Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

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.