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2020 70th Anniversary GP Race Recap : Max-imum Attack on a Bull-ish Sunday!

It is the 70th year of racing for Formula 1. The Pinnacle of Motorsport has enthralled fans through the seven decades of its existence returning this weekend to the place where it all began, 70 years ago! Silverstone played host to this special event, the race christened as the 70th Anniversary GP.

There was a lot of buzz in the world of F1 leading up to this historic weekend.

Pirelli investigated the tyre delaminations of the previous weekend and stated that these were due to the "extremely long use" of the tyres after an early Safety Car in the race. The 70th-anniversary event would pose a new challenge with the tyres being a level softer. Higher track temperatures than the previous weekend meant that teams would need to conserve their harder sets for the race, limiting their simulation runs in Free Practice sessions.

On the Protests front, the FIA reviewed the documents and technical data submitted against Racing Point ( by Renault ) over the past four race weekends and upheld the protest. Racing Point had copied the front brake ducts ( of Mercedes ) for their 2019 car ( when it was allowed ) but copied the rear brake ducts for 2020 ( which wasn't allowed ). FIA ruled this as a breach of Sporting Regulations and docked 15 points off Racing Point's points tally along with a 400,000 Euros fine as a financial penalty.

Thankfully, the RP20 was considered legal and allowed to participate in the championship in its current avatar. The team is contemplating an appeal against this decision.

Renault however, isn't happy with the severity of the sentence and plans to appeal for higher sanctions against Racing Point. Ferrari already has, other teams might follow suit.


More Details about the FIA Ruling here :

https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.breaking-racing-point-deducted-15-points-and-fined-heavily-as-renault.7j9tsLSAm7rXnWHxH1Uy9c.html


Sergio Perez, who tested positive for Covid-19 last weekend hadn't recovered in time and would miss the 70th Anniversary GP as well. Racing Point retained Nico Hulkenberg as his replacement. The German would hope for a trouble-free Sunday after failing to start last weekend's race due to a faulty clutch-bolt.


So who reigned supreme in the countryside of Silverstone?

Was the 70th Anniversary of the sport a memorable day in its history?


Time for a quick recap!



Practice :


Valtteri Bottas was the fastest in Free Practice 1 from Hamilton and Verstappen. Hulkenberg had an impressive start to the weekend in P4. Ferrari was in the mix with Leclerc in P5 ( with their low-downforce setup ) while Albon completed the top 6, a second adrift of the fastest time. Vettel had an off-track moment but managed to set the 7th fastest time. Stroll, Kvyat and Ocon completed the top 10. McLaren didn't feel bullish this weekend, their drivers spending the session learning about the soft tyres. Grosjean was the fastest Ferrari customer car, splitting the McLarens with the 13th fastest time. The Williams duo was 15th and 16th fastest, Latifi slowly getting up to pace with the FW43.  Ricciardo struggled in FP1 and could set only the 17th fastest time. Raikkonen was 18th from Kubica, the Polish reserve driver getting a session instead of Giovinazzi. Raikkonen believed there was more speed in the car and hoped to finish in the points this weekend. However, he still suffered from balance issues and had a couple of off-track excursions. Kevin Magnussen was P20 in his Haas. Everyone set their representative lap times on the soft tyres.


The drivers chose to experiment with their tyres ( some mediums, some softs ) in Free Practice 2. Lewis Hamilton was the fastest in the session and had set his time with a set of medium tyres. Bottas was P2, less than two-tenths of a second slower than his team-mate. Ricciardo produced a stellar lap, bumping up his Renault into P3, just clear of Verstappen's best time in 4th. Stroll and Hulkenberg were P5 and P6 for Racing Point. Hulkenberg's race simulation program was a bit compromised after the team had to address his seating issues. Leclerc was the fastest Ferrari with the 7th fastest time. Norris and Sainz were back up into the top 10 with Ocon hot on their heels. Albon had another challenging FP2; the Thai driver suffering from balance issues on his Red Bull. Alpha Tauri had another strong showing in free practice with P12 and P13. Vettel could only manage P14 in the other works Ferrari car. The four-times World Champion suffered from an engine failure near the end of the session, grinding to a halt on the old pit straight. The Stewards initiated a Virtual Safety Car period due to excessive oil on the track. Grosjean was again the faster of the two Haas cars in P15 ahead of Russell and Raikkonen. Magnussen managed the 18th fastest time while Latifi was 19th in the other Williams. Giovinazzi, who sat out FP1 for Kubica also suffered a mechanical failure and had to ditch his Alfa Romeo at a run-off area at Becketts. The session was subsequently red-flagged and ended by the Stewards.

Race simulation programs from FP2 suggested that almost all teams would need a 2-stop strategy for the race. Mercedes was still the quickest of the lot but less than half a second separated P6 from P15. Qualifying would be a close-run affair with tyre choice being paramount for the midfield runners.


Mercedes reigned supreme in Free Practice 3 as well. Hamilton was the fastest from Bottas and Norris. Norris was the only driver to set his fastest lap time on medium tyres. Racing Point was in the top 6 with Hulkenberg and Stroll. Ferrari chose to change Leclerc's Power Unit as a "precautionary measure". Leclerc was P6 from the Red Bull duo of Verstappen and Albon. Verstappen was held up by Stroll and had to back off on his first run. Ocon and Sainz completed the top 10. The Alpha Tauris remained quicker than Vettel, the German having a complete lack of pace over one lap. Ricciardo could only manage the 14th fastest time. Grosjean was P15, Latifi and Russell P16 and P17. Giovinazzi, Raikkonen and Magnussen brought up the rear of the field. An intriguing Qualifying session awaited the drivers.



Qualifying :


Q1 got underway with everyone but Russell, Grosjean and Magnussen on soft tyres. Verstappen complained about gusty conditions which were putting the cars out of balance at Maggotts and Becketts. The Stewards decided to investigate an incident between Ocon and Russell, the former guilty of trudging slowly on the racing line. Leclerc, Verstappen and Hulkenberg did not opt for a second run as others drove out on another set of fresh tyres. Bottas set the fastest time in Q1 from Hamilton and Albon. Verstappen, Gasly, Stroll, Norris, Ocon, Hulkenberg and Leclerc completed the top 10. Vettel managed to scrape through to Q2 in P14 while Russell ensured William's representation with the 15th fastest time. Kvyat was safely in the top 15 after his final run but had his lap time deleted due to exceeding of track limits at turn 15. The Russian was immensely disappointed at the end of the session and the first casualty of qualifying. Magnussen, Latifi, Giovinazzi and Raikkonen were the other eliminations. Alfa Romeo had brought upgrades this weekend but still seem to lack outright pace. It is quite a frustrating period for the Swiss-based outfit.


Q2 was the most intriguing of the Qualifying sessions as teams had to debate on the choice of tyres for their drivers. Red Bull rolled the dice by sending Verstappen out on hard tyres. Russell chose the soft tyres while the rest of the field opted for the mediums. Hulkenberg got compromised on his banker lap after an off-track at Chapel. Bottas, Hamilton and Ricciardo were the top 3 after the first runs. Verstappen set the 5th fastest time. Ricciardo and Verstappen decided to stay in the pits with Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Leclerc and Sainz choosing the softs for their final run. The rest opted for the mediums hoping to qualify into Q3. Bottas, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Gasly, Ricciardo, Albon, Stroll, Leclerc, Verstappen and Norris made it into Q3. Hamilton, Bottas and Leclerc had backed off on their final run and would start the race on medium tyres.

Ocon, Vettel, Sainz, Grosjean and Russell were the eliminations in Q2. Vettel was four-tenths of a second slower than his team-mate, another disappointing Saturday for the German. Data showed that both Ferrari cars were struggling in the high-speed corners. Sainz too had a challenging qualifying but had the luxury of a free tyre choice for the start of the race.


