Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

maanantai 26. marraskuuta 2012

Brazilian GP: Sebastian became the triple world champion after a chaotic race!

I have huge difficulties in trying to describe the 2012 Brazilian GP. I feel like I´m only having a very blurry vision of all the things that happened today at Interlagos. So therefore I don´t even try to tell about the very last race of the season detail by detail but I´m simply sharing my feelings about everything that happened today... And I can tell it was more than incredible, more than amazing, more than any words could ever explain!

I was a nervous wreck before the start! What was unbelievable, I had physical symptoms because of all the excitement as I was having stomach ache right before the start! I knew the fight for the championship was wide open and it certainly didin´t make me feel any better to see all the grey clouds looming over the Brasilian sky... I was very worried about the outcome of the race, no denying that!

The start turned out to be a catastrophy! My heart jumped into my mouth when I saw Sebastian colliding with Williams´s Senna. Sebastian in his RB8 got turned around and there was some obvious damage in his car. Sebastian was left at the back due to the incident but he fought his way back to the top ten. After the start I was sooo worried that Sebastian´s race was over after the crash! There seemed to be clear damage on the exhaust system of his RB8 but still he kept the battle for the championship alive..

Hamilton was able to maintain his lead. Button followed his team-mate 2nd and Alonso had been able to make his way through 3rd. After a catastophic qualifying Grosjean faced quite a disasterous race: he went off track on lap 6 and was out of the race! There had been some slight rain coming since the start of the race and many of the top drivers decided to pit to put the intermediate tyres on. Button and Hulkenberg on the other hand decided to stay out on the option tyres. On lap 19 Hulkenberg in his Force India challenged Button and made a move on the Briton. The German took the lead in mixed conditions!

Hulkenberg and Button had over a 40-second lead over Alonso in P3 when safety car was deployed on lap 23 due to lots of debris on the track. No wonder we heard Alonso whining about the matter on his team radio! The Spaniard really benefitted from the safety car episode which made all the gaps disappear. On lap 54 we saw the funniest episode of the race when Kimi went wide and kind of got lost off track when he tried to find a short-cut back to the track but the gate was closed! The Finn had to make a U-turn to get back to the track. Once again it was entertaining Formula 1 action by the Iceman! Some laps earlier Kimi entertained us by fighting with Michael Schumacher and finally overtaking the German who was driving his farewell GP of his impressive career!

On lap 48 Hulkenberg spun and lost his lead to Hamilton. On lap 56 the German tried to take his position back from Hamilton but they ended up crashing into each other and Hamilton´s race was over! Hulkenberg was handed a drive-through penalty for causing the collision which looked more like a pure racing incident. Sebastian faced more difficulties. His radio wasn´t working and after pitting for a set of option tyres he drove to the pits only a few laps later to get the intermediates on. But still his hopes for the championship looked good as Alonso was in P3 and Sebastian in P7...

Button finally won the race and Alonso was 2nd and his team-mate Massa 3rd. Webber finished 4th and Hulkenberg 5th. Sebastian Vettel finished 6th and clinched the third consecutive world title by only 3 points over Alonso! I have to admit that I have only a blurry image of the things happened in the race... I was so worried about Vettel´s position that from time to time I had to ask my husband who was leading the race! It all seems so unbelievable that Sebastian really has won his third title! I have to pinch myself to convince myself that I´m not dreaming but this is actually happening...!

It´s extremely difficult to find any words to describe my feelings at the moment! It´s utterly unbelievable to think that Formula 1 racing can cause as strong emotions as this! I can assure you that I don´t tend to drink champagne on Sunday evenings but by this time I´ve drunk half a bottle! ;) This is such a unique moment, a moment that I´ve been dreaming of for a long time... I was soooo worried that Sebastian´s RB8 wasn´t going to last till the chequered flag and even Adrian Newey stated after the race that he feared Sebastian´s car could have caught fire due to the damage on the exhaust system!

I love happy endings! I´m so totally overwhelmed with all the emotions that I have no idea how I´m going to get any sleep tonight! I just want to enjoy the moment: life doesn´t get any better than this! I´m so so happy for Sebastian, his achievement isn´t easily described with any words! I feel totally out of words. My dream has just come true! At the same time I can´t believe the season 2012 is actually over! My colleagues at work are kind of worried I won´t be able to concentrate on working tomorrow ;) They might have a point though. This unforgettable moment makes my thoughts wander...

sunnuntai 25. marraskuuta 2012

Brazilian GP / Qualifying: A front row lock-out for McLaren!

I wasn´t at home to watch the qualifying live on TV because I went to visit my sister with my sons and you can´t watch Formula 1 racing live at her place... Actually it´s Sunday evening (very late) when I´m writing this and the race has already been driven so please excuse me if this blog post is kind of confusing! But now I´m taking the time to look back at the qualifying on Saturday and write down my thoughts.

For Lotus F1 Team the Q1 didn´t go as they had planned. This time it was Grosjean at the wheel of his E20 who got knocked out of Q2! The Frenchman had an incident with HRT´s De La Rosa and Grosjean lost his front wing in the incident. Luckily he did have enough time to make another run but despite that he didn´t manage to set a lap time fast enough to make it in to the Q2. Lotus definitely had the potential needed to go faster but it was another failure for Grosjean. One incident after another I´m starting to wonder if the Frenchman will ever deserve a renewed contract with Lotus for next season... Incidents like the one with De La Rosa definitely don´t make Grosjean look any better!

Q2 showed that the Red Bulls and the McLarens had the potential to fight for pole at Interlagos. The performance of some teams caught my eye. Schumacher at the wheel of Mercedes had his farewell qualifying of his career but the German didn´t manage to make it among the top ten while his team-mate Rosberg had no difficulties to be among the ten fastest drivers. The situation at Williams was quite similar to that at Mercedes: Maldonado showed some excellent speed whilst Senna wasn´t fast enough to make his way through in to the final session!

Q3 turned out to be quite a surprising one! I never thought that McLaren could make it a front row lock-out at Interlagos! So there were no Red Bulls on the first row! Hamilton snatched pole by only 55 thousandths of a second over his team-mate Button! Webber was the faster Red Bull driver on Saturday and made it in P3. Sebastian made some mistakes at his first attempt and he was only able to make his way through to P4. Luckily his main rival Alonso was left in P8 so P4 seemed a totally decent place to start the race. Maldonado qualified in P6 but he got reprimanded for ignoring the FIA´s call to come to weigh-in. That was the third reprimand for the Venezuelan this season and therefore he was handed a 10-place grid penalty which made Alonso 7th on the grid. Kimi at the wheel of his E20 faced a tough qualiftying due to all the problems he had had during the weekend (like an engine failure on Saturday morning). He was only able to make it in to P9 but gained a position due to Maldonado´s penalty.

maanantai 19. marraskuuta 2012

United States GP: Vettel and Hamilton go wheel-to-wheel!

Before the start all the drivers on the dirty side of the grid were worried about the track being extremely slippery. Ferrari team weren´t only worried: they turned their concern into action. They broke the seal of Massa´s gear box to cause the Brazilian a five-place grid penalty to make Alonso 7th on the grid! I couldn´t believe my eyes when I read that on the web site! No other team would have done anything like that! I know Formula 1 is team sport but there goes a line somewhere, at least in my opinion. I may be naive but in my opinion you should achieve the grid position with your driving and your speed, not with any questionable tricks at the garage! I can´t help wondering how Massa agrees to do these things year after year... A trick like that wouldn´t be possible at any other team but Ferrari and this really isn´t a compliment for Massa...!

However, Alonso got to start 7th on the grid on the clean side of the track. The start was thrilling. Luckily Vettel was able to reach the first corner first and maintained his lead. Webber was 2nd and Hamilton 3rd. Kimi in P4 got a lousy start so the dirty side of the track was as fatal as expected. Kimi also had an incident with one of the Force Indias but luckily his car wasn´t damaged and he started making an impressive recovery from the bad start. The Iceman snatched position by position and made his way up to 4th before his pit stop. On lap 13 he made a staggering move on Force India´s Nico Hulkenberg and overtook the German at turn 1. The Iceman´s driving was a pleasure to watch: he fought for every position but did it in a very fair way! What´s absolutely amazing and mind-boggling about Kimi´s driving is that no matter how tight a battle he has with somebody, you can always count on him leaving the other car enough room so he doesn´t do anything stupid. That is a quality you can´t take for granted in Formula 1!

On lap 18 there was some Red Bull drama. Webber had been overtaken by Hamilton and suddenly the Australian was out of the race due to a technical failure. It turned out to be another fatal alternator failure, which definitely isn´t good news for Red Bull... After Webber was out of the race it seemed that Alonso would have every opportunity to make it on to the podium and make the championship fight go on to Brazil...

Alonso had a delay at his pit stop as there were difficulties to put on his right-rear tyre. And the Ferrari driver wasn´t the only one to suffer from that. Kimi had a good chance to maybe pass Alonso at the pits but the Iceman also had a delay at his pit stop which cost him several positions! He rejoined the track right behind Massa. The Brazilian pitted a couple of laps later. Massa had difficulties to get his tyres warmed up and that was Kimi´s chance. Kimi made another fantastic overtaking move at turn one and got past Massa! Their battle went on before some laps later Kimi went wide and Massa took his position back.

Hamilton decreased his gap to Vettel in the lead tenth by tenth. Finally the Briton was less than a second behind the Red Bull driver and was allowed to used DRS... On lap 42 Vettel had to lap Karthikeyan and that was Hamilton´s chance. In the DRS zone he managed to overtake Sebastian and take the lead. Sebastian tried to catch him again but couldn´t get close enough. At the chequered flag only 6 tenths of a second separated Hamilton and Vettel so it was an impressively close fight indeed. Alonso finished 3rd followed by his team-mate Massa. Also Button had been able to overtake Kimi on lap 46 after a tight but fair wheel-to-wheel battle. Button finished 5th and Kimi 6th. Red Bull sealed the constructors´ championship for the third time in-a-row!

sunnuntai 18. marraskuuta 2012

United States GP / Qualifying: Sebastian conquered pole under the Texas sun!

There was definitely magic in the air when the F1 circus arrived in Austin Texas for the very first time. This inaugural venue is possibly going to be the venue where Sebastian Vettel might secure his third world title... It was a historical moment when the first free practice session got underway on Friday morning. The F1 cars were the very first ones ever to drive on the Circuit of the Americas! No wonder the circuit was more slippery than any other track this season! Right from the beginning it became clear that there was something absolutely magical about Sebastian´s driving at Austin... The German topped the standings in all practice sessions so there was no doubt he was the quickest guy under the Texas sun!

