Team Germany ran away to success in the Race of Champions Nation Cup last weekend, a victory on home soil in Dusseldorf for the pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher.
The pair overcame stiff competition from top motorsport countries of the world, as drivers from all motorsport disciplines tried their hand in a variety of cars on the circuit.
Meanwhile in the individual classification there was a surprise winner in Filipe Albuquerque, the relative unknown driver who has spent the last two seasons racing GT cars in Italy. He previously raced in Gp2 and Formula Renault 3.5.
“I was not really expecting to win. I just came here to do my best. I don’t know if it will open doors. I think I know what I want. But let’s see, take it day by day.
“I came here, did my best, when it counted it was good. Even if I had not won, even being so close to Sebastien [Loeb] in the end was already really good for me.”
Meanwhile there was drama for 2004 champion and Lotus F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen. Following victory in an Audi R8 race, the Finn crashed and knocked himself unconscious.
“Hardcore shunt with throttle jammed and rear suspension damaged, got knocked out, now some medical checkups,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
“Head’s a bit sore, I was unconscious for 30 seconds”
Fernando Alonso was the fastest man on the second and final day of the Pirelli tyre tests at Abu Dhabi.
The Spaniard, who came close to winning the 2010 World Championship, set a fastest time of 1.40.529. That was around a tenth quicker than second placed man Michael Schumacher who has clearly taken to the Pirelli tyres better than team mate Nico Rosberg.
World Champion Sebastian Vettel was third, while McLaren testers Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey were 6th and 7th.
Pastor Maldonado, linked heavily with a 2011 Williams drive, was out for Hispania once again and finished in 14th place just ahead of Virgin’s Timo Glock.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.529s 105 2. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m40.685s 74 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m40.825s 66 4. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m41.294s 100 5. Robert Kubica Renault 1m41.614s 91 6. Gary Paffett McLaren 1m41.622s 46 7. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1m41.740s 30 8. Paul di Resta Force India 1m41.869s 35 9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m42.110s 43 10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m42.145s 97 11. Tonio Liuzzi Force India 1m42.416s 46 12. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m42.777s 46 13. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m44.521s 83 14. Pastor Maldonado Hispania 1m44.768s 65 15. Timo Glock Virgin 1m44.783s 82
Michael Schumacher has declared that he will know from the first time he drives Mercedes Benz’s 2011 car if it is to be competitive or not.
The former 7 time world champion made a comeback this season with the German based outfit following three years on the sidelines, and says that the initial testing will be key to future development, race wins and importantly whether the team will be able to compete for the titles.
Schumacher added that he knew from the first test with the 2010 car that it was not competitive enough.
“What we want to see is we have a feeling with the car, especially with what I know from now,” he said of his hopes for the first test next year.
“I could jump into the car and get a reasonable feeling, although the rules will change and not be 100 per cent precise, but you do get an input.
“At the [first] test this year, even though I had not driven for three years, I got a warning that was later confirmed.
“I hope we have no warnings, that we have a competitive car, one we can develop, and very importantly it will be what you see towards the end of the tests to the first race [that counts].
“That’s my main focus, so when I drive it I hope I get a good read of it.”
Meanwhile, looking back at his somewhat disappointing 2010 season, Michael said he was satisifed.
“Looking back at certain events there are reasons to be happy with certain things,” he said.
“Looking at the development over the year, particularly with what I take out of it, the team, Mercedes, asked me to come back because of who and what I am, and what contribution I can make.
“From all these factors we are happy to keep on working together, and most importantly I am happy to keep on working together because I have fun.”
Michael Schumacher reassured fans that he was totally fine following a horrific accident at yesterday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The former 7 time world champion was lucky to escape serious injury following an incident with Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi. Schumacher spun early on into the first lap of the Grand Prix, and Liuzzi came flying around the corner to be greeted with Schumacher stranded in the middle of the circuit. The Italian drivers car bounced up onto the Mercedes Benz narrowly missing Schumacher’s helmet. The German was helpless inside the cockpit.
Both drivers emerged unscathed, and shook hands on their way back to the pitlane.
Schumacher said: “I went off the line, spun and because of the dirt there, the back of the car just came around.
“I had to go to the medical centre just for a precautionary check, but I am totally fine and was not hit by anything in the incident.”
It was a sad end to a poor come back year for Schumacher. He had shown good pace towards the end of the season, and said he was looking forward to competing again next year with his German backed Mercedes Benz outfit.
“What happened is a shame as obviously I would have liked to have finished the season with a more positive ending,” he added.
“But I am already looking forward to fighting again next year.”
Here’s a selection of comments and quotes to Sebastian Vettel’s World Championship win today at Abu Dhabi.
Sebastian Vettel: “I am a bit speechless to be honest, I don’t know what you’re supposed to say in this moment. It is unbelievable. I went to bed and kept thinking about the race, about what might happen. I had some good imaginations and a good feeling.”
“We have seen incredible fights and a tight season.” don’t know how many times we have had a different leader. Some people got written off very early and then came back, like Fernando, they came back hard. Lewis [Hamilton] came back and was leading all of us. For some reason it does not feel like it is happening. It’s strange, but it will sink in when I finally go to sleep – but I think we will have daylight before that happens.”
