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F1 2011 Launch Catch Up – McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Renault…

Catching up on the launches in one mega post.  Here in you’ll find quick interviews with senior members of the team and photos from the Red Bull, Sauber, Renault Lotus, Toro Rosso, Mercedes and McLaren launches.

Apologies for being somewhat late, the whole blog isn’t running at full power until the season starts again.

Red Bull RB7

The world champions launched their new car, named the RB7.  A clear advancement on the hugely successful RB6, hopes are high that this machine can deliver once again.

“This year is no different to any other,” said Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull.

“I think if we had not have won either championship last year there would have been that expectation and obviously the pressure that comes with that. We’ve achieved that and achieved that in a short space of time and I think it is like winning your first grand prix.

“Out of that comes confidence but not arrogance, but the team goes into this year very, very motivated and very committed but you have to remember we are still an independent team with a customer engine that achieved some remarkable things last year and that is our target again, again, obviously this year.”

 

Sauber C30

The independent Swiss team pulled the covers of their new car, the C30 marking the second incarnation of the team in its modern era.  The new car is backed heavily by Mexican giants Telmex and will be raced by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.

Former Force India but now Sauber technical director James Key said: “Our aim in the development of the Sauber C30-Ferrari has been to build on the strengths of the C29 and to eliminate its weak points.

“In addition, it is also important for us to go into winter testing with a car we understand, and we have worked hard on ensuring the characteristics of the car are heading in a direction we believe in. There will be much to learn about the new Pirelli tyres and in this respect we want to ensure there are no surprises with the way the car is handling.”

“My rookie season was a very challenging, very exciting period,” Kamui Kobayashi commented at the launch as he enters his second full season of racing.

“Now it’s still exciting but it’s a different role. It’s more the experienced driver in the team. I am thinking how I can bring a good level to the team.

“I have to be ready to lead the team. That’s why Peter Sauber and the team chose me for this year. This is definitely my challenge and let’s say I am ready to be the leader for the team.”

 

Renault Lotus R31

Newly backed by Group Lotus, Renault pulled the covers off their new car – the R31 – to a mass of media wondering what the final paint scheme would look like, and wondering how the Lotus name debate would go on.  The debate on the name may still be rumbling, but there is no debate over how fabulous the car looks in classic JPS brown and gold.

Featuring front blown exhausts, it looks fast and could be a title contender.  And with Bruno Senna as a spare driver, it harks back wonderful memories seeing the yellow helmet inside a JPS liveried Lotus.

“I’m happy that we had some creative designs on the car. We clearly back our team and definitely our technical team because we want to be fast, we want to be at the front.” said team principal Eric Boullier

“We know it takes time. You have to be creative. You have to find different ways of creating downforce or performance points. We have been taking this path because we believed, quite early in 2010, that we could find more gains going this way.

“In the wind tunnel, or on paper shall we say, the car already has more performance than 12 months ago. If it’s on the car it’s because we believe it works. But we will see on the track.”

Meanwhile Robert Kubica, the number 1 driver was somewhat cautious on their chances “I think realistically speaking is far too early to say what will be possible to achieve this year,”

“Last season was quite disappointing and let’s hope this year will be different. I think definitely we are more prepared this year, because of the more stable situation in the team than last winter, when I joined the team.

“The winter of 2009 and 2010 was very difficult for Renault and I think this year the engineers and designers had a much easier time and much more time to design the car and I think they have done a really good job.”

 

Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6

Toro Rosso, always in their senior brothers shadow has brought a new design to the table and hopes it will deliver them more success this season in the capable hands of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi.

The pairing are aiming for 6th place in the Ferrari powered beast.

“My expectations are to do a decent year and we have to have the target to be eighth and as I said, we are good to be ninth but we have to do better. And at the end of the year we have to bring back an eighth place,” said Giorgio Ascanelli.

“Last year we didn’t have a wind-tunnel, the CFD was not mature in order to define the car,” he added. “Therefore, we did not change very much apart from those elements linked to the change of regulation between 2009 and 2010.

“This year the tools which design the car in its performance aspect, which are again the wind tunnel and CFD, are more mature, which means that although we are still learning how to make the best of them I think we have started using them properly.

“For this year, we have to aim for eighth place, because that is our target and I didn’t think that was possible if we had gone with some sort of conventional car.”

