Posts Tagged ‘F1’

Interlagos, Brazil Overview -F1

Mon 8 Nov 2010

The main focus this weekend was, would Fernando Alonso win the championship in Brazil ? There was however a surprise in a rain hit qualifying when Nico Hulkenberg managed to find 2.5 seconds in his last few laps and takes pole position, with Sebastian Vettel over a second behind.  Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton took the next two positions on the grid, with Alonso in fifth.  Jenson Button didn’t make it through to the final qualifying session and languished back in eleventh.  This could be an interesting start with the top four title challengers all gunning down the straight into the first corner behind a rookie. So to the start.  Both Vettel and Hulkenberg made good starts. Nico tried to pull across in front of his fellow German but Seb held the inside line for the left hand corner, that benefits the second place starter.  Webber then manages to slip past Nico on turn 4 so it’s a Red Bull one-two by the end of the first lap. Hamilton and Alonso were battle for fourth, swapping places a number of times, until Alonso led his fellow championship competitor.  Button gained a couple of places at the start but is overtaken by an on-form Michael Schumacher. For laps 4,5 & 6 the Hulk defended against Alonso and was not letting him through that easily, but on lap 7 the inevitable happened as Nando slipped through on turn 6.  This meant that Hulkenberg had Hamilton to deal with.  Nico however held him back for six laps before he got through, but by this time Alonso had managed to create a decent gap. Button came in for an early tyre change on lap 11 and came out in eleventh.  Massa was next in but there was a problem, as a lap later he was in again as one of the front wheels was not put on correctly.  Jenson overtakes Petrov to take tenth.  His team mate Hamilton was beginning to complain about a lack of grip, so on lap 20 he made his stop and managed to come out in front of Jenson, despite a couple of good laps from the fellow Brit. A couple of laps later and Alonso was in, who managed to make it out ahead of Rosberg.  Both Vettel and Webber also had clean stops, and retained positions – both Red Bulls were then storming, swapping fastest laps. On lap 35 Rueben Barrichello’s Interlagos bad luck continued as he clipped Jamie Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso in an overtaking maneuver, and gains a front left puncture.  Meanwhile Lewis is still not in a happy mood as he now complains his F-duct isn’t working, but his engineer and the timing tell a different story as his McLaren is currently fastest on the straights. By lap 45 Alonso was not able to gain any headway on Webber, however the Australian was just 1.5 seconds behind Vettel as they weaved there way through the back markers.  There are many nervous conversations on the Red Bull pit wall. Hamilton was reporting his tyres were loosing grip.  A lap later Liuzzi goes wide on turn 2 and hits the tyres, meaning the Safety Car is released whilst it’s removed, giving Hamilton the opportunity to get harder compound tyres.  Button was also in but for super softs – totally different strategies there then !  Due to the time it takes the Safety Car to pick up the leaders, and all the back markers, they both come out in the same position.  Rosberg also pits but there is confusion over the tyre type, and he is back in a lap later to change again, but also manages to retain position somehow. The restart was confusing due to the race positions being very different to the cars on the track, and everyone was fighting for position, as the midfield cars and back markers are having to move out of the way for the leaders.  There’s a lot of blue flag waving, but nobody was sure who it was aimed at !  It turns out one was aimed at Heidfeld as he later gets a drive through penalty for not obeying the flag.  Vettel took advantage of the restart as he pulled away from Webber and by lap 61 was 5.0 seconds ahead. Massa and Buemi have a coming to, but nothing serious.  Felipe, who has not featured in this race after the tyre problems, looks to have resigned himself to not gaining any points and a few laps later he also clips Petrov, but both continue. By now Alonso has closed the gap on Webber to just 2.4 seconds but struggles to get any closer. The race finishes with Vettel winning with Webber second and Alonso third.  Hamilton took fourth, Button fifth and the final points are taken by Rosberg, Schumacher, Hulkenberg, Kubica and Kobayashi.

Which one will be world champion ?

Red Bull win the Manufacturers Championship, but the Drivers goes to the final race. The current world champion Button is now out of the tile hunt, however the other four still remain in the fight.  Hamilton needs a miracle with 222 points, whilst Alonso with 246, Webber with 238 and Vettel on 231, are all still in with a shout. A final thought… if Alonso doesn’t finish in Abu Dhabi and Vettel and Webber finish one-two, the Red Bulls drivers will have equal points, but Seb will take the championship on race wins.


