starting to go, and Lewis is slowly eating into his ten second lead and then laps later Hamilton slips past the Aussie, but Mark has by then had enough of his failing tyres and comes in for softs at the end of the lap.  So to recap the ever changing positions, at this stage it’s Hamilton from Alonso, and then Jenson in third who who is slowly making ground.  Vettel is fourth, Webber fifth and Kubica sixth.  JB stays up the rear of Alonso awaiting for a mistake and on lap 56 his luck comes when Alonso gets tied up in traffic and the Brit takes full advantage on the outside, and now has Hamilton and his failing tyres in his sights.

Hamilton and Button celebrate their 1/2

Hamilton and Button celebrate their 1/2

Eight laps later Massa and Schumacher touch and Schumacher make a second move to the left before turning right and damages Massa’s front wing.. this is the dirtiest I’ve seen him drive this season.  Alas it does him no good, as on the last lap he’s struggling is overtaken by both Force India’s to finish out of the points in 11th.

So Lewis takes his second win in a row, with Button not able to catch him.  Alonso is in third followed by Vettel, Webber, Rosberg and Kubica. Buemi takes a well deserved eight with Liuzzi ninth and Sutil tenth.  Outside of the points is Schumacher, Alguersuari, Hulkenberg, Barrichello, Massa, Kovalainen, Petrov, Chandhok and Di Grassi.

Retirees for this race were Glock, Trulli, De La Rosa, Bruno Senna and Kobayashi.  Fastest Lap was Kubica with a 1:16.972

A fantastic race, and not a Safety Car in sight !


Mugello -MotoGP

Sun 6 Jun 2010

Rossi's broken leg means he'll probably be out for the rest of the season

The weekend started on a low, at the Italian circuit of Mugello, when Valentino Rossi broke his right leg.  He was third fastest on the Saturday morning practise, when he crashed near the end of the session.  He  lost control of his Yamaha while changing direction at turn 13 and was thrown off his bike onto the air at 110 mph.  He landed hard on his right leg and after x-ray’s showed it was a bad fracture, it looks he could be out for the rest of the season.

All at ScuderiaAuto wish him a well and a hope he has a good recovery !

Anyway, to the race itself, and the Spaniard Dani Pedrosa took the lead from the first corner, and never looked liked giving it up all the way to the finish flag.

Andrea Dovizioso and American Ben Spies both had good starts from the second row and the Italian was up to third before the end of the opening lap as the pair succeeded in challenging Stoner.  Unfortunately Marco Simoncelli experienced an off early on, as he pushed for position, but managed to stay in the race.  Honda Gresini’s Marco Melandri edged his way up to sixth having started back in fourteenth, whilst Nicky Hayden’s Ducati fell as he went through a downhill section on the same lap.

By halfway Pedrosa’s lead was up to seven seconds.  Whilst Yamaha rider Lorenzo and Honda’s Dovizioso were closely matched, further back the positions were still swapping as Melandri, Randi De Puniet and Casey Stoner battled for position.

Lorenzo took a small advantage over Dovizioso in the last part of the race, whilst on the final lap the fight for fourth came to fruition as Stoner went through on both Melandri and De Puniet.  Up front Pedrosa crossed the line first, followed four seconds later by Championship leader Lorenzo with Dovizioso following.

The rookies did well with Spies finishing seventh, Aleix Espargaró eighth and Simoncelli recovering from his earlier off taking ninth.

Lorenzo now has 90 points at the top of the Championship, with Pedrosa second on 65, Rossi is in third on 61, with Dovizioso on 58

McLaren’s 1 minute noise

Fri 4 Jun 2010

It’s 40 years since Bruce McLaren died.  The McLaren group remembered him in the best way possible.  Turn up the volume and enjoy:

Istanbul overview -F1

Tue 1 Jun 2010

The results of qualifying gave us a tantalising start to the race with Webber, Hamilton, Vettel, Button, Schumacher and Rosberg filling the front three rows.

Webber got away cleanly, with Vettel getting the jump on Hamilton followed by Button.  It didn’t take long for Lewis to get behind Webber, and to start hassling him.

On lap 15 Webber and Hamilton pitted together.  It was a fast stop for Webber, but unfortunately there was a spilt second delay for Hamilton when one of his rear wheels didn’t go on cleanly.  They ran down the pit lane in the same order, but the delay meant that Hamilton came out just behind Vettel.

Half way through the race there were ominous clouds looming but the rain was only very light, and was not enough to bother anyone.

The first four were inseparable and by lap 33 Schumacher was 30 seconds behind Jenson, with many others queuing up behind him again.

