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!
The circus that is F1 returned to Shanghai, China for the 2011 Chinese Grand Prix over the weekend and the spectators were treated to a dramatic race that saw 6 different leaders. The theatrics started straight away with the Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes team as Lewis Hamilton’s car decided to act up literally moments before the race start! The team was thrashing away on the car in the garage while the other cars were lining up on the grid. They were able to fix the problem (a flooded engine) and get Hamilton onto the track with just 30 seconds to spare before the allotted time ran out and they would have to sacrifice Lewis’ P3 starting position he fought hard to earn in qualifying.
Once the lights went out and the race began the rest of the drama came from the pit stops. Most teams are still trying to figure out the limits of the new Pirelli tires so many were forced to make three pit stops throughout the race. However McLaren and Red Bull Racing seemed to have things figured out and were able to make their fuel and tires last, thus both teams only had to make two pit stops which transformed the race into a battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel. There was much back and fourth between the two rivals but Hamilton won out in the end with a brilliant pass on the 2010 champion with only 5 laps to go. Lewis held off Seb and took home the win. His victory pushed him up to second place in the points but he is still about 20 points behind the dominant Vettel.
Although technically I’m supposed to be impartial I have to say I am glad to see Lewis Hamilton back in the winner’s circle again. Certainly makes things interesting! The unfortunate side-effect of dominance is boredom but Hamilton and the guys at McLaren fixed that right up for us. Good job dudes! Check out SPEED for a full post race report.
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.
Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! You may have been too busy BBQ-ing to pay attention to all the racing that went on Sunday so I’m going to attempt to give you all a quick re-cap starting with F1. This weekend the F1 grid landed in Istanbul, Turkey for the Turkish GP (go figure). As usual during practice and qualifying the two Red Bull Racing cars had strong performances. However the real surprise was Lewis Hamilton who stuck his nose in the battle of the two Red Bull teammates and qualified in row 1 for the first time this season.
When the lights went out on Sunday both Red Bull cars attempted to get a jump in the field but they couldn’t shake Hamilton who appeared to be on a mission from the speed gods. Once he found his opportunity he passed a increasingly slowing Mark Webber for the lead. While Lewis worked on building a cap an unexpected battle unfolded between Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel. For some reason Mark continued to get slower each lap while Vettel got faster. However, Webber fought with everything he could to keep Vettel behind him which led to the two drivers eventually colliding against each other in lap 40. This allowed Lewis and his teammate Jenson Button to move past the squabble leading to a 1-2 finish for the McLaren Vodafone team while Mark Webber limped to 3rd keeping him at the top of the points standings.
You can guarantee there was a long discussion in the Red Bull paddock after the race. You can read a full post race report on SPEED TV’s website. The next round will be in Canada and I’m sure we’ll learn about all the drama before the next race weekend.
New year same post-race drama. It was announced that Lewis Hamilton would be stripped of his thrid place victory at the Australian GP after it was given to him when Jarno Trulli was stripped of the 3rd spot when he was penalized for passing Lewis while the safety car was out. When the race was over McLaren protested Jarno’s position and was then awarded the bronze. However today in Malaysia Lewis was called before the FIA officials after they found “new evidence” in regards to the incident.
It turns out that McLaren instructed Lewis to let Jarno by while the safety car was out rather than McLaren’s story of Trulli simply taking the position away by force. The evidence in question was a review of radio transmissions between the McLaren pit and Lewis where it was heard that they indeed instructed Lewis to let Jarno by. As a result Jarno was given back his third place spot while Lewis and McLaren were stripped of their finishing position and points.
With Lewis’ teammate Hekki Kovalainen getting himself a big fat DNF at Australia this new development gives McLaren a 0 for that whole weekend, putting them in the same boat as Ferrari going into the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.
This is going to be an interesting Formula 1 season!
With the season coming to a close and a points lead to maintain Lewis Hamilton decided to conquer the track where he bungled his shot at a championship in his rookie year. Already sitting on the pole from qualifying, as soon as the lights went out Lewis sailed off and that was all she wrote. He lead every lap from lights out to checkered flag.
There was a possibility that Hamilton could have clentched the title but that would’ve only happend if he finished the race 6 points ahead of Felipe Massa. However it wouldn’t be as both Ferraris were constantly snarling at the heels of Lews’ McLaren for the entire race.
Going into the Last Race of the season in Brazil only 7 points seperate Lewis and Felipe while Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica are mathamatically eliminated from contention. Can Lewis make history? Or will Felipe grab the title by force in his home country? Unfortunately we’re going to have to wait an agonizing two weeks to find out!
In a move that will leave many McLaren fans disenfranchised with the sport, the FIA ruled that McLaren’s appeal against Lewis Hamilton’s penalty at the Belgian GP was “inadmissible.” The FIA sited a rule stating that drive through penalties could not be appealed as the reasoning behind their decision.
However McLaren argued that Toro Rosso was allowed to appeal a similar penalty when their driver Vitantonio Luzzi was punishsed for overtaking under a yellow. The FIA referred to that situation simply as a “mistake”
This is a Fail of epic proportions on FIA’s part. However McLaren and the team are going to keep a “stiff upper lip” on the matter and focus on the remaining four races of the season as Lewis will undoubtedly fight tooth and nail to extend his scant one point lead over Felipe Massa.
History was made over the weekend as Sebastian Vettel became the youngest winner ever in Formula 1 at 21 years old and 72 days. However I’d say more are shocked that the customer junior team of Torro Rosso was able to take down the likes of Scuderia Ferrari (on their home track) and McLaren who is armed with phenom Lewis Hamilton.
Well the whirlwind weekend started with an uncharacteristic mistake on the part of McLaren during qualifying. Lewis Hamilton had the pace to beat and was well on his way to taking the pole until the skies opened up. Normally that wouldn’t be that much of an issue, just stick with wet tires right? Well his team engineers decided to take a big gamble. They anticipated that the track would dry and switched Lewis to less water-friendly intermediate tires. When the rain continued to fall they soon realized they made a costly mistake but by that time there was no stopping Sebastian Vettel from taking the pole and Lewis could do no better than 15th.
With the rain continuing into Sunday it was clear that the sweet spot would be up front. Starting under the saftey car Vettel ran away as hard as he could given the conditions while the rest of the field struggled with visibility from the water rooster tails of the cars in front of them. The top dogs like Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, and Lewis Hamilton had nothing for Sebastian as they were regulated to mid-pack at best. The only representive from the top teir teams was Lewis’ teammate Hekki Kovalainen who managed a second place podium finish.
Lewis finished 7th while his closest points competition Felipe Massa finished 6th. This means that Lewis leads the championship battle by only one point as they head into the Sinagpore GP night race thats only two weeks away. However the Monday before the race is the hearing for McLaren’s appeal for the stewards victory stripping penalty on Lewis in the Belgian GP. So there is a possibility that the points lead could change for Hamilton before the next race weekend.
It’s clear now that the 2008 F1 season is one of the most exciting in a while! I love racing!