Did you happen to miss the Chinese GP over the weekend? Did you forget to record it too? Ok well then we apologize that you suck but again we are here to help. Below are the official results and a post race recap from the NBC Sports boys.
WARNING: SPOILER BELOW
Unfortunately Lewis Hamilton could not repeat as the China winner. Instead it was Fernando Alonso who pushed his Ferrari to victory over the weekend. He was followed (distantly) by Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton managed a third place finish. There were a few good battles and a few hiccups as well. Learn all about it in the post race report below!
After what seemed like an eternity, Formula One finally resumed over the weekend. All the speculation, rumors, and storylines all came to a head as F1 returned to Australia to kick off the 2013 season. Even though most of the “silly season” was about who would end up where and why certain decisions were made, the common denominator amongst all the talk was that those who showed speed last season would be even faster this year.
That prediction turned out to be true as all the top guys were super quick around Melbourne but it looked like Sebastian Vettel was going to be fastest as he put on a pretty strong qualifying performance and captured pole position. Mark Webber completed a Red Bull lock out of the front row by qualifying second and Lewis Hamilton with his new Mercedes GP team took third spot.
However on Sunday Vettel, Webber, and Hamilton all struggled with tire durability issues. The two Ferraris and Kimi Raikkonen all capitalized on those struggles and inserted themselves into the fight at the front. In the end it was “The Iceman” Kimi Raikkonen who captured the first win of the season while Fernando Alonso grabbed second place and Sebastian Vettel nabbed third.
Kimi’s victory could be a sign of things to come as he has consistently gotten faster since his return to F1. We will have to wait until next week at Malaysia to see if Kimi can keep the momentum going or if Fernando, Sebastian, or Hamilton will make themselves a bigger part of the 2013 fight.
It was back in 2010 when an investment group announced that they had designs on building a world class race track near Austin, Texas in an effort to bring Formula 1 back to the United States after a 5 year abscence. Along the way there were ups and downs but in the end they got the track finished and it was finally ready to hold its first official F1 event; which took place yesterday in front of over 100,000 fans. As a matter of fact the event sold out completely. Every last cheap seat to the super luxury suites were sold and accounted for by the time race weekend arrived.
So now that it is Monday, what happened? Did it all go off without a hitch? To put it shortly: Yes. The teams and drivers descended upon Austin, Texas at the beginning of the week and glitz & glamor aside it was business as usual. The only real talking point as far as the track went was the fact that the surface was very slippery since it was so very new. Before the F1 event only a few race cars have run the circuit so the asphalt was not “rubber-ed in” at all, making for a slick track. This made practice and qualifying very interesting! However, despite the slippery asphalt the cream still rose to the top as Red Bull, McLarren, and Ferrari still topped the charts.
On Saturday it was Sebastian Vettel who captured the pole position. Lewis Hamilton put up a valliant effort but missed Vettel’s time by a tenth of a second. Mark Webber qualified third which put Lewis in dangerous territory.
Then, we have the points battle. Sebastian Vettel came to America with a mission to clinche the driver’s title for himself and the constructor’s title for Red Bull. After the math was done it was determined that in order for Vettel to clinche the driver’s championship he had to win the race and Fernando Alonso had to finish 5th or worse. If Vettel finished second then Fernando could do no better than 9th, and if Vettel finished 3rd then Fernando would have to score no points at all. The third scenario seemed pretty unlikely so Vettel had to concentrate on winning.
Once the race went under way and the drivers charged up “Phil Hill” things seemed to go Red Bull’s way as Vettel and Webber began to run away from the group. However, Fernando charged his way from 9th place up to 4th. About mid way through the race Hamilton made his way around Webber then set his sights on Vettel. Meanwhile Fernando started to smell blood as Mark Webber’s race car started to have issues. The Aussie’s car finally gave up and Fernando Alonso grabbed third place and held on for all it was worth.
Vettel must have been shaken by the news that his teammate was no longer there to protect him because Lewis Hamilton caught Sebastian in lapse of concentration and pulled off a brilliant pass to take the lead. Hamilton went on to win the race with Vettel taking second place and Fernando Alonso kept his championship hopes very much alive by finishing third. Despite Mark Webber’s DNF, Vettel’s second place finish was enough for Red Bull to secure the constructor’s title and secure them a heafty check to add to next year’s budget.