The first surprise in terms of qualifying was that in Q1 Caterham´s Heikki Kovalainen was beaten not only by his team-mate Petrov but also by both Marussia drivers! That can´t be a good thing for Heikki who still hasn´t got a contract for next year. Caterham haven´t been able to develop their car whilst Marussia have been able to take a significant leap forward! I really do hope that Heikki gets a chance to continue at Caterham because replacing a hugely talented driver like Heikki with a pay-driver would be a howling injustice!

Q2 held some surprises as well. Sebastian topped the standings both in Q1 and in Q2 and Hamilton in his McLaren was impressively quick as well. His team-mate Button instead had a technical issue at the end of the Q2 when he lost all power in his car and couldn´t make it in to the final session of the qualifying. These technical issues have haunted McLaren throughout the entire season! At Abu Dhabi it was Hamilton who had to retire the race when he had a comfortable lead over his rivals! Lotus seemed to have found some more speed as well. Grosjean made it easily among top ten but Kimi made it only just by being 10th fastest. Without Button facing the technical problem the Iceman could have been knocked out of the final session... Schumacher was a positive surprise being 7th fastest. His team-mate Rosberg instead qualified 17th so he faced a lousy qualifying session.

In Q3 Hamilton managed to challenge Sebastian but there wasn´t any real doubt about who was the fastest man on the track. Throughout the weekend almost every driver has had difficulties to get their tyres warmed up so in Q3 we saw the majority of drivers making one attempt with several flying laps. Sebastian´s pole lap was far from perfect: the German made a few mistakes but still the lap was quick enough to conquer pole. Hamilton was only a tenth of a second slower than Sebastian. Webber made it 3rd and was followed by the Lotus duo Grosjean and Räikkönen. Grosjean, though, has been handed a five-place grid penalty for a gear box change so he will start in P9 on Sunday. Kimi will start alongside Webber on the dirty side of the track. Kimi has taken some impressive starts this season but at Austin it may be a bit more challenging task because the dirty side there is much more slippery than on the other tracks... Schumacher will start in P5 and Massa in P6. Alonso qualified only 9th but due to Grosjean´s penalty he will be 8th on the grid. Once again Ferrari´s pace wasn´t very convincing in the qualifying but like we know, the race will be a whole new story...!

sunnuntai 11. marraskuuta 2012

Bad language -forgivable or totally inappropriate?

There has been a huge fuss about both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen swearing on the podium after the Abu Dhabi GP last Sunday. Both men used "the f-words" when they were interviewed live on television. There have been several complaints coming from members of the public as well as the broadcasters. So is this a ridiculous fuss about nothing or is this based on a true concern? Things can be looked at from many points of view...

I agree that there´re are many far more serious offences in the world than bad language. You can easily say that "boys are boys" and they didn´t mean to offend anyone. With all that adrenaline in your blood after a thrilling race it is highly understandable that you´re not 100 % focused on the words that come out of your mouth. So far this has happened only once and Sebastian has apologised for choosing the wrong words in the heat of the moment. In my opinion swearing makes the F1 drivers human: they´re extremely talented professionals but they aren´t perfect! Mistakes can be made by any of us! But there´re definitely reasons why these guys have to make sure that this won´t happen again... I mean swearing once is forgivable but if it happens more often it´s a bad and inappropriate habit.

There are millions of people in the world who look up to these guys and consider them role models. That´s why I can see a point of complaining about them using bad language in international interviews. It does matter how these F1 stars put their words in live interviews! Drivers like Sebastian and Kimi have a huge influence on their fans. Fans want to identify with their idols and follow their example. And bad language is never a good example for anyone!

Some people might think that using bad language makes them look cool. "The f-words" are thought to make your message sound stronger and you can emphasize your feelings with swearing words. But the F1 stars have absolutely no need to try to look cool! They are in the limelight all the time anyway and they are in a position where millions of people would love to be. Fans are passionate to hear what these guys have to say and the drivers´ feelings and emotions can be seen from their expressions and gestures! Swearing words are definitely not needed in their interviews! The words you choose can make a huge difference. Look at Kimi´s team radio messages for example! Now Kimi has sent the whole Lotus team T-shirts with the text "Leave me alone, I know what I´m doing" :) Perfect choice of words indeed!

Sebastian has already apologised for swearing on the podium. To me that´s extremely cool! It´s definitely cool to apologise when you know you have made a mistake. As far as I know Kimi hasn´t... Kimi is in the class of his own in terms of words! He´s very straight forward with words: he says things how they are and doesn´t make any excuses. Swearing could well be seen as a part of speaking "Oppa Kimi Style", hahahaha ;D But I´m glad Kimi´s legendary team radio messages don´t include bad words. This proves that even Kimi doesn´t need them: he can make his point very clear in a totally appropriate way!

I work as a pre-school teacher at a private kindergarten here in Finland. An F1 driver and a pre-school teacher don´t have many things in common in their work but there is one similarity: you have to be careful what you say! In my work it would be a total catastrophe to use "the f-words" in front of the children or the parents! As a professional I´m a role model to the children and there´re kids who really look up to me. And I have noticed that everything I do, say or what I´m interested in, has even a scaringly big influence on the children. There have naturally been situations where you have felt the temptation to use some bad words but being a professional means you think before you act! With power (great or small) comes great responsibility! I have to admit I´m no perfect in minding my language in free time so every once in a while some swearing words have slipped out of my mouth in front of my sons...

Considering all these various angles I can understand why FIA has send "a friendly letter" to all teams to remind their drivers to mind their language. Bad language is never good for anybody! You can either do a lot of good or a lot of bad just with the choice of your words! That fact should always be taken into account in everything you say.

sunnuntai 4. marraskuuta 2012

Abu Dhabi GP: Kimi knew what he was doing!

After yesterday´s devastating penalty given to Vettel I didn´t know what to expect from the race. I was overwhelmed with all different kinds of thoughts going through my mind varying from worst case scenarios to more positive ones. The Yas Marina Circuit seemed to be the venue with extreme emotions! Back in 2010 I was overwhelmed with joy when Sebastian secured his first world title under the artificial lights of Abu Dhabi. This year seemed to be quite the opposite. I knew Sebastian would be able to turn the pit-lane start into a decent points finish but in my wildest imagination I thought 6th would be about the maximum outcome he could get. At this stage I have to say how much I admired Sebastian´s positive attitude! In spite of all the setbacks he seemed so calm and said that there´re possibilities to get something positive out of the situation. He also quoted the famous Finnish ski jumper Matti Nykänen saying that "Every chance is an opportunity." No wonder that things tend to work out for Seb, an attitude like this is highly admirable!

What an absolutely eventful and epic race we saw today on Yas Island! Kimi´s start from P4 was legendary. He managed to overtake both Maldonado and Webber and was right in tail of Hamilton who maintained his lead. Vettel started to the race from the pit lane but he snatched positions one by one making his way through the field. Vettel´s front wing got minor damage at the beginning of the race when it was hit by Senna´s rear tyre but the German decided to stay out. He had jumped up to 13th place when something happened. On lap 10 HRT´s Karthikeyan had a steering failure in his car and he braked suddenly which lead to Rosberg crashing into the HRT. Nico´s Mercedes flew over Karthikeyan´s car and ended up to the wall. It was a horrendous looking accident. Luckily either one of the drivers didn´t get hurt! But there was so much debris on the track that safety car was deployed.

Vettel experienced another dramatic moment when driving behind the safety car. Toro Rosso´s Ricciardo braked suddenly in the straight line and Vettel evaded to the right and crashed in to the DRS sign on the track which caused some more damage to his front wing. On lap 14 he pitted for a set of sof tyres and a new nose. After the pit stop he was back in P19 and he had to make his way through the field once again...!

Hamilton had built up a few seconds´ gap over Kimi but all of a sudden Hamilton´s race was over! The Briton had a technical failure on lap 20 when the fuel pressures suddenly dropped and he had to retire the race. The Iceman took the lead and his pace was remarkable indeed! Once again we got to hear some legendary messages over the team radio. Kimi was told on the team radio that Alonso was 2nd 5 seconds behind the Lotus driver. Kimi answered by saying: "Leave me alone! I know what I´m doing!" You just gotta love Kimi for his comments! And the Iceman definitely knew what he was doing in the dark night of Abu Dhabi!

There was another safety car episode a little later in the race. On lap 39 there were four drivers fighting for positions: Grosjean, Perez, Webber and Hulkenberg. Grosjean and Perez ended up colliding with each other and Webber ended up crashing to Grosjean´s Lotus. The race was over for both Webber and Grosjean. The stewards decided that Perez was responsible for causing the collision and the Mexican was handed a 10- second stop and go penalty. At this stage Kimi had built up an almost 10-second gap to Alonso but lost the advantage due to the safety car episode. The safety car was good news to Vettel in P4 who was over 20 seconds behind Button in 3rd place because of his second pit stop. Behind the safety car Kimi was told to work all four tyres of his car to keep the temperature up and we heard another epic comment from the Iceman: "Yes, yes, yes, yes. I´m doing all of that. Stop telling me!"

After the second restart Kimi drove a couple of staggering laps and managed to build up a few seconds´ gap to his closest rival Alonso. Vettel in P4 instead was right behind Button but overtaking the Briton wasn´t that easy. Finally Sebastian managed to squeeze his car past the McLaren driver and he was on his way to the podium after all! Alonso managed to decrease the gap into a second but he never got a chance to try to overtake Kimi who took his first win of the season! Absolutely magificent job from Kimi, finally Lotus got their victory! I didn´t know which I was happier about, Kimi´s win or Sebastian making it to the podium! I have to say that both drivers exceeded my expectations today! And positive surprises, they´re just wonderful! I was almost touched when watching Kimi and Sebastian on the podium. And their awesome comments when interviewed by David Coulthard... There definitely is some magic about the Yas Marina Circuit! What an entertaining show it was! I have to admit watching the GP on my home coach involved some serious screaming and jumping around today!

So what looked like a disaster turned out to be a success! Who could have thought in the wildest dreams after hearing about Vettel´s penalty yesterday that Alonso was still going to be 10 points behind Sebastian in the WDC standings after the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi? That´s amazing, utterly unbelievable! Now I truly believe that when it´s Sebastian Vettel in question, anything is possible! Only the sky is the limit. I should have followed Sebastian´s example yesterday. I mean I definitely didn´t know how to calm down. This shows that it really matters if you believe you are capable of miracles! It was so touching to see Sebastian standing on the podium. I can almost imagine how absolutely fantastic he must have felt after such an outstanding performance! To turn such difficulties into such a success is a miracle indeed. Sebastian was near losing his temper after the incident with Ricciardo but luckily he managed to keep his head cool and the rest is history! The amount of self-confidence that you get from a race like this must be incomprehensible. This could well mean that the highly talented German Red Bull driver is on his way towards his third world title!

lauantai 3. marraskuuta 2012

Abu Dhabi GP / Qualifying: Hamilton beat the Red Bulls to pole!