The final shoot-out in qualifying brought another mixed bag with tyre choices. Ricciardo, Albon and Verstappen put on the medium tyres for their banker laps of Q3. Hamilton laid down the gauntlet with the fastest time on his soft tyres. Bottas was hot on his heels. Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Verstappen and Albon constituted the best of the rest.
A change in track temperatures in the final minutes of Q3 brought about another discussion between teams and their drivers over the right tyre choice. Hamilton, Bottas and Ricciardo deduced that the medium tyres were the best fit in current conditions. The rest of the participants chose a more aggressive route with the soft tyres. The final minutes of Q3 would decide the fate of those who made the right call with their tyres. It was a close contest between the Mercedes duo. Bottas came out on top, six-hundredths of a second clear of his team-mate. Hulkenberg set a blistering lap, promoting himself to P3 on the grid! Verstappen could only manage P4. Ricciardo had a strong showing for Renault in P5 while Stroll ensured Racing Point had both cars in top 6. Alpha Tauri would be proud of another stellar lap by Gasly who would start in P7. The Frenchman was maturing well in Red Bull's B-Team. P8 was the best that Ferrari could manage with Leclerc. Albon had a mediocre outing in P9 while Norris qualified in P10 for McLaren.


Ocon got a three-place grid drop for impeding Russell in Q1 and would start the race in P14.


Mercedes seemed unbeatable this weekend as well. Red Bull held a slight advantage over their rivals with Verstappen starting the race on hard tyres. Overcutting both the Mercedes was a different matter altogether. Hulkenberg was the talk of the town with a great qualifying. The entire F1 world hoped and prayed for a trouble-free and incident-free Sunday for the German. A podium finish beckoned; if all went well! Ricciardo was Renault's best chance at a podium while Leclerc hoped for some fortune like last weekend to finish higher up on Sunday. Albon has a better showing on Sunday and looked to undo the damage of Saturday. Vettel was in the same boat as Albon. McLaren aimed for points finish for both their cars. Alpha Tauri needed a clean race from both their drivers. Williams saw improvement with each passing weekend while Haas and Alfa Romeo fell backwards despite their upgrades.


Sunday would be a memorable day!



Race :



The 70th Anniversary GP saw all 20 starters line up on the grid for the formation lap. Verstappen was the only driver to start on hard tyres in the top 10. Vettel, Sainz, Kvyat and Raikkonen also followed suit. The rest of the field were on medium tyres. The "Alternate Strategy" wasn't ideal; as shown in the F2 Feature Race on Saturday. Those on the hard tyres had a chance to prove otherwise.  


It was a clean getaway for the Mercedes duo as the lights went out. Verstappen was up into P3 with Hulkenberg having to fend off Stroll in P5. Vettel had a decent start off the line and was challenging Sainz into turn 1. However, the rear of his car got loose, sending him into a spin and relegating him to the back of the field. Leclerc held onto P10 while defending from Sainz. Giovinazzi and Magnussen were the biggest gainers ( 4 positions up ) on the opening lap. Raikkonen passed Latifi for P18 with Vettel following suit a few turns later ( lap 2 ). Vettel went past his ex-teammate on lap 4 to move up to 18th.


Bottas, Hamilton, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Stroll, Ricciardo, Gasly, Norris, Albon and Leclerc were the top 10 at the end of lap 4.


Mercedes warned Bottas about the "critical" health of his left front medium tyre ( lap 6 ). It seemed like his race was getting compromised.  


Albon was the first to pit for what seemed to be an early stop for a two-stop strategy ( lap 7 ). He rejoined last with a fresh set of hard tyres. Red Bull made the call to pit Albon early and save him from the midfield squabbles. Gasly and Giovinazzi pitted a lap later for a set of hard tyres as well. Vettel was now up to P15 and honing in on Russell in the Williams. Russell was the next driver to pit on lap 9 for a set of hard tyres. The battle at the front was hotting up with Verstappen setting similar lap times to the Mercedes in front. Gasly made a move on Raikkonen for P14 on lap 11 while Red Bull asked Verstappen to back off and preserve the life of his tyres. Verstappen refused to relent citing a rare chance of coming out on top with his alternate strategy. He was in DRS range and heckled Hamilton for the next few laps. Meanwhile, Norris pitted from P7 ( lap 13 ) and rejoined in 13th with a fresh set of hard tyres.


Albon made a daring overtake on Raikkonen for P15 while race-leader Bottas pitted for hard tyres ( lap 14 ). The Hamilton-Verstappen battled carried on with Hamilton getting increasingly critical of the health of his rear tyres. Bottas rejoined in 6th behind Ricciardo, the Finn needing to make a few overtakes to maintain track position over a charging Verstappen. Hamilton pitted on lap 15 for hard tyres and rejoined in P6 behind Bottas and Leclerc. Ricciardo switched to another medium set, rejoining in P10.      


Hamilton was back up to pace quickly with an overtake on Leclerc for P4 while Bottas set the fastest lap of the race. Hulkenberg pitted from P2 on lap 16 and switched to a set of hard tyres rejoining in P7. Verstappen had track position and continued to extend his stint on the hard tyres. Grosjean lost P11 to Vettel ( lap 17 ) and P12 to Norris ( lap 18 ) before entering the pits for a switch to the hard tyres. He rejoined in 20th and last. Stroll and Leclerc pitted on lap 19, both switching over to hard tyres. Stroll rejoined in 6th while Leclerc was down to P12.


Magnussen sparred with Latifi for P18 and ran wide at Stowe. They banged wheels with Magnussen dangerously rejoining the track. The Stewards investigated the incident and Magnussen copped a five-second time penalty for his misdemeanour. Albon went wheel to wheel with Gasly, for P13, but the Frenchman held his ground. Leclerc tried a manoeuvre on Norris ( for P10 ) and was past him out of Luffield ( lap 20 ). Kvyat pitted for a set of hard tyres from P8. Grosjean went past his team-mate Magnussen for P19, the latter pitting for a set of hard tyres. 


Both Mercedes cars were now reporting blisters with Verstappen lapping quicker than them! The tables had turned! Red Bull Racing had the upper hand; a rare opportunity beckoned! 


It was job done for Albon with an overtake on Gasly ( for P12 ) on the outside of turn 7 ( lap 22 ). Kvyat moved past Raikkonen for P14. 


There was another flurry of pit stops on lap 23. Sainz, Ocon and Vettel dived into the pits. Sainz had a slow stop ( left rear ) and rejoined on a set of medium tyres. Vettel and Ocon had a set of hard tyres on rejoining the race. Gasly pitted a lap later, rejoining in P19 with a fresh set of hard tyres. The issue of tyre blistering worsened for the Mercedes cars, Verstappen now had time for a pit stop on Hamilton! 


Vettel had another tussle with Raikkonen, moving up to P13 ( lap 25 ). The series of pit stops continued into the following laps. Russell pitted on lap 25 for a set of hard tyres while Ricciardo pitted for hard tyres from P6 ( lap 26 ). Verstappen was also into the pits and completed a switch to mediums on lap 26. It was a slightly slower stop for the Red Bull crew, Verstappen rejoining the track a few car lengths behind Bottas in P2. Verstappen was back in the lead on lap 27 with a move on the outside at Luffield! Raikkonen and Latifi also pitted for a set of mediums and hard tyres respectively. They rejoined in P17 ( Raikkonen ) and P19 ( Latifi ). Leclerc was the fastest driver on the track now.


Vettel wasn't happy with the strategy that Ferrari put him on and made his displeasure known on the radio. The German was stuck in traffic, down in 12th behind Sainz. Meanwhile, Albon passed Norris for P7 who decided to pit immediately after for a set of hard tyres. The McLaren protege rejoined in 13th. Bottas set the fastest lap of the race while Red Bull instructed Verstappen to go aggressive on his current stint and forget tyre management. Hulkenberg and Albon pitted on lap 31 for a set of hard tyres, rejoining in P6 and P12 respectively. Ricciardo suffered a spin on lap 31 and dropped out of the points. The Australian had closed in on the Ocon-Kvyat battle and looked to have banged wheels with Sainz which sent him into a spin. Verstappen heeded to his team's advice and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 31. He was into the pits a lap later, Bottas mirroring his strategy! Hamilton was into the lead and yet to make a second stop ( if needed ). For Verstappen and Bottas it was a race to the finish. 


