Tech-know-crat

Your Dose of obsession from Formula 1, Flying, Travel, Football, Watches, Collectibles and everything inspirational everywhere in daily life

Posts for Tag: GP

The Tyre Crisis Deepens...

F1 has always been the pinnacle of Motorsport and has had a global fanbase. However down the years, controversies and scandals have threatened to throw the sport into disarray. The Sport has weathered many storms to come out stronger.

Another controversy has hit the sport and the FIA would hope to resolve the same at the earliest. Pirelli made a return to F1 in 2011 and has had a torrid time in the sport since.

2012 saw a few teams struggling to find the correct balance for the tyres and tyre degradation was a big issue for them.

2013 has seen worse as the Tyre Life has reduced inspite of Pirelli introducing varied compounds. 2 Dry Tyre Compounds are chosen for each race weekend along with the Mandatory Intermediates and Wet Weather compounds.


The Spanish GP weekend saw the highest number of pit stops ever and the Pole Sitter Hamilton moved backwards after struggling to find grip with the tyres. Other teams too had similar complaints, the exceptions being Ferrari and Lotus F1 who seemed to have got a measure of these tyres.


The Debacle for Mercedes AMG Petronas left Pirelli Red Faced and the duo decided to perform a 1000 km test in accordance with a directive in the FIA rulebook. The Duo did a 3 day test panning 1000 km post the Spanish GP weekend albeit SECRETLY using their 2013 Car.


The Same was brought to light at the next race in Monaco and the FIA and other competitors were not pleased. In the Aftermath of the same, Red Bull and Ferrari lodged a former complaint against Mercedes AMG Petronas and contested the race under protest.


The decision makers of both Pirelli and Mercedes were summoned by the stewards post race and realizing the gravity of the situation, the case has been transferred to the Tribunal and the Verdict of the same is awaited.


What Next for Pirelli and Mercedes AMG Petronas?

This incident does not augur well for Pirelli. The Company acknowledged the excessive change of tyres in the Spanish GP and promised to bring in tyres with better grip starting from the Canadian GP. However the FIA immediately wrote off such a move stating that the company could only make changes to the tyre citing safety concerns and not performance related problems.

The only way to appease the aggrieved parties would be to perform the 1000km test and so at Pirelli's Behest, the test was performed.

The Duo did approach the FIA in regards to conducting such a test and the latter informed them that the same could be carried out provided every other team is given the opportunity to conduct a similar test in order to maintain full sporting equity. The FIA received no further communication in regards to the test and the other teams were also unaware of such a test.

Pirelli's reputation would definitely take a hit and its future in the sport definitely seems gloomy.


Mercedes AMG has been the team most affected by the mercurial performances of the tyres. Their Single Lap Pace ( In Qualifying ) has been stunning and they have grabbed 5 poles so far in the season. The Race Pace though has been their bone of contention and both their drivers have moved backwards down the field after qualifying in positions which promised victories.

The continuous criticism by the team has meant that they try to bend the rules and find a solution to close in on the rivals. The Test is not illegal considering that a provision is there in the rulebook but the team is definitely accountable for choosing to not inform their rivals about such a test.

All teams had a sufficient testing period prior to the start of the season and teams like Ferrari and Lotus F1 mastered them going into the season. They would feel hard done by such a step and Ferrari's discontent is justified.

Nico Rosberg won the Monaco Grand Prix but experts don't consider this result an immediate fruit of the test. Monaco being a street circuit offers rare overtaking opportunities. It worked well for the Mercedes AMG and a victory was certain if they would manage a front row lockout which they did.

The outcome of the Canadian Grand Prix in a fortnight would definitely be looked at. If the team has gained from the test, the same would definitely come to the fore.


A War of Words has already begun and the issue needs to be doused quickly.



What would the verdict be if found guilty?


The International Tribunal would definitely ask Pirelli to issue a Formal Apology to the affected parties offering them the opportunity to run a similar test whenever they deem it necessary. A Financial Reprimand also cannot be ruled out.


I believe that Mercedes AMG would receive a points deduction. An Exclusion from the Constructors' Championship, if given might be too harsh.


The Outcome would be pivotal for the sport. The Fans would hope that Sporting Equality is maintained. The other teams would hope that justice be given and a feasible solution reached.


Excerpts from the Report issued by the Stewards :



We just have to wait and watch.....


The " T " Word, A Bone of Contention.....

The Spanish Grand Prix started the European Leg of the F1 Calender. Fernando Alonso powered his Ferrari to Victory in front of his adoring fans. Kimi Raikkonen drove a very smart race to finish 2nd and Felipe Massa made it a Ferrari 1-3 on the weekend.


The Race though would be remembered for the "T" Word as everything revolved around it.

The Influence was so much that most were left ruing their race pace.

The "T" Word is the ( Pirelli ) Tyre.


Teams have always been suspect about the longevity of the tyres over a race weekend and the Spanish GP has only added fuel to the fire.


The Race saw a total of 82 pit stops and Paul Hembery, the Motorsport Director of Pirelli later admitted that there were too many pit stops and Pirelli shall address this issue starting from Canada.


Vettel said that he had to race at the pace of the tyres while Kimi was not bothered about it. Kimi finished his race using a 3 stop strategy while Alonso accomplished the same on a 4 stop.

Pirelli had chosen the hardest tyre compounds for the weekend. The Lap Time Difference between the two was marginal. However with the exception of Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button, everyone opted for a 4 stop strategy for the race. The Lotus E21 has always been easy on its tyres and the team has made little noise about tyre performance.

Mercedes AMG Petronas have been the biggest losers and they simply can't make their tyres last long enough inspite of earning a hattrick of poles this year. Both Drivers have gone backwards after leading for few laps.



The Reaction has mostly been negative but I feel the criticism is somewhat harsh.


The Tyre Characteristics have been such that certain tracks have favoured certain cars up until now. We would definitely not hear Red Bull complain about tyres when they won in Bahrain or Malaysia. Ferrari seemed to have found a sweet spot and have kept mum about it.

Formula 1 has changed a lot since the Schumacher days. Schumacher with his Bridgestone Tyres made it very difficult for the rest to win and to some extent finished the excitement in F1. Races were boring as the German smoked his opposition taking victories after starting from pole positions.

Martin Brundle said that in the early years of Formula 1, the fastest car would be on pole, the slowest on the back of the grid and the order would stay the same as the tyres never degraded and the grip levels were always the same.

The Pirellis though have spiced up the races. A driver can afford to be in a slightly slower car and yet finish well if his car is easy on its tyres running the right balance. The Tyres musn't always be the sole deciding factor in the championship battle though and that is the issue that Pirelli needs to address.

Incidents of Frequent Punctures and Sudden De-Lamination have not aided Pirelli's Cause.

Pirelli did bring in better rubbered compounds and more tyre options this year but the struggle continues for most teams.

It might be hard for Fans to see their teams struggling but for a neutral, every race turns out to be an intriguing one.


The Sport would need to take certain steps to appease the affected parties :

1) Pirelli has already promised and is working towards offering tyres with better longevity Candian GP onwards. Hopefully the promise delivers for those affected on track.

2) Pirelli needs to have a test-car during the winter months which would help them in understanding the issues that teams are facing while running different setups in the Pre-season tests itself.

3) In their quest to reduce pit stops for a driver in a race, the company must ensure that the minimum requirement of stops be maintained and not make the mistake of making non-degradable tyres and end the importance of pit stops.

4) Address the Issue of De-Lamination which has become a frequent occurrence off late.


Pirelli's entrance into F1 was like a breath of fresh air and a great leveller. All the teams had to start from scratch with Pirelli and the field has closed up quite nicely.


