Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

perjantai 9. joulukuuta 2011

Season 2012 preview: One awesome Finn back, another impressive Finn out!

It was only two weeks ago when the Formula 1 season 2011 ended and there´ll be a looong way to go before the new one starts... We´ve already got some major news concerning the upcoming season. For months there have been a lot of different kinds of rumours in terms of Kimi Räikkönen´s comeback next season but at last it is finally official: the Iceman will be back in F1 action next season at the wheel of Lotus Renault! Not at Williams as it was predicted initially but at Lotus Renault. Yesterday we got confirmation of Kimi´s team-mate: it´s Romain Grosjean who will drive alongside Kimi in 2012!

Kimi´s comback is absolutely awesome news! Me being a huge Kimi fan I´m utterly delighted to see the Iceman back on the grid! Kimi seemed to enjoy his couple of years in WRC but rallying didn´t turn out to be "his thing" after all... Kimi has always enjoyed the tight wheel-to-wheel battle with his rivals so racing against the clock doesn´t feel the same. And with Kimi back the Formula 1 world is more interesting and entertaining than without him! Kimi has totally unique personality and he isn´t afraid of showing it :) Raw speed is definitely one of the key factors in terms of his talent. I´m pretty convinced that Kimi will get back in action in no time though especially the tyres have changed since his retirement. And Grosjean is a young driver who can´t wait to challenge the former world champion because this will be his second chance in Formula 1 and he´s under the pressure to convince all the people in the team of his talent... So I can´t wait to see how the things begin to evolve when the new season gets underway... Michael Schumacher´s comeback has proven that coming back into Formula 1 even though you´re (multiple) world champion isn´t as easy as you easily think. But I believe in Kimi and I´m sure his comeback will be success even though Lotus Renault may not be a top car yet.

I concidered Kimi´s comeback very likely before the official confirmation so I wasn´t actually surprised when I heard the news. But another piece of news made me totally surprised indeed... And that was the news of Sebastian Vettel´s Finnish trainer Tommi Pärmäkoski not continueing his work with Sebastian any more! I knew their contract was going to end this month but I was convinced that the successful duo would keep up their work together also during the 2012 season... But that isn´t the case however! I have very contradictory thoughts considering this decision...

For sure this decision will have some kind of an effect on Vettel´s next season. I´m not saying that it´s necessarily or automatically negative but I´m sure it feels like a setback to Sebastian. Tommi and Sebastian have been working closely together for three years and spending about 300 days a year with the same person inevitably makes you pretty close friends... Not to mention the chemistry between two people which cannot be taken for granted. I don´t know either one of the men personally but their team work has just seemed perfect...! They both seem like very warm-hearted persons who have showed extremely high motivation, inspiration and dedication at what they do. I have absolutely no doubt that the trainer replacing Tommi as Sebastian´s physio wouldn´t be as professional or competent at his work but still... Tommi´s absence will still have an effect on Sebastian´s career!

I couldn´t think in my wildest dreams that Tommi would quit his job as Sebastian´s physio after such a fairy-tale! But thinking about it more closely makes me understand Tommi´s decision better. I mean Tommi has done his job more than perfectly: in 2009 Sebastian was the runner-up in the world championship standings and in 2010 the young German won his first WDC after staggering last GP of the season... Not to mention this year which has been complete dominance by Sebastian leading to his second consecutive WDC making him the youngest-ever F1 double world champion! What is it there more to achieve...? Apart from the third, fourth or fifth championship..? Professionally speaking Tommi stands as high as he can ever get at the moment! So it´s understandable that he wants to conquer new challenges.

tiistai 6. joulukuuta 2011

Race of Champions 2011 at Esprit Arena Dusseldorf

Vettel driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car.
 Last April when it was announced that the Race of Champions 2011 will be held in Germany I knew I wanted to be there! At first the venue was confirmed to be the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt so I bought flight tickets to Frankfurt and booked a hotel there... And then the venue was changed from Frankfurt to Dusseldorf and I couldn´t cancel or change neither my flights nor the hotel! Nevertheless,
I changed my plans... I did fly to Frankfurt on December 1 with my sister and we spent two days shopping in Frankfurt! On Saturday morning we took an ICE train from Frankfurt to Dusseldorf where we had booked another hotel... The change of plans didn´t turn out to be too cheap because it costed quite a lot to travel by train and for the night between Saturday and Sunday we had a hotel room
 Michael Schumacher at the wheel of a KTM X-Bow.
Seb and Schumi took Nations Cup win again for the 5th time!
booked in two different cities! Nevertheless, the event was absolutely mind-blowing! I had great expectations before the Nations Cup because I knew Team Germany was going to be extremely competitive! And the team of 7-time F1 world champion and the youngest ever F1 double world champion didn´t let me down! No matter if Vettel was driving a KTM X-Bow, Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car or a ROC buggy or the Audi R8 his driving was pure magic! I mean the way the young German handled the car was approaching art...! Thanks to Vettel Team Germany made it to the final once again! The final was against Team Nordic, whose team consisted of Denmark´s Tom Kristensen and Finland´s Juho Hänninen! Ogier´s performance was impressive although he did lose to Team Nordic´s Juho Hänninen when they competed with the S2000
It was Schumi vs. Seb at the quarter-finals in the ROC buggy!
rally cars. At the wheel of his"own car" Hänninen was extremely fast but the other cars he wasn´t able to handle as well as the rally car... However, at the final there was no question about the winner! Schumacher beat Kristensen and Vettel beat Hänninen so it was 2-0 for Team Germany! Schumi and Sebastian took their 5th consecutive Nations Cup win so they seem to be totally unbeatable! I guess the two legendary German had quite a party on Saturday evening... ;) At least their performance had lost its sharpest magic overnight when there was time to crown the champion of the champions! Sebastian made it only to the quarter-finals where he competed against his compatriot Schumacher in the ROC buggy... Schumi won the battle which meant that Seb was out of the race! Schumi didn´t make his way through to the final, either and last year´s champion of the champions Filipe Albuquerque got out of the race long before quarter-finals already. Button had some impressive battles, so did the DTM champion Tomczyk but the final was between Denmark´s Tom Kristensen and the Frenchman Sebastien Ogier! Ogier took a sweeping victory by beating Kristensen 2-0 first with the world touring race car and then with the KTM X-Bow. The both drivers knew how to take the audience after the final. Both Ogier and Kristensen made some very impressive doughnuts and they both made a few laps of honour waving to the fans. I was pretty ashamed of the German fans who left the arena right after the final and didn´t watch the victory celebrations. I would have wanted to see Vettel taking the crown but I have to say Ogier really deserved to win that day, no doubt about that and he knew how to entertain the audience! I would have loved to see Schumi and Seb making laps of honour after their Nations Cup win but unfortunately they didn´t.

Ogier the champion, Kristensen the runner-up.
Describing how it was like to witness the event live there at Esprit Arena is difficult indeed...! It was an event I had been waiting for for 8 months! And I have to say I enjoyed every second of it truly. Many of the German motorsports fans were watching the show drinking beer at the same time but I didn´t need any alcohol to get tipsy! I was absolutely overwhelmed with excitement and thrilling motorsports action... Seeing especially Sebastian Vettel driving live in front of my very eyes was an absolute dream come true for me! If there was a remote control with which you could control your life, the Race of Champions would have been a moment when I would have clicked the "pause" button! Usually you run a busy life and you aren´t able to enjoy the moment you are living in but at Esprit Arena especially on December 3 the time virtually stopped and I enjoyed every second I experienced! I know I´m not a typical Finnish mother of three sons in her thirties... Not every Finnish mother flies across Europe to see Sebastian Vettel drive, not everyone even has a possibility to do so... So I know I´m privileged in that way. Although I also had some difficult moments during my trip all those were definitely worth suffering so that I could experience this magnificent and magical event!

sunnuntai 27. marraskuuta 2011

Brazilian GP: Finally Webber got his slice of the glory!

Brazilian GP was supposed to be a rain-hit race! Everyone on the grid started on soft tyres because rain was expected at some point of the race. Against all odds we saw no rain at Interlagos today. Despite the lack of rain we saw a thrilling race indeed!

Sebastian on pole got another perfect start and started pulling a gap to his rivals  from the very first lap. Webber was able to maintain his second place while Alonso jumped Hamilton for 4th place. I had expected the race to be a mind-blowing show of Super Sebastian and it certainly looked like that after the opening laps... Until I heard on Vettel´s team radio that he had to manage a gear-box problem! After the race Team Principal Horner said that they had the problem from the lap five already! My heart was pounding and I was soooo afraid that Sebastian wouldn´t be able to bring his RB7 to the chequered flag!

Another difficult race for the 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher! He tried to overtake Senna in his Renault on lap 10 but they ended up colliding to each other... The collion caused a left rear puncture for Schumi and Senna´s front wing was damaged and both had to pit after the incident. The incident seemed a bit contradictory for me to judge which of the drivers was at fault... If I should have named either one, I guess I would have named Schumi to be at fault. So I was a bit surprised that it was Senna who got the drive-through penalty for causing a collision! Anyway, the race was over for both of them.

Button and Alonso had a battle of their own. On lap 11 Alonso was able to get pass Button quite unexpectedly. It was the same place where Schumi and Senna had collided previously and according to Button he had to back off because of the debris on the track. However, Button managed to take his position back from Alonso later on in the race.

There was another radio message for Sebastian saying that he had a serious gear-box problem! He had to turn down the engine and shortshift and use higher gears throughout the race... His team-mate Webber took over the lead from Vettel on lap 30. I have to say that at that stage of the race I had my suspicions... Was the gear-box problem real or was it an excuse to make Webber win the race to reach the runner-up spot in the championship standings? Considering that the German had a serious (!) gear-box problem he was able to set impressive lap times! Unlike Hamilton who also suffered from a gear-box problem and who had to retire the race due to the gear-box failure! Assuming that Sebastian´s gear-box issue was real his 2nd place was an absolutely brilliant achievement, sensational driving without destroying the gear-box for good!

Just before retiring Hamilton once again had intense wheel-to-wheel battle with Massa! But this time both drivers seemed to honour the spirit of good sportsmanship and fair play and we didn´t see any collisions between these gentlemen today!