Vettel and Giovinazzi pitted on lap 34 for a set of medium tyres, rejoining in P14 and P19 respectively. Sainz switched to the hard tyres two laps later and rejoined the race behind Vettel. Meanwhile, at the front, Hamilton questioned his team's decision to prolong his run on the hard tyres. The team assured him that he still had some grip left on the current tyres. Albon overtook Ocon for P7 while Norris went past Ricciardo for P10. Kvyat pitted for the final time on lap 36 for medium tyres. Ricciardo had suffered flat-spots on his tyres due to his spin earlier and forced to pit for the third time. Albon, in clear air, set the fastest lap of the race. Leclerc, in P4 for Ferrari, was the only driver in the top 6 yet to make a second stop. 


Mercedes contemplated on switching Hamilton to a one-stop strategy, the reigning World Champion having track position and an eleven seconds cushion to the charging Red Bull behind him. There was action further down the field - Ricciardo went past Raikkonen for P14 while Grosjean and Russell pitted for a set of hard and medium tyres respectively. Albon was closing in on the Racing Point cars in P5 and P6. Red Bull asked Verstappen to start pushing and close the gap to Hamilton ( lap 41 ) since they believed that he would not be pitting again. However, Mercedes chose the conservative approach and pitted Hamilton for a new set of hard tyres at the end of lap 41. He rejoined in P4, 12 seconds adrift of Leclerc. He could now push till the end and possibly, salvage a win. 


Hamilton was on a charge, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 43. Hulkenberg, in P5, reported vibrations and pitted for a fresh set of soft tyres on lap 45. He rejoined in P7, having lost positions to Stroll and Albon. Hamilton caught up to Leclerc and completed the overtake at Stowe on lap 46. Leclerc put him a good fight and probably slowed Hamilton enough to guarantee Verstappen a win. Magnussen's dismal day came to an end on lap 45, the Haas driver retiring from the race in P20. 


Verstappen had a five-second lead over Bottas who himself was three seconds clear of Hamilton. The gap between the Mercedes team-mates was reducing rapidly. Mercedes informed both their drivers that they were free to race but had to "keep it clean". Hamilton was within striking distance of Bottas and P2 on lap 50. He had a look on the outside of Vale chicane but relented. They were side by side through Aintree and Brooklands with Hamilton finally getting past his team-mate on the Wellington straight. Albon brought more joy to Red Bull with an outstanding overtake at Corpse corner on Stroll for P5. 


Verstappen was on the final lap and had a chuckle with his race engineer! It had been a challenging race for the team and driver. He took the chequered flag and his first win of 2020, comfortably clear of Hamilton and Bottas! It was a victory well deserved! 
Leclerc produced another stellar drive to come home in P4. He was one of the two drivers in the top 10 that had pitted only once during the race! Albon had another strong Sunday in P5 while Stroll and Hulkenberg could only manage P6 and P7 for Racing Point. Ocon was the other single-stopper to finish in the points. The Frenchman had to do a considerable amount of fuel-saving besides fending off a late attack by Norris. Kvyat completed the top 10. Gasly narrowly missed out on another points scoring weekend while Vettel was left wondering about Ferrari's strategy choice for him. Sainz and Ricciardo had a long afternoon in P13 and P14. Raikkonen was P15 for Alfa Romeo from Grosjean, Giovinazzi, Russell and Latifi. 


Racing Point got reprimanded for using the same brake ducts that conflicted with the sporting regulations. Renault had protested against Racing Point again but withdrew after the latter got a reprimand.


Higher track temperatures combined with softer tyres caused the undoing of the Mighty Mercedes! Red Bull showed that they never back out of a duel and are more than a handful on their day. Verstappen didn't slip up when the opportunity arose. Ferrari was kinder on its tyres and would be encouraged by Leclerc's showing. There is still light at the end of the tunnel. Albon repaid Red Bull's faith in him with a strong performance on Sunday. He needs to address his qualifying issues to be right up there with Verstappen. Racing Point had a strong weekend with another double-points finish, the podium still elusive for Hulkenberg. An uncharacteristic error by Ricciardo robbed him of a finish in the points. Ocon had to hold the position due to fuel saving at the end. It was another "what could have been" day for Renault. McLaren would like to put this challenging weekend behind them as quickly as possible. Alpha Tauri would be ruing the missed opportunity of a double-points finish. Ferrari's race strategy miffed Vettel, the spin at the start of the race adding more woes to his never-ending struggles. The German is possibly suffering neglect in his final year there. Alfa Romeo's travails continue with a lack of outright pace despite the upgrades this weekend. Raikkonen, however, did a great job with tyre management on his one-stop strategy. Haas F1 had another forgettable weekend. Williams went backwards again on a Sunday. 



It was one of the most memorable Sundays for Red Bull Motorsport. They came out victorious both on two wheels and four! 



Yuki Tsunoda, the Honda Program driver, was victorious in the F2 Sprint Race at Silverstone. Brad Binder, the rookie in Moto GP, helped Red Bull KTM Racing ( the factory team ) bag their first win in Moto GP history at the Czech GP in Brno. He sported number 33 on his bike. 


Two hours after Binder's win, Max Verstappen won the 70th Anniversary GP for Red Bull Racing F1 Team in F1! He too raced with number 33 on his car!


An iconic win on a historical day in F1! 



Red Bull Racing is the only challenger to a rampaging Mercedes in 2020 and Max Verstappen is its warrior elect.


Catalunya is next on the F1 calendar with similar weather forecasted for the race. We could see yet another Red Bull victory next weekend.

Bring on the Spanish GP!



2020 British GP Race Recap : A Tyre-ing Day at the Office!

Silverstone UK was the venue for rounds four and five of the 2020 F1 season. The teams travelled west, a fortnight after the first triple-header of the year. The teams took stock of their performances in the opening rounds and arrived in Silverstone, some with an upgraded package.

There was a buzz in the air with the 70th anniversary of the sport a week later. However, grim news hit the paddock on Thursday. Sergio Perez, Racing Point F1 driver, was isolated due to an "inconclusive" Covid-19 test. He later tested positive. The Mexican went into self-isolation as per UK quarantine guidelines and would miss the British and possibly the 70th Anniversary GP. He had flown to Mexico to visit his injured mother and believes he contracted the virus during travel. Thankfully, he was asymptomatic.

Racing Point had little time to search for a replacement. Nico Hulkenberg got chosen over Vandoorne and Gutierrez. The German was a part of the sport up until last year and had a 5-year stint with the team. He infamously holds the record for the most number of races without a podium ( in F1 ). Many hoped this would change in the extremely capable Racing Point RP20.

Hulkenberg was allowed into the paddock after a series of Covid-19 tests and a seat fit completed in the Racing Point factory which is next door.


Silverstone is a power-track which offers a fair bit of challenge to general car balance thanks to its fast, flowing corners. This track was the first test of the capabilities of each car on the 2020 F1 grid and the "home race" for Mercedes AMG Petronas, Red Bull Racing, Racing Point, McLaren, Renault, Haas F1 and Williams Racing. 

Varying track temperatures would make it a challenge for the right tyre choice come qualifying and race. The tyre selection ( by Pirelli ) were a step harder than the ones chosen for the weekend after. The engineers had their hands full for an action-packed British and 70th Anniversary GPs.


Let us have a quick recap of the British GP weekend!


Practice :

Free Practice 1 saw Verstappen top the session with Hamilton and Stroll hot on his heels. The Mercedes powered cars were on the medium tyres vs the soft for the Red Bull. Ferrari had a mixed session with Leclerc setting the 5th fastest time and Vettel unable to participate due to intercooler issues on his engine. Bottas could only manage P6 while the Renaults made it into the top 10. Hulkenberg was a commendable P9, only half a second slower than his team-mate. McLaren had a tricky start to the weekend with Sainz and Norris in 12th and 13th respectively. Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi had offtrack excursions - Raikkonen suffered from a spin in Luffield while Giovinazzi had an incident at Becketts. The Italian came off worse. The blistered hard tyre damaged the floor of his car and debris got strewn across the track. The session was red-flagged, Giovinazzi summoned to the stewards' room. Russell complained about balance issues but was able to split the Alfa Romeo cars. Latifi was the last driver to set a lap time.