I hope they continue to the Sole Tyre Supplier for the Sport. I am sure that they have the technical expertise and personnel to iron out the issues that teams are facing.


The Season is getting interesting.....

Thank you TOURISM MALAYSIA !!!!

Surprises come in many packages and I have been at the received end of some in the recent past.

God Blessed me with some great experiences in the past year and I have had the opportunity to write about them.

2013 started off with a bang and the 2012 fairytale still continues.


Tourism Malaysia ( India ) have always been gracious in offering great prizes. They have maintained this trend whenever the Formula 1 Grand Prix has come to Sepang International Circuit and this year was no different.


A hard but fair battle was fought and there was a winner at the end of the day and Thank God I was the fortunate one, albeit by the skin of my teeth!!

Tourism Malaysia would award me an all expenses paid trip to Malaysia to enjoy the Malaysian Grand Prix!!!


It was time to pack my bags and embark on the journey!!

I flew out on 22nd March 2013 and arrived in Kuala Lumpur Late Evening.


Tourism Malaysia had offered me a fantastic hotel in KL Sentral ( the Hub in Kuala Lumpur ). The Hotel inauguration was on the same day.

A Starwood Property, The Aloft is the new 5 Star in the Heart of KL!!


The Hotel was gracious enough to offer me an upgrade too as I am an SPG Gold member!


The Room was a spacious one and had a fresh feel to it. Some of the shots of my room :



The View from My Room :


Some views from the Passageway :

23rd March 2013 :

The Excitement couldn't be contained. A quick breakfast and I was on my way to the Sepang International Circuit to the see the Saturday Practice and Qualifying for the Race.

En Route to Sepang :


Malaysia Leaves No Stone Unturned in Welcoming Racing Fans!!


The Tourism Malaysia Pavilion at the Circuit!


The Circuit is very close to KLIA and temperatures easily touch the Mid 40s


After a Tiring but Exciting Day at Sepang, it was time to return to the Hotel

( For More on the Saturday action visit : http://tech-know-crat.posthaven.com/malaysian-gp-2013-vettel-defies-mutli-21 )


However before I made my way back to the Hotel, I had the opportunity to test my racing skills at an International Karting Circuit at Sepang and believe me I was unwilling to leave the place!! I kept racing for almost an hour and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.


It was a long drive back and after a nice refreshing shower, I made my way down to the Coffee Shop for an elegant meal laid out. I also had the opportunity of meeting representatives of Tourism Malaysia!!


I had some time to explore and burn some calories after the meal. The Aloft is known as a party hotel. It envisages the vision of the W Group of Hotels and one can see the evidence of the same!

The Hotel Facade :


The Re:Mix Lounge :


The Hotel Reception & Business Centre :


The WXYZ Bar :


24th March 2013, THE BIG DAY!!

Post Breakfast, I joined the group consisting of executives invited by Tourism Malaysia and we made our way down to Sepang for the Race!


A Moment with the Director of Tourism Malaysia!! A Very Gracious and Kind Man. Thank you Sir for all the Hospitality!!


It was now time to prepare for the Racing Extravaganza!!

( To Read all about the Sunday action visit : http://tech-know-crat.posthaven.com/malaysian-gp-2013-vettel-defies-mutli-21 )


An Exciting day at the Circuit! Thank you Sepang International Circuit for such a memorable race!!


25th March 2013

I chose to spend my final day shopping at my favourite SURIA KLCC Mall!

Enroute to Suria KLCC :


It was time to drive back to the Airport and return home... 


At the Airport ( KLIA ) :


Sitting in the Lounge, I awaited my flight for Mumbai :


Bye Bye Malaysia ! Thank you so much for all the Hospitality !!


Malaysia = Truly Asia !!


I would like to thank Tourism Malaysia ( India ) for this amazing experience. I shall cherish it. A Big Thank you to the Aloft at KL Sentral for all the Hospitality and maintaining the Quality that Starwood has been renowned for !

A Big Thank you to Mr. Amit Tripathi of Beehive Communication for all the co-operation shown in making my trip preparations a breeze.


Thank you so much Tourism Malaysia!! Hopefully I shall return for the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2014!!!




























Malaysian GP 2013, Vettel defies Mutli 21

Tourism Malaysia have always been gracious and they simply move up a gear when the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix draws near.

Every Year, Tourism Malaysia offer Racing Fans Free Tickets to witness the action unfold at the Sepang International Circuit. I was a beneficiary last year and a bigger surprise was in store for me this year.

Tourism Malaysia India hosted a game where a Fan had to answer questions as the car moved around the track. The quicker you answered, better the lap time.

The Grand Prize? An All-Expenses-Paid Trip to witness the Malaysian Grand Prix. The effort paid off as I emerged the winner.

Thanks to Tourism Malaysia, I was at Sepang again. Hope you enjoy the photos from the weekend!


Sepang!


Welcome to Sepang International Circuit!


The Stunning Mercedes Petronas AMG Formula 1 Car!!


I reached the Stand. It was the K1 Grandstand with Fantastic Views of the Start Finish Line, First Couple of Turns and Parts of the Other Sectors too.

View from the K1 Grandstand :


The Start of Saturday Practice saw the teams take a cautious approach into the session.



Finally The Drivers started their Qualifying Simulations



Kimi Raikkonen, Full Focus into First Turn :



Others Follow Suit :



The Two Sister Red Bulls switch roles :



Feeling the Force of a Force India :



The Ferraris were late entrants but everyone knows the Threat they pose to the Front-Runners.



First Turn is very demanding on all cars. Its an acute turn and one can suffer heavy lock-ups if a car has too much speed into the corner.



The Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen looks absolutely stunning :



Some more shots of the Prancing Horse :



The Sauber of Hulkenberg, the German's First race after problems in the first race.


With the Race Simulations done & the sun out, , the Teams switched to the Softer of the Harder Compounds
The Toro Rosso and Williams in Tandem :


Where is Romain Grosjean looking?



Lewis Hamilton negotiating the First Turn



The Practice session ended and it was time for the V8 Supercars to take centrestage :



It was now time for Qualifying!!!

Shots from Q1 :



The Teams all opted for the Hard Tyre. Some Teams however switched to the Medium Hard option fearing elimination at the end of Q1.


The Times came down quickly, the gap between the two tyres a sizable 1.5 seconds. The Bigger teams too were pushed into using the Option compound in Q1 itself.



Q1 ended and the predicted guys were eliminated.




Q2 Began and all teams went out on Option Tyres, some teams opted for a 2 run strategy with scrubbed options for the First Stint.



Mark Webber too came out early for Red Bull Racing to set a marker :


Vettel too followed suit :



Lewis Hamilton
suffered a major Lock-up into Turn 1 with Fernando Alonso breathing down his neck :


Massa made a late entry into the session :



Q2 ended and the Top 10 now prepared for a final Shootout!


There was a big surprise on the way though!! Malaysia is known for drastic weather changes and the clouds that threatened finally caused the deluge over the circuit in the break.

It was a short shower but certain parts of the track were wet enough for Teams to opt for Intermediate Tyres.



Sebastien Vettel vs Fernando Alonso!




Fernando Alonso starts his Flying Lap :


Nico Rosberg flying in Sector 2 :



Kimi Raikkonen dives into the pits for a new set of Intermediates while Lewis Hamilton sets a time :


Kimi starts his final Qualifying Run :



Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel too went on their final runs :


Sebastien Vettel, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were the top 3 starters for the Race!



SUNDAY RACEDAY!!

The Big Day had arrived. It was a great way to start the proceedings by bumping into Kimi Raikkonen Fans!!


