With rain dropping at the start of the 2011 Hungarian GP, drivers were set to start their race with intermediate tyres. Sebastian Vettel was in first place, Lewis Hamilton second, and Jenson Button third.
When the red lights went off, it would be the beginning of a very exciting race. All the drivers were fighting their cars for traction, and the first five laps saw an intense battle between Vettel and Hamilton for the lead. Vettel runs wide in one of the corners on lap 5, allowing a faster Hamilton to get through.
Felipe Massa also made a mistake on lap 8, spinning his car and touching the barriers. The contact was very light, but there was damage to his rear wing. Despite this, he would finish the race in a good sixth place.
Today’s 60-lap German Grand Prix, saw an exciting race thanks to McLaren and Ferrari giving a real challenge to this year’s dominating Red Bulls. There was always a threat posed by the cloudy weather, however all teams decided to go for slick tyres rather than intermediates. No rain would fall.
With Mark Webber starting in first position, team Red Bull was definitely in a good place to take the lead, but Lewis Hamilton got a better start once the red lights went off, taking the lead with Webber, Vettel and Alonso following very close behind.
A few laps into the race, it was clear that Sebastian Vettel would not dominate as per usual, with him struggling to match the pace of Hamilton and Webber, and eventually being overtaken by Alonso. After running wide and touching slippery grass, Vettel spun his car while in fourth position (Michael Schumacher would repeat the same mistake later on), allowing Felipe Massa to drive right up to his tail. Massa soon managed to get passed Vettel, where they would continue to battle, nose to tail, for fourth place right up to the final lap when they both pitted. With Massa’s pit stop taking longer than Vettel’s, the German driver would be able to take back and finish in fourth place, with Massa finishing over four seconds behind in fifth.
Formula 1 is back on our screens this weekend, with practices starting on Thursday. The 2011 season is set to kick off in Melbourne, originally intended to start in Bahrain on 13 March but was cancelled due to the Middle Eastern pro-democratic protests.
2011 looks set to be one of the most exciting seasons we’ve ever had, with five F1 champions all ready and eager to snatch the 2011 title for themselves. And to add to the unpredictability, the cars will come with some changes as well.
This is probably the biggest change this season, Bridgestone is gone and Pirelli is now in. The major difference here is that the Pirellis will wear out quicker than the Bridgestones, with drivers expected to make at least three pit stops per race.
Return of KERS
The Kinetic Energy Recovery System makes a return to F1 cars after first appearing in 2009, but scrapped for 2010. It works like an electric motor, giving boost to the engine when needed. One of the reasons for abandoning the system was the extra weight it carried, about 30kg extra. Teams with a smaller budget might be at a disadvantage though, not being able to afford the KERS system might mean that they could lose precious tenths of a second in a race.
Adjustable rear wing
This season drivers will be able to alter the angle of their rear wing from within the cockpit. The aim is to increase overtaking opportunities on the straights, however the system will only work when the car is at least a second behind another, and shuts off when the car is under braking.
Sunday at 5 PM Australian time, don’t miss it.
If you're a follower of F1, you definitely would have noticed that Michael Schumacher didn't exactly give the comeback performance we were all expecting.
Many have said that his three years in retirement were too long to make a comeback, that the game had moved on significantly since the end of the 2006 season. Some say that he needed more time to adapt to the new F1 cars, and that in no time he would be showing the little kids (Vettel, Hamilton, Button etc) how it's done. Some simply say that his days have come and gone and that he just can't drive as well as he used to. Others say, Schumacher included, that his car just wasn't up to the task, and are still waiting for a proper comeback in 2011.
However, thanks to youtube, we've found proof that he's still more than capable of giving the young guys a hard time. If the 2009 Race of Champions is anything to by, we can expect a better Schumacher for 2011. The videos are worthy of any motorsport fan's 20 minutes.