Michael Schumacher (former 7 time world champion): “I’m quite happy for him because we are friends and it has been a tough year for him. He’s had up and downs he has had to go through, probably more on the mechanical side than on the driving side so he really deserves this championship. Well done to him, well done to the team, a great job from them all.
“My time was different time from his time, I just feel very happy for him. I think he deserves all the credit. He is a great driver, he is a fantastic guy, so I am more than happy for him.”
Christian Horner (Red Bull team principal): “It’s unbelievable. It’s been a very emotional week for this team. I’m just so proud of the team. It’s just an amazing feeling to be double world champions, it’s the icing on the cake with the drivers’ [title]. This team is the best team in the world. Sebastian, it’s the first time he’s led the world championship and he’s done it at the last race of the year. Unbelievable. A great job, he drove a perfect race when the pressure was on.
“He has had ups and downs, he’s had bad luck, he’s had some mechanical problems, some engine failures but he never lost his focus and belief – and now he is a champion. A great season.”
Mark Webber (Red Bull team mate): “I fully congratulate Seb on the world championship.”
Nico Rosberg (Mercedes Benz): “Congratulations to Sebastian today and he deserved the title.”
Jenson Button (McLaren): “Sebastian’s had some great races this year. We’ve all had up and down races this year, but for the last few races Sebastian has done a great job, and he deserves to be world champion of course.”
Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber): “I also want to congratulate Sebastian (Vettel) for his great success!”
Rob @TheF1FanaticsBlog: “I was always confident that Vettel would win a title someday, but I really thought Alonso would win today. Well done to him, but as a Ferrari fan I am highly disappointed!”
At this afternoon’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Bridgestone will officially say sayonara to Formula One. The Japanese tyre manufacturer has been working in the sport tirelessly (geddit?) since 1997, being the sole supplier of rubber since 2007.
They will have completed 242 Grand Prix by the time they have finished the race this afternoon.
“Abu Dhabi is likely to be an emotional weekend for everyone at Bridgestone Motorsport as this will be our final race” said Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport.
“I have been involved in Bridgestone’s motorsport operations since our very first limited entry in the 1976 and 1977 Japanese Grands Prix and pushed hard for our full time entry which finally came in 1997.
“In this time Bridgestone has grown enormously as a company, with Formula 1 showcasing our company’s strength and qualities on a world stage to an enormous audience.
“I have attended well over 200 races myself and have made so many good relationships with the participants in this wonderful sport. Next year will be very different for me and for all of my Bridgestone Motorsport colleagues.”
Bridgestone joined at the Australian Grand Prix of 1997, producing tyres for Prost, Lola, Stewart and Minardi.
“We entered the sport in 1997 against a very experienced competitor in Goodyear, who had contested so many races before, yet we were able to be competitive in our first season, even when most of the front-running teams were running on our rival’s products.” Hirohide Hamashima, head of tyre development said,
“We scored points in our first race and the first Bridgestone podium came in our second race. We even came very close to a win with Damon Hill in the Arrows Yamaha at Hungary so this was a very good debut for us.”
At the end of the season, Goodyear walked away from F1 and Bridgestone became the sole tyre supplier. They would remain in this position until 2001, when Michelin came into the sport.
“From 2001 to 2006 we battled hard with Michelin,” continued Hamashima.“Our engineers in Japan and at the track were dedicated to winning and we learnt so many things in this period.”
Many top teams left the supply of Bridgestone for Michelin who had percieved to have created better tyres. Ferrari stuck with the Japanese manufacturer and delivered drivers and constructors titles between 2000 and 2004 with Michael Schumacher at the wheel. In 2005 and 2006 however Fernando Alonso, Michelin and Renault would be the success story.
The tyre war saw increasing budgets and controversy. At the 2005 United States Grand Prix the tyre war came to a head. The cars on Michelin tyres all completed the parade lap of the race and returned to the garages leaving just 6 cars on the starting grid for the race. Nothing like this had been seen before, or thankfully since. Fans were outraged, Bernie Ecclestone too was fuming. The reason behind it was the Michelin tyre sidewalls were alleged to be not strong enough to cope with the banking at the Indianapolis circuit, so in order to keep within safety regulations they pulled out of the race.
At the end of 2006, Michelin walked away from F1 and Bridgestone once again became the sole tyre supplier. It was at this time, the soft/hard compound tyre rules came in and the white stripe was added to the grooved tyres to show which driver was on which compound. The move, designed to spark greater creativity in pit stop strategy and spice up the spectacle with fans remains with us today. At the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix, green stripes were added to the tyres in order to make greater awareness that Bridgestone were being a “green” and “carbon friendly” company.
For 2009, the big news was that grooved tyres were gone and slick tyres were returning. A big hit with the fans, the soft and hard tyre compounds have provided two seasons of classic racing and championships.
Pirelli are set to take over from the start of next season, so its farewell and thanks to the Bridgestone Tyre Company for all the time, money and effort they put into creating such a vital part of our sport.
Thanks, and goodbye Bridgestone!
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.
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.
|1||S. Vettel||Red Bull Renault||188.8.131.523|
|2||M. Webber||Red Bull Renault||+4.243|
|4||L. Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes||+14.634|
|5||J. Button||McLaren Mercedes||+15.593|
|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|
|L. Di Grassi||Virgin Cosworth||63||Unknown|
|V. Liuzzi||Force India Mercedes||50||Accident|
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