The Rain Clouds gathering in the Horizon... Could this be a Wet Race??



The Grid Preparations begin!!



Safety Car carries out a Track Check :


The Rain came in sooner than we thought and like last year it was time to bring out the Gazebos for the Teams


The Drivers leave the pitlane on their outlap, Intermediate tyres for everyone. The Rain in Q3 ensured Free Tyre Choice for Everyone.


Charles Pic sampled the Wet Tyre too but the Track wasn't so wet and everyone stuck to Intermediates.



The Grandstands were packed to the Rafters as the Start Neared..


The Safety Car did a final track check, the final preparations were done and it was now time for the Warm-up Lap!


The Start of the Warm Up Lap while the team engineers rush back to their garages!



The Five Red Lights Illuminate and the Race is a GO!!!


There was a collision between Alonso and Vettel into the First Turn which damaged the Former's Front Wing. The Spaniard managed to defend his 2nd place against Webber ( who had a fabulous start ) and opted not to pit to change the Front Wing.

The Decision was disastrous as the Front Wing Dislodged and got stuck under the car. Alonso was a mere passenger as his Ferrari beached itself into the Gravel near the First turn ( Right in front of our stand )



The Track dried up quickly enough and the Teams were quick to switch back to dry tyres. Drivers chose different strategies. Vettel switched to the Mediums ( Option ) while Webber opted for the Hard Tyre ( Prime ).


Hulkenberg battles it out with Button



Sergio Perez is passed by Grosjean with the aid of DRS and then has to fend off Kimi Raikkonen.



Maldonado
had two Front wing changes ( one in his Outlap and one in the start of the race ). The Venezuelan was now carving his way up the field.



Perez makes his car as wide as possible to prevent Kimi Raikkonen from an overtake



The Force India Team Mates too had a duel


There was racing happening throughout the field which was great for Fans


Hulkenberg watching his mirrors as he sees the Ferrari of Massa and the Lotuses of Grosjean and Raikkonen close in.




Kimi was having a tough weekend but he kept at it.


Grosjean though was having a better weekend. He is seen here reeling Massa in.


Vettel was being closed in on by Hamilton and it seemed that the Mercedes  Petronas AMG Team might just get more than just a podium but unfortunately Lewis was asked to conserve fuel and his challenge fizzled out.


Vettel was now allowed to push and the lead that Mark Webber had was slowly being cut down. Mark Webber meanwhile was told to switch to Multi - 21, a code used in the Red Bull team which signifies reducing the engine power, maintaining positions and coasting to the finish line.


Hulkenberg meanwhile was still flanked by the Lotuses



Pastor Maldonado's Miserable day came to an end when he Beached his Williams into the Gravel


The Red Bull pair completed their Pit Stops and Webber was just able to hold on to his lead against Vettel. ( Lap 44 ).
The two battled over the next two laps, including a very close call on the front straight, after which Vettel took the lead from his teammate. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner earlier came on the radio to say, "This is silly Seb(astian). Come on."
The Team tried to notify Vettel that they wanted both to keep their current positions. However Vettel chose otherwise and the repercussions were disastrous.


Hamilton's fuel conserving drive caused him to fall into the grasp of his teammate Nico Rosberg. Nico requested the team to let him pass his teammate as he felt he could challenge the Red Bulls. However Team Principal Ross Brawn denied him his wish and both were asked to maintain their positions.


Sebastien Vettel took the Chequered Flag and Victory at the 2013 Malaysian GP. Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton completed the Podium. Nico Rosberg felt he was robbed of a podium and hoped that the team would return the favour one day.

Trouble brewed
between the Red Bull Team-mates as Webber took digs at Vettel in the Podium Interview and gave him the snub later. Unfortunately it seems an end to a mercurial relation between the team-mates.



A Big Thumbs-up!!


The Fans had a memorable day but the race would also be remembered for its Controversial incidents...


Malaysia had done a fabulous job again of Hosting the Grand Prix!!! Well done Malaysia!!



I would like to thank Tourism Malaysia again for this memorable experience. I absolutely loved it and will be back next year too.

I shall be writing again about this trip. So watch this space!!!































Multi 21, the Red Bull Code Breached!

2013 Season has been a revelation so far. Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus F1 outclassed and outwitted the opposition with a victory in Australia after starting 7th on the grid.

Red Bull had to respond and they did in Malaysia with a 1-2 finish which would be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Vettel after qualifying on pole was pulling away from the rest, only to see his teammate Webber edge ahead at the end of the final pit stop.

Webber had driven a flawless race and seemed to be the rightful winner of the race. Red Bull instructed him to turn down the engines and cruise home, a code listed as " Multi 21 ". However as he left the pitlane he saw his team-mate and Triple World Champion Sebastien Vettel breathing down his neck.

Vettel tried different means in getting past. The team was quick to notify the German of the situation, the code clearly asking both to hold their positions and bring their cars home. Vettel didn't pay heed and made a daring manoeuvre on the outside to take the lead much to the disdain of the Australian.

The Team immediately reprimanded him and he was asked to explain his actions post-race. The Drivers made it to the podium and the tension could be felt in the air.

Webber made his feelings clear in the Driver Interviews. Vettel later realised his mistake and went on an Apology Spree.

 

Vettel was asked to stay fort sighting the tyre degradation of the Pirellis. A fight between the two could have resulted in the tyres going "off the cliff" before the finish and the chances of falling into the clutches of the chasing Mercedes PETRONAS duo of Hamilton and Rosberg was very real.

 

Vettel realised his mistake and apologised to both his team-mate and the team.

 

However the Damage had been done.

 

Vettel is chasing his 4th consecutive Driver's Title. The German has been relentless in his desire to win. The team's requests to "take-it-easy" have gone unheeded on past occasions. It was not a surprise to see him do a deja-vu in Malaysia.

Vettel sensed the opportunity for the win and took it. There are many questions that have arisen from this incident.

 

1) Why did Vettel go against Team - Orders to win the race? It was only the 2nd race of the season and the German would have myriad opportunities to win races.

It seems that Vettel fears the possibility of having to play catch-up ( should he be in contention ) like last year. It was a herculean effort by the team and driver to take the Title last season. No Slip-ups this time it seems.

 

 

2) What does this do to the relationship between the Team-mates?

Webber has played the supporting role for 2 seasons. He has been a great team-mate and has had good victories to his name. Victory at the Malaysian GP was clearly snatched from him by Vettel. Webber is not a happy man in the team. He seems to be weighing his options now and conspiracy theories are only adding fuel to the fire.

Webber would clearly turn down the role of Helping Vettel if he is contention. The Team would rather have to witness a face-off between the two unless they are able to cool down the situation and nip it in the bud.

Team Principal Christian Horner has always emphasized equality for the Drivers but the incidents unfolding on the field suggest otherwise.

 

 

3) Is Vettel really remorseful?

Vettel won the Race, got 25 points on the board. This is official. A victory is a victory regardless of means adopted. All his apologies would fall short as the German has accomplished what he desired. Schumacher was no different and his actions on track were questionable on more than one occasion. Vettel , a protégée of sorts seems to be no different.

 

There is a saying that " Bad Boys always win" and Vettel wouldn't mind being labelled one if he can continue winning.

 

Red Bull are going full steam to douse the tension. The Team might not succeed this time ( their claims suggest otherwise ) and I won't be surprised to see a change in the line-up at the start of the next season.

 

 

What follows is a mystery. Lets wait as the season unfolds!!

 

 

2012 F1 Season Review - Similarities in the Varieties!

2011 was a season of Dominance. Sebastien Vettel & Red Bull simply pulled away from the Competition. The rest were left battling to be the " Best amongst the Rest ".