Monza Overview -F1

Mon 13 Sep 2010

Monza 2010 will not sit in the history books as a race to remember, but it was entertaining enough.

Fernando Alonso started in pole position, with Jenson Button second, using an F-duct and large down-force set-up, Felipe Massa third, Mark Webber fourth and the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton in fifth, this time with no f-duct but a low down-force set-up.

At the start, the first few got away cleanly, other than Webber who went backwards as all he could find was lots of wheel-spin, and no grip.  Alonso tried to come across on Button, but Button was too fast and had his nose in front.  Massa was also in an aggressive mood, trying to slip down the outside of Alonso, with the two Ferrari’s going into the chicane side by side.  Hamilton wasn’t letting them have it all their own way, but the Italian teams drivers were too engrained in their battle, and unfortunately Lewis managed to tag Massa’s wheel.  He looked to have got away with it, as he managed to keep going along the next straight, but as soon as the steering was moved it was obvious his front right wheel wasn’t going anywhere, and he went straight on into the gravel –his short race over with a snapped steering rod.  Not gaining any points could eventually cost him the championship, and he’s sure to be kicking himself.

In the meantime Jenson was holding firm in the lead, with Alonso and Massa chasing.  As the race progressed it was an exchange of ever improving lap times between the three, but in reality Massa never challenged to change his position, and it was a two horse race between the Brit and Spaniard.  The largest the gap grew to be was 1.6 seconds, but there were also many scares where Alonso was capable of making a move on Jenson.

Button bottled it first and came in for a tire change on lap 36, whilst on the next lap Ferrari pitted Alonso.  It was a race against the clock for the mechanics as they rushed to get him out in front of Jenson, who was now on hard tires and struggling to get them up to heat on his out-lap.  Button roared down the pit straight as Alonso slowly exited from the pit itself, however once up to speed Alonso held the inside line for the first corner and Jenson just couldn’t get past and had to slip in behind Alonso for the chicane.

Around the same time Hispania Racing managed to get the pit lane closed for short period, as Sakon Yamamoto left his box, before an engineer had time to step back from the car and he managed to clip his head on the rear wing.  Medics tended to him, and he was eventually moved to the circuit’s medical centre.

After the stops Jenson never seriously troubled Alonso.  Other than a small scare when Alonso missed the first chicane, having to slowly go over the speed humps and loosing around a second, there was no doubt that Nanado would cross the line first.

Vettel did not play a major part in the race as he stared from sixth on the grid, but was hit from behind at the start, and later in the race experienced what he thought were engine power loss problems at the time, but later turned out to be a brake problem.  Was it significant that this allowed Webber to go through, and then miraculously the problem was no more ?  He managed to stay out on his original tires until the very last lap (the rules state you must use both sets of tyres in the race) which enabled him to stay ahead of Webber, Hulkenberg and Kubica, all of whom he had been behind before they made their stops.

Webber bad start meant he spent most of the race finding his way through the field, to eventually finish sixth.  Rosberg had a consistent race, starting in seventh and finishing in fifth.

The Renault of Kubica looked promising in practice, but he only managed to make ninth in qualifying and one place up in the race itself.  Hulkenburg in his Williams had a good race also finishing one place further up the field in seventh.

So it was Alonso, Button and Massa on the podium.  Vettel was 24 seconds behind the group coming in fourth, closely followed by Rosberg, Webber, Hulkenberg and Kubica.  Schumacher took ninth and Barrichello took the final point.  He was followed closely by the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Buemi and the Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi.  Petrov’s race didn’t go so well as he came home in 13th, followed by de la Rossa, Alguersari and Sutil in 16th.  The first new team home was Virgin’s Timo Glock, followed by Lotus’ Kovalainen, and the final person to cross the lines was HRT’s Yamamoto.  di Grassi retired after 50laps, Trulli on lap 46, Senna on lap 11,and both Hamilton and Kobayashi not making it past the first lap.

In the drivers championship it’s between five.  Alonso moves up to third (166 points) just 21 points behind the new leader Webber, as Lewis slips into second with 182.  Button remains fourth with 165 points, just two points ahead of Vettel.

