Archive for June, 2010

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Vettel Wins in Valencia, While Webber Escapes Horrifying Crash

June 27, 2010

Sebastian Vettel claimed victory in Valencia this afternoon, while teammate Mark Webber was involved in an horrific accident, that saw him fly upside down, over the top of the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen.

The two Red Bulls got off to two opposite starts, pole sitter Vettel taking an early lead while Webber found himself going backwards as Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica, Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg all got passed him.

While Hamilton made an early move past Webber, he was unable to make his move on Vettel stick into turn two, and the two made contact, damaging Hamilton’s front-wing end-plate.

On lap eight, Webber was the first to pit, but the Red Bull found his already-poor position of ninth, got even worse as he exited in 18th.

But the drama didn’t end there, when several laps later, Webber found himself upside down in a collision with Kovalainen, while fighting for position at the back of the field. The horrific crash saw Webber launch off the back of the Lotus, flying upside down, before landing on his side and sliding into the barrier at turn 12. Despite the impact, Webber walked away from the accident.

The safety car was deployed and Button was the first of the front runners to be able to pit. The front four of Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and Massa, continued round the track, Vettel ahead of the safety car, Hamilton overtaking it for what later turned into a drive-through penalty, while Alonso and Massa got caught up behind the safety car.

All four eventually pitted, Hamilton taking a new front wing for the earlier damage. Alonso and Massa got held up queuing in the Ferrari pits, and both lost out when rejoining the track.

At the restart, Vettel ran wide into the final turn, but kept Hamilton at bay, the pair leading Kamui Kobayashi, who was yet to pit, Button, Barrichello, Kubica, Sebastien Buemi, Adrian Sutil, Alonso and Hulkenberg into the first corner, as the top ten.

Hamilton was then served his drive-through penalty for overtaking the safety car, serving it on lap 27, after building up a considerable gap to third-placed Kobayashi, who had been backing the pack up. Hamilton maintained second, much to the annoyance of Alonso, who had initially complained about Hamilton.

Hamilton then started to take time out of Vettel, but was unable to catch him, the German finishing first, ahead of Hamilton and Button, who had claimed third when Kobayashi finally pitted.

Barrichello finished fourth, Kubica fifth, and Sutil sixth, ahead of Kobayashi in seventh, who managed to catch and pass Alonso and Buemi, stealing points from the squabbling pair, following his pitstop in the closing laps. Buemi finished in eighth, with Alonso ninth and Pedro de la Rosa tenth.

Stewards investigations are still pending for several of the top ten finishers, including Button, Barrichello, Kubica, Sutil, Buemi and De la Rosa, as well as Hulkenberg, Vitaly Petrov and Vitantonio Liuzzi for speeding behind the safety car. All could receive penalties, and it could effect the finishing positions, with the possibility of Kobayashi elevating to third. The results of the investigation will follow.

Hamilton’s second place helps to retain his lead in the championship on 127 points, six ahead of Button on 121. Vettel elevates to third on 115, with Webber still on 103 and Alonso on 96.

The next race is in Britain in two weeks time, with the renewed Silverstone circuit once again hosting the British Grand Prix, after very nearly losing out to Donnington. Qualifying is on Saturday 10th July, with the race live on Sunday 11th at 1pm.

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Vettel Scores Yet Another Red Bull Pole in Valencia

June 26, 2010

Sebastian Vettel put Red Bull back on pole again this season, in qualifying for tomorrow’s European Grand Prix in Valencia, this afternoon.

The Red Bull driver set an early time in the final shoot out of Q3, with a time of 1:37.587, while Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button made mistakes on their final laps, and Mark Webber failed to touch Vettel’s time, settling for second, less than a tenth off his teammate’s time.

Hamilton will start in third, with Fernando Alonso in fourth, Felipe Massa fifth, Robert Kubica sixth, with Button seventh. Both Williams drivers made it through to Q3, and Nico Hulkenberg will start eighth, ahead of teammate Rubens Barrichello in ninth. Vitaly Petrov, who also made Q3, will start tenth.

Down and out in Q2, Sebastien Buemi will start highest of the lot in 11th, with Nico Rosberg, the first of the two Mercedes failing to make Q3, in 12th. The two Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi will start 13th and 14th, respectively, while Michael Schumacher will start from his worst position of the season in 15th, the German very nearly failing to make Q2, in the drop out zone, at the end of Q1. Pedro de la Rosa will start 16th, with Jaime Alguersuari in 17th.

Out in Q1, Kamui Kobayashi joins the three new teams, and he will start in 18th, ahead of Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen, Lucas di Grassi, Timo Glock, Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna, down in 19th to 24th, respectively.

So will Red Bull and Vettel convert pole into victory tomorrow, or will Hamilton and McLaren manage to make it a hat-trick of wins in the Valencia sun?

Whatever is set to happen, the race will start at 1pm on BBC2 tomorrow, leaving BBC1 to make way for the England vs. Germany World Cup match.

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Hamilton Wins Thrilling Canadian Grand Prix

June 13, 2010

Lewis Hamilton took his second win in succession this afternoon, leading home teammate Jenson Button for a McLaren one-two, in a Canadian Grand Prix that saw lots of action, and caused lots of problems for all the drivers.

Lewis, who started the race from pole, defended and fought his way to the win, in a race that posed tyre issues for everyone involved.

