Archive for the ‘Ferrari’ Category

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Alonso Wins in Korea, Red Bulls Fail to Finish

October 24, 2010

Fernando Alonso has taken the lead of the championship after winning the first ever Korean Grand Prix – a race which was eventful to say the least.

The race started behind the safety car after a combination of heavy rain and a slippery new track delayed the start by ten minutes. At first it lasted four laps while the drivers complained the conditions were too dangerous, and once again, they lined up on the track in their grid positions.

The restart was then delayed until 4pm local time, and even then the race only got underway behind the safety car. The safety car stayed out until the 18th lap, with many drivers still saying the conditions were too dangerous, and others, including Lewis Hamilton saying that the conditions were fine to race in, Hamilton even saying the conditions were good enough for intermediates. As the track started to improve and visibility became far better, the safety car was pulled back into the pits and Sebastian Vettel lead the rest if the field through the first corner to get the race underway.

In the opening corners as the race finally got underway, Michael Schumacher made a move on Robert Kubica for eighth, and Nico Rosberg made a move on Hamilton for fourth. Felipe Massa and Jenson Button, who were sixth and seventh were also having their own personal battle, allowing Schumacher to sneak up behind them.

On lap 20, Mark Webber found himself out of the race after getting in a spin on the exit of turn 12. He collected Rosberg in the process, and the two crashed into the wall. The safety car was deployed while the wreckages were removed, and remained out until lap 23 when Vettel led Alonso and Hamilton into the restart.

By lap 27, Schumacher was making a move on Button, while Lucas di Grassi found himself out of the race. On lap 29, Button pitted early for intermediate tyres, but the gamble cost him, and with another safety car just a few laps later, he soon found himself towards the back of the field.

Hamilton, Massa and Schumacher pitted as soon as the safety car was deployed, to switch to intermediate tyres, and a lap later, Vettel and Alonso pitted to cover them off. Vettel rejoined in the lead, but Hamilton was able to get ahead of Alonso who had problems in the pitlane.

At the restart on lap 35, Vettel once again sprinted off ahead of Hamilton and Alonso, but Hamilton ran wide at turn one allowing Alonso back through into second. Hamilton was forced to go defensive against Massa, but was able to keep the second Ferrari behind him.

On lap 41, Vitaly Petrov lost the back end of his Renault and crashed into the wall at the entrance to the pitlane. But the next big retirement came on lap 46, when raceleader Vettel’s engine failed, and he was forced to stop along the straight heading into turn three. Alonso took the lead, with Hamilton on his tail, but from then on, Hamilton’s tyres began to lose grip, and he began to lose two seconds per lap to Alonso.

Alonso crossed the line to take his fifth victory of the season, with Hamilton second and Massa third. Schumacher came through to finish fourth, with Kubica fifth, Vitantonio Liuzzi sixth, Rubens Barrichello seventh, Kamui Kobayashi eighth, Nick Heidfeld ninth and Nico Hulkenberg tenth. Button finished behind Jaime Alguersuari in 12th, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen, Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto.

Alonso’s win puts him in the lead of the championship on 231 points. Webber’s retirement has been significant in the fight for the title, as Webber’s 14 point advantage over Vettel and Alonso has been diminished, as Alonso is now 11 points ahead of Webber. Hamilton is a further 10 points behind Webber on 210. Vettel is on 206, while Button trails on 189, 42 points off Alonso’s lead, and seemingly out of the championship unless he wins the next two races, and the others fail to be successful.

In the constructors’ standings Red Bull remain on 426, with McLaren just behind on 399 and Ferrari just behind them on 374.

The next race is in Brazil in two weeks time for the penultimate round of the season. We’ve seen that anything can happen and one race can change the shape of the championship, but who will leave Brazil and head to the last race in Abu Dhabi with the advantage? Qualifying is on Saturday 6th November, with the race live on BBC1 at 4pm on Sunday 7th.

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Alonso Wins in Singapore and Edges Closer into the Title Fight

September 26, 2010

Fernando Alonso won today’s Singapore Grand Prix by 0.2 seconds to Sebastian Vettel, while championship leader Mark Webber finished third to retain his lead of the title, and Lewis Hamilton collided with his championship contender to see the end to his race.

