Abu Dhabi Race Round 19

Nico Rosberg wins the Abu Dhabi grand prix ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

30/11/2015

Sebastian Vettel, Marcus Ericsson, Romain Grosjean and Will Stevens will start on the Soft tyre while the rest of the grid starts on the Super Soft tyre. The two main talking points ahead of this race is, Where will Vettel finish after starting 15th and Will Nico Rosberg hold off Lewis Hamilton to win?

Race

The lights go green for the final time in 2015 and Nico Rosberg gets a great start while Lewis Hamilton doesn’t and has to fend off Kimi Raikkonen as they enter turn 1. In the background, Fernando Alonso’s McLaren hits the rear of Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus and Maldonado is out with a broken suspension. Alonso continues and pits for a new nose and tyres at the end of the lap. Rosberg leads ahead of Hamilton, Raikkonen, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.

Lap 6, Alonso, having got a new nose and new tyres has been given a drive through penalty for causing a collision. Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa pit, all for the Soft tyre. Lap 7, Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr pit, both for the Soft tyre.

Lap 8, Valterri Bottas pits and is closely followed by Jenson Button. Bottas hits Button as Bottas was coming out of his pit box and Bottas loses a chunk of his front wing. Bottas is back into the pits the next lap for a new nose and tyres. Lap 10, race leader Rosberg in the pits and is followed by Raikkonen, both go onto the Soft tyre. Hamilton pits, goes onto the Soft tyre, a pit stop of 2.2 seconds and is out behind Rosberg but in front of Raikkonen. Bottas is given a 5 second penalty for an unsafe release.

Lap 17, Rosberg leads Hamilton by 6.220 seconds with Raikkonen another 5 seconds behind Hamilton in 3rd. Lap 24, Vettel pits, having his way from 15th to now 4th pits and goes onto the Soft tyre. Lap 25, The gap has come down to now 2.254 seconds from Rosberg in 1st and Hamilton in 2nd.

Lap 29, Rosberg now leads Hamilton by 1.245 seconds as Bottas serves his 5 second penalty at his pit stop. Lap 31, Rosberg has given up and pits from 1st. He goes onto the Soft tyre. Raikkonen then pits a lap later and also goes onto the Soft tyre. Lap 40, Vettel pits for the 2nd time and goes onto the Super Soft tyre as Rosberg pops in another fastest lap. Lap 42, Hamilton finally pits from the lead and rejoins behind Rosberg. But has Hamilton left the final pit stop to late with 13 laps to go and the gap is under 12 seconds? Lap 47, Rosberg now leads Hamilton by 7.754 seconds.

A late charge by Romain Grosjean sees him blast past Sainz for 10th then Daniil Kvyat for 9th. Lap 55, Rosberg wins ahead of Hamilton, 8.271 seconds ahead of his team-mate with Raikkonen a further 19.430 seconds back in 3rd.

Race Result

1.Rosberg  2.Hamilton  3.Raikkonen  4.Vettel  5.Perez  6.Ricciardo  7.Hulkenberg  8.Massa  9.Grosjean  10.Kvyat  11.Sainz  12.Button  13.Bottas  14.Ericsson  15.Nasr  16.Verstappen*  17.Alonso  18.Stevens  19.Merhi  DNF Maldonado

Verstappen originally finished 12th but was added 5 seconds to his race time in his battle with Button. Verstappen went off track and was deemed to have gained an advantage. 12th – 15th.

Championship Standings

1.Hamilton 381pts  2.Rosberg 322pts  3.Vettel 278pts  4.Raikkonen 150pts  5.Bottas 136pts

Constructors Championship

1.Mercedes 703pts  2.Ferrari 428pts  3.Williams 257pts  4.Red Bull 187pts  5.Force India 136pts

My View

That is that. Nico Rosberg and Mercedes ends 2015 on a high and sets 2016 up for a fantastic battle between Rosberg and Hamilton. A superb drive by Sebastian Vettel after starting 15th he made his way up to 4th. Romain Grosjean ended his final race with Lotus in 9th after starting 18th.