So the Europe races are now over with, and it’s back to the long-haul flights, and what promises to be close and exciting races.

Spa-Francorchamps Overview -F1

Sun 29 Aug 2010

As usual, Spa turned out to be a wet race with lots of happenings.

Just as the cars lined up on the gird, the first drops of rain appeared.  Pole position was with Mark Webber, with Lewis Hamilton next to him.  Behind were Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel followed by Jenson Button and Filipe Massa on the third row.

At the start Webber bogged down and Hamilton, Kubica and Button made the most of it, as they covered the first three places by the initial corner.

Further down the field there was chaos when around ten cars went off at the first corner and were everywhere.  Barrichello and Alonso clashed, and whilst Alonso managed to get back to the pits, Reubens was not so lucky, and his 300th F1 race was over early.  Just before the Safety Car came out, to enable the cleaning up, Button had managed to make a move on Kubica, to take second.  When the SC came in Kubica immediately lost another place, as Vettel got the better restart.

Things were beginning to dry up after the quick shower, and Alonso comes in for a second time to pick up some dry tyres.  Button, who had a bit of front wing damage and was having balance problems, was managing to hold off Vettel and was slowing down the rest of the field behind him.  By lap 13 Hamilton’s lead has extended to 8.3 seconds, but just three laps later, there was disaster for his McLaren team mate. 

Vettel hits Button

Vettel hits Button

Vettel, probably seeing an overtaking opportunity, powered out of the Blanchimont corner, but in the process lost traction in the wet conditions.  His car fishtailed a few times, and he eventually spears into the side of Buttons car.  The Brit was unable to go any further but Vettel makes his way to the pits, and get’s his damaged nose cone replaced.  He later received a drive through penalty for the incident.

The top few started coming in for tyres around laps 22-25 but Hamilton retained his 9 seconds lead.  On lap 26 there was more drama for Vettel, as he tried to overtake Liuzzi at the Bus Stop, but the ‘Crash Kid’ caught Tonio’s front wing and his rear tyre was sliced open.  Again he managed to make it back to the pits, and gets new soft tyres, but his race is now long lost.

Nine laps later and the rain was again falling and Lewis was struggling in the wet conditions.  He got onto his team radio about coming in for intermediate tyres, but wastold “do not want to jump too early”, and he promptly slides of the track in to the gravel at Rivage,  He managed to keep the car going in the shallow trap and finds his way back on, still holding the lead.

The reaction is that the majority of the field pit to replace their slicks with intermediates, but Vettel decides on full wets.  Kubica made hash of arriving into his pit box correctly, wasting some time, and comes out behind Webber.  Just three laps later and Vettel is back in for another set, as he’s already managed to burn his wets as the rain was not as heavy as expected.  On the same lap Alonso spins hitting the barrier, and ending up in the middle of the track.  Both Alonso and the Safety Car are out !

At the restart everyone got away cleanly, but Rosberg manages to overtake his Mercedes team mate Schumacher, to take sixth place, and the positions remain unchanged until the finish.

The final results are Hamilton first, Webber second and Kubica third.  Massa takes fourth, with a great race from Force India’s Adrian Sutil to come home in fifth.  He is followed by Rosberg, Schumacher, Kobayashi, Petrov and Liuzzi took the final point.

Outside of the points, but still finishers are de le Rosa, Buemi and Alguersuari.  Those lapped are Hulkenberg, Vettel, Kovalainen, di Grassi, Glock and Yamamoto.  The unlucky retirees are Alonso, Button, Senna and Barrichello.

Hamilton now leads the championship with 182 points, three points more than Australian Webber, with Vettel now 31 points behind.  Button is a further 35 points back with Alonso 41 points off the pace.  However, with six races left and 150 points still to be gained, the season is far from over, and it is still anybody championship to loose !

Hungaroring Overview -F1

Sun 1 Aug 2010

Mark Webber claimed the Hungarian win and took the lead in the championship, after Lewis Hamilton, who was running in fourth at the time, only completed a third of the race due to transmission problems.

Things didn’t go quite as expected for the Red Bulls, as they had to worker harder for the win than most people thought they would have to, thanks to the appearance of the safety car and the subsequent drive-through penalty for Sebastian Vettel.