The race got off to a slow start, with the top five contenders retaining their grid positions through the first lap, while contact between the midfield saw an early end to Vitantonio Liuzzi’s race, bringing out an early safety car by the start of lap three as Liuzzi’s car was removed from the track.

As the safety car spent three laps on track, Mark Webber was brought in by the Red Bull team for fresh tyres, and he was followed in by several other drivers further through the field. By the restart, Webber was down in 11th, and within a lap he was able to make a move on Timo Glock, who had made his way up to tenth following the stops of several other drivers. Next on Webber’s target list was Kamui Kobayashi and Michael Schumacher, and he passed Kobayashi on the next lap, on lap seven, and on lap 11 he passed Schumacher for eighth position.

As the harder compound tyre started to cost Webber up to two seconds per lap off the leaders’ pace, Alonso and Vettel were able to pull out their 28 second gap to Webber to ensure they maintained their positions after their stop, while the McLarens of Hamilton and Jenson Button started to struggle on the super-soft tyre, and by the time Hamilton pitted on lap 29, Webber was able to pass the Brit who had only made up a 20 second gap.

At the end of lap 29, Alonso and Vettel pitted from the lead, and Button came in from third. While the two leaders rejoined in the lead of the race, with a continuous gap of around three seconds still between them, Button was down in eighth behind Hamilton. Between the McLarens and the leaders, Nico Rosberg was next to pit on lap 31, while Schumacher, who had been in the wars with the midfield, pitted from 15th.

By lap 32, Kobayashi crashed out under the grandstands of turn 18, collecting an unsuspecting Bruno Senna, and forcing the safety car to come out. Robert Kubica and Rubens Barrichello pitted, leaving Alonso and Vettel leading Webber, Hamilton and Button behind the safety car.

At the restart, the backmarkers of the two Virgins, who were in the middle of the front five, were forced to get out of the way of Webber and Hamilton who were on a charge. The fact Webber’s harder compound tyres had taken the pressures of more laps than Hamilton’s and had worn more, meant that Hamilton was pushing as soon as he could. Getting into the Red Bull’s slipstream while passing the second backmarker of Lucas di Grassi, Hamilton edged past Webber on the run down to turn seven, but while they both fought for the line into the corner, they made contact, braking Hamilton’s rear suspension, and seeing the end to his second race in succession.

Webber was able to carry on, despite a vibration in his front-right tyre, a result of damage from the contact, but found himself defending against Button, who was trying his best to put the Red Bull under pressure from then on.

Meanwhile, Schumacher, and the returning Nick Heidfeld got into a scrap at the same corner a few laps later, seeing the end to Heidfeld’s race. Kubica then suffered a right-rear puncture and was forced to pit again, but by lap 52, he was on fire, passing Sebastien Buemi for 11th, Vitaly Petrov a lap later for 10th, and then Felipe Massa for ninth. By lap 55 he was passing Nico Hulkenberg for eighth, and on lap 56 he tried the same move as Hamilton did on Webber into turn seven on Adrian Sutil for seventh, and he was able to make it stick.

By the closing two laps of the race, di Grassi and Heikki Kovalainen were in a battle of their own, and after the two made contact, Kovalainen’s Lotus caught fire, and after choosing to not peel into the pits, he pulled over on the pit straight and had to put out his own fire, grabbing an extinguisher from one of the pitlane marshals.

As Alonso and Vettel charged past the burning Lotus to start their final lap, Vettel had managed to diminish the gap to the race leader, and as he tried to make a move on the Ferrari, he found all he could do was play the waiting game, hoping the Spaniard would make a mistake. But Alonso had it in the bag, and after leading all 61 laps, he crossed the finish line to take the win, after a long one hour and 58 minute race, just 0.2 seconds ahead of the Red Bull.

Webber passed the finish line in third, with Button fourth, the pair some 30 seconds behind the winner. Rosberg followed the McLaren home in fifth, with Barrichello in sixth, Kubica seventh, Sutil eighth, Hulkenberg ninth, and Massa, who started last and pitted at the end of the first lap, the last of the points-scorers, and the last of the cars not lapped, in tenth.