On lap 35 Trulli stopped in turn 8 bringing out the yellow flags but luckily no Safety Car.  It’s was not a lucky period for Lotus as on the next lap Heiki took to his pit garage with pneumatics failures.

Vettel was then on a roll and after a few fast laps was right behind Webber, and on turn 12 of lap 40 went down the inside of Webber.  They touched tires, and Vettel span off in a cloud of carbon fibre -his day was over.  Webber just holds it together, avoided Seb and got back on the track.  However it was too late and the McLaren’s had already slipped through.

A few laps later Webber pitted for a new nose cone, but managed to come out in front of Schumacher who was still holding up the rest of the field, much to Rosberg’s annoyance.

Some light rain arrived.  By the last corner of lap 49, Button tried to take Hamilton and they brushed wheels as he goes through, but Hamilton took the position back on the straight.  A few laps later and Alonso challenged Petrov and they also touched… Petrov’s tyre is damaged and he limped home to the pits to get it changed.

So it’s a win for Hamilton, followed by Button and Webber on the podium.

Lewis & Jenson celebrating their 1st & 2nd in Turkey

Lewis & Jenson celebrating their 1st & 2nd in Turkey

Race Result
Hamilton, Button and Webber, followed by Schumacher, Rosberg, with Kubica from Massa.  Then Alonso, Sutil, Kobayashi, De LaRossa, Alguersuari and Liuzzi with Barichello, Petrov, Buemi, Hulkenburg, Glock and finally Di Grassi taking up the rear.

Chandock (Lap 56) -his lucky egg yet again is not so lucky !

Senna, Vettel, Kovalainen and Trulli

Fastest lap
Alguersari on lap 50 1:29:535

Drivers Championship
Webber leads with 93 points, Button is on 88, Hamilton 84 and Alonso 79

Vettel remains on 78, with Kubica & Massa both on 67 and Rosberg just one point behind.  The rest are also runs !

McLaren and Redbull battle it out at the front with 172 and 171 respectively.  Ferrari are on 146 with Mercedes GP on a century.  Renault are ahead of the midfield competition now with 73 points.

Le Mans overview -MotoGP

Sun 23 May 2010

It’s been a long wait since the last race, after Mexico was cancelled due to the disruption caused by the ash cloud. We were all looking forward to seeing the return of MotoGP at the Circuit of Le Mans.

Valentino Rossi led at the start with Stoner in chase, but on just the second lap Casey pushed it too far, and left the circuit in dramatic fashion. He was up okay, but did not get back onto the damaged bike or the track.

By lap 7 Jorge Lorenzo was starting to seriously challenge Rossi and they both battled position for a few laps, before Jorge finally made it stick on lap 10, and once past Rossi he managed to stretch his lead to a clear six seconds.

For the middle part of the race the majority of the field held positions, with very few passes and nothing exciting worthy of a mention, until near the end.

Popcorn for Lorenzo at Le Mans

Popcorn for Lorenzo at Le Mans

Dovizioso took Pedrosa on the last lap, and even though they were slowly gaining ground on Rossi, they were too busy fighting their own battles to ever seriously put any pressure on him.

Hanging on close behind, watching, was Haydon who then took Pedrosa for fourth, moving Dani into fifth position by the line.

So it was the Yamaha’s of Lornezo and Rossi from Dovizioso, with Hayden and Pedrosa coming in close behind. Melandri and De Puniet were too far behind to be a challenge, but took points for sixth and seventh.

This time Jorge celebrated his win by sitting in front of a giant viewing screen, with a bag of popcorn, to watch the replay of his win.

Monaco overview -F1

Sun 16 May 2010

A race of safety cars !

From the start Webber led.  On the first corner he took the lead, however Kubica lost second to Vettel.  Seb just couldn’t stay with him, and Webber took a commanding lead.

Jenson Button at Monaco 2010, with the sidepod 'bung' (click to enlarge picture)

Jenson Button at Monaco 2010, with the sidepod 'bung' (click to enlarge picture)

On just the first lap the Safety Car was out as Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg oversteered into the barriers in the tunnel (later turns out to be a clutch paddle problem that caused it).  During the Safety Car procession, Button pulled in at Sainte Devote with steam coming from his car -game over.  It was suspected that part of a cooling system used just prior to the race start was accidentally left in a side vent -oops !  (confirmed -see picture added 21May, click on it, and look in the vent on Jenson’s left)

So Webber pulled out another gap, for it only to disappear when the Safety Car was out again on lap 31, as Barrichello’s rear suspension failed on the uphill section of Massenet and he spins, managing to hit every corner of his car before coming to rest.  Looks nasty but he’s okay as he flings his steering wheel into the path of the HRT’s, to aid his exit.

