Posts Tagged ‘Michael Schumacher’

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Webber Takes Pole in Exciting Spa Quali

August 28, 2010

Mark Webber secured yet another Red Bull pole this afternoon, when F1 returned from its four week summer break, setting a time of 1:45.778, a tenth fastest than Lewis Hamilton, who charged his way to the front row of the grid.

All 24 cars headed out onto the track for the start of Q1, with rain threatening halfway through the session. The track still hadn’t completely dried out from earlier rain, and Vitaly Petrov became a casualty to the turn 9 kerb, causing a red flag to hault the session, just 90 seconds in. Once Petrov’s Renault was removed from the side of the track, the lights turned green, but the rains soon came after the cars dived back out onto the track.

All the drivers were on the soft compound tyre as they headed out for a banker lap, and as the rain started to fall heavier, it was a case of making it round the track to set a time, without running off the road. Jarno Trulli and Lucas di Grassi touched into turn 14, and the pair spun off the track, almost collecting Michael Schumacher, while Adrian Sutil ran wide in the gravel. Schumacher then set the first time, followed by a faster lap time from Jenson Button. The rain started to get heavier, but Hamilton was charging, setting the fastest time of anybody, before they all dove back into the pits. Sebastian Vettel looked to be in danger of the dropout zone, setting the 17th fastest time just after Hamilton set his fastest time, but the German was able to restore his hopes a little while later, heading out on intermediate tyres.

As the track started to dry out the drivers started heading out onto the track on fresh slicks, leaving the McLarens in the garage. Robert Kubica topped Hamilton’s time with two minutes to go, while Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa proved it wasn’t entirely dry out on track as they both ended up in the gravel and out of contention. Nico Rosberg ended up setting the fastest lap in the 1:54s in the closing seconds of the session, leaving Trulli, Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Sakon Yamamoto, de la Rosa, di Grassi and Petrov in the dropout zone and out of the running in 18th down to 24th.

The track continued to dry in Q2, and the 17 drivers headed out for a banker lap. Hamilton topped the time sheets, with an improved overall time from Q1 with 1:46.211, while Schumacher, Rosberg, Jaime Alguersuari, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Sebastien Buemi, Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock found themselves in the dropout zone. Schumacher receives a ten-place grid-drop penalty for his incident with Rubens Barrichello in Hungary, and will start 21st, while Rosberg will start 17th following a five-place grid-drop penalty for changing his gearbox. The bottom 14 will line up on the grid with Alguersuari 11th, Liuzzi, Buemi, Kovalainen, Glock and Trulli, 12th down to 16th, Rosberg 17th, Kobayashi, Senna and Yamamoto 18th to 20th, Schumacher 21st, and de la Rosa, di Grassi and Petrov 22nd to 24th, respectively.

Q3 saw the ten remaining drivers head out for a banker lap as the lights went green, with Hamilton in the lead, setting the fastest lap, with Felipe Massa setting second, Button third, and Fernando Alonso fourth. Kubica then made a move to set first, with Vettel snatching second, before Mark Webber scored the fastest time. Barrichello, Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg then set their fastest times, putting Alonso down to tenth.

The drivers pitted for fresh rubber, and as they started to head out onto track, it started to rain. As the track got wetter, it looked like a dead cert that Webber would take pole, with Kubica separating him from Vettel, and sure enough, Alonso crossed the line at the chequered flag unable to improve on tenth, Massa pulled into the pits before he had a chance to cross the line, after running wide earlier in the lap, and Vettel crossed the line to remain third. But, Button, who by that point was down to sixth, was able to improve in the McLaren, pulling out a time good enough for fifth, and, while despite the rain, the last man on track, Hamilton, pulled out a blinder to set a time a tenth off Webber, for second, demoting Kubica from the front row.

Kubica and Vettel make up the second row, with Button and Massa on row three. Barrichello and Sutil will start seventh and eighth, with Hulkenberg and Alonso in ninth and tenth on row five.

Webber’s pole adds to Red Bull’s string of all-but-one for the season, but with the straight-line speed of the McLaren, Hamilton will be fancying his chances through Eau Rouge at the start of tomorrow’s race.

With 20 points separating the top five drivers in the standings, there is everything to play for in tomorrow’s race. Will the weather spring its usual surprise on the drivers, and rain? And will McLaren’s straight-line speed advantage in sectors one and three give them the complete upper hand over Red Bull? We will see tomorrow. The race starts live on BBC1 at 1pm.

