In a weekend surrounded by controversy of the social political environment of Bahrain the FIA decided that the show would go on and the Bahrain Grand Prix went ahead as scheduled. Hacker group Anonymous attempted to hack the F1 website issuing a warning that if the organization went forward with the race further cyber attacks would ensue but it really seemed as if things went off without a hitch for the most part. When the lights went out on Sunday it was Red Bull who was back in old form with Sebastien Vettel taking the lead but towards the last half of the race he had to deal with major contention from Kimi “The Iceman” Raikkonen and Kimi’s teammate Romain Grosjean. As Seb was on the soft tire he fought degradation which helped Kimi (who was on mediums) close the gap even further as the race wound down. However, once Sebastien pulled into the pits and switched to medium tires Kimi could not close on the young German the way he did in previous laps.
When the Checkered flag dropped it was Sebastien Vettel taking his first victory of the year followed by Kimi with his first podium of the year in second place and his teammate Romain Grosjean capturing third. Sebastien’s win gives him a 4 point advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the championship battle. We will just have to see if Red Bull can hold onto that lead or if McLaren and Hamilton will come back with a vengeance.
On the heels of their successful launch of F1 2011, Codemasters is on the verge of launching “F1 Online The Game”. F1 online attempts to bring the fun of F1 racing in a “top-down view” browser based free to play online game. Players can manage their own team, run licensed teams, design their own liveries, and more. There are also several types of game modes including grand prix, quick fire challenges, and obviously multi-player racing. If this sounds like your brand of apple juice then head over to F1OnlineTheGame.com to sign up for a shot at the closed beta. The full version of F1 Online should launch sometime in the first three months of 2012. Check out the first official gameplay video below.
Just as the tryptophan coma wore off the final Formula One race of the season at circuit Interlagos in Brazil got underway. Things started off with a history making run by Sebastien Vettel in qualifying. The young German captured pole once again, surpassing the tie he has with Nigel Mansel for most poles in a single season. With that bit of business out of the way it was time for all the guys on the grid to have at it one last time for 2011. As usual Sebastien Vettel took off for an early lead but later on he had issues with his car and had to reduce his pace significantly which made way for his team mate Mark Webber to take the lead. Sebastien managed to hold on to the second place spot while Jenson Button secured a 2nd place in the points by finishing third in the race. Lewis Hamilton appeared to have a shot for one last win but his car suffered an uncharacteristic failure early in the race.
So there we have it folks! Sebastien Vettel is your 2011 champion while breaking a few records in the process, Red Bull Racing took the constructor’s title, and McLaren along with Ferrari are just glad its all over for the year. Stay tuned for the 2012 silly season!
Abu Dhabi is the track where Sebastien Vettel clenched his first championship title last year. This year the track was not as kind to him. Despite a great start to the weekend by securing his 16th pole and tying Nigel Mansel for the record of most poles in a single season, Sebastien faced tough luck in the opening lap of the Abu Dhabi grand prix. Vettel got a great start over Lewis Hamilton but just a few turns later his right rear tire suddenly lost all air and nearly came off the rim causing a massive spin thus giving way to Lewis Hamilton to take over the lead. Lewis was followed by his teammate Jenson Button but for some reason Button could not hold on and both Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber were able to get around the former champ. Alonso put up a tough fight against Lewis and nearly grabbed the lead but botched chances of a win with a long pit stop. Webber would have taken third if not for an extremely late pit stop to make a required switch to hard tires which gave third back to Jenson Button and that was all she wrote. Lewis Hamilton earned himself a much deserved win, Fernando Alonso captured second, and Jenson Button took third spot on the podium.
All that is left for the Formula 1 crew now is to cap off the season with the final race in Brazil. How will Sebastien Vettle and Red Bull Racing fare in the hometown of Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello, Bruno Senna? Can Lewis carry the momentum of his win in Abu Dhabi and remain a force to be reckoned with? We’ll find out starting “black friday” when the Brazillian Grand Prix kicks off.