Hamilton got a good getaway from pole, defending second-placed starter Sebastian Vettel, who in turn kept Fernando Alonso at bay in third. Button, who started fourth, only just got cleanly through the first two corners, as Vitantonio Liuzzi and Felipe Massa, who started fifth and sixth, began their first of three collisions in the first two corners. Mark Webber, who started seventh after receiving a five-place grid-drop penalty for changing his gearbox, gained from Liuzzi and Massa’s scrap, finding himself in fifth and chasing down Button. At the end of the first lap, Massa pitted for a new nose, while Nico Hulkenberg and Kamui Kobayashi had a scrap in the final chicane, which saw the latter in the ‘champions’ wall’, and later out of the race.

By lap five, Webber had the speed over Button, and passed him into turn three, for fourth, while Robert Kubica fancied his chances and started piling the pressure on the reigning world champion. Button was the first of the front runners to pit on lap seven, as the McLaren team started to suffer on the super-soft tyres.

Hamilton and Alonso were the next to pit on lap eight, and despite leading Alonso by two seconds, a slow stop and wheel spin resulted in Hamilton finding himself side-by-side with Alonso exiting the pits. Alonso had the upper hand, and got out ahead of Hamilton, but the two’s battle wasn’t to end there.

Vettel had the lead of the race, with Webber in second, but that wasn’t for long, when Webber pitted for a fresh set of hard tyres. The Red Bull driver found himself behind Alonso, Hamilton and Button, while Vettel continued in the lead, ahead of Sebastien Buemi in second.

Vettel was next to pit, gifting the lead to Buemi, and the Red Bull team chose to put the German on the super-softs. Alonso was soon on the attack, over the back of Buemi, but as the two fought, Hamilton saw his chance, and as Buemi pitted on lap 16, a lap after Vettel, Lewis once again had the lead of the race, and by lap 19 he was leading Alonso, from Button, Vettel, Webber, Kubica, Adrian Sutil, Buemi, Nico Rosberg, and Hulkenberg.

Hamilton then found himself under threat from Alonso while passing a back-marker, and made a last minute decision to dive out of the way into the pits on lap 26, taking another set of the harder compound tyre. Button and Vettel were the next to pit for more hard tyres on lap 28, with Alonso pitting from the lead at the end of the lap. Despite having an advantage over Hamilton, Alonso lost the position to the McLaren after traffic on his in lap held him up, and as the last of the front four to pit, he gifted the lead to Webber.

Webber extended his lead to 11 seconds over Hamilton, but as his hard tyre started to fall apart, he found himself being reeled in by the Hamilton-train, who were all confirmed to not have to pit again. Webber’s lead was punctured by a second a lap, and on lap 50, Hamilton passed him on the start/finish straight. Alonso was next in line to pass the Red Bull driver, but Webber pitted for the super-soft tyres on lap 51, before the Ferrari had the chance.

From then, Hamilton was in control, but Alonso, while lapping the Force Indias and Massa, found himself losing second to Button, who saw a way through. Button was then left to put pressure on Hamilton, but his teammate was ready to respond, setting fastest lap after fastest lap to the finish line.

Hamilton finished just over two seconds ahead of Button, with Alonso a further seven seconds behind in third. Vettel finished fourth, with Webber fifth, losing out through his strategy. Rosberg came through in sixth, ahead of Kubica in seventh, Buemi in eighth, and Liuzzi and Sutil in ninth and tenth, who found a way round the slowing Michael Schumacher on the final lap. The seven-time champion, who failed to make it through to the final round of qualifying yesterday, was seen playing dirty in the closing laps, pushing Massa towards the wall in the final two turns, dislodging the Ferrari’s front wing, after Massa tried to make a pass on Schumacher, who had been struggling with his worn out tyres.

Hamilton’s win hands him the lead of the drivers’ championship on 109 points, ahead of Button on 106, and Webber on 103. Alonso sits down in fourth on 94, with Vettel on 90, while Rosberg and Kubica are beginning to trail on 74 and 73, respectively.

McLaren edge further forward into the lead of the constructors’ championship on 215 points, with Red Bull on 193, and Ferrari beginning to trail on 161.

The next race is in Valencia in two weeks time, with qualifying on Saturday 26th June, and the race live on BBC1 on Sunday 27th.

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Red Bull Fall at 8th Hurdle as Hamilton Takes Canadian Pole

June 12, 2010

Red Bull’s run of consecutive poles came to an end this afternoon, when Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in qualifying for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver set the fastest time in Q1 and Q2, and was on course for pole throughout Q3, until Mark Webber set provisional pole. But Hamilton played a blinder on his last lap, and set a time of 1:15.105 to knock the Red Bulls of their perch.

Hamilton was then forced to stop on the track after running low on fuel, and he was seen celebating is pole pushing his McLaren back towards the pits.

Webber very nearly took pole as the chequered flag came down on Q3, but was pipped by Hamilton by over two tenths of a second. Sebastian Vettel, who struggled with tyre temperature throughout Q3, pulled a quick lap out of the bag when it mattered, and will start third ahead of Fernando Alonso in fourth.

Jenson Button, who only just made it into Q3, set the fifth fastest time, while Vitantonio Liuzzi scored his best qualifying result of the season, setting the sixth fastest time, ahead of Felipe Massa in seventh, Robert Kubica in eighth, Adrian Sutil in ninth, and Nico Rosberg in tenth, who out-qualified teammate Michael Schumacher, who failed to improve on 13th. The two will be split by the Williams’ of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg in 11th and 12th.

Vitaly Petrov will start in 14th, with the Toro Rossos of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari 15th and 16th, with Pedro de la Rosa 17th and Kamui Kobayashi in 18th, failing to get through to Q2, and joining the three new teams at the back of the grid.

Hamilton made it a hat trick of poles in Canada today, and will be hoping for his second win in succession tomorrow.

The race starts live on BBC1 at 5pm.