Posts Tagged ‘Heikki Kovalainen’


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.


Button Heads McLaren 1-2 in Rainy China

April 18, 2010

Jenson Button became the first driver to take a double win in 2010, making a tyre call early on that would see him in control of the race, leading home his McLaren teammate in a wet Chinese Grand Prix.

There was plenty of action once again this year, and before the lights even went out, Fernando Alonso was jumping the start. His over-eagerness enabled him to get around Sebastian Vettel, while Mark Webber made a quick move past his teammate, but ultimately lost out to Alonso’s jump-start as well.

A safety car was soon to follow after Vitantonio Liuzzi, Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastien Buemi crashed at turn three, and the front-runners, bar Nico Rosberg, Button, Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov who made the call to stay out on slicks, came in for intermediate tyres. Alonso was among those stopping, but he was soon handed a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. In the meantime, Rosberg led the way on the slick tyres, while teammate Michael Schumacher, who had been among those who pitted for intermediates earlier on, began struggling, and was forced to pit once more for a fresh set of slicks. Schumacher was the first of several drivers who had to pit again, proving Rosberg and Button had made the right tyre choice.

By lap 6, Hamilton and Vettel found themselves losing time on the intermediate tyres, and both drivers raced into the pitlane, nose to tail, for a fresh set of slicks. But it was on their release from their pitboxes that became the most talked about incident after the race. Both were released within a second of each other, and it was Hamilton who ended up side-by-side with Vettel. The two fought their way down the pitlane, with Vettel nudging Hamilton, who was on the inside, between the slow lane and the fast lane, towards the mechanics. Hamilton eventually backed off, and Vettel exited the pitlane ahead of the McLaren driver. Both drivers were later reprimanded for the incident, narrowly escaping a post-race penalty.

While Rosberg maintained his lead, Vettel and Hamilton were left fighting their way through the pack. On lap eight, both drivers made their move on Rubens Barrichello, and by lap ten, Hamilton passed Webber on the back straight. On lap 11 Vettel passed Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus. The Finn had spent the last couple of laps going backwards, having previously got up to sixth by lap nine. Hamilton made his move on his former teammate into turns one and two on lap 12, and Webber soon followed. On lap 13, Vettel was busy making a pass on Adrian Sutil, when Hamilton saw a way through, diving up the inside at the hairpin of turn 14, taking both Vettel and Sutil. Vettel eventually made the move on Sutil stick, while Hamilton continued to make a move, chasing down seven-time champion, Schumacher.

By lap 17, after two laps of trying to pass Schumacher at the hairpin, Hamilton made another attempt to get past the Mercedes driver, and although Schumacher tried to defend for the third time, Hamilton was able to get past after the German ran wide. Vettel and Webber were next on the attack, both successfully managing to pass Schumacher, sending the seven-time champion backwards through the pack.

On lap 19, after Rosberg ran off the track, Button was able to make a move to take the lead of the race. Rain began to fall, and by lap 20 cars began pitting for intermediates. Hamilton and Vettel came in on lap 21, with race-leader Button in a lap later.

Following contact with Bruno Senna on lap 21, Jaime Alguersuari suffered a broken front wing on his way into the pits for intermediates. The Spanish driver’s wing was already suffering when he clipped the kerb causing the wing to disappear under the car. The on-track incident between Alguersuari and Senna saw left-over debris on the track, and the second safety car of the race was deployed.

The restart came a few laps later, and it was Button left in charge as the safety car dived back into the pits at the end of lap 25. Button slowed right down at the hairpin of turn 14, causing the pack to bunch up, sending Hamilton slightly wide. By the last corner, after passing the first safety car line, Hamilton had Vettel all over the back of his McLaren, and Hamilton ended up pushing Webber wide. Both the Red Bulls lost ground, while Button led the way from Rosberg, Hamilton was left to make yet another move on Schumacher, who having pitted earlier than the McLaren and the two Red Bull drivers, had managed to make ground. Hamilton saw the opportunity into turn eight, and dived up the inside passing the German for fifth. A lap later and he passed Petrov in the same way, and next in his sights was Kubica in third. He didn’t have to wait long, passing the Renault driver at the hairpin on lap 30.