The setting for the Abu Dhabi GP weekend couldn´t be any more perfect! The atmosphere at the qualifying was absolutely outstanding: the qualifying started in the daylight but the sun set very quickly and the final session was driven under the artificial lights. Those made the cars look so glamorous! The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix definitely compares to grands prix like Monaco and Singapore. In the heat of about 30 degrees Celsius the huge orange sun looked utterly amazing. The scenery made the setting look almost romantic!

Romantic point of view aside, let´s talk about today´s qualifying. Q1 was pretty much business as usual except one dramatic moment. On his first flying lap Vettel went wide and the rear-right tyre slightly hit the wall! It was a scary moment but luckily the car wasn´t damaged due to the incident and Vettel was back in action and full speed in his following attempts.

Dusk started to fall when Q2 got underway. Hamilton in his McLaren showed all his rivals that there was no doubt of the quickest man on the track today. He set a staggering lap time which was out of reach for the others. The four top teams made it easily in to the final session: McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus. Rosberg in his Mercedes also made his way through to Q3 as well as Maldonado in his Williams. It looked to me that not even Sebastian could challenge Hamilton for pole today...

And he couldn´t. Hamilton was unstoppable in Q3, too. Sebastian seemed to be struggling with his performance and his team-mate Webber managed to qualify 2nd right ahead of him. A surprise fast man in Q3 was Maldonado in his Williams who made it up to 4th! Kimi got the maximum out of his E20 and he claimed P5 right ahead of Button (6th) and Alonso (7th). Those three had it very tight: the trio was separated by hundredths of a second only! I have to admit I was absolutely delighted to see Alonso beaten by Button and especially Kimi. Kimi was doing an incredible job with his car which wasn´t in a perfect form. The Iceman´s team-mate Grosjean instead was left in P10.

There was another dramatic moment in the dark night of Abu Dhabi. Vettel stopped his RB8 on the track right after the Q3. In the post qualifying press conference the German said he didn´t know the reason why he had been told to stop the car but the order had come from the engine department. So it sounds like an engine related issue... Which sounds extremely worrying in terms of tomorrow´s race! Writing this I still don´t know what the issue is all about. I just keep my fingers crossed down to my elbows that the issue is fixable! A grid penalty of any kind would be absolutely devastating! I´ve read that it´s possible to change some parts to the engine without getting a penalty but an engine related problem sounds scary anyway! Will the engine last throughout the entire race in the burning heat of Abu Dhabi...? I really don´t want to see a DNF for Vettel tomorrow! This is now one of the crucial moments of the season. Sebastian can´t afford giving away possibly 25 points when there´re only two more rounds to go after this one!

Tomorrow´s race will be extremely interesting. Will Webber fight firmly against his team-mate at the start... I don´t quite know what to expect from the Australian. I hope Kimi manages to overtake Maldonado on the opening lap without Maldonado crashing to him and I´m sure I´m going to enjoy every moment if Button and Kimi manage to keep Alonso behind them ;) But the first thought in my mind at the moment is: will Sebastian´s RB8 prove reliable? I really really hope so because Sebastian needs his Abbey now more than ever!

sunnuntai 28. lokakuuta 2012

Indian GP: 4th consecutive win for Seb despite the dramatic sparks!

The red lights went out and the Indian GP got underway! Luckily Vettel took a dream start and held the lead right from the beginning. Alonso starting from P5 had an intense battle with the two McLaren drivers. Alonso managed to get past both of them on the straight but he lost positions back at the next corner. A little later Alonso managed to overtake Hamilton and on lap 4 the Ferrari driver got past Button with the help of DRS and the Spaniard was 3rd in the race. Vettel´s pace was incredible and he was slowly but surely pulling away from his team-mate...

Kimi was able to maintain his position at the start. He was battling with Massa almost throughout the entire race. The closest battle occured on lap 29 when Kimi rejoined the race after his pit stop. He managed to overtake Massa but the Brazilian took his position back immediately when they came into the DRS zone. Kimi had an utterly frustrating race. He was less than a second behind Massa almost all the time but due to the low straight line speed he had no real possibilities to get past!

All the top teams had a one-stop strategy. After the pit stops it seemed that it was going to be another 1-2 for Red Bull. But at the end of the race Webber had a KERS failure and Alonso was able to catch him up very rapidly. Overtaking Webber in the DRS zone was hardly any real challenge for the Spaniard as he claimed the 2nd place. Also Hamilton in P4 seemed to be closing the gap to Webber...

There were some dramatic moments at the end of the race as well! When there were still 12 laps to go, there were sparks coming from the floor of Vettel´s RB8 when the German was driving on the straight. My heart jumped into my mouth and I was soooo afraid that the floor of his car would be damaged and he wouldn´t be able to finish the race! Luckily there were no more sparks and Sebastian cruised to his 4th consecutive victory this season! I´m just keeping my fingers crossed that there won´t be any protest made by Ferrari for example saying that the floor of Vettel´s RB8 would be illegal or something... That wouldn´t surprise me at all though if there was going to be a protest like that ;) Alonso finished 2nd and in spite of the KERS issue Webber was able to maintain his 3rd place. Hamilton finished 4th and his team-mate Button 5th. Unfortunately Kimi was unable to overtake Massa and the Iceman drove to the chequered flag in P7.

This was absolutely a dream result for Sebastian! He now extended his championship lead to 13 points. With three more rounds to go there´re still 75 points to be bagged. Red Bull seem to have found the perfect speed at the end of the season and I hope they will be flying in Abu Dhabi next week! I know it would be against the odds to assume that Seb will win all the three remaining races. But today´s achievement was so utterly amazing, I really want to enjoy this glorious moment for a while! :) I know that the championship battle is wide open and either one of the drivers can win the title but I love the momentum. This is a bit like waiting for Christmas Eve to come: the time of waiting is usually more enjoyable than the actual moment or the day itself. I love all these emotions that Seb´s victories make me go through! Oh gosh, that man is utterly unbelievable at the wheel of his car...! Once again I´m totally speechless!

Indian GP / Qualifying: Vettel did it again!

Before the qualifying I knew Red Bull were going to be strong because Vettel had been literally flying in all free practices! I was confident that even though I would miss the crucial Q3 and not see that live on TV I knew I could trust on Vettel conquering pole... I love the German Red Bull ace because he never seems to let me down! ;) Not this time either!

No surprises in Q1. Except a rarely seen mistake from the Finnish Caterham driver Heikki Kovalainen who spun on the track and got beaten by his team-mate Petrov. And this isn´t the first time at the end of the season when Petrov has been quicker than the Finn. In a couple of first practices Heikki´s car has been driven by the team´s reserve driver Giedo van der Garde. This could mean something in terms of Heikki´s race seat for next year... I hope it does! I would love to see Heikki driving for some midfield team and fighting for points next season!

Kimi´s pace had seemed brilliant in the last free practice session in the morning but clearly something had changed when the qualifying got underway. Kimi seemed to be lacking grip and he had to fight hard to set competitive lap times. Both Red Bulls were flying and it seemed there was no one who could really challenge them. The first man to be knocked out of the final session was Kimi´s team-mate Grosjean who had seemed to be struggling the whole weekend. Senna had shown some excellent pace in the practices but still he wasn´t able to make it in to the Q3 whilst his team-mate Maldonado managed to qualify among the top ten.

Then after the Q2 it was time to leave home! I headed to a swimming hall to attend some zumba, aquazumba and water bike classes! You can just imagine how nervous I was when I was driving there and all I could think of was how Vettel was doing on the track... I kept hoping that Kimi would make it on the second row as his pace had been sooo excellent in the morning. I had to phone my husband from the swimming hall and ask what had happened in the crucial Q3...

Sebastian was soooo worth trusting to again! The super fast German managed to take pole but was only 44 thousandths of a second faster than his Australian team-mate. Quicker than him anyway and that´s all that really counts! The McLarens conquered the second row Hamilton being the faster one of the McLaren duo. Both Ferraris qualified on the third row, Alonso being 5th and Massa 6th. Kimi qualified down in seventh which was a huge disappointment for the Iceman himself. Kimi has been kicking himself for taking a wrong decision to change the set-up to his car before the qualifying which hurt Lotus pretty badly. He said he was really disappointed in himself. So the Iceman will probably face a tough race. But I do hope the high fuel and track conditions will help him find the speed he had on Saturday morning! What I like about Kimi is his honesty. He doesn´t try to find any excuses for his lack of success but he admits his mistakes and takes responsibility of his own actions. And as I started writing about Kimi I have to tell you how much I admire the guy for his ability to adapt and learn new circuits! I mean the guy doesn´t even walk them around beforehand, he simply jumps into his car on Friday morning and starts driving around the circuit... And goes extremely fast right from the very first moment! That´s absolutely unique, you have to respect a talent like that! :)

What will happen in the race then...? Right this moment there´s a probably false sense of security floating in the air in terms of Sebastian´s possibilities to maintain his lead in the championship standings. Starting on pole with his team-mate alongside him and his most dangerous rival back on the 5th grid slot... But nothing is certain yet. Anything can happen in the race. And if Webber has any chance to fight for the victory today I know he will! There´s no team orders at Red Bull so they are free to fight for the victory and that´s the right way to do it. I trust to the Red Bull duo that they will play it fair and respect each other on the track!

sunnuntai 14. lokakuuta 2012

Korean GP: Victory Oppa Vettel Style!

This has been such an emotional day for me! It´s difficult to find words to describe my feelings! The perfect day started in the morning when I woke up and sat down on the coach to watch the Korean GP. The lights went out and what a staggering start Vettel got! In a blink of an eye he was side by side with his team-mate Webber and was able to overtake him! Once again there was a collision at the start -this time fortunately not caused by Romain Grosjean! Thank God, it would have meant another race ban for the Lotus driver! This time it was Sauber´s Kobayashi who crashed to Button´s McLaren and Rosberg´s Mercedes and both of them were out of the race! Kobayashi was handed a drive through penalty for causing the collision. The Red Bull drivers were leading the race and the Ferrari duo (Alonso first) came right behind them.

