Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

perjantai 20. joulukuuta 2013

Infiniti Red Bull Racing: Let the dominance continue!

Infiniti Red Bull Racing´s year 2013 was purely miraculous. By the end of the season Sebastian Vettel had clinched his 4th WDC with 13 wins. Vettel´s points alone would have been enough for securing the WCC!

Winds of change will blow in 2014 in terms of the technical regulations. 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged engines will replace the current V8 engines. The nose of the car will also be lower next year, which has caused a lot of speculation about ugly-looking cars. But Infiniti Red Bull Racing will be capable of getting the most out of the RB10 no matter what the regulations will be. No challenge is too huge to handle or no obstacle is too difficult to overcome. That´s what makes the team world champions!

Vettel behind the wheel always makes magic on track! He´s down-to-Earth and doesn´t take success for granted. He has a neverending competitive instinct and he wants to outperform his teammate, also Daniel Ricciardo, who will partner him next year. Like Sebastian quoted Kimi Räikkönen at Abu Dhabi GP: "Leave me alone, I know what I´m doing!" Let the hunt for the 5th world titles begin!

sunnuntai 24. marraskuuta 2013

Brazilian GP: A record-breaking race for Sebastian!

So now the fact has to be faced: the season 2013 is officially over! All 19 races have been completed and the world championship was secured by Sebastian Vettel already in India a long time ago... Knowing it was the last race of the season at hand, I focused on enjoying the race today as much as I could.

The start was surprising. Sebastian on pole got a poor start, which really isn´t typical of the German. Rosberg stole the lead from Sebastian and Mercedes´s Hamilton starting from P5 stormed to P3. Bottas in his Williams got an excellent start and the Finn made his way from P13 up to P10. Heikki Kovalainen on the other hand had another lousy start and lost 4 positions right away. I have to admit I really hoped that Heikki would have done better than that... But I´m sure he did the best he could at that moment and you can´t ask for anything more.

Sebastian didn´t want to settle for P2. Already before the opening lap had been completed, the German had made his way past Rosberg and took the lead back! Alonso in his Ferrari also managed to overtake Hamilton and made his way up to 3rd. On lap 4 Alonso kept storming: the Spaniard moved past Rosberg and was already 2nd in the race! This was a fatal lap for Grosjean at the wheel of his E21: the Frenchman faced an engine failure and his race was over.

Rosberg in his Mercedes seemed to be struggling with his pace. Webber got past him as well and in no time Hamilton was right in Rosberg´s tail. Soon Hamilton passed his team-mate, who had been told on the team radio not to hold up his team-mate. Webber, who was driving the last race of his F1 career seemed to be flying and the Australian could match Sebastian´s lap times. Webber challenged Alonso for the second place and managed to overtake the Ferrari driver. Once again it looked like Red Bull dominance indeed.

By lap 24 all top drivers had pitted for a fresh set of tyres. We saw different tyre strategies: Alonso and Rosberg switched to hard tyres whilst the Red Bull duo continued with the softer compound. Alonso had got past Webber during the first pit stops but instantly after the pit stop Webber took his position back. Massa was driving an excellent farewell race for Ferrari and the Brazilian was already in P4 until he was handed a drive-through penalty for crossing the white line at the pit entry! That ruined Massa´s fantastic race.

Lap 47 was very unlucky for the Finnish Williams driver. Bottas got hit by Hamilton, which caused the rear-left tyre of Bottas´s car to come away. Hamilton got a puncture due to the collision but he managed to make his way in to the pits. A moment later also Hamilton was handed a drive-through penalty for causing a collision. Such a shame that Bottas´s race was over, I believe he could have fought for points today.

I had a strong feeling yesterday that Sebastian was going to take the 9th consecutive win and I was soooo right! Sebastian drove to the chequered flag as the winner and his team-mate Webber finished 2nd some 10 seconds behind. Alonso finished 3rd. McLaren had an impressive race as Button finished 4th and Perez 6th! Both of the McLaren drivers started to the race from the midfield so excellent performance from both of them. Rosberg split the McLaren duo in P5. Massa finished 7th, Hulkenberg 8th, Hamilton 9th and Ricciardo 10th. Against all odds there was no actual rain at Interlagos today! Only a few drops but no need for the intermediate tyres at any point.

The end of the race was emotional. Sebastian continued his tradition and made some doughnuts after clinching his win. His team-mate Webber on the other hand took off his helmet and just enjoyed the last moments of driving an F1 car! New challenges await next season: Webber continues his racing career as a Porsche driver and the young and talented Daniel Ricciardo will partner Sebastian at Red Bull next year. A huge thanks to Mark Webber for a staggering career in F1 and all the very best for the future, what ever it brings!

I feel so empty! The season is over, which means no blog posts for a while :´( I´m kind of addicted to writing my thoughts on Formula 1 (if I had a chance I would do this for a living!) so I´ll face some serious withdrawal symptoms sooner or later ;) Unless I accidentally come across Sebastian Vettel in the street, which would give me an urgent need to write down my thoughts, hahaha! ;D Next season means a wind of change. I dream of a possibility to go and watch the winter tests either at Jerez or at Bahrain but at the moment it doesn´t look very realistic that it could actually come true. But you always have to have dreams... especially Formula 1 related dreams :D

I don´t know how many people have actually been reading my blog this year but huge thanks for everyone for following! I´ll be back whenever there´s anything interesting to write about Formula 1.... Luckily there always seems to be something coming up! ;D

lauantai 23. marraskuuta 2013

Brazilian GP / Qualifying: Sebastian was the star of the rain-soaked qualifying!

Now it has to be acknowledged: it is the final GP weekend of the season! I´m feeling so bittersweet, I wouldn´t want the season to end! This season has gone so fast, too fast indeed. And I am ill at the moment, which doesn´t make me feel any better. I´m, however, so so happy that Formula 1 racing is there to cheer me up!

The track was wet when the qualifying got underway. The weather has been more or less rainy the whole weekend so far: drizzle, light rain, heavy rain, you name it! In Q1 everyone headed out straight away with the intermediate tyres. With about ten minutes in the clock the rain started to get heavier. Hamilton was the fastest man in the first session whilst Maldonado and Gutierrez were the first ones to be knocked out of Q2. So another failure for Maldonado, not too impressive work from the Venezuelan, who´s fighting for a seat for 2014! Heikki seemed to be doing good job at the wheel of his E21 being 5th fastest. The Finnish Williams driver Valtteri Bottas also made his way easily in to Q2 taking P12 in the standings.

The qualifying continued in wet conditions. Everyone started to the second session again with the intermediate tyres. It started to rain heavily at the end of the session and McLaren´s Perez lost the control of his car on his last attempt and crashed to the wall. Luckily the Mexican walked away unharmed in spite of the nasty-looking accident. Grosjean surprised everybody being the fastest man on track in Q2! In spite of his impressive drive in Q1 Heikki didn´t manage to make it among the top ten but was the fast man to be out of the final session! Such a shame as Grosjean showed what a huge potential there was in the E21. But that´s what motor racing is like: sometimes you succeed, sometimes you face disappointments. Heikki just didn´t manage to get everything right on his flying laps. Bottas was also out of Q3 but P13 is still a decent grid position. I mean Williams have had many poorer grid slots during the season.