2012 though had Big Surprises in store. The return of Kimi Raikkonen to Lotus F1 Team was one such Surprise. His Return ensured that I would follow the sport with renewed vigour. 2012 also took the accolades of being the longest season in F1 History and the only season which featured 6 World Champions - Vettel, Button, Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen and Schumacher.

Many Predicted that status quo would be maintained but it turned out to be otherwise.

7 different winners won the first 7 Grand Prix! - Another Record!!

Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Vettel, Maldonado, Webber, Hamilton stood on the top step of the podium.

Ferraris were expected to struggle and Alonso's Victory in Malaysia was simply down to smart strategy in changing weather conditions. Maldonado's victory for Williams at Catalunya & Roberg's for Mercedes at Shanghai too was a famous victory for both teams in a long long time.

Lotus F1 too had a nice start with Kimi notching up 2 Podiums in his comeback year.

The Biggest Disappointment though was for Red Bull who simply couldn't repeat their performances of last season. Ferrari had put all the disappointments of pre-season testing behind as they lead both the Drivers' and the Constructors' Championships.

The Return to Europe in Valencia didn't do Red Bull's Cause any good as Alternator Failure robbed Vettel of a sure victory. Grosjean too suffered the same fate, the Frenchman too had a shot at victory. Alonso was the beneficiary again as he used all incidents to his advantage. Alonso was the first driver in the season to have 2 victories while Raikkonen and Schumacher made it a famous podium. The signs looked ominous...

Mark Webber helped Red Bull to have a comeback of sorts after the Spanish Debacle with a victory at Silverstone and Vettel in 3rd.

Alonso maintained consistency by finishing 2nd in Silverstone and notching up victory in Germany the week after Silverstone. Vettel's Efforts to impress in his home race fell short as he was demoted in the race result from 2nd to 5th for an illegal move on Button. Button and Raikkonen completed the Podium.

Hungary saw the resurgence of Hamilton's Title Challenge with the Lotuses of Raikkonen and Grosjean completing the podium.

Alonso's lead now stood at 40 points and the Spaniard seemed to be favourite to win the title.

Belgium saw a Horrific First Lap incident where Romain Grosjean made contact with Lewis Hamilton and they both slammed into Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez, eliminating all four on the spot. Vettel reduced the lead by 18 points by finishing 2nd. Button won the race with Raikkonen showcasing some daring moves to take 3rd.

 Hamilton's victory in Italy threw the title race wide open. Vettel's lowly 22nd left him in the lurch. Perez produced a special drive to finish 2nd and Alonso ensured that he kept scoring well by finishing 3rd.

The European Leg ended and the rest of the races were all " Fly Away " Events. Singapore saw Hamilton's Retirement due to Gearbox Failure and Catapulted Vettel to victory. Hamilton was now out of the Title Race. Vettel was now in Title Contention.

Alonso suffered another retirement after contact with Raikkonen on the First Lap and Vettel took advantage of the same to score a full 25 points. The championship fight became as close as it had been all season long. Massa and Kobayashi completed the podium with the latter overwhelmed by the Home Support, first podium for a Japanese Driver since Suzuki in 1990 ( At Suzuka ). Schumacher announced his retirement on the same weekend, this time he wouldn't return.

The Tables turned in Korea. Vettel was now on a rampage as he wrestled back the lead from Alonso with a victory. Webber ensured a Red Bull 1-2 and Alonso ensured damage limitation in 3rd.

The Next Stop - India!! Vettel was in no mood to slip-up and dominated the race to be a 2 Time winner at the Buddh International Circuit. Alonso Benefitted from a Failed KERS unit on Webber's Car to take 2nd while the Australian held off Hamilton to take the final spot on the podium.

Abu Dhabi seemed to have changed the dynamics of the Title Race again. Sebastian Vettel's dominant run was derailed in Abu Dhabi when his car was found to have insufficient fuel after qualifying and he was subsequently moved to the back of the grid. Hamilton's March to Victory was again cut short due to a mechanical failure while Vettel kept moving up the grid, a couple of Safety Car Incidents helping his cause. KIMI RAIKKONEN the ICEMAN was leading the race. Lotus F1 went through a lot of tension and just wanted to ensure victory by ensuring everything was in perfect order. The Iceman though just asserted his authority on the team radio amusing one and all with two sentences that have become world famous. Kimi Raikkoen held off a closing Alonso to take a Famous Victory for the Lotus F1 team. Fernando Alonso was 2nd and was shocked to see Sebastien Vettel sharing the podium with him!

Alonso was only able to reduce Vettel's Lead by 3 points.  

Austin Texas saw United States of America make a return on the F1 Calendar. A Fantastic Circuit saw a fantastic race. Vettel was on the receiving end this time. He was held up by a backmarker with Hamilton closing in on him. Vettel as a result lost the lead to Hamilton. Hamilton took victory with Vettel and Alonso completing the podium. The Result meant that the Driver's Championship would go down to the wire, to the last race in Brazil. Red Bull clinched the Constructor's Title.  

Brazil would produce the last bit of drama. Sebastian Vettel was involved in a first-lap clash with Bruno Senna that damaged his exhaust and spun him around, relegating him to last place. Senna retired on the spot, as did Sergio Perez, who was caught in the crossfire. Changing Weather Conditions saw the race change lead multiple leads. Hulkenberg and Hamilton lead the field and a move by the former on the latter went awry to take Hamilton out of the race. Vettel slowly moved up the field, his car's damage slowly aggravating. His 7th then became 6th. A Paul Di Resta crash on the penultimate lap brought out the safety car. Alonso couldn't improve on his 2nd position as a result.

Vettel had overcome all odds to win his 3rd consecutive Driver's title. Alonso was left contemplating as to what could have been.

Three days after the Brazilian Grand Prix, reports began to surface suggesting that Sebastian Vettel's championship was under threat and that Ferrari would be filing a formal protest against the race results. The challenge centred on a pass Vettel made on Jean-Eric Vergne early in the race ( Under Yellow Light Condition ) The FIA cleared the confusion & both Ferrari and Red Bull Racing announced that they were satisfied with the ruling, thereby preserving Vettel's championship.

 

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top 3 in the Championship. Kimi Raikkonen was the sole driver to have finished every race in the season, finishing outside of the points only once in the season, setting a new record in the process.

It was a great comeback year for the Finn.

 

Sebastien Vettel and Christian Horner with their Trophies :


Fernando settles for 2nd Place :


Kimi, Ice Cool as ever in 3rd Place :

 

2013 is already on us and the competition would be looking to deny Red Bull Racing another title. Only Time will Tell.....


US GP Review - It Isn't Over until It's Over!!

Formula 1 returned to USA after a 5 year sabbatical. A new track was built in Austin, Texas and it promised state-of-the-art facilities and varying gradients on a very challenging track.

The first turn itself was a steep climb towering at 41 m, a recipe for incidents at the start of the race. This track would test the true prowess of the drivers.

However this race was pivotal for 3 reasons. The outcome of this Grand Prix would influence future ventures for Formula 1 in North America.

Red Bull Racing were on the brink of winning their 3rd consecutive Constructor's Title while Sebastien Vettel was on the verge of becoming a Triple World Champion. Ferrari had nothing too lose and it was clear that they would channelise all their efforts in ensuring that Alonso still has a shot at the title at the final race of the season in Brazil.

Let us see how the drama unfolded!

