Russian GP Preview

Nico Rosberg heads into this weekend with a 36 point gap ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton, but will it grow or decrease after the race? Are the once mighty Red Bull team back? And the battle for first points is close?

29/04/20

History of the Russian GP

Russia first held it’s first grand prix in 2014 in the same year the country hosted the Winter Olympics. The Hermann Tilke track is integrated into the Olympic Park infrastructure. In 2015, Lewis Hamilton won ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Force India’s Sergio Perez. After being overtaken by Williams Valterri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Perez was 5th heading into the final few laps. A late move by Kimi Raikkonen on Valterri Bottas sent Bottas into the wall and Raikkonen with heavy damage promoted Perez into 3rd place. The weekend in 2015 saw two huge crashes by Carlos Sainz Jr in SP3 and another by Romain Grosjean in the race.

Track facts

  • Lap record: 1:40:071, Sebastian Vettel, 2015
  • Laps: 53
  • Circuit length: 5.848km
  • Race distance: 309.245km
  • Corners: 18

Most Wins

Lewis Hamilton is the only victor here winning in 2014 and in 2105. Mercedes are also the same with with in 2014 an in 2015.

Will Rosberg’s deficit grow or decrease?

Mercedes Nico Rosberg heads into the Russian grand prix with a 36 point advantage over team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton has come out and said the points gap to Rosberg is a “big deal”. Will Hamilton ends Rosberg’s winning run or will Rosberg increase the points gap?

Are Red Bull back in business?

After Daniel Ricciardo leading the race at the start and a podium finish for Daniil Kvyat, things are on the up for Red Bull. Ricciardo qualified in 2nd place alongside pole sitter, Nico Rosberg and went onto lead for the first 2 laps until a puncture for Ricciardo ruled out any chance of a possible win. Despite a slow start to the season for Kvyat in the opening 2 races, he bounced back in China and took a well deserved 3rd place, his 2nd ever F1 podium. Red Bull heading into this weekend are only 4 points behind Ferrari. Can this weekend resemble the performance in China or will Red Bull struggle?

The fight for first points

Heading into this weekend, Renault, Sauber and Manor are the remaining F1 teams left to score their first points of 2016. You can also include McLaren in this battle as the driver who filed in for Fernando Alonso has been the only McLaren driver to score and points. That was Stoffel Vandoorne, who filed in for Alonso at the Bahrain GP after Alonso’s big crash in Australia ruled him out. Vandoorne finished 10th and grabbed a single point. So neither of the Alonso or Jenson Button have scored points so we can count McLaren into this battle.

I think McLaren will score their “real” points ahead of Renault then Manor and lastly Sauber.

Qualifying is on Saturday the 30th of April with the Race on Sunday the 1st of May.

 

 

 

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After Round 3 Standings

After the Chinese grand prix, Nico Rosberg leads the Drivers Championship and Mercedes lead the Constructors Championship.

20/04/16

Drivers Championship

  1. Nico Rosberg 76 points
  2. Lewis Hamilton 39 points
  3. Daniel Ricciardo 36 points
  4. Sebastian Vettel 33 points
  5. Kimi Raikkonen 28 points
  6. Felipe Massa 22 points
  7. Daniil Kvyat 21 points
  8. Romain Grosjean 18 points
  9. Max Verstappen 13 points
  10. Valterri Bottas 7 points
  11. Nico Hulkenberg 6 points
  12. Carlos Sainz 4 points
  13. Stoffel Vandoorne 1 point
  14. Kevin Magnussen 0 points
  15. Sergio Perez 0 points
  16. Jolyon Palmer 0 points
  17. Marcus Ericsson 0 points
  18. Fernando Alonso 0 points
  19. Jenson Button 0 points
  20. Pascal Wehrlein 0 points
  21. Felipe Nasr 0 points
  22. Esteban Gutierrez 0 points
  23. Rio Haryanto 0 points

Constructors Championship

  1. Mercedes 114 points
  2. Ferrari 61 points
  3. Red Bull 57 points
  4. Williams 29 points
  5. Haas 18 points
  6. Torro Rosso 17 points
  7. Force India 6 points
  8. McLaren 1 point
  9. Renault 0 points
  10. Sauber 0 points
  11. Manor 0 points

The Russian grand prix weekend takes place in Sochi for round 4 on the 29th of April – to the 1st of May.

Chinese Race Round 3

Nico Rosberg wins chaotic Chinese grand prix ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat as Lewis Hamilton battles to 7th place after starting last.