So Webber ended up winning the race (his first win of the season) and Sebastian managed to bring his car home after a difficult race and made it a 1-2 for Red Bull. Button finished 3rd after being much more competitive on the harder tyres. Webber seemed surprisingly lame on the team radio after winning the race. I couldn´t help wondering if he also wondered about his team-mate´s gear-box problem... Webber is a real racing driver who wants to earn his victories and hates the idea that it would be handed over to him artificially. That´s one reason why I appreciate the Australian, his attitude is admirable.

lauantai 26. marraskuuta 2011

Brazilian GP / Qualifying: Emotional 15th pole of the season for Sebastian!

So now it is happening, the final GP weekend of the season! I´m feeling pretty wistful because after tomorrow´s race there will be no Formula 1 racing for the next 4 months! And a weekend without F1 doesn´t really feel like a weekend at all... But let´s not worry about it yet because there´s still one more race to go!

There were predictions that it would rain at some point during the qualifying session so almost all cars went out when the Q1 got underway. No matter if it rained or not, I personally had only one prediction: Sebastian Vettel would be on pole! I do realise that no-one can succeed all the time and I would have understood perfectly if Seb hadn´t taken the pole today... But the 24-year-old German just surpassed all my expectations! He was the only guy to go under 1.12 minutes and what a lap he did...! He had the fastest lap time already after the first runs but still he managed to improve his lap time by a few tenths in his second run. And despite the predictions we saw no rain during the entire qualifying session.

Like many times earlier this season, there were no real surprises at the qualifying today. What caught my eye today was that in Q2 Senna in Renault was in P9 whilst his team-mate Petrov was unable to make his way through to Q1 and qualified 15th. Senna´s performance has been very impressive. Rosberg in his Mercedes made an impressive effect on me in Q2 aswell by getting P2 just behind Vettel. Though in Q3 his pace didn´t turn out to be so competitive after all... His team-mate Schumacher had difficulties once again to reach the Q3 but he made it by a hairbreadth.

Like I already told, the Q3 was a mesmerising show by Super Sebastian! No rival of him had any chance to challenge the Red Bull driver for pole today! Red Bull made it a front row lock-out as Webber qualified 2nd. Button managed to make a very decent lap aswell and he starts from P3 tomorrow followed by his team-mate Hamilton in P4. Rosberg splits the Ferrari duo by reaching P6.

Super Sebastian has been on pole numerous times this season but there´s something extraordinary about this one. This isn´t just any pole, this is the 15th pole of the season for Seb which means that he has just broken Nigel Mansell´s record for most pole positions in a season! No wonder the flying German seemed so emotional after the race. How can he do it...? He made absolutely no mistakes on his final flying lap which has been charasteristic of him during this season... I don´t know if there´s some Christmas magic or something but I´m totally amazed by Seb´s driving! He says there´s no secret how he´s able to pull out the few tenths every time they are needed but there must be something... If there´ll be no technical issues I know tomorrow´s race will be mind-blowing dominance by Sebastian!

Breaking Mansell´s pole record isn´t the only historical thing about Sebastian this weekend. I read in the Finnish newspaper this week that the President of Finland would have been willing to invite Sebastian to the Independence Day reception taking place in Helsinki on December 6th. I´m soooo sad that he is unable to attend because it would have been a huge honour both for him and the Finnish people! Though Sebastian joked about getting invited there last year after winning his first world championship I´m quite sure that he couldn´t have expected in his wildest dreams that the President of Finland would actually REALLY invite him there... Double F1 world champion is a busy man for sure but I do hope from the bottom of my heart that Sebastian´s Finnish physio Tommi Pärmäkoski has got the invitation to attend the reception. With his work he has raised awareness of Finland in the world and spread a wonderful positive image of Finland. Not to mention his work which has been absolutely phenomenal! The team work between Sebastian and Tommi seems to be pure magic :D:D

sunnuntai 13. marraskuuta 2011

Abu Dhabi GP: first DNF of a season for Sebastian!

I have to admit I had such huge expectations for the race right before the start. The race, however, got a very unpredicted turn right after the lights had gone off. Sebastian on pole got a fantastic start and was in lead going to turn 1... Then he suddenly spun off the track with a puncture of his right rear tyre! So the race was over for him before it even got started... Very very disappointing to see Sebastian limping back to the pit lane and facing retirement due to the damage in the rear suspension. Sebastian himself looked very disappointed. I´m sure he had expected Abu Dhabi GP to be another success story for him. It doesn´t comfort a lot but nobody can have success all the time. Setbacks are part of motorsports...

So because Vettel was out of the race, the lead was all Hamilton´s. Alonso took a brilliant start from P5 and managed to overtake both Webber and Button. At first the race seemed a bit boring because Alonso couldn´t quite catch Hamilton to challenge him. Luckily we did see some entertaining battle between Webber and Alonso for example. Webber could possibly have reached the podium today without the delayed first pit stop that he had... I don´t know what exactly went wrong but the pit stop lasted at least 5 seconds longer than it should have! Even Massa got ahead of Webber so they had an intense battle with each other aswell...!

Button in his McLaren had some problems during the race and his pace was about a second slower than his team-mate´s. After the race Button told that he had issues with the KERS system. But in spite of the difficulties Button finished the race third. Tyres played a significant role today aswell. In the second pit stops all other top drivers put the prime tyres on except for Webber who continued the race with option tyres and pitted on the final lap to fullfil the tyre regulation! Hard to say but it could have been the right call if there hadn´t been any problems in the first pit stop... I was kind of sad for Mark really. I would have liked to see him on the podium after a difficult season.

People have naturally different opinions but I was glad to see Hamilton winning the race instead of Alonso. Hamilton desperately needed this win! After all the difficulties and setbacks that the man has faced during this season, both professional and personal, it was gratifying to see Hamilton win today. Hopefully his battered self-esteem gets better after this impressive victory. Me being a person with very low self-esteem I can understand how much this win must mean to Hamilton. Button´s 3rd place with all the KERS issues was impressive aswell.

lauantai 12. marraskuuta 2011

Abu Dhabi GP / Qualifying: Vettel takes record pole!

The framework for the GP weekend at Abu Dhabi couldn´t be any more spectacular! The atmosphere is visually outstanding! The darkening night of Abu Dhabi brings its own magic to the Formula 1 world... So does definitely the unstoppable German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel! Once again he stole pole position from Hamilton (and everyone else) and equalled Nigel Mansell´s record of 14 poles in a season!

Q1 held no surprises really. Except for Barrichello in his Williams. He had suffered an oil leak earlier and the mechanics weren´t able to fix his car in time for the qualifying so the Brazilian wasn´t able to set a lap time. His team-mate Maldonado didn´t have a very good day either. He had to take the ninth engine of the season so he was handed a 10-place penalty which means that the Williams duo will start last on the grid. No wonder everyone is expecting Kimi Räikkönen to come back! Maybe the flying Iceman would be the magical driver to improve Williams´pace in a radical way... The team desperately needs significant improvement!

Same old story in Q2, too. The top 5 teams were Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes GP and Force India. The Toro Rossos weren´t able to make their way through to Q3 today. Hamilton topped the standings after Q2 and he seemed extremely fast and dangerous. But when Q3 got underway, the story got a new turn...!

The conditions had changed a bit after Q2. The evening had darkened and the track had cooled down a bit. Hamilton set an impressive lap time at his first attempt, so did his team-mate Button. But when it mattered the most there was no stopping the incredibly fast German! Super Sebastian was able to snatch over a tenth off Hamilton´s lap time and he made it the 14th pole of the season! Even wow sounds too dull a word at the moment... The young German is absolutely mesmerising in his glistening bling-bling helmet, there are no words to describe his performance well enough... Hamilton starts P2 and his team-mate Button P3. The McLaren duo split the Red Bulls. Webber had a tricky session and was left 4th.

sunnuntai 30. lokakuuta 2011

Indian GP: The statistics tell more than a thousand words...!

There was absolutely no doubt about Sebastian Vettel´s superiority today! I don´t even have to think up any new words that would describe the young German´s dominant performance today. The statistics tell more than a thousand words: pole position (the 13th of the season), all laps lead from start to finish, the fastest lap of the race and the race win (11th of the season) for Super Sebastian... The man is getting so amazing that I should invent whole new words for his performance...!

Back to the start. Vettel took another superb start and was able to maintain his lead. Button´s performance has been phenomenal in the last few races and he had the perfect opening lap: he was able to pass both Webber and Alonso and he managed to keep up with Vettel´s pace. However I have to say that the race was a bit boring! Don´t get me wrong, I enjoyed every moment of the race with Vettel in the lead but there wasn´t as much overtaking as I had predicted because there were two separate DRS zones at the Buddh International Circuit.

Like many other times before during this season there was McLaren´s Lewis Hamilton in the limelight with Ferrari´s Felipe Massa -again! The incident happened on lap 24 when Hamilton tried to overtake Massa from the inside. Massa ended up crashing to Hamilton but both of them were able to continue the race. Hamilton had to pit to get a new front wing and the stewards gave Massa a drive-through penalty which was the right call in my opinion! Massa left no room for Hamilton although he must have seen Hamilton alongside him... And not even Hamilton can be at fault every time a collision takes place on track! Hamilton´s race, however, was ruined after the extra pit stop and he finally finished 7th. Massa had to retire some laps later after his front-left suspension got loose. I have to admit I was a bit gleeful just for Hamilton ;)

The inaugural Indian GP was lacking some thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle. Vettel lead all laps and Button was able to maintain the 2nd place just about 3-5 seconds behind him. Webber was third until the second pit stops when Alonso managed to overtake him and he finished the race 3rd leaving Webber 4th. At least there was no need for any team orders by Red Bull! Schumi performed extremely well and finished 5th right ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

It feels absolutely right that Vettel, Button and Alonso wanted to dedicate their achievements to Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli who got killed recently in the fatal accidents. Like Vettel said at the press conference after the race, it´s kind of mixed emotions. On one hand this is extremely sad time in the world of motor sports but on the other hand I would say that we´re experiencing something utterly amazing at the moment. Record after record gets broken when Vettel gets loose! And what is best about this triumph is that regardless of unbelievable and utterly staggering permormance on track and ultimate success the young man has been able to keep his feet firmly on the ground! I have said this also before but I can´t help underlining how much I admire and appreciate the young Red Bull driver because of his attitude! Attitude like this cannot be taken for granted.

lauantai 29. lokakuuta 2011

Indian GP / Qualifying: the 24-year-old world champion is continuosly getting better and better...!

