Archive for May, 2010

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Hamilton Wins Nail-Biting Turkish Grand Prix

May 30, 2010

Lewis Hamilton won his first race of 2010 in Turkey this afternoon, leading home teammate Jenson Button for a McLaren one-two, in a nail-biting 58 laps that saw the two Red Bulls collide, and very nearly saw the McLarens run out of fuel.

Mark Webber took an early lead from pole, while Hamilton slipped back behind Sebastian Vettel after a slow start from the dirty side of the grid. Michael Schumacher made a move from fifth, taking Button for fourth in the first corner, but while Hamilton snatched second back off Vettel in turn three, Button stole fourth from Schumacher in turn 12, using the pure straight-line speed of the McLaren to edge around the Mercedes.

Webber led Hamilton into the first round of pitstops, with Hamilton keeping the Red Bull honest, having a look once or twice into turn 12. Vettel had been the first of the front four to pit, on lap 15, and the early stop meant that when Webber and Hamilton stopped a lap later, Vettel managed to take second off Hamilton after the Brit was delayed in his pitbox.

Button was next to pit from the front four, but was unable to leapfrog the other three to take the lead, and he fed out behind his teammate. Hamilton fought to hold on to the Red Bulls, and on lap 18 he tried to pass Vettel into turn 12, but ran wide.

The front four stayed as they were for the laps that followed, keeping the gap between them down to less than three seconds. Webber was the slowest of the four, and on lap 40, Vettel made a move down the straight into turn 12, but the two collided, seeing an end to Vettel’s race, and leaving Webber in third. Hamilton went through to take the lead, with Button just over a second behind him.

Then came the message from McLaren to save fuel, as both drivers had a high consumption and there were fears they wouldn’t make it to the end of the race. Button reeled in Hamilton, and on lap 48, passed his teammate into turn 12. The two were wheel-to-wheel in a heart-in-mouth duel, as Hamilton fought to take the lead back off Button, making it stick into turn two on the following lap. Button was once again given a warning by the team to save fuel, and he backed off, following Hamilton home for a McLaren one-two.

Meanwhile, Webber, who was forced to stop for a new nose following his collision with Vettel, came through to finish third, while Schumacher, some 25 seconds off the leaders for the majority of the race, finished fourth.

Elsewhere in the field, the top ten on the grid resumed their positions for the majority of the race, Schumacher settling back into fifth after Button reclaimed fourth on the opening lap, while his teammate, Nico Rosberg, had a quiet race in sixth, ahead of Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa who started seventh and eighth. All four retained their positions for the majority of the race. Vitaly Petrov held ninth off the grid, while Adrian Sutil passed Kamui Kobayashi for tenth.

As the race began to unfold, Schumacher found himself fourth following Vettel’s retirement, with Rosberg fifth, Kubica sixth and Massa seventh. Fernando Alonso, who made his way up from 12th to ninth behind Petrov, had a fight for eighth on lap 54, and the two made contact, resulting in a puncture for Petrov, gifting ninth to Sutil and tenth to Kobayashi, who scored BMW Sauber’s first point of the season.

So while the fans were left with a nail-biting race that saw contact between the Red Bulls and a battle between the McLarens along with a fight to save fuel, Hamilton was left to take his first win of the season, edging him closer to Mark Webber in the fight for the title. Webber retains his lead in the championship on 93 points, with Button on 88, Hamilton on 84, Alonso holding on to fourth with 79 points, and Vettel out of the race and failing to score, leaving him on 78 points.

In the constructors’ battle, it’s all change, as McLaren lead the way on 172 points having scored the maximum of 43 points for the weekend. Red Bull sit in second on 161, with Ferrari on 146. Mercedes join the top three teams in triple figures, on 100 points, while Renault trail on 73.

So McLaren head to Canada in two weeks time, having caught up with the previously unstoppable Red Bulls. McLaren may have taken the lead of the constructors’ battle, but will Button or Hamilton be leading the drivers’ battle out of Montreal? Qualifying is on Saturday 12th June, with the race live on BBC1 at 5pm on Sunday 13th.