 

 

FREE PRACTICE :

  

Sebastian Vettel was the fastest driver in both FP1 and FP 2. He set a time 1.5 seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton in FP1, and 2 seconds faster than title rival Fernando Alonso. The session was run without incident, though drivers reported that there was very little grip around the circuit. Ma Qinghua was the only reserve driver to take part in the session, replacing Narain Karthikeyan at HRT. He finished the session in twenty-fourth and last position, 10 seconds behind Vettel.

Vettel was again fastest in the FP2. Mark Webber and Alonso completed the top 3. Vettel's running was limited by a water leak that forced him to spend half the session in the pits, while Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen suffered a puncture when he made contact with Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne.  Pastor Maldonado suffered an engine failure in his Williams late in the session.

Vettel topped the timesheets in FP3 too. Hamilton was 2nd Fastest. The hour-long session was marked by a collision between Sauber's Sergio Perez and the Marussia of Charles Pic that damaged the floor of Pic's car. Perez escaped without penalty. much to the annoyance of Marussia. Jean-Eric Vergne also ran into further trouble, breaking his front suspension when he hit a kerb and stopped on the circuit.

 

 

QUALIFYING :

 

There was very litte grip on the circuit in Q1. Every team sent their drivers out for extended runs  with the objective of laying down enough rubber on the circuit to improve their overall lap time, and trying to time their final flying runs to take full advantage of the circuit.

HRT were initially concerned that they would fail to qualify inside the 107% cut-off, however their decision to send Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan out on the softer option tyres, paid dividends as they made the cut. Karthikeyan's session ended early when he pulled over onto the tarmac run-off at Turn 2, the victim of a mechanical fault.

Caterham's Vitaly Petrov struggled early in the session with traffic, and spent most of the twenty minutes outside the 107% cut-off. His final flying lap saw him qualify 21st for the race, one place ahead of team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. Daniel Ricciardo was the seventh and final driver eliminated at the end of Q1.

Sebastian Vettel, who had recorded the fastest time in Q1, went on to beat his best time in Q2. The faster lap times now meant that the softer option compound was a necessity. Despite narrowly beating Ricciardo in Q1, Nico Rosberg was unable to improve his time in Q2, and qualified in 17th overall. The Saubers of Perez and Kobayashi filled out the 8th row of the grid. Jean-Eric Vergne overcame his free practice dramas to qualify 14th. Paul di Resta was disappointed to be eliminated in Q2 when team-mate Nico Hulkenberg comfortably progressed to Q3. Jenson Button had to settle for 12th overall when his McLaren MP4-27 lost all power late in the period, and he later admitted that he was afraid of getting caught up in what he called a "chaotic first lap". Bruno Senna was the last driver eliminated in Q2, qualifying in 11th place.

Sebastian Vettel took pole position with the fastest lap of the weekend. In spite of this, Lewis Hamilton was closer to Vettel than he had been all weekend, missing pole position by just one tenth of a second. Mark Webber qualified 3rd, ahead of Romain Grosjean, who was later demoted to 9th when he received a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change. Kimi Raikkonen , Michael SchumacherFelipe Massa, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Pastor Maldonado completed the top ten.

 

 

Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber were summoned to the stewards' office after qualifying. Schumacher had been cited for blocking Alonso during Q2. Schumacher escaped without punishment, as he had been on a flying lap of his own at the time, and blocking Alonso had not prevented him from advancing to Q3.

Webber, on the other hand, was called to answer charges of missing the mandatory weight check at the end of qualifying. The stewards accepted that Red Bull Racing had made an error and saw that the car was immediately sent to scrutineering once it was realised. Webber escaped with a reprimand, thereby allowing him to keep his grid position for the race.

 

However Ferrari would produce the greatest story of the day. The Team broke the seal of the gearbox of Massa's car causing him to accept a 5 place grid - penalty which would demote him from 7th to 12th and promoted Alonso from 8th to 7th. This allowed the Spaniard to start from the cleaner side of the track and help keep his title hopes alive.

Red Bull too could have countered this move in a similar fashion using Webber and send Alonso back to the dirtier side. However they chose otherwise. Sportsmanship lacking again in this decision by Ferrari.

 

 

RACE :

The Grip on the grid varied drastically between the Cleaner side and the Dirtier side of the Track.

The Five Lights went out and a lot happened going into the First Turn. The Prediction was right, starters on the Dirty Side suffered lack of Traction and lost places rapidly. Sebastian Vettel pulled cleanly away from P1. Mark Webber attacked Lewis Hamilton around the outside in the battle for 2nd. However it was a sensational start for Fernando Alonso who climbed from 7th to 4th in his Ferrari ! Lewis Hamilton lost out to Mark Webber for second, but managed to hold off Alonso.

Michael Schumacher, who started 5th had a terrible lap. First he lost out to Nico Hulkenberg and then to Kimi Raikkonen only to fight back and reclaim his place but in doing so, left the door open to Romain Grosjean who passed both in one move ( Lap 2 )

Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber were squabbling for 2nd place while Vettel pulled away from the pair. Hamilton's efforts finally paid dividends on Lap 4 as he passed Webber for 2nd.

Romain Grosjean spun at Turn 19 ( Lap 7 ) and dropped from 6th to 10th. Meanwhile, Felipe Massa finally muscled his way past Michael Schumacher into 8th.

Michael Schumacher was now going backwards and fell into Button's Clutches and the latter had to be brave to get past the German who left very little racing space. 

Kimi Raikkonen, justified his return to F1 when he pulled alongside Nico Hulkenberg around the outside in the run down to Turn Two. They were side-by-side through Turn Two, but Raikkonen kept his foot on the gas and Hulkenberg had no choice but to yield. ( Lap 13 )

Lewis Hamilton was quickly closing in on Sebastien Vettel. Both Cars were matching each other for pace all weekend and their race pace too seemed similar.

Jean-Eric Vergne was the first retirement as his Toro Rosso suffered suspension damage. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher, who had been struggling for pace all race, dived into the pits from 14th.

Lap 17 saw Mark Webber lose KERS and then his subsequent retirement a lap later. Red Bull had enough reason to worry now with Vettel's car. Felipe Massa was now closing in on Kimi Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso pitted on Lap 19 & Lap 20 respectively. The Latter had a very slow stop as the right rear got stuck. Vettel had the perfect stop a lap later and retained his lead. 

Jenson Button was hustling Fernando Alonso ( Lap 23 ) who was struggling on the hard tyres. This was bad news for the championship contender. The McLaren driver used the DRS down the long straight to catapult past the Ferrari driver who did little to defend.  Kimi Raikkonen had not yet pitted and was losing his tyres. He fell into the clutches of Lewis Hamilton who had got his hard tyres up to temperature and wasted little in time in slotting down the inside of the Lotus at Turn 12. Raikkonen finally pitted on Lap 25 but he too encountered a problem on the right rear tyre and was unable to jump Alonso into 5th. Kimi Raikkonen then lost a place to the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo on Lap 26. Massa's quickfire pitstop ensured that he jumped both Raikkonen and Ricciardo ( Lap 27 ). Kimi Raikkonen, who had his tyres up to temperature, then put a fantastic pass on Felipe Massa into the blind apex of Turn One a lap later.

Laps 32 - 35 saw Vettel lose all his advantage to Hamilton as he started getting caught up in traffic. However the German held on to the lead. Button on the other hand was moving up the field with his switch to the softer compound tyres. Felipe Massa passed Raikkonen to take 4th place on Lap 39.

Lap 42 witnessed a change in leadership, a change that would still leave the Driver's Championship in the balance. Lewis Hamilton got mighty close to Sebastian Vettel after the German got blocked by traffic. As they entered the long straight, Hamilton tucked in behind Vettel and used his DRS to close. Vettel went defensive, taking the inside line but Hamilton just swept to the outside line to make the move stick.

