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!