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 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.
[Photos: Clive Mason, Paul Gilham, Getty Images]
Tags: · 2011ChineseGP, 2011ChineseGrandPrix, Chinese Grand Prix, F1, Formula 1, Formula One, Formula1, FormulaOne, Lewis Hamilton, LewisHamilton, News, Racing, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, VodafoneMcLarenMercedes
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 long wait was finally over this weekend. Formula 1 was back and it was time to see who would be gunning for revenge against Sebastien Vettel and the Red Bull team. It was also the start of a new tire era as Pirelli officially took its place as the official supplier for F1. The new cars for each team were ready and the Lotus issue got sorted out (mostly). The only thing that was left was to wait for the lights to go out in Melborne and get the 2011 season underway. Things were already starting out well for Red Bull as Vettel was able to capture the pole position in qualifying the day before but he had strong competition from Lewis Hamilton who is through playing games and showed that he is back on his mission to claim another F1 championship. Sunday, when the lights went out, Vettel and Lewis immediately shot out from the crowd and started battling each other blow for blow for the entire course of the race. At the end of the day it was Vettel who dominated Hamilton by beating him to the checkered flag by a margin of 22 seconds! Following behind Lewis was a strong performance from Vitaly Petrov with Renault. He looks to be a threat to Sebastien this season as well. Will this be the tone of the rest of the season or will Hamilton come back even stronger in the next round? We shall find out! Welcome back F1! Check out a full race report on SPEED.
[Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2011AustralianGP, Austrailan GP, F1, Formula One, Formula1, FormulaOne, LewisHamilton, News, Racing, RedBullRacing, RenaultF1, SebastienVettel, VitalyPetrov, VodafoneMcLarenMercedes