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Webber on Pole in Turkey, While Hamilton Splits Red Bulls

May 29, 2010

Mark Webber made it a hat trick of poles in qualifying for tomorrow’s Turkish Grand Prix, this afternoon, while Lewis Hamilton completed the front row, splitting Webber from his Red Bull teammate.

Sebastian Vettel had been fastest in both Q1 and Q2, but lost out when it mattered, finishing third, four tenths behind Webber who set a time of 1:26.295 for pole.

Hamilton looked like he was going to be the one to end Red Bull’s run of six consecutive poles, but found himself a tenth off Webber’s time when he crossed the line for the final time.

Hamilton’s teammate, Jenson Button, who starts fourth in tomorrow’s race, had been on his final hot lap, when Michael Schumacher, who starts fifth, crashed out at turn eight, after the clock had stopped, bringing out the yellow flags, meaning Button had to lift off the power, seeing the end of his session.

Schumacher’s teammate Nico Rosberg will start the race from sixth, ahead of Robert Kubica in seventh, Felipe Massa in eighth, Vitaly Petrov ninth, and Kamui Kobayashi in tenth.

Fernando Alonso struggled in the Ferrari, getting out of shape on his final lap and missing out on the top ten shoot-out, down in 12th.

Adrian Sutil starts just ahead of the Ferrari driver in 11th, with Pedro de la Rosa in 13th, Sebastien Buemi 14th, Rubens Barrichello 15th, Jaime Alguersuari 16th, Nico Hulkenberg 17th, Vitantonio Liuzzi 18th, Jarno Trulli 19th, Heikki Kovalainen 20th, Timo Glock 21st, Bruno Senna 22nd, Lucas di Grassi 23rd and Karun Chandhok down in 24th.

The race starts tomorrow, live on BBC1 at 1pm.

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Schumacher Issued 20 Second Penalty for Alonso Move

May 16, 2010

Michael Schumacher has been issued a 20 second penalty, demoting him from sixth in Monaco, to 12th.

The Mercedes GP driver had been running seventh in today’s Monaco Grand Prix before passing Fernando Alonso in the last corner of the race for sixth, when the race was technically still under ‘safety car conditions’.

Although both Alonso and Schumacher had passed the safety car line meaning they could overtake once the safety car had returned to the pits, Schumacher was penalised for passing the Ferrari as the regulations state that “if the race ends while the safety car is deployed it will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap, and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal, without overtaking.”

Schumacher’s penalty means Alonso receives eight points for sixth, and now has 75 championship points. Nico Rosberg receives six points for seventh, with 56 world championship points, while Adrian Sutil receives four points, Vitantonio Liuzzi, two, and Sebastien Buemi takes the last point in tenth.

Mercedes have said they will appeal the decision.

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Webber Leads Red Bull 1-2 in Monaco to Lead the Championship

May 16, 2010

Mark Webber won his second race in succession in Monaco this afternoon, leading teammate Sebastian Vettel over the line for a Red Bull one-two, to sit joint first in the fight for the drivers’ title.

The race was full of safety cars, with the first deployed on the first lap, when Nico Hulkenberg crashed in the tunnel, and with the last deployed just laps from the end, when Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok collided in the second to last corner.

The safety car came in on the very last lap, leaving Webber to race to the line ahead of Vettel, Robert Kubica, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton, with Michael Schumacher controversially passing Fernando Alonso for sixth having just passed the safety car line, a move that was then under scrutiny in the stewards’ office.

The race got off to a safe start, with Webber holding on to his pole position, while teammate Vettel launched himself past Kubica for second. Massa and Hamilton held on to fourth and fifth respectively, while Rubens Barrichello made a move for sixth, up the inside of Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Schumacher had passed his teammate off the start, but lost out to Barrichello, down to seventh, with Rosberg down to eighth. Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi found themselves up in ninth and tenth, while Jenson Button fell back to 11th. Fernando Alonso joined the back of the pack after starting from the pitlane, after his crash in FP3 on Saturday morning left him unable to qualify.

All 24 cars made their way safely round turn one, and held it together round the following turns, until Hulkenberg crashed coming out of the tunnel, calling for the first safety car of the race. Button became the next casualty, stopping at Sainte Devote with a cooked engine, caused by a bung left in the car before the start of the race.