Did I have any personal predictions before the inaugural Indian GP? Of course I had one: Super Sebastian was the one I wanted to be on pole! This time I got what I was hoping for: 13th pole of the season for Super Seb! Absolutely impressive and brilliant work! But of course, what else would you have expected from a back-to-back world champion...?

This was the very first qualifying at the brand new Buddh International Circuit which seemed to be very enjoyable and a lot of fun to drive at! A bit dusty and tricky indeed but it was nice to see that all the drivers enjoyed the new challenges. The qualifying itself held no real surprises. A tiny surprise was that it was Sauber´s Kobayashi who didn´t make his way through Q2 instead of either of the Williams drivers. Toro Rosso showed very competitive pace today and both Alguersuari and Buemi were able to reach Q3.

The new venue seemed to suit Mercedes GP on the basis what we saw in free practices so it was slightly disappointing to see Schumi not qualifying in the top 10! And as I predicted before Q3 there were once again three drivers who didn´t set any time during the final session of the qualifying: Sutil in his Force India and both Toro Rosso drivers.

There was no stopping Sebastian Vettel in his RB7! After the first attempts he topped the standings but the margin to Hamilton who was 2nd was subtle indeed. At the end of Q3 Massa broke the front-right suspension in his car and ended up to the barriers which caused yellow flags. That ruined everyone else´s second run except Vettel´s who was able to improve his lap time by a few tenths of a second! So there´s Super Sebastian on pole (he´s definitely close to break Mansell´s record of pole positions during one season...), Hamilton 2nd, Webber 3rd and Alonso 4th followed by Button and Massa. Hamilton, however, will be dropped to 5th place due to ignoring yellow flags during the free practice on Friday.

There has been a lot of talk about Red Bull using team orders at the race tomorrow. Due to Hamilton´s penalty Webber will start to the race from the 2nd spot right behind his team-mate Vettel. Red Bull´s team principal Horner has stated that the team will do everything that Webber would secure the 2nd place in the championship standings, even by making Vettel the number two driver inside the team for the rest of the season... Webber, however, has said that he doesn´t want Vettel to give away positions in order to help him secure the second place. But for sure it´s utterly interesting to see what happens at tomorrow´s race... If Vettel is leading the race on the closing laps and Webber is behind him, will the team ask Vettel to give the lead to his team-mate? It wouldn´t feel right and I´m sure it wouldn´t feel right to Webber either. It would be like a false victory... And very artificial... I mean if you think how superior Vettel has been compared to his team-mate this season a decision like that would be hard to accept. So I hope we´ll see an intense fight and a true victory tomorrow!

sunnuntai 23. lokakuuta 2011

What a devastating week for motorsport... :´(

I feel I have an urgent need to write down a few words. At the moment it feels irrelevant that Loeb won the rally in Spain and is leading the standings with 8 points when there´s only one round to go. There are other thoughts that are going through my mind at the moment... I can hardly believe that two talented racing drivers have lost their lives within just a week! First Dan Wheldon got killed at an IndyCar race and today the MotoGP driver Marco Simoncelli succumbed to his injuries in Malaysia. Of course you are aware that motorsports involve certain risks and you can´t eliminate them all but nevertheless... Two young men losing their live due to motorsport accidents within a week is still too much to cope with! My thoughts are with the loved ones of both skillful drivers whose light has gone out far too soon.

Events like these make me more and more worried about the safety of F1 drivers aswell. There have been some very nasty-looking accidents in Formula 1, like what happened to Mark Webber at Valencia last year. But luckily, no matter how dangerous the incident has appeared to be the driver has never been seriously hurt and has been able to get out of his car with his own feet. And this has created a sort of false sense of Formula 1 being safe. Which is partly true because the cars and all kinds of safety regulations have developped a great deal for example from the year 1994 when Senna got killed at Imola...

I´m absolutely overwhelmed with sorrow thinking that Simoncelli was only 24 years old when he died! He had an absolutely promising MotoGP career awaiting... Nobody should die in the age of 24 if I´m asked! I can´t even imagine what kind of feelings Rossi and Edwards are going through right now knowing that they were involved in the accident that lead to Simoncelli´s death... The accident showed how a life of a human being is like a thin line drawn into water... Within a blink of an eye it can be taken away from you...

An accident like Wheldon´s or Simoncelli´s should absolutely never happen to anybody ! And being a passionate Formula 1 fan I´m very afraid of a fatal accident taking place in some of the F1 races... These two fatal accidents have caused extremely strong emotions in me and I can´t even imagine how I would react if it was Vettel who got seriously injured or even killed in a race (and even writing this down feels extremely bad...)! That would definitely turn my world upside down like the death of Ayrton Senna did over 10 years ago. The first Formula 1 race I ever watched was the Imola GP in 1994 and what a GP I picked to watch!

sunnuntai 16. lokakuuta 2011

Korean GP: Red Bull sealed the constructors´ title!

I´ve had quite an exceptional race weekend because unfortunately I didn´t have time to write a blog post on the qualifying yesterday! I did watch it in the morning but after that I was off to take my three sons to their grandparents and I headed to a hotel with my husband to celebrate my birthday! I was definitely in the mood to have fun regardless of the fact that it was Hamilton in his McLaren who snatched pole in Korea leaving Vettel 2nd and Button 3rd.

The race was entertaining in many ways. I had no suspicions of Sebastian´s performance though he had sealed the drivers´championship already last weekend in Japan. And what a staggering first lap! Hamilton managed to maintain his lead at the start but soon after that Vettel was able to pass him and he didn´t need DRS to do it! Just the perfect start to the race that I wanted to see!

Sebastian wasn´t able to open a huge gap to Hamilton in the first stint but he was able to pull away just enough not to let Hamilton use the DRS! Tyre degradation seemed to play much smaller role than the drivers expected before the race. After the first pit stop Vettel was still leading the race. Just as Vettel had a small gap to Hamilton, the safety car came out due to a collision between Schumacher and Petrov which destroyed the race for both of them. Luckily Sebastian took an impressive re-start and managed to stay in the lead...

Hamilton in the 2nd place and Webber in 3rd put up an entertaining fight for the last 20 laps of the race! It was absolutely thrilling to watch how Webber was constantly allowed to use the DRS lap after lap and how he managed to get ahead of his McLaren competitor twice but Hamilton managed to take his position back... And it was gratifying to see how both of the men were gentlemen on the track and neither of them tried anything stupid. At the end of the race there were also Button and Alonso joining them and they all were within the DRS distance of each other but the winner of the race was over 10 seconds ahead of them! Sebastian took a sweeping victory today -the 10th win of the season! With Vettel 1st and Webber 3rd it was clear that Red Bull Racing sealed the constructors´ championship today! Congratulations to Red Bull, they have been absolutely dominant during this season!

Such a shame that Petrov destroyed Schumi´s race by crashing to him. Mercedes GP showed some promising race pace today. Rosberg lost his 7th position to Toro Rosso´s Alguersuari on the final lap but good race for them both anyway. The Finnish "fireman" Heikki Kovalainen had a very decent race, too as he finished 14th ahead of both Sauber drivers.

sunnuntai 9. lokakuuta 2011

Japanese GP: Woohoo, Vettel is double world champion!!!

Yesterday evening I was like a little girl waiting impatiently for Christmas Eve! On one hand I wanted to stay up as late as possible so I could enjoy all the thrilling anticipation of the upcoming race. I knew it was going to be all over so quickly - just like Christmas Eve goes by all too quickly. On the other hand I wanted to go to bed very early so that the race day would come sooner. I felt kind of restless when I went to bed and didn´t sleep too well but... For what a day I waked up to!

My heart was pounding when the lights went off. I was kind of surprised to see how aggressive Vettel was at the start forcing Button partly to the grass but luckily there was no further action due to the incident. Vettel was able to maintain the lead until the second pit stop. He was among the first ones to pit because Red Bull seemed to suffer harder from the tyre degradation than the Ferraris or the McLarens. And that was the Achilles heel for Red Bull today!

Button was able to snatch the lead from Vettel after the second  pit stop. Ferrari seemed to have very decent race pace aswell. Massa and Hamilton had a collision on lap 22 which caused safety car to come out because there was debris on the track. Also Alonso managed to pass Vettel during the third pit stop! At the end of the race Vettel was only less than 2 seconds behind Alonso but he didn´t want to take any risks and try to overtake him. Button has clearly found more pace and confidence in the second half of the season and the Briton totally deserved to win today. I also have to mention Nico Rosberg, who made his way from the 23rd spot up to 10th and managed to score one point. However, the race result seems kind of irrelevant today...

Sebastian Vettel´s task today was to score one point. In spite of that he scored 15 points and  became the youngest-ever double world champion! I´m absolutely overwhelmed with strong emotions at the moment! I was utterly touched by Sebastian´s kind words of his trainer Tommi Pärmäkoski at the press conference after the race. Vettel had an absolutely perfect start to the season. It would have been more than easy to let the huge success remove his feet from the ground and make him float in the air... Which didn´t happen for Sebastian thanks to the expertise of his Finnish trainer! I guess not many pepople even realise what a huge role Tommi has behind Vettel´s unbelievable success. Tommi is an exceptional guy - not only he does his job perfectly but he is also a very warm-hearted person.

I have an emotional storm inside my head at the moment! There are many reasons why I admire the young German so much. First of all, I admire his determination. He knows what he wants to achieve and he works extremely hard for his goals. I admire him because of his attitude. He always keeps his feet firmly on the ground and doesn´t take success for granted. I admire him because of his self-confidence. I´ve always had difficulties to believe in myself so I admire Vettel who is always confident despite setbacks, disappointments and difficulties. And I love his sense of humour. Though he takes his job very seriously he always has twinkle in his eye!

lauantai 8. lokakuuta 2011

Japanese GP / Qualifying: Button lost pole by 9 thousandths of a second!