After the start, where Vettel he was challenged by Alonso from immediately behind him on the grid, it initially seemed that the German would walk the race, as at one point he held a 12 second lead, but that all changed on lap 16 when the safety car was called out, to allow the clearing up of the remains of Tonio Liuzzi’s front wing.

There was then plenty of activity in the pit lane, as all but three drivers pitted, but critically Webber didn’t, along with Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli all stayed out.  In the mayhem, Rosberg’s newly fitted rear right wheel fell off, and bounced down the pit lane, just avoiding all but one of the pit crew members (he sustained minor injuries).  At about the same time Robert Kubica’s Renault an Adrian Suti’s Force India collided, when Adrian was let out into the pit lane, just as Robert was coming into his box.  Both teams were later fined $50,000 for the unsafe release of their drivers.

Webber was now in prime position, and on the restart Vettel, who later said he didn’t realise the safety car was going in that lap, failed to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car.  (This rule is primarily to avoid drivers slowing up those behind them, to allow their team member to gain an unfair advantage at the re-start.  I suspect this was not the case with Vettel !).  Much to his annoyance Seb was given a drive through penalty that put him well behind the now second placed Alonso, and he has little chance of reining the Spaniard in.


Schumacher puts the squeeze on Barrichello

There was further controversy on lap 66 as Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher were fighting for the last available point.  They came close to having a major accident when Rubens made an overtaking move on the German, on the start/finish straight.  Michael squeezed him to within a few millimetres of the pit wall, and he only avoid it as the pit wall finished.  Schumie was later punished by the stewards, being given a 10 place demotion on the grid at Belgium, for impeding the Williams driver –the maximum punishment permissible at a race.

So it was Webber on the top step of the podium, with Alonso and Vettel on the lower levels.  Ferrari’s Felipe Massa took 4th, whilst Renault’s Vitaly Petrov and Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg both had good finishes taking the next two spots.  Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa (who was a lap behind) scored his first points this season in 7th, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button.   But the man of the race for me was Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi who, on a track that is well known for being difficult to overtake on, moved from 23rd to 9th by the end.  In 10th was Barrichello followed by Schumacher and Buemim Liuzzi. 

Lapped three times were Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock and Senna, with Di Grassi and Yamamoto a further lap behind.

Retirees were the previously mentioned Hamilton, Sutil, Kubica and Rosberg, along with Alguersuari’s Torro Rosso’s engine failure.

Overall just 20 points now separate the top five drivers – Webber (161), Hamilton (157), Vettel (151), Button (147) and Alonso (141), with Red Bull leading the constructors’ championship on 312 points, ahead of McLaren on 304.  Ferrari languishes in third with 238.

Hockenheim Overview -F1

Sun 25 Jul 2010

It was both a good and a bad weekend for Ferrari.

Some would like to have seen Felipe Massa win, on his return to Hungary after the horrific injury he sustained there last year, but it turned out to be a controversial race for him and his team.

Sebastian Vettel started the race in pole position, by concentrating on closing the door on Fernando Alonso, who started next to him on the dirty side of the track. This allowed Massa to go around the outside of them both, and Felipe was leading by the first corner.

Mark Webber, who had also started from the dirty side of the grid, was beaten taken on the first lap by Lewis Hamilton. His McLaren team mate Jenson Button, made it even more painful by making his option tyres last almost ten laps longer than the Red Bull drivers, allowing him to emerge in front of the Australian after his pit stop.

Not the best of friends

Not the best of friends

Alonso was fast, and was soon behind Massa, and not before long was complaining on his team radio he couldn’t get past. Eventually Massa’s chief engineer, Rob Smedley, told Felipe that Fernando was quicker, and if he understood. Most interpreted this as a badly coded instruction, and whilst it was not confirmed in words, Massa was deliberately slow just a few corners later, allowing Alonso through. At the end of the race Smedley apologised to the Brazilian, which only confirmed it was ‘team orders’. After the race the stewards agreed and Ferrari were fined $100,000 with the matter being passed to the FIA World Motor Sport Council, for further review in September.

On the podium it was Alonso, with a very subdued looking Massa, and Vettel taking the trophy for third.

Fourth went to Hamilton, followed by Button, Webber, Kubica, Rosberg and Schumacher. Petrov took tenth, Kobayashi eleventh and Barrichello twelfth.