Q3 was initially delayed with 10 minutes due to Perez´s crash. At the same time the intensity of the rain got higher and higher which lead to further delays due to the volume of water on the track. After the 40-minute delay the final session finally got underway. All the drivers started to the session with full-wets but they soon pitted for intermediate tyres. In the rain-soaked qualifying there was no doubt of the fastest man on track. Once again Sebastian Vettel was simply in a class of his own and claimed pole with a 6-tenth gap over Rosberg, who became 2nd! Alonso in his Ferrari qualified 3rd and showed that in wet conditions Ferrari´s pace and performance is impressive. Webber, who drove the last qualifying session of his Formula 1 career, qualified 4th, Hamilton 5th, Grosjean 6th, Ricciardo 7th, Vergne 8th, Massa 9th and Hulkenberg 10th.

It still amazes me how genuinely surprised and happy Sebastian seems every time after snatching pole or winning a race. Today on the team radio he called it incredible that he had taken pole. Doing that so often that this young man has done this season it actually can´t be considered so incredible. But these comments show how down-to-earth Sebastian really is and how he hasn´t let the incredible success carry him away. I appreciate and admire his humble attitude and I hope that he always manages to keep away from the arrogant cocky attitude. It´s so unbelievable what this man does on the track. No matter whether it´s dry or wet, this German makes magic on the track! I hope Sebastian will come to Finland to attend some racing event one day so that we´d see how he does on snow and ice! ;) Tomorrow it´ll be the 9th win in a row for him, I expect nothing more, nothing less! I want to see those doughnuts again - for the one final time this year!

maanantai 18. marraskuuta 2013

United States GP: Magical Sebastian made it 8th in a row!

I came home from a burlesque class yesterday evening and sat down on the coach to enjoy the Formula 1 entertainment. My expectations were very high in terms of the race. There turned out to be some magic happening on the Texan soil but in some regard the race could have been more eventful.

No surprises at the start really: Sebastian maintained his lead whilst his team-mate Webber got another poor start -again! I don´t know if the problem is related to the clutch of his RB9 or the man himself but poor starts have been extremely typical of Webber this season. Grosjean at the wheel of his E21 took immediately advantage of Webber´s lousy start and stormed to 2nd. Also Hamilton starting from P4 managed to overtake the Australian. Bottas in his FW35 had a very good start and managed to get past his fellow countryman Heikki Kovalainen, who lost two positions right away.

Adrian Sutil in his Force India crashed to the barrier on the opening lap, which caused the safety car to come out. By that time Heikki had already dropped back to P12. The Finn had problems both with KERS and his front wing. After the safety car had come in Sebastian started doing what he´s best at: building a gap to his rivals tenth by tenth and second by second. At this stage there seemed to be evolving a slightly boring race.

The top drivers pitted only once so there were actually no different strategies to spice up the race. After the pit stops the situation was unchanged: Sebastian had the lead firmly in his skillful hands, Grosjean was still 2nd, Webber 3rd and Hamilton 4th. On lap 33 Heikki had to pit for a new front wing, which cost him dearly and he dropped far back to P17! It was very frustrating to watch as it meant no points for Heikki at Austin no matter how desperately Lotus needed all the points they could possibly get!

On lap 35 we saw the absolutely most staggering overtaking move of the entire race when Bottas overtook Sauber´s Gutierrez and made his way up to 8th. Bottas was clearly on fire yesterday: the Finn was determined to show the whole F1 world what he was capable of! Lap by lap it became more obvious that Bottas was going to score his first championship points on the US soil!

On the closing laps there was a tight battle between Grosjean and Webber for the second place but no matter how close to the Frenchman Webber managed to get, there was never a real possibility for an overtaking move. Sebastian won the race with a 10-second gap over Grosjean. This was 8th win in a row for Sebastian Vettel and the 12th win of the season! The statistics are crushing. It´s extremely touching to see how utterly happy winning still makes Sebastian. It seems the German really appreciates his achievements and doesn´t take them for granted in spite of the incredible success! Sebastian has put up a new tradition of making doughnuts after winning and it was such a pleasure to see him doing that at Austin as well. Sebastian clearly cherishes every moment of this unbelievable fairy tale which he´s experiencing with his team this season. I´ve always loved the fact about Sebastian that he has his feet firmly on the ground: he knows this success story will come to an end sooner or later. It doesn´t go on forever and he really enjoys the momentum and is extremely thankful for all the hard work that Red Bull Racing have done to make this success possible. Sebastian´s message on the team radio was so touching :´)

I got so carried away with these emotions caused by Sebastian´s victory that I forgot to tell the final results of the United States GP. Hamilton finished 4th, Alonso 5th, Hulkenberg 6th, Perez 7th, BOTTAS 8th, Rosberg 9th and Button 10th. I was so happy for Valtteri Bottas! It finally seems that Williams have been able to make a leap forward and Bottas was definitely getting the maximum out of his car. Can´t wait for Interlagos, which will be the final race of the season! I´m already feeling so so bittersweet that the F1 season is coming to an end... But luckily there´s still one more race to enjoy! :D

sunnuntai 17. marraskuuta 2013

United States GP / Qualifying: the Bulls were uncatchable!

I woke up to a stormy morning here in Southern Finland. An autumn storm with high wind had arrived. That meant only one thing: a power cut! The electricity was out for almost two hours but luckily the problem was fixed and the power is back now! I started to get worried because the F1 race will be on this evening... And a power cut during an F1 race would be a total catastrophy!

The conditions at Austin were also very windy and tricky yesterday when the qualifying got underway. In Q1 the first fast laps were set with the hard tyres. Except for Red Bulls who came out at the end of the first session and did their runs with the medium tyres. What was absolutely amazing about the Q1 was the fact that Valtteri Bottas at the wheel of his FW35 was the fastest man on the track! The tricky conditions and the slippery track seemed to suit the Finn just perfectly! It was utterly delightful to see how the FW35 seemed to be a whole new car on the US soil - at least in the hands of the flying Finn! His team-mate Maldonado didn´t make it in to Q2 but qualified 18th. The Venezuelan was unlucky because he was impeded twice on his attempts. Gutierrez in his Sauber was handed a 10-place grid penalty for impeding Maldonado and Marussia´s Chilton got a drive-through penalty for the race for the same reason. But in spite of these impeding incidents, Bottas´s driving just seemed to be on a whole different level compared to his team-mate´s...! Very impressive drive from Bottas indeed!

Valtteri Bottas carried on his excellent pace also in Q2. The Finn was 4th fastest in the second session! Sebastian at the wheel of his RB9 topped the time sheets which can be considered no surprise ;) Surprisingly there were many top drivers who were out of Q3. Rosberg didn´t manage to make it higher than P14 and Massa qualified 15th. Also Button was out of Q3 qualifying in P13. The track conditions had changed from the morning´s free practice and almost everybody seemed to be struggling with their cars... Except Bottas in his Williams! :D (And the Red Bull duo). Heikki Kovalainen who replaced Kimi Räikkönen at Lotus due to Kimi´s back operation, seemed to have adapted to the new car immediately. Heikki was the last driver to complete the top ten and made his way to the final session! The Finn´s pace in the free practice sessions had been very promising. It clearly seemed that Lotus had made the right choice by choosing Heikki to replace Kimi for the two remaining races of the season!