The driver’s championship on the other hand will all come down to the final race of the season in Brazil next week. Without clinching in Texas, Vettel cannot drive with his “nothing to lose” attitude that he had in the final race of last year. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso will be racing with every ounce hes got to try and win his third championship.
While still technically in the middle east, and despite having a very similar track layout, the snore-fest that was the Indian GP was a stark contrast to the absolutely crazy weekend that was the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi yesterday. The weekend started very well for Lewis Hamilton. Despite announcing his departure from McLaren and being on the verge of mathematical elimination from the championship, Lewis and his crew showed that they will continue pushing hard until the season is over. He was one of, if not the fastest car during practice and he put on a dominant performance during qualifying.
Speaking of qualifying, that was the point which the weekend got interesting. Sebastian Vettel, fighting downforce and braking issues managed to earn a P3 qualifying spot but once Q3 was over his team immediately ordered him to stop the car. Doing as he was told, Vettel pulled his Red Bull car over to the side of the front straight and hitched a ride in the safety car back to his pit. It is still unclear why his team asked him to shut the car down but it is against FIA regulation to not return a car to the pit under its own power after qualifying unless it has a certain amount of fuel left in its tank for independent analysis purposes. Vettel’s car was 150ml (or approximately 10 tablespoons) short of that required amount. As such officials disqualified him from the session and he woudl have to start the race on Sunday dead last, from the pit lane.
This was obviously horrible news for Red Bull Racing but awesome news for Ferrari. With Fernando Alonso qualifying 6th, he had a pretty good chance to take back the championship lead and maybe even build a points cushion for the last three races of 2012. However, things did not quite work out that way for Alonso. Despite starting in dead last, Sebastian Vettel clawed his way through the accident prone mid-field and fought his way to the front pack. For the most part that did not mean squat to Lewis Hamilton who was running away from the entire field; Until lap 20 when his car suffered some type of electrical malfunction and gave out, completely voiding his awesome performance all weekend up to that point.
From there it was Kimi Raikkonen who took over the lead in his Renault-powered Lotus. Great news for Kimi. Horrible news for Lewis, and completely indifferent to Fernando Alonso who just wanted to make sure he stayed in front of Vettel and that Vettel did not get any closer to him. Unfortunately for Alonso, Vettel who passed just about everyone else on the track after starting from pit lane was right behind him sitting in third place. Fernando’s only hope to leave the race ahead of Sebastian in the points was to win but the Spaniard could not catch Kimi “The Iceman” Raikkonen.
Lotus, not used to being in a winning position for quite sometime could not help but constantly remind Kimi what was at stake. A seasoned driver and former champion Kimi responded on the radio “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing!” (true story!). The iceman knew what he was doing indeed as he kept both Fernando and Sebastian at bay to take his first win of the season and Lotus’ first win ever (in their current incarnation anyway).
Finishing in second place was Fernando Alonso who is still well in the fight for the championship, and rounding out the podium in third was Sebastian Vettel who would leave Abu Dhabi 10 points ahead of Fernando.
There are only two races left now: the return of F1 to the United States at the Circuit Of the America’s, and the final race in Brazil. Can Fernando come back in just two races and win his third career championship? Or will Sebastian stay on top to get his third consecutive title? The fight continues two weeks from now when Formula One finally returns to America at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
For the second time in history Formula 1 returned to the Jaypee International Circuit for the Airtel Grand Prix Of India. Last year in the inaugural event, Sebastian Vettel dominated the weekend by taking the pole position and leading pretty much every lap and going on to win the race. If you watched the race, you could have easily been fooled into thinking it was a rebroadcast from 2011 because the same thing pretty much happened again. All in all the race itself was pretty uneventful. Lewis Hamilton had a pretty awesome pit stop in which his team changed all four tires and his steering wheel in just 3.3 seconds and a few drivers lost their tires but other than that it was a typical Vettel ass-whoopin on the field. Fernando Alonso kept himself in the points fight by finishing second and Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber captured third.
Vettel’s victory gives him a chance to possibly lock in his third straight title at Abu Dhabi but Fernando Alonso (who is 13 points behind) would have to have a serious blunder. Kimi Raikkonen remains in third place but he is in a very distant third with only 173 points to Fernando’s 227 points and Sebastian’s 240 points. The good news for Kimi though is that he was officially resigned to Lotus for 2013, so while his hopes for a 2012 championship are gone he still has a seat for 2013.