The safety car came in and by lap eight, Webber led Vettel, from Kubica, Massa and Hamilton, while Alonso, who had stopped to change his super soft tyres for medium compounds on the first lap under the safety car, began making a move through the pack, fighting Lucas di Grassi for 19th. By lap ten, Alonso was getting angry, shaking his fist at di Grassi into turn three, and by the time the two made the tunnel, di Grassi found himself getting out of shape, gifting the position to Alonso. A lap later, Alonso was seen shooting past Trulli’s Lotus through the tunnel for 18th, and by lap 14 he found himself on the back of Timo Glock, and used his usual spot to pass the Virgin driver for 17th. By lap 17, Heikki Kovalainen was the next driver to lose out to the charging Ferrari.

McLaren chose lap 17 to pit their remaining driver, switching Hamilton from the super soft tyres to the medium compound, after realising if they waited any longer to pit they may have found themselves behind Alonso. Hamilton fed back out ahead of the Ferrari, and the rest of the front-runners then decided to take McLaren’s lead, peeling into the pits one by one. Massa and Schumacher were next, with Massa exiting the pits to take 11th, ahead of Jaime Alguersuari and the previously-pitted Hamilton. Schumacher meanwhile managed to leapfrog Barrichello, tucking back in, in 14th behind Hamilton and Alonso.

On lap 22, Kubica pitted from third and rejoined the track in fifth, while Vettel pitted a lap later from second, rejoining the track in third behind Rosberg. Webber came in at the end of lap 23, and retained his lead as he headed back out onto the track, just ahead of Rosberg. Meanwhile, the Mercedes team chose to keep Rosberg out in the hope they would get him past Webber, but after following in the dirty air of the Red Bull, Rosberg found himself losing time and after pitting on lap 29, he found himself behind his teammate, down in eighth.

Barrichello’s crash at turn three on lap 32 saw the second safety car of the afternoon. An angry Barrichello threw his steering wheel out of his cockpit, and seconds later, it ended up under one of the HRTs. The safety car remained on track for two laps, but by lap 44 it was back out again after a drain cover came loose. The problem was soon resolved and by lap 46 Webber was once again left to pull out a lead, with Vettel, Kubica, Massa, Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher, Rosberg, Sutil and Liuzzi making up the top ten.

It almost looked like that was it, with Webber leading the way, but with just four laps to go, Trulli and Chandhok collided in the penultimate corner, with the former launching over the latter’s cockpit, narrowly missing his head. The safety car was once again deployed, and when the track was cleared on the final lap, the safety car came in, leaving Webber to race through the last corner to the chequered flag. While the top five remained as they had been for the duration of the race, Schumacher was left making a last minute pass on Alonso for sixth, with the latter taking seventh, ahead of Rosberg in eighth, Sutil in ninth and Liuzzi tenth, with Sebastien Buemi 11th, Alguersuari 12th, and Vitaly Petrov in 13th, five laps down and last.

As well as Hulkenberg, Barrichello, Trulli and Chandhok crashing out of the race, and Button suffering from an overheated McLaren, Pedro de la Rosa, Glock, di Grassi, Kobayashi, Bruno Senna and Kovalainen, all retired from the race for various reasons.

Webber’s win puts him in the lead of the drivers’ championship on 78 points, with two wins to Vettel’s 78 points and win in Malaysia. Alonso keeps the Red Bull pair honest on 73 points, with Button just behind on 70. The rest of the pack are beginning to trail, with Massa on 61 points, and Kubica and Hamilton on 59, with and Rosberg just behind on 54, while Schumacher trails even further behind on 30. In the constructor’s championship, Red Bull lead the way on 156 points, to Ferrari on 134 and McLaren on 129.

The next race is in two weeks time, with qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix on Saturday 29th May, and the race live on BBC1 at 1pm on Sunday 30th.

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Red Bull Take 6th Pole of the Season in Monaco

May 15, 2010

Mark Webber snatched the fastest time in Monte Carlo this afternoon, in qualifying for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix, giving him back-to-back pole positions and Red Bull their sixth pole of the season.