This time it really seemed that Webber could seriously challenge the reigning world champion for pole at Austin. Webber drove a perfect-looking lap and took the initial pole. On the last attempt Sebastian was two tenths down on Webber in the first sector but guess what?!? Sebastian still managed to grab the pole for himself! I can´t help wondering how he manages to pull out the perfect magical lap every time! His driving was once again purely miraculous! Webber had to settle for P2 once again. Grosjean at the wheel of his E21 qualified 3rd and Hulkenberg 4th, so excellent performance from these two guys. Hamilton was 5th, Alonso 6th, Perez 7th, Kovalainen 8th, Bottas 9th and Gutierrez 10th (the Mexican was dropped to P20 due to his penalty). Red Bull´s pace was crushing: Grosjean was 8 tenths off Sebastian´s pace! Heikki´s performance can be considered a success: it seems that Heikki hasn´t had any difficulties whatsoever to adapt to his new car! You could easily mistake thinking that Heikki has been driving the E21 the whole season... Maybe using Kimi´s underwear has brought some extra luck for the other flying Finn, hahaha :D:D

I can´t wait for tonight´s race! I´m expecting Sebastian to take a sweeping victory if there won´t be any technical worries. I´m convinced that Heikki at the wheel of the E21 is capable of making great things happen... I hope the conditions will remain tricky as it clearly makes Bottas fly! So in spite of the fact that I miss seeing Kimi on the track I´m sure Heikki is the best man to replace the Iceman! First when I heard the news that Kimi will miss the last two remaining races of the season I felt so hollow somehow but now I couldn´t be any more excited about tonight´s race! I hope Kimi will have a speedy recovery and I´m sure Heikki will make sure that Kimi doesn´t need to feel ashamed of the performance of his fellow countryman :)

P.S. Williams has announced their driver line-up for 2014: Massa will partner Valtteri Bottas next year. Kevin Magnussen will replace Perez at McLaren. There´re rumours that Maldonado will move to Lotus next year and Hulkenberg´s team for next year is still to be announced... Perez´s future in F1 still seems uncertain.

sunnuntai 3. marraskuuta 2013

Abu Dhabi GP: "Yea, yea, yea, I know what I´m doing!"

Yesterday I had been so delighted because of Kimi´s 5th grid slot. Late in the evening everything, however, turned upside down. Kimi´s car failed the floor deflection test after the qualifying and Kimi was excluded from the qualifying. Suddenly P5 had turned into P22 on the grid! However, I didn´t let that setback depress me as I knew Kimi was the man who could be capable of making miracles. Also Sebastian started to the Abu Dhabi GP from the pit lane last year and the German managed to make it on the podium! I trusted Kimi could turn the setback into success.

Unfortunately the race proved otherwise. Once again Webber didn´t manage to take a good start and his team-mate Sebastian stormed to the lead. Also Rosberg in his Mercedes managed to overtake the Australian, who lost two positions right at the very start. Kimi´s race was over before it even started: the Iceman collided with Caterham´s Van Der Garde and although their cars touched pretty gently the contact broke the steering of Kimi´s car. What a huge disappointment! I had been so prepared to see an astonishing amount of classy overtaking by the Iceman so it was appalling to see the Finn retire already in turn 2.

Right from the very first laps there was absolutely no doubt of the fastest man on the track. There was no way that Rosberg could match Sebastian´s pace and Sebastian was increasing the gap about a second per lap. By lap 15 when Sebastian pitted for the first time the gap between him and Massa (who was 2nd at that point) was about 24 seconds, which meant that after the pit stop Sebastian rejoined the track in the lead!

On lap 30 Sebastian already had a 30-second gap over his closest rival Mark Webber! Rosberg was about 3 seconds behind Webber. On lap 45 Alonso came in for his second pit stop. The Spaniard was about to crash to Vergne in his Toro Rosso when overtaking him. Alonso left the track to avoid hitting Vergne and his Ferrari made a couple of nasty-looking jumps. The situation was under the investigation by the stewards but Alonso didn´t get penalised because according to the stewards there was no place to go for Alonso.

Sebastian drove to the chequered flag in world champion style: the unstoppable German won Abu Dhabi GP with a 30-second gap over his team-mate! This was already 7th consecutive win for Sebastian and the 11th win of the season! The man is so much better than any words can tell, what a superior drive from the four-time world champion! Webber made it a 1-2 for Red Bull. Rosberg finished "best of the rest" completing the podium. Grosjean was 4th, Alonso 5th, Di Resta 6th, Hamilton 7th, Massa 8th, Perez 9th and Sutil 10th.

Sebastian definitely knows how to have fun and how to entertain his fans! In spite of the personal reprimand and the 25 000-euro fine handed for the team due to making doughnuts in India the German decided to do that again in Abu Dhabi! This time he was told on the team radio to bring the car immediately back to parc ferme. Team principal Horner also said on the team radio that this time Sebastian would have to pay the fine himself. Sebastian responded to that by saying: "Let me quote yea, yea, yea I know what I´m doing!" So Sebastian quoted the legendary sentence by Kimi in last year´s Abu Dhabi GP :D I love Sebastian´s sense of humour and the way he behaves in a naughty way in this regard! He definitely knows how to celebrate his flawless victories in style!

I was a bit concerned before the race. The world championship had been secured by Sebastian only a week earlier so I was uncertain if this race could "feel the same" anymore. I was sooo wrong! This has been a truly emotional day once again. I´ve been feeling a bit down this weekend but it´s utterly incredible how this one exceptional driver can always make my day. It´s incomprehensible how this man makes me feel just by driving his car in an incredible way. There´s no words to describe that. Sometimes I wonder how this is even possible. The man whom I don´t know makes me feel these amazing things just by driving a car... Wow to that! This is one of the unique experiences in life :D

lauantai 2. marraskuuta 2013

Abu Dhabi GP / Qualifying: The newly crowned world champion was beaten by his team-mate!

It felt somehow odd that this weekend it was also time for some Formula 1 action - only week after the both world championship titles had been secured by Red Bull Racing. But even the thought of the Abu Dhabi GP weekend is always mesmerising: the venue is so glamorous and beautiful. In the dark night of Abu Dhabi and under the artificial lights the Formula 1 cars are definitely at their very best!

When Q1 got underway the sun was still shining. In Q1 the first runs were made on the medium tyres. The Red Bull drivers didn´t come out until there were only 7 minutes left in the clock and both Webber and Vettel had the soft tyres on. Williams had brought a new exhaust system for the Abu Dhabi GP weekend and on the basis what we had seen in the free practice sessions Williams had really taken a leap forward. Actually Maldonado was 4th fastest in the first session, which was pretty impressive. Bottas qualified in P15 and also made his way in to Q2. Sauber´s Gutierrez was the first man to be knocked out of the second session.