As I mentioned earlier the race was pretty uneventful but if you still want a full post race report check out the SPEED results show.
One of my favorite (and most controversial) stops on the F1 calandar as of late is Signapore. It has all the glamor of Monte Carlo but in a night time setting. In fact they use so much lighting equipment that if you look at the track from an aerial view, it looks like a bright ribbon of light twisting around the city! Pretty awesome! Awesome as it was though, it was serious business for the likes of Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, and Sebastien Vettel. Fernando came into the weekend with a comfortable points lead in the championship and set a goal for a podium finish. Normally you would expect his goal to be a victory but after a lack luster practice and qualifying performance he did not feel like he had the car to win.
Lewis Hamilton on the other hand did feel like he had the car to win. He blew everyone away in qualfying with a blistering lap to capture pole position and when the lights went out on Sunday he took full advantage of his position and proceeded to run away from the pack. For most of the race he avaraged a 1.5 to 2 second gap over Sebastien Vettel but disaster struck Hamilton on his third stint as his transmission gave out forcing him to retire from the race. From that point Sebastien Vettel took over the lead and eventually went on to win the race. Lewis’ teammate Jenson Button captured second place, keeping McLaren in the constructor’s championship battle, and Fernando Alonso achieved his podium goal by grabbing third place, but only after a few hard fought battles with Sergio Perez.
With Fernando’s third place win he was able to maintain his points lead. Lewis Hamilton on the other hand fell from 2nd place to 4th, but he still has 6 races to claw his way back! Sebastien Vettel’s victory has bumped him up to 2nd place and Kimi Raikkonen remains a threat in third place. Next up on the calandar is Suzuka Circuit in Japan, the site where many great champions have found victory. Will Japan be kind to Fernando? Or will it favor someone else?
For a full Singapore GP wrap up check out the post-race report from the guys at SPEED.
As the Formula One series reached Budapest’s own Hungarioring many thought rain would be the story of the weekend. However, when race day came on Sunday the weather could not have been better. In fact the weather was so good, the track was so grippy that Pirelli predicted that many drivers would probably only make one pit stop for the entire race. Pirelli turned out to be right in that respect. Not only were they right, but pit stops were a key factor.
The weekend started with Lewis Hamilton taking pole position during a great qualifying session and when the lights went out on Sunday he certainly did his part not to squander his front row position. Although a hiccup in his first pit stop put him down to 4th position. Luckily for Lewis, Sebastien Vettel, Mark Webber, and teammate Jenson Button all had pit troubles as well. With some determination Lewis was able to fight his way back to the front, but all the while he had both Lotus cars on his tail.
Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean fought each other hard for the opportunity to attack Lewis for the lead, but their battle slowed them just enough for Lewis to hold on to his lead and take his second win of the season. Kimi stayed ahead of Romain for second place and Grosjean took third.
Lewis’ win brings him up to fourth place in the points, bumping Kimi to fifth. Sebastien Vettel (who finished fourth) held on to third spot in the points and Fernando Alonso (who finished fifth) still leads the point with a very comfortable 40 point cushion over Mark Webber.
Formula One returned to the Hokenheimring in Germany over the weekend for the German Grand Prix, the home GP of Sebastien Vettel, Timo Glock, and of course Michael Schumacher. Three Germans in total gunning for the win but it was Fernando Alonso who dominated the weekend. First the Spaniard captured the pole in qualifying and once the lights went out on Sunday that was all she wrote as Fernando led the race from start to finish becoming the first three time winner of the season and also becoming the points leader. Sebastien Vettel was in second place. I say “was” because he passed Jenson Button for second place position on the last turn of the last lap but in doing so took all four wheels off track to complete the pass. After review the race stewards gave Vettel a 20 second penalty which pushed him back to fifth place, bumping Jenson to second and Kimi Raikkonen to third.
Over the weekend Formula One returned to Spain for the second time this year on the streets of Valencia and the talk of the weekend remained the phenomenon of seven different winners in seven races. With Sebastien Vettel throwing down a blistering fast lap during Qualifying and taking the pole position most were starting to think the 2011 champion would end the streak. When the race started Vettel had an excellent start and returned to old form as he shot out and built a hefty lead over Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean. It was starting to look like Vettel was going to indeed become the first two time winner of the year until his car mysteriously shut-off on lap 34 of 57 in a rare mechanical failure which ended his day.