Some people might be glad to finish the year but hopefully 2016 will be a better year of racing!

Pre Season Testing starts in late February with the Australian grand prix in early  March. Watch out of the latest news here.

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Abu Dhabi Qualifying Round 19

Nico Rosberg takes pole position ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

28/11/2015

With under a minute to go in Q1, Marcus Ericsson is told he has a problem with the car and he is disappointed to hear that. McLaren’s Jenson Button and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr make late improvements to push Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel into the drop zone. Alonso has backed off due to a slow left rear puncture. Vettel has a slow middle sector and cannot improve! Roberto Merhi, Will Stevens, Ericsson, Alonso and Vettel are out. Lewis Hamilton is fastest on a 1:40:974.

Lotuses Romain Grosjean is told to bring the car back slowly as they have a problem with the car with 7 minutes to go in Q2. Lotus send him out for one more lap but the gearbox is done and he stops on the track and that ends his final qualifying for Lotus. Carlos Sainz edges out team-mate Max Verstappen to get into the top 10 for Q3. Grosjean, Nasr, Pastor Maldonado, Button and Verstappen are out. Lewis Hamilton is fastest on a 1:40:758. A good effort by Jenson Button to go 12th.

The first laps in Q3 show that Nico Rosberg is quickest just ahead of Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. Hamilton is quicker than Rosberg in sector 2 and 3 and he has provisional pole. But Rosberg is quicker and taken pole by 0.377s! Raikkonen got a great lap and took 3rd ahead of Perez.

Qualifying Result

1.Rosberg  2.Hamilton  3.Raikkonen  4.Perez  5.Ricciardo  6.Bottas  7.Hulkenberg  8.Massa  9.Kvyat  10.Sainz  11.Verstappen  12.Button 13.Maldonado  14.Nasr  15.Vettel  16.Alonso  17.Ericsson  18.Stevens  19.Grosjean*  20.Merhi*

Grosjean* pulled off the track in Q2 and had to receive a new engine and a 5 place grid penalty. 15th – 19th.

Merhi* will start from the pit lane after Manor changed the suspension set-up in Parc Ferme.

Huge shock in Q1 with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel getting put out of qualifying alongside McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who suffered a slow left rear puncture.

Nico Rosberg secured pole position for the 6th time in a row. Great qualifying for Force India’s Sergio Perez in 4th place. Not a great final qualifying for Romain Grosjean in his final weekend with Lotus.

 

 

 

Final Push In 2015

The 2015 season draws to a close on Sunday with many drivers and teams pushing for the final time in 2015 to get the best result possible.

27/11/2015

The Driver and Constructor Championship is already over when Mercedes secured the Constructors Championship at the Russian grand prix and when Lewis Hamilton secured the Drivers Championship at the next race in America.

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel are the top 3 in the Drivers Championship but there are some close battles round down the field.

Valtteri Bottas VS Kimi Raikkonen for 4th place.

The battle of the Finnish drivers have left them taking each other out in the last couple of races. First it was at the Russian grand prix where on the last lap, both were fighting for the the final podium spot when Raikkonen took the inside line and hit Bottas, neither got the podium. Then in the Mexican grand prix, Bottas took the inside line and hit Raikkonen. Raikkonen retired while Bottas continued.

Bottas is in 4th place with 136 points while Raikkonen is in 5th place with 135 points.

Daniil Kvyat VS Daniel Ricciardo for 7th place.

Only 10 points separate the Red Bull drivers in the Championship but it is Kvyat who has the advantage going into the final round. With both Torro Rosso drivers making their mark this year, both Red Bull drivers have come under a bit of pressure to perform. The engine trouble with Renault hasn’t helped.

Kvyat is in 7th place with 94 points while Ricciardo is in 8th place with 84 points.

Nico Hulkenberg VS Romain Grosjean VS Max Verstappen for 10th place.