Lap 46 saw Jenson Button take 5th place from Raikkonen after a lot of jostling and wheel-to-wheel racing. The gap between the leaders hovered around a second but Lap 53 saw some rough racing and contact as Maldonado made his way past his team-mate Senna.

 

Lewis Hamilton went on to win the Inaugural United States Grand Prix. Sebastien Vettel and Fernando Alonso were the other podium finishers.

Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna completed the top 10.

 

The Podium Finishers :

 

Mario Andretti  was present for the podium interviews :

 

The Result allowed Red Bull Racing to clinch their 3rd consecutive Constructors' Championship!!

 

However the Drivers' Championship had all to play for. Vettel led Alonso by only 13 points. Alonso has never given up.

 

So it ain't over until its over!! So we head to the Brazilian GP to see who will reign supreme in 2012!!

Abu Dhabi GP Review - The ICEMAN knoweth what he Doeth!!

The Formula 1 Fraternity returned to the Middle East after completing the Races of the Far - East.

The Turn-Around time was very short for the teams as the Race at Abu Dhabi is only a week after the Indian Grand Prix.

 

"We shall fight to the end, we shall not give up." These were the words of Fernando Alonso who knew that his chances of a 3rd World Championship were fading fast.

 

"The Twilight Race" has its own aura and is a popular destination for Formula 1 Fans.

The Circuit at Yas Marina delivered a Race which definitely deserved a place in the History Books!!

 

 

 

FREE PRACTICE :

FP1 saw Ma Qing Hua feature again for HRT while Valtteri Bottas got some Track time instead of Bruno Senna ( Certain Rumours gathering pace ). Jules Bianchi replaced Paul di Resta during FP1. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were the Pace - Setters in FP1 while Sebastien Vettel and Fernando Alonso slotted into 3rd and 4th Respectively. Max Chilton too was given a run and was 22nd at the end of the session.

FP2 was pretty straightforward barring a spin by Karthikeyan. The Times were coming down as the track grip increased. Vettel dethroned Hamilton to go fastest but the McLarens looked sharp. The Lotuses looked the part too with Grosjean and Raikkonen 6th & 7th.

FP3 saw everyone stay on track as Hamilton continued the McLaren Domination with Button while the Red Bull duo of Vettel and Webber stayed in touch of the leaders. Alonso was a distant 8th and his chances of qualifying strong seemed a distant dream.

 

 

QUALIFYING :

Q1 saw Hamilton, Rosberg and Webber as the fastest 3 of the session. Q1 didnt spring any surprises as the usual backmarkers were relegated.

Q2 saw the ouster of Schumacher, Hulkenberg, Perez, Di Resta, Senna, Kobayashi, Ricciardo. Hamilton was closely followed by Webber and Vettel.

Q3 would be one of the most exciting Qualifying Sessions ever. Raikkonen set the early pace but it was quickly eclipsed by Hamilton and Vettel. Lewis Hamilton's time couldn't be challenged and Alonso's title hopes took a big hit when he couldn't improve his overall 6th Fastest time. Webber went 2nd fastest while Maldonado produced a stunning lap into 3rd only to be dumped down to 4th as Vettel slotted into 3rd. Raikkonen, Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Massa, Grosjean completed the top 10.

However it wasn't over. Vettel's car came to a stop under the Yas Hotel after being instructed by the team to do so. The resut of this action would add a different dimension to the Title Race!

 

Red Bull and their engine partner Renault announced that the German had been excluded from qualifying as he did not have required amount of fuel left in his tank to be tested by officials. The result was that Vettel was sent to the back of the grid - but Red Bull opted to make set-up changes before the race, which meant that Sebastian Vettel had to start from the pit lane

A very big decision by the Stewards !! Let us see how the race unfolded!

 

 

RACE : 

At the start of the parade lap, Pedro de la Rosa stalled on the grid in his HRT which caused him to have to start from the pits behind Sebastian Vettel. When the race began, Hamilton led into the first corner, while Kimi Raikkonen passed Mark Webber and Pastor Maldonado to take 2nd. Contact between Bruno Senna and Nico Hulkenberg caused the Force India driver to retire from the race. During the first lap, Fernando Alonso overtook both Button and Webber. Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg also had damage and headed into the pits. Meanwhile, up front, Lewis Hamilton reported that he had got cold tyres as Kimi Raikkonen tried a bold move around the outside of the McLaren driver. It didn't pay off, though, and Hamilton retained the lead. While this was happening, Vettel took some slight damage to his front wing as he had made contact with Senna while attempting to overtake. ( Lap 3 ). The German was already upto 16th.

On Lap 5, Romain Grosjean made a move on Nico Rosberg at Turns 8 and 9, but ended up with a puncture on the right front which made contact with Rosberg's front wing. Both drivers had to pit - Grosjean for a set of tyres and Rosberg for a new nosecone.

Four laps later, on Lap 8, Rosberg and Narain Karthikeyan were involved in a collision. Karthikeyan braked due to a steering problem, causing Rosberg who was right behind him to crash into him, bringing both out of the race but unharmed, and sending out the safety car. During the safety car period, when Daniel Ricciardo was weaving and braking, Sebastian Vettel was unaware, and he swerved to avoid the Toro Rosso and hit the DRS board at the side of the track, causing more damage to his front wing. Red Bull soon gave the instruction to fit a new front wing on Vettel's car, along with a set of soft tyres. It was the call Vettel was hoping to avoid. Vettel rejoined the field 21st and last.

Vettel tried a move on Grosjean at the end of the long straight, but the Frenchman fought back and retook the position. Vettel didn't give up through and slotted down the inside at the next corner. This time, there was no way back for Grosjean Sebastian Vettel however was told to let Romain Grosjean past to avoid a penalty. Vettel crossed a white line, and went onto the blue part of the track during the overtake. He let Grosjean past only to retake the position a couple of corners later.

On Lap 20, the race leader Lewis Hamilton slowed to a halt as a technical issue with his McLaren put him out of the race. Kimi Raikkonen inherited the lead as a result. No safety car was required as he had parked his car in a safe position. On the next lap, Fernando Alonso managed to overtake Pastor Maldonado with the assistance of DRS. On lap 23, while attempting the same move on Pastor Maldonado, Mark Webber made contact with the Williams, causing him to spin and lose places to Button, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez, dropping the Australian from 4th to 7th. By this time, Sebastian Vettel had fought his way up to 10th place. Lap 24 saw Jenson Button pass Pastor Maldonado for 3rd.

 

 

Lap 24 witnessed something hillarious. The Lotus team told Kimi Raikkonen that he had a five second lead over Fernando Alonso in 2nd. The Finn repliesd: "Leave me alone I know what I'm doing!"

 

 

Mark Webber tried a move on Felipe Massa but there was contact and Webber was forced off track. Massa spun the car as he hit the gas. ( Lap 26 )

Alonso pitted on lap 29 and rejoined in 6th just behind Vettel. Webber received a Radio Message a Lap later : "Mark, if Sebastian gets a run, don't fight him,"

By lap 31, Vettel was up into second, about twenty seconds behind Kimi Raikkonen, and his subsequent pit stop on lap 37 put him down to 4th. Inspite of a slow pitstop Red Bull managed to get him out before the train of cars from 5th to 11th.

Kimi Raikkonen pitted on Lap 32 and the Finn rejoined the track in the lead, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

Drama continued on lap 39 as Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez tried to overtake Romain Grosjean. Perez ran wide, and when entering the track again, he collided with Grosjean who then collected Mark Webber, taking the Lotus and Red Bull out of the race and earning Perez a ten-second stop and go penalty. This sent out the safety car once more.