Q2 was driven at sunset which looked amazing even on TV. I wish I had a chance to witness that live one day! There´s something absolutely romantic about the sight of the huge orange-coloured sun setting and the night becoming darker and darker. In this romantic-looking venue the Mercedes drivers were the fastest men on track, which was a bit surprising. Rosberg topped the time sheets and his team-mate Hamilton was right behind the German. There was also another surprise in terms of Q2. Alonso in his Ferrari didn´t make it among the top ten but was the first man to be eliminated from Q3! His team-mate Massa made it barely in to the final session by being 10th fastest. Perez in his McLaren made it among the ten fastest whilst his team-mate Button was only 12th fastest and his qualifying was over. In spite of Williams´s good looking pace in the first session Maldonado didn´t manage to make it higher than P15 and was followed by his team-mate Bottas in P16.

The darkness had fallen when the final and decisive session started. Under the artificial lights of the Yas Marina Circuit it was time to fight for pole. After the first runs Sebastian had a grasp on the provisional pole. But this time the first fastest lap wasn´t enough. Webber managed to pull out a perfect lap and conquered the pole with only a tenth of a second separating him and the newly crowned world champion Sebastian Vettel! Hamilton spun on his last attempt and was beaten by his team-mate Rosberg, who qualified 3rd. The pecking order was clear: Red Bull conquered the front row and Mercedes got a second row lock-out. This time Kimi also made two runs in Q3 and the Iceman managed to snatch P5 today and beat his team-mate Grosjean. Hulkenberg in his Sauber made an excellent job by being 6th fastest. Grosjean was 7th, Massa 8th, Perez 9th and Ricciardo 10th.

Tomorrow´s race will be interesting indeed. Kimi won at the Yas Marina Circuit last year and the Finn has every opportunity to make it on the podium tomorrow! I really hope from the bottom of my heart that Kimi will get a superb result in the race as the Iceman has faced so many setbacks in terms of his relationship with the team. Only a few days ago it was still uncertain if Kimi would even show up in Abu Dhabi. Kimi told in the interview yesterday that he still hasn´t been paid by the team! Lotus owes him something like 15 million euros, which means that Kimi has paid for all the travelling himself. There is a risk that Kimi won´t participate in the two remaining races after Abu Dhabi if he doesn´t get the payments. Which is more than understandable, you have to draw the line somewhere! There isn´t a question about Kimi´s desire and passion for racing as he has been racing the whole season without getting paid for his job! I do hope that Lotus will fix this as I really want to see Kimi in the USA and Brazil as well! And the clash with Alan Permane at India certainly didn´t help! If you don´t get paid for the job and in addition to that you´re treated in a disgraceful way it´s a lousy combination.

Although I hope to see Sebastian winning the race tomorrow I do hope that Mark won´t face any reliability issues with his RB9. The Australian has faced so many setbacks in terms of the reliability of his car that he really deserves to get a decent result. Lotus´s race pace looks promising so I trust that Kimi will be up there to challenge the Red Bulls for the victory!

There has become a tradition that I bake a cake for my colleagues every time Sebastian Vettel wins the world championship in F1 so this is already my 4th consecutive championship cake! Some people say I´m nuts ;) Crazy about Formula 1 indeed!

sunnuntai 27. lokakuuta 2013

Indian GP: The race of overwhelming emotions!

I was sitting in my sister´s car heading home from the spa hotel when the lights went out at the Buddh International Circuit. I was feeling sooo restless. I knew Sebastian was out there driving and I had absolutely no idea of the things happening on the track as I wasn´t there to watch the race live on TV. A lot of things were going through my mind... A thought of Sebastian clinching his fourth world championship without seeing it happening felt really uncomfortable to me. And then... When I jumped in my own car and started heading home, the pilot lamp warning of an engine issue suddenly lit and I had to park my car on a bus stop by the road! Luckily my husband came to "rescue" me and I got home in time to see the replay of the race...!

Well, what can I say about today´s race? Actually I have only a fuzzy vision of the race in my mind. I don´t really remember what happened at the start, who was on which strategy and who raced who... The overwhelming wave of emotions is the strongest aspect in my mind right now. And that´s because Sebastian Vettel won the Indian Grand Prix for the third time in a row and he did that in style! And what makes the emotions even stronger is the fact that Sebastian secured his 4th consecutive world championship in India today!

But let´s go back to the details of the race. Now I´m concentrating really hard not to let the emotions disturb my focus on the things that happened on the track today. Sebastian kept his lead at the start. Massa got a superb start and jumped second. Webber drove over the kerb and slightly lost the control of his car which caused him hitting first Kimi´s Lotus and then Alonso´s Ferrari. Luckily Kimi got away unharmed but Alonso´s front wing got damaged and the Spaniard dropped down to P10 and had to pit for a new front wing.

Sebastian pitted already on the second lap for the prime tyres. Kimi had his first pit stop on lap 8 and the Iceman had a few seconds´ delay because Lotus crew had to check Kimi´s car for possible damages due to the collision with Webber on the opening lap. On lap 18 Webber was leading the race and McLaren´s Perez was second. Neither one of them had pitted because they both had started to the race with the hard tyres.

After the second pit stops Sebastian was leading the race and his team-mate Webber was some 10 seconds behind the German. By lap 38 Kimi, who had pitted only once, had benefitted from his rivals´ pit stops and the Iceman was already in P3! Lotus had changed Kimi´s strategy and they were convinced that Kimi could go to the end with the same hard tyres which had been changed already at the beginning of the race. Kimi´s team-mate Grosjean shared a similar pit stop strategy, except the fact that the Frenchman´s tyres were 6 laps fresher than Kimi´s.

On lap 40 something totally absurd and unexpected happened. Webber was hit by an alternator failure and he had to stop his car on the track! The Australian couldn´t believe his ears when the engineer told him on the team radio to stop the car immediately. And this wasn´t the first time when Red Bull had issues with the alternator! It´s odd that it usually always hits Webber´s car... But Red Bull were very concerned about the reliability of Vettel´s RB9 as well!

Sebastian had a 25-second gap over his closest opponent who was Kimi in P2. Rosberg was 3rd and he was decreasing the gap to Kimi whose tyres were gone. Unfortunately there was no way Kimi could prevent Rosberg from overtaking him! The inevitable happened when there were 8 laps to go. There was nothing left of Kimi´s tyres and his lap times were lousy. Grosjean was right at Kimi´s tail and Kimi didn´t make it easy for his team-mate to make the overtaking move. We didn´t hear the discussion between Kimi and Alan Permane on the team radio but the Finnish F1 commentator Oskari Saari told that some swearing words had been used in the conversation. Permane had told Kimi in a firm voice to "Get out of the f*cking way", to which Kimi had replied: "Don´t f*cking shout". So soon there might be T-shirts for sale with that text on ... ;) Unfortunately that wasn´t the last position which Kimi lost due to the failed tactical call. Also Perez and Hamilton managed to get past the Iceman whose tyres had died completely and who had to pit for the second time at the end of the race. In spite of some reliability concerns (why Sebastian was told not to use his drinks bottle for example) Sebastian drove to the chequered flag as a race winner and 4-time world champion! And just for the celebration the German did some stunning donuts in front of the grand stand :D Rosberg finished 2nd, Grosjean 3rd, Massa 4th, Perez 5th, Hamilton 6th, Kimi finally 7th, Di Resta 8th, Sutil 9th and Ricciardo 10th. Alonso didn´t manage to finish the race on points.