For the championship, things have been shaken up. Webber remains at the top of the drivers’ standings on 202, with Alonso in second on 191, while Hamilton slips back into third on 182. Vettel and Button switch positions, with Vettel on 182 and Button on 177, 25 points – a win, off the leader.

In the constructors’ standings, Red Bull edge further ahead on 383, with McLaren on 359 and Ferrari on 316.

So with four races remaining has Hamilton thrown his chances away, and could Alonso come through to take his third crown, or is the title just Webber’s to lose?

The next race takes place in Japan, with qualifying on Saturday 9th October, and the race live on BBC1 at 1pm on Sunday 10th.

*Following the race, Sutil was issued a 20 second penalty for running off the track and gaining an advantage at turn seven on the first lap. The penalty puts him down in tenth.

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Alonso on Pole in Singapore, While Massa Fails to Set a Time

September 25, 2010

Fernando Alonso secured his second pole for Ferrari in succession in qualifying under the flood lights of the Marina Bay circuit, for tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix, while teammate Felipe Massa failed to even set a time in Q1 after he stopped out on track on his outlap with suspected engine problems.

Alonso posted his time early on in the first shoot-out in Q3, setting a time of 1:45.390, that no one could beat in the final push for pole. Even Sebastian Vettel, who was fastest in Q2, was unable to post a time fast enough to topple the Ferrari, and secure yet another pole for the Red Bull team, after he just clipped the barrier as he attempted to set the quickest time. Vettel settled for P2, one tenth of a second slower than Alonso, and another tenth faster than Lewis Hamilton, who will start third, alongside teammate Jenson Button, who joins him on the second row in fourth.

Championship leader, Mark Webber, will start fifth, after Button snatched fourth off him at the final hurdle. Rubens Barrichello will start sixth, with Nico Rosberg seventh, Robert Kubica eighth, Michael Schumacher ninth, and Kamui Kobayashi rounding out the top ten.

Dropping out in Q2 was Jaime Alguersuari in 11th and Nico Hulkenberg in 12th, who will start in 17th after he received a five-place grid-drop penalty for changing his gearbox. Vitaly Petrov, who qualified 13th will start 12, with Sebastien Buemi 13th, Nick Heidfeld, who replaces Pedro de la Rosa in the BMW Sauber, 14th, Adrian Sutil 15th, and Vitantonio Liuzzi 16th.

Q1 became qualifying to forget for Felipe Massa, after he stopped out on track on his outlap, failing to set a time. Stopping in an awkward spot, race control were forced to red flag the session as the marshals cleared the Ferrari from the track.

Timo Glock, Heikki Kovalainen, Lucas di Grassi and Jarno Trulli will start 18th to 21st respectively, while Christian Klien, who replaces Sakon Yamamoto in the HRT will start 22nd, ahead of his teammate Bruno Senna in 23rd, with Massa 24th.

As the season reaches its climax, F1’s only night race could be the turning point for the five drivers in the fight for the title. When it finishes, will there still be five drivers in the hunt for the championship? Or will Red Bull and McLaren be forced to back just one driver? We’ll soon find out.

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Alonso Wins Ferrari’s Home Grand Prix

September 12, 2010

Fernando Alonso won the Italian Grand Prix this afternoon, while Jenson Button kept him honest, and Lewis Hamilton saw the end to his race within six corners.

Alonso was forced to go defensive off the start after losing the lead to Button, who got a clean, strong getaway, and after trying to run Button wide into the first corner, he had to settle into second, ahead of his teammate Felipe Massa, who fancied his chances off the start as well. Hamilton got a good getaway, to pass Mark Webber for fourth, while the Australian slipped back, but while trying to dive up the inside of Massa into turn four, Hamilton made contact with the Ferrari, snapping his steering arm, before running off the road at turn six, the first Lesmo, due to the damage.

Button lead Alonso and Massa through the first lap, while Nico Rosberg made up three positions off the start to sit fourth, with Robert Kubica up to fifth, Nico Hulkenberg up to sixth, Sebastian Vettel down one to seventh, Michael Schumacher up four to eighth, Mark Webber down five to ninth, and Sebastien Buemi up in tenth.