17/04/16

Tyre Choice

Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr, Esteban Gutierrez, Jolyon Palmer, Rio Haryanto, Pascal Wehrlein and Lewis Hamilton will start on the Soft compound tyre with the rest of the grid will start on the Supersoft tyre.

Race

The lights go green and Daniel Ricciardo gets a better start than Nico Rosberg on pole and leads into turn 1 while carnage happens behind them. Kimi Raikkonen was quick of the start and was running 3rd and went a little into turn 1. Sebastian Vettel goes into 4th and is stuck between Raikkonen going wide and then Daniil Kvyat going up the inside of turn 1. Raikkonen cuts back and Kvyat squeezes Vettel and Vettel has nowhere to go and taps the right hand side of Raikkonen’s car. Raikkonen half turns and then hits Vettel. Raikkonen loses his front wing, Vettel drops back and Kvyat is in 3rd. Further back, lewis Hamilton gets tangled up with Felipe Nasr and loses his front wing, that goes under his car and finally detaches. Hamilton and Raikkonen pit for repairs as well as Romain Grosjean. Lap 3, Nico Rosberg is now in DRS zone and overtakes Daniel Ricciardo down the long back straight as puncture for Ricciardo! Ricciardo pits at the end of the lap and then the Safety Car is deployed on lap 4. Lap 5, Daniil Kvyat, Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Jenson Button  and other pit. These cars were on the Supersoft tyre now the drivers of the Soft tyres stay out. Lap 6, lewis Hamilton pits for the Supersoft tyre. Lap 7, Hamilton is back into the pits and swapping over to the Soft tyre.

On team radio, Sebastian Vettel apologies to his team and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and claims Daniil Kvyat’s overtake into turn 1 at the start was “suicidal” and he was acting like a “mad man”. Lap 9, The Safety Car is in and Nico Rosberg starts building a gap over Felipe Massa in 2nd place. Laps 9 to 15, Daniil Kvyat, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton make gains moving up the field. Lap 15, Kimi Raikkonen pits and goes onto the Medium tyre. Lap 18, Sebastian Vettel pits and goes onto the Soft tyre and is followed Daniil Kvyat the next lap. Nico Rosberg also pits at the end of lap 20, he is the last driver to stop and goes onto the Soft tyre.

Lap 22, Lewis Hamilton pits and goes onto the Soft tyre. Nico Hulkenberg receives a 5 second penalty which he will take when he next pits for a slow entry to the pits.Lap 27, Nico Rosberg is extending his lead lap by lap and it is now up to 20 seconds ahead of Daniil Kvyat, Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez. Lap 31, Lewis Hamilton pits again and now goes onto the Medium tyre, will he go to the end on these tyres? Most likely. Lap 36, Daniil Kvyat and Sebastian Vettel pit from 2nd and 3rd and emerge 3rd and 5th. lap 37, Nico Rosberg pits from the lead and goes onto the Medium tyre. On the same lap, Sebastian Vettel passes Daniil Kvyat using DRS along the long back straight and is up to 2nd place.

Lap 38, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen pit and goes onto the Medium and soft compound tyre. Lap 43, Ricciardo passes Lewis Hamilton for 5th place, who has been stuck behind Felipe Massa for a few laps now and then overtakes Massa down into the braking zone at the end of the back straight. Lap 46, Kimi Raikkonen now overtakes Lewis Hamilton and starts catching Felipe Massa. Lap 55, Max Verstappen overtakes Valterri Bottas into the braking zone at the end of the back straight. Bottas loses more time as he misses his braking point, that’s how Verstappen got past so easily. Lap 56, Rosberg wins ahead of Vettel and Kvyat.

Race Result

1.Rosberg  2.Vettel  3.Kvyat  4.Ricciardo  5.Raikkonen  6.Massa  7.Hamilton  8.Verstappen  9.Sainz  10.Bottas  11.Perez  12.Alonso  13.Button  14.Gutierrez  15.Hulkenberg  16.Ericsson  17.Magnussen  18.Wehrlein  19.Grosjean  20.Nasr  21.Haryanto  22.Palmer

Race Facts

  • Despite the 5 second penalty, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg registered the fastest lap of the race of a 1:39:824
  • Having not seen or heard of Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg for most of the race, he came home for a 6th successive F1 victory. Can this dominance continue into Russia?

 

 

 

Chinese Qualifying Round 3

Nico Rosberg takes pole position ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen as Lewis Hamilton will start last after a technical issue during Q1 and also carries a 5 place grid penalty for changing his gearbox.