 

Mercedes Benz WO2

Mercedes Benz will be hoping that their second modern F1 car can deliver them some more success than last season.  With Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg behind the wheel they have plenty of potential.  A well sponsor backed car now features the light green of Petronas merging into the brushes silver paintwork.  Ross Brawn, the technical mastertmind behind multiple drivers world championship wins will be eager to deliver the German squad some success.

“It is always a thrill to see a new car ready to take the track for the first time and this year is no exception,” said Brawn. “After our first year as the Mercedes-Benz works team, we are now seeing the benefits of our chassis and engine groups working well together.

“With a good technical structure and a strengthened race engineering organisation, both at the factory and the race track, I am confident that we have done and will continue to do a better job this year in all key areas.

“We want to be setting the standard right from the start but if we are not, we will respond very strongly to get ourselves into the game. Everyone is excitedly waiting to see what the new season will reveal.”

Meanwhile top driver Michael Schumacher was upbeat on the chances of the car delivering him a record breaking 8th world championship.

“I very much look forward to the new season. We have said it several times already but again, we are really to building up something big together. I am very confident that this season we will be standing on the podium much more regularly; ideally in the middle!”

 

McLaren MP4-26

McLaren launched their radical new car in Berlin in a ceremony hosted by lead sponsors Vodafone.  The car will be raced by two former world champions, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

The new car features L-Shaped sidepods, and a two tier floor amongst other technical advancements.  The squad are already looking at incorporating a front blown exhaust similar to the Renault Lotus’ design.

Lewis Hamilton was very happy with the machine on launch day.

“I hope the car proves just as innovative once we take to the track next week,” said Hamilton. “I head into 2011 in a relaxed but determined frame of mind.

“I’ve spared nothing during my winter fitness preparations and, in many ways, I feel as fit, focused and refreshed as I did ahead of my first season in Formula 1 in 2007.

“Having spent the past few weeks talking with our designers and engineers, I feel extremely happy that we’ve created a car that will once again allow us to fight at the front.”

 

 

 

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Why Michael Schumacher Could Win The 2011 World Championship

Michael Schumacher’s 2010 comeback was somewhat abortive.  The results, the driving standard and the overtakes were well below par for the former champion.  He even let his team mate beat him for the first time in his career.  So why can Schumacher, the fallen Ferrari hero, win the world championship for an 8th time?

It’s still the same Michael Schumacher

Indeed, we saw glimpses of it last season.  The passion, and the desire to do well.  He was racing on the ragged edge, braking as late – if not later – than anyone else.  The trouble was, he didn’t have the car underneath him to be able to win.  It took him a while to get reacquainted, but in truth it would take anyone a while to get used to be these new cars.

The 2011 car will be built around him

Sorry Rosberg fans, the fact is – Schumacher & Brawn will be running the show at Mercedes Benz.  Let’s not forget, they are paying Michael an arm and a leg to race for them.  He will design the car around him, something he didn’t get chance to do last season.  He also has an entire year of racing with the wide nosed, tall winged cars so has plenty of data and ideas to call upon when constructing the new vehicle.  An insider has already said that downforce and grip levels on the simulator are exceeding expectations.  Not a bad start?

Pirelli Tyres

Yep, the great big unknown means it’s all a level playing field this season.  No-one knows much about Pirelli just yet, so it’s a fair and even start for all the drivers.  It’s about adaptability, and we know deep down inside the 42 year old he can adapt.  He also looked quick in the 2010 car on 2011 rubber.

Less expectation than last year

At the start of 2010, we all expected the Schumacher from 2006 to jump behind the wheel and immediately win.  Let’s not forget here, 2005 and 2006 were barren seasons for Schumacher – he walked away with nothing.  He was in decline, so why did we expect him to be immediately brilliant?  I was and still am a Schumacher fan, but I knew he was not as good as he used to be.  This year he will have less expectation than before.  We’re all used to him driving and Germany has a new world champion to thrust under the spotlight at every opportunity in Sebastian Vettel.

Other drivers still fear him


When the red baron’s helmet is filling your wing mirrors, surely it must make your heart beat twice as fast.  Fernando Alonso has already said he fears Schumacher the most for 2011

“There will be five world champions on the track and the most dangerous champion for me is always Michael.  Now in January if I have to choose one name I have to say Michael. He is seven-time champion, he has nothing to prove. He had a difficult season but he is still a champion. N He is still super class and if the car is right he will be a contender,”

BUT

Its not all going in Schumacher’s favour.   Michael is a lot older than any of the other title contenders now, and that could be his downfall.  Not suggesting he isn’t fit, he is probably more athletic now than he was before – but age is still a factor.  Red Bull are not suddenly going to be slow, they just aren’t.  Not with Vettel and Newey onboard.  Ferrari and Alonso will be desperate for the title.  McLaren have two world champions driving for them.  Oh and there’s the small matter of the fact Nico Rosberg was better than Michael last season.