The 2010 Formula 1 season will remain one to remember for years to come. Nearly a week after the final race of the season, now maybe a good time to see some of the most memorable moments.
The return of Schumi.
After a three year retirement period, seven time F1 champion Michael Schumacher saw it best to put his helmet back on and give F1 another go. Hungry to rekindle his glory days, Schumacher rejoined Ross brawn at team Mercedes GP, and slowly but surely disappointed fans all over the world with lacklustre performances throughout the season. His performance has definitely divided opinions as result, some put it down to the car, while some say his time is simply over. Schumi promises a return to his previous form for the 2011 season, 2011 will be a year to look forward to.
Trouble in Red Bull's Paradise.
It was paradise as their cars were without question the fastest this season. However there was a lot of tension between their drivers Mark Webber and Sebastein Vettel. The Silverstone Grand Prix was a memorable case in which they took the front wing of Webber's car and put it onto Vettel's after his was damaged during a practice session. In Webber's view this was seen as the team having more faith in Vettel to bring victory. However Webber did win the Silverstone Grand Prix and on his victory lap was heard saying "not bad for a number two driver". But the crash between Webber and Vettel at the Turkish Grand Prix, probably brought to light how bad things were at the Red Bull camp, Vettel angrily gesticulating Webber was crazy after the collision.
Webber and Kovalainen crash.
Probably the scariest crash of the season. The venue was Valencia. After Mark Webber tried to negotiate a pass from Heiki Kovalainen, who was a lap behind, Webber's car made contact with Kovalainen's Lotus and caused the Red Bull to backflip into the air, momentarily landing on its roof and violently hitting the tyre barriers at very high speed. Luckily Webber was okay.
Hamilton vs Alonso part 2.
Another incident that saw Fernando Alonso crying foul, when Lewis Hamilton passed the safety car at the Valencia Grand Prix. Hamilton was penalised for passing the safety car, he served a drive through penalty, but apparently this wasn't enough to satisfy Alonso. Alonso would continue to fume for days to come.
Ferrari Team orders.
"Fernando is faster than you. can you confirm you understood that message?", was the not-so secret way of telling Felippe Massa to let his team-mate Fernando Alonso take the lead at the Hockenheim Grand Prix. After Massa was actively defending his lead, the Ferrari team decided they would prefer Alonso ahead of Massa, effectively confirming his role as a number two driver. The FIA fined Ferrari $100,000 for breaking the rule which states team orders are prohibited.
If there is one thing we can definitely say about the 2010 F1 season is that it was completely unpredictable and exciting all the way through. With four drivers still in with a chance of taking the driver's title, it was heart in the mouth stuff for McLaren, Ferrari, and Red Bull fans all over the globe.
Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit was the final venue on this year's calendar. Sebastian Vettel had a good start to the race holding to his pole position and managing to just get away from second place Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile Jenson Button managed to steal third place from Fernando Alonso thanks to a better start. But barely thirty seconds into the race the safety car had to be deployed due to a collision between Michael Schumacher and Vitantonio Liuzzi, bringing an end to Schumacher's lacklustre season.
With the safety car having returned to the pits, Vettel then went on to dominate the race, with Hamilton following close.
No doubt Mark Webber did not have the race which would have given him the championship. Having to return to the pits early to have his tyres changed, thanks to slight contact with the barriers, this effectively meant that he would only have an 8th place finish.
And with the Ferrari team concerned with defending their chances of a driver's championship by playing it close with Webber, Alonso pitted in shortly after Webber. This move would cost him the championship as he would would fall way back on the fourth place he needed to be champion. That and the fact that he could not get past Renault's Vitaly Petrov. A 7th place finish meant that he would not be a three time world champion this year.
With the Schumacher-Liuzzi collision being the only major incident of the race, Vettel continued to dominate the race right up to the checkered flag. Lewis Hamilton finished the race in second place with Jenson Button in third. The McLaren 2-3 finish means that the team has been placed second on the Constructor's standing.