The Red Bulls got a poor start compared to the Ferraris and the McLarens, but after Hamilton’s early elimination from the race, it didn’t seem too bad for Webber, who was guaranteed to regain the lead of the championship as long as he finished eighth or higher.

By lap six, he passed Schumacher for that eighth position, and while Schumacher tried to squeeze back past him, Webber was able to keep hold of the position.

Button maintained the lead, with Alonso maintaining the pressure for the majority of the race, as Button seemed to be struggling with pace after having lost a piece of his rear wing end-plate following first corner contact with Alonso. As Button and the Ferrari’s led the rest of the pack, Vettel started suffering with engine problems on lap 21, losing seventh to Webber, and falling back into the clutches of Schumacher. Luckily for Vettel, it seemed to be just electrical problems with his engine, and the problem ended up solving itself, and he was able to make up time in the remainder of the race.

The pitstops came later in the race, and on lap 34, Kubica became the first of the front-runners to pit. Rosberg and Webber were next on lap 36, with Webber dropping behind Kubica as he rejoined the track. On lap 37, Button pitted from the lead, followed shortly by Hulkenberg, who rejoined the track ahead of Kubica. Webber was then making moves on the squabbling pair, managing to make a move round the outside of Kubica stick into turn four on the same lap.

Alonso was next to pit from the lead, which he had been gifted by Button, who after his stop was in third. Alonso’s stop was smooth and having made a few tenths on his inlap, he was able to stay ahead of Button as he rejoined the circuit. Massa was next to pit on lap 39, and he rejoined in third.

As the race headed into its final ten laps, Vettel was the only driver of the front-runners who was yet to pit. Alonso led, from Button and Massa, who was just ahead of the recovering Vettel. Rosberg was fifth, ahead of Hulkenberg, Webber and Kubica. As speculation grew over when Vettel would pit, and where indeed he would rejoin the track, Webber was able to pass Hulkenberg, who he had been squabbling with for the majority of the race.

Vettel finally pitted at the start of the final lap, and was able to maintain fourth after pulling out a comfortable lead over Rosberg, while Alonso was busy heading for the chequered flag, with Button between him and his Ferrari teammate.

Alonso’s win pulls him closer to the title, while Mark Webber took advantage of a handful of points and Hamilton’s retirement to regain the lead of the championship on 187 points, with Hamilton on 182 and Alonso third on 166. Button’s second place means he holds onto fourth in the standings on 165 points, while Vettel slips to fifth on 163, with just 24 points and a win separating the top five drivers as the season heads into the final five, long-haul races of the season.

Red Bull maintain their lead in the championship on 350 points, while McLaren slip back by a further two points on 347. Ferrari’s first and third places see them on 290 constructors’ world championship points.

The next race will be in Singapore in two weeks, with qualifying on Saturday 25th September, and the race live on BBC1 at 1pm on Sunday 26th.

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Alonso on Pole on Ferrari Home Soil

September 11, 2010

Fernando Alonso took his first ever Ferrari pole position on Ferrari home soil in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza this afternoon.

Jenson Button will start alongside the Ferrari in second, in the F-duct-sporting McLaren, while teammate Lewis Hamilton, who will be running less downforce and no F-duct, will start fifth.

Alonso didn’t let the media-hype surrounding Wednesday’s World Motor Sport Council meeting over Ferrari’s team orders in Germany get the better off him, and he set the pace early on in Q3, setting a time of 1:21.962 – a time that no one could beat. Button came close, but wasn’t close enough, while Alonso’s teammate, Felipe Massa, couldn’t do better than third. The Red Bulls, for the first time this season, seemed off the pace, with Mark Webber managing to steal P4 from Hamilton at the last possible second, and Sebastian Vettel the slowest of the leading teams in sixth.