Track Temperature during Free Practice 2 was 10 degrees higher than that predicted for Qualifying and the Race. Stroll was the fastest in the session from Albon and Bottas. Albon had a high-speed crash on the exit of Stowe corner, massive damage to the rear end of his car. FIA had to red flag the session briefly. Bottas was 3rd for the Mercedes works team while Charles Leclerc promoted his Ferrari to P4! Hamilton had to back off on his flying lap and finished in P5. Sainz got McLaren into the top 6. Hulkenberg improved to P7; 6 tenths of a second the deficit to his team-mate. Gasly and Ricciardo were 8th and 9th. Kimi Raikkonen got his Alfa Romeo into the top 10, encouragement for the Ferrari powered customer team. Giovinazzi was P13 in the other Alfa Romeo while Norris and Ocon finished in P11 and P12. Max Verstappen was impeded on his qualifying sim run by Grosjean and had to settle for 14th. He made his intense displeasure known on the team radio and returned the favour a lap later. He also held up Ocon's Renault in the process. Vettel's woes didn't seem to end in FP2 either with the German setting only the 18th fastest time. He was confined to his box again due to a loose pedal floor. He had work to do on Saturday due to the limited running on Friday. Haas and Williams were the slowest in FP2. Latifi suffered a spin, out of Stowe corner near the end of FP2.

Free Practice 3 got underway with conditions being overcast. An ERS Issue for Albon resigned him to the pits for the majority of the session. Vettel's FP3 program also hit a blip when his brake pedal came loose, the German visibly frustrated with these setbacks. Bottas was the fastest in FP3 from Hamilton and VerstappenA gust of wind through Maggots and Becketts compromised Hamilton's flying lap, his real pace still unknown. Mercedes had a clear advantage to the rest of the field. Less than a second separated P1 from P9 with Stroll slotting himself into P4 ahead of Sainz and Leclerc, the only Ferrari powered car in the top ten. Hulkenberg reduced the deficit to his team-mate to only two-tenths of a second and finished in P9. P13 was the best that Albon could do after having his first lap time invalidated due to exceeding track limits. Vettel ended the session in P14. Five Ferrari powered cars were in the bottom six with Haas and Alfa Romeo bringing up the rear of the field. 
Alpha Tauri changed gearboxes for both their drivers. Gasly had retired in the previous race so didn't incur a penalty. However, Kyvat got a five-place grid drop. Renault broke the curfew restrictions on Friday night, their first of the two exemptions allowed in the season to change the chassis on Ricciardo's car after it developed a hairline fracture. Giovinazzi and Hamilton switched to their second MGU-K units, no penalties incurred.


Qualifying :

Bottas was the dominant Mercedes in Q1. Hamilton and Verstappen completed the top 3. The Racing Point cars were 4th and 5th. Russell once again bumped his Williams up into Q2 with a 13th place finish. His team-mate Latifi had a big spin at Luffield in the final minutes of Q1 and brought out yellow flags. Russell set his personal best time under yellow flag conditions ( P13 as mentioned earlier ) and was investigated by the stewards after the session. Raikkonen and Giovinazzi had improved on their times but couldn't get themselves out of Q1. Alfa Romeo Racing F1 was the only team to have not entered Q2 till date, troubled times for the Swiss-based outfit. Magnussen, Grosjean and Latifi were the other casualties. Raikkonen reported his displeasure at being impeded by Ocon and the stewards decided to investigate the incident.


Q2 got underway with a varied tyre choice for drivers. Mercedes, Racing Point, Red Bull and Leclerc chose the medium tyres for their first run. The rest of the field were on softs. Bottas set a new track record whereas Hamilton made a rare mistake at Luffield and got spun around. To add insult to injury, the Stewards decided to halt the session when Hamilton was on a flying lap ( his second attempt ). The marshalls had to clear the gravel off the racing line before the resumption of the session. The seven-time World Champion had a decision to make in the interim. He chose to use his final set of Medium Tyres for his second run in Q2 with eight minutes left on the clock. He set the 2nd fastest time, the move paying off. In the final minutes of the session, Vettel and Stroll exited the pits on a fresh set of medium tyres while the rest of the field ( including the Mercedes ) chose the soft tyres. Stroll couldn't improve on his final run, neither could Vettel. Stroll was the driver under threat in P10. Gasly matched his lap time ( to the thousandth of a second ) but was classified eleventh since Stroll was the first driver to set the same lap time ( as per FIA rules ). Albon was the big casualty of Q2 with twelfth being his best effort. Hulkenberg too was a disappointment in 13th. He believed the car had more pace. Russell and Kvyat were the other eliminations. Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Stroll and Leclerc would start the race on the medium set of tyres, enabling the quintet to go longer than the others ( in Q3 ) before their pitstops.


Low fuel loads, a fresh set of soft tyres and maximum engine performance are the hallmarks of every dry Q3. The final session of Qualifying got underway with some drama in the pit-lane. Stroll had to slam on his brakes after Ferrari released Leclerc in his path. Ricciardo was behind Stroll and had to do an evasive manoeuvre. Stewards decided to investigate the unsafe release. Mercedes pulled a considerable gap to the rest of the field with their banker laps. The order at the top had changed with Hamilton getting the jump on Bottas. He held onto provisional pole after the first runs and set a new track record in the process. Verstappen was the best of the rest in P3, a couple of tenths clear of Stroll and Leclerc. Vettel's lap was compromised after he put a wheel on the dirt at Chapel but managed to get provisional P6. The order would change drastically in the final run of Qualifying though. Hamilton went even faster, by three-tenths of a second, to grab pole at the British Grand Prix. Bottas pushed hard but had to settle for P2. A qualifying masterclass by the seven-time World Champion! Verstappen qualified in P3, a second down on the Mercedes duo. Leclerc produced a stellar lap to qualify in P4, a great place to start for the Ferrari driver. Norris and Stroll completed row three, Sainz and Ricciardo row four and Ocon and Vettel row five on the grid. Vettel's final lap time was invalidated as he had exceeded track limits, a dismal couple of days for the four-time world champion. 


The stewards decided to hand Russell a 5-place grid penalty for ignoring double yellow flags in Q1. Russell failed to interpret the "double-yellow" signal and wasn't instructed ( by the team ) to abort his lap ( as per the rules ). He also got three penalty points on his licence for this infringement. There was no further action on the Ocon/Raikkonen, Leclerc/Stroll and Stroll/Ricciardo incidents.

Hamilton bagged the 91st pole position of his career. It was also a day of milestones for both driver and team!

More on that here :

https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.qualifying-facts-and-stats-hamilton-claims-100th-front-row-start-for.3Osq6MptqI9lu9lc5Yf2WC.html


Mercedes were the class of the field on Saturday again. Verstappen was their closest challenger, albeit a second behind. McLaren and Racing Point hoped to have better race pace than the Ferraris while Albon had his work cut out for Sunday afternoon. Renault would be in the mix too. Duels in the front, midfield and at the back awaited fans on Raceday!


Race :

Hulkenberg, the replacement for Perez in Racing Point failed to make it to the grid due to engine issues on his car. Racing Point tried for a pit-lane start but to no avail. A disappointing end to a roller-coaster weekend for the German.  

Everyone ( bar Hulkenberg who didn't start ) outside the top 10 chose the medium set of tyres. Norris, Sainz, Ricciardo, Ocon and Vettel were the drivers who started the race on soft tyres.

The five red lights illuminated and a frenetic lap 1 got underway. Hamilton managed to fend off Bottas while Leclerc went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen. The Dutchman held on to P3. Ricciardo moved up to P5 ahead of Sainz and Norris. Vettel ran wide at Corpse corner but managed to hold onto P10. Magnussen and Albon tangled at the last corner of the opening lap. Magnussen lost momentum after clipping the inside of the kerb and Albon tried a move on the inside. The left front tyre of the Red Bull hit the rear right tyre of the Haas, sending it into the barriers through the newly laid gravel.
The FIA immediately deployed the Safety car as well as the Medical car. Thankfully Magnussen was safe. The stewards initiated an investigation.