Nevertheless, as an outside bet – you could do a lot worse than Michael.


Abu Dhabi GP 2010: Vettel Takes Pole As Finale Hots Up

Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as he tries to keep his title chances alive.  The German driver looked quick all through Q3 and did just enough to get into first.

Lewis Hamilton lines up second, he keeps the position after the stewards decided not to penalise him over an incident with Felipe Massa in Q2.  Team mate Jenson Button will start directly behind him on track in 4th.

In third place is Fernando Alonso.  The Ferrari isn’t as quick as the McLaren’s or Red Bull’s this weekend but the Spaniard did enough to slot himself right where he needs to be to win the world championship tomorrow.  Closest rival Webber starts only 5th.

If the race finished as the line up tomorrow, Alonso would be the world champion.

Pos  Driver       Car                  Q1         Q2         Q3
 1.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault     1m40.318s  1m39.874s  1m39.394s
 2.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes     1m40.335s  1m40.119s  1m39.425s
 3.  Alonso       Ferrari              1m40.170s  1m40.311s  1m39.792s
 4.  Button       McLaren-Mercedes     1m40.877s  1m40.014s  1m39.823s
 5.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault     1m40.690s  1m40.074s  1m39.925s
 6.  Massa        Ferrari              1m40.942s  1m40.323s  1m40.202s
 7.  Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth    1m40.904s  1m40.476s  1m40.203s
 8.  Schumacher   Mercedes             1m41.222s  1m40.452s  1m40.516s
 9.  Rosberg      Mercedes             1m40.231s  1m40.060s  1m40.589s
10.  Petrov       Renault              1m41.018s  1m40.658s  1m40.901s
11.  Kubica       Renault              1m41.336s  1m40.780s
12.  Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari       1m41.045s  1m40.783s
13.  Sutil        Force India-Ferrari  1m41.473s  1m40.914s
14.  Heidfeld     Sauber-Ferrari       1m41.409s  1m41.113s
15.  Hulkenberg   Williams-Cosworth    1m41.015s  1m41.418s
16.  Liuzzi       Force India-Ferrari  1m41.681s  1m41.642s
17.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m41.707s  1m41.738s
18.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m41.824s
19.  Trulli       Lotus-Cosworth       1m43.516s
20.  Kovalainen   Lotus-Cosworth       1m43.712s
21.  Glock        Virgin-Cosworth      1m44.095s
22.  di Grassi    Virgin-Cosworth      1m44.510s
23.  Senna        Hispania-Cosworth    1m45.085s
24.  Klien        Hispania-Cosworth    1m45.296s

 


Abu Dhabi GP 2010: Hamilton Quickest In FP2 As Title Contenders Lock Out Top 4

The 4 title contenders locked out the top four positions in the afternoon practice for Sunday’s F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi.  Lewis Hamilton was quickest, hailing the new wing installed by the team for this last race.

In second was Sebastian Vettel, but he had to use the soft compound tyre to get ahead of third place man Fernando Alonso.  Alonso was right where he needed to be, splitting the Red Bull’s with Mark Webber in 4th.

Pos  Driver              Car                   Time       Gap
 1.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1m40.888s
 2.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1m41.145s  + 0.257s
 3.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1m41.314s  + 0.426s
 4.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m41.315s  + 0.427s
 5.  Robert Kubica       Renault               1m41.576s  + 0.688s
 6.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1m41.583s  + 0.695s
 7.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               1m42.096s  + 1.208s
 8.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m42.132s  + 1.244s
 9.  Tonio Liuzzi        Force India-Mercedes  1m42.203s  + 1.315s
10.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1m42.222s  + 1.334s
11.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1m42.246s  + 1.358s
12.  Nico Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth     1m42.449s  + 1.561s
13.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m42.535s  + 1.647s
14.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1m42.768s  + 1.880s
15.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m42.914s  + 2.026s
16.  Nick Heidfeld       Sauber-Ferrari        1m42.950s  + 2.062s
17.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m43.128s  + 2.240s
18.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m43.584s  + 2.696s
19.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Cosworth        1m45.180s  + 4.292s
20.  Timo Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1m45.259s  + 4.371s
21.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Cosworth        1m45.612s  + 4.724s
22.  Lucas di Grassi     Virgin-Cosworth       1m46.053s  + 5.165s
23.  Christian Klien     Hispania-Cosworth     1m47.210s  + 6.322s
24.  Bruno Senna         Hispania-Cosworth     1m47.434s  + 6.546s