The qualifying for the Japanese GP was absolutely staggering and eventful indeed. Before the qualifying McLaren had looked quickest but regardless of that it was Sebastian Vettel who snatched pole at the end of Q3 by only 9 thousandths of a second leaving Button 2nd. Hamilton qualified 3rd setting a time 0.1 seconds slower than Vettel.

Some surprises emerged during the qualifying today. Unfortunately Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes was unable to set a time in Q1 due to a hydraulics problem so he´ll face a tough race tomorrow. Otherwise no surprises in Q1. In Q2 we saw some really impressive driving by Sauber´s Kobayashi in front of his home crowd. He managed to set a competitive lap time and made his way to Q3 unlike his team-mate Perez who also suffered from a hydraulics issue. The Renault drivers were back in top ten after Singapore´s disaster as both Petrov and Senna were able to make it through to Q1.

Q3 was absolutely thrilling. After the first runs there was Hamilton in P1, followed by Button and Vettel. For a very short while I was worried that McLaren was going to conquer the front row at Suzuka! But then Vettel came out and made a perfect lap! He was followed by Button who was only 0.009 seconds slower! I´m pretty convinced that Hamilton would have been able to challenge those two for pole but he crossed the line a few seconds after the chequered flag fell so he missed the second run and seemed very disappointed after the qualifying.

sunnuntai 25. syyskuuta 2011

Singapore GP: Vettel 1 point away from the title!

I had huge expectations before the Singapore grand prix. The circumstances where the F1 action took place were absolutely staggering! All those fantastic buildings lighted in different colors in the dark night of Singapore made the venue just perfect. Nevertheless the race wasn´t as entertaining as it could have been... Don´t get me wrong, it was the 9th win of the season for Super Sebastian and I enjoyed every glorious moment of it!

The atmosphere was palpable when the lights went off. Vettel had another successful start and was able to pull away quite easily. Webber´s streak of bad starts continued and he lost positions to both Button and Alonso. What made the race less entertaining than for example the Italian GP two weeks ago was the lack of intense wheel-to-wheel battle! Vettel was able to pull out a huge gap to his rivals very quickly. Webber had some battle with Alonso once again but nothing huge.

I have to admit that I hoped Hamilton to be able to challenge Button and Webber for the 2nd place! Usually I´m not that big fan of the Briton but this hope was based on Vettel´s chance to clinch the second world title... If Vettel was going to win the race, neither Button nor Webber should finish 2nd and Alonso shouldn´t be among the top three... But it seemed Button was going to ruin my hopes! And Hamilton ruined his race just by himself - once again! He crashed to Massa and damaged his front wing and Massa got a puncture due to the crash and both had to pit... And in additon to that Hamilton got a drive through penalty due to causing the collision!

On lap 30 Vettel had pulled out a gap of about 20 seconds to Button when Schumacher crashed to Perez in his Sauber. It seemed to be some kind of a misunderstanding; Schumi didn´t expect Perez to break so early. Schumi ended up to the wall and his race was over. The incident caused safety car to come out and Vettel lost his advantage. But after the re-start he was able to disappear to the horizon once again. At the end of the race Button closed the gap quite massively and at the chequered flag the gap was less than 2 seconds! But what mattered most was that Vettel was there first! :)

lauantai 24. syyskuuta 2011

Singapore GP / Qualifying: Super Sebastian flies to 11th pole of the season!

Sebastian Vettel, do You have any idea how massively difficult You make my blog writing by being too awesome for words?!? You make Your performance better and better every race weekend though it has been absolutely perfect since the start of the season... It´s sooo hard to find words or expressions which would actually tell how You make me dumbfounded every time You snatch another pole or take another win!

The qualifying in the dark night of Singapore was totally a Sebastian Vettel show! No one else could even come close to his lap time! No surprises in terms of Q3. The top 5 teams today were Red Bull Racing, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes GP and Force India. Sauber´s Perez was pretty close to make his way into Q3 but didn´t quite make it after all. Kobayashi in his Sauber on the other hand crashed in Q2 after cutting the kerbs aggressively in a chicane and there was red flag for a short while.

Button´s performance was strong today. Not strong enough to beat the Red Bulls as the pole was taken by Super Sebastian and Webber made it a front row lock-out for Red Bull by taking the 2nd place! But Button qualified 3rd ahead of his team-mate Hamilton. McLaren had some kind of a fuelling problem with Hamilton´s car so he was unable to do the second run in Q3 but due to that he saved a set of tyres for tomorrow´s race. The Ferrari drivers Alonso and Massa finished 5th and 6th.

What was very disappointing for me to see was that there were three drivers who didn´t drive in Q3 at all: Schumacher in his Mercedes as well as both Force India drivers. The fans and spectators would love to see the drivers on the track so in my opinion it´s absolutely disappointing that they´re allowed to make the decision not to run at all. If I´m asked, there should be enough tyres for the race so that saving the tyres wouldn´t be necessary for the teams. Or there should be regulations that would make it compulsory for the teams to do at least one run in each qualifying session... At least I would love to see all the drivers on the track fighting for the best position they can reach!

I absolutely can´t wait for tomorrow´s race! I would love to see Super Sebastian to clinch his second world title tomorrow!! I know I shouldn´t be thinking about that, because it doesn´t necessarily happen tomorrow. I know it´ll happen sooner or later but not necessarily tomorrow. However, I´ll be prepared to bake a cake in a couple of days ;) I´ve promised my colleagues at work that I´ll bake them a cake if/when Vettel wins the world championship this season. I did it also last year so this baking thing seems to become a habit, hahaha ;D I´ve ordered an eatable picture of Seb in his RB7 which I´ll put on top of the cake... Just can´t wait to get started!

sunnuntai 11. syyskuuta 2011

Italian GP: DRS makes overtaking too easy... or does it?

I have to say the Italian GP was one of the most thrilling and entertaining races this season so far! The start was absolutely action-packed with Alonso getting a superb start and making his way to the lead! My heart was pounding as there were three cars (Vettel, Alonso and Schumacher) side by side going to the turn 1! And what a huge crash took place at turn 1 when HRT´s Liuzzi lost control of his car and hit both Rosberg and Petrov taking them both out of the race. The incident caused tha safety car to come out.

After the restart Vettel was able to overtake Alonso and take the lead back! Although Alonso didn´t give very much room for Vettel which caused him to go a bit wide Vettel managed to overtake the Ferrari driver :) And what´s remarkable about it is that Vettel did it without using the DRS! There has been a lot of talking this season that the DRS makes overtaking even too easy but this certainly wasn´t the case today! Super Sebastian didn´t even need it to get past Alonso!

The battle between Schumacher and Hamilton was highly entertaining and exciting to watch! Mercedes GP had very high straight line speed so despite using the DRS Hamilton wasn´t able to get past Schumacher. Instead his team-mate Button recovered from a lousy start and managed to catch those two. It was impressive how Button managed to overtake his team-mate and how easily he overtook Schumacher right after that! But overtaking wasn´t easy today, that´s for sure.

After Vettel had taken the lead he cruised to a sweeping victory! Although he had the lowest straight line speed yesterday at qualifying he disappeared to the horizon very quickly and was totally untouchable. They said that the secret behind his unbelievable speed was the gear ratio that he used in his RB7. I have to say I was absolutely dumbfounded by Vettel´s driving today (again), there was something absolutely magical about it! No body had absolutely no chance to catch Vettel but behind him there was intense battle for positions.

Button finished 2nd behind Vettel and Alonso came 3rd in front of his home crowd. Hamilton managed to catch Alonso at the end of the race but wasn´t quite able to overtake him. Schumacher drove a strong race and was 5th in the final standings. But what about Webber in his competitive RB7? He hit Massa at the beginning of the race and damaged his front wing which caused him to crash the barriers a bit later and retire. Bruno Senna grabbed his very first points by finishing 9th.

lauantai 10. syyskuuta 2011

Italian GP / Qualifying: There´s no stopping of Super Sebastian!

There was an illusion floating in the air before the qualifying that it was going to be very close a battle for pole this afternoon at Monza. I mean it was supposed to be... But the qualifying turned out to be a one man show, not a one team show but... a mesmerising Super Sebastian show!!

No real surprises or big disappointments today in terms of Q3. There were the drivers of the top 5 teams at the moment: the Red Bulls, the McLarens, the Ferraris, the Mercedes drivers and the Renault duo. Even Bruno Senna managed to make his way into Q3 which was maybe a bit unpredictable. I knew both Button and Hamilton were going to be highly competitive at Monza which is known for its long straights. I was sure if there was going to be some other than a Red Bull driver on pole this season it was definitely going to happen at Monza... But that wasn´t the case!

The German Red Bull ace was just unbelievable and utterly unstoppable today: at the end of the day he outqualified the McLarens by nearly half a second! On the track that wasn´t supposed to suit the Red Bulls at all... It was definitely a lap too awesome for words! Unlike Vettel´s team-mate Webber who didn´t have the most perfect Q3 and he finally qualified 5th. And thinking about the starts that Webber has taken earlier this season the 5th spot on the grid doesn´t seem very promising. The pecking order seems quite obvious: first there´s Super Sebastian in a class of his own, then there´re the McLaren drivers and then the Ferraris... On a very lucky day the Mercedes drivers (especially Nico) or either of the Renault drivers may be able to challenge the top teams but unfortunately either Mercedes GP or Renault isn´t at their level yet. Like today´s qualifying result proves: Vettel on pole, Hamilton 2nd, Button 3rd, Alonso 4th, Webber 5th and Massa 6th.

Both Hamilton and Button admitted at the post-qualifying press conference that Vettel was untouchable today. Button aborted his final flying lap though the split times showed improvement in his lap time. But for sure he wouldn´t have been able to improve his time so much that he could have threatened Vettel´s time! But as far as the race tomorrow is concerned I´m sure we´re going to see an absolutely impressive show! McLaren´s race pace is extremely convincing so for sure both Hamilton and Button will challenge Vettel seriously for the victory...!