16/04/16

Q1

Lewis Hamilton is the first car out on track as there are still some damp patches still on track from Practise 3. Under 15 minutes to go in the session, Hamilton comes on the radio to his team and says that there is a problem with his power unit. As that happens, Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein loses the rear of his car, hits the bump where the damp patch is on the start/finish straight and smacks the rear of the car of the barrier. As he go onto the main straight, he had his DRS open which also contributed for him to lose the rear of the car. He has damaged the left rear tyre and rim and pulls over which causes the Red flag. Wehrlein’s car is removed and a pick-up car goes onto the track and tries to dry the damp patch. The session gets started again with Esteban Gutierrez setting the initial pace of a 1:40:262. Lewis Hamilton has gotten out the car and does not continue for the rest of the session. A huge blow for the reigning world champion! The chequered flag falls and Marcus Ericsson is the last car over the line, he is currently in the drop out zone with team-mate Felipe Nasr just into Q2. A great time by Ericsson gets him into Q2 but pushes Renault’s Kevin Magnussen out. Sebastian Vettel ends the session quickest ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Valterri Bottas.

Out: Hamilton – 22nd, Wehrlein – 21st, Haryanto – 20th, Palmer – 19th, Gutierrez – 18th and Magnussen – 17th.

Q2

Felipe Nasr is the first car out on track and he posts his first time of a 1:42:430. Under 6 minutes to go Nico Rosberg currently leads on the yellow walled Soft tyres while nearly everyone else is on the Supersoft tyres. With 1 minute and 30 seconds to go, Nico Hulkenberg has stopped on track missing a tyre! The replay shows his front left tyre has come off in Sector 2. It looks like it was not put on properly and his tyres bounces down the barrier and the session is Red flagged. The FIA have have said that the session will not be restarted will 1 minute and 17 seconds to go. Huge shame for Felipe Massa and both McLaren Honda’s of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button as they had a good chance to get through to Q3 Kimi Raikkonen ends the session quickest ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

Out: Nasr – 16th, Ericsson – 15th, Grosjean – 14th, Button – 13th, Alonso – 12th and Massa – 11th.

Q3

Q3 starts and Sergio Perez is first out on track and sets the initial pace of a 1:37:958. Sebastian Vettel is the only car not to go out for a lap at the start of the session.  The final runs are in and Nico Rosberg goes quickest, knocking Kimi Raikkonen off of provisional pole position. Daniel Ricciardo improves and goes a surprising 2nd behind Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel’s only run in Q3 puts him 4th, behind Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Rosberg. Raikkonen is the final car to cross the line but running wide at the penultimate corner after the long back straight ruins his quest for pole position.

Top 10: Hulkenberg – 10th, Verstappen – 9th, Sainz – 8th, Perez – 7th, Kvyat – 6th, Bottas – 5th and Vettel – 4th.

Top 3: Raikkonen – 3rd, Ricciardo – 2nd and Rosberg 1st.

Qualifying Results

1.Rosberg  2.Ricciardo  3.Raikkonen  4.Vettel  5.Bottas  6. Kvyat  7.Perez  8.Sainz  9.Verstappen  10.Massa  11.Alonso  12.Button  13.Hulkenberg*  14.Grosjean  15.Ericsson  16.Nasr  17.Magnussen  18.Gutierrez  19.Palmer  20.Haryanto  21.Wehrlein*  22.Hamilton*

Hulkenberg* was docked 3 places for the loss of front left wheel that escaped his car during Q2 and Force India were found guilty of releasing his car from the pits in an unsafe condition. This penalty drops him from 10th – 13th.

Wehrlein* did not set a lap during Q1 as he crashed losing his car as he hit the bump on the pit straight.

Hamilton* suffered an ERS failure during Q1 and did not complete a lap. Hamilton also suffered a 5 place grid penalty coming into this race for an unscheduled gearbox change. Hamilton will start last.

Good to see it back!

I am glad to see that the 2015 style qualifying is back. Ultimately I personally like this style better than the elimination, but if the FIA can tweak the abused elimination style, I think it could be something quite good.

Horner “surprised” by Ricciardo performance

Team principal of Red Bull, Christian Horner was “shocked” to see Daniel Ricciardo on the front row of the grid alongside pole sitter, Nico Rosberg and ahead of both Ferrari cars. Ricciardo, so far this year has been very consistent having finished 4th twice in Australia and Bahrain. Can we see the Red Bull driver lead into turn 1 on Sunday?