Sebastian himself was emotional and speechless after the race. It´s absolutely amazing what this young German has just achieved. 4 championship titles in only 117 race starts! That´s unique. For his team-mate Webber it took 130 race starts to clinch his first win! 10 wins this season so far for Sebastian. The statistics don´t lie: you have to be exceptionally talented and motivated to achieve things that Sebastian has achieved in spite of his young age. I´m trying to find words to describe the feelings I´m going through at the moment... And once again I miserably fail! You could assume that it would become easier over the years to deal with these emotions as this is the 4th time already that Sebastian won the world championship. But believe me: it doesn´t! And if the trend of the previous three years continues, I won´t get too much sleep tonight! That man is so amazing... Out of reach of any proper words! I simply loved to watch how Sebastian did the donuts on the track and how he bowed in front of his championship-winning car. Legendary moments!

All the warmest congratulations for Super Sebastian for the incredible achievement! You made my day, no matter of the fact that I shared Webber´s fate on the road today, hahaha ;)

lauantai 26. lokakuuta 2013

Indian GP / Qualifying: 3rd pole in-a-row at India for Seb!

This has been an absolutely perfect Saturday! My morning began with watching three hours of Formula 1 action and after those entertaining hours I headed to a spa hotel with my twin sister. I'm sitting in our hotel room at the moment. Before going to a restaurant having something to eat I've just enough time to write a few words on today's qualifying :-)

The majority of the drivers started to the first session with the medium tyres. What was interesting to see was that many drivers, like Nico Rosberg didn't even try to avoid getting all four wheels off track! The stewards didn't give any reprimands on that action, which I found very peculiar indeed. On the other hand some other top drivers like Kimi at the wheel of his Lotus seemed to pay attention to his driving at the corners to keep at least one wheel inside the track lines.  Vettel in his RB9 set his fastest lap time with the primes and made his way easily in to the Q2. Grosjean at the wheel of his E21 made a similar tyre choice, which turned out to be a wrong call! The Frenchman was the first one to be knocked out of Q2! What a mistake by the driver and the team! If I'm asked, I would say that Grosjean's decision seemed a bit arrogant move: Red Bull can afford making decisions like that but not any other team at the moment! Once again I was delighted to see Bottas in his Williams making his way through to the Q2 whilst his team-mate Maldonado qualified 18th and was out of the second session.

Q2 didn't hold any major surprises. A slight surprise though was to see McLaren's Button topping the timesheets in Q2. Kimi's performance made me extremely happy as well. The Iceman managed to set a 4th fastest lap time. I was confident that after many tricky GP weekends Kimi could finally succeed in the qualifying! Both Toro Rossos were out of the final session as well as the both Force India drivers. Bottas qualified in P15 right ahead of Sauber's Gutierrez.

In Q3 we saw different tyre strategies. Webber, Alonso and Button made their first run with the medium tyres whilst Vettel, Hamilton and Rosberg started to the decisive final session with the option tyres. Once again Kimi made only one attempt with the softer compound. Q3 was pretty much business as usual: Sebastian was utterly phenomenal and totally flawless! The German snatched pole at the Buddh International Circuit for the 3rd time in-a-row! Rosberg completed the front row and his team-mate Hamilton qualified 3rd. Webber was 4th fastest with the prime tyres. Massa was 5th, Kimi 6th and Hulkenberg 7th. The last three of the top ten also set their fastest lap times with the primes: Alonso 8th, Perez 9th and Button 10th.

Tomorrow's race will be nerve-wrecking! Sebastian definitely has a convincing history on the soil of India: two races, two pole positions and two victories. And this man needs only 5th place in the race go secure his fourth drivers' championship! The different tyre choices will make the race extremely interesting. The soft tyres will only last about ten laps before they get blistered... And let's see if the stewards interfere with leaving the track with all four  wheels. It certainly benefits some drivers! And what will Kimi be capable of tomorrow? P6 gives a lot of hope. But he mustn't get stuck behind Webber, who has the hard tyres! An impressive start is needed as well.

I actually won't see the race live because I'm coming back home a bit later. I'm gutted if I don't see Sebastian clinching his title live... But I'll definitely watch the race when I get home! Meanwhile here at the spa hotel... I'll have a glass (or two...) of vanilla cognac just to wish good luck for my two favourite drivers, hahaha ;-)

sunnuntai 13. lokakuuta 2013

Japanese GP: 5th win in-a-row for Sebastian!

Once again: what a race! Unexpected things happened already at the start. Both Red Bulls got a lousy start and Grosjean from P4 was able to storm to the lead! Hamilton jumped second but in the first corner Vettel´s front wing touched Hamilton´s rear tyre causing a puncture for the Briton. Hamilton had to come to the pits for a tyre change. Only a few laps later he had to retire due to high brake temperatures. Kimi had a poor start as well and the Iceman lost two positions and dropped to P11.

During the first pit stops Rosberg was released unsafely from the pits and the German nearly crashed to Perez, who was coming in for his pit stop. Rosberg was handed a drive-through penalty due to this incident, which didn´t make Mercedes´s day any brighter. After the first pit stops Grosjean was still leading the race, Webber was second and Vettel third. Kimi had made his way through to P7.

Webber came for his second pit stop already on lap 26. Meanwhile his team-mate Sebastian was furiously catching Grosjean in the lead. When Grosjean pitted a few laps later, Sebastian at the wheel of his RB9 took the lead. More drive-through penalties were handed. Ricciardo in his Toro Rosso was handed one due to leaving track when overtaking Di Resta. Massa also got one for speeding in the pit lane. Massa´s penalty benefitted Kimi, who gained one position this way.

After the second pit stop Sebastian rejoined the track in P3 behind Webber and Grosjean. On lap 41 Sebastian made a dashing overtaking move on Grosjean and got past the French Lotus driver! Only a couple of laps later Webber had to pit for the third time so Sebastian took the lead again. So the Red Bull drivers had a different strategy: two stops for Sebastian while Webber had a three-stop strategy.

At the end of the race Perez and Rosberg got involved with another incident. Perez blocked Rosberg´s line in the braking, which caused Rosberg hitting Perez´s rear tyre. Perez got a puncture and had to pit for a tyre change. On the second last lap Webber finally managed to overtake Grosjean and made his way up to P2. Kimi also made a spectacular move on Hulkenberg on the same lap and got past the German! That was definitely the most awesome pass of the whole Japanese GP! So 1-2 for Red Bull, Grosjean 3rd, Alonso 4th, Kimi 5th, Hulkenberg 6th, Gutierrez 7th (a great race from the Mexican!), Rosberg 8th (after all the incidents...), Button 9th and Massa 10th. On the final lap Maldonado made a questionable pass on his Finnish team-mate at the last chicane and claimed P16.