In Q1, once the top teams had set their fastest times, with Massa setting the pace, it was a battle of the new teams for the remainder of the session, to try and be the quickest of the knock-outs in the first round. Vitantonio Liuzzi lost out early on, with electrical problems with his Force India, forcing him to bow out. Lotus were the fastest of the new teams, with Jarno Trulli in 18th, Heikki Kovalainen 19th, with Luizzi eliminated early on and forced down to 20th. Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi set the 21st and 22nd fastest times for Virgin, with Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto 23rd and 24th. Due to a five-place grid-drop penalty for changing his gearbox, Glock will start from 24th, elevating di Grassi, Senna and Yamamoto.

Alonso set the fastest time in Q2, while Adrian Sutil, Michael Schumacher, Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastien Buemi, Vitaly Petrov, Jaime Alguersuari and Pedro de la Rosa were eliminated in 11th down to 17th, respectively.

In the end, it was Alonso who was unbeatable, and for just the second time this season, Red Bull won’t start from pole, in fact, they won’t be on the front row at all. Elsewhere in the top ten shoot-out, Nico Rosberg will start seventh, Nico Hulkenberg 8th, Robert Kubica ninth, and Rubens Barrichello will round out the top ten in tenth.

The race is live on BBC1 at 1pm tomorrow.

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Alonso Takes Controversial Win in Germany

July 25, 2010

Fernando Alonso took a controversial win in Germany this afternoon, after coded team orders from Ferrari saw race-leader Felipe Massa hand over the lead.

The two Ferrari drivers got a good start, with Massa taking the lead as Sebastian Vettel attempted to close the door on Alonso. The German pole-sitter ultimately lost out, with both Ferrari drivers diving past him on either side. Massa then led Alonso through the pitstops, with the two then trading fastest times early in the second stint. On lap 49, after jostling for first place a few laps earlier, Massa’s race engineer, Rob Smedley, gave a coded message to his driver over the radio: “Ok, so, Alonso is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand?” Moments later, the Brazilian driver lifted coming out of the turn six hairpin, and Alonso made the move for P1. The team order was confirmed a lap later over the radio, when Rob Smedley told Massa: “Good lad. Just stick with it now. Sorry”.

The team’s response after the race was that it wasn’t a team order, that it wasn’t a direct instruction, and that Massa made the decision. In the driver press conference, Alonso claimed he didn’t know what happened, while when asked what happened, Massa said: “He passed me”, adding that it was his decision.

While Massa had struggled for pace after stopping for the harder compound tyres, he had been able to pull out a gap to Alonso of around three seconds, before traffic brought the two closer together, and saw Alonso very nearly make a move on Massa stick into the turn six hairpin, and through turn seven. But when he was unable to pass his teammate, Ferrari chose to switch their two drivers, sparking controversy and a post-race $100,000 fine for breaking article 39.1 of the FIA rules and regulations that team orders are prohibited, and article 151c for bringing the sport into disrepute. Ferrari will have to face the World Motor Sport Council next, who could impose a harsher penalty on the Italian team.

Elsewhere in the race, polesitter Vettel lost out in the first corner to both Ferraris, managing to hold up Jenson Button as he attempted to make a move through the field. Lewis Hamilton immediately leapfrogged his teammate, and passed Mark Webber along the long parabolika straight, on the way down to turn six. By the end of the first lap, Massa was leading Alonso from Vettel, Hamilton, Webber, Button, Robert Kubica and Michael Schumacher, who was on the move from 11th on the grid.

Contact on the first lap between the two Toro Rosso drivers, saw the end to Sebastien Buemi’s race, when he lost his rear wing. The two Force Indias were also in the pits at the end of the lap, but a mix up of Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi’s tyres meant the two drivers had to pit again soon after, to switch their tyres over.

On lap 13, Red Bull took the opportunity to pit Vettel, putting him back out in clear air in fourth, and a lap later, Ferrari chose to bring Alonso in to ensure Red Bull didn’t get the upper hand on them. Webber pitted on lap 14 as well, but was released back out into traffic. Massa and Hamilton came in a lap later, with Massa rejoining in second behind Button who was yet to pit, while Hamilton rejoined in sixth behind Kubica, who also still needed to pit.

Button held on until lap 22 before he came in for his first and only stop, and after a handful of fast laps, was able to leapfrog Webber. The order after the pitstops was Massa from Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Button and Webber, in the top six.