So it´s 10th pole of the season for Super Sebastian! How on Earth am I able to describe his driving any more...? I mean it sounds fair to say that he is good. He´s extremely talented. Super fast. Unstoppable. Out of anybody else´s reach. He rarely makes any mistakes and when he does he learns from them and doesn´t repeat them. He dominates qualifying sessions and is clearly superior to his rivals in terms of performance. But this all sounds so dilute... I guess all I can really say is that not only in terms of his performance but also in terms of describing his driving the man is completely out of reach! Absolutely amazing. He impresses me completely every time he drives!

sunnuntai 28. elokuuta 2011

Belgian GP: An epic 1-2 for Red Bull!

Against all odds the Belgian GP was driven in dry conditions! But I have to say it was a hugely exciting race also without the weather factor. I knew Vettel on pole was going to take a superb start but I was certainly worried about his front tyres... They were blistered from yesterday´s qualifying and that wasn´t a good sign!

I was absolutely right: Vettel took a wonderful start! Unlike his team-mate Webber who had another lousy start costing him many positions... Mercedes GP´s Nico Rosberg who started 5th on the grid had an unbelievable start and he managed to take the lead from Vettel! The turn 1 was a complete mess, Jenson Button for example lost a part of his rear wing in the middle of it... The Toro Rossos collided with each other which lead to Alguersuari´s early retirement.

Luckily Vettel was able to retake the lead from Rosberg and it wasn´t the only time Vettel overtook his rivals today! Who says that Vettel can´t overtake on the track? Today at least the German ace proved all the sceptics wrong! And before the summer break there was a lot of talking about Vettel cracking under the pressure... No sign of that today (or before...)! I absolutely enjoyed watching Vettel overtaking Alonso in Ferrari and his team-mate Webber, there was no stopping him today!

There clearly was an issue with the tyres. Especially the first stint was extremely short and even the new set of the soft tyres got blistered quite quickly. Alonso had also a similar issue with the tyres and with the option tyres on he was conspicuously slow and lost many positions at the end of the race!

Button´s performance today was absolutely fantastic! Unlike his team-mate Hamilton who hit Kobayashi´s car and crashed into the barriers on lap 13. That caused the safety car to come on the track. Button started 13th on the grid due to the misunderstanding at the qualifying yesterday and the beginning of the race didn´t look so good for him... After the safety car came in he was in spot 11. But Button´s McLaren seemed to work perfectly and he was extremely fast and could catch his rivals easily... Button was able to overtake Alonso easily and managed to snatch the last podium spot at Spa!

In spite of the bad start and a problem with the radio communication Webber finished 2nd today and with Vettel winning his 7th race of the season it was an outstanding 1-2 for Red Bull at Spa :) Despite all the talks that Spa-Francorchamps doesn´t suit Red Bull the RB7 was utterly invincible today! Which obviously means scary things for those trying to catch Vettel... He has a 92-point lead when going to Monza in two weeks! And the 259 points he has at the moment has already exceeded the title-winning points Vettel scored last year and there´re 7 more rounds to go! Absolutely crushing performance!

Though qualifying was a huge disappointment for Schumi he had a very decent race! I mean starting from P24 and finishing 5th is a superb achievement indeed and a nice way to celebrate his 20th anniversary! He had close wheel-to-wheel battle with his team-mate Rosberg and managed to overtake Nico after all... On TV we heard a team radio call to Nico where he was told to save fuel... Team orders or not, both Mercedes GP drivers had an excellent race!

lauantai 27. elokuuta 2011

Belgian GP / Qualifying: Surprises and disappointments at a rain-hit session!

First of all I have to say I´m absolutely delighted that the looong summer break of F1 is finally over! I´ve missed dearly all the F1 action during the four-week break! I knew there was going to be a lot of action at Spa Francorchamps where the weather is always a big question mark!

I guess everybody expected to see an impressive performance from Michael Schumacher who made his F1 debut at Spa exactly 20 years ago! An utterly outstanding achievement indeed! But Schumi´s anniversary weekend got a poor start as he couldn´t set a time at the beginning of Q1 due to a technical failure. So Schumi was out of the quali due to no fault of his own -what a shame! He seemed very competitive in the wet conditions on the ground of what we saw at the free practices. But he´ll be allowed to race in spite of not setting a time within the 107 percent time. So hope he´ll have a good race tomorrow!

Another surprise was that McLaren´s Jenson Button didn´t make it through to Q3! Button himself explained it was a question of some misunderstanding... Which shouldn´t happen at this level! Button would have made it to the Q3 without any doubt if only had he been on the track at the end of the Q2 when the lap times where improving lap by lap as the track turned drier and drier... So Button will be 13th on the grid tomorrow which will make Button´s race a bit more difficult... But if the weather will be mixed like today; I´m sure it´ll favour Button who has been extremely good in mixed conditions.

To be honest, I have to say I didn´t expect ANYTHING from Bruno Senna who replaced Nick Heidfeld at Renault this weekend. And although Senna hit the wall at FP1on Friday, otherwise his performance has been impressive indeed! Today he qualified 7th just ahead of Ferrari´s Alonso while his team-mate Petrov was 10th.

Sebastian Vettel snatched the pole once again! It was the 9th pole for the German ace this season! What can you say, the super talented Red Bull driver seems to be in a class of his own! His performance didn´t seem very strong especially in Q1 but there´s something absolutely astonishing about Vettel... Every time you start thinking that he may not be at his very best today, he manages to set the perfect lap! Hamilton took the 2nd spot and Vettel´s team-mate Webber was 3rd. The second half of the season couldn´t have started any better!!

Lewis Hamilton always seems to be in the limelight when there´s intense action on the track... So was the case today aswell! At the end of Q2 when Hamilton was on his flying lap he passed Maldonado in his Williams not to lose time which lead to the wheels of Hamilton´s car touching those of Maldonado´s Williams. For me it looked very clean incident, Hamilton was just trying to set as fast lap time as possible! But soon after that Maldonado hit Hamilton´s car so that Hamilton´s front wing and side-pod was damaged! Maldonado´s car got some damage aswell. That was absolutely  outrageous!! Maldonado had NO REASON to do so! Maldonado has been given a five-place grid penalty for his action, which absolutely isn´t a penalty hard enough if I´m asked! Maldonado did it deliberately so he should be excluded from the race totally. What I don´t understand is why Hamilton was also reprimanded due to the incident...

And why the 107 percent rule breakers are allowed to race tomorrow? Meaning D´Ambrosio, Liuzzi and Ricciardo.. It´s understandable that Schumi is allowed to race as it was a question of a technical failure but as far as these three other drivers are concerned, they were simply unable to set a lap time fast enough! Why does the 107 percent rule even exist when it has absolutely no meaning whatsoever?

maanantai 22. elokuuta 2011

ADAC Rallye Deutschland: Ogier put an end to Loeb´s winning streak in Germany!

I have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms for not writing a blog post for several weeks! So I´m glad the Rallye Deutschland came to make my day! What were my expectations before the rally got underway? I was convinced that it would be the 9th consecutive victory in Germany for absolutely dominant Loeb who has obviously been in a class of his own for several years... However, I turned out to be wrong!

In terms of the factory Fords, almost everything went wrong since the beginning of the rally... Latvala had a very promising start to the event by making the fastest time on the stage 1 but then the problems hit. Team Ford made the wrong tyre call by choosing the harder compound of tyres because they were expecting the conditions to be dry. Instead it was raining right before the stage 2 and the Ford drivers Latvala and Hirvonen lost a lot of time on the slippery roads. The French Citroen drivers instead had a soft-compound version on their cars and they managed to pull a significant gap to their rivals! And the wrong tyre call was just a beginning of a series of difficulties faced by the factory Fords... Punctures (Latvala alone had four punctures during the rally!) and near-miss situations cost the Finnish Ford drivers dearly!

The real talking point during the weekend, however, was the relationship between the Citroen´s two drivers. Loeb was leading the rally after day one by only a few seconds over his team-mate Ogier and Ogier seemed very tight-lipped and annoyed about something... And it became clear soon that Citroen had given team orders to maintain the positions of their two drivers meaning that Ogier wasn´t allowed to take the lead from his team-mate... Once again I was sooo disappointed! Sports, also motorsports, should be about competing against your rivals including your team-mate! I can´t help thinking about Loeb´s new two-year contract with Citroen if it´s partly based on him being the number one driver in the team... I hope I´m wrong! In my eyes the 7-time world champion Sebastien Loeb is so an outstanding driver that he wouldn´t need to use means like that to secure his position inside the team! Though Ogier is clearly a serious threat...

In addition to all the technical failures Latvala also suffered from some kind of a stomach bug! As if all the technical stuff wouldn´t have been enough...! In spite of the team orders Loeb didn´t win in Germany! He suffered a puncture on Saturday and lost over a minute because of it which enabled Ogier to snatch the lead! So it was the first tarmac-win for Ogier leaving Loeb 2nd! But what was brilliant was the performance of the two MINI drivers! Sordo managed to snatch the last podium spot leaving Hirvonen 4th.

I was satisfied to see Kimi´s performance in Germany -although the man himself stated it would have been a better idea for him to have stayed at home! Kimi had a peculiar problem with his door flapping after he had touched a wall. But he did set some very competitive stage times and I´m sure he would have done much better on the power stage if he hadn´t had another puncture! I´m kind of sad to read that he´ll skip the Rally Australia! I love watching and following WRC but it´s definitely Kimi who brings the extra excitement to the sports...!

sunnuntai 31. heinäkuuta 2011

Hungarian GP: mistakes made by all top drivers... except Button!

What an epic race in Hungary today! The conditions were very unusual from those we´ve been used to see in Hungary in previous years. The circuit was wet so all the drivers started the race with the intermediate tyres. Vettel got a very decent start keeping both Hamilton and Button behind him. But the German wasn´t able to maintain his lead for long... Hamilton was pushing extremely hard behind the Red Bull driver putting pressure on him. And then it happened on lap 5 at turn 2... Vettel made a mistake and went wide and Hamilton passed him! At that time I was sitting on the sofa screaming my voice off...!