The season's unpredictability served as a great lead up to Vettel's victory. We also saw a little resentment from Alonso towards Petrov, as he shook his fist in disapproval towards the Russian after the race was over. Next year sees the introduction of new rules, most important being the use of Pirelli tyres. We can only hope that the 2011 season is as excting as this year's.
After some time off in the world of Formula 1, the sport returned to our screens with an exciting race waiting to happen at Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps. Mark Webber was on pole, Lewis Hamilton was in second position, while Kubica was in third.
The weather would play a great role in the outcome of the race, with clouds threatening a good spray of rain. Despite the really dark clouds at the begining of the race drivers decided to go ahead and start the race with slicks. Mark Webber immediately lost his first position thanks to a poor start, leaving Lewis Hamilton to snatch the lead, with Button following closeby in second place and Vettel in third.
However, as if the rain was waiting for the race to start, it began to fall before the first lap was even complete, causing nearly every driver to misjudge their braking points at turn 18. The mess at turn 18 claimed Rubens Barrichello as its only victim when he crashed into Alonso's Ferrari, who surprisingly was able to continue racing despite Barrichello's car being destroyed. The safety car was deployed on the second lap.
Despite the slippery surface most drivers decided to hang on to their slick tyres, but Alonso went into the pits for some rain tyres. The safety car went back in at the end of lap 3, with the rain having stopped and the circuit drying up quickly. Alonso would later have to return for slicks, hence losing any chance for a podium finish. Bruno Senna abandoned his race at lap 6.
On the 11th lap, there was minor contact between Nico Rosberg and teammate Michael Schumacher when Schumacher took the opportunity to pass Rosberg, when Rosberg ran wide of a corner and tried to get back on the racing line after fighting for 9th position with Renault's Vitaly Petrov. Rosberg would later pass Schumacher in similar fashion.
A major highlight of the race was when Sebastian Vettel ran his Red Bull into the back of Jenson Button's 2nd place car. The accident forced Button to abandon the race while Vettel managed to nurse his car back to the pits with no front wing. Vettel would later serve a drive through penalty for causing a collision, hence being eliminated from a podium finish.
As if Vettel's race wasn't going badly already, he was forced back into the pits again due to a puncture on his rear-left tyre. The front wing of Liuzzi's Force India made contact with the Red Bull tyre just after Vettel managed to squeeze past Liuzzi.
At around lap 30 of the race, we hear team radios saying that there would be heavier rain coming with the next few minutes, forcing both teams and drivers to rethink their strategies. Sure enough, at lap 34 it began to rain.
With most drivers going into the pits at the end of lap 34 to get rain tyres, Hamilton decided to go for another lap with his slicks, a move that would almost cost him the lead (and maybe even the race) as he slid off the track on lap 35. He only just managed to maintain his lead when he went into the pits, with second place Robert Kubica following him into the pits as well as third place Webber. However Kubica left the pits in third place as more time was wasted at his pit stop, letting Webber take second and Hamilton still in the lead.
Despite Alonso having also changed from slicks to rain tyres, his race would end prematurely as he spun and crashed his Ferrari into the wall with only 6 laps to go. The safety car is deployed and goes back in with 4 laps left, with the rain still pouring. Jarno Trulli nearly causes another accident at lap 41 when he spins his car as well. Making no contact with other cars, he was able to continue with the race.
The dramatic race finished with Hamilton taking first, Webber second place, and Kubica in third. The full points gained by Hamilton mean that he has been put back in the lead of the Driver's championship.
From highest paid loser to a deserving world champion.
After a soaking wet qualifying session, it must be said that the participants were relieved to have favourable weather for 2009's Brazilian Grand Prix, and what a race it was.