 


Brazilian GP 2010: Vettel Wins At Interlagos As Red Bull Crowned Constructors Champions

Sebastian Vettel won the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, ahead of team mate Mark Webber.  The pairs 1-2 means that Red Bull are now the constructors world champions.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was 3rd, picking up more points as he looks to shore up the drivers championship.

Race Review

We had a new pole sitter at the start of the race inn Nico Hulkenberg.  However the glory was short lived for the German, who didn’t have a great start and was immediately over taken by Sebastian Vettel.

On the way down to turn 3, Webber took 2nd from the Williams driver while it took Fernando Alonso another lap to dispatch the former GP2 Champion.  Alonso had managed to sneak past Lewis Hamilton for 4th, when the British driver made a mistake at the end of the straight into turn 3.

From then on, the Red Bull’s significantly pulled away and Fernando Alonso attempted to catch them up.  Lewis Hamilton got stuck behind Hulkenberg, complaining of a poor amount of grip.  He would eventually pit for harder tyres, set a few fastest laps and once again begin complaining of a lack of grip.  This years McLaren seems to be struggling with the tyre degradation.

Further back, Michael Schumacher had a good start but got force onto the grass at turn 2, but got moved back to 10th when he rejoined.  He slipped passed Jenson Button, but after his pit stop he got stranded behind Adrian Sutil.

Many drivers, including Jenson Button and Felipe Massa pitted for tyres early on to get out of the train that had formed behind Hulkenberg’s Williams.  Both Massa and Barrichello had problems at their stops, no luck for the Brazilian’s today.  Massa had to make a second stop, he seemingly had an issue with the front right tyre.

There was relatively little action in the middle half of the race, with the action coming from Webber trying to catch Vettel.  Massa was making his way through the field, and Jenson Button too had thrown himself into contention.

On lap 51, Vitantonio Liuzzi got it all wrong into turns 1 and 2, had he slammed into the barriers by the pitlane.  The safety car had to come out, and both McLaren drivers pitted for tyres as they had been complaining of a lack of grip.  It left them with a lot of overtaking to do.

The safety car also threw Nico Rosberg into the pits, and a horrible pit stop where the front tyre changers appeared to have no idea which Bridgestone’s had been taken off the car and which ones were supposed to be going on.  Nightmare stuff from the silver arrow mechanics.  Rosberg pitted again a lap later changing his mind from harder prime tyres to super soft option tyres.

When the safety car returned to the pits, Vettel pulled away with the fastest lap of the race.  Further back, drivers struggled to work their way through the traffic.  Alonso was held up for far too long by Alguersuari, meanwhile the two McLaren’s couldn’t free themselves from a brace of fast cars in the midfield with their new tyres.

On lap 60, Massa went around the outside of Buemi at turn 3.  The Swiss driver wasn’t happy so rammed Massa off the road.  More bad luck for the Brazilian who is having oen of the worst seasons of his Ferrari career.  Adrian Sutil also had contact with Buemi, but managed to get passed to secure 12th.

Nick Heidfeld was unlucky to be given a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags at the restart.  In all honesty, everyone in that pack wasn’t concentrating on the flags – either penalise none or all.

From there on it was a relatively easy race, and Sebastian Vettel took the race win ahead of Mark Webber.   Red Bull are now the constructors World Champions.

Race Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault 1.33.11.803
2 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +4.243
3 F. Alonso Ferrari +6.807
4 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +14.634
5 J. Button McLaren Mercedes +15.593
6 N. Rosberg Mercedes +33.300
7 M. Schumacher Mercedes +43.400
8 N. Hulkenberg Williams Cosworth + 1 lap
9 R. Kubica Renault + 1 lap
10 K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari + 1 lap
11 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1 lap
12 A Sutil Force India Mercedes + 1 lap
13 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1 lap
14 F. Massa Ferrari + 1 lap
15 V. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
16 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth + 1 lap
17 N. Heidfeld Sauber Ferrari + 1 lap
18 H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth + 2 laps
19 J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth + 2 laps
20 T. Glock Virgin Cosworth + 2 laps
21 B. Senna Hispania Cosworth + 2 laps
22 C. Klien Hispania Cosworth + 6 laps


Retirements

Driver Team Lap Reason
L. Di Grassi Virgin Cosworth 63 Unknown
V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes 50 Accident



vv


Brazilian GP 2010: Hulkenberg Takes Surprise Maiden Pole Position

Nico Hulkenberg took a surprise pole position for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, the German rookie’s first ever pole.

