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Sunday, 12 May 2013

A Ferrari Fiesta - FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2013

Alonso celebrates his 2nd victory at Catalunya
The 2013 Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya, marking the start of this year's European F1 season, saw the local hero,Fernando Alonso, giving the home fans exactly what they wanted in a race that might might have been slow in parts but definitely delivered entertainment in bundles of exciting moments. There were no real surprises in qualifying with the two Mercedes of Rosberg and Hamilton keeping Vettel out of the front row, in third, followed by Raikkonen in 4th and Alonso in 5th. Massa received a 3 place grid penalty for impeding the car of Webber after qualifying in 6th. Jenson Button registered his worst qualifying result of this season which saw him lined up in the 14th place on the grid. Things could be tough if you were a Mclaren fan, hang in there.


Qualifying Result
Qualifying Results: 
1.ROS
2.HAM
3.VET
4.RAI
5.ALO
6.GRO
7.WEB
8.PER 
9.MAS
10.DIR


Alonso showed aggression right from the first lap when he over took Raikkonen and Hamilton in turn 2 and 3, respectively. Ferrari decided to pit their number one driver early and the gamble paid off when Alonso overtook Vettel after the German pitted in the following lap. Meanwhile Massa also had an impressive start and was gaining places very fast once he was able to get past the Mclaren of Sergio Perez. Hamilton was facing technical issues with his brake discs after his major lock up going into the first turn of the race and was losing places at a very consistent rate. The former world champion almost seemed 'dejected' (as pointed out by the commentator) when was asked to drive a conservative race by the team and ended his campaign in a miserable 12th place. On the other hand, Rosberg started dropping down in the order when Alonso snatched the position of race leader. Spectators knew the Mercedes was in trouble with tyre degradation cause then the German went on to lose two more places in a matter of another lap! Ross Brawn will definitely be asking some questions coming Monday morning at the Mercedes office. Raikkonen looked very strong coming into the latter half of the race and justified his nickname of Mr.consistent when he finished the race in second place followed by Massa in 3rd. The result catapulted Ferrari into a strong position to contend for the Constructors Championship (just 18 points behind Red Bull) and brought Kimi 6 points closer to Vettel, reducing the gap between him and the leader to 4 points. Kimi Raikkonen the World Championship contendor! never thought I'd be saying this before the season began, but I guess this just how it is in the 'Big Bad World of Formula 1'  

Race Results:

1. ALO
2. RAI
3. MAS
4. VET
5.WEB
6. ROS
7. DIR
8. BUT
9. PER
10. RIC

Monday, 25 March 2013

Malaysian Grand Prix 2013, Sepang Circuit

Round 2:

The 15th edition of the Malaysian GP brought with it an air of nostalgia for many drivers. The 2003 race, dubbed as 'A race of firsts', saw racing greats being born as Kimi Raikkonen raised his trophy to celebrate his maiden race victory while Fernando Alonso, in 2nd place, became the youngest driver to secure a podium finish. 

Qualifying took place as scheduled on saturday and saw Vettel taking pole position. The two Ferraris took P2 and P3. With Massa out-qualifying his team mate Alonso 4th race in a row, the men in scarlet faced a rather new found dilemma this weekend of having two No.1 drivers. The qualifying results do not justify the robust performances of some drivers like Adrian Sutil (Force India) ,Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Paul Di Resta (Force India) who were nothing short of impressive over the course of the weekend. Rain helped Ferrari and Red Bull to end the qualifying session with expected results owing to their meticulous implementation of strategy. It was a clear display of what separates these guys from the rest of the pack. 

