Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

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!

lauantai 11. kesäkuuta 2011

Canadian GP / Qualifying: Sebastian on pole again -against all odds?

When the teams arrived in Canada there was a lot of talk about the Gilles Villeneuve circuit not suiting the Red Bulls as well as some other tracks in the calendar. The Red Bulls are very quick at tracks with many high speed corners but there aren´t many of those at Canada! And the weekend didn´t start in the best possible way for Sebastian Vettel as he crashed into "the wall of champions" already on Friday morning in P1... But I was very confident anyway, I kept thinking that Sebi just wanted to get the crash over with so that he could concentrate on the serious racing... ;)

Q1 and Q2 held no surprises at all. If you don´t count Pedro De La Rosa´s performance. The man replacing Perez in Sauber did actually amazingly well knowing that he was informed only 10 minutes before the P2 got underway that he was expected to drive the other Sauber car! And he had no experience of using the DRS so getting into Q2 can be considered a very reasonable achievement.

Q3 was the most surprising of the three sessions I would say. What has happened to the McLarens? Their pace seemed to have faded away since the Monaco grand prix. Hamilton qualified 5th and Button was 7th behind Rosberg. On the other hand the Ferraris proved to be very competitive indeed! At certain point it seemed that Massa was going to beat his team-mate but in the final standings Alonso qualified 2nd and Massa 3rd. And against all odds, the young German conquered the pole once again! At the track that wasn´t supposed to be Red Bull´s strongest ground... Vettel is just amazing, isn´t he?? I mean his team-mate Webber did an outstanding job finishing 4th, considering that he missed the entire P3 due to a KERS issue and in the qualifying he had to drive without KERS aswell! But Sebastian Vettel... No matter where in the world the man drives, he always manages to get the best out of his car when it matters the most... There´s something absolutely magical about his driving!

perjantai 3. kesäkuuta 2011

Rescheduling Bahrain GP: where is this world going to...??

The World Motorsport Council agreed to reinstate Bahrain GP in the 2011 championship and it will take place on October 30. Reading this statement left me with one thought and one thought only: where is this world going to...? I was totally devostated! I almost had to pinch myself so that I knew I wasn´t dreaming! I didn´t believe at all that it was actually possible to make the decision to reinstate Bahrain GP! I was so certain it wasn´t going to be an option at all. All the teams had been so strongly against the idea of bringing back Bahrain GP and extending the season till December. The teams are the ones that make the sport -F1 racing. How on Earth is it possible that the teams´opinion didn´t get heard? It´s such a howling injustice that it´s up to one man to decide whether they race in Bahrain or not. Of course I wasn´t there to witness the meeting and all the conversation that took place there but the decision really gives the image of only one man making the crucial decision as the teams publicly protested against bringing back Bahrain GP... 

On the FIA document it said: "The WMSC feels that reinstating the grand prix is a means of helping to unite people as the country looks to move forward." Am I the only one who thinks this sounds crazy? I mean F1 racing isn´t supposed to be a means to unite people! Formula 1 racing is -at least to me- exciting sports and entertainment. For the drivers F1 racing means battling for the world championship: who will be crowned as the best driver in the world and which team wins the constructors´championship. For the fans and spectators F1 racing means enjoying thrilling action on the track and cheering for your favourite driver. F1 isn´t about politics -at least it absolutely shouldn´t be related to any country´s political situation! Like it now has been related on the FIA document. If the country is politically unstable we can´t trust the F1 race to make the people live in harmony! 

The statement on the FIA document goes on: "It also recognises the commitment made by the Formula One teams, their employees and families, and personnel associated with the championship, including the local team of volunteers who are so vital to the event." Isn´t this even a bit contradictory? Back to the teams: weren´t they the teams who opposed the idea of extending the season due to it making the season unacceptably long for their staff? Hardly any vacation before Christmas and then back to work in January again? So talking about commitment that the teams weren´t willing to make...! I´d have loved to hear the conversation. Were the teams even represented there or could they even express their opinion? Just wondering...

Enough about the FIA document. I was touched by Mark Webber´s comment on Twitter: "When people in a country are being hurt, the issues are bigger than sport. Let´s hope the right decision is made." But obviously that wasn´t the case. As a former human rights activist I was devostated that the World Motor Sport Council agreed that it was ok to bring back the GP into a country where incommunicado detention, killings, torture and other human rights violations still take place! No matter the FIA officials visited Bahrain to assess the situation in the country -would anyone even have expected them to "find" something suspicious? Watching from the human rights point of view I find it morally utterly wrong to bring Bahrain GP back in the calendar! This gives me remotely a flashback of the apartheid policy in South Africa... The world wide known sporting events shouldn´t be brought to countries where people are being hurt on the basis of religion, political opinion or race! Bringing the F1 race into Bahrain in an unrest situation like today gives the world a message that it´s okay to treat people like this... Or it isn´t at least wrong enough to prevent these events before the true change is made in the political regime!