Racing resumed on lap 6 with Hamilton having a great restart. Ocon tried a move on Stroll but couldn't pull it off.  Albon pitted on lap 7 for hard tyres after reporting vibrations on the mediums that he had started the race on. He didn't suffer any suspension damage from the incident, a relief for the team. Vettel was stuck in P10 when DRS got enabled on lap 8. The Mercedes drivers were pulling away from Verstappen who was himself building a gap to Leclerc in 4th. Kvyat overtook Giovinazzi for P12 on lap 11 but had a massive crash at Maggotts a lap later. The car was a wreck after the High-G crash and brought out another Safety Car. The team suggested it was a right rear puncture to blame for the crash, not the driver. 

The Safety Car period caused a flurry of pit stops with everyone switching to the hard tyres. The front runners ( top 6 ) followed suit a lap later. Grosjean opted to not pit and got elevated to P5 at the expense of Sainz, Ricciardo, Norris and Stroll. Stroll was having a tough day at the office, the Racing Point car unable to live up to its true potential. Raikkonen also lost track position due to a poor double-stack by Alfa Romeo. The top 4 remain unchanged. The safety car period came at an ideal time for those on the soft tyres. It was a no stop race to the end now.

A prolonged period of seven laps under the safety car ended on lap 19 after a safe extrication of the stricken Alpha Tauri of Kvyat. Hamilton had a great restart again. Bottas doing likewise with Verstappen and Leclerc. There was action further down the field though. Sainz defended from Ricciardo who got bogged down and lost a place to Norris, the McLaren protege pulling off an amazing overtake on the outside of the corner. Norris then went wheel-to-wheel with Sainz but had to relent after running wide at Corpse. Further down, Ocon and Raikkonen overtook Vettel and Russell for P10 and P15 respectively. The stewards decided to punish Albon with a five-second time penalty for the incident ( on lap 1 ) which he served on his second stop.
 
Hamilton and Bottas were trading fastest laps in the front and pulling away from the rest of the field. Grosjean moved under braking while defending his position from Sainz. The Spaniard made his displeasure known over the team radio but got the move done on lap 22. Norris followed suit a lap later. Grosjean got warned with a Black & White Flag for unsporting behaviour on track, the stewards having studied his incident with Sainz. Stroll put a wheel on the dirt out of Becketts and was vulnerable to an overtake on the Hangar straight, Ocon unable to pounce at the opportunity. Raikkonen lost P15 to Russell on lap 28, a torrid time for the Iceman in the underperforming Alfa Romeo. Albon was slowly moving up the field and had Gasly in his sights. Gasly overtook Giovinazzi ( on lap 31 ) for P12 while Albon decided to pit instead of sparring with the duo in front. He served his time penalty, put on a new set of medium tyres and rejoined in seventeenth and last. Giovinazzi came under scrutiny a lap later over a Safety Car infringement. Raikkonen lost another place to Latifi on lap 33. Giovinazzi got punished with a five-second time penalty by the stewards and Ricciardo made a successful move on Grosjean for P7 ( lap 36 ). Grosjean had adopted dodgy tactics to defend his position again. The incident got flagged for investigation post-race.

Grosjean got overtaken by Stroll before he pitted for a set of hard tyres on lap 37, got stuck in the box, rejoining in 17th and last. Hamilton had retaken the fastest lap crown in the interim. Gasly passed Vettel for P10 on lap 38, the German's day going from bad to worse! 

Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc, Sainz, Norris, Ricciardo, Stroll, Ocon and Gasly were the top 10 on lap 39.

Albon resumed his charge up the field by passing Raikkonen and Latifi on laps 40 and 42 respectively. Verstappen held the point for the fastest lap after it changed hands between Hamilton, Albon and him. There was excessive tyre wear on both Mercedes cars. Bottas reported vibrations and decided to conserve his tyres till the end. The gap to Hamilton started increasing steadily. Raikkonen was relegated to P17 and last when Grosjean overtook him on lap 45. Albon closed in on the duo of Giovinazzi and Russell in the battle for P12 and passed them on lap 46. Vettel in the Ferrari was next, seven seconds adrift. Stroll moved under braking while defending from Ocon on the Hangar Straight and got served a Black & White Flag for unsporting behaviour. It was job done for Ocon on lap 47 who was up to P8. Albon was taking chunks out of his deficit to Vettel and set the fastest lap of the race. 

Hamilton's lead to Bottas now extended to 6.5 seconds while Verstappen reduced his deficit to less than 9 seconds. McLarens were also reporting issues of blistering and Norris was coming under pressure from Ricciardo. Raikkonen's miseries didn't seem to end when he suffered a front wing failure and a left front puncture on lap 48. He limped to the pits and rejoined after a fresh set of tyres and front-wing swap. Gasly overtook Stroll for P9 on lap 49 and Albon was honing in on Vettel for P11. 

No scriptwriter could have imagined the drama that unfolded in the last three laps of the race. Bottas suffered delamination on the left front tyre going wide at turn 1. Verstappen was up into P2! There was more action further down the field with Albon overtaking Vettel for P11 and Ricciardo going past Norris for P6.  Bottas had already begun his lap when the tyre mishap occurred and would have to tip-toe around the entire length of the circuit, losing a lot of time to those behind him. He pitted on the penultimate lap, got a set of soft tyres in a 6.5 second stop and rejoined in P12 behind Vettel. Disaster for the Finn! 

Verstappen also pitted for a fresh set of tyres, Red Bull aiming to bag the point for the fastest lap. It was a guaranteed P2 for Verstappen who had a comfortable buffer to LeclercMercedes had the option of pitting Hamilton to mitigate the chances of tyre delamination. They chose otherwise. Hamilton had a thirty-six seconds cushion after Verstappen's pit-stop and instructed to exercise extreme caution with his tyres.

Albon's recovery drive continued with an overtake on Stroll for P9 on the final lap. There was more drama further up the field. Sainz was next on the list of casualties from tyre delaminations. The Spaniard's left front tyre gave up the ghost, losing P4 to Ricciardo. He pitted and rejoined in P16 and out of the points. 

Lewis Hamilton, the Race Leader, was halfway through the final lap when he too suffered delamination on his tyre! Mercedes had made a tactical error by not pitting him when they had the chance. It was a nerve-wracking time for the six-time World Champion. There were continuous changes to the settings ( on his dash display ) to manage a car that was limping around on three wheels. Verstappen was informed about Hamilton's predicament and kept pushing till the end. The gap reduced drastically but Hamilton limped over the finish line, less than 6 seconds clear of a late-charging Verstappen. Leclerc came home in 3rd after putting in another flawless drive. Ricciardo equalled his best finish in Renault with P4, Norris was P5 for Mclaren and Ocon P6 for Renault. Gasly, Albon, Stroll and Vettel completed the top 10. Bottas put Vettel under intense pressure but couldn't pull the move off at the end. A dismal end to such a promising weekend for the Finn. Giovinazzi was P12, another good drive put in by the Italian for Alfa Romeo. Russell, Latifi, Sainz, Grosjean and Raikkonen were the rest of the finishers. 

Some experts believed that Red Bull blew the chance of victory by pitting Verstappen on the penultimate lap. However, Team Principal Christian Horner refuted the claims by saying that Verstappen had cuts on his tyres and would have suffered the same fate as the Mercedes duo had he not pitted. Mercedes had a bitter-sweet day and rued the missed opportunity of another 1-2. Hamilton and Mercedes seem unbeatable even under duress. Ferrari is having a challenging 2020 but will be encouraged by a strong showing on Sunday. Alan Permane, Renault's Track Operations Director, completed a milestone of 500 race weekends on Sunday. P4 and P6 by his drivers is quite a tribute for his dedication to the team's cause. McLaren also had a mixed day at the office with Norris getting P5 and Sainz being denied a points-finish at the end. Gasly put in another strong weekend for Alpha Tauri in P7. Albon once again proved his skill to fight on a Sunday. Stroll and Racing Point had a forgettable British GP and will look to bounce back the next weekend. Hulkenberg seems destined for another round of racing next weekend with Perez restricted to the confines of his room. Vettel was frustrated after a trouble-ridden weekend but will have a second shot at it. Williams is improving with each passing weekend while Haas F1 and Alfa Romeo seem lost at sea. 