Vettel’s mechanical issues allowed hometown hero Fernando Alonso to take the lead in front of an absolutely roaring crowd, but he faced serious pressure from the Frenchman Romain Grosjean. Grosjean was hard charging and chasing Fernando down until his car also shut-off on lap 41 which took an immense amount of pressure off the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. Over the radio the Lotus team informed Romain that the alternator failed which caused an electrical failure, thus shutting down the motor. Since Lotus runs a similar Renault engine set up as Red Bull, it was speculated that the alternator was possibly the culprit in Vettel’s shut-down as well. With Romain out, points leader Lewis Hamilton took over second place but had a four second gap to Alonso. While Lewis was figuring out how he would close on Fernando, his rear view mirrors were full of the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen who was smelling blood, or more likely the quickly degrading tires of both Hamilton and Alonso.
As the race closed in on the last 10 laps Lewis was stil working on closing that 4 second cap on Alosno but Kimi began to ease off of Hamilton, perhaps he was worried about pushing too hard and having the same alternator failure as his teammate. As the race got down to the last 6 laps McLaren was hoping that Fernando’s tires would begin to fail, which would allow Hamilton to steal the win in the end. However with Lewis suffering his own tire troubles Kimi Raikkonen took Hamilton down and grabbed second place on lap 55 of 57. Lewis then almost lost third place to Pastor Maldonado right after falling to Raikkonen but Lewis held him off for a few turns until Pastor got a little too aggressive and punted Lewis Into the wall with only two laps remaining. The hit took the front wing off Maldonado which put him out as well allowing Michael Schumacher to take over third place and Mark Webber moving up to fourth.
At that point it was all she wrote as Fernando Alonso finally won in Valencia becoming the first two-time winner of 2012, followed by Kimi Raikkonen taking second place, and the great one Michael Schumacher grabbing third.
Fernando’s win shoots him up to first place in the points, with Mark Webber moving up to second past Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel. Now the F1 grid gets about a month break as next on the schedule is the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim starting July 20th.
This year Formula 1 has been a bag full of shock and awe as so far up until the Spanish Grand Prix there has been a different winner from a different manufacturer for each race which was a nightmare for all the math geeks calculating points. The weekend of the Spanish Grand Prix had fans wondering if we would see yet another new winner or if one of the old pros would step up for a repeat win. For a while it looked like Lewis Hamilton was going to earn his first win of the season as he had a stellar performance during qualifying and earned the pole, for a few hours anyway. For some reason right after Q3 was over McLaren radioed into Lewis and had him stop his car while it was still on track. The reason why they did this is still unknown but leaving your car on track is a penalty so officials threw out Lewis’ fast lap and put him in the back of the field for the race.
With Lewis kicked off the front row, Williams driver Pastor Malonado inherited the pole which marked the first time a Venezuelan driver has ever held a pole position in Formula 1. While Pastor was happy with that I am sure he was worried when he came back to Earth and realized Fernando Alonso would be next to him! When the lights went out Pastor attempted to intimidate Fernando by nearly driving him off the track by defending his position going into turn 1. That turned out to be a rookie mistake since Fernando is not easily intimidated! The Spaniard held his ground and passed Pastor for the lead and immediately worked on building a sizable gap. Although, to everyone’s surprise Pastor did not fade away. The young Williams driver managed to stay with Fernando Alonso (granted at a distance) for the first half of the race.
Things took a turn during the close of the second stint as Fernando needed to come in for new tires and at first he had enough of a gap to swap rubber and still come out in front but those hopes were dashed when he got held up by lapped traffic, costing him valuable time. When Fernando came in for tires Pastor took over the lead but his tires were starting to go fast and he had Alonso’s hard-charging Ferrari right behind him on new tires. The crew at Williams pleaded with Pastor to do his best to maintain the lead but to also save the tires as coming in for new rubber would throw away all hopes of a win.
For about 15 torturous laps the Pastor held off the Spaniard with degrading tires and took the checkered flag, becoming the 5th different winner in 5 races and also becoming the first Venezuelan to win a Formula 1 race. Fernando Alonso took second place and Kimi Raikkonen nabbed third.
Everyone in the Williams camp was on top of the world but the celebration was literally burned out as their garage caught on fire! There were a few injuries to pit crew but nothing serious and everyone is ok. What a weekend huh?!