His Williams team were delighted with the performance, which marks their first pole position since 2005.  Their last win came at this circuit in 2004, with Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya at the wheel.

Hulkenberg used the changing conditions to his advantage, slipping through into Q3 then using the slick bridgestone tyres to set a flawless lap time that was over 1 second faster than the nearest opponent.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will start 2nd and 3rd respectively, while the other two title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will start 4th and 5th.

Michael Schumacher will start only 8th, the German driver showed good pace at Interlagos today getting into Q3 unlike his team mate Nico Rosberg who will start only 13th tomorrow.

Rosberg isn’t the only big name to be low on the time screen’s today.  Jenson Button, the 2009 World Champion starts only 11th and Adrian Sutil is down in 18th.

With changeable conditions, and a surprise man on pole we are certainly set for an exciting Brazilian Grand Prix tomorrow!

Pos  Driver         Team                   Q1        Q2        Q3
 1.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:20.050  1:19.144  1:14.470
 2.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:19.160  1:18.691  1:15.519
 3.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:19.025  1:18.516  1:15.637
 4.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:19.931  1:18.921  1:15.747
 5.  Alonso         Ferrari                1:18.987  1:19.010  1:15.989
 6.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:19.799  1:18.925  1:16.203
 7.  Kubica         Renault                1:19.249  1:18.877  1:16.552
 8.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1:19.879  1:18.923  1:16.925
 9.  Massa          Ferrari                1:19.778  1:19.200  1:17.101
10.  Petrov         Renault                1:20.189  1:19.153  1:17.656
11.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:19.905  1:19.288
12.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:19.741  1:19.385
13.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1:20.153  1:19.486
14.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:20.158  1:19.581
15.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:20.096  1:19.847
16.  Heidfeld       Sauber-Ferrari         1:20.174  1:19.899
17.  Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:20.592  1:20.357
18.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:20.830
19.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:22.130
20.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         1:22.250
21.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         1:22.378
22.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        1:22.810
23.  Klien          HRT-Cosworth           1:23.083
24.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth           1:23.796

HULK


Japanese GP 2010: Vettel Wins Japanese Grand Prix As Title Stays Wide Open

Sebastian Vettel took the flag and the full 25 points in a thrilling Japanese Grand Prix from Suzuka.  The Red Bull driver led his team mate, Mark Webber over the line.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished in 3rd.

Race Review

There was carnage before the start of the race today, when on the way to the dummy grid Lucas di Grassi lost control of his Virgin and smashed into the wall at the 130R.  The Brazilian got out of the wrecked VR01 unscathed, but his chances of retaining that race seat for next year are looking slimmer.  A shame for the Brazilian as he had enjoyed a good weekend, out qualifying Timo Glock.

The start of the real race wasn’t much better either, a charging Vitaly Petrov cut across the front of Nico Hulkenburg and smashed into the wall in front of the main grandstand.  He was out, along with the Williams driver whose car had multiple bits of large damage.

Felipe Massa got caught up in the action too, he went too hot into turn 1, and ended up on the grass.  Out of control he slammed straight into Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Force India, wrecking the Mercedes engined machine and knocking them both out of the race.

A safety car was called for due to all the carnage.  There was more excitement when that was out as Robert Kubica’s Renault decided to part company with its rear right tyre as he approached the hairpin, the Pole retiring from the race after just a handful of laps.  A shame for the Enstone based team, as he had been running in 2nd.

From there on though, the action did slow a little.  Red Bull really ran away with the race at the front, with Fernando Alonso clinging on to third place for dear life.

Jenson Button decided to start on the harder prime tyre and ran longer, allowing him a 10 lap or so opportunity to lead the Grand Prix.  When he emerged from the pitlane he was behind team mate Lewis Hamilton down in 5th.  Hamilton had been racing forward to try and catch Fernando Alonso after his pitstop, but he couldn’t make it and would have to settle for 4th on a poor weekend for the 2008 champion.