However, in spite of the 5th win in-a-row Sebastian didn´t clinch his 4th WDC at Suzuka. There´re now 90 points separating Sebastian and Alonso in the championship standings so 5th place in India is enough for Sebastian to clinch the title in a fortnight. This season really seems to be going from win to win for Sebastian! Still this young man keeps amazing me every time he does that! It´s so difficult to describe what kind of a feeling I´m having after this kind of a race. But it´s definitely one of the very best feelings in life: pure happiness. After the race I headed for a zumba marathon arranged by my twin sister and I utterly loved to dance. This is one of those days that I feel so so extremely happy! My birthday is tomorrow and Sebastian couldn´t possibly have given me any more perfect birthday present ;D

lauantai 12. lokakuuta 2013

Japanese GP / Qualifying: Webber beat Vettel to Suzuka pole!

I´ve had a lot of stress at work this week so I was extremely glad that the week was coming to an end and it was time for thrilling Formula 1 action again. In spite of the early wakeup all the tiredness was gone by the time qualifying got underway!

These Asian venues seem to involve dramatic events this year. Last week at Korea there were flames, sparks and exploding tyres. This trend seems to be continuing in Japan this weekend. Already in the free practice sessions we´ve seen a lot of crashes and in Q1 there was a dramatic moment when Gutierrez´s car in Sauber´s garage was suddenly on fire! The flames were spectacularly big and Gutierrez rushed out of his car. I just read fuel vapour was the cause of the dramatic fire. The car wasn´t damaged, however, so Gutierrez could continue his driving soon after the incident! Toro Rosso´s Vergne also had to stop his car on track due to the car catching fire! So what a dramatic Saturday under the Japanese sun!

But let´s get back to what happened on the track in Q1. Grosjean set the fastest lap time, which gave me hope that Lotus would be up there to fight for the top three grid slots. Bottas in his Williams made a magnificent job by being 12th fastest in the first session! His team-mate Maldonado also made it in to Q2. Sutil in his Force India was the first man to be knocked out of Q2 this time.

In Q2 some of the top drivers made their first run on the hard tyres but changed to the medium tyres at the end of the session. Bottas drove an excellent second session and outqualified his team-mate. Bottas will start to the race from P13 whilst Maldonado will be right behind him in P15. Q2 was pretty much business as usual: the top ten consisted of the two Red Bulls, Mercedes duo, the two Ferraris, both Lotus drivers, Sauber´s Hulkenberg and Button in his McLaren.

Sebastian had suffered from a KERS problem already in the third practice session in the morning and the problem hit him again when Q3 got underway. Sebastian pulled out a very decent lap but without KERS it wasn´t enough for clinching the pole! Webber beat his team-mate in qualifying for the very first time this season! Hamilton qualified 3rd, Grosjean 4th, Massa 5th, Rosberg 6th, Hulkenberg 7th, Alonso 8th, Kimi 9th and Button 10th. Hulkenberg´s achievement is impressive once again. Considering Sauber´s performance so far this season, it´s impressive that Hulkenberg can outqualify drivers like Kimi and Alonso! I was really hoping to see more from Kimi. P9 puts the Iceman in to a difficult position on the grid though Kimi is the one who makes the miracles when the lights go out. And as we´ve seen before, even P17 on the grid can´t necessarily stop Kimi from winning the race...! The grid slot may be an obstacle but it doesn´t mean Kimi wouldn´t be capable of winning the race. That´s simply how it is :D

In the post-race press conference Webber stated that the pole felt hollow because Seb had been hit by the technical issues. That sounded like Webber would have known that he had absolutely no chance to take pole in "normal circumstances". And taking into account the number of the lousy starts that the Australian has had this year, I don´t see he has any chance to hold Sebastian back at the start tomorrow! The most interesting question is: will Sebastian be able to secure the 4th consecutive WDC tomorrow? It means Seb has to win the race and Alonso mustn´t finish on points. I didn´t buy a bottle of champagne yet... I hope I won´t have to regret it tomorrow! ;D

sunnuntai 6. lokakuuta 2013

Korean GP: Sparks, flames and exploding tyres!

The 2013 Korean Grand Prix didn´t lack thrilling entertainment and colourful events! When the lights went out, Sebastian immediately took the lead and it certainly seemed that the German Red Bull driver wasn´t going to give up on it at any circumstances. Grosjean in his Lotus had a fantastic start and the Frenchman was able to get past Hamilton in turn three. Massa in his Ferrari spun on the opening lap and hit his team-mate Alonso but Alonso managed to keep the 6th place. Thanks to Massa´s incident Kimi was able to overtake both McLarens and was in P8.

On lap 6 right before the first pit stops Kimi made a staggering overtaking move on Alonso and made his way up to P6. It was entertaining to watch the battle between these two -who will be team-mates next year! It made me feel huge pleasure to see Kimi overtaking the Spanish Ferrari driver. This could be an omen in terms of the next season, hahaha ;) After the first pit stops Alonso, however, managed to get ahead of Kimi, who was among the last top drivers to pit for a new set of prime tyres. Kimi got stuck behind Alonso and Hulkenberg so Lotus decided to change their strategy and they called Kimi to the pits for the second time on lap 26. That turned out to be an excellent call.

Rosberg had just managed to get past his team-mate Hamilton, whose tyres were in bad shape. Right after that Rosberg´s front wing failed and touching the asphalt there was a stunning looking shower of sparks flying around. Rosberg had to pit for a new nose. On lap 31 we saw another dramatic event. Kimi was storming around the track with the new set of prime tyres and the Iceman had just overtaken Perez in his McLaren when something unexpected happened. Perez had locked his front-right tyre in the braking just a moment before and suddenly the whole surface of the tyre came away! This caused the safety car to come out. Majority of the drivers rushed into the pits. Kimi had pitted a few laps earlier so the Finn was now 3rd in the race!

The safety car came in on lap 36 but it didn´t take long until it was needed on the track again! Only a couple of laps later Sutil in his Force India spun and hit Webber´s Red Bull causing Mark´s RB9 to catch fire. There were big flames and a lot of black smoke and Webber´s race was destroyed. So the safety car was deployed for the second time. Only a moment before Kimi had made a phenomenal overtaking move on his team-mate Grosjean who had fallen into a small mistake. Fortunate for Kimi, there were yellow flags on the straight so Grosjean couldn´t use DRS and try to take the position back.

Grosjean asked for a team order on the team radio, but the Team Principal Boullier told Grosjean to concentrate on racing. After the restart there was no chance for Kimi to challenge Vettel for the victory. Sebastian immediately built up a clear gap over the Lotus duo. So no doubt of the winner: it was the fourth consecutive race win for Sebastian today! Kimi took the brilliant second place and his team-mate Grosjean completed the podium. After the race the atmosphere between Kimi and Grosjean seemed somehow cold but Grosjean had been told to have a smile on his face on the podium! And there wasn´t anything unclear about the overtaking situation: Grosjean had made a mistake and Kimi used the advantage and snatched the second place. Today´s race showed once again the brilliance of Kimi Räikkönen as a racing driver. From P9 on the grid up to the P2! Grosjean started the race from P3 and still he didn´t manage to finish any higher. There is something absolutely magical about Kimi and his performance. Though the car still wasn´t like Kimi would have wanted it to be! A lot of understeering, some KERS issues... Kimi is absolutely and utterly phenomenal, a real super star of Formula 1!