"Vettel wise" the first 15 laps looked absolutely promising. The race was going in exactly the right direction, just like I wanted it to be... Just after the first pit stops I had to leave home and go to the zumba marathon event that I had promised to attend. To be honest, I have to say the word nervous wreck doesn´t describe the feelings I had in the car on my way to the event...! Nevertheless, I had absolutely great fun at the zumba event. I guess dancing to Gangnam Style helped me relax a little, hahaha ;)

All in all I missed only 7 laps of the race. When I came home there was a rerun of the GP on TV and the drivers were on lap 22. I was too impatient to even have a shower first, the first thing that I wanted to do was to see what happened at the Yeongam circuit! When I left home in the morning I crossed my fingers and hoped that I could rely on Vettel leading the race from start to finish. And the awesomely talented German didn´t let me down! He was still leading the race when I came home!

Kimi´s driving was also really enjoyable to watch. He had been fighting with Hamilton already on the opening lap but on lap 24 these two battled wheel-to-wheel again. Kimi managed to get past Hamilton on the DRS zone but Hamilton took his position back almost immediately. That was pure motor racing at its best: both drivers fought for a position but they respected each other and there was no collisions! The Iceman got past the Briton when Hamilton had to pit for the third time (the majority of the drivers had only two stops).

Kimi wasn´t the only driver who made the race an entertaining one. On lap 40 Grosjean was trying to overtake Hamilton but all of a sudden Hulkenberg in his Force India got an advantage of the situation and the German was able to overtake both Grosjean and Hamilton! That was a truly awesome overtaking move indeed!

Tyres played a significant role today. At the end of the race there were several team radio messages given to Vettel to look after his right-front tyre especially. The messages sounded really alarming. My heart was pounding and I was soooo afraid that Vettel´s right-front tyre would die and he would lose the victory! But obviously the situation wasn´t as bad as it sounded. The team just wanted to prevent Vettel from setting the fastest lap time on the closing laps like he did in Japan! The tactics worked this time: no fastest lap time at the end for Vettel!

My hero Vettel won the race and Webber finishing 2nd made it a 1-2 for Red Bull Racing. Alonso finished 3rd and his team-mate Massa 4th. Kimi drove to the chequered flag in P5 which was the absolute maximum achievement for the Finn today. Hulkenberg came 6th and Kimi´s team-mate Grosjean finished 8th after a clean race.

I got the birthday present that I hoped for: victory for Sebastian at Korea! What a perfect birthday present! I couldn´t have hoped for anything more! Sebastian has made my birthday just perfect! Victory Oppa Vettel Style! Sebastian has now taken three consecutive victories and he´s hungry for more. Victory at Korea means that the Red Bull ace is now leading the championship with a 6-point gap to Alonso and Kimi stays 3rd in the standings but is now 48 points behind.

lauantai 13. lokakuuta 2012

Korean GP / Qualifying: 1-2 for Red Bull Racing!

I didn´t sleep well last night but I was happy to get up and watch the qualifying, which took place quite early in the morning Finnish time. After all the free practice sessions it seemed that the pace that Red Bull had found already in Japan was still there at Yeongam circuit. So I was confident that Vettel was the number one candidate to conquer pole today.

In Q1 the biggest surprise was that both Alonso and Hamilton seemed to be struggling and lacking pace! Alonso was 16th fastest and Hamilton 17th. Although there was some tyre tactics involved and both of the drivers wanted to save tyres for the other two sessions to come. But nevertheless, these two top names were pretty close to have been eliminated already in the first session! Vettel topped the charts in Q1 so I knew the German would be there to fight for the pole!

Sebastian was the fastest man on the track also in Q2. Both Ferrari drivers seemed to have found more pace as well as Hamilton in his McLaren. Hamilton´s team-mate Button instead was eliminated in Q2 and qualified 11th! He might have been able to make his way through in to the final session without the yellow flags caused by Toro Rosso´s Ricciardo. The Australian had a gear box failure and had to stop his car on the track. Sauber seemed to be lacking pace at the Yeongam circuit and both Perez and Kobayashi were eliminated in Q2.

The battle for pole was between the Red Bull duo. In his first attempt Sebastian set the initial fastest lap time but at the end of the session his team-mate Webber was able to snatch the pole position to himself! There were only 74 thousandths of a second that separated the Red Bull drivers. Sebastian had some kind of an issue with Massa when he was starting his second run. Sebastian assumed that Massa was going to box that lap but he didn´t so the German had to slow down slightly which obviously wasn´t ideal in terms of his last run. But after the qualifying Vettel didn´t want to blame it on Massa for not clinching the pole today. Webber was simply able to pull off a better lap today. Hamilton qualified 3rd and Alonso 4th. Kimi managed to get a maximum out of his E20 today and he will start from the 3rd row ( P5)  tomorrow. The Iceman sandwiched the Ferrari drivers as Massa will start in P6.

Lotus has brought an exhaust upgrade to Kimi´s car for this weekend and I really hope it will bring some extra race pace for tomorrow´s race. Luckily his team-mate Grosjean starts behind him as I´m not 100 % convinced that the Frenchman would make it through to the first corners without crashing to anybody this time either... He cannot afford making any more mistakes though! It´s also interesting to see what will happen between the Red Bull drivers tomorrow. Webber has never been too eager to help his team-mate in the championship battle so I wouldn´t be surprised at all if the team allowed Webber to win the race tomorrow! Of course, in terms of sportsmanship and fair play, that would be the only right decision to be made but... As a passionate Vettel fan I do hope that Sebastian will win the race tomorrow! If he can take the victory without the help from his team-mate, that´s better but I certainly wouldn´t mind Webber making it a bit easier for Seb to overtake him...

sunnuntai 7. lokakuuta 2012

Japanese GP: An absolutely delicious victory for Sebastian!

Japanese GP 2012 was an eventful and epic race! At Suzuka the start and the first corner were fateful for some drivers. Vettel on pole was able to maintain his lead but there were a few of collisions right behind him. Alonso in his Ferrari had an incident with Lotus´s Kimi Räikkönen in the first corner. On the TV screen it seemed like Alonso forced Kimi to go off track and Kimi´s front wing hit Alonso´s rear tyre causing a puncture for the Spaniard. Alonso spun and his race was over. Kimi´s front wing had a minor damage but the Finn continued the race. And once again Romain Grosjean in his Lotus was involved in a collision! The Frenchman crashed to Webber´s Red Bull in the first corner and they both had to pit but were able to continue the race. Senna collided with Rosberg which lead to Nico retiring the race on the opening lap. Due to these incidents the safety car was deployed. Grosjean got a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for causing a collision and Senna was handed a drive-through penalty for colliding with Nico. What an eventful opening lap...!

Vettel in the lead was totally untouchable today. The German cruised away from his rivals and his race pace was incredible. Massa, Kobayashi and Button were the drivers fighting for a podium finish as well. Kimi was fifth but lost a position to Hamilton after the first pit stops. The race pace of his Lotus seemed quite unambitious and the Finn just couldn´t match his rivals´ speed. I´m sure the slightly damaged front wing didn´t make Kimi´s driving any easier. On lap 19 there was intense battle going on with Kimi, Hamilton and Perez. But when the Mexican Sauber driver made a move on Hamilton at the hair pin he spun off the track and his race was over! Perez was driving such an impressive race, why did he have to ruin his race with that idiotic move...!

There was absolutely no one who could challenge Sebastian today! He took an absolutely sweeping and  delicious victory at Suzuka today! Massa in his Ferrari did a perfect job today: the Brazilian started in P11 today and finished 2nd! Button and Kobayashi had an intense battle for the 3rd place but although Button was allowed to use DRS on the closing laps he had no real chance to get past the Japanese who took the first podium finish of his F1 career! So Button finished 4th and was followed by his team-mate Hamilton in P5. Kimi managed to finish 6th and hold off Hulkenberg who challenged the Finn at the end of the race.

Sebastian had an absolutely perfect Sunday at Suzuka! This is the best possible result in terms of the championship battle: Seb scored 25 points and Alonso got none! This means Alonso is leading the standings by only 4 points while there´re still 5 races left! Kimi is still 3rd in the WDC standings 37 points behind Alonso. This could well be the turning point in the championship battle. Red Bull have finally found their race pace and Sebastian was frighteningly fast today. It was a grand slam for Sebastian today: starting on pole, leading the race from start to finish, the fastest lap of the race and the victory! This must be a good omen in terms of the championship battle...

lauantai 6. lokakuuta 2012

Japanese GP / Qualifying: 4th consecutive pole for Seb at Suzuka!

I updated my Facebook profile last night by writing a status like this: "Just wondering if it brings some good luck for Seb at the qualifying if I go to bed wearing the Red Bull championship T shirt... ;)" That didn´t turn out to be a bad idea at all!

I didn´t mind getting up early in the morning because I knew there was going to be thrilling Formula 1 action to come. This time it was Senna in his Williams who didn´t manage to make his way through to Q2 but this was because the Brazilian was blocked by Toro Rosso´s Vergne in the first session. After the qualifying Vergne was handed a 3-place grid penalty for impeding Senna.

In Q2 Red Bull´s pace looked extremely promising. Button was also strong but Hamilton´s driving seemed pretty lame which caught my eye because usually Hamilton seems to be flying in the qualifying sessions. Ferrari seems to not have been able to improve their car as much as both McLaren and Red Bull have managed to do. Massa was the first one to be knocked out of the final session. Surprisingly also both Mercedes drivers were out of Q3 as well! Schumacher qualified 13th (but will start the race in P23 because of the grid penalty he got after the crash at Singapore) and Rosberg 15th. This time also Maldonado in his Williams failed to make his way in to the Q3.

Once again Q3 was staggeringly exciting! Vettel went out at the beginning of the last session and what a lap the German managed to pull out! He showed everybody that the battle for the championship is just beginning! His team-mate Webber qualified 2nd being two tenths slower than Seb and made it a fantastic front row lock-out for Red Bull Racing! Button couldn´t match Red Bull´s pace today and the Briton qualified 3rd being almost half a second slower than Seb. Button, however, will start the race in P8 because he has been handed a 5-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change. The Japanese Kobayashi will start in P3 tomorrow. The Japanese Sauber driver did an awesome job in front of the home crowd! Grosjean in his Lotus will start in P4 and Perez in his Sauber in P5. Alonso is 6th on the grid followed by the Iceman in P7. Kimi had the pace to qualify higher but he in his last run he simply drove too fast and spun at the spoon and got stuck on the gravel. Luckily his E20 didn´t seem to get any damage. Kimi has very rarely made mistakes in qualifying but today he made one. But I´m sure he will be there to fight for a podium finish tomorrow!