As we’d not had a Safety Car for a while FIA thought it was time to send one out, as a drain covers comes loose at turn three on lap 44, near the scene of Rubens crash.

Then with three laps to go Trulli undercuts Chandhok at Rascasse, clipped his wheel, and flew over the top of Karun’s car landing the other side.  It all happened in such slow motion that he even managed to get his hands up to protect his head, as the underbelly of Jano’s car scrapes his helmet.  Luckily both drivers walked away, but there was a tangle of cars on the track that needed to be cleaned up, and guess what… the Safety Car was out again !

So the race finished under the SC, with Schumi taking a last minute dive and overtaking Alonso.  Was that before or after the SC line… I’m sure the stewards will tell us !

The provisional result was 1st Webber, 2nd Vettel and 3rd for Kubica  Mass in 4th, Hamilton in 5th, 6th for Schumacher and 7th for Alonso.  Force India managed to get both cars into the points with Sutil in 8th and Liuzzi in 9th.  The only other drivers managing to finish were Buemi and Alguersuari taking 10th and 11th

Webber celebrates in style

Webber celebrates in style

Steward award a 20 second penalty to Schumacher, knocking him from 6th to 12th and out of the points.  Under article 40.13 “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”  Mercedes argue that the green flags were being waved so the race was on !  I think we can expect them to challenge the decision.

With the guest steward being a certain Mr Damon Hill, I’m sure it was sweet revenge as Michael cost him the championship in Australia back in 1994.

Further Update:  
Mercedes have decided not to challenge the decision, and the FIA will be clarifying the ruling to avoid any future misunderstandings.

Catalunya overview -F1

Sun 9 May 2010

The atmosphere was bubbling at the Circuit de Catalunya, with Alonso’s home fans hoping for a great race.  For the first time this year Schumi has out-qualified his team mate Nico Rosberg in his long wheel based special.  Unfortunately for Kovalainen he had gearbox problems before the race even started and never reached the track.

Weber defended his position from Vettel into the first corner, with Hamilton and Alonso in chase.  Webber put his foot down and streaks into the distance with Seb struggling to keep up.

Rosberg pitted early, but it turns out to be a disaster, as he is given the go-ahead to leave even though his front right wheel was not correctly fitted.  Four laps later Hamilton was in, and managed to make it out in front of Vettel.  By then Webber was nine seconds ahead.

Button ?  Well he was stuck behind Schumacher for lap after lap, as he was defending his place like the Michael we know of old.

Massa managed to hit Chandhok and damage his front wing, but it was nothing severe and the Scuderia kept him out, but it was really not Chandhok’s day as Alguersuari drives across his nose a few laps later.  After coming in for checks Karan retires almost as soon as he’s back on the track.

I managed to fall asleep for most of the middle part of the race as very little happened.  Webber was out in front when I went to sleep, and was even further out in front when I woke up !

So some drama on lap 57 when Vettel goes into the gravel and Alonso manages to take his place in third.  Seb had major problems with his brakes, and just isn’t easing off.  The Red Bull garage kept warning him to take it easy, but he’s not listening and they eventually warn him that his brakes were about to fail.  At last he slowed down !

Some more excitement, but for this time for the wrong reason… Hamilton has a rim failure one lap from the end and his race is over as he slid into the barrier.  A big cheer goes up for Alonso as he moved up into second, but the race is Webber’s and he took his first win of 2010.  Vettel nursed his car home to take the final step on the podium.

Schumacher took fourth, Button still behind him in fifth, Massa sixth and Sutil for Force India in seventh.  Kubica back in eighth, Barrichello ninth and Alguersuari for Toro Rosso taking the final point.

Something almost interesting happens… Virgin manage to get both cars across the finish line for the first time.

Jerez -MotoGP

Sun 2 May 2010

A thrilling race and lots of action in Jerez.

Dani Pedrosa started in pole and managed to stay out in front for the whole race… well almost.

Rossi who was back in fourth had a good start moving up to second, and stayed with Dani for some time, however as he slipped slowely backwards Lorenzo hunted him down and took him with just six laptops to go.  He then had Pedrosa in his sites, and after lots of pressure took him on the last lap.

Rossi, who earlier in the week had damaged his shoulder in a motocross fall, came in just behind holding onto third, with the Ducati’s of Nicky Hayden and Stoner taking fourth and fifth, some eight seconds behind.

Lorenzo takes a swim to enjoy his win

Lorenzo takes a swim to enjoy his win

Jorge celebrated his great win and his birthday, by jumping into a lake still in his leathers.  I think he was happy !