Button continued to build a gap between himself and Rosberg in second, and was some five seconds ahead of the young German. Hamilton tried to pass Rosberg on lap 36, but failed to make his turn eight manoeuvre work, and he pitted for a fresh set of intermediates on lap 37. Button and Rosberg pitted from the front a lap later, and while Button maintained his lead, Rosberg lost out, exiting the pits behind Hamilton who had made his way up to second.

As the last 20 laps played out, both Hamilton and Button’s tyres began to wear out. Hamilton was the first to complain, and after Button locked both front wheels into the hairpin on lap 52, it was obvious he was struggling too. Both battled on, and Button’s lock-up meant Hamilton was able to pull the ten second gap down to just 2. 6 seconds in the closing laps.

Button eventually crossed the line 1.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton, and the win, his second of the second elevates him to the top of the drivers’ standings with 60 points. Rosberg’s third-place finish sees him second in the standings on 50 points, with Hamilton just behind on 49. Alonso gained the most from the two safety cars, and despite his jump-start and drive-through penalty, he managed to finish fourth, pulling him level in the championship standings with Hamilton on 49 points. Kubica finished yet another successful race for Renault in fifth, with Vettel sixth, and Petrov seventh after a pass on Schumacher in the closing laps of the race. Webber finished eighth, ahead of Massa in ninth. Schumacher rounded out the top ten points-scorers in tenth. For the rest of the pack, Sutil finished 11th, with Barrichello in 12th, Alguersuari 13th, Kovalainen 14th, Nico Hulkenberg 15th, and Senna and Karun Chandhok 16th and 17th. Jarno Trulli, Lucas di Grassi, Pedro de la Rosa, Buemi, Kobayashi and Liuzzi all failed to finish.

For the fourth race in a row this season, the pole sitter has failed to turn his pole into victory, and Vettel now sits fifth in the standings on 45, with Massa sixth on 41, Kubica seventh on 40, and Webber eighth on 28. Schumacher and Sutil both have ten points, with the seven-time champion having failed to take substantial points for the fourth race in a row. In the constructors standings, McLaren’s one-two has put them ahead on 109 points, with Ferrari on 90, Red Bull on 73, Mercedes on 60 and Renault on 46.

The European season begins in three weeks time with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on the 9th May.


Welcome to the 2010 Season

March 12, 2010

After four and a half months without it, Formula One returned to our screens today, with the first two practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Adrian Sutil was the first to top the timesheets for Force India in Practice One, while Nico Rosberg posted the fastest time in Practice Two for the newly-named Mercedes team and reigning constructors champions.

So while the season kicks off this weekend, what has changed, who’s who on the grid, and what is the first controversy of 2010?

BMW Sauber were the first to announce mid-way through the 2009 season that they would be leaving Formula One. Soon after came Toyota’s decision to follow suit and quit the sport. Then came the 2009 world champion’s switch to McLaren, and after weeks of where will Kimi Raikkonen go now Fernando Alonso has taken his seat at Ferrari, the 2007 world champion announced a sabbatical from the sport. And that was all in the midst of digesting the new 2010 rules and regulations. But what happened to last year’s teams and drivers? Here’s a quick recap…

– Despite BMW’s planned exit from the world of Formula One, the team were eventually taken over, and returning to the sport under the wing of Peter Sauber once more, the team were pulled from the precipice, and with the exit of Robert Kubica to Renault, Pedro de la Rosa was confirmed as the veteran driver for the team after making a return to a race seat, with Kamui Kobayashi, who impressed at Toyota in the last two rounds of 2009, replacing Nick Heidfeld. Heidfeld is now a reserve driver for the newly-named Mercedes team.

– Toyota pulled out of the sport at the end of the 2009 season, and it was, as it were, replaced by not one, not even two, but three new teams. The Lotus name makes its return to Formula One, and Richard Branson and the new Virgin Racing team join the grid. HRT (Hispania Racing Team), despite no pre-season testing, head to Bahrain for this weekend’s race, rounding off the three new teams.