What has happened to Lewis Hamilton? He qualified 9th today which seems quite odd. At first everyone thought that he suffered from the yellow flags caused by Kimi spinning at the end of the session but according to Hamilton´s own words that wasn´t the case. They had simply chosen a wrong set-up to the car. But as I tend to have a wild imagination I can´t help thinking about Hamilton´s situation... Does the decision to leave McLaren at the end of the season affect his driving at the moment? I wouldn´t be surprised if it did. In addition to this I also read some news about Hamilton breaking up (again) with his girlfriend... All this reminds me of the previous season when Hamilton was completely lost with his driving because of the problems in his personal life! So I don´t quite know what to expect from the Briton in tomorrow´s race.

While I´m writing this blog post the incident between Vettel and Alonso is currently investigated by the stewards. Alonso has whined about Vettel blocking him at the last corner in Q3. Why doesn´t this surprise me at all! Once again there´s Alonso whining about Vettel... Aaaaarrrgghhh! I didn´t even notice anything happening between these two during the qualifying. Red Bull´s team principal Horner doesn´t seem to be worried about the situation though. Vettel needed to slow down a little because of the yellow flags but there was nothing like impeding Alonso... I just hope that the stewards agree with me on this! A penalty given to Vettel would be a total shock! In my opinion Alonso should concentrate on improving his car and trying to win the championship by DRIVING, not whining about everything that Vettel does on track!

sunnuntai 30. syyskuuta 2012

Season 2013: the game is on!

On Friday it finally became official: Hamilton will leave McLaren at the end of this season and will replace Schumacher at Mercedes AMG in 2013! There had been talks about Hamilton leaving the British team already during the summer and there had been many signs showing that Hamilton didn´t feel very comfortable with the team any more. No celebrations with the team members after conquerring pole for example... You don´t have to be a scientist to figure out that something wasn´t right any more.

In terms of Hamilton´s career going to Mercedes is a huge risk! Hamilton has been with McLaren since he was 13 years old and the team has always been able to provide him with a competitive car. It hasn´t always been the best on the grid but the team has had all the resources needed to develop the car and improve their performance. This is about to change when Hamilton goes to Mercedes next year. Although they also have all the financial prerequisites to build a winning car there has been only very little success by this far. But for Hamilton it´s very healthy and maybe eyes-opening to start with a team where you have to develop both yourself and the car in order to gain success. Starting his F1 career at McLaren meant that the Briton got to start his career at a top team and didn´t have to fight his way through to gain success. At Mercedes he can´t take the success for granted any more but he has to work extremely hard to win races. Next year we´ll see how talented and skillful Hamilton really is! Is his success all about getting everything "on a silver plate" or is it because of his talent and skills? Can´t wait to see!

Hamilton himself has said that he made this move not because of money but because of motivation. Although you can´t completely ignore the fact that the Briton is said to get about 100 million dollars for the three year contract with Mercedes I can understand his point. McLaren is the only team where he has ever competed with during his entire F1 career and he has already won the world championship title with the team. There isn´t much more to achieve, is there? Moving to Mercedes will be a fresh start for the Briton and will definitely mean new challenges for him. But the question is, whether the man has the right attitude to face the challenge... This is my opinion only but Hamilton seems kind of arrogant and I get a feeling that his feet aren´t firmly on the ground any more. All the talks about him wanting to create a "Hamilton brand" and stuff like that... Is his focus on F1 racing slowly slipping through his fingers? He should look in to the mirror and ask himself why not everyone liked his personality at McLaren. I started feeling some sympathy for the Briton last season when he had difficulties in his personal life and they were reflected to his driving. I can understand easily that a pay check of 100 million dollars make you lose the grip to the "real world" but I hope that he will be able to find his down to earth side of him very soon.  I mean he is an excellent racing driver, no doubt about that.

About the other moves then. I was stunned when I read about Perez replacing Hamilton at McLaren in 2013! I couldn´t have imagined that in my wildest dreams! In terms of Perez´s career it´s an absolutely awesome move! And the Mexican is definitely one of the drivers that we´ll hear a lot about in the future. I´m sure that they will regret it a lot at Ferrari that they thought Perez was too "inexperienced to become a Ferrari driver." Perez has achieved already three podium finishes this season and I´m convinced there are more to come in the future.

Perez leaving the team means there is a vacant race seat at Sauber for 2013. Maybe even two if Kobayashi doesn´t get a new contract with the team. Who will replace Perez then? As a Finn I would love to see Heikki Kovalainen at Sauber next year. He has done a tremendously good job at Caterham, at the wheel of such a lousy car he has got the best out of it. But I´m afraid getting the seat at Sauber isn´t a question of talent but money... I wouldn´t be surprised to see the Sauber´s reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez getting the seat. He has a huge sponsor supporting him so money wouldn´t be a problem. I´ve also heard rumours saying that Alguersuari would get the seat. Nothing has been confirmed yet...

What about Ferrari? Will Massa get one more year with the Prancing Horse? I´m sorry to say this but I hope not! It´s unbelievable how long the Brazilian has been allowed to stay in the team despite his lousy performance. But there have been rumours that Massa would be offered one more year in the team because no driver would like to get only a one year contract with the team as it´s said that Vettel will move to Ferrari for the season 2014... It´s very difficult for me to believe this would be true! Somehow I can´t see both Vettel and Alonso driving in the same team! Sorry but that´s impossible. Alonso has always needed a team where he is the number one driver. I guess we can all remember what happened when Alonso and Hamilton were both at McLaren. Two equally talented drivers fighting for success didn´t work out for Alonso so I don´t see that driving for the same team with Vettel would be any easier for the Spaniard! But what I´ve learned, Formula 1 is a wondrous world where anything can happen so the word "impossible" doesn´t exist!

Before the season 2013 begins there are still 6 races to go and a world championship to win! So back to this season and one thing that has caught my eye recently. I have tweeted to the Finnish F1 reporter and commentator Oskari Saari a few times and asked for an interview of Heikki Huovinen, who is Vettel´s trainer at the moment. Saari answered to me writing that all the interview requests have been denied by the team. I can´t help wondering about the reasons for that! Sebastian´s former trainer Tommi (Pärmäkoski) was interviewed quite a few times by the Finnish media during the previous season and I can´t see that Tommi would have caused any harm either for the team or his trainee by his comments! From my selfish point of view I´d absolutely love to hear Heikki´s comments on his work but I do respect that not everyone enjoys the publicity. Sebastian seems to have a lot in common with Kimi Räikkönen: neither one enjoys the publicity or wants to be in the lime light. And the same implies to Antti Vierula, who works as Hamilton´s trainer. He too is not allowed to give any interviews. Which would be so great to hear and it may help getting a better image of the Briton who hasn´t got the best possible reputation... But the reasons for not being allowed to give interviews can only be guessed.

sunnuntai 23. syyskuuta 2012

Singapore GP: Seb took his second win of the season in his mesmerising blinking helmet!

I got home right in time before the lights went out. And what a race we got to see in the dark night of Singapore! Hamilton was able to maintain his lead at the start. Vettel managed to get past Maldonado on the first corners and the Venezuelan was also overtaken by Button in his McLaren. Kimi starting in P12 passed Hulkenberg and gained a position. Hamilton and Vettel seemed to be cruising away from their rivals but Kimi instead got stuck behind Schumacher. Even using DRS didn´t make overtaking possible.

After the first pit stops the situation in the front was unchanged. It seemed that no one could prevent Hamilton from winning the race. Until on lap 23... Hamilton´s car stopped on the track due to a gear box failure! What a frustrating turn in terms of Hamilton´s championship hunt. But this meant one thing only: Vettel took the lead and I kept my fingers crossed down to my elboes that there wouldn´t be any alternator or other technical issues today!

More colourful events were about to take place soon. Karthikeyan in his HRT crashed into the wall and safety car was deployed. Right before the restart Vettel was warming up his tyres when he suddenly braked and Button behind him was very close to crashing into Seb´s car! Luckily that didn´t happen! After the restart it was soon time for another safety car episode. This time Schumi crashed into the rear of Vergne´s Toro Rosso and both men were out of the race.Maldonado was also forced to retire the race due to a hydraulics problem.

After the two safety car episodes it became clear that there was not time to drive all the 61 laps planned as 2 hours is the limit that one race is allowed to last. So finally there were 59 laps driven in the night of Singapore. Vettel was finally able to clinch his second win of the season in his fascinating bling-bling helmet! Button finished 2nd and in spite of the fact that Ferrari is seriously lacking speed at the moment Fernando Alonso managed to make his way to the podium as well! Di Resta finished 4th which is the best result in his career so far. Rosberg finished 5th and Kimi 6th. Once again Kimi fought his way from the midfield of the grid and finished in the points.

We saw a team order from Lotus today. Kimi was driving behind his team mate Grosjean but with 13 laps to go the Frenchman was told on the team radio that "Kimi is faster than you" and after that Grosjean made no effort to prevent the Iceman from overtaking him. I know I´ve been critisizing team orders a lot, especially those given by Ferrari. And I have to admit this one didn´t seem right to me, either although they aren´t forbidden in Formula 1 at the moment. On one hand the team order today was very understandable as Grosjean doesn´t have any chance to win the championship any more and Kimi does... But on the other hand team orders are against the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play. But I do admit that it´s easier to accept a team order from Lotus than from Ferrari! And it´s just because I´m a fan of Kimi, it´s as simple as that. So things are almost never eiher "black" or "white" but there´re also shades of "grey" depending on the angle that you´re looking from...

Singapore GP / Qualifying: Hamilton on pole -again!

I had a different qualifying Saturday this time. Usually I watch the qually at home and write my blog post right after that but yesterday I wasn´t at home. I spent my day at spa (not at Spa Francorchamps unfortunately ;) ) and attended water bike and aquazumba classes which were a lot of fun. Then I drove to my parents´ house to watch the qually with my father. And after that I drove back to the hotel and enjoyed some more swimming and sitting in different kind of saunas and drinking some vanilla cognac as well ;) I spent the evening with my twin sister and I´d be lying if I said I didn´t mention names like Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel during the evening... ;)

I had high hopes for the qualifying as Sebastian had topped all three free practice sessions. In Q1 it was surprising to see that Kobayashi in his Sauber didn´t make it into Q2. Sauber have had very promising race pace in recent races so I was kind of astonished to see the Japanese been knocked out of Q2!

Q2 instead held many surprises. No way I could expect in any case that Kimi wouldn´t make his way through in to the final section! Lotus seemed very competitive in Q1 and Grosjean was able to set a very decent lap time also in Q2. Kimi had problems with the tyres. Odd enough, the Iceman set faster lap times with the used tyres than with the fresh ones. So it was a disappointing 12th place for the Finn. Massa either couldn´t make it in to the Q3 but qualified 13th. Perez in the other Sauber was also out of top ten!