Hulkenberg leads this trio for the battle for 10th place with Grosjean and Verstappen tied on points in 11th and 12th. Hulkenberg’s team-mate Sergio Perez is in 9th place on 68 points, 16 points ahead of Hulkenberg. So Perez has 9th place in the bag unless something happens for Hulkenberg to finish well. Abu Dhabi will be Grosjean’s last race for Lotus as he joins Haas f1 when they enter the sport in 2016. Verstappen has been one of the stars in 2015, pulling off some amazing overtakes. In his first year, he has done very well.

Hulkenberg is in 10th place with 52 points while Grosjean and Verstappen are in 11th and 12th place on 69 points each. 

Other Battles

Felipe Nasr is in 13th place with Pastor Maldonado is in 14th place, both are tied on 27 points each.

Carlos Sainz is in 15th place with 18 points with Jenson Button is in 16th place with 16 points.

Fernando Alonso is in 17th place with 11 points with Marcus Ericsson in 18th place with 9 points.

Lotus VS Torro Rosso

Lotus are in 6th place with 76 points while Torro Rosso are in 7th place with 67 points.

Sauber VS McLaren

Sauber are in 8th place with 36 points while McLaren are in 9th place with 27 points. It will be remarkable if McLaren pull this off due to the season they have had.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abu Dhabi Preview

Formula One heads into the final race of 2015 in Abu Dhabi. Nico Rosberg is currently on a roll with 5 consecutive pole positions and 2 race wins, can Lewis Hamilton find the edge and beat his team-mate for the final time in 2015?

25/11/2015

Abu Dhabi first held its first race in Formula One in 2009, it was also the first day-night race in Formula One history.

The Yas Marina circuit has hosted the Championship decider twice in its history in 2010 and 2014.

Sebastian Vettel came into the final race of the season in 2010, 15 points behind Championship leader, Fernando Alonso. Vettel qualified on pole position with Alonso in 3rd and Vettel’s team-mate, Mark Webber in 5th. Vettel went on to win with Alonso and Webber pitted early and they were slower than expected which did not help them in the championship challenge. With Alonso 7th and Webber 8th, Vettel won the championship and became the youngest driver to do so.

The intense battle of 2014 closely fought between both Mercedes drivers of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg came to an end at the final race of the season. Rosberg qualified in pole position with Hamilton in 2nd. Hamilton got the better start and got ahead as they entered turn 1 with Rosberg 2nd. On lap 25, Rosberg started to lose power due to a ERS failure. Rosberg lost power in the whole car and dropped way down the field. Hamilton won the race with Rosberg down in 14th, Hamilton won the championship.

Sebastian Vettel has been the most successful driver round here with 3 wins in 2009, 2010 and 2013 and also holds the lap record, which was set in 2009 of 1:40.279. Lewis Hamilton has 2 wins in 2011 and 2014. Kimi Raikkonen is the other driver to win when he won back in 2012, his first win since he came back into Formula One at the start of the year.

Red Bull are the most successful Constructor round here with 3 wins.

Into this weekend, it will be the last race for Romain Grosjean at Lotus as he will join Haas F1 in 2016. Grosjean, joined Lotus in 2012.

Roberto Merhi is back this weekend following Alexander Rossi, who has raced in the last 3 grand prix’s is back racing in GP2 this weekend.

Qualifying is on Saturday 28th November and the Race is on Sunday 29th.

 

 

 

Brazilian Race Round 18

Nico Rosberg wins the Brazilian grand prix ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

15/11/2015

On the way to the grid, Torro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr stops on the way and has to get a tow from a recovery truck back to the pits. The team try to restart the car and manage to get it to the end of the pit lane to start the race. Pastor Maldonado and Sainz will start on the Medium tyre while the rest of the grid starts on the Soft tyre.

Race

The lights go green and Lewis Hamilton gets a great start but Nico Rosberg keeps the lead. Rosberg leads ahead of Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Sainz has stopped in Sector 2 and is out. Lap 3, Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull pits from 14th place after starting in 19th place. Lap 8, Rosberg’s lead extends to 1.3 seconds to Hamilton in 2nd.