– Brawn GP came back from nowhere at the beginning of 2009 to take both the drivers and constructors titles after an impressive season, and in fact it was so impressive, German car manufacturer, Mercedes, ended their partnership with McLaren taking a 75% ownership of the Brawn team, which was quickly remained. The team, having parted company with both Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, signed Nico Rosberg, and eventually delighted fans when they announced their second driver would be none other than seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

– Button departed Brawn for McLaren to team up alongside fellow Brit, and 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton. The new all-British team with its back-to-back world champions meant that Kimi Raikkonen, who had been looking at signing with McLaren, after parting with Ferrari, was left with no race seat, and he eventually announced he would be leaving F1 for rallying.

– Fernando Alonso was confirmed as Raikkonen’s replacement at Ferrari before the end of the 2009 season, and he begins his quest for his third title alongside Felipe Massa, who returns to the driving seat for the first time since his horrific accident in Hungary last season.

– Fernando’s old seat at Renault was given to Robert Kubica, while Alonso’s former teammate, Romain Grosjean, leaves the sport to be replaced by Russian Vitaly Petrov.

– Button’s former teammate, Barrichello made a straight-forward swap with Rosberg, leaving Brawn for the Williams team. GP2 winner, Nico Hulkenberg joins the veteran at the team, making a step up to an F1 race seat.

– For Force India, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, not much has changed between the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi return for Force India, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber remain at Red Bull, and Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari stick with Toro Rosso.

– In the three new teams, Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen join Lotus, while Timo Glock joins Virgin with newcomer Lucas di Grassi. At HRT, Ayrton Senna’s nephew returns the Senna name to F1, with Karun Chandhok taking the last confirmed race seat for 2010.

– With the mixture of old faces returning, and the new faces joining F1 for 2010, several of last year’s drivers have either left the sport or stepped down from their race seat to become reserve drivers. Raikkonen, Grosjean, and Kazuki Nakajima have all left the sport, while Heidfeld joins Mercedes from BMW as a reserve driver, and Giancarlo Fisichella takes up his post as reserve driver for Ferrari.

So that’s the teams and driver changes for 2010. Other changes this season see the return of the refuelling ban and an amendment to the points system, among other things. The refuelling ban has posed the biggest problem for teams as it has meant changing other parts of their cars. As well as the larger fuel tanks, and the extra race fuel, the brakes and the tyres have to be taken care of, particularly in the early stages of the race when the drivers will have more weight as they brake to slow down the cars.

A change to the points system means the top ten finishers will be awarded points, with the winner taking 25 points, the second-placed driver taking 18, third 15, fourth 12, and fifth down to ninth, ten, eight, six, four and two points, with the tenth place finisher taking one point.

And then for the first controversy of 2010. McLaren are at the heart of the latest debate, with their rear wing design being called into question. The air vent, which stalls the rear wing and increases straight-line speed, has been confirmed to be legal by the FIA, but some of the teams are still unsure about the design. A change to the regulations and the introduction of homologated parts means it will be hard and very costly for the other teams to create a similar design to keep them in line with McLaren. As the rest of the weekend develops, expect to see this controversy continue…

For now, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes all look to be in a good position for the first pole and first win of the season. Button and Hamilton finished FP1 in fifth and sixth respectively, with Hamilton second and Button fourth in FP2. Alonso and Massa featured highly in the top ten in both sessions, while Rosberg was faster than teammate Schumacher in both, finishing fastest in FP2, with Schumacher in third.

The third practice session begins at 8am (GMT) on the BBC Red Button tomorrow, with qualifying on BBC1 at 11am (GMT), and the race at midday on Sunday.


Hamilton on Pole for Last Race of the Season

October 31, 2009

Lewis Hamilton took the final pole of the season in qualifying at Abu Dhabi this afternoon, while Jenson Button, the new 2009 world champion set the fifth fastest time ahead of tomorrow’s race.