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Webber Takes Victory in Hungary

August 1, 2010

Mark Webber won today’s Hungarian Grand Prix, while Sebastian Vettel found himself with a drive through penalty, and pitlane chaos saw the end of the race for three drivers.

Webber got a good start, but it was Fernando Alonso who made a charge from third on the grid to split the Red Bulls, with Vettel taking an early lead. Vitaly Petrov was making moves from seventh on the grid to pass Lewis Hamilton for fifth in the second corner, but the McLaren driver dived around the outside of the Russian a lap later to reclaim his position.

Vettel began to take a second per lap out of Alonso in second, who in turn appeared to be holding up Webber, Felipe Massa and Hamilton in third down to fifth, respectively.

Jenson Button, who had started 11th, dropped back in the first corner, despite getting a good start, and soon found himself down in 15th. On lap 15, the reigning champion pitted for fresh tyres, a lap before the safety car was deployed for debris on the track.

Vettel got a late call to come into the pits, and was followed several seconds later by Alonso, Massa and Hamilton. While the two Ferraris got away with having to queue for a fresh set of tyres, the mechanics weren’t ready with Massa’s tyres, and the Brazilian found himself behind Hamilton. Webber remained on the track, behind the safety car, and for a while, there was a concern it would hinder his race.

Meanwhile, the mid-field found themselves in a scrap in the pitlane, with Nico Rosberg losing his right-rear wheel while exiting his pitbox, the wheel bouncing through the BMW Sauber pitbox. Renault tried to release Robert Kubica at the same time as Adrian Sutil was diving into his pitbox, one ahead of the Renault team. The two drivers collided, ending Sutil’s race, and resulted in a ten second stop-go penalty for Kubica. The Renault driver eventually retired.

While Vettel found himself over ten car lengths behind Webber at the restart, resulting in an eventual drive through penalty for the German, Webber found himself getting away from Vettel very early on. Hamilton retired from the race on lap 24, suffering from mechanical problems.

After Vettel took his penalty, and Webber eventually came in for his pitstop, the Australian had a gap of over 20 seconds to Alonso, and rejoined the track in the lead ahead of Alonso, and Vettel, who had managed to stay ahead of Massa after his penalty and was fighting with Alonso for second. The difficult nature of the track meant Vettel was unable to pass Alonso, but further down the field, Rubens Barrichello managed to pass Michael Schumacher, in the closing laps of the race. The Mercedes driver was then put under investigation by the stewards for pushing the Williams driver into the pitwall as he made his pass, but the Brazilian was able to make the move stick.

Webber crossed the line nearly 18 seconds ahead of Alonso, with Vettel close behind in third. Massa followed in fourth, with Petrov in fifth, his best finish of the season. Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth, ahead of Pedro de la Rosa in seventh, scoring his first points of the season. Button crossed the line in eighth, ahead of Kamui Kobayashi in ninth, and Barrichello in tenth, the last of the points-scorers.

Webber’s win elevates him in the fight for the title, putting him in the lead on 161, four points ahead of Hamilton, still on 157 after his second retirement of the season. Vettel sits third on 151, with Button fourth on 147, and Alonso fifth on 141. 20 points separate the top five, with Massa sixth on 97 points. In the constructors’ standings, Red Bull take the lead on 312 points, eight ahead of McLaren on 304, with Ferrari further behind on 238.

Formula One now takes its summer break, with a two-week factory shut down for each team over the next four weeks, with the sport returning at the end of August, with qualifying for the Belgium Grand Prix on Saturday 28th, and the race live on BBC1 on Sunday 29th August.

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Vettel Dominates in Hungary for Another Red Bull Pole

July 31, 2010

Sebastian Vettel took his seventh pole of the season this afternoon, in qualifying for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, while McLaren struggled from a lack of downforce, the current champion dropping out in Q2.

Vettel set a time of 1:18.773 to qualify ahead of his teammate Mark Webber, who had been a contender until his final lap. The Ferraris find themselves on the second row of the grid, Fernando Alonso in third, ahead of his teammate, Felipe Massa, who returns to the track for the first time since his horrific accident in Q2 last year. Lewis Hamilton is a tenth behind the Brazilian, with Nico Rosberg in sixth, out-qualifying his teammate, Michael Schumacher, who will start down in 14th.

Vitaly Petrov, Robert Kubica, Pedro de la Rosa and Nico Hulkenberg round out the top 10, while Jenson Button will start in 11th after a poor Q2, while struggling for grip.

On a track which is renowned for being difficult to pass on, the start will be vital, and the key to a successful race. Who will win the 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix? Tune in to BBC1 at 1pm tomorrow.

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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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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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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.