Most drivers had only one run in the final section. Hamilton went out when the Q3 got underway and actually the Briton´s first attempt was fast enough to make him the pole sitter! Maldonado in his Williams surprised most of us by making his way to the front row by qualifying 2nd! Very well done from the Venezuelan who seems to either astonish everybody with a staggering result or destroy somebody´s race... So it´s either very good or catastrophic result for him, there´s nothing in between ;) Sebastian managed to qualify 3rd, which was naturally a fantastic result! But after topping all of the practice sessions I knew he´d have every possibility to make it on pole at Singapore! But something happened to the German in the final section and he couldn´t get everything out of his car. Button qualified 4th  right ahead of Alonso. The Mercedes duo Schumacher and Rosberg didn´t set a lap time in Q3 so once again we saw some playing with the tyre tactics.

sunnuntai 9. syyskuuta 2012

Italian GP: A catastrophic race for Red Bull!

I have counted slowly from 1 to 10. VERY SLOWLY. I´ve got something to eat. I guess I´ve calmed down enough and I´m ready to write this blog post. This was definitely a race with some extremely strong emotions!

Let´s begin with the start. Hamilton maintained his lead but Massa managed to pass Button and the Brazilian was second. No collisions on the first corner this time! The first laps were tight and there were some nice overtaking moves. Vettel made his way to 4th by overtaking his fellow countryman Schumacher and everything looked so promising... It seemed that Sebastian could easily reach a podium finish. Kimi on the other hand wasn´t as fast as I had hoped him to be and he was in trouble with Perez for example who made an awesome pass on him.

The majority of the drivers had a one-stop strategy. All the top drivers had started the race on the option tyres except Perez who started from P12 with the prime tyres. The Mexican had a perfect strategy as he was able to stay out longer than the others and gained many positions due to his excellent strategy. Vettel in P5 and Alonso in P6 had a breathtaking wheel-to-wheel battle going on for many laps! It was extremely close that the Spaniard would have overtaken the German in the pits but Vettel managed only just to maintain his position. But then on lap 26 there was a crucial turn in terms of the outcome of the race... At Curva Grande Alonso made a move on Vettel. I don´t know what happened exactly but Alonso went wide on to the grass and Vettel kept his 5th place. Alonso managed to overtake the Red Bull driver three laps later but the Ferrari driver had whined on the team radio about Vettel´s manouvre. Shortly after that the stewards gave Vettel a drive-through penalty which lead to Vettel dropping back to 11th place!

I can´t help writing a few lines on this! I´m not a steward or an expert on the rules but I consider this penalty totally unfair! Vettel didn´t deserve to get a drive-through penalty for his action! In my opinion he defended his position but didn´t FORCE Alonso OFF the track! It seemed to me that Alonso deliberately drove on to the grass trying to overtake Vettel and then whined about it on the radio to get a penalty for Vettel. I´m sorry but Alonso´s action hasn´t always been completely fair or sportsmanlike so this wouldn´t surprise me at all. I have never been a fan of Alonso but this made me feel absolutely no respect for the Spaniard! Last year Alonso made a similar move on Vettel and no penalties were given! This is my opinion only but for me it seems that the FIA is playing for Alonso´s favour... To me it looks that the FIA is helping Alonso to win the third championship. And I´m utterly gutted about it!

Back to the race then! After the pit stops the McLaren duo was in the lead followed by the Ferrari duo. Massa held the third place for quite some time but it was just a matter of time when Alonso MOVED ahead of the Brazilian. Alonso didn´t need to actually overtake. This time the team order was told to Massa on the team radio like this:" You need to think about saving your tyres. Fernando is behind you." This is one of the reasons why I dislike Ferrari so much. Fair play isn´t the word to desbribe their actions on the track! Makes me feel sick.

More dramatic turns were about to emerge. Button in the second place had to retire the race on lap 34 due to a technical failure. And Vettel had another alternator failure and had to retire only 4 laps before the chequered flag! So in that sense it doesn´t really matter if his penalty was justified or not because he had to retire the race once again... Very very disappointing indeed! :( Red Bull had a catastrophic race as also Webber had to retire the race at the end. I´m starting to get a flashback of the 2010 season with all these technical failures... To be honest, it doesn´t look too good for the championship at the moment!

Hamilton cruised to the victory but the Mexican Sauber driver Sergio Perez had made a staggering recovery from his 12th position and claimed the second place! After the pit stops he was significantly faster than the other top drivers and had no difficulties at all to overtake both Ferrari drivers with fresh option tyres! An absolutely great and well-deserved 2nd place for him. Alonso finished 3rd, Massa 4th, Kimi 5th and Schumi 6th. Kimi´s 5th place made him 3rd in the WDC standings so it´s looking quite good for the Iceman. Alonso extended his lead and has now a 37-point gap over his closest rival Hamilton. All three drivers, Hamilton, Räikkönen and Vettel have only one point separating them in the standings. So it was the last race in Europe this season. Hopefully it was also the last DNF for Sebastian this season! Red Bull can´t afford having any more car failures!

As a huge fan of the Iceman I have to write a few lines on him as well. I was impressed yesterday when I read an interview of him on the official Formula 1 website. The Finn was asked something like what has been the best thing about being back to Formula 1. The Iceman answered that definitely not talking to the media and how he doesn´t like all the bullshit questions asked by the media. After that Kimi was asked that what kind of a question he would be happy to answer. Kimi stated that such a question doesn´t exist! I was utterly amused by his answers! He stands out of the crowd in such a personal way! Who else of all the F1 drivers would give an answer like him! NO ONE! He´s such a legend! :)

lauantai 8. syyskuuta 2012

Italian GP / Qualifying: A front row lock-out for McLaren!

I actually didn´t know what to expect from today´s qualifying. I was afraid Red Bull would face a tough qualifying as their straight line speed was the slowest of all in the free practices. I knew I couldn´t afford taking it for granted that Vettel would even make it in to Q3... But I trusted in Sebastian with all my heart and I knew he would do everything he can to be in top ten! On the other hand I had high hopes for Lotus, especially Kimi. At Spa they had also suffered from not having enough straight line speed but the team had fixed the issue for Monza and D´Ambrosio replacing Grosjean had the highest speed on the straights!

Force India had shown very promising pace in the free practices but Hulkenberg had a car failure in Q1 and he wasn´t able to set a lap time so he was naturally out of Q2. Ferrari seemed to be flying at Monza in front of the tifosi! Alonso topped the time sheets after Q1 so I knew he was going to be a strong contender for pole...

Alonso dominated Q2 as well. It seemed that the battle for pole was going to be between the McLaren drivers and Alonso. In spite of the impressive straight line speed Lotus didn´t seem competitive enough to fight for a front row position. As expected, D´Ambrosio didn´t manage to make his way through to Q3. There were some surprise names knocked out of the final session as well. Webber at the wheel of RB8 just fell short of Q3 after his eleventh position on the time sheets at the end of Q2. Maldonado was out of Q3 as well. He qualified 12th but he will be dropped back to 22nd on the grid due to his penalties from the previous race. Perez didn´t make it to the top ten, either which I found a bit surprising because the Mexican has performed pretty well during this season. I was relieved to see both Sebastian and Kimi among the ten fastest!

When Q3 got underway I was very worried that Alonso might well conquer pole this time... But no, not this time. He had a mechanical fault in his car at the rear axle rod which made him 1,5 seconds slower than he had been in the first two sessions! Hamilton instead pulled out an awesome lap and made it easily on pole today! It turned out to be a front row lock-out for McLaren as Button qualified 2nd today. Massa was 3rd fastest which can be considered quite a surprise! Di Resta in Force India qualified 4th but due to a gear box change he got a five-place grid penalty and will start from 9th tomorrow. Although Red Bull´s performance didn´t look so promising in the free practices Seb will still start from P5! Mercedes were extremely competitive and fast today. Schumi  will start in front of Seb and Nico right behind him. Kimi will be in P7 tomorrow. Lotus´s race pace is strong so I´m definitely expecting some good points for Kimi in the race!

As you might have noticed by now I´m not a huge fan of Alonso and also because the Spaniard is the most dangerous opponent in the championship battle I was very glad that the Ferrari driver was left 10th today! Iam counting firmly on Seb´s possibilities to finish on the podium tomorrow! Mercedes have had problems with their tyre degradation so I don´t think their performance in the race will be as good as in the qualifying. I am afraid the McLaren duo might be unbeatable tomorrow but what I´m hoping for the most is that Seb will score more points than Alonso at the wheel of his Prancing Horse! The bigger the difference in points tomorrow the better! Now is the time to achieve the best possible result! So I´m expecting Seb to drive flat out and show his passionate fans some staggering and undescribable overtaking manoeuvres!

sunnuntai 2. syyskuuta 2012

Belgian GP: Breathtaking overtaking moves by Kimi and Seb!

What an epic race we saw today! The start was absolutely crazy. In addition to Maldonado taking a jump start there was a collision in the first corner caused by Lotus driver Grosjean (not the first one for him this year!). The Frenchman crashed to Hamilton´s McLaren and it lead to both Grosjean´s and Hamilton´s cars flying in the air and crashing to Alonso´s Ferrari. Perez in his Sauber was also involved in the crash and all four were out of the race! Luckily none of the drivers were hurt because it really looked like a nasty crash! Anyway, I have to admit I was a bit mean being happy that Alonso was out of the race... I was happy that he didn´t get hurt but I was delighted that the Spaniard didn´t score points today.

Naturally the crash caused safety car to come out but after the restart it turned out to be Button´s race. He disappeared to the horizon immediately. Kimi seemed to be struggling with his tyres and was lacking grip. He was struggling with both Force India drivers and the team decided to take the Iceman in for an early pit stop. That seemed to be the right call as Kimi´s pace got better with the fresh set of hard tyres.

Vettel started the race in P10 but his race pace was absolutely excellent. He took positions one by one and it was such a pleasure to watch his driving. Sebastian´s overtaking moves on his team-mate, Massa and the 7-time world champion Schumacher were legendary! I enjoyed every moment from the bottom of my heart. I have to admit there was some screaming, too when I sat on the sofa watching the race on TV ;) Before the race I was certain that Seb would be able to make it to the podium and he didn´t let me down!

Both the race leader Button and Sebastian on the 2nd place had a one stop strategy. Kimi had pitted twice and was fighting for the 3rd place with Schumacher and Hulkenberg. Kimi´s battle with Schumi almost caused me a heart attack! On lap 31 Kimi was able to pass the German but Schumi took his position back when the duo got into the DRS zone. But on lap 34 Kimi did a breathtaking overtaking move and passed Schumi at Eau Rouge! That pass made me absolutely speeechless! That was an overtaking move that you couldn´t have expected from most drivers but the Iceman seemed to be on fire today! Schumi had intended to run with a one stop strategy as well but at the end of the race he had to pit again due to heavy tyre degradation. After passing Schumi Kimi was able to build up a few second gap to Hulkenberg and finished the race 3rd.