Lap 10, Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean pit for the Medium tyre. Lap 11, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen pit for the Medium tyre as well. Lap 12, Raikkonen and Jenson Button also pit for the Medium tyre. Lap 13, race leader Rosberg pits with Vettel following him in, both go onto the Medium tyre. Lap 14, Hamilton pits, goes onto the Medium tyre and emerges behind Rosberg.

Lap 18 to 23, Hamilton has closed the gap to Rosberg and the gap is in only half a second! Hamilton gets close but can’t overtake as he says to his team on the radio that it is “impossible to follow him in the turbulent air”. Lap 31, Rosberg has opened the gap to 3.2 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Lap 32, Vettel pits from 3rd and goes onto the Soft tyre. Rosberg pits the following lap and goes onto a new set of the Medium tyres. Hamilton pulls into the pits the next lap for the Medium tyre as well. Lap 36, Vettel sets the fastest lap of the race.

Lap 39, Maldonado has received a 5 second time penalty for causing a collision with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson down at turn 1 with the Lotus driver tried to overtake but it didn’t work and both collided bumped wheels. Lap 46, Raikkonen pits for the Medium tyre, he is trying to go for a two stop strategy. Lap 47, Vettel pits for the Medium tyre. Lap 48, race leader, Rosberg pits for the 3rd time for the Medium tyre. Hamilton pits the next lap for the Medium tyre as well, this is his final push if he wants to win.

Lap 68, it looks like Hamilton has given up the chance to win as he falls further behind Rosberg, the gap is now over 5 seconds. Rosberg wins, 7.7 seconds ahead of Hamilton and Vettel.

With Vettel in 3rd, Rosberg secures 2nd place in the Drivers Championship. With Bottas in 5th, Williams also secures 3rd place in the Constructors Championship. Force India secure 5th place in the Constructors Championship, their best finish ever!

Race Result

1.Rosberg  2.Hamilton  3.Vettel  4.Raikkonen  5.Bottas  6.Hulkenberg  7.Kvyat  8.Grosjean  9.Verstappen  10.Maldonado  11.Ricciardo  12.Perez  13.Nasr  14.Button  15.Alonso  16.Ericsson 17.Stevens  18.Rossi  DNF Sainz DSQ Massa*

Massa* after the race, Massa was found at the start with his right rear tyre over the maximum temperature Pirelli had set so he has been excluded from the result.

Championship Standings

1.Hamilton 363pts  2.Rosberg 297pts  3.Vettel 266pts  4.Bottas 136pts  5.Raikkonen 135pts

Constructors Championship

1.Mercedes 660pts  2.Ferrari 401pts  3.Williams 257pts  4.Red Bull 178pts  5.Force India 120pts

My View

It wasn’t the most exciting race of the season but it did provide another win for Nico Rosberg. That win secured 2nd place in the Drivers Championship. Lewis Hamilton would have wanted that win, he will have to come back next year and try to win on his 10th attempt.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, Lotuses Romain Grosjean and Torro Rosso’s Max Verstappen were my star drivers of the day with Hulkenberg 6th, Grosjean 8th and Verstappen 9th. Verstappen pulled some amazing and unthinkable overtakes into turn 1.

For the Brazilian drivers, Williams Felipe Massa was excluded from the race, Williams are to appeal while Sauber’s Felipe Nasr in 14th.

The final race of the 2015 season is on the 27th – 29th November in Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi

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Brazilian Qualifying Round 18

Nico Rosberg takes his fifth consecutive pole position ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

14/11/2015

In Friday Practise 2, Williams Valtteri Bottas overtook Sauber’s Felipe Nasr under red flags because of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso pulled to the side of the track due to smoke and a burst of flames. Red Bulls Daniel Ricciardo has a 10 place grid penalty for chosing the upgraded engine brought by Renault this weekend. Also Sauber’s Felipe Nasr has a 3 place grid penalty for impeding Williams Felipe Massa during Q1.