The race remained constant from then on, with Massa and Alonso swapping fastest laps, until 18 laps from the end when Massa gifted the lead, in an obvious fashion, to Alonso. The move meant Massa lost his first win since his horrific accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, exactly a year ago today. Had Massa won, he would have moved further ahead in the drivers’ standings, taking him to 92 points, while Alonso would have 116 points.

Alonso’s win however, moves him closer in contention to the title on 123 points, behind the two Red Bull drivers who sit joint third on 136. Hamilton maintains his lead on 157 points, with Button on 143. In the constructors’ standings, McLaren further their lead on 300 points, with Red Bull on 272, with Ferrari moving up on 208.

The next race takes place next weekend in Hungary, with qualifying on Saturday 31st July, and the race live on BBC1 at 1pm on Sunday 1st August.

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Alonso Takes First Victory of 2010 for Ferrari

March 14, 2010

Fernando Alonso won his debut race for Ferrari at the Bahrain Grand Prix this afternoon, with teammate Felipe Massa making it a one-two for the team.

It had been Sebastian Vettel who had taken an early lead from pole position in the Red Bull, but exhaust problems for Vettel in the second half of the race enabled Alonso to pass him at the end of lap 34. Alonso had been biding his time up until that point and had managed to get the original 5 second gap Vettel had pulled out in the first stint, down to a second before finally making his move. Massa made his move into turn one on lap 35, and by the beginning of lap 38, Lewis Hamilton was also able to pass the German.

Alonso said of his race: “It was a special day for me. Coming back to the top of the podium is always special.” Referring to his first win for the Ferrari team, he said: “There is no better way to start the relationship.”

Alonso had made his first move of the race, passing Massa for second in the first corner. At the same time, Nico Rosberg, who started fifth for Mercedes, was able to pass Lewis Hamilton for fourth, after the McLaren driver ran wide trying to pass Massa into turn four for third. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber, who had started sixth, fell back after a smoky first couple of corners and Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button were able to gain a place each from him, getting up to sixth and seventh, but Webber quickly claimed seventh back off Button.

In the first round of pitstops, after being held up by Rosberg, Hamilton was able to retake fourth, while Button was able to claim seventh back off Webber. With Vettel, Alonso and Massa then retaining their positions as the front three, it was then Hamilton who led Rosberg, Schumacher, Button and Webber into the second and final stint.

From there, things stayed pretty constant until Vettel’s problems began to persist and the Ferraris and Hamilton were able to pass. Rosberg was unable to pass Vettel in the last lap, despite closing the gap, and Vettel finally finished in fourth. Rosberg was able to continue his form for the weekend, remaining ahead of his seven-time world champion teammate, Schumacher, with the two finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Button was able to keep Schumacher firmly in his sights throughout the race, but unable to pass the German, the reigning champion had to settle for seventh overall. Despite Adrian Sutil and Robert Kubica qualifying in the top ten, both fell back down the pack in the opening stage of the race, and it was Vitantonio Liuzzi and Rubens Barrichello who were the last of the points scorers in ninth and tenth respectively.

Further down the pack, and out of the three new teams, Lotus were the only one who were able to finish the race, with Heikki Kovalainen finishing 15th, and Jarno Trulli 16th, both keeping their laptimes to within three seconds of the frontrunners at times. Karun Chandhok was the first retiree in the HRT, while Bruno Senna retired with a sick engine later on. Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock failed to finish for Virgin, while Kamui Kobayashi, Vitaly Petrov, Pedro de la Rosa and Sebastien Buemi were the other retirees of the race.

Alonso’s impressive win on his debut for Ferrari sees him take 25 points, with Massa taking 18. The two together put the Ferrari team in a strong position in the constructors’ championship early on, with the team taking a maximum 43 points. McLaren take 21 points from Hamilton and Button’s third and seventh positions, with a solid fifth and sixth for Mercedes putting them third on the constructors table with 18 points, with Red Bull just behind on 16.

The Australian Grand Prix is in two weeks time, with qualifying on Saturday 27th March at 6am (GMT), and the race live on BBC1 at 7am on Sunday 28th.