Monaco provides the shortest lap on the F1 calendar and when it looked like Robert Kubica was going to put an end to Red Bull’s reign on top of the qualifying time sheets, Webber sprung up to snatch the top spot by three tenths of a second, lapping the circuit in 1:13.826.

Kubica had been running fastest throughout Q3 through the narrow streets of Monte Carlo, with Lewis Hamilton in second, until Webber popped up to go fastest. Despite slowing down Jenson Button, Felipe Massa put in a time quick enough for third, only to have it snatched by Sebastian Vettel at the end of the session, and he will start from fourth.

Nico Rosberg, who was fastest in Q2, will start sixth, behind Lewis Hamilton, with teammate Michael Schumacher in seventh, Button down in eighth, struggling on the super soft tyres, Rubens Barrichello in ninth and Vitantonio Liuzzi in tenth.

The rest of the pack is as expected, however, after a heavy crash in FP3 for Fernando Alonso, which cracked the chassis of his Ferrari, the Spaniard was unable to participate in qualifying and will start tomorrow’s race from the pitlane. Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock, Lucas di Grassi, Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok all dropped out at the end of Q1, and will start 18th down to 23rd, respectively.

Q2 ran as expected as well. Traffic was heavy, and Vitaly Petrov, who will start the race in 14th, ended his session with three minutes to go in the barrier at Sainte Devote. Nico Hulkenberg came close to making Q3, and will start 11th, ahead of Adrian Sutil in 12th and Sebastien Buemi in 13th. Pedro de la Rosa, who left the track to allow Button through on his hot lap, earlier in the session, will start 15th, with Kamui Kobayashi and Jaime Alguersuari 16th and 17th.

Webber will start from pole for the second race in succession, and will be hoping to take an early lead to claim back-to-back victories, while Kubica will line up alongside the Red Bull on the front row, hoping to steal back what Webber snatched off him in qualifying. Vettel and Massa will be the ones to watch out for from the second row.

Monaco is a tough circuit for overtaking, so the start of tomorrow’s race will be vital to the drivers. Red Bull are proving at each qualifying session that they are the team to beat on sheer pace, but with the Ferraris on fire in Thursday’s practice sessions, Felipe Massa could be a contender in the race. It was a poor session for the McLarens, with Hamilton driving his MP4-25 by the scruff of the neck throughout Q3, but unable to improve on fifth, and after his puncture in Spain, the team will be hoping to pull something out of the bag tomorrow.

The race begins on BBC1 at 1pm.

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Webber Wins in Spain, While Puncture Robs Hamilton of Second

May 9, 2010

Mark Webber became the first driver to turn pole into a win in 2010, in this afternoon’s Spanish Grand Prix, while McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton suffered a front-left puncture with just two laps to go, and Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel came close to suffering brake failure.

The top six made a clean getaway off the start line, and it was Fernando Alonso who attempted to make the first overtaking manoeuvre of the race on Lewis Hamilton, with the latter holding on to third, catapulting himself down the pitstraight, attacking pole sitter Webber and second-placed Sebastian Vettel. By the end of the first lap, Webber had the lead over Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso, with Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher also retaining their starting positions.

Nico Rosberg was the driver who lost out in the opening corners, running wide onto the grass and dropping down from eighth to eleventh, with seventh place starter Robert Kubica also heading backwards through the pack, losing three places to Felipe Massa, up from ninth, Adrian Sutil, up from 11th and Jaime Alguersuari on the attack from 16th. Kubica found himself in 10th, with Rosberg 11th, and Rubens Barrichello up to 12th from 17th, with Pedro de la Rosa falling back with a puncture, Nico Hulkenberg holding on to 13th, and Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastien Buemi and Vitantonio Liuzzi all moving backwards.

The top twelve stayed where they were until the first round of pitstops, with Schumacher and Massa the first to pit from the front runners on lap 15. Rosberg came in next, but had to be pushed back into his pitbox after his front-right wheel started smoking.

On lap 17, Vettel pitted, losing two seconds in a fairly slow stop. Alonso was next in, followed by Button, whose mechanics had a problem with the wheel nuts, costing him fifth place to Schumacher.