Lapped were Hulkenberg, de la Rosa, Alguersuari and Liuzzi. Sutil was lapped twice, Glock three times, and Senna was four laps down from the leaders.

There were five retirements –the Lotus’ of Trulli with a gearbox problems and Kovalainen due to an accident. Di Grassi in the Virgin with a mechanical problem, Buemi’s Torro Rosso accident with his team mate Alguersuari, and Yamamoto retiring due to a ‘technical’ problem.

So, Hamilton leads the championship with 157 points, Button 143, Webber and Vettel both on 136 and the ever controversial Alonso slowly creeping up with 123.

Silverstone Overview -F1

Sun 11 Jul 2010

The weekend started off with controversy…

Red Bull gives you wings

Red Bull gives you wings

In free practice, Red Bull were testing a new front wing, which showed significant improvements.  Unfortunately the fixings on Vettel’s failed and it left them with only one front wing.  It was decided that Webbers would be put onto Seb’s car, and Mark would run the old wing.  Many screamed there was favouritism in the team, and it was obvious that Mark was very unhappy with the decision as he was not consulted prior to the change.  As we saw things didn’t quite go Sebastian’s way in the race though.

The Red Bulls got off to a good start, with Seb moving across on the Aussie trying to squeeze him in the direction of the pit lane wall; however Mark continued to push on to the first corner.  Alonso had a bad start, which let Hamilton through to challenge them, but in the process he managed to nudge Seb , who then went off the track picking up a puncture on his rear right tire.  Happening so early in the lap he lost a lot time crawling back to the pits, and slipped back out in last place.

For the first six laps, Hamilton was like a bad rash; all over the back of Marks cars, as he was always within a couple of seconds of the Australian, however after that he never realistically looked as though he was going to challenge him.

Kubica had a good start moving up from sixth to third, however a few laps in and a queue of cars has built up behind him, which included Rosberg, Alonso, Barrichello, Schumacher, Button and Kobayashi.

Buttons great start, overtaking manoeuvres on the first lap and decision to stay out longer than others on his tires, meant that after the pit stop session he’d managed to climb from fourteenth on the grid to fifth.

Alonso’s terrible start, which he later blamed on a faulty clutch, was only the start of his day’s bad luck.  On the 17th lap he tried to overtake Kubica on the outside of Brooklands, but the manouver meant he went off the track at the next corner, joinging in front of the Pole, therefore gaining an unfair advantage.  Ferrari were warned three times by the stewards to relinquish the position, but as Kubica had engine problems he was dropping back.  They failed to tell Nando believing it was within the rules, but the stewards, which this race included Nigel Mansell, decided otherwise and he was given a drive through penalty.  Unfortunately the timing of the penalty was disastrous as just after, the Safety Car came out, whilst they removed some debris from the track.  All the cars bunched up, and as the Spaniard had to serve it immediately after the SC went in, it meant that he came back out in sixteenth.  Queue Alonso, telling his team not to disturb him by talking on the radio !  He eventually finished fourteenth, and after the race refused to speak to the media.

Sebastian Vettel did however gain from the Safety Car, as the gap between him and the back was no more, and by the end of the race he had moved up to seventh.  He could probably have done even better if it wasn’t for some great defensive driving from Adrian Sutil, who he only managed to slip past on the last lap.

Rosberg came home third with a confident drive, however Button who was trying to watch his fuel, finished the race just one second behind.  Williams and Sauber’s luck is picking up, with Baricchello taking fifth and Kobayashi sixth.  Vettel and Sutil were followed in eight by Schumacher who managed to hold his position in front of Nico Hulkenberg.

Webber never really looked like he would loose the lead, and after the controversy of the weekend, his parting shot on the radio to his team summed it up nicely… “not bad for a  number two driver” !

So the driver standings are now Lewis Hamilton in first with 127 points,  Jenson Button second with 121, Sebastian Vettel third with 115.  Mark Webber has 103 with Fernando Alonso 98 and Robert Kubica 83.  Nico Rosberg is on 75 points, Felipe Massa in eighth with 67, and Michael Schumacher and Adrain Sutil with 34 and 31 points respectively.

The Constructors championship has become a two horse race with McLaren leading on 248 points, Red Bull close behind with 218 and Ferrari now some way back with 165.

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 !

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.

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.