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Posts for Tag: Raikkonen

The Wane of the Black and Gold ???

Championships are won by consistency and more importantly, consistently winning. It was no surprise that we saw Michael Schumacher dominate from 2000 to 2004. 

Red Bull too have portrayed a similar consistency and have won 3 championships on the trot. 2013 too has seen them score big whenever the opportunity has presented itself and one can say that pegging back their lead would demand a herculean task from the rest.

Ferrari and Lotus F1 have played catchup after having their fair share of success this season. Lotus F1 has seen a sudden loss of form recently and I would like to explore the reasons behind this.


1) James Allison leaving the team.

James Allison had been a fantastic addition to the Enstone based team. Respected within the Formula 1 Fraternity, James was instrumental in the championship winning years of Ferrari from 2000 to 2004. He also enjoyed success during the Benetton days. His departure on the Spanish GP weekend left everyone in shock and the team seemed to have lost direction after his departure. They put up a brave front and Kimi finished 2nd in the race. Grosjean suffered suspension failure and retired from the race. Grosjean had a big shunt in final practice in Monaco and tailgated Ricciardo putting both out of the race and earning a 10 place grid penalty for the Canadian GP.  Kimi would have finished in the Top 6 at best but contact with Perez left him on a damage limitation drive and he finished 10th in Monaco. Canada saw him struggle in Qualifying. The Race was riddled with multiple problems for him and 9th was the best he could manage. Grosjean couldn't maintain his strategy and a 2nd stop bumped him out of the points. 

The Recent spate of bad results could point to a certain unrest within the team. James brought a stability to the team. The Same could be said for the trio of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Nigel Stepney for Ferrari or the quartet of Ron Dennis, Adrian Newey, Martin Whitmarsh and Nobert Haug for McLaren Mercedes.

"Ferrarigate" saw Nigel Stepney leave Ferrari, Jean Todt and Ross Brawn too left for other endeavours.The Team made several errors in Stepney's absence who was in charge of trackside operations. It took some time for the Team to recover and they are yet to win a championship since 2007.  Martin Whitmarsh is the only one left in the McLaren team with Ron Dennis taking a more passive role and they have had similar experiences since 2008.

One might say that James Allison isn't the sole deciding factor and this cannot be denied. However his contribution and sheer presence was assuring for a team which is smaller in size and has limited resources to work with.

Nick Chester, his replacement has big shoes to fill. Unlike James, Nick was permanently stationed in Enstone but is now trackside and it would intriguing to see how he handles such a challenge.


2) Sponsorships and Finances :

A report suggested that the Team posted a record loss in the 2012 season. The Team performed well last season and left many bigger spending teams red-faced. The Team has got some new entrants in sponsorships and it would be wrong to quote figures without proper knowledge. However in the aftermath of a loss posted, it seems logical to offload some personnel and cut back costs. This could be one of the major reasons for Allison's departure. Holding onto Kimi Raikkonen might also be a big ask for the 2014 season. The Team would really hope to be in Championship winning positions to attract more sponsors and earn the vital money that one gets after finishing higher in the championship.


3) Dent to the Charge :

The Team enjoyed being 2nd in the Constructors leading into the Spanish GP but the results of the last 2 races have meant that the Competitors have closed in and they are now 4th in the standings at the end of the Canadian GP. The Financial constraints have also meant that upgrades have been hard to come by. It can be said that the last two races ( Monaco and Canada ) weren't best suited for the car but no points for Grosjean and only 3 for Raikkonen meant that even damage limitation couldn't be achieved.The Team would hope to hit back at Silverstone and they must as any more slip-ups would leave them with too much to do at the business end of the season.


The Driver's Championship too has seen Raikkonen being demoted to 3rd after the Canadian GP. He trails leader Vettel by 44 points. We still have 12 races to go but I do not foresee Vettel dropping too many points from hereon. It might be premature to say that Raikkonen is out of contention but the team must ensure that no more mistakes are made in the upcoming races to keep him in the hunt. The disappointment would be evident for the Finn as he has had only one victory to show for his efforts.



Kimi Raikkonen would have the opportunity to break Michael Schumacher's record of consecutive points finishes in Silverstone. Grosjean too must iron out errors and ensure strong finishes in the points to aid the team in the Constructors' Battle. 


Hopefully the team might prove its doubters wrong and produce a resurgence. The Team has won championships in the past and a comeback would only spice up the battle at the front of the grid.


3 weeks until Silverstone, a lot of questions to be answered. F1 please come back soon.


Common Kimi Raikkonen!! Common Romain Grojean!! Common Lotus F1!!



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!