There was no uncertainty about Hamilton´s speed. He pulled off from Vettel immediately after overtaking him and made a clear gap. Vettel seemed to be in difficulties at the beginning of the race, he had hard time to keep the other McLaren driver Button behind him! And the circumstances were tricky, no doubt about it. Vettel wasn´t the only driver to make a mistake! Also Alonso got wide at least a couple of times and Hamilton had a spin aswell which caused a dangerous situation. Paul Di Resta in his Force India was about to crash into Hamilton´s car when he tried to turn his car to get back on the track... Button was able to overtake his team-mate at this stage and after this we saw some very entertaining wheel-to-wheel battle between the two McLaren drivers! They kept it fair which was a pleasure to see!

The light rain started on lap 47 and it caused different decisions made by the teams. Hamilton came to the pits to put the intermediate tyres on like many other drivers did, too. That was a wrong call! Button on the other hand had put the soft tyres on and was leading the race! Hamilton had to change back to the softs after only a few laps and he also got penalised because of the situation with Di Resta earlier on the race so he was given a drive through penalty. Hamilton lost positions due to the penalty but he wasn´t going to give up...! On the closing stages of the race Hamilton was able to overtake Mark Webber and finished the race 4th! Without the mistakes and the penalty he would certainly have fighted for the victory, he showed some unbelievable pace indeed!

Button was the only top driver not to make any clear mistakes today and he had the perfect tactics aswell. He totally deserved to win today. What an awesome way to celebrate his 200th grand prix! Vettel seemed a bit disappointed at the press conference after the race. He clearly wasn´t satisfied with the 2nd place, he thought the win would have been in reach... But in terms of the championship standings it really doesn´t look bad for Vettel. He managed to increase his lead making it up to 85 points! That´s utterly amazing, I would say! Alonso finished 3rd today. The Ferraris didn´t turn out to be as competitive as I thought they would be. At the start both Alonso and Massa had hard time to fight with the Mercedes drivers!

Heidfeld´s retirement was spectacular but scary. His Renault Lotus caught fire on lap 25 just after his pit stop! There was even a small explosion when the officials tried to put down the fire. No wonder Heidfeld tried to get out of his car as soon as possible! More retirements occurred today than we have seen at the previous races this season as also drivers like Schumacher and both Lotus drivers retired due to technical failures.

Neste Oil Rally Finland

Once again we saw an absolutely thrilling and eventful rally in Finland! This time I couldn´t make it there to watch the event live so I followed the rally both on TV and on the internet. From the Finnish point of view the rally didn´t have a very promising start as Ford´s Mikko Hirvonen crashed to a tree on the very first stage and damaged his car costing him dearly. At the end of the day one Mikko´s position was somewhere far beyond 40 or something! The Frenchmen instead, Loeb and Ogier in their Citroens, had a perfect start to the rally...

Once again tactics played a significant role during the rally. On Thursday both Ogier and Latvala slowed down on purpose not to be the first car on the road on the following day. So it was Loeb who was cleaning the roads again on Saturday. I was so happy to notice that his road position appeared to be no disadvantage for him! Luckily the overnight rain had helped to compact the gravel surface and Loeb was able to make staggering stage times on the first loop of stages! Ogier tried his best to chase his team-mate and Ford´s Jari-Matti Latvala wasn´t far behind, either...

A few words about Hirvonen then. He was like a completely different driver on Friday! I´m not sure if his crash was caused by a technical issue or if it was his own mistake but the driving he showed on Friday was unbelievable! He set the fastest time on almost every stage! And it didn´t take very long for him to be among the top ten... Can´t help thinking if Mikko had won the rally without the unfortunate crash on Thursday...

And it was tactics again at the end of Friday. Now also played by Loeb. He took a 10-second penalty on purpose but his rivals Ogier and Latvala were aware of his act and managed to drop time making Loeb clean the roads again... which Loeb really didn´t seem too happy about! But it turned out that the conditions on Saturday morning weren´t a disadvantage for Loeb after all. I´m sure Ogier would have been able to challenge his team-mate for real without the puncture he suffered on the final day. Latvala also managed to pass Ogier thanks to his improved driving :)

The power stage in Laajavuori was shown on TV and it was epic to watch. The fast Finnish roads are difficult to drive but they suit the Finns for sure! Hirvonen snatched the fastest time on the power stage getting 3 extra points. He finally managed to finish the rally 4th which was an excellent achievement indeed. The second fastest was Latvala in his Ford leaving Ogier 3rd. So it was second win in Finland for the 7-time world champion Loeb!! He completely deserved to win, he was the first car on the road on all three days and he drove flat out all the time! Latvala did a great job, too finishing second but he still needs to improve his driving. On some stages he is terribly fast but on other stages he isn´t that consistent...

lauantai 30. heinäkuuta 2011

Hungarian GP / Qualifying: Vettel back on pole!

Already last weekend in Germany we saw that the three top teams (Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari) were very close to each other and had a very similar race pace. So I knew the battle for the pole position was going to be thrilling in Hungary! And thrilling it was!

No actual surprises in Q2 today. Both Renaults were out of Q3 so they seem to have taken a step backwards. But Perez in his Sauber making his way to Q3 was a positive surprise and it shows the promising potential the Mexican driver has :) His more experienced team-mate Kobayashi instead didn´t make it to Q3.

Hamilton was the only top driver in Q2 to set his fastest lap time on the soft tyres while the others had put the super softs on and his lap time looked frightenly fast indeed being only a tenth slower than Vettel´s set on the super softs! In Q3 it was also Hamilton who seemed to have the pole within his grasp after the first fast laps. The Ferraris seemed very competitive aswell but what was surprising was that it was Massa who was able to set a faster lap time than his team-mate Alonso! This hasn´t happened for a while... The McLarens were extremely strong but no pole for Hamilton after all! Sebastian Vettel came and showed everyone that he hasn´t definitely been cracking under pressure by conquering the pole! Outstanding achievement after the tame German GP last weekend! So it was P2 for Hamilton again and P3 for his team-mate Button leaving Massa 4th, Alonso 5th and Webber (who suffered from some kind of KERS problem I guess...) back at 6th place.

I´m sure it´s going to be intense battle for the victory tomorrow. Hamilton has had some very impressive starts this season so Vettel has to be able to take a perfect start to maintain his lead into the first corner... And the Ferraris, especially Alonso will fight hard to make his way to the lead. And looking from the tyre point of view... Button may be in a good position as it´s him who is very good at nurturing his tyres...

keskiviikko 27. heinäkuuta 2011

Red Bull Show Run in Helsinki

Kimi Räikkönen driving on the streets of Helsinki.
The very first time I heard there was going to be an event where Kimi Räikkönen was going to drive his WRC car on the streets of Helsinki I knew I was definitely going to be there! It was something too awesome for words! I´ve been a passionate Kimi fan for many years and I actually got to see the man live last summer at Neste Oil Rally in Jyväskylä. But I just couldn´t wait to see him drive again...!
Sebastien Loeb driving a crosskart for the first time in his life!
What made the event sound at least as interesting as Kimi´s presence was the fact that the 7-time rally world champion Sebastien Loeb was going to drive in Helsinki aswell! I´ve always felt great respect for Loeb, he´s truly the best rally driver there is at the moment! I admire his humble and down-to-earth attitude. As far as a man with such success as Loeb has is concerned, an attitude like that cannot be taken for granted. What Kimi and Sebastien have in common is the absolute overwhelming talent in motorsports! No matter if Kimi is driving a Formula 1 car, a WRC car, a snow mobile or a NASCAR car he´s always unbelievably fast! Like Loeb, too... In Helsinki he was at the wheel of a crosskart for the very first time in his life and what thrilling driving he showed to the audience... Absolutely fantastic!!
Kimi & Sebastien waving for the fans.

It´s actually very difficult to describe my emotions during the exceptional event. On one hand I have to say a part of me was extremely sad seeing flags flown at half mast due to the terrible tradegy taken place in Norway. On the other hand the event was the absolute highlight of my summer which I had looked so much forward to... Personally I really want to say thank you to both Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastien Loeb for taking part in the event!! I completely understand that especially Kimi is no fan of media what so ever but I doubt he can ever understand how much he means to such a huge amount of fans...! For a fan like me it was really a dream come true to see him drive in front of my eyes :) Work for him but ultimate enjoyment and entertainment for me and all the other Kimi fans!!
Me getting an autograph from the 7-time rally champion!

What was more than I could ever have dreamt of was Sebastien Loeb showing up just opposite me giving an autograph to me...!! I have been asked how I felt at that specific moment... Impossible to describe with any English words that I know...! Sebastien Loeb is definitely a man whose autograph I have been dreaming of for a long time! My collection includes autographs from racing drivers like Mika Häkkinen, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel... And now I have also Loeb´s autograph :) An event like the show run in Helsinki is utterly unique because it brings the drivers close to fans. At WRC rallies or Formula 1 races a normal person like myself doesn´t have any chance to get close to the drivers to be able to ask for an autograph so I´m totally speechless about my experience of standing opposite the 7-time rally world champion... I got such mixed emotions after that I had hard time following the German GP on TV in my hotel room a little later on!

I enjoyed every moment of the 2-hour event and had absolutely the time of my life...! Last but not least... Kimi burning some rubber ;) Thank you Kimi and Sebastien! You may not know but you´ve made thousands of people extremely happy... including me :)

tiistai 26. heinäkuuta 2011

German GP: Formula 1 racing at its best!

Writing about the German GP is kind of difficult for me due to a couple of things. First of all, like I wrote on the previous blog post, it was the first race for a very long time that I wasn´t able to watch live on TV! So I didn´t see the whole race, just a 1-hour summary broadcast of the highlights. And on the other hand... I guess I was partly on some other planet whilst watching the race because I had just witnessed Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastien Loeb driving live on the streets of Helsinki! And standing opposite the 7-time rally world champion and getting his autograph made my heart pound and my thoughts wander... So overwhelming emotions for me on that Sunday afternoon!