Formula One landed in India for the first time over the weekend for the inaugural Grand Prix of India at the freshly built Buddh International Circuit built by the Jaypee Group in New Delhi. There were many rumors and chatter in the weeks leading up to the event that the race may not even happen but things went just as scheduled and for a first event things (mostly) went off without a hitch. While the facilities were great, the drivers were a bit thrown off by the surprisingly technical course. Also, since the asphalt was still fresh there was plenty of slipping and sliding. Still the cream of the crop figured it all out when it counted; and by “cream of the crop” we mean Red Bull, McLaren, and Ferrari. It was mostly Red Bull who really solved the equation though as Sebastien Vettel managed to pull off a “grand slam” which is race speak for leading every lap from the pole, setting fastest lap of the race, and winning the race. Jenson Button put up a good fight with the young two-time champion but couldn’t close the gap but was still satisfied with a second place finish while Fernando Alonso managed to get around Mark Webber and bring home the third place podium finish for Ferrari.
This finishing order officially slots McLaren in second place for the constructors title and Ferrari in third. Now, all the real awards have been decided and there are two more races (Abu Dhabi and Brazil) for the drivers to go rip-sh!t-riot and take what they can before the season’s end. Vettel is on a quest for most poles captured in one season. His pole over this weekend which brings him to a total of 13 ties him with legends such as Alain Prost and the great Ayrton Senna. Sebastien only needs one more pole position to put him in a relm of his own. With his dominance thus far, it seems like it is only a matter of time before he gets what he wants.
We will have to wait about two weeks to see if it will happen in Abu Dhabi though, so in the meantime we will just work on our conspiracy theory that Sebastien Vettel is the illegitimate love child of Michael Schumacher.
On the “wrap up” tour of the 2011 season the F1 circus landed in Korea for the second annual Korean Grand Prix. Red Bull Racing came into the weekend looking to clench the constructors championship to go along with Sebastien Vettel’s drivers championship. Although for a while it looked like Red Bull’s plans would be put on hold as Lewis Hamilton cleared the cobwebs that have been clogging him up all season and put on a stellar performance by capturing pole position during Saturday qualifying. His pole position was the first by a non-Red Bull driver in almost a year and he held off Sebastien Vettel’s hopes of tie-ing the record for most poles by a driver in a single F1 season.
One would think Lewis would be elated at his accomplishment in light of his recent troubles but during the post-qualifying press conference he was strangely stoic. It seemed like he put all emotion aside and was in full race-mode all weekend. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep him in front of the pack. When the race started Sunday Sebastien Vettel was able to make a pass on Lewis for the lead in the first lap and from there we know how the story goes.
Although despite fighting understeer and immense pressure from Mark Webber Lewis was able to hang on to second place while Webber finished third. Sebastien’s win and Mark’s podium secured the constructors championship for Red Bull.
Now we have three more races with a full rid of drivers who have nothing to lose. It will be interesting to see how end of the season will play out.
Formula One made its return to Singapore over the weekend and as you might have guessed, for the most part the race was pretty boring in a competition sense. Once again Red Bull Racing dominated the weekend with a 1-2 qualifying effort and Sebastien Vettel capturing his 11th pole position of the season. When the race got started things went back to business as usual with Vettel running away from the pack and pretty much running his own race eventually taking the race win. Behind Vettel, Mark Webber had his hands full with Jenson Button who edged out the Australian to take second place while Webber nabbed third spot.
There was a bit of action towards the mid pack though as Lewis Hamilton stuck his nose into the left rear of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari. Hamilton was then served a drive through penalty for the collision but that was not redemption enough for Massa. After the race it was reported that Massa went to the media pit and shoved Hamilton as he was still furious about the incident. Instead of decking Massa, Hamilton simply walked away. No word yet if Massa will be reprimanded for coming after Lewis but we don’t anticipate any action from the FIA on that.