This was definitely one of the most eventful races this season and some penalties were handed as well. The Venezuelan Williams driver Maldonado was back in the limelight again and not in a very positive way... He was handed a 5-place grid penalty for taking a jump start and another 5-place penalty for colliding with Glock. Heikki Kovalainen crashed into Karthikeyan in the pits and Caterham got a fine of 10 000 euros for the unsafe release of the Finn. Grosjean was handed a one-race ban for causing the collision at the start which I personally consider quite a heavy punishment. I believe Grosjean had no intension of crashing to Hamilton, I see the incident more like caused by his lack of racing experience. So let´s see who will be driving the other E20 at Monza next weekend...

Will Bottas get a race seat at Williams for 2013?

The second half of the Formula 1 season has now started and this is the time when the drivers have negotiations with different teams on their future. Williams reserve driver, Finnish Valtteri Bottas is one of the drivers in the limelight at the moment. The 23-year-old Finn hasn´t been participating in any other racing series but purely concentrated on the work with Williams. He´s been driving in most first free practices on Fridays and he has done a tramendously excellent job. At the beginning of the season it seemed to be a clear fact that after working this year as a reserve driver Bottas would be given a race seat at Williams for 2013.

Now this fact seems to have changed! I had already taken Bottas´s future race seat for granted as especially Senna´s work at Williams has been less impressive. Of course there´ve been some decent results but many mistakes as well, like destroying the car in practices... Maldonado instead has been extremely fast and his victory at Barcelona showed there´s a huge potential in the Venezuelan driver! On the other hand I guess Maldonado holds some kind of an unofficial record of causing collisions this season! But I always thought it would be Senna who would be replaced by the young Finn.

But... (Why there always has to be a "but"...?) Both current drivers bring a great deal of money to the team! So now there have been talks that in order to get a race seat for 2013 Bottas has to bring a significant amount of money to the team, some have talked about 10 million euros... I´m so angry about this! This is so unfair! Bottas is a brilliant young driver who definitely deserves to get the race seat due to his skills and the impressive work that the man has done! I understand that the teams need money to run the team but money should never be the key factor when hiring drivers to the team!

Of course sponsors and financial support is a part of the Formula 1 world. And I´d be very happy if there were some Finnish companies which would like to support Bottas´s Formula 1 career financially. And I think they should do that because an awesome young talent like Valtteri Bottas makes us all very proud to be Finnish. But money should never be the number one condition for getting a race seat! Talent, skills and raw speed are the things that make a staggering Formula 1 driver, not the contents of your bank account! Money of course helps the team to develop the car and bring the upgrades but no matter how many 100-dollar bills you have in the cockpit they don´t help you drive the car faster if you´re lacking the talent! Valtteri Bottas has everything in terms of talent and speed that are needed to win races and he deserves to get the race seat for 2013! I hope from the bottom of my heart that they realize this at Williams at the end of the season.

One of the reasons why I respect and admire Kimi Räikkönen so very much is the fact that he has had to fight his way to the very top. He doesn´t come from a very wealthy family who would have given him everything "on a golden plate". Everything that he has achieved in the racing world is due to his exceptional talent and skills. Of course you can´t choose your family and this doesn´t mean that Hamilton for example wouldn´t have the talent. But it´s different when your career has always been financially secured ever since as a kid. I do consider Hamilton an exceptionally fast and gifted driver but he has never been forced to fight for his race seat like many other drivers. But Kimi is a great example that you can achieve anything if you´re devoted to what you do and you have the talent.

lauantai 1. syyskuuta 2012

Belgian GP / Qualifying: Button on pole!

Gosh I was more than happy when this weekend finally arrived and the massive 4-week summer break was over at last! And there´s always some extra anticipation in the air from a Finnish point of view as Kimi has clinched victory four times at Spa Francorchamps :) Though I have to admit that this is a weekend with mixed emotions. My father has just been diagnosed with cancer so it´s these moments that remind that although Formula 1 means a world to me there´re also things more important than that... Today I drove to my parents´ house with my three sons and watched the qualifying together with my father, who is a huge Formula 1 fan as well.

Luckily the weather was sunny and the track was dry today. The surprise name eliminated after Q1 was Mercedes´s Nico Rosberg who was left in P18. Lotus´s Grosjean was right on the edge as well as there were only 55 thousandths of a second that separated Rosberg and Grosjean in P17! Kimi´s pace seemed a lot more promising although Lotus had decided not to use the brand new "double DRS" at Spa due to the lack of testing. Such a shame that it had been pouring rain the whole Friday because I´d have been sooo eager to know how fast the new system would have made the E20...

From my point of view Q2 was disappointing! Kimi seemed to be flying and everything seemed fantastic for the Iceman but Sebastian at the wheel of his RB8 didn´t make it to the top 10! What makes me really worried about his situation is that he didn´t actually make any clear mistakes on his flying laps and the car had felt quite good in his opinion... Seb told that he simply wasn´t quick enough. Doesn´t sound comfortable at all! It´s hard to know what to fix in the car if there isn´t any clear issue in the car... I just keep my fingers crossed that Red Bull will be able to come up with some magical solution tomorrow... Massa, Schumacher and Senna were out of Q3 as well.

Q3 was surprising. I hoped from the bottom of my heart that Kimi would be quick enough to fight for pole but not this time unfortunately. Button in his McLaren "came from nowhere" and clinched pole after a disappointing and difficult first half of the season! Kobayashi completed the first row which was a huge surprise as well. Maldonado in his Williams qualified 3rd but after the quali he was handed a 3-place grid penalty due to impeding Hulkenberg in Q1. Kimi was 4th fastest but he´ll start the race in P3 on the clean side of the track due to Maldonado´s penalty. Kimi was also investigated by the stewards for shortcutting at Eau Rouge but no penalties were given for the Iceman -thank God! Perez will start in P4 and Alonso in P5. Hamilton qualified 7th and Grosjean 8th. McLaren has brought a new rear wing to Spa but after this morning´s P3 Hamilton decided not to use the new wing at qualifying. That obviously turned out to be a wrong call as Button seemed to be flying!

Webber and Rosberg have both got 5-place grid penalties for a gear-box change. Webber will start in P12 so Red Bull have a lot of work to do tomorrow! Luckily Maldonado got a penalty, I mean to be honest, I was VERY worried about Kimi starting right behind Kobayashi and Maldonado who both have a reputation of causing collisions... Kimi has an excellent chance to win tomorrow. He has snatched victory starting from P10 so tomorrow´s race should be like a walk in a park :) SHOULD be... But you never know what will happen and how scaringly fast Button will be with his new rear wing! But Lotus´s race pace has been consistent and superb throughout the whole season and with Kimi behind the wheel... There´s something magical about Kimi and Spa. Even the Finnish Formula 1 commentator and ex F1 driver Mika Salo said that he was amazed by Kimi´s brave driving today. Kimi drove through the Blancimont corner with his DRS open which not every driver is brave enough to do! So Kimi is capable of doing miracles tomorrow, that´s for sure!

maanantai 13. elokuuta 2012

My expectations for the second half of the season

There´ve been only two raceless weekends so far and there´s no denying it: my withdrawal symptoms are getting worse every day! Still two more raceless weekends to come... Aaargh! So to ease my withdrawal symptoms I decided to sit down and write a few lines about Formula 1... Maybe that´ll help ;)

What to expect from the second half of the season? There´re definitely many question marks. One of the most interesting questions is, how much of an advantage Lotus´s brand new "double DRS system" will be. The team has tested it in the Friday´s free practice both at Silverstone and Hockenheim and the results have been promising. The "double DRS" certainly will make the E20s fly faster than ever but will the system be reliable as well... We´ll see about that. But I´m convinced that the system increases Kimi´s chances to win at Spa significantly! Already during the first half of the season the E20 has been quick enough to win a race but it takes more than just speed to get the first win for the team! Hopefully the "double DRS" will help Kimi to qualify higher at the remaining races. The key is to make it to the first or second row on the grid! When Kimi succeeds in that he´ll be unstoppable! Knowing Kimi´s history at Spa I´d say it´s even probable that the Iceman will clinch his first win of the season in Belgium at the beginning of September! :)

Another question mark is whether Ferrari´s (=Alonso´s) success continues after the halfpoint of the season. Ferrari technical boss Pat Fry has admitted that weather conditions have played a part in allowing Fernando Alonso to lead the world championship by 40 points. If it had been a dry race at Malaysia it would probably have been a different story... And it was specifically at wet qualfying sessions at Silverstone and Hockenheim where Alonso was able to conquer pole. So the question is, will there be more wet races in the remaining half of the season? I guess everyone thinks that Ferrari isn´t definitely the quickest car on the grid, that´s for sure. The weather has certainly helped out... But if it rains at Spa I would still bet my money on Kimi taking pole! Ferrari will have some upgrades for sure as well as all the other top teams but I don´t think they will become the fastest car on track at any point of the season! 40- point lead is a big advantage though because Alonso tends to score points in every race and Ferrari has turned out to be almost 100 % reliable! 

The third question mark is whether McLaren manages to solve their tyre degradation issues. The key factor behind the problem may be the Mercedes engine as also Mercedes and Force India have suffered from similar problems during the first half of the season. Despite the tyre wear issues Hamilton has driven pretty impressively so far. The pace is definitely there and McLaren is sure to bring some upgrades to the upcoming races. The next GP weekend at Spa will be crucial: how fast will Lotus be with their "double DRS" system and will the other top teams be forced to develop a system of their own to be able to fight for the championship...?  

I´m anxious to find out what will happen during the rest of the season! I hope Lotus´s "double DRS" turns out to be a huge success but there´s always other alternatives that it doesn´t work properly or it makes the E20 unreliable... Or it even could turn out to be a worst case scenario: huge fuss with no real advantage. All I can really do is to keep my thumbs up for Kimi because I know the huge success is there to come one day!

sunnuntai 29. heinäkuuta 2012

Hungarian GP: Kimi was so close but Hamilton was untouchable today!

The Hungarian GP ended already a few hours ago but the first thing to do after the race was to go swimming with my sons! The weather here in Finland has been quite similar to that in Hungary this weekend: last night there was a thunder storm here and today there has been +28 degrees Celsius :) Finally we´ve had some proper summer days here in Finland :) So today there has been hot weather and naturally some hot emotions in terms of Formula 1!