The German GP, however, was Formula 1 action at its very best! The battle for the victory was as exciting as it could possibly get :) Now I just have to praise Hamilton´s performance, it was absolutely outstanding! Taking the lead right after the start was more than I could have expected from the McLaren driver! Which meant another lousy start for Mark Webber... Three poles this season and three failed starts!

The battle between Alonso and Vettel was intense indeed. Vettel wasn´t able to maintain his position as 3rd because thanks to the DRS Alonso was able to overtake him easily. All I can say, it seemed to me that Vettel´s performance wasn´t as good as we all have got used to see. And then on lap 9... Vettel went wide, not much but still enough to cause him spin... An easy looking mistake from him which cost him positions. His team-mate Webber, Alonso and Hamilton were battling for the victory but Vettel was clearly out of that struggle. After the second pit stop he managed to close the gap to Massa who was on 4th place at that stage. But Vettel wasn´t able to overtake... Until at the last pit stop when he pitted at the same time with Massa and Vettel managed to get ahead of him. Vettel has kind of reputation that he can´t overtake on the track and this race certainly didn´t make the reputation any better.

Hamilton was the first to put on the hard tyres which was the right choice. When Alonso pitted Hamilton was able to take the lead. Second win of the season for Hamilton! No doubt about that the right man won. Hamilton´s performance was absolutely outstanding and after the practices I could never have believed he could be that fast! It was almost touching to hear Hamilton´s comments on the team radio and at the press conference. He was truly happy about his win and it´s always touching to see such genuine emotions!

Alonso finished 2nd and Webber 3rd, leaving Vettel 4th and Massa 5th. Though Vettel had the worst race of the season on his home soil, 4th place is no bad achievement! I agree with Hamiltons´s words after the race: nobody can be perfect all the time! Making mistakes is what makes us humans... And finishing 4th made Vettel lose only 3 points of his lead in the championship standings, the man is still leading with 77 points! But to be honest, I felt weird not to see Vettel sitting at the press conference after the race... I missed his comments and that adorable smile of his :)

lauantai 23. heinäkuuta 2011

German GP / Qualifying: The worst spot on the grid for Vettel this season!

The qualifying for the German grand prix held many surprises. One of them was that there was no rain! The forecast said the chance for rain was very high. But instead the whole qualifying session was driven in dry conditions! Which doesn´t mean it´s going to be dry tomorrow when the race takes place...

Personally I didn´t expect much from the McLaren duo on the basis what I had seen at the practice sessions. Their pace seemed very tame and I was sure neither of the McLaren drivers was going to make it to the front row. But when the qualifying got underway, these two appeared to be like from a different planet! Especially Hamilton whose performance was strong indeed. Hamilton seemed to be surprised himself, too when he was told he had grabbed P2!

And who took pole position today... No, it definitely wasn´t Sebastian Vettel in front of his home crowd! It was his team-mate Mark, who has risen to a whole new level after the team order row at the previous race. Mark managed to pull out a superb lap and snatched the pole by only 55 thousandths. Like Mark said after the qualifying, the circuit seems to suit him extremely well. But another noteworthy fact is that in spite of taking three poles during this season Mark hasn´t been able to lead even one lap at the race! Let´s see if he will be able to change that tomorrow... I´m sure Hamilton will try everything he can to overtake Mark at the start!

How about the championship leader Vettel, what happened to him? He ended up 3rd on the grid which is the worst spot on the grid for him during this season! Should we be worried...? I don´t think so. I guess normally many drivers would be extremely satisfied with the 3rd spot. But on the basis what we´ve seen during the first half of the season it´s understandable to feel at least a bit disappointed. Vettel´s superiority has been so scathing that you start to take these pole positions and first-row finishes for granted... Which you shouldn´t do of course!! Neither life nor Formula 1 can be perfect all the time so there are both ups and downs... And I´m sure there has to be downs for superb Vettel aswell. But he´ll fight tomorrow, that´s for sure. And it is extremely healthy to see his team-mate challenging him so strongly. It´s interesting to see what will happen when Vettel is pushed to the limit by his team-mate!

Let´s not forget the Ferrari drivers. Although I predicted it would be Alonso who would challenge the Red Bull drivers for the pole it wasn´t the case. In final standings Alonso was 4th and his team-mate Massa 5th. But the Ferraris will be strong and competitive at the race so there´s going to be an intense battle for the victory I hope!

What is less important maybe but interesting for me as a Finn is the fact that there´re now three F1 drivers with a Finnish physiotherapist. In addition to Vettel also Hamilton and Buemi have Finns as their physios :) So I guess Tommi (Vettel´s physio) has started an interesting trend among the F1 drivers :) Which is kind of flattering and tells a lot about the Finnish expertise in the field!

sunnuntai 10. heinäkuuta 2011

British GP: A team order from Red Bull!

The start of the British grand prix couldn´t have been more exciting! The conditions were quite tricky as one part of the circuit was wet and the other part dry. All the drivers had decided to start to the race on intermediate tyres. My heart was pounding when the lights went off and what an outstanding start Vettel took from P2! He reached the first corners leading the race with his team-mate following closely behind him. Vettel managed to pull out a decent gap very soon and everything seemed to go according to the manuscript until the second pit stop on the 28th lap... Vettel was leading from Alonso when the pair came in to pit on the same lap. Vettel´s rear wheel gun had a problem and his car had to be jacked up again to attach the tyre which cost him dearly and allowed Alonso through in to the lead! I almost stopped breathing when saw Sebastian spending seconds and seconds in the pit...!

The first disappointment was to see Heikki retire due to a mechanical problem. Such a shame, I´m sure the mixed conditions would have suited well for him! And Trulli retiring a little later made Lotus´s weekend perfectly unsuccessful! Can´t do much more than just hope better success for the team in Germany in two weeks...!

The race was entertaining for sure! It was really enjoyable to watch Alonso and Hamilton battling against each other and making overtaking moves! But if Vettel had a bad day looking from a pit-stop point of view, the day was certainly not much better for the McLaren driver Button who was driving in front of his home crowd! Button left pit with a loose front tyre and had to retire the race due to the pit-stop mistake!

Alonso was able to pull away when Vettel got stuck behind Hamilton after his second pit-stop. I was screaming on the sofa when watching the young German trying to overtake Hamilton and them almost touching each other... I was actually relieved to see Vettel pitting which was a good choice. But I was screaming again in the closing laps when Webber got right behind Vettel and was able to use the DRS to try to overtake his team-mate...! Those last laps felt like an eternity and I was sooo happy to see Seb coming 2nd to the chequered flag with Webber just 0.4 seconds behind him! So it was a sweeping victory for Alonso today. The pit-stop mistake leaves me wondering if Alonso had won the race without it happening but I know it´s in vain. Alonso deserved the win today and that´s that.

But what really leaves me with mixed emotions is the team order given by Red Bull! The team instructed Webber in the final 4-5 laps to maintain positions which clearly meant that he wasn´t allowed to overtake Vettel. We´ve seen several team orders in Formula 1 over past years and this year they aren´t even against the rules so why mixed feelings? I tell you why. I never ever could expect a team order from RED BULL and at this point of the season!! That´s one of the things I´ve always admired and respected about the team that they give equal chances to their drivers to fight for the victories... Even at the end of the previous season when Webber got more points than his team-mate there were no team orders given to Vettel at that stage! So why now? Vettel had a 77-point lead before this race and there´re 10 more rounds to go! Don´t Red Bull trust Mark Webber? I find it as a vote of no confidence when team principal Horner said after the race that they didn´t want to risk such a load of points. I´m sure (or pretty sure at least...) that Webber wouldn´t have tried anything stupid at the end! And Vettel having a KERS problem... No matter how huge a Vettel fan I am, Webber should have been allowed to try overtake his team-mate! I completely understand why Webber ignored the message given by the team because there was no actual reason to do so... My opinion only but I was sooo disappointed to see this happen! The team that plays fair play and gives both drivers equal chances... Not any more :( I had to cool down my emotions after the race by having a swim in a lake in nice cool water!

lauantai 9. heinäkuuta 2011

British GP / Qualifying: A front row lock-out for Red Bull!

I´m having a glass of strawberry flavoured sparkling wine and thinking about the upcoming British Grand Prix. This weekend there has been more talking about technical details related to teams making best use of hot exhaust gases directed into cars´diffusers in order to generate more downforce than concentrating on pure racing! And the rule change by FIA just before the British GP as  the FIA claimed that exhaust blowing should be cut to just 10 percent while off the throttle... But on the other hand Mercedes engines are enjoying a greater percentage due to realiability issues. But this is about all that I understand of the matter! So many rule changes so rapidly... It´s hard to know what´s going on, no matter how closely you follow the F1 world. Like Webber said at the post-qualifying press conference, most fans can´t understand even 0.1 percent of these technical details... Which I absolutely agree and I won´t even try to analyse the effect of these technical rule changes! I´m a Sebastian Vettel fan from the bottom of my heart and I wish all the success for him no matter engine mapping clampdown, exhaust gases directed to the diffuser or other things that a simple person like myself can´t absolutely comprehend!

About the qualifying session then. First of all, I have to say I was very delighted indeed to see the extremely talented Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo to make his F1 debut! Though making your debut at the wheel of Hispania isn´t the best possible starting point. I mean even for a very gifted guy like Ricciardo it´s extremely difficult to convince others of your talent when the car isn´t even near a competitive one! But at least it makes you humble when starting with a team that is so far away from the top teams... It reminds you of the fact that nothing can be taken for granted in Formula 1 and it takes more than just talent to succeed! It surely would have been easier to show your talent at the wheel of Toro Rosso for example... But I wish all the best for Ricciardo for tomorrow´s race and I´m sure he´s one of the guys that we´re definitely going to hear more of in the future!