Grosjean got a formal warning from the stewards for his unsporting defensive manoeuvres in the race.  

Pirelli promised a thorough investigation of the tyre delaminations at the end of the race. Their findings will be critical since the dry tyre compounds chosen are a level softer with higher track temperatures forecasted for the 70th Anniversary GP. 


The 70th Anniversary of F1 is nigh. The teams will return to Silverstone this weekend for a second bout. A special event awaits one and all. 

LIVING THE DREAM - DAY 3

SUNDAY :

Sunday was D-Day. The Day I was really looking forward to.

I reached Silverstone early braving all the Traffic Snarls and the torrential rain that came with it.

I passed the F1 Village on my way to the Paddock Club. Sky Sports was very enthusiastic about Batman - The Dark Knight Rises and Showcased the Batmobile :

 

I Reached the Suite and Preparations were in full swing ( on track ) for the start of one of the Support Races ( GP 2  ). A couple of F1 Reserve Drivers seemed to be quite interested.

 

Lotus F1 Team had ensured that they would give the best of the Goodies to the Guests today.

 

It was almost 10 am. As usual I had a nice chat with the Team Members at the Suite. It was now time for the Arrival of the Man I admire in Formula 1. The Flying Finn, The Iceman, The King of Spa are some of his nick-names. The Clock ran down and I couldn't wait to see my hero upfront. And then he arrived. I quickly got into the queue ( Thanks to the Table's Proximity to the Stage ). Then I cherised the Moment. The moment that I could treaure for a lifetime. Today I met KIMI RAIKKONEN!!! He obliged many with autographs and left to start preparations for the Race.

 

Kimi's Departure was followed by the Final Pit-Lane Walk of the Weekend. One of the Porsche cars ( From the Support race ) being rolled out of our way.

 

This is also the Time when the Big Boys of the Media go to work. Sky Sports had their team ready to start the Pre - Race Show. ALAN McNISH and MARTIN BRUNDLE were the       Co-hosts.

 

I also the met the Man I had met in Malaysia. Some might remember him. JOHNNY HERBERT!!

 

A Great Gesture by the LOTUS F1 TEAM.... RESPECT!!

 

McLaren Mercedes have had bad pit-stops all through the season. Well some Extra Practice would do them no harm

 

The Stands were full as the Fans waited to catch a glimpse of their F1 Stars.

 

The Drivers Spending time Together before Leaving for the Driver Parade.

 

AHEM AHEM

 

I have Learnt to respect this Man more and more. He has a great heart, is approachable and I would love to know this man better. My efforts to meet him over the weekend finally bore fruit on Sunday as I got to spend a few Minutes with him. Friends..... MICHAEL "HERBIE" BLASH ( FIA Deputy Race Director ).

 

As I made my way back up the Pitlane, I got the chance to share a moment with TONY FERNANDES ( CEO - AIR ASIA, TEAM PRINCIPAL - CATERHAM F1, CHAIRMAN - QPR FC ). Also got a quick picture of Nobert Haug ( Mercedes AMG Petronas ) and another near the Pit-Box of the Lotus F1 Team.

 

ROB SMEDLEY ( Felipe Massa's Race Engineer ) arrived a bit early and mingled with the fans. Great Guy. Martin Brundle smiled for the Shutterbugs. Got Introduced to a couple of people too. Some Marshalls know how to dress up for the Race!

 

The Lights that Signify the Start and End of Sessions :

 

Red Arrows - The Highly Acclaimed Aerobatic Team. The Pride of the RAF.

 

Final Checks before the Big Event.

 

We Returned to the Suite and were soon joined by MR. ERIC BOULLIER ( TEAM PRINCIPAL -LOTUS F1 TEAM ). He answered a few questions and did a quick review of the Team Performance so far ( which has been more than just Commendable ). A moment with The BOSS!!

 

Very Rarely does Food take a back-seat in my life. But Today was different. Here is a quick peek at what was the served. The Food - LIP SMACKING and the Hospitality Impeccable!

 

All the Guests then Hurried to the Balconies to witness the Start of the Race. Silverstone has changed in its Track Layout since 2011. Alonso, Webber, Schumacher started in the Top 3. However it didn't stay the same at the end of the race. Mark Webber was victorious. Alonso and Vettel completed the Podium.

KIMI RAIKKONEN finished 5th ( set the Fastest Lap of the Race )

ROMAIN GROSJEAN finished 6th ( a Fine drive after being pushed back to 22nd due to the incident with Paul Di Resta )

 

Lotus F1 Team has been running a competition on all three days rewarding the guest who predicted the name of the Driver who would set the Fastest Lap Time of the Session. I supported Kimi to do it & the Flying Finn didn't disappoint. I won a pair of Romain Grosjean Autographed Racing gloves!! Thank you Lotus F1 Team and Thank you Kimi!!

 

The TEAM that made this weekend more than just Memorable ( L to R : Gaby Mills, Matt Johnson & Gary Rosewell ). A Special Thanks to Gary for the experience of being right there during the Saturday Practice Session.

 

THE ENTIRE TEAM THAT TOOK CARE OF US ON THE WEEKEND!! MET ALL OF THEM. GREAT PEOPLE. HOPE TO MEET THEM AGAIN... SOON

 

As I bid Farewell to the Suite and to New Friends I had made, A Couple was gracious enough to take me down to the LOTUS F1 TEAM Motorhome!!

 

The Pirelli - PZeros. All Compounds were used this weekend.  Another Photo just before entering the Motorhome.

 

 

Hospitality in the Motorhome is World - Class. Some more shots of the Mobile Motorhome.

 

 I also had the Opportunity to have a quick chat with one of KIMI RAIKKONEN's ENGINEERS

( FORGOT HIS NAME... LOTUS F1 TEAM need some help here )

 

The Motorhomes of all the teams. Its Just Amazing to see how good teams are in Assembling and Dismantling all these.

 

I made new friends. A Special thanks to the Couple for their graciousness!! Thank you Eddie Sir!!

 

Its Amazing how quickly Friends are made. Great to meet them!!

 

 

 

Well what follows now might make people envious of me... SORRY

 

KIMI RAIKKONEN Autographed the Visor of his Mini-Helmet :

 

The Racing Gloves autographed by  ROMAIN GROSJEAN :

 

The Mini - Helmet and the Gloves :

 

I didn't have time to Take Photos of all the Goodies.. :

 

 

Finally I want to THANK GOD & My Parents for Fulfilling my Dream.

A BIG THANK YOU to the LOTUS F1 TEAM for Bringing back KIMI RAIKKONEN into the WORLD of FORMULA 1. F1 isn't the same without KIMI. I had a great weekend. Thank you for all the Hospitality!

THANK YOU www.exclusivegp.com for giving me an experience that I would never forget. FRIENDS If you want to have experiences such as mine, www.exclusivegp.com are the guys that can make it happen.

 

 

NOW FOR SINGAPORE AND INDIA!!!

LIVING THE DREAM - DAY 2

SATURDAY :

Day 2 started early in the morning. I reached Silverstone at arond 7:30am and just in time for the Pit-lane walk. The first 45 minutes of the day were PIT - STOP Practice Sessions for the team.

 

The FIA Garage where the Cars are Weighed post each session :

 

Marussia, HRT & Caterham go about their Pit - Stop Practice!

 

 

Red Bull, Mercedes AMG Petronas showcase their perfection :

 

LOTUS F1 Team showing their guests how Harmonic and Synchronized their Pit - Stop Practices are!!

 

Got a Chance to hold the Steering Wheel while Kimi Raikkonen's Car is rolled back into the Garage!

 

Some of the Spares of Teams on display.. well the more confidential ones are in the back of the Garage!

 

The Gates opened at 8:30 am and we were ushered back into the Paddock Club. Entered the Lotus Suite and I knew that I had an action packed day ahead !

Just like Friday the Team had goodies packed into bags for their guests. I had a nice chat with a couple of the team members. The Glum Weather was disappointing for all. Getting into the Circuit had become a big hassle.