Further down field, Michael Schumacher was having a heck of a good Grand Prix.  Having already pulled a lovely overtake on former team mate Rubens Barrichello, the Silver Baron as he is now known, was hassling team mate Rosberg.  He really tried to get passed, some lovely slipstreaming and racing for many laps.  A hint of the Michael of old there, perhaps he is beginning to find form – hopefully he can carry it through to 2011.  Sadly though the fight between Rosberg and Schumacher was cut short when Rosberg smashed into the barriers on the Esses.

Home favourite Kamui Kobayashi had a GP to remember too, passing people left right and centre.  He eventually finished 7th, with some questionable barging and slipstreaming moves.  I think he had been playing F1 2010 on the Xbox before getting in the car today!

So as Vettel took the flag, the championship fight remains wide open.  Its Webber’s to lose now, as we head into the final 3 rounds of the year.  Hopefully, Korea’s circuit will be finished by the time the circus arrives in 2 weeks…

Race Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault 1.30.27.323
2 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +0.905
3 F. Alonso Ferrari +2.721
4 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +13.522
5 J. Button McLaren Mercedes +39.595
6 M. Schumacher Mercedes +59.933
7 K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari +1.04.038
8 N. Heidfeld Sauber Ferrari +1.09.648
9 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth +1.10.846
10 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari +1.12.806
11 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari +1 lap
12 H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth +1 lap
13 J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth +2 laps
14 T. Glock Virgin Cosworth +2 laps
15 B. Senna HRT Cosworth +2 laps
16 S. Yamamoto HRT Cosworth +3 laps

Retirements

Driver Team Lap Reason
N. Rosberg Mercedes 48 Crash
A  Sutil Force India Mercedes 45 Engine Failure
R. Kubica Renault 4 Rear Tyre Failure
N. Hulkenberg Williams Cosworth 0 Crash
F. Massa Ferrari 0 Crash
V. Petrov Renault 0 Crash
V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes 0 Crash
L. di Grassi Virgin Cosworth 0 Crash – Pre Race




Qualifying For The 2010 Japanese Grand Prix Postponed Until Sunday

Qualifying for the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka has been postponed until tomorrow (Sunday 10th).

The session attempted to begin today, but was a total washout as torrential rain poured down on the figure of eight circuit.

It will now be held at 1.50am GMT, 9.30am Japanese time.

It is not the first time the session has had to be postponed until Sunday morning, in 2004 the same thing happened and it was Michael Schumacher who did enough to take pole position that day.

 


Japanese GP 2010: Red Bull Duo Fastest Again In FP2

The Red Bull duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were once again 1st and 2nd in Free Practice at Suzuka.  They looked almost unstoppable.

Ferrari got up to pace, with Fernando Alonso leading the session for most of the way until Red Bull smashed the times set by the Spaniard by around 0.8 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton only managed a handful of laps, his McLaren did not finish being rebuilt until there was just 10 minutes of the session left.

Pos  Driver         Team                    Time              Laps
 1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault        1:31.465            31
 2.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault        1:31.860  + 0.395   29
 3.  Kubica         Renault                 1:32.200  + 0.735   32
 4.  Alonso         Ferrari                 1:32.362  + 0.897   34
 5.  Massa          Ferrari                 1:32.519  + 1.054   35
 6.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:32.533  + 1.068   28
 7.  Petrov         Renault                 1:32.703  + 1.238   32
 8.  Schumacher     Mercedes                1:32.831  + 1.366   27
 9.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    1:32.842  + 1.377   26
10.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth       1:32.851  + 1.386   26
11.  Rosberg        Mercedes                1:32.880  + 1.415   26
12.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari          1:33.471  + 2.006   31
13.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes        1:33.481  + 2.016   8
14.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth       1:33.564  + 2.099   16
15.  Heidfeld       Sauber-Ferrari          1:33.697  + 2.232   33
16.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:34.005  + 2.540   32
17.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:34.055  + 2.590   37
18.  Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes    1:34.310  + 2.845   33
19.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth          1:36.095  + 4.630   37
20.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth          1:36.333  + 4.868   33
21.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth         1:36.630  + 5.165   28
22.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth         1:36.834  + 5.369   28
23.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth            1:37.352  + 5.887   33
24.  Yamamoto       HRT-Cosworth            1:37.831  + 6.366   34

 


Hungarian GP 2010: Webber Wins As Strategy Pays Off

Mark Webber took victory in today’s Hungarian Grand Prix thanks to a good strategy and some fantastic laps following a safety car period which turned the race from sedate to absolute chaos.