Qualifying: 1.VET 2.MAS 3.ALO 4.HAM 5.WEB 6.ROS 7.RAI* 8.BUT 9.SUT 10.PER

The Big Sunday:
The start of the race, horrendous if you were a Ferrai fan, saw Felipe Massa lose 4 places while Alonso made contact with the back of the RB9 of Vettel on turn 2. As a result of the damage, Alonso went on to lose his front wing on the second lap of the race on a straight while battling for 2nd place with Mark Webber. It brought the spaniard's weekend campaign to an abrupt halt as he lost control of his vehicle and drove off the track. Webber took the lead of the race after the second set of pit-stops in which he set the time for the fastest stop of the race, an astounding 2.3 seconds. A bad day in the box for the Force India team, who decided to tactically retire both cars after a series of disastrous pit-stops. Even Jenson Button fell victim to bad-luck in the the pit-lane and eventually retired for tactical reasons, leaving Checo to hold the McLaren fort. He finished 9th and scored his first points as a McLaren driver. Nico Hulkenberg did not fail to impress in the Sauber, sporting a new bad-ass look, when he finished the race in 8th place after qualifying 12th. Lewis Hamilton finished 3rd just in-front of team mate Nico Rosberg. Both drivers were given strict orders to stay in their respective positions till the end of the race, even though Hamilton's car was struggling with fuel issues and Nico had a lot more left in his car. The decision seemed controversial to say the least, but it was later explained that any steps taken otherwise could damage the engines and reduce their chances of favorable results in Shanghai. Teams are assigned only a limited number of engines every season (8 engines).

"This is silly, Seb, come on":
Just as everyone thought the race was over and we would get to see Mark winning the Malaysian GP for the first time, the three-time world champion went charging at his team mate. Both drivers were given orders to preserve their engines till the end of the race but Vettel claims that the communication did not reach him. Vettel overtook the leader in the closing moments of the race and went on to tie Jackie Stewart's record of 27 race wins. The Aussie did not try to hide his emotions after the race and, very rightly so, spoke his mind at the post-race press conference. Just a bad day to be the number 2 driver, I guess.

Result: 1. VET 2.WEB 3.HAM 4.ROS 5.MAS 6.GRO 7.RAI 8.HUL 9.PER 10.VER

*Raikkonen was a given a 3 place grid penalty for impeding Rosberg during qualifying.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Kimi knocks one out of the Park (Albert)

Time seemed to slow down last week. Every minute seemed to be extended. If you and I concur on this insight then its probably because you, just like me, eat, sleep and breathe F1!

Yes, its finally here! And it could not have taken any longer. The 2013 Formula1 season kicked-off at the Albert Park, Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix. The weekend was an unconventional one with Q2 and Q3 session of qualifying held on the morning before the race, due to rain playing spoilsport (seems to  be the case every where; check out India Vs Australia test series). At the end of qualifying many would have already written off the 2013 season as 'another red bull season' with the complete Red-Bull front row, but Australia had much more in store. Lewis Hamilton pulled off a very impressive P3 for his new team and was followed by the two Ferraris of Massa and Alonso (Yes! in that order!). Qualifying, just like the rest of the weekend, for the McLaren team was despicable. For full qualifying results visit http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2013/893/7190/


The start was rather uneventful, except for Mark Webber losing 5 places before the first turn. Massa gave his critics a little something to talk about when he exploded in the first few laps of the race. However his 'moment' was short lived as he had to give away his 2nd place to Alonso. The race provided the audiences with top quality racing from some of the world champions and other drivers such as Sutil. Adrian Sutil shocked most of us when we found him leading the race in front of Vettel and holding the position for a considerable amount of time (even with highly degraded tyres). Sutil showed F1 what they missed out on in the previous season. Nico Rosberg retired early in the race due to electrical problems in the car, and Lewis Hamilton fought very hard to maintain his spot with the top-runners. He finished 5th. Overall the Mercedes team looked much stronger this season and were able to provide good results all weekend long but failed to deliver when it mattered most. They seemed to have learnt well from their mistakes in the previous season, all they need is some fine tuning (pretty sure Ross Brawn would have plugged the leaks by next weekend). Tyre strategy played the biggest role in choosing the winner today, and Lotus got it just right. Kimi Raikonnen (on a two-stop strategy) pitted for the final time in the 34th lap and went on to win the race after 24 laps. The Lotus treats its tyres like a goddess and like Karun Chandok said, it looks like the top car to drive at Malaysia too. Fernando Alonso made the best move of the race when he out-witted Hamilton to steal a position but was just not good enough for the Lotus. He was satisfied with 2nd place finish (its been a while since he was on the Australian podium) but I'm sure he will have a bigger appetite going into the next weekend. Vettel completed the podium with his 3rd place but seemed pretty optimistic at the post-race interview. We certainly didn't get to see the 'Red-Bull' speed as expected and this is definitely going to keep Horner and Newey up at nights. Its back to the drawing board for the 3 time consecutive world champion and his team.  