 

Soon it was time for the Final Practice Session before the Qualifying! All the Teams were thankful as the weather opened up and sunshine trickled in. The Session was going to be a dry one and this was a welcome change for all teams!!

Everyone opted for the High-Fuel Runs in order to determine their pace during the race. The Session lasted for hour and the half.

The Lotus F1 Team had a surprise in store for me!!

There were only 10 mins left for the session to end and I was escorted down to the GARAGE to see the way the Mechanics and Engineers went about their task. The Team performed like a well - oiled machine. We were given the Pit - Radio Headsets and were able to hear conversations happening in the Pit Lane!! WHAT AN EXPERIENCE

Here are some captures... Guess who decided to join us??? - SIR JACKIE STEWART!!

 

The Session ended and we were escorted back to the Suite and we had Sir Jackie Stewart enthralling the fans with his stories. He Talked about his Racing Career, His Family, His Mother's fears about him racing because of the incidents with his brother. He also stressed on the Importance of EXPERIENCE in FORMULA 1 using the examples of KIMI RAIKKONEN and FERNANDO ALONSO who have been more successful than their team-mates as they have played it smart. In Short - HE WAS AT HIS CHARMING BEST!!

 

His Depature was soon followed by the arrival of another Formula 1 Legend.. the 1996 Formula 1 World Champion : DAMON HILL.

I managed to get his autograph on Friday and He obliged me with a photograph on Saturday. He made some more visits to the Suite but all were hasty ones.

He is a busy man thanks to his associations with SKY SPORTS :

 

 

Lunch was served and like Friday it was quite a spread. Well its important to be well fed to keep yourself going! Post - Lunch we all joined in for the 2nd Pit - Lane walk of the day.

As we waited for the Gates to be opened, the RAF entertained us with their Acrobatics in the sky :

 

Silverstone went through a re-haul in 2011 and the Start - Finish straight was changed. Well this is a shot of the New Paddock Club Building :

 

I walked down the Pit - Lane towards the FIA Race Control to say a quick Hello to Sir Charlie Whiting and Sir Herbie Blash. I met the Former but had to wait till Sunday to meet the other.

However I had the Privilege to see Martin Whitmarsh ( McLaren Team Principal ), Niki Lauda ( 3 time Formula 1 World Champion ), Eddie Jordan ( Team Principal of now extinct Jordan, now a BBC Presenter ), David Coulthard ( Formula 1 Driver and a Co-host at BBC )

 

 

A Car - Lover would drool if he / she saw the Gull - Winged Car from close. However the Mercedes SLS AMG was made to look ordinary by the Formula 1 cars. Here is a picture of the Safety Car driven by Bernd Maylander. He has been with Formula 1 since 2000. RESPECT!!

 

I left the FIA Race Control just in time before the Qualifying Started. The Rain came down again and worsened conditons caused suspension of the the Q2 session.

 

Q2 Restarted 92 minutes later ( only 6 minutes remained ). All Drivers sensed the urgency to set a competitve time :

 

Eric Boullier looks on Intently as the Session Restarts :

 

Dr. Vijay Mallya seems to be relaxed and content as one car makes it to Q3.

Alonso reigned supreme in Qualifying. Webber and Schumacher completed the Top 3. Kimi Raikkonen Qualified in P6.

 

Romain Grosjean made it to Q3 but spun out at the end of Q2 and couldn't set a time in Q3. Obviously the Frenchman was disappointed. However he didn't let this show and managed to be his charming-self when he came down to the Suite to meet his guests.

 

A Moment with Romain. Definitely a World Champion in the Making!!

 

As usual there were other Support Races happening too, most notably GP2 Race 1. As I made my way back to the Main Entrance I stopped by to take a quick pic of the GP3 Cars Hurtling down the track :

 

All in all a Fantastic Day but D-DAY was yet to come.. the Dream was still Not Complete......

PATIENCE.....

 

Would like to Appreciate the Effort of www.exclusivegp.com for helping me fulfill this dream.

LIVING THE DREAM - DAY 1

I WOULD NOT DO JUSTICE TO THIS DREAM IN ONE POST! SO THIS IS PART 1 !!

We all have dreams. Many of us strive to fulfill our dreams. I got to live my dream! A Big Thank You to God, my Wonderful Dad and www.exclusivegp.com for helping this dream come true.

So whats the dream?? READ ON.....

 

 

I have been a follower of Formula 1 since the Mika Hakkinen Days.

However it was the arrival of another Finn into Formula 1 that changed the way I followed the sport.

The Man was KIMI RAIKKONEN.

I had seen him perform for Sauber in 2001. Then the switch to McLaren Mercedes & finally the World Championship year in 2007 with Ferrari.

I always wanted to meet the man I had grown to respect and admire over the years that I had been watching Formula 1. So when Kimi Raikkonen made a return to the world of Formula 1, I knew this was my chance to meet my favourite athlete!!

I could see my dream finally being fulfilled!!

The plans were drawn, then executed and I patiently waited for the day.

The 2012 British Grand Prix at Silverstone was the Venue.

I got the Opportunity of being a guest of the Lotus F1 Team at the 3 - Day Extravaganza!

So the fun was doubled!! - LOTUS F1 Team Paddock Club Hospitality and a chance to meet Kimi Raikkonen!! - Too good to be true.

 

 

FRIDAY :

I reached at the Hospitality Suite early on Friday Morning and was ushered in by Mr. Matt Johnson ( Lotus F1 Team )

The Team Suite :

 

The Ambience was perfect. Lotus F1 had many car components on display and the components were like art-work. Carbon - Fibre made components ( World's Strongest and Lightest material ) were awe-inspiring.

No sooner had I settled into the Suite and it was time for the First PIT - LANE Walk of the Weekend ( The FIRST OF MY LIFE!!! ).

It was a very familiar site however. The Engineers of every team were busy with their Car - Setups for the weekend. Some were busy gathering track & weather information and some others explained their guests the complexity of Formula 1 as a Sport.

Engineers preparing for the weekend :

 

The Helmet & The Steering Wheel : EXQUISITE PIECES OF ENGINEERING!

 

The Man at the Helm :

 

I thought I must try my hand at the simulator and I must say its very tough

I returned to the Suite and then had the opportunity to meet Jerome D'Ambrosio ( Lotus Reserve Driver )

 

Some Captures of the Boxes of teams during Friday Free Practice 2 :

 

 

The Icing on the Cake was the time spent with Sir JACKIE STEWART!

He Explained his role at GENII EXCHANGE, The Company's association with the Lotus F1 Team, a quick recap of the season so far and his experiences at Silverstone!

A MOMENT WITH THE LEGEND!!

 

BATAK : An Exercise for a Formula 1 Driver to improve his Peripheral Vision. A    Formula 1 Driver scores 70 hits in 30 seconds ( randomly glowing lights )

Motorhome : Temporary Headquarters / Briefing - Debriefing Centre / Technical Hub for Formula 1 teams over a Race - Weekend

 

Once Again a Special Thank you to www.exclusivegp.com for offering me this unique experience!!

So this was DAY 1. More to follow.... WATCH THIS SPACE!!

Silverstone GP Review - the Kangaroo leap by Webber

Silverstone is a very prestigious race on the F1 Race Calender. There have been many a great battles fought on this Former WW2 Airstrip and this year promised another great battle.

Silverstone is also a HOME RACE for many teams -

1) Red Bull Racing ( Based in Milton Keynes although they are Austrian ),

2) McLaren Mercedes ( Woking ),

3) Lotus F1 Team ( Enstone, Oxfordshire ),

4) Sahara Force India ( A kilometre from Silverstone ) &

5) Williams F1 Team ( Grove, Oxfordshire )

 

This is a Home Race for 3 Drivers - Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Paul Di Resta.

This was also a race where I was a guest with the LOTUS F1 TEAM!!

 

A List of all winners of the Silverstone Grand Prix :  

 

Silverstone is famous for its inclement weather and this year was no different.

Friday Practice Sessions,Saturday Free Practice and Qualifying were marred by torrential rain. However the Race turned out to be a dry one.