Chinese GP Preview

Nico Rosberg made it two out of two victories this year while team-mate Lewis Hamilton isn’t phased, Ferrari looking for more reliability, 2015 qualifying format returns and Fernando Alonso is back!

14/04/16

History of the Chinese GP

China first held it’s first grand prix in 2004 along with Bahrain. The Chinese grand prix has had some unforgettable moments in the sport like in 2007 when Lewis Hamilton, in his debut year, came here with a chance to win the championship and on worn tyres got stuck in the gravel just meters from his pit box. In 2009, Red Bull took their first win here with Sebastian Vettel, in 2010 when Sebastian Buemi was coming down the long back straight and came into the braking zone and both his front tyres popped off and back in 2012 Nico Rosberg took his first win for Mercedes.

Most Wins

Lewis Hamilton has the most wins round here winning in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015. Fernando Alonso has won twice round here winning in 2005 and 2013. Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg have won here as well.

Ferrari have the most wins round here with 4 while Mercedes and McLaren are tied on 3 wins each.

Track facts

  • Lap record: 1:32:238, Michael Schumacher, 2004
  • Laps: 56
  • Circuit length: 5.451km
  • Race distance: 305.066km
  • Corners: 16

Alonso back in racing

After missing the Bahrain grand prix due to his horrifying crash, the two time world champion is back. The FIA passed Fernando Alonso today to be declared “provisionally fit” to race at this weekend’s race.

2015 Qualifying format is back

The much hated elimination style qualifying is gone much to the fans, teams and pundits delight. The elimination style qualifying first took place in the opening round of this years calendar in Australia. Plans to change the qualifying for Bahrain was pushed back to earlier this week and teams fought hard to bring the much loved 2015 qualifying back.

Hamilton hit with Grid Penalty

Lewis Hamilton has been hit with a grid penalty for the race on Sunday. The penalty comes in an engine penalty in which his team Mercedes said the gearbox had sustained damage during the last race in Bahrain and they had to change it for this weekend. Will this effect Hamilton’s charge on Sunday to regain the 17 point advantage held by team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Qualifying is on Saturday the 16th of April with the Race on Sunday the 17th of April.

 

After Round 2 Standings

After the Bahrain grand prix, Nico Rosberg leads the Drivers Championship and Mercedes lead the Constructors Championship.

06/04/16

Drivers Championship

  1. Nico Rosberg 50 points
  2. Lewis Hamilton 36 points
  3. Daniel Ricciardo 24 points
  4. Kimi Raikkonen 18 points
  5. Romain Grosjean 18 points
  6. Sebastian Vettel 15 points
  7. Felipe Massa 14 points
  8. Max Verstappen 9 points
  9. Nico Hulkenberg 6 points
  10. Daniil Kvyat 6 points
  11. Valterri Bottas 6 points
  12. Carlos Sainz Jr 2 points
  13. Stoffel Vandoorne 1 point
  14. Kevin Magnussen 0 points
  15. Jolyon Palmer 0 points
  16. Marcus Ericsson 0 points
  17. Sergio Perez 0 points
  18. Pascal Wehrlein 0 points
  19. Jenson Button 0 points
  20. Rio Haryanto 0 points
  21. Fernando Alonso 0 points
  22. Esteban Gutierrez 0 points

Constructors Championship

  1. Mercedes 83 points
  2. Ferrari 33 points
  3. Red Bull 30 points
  4. Williams 20 points
  5. Haas 18 points
  6. Torro Rosso 11 points
  7. Force India 6 points
  8. McLaren 1 point
  9. Renault 0 points
  10. Sauber 0 points
  11. Manor 0 points

The Chinese grand prix weekend takes place in Shanghai for round 3 on the 15th – 17th of April.

Bahrain Race Round 2

Nico Rosberg wins for the second time in a row ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton as Sebastian Vettel’s race ends early due to an engine failure.

03/04/16

Tyre Choice

This weekend, Pirelli brought the Medium, Soft and Supersoft compound tyre. For the race, Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat, Pascal Wehrlein, Marcus Ericsson, Rio Haryanto and Felipe Nasr will start on the Soft compound tyre. The rest of the grid will start on the Supersoft tyre.

Formation Lap

The formation lap starts but Nico Rosberg is slow off the line but gets going. As the field snakes it’s way round the track, a puff of smoke appears out of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari near turn 11. The smoke continues and gets heavier before Vettel is told to stop and he does so halfway between turns 13 to 14. The drivers line up on the grid except for Renault’s Jolyon Palmer who pulls into the pits and that is the end of his race.