A mixed session like Mark Webber told after the qualifying! We saw some light rain like we usually do when going to Silverstone... The Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen made his way to the Q2 which was a heart-warming surprise indeed. His closest rivals weren´t able to improve their laptimes at the end of Q1 thanks to the rain but no matter what the circumstances were, Heikki deserved his place in the Q2! It´s kind of funny how it seems that driving a less competitive car has made him a better driver! Hope Heikki would score some points tomorrow :)

In spite of all the fuss on the off-throttle diffuser ban it was another front row lock-out for Red Bull Racing! Mark Webber snatched the pole position while his team-mate Vettel qualified 2nd! Alonso in his Ferrari got the 3rd spot on the grid and his team-mate qualified 4th. What was quite disappointing was to see Hamilton as far as on the 10th place! McLaren seemed to be in some sort of difficulties although Button got himself the 5th place. But Maldonado in Williams and Di Resta in Force India instead were able to grab the best spots on the grid this season by finishing 6th and 7th! But will there be anybody who will be able to undermine Vettel´s domination tomorrow? Webber has obviously found more speed in the last few races. It will surely undermine the harmony within the Red Bull team if Webber is able to beat his team-mate... We´ll see!

sunnuntai 26. kesäkuuta 2011

European GP: Vettel´s triumph continues!

Watching Vettel´s performance today made me absolutely speechless! I´m sorry if my writing has started to repeat itself but what else could I say ?! 13th consecutive front row start lead into 6th win of the season! So 6 wins and 2 second places this year, another record broken again! And a 77-point lead to his closest rival Button in the championship standings... Vettel could spend a two-month holiday from Formula One and he would still be leading the championship! Convincing indeed, absolutely stunning!

Despite Vettel´s undescribably superb performance I have to say the European GP has been the most boring race of the season so far. I mean there was some intense battle between Alonso and Webber, those two changing positions at various times. Alonso was able to overtake Webber due to the DRS in the frist stint but during the pit stops Webber was able to return in front of Alonso. After the last pit stop Alonso managed to get ahead of Webber because the Ferrari driver stayed out on the track a bit longer and was able to pull out competitive lap times due to the soft tyres. Maybe we would have seen an attack from Webber in the end if he hadn´t suffered from a gear box problem. Luckily he managed to bring the car home and finish 3rd. But otherwise there was no close fighting for positions, at least not among the top drivers...

About disappointments and positive surprises. Toro Rosso´s Jaime Alguersuari made a positive impression indeed! He was 18th on the grid and finished the race 8th thanks to his 2-stop strategy! (The top drivers had 3 pit stops during the race).Valuable points for the young Spaniard in front of his home crowd! As far as disappointments are concerned... The McLaren drivers! Where has their pace gone? Hamilton finishing 4th and Button (with a KERS issue) 6th was hardly any dazzling achievement! What was also surprising about the race was that all the 24 cars made it to the chequered flag at Valencia, which is a street circuit!

However, no matter how huge the gap between Vettel and his rivals extends, it´s very touching to see how much Vettel seems to enjoy all the victorious moments. You can see it in his face that he absolutely loves what he does. And he doesn´t let the success spoil him or make him arrogant, which could happen with ease. I guess that could be one thing that makes him so good... He doesn´t think about winning the title, he just enjoys every race one by one :)

lauantai 25. kesäkuuta 2011

European GP / Qualifying: Guess guys who´s on pole!

Engine mapping has been the topic this weekend! A huge fuss about the effect of the clampdown on engine mapping... And the effect of it on Red Bull especially! Some even predicted that teams could lose half a second per lap due to the clampdown when the teams aren´t allowed to do any alterations on the engine mapping between the qualifying and the race. And many experts have said that the clampdown would hit hardest on Red Bull. But what happened in the qualifying at Valencia today...

Sebastian Vettel took another sweeping pole at Valencia by making a perfect lap! And his team-mate Webber was second fastest so Red Bull conquered the front row for tomorrow´s race. So I guess we can all forget talks about engine mapping! No matter what is going on with Red Bull´s Renault engine, their car seems to be extremely fast anyway! Hamilton qualified 3rd with a 0.4-second gap to Vettel and Alonso came 4th so no surprises actually. Button couldn´t get the best out of his car and he was left 6th on the grid. Let´s see who will be the strongest contender to challenge Vettel tomorrow... If I´m asked I would say there isn´t one!

Back to engine mapping and the clampdown announced by FIA. All the officials have insisted that this has absolutely nothing to do with trying to make a more balanced grid but I have my doubts... There hasn´t been this kind of mid season rule changes before so why start now? In 2009 there was a lot of talking about the double diffusers but they weren´t banned during the season. And now there´re several rule changes made just after 7 or 8 races: in addition to engine mapping there will be clampdown on diffuser blown exhausts aswell... So either it´s getting a bit suspicious or I´m just seeing it that way! Of course it´s kind of understandable that FIA would like to see the battle for the world championship continuing til the end of the season but... All these clampdowns don´t seem to hit hard on Red Bull (or other top teams either), which I´m actually more than happy about! So no matter how much FIA or somebody else would like to make Vettel´s triumph end I don´t see it happening...!

It´s going to be a thrilling race tomorrow for sure. The McLaren drivers may have wanted to see the crucial moment of the Canadian GP as Vettel cracking under the pressure but I´m convinced we won´t see mistakes like that from him tomorrow! Let´s see if Webber will finally be able to challenge his team-mate for a victory... If only Red Bull won´t give him wings like last year at Valencia when he crashed with Heikki and what a crash it was!!!

maanantai 20. kesäkuuta 2011

About Acropolis Rally... and other stuff!

Being a passionate F1 and WRC fan I usually schedule my timetable for weekends so that I wouldn´t miss any F1 or WRC action! The previous weekend was kind of an exception to that: I missed all the rally action on Sunday because of a zumba event! At the end of May I had skipped a zumba marathon (an event including three hours of zumba by various instructors) due to the Monaco Grand Prix. And missing zumba that time was definitely worth it when I was able to see Sebi take his maiden win at Monaco! I guess I was the only woman who cancelled her participation in the event because of A FORMULA 1 RACE... ;) So this time I decided to choose zumba moves and read the rally news on the internet later though the power stage was showed live on Finnish TV...

But short comments on the Acropolis Rally anyway! I was sooo happy to see Kimi back in action at the wheel of his Citroen again! Luckily his pace was there despite the two-month break that he had from rallying. Very impressive driving again and no major mistakes! Finishing 7th is a great achievement indeed!

Jari-Matti Latvala must be the unluckiest driver in WRC! He has faced technical difficulties in far too many rallies! Hopefully he has had his share of those already and will fight for victories in the remaining races. And about the Citroen team-mates Ogier and Loeb... In my opinion their battle for the victory was kind of artificial because of the tactics that Ogier played... I´m so glad that there will be new regulations next season and hopefully there won´t be any need for anybody to drop time to get a more favourable road position! I mean you should fight for the victory by driving as fast as you can and not slowing down to drop time! So if I´m asked if Ogier deserved to win or not... A difficult call. In sporty point of view I would say he didn´t! Loeb was the one who pushed hard all the way despite he had to sweep the roads clear of the loose surface gravel! But because it´s not against any rules to play tactics... At least Ogier didn´t break any of those by what he did. But what is becoming more and more crystal clear race by race is that Ogier has become a serious contender to "the unvincible" Loeb and that surely makes the season very interesting indeed!

maanantai 13. kesäkuuta 2011

Canadian GP: Phenomenal victory for Button at a rain-hit race!

What an eventful race we saw at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve yesterday! It was legendary in many ways: I guess never before has a Formula 1 race lasted over 4 hours! And there was a new record of most laps driven behind safety car during a race... And crashes! Phenomenal driving by some drivers and mistakes that cost dearly by some others... So hugely entertaining race indeed!

Excitement was missing from the start because the drivers started behind the safety car due to wet conditions. Many laps driven without a possibility to race or overtake your rivals... And Hamilton managed to crash himself out of the race on the lap7 when he collided with his team-mate Button! Hard to call who was at fault in the incident but Button said after the race that he just wasn´t able to see Hamilton next to him... Sounds reasonable, I mean the amount of water on the track was quite unbelievable at that point of the race! So no points for Hamilton in Canada which was bad news for the McLaren driver considering the championship battle. It certainly seems that Hamilton´s chances for the world title this year are slipping through his fingers... He´s continuously over-trying and being way too aggressive! If he can´t change this he´ll difinitely lose his chances to win the title!

After 24 laps there was red flag because of the heavy rain that took a bit over 2 hours to stop!! Must have been very frustrating for the drivers as well as the spectators watching the race live! But luckily the rain finally stopped and the race got underway. Also Alonso got out of the race after colliding with Jenson Button so a very disappointing result for the Ferrari driver, too. After the safety car was out of the way we saw an absolutely thrilling and mindblowing rest of the race!! As a former Michael Schumacher fan I was absolutely delighted to see him fight for the podium finish! Schumi did a fantastic job although he finally couldn´t hold back either Button or Webber and finished 4th. But the best race for him for a looong time!

Where did Jenson Button come from?? By the closing laps he had already pitted 6 times! He had collided with his team-mate and had to come to the pits to get the nose changed and he had also got a drive through penalty due to speeding behind the safety car... He had been back in 21st and somehow he made his way through to 2nd after overtaking both Webber and Schumi! And he was closing the gap to Vettel who was leading -and that happened frightenly fast... Vettel had been leading throughout the whole race and then there was the final lap when he made a small mistake that cost him the victory!

I have to say Button totally deserved to win. He drove a phenomenal race and managed to grab the win despite all the difficulties. Vettel looked very disappointed at the press conference after the race although it was a good day for Red Bull aswell Vettel taking the 2nd place and his team-mate Webber finishing 3rd. But the way the victory slipped through Vettel´s fingers on the very last lap because of his own mistake... I have to admit I was disappointed, too. Of course my common sense keeps telling me that not even Sebastian Vettel can win every race but still... It was so close! He was leading all the other laps except the crucial one!

But if I have to find something positive about the result I would say this keeps Vettel´s feet even more firmly on the ground and this will help him maintain his down-to-Earth attitude towards the championship battle. It´s only human to make mistakes and Vettel knows that he can´t take victories for granted. And I´m sure he´ll turn these mistakes into success when he gets to Valencia next week...! And what we mustn´t forget is that Vettel still has a 60-point lead and Button just made himself the number one contender in the championship battle!