Hamilton set the fastest lap times in all three rounds of qualifying, showing the McLaren is in a class of its own this weekend at the brand new Yas Marina circuit. He finished the final session with a time of 1:40.948, 0.7 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel who will start alongside him on the grid.

Vettel will be aiming to come away with more points than Rubens Barrichello tomorrow in order for him to secure second in this year’s world drivers’ championship. Barrichello will start tomorrow’s race from fourth, alongside third-placed Mark Webber, on the second row of the grid, and ahead of Jenson Button in fifth in his first race after securing the title.

Kimi Raikkonen will start his last race for Ferrari from 11th after just missing out on the top ten shoot out, Heikki Kovalainen will start what could possibly be his last race for McLaren from 13th after he stopped out on track during Q2 with suspected gearbox problems. Fernando Alonso starts his last race for Renault before his move to Ferrari from 16th, while Giancarlo Fisichella will start what is likely to be his last F1 race in 20th after another poor qualifying session.

With the focus now on who can finish where in the standings for the season, with all being well in tomorrow’s race, Hamilton looks likely to secure fifth in the drivers’ standings over Raikkonen, while McLaren look set to take third from Ferrari in the constructors’, after a difficult season for both teams.

Tomorrow’s race is also set to be F1’s first ‘twilight race’, starting in daylight and finishing under flood lights. The new circuit is set to end the season on a high, with Hamilton and his KERS-equipped McLaren looking good to take the last win.


Revised Japanese GP Grid

October 3, 2009

Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button are just two of the drivers who have been handed a five-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix after failing to lift under yellow flags.

The penalties were awarded after both Brawn drivers passed the yellow flags telling drivers to slow down following Sebasten Buemi’s shunt with the barriers on the exit of the Spoon curve in this morning’s qualifying session. Both drivers had been on their sole flying lap of Q2 after two previous red flags had meant they had not been able to get a time on the board beforehand, and both needed to record a time for a chance to make it into Q3.

Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Renault’s Fernando Alonso also received penalties for the same thing, while Buemi was issued with a penalty for continuing back to the pits after the incident.

McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen will drop five places after a gearbox change, and Toyota’s Timo Glock will start from the pitlane after a change to his chassis, if indeed he starts at all.

Meanwhile, polesitter Sebastian Vettel is heavier than second and third place starters Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton.

After what can only be described as a crazy qualifying session, the revised grid is expected to be as follows:

1. Sebastian Vettel, 2. Jarno Trulli, 3. Lewis Hamilton, 4. Nick Heidfeld, 5. Kimi Raikkonen, 6. Nico Rosberg, 7. Robert Kubica, 8. Adrian Sutil, 9. Rubens Barrichello, 10. Jaime Alguersuari, 11. Jenson Button, 12. Giancarlo Fisichella, 13. Heikki Kovalainen, 14. Sebastien Buemi, 15. Kazuki Nakajima, 16. Romain Grosjean, 17. Fernando Alonso, 18. Vitantonio Liuzzi, 19. Timo Glock, 20. Mark Webber.


Vettel on Pole After Disrupted Suzuka Quali

October 3, 2009

Sebastian Vettel took pole in this morning’s disrupted qualifying session for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix, where three drivers’ efforts saw them in the tyre wall.

Timo Glock’s crash at the start of the pit straight was the most worrying of the three incidents, with the Toyota driver eventually being airlifted to hospital with a wound to his left leg. The incident was the second to bring out the red flag in Q2, the first being the result of Jaime Alguersuari crashing into the tyre wall at Degner Two. Heikki Kovalainen brought out the third red flag, this time in Q3, again, sliding off the track at Degner Two.

As well as the three red flagged incidents, Alguersuari’s teammate Sebastien Buemi was also in the wars, just about managing to recover his Toro Rosso after a tap with the tyre wall at the infamous Degner in Q1. A rear wing change later, and Buemi posted the fourth fastest time in the first session, but after running wide exiting the Spoon curve in Q2, and dragging his Toro Rosso along the barriers, his car was too damaged to take part in Q3.