  

Friday Free Practices :

The teams were due to test an "experimental" hard tyre compound developed by Pirelli during the first free practice, with a view to introducing it as a racing tyre later in the season;however, wet conditions made this impossible. Romain Grosjean was the fastest driver in the First Session, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso and the Force Indias of Paul di Resta and Jules Bianchi elected not to set lap times.

The Second Session was similarly washed out and saw limited running as teams tried to preserve their wet- and intermediate-compound tyres. Hamilton was fastest, leading Kamui Kobayashi and Michael Schumacher as Grosjean elected not to set a time. Bruno Senna brought out a red flag that resulted in a ten-minute stop to the session when he hit a patch of standing water at Becketts, spinning and crashing heavily into the barriers. Fernando Alonso also encountered trouble, spinning and hitting the wall late in the session, but the Ferrari driver was able to return to the pits.

 

Friday Practice 1 Images : 

 

Friday Practice 2 Images :  

  

Saturday Free Practice :

This Session was dry, but the threat of rain was always there. It saw plenty of activity as the teams pushed hard to make up for lost time running in the wet on Friday. Charles Pic stopped on the circuit after twenty minutes, forcing the temporary suspension of the session while his car was removed. Pic later returned to the circuit, but the car stopped again and this time car was removed by marshalls without forcing the session to be stopped. Alonso ended the session fastest overall. 

Saturday Free Practice Images : 

 

 Qualifying :

Qualifying started in wet conditions, and with the threat of more rain on the way. The Circuit conditions were rapidly changing and everyone went about doing their qualifying laps. The Biggest Shock of Q3 was the Elimination of Jenson Button! He was on a lap that would have propelled him out of the drop zone but Timo Glock spun on the last sector. Yellow flags were deployed and Button suffered disappointment.  Both the Caterhams, HRTs, Virgins bowed out. Charles Pic couldn't qualify within the 107 % time of the fastest man of Q1 - Sebastien Vettel.

The intensity of rain increased in Q2. The session was red-flagged with just over 6 minutes remaining. Sergio Perez was at the top of the time sheets then. The session was stopped for an hour and a half as the FIA hoped for conditons safe to drive.

The Teams, the Mechanics, The Drivers & The Crowds did a fantastic job of keeping themselves entertained during the break. NICO ROSBERG was clearly the star of this show!!

The session re-opened and all drivers had time to put in flying laps however Tyre Choice was of utmost importance. Perec chose the intermediate compound rather than wets. It was the wrong decision and ended the session last. However he started 15th after the Penalties were applied.  Those Eliminated were : Paul Di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi ( 12th but demoted to 17th after penalty ), Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Bruno Senna, Jean-Éric Vergne ( 16th but demoted to the back after penalty ).

Romain Grosjean made it through to Q3, but spun at the end of the period at the Vale chicane, and took no further part in the session.

Q3 featured the Ferraris, Red Bulls, Lotuses ( Although Grosjean couldn't set a time ), Michael Schumacher's Merecedes, Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren, Pastor Maldonado in the Williams F1 & Nico Hulkenberg for Force India. It seemed to be a Ferrari 1-2 but Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel seemed too have wrestled back control.  Massa was unable to improve his lap time and finished 5th, while Schumacher pushed Webber off pole. Webber reclaimed it with his next lap, but lost it to Alonso's last lap of the Session. Kimi Raikkonen was 6th, Pastor Maldonado 7th, Lewis Hamilton 8th. Hulkenberg qualified 9th but a gear-box change pushed the German down to 14th.

 

Qualifying Images : 

 

RACE :

An engine failure on Vitaly Petrov's Caterham on his way round to the grid meant he had to return to the pits and retire the car before the race had even begun. When the race started, polesitter Fernando Alonso maintained his lead into the first corner. Webber and Schumacher followed him round in their same positions, but Vettel lost places to Massa and Raikkonen, only to regain his position against the latter. Paul di Resta, who started 10th, suffered a puncture as a result of his right rear tyre coming in contact with Romain Grosjean's front wing at the start of the Wellington straight. Di Resta pitted but the damage incurred caused him to spin and retire. Romain Grosjean had to pit too for a front wing change and ended up in 22nd ( back of the pack ).

Pastor Maldonado didn't do his reputation any good as he rammed into Perez retiring the latter. He was penalised 10000 euros!

However the Frenchman set about setting a series of fastest laps and quickly started clawing his way back through the field. Hamilton suffered from a poor start, lost positions to Bruno Senna and was stuck in the middle of the the pack until the first round of pit-stops.

Button suffered a similar fate as he was stuck behind slower cars and had to pit at odd-times during the race. 

Alonso was slowly opening a gap at the front and was able to come out in P2 after his pit-stop on lap 15. Lap 19 saw Alonso retake the Lead from Hamilton who was losing pace on his worn-out tyres. The latter finally pitted on lap 21 and Webber moved back into P2. The gap at the front was constant at around 5 seconds but everything changed after the second round of pit-stops.

Kamui Kobayashi had a horible pit-stop as he ran over 4 mechanics and was penalised post-race for the incident. ( 25000 euros )

Webber switched to the softs and managed to come out in P4 ( ahead of team-mate Vettel ). Alonso pitted too and switched to softs. Parity was restored after the top 5 finished their round of pit stops. The order was : Alonso, Webber, Vettel, Massa, Raikkonen.

This however wasn't gonna remain the same.

Alonso couldn't find the pace which he enjoyed while driving on the hard compound tyres. Webber was reeling Alonso in taking chunks out of his lead every lap. Romain Grosjean ( Out of sync with others on pit stops ) performed exceptionally well as he muscled himself upto 6th. Kimi Raikkonen had found performance in his Lotus and set a series of fastest laps. He was within a touching distance of 4th positon now.

7 laps were left of the race and Alonso was now under severe pressure from Webber. The Australian finally made the move and took the Lead! Raikkonen put Massa under a lot of pressure but the Brazilian held on to 4th position.

The final order was : Webber, Alonso, Vettel, Massa, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Schumacher, Hamilton, Senna, Button ( Top 10 )

As a consequence of the race, Webber narrowed Alonso's lead in the drivers' standings to 13 points. Webber himself was 16 points ahead of Vettel. Vettel moved ahead of Lewis Hamilton into 3rd in the standings on 100 points. Red Bull extended their lead in the constructors' standings to 64 points. Ferrrari moved up from 4th place to 2nd whilst McLaren did the reverse and Lotus stayed in 3rd position. All three teams stayed within 3 points of each other.

Massa held on to 4th from a charging Raikkonen. Definitely a confidence boost for him.

KIMI RAIKKONEN set the fastest lap of the Race.

This was also the first time that an F1 Great got to interview the Podium Finishers in front of the public - The honour went to the most popular SIR JACKIE STEWART!!

It was a day to forget for the McLaren duo. Lotus had a good day but not the best day as a lack of good quaifying postion hampered their race result.

Hockenheim - THE NEXT DESTINATION!

 

Finally a SPECIAL THANK YOU to www.exclusivegp.com for this experience!! Friends you now know who to contact for those Exclusive F1 Experiences!!

 

A Gallery of Memories!! - Part 1

Jerome D'Ambrosio ( Lotus Test Driver )

Sir Jackie Stewart ( 3 Time Formula 1 World Champion = LEGEND )

Damon Hill ( 1996 Formula 1 World Champion )

Romain Grosjean ( Lotus F1 Driver )

 

FINALLY DREAM FULFILLED!!!

KIMI RAIKKONEN ( Formula 1 2007 World Champion, Mentor, My Favourite!! Lotus F1 Driver!! )

 

 

Johnny Herbert ( Ex - Formula 1 Driver, Winner of British GP )

Tony Fernandes ( Air Asia & Caterham Racing Owner )

Rob Smedley ( Felipe Massa's Race Engineer )

Herbie Blash ( FIA Deputy Race Director, Friend )

Eric Boullier ( Lotus F1 Team Principal )

One of Kimi Raikkonen's Engineers !

Kimi Raikkonen's Engineer - His Car is perfect thanks to people like him!

Romain Grosjean ( Lotus F1 Driver )