As always the first lap is the lap where crashes are most likely to occur as driver’s scrabble to get a high position on the grid, and 2009’s Brazilian Grand Prix was no exception. The safety car was deployed after Adrian Sutil, Jarno Trulli, and Fernando Alonso crashed out a few corners after the start. In an attempt to fight oversteer, Trulli hit the back of Sutil’s car sending the Force-India off the track, sliding across the grass and back onto the track, claiming Fernando Alonso as a victim, meanwhile Trulli’s car had already hit the wall.
Another moment of drama was in the pits involving Finnish drivers Heiki Kovolainen and Kimi Raikkonen. It was a scary moment as Kovolainen’s McLaren set off with the fuel hose still attached, spraying fuel behind him and onto Raikonen’s car which was also exiting the pits, which in turn very briefly turned Raikkonen’s car into a flashing ball of fire. Luckily no damages or injuries occurred and both drivers were able to continue with the race. The safety car returned to the pits with 66 laps to finish.
As soon as the safety car returned to the pits, we witnessed a very aggressive yet effective driving style from Jenson Button, quickly climbing up the grid and finishing in 5th place. The 5th place finish means that Button has finally become Formula One’s driver’s champion. But the 5th place only became sufficient after Ruben’s Barrichello ended up finishing in 8th place. Barrichello faced tyre problems with 8 laps left to the finish, necessitating a pit stop and hence eliminating his small chance of being this season’s champion.
Other driver’s that failed to finish were Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima. Rosberg’s retirement came after engine problems, while Nakajima made contact with Toyota’s Koboyashi which ultimately sent him off to the safety walls.
The safety car at the beginning of the race meant that McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was able to adapt to a 1 pit-stop racing strategy. The strategy meant that he was able to climb from 17th place to a podium-finishing 3rd place, 2nd place went to Robert Kubica, while 1st place went to Mark Webber who drove brilliantly and flawlessly throughout 2009’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
(Above photograph from Autocar.co.uk)
Everything was in place for a smooth cruise to victory for Jenson Button. The weather was perfect, no predictions for rain, and all seemed calm. With last years Monaco GP winner and current world champion Lewis Hamilton having crashed out during qualifying, thus being placed last on the grid, all that was left for Button was to have a great start to the race and maintain his lead. And he did just that.
Both Jenson Button and his team mate, Rubens Barichello, had a great start to the race, with Button quickly taking the lead and Barrichello snatching Kimi Raikonen’s 2nd place. It was basically a smooth cruise to a 1-2 victory from there on for the Brawn GP cars, Button upholding his reputation for being a smooth, consistent driver. A big highlight of the race is seeing Button actually lapping Lewis Hamilton after 36 laps, which came as a shock when we remember what seemed like God-like abilities from Lewis Hamilton at last year’s Monaco race.
The race wasn’t without its unfortunate victims though. 10 laps into the race, the first person to retire was Swiss driver, Sebastien Buemi, after he rear-ended his Torro Rosso into Nelson Piquet’s Renault. Piquet was able to remove himself from the accident but only to bring his car into the pits. The next retiree was Sebastien Vettel. When Vettel lost the back end of his Red Bull car and crashed it into a tyre barrier, we could almost hear the breaths of relief from the other drivers. Vettel is proving to be one very competitive driver this season, but the smallest of mistakes meant his race was over with 62 laps left. Kubica was the next to retire after what seemed like technical problems, while Heiki Kovolainen crashed his car into a wall after losing control going over the Piscine chicane, he had 27 laps left. The last of the retirees was Kazuki Nakajima after he lost control of his car going into turn 5 at Mirabeau.
“Monaco baby! Yeah! Woohoo!” is what we could hear Jenson Button shouting into the team radio after he won. He has finally won the race that all GP drivers want to win the most, and bathed in the glory that comes with a victory in Monaco. The next race is in two weeks in Turkey. We can’t wait.
Drag racing always sounds pretty straight forward, get as little wheel spin as possible coming off the line, change gear at the right revs, and keep it dead straight. Unfortunately the driver of the Renault F1 found out that the latter proved to be harder than one might imagine.