Sauber´s Nico Hulkenberg finished the race in P4, which was a superb job from the Sauber driver. No matter how hard Hamilton tried to get past Hulkenberg, the German blocked every attempt to get past. A brilliant achievement indeed! Hopefully Hulkenberg will get a Lotus seat for 2014, his skills have definitely stood out this weekend! Hamilton finished 5th, Alonso 6th and Rosberg 7th.

The situation in the championship standings is crushing. Sebastian now has a 77-point gap over his closest opponent Alonso. The numbers feel somehow unreal. Red Bull have over 400 points in the constructors´ standings whilst their closest rival Ferrari have 284 points... It certainly looks like to be a very superior WDC and WCC for Red Bull this year but I guess the point is to keep the feet firmly on the ground as long as the titles are officially secured. But Sebastian is so superior to his rivals at the moment. His success story is absolutely unbelievable. You should think up a whole new word for the way this young man drives his car! I feel there´re no existing words, which would do justice to this man´s skills behind the wheel! Phenomenal, unique, exceptional, raw talent... Just to name a few adjectives, which unfortunately seem too lame and inadequate to describe Sebastian Vettel. What if I just say that the way he drives is simply... Sebtastic! ;D

lauantai 5. lokakuuta 2013

Korean GP / Qualifying: Vettel´s triumph continues!

It was an early morning here in Finland when I got up to watch the third free practice session. How come it is so easy to get up early when it´s because of Formula 1 racing ;) On work days I find it hard to get out of bed and feel so tired! Formula 1 racing always makes me cheer up, no matter how late it has been when going to bed the previous night!

I had a strong feeling that either one of the Red Bulls was going to be on pole, their pace had been so promising the whole weekend. In Q1 it was kind of a surprise for me that also some top drivers used the supersoft tyres. Kimi at the wheel of his E21 set the fastest time of the first session with the option tyres. Also Rosberg in his Mercedes and Hulkenberg in his Sauber had a similar tyre choice. Vettel in his RB9 was the fastest man on the prime tyres (6th). The Williams drivers were the first ones to be knocked out of Q2. Bottas in P17 was half a second quicker than his team-mate Maldonado. Initially I thought that Maldonado had the new front wing in his car in the qualifying as well so I was wondering how Bottas could beat him with half a second. It turned out, however, that Maldonado didn´t like the new front wing so it was put in Bottas´s car for qualifying.

Q2 was a tight battle for the place among the top ten. Sebastian gave a glimpse of his true pace by setting the fastest lap time in the second session. Kimi´s driving didn´t look too perfect whilst his team-mate Grosjean performed extremely well and showed that Lotus could be able to fight for the place on the second row. Surprisingly, both Sauber drivers made it among the top ten, even Gutierrez! Button in his McLaren was the first one not to make his way in to the final session. Perez was out of Q3 as well. Neither one of the Force India drivers made in in to Q3, either.

In Q3 Sebastian´s strategy was similar to that in Singapore: the German went out at the beginning of the session and claimed the provisional pole by setting an extremely competitive lap time! Kimi had only one attempt in Q3, although that one-run strategy has never proved to be a good strategy for Kimi. I have to admit Kimi´s performance was a disappointment: the Iceman did a mistake on his flying lap and went wide, which destroyed his lap. So a disappointing 10th place for the Finnish Lotus ace. Once again there was no one who could beat Sebastian´s lap time! Hamilton in his Mercedes qualified 2nd being two tenths of a second slower than Sebastian. Seb´s team-mate Webber qualified 3rd but he´ll face the 10-place grid penalty due to getting the ride from Alonso at Singapore. Grosjean made a magnificent job by snatching P4 and thanks to Webber´s penalty the Frenchman will start from P3 tomorrow! Rosberg qualified 5th, Alonso 6th, Massa 7th, Hulkenberg 8th, Gutierrez 9th and Kimi 10th. They all will start to the race from one place higher on the grid due to Webber´s penalty.

I think we´re going to see another Sebastian Vettel show tomorrow, although Hamilton will do everything he can to overtake the German at the start. But Yeongam circuit has always suited Sebastian perfectly so I believe he´ll cruise to victory tomorrow :) Maybe not in such a dominant way as in Singapore but I´m confident that he´ll win. Alonso is always a threat as the Spaniard has made the most staggering starts of all this season. It is a piece of cake for Alonso to gain 3 positions at the start and Ferrari´s race pace is always very consistent. Let´s see what Webber will be capable of starting from P13. Kimi started from the same grid slot in Singapore and he ended up on the podium...! I´m also very impatient to see what kind of magic Kimi will do tomorrow. I don´t know why the Iceman has fallen into errors so easily this weekend, that´s really not typical of Kimi at all! But I hope and trust that there´ll be no mistakes tomorrow! Kimi definitely knows how to amaze his fans!

sunnuntai 22. syyskuuta 2013

Singapore GP: It wasn´t about Sebastian cruising to the victory but to a very dominant victory!

My emotions are so difficult to describe at the moment. I´m lacking words sooo badly! The race today was so incredible, epic, fantastic, phenomenal in many ways! In terms of my two favourites, Sebastian and Kimi, the dark night of Singapore was fulfilled with magical performances.

Emotions aside, let´s go back to the moment when the lights went out. Rosberg in his Mercedes got a slightly better start than Vettel on pole and by the turn 1 Nico got ahead of Sebastian. Luckily Sebastian got a better line for the next turn and the German managed to snatch back the lead. Once again Alonso in his Ferrari took a magical start from P7 and by the turn 1 the Spaniard had already jumped 3rd. But there was absolutely no ambiguity about Sebastian´s superiority in the black night of Singapore: the Red Bull ace immediately opened the gap over his rivals.

On lap 11 Kimi pitted for a fresh set of supersoft tyres. His rivals pitted a few laps later and Sebastian not until on lap 17. The Red Bull driver had built a crushing 36-second gap over his closest rival Rosberg! There has never been a Singapore Grand Prix without a safety car episode and today´s race was no exception. Toro Rosso´s Ricciardo crashed to the barrier on lap 25 and the safety car was deployed. This also ruined Sebastian´s impressive gap over his rivals. All other top drivers chose to pit except the four in the lead: Vettel, Rosberg, Webber and Hamilton. This call turned out to be a strategical mistake for the Mercedes team.

Six laps later the safety car came in and the race was on. Immediately after the restart Sebastian showed who was in control of the race: the Red Bull driver instantly pulled away from everyone else. No one could touch this guy today, he was utterly unstoppable! Grosejan at the wheel of his E21 was fighting for a podium finish until technical issues hit the Frenchman: he had an engine problem and had to retire from the race.