So Jorge now heads the riders championship with 45 points, followed by Rossi with 41, Pedrosa 29, and Dovizioso and Hayden both on 26.

Getting home

Tue 20 Apr 2010

With the flight chaos in Europe it means many of the team personal are stuck in Shanghai and are having to find inventive ways home, or are finding ways to keep themselves occupied. Here’s just a few of the ones we know about:

Some have managed to find flights out of Shanghai but in the case of one, then turned up at the wrong airport.

Lee McKenzie and Jake Humphrey from the BBC F1 team have got as far Frankfurt on a flight, then managed to find one of the last available hire cars at the airport and are now driving themselves halfway across Europe.

Currently boarding a Dubai to Nice flight are Alonso, Massa and Buemi upfront with Luizzi and Kubica in Economy.

The 5 live team are having a ‘how many Pringles can you fit in your mouth’ competition -the record so far is 23 !

Webber and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner took 44 hours to get to Scotland, but then Mark realised he’d lost his passport along the way.

Kovalainen has got as far as Kuala Lumpa, and is enjoying a few days there playing golf.

Race winner Button, he is sunning himself Thailand -pre-booked !

Me ? I’m stuck in Prague enjoying the beer, waiting for the airspace over London to reopen.

Update 21 Apr’10:
Reports so far indicate that the first driver home was Rubens Barrichello, the first team boss Ross Brawn, and the first technical boss Sam Michael. Interestingly all travelled on Emirates.

Lucas di Grassi jokes his route home will be something like.. Shanghai – Hong Kong – Easter Island – Sailing to Lima – Riding a Llama to Rio Branco – Motorcycle to Brasilia – Go-karting to Sao Paulo.

In comparison Bruno Senna has an easier routing of Shanghai – Dubai – Alicante – Barcelona – Monte Carlo

A relaxed Renault F1 team expect their cars and freight to be landing in the UK Thu, followed hopefully by the team on Fri.

Shanghai overview -F1

Tue 20 Apr 2010

Those that predicted after Bahrain it was going to be a boring F1 season got it wrong.

Those that predicated that Button had made a massive mistake moving to McLaren got it wrong.

Those that predicted Schumacher would be a title challenger by now got it wrong.

It’s hard to know where to start with an overview the Shanghai race, as so much happened… there was a jump start, there was overtaking on the track, there was overtaking in the pits.  There were crashes, there was rain and the odd dry spell and there were five tyre changes for some.

Rain was just starting to fall whilst they were sat on the grid –all with slick on.  This did not seem to hold back Alonso who came from third to first within a hundred yards.  However the stewards noted he had made a jump start so he received a drive through penalty as punishment.

After Liuzzi’s Force India wiped out Glock’s Virgin, Kobayashi’s Sauber and Buemi’s Toro Rosso on the first corner, under the yellow flag everyone rushed into the pits to change to intermediates,   Button, Kubica and Rosberg stayed out on slicks and it was not long before the rain went and everyone was back in the pits to change back to slicks, after they were struggling to keep up.

Hamilton, who eventually needed four tyre changes to Buttons two, managed to make his way through the field.  There was a great fight between Lewis and Vettel that made it into the pit lane.  Both totally committed -side by side on entry, the same down the lane after the tyre change, and on exit.  Whilst some may have been concerned about the safety of it, thankfully for them the stewards took a different view, and there was a just a reprimand after the race.  That was not to be the last of the excitement in the pits, as Alonso overtook Massa on entry, meaning that Felipe had to sit behind him waiting for his tyre change.

In the end Jenson took the race, with the great advantage of his early tyre strategy, and smooth driving style holding the tyres together.  Hamilton an excellent second and Rosberg form continues as he took the final step of the podium.  He really has ‘come of age’ since his move from Williams, and it’s good to see last years ‘also ran’, doing so well in a half decent car.  The same cannot be said of his compatriot Schumacher who was yet again outgunned, struggling back in tenth.

Alonso and Ferrari got the tyre strategy wrong, but they still managed to storm their way through the field to take a good fourth.  Renault had a great race with Kubica taking fifth and Petrov seventh.

Red Bulls Vettel eventually slipped to sixth, with Webber in an uneventful eighth.

It shows how close the racing is this season, as Massa who was leading the driver’s championship at the start of the race, took two points coming in ninth, yet dropped to sixth overall behind Button, Rosberg, Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel.

We shouldn’t forget the new teams.  Kovalainen bringing the Lotus in fourteenth, both HRT’s finishing with Senna two laps down and Chandhok a further two laps behind –the rest all retired due to technical problems or the early first corner accident.

I get the feeling that the most exciting thing about the next race in Spain, will be actually getting the cars and teams there in time !