Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

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...!