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.
[Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2011 Canadian GP, 2011CanadianGP, F1, Formula 1, Formula One, Formula1, FormulaOne, jenson button, JensonButton, Lewis Hamilton, LewisHamilton, News, Racing, RedBullRacing, Sebastien Vettel, SebastienVettel, VodafoneMcLarenMercedes
The memorial day weekend was huge for motorsports. Here in’merica we had the Indy 500 going on, and just down the road in Charlotte, North Carolina the good ol’ boys were having the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600. But before all that the F1 guys were going head to head on the streets of Monte Carlo for the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix AKA the most glamorous race on the F1 calendar. This is the race that all the billionaires bring their yachts out for, and jewelry companies do promotional stunts like encrusting Lewis Hamilton’s and Jenson Button’s helmets with diamonds. However Monaco is about more than just rich and powerful, there was a race going on too!
As usual Sebastien Vettel started from the pole so I’m not even going to talk about qualifying since that dude just can’t seem to be stopped in that area. Starting behind Vettel was Jenson Button who had a good showing in qualifying and behind them in row two were Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso. When the lights went out the group put the hammer down and took off into turn one and for the most part it came off clean. Hamilton got roughed up while being passed by Michael Schumacher while Vettel was busy running away from Button.
On lap 10 Hamilton pulled a brilliant move on Schumacher in the Ste Devote part of the track and took his position back from the legendary German driver. Then later on Hamilton got in trouble for punting Felipe Massa and then Pastor Maldonado. Both infractions earned Lewis penalties from the stewards but neither one was harsh enough to affect his race position. Where was Sebastien Vettel while all the craziness was happening mid-pack? He was busy extending his lead over Jenson Button. However Vettel’s gap started to fade as his tires were staring to give up on him. He had only made one stop for the entire race so far and it looked as if the team was actually going to attempt to push him to the end of the race that way. Just when it seemed that Red Bull’s gamble was going to go bust on them Vitaly Petrov had a hard meeting with the wall at the “swimming pool” and brought out the red flag. Luckily the Russian driver was conscious and talking as he was taken away in the ambulance. The red flag allowed Vettel to come back in and put super soft tires on to restart the race with and retain his lead. Alonso was able to get around Button for second place and the race ended in that order with Vettel taking the win, Alonso coming in second and Button scoring a third place finish.
It is starting to look like Vettel is on his way to a succesful repeat of his 2010 championship… For a full Monaco GP post race report check out SPEED and stay tuned for the Canadian Grand Prix on June 10th!
[Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2011 Monaco GP, 2011MonacoGP, F1, Fernando Alonso, FernandoAlonso, Formula 1, Formula One, Formula1, FormulaOne, jenson button, JensonButton, Lewis Hamilton, LewisHamilton, Monaco Grand Prix, MonaoGrandPrix, News, Racing, RBR, Red Bull Racing, RedBullRacing, Scuderia Ferrari, ScuderiaFerrari, Sebastien Vettel, SebastienVettel, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, VodafoneMcLarenMercedes
The Formula 1 circus returned to Istanbul Park Circuit in Turkey for the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix this weekend. As usual there were a slew of questions being asked before the cars hit the grid on Sunday. The main question being “Will Vettel claim revenge on Hamilton for ruining his win streak?”. It certainly started to look that way as the weekend progressed. Vettel was quick in practice and in qualifying he dominated once again, taking the pole and continuing his qualifying streak. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber captured P2, completing a Red Bull lock out of the first row. Behind the Red Bulls were Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg who had a surprisingly good showing in qualifying. However, when the lights went out Vettelreturned to form and ran away from the field building a comfortable gap for himself and eventually taking the win and extending his points lead over Lewis Hamilton. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber captured the 2nd place spot while 3rd was earned with a hard fought comeback performance by Fernando Alonso. Will Vettel’s dominance continue? I guess we will find out in about 10 days at the Spanish Grand Prix in Catalyunya. Stay tuned! For a full post race report check out SPEED TV.
[Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2011 Turkish GP, 2011 Turkish Grand Prix, 2011TurkishGP, 2011TurkishGrandPrix, F1, Formula 1, Formula One, Formula1, FormulaOne, jenson button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, News, Nico Rosberg, Racing, Sebastien Vettel
While the Indy Cars were dicing it up in Alabama the Formula 1 circus made its return to the Sepang Circuit for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Sebastien Vettel was still grinning from his previous victory in Australia and it was just the confidence booster he needed (thats a joke he doesn’t really need another boost!) to capture pole position during a wet/dry qualifying session. Once the lights went out on race day everyone got off to a pretty good start with the exception of Mark Webber to appeared to fall asleep at the wheel. The slow start cost him dearly as he lost several positions before even making it to the first turn.
For a while Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso seemed to be in a position to challenge Vettel for the race win but Alonso ran into the back of Hamilton’s car as a result of Hamilton putting on a pretty severe block. The fiasco landed both drivers a 20 second penalty which obviously dashed any hopes they had of even making the podium much less beating Vettel. With Alonso and Hamilton regulated to the back due to a penalty it made way for Jenson Button and Nick Heidfeld to show their stuff but they had nothing for Vettel who finished over 3 seconds ahead of Button and over 20 seconds ahead of Heidfeld. This makes two wins in a row for the young defending champion. He is really taking the “defending” part quite literally isn’t he?
For a full post race wrap up from the guys at SPEED click HERE.
[Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2011 Malaysian GP, 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix, 2011MalaysianGrandPrix, F1, Formula 1, Formula One, Formula1, FormulaOne, jenson button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, MclarenMercedes, News, Racing, Red Bull F1, Red Bull Racing, Sebastien Vettel, SebastienVettel, VodafoneMcLarenMercedes
The past weekend saw the inaugural Korean Grand Prix in Yeogam at the Korean International Circuit. Just like in So Cal, Korea was also very wet and windy over the weekend as well. In fact, the rain got so bad at the circuit that there were actually reports of the asphalt breaking up at one of the turns. The rain refused to let up by the time the race started and the first 17 laps or so were behind a safety car. However, the rain backed off just enough to allow the field to go green and things went underway.
Every car on the grid struggled to find grip as they slipped and slid around nearly every turn. This came to a head when points leader Mark Webber lost control only two laps after the race went green and hit the wall just before being hit by Nico Rosberg who had no where else to go. This incident was a big shake up in the points race and would allow a chance for either Lewis Hamilton or Sebastien Vettel to make up so much needed ground. For a while it looked like Vettel would be the main benefactor of Webber’s misfortune but then Vettel’s engine popped and took him out of the race as well.
With both Red Bull cars out of the race McLaren and Ferrari both smelled blood. However, Ferrari smelled it first and Fernando Alonso took charge as well as the lead for the rest of the race and eventually the win. Due to tire problems Lewis Hamilton couldn’t challenge Alonso for the win but he did hold on to 2nd place which helped him gain ground in the points and Felipe Massa drove a solid race and took home 3rd.
Now, as it stands Fernando Alonso is leading the points title while Mark Webber sits 11 points back and Lewis Hamilton is now third in the title run being 21 points behind Fernando. Jenson Button is still technically alive for the championship but its highly unlikely.
There are only two races left in the season now (Brazil and Abu Dhabi) and the title chase has just gotten interesting!
[Photo: Ker Robertson/Getty Images]
Tags: · F1, Fernando Alonso, Formula 1, Formula One, korean gp, korean grand prix, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, News, Racing, Sebastien Vettel
The 2010 Singapore Grand Prix has come and gone and in its wake it has left a path of destruction that has shaken up the points battle a bit. The race started off with a bang when Fernando Alonso nearly drove 2nd place qualifier Sebastien Vettel into the wall as he forcefully snatched the lead away. While Fernando was trying his best to run away from Vettel the mid-packers started to engage in what I can only liken to a “Lord Of the Rings” style epic battle on wheels. Let’s just say no one seemed to care about smashing their multi-million dollar race car into the other guy if it meant gaining a position.
This became especially apparent in lap 36 when Mark Webber was held up by lapped traffic and Lewis Hamilton attempted an opportunistic pass on the Aussie driver. “Attempted” is the operative word here as Lewis couldn’t quite complete his mission. You see, Lewis made his move as they were going into turn 7 but right as Lewis went to make his apex he didn’t realize that Webber didn’t back off an inch so the two collided. Webber came out ok but poor Lewis broke his wheel, forcing him to retire and possibly ending his championship run.