Race

The lights are out and Rosberg gets a better start than Lewis Hamilton on Pole Position and is ahead before turn 1. Valterri Bottas makes a better start than those around him and sits in 3rd only when he sees tiny gap top the inside of turn1 and he goes for it only for Hamilton to turn in on Bottas and Hamilton takes a whack on the side and Bottas to lose a piece of his front wing. Hamilton drops down to 9th place while Rosberg leads ahead of Felipe Massa, Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Lap 2, Sergio Perez sees a gap on the inside of turn 1 and hits Carlos Sainz giving him a puncture and Perez losing a chunk of his front wing. Both pit the next lap for repairs. Lap 5, Daniel Ricciardo also looks like he lost a bit of front wing having hit Bottas on the opening lap. Hamilton has now climbed to 5th place despite damage to his car while Nico Rosberg is pulling away at the front. Lap 8, Lewis Hamilton is now on a charge overtaking Grosjean and Bottas for 3rd as Jenson Button’s McLaren Honda has stopped at turn 10, looks like his race is over. Lap 9, Valterri Bottas has been given a penalty for the collision with Lewis Hamilton at the start and has been given a drive through penalty. Lap 10, Esteban Gutierrez is out and is being wheeled back into the garage.

Lap 12, Kimi Raikkonen pits from 2nd place and takes the Soft tyre. Raikkonen’s stop elevates Hamilton to 2nd. Lap 14, Nico Rosberg pits from the lead and takes on the Soft tyre. Hamilton follows behind but takes the Medium tyre. Lap 16, Nico Rosberg leads by 11 seconds with Kimi Raikkonen in 2nd just 9 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton in 3rd. Lap 17, Stoffel Vandoorne is currently 8th on his debut. Lap 25,  Nico Rosberg still leads now 15 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in 2nd with Lewis Hamilton 7 seconds behind Raikkonen. Lap 27, Romain Grosjean pits from 4th and goes back out on a set of Supersoft tyres. Lap 28, Lewis Hamilton pits from 3rd and goes onto a set of the Supersoft tyres as well.  Lap 29, Kimi Raikkonen pits from 2nd and goes back out onto a set of Supersoft tyres. Lap 31, race leader, Nico Rosberg responds to the action behind and pits for a set of Supersoft tyres.

Lap 37, Kimi Raikkonen pits again for a third time for a set of the Soft tyres. Lap 39, Nico Rosberg responds to Raikkonen’s pit stop and Rosberg goes onto the Soft tyres. Lap 41, Lewis Hamilton responds to Rosberg’s and Raikkonen’s pit stops and pits. He goes onto the Soft tyres. Rosberg leads ahead of Raikkonen and Hamilton. Lap 42, Romain Grosjean pits and he goes onto the Supersoft tyres to take him to the end. Lap 44, Stoffel Vandoorne, the only McLaren car left pits for a third time and goes onto the Soft tyres. Lap 47, Romain Grosjean passes Felipe Massa for 6th into turn 1, Grosjean’s American team seem happy with the overtake by saying over the radio “Awesome, absolutely awesome.”

Lap 51, Nico Rosberg is now just 6.6s ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in third. Stoffel Vandoorne is on course for a point-scoring debut hanging in 10th. Nico Rosberg wins the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton.

Race Result

1.Rosberg  2.Raikkonen  3.Hamilton  4.Ricciardo  5.Grosjean  6.Verstappen  7.Kvyat  8.Massa  9.Bottas  10.Vandoorne  11.Magnussen  12.Ericsson  13.Wehrlein  14.Nasr  15.Hulkenberg  16.Perez  17.Haryanto  DNF Sainz, Gutierrez and Button  DNS Palmer and Vettel

Drivers Championship

  1. Nico Rosberg 50 points
  2. Lewis Hamilton 33 points
  3. Daniel Ricciardo 24 points
  4. Kimi Raikkonen 18 points
  5. Romain Grosjean 18 points

Race Facts

  • With his first ever victory in Bahrain, Nico Rosberg moved onto 16 career wins, equalling Sir Stirling Moss.
  • Despite having been called late in to replace the recovering Fernando Alonso, McLaren rookie Stoffel Vandoorne became the first Belgian to score points in F1 since Thierry Boutsen in 1992. He’s also the first McLaren driver to score on his debut since Kevin Magnussen finished third in Australia in 2014.