After Kovalainen’s accident was cleared, early on in Q3, Vettel posted the fastest time of 1:32.160, to take pole position, with Jarno Trulli second fastest in the Toyota. Last weekend’s pole sitter and race winner, Lewis Hamilton, will start in third, with Adrian Sutil completing the second row. Rubens Barrichello set a faster time than teammate and championship leader, Jenson Button, qualifying in fifth, with Button directly behind him in seventh, with the BMW of Nick Heidfeld between the two. Kimi Raikkonen was the slowest of the eight to post a time in Q3, with Kovalainen and Buemi both out as a result of their crashes.

After being checked over by medics, Alguersuari is fit to take his place in 15th on tomorrow’s grid. It is unknown whether Glock, who qualified 14th, will race tomorrow, and it is expected that Toyota will make an announcement in the morning. Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica were the three who missed out on the top ten shoot out following the restart of Q2, and they will start 11th, 12th and 13th respectively. However, after both Brawns set their fastest Q2 lap times under yellow flags, Alonso said after the session that he expects to start higher up, as under yellow flag conditions, you are expected to slow down. However, neither Brawn driver had posted a time to get through to Q3, and as the session had already finished, both drivers continued their pace.

While Vettel grabbed pole for Red Bull, at a race which is crucial for his world championship chances, his teammate Mark Webber was unable to qualify, after a shunt at Degner Two in third practice earlier in the morning, left his car needing a complete re-build. Webber will start tomorrow’s race from the pitlane.

With the amount of crashes the Suzuka circuit has seen this weekend, along with the rain which fell throughout free practice on Friday, hindering the amount of time the teams had on track, tomorrow’s race is looking like it may well be as eventful as qualifying. With Button needing only five points more than Barrichello to secure the drivers’ title, you wouldn’t want to miss it, as, as qualifying proved, anything can happen.

For UK viewers, the race starts at 6am tomorrow morning on BBC One.


Barrichello Scores First Win in Five Years

August 23, 2009

Rubens Barrichello won his first race in five years in Valencia this afternoon, as the perfect strategy saw him snatch the win from McLaren.

Lewis Hamilton made the perfect getaway from pole, and led the race up until the second round of pitstops where an error made by the McLaren mechanics enabled Barrichello to leapfrog the race leader to take victory.

Barrichello had held his nerve up until that point, leapfrogging Heikki Kovalainen running second in the sister McLaren in the first round of pitstops. After spending the second stint hunting down and maintaining the gap to Hamilton, Rubens saw the opportunity to pass him in the second round of stops after the McLaren mechanics failed to get the Briton’s tyres out in time. The error cost Hamilton time, and inevitably the race. Barrichello passed the chequered flag just over three seconds ahead of Hamilton, with Kimi Raikkonen taking the last step on the podium.

Barrichello said: “It has been fantastic. It has been a weekend that I’ll never forget.”

Jenson Button in the sister Brawn, had less luck than his teammate, and a poor getaway saw him lose three places in the first corner. After chasing the Red Bull of Mark Webber for the majority of the race, a quick out lap in the second round of pitstops, coupled with a slow in lap by Webber, saw Button finish seventh, with Webber out of the points in ninth. An engine failure for Sebastian Vettel enables Button to maintain his lead in the drivers’ championship over the Red Bulls, and puts Barrichello back into second place, and 18 points adrift from the Brit.

Kovalainen brought his McLaren home in fourth, having been unable to match his teammate’s pace, and losing third place to Raikkonen. Nico Rosberg finished in fifth, with Fernando Alonso in sixth, Button seventh, and Robert Kubica rounding off the points scorers in eighth.

Barrichello’s win puts the Brazilian back in the hunt for the title, and with six rounds to go, it is becoming more likely that the title fight will once again go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi in November.

Rubens can now head to Belgium next weekend knowing that he has finally got a win under his belt for Brawn, and that the championship can still be his for the taking.


The next round will be in Belgium next weekend, with qualifying on Saturday 29th and the race live on BBC One at 1pm on Sunday 30th.