The start didn´t go to the plan -at least not to the one that I had planned for the race! Both my favourites lost a position at the start: Sebastian lost a place to Button and Kimi lost a position to Alonso! Hamilton maintained his lead and Grosjean followed right behind him. The first stint of the race looked a bit boring: no overtaking which was kind of expected at the Hungaroring. Sebastian was right on Button´s tail but no hope of making a pass on him! Until the first pit stops...

Button was among the first top drivers to pit and Sebastian managed to get past the Briton when he pitted a few laps later. There´s been a lot of talk about Lotus´s lousy pit stop strategy but today everything was perfect! No mistakes either in the pits or on the track! After the first pit stop Kimi rejoined the track ahead of Alonso so the Iceman managed to take his position back. Kimi really seemed to be in fire today: he was stunningly fast and was able to set phenomenal lap times when they mattered! Kimi made his second pit stop some laps later than his rivals and Lotus´s strategy couldn´t have been any more perfect: Kimi rejoined the track just in front of his team-mate Grosjean and Vettel! Actually Kimi had an intense wheel-to-wheel battle with his team-mate but the Frenchman just couldn´t prevent the flying Iceman from overtaking him! Kimi was flying in spite of the issues with his KERS which didn´t work properly on the opening laps.

In the last stint Kimi was catching up Hamilton second by second and tenth by tenth... There were over 10 laps to go when Kimi was right on the Briton´s tail! But no chance of overtaking as the McLaren driver didn´t make any mistakes. So Hamilton took a well-deserved victory today and the two Lotus drivers completed the podium: Kimi 2nd and Grosjean 3rd. Vettel finished 4th in spite of the third pit stop at the end of the race. The team decided to put a fresh set of option tyres on to give Vettel better chances to catch Grosjean. The German did catch him at the end but there was no chance to get past. Alonso finished in P5 and Button in P6 today. I had been kind of hoping that Sebastian would have finished on the top and Alonso much further away... The Spaniard still has a huge lead in the championship standings!

In addition to the battle for victory there was also another topic today: Pastor Maldonado in his Williams! Once again he managed to get himself a drive through penalty for a clash with Paul Di Resta. How many lessons will this Venezuelan need to learn how to drive in the spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship? Just wondering...

lauantai 28. heinäkuuta 2012

Hungarian GP / Qualifying: Still no pole for the Iceman!

I had huge hopes for Kimi this afternoon! Lotus´s pace seemed almost magical in all free practice sessions. The circumstances at Hungaroring couldn´t have suited Lotus any better: dry track and heat of +30 degrees Celsius... But still no pole for the Iceman today!

Q1 was business as usual. The only slight surprise can be considered the fact that it was Ricciardo who was out of Q2 whilst his Toro Rosso team-mate Vergne was able to make it to the Q2. I still remember the huge fuss about Ricciardo at the end of last season when he attended the test for young drivers at Abu Dhabi. How he was considered extraordinary and how he was able to set better lap times than Vettel at the wheel of the Red Bull... Today his performance didn´t seem magical at all and he couldn´t even match his team-mate´s speed!

Although it was a dry qualifying, there certainly were a few surprises in Q2! The biggest of them was the fact that Webber didn´t make it to the Q3! Throughout the qualifying both Red Bull drivers seemed to struggle with their pace. Just wondering what the story behind the engine mapping episode really is... The team has naturally assured that changing the engine mapping hasn´t influenced their performance but to be honest, I don´t believe it´s the truth though. Even Vettel nearly got out of Q2 by being 17th in the standings...! Red Bull wasn´t the only team who was struggling. Mercedes had the worst qualifying for two years! Rosberg qualified 13th and Schumi 17th.

Hamilton´s driving was phenomenal today. He did a magical lap already in Q2 and at that point I was almost certain that the Briton was going to take pole! And he did it by four tenths of a second! Kimi had flashed a glimpse of his true speed but when it really mattered he failed to score... His team-mate Grosjean instead managed to clinch a front row starting position for tomorrow! Vettel qualified 3rd, Button 4th and Kimi 5th. I was afraid there was going to be another penalty for Vettel because at the end of the qualifying it was still uncertain if Vettel had crossed the white line with all four wheels of his RB8 in his flying lap... Thank God there was no penalties this time!

What really matters is that Vettel will start ahead of Alonso tomorrow! Alonso will start in P6 so the most important thing for Vettel tomorrow is to score more points than Alonso... Sebastian needs to decrease the gap between him and Alonso from 44 points to as low as possible! Though I´m afraid that Ferrari´s race pace will be dangerously good tomorrow.

sunnuntai 22. heinäkuuta 2012

German GP: What a dramatic race day!

What an utterly dramatic race day it was today! The very first shock after waking up and turning my computer on was to see the news about the engine maps of the RB8 being declared illegal. So the first concern naturally was if there was going to be a penalty given for Red Bull... I have to admit that I actually didn´t even have a clue what this engine mapping discussion was all about! But I do recall there were some talks about this topic already last season... But what I understood was that there actually was some kind of a loophole in the regulations so no penalties for Red Bull -in this case at least! So I could take a deep breathe and focus on the race -without knowing that this wasn´t the only case today that would make my heart jump into my throat!

Alonso on pole had a perfect start and stayed in the lead. Vettel followed him closely. Kimi in P10 had a dream start as well and he was able to pass Hamilton although he lost the position back to the Briton a moment later. Hamilton suffered a puncture on lap 3 and was forced to pit. Grosjean, Massa and Senna lost their front wings in a collision on the opening lap and had to pit, too. On lap 5 Kimi made a stunning pass on Di Resta in his Force India! After a few corners of wheel-to-wheel driving the Iceman managed to overtake the Briton in an impressive way!

Button in his McLaren had superb race pace and it seemed that the battle for victory was going to be within three drivers: Alonso, Vettel and Button. Kimi had jumped up to 4th but podium seemed to be out of the Finn´s reach.  During the second pit stops Button managed to get past Vettel! The gaps between these three were minimal so I knew anything could happen... Button locked his front right tyre at a breaking so I hoped the flat spot in his tyre would give Vettel a chance to try and overtake the Briton... And Vettel did overtake Button on the second last lap! But what an overtaking move it was... Vettel went off track when he passed Button and it soon became clear that the stewards were investigating Vettel´s pass on Button... At that moment I knew Vettel´s second place was jeopardised!

Alonso claimed victory today although Ferrari wasn´t even the fastest car on the track. I´m not a fan of Alonso but I have to admit that Alonso was definitely out of his rivals´ reach today and the Spaniard totally deserved to win. Vettel and Button joined the Ferrari driver on the podium. Kimi drove an excellent race by finishing 4th. Sauber had an impressive race as well as Kobayashi finished 5th and his team-mate Perez 6th. No points for Hamilton who retired the race at the end. This meant that Kimi jumped up to 4th in the championship standings!

I didn´t want to start writing this blog post until I had heard about the possible penalty given to Vettel. And when I came home from a walk I heard it... A 20-second time penalty given to Vettel for his illegal pass on Button which dropped the German Red Bull driver from 2nd to 5th (making Kimi 3rd and Kobayashi 4th in the race results)! Even the 2nd place felt like a setback because at the same time Alonso claimed already his third win of the season and was increasing his lead in the championship quite significantly... But the 5th place means even huger difference in points! At first Vettel´s pass seemed absolutely worth the risk but thinking about it afterwards he shouldn´t have tried it in the first place. I know, very easy for me to say now but there´s no room for "what ifs" in Formula One. Hopefully Vettel will arrive in Hungary next week and have a fresh start... But he can´t afford letting Alonso out of his reach!

Vettel´s pass on Button can surely be seen from various angles but the stewards´ decision must be respected. This wasn´t the only thing to invite reflexion in this race. Another story was Hamilton being a lap down making a pass on Vettel who was fighting for victory with Alonso! Surely it´s not directly forbidden in the regulations but whether it´s good sportsmanship or not... At least Vettel was quite emotional about the incident after the race because certainly Hamilton was intervening in the battle for victory although he was far back in P18 or something! But this is motorsports and all the contradictory situations make it even more interesting!

German GP / Qualifying: Alonso on pole again in mixed conditions!

I was supposed to be at a friend´s wedding today. I was kind of worried how I would behave if I was sitting at the church and following nervously the qualifying results on my cell phone... I knew there would be a slight chance of me shouting out loud if certain Sebastian Vettel made it on pole...! However, a sudden change of plans came up unfortunately due to a personal issue so no worries of me embarrassing myself publicly!

Dark clouds loomed just outside the Hockenheim circuit when Q1 got started. The most staggering detail in Q1 was definitely the fact that Kimi Räikkönen in his Lotus was the fastest man on track! The Iceman showed that in the dry he was the man everyone should be afraid of! But unfortunately the track didn´t stay dry very long...

The heavens opened right when the light turned green and Q2 got underway. There are always surprises in mixed conditions and today´s qualifying was no exception. Schumacher at the wheel of Mercedes  was among the fastest drivers on track in front of his home crowd despite the fact that he was very close to be knocked out of Q2 and made it there just by 55 thousandths of a second! Grosjean in his Lotus as well as Massa in his Ferrari were among the unlucky ones who didn´t make it in to the final section. Rosberg was also very much in trouble on the slippery track and qualified 17th today!

There were different kind of opinions about whether the conditions were driveable or not when Q3 got underway. Alonso for example told on the team radio that he considered the conditions too dangerous. Nevertheless, the conditions were same for everybody. Even driving on the full wets couldn´t help the drivers aquaplaning... I have to admit that I hugely admire all the drivers for their courage and skills to drive in such conditions! When it´s raining heavily I´m absolutely terrified to drive even 80 km/h but these guys go as fast as 290 km/h... Wow, that´s absolutely not something that everyone can do!

Alonso managed to do a clean lap and conquered pole today. He pitted at the end of Q3 and made his last run on the fresh set of tyres which turned out to be the right call today. Vettel put up a good fight but he ended up second as his last attempt wasn´t clean. His team-mate Webber qualified 3rd today but he will be dropped in P8 due to a gear-box change. The Australian isn´t the only driver to suffer from a five-place grid penalty as also Rosberg and Grosjean have got similar penalties. Also Perez in P12 got a 5-place grid penalty due to blocking both Kimi and Alonso during Q2.

The McLarens seemed to lose performance in wet conditions. Button qualified in P6 followed by his team-mate Hamilton in P7. Lotus´s performance in Q3 was also a huge disappointment as Kimi qualified in P10 being 5 seconds slower than Alonso! Can´t help wondering what happened after the outstanding Q1! Just hoping it´s going to be a dry race tomorrow so that we´ll all see what the Iceman is really capable of...! I´m sure Kimi will show us some brilliant overtaking :)