McLaren told Jenson Button that Fernando Alonso had struggled on the restart so he should do his best to get close at the restart. Button acknowledged the message but added: "He's very quick in a straight line, very quick." ( Lap 41 )

Kimi Raikkonen's race engineer Simon Rennie ( I have had the privilege of meeting him a couple of times, great guy ) reminded him to keep warming his tyres ahead of the restart to which the Finn snapped back: "Yes, yes, yes, yes. I'm doing it all the time. You don't have to remind me every second." ( Lap 42 )

 

This is what Formula 1 lacked!! Sheer Entertainment from the ICEMAN!!

 

In the closing laps, Fernando Alonso put in quick laps to catch Kimi Raikkonen but the latter maintained the gap to around a second. Vettel took advantage of the safety car to close up to Jenson Button and get past on lap 51. Raikkonen after immense pressure managed to do just enough to hold off the Ferrari to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his first win in 2012, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen punched the air as he crossed the line to take Lotus's first victory in their current guise.

 

Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Vettel were the podium finishers. Jenson Button, Pastor Maldonado, Kamui Kobayashi, Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top 10.

 

This was his First Victory since the Belgian GP 2009. The Iceman had proved all the doubters wrong as he made more than just a fantastic return to Formula 1.

 

The Lotus Team went beserk in the Pit Garage and I shouted my lungs out at home!!

 

The Iceman Deserved it! The Team Deserved it!! They had shown great character the entire season with the limited resources that they had!

 

The Win had finally come, albeit slightly late. A Win is a Win though!

 

Sebastien Vettel too produced a stunning drive to climb upto 3rd from the back of the grid, a feat that speaks volumes of the Racer in him. Fernando Alonso would be disppointed as he would have hoped that the gap would be considerably less at the end of the weekend.

 

On a Personal Note, I am really glad that Kimi Raikkonen got a win under his belt in his comeback year. He has also been the only driver to finish all the races, not to forget that he has finished in the points in all the races except one.

He consolidated his Position ( 3rd ) in the Championship too with the full 25 points. Lewis Hamilton was left to rue what would have been after having the perfect weekend up until that point.

 

 

This truly was the Best Race of the season.. it had it all - The Controversies, the Incidents, the Safety Cars, the Retirements, the Stunning Drives, the Fantastic Overtakes, the Hillarious Radio Messages and at the end of the day, A WORTHY WINNER!!

 

Lets indulge and savour the celebrations through some stills post-race!

 

 

 

 

ALL HAIL KING KIMI!! THE ICEMAN COMETH!! and the ICEMAN KNOWETH WHAT HE DOETH!!

 

A Gallery of Memories - Part 2

The Formula 1 season is now coming to a close. I have had the privilege of being at 3 Grand Prixs and the Indian Grand Prix was the 4th and Final Race I would be at.

Once again I was a guest of the Lotus F1 Team. A Big Thank you to God and my Dad for their support and for understanding my love for Motorsport.

A Big Thank you to www.excluvsivegp.com too for all the arrangements and making the experience really memorable.

Lotus F1 Team didn't have many guests this year and a Team Suite couldn't be organised. We were accomodated in the Club Suite near the entrance of the Pit-Lane ( 3rd Floor ). It eventually turned out to be a Blessing in Disguise as the Suite was shared by 5 other teams... so the chance to meet other Drivers was bright.

I won't write more.. let the Pictures say it all. ENJOY!!

 

Jerome D'Ambrosio - Lotus F1 Reserve Driver :

 

 

Lotus F1 Team Pit-Crew ( Celebrities in their own Right )  :

 

 

Star Sports Presenter Sanjeev Palar ( Engine Block Fame ) :

 

 

Sebastien Buemi ( Red Bull Racing Team's Reserve Driver, Ex-Toro Rosso ) :

 

 

Johnny Herbert ( Ex-F1 Driver, 3 time British GP Winner ), Simon Lazenby, Sky Sports Presenters. I Love Sky Sports Formula 1 HD. Best Coverage of F1 Races!

 

 

Bernd Maylander ( Formula 1 Safety Car Driver ) : 

 

 

Chris Goodwin ( Ex Co-Commentator with Steve Slater for Start Sports ). Remember listening to him when I was a newbie in the Worldwide followers of Formula 1. Fantastic Presenter. Now he manages Bruno Senna ( Nephew of the Late Great Ayrton Senna ) :

 

 

David Coulthard ( Ex - McLaren Mercedes, Ex - Red Bull Racing, Now a BBC Co-presenter ). Mika Hakkinen's tem-mate. Was a fan of Mika until his Retirement in 2002 and subequent replacement by KIMI. ( Jake of BBC getting Wired-up for the post-qualifying show ) : 

 

 

Daniel Ricciardo ( Scuderia Toro-Rosso Driver ) :

 

 

Pastor Maldonado ( Williams F1 Team Driver, Catalunya GP Winner ) :

 

 

Bruno Senna ( Williams F1 Team Driver, Nephew of the Late Great Ayrton Senna! ) :

 

 

Valtteri Bottas ( Williams F1 Team Reserve Driver ). Another Finn in F1. Had a nice chat. Might support him once Kimi Retires..

 

 

Timo Glock ( Marussia F1 Team Driver ) :

 

 

Charles Pic ( Marussia F1 Team Driver ) :

 

 

Harbhajan Singh ( Indian Cricketer, 400 Scalps to his name!! Fantastic Player ) :

 

 

Martin Brundle ( Ex - F1 Driver, Now a Co-Presenter for Sky Sports F1 ) :

 

 

( L to R ) - Oliver, Fleur, Mable ( Lotus F1 Team ). Thank you Guys for all the Love and Hospitality. Shall Cherish this all my Life!

 

Once again a Special Thanks to www.exclusivegp.com for all the efforts and all the arrangements done.

 

Stay Tuned.. More to Come!

Korean GP Review - Vettel Wrestles back the Lead - Gangnam Style!!

Formula 1 travels back towards the West and its First Stop is Korea. The Results of the Japanese Grand Prix have thrown the Championship Wide Open. Fernando Alonso knew that Ferrari needed to be on the top of the game and expressed his concerns at the lack of performance when compared to that of the Red Bulls.

Sebastien Vettel had pegged back Alonso's lead to 4 points after back-to-back victories in Singapore and Japan.

The Results of the Grand Prix would be pivotal in the Championship Battle....

 

 

FREE PRACTICE :

The first free practice session took place in dry conditions. Lewis Hamilton ended the session as fastest driver, Fernando Alonso who had led most of the ninety-minute session was 2nd while Mark Webber finished in 3rd place.

Sebastian Vettel was fastest in FP2,leading Webber and Alonso. FP2 was an incident free session although Sergio Perez was forced out after 45 minutes of running when his Sauber lost all power and ground to a halt at Turn 12. Perez was able to safely park the car, allowing the session to continue uninterrupted.

Sebastien Vettel continued his dominance into FP3 while the two McLarens of Hamilton & Button slotted into 2nd and 3rd respectively. Red Bull's Mark Webber was 7th after electrical problems with his engine prevented him from getting a run at the end of the session on the 'super-soft' tyre most drivers are expected to use in qualifying.

 

 

QUALIFYING :

Q1 was a very tense one for many teams. Sebsatien Vettel, Jenson Button and Mark Webber were the top 3 of the session.Narain Karthikeyan lost the rear end of his HRT and narrowly missed a Force India who was slowing for Turn 3. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton had big hiccups as they just made it into Q2 in 16th and 17th Positions respectively. Bruno Senna joined the Caterhams, Marrusias and the HRTs in the Elimination.