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The BIG 3 podium

I promised myself I wouldn't blog tonight, told myself it could wait till after the exam tomorrow. But who am I kidding, I'm not getting any sleep tonight. So here goes...


An absolute cracker of a race, one that could not have gone any better than imagined. A Mclaren party as some would say, but an even bigger event for the men in scarlet. Lewis Hamilton maintains his 100% success rate at USA after winning the first GP held in Texas. The red bull of Sebastian Vettel came in second followed by the Ferrari of Alonso. This keeps Alonso just 13 points behind Vettel in the championship and definitely gives the spaniard a fighting chance.
At the start of the race, a painful image of a giraffe wearing skates kept coming to mind when I saw most of the cars, if not all, struggling for grip. However, this brought about some exceptional driving from the drivers and we got to see some intense battles in the mid section of the line up. Even Alonso jumped upto 4th right after the first corner and I knew the race guaranteed entertainment. Vettel and Hamilton were going at each other right from the beginning and things got extremely hot after the first set of pit-stops. Finally Hamilton overtook Vettel with a brilliant manoeuvre towards the latter half of the race and went on to win it with a gap of just 0.6 of a second.
I'd like to spend some extra time talking about some of the drivers and other things that really caught my attention during the race and I think deserve a special mention.



The winner:
He was flawless! Period. Oh! And a special mention to the 2.4 second pit-stop. It was butter smooth.



Vettel:
It was a tough race for him and he fought like a true champion. Not to forget the perfect start that he had. Unfortunately his car was facing some technical issues and it was just a matter of time before Hamilton made his move.

Massa's gearbox penalty:
Personally I wasn't too happy about it when I heard the news but it worked for them and now the championship goes right down to the wire, so you know what, I might just let this one pass.


Jenson Button:
How did he do it! He was the most aggressive driver on the track from lap 1 yet he treated his tyres like a lady. I kept screaming at the tv 'your cutting the corners too sharp' but he knew what he was doing. And of course, that nail biting manoeuvre to snatch 5th from Kimi was pure class.


Michael Schumacher:
If you were a Schumi fan I'm sure this race was nothing short of Chinese torture as you watched him lose one place after another after another, slooowly.

But all in all, a brilliant race. I'm sure America couldn't have asked for more. BTW nice touch with the cowboy hats, America. Eagerly waiting for the DECIDER!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

COTA UPDATE

So I just finished watching the qualifying session of the American Grand Prix's return to Formula1, and my first thought was 'the track looks gorgeous!!!!'. It's an absolute engineering marvel with its numerous slopes and many heavy breaking points (which shows potential for a lot of overtaking during race day). The difference between the highest and lowest point on the track is 40 ft. And of course the glamour quotient that it brings with it adds to the excitement of the weekend. It was as an absolute star studded paddock with likes of Matt Leblanc, Michael Fassbender, Carlos Slim (the MAN himself),etc often seen on tv.
However the star of the show itself was the car number 1 of Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull car has clearly been the dominant car the entire weekend and it did not disappoint when it mattered. But the Mclaren of Lewis Hamilton did not make it easy for the Red Bull Racing team and really gave them a run for their money when he was lapping times just a couple of thousandths of seconds behind Vettel and finally qualified 2 tenths of a second behind Vettel to take P2. The question on everyone's mind is 'what does this mean for Alonso (who qualified 8th)?'. This means that he along with the Ferrari team has quite a long night ahead of him. Because if Vettel wins and Alonso finishes below 4th, it could be world championship clenching race for Vettel and a historical one at that (3 in a row). And the fact that Alonso's car will be on the inside (dustier side) of the track is not helping the Ferrari team at all.
The disappointments of the day were Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg, who failed to qualify inside the top 10. Jenson experienced a technical problem with the throttle on his car just a couple of minutes before the end of the second session of qualifying and the team wasn't able to fix it in time to get the car back on track.
The COTA definitely shows a lot of promise and I wouldn't be surprised this one is more enticing than the memorable Abu Dhabi GP. Every Formula1 fan knows that Ferrari isn't going out that easily and that we could expect some great moves from Alonso tomorrow. So clear that schedule for tomorrow cause you wouldn't want to be that guy who missed one of the best debut GPs just cause you had to take the misses shopping.