Archive for the ‘Monaco- Monte Carlo’ Category


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.


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.


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.


Button Produces Faultless Win at Monaco

May 24, 2009

The Monaco Grand Prix is the showcase of the Formula One season, where narrow streets and slow-speed corners wind their way past the casino, through the tunnel, and alongside the glamourous harbour. Qualifying means all or nothing to your race: put it on pole and you’re halfway to victory, but drop it in the barrier in quali one and you may as well watch the race from onboard Flavio Briatore’s lavish yacht.

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton proved just that this afternoon. After placing his Brawn on the front row of the grid in qualifying yesterday, Jenson made a storming start to turn his pole into victory and edge his way even further into the lead of the championship. After breaking late into Mirabeau in quali one yesterday, and incurring a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox, Lewis started 19th and could only manage 12th in a drawn-out race at the Monte Carlo circuit.

Flashback to this time last year and Lewis Hamilton won the race in spectacular style, despite a puncture to one of his tyres after an early collision with a barrier. Then it was raining, today it was hot. Then he was driving a fast car, today he was driving an injured car. Then he won in car 22, today it was Button’s turn to win in car 22.

Button’s drive couldn’t have been more faultless, in fact the only error he made all afternoon was where he parked his car at the end of it. Unlike the other races on the calendar where park ferme is in the pit lane, Monaco sees the top three cars line up on the grid in front of the podium. But in the true fashion that comes with a driver who has rarely been at the top- and never won the Monaco Grand Prix- Button parked his Brawn in the pits, meaning he had to run back to the grid for the podium ceremony. Still, considering some of the errors that are frequently made at this narrow street circuit, this was only a minor blunder, and somewhat amusing at that.

Button’s getaway was quick, but it was teammate Rubens Barrichello who made the fastest move off the grid from third to second, passing Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen before he could even think about hitting his KERS button.

Button lead for the majority of the race, gifting the lead to Rosberg on lap 16 at his first pitstop, only to re-claim the lead a lap later, and again to Raikkonen at the second pitstop for two laps.

Raikkonen’s teammate Felipe Massa showed that Ferrari are on the move again after a slow start to the 2009 season. Raikkonen finished alongside the Brawn drivers on the podium, with Massa following closely behind. Mark Webber was the sole Red Bull to pass the chequered flag after Sebastian Vettel clipped the barrier on the exit of turn one early on in the race.

Despite running third before his first pitstop, Hamilton’s teammate Heikki Kovalainen lost control of his McLaren going past the swimming pool in the last third of the race, and became one of five retirees.

After six races of the 2009 season, and with Button claiming victory at all but one, it appears Lewis Hamilton needs to get a move on if he wants to defend his title. His fellow Brit has set the pace for the remainder of the season, and with his 16 point lead over teammate Barrichello, and 42 over Hamilton, it is clear that Lewis and indeed the rest of the pack have some catching up to do. After Hamilton’s second pitstop, his lack of pace in the first half of the race became apparent to be his front wing which was broken early on. The defending champion soon picked up the pace in his final stint, proving the McLaren is more than capable to match the pace of the Brawn. Towards the end of the race Hamilton made a charge and managed to improve on his race-long second-to-last position. However the champion has some catching up to do in the coming races if he wants to retain his title at Abu Dhabi in eleven races time.

As for Button, he can leave for the next race in Turkey knowing that he is somewhat unstoppable. He went into the race saying he was taking each race as it came and would only worry about the championship come the final race in November, but surely if anyone is going to catch him, they’re going to have to pull something out of the bag, and sooner rather than later…


The next race is in Turkey in a fortnights time, with qualifying at 12pm on 6th June, and the race live on BBC One at 1pm on the 7th.


Go! Go! Go! in Monaco!

May 24, 2009

The glitz and glamour of Formula One comes together in one weekend, with this afternoon’s Monaco Grand Prix . Jenson Button put his Brawn on pole in qualifying yesterday, but following late-braking into Mirabeau and and a clip of the barrier, last year’s race winner Lewis Hamilton starts the race from the back of the grid.

As with any race, anything can happen, but Monaco is renowned for being a hard circuit to pass on, making Jenson’s pole all the more worthwhile. For Hamilton, his work is cut out to make up for the error in qualifying.

Watch out for Kimi Raikkonen into the first corner. The Finn, who put his Ferrari alongside Button in qualifying comes to the grid equipped with KERS, meaning as the lights go green, Jenson will have his mirrors full of red Ferrari. And perhaps Lewis will be seeing a different kind of red.