As it stands now Sebastien Vettel needs only one more point to mathmatically clintch the 2011 Formula 1 championship which is very likely to happen in Japan next month during the Japanese Grand Prix. At this point the other drivers are already in 2012 mode so we think it is safe to say that we should expect another uneventful race in Japan as well but hey at least we get to see a champion crowned right?
The Formula One season is down to just six more rounds after the past weekend’s Italian Grand Prix and the contenders for the championship are starting to seem less hopeful than they did a short while ago. Why? Well once again in dominant fashion Sebastien Vettel and the Red Bull Racing squad took the victory in Monza which brings the young German that much closer to clinching his second straight championship. Jenson Button grabbed second place and Fernando Alonso took third on Ferrari’s home turf. It is very likely that Vettel will mathmatically eliminate all contenders from the title at the next race in Singapore. Guys like Fernando and Lewis Hamilton have pretty much given up on their championship hopes for this year and are now focusing on race wins to try and finish as high as possible in the final standings.
Looks like the rest of the season will be a fight for second place folks! For a full Italian Grand Prix post race report check out SPEED.
In a very wet Hungarian Grand Prix it was McLaren that returned to form as both of their drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button attacked the front row when the lights went out. Due to a costly tire choice the Red Bull drivers suffered and fell off pace but not enough to fade into the background. Lewis had the lead for a good chunk of the race but he was unable to make his tires stretch for the distance and his teammate Jenson took over the lead. Button held off Sebastien Vettel and Fernando Alonso who finished second and third respectively to take the win while Button’s teammate managed to hold on to fourth position.
Many are looking at McLaren’s success in the last two races as a sign that they have finally “figured out” the problem of Red Bull, but with Sebastien holding an 88 points lead over Lewis Hamilton is it too little too late? I guess we just have to keep watching to find out. For a full post-race report check out SPEED.
The weekend was another big one for motorsports fans. Indy Car was doing twin 275 mile races in Texas, Prototypes were in the middle of a 24 hour battle in LeMans, and F1 was attempting to put on a show for racing fans in Canada. I say “attempt” because about 20 laps into the 70 lap race the skies opened up and began dumping gallons of water on the fans, the drivers and the track. The rain got so bad that the race had to be red flagged (stopped) for about an hour and a half as they waited for mother nature to finish her emo-fit. However, before the red flag there was already a bit of action on track, the biggest was when Jenson Button accidentally took out his own teammate Lewis Hamilton as Lewis attempted to make what was either a brave or fool-hearty move on Jenson down the straight. Jenson moved on Lewis and busted his left rear wheel effectively ending his weekend. So that was one car down before the rain even started!
Once the rain let up later on the race resumed and suddenly all the mid-packers were injected with “go fast” juice as Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, and Felipe Massa all began to put pressure on Sebastien Vettel who was up front (of course) and put pressure on each other as they fought to get to the front. No one was sure how the weather was going to play out once the rain let up so each team were taking gambles on what tires to use. Should they stay with intermediates? Go to full slick? Stay on wet tires in case the rain came back? It was a regular tire shuffle as the teams tried to anticipate what mother nature would do next. Most teams switched to intermediates while some took a gamble on slicks as a dry line started to form on the track. Button and his team were among those who decided to stay on intermediates which paid off in spades for the British driver as he made it from mid pack to the front putting pressure on Sebastien Vettel for the lead. On the last lap Vettel finally succumbed to Button”s onslaught and made a mistake in a braking zone allowing Jenson to pass him half way through the last lap and move on to take the win. Vettel recovered and was able to hold onto second place thus protecting his points lead and his teammate Mark Webber got past Michael Schumacher for the third spot on the Podium.
This is only the second race that Sebastien Vettel didn’t win all season so despite being taken down by Jenson Button the young German is not sweating it too much but it was certainly exciting for fans to finally see someone else have at it for a change!
Will we see another driver step up and take it to Sebastien? We have to wait about 10 days to find out when F1 heads to Valencia Spain for the European Grand Prix on the 23rd. Stay tuned!
For a full Canadian GP post race report check out SPEED.