Fernando Alonso went on to win the race with Sebastien Vettle coming in second, and Mark Webber in third. Fernando’s win puts him just 11 points behind first place Mark Webber in the championship race while Lewis Hamilton’s DNF punted him from 5 points behind Webber to 20 points behind! With only 5 races left in 2010 Lewis will need a miracle just to catch up.
The next race on the schedule is the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit 10 days from now. Make sure you don’t miss it!
[Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2010 Singapore GP, F1, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Formula 1, Formula One, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, News, Racing, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Ferrari, Sebastien Vettel, Sinapore Grand Prix Results, Vodafone McLaren
The weekend marked the end of the long F1 break and we were long overdue for our fix. Things picked up at the historic Spa Francorchamps circuit for the 2010 Belgian GP. The weekend started off with Mark Webber taking control of qualifying and earning pole but Lewis Hamilton was hot on his heels and managed to nab the second spot on the grid. Sebastien Vettel had a bit of a bobble in his performance and qualified fourth.
When the lights went out the next day Mark Webber fell asleep at the wheel and had a horrible start which Lewis Hamilton was more than happy to capitalize on and that was all she wrote. While Lewis was running away from the field Sebastien Vettel was trying to fight his way to the front after some bad tire decisions put him in mid-pack. He actually lost control at one point and slid into the back of Jenson Button, taking him out completely. Vettel’s car was ok but the stewards didn’t like his stunt at all and smacked him with a drive through penalty which pretty much threw him to the back of the pack. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton drove on to his first race win since June and preserving his championship points lead. While Sebastien Vettel’s championship chances may be totally done all because of a wet track and a bad decision. Check out a full race report on SPEED’s website.
God I missed F1!
Tags: · 2010 Belgian GP, F1, Formula 1, Formula One, jenson button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, News, Racing, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Ferrari, Sebastien Vettel, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Over the weekend the F1 party made its final stop in Hungary before it takes its summer break which is nearly a month long. Some of the controversy from the last few races died down a bit but Ferrari’s team orders were still fresh in the minds and on the mouths of almost every person on the grid. However, there weren’t too many opinions shared as understandably all the teams wanted to focus on the race at hand.
As usual the weekend started off with the Red Bull team dominating qualifying and Sebastien Vettel capturing the pole position and Mark Webber qualifying 2nd lining up against his hot shot teammate. The two Ferrari’s of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa earned their grid spots just behind the Red Bull team and were poised to pounce when the time was right.
When the lights went out on Sunday only one Ferrari, piloted by Fernando was able to make a move on Red Bull. Just as Mark Webber was shoving Vettel out of his way, Alonso took it upon himself to get in between the fight and steal 2nd place away from Sebastien. As Mark Webber ran away from the rest of the grid we saw a few shocking things happen: first was Lewis Hamilton’s Vodafone McLaren Mercedes suffered a driveshaft failure putting him out of the race and ending his championship points lead. The next gasp came when Nico Rosberg came into the pits for a tire change when one of his wheels literally came off and rolled through several pit crews before bouncing 20 feet straight up into the air and landing on a crew member. Luckily the crewman only suffered minor injuries.
Then just a short time later Sebastien Vettel was slapped with a drive through penalty for holding up the field by staying longer than 10 car lengths behind the safety car after an incident. As I’m writing this I am sure he is still pretty pissed off about it.
While all of that craziness was going on Mark Webber continued one of the best F1 drives ever seen, making a set of soft compound option tires stretch for a 45 lap stint! Once he built a comfortable 23 second gap on 2nd place he came into the pits to switch to the hard compound tires and finished off the race capping off a dominant performance. Since Lewis Hamilton suffered a DNF Mark Webber has officially taken over the lead in the championship points! Check out a full race report on SPEED.
[Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix, F1, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Formula 1, Formula One, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Michael Schumacher, News, Racing, Rubens Barrichello, Sebastien Vettel
Before the Indy Cars started a boring race that ended spectacularly (you’ll see in the post after this), Formula 1 put on a show in Sebastien Vettel’s hometown of Hockenheim, Germany which temporarily re-named “Vettelheim” in honor of Sebastien Vettel. The weekend started off dramatically with many drivers crashing hard during a rainy practice on Friday and Sebastien Vettel edging out Fernando Alonso for pole position by just .002 of a second at the end of Q3 in qualifying on Saturday. To make things even more dramatic for Sebastien, Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa qualified in 3rd position. This meant Red Bull’s young ace would have to start the race with two angry Ferrari’s right behind him.
It was Ferrari’s performance in qualifying that showed the world that they were definitely not going to lay down and let Red Bull or McLaren take away a championship which they feel is still within their reach. Despite having only one win so far this season (with Fernando Alonso taking the win at the first race in Bahrain) Ferrari strongly believes they have a fighting chance at the driver’s championship.
As the lights went out to signal the start of the race Sebastien tried to pull a classic Schumacher move and slice in front of Fernando Alosno but he failed miserably as both Felipe and Fernando split him and lead the pack 1-2 into turn 1. Felipe was actually the biggest benefactor from Sebastien’s blunder as he took first place with Fernando ducking in behind him. However, things didn’t stay quite in this order for the whole race.
At around lap 19 of the race as Felipe and Fernando weaved through slower traffic Fernando attempted a few moves to pass his teammate but both tries were expertly shut down by Massa. It was at this point (lap 22) that Fernando got on the radio and expressed his frustration stating that “this is ridiculous” expressing that he has a faster pace than Felipe and should be let by. Now, Ferrari can’t simply tell Felipe to “let Fernando pass you” because that would be considered “team orders” which are against the rules in F1. Instead the team got on the radio to Felipe and said something to the effect of “Fernando has a much faster pace than you, please respond if you understand this message.” Felipe did not respond but he did eventually and blatantly let Fernando pass him to take first place.
The race ended with a 1-2 finish by Ferrari with Fernando Alonso taking first and his bitter teammate Felipe Massa taking second while Sebastien Vettel landed third place.
When F1 officials learned of the radio transmission between the Ferrari pit and Felipe Massa they were not happy. They allowed Fernando Alonso to keep his victory however, Ferrari was fined $100k for violation of the “no team orders” rule. They were also submitted to the World Motorsport Council (WMSC) for further possible penalties. That is certainly a tough break for Ferrari who fought valiantly to get a much needed win.
[Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2010 German Grand Prix, F1, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Formula 1, Formula One, Formula1, Hockenheim Germany, jenson button, Lewis Hamilton, News, Racing, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Ferrari Malboro, Sebastien Vettel, Vodafone McLaren
Just after the Formula Drift party was winding down the Formula 1 jump-off at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix was getting started. Silverstone came back this year in a big way. The entire track was refreshed and extended making the total distance just over 3 miles. It was also announced that Silverstone just renewed its contract with the FIA and would be on the F1 schedule for the next 17 years.
With all of that pageantry out of the way the grid got down to business and like half the races so far Red Bull Racing dominated practice and qualifying with Mark Webber taking the pole and his teammate Sebastien Vettel taking the spot right next to him. However despite being next to each other on the front row things were not too friendly between the two Red Bull Drivers. Webber was put-off when the upper brass of the RBR team decided to take a new experimental front wing off his car and put it on Vettel’s car, leaving Mark with an out-dated piece that reduced his straight line speed. Although it didn’t seem to hamper his performance all that much since he ran away from the pack as soon as the lights went out. Meanwhile, in Vettel-ville Sebastian had a major incident at the start and cut a tire. After the tire was replaced in the pits he emerged at the back of the pack. Eventually he fought his way to a 6th place finish but it was Mark Webber who snagged the victory.
Mark is now third in points behind Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton while Vettel sits 4th in points. However the season is only half over so both RBR drivers are more than within striking distance to the points lead. I can’t wait to see how the rest of this season plays out!
Check out full post race report HERE.
[Photo:Mark Thompson/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2010 british gp, Events, F1, Formula 1, Formula One, jenson button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Michael Schumacher, News, Nico Rosberg, Racing, Red Bull Racing, Sebastien Vettel, Silverstone