Q2 saw Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso come to a halt. Sebastien Vettel was the quickest again. Jenson Button was the Suprise Elimination from the Session. Both the Saubers, Toro Rossos, Pastor Maldonado and Paul di Resta were also eliminated.

Q3 saw another incident when Michael Schumacher was released in the path of Lewis Hamilton however the incident was not pursued. Sebastien Vettel made a rare mistake in the first sector of his Second Flying Lap. The Mistake cost him Pole Position. Mark Webber pipped his Team-Mate to Pole Position. Vettel and Hamilton were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Alonso, Raikkonen, Massa, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Rosberg, Schumacher completed the top 10.

Daniel Ricciardo received a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change. Charles Pic was given a ten-place grid penalty for exceeding the maximum number of engines permitted for use over the course of the season. Narain Karthikeyan failed to set a time after having a brake failure. He was allowed to race at the stewards' discretion.

 

 

 RACE :

The Five Red Lights went out and Sebastien Vettel jumped Mark Webber into First Place on the First Turn. Mark Webber fought back on the Straight into Turn 3 but the German held. It also ensured that no other car had space to challenge the duo on the straight. It was a great start from Fernando Alonso who leapfrogged Lewis Hamilton who got squeezed out at the start. The McLaren driver had a think about a move down the middle of the two Red Bulls, but the gap closed and he was forced to back off. This allowed the championship leader Alonso squeeze down the inside.

The Saubers had an eventful First Lap as both drivers had incidents. Jenson Button was a big loser. The McLaren driver made a good start, but a wreckless Kamui Kobayashi came flying down the inside at Turn Three, missed the braking and smashed into the front right tyre of Button, breaking the suspension and ending the 2009 world champion's race. A Frustrated Button later stated that the drivers should be wary of the techniques adopted as incidents such as these are unforgivable at this level of Motor-Racing. Rosberg too was another retiree, his car hit first by Kamui Kobayashi. Massa passed Raikkonen for 5th place while Kobayashi had to pit for a new front wing. Ricciardo had a brilliant start, rising from 21st to 15th, in his Toro Rosso. Kobayashi was penalised for hitting Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Grosjean pitted on Lap 14 while Mark Webber, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen a lap later. Sebastien Vettel and Fernando Alonso pitted on Lap 16. Alonso emerged just ahead of Perez whose attempt to move past him backfired and he eventually lost a position to Hamilton. Perez on his wearing tyres was now falling backwards as Massa, Raikkonen passed him in the space of 2 laps. Kamui Kobayashi drove into retirement on Lap 18, a disppointing weekend for the Japanese driver after the joy of being on the podium in his home race only a week earlier.

Vettel was now 6 seconds ahead of Webber who was in turn 3 seconds ahead of Alonso.

Lap 21 saw another twist as Hamilton complained of Loss of Grip ( Attributed later to a Broken Anti-Roll Bar ) and was powerless to fend off Massa who overtook him comfortably using DRS. The Next Couple of laps saw some competitve and safe racing between Hamilton and Raikkonen. Raikkonen tried getting past under DRS on Lap 23 but Hamilton had enough to keep his position into the corner. However a lap later, Kimi was closer and went past him on the outside at the end of the DRS zone. However Hamilton made use of his remaining KERS to wrestle back the position from Raikkonen a turn later. Hamilton finally pitted on Lap 26 and the team had some trouble with Front Right Tyre causing a slight delay.

The Gap at the front was more or less unchanged until the second round of pitstops. Mark Webber was the first to blink when he pitted for a new set of soft tyres on Lap 32. Fernando Alonso pitted on Lap 34 and even a clean pitstop wasn't good enough to get him close to the Red Bull of Mark Webber. Sebastian Vettel had a huge lock-up on Lap 35 and was told by his team to pit immediately.

It was Status Quo at the front after the final round of pitstops.

Lap 38 saw Vettel set the Fastest Lap of the race and he had to be assured by the team that the gap to Webber was adequate enough and there was no need to push unnecessarily. Meanwhile Felipe Massa had closed in on Fernando Alonso and the latter found it to be a little too close for comfort. Ferrari however ensured that Massa would not harry Alonso by asking the former to stay withing 2-3 seconds of his team-mate. Ferrari's customary tactics did the job again as Massa yielded. Meanwhile Paul di Resta finally went past Michael Schumacher who had made this really hard for the British driver up until that lap. Their duel had given Perez an opportunity to close up and try a move on Schumacher but the German kept the door shut.

Lap 40 saw some more action as drivers started experiencing wear on their tyres. Grosjean went on the outside of the McLaren of Hamilton at the end of Turn 3. Hamilton, struggling on failing tyres positioned his car well and forced Grosjean wide; that allowed Nico Hulkenberg to close up and the three of them almost went three abreast towards Turn 4. Hamilton defended again, but Hulkenberg went around the outside of both Hamilton and Grosjean in an absolutely stunning move!!!

Fernando Alonso was now struggling and falling into the hands of Felipe Massa who was setting Blistering laps but the Brazilian had to hold station as instructed by Ferrari.

Hamilton did his 3rd Stop on Lap 43 and rejoined 10th. It had been a race to forget for the team with Button's retirement and Hamilton's lack of race pace after qualifying in such a promising position.

Hamilton's newer tyres had given him the much needed performance and he closed in on Jean-Eric Vergne ( Lap 47 ). The McLaren driver couldn't make a move stick down at Turn Three, but saved some KERS and used it in the run down to Turn Four. Hamilton pulled to the outside and tried to cut back, but Vergne didn't yield his position.

The track was falling apart by Lap 50, a huge embarassment for the organisers. Charles Pic ran over a bit of astroturf which has lodged itself free. A Williams ran wide at the same corner and kicked another piece up in the air.

Fernando Alonso seemed to have some life left in his tyres and was now catching the Red Bull of Mark Webber ( Lap 51 ), the latter however tried to maintain the gap around 4 seconds. The duo of Vergne and Hamilton had caught up with Ricciardo and an interesting battle was in store for the last 5 laps. Lap 53 saw Vergne go past his team-mate Ricciardo although Hamilton had to wait another lap.

The fight at the front was getting really intriguing. Red Bull was asking its drivers to nurse their tyres home!! Vettel was warned of unpredictable braking and the last couple of laps were tense for both Team and Driver.

An absolute nightmare awaited Lewis Hamilton on Lap 54. The McLaren driver picked up a piece of astroturf that attached itself to the side of the car and was seen flapping around. The Briton dropped back from the Toro Rossos as he struggled to keep control of an ill-handling car.

Sebastian Vettel's race engineer was on the radio again, telling him to be careful. The German backed right off and and coasted towards victory.

South Korean Rapper Psy waved the chequered flag as Sebastian Vettel crossed the line to take victory!! Mark Webber with Fernando Alonso were the other podium finishers.

Massa, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Vergne, Ricciardo and Hamilton completed the top 10. Hamilton had to fend off a late charge from Perez on the last lap to grab the Solitary Point.

So Red Bull Celebrated its First 1-2 of the Season. Ferrari moved ahead of McLaren in the Constructor Battle but the Drivers' Championship now had a new leader.

Vettel had leapfrogged Alonso to lead the Championship by 6 points. The Red Bulls are now going from strength to strength. Vettel notched up his 4th win of the season, 3 consecutive wins for the German.

The Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean gathered good points as Kimi extended his lead over Hamilton to retain 3rd place in the Drivers' Championship Standings.

Kimi Raikkonen was also the only driver to have finished every race this season.

 

The Next Round is India!!! I shall be in the Paddock again as a guest of the Lotus F1 Team, so lots of photos coming your way... soon.

Watch this Space!