On lap 18, Webber was the next to pit, with Hamilton following close behind. While Webber rejoined in the lead, Hamilton found himself fighting with Vettel into turn one, with the latter having to run wide through turn two after the back marker of di Grassi got in the way. Vettel’s trip off the track cost him second to Hamilton.

During the laps that followed, the action was between Schumacher and Button in their fight for fifth, and after the pair lapped Karun Chandhok on lap 25, Massa, who was following the pair past the HRT driver in the last few corners, found himself dislodging his wing following contact.

From then on, the race was Webber’s to lose, and while the Red Bull driver continued to pull out a gap to Hamilton, Vettel found himself running wide into turns seven and eight on lap 54, after problems with his front right tyre. The Red Bull driver was forced to pit, gifting third to Alonso, but managing to keep fourth from the clutches of Schumacher.

In the laps that followed, Vettel was repeatedly told to slow down after it became apparent he was suffering with brake failure, but on lap 65, it was Hamilton who was dealt the heavy blow, suffering a front-left puncture into turn three, seeing the end to his race, and waving goodbye to a possible 18 points to move him to within just a point of championship leader Button.

Hamilton said after the incident: “These things happen, I don’t know what it was. This is motor racing and you just have to keep your chin up and look forward.”

It wasn’t to be for Hamilton, and just over a lap later, Webber crossed the line to take his first win of the season, with Alonso finishing second in front of his home crowd. Vettel took the final podium position, nursing the sister Red Bull into third. Schumacher scores his highest finish of the season, in fourth, with Button settling for fifth, unable to get past the Mercedes driver. Massa, despite his broken front wing, was able to put in some faster laps following contact with Chandhok, to finish in sixth, holding on to the back of Button. Sutil finished seventh for Force India, with Kubica eighth, Barrichello ninth and Alguersuari taking the last point in tenth.

Button retains his lead in the championship, heading into next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix with 70 points, with Alonso just behind on 67. Vettel’s podium finish sees him in third on 60 points, with Webber in fourth on 53, and Kubica fifth on 50. Massa and Hamilton both hold sixth in the standings together, on 49 points each, but with 21 points separating them from Button, the 2008 rivals have some catching up to do in the coming races to hold on to their title hopes.

In the constructors’ standings, Hamilton’s retirement means McLaren are now only three points ahead of Ferrari on 119 and 116 respectively. Red Bull are close behind on 113.

After a three week gap between China and Spain, the next race is just days away, in Monaco next weekend. Free practice will be held on Thursday, instead of Friday, with qualifying on Saturday 15th May, and the race live on BBC1 at 1pm on Sunday 16th.

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Webber Takes Red Bull’s 5th Pole of 2010 in Spain

May 8, 2010

Mark Webber claimed Red Bull’s fifth pole in a row this afternoon, in qualifying for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Aussie driver was a tenth of a second quicker than teammate Sebastian Vettel in second, and a second faster than McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in third.

Webber had been fastest in all three qualifying sessions, proving Red Bull are the team to beat on pure pace.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso set the fourth fastest time in front of his home crowd at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, completing a former-champions second row, with current champion Jenson Button and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher on the third row in fifth and sixth respectively.

Schumacher out-qualified teammate Nico Rosberg for the first time this season, with the young German driver in eighth alongside Renault’s Robert Kubica in seventh.¬†Alonso’s Ferrari teammate, Felipe Massa, and BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi round out the top ten.

Further down the pack, Vitaly Petrov, who qualified 14th, will start tomorrow’s race in 19th after a five-place grid-drop penalty was issued for changing his gearbox. Karun Chandhok and the two Virgins receive similar penalties and will start the race from the back of the grid.

Rubens Barrichello, who led last year’s Spanish Grand Prix for Brawn, missing out on the win after teammate Button’s strategy was changed, received the biggest blow of the day, dropping out at the end of Q1 in 18th after failing to set a fast enough time. Petrov’s penalty, however, means Barrichello will start from 17th.

With the pole sitter failing to win any of the four races this season, Webber will be hoping that the historical pole-to-win conversion in Barcelona over the past nine races will see him taking his first victory of 2010, however, Vettel will be hot on his heels, with Hamilton in the hunt for his first win of the season as well.

The race starts at 1pm on BBC1 tomorrow.