Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

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!