Fernando Alonso came home in 2nd place, a good points haul for the Ferrari driver while pole position sitter Sebastian Vettel failed to convert his grid place into a race win.

Race Review

Hungarian Grand Prix are not known to be particularly exciting, and following the first few laps it looked like nothing would be different today.  Jaime Alguerusari was an early retirement thanks to a major engine failure, and to add insult to injury the young Spaniard dropped oil all over the circuit.

Sebastian Vettel provided majority of the early entertainment with some scorching laps, pulling away from Fernando Alonso who had the pick of the starts slotting himself ahead of Mark Webber despite being on the dirty side of the grid.

Another notable start was from Vitaly Petrov, the young Russian who managed to get ahead of Lewis Hamilton.  He slid off and threw that away though, but it was promising from him, we like his style.

On lap 13, a piece of Tonio Liuzzi’s front wing came off and a safety car was called out to retrieve it.  Vettel’s lead was gone and everyone dived into the pits.  Chaos ensued, with Robert Kubica being let out of his pit box straight into the path of Adrian Sutil.  They collided, Kubica would later be penalised with a 10 second stop/go.  While this was going on, Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes parted company with its rear right tyre which bounded down the pitlane at high speed, missing mechanics, hitting one and eventually being caught by a brave Sauber man.  Unbelieveable stuff.

Mark Webber chose not to pit, and with some help from Vettel backing the pack up the Australian pulled away, his soft compound Bridgestone’s lasting longer and longer.

Vettel was then given a penalty for not staying close enough to the safety car, exceeding 10 car lengths.  He had to serve a drive through penalty, something the young German was not happy about.  He flailed his arms around like a baby throwing its toys out of the pram – not very sportsman like.  Still, this meant he was now down to third and with easily the fastest car he set about chasing Fernando Alonso.

However despite catching him rather quickly, Vettel was unable to dispatch the Ferrari of Alonso and eventually finished 3rd.  Alonso’s team mate, Felipe Massa, finished 4th a good points haul for the Scuderia.

Right at the end of the race we had an exciting battle with old wounds being opened, between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.  The Brazilian fought to get passed Schumacher, his former team mate and arch nemesis and with a handful of laps to go he tried to squeeze down the inside of Michael.  Schumacher, in typical style, forced Rubens into a corner and gave him just enough room.  At about 200mph, Barrichello was milimeters away from hitting the pitwall, a manoeuvre that he called “Erratic” and “Ridiculous”.  However Schumacher defended the move, and has been handed a 10 place grid penalty for the next race.

Webber’s win puts him right back in it thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s break down.  It means that Alonso too is only a matter of points away from the top, as Red Bull and Ferrari slog it out at the top.  McLaren will certainly be hoping for a turn in their fortunes after the summer break.

Race Result

Pos Driver Team Time
1 M. Webber Red Bull Renault 1.41.05.571
2 F. Alonso Ferrari +17.821
3 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault +19.252
4 F. Massa Ferrari +27.474
5 V. Petrov Renault +1.13.100
6 N. Hulkenberg Williams Cosworth +1.16.700
7 P. De la Rosa Sauber Ferrari +1 lap
8 J. Button McLaren Mercedes +1 lap
9 K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari +1 lap
10 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth +1 lap
11 M. Schumacher Mercedes +1 lap
12 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari +1 lap
13 V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes +1 lap
14 H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth +3 laps
15 J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth +3 laps
16 T. Glock Virgin Cosworth +3 laps
17 B. Senna Hispania Cosworth +3 laps
18 L. di Grassi Virgin Cosworth +4 laps
19 S. Yamamoto Hispania Cosworth +4 laps

Retirements

Driver Team Lap Reason
L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 25 Gearbox
R. Kubica Renault 25 Unknown
N. Rosberg Mercedes 17 Wheel Failure – Pitlane
A Sutil Force India Mercedes 17 Pitlane Incident
J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari 2 Engine Failure

Penalties – Post Race

Team/Driver Penalty Reason
M. Schumacher 10 Place Grid – Next Race Dangerous Driving
Mercedes Benz $50,000 Fine Wheel falling off Rosberg’s Car
Renault $50,000 Fine Releasing Kubica into Sutil’s path causing accident in pit