With 9 minutes to go in Q1, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso is told to stop and pulls off the track at turn 11. Alonso gets out the car and then sits and watches the cars go past. Felipe Massa is on a flying lap when Felipe Nasr doesn’t see him and Massa has to take to the grass. Lotuses Pastor Maldonado, McLaren’s Jenson Button, both Manor cars of Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens and also Alonso, who did not set a lap time are out. Nasr receives a 3 place penalty while Lewis Hamilton is fastest.

With one Lotus car already out, Lotus send out Romain Grosjean with 2 minutes to go in Q2. Grosjean gets to Sector 2, loses the car, skids and ruins his tyres with 1 minute and 50 seconds to go. He gets round but he is out in 15th place. Nico Rosberg does only a couple of laps and decides to save his tyres, a good decision? Sauber’s Nasr, Torro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Force India’s Sergio Perez, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Grosjean are out while Hamilton is fastest again.

The first runs in Q3 show that Rosberg is quickest just ahead of Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Rosberg and Hamilton are on their final laps and Rosberg is quicker than his other lap earlier. Hamilton is slower in Sectors 1 and 2 but brings it back but it is not enough and Rosberg has pole for the 5th time in a row.

Qualifying Result

1.Rosberg  2.Hamilton  3.Vettel  4.Raikkonen  5.Hulkenberg  6.Kvyat  7.Bottas*  8.Massa  9.Verstappen  10.Sainz  11.Perez  12.Ericsson  13.Nasr*  14.Grosjean  15.Maldonado  16.Button  17.Rossi  18.Stevens  19.Ricciardo*  20.Alonso*

Bottas* 3 place grid penalty, 4th – 7th.

Nasr* 3 place grid penalty, 10th – 13th.

Ricciardo* 10 place grid penalty, 9th – 19th.

Alonso* did not set a lap during Q1.

Todays Qualifying sets up for a great race tomorrow between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg will want to keep up his winning spirit and win while Hamilton, in his 9th attempt to win round here and equal his hero, Ayrton Senna.

A great qualifying for Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg in 6th but will move up to 5th. Lotus will be disappointed with 15th and 16th, now 14th and 15th. They would have wanted and could have achieved to get one car in Q3.

Brazilian Preview

Formula One heads into the penultimate round of the 2015 season in Brazil. Lewis Hamilton has never won round here, can he break the curse and win here on Sunday?

13/11/2015

Brazil first came onto the F1 calendar in 1973. Interlagos has hosted 32 grand prixs. Brazil has also given Formula One some drivers such as:

Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa.

Rubens Barrichello, the most unluckiest of these drivers not to win on home soil. In 19 races, he was on pole position three times, he recorded 11 DNFs, 8 of those straight retirements during 1995 and 2003 and only one podium finish in 2004 with 3rd.

The most memorable grand prix for me was in 2008, when Hamilton clinched the title on the final lap. Felipe Massa won the race but a late rain shower put Hamilton equal on points with Massa. Toyota’s Timo Glock was struggling on his dry weather tyres and on the final corner Hamilton was able to pass him and into 5th place. That was enough for Hamilton to take the title away from Massa.

That race was also David Coulthard’s final race after 246 race starts.

Surprisingly, Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have never won round here. While Massa, won in 2006 and 2008 and Sebastian Vettel, won in 2010 and 2013 have won twice. Kimi Raikkonen, won in 2007, Jenson Button, won in 2012 and Nico Rosberg won in 2014 have won once.

Hamilton has been on the podium twice, 3rd in 2009 and 2nd in 2014. Alonso has had eight podiums.

More importantly that, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Button and Vettel have won their own title in Brazil.

Ferrari and McLaren are tied on eight wins each. But McLaren have 9 pole positions to Ferrari’s eight. Red Bull have won round here 4 times in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Felipe Massa and Felipe Nasr are the only Brazilians racing here this weekend for Williams and Sauber.

One of the biggest stories this weekend is that Red Bull will be on the grid in 2016 despite no engine as yet, according to team principal Christian Horner.

The race will be over 71 laps with the Soft and Medium compound tyre being available to use.