When there were about 20 laps to go, both Rosberg and Hamilton had to pit for the second time. That cost the Mercedes drivers dearly. With 15 laps to go, Sebastian had vanished into the horizon, Alonso was 2nd, Button 3rd and Kimi 4th. Kimi´s back had been anaesthetised before the race and it must have been very challenging to complete the race! It was shown on TV how Kimi´s E21 was put down very cautiously during his pit stop which must have been because of the back problems. But there the Iceman was, driving in P4 right behind Button fighting for a podium finish! That was way more than anybody could ever have expected! Kimi is an utterly exceptional driver, there isn´t an obstacle which would make the Iceman give up! Hats off for Kimi, he´s absolutely amazing.

With 10 more laps to go I had to hurry up for a burlesque class. I was so anxious! I knew Sebastian would take a dominant victory but I was so worried about Kimi. Kimi was putting pressure to Button lap after lap and when there were 8 laps remaining the Iceman made a stunning overtaking move on the Briton and managed to get past him! Only a few laps before the chequered flag Webber faced a gearbox problem, which ruined the race for the Australian. Sebastian crossed the finish line with a 32-second margin over Alonso who came 2nd! Kimi took the impressive 3rd place. The Mercedes duo Rosberg and Hamilton were 4th and 5th. Massa finished 6th and Button 7th. Webber finally finished in P15, which must have been a huge disappointment for him.

Webber had to stop his car on the track due to the gearbox failure. Alonso gave a lift to the Australian and drove him to the pits, which turned out to be a wrong call. Both drivers were handed reprimands by the stewards and this was the 3rd one for Webber already, which automatically means that the Red Bull driver will face a 10-place grid penalty for Korea! I find this punishment pretty unreasonable! Alonso just wanted to do Webber a favour and help him but this friendly action turned out to have serious consequences... Very unfair in my opinion!

Once again the crowd was booing when Sebastian stood on the top step of the podium. It feels quite odd that no matter where the F1 circus goes, there always seems to be people booing for Vettel. I don´t know, maybe it´s his absolute dominance and superiority to the others that irritates people. I can´t do anything but admire this guy from the bottom of my heart. There´re no words to write, which would do justice to the way this young man drives an F1 car! I´m totally stunned. Sebastian has just made it a hat trick at Singapore: three wins in a row! He´s definitely the king of the dark night of Singapore.

Kimi was absolutely incredibly amazing today as well. To perform that well with all the problems he´s faced during the weekend... Not everybody can do that. Can´t help wondering what the Iceman would have been capable of if he hadn´t been suffering from the back problems! From 13th on the grid to the podium, that´s a dream come true. Very very unique, exceptional and phenomenal driving!

Sebastian is leading the championship now with a 60-point gap over Alonso. In the constructors´ championship Red Bull has over a 100-point gap over the closest rival, which is Ferrari. Those numbers tell everything necessary. Now I just want to enjoy this unbelievable feeling! I feel like floating somewhere among the clouds and my feet are so so so far away from the ground! I love Formula 1, I love these feelings that it creates, I love writing about them! Today my world is perfect :)

lauantai 21. syyskuuta 2013

Singapore GP / Qualifying: Sebastian took his 41st career pole!

This has been an absolutely perfect Saturday. After going for an 8-kilometre walk in the forest in the morning I could just sit on the coach and enjoy the Formula 1 entertainment: an hour of the last free practice and then the qualifying. The Marina Bay street circuit is an incredible and mesmerizing venue. When the night falls and the artificial lights light up the venue almost looks like a fantasy world. The shiny F1 cars make the scenery just perfect!

I expected Kimi to have a challenging qualifying as the Iceman hadn´t seemed very competitive in the last practice session. Grosjean was right there in the very top but Kimi´s car seemed unstable and it was sliding in the corners. Right before the qualifying got underway I heard the Finnish ex F1 driver Mika Salo say on TV that Kimi had some back problems in addition to the issues with the car. I knew it was going to be a massively difficult afternoon for the Finn!

Hamilton in his Mercedes set the fastest lap time in Q1. The other Finn, Valtteri Bottas, drove impressively well considering the fact that it was the very first time for him at the Marina Bay circuit. Bottas was 6 tenths of a second faster than his team-mate Maldonado and he was the last man to get into Q2. Di Resta in his Force India was the first one to be knocked out of Q2 followed by Bottas´s team-mate Maldonado. Grosjean and Vettel used the harder tyres in the first session whilst all others set their fastest laps on the supersofts.

Q2 was all about fighting for the place among the top ten. Kimi bravely took part in Q2 as well though every lap must have been very painful for the Iceman. The Marina Bay Circuit with all the bumps must be a killer to drive in back pain! Kimi did his best but he had no chance to make it in to the Q3. Hulkenberg in his Sauber was the first man to be knocked out of the final session, followed by Vergne in P12 and Kimi in P13. Surprisingly Gutierrez managed to beat his team-mate Hulkenberg today and the Mexican made his way through to the top ten! This was the very first time that Gutierrez qualified higher than his team-mate! I was so disappointed for Kimi as Grosjean´s excellent driving (P5 in Q2) clearly showed that there was huge potential in the E21!

In the last session there was almost a fight for the pole! I put it like this because Sebastian was among the first drivers to go out in Q3 and he claimed the initial pole after his first run. When there were two minutes left in the clock Sebastian chose to stay in the garage instead of a second run. And finally Rosberg managed to get very very close being only 91 thousandths of a second slower than Sebastian! Grosjean at the wheel of his E21 made it as high as P3 today, which made me feel even more gutted for Kimi. Webber qualified 4th, Hamilton 5th, Massa 6th, Alonso 7th, Button 8th, Ricciardo 9th and Gutierrez 10th (he didn´t set a lap time in Q3). So Sebastian made it on pole for the 41st time in his career! Only the sky seems to be the limit as far as Sebastian´s success is concerned...! What a performance once again!

On the basis of what we´ve seen during the weekend, Red Bull´s pace has been crushing. If anyone else than Sebastian wins the race tomorrow, I´ll be genuinely surprised! Of course Marina Bay is a circuit where unexpected things can happen and where safety car is often needed. I´m absolutely delighted for Sebastian but worried about Kimi. Just before writing this blog post I read that Kimi´s back pain was caused by a loose seat in his E21 on Friday! I can´t help asking, how this kind of a thing can happen on this level of racing! Recently it was announced that Kimi will move back to Ferrari next season. The silly season is always full of rumours, but when things like this happen, you don´t wonder how all kinds of "conspiracy theories" get started! With wild imagination it would be easy to imagine that somebody not happy with Kimi´s decision to leave Lotus would harm Kimi´s driving on purpose... Which most probably isn´t the case. But a loose seat in a Formula 1 car sounds kind of dangerous and a mistake that shouldn´t happen in any circumstances.

I wish all the very best for Kimi for tomorrow´s race! It´s so admirable that Kimi wants to drive and race even in situations where it would be so much easier to just give up. So hat off for Kimi and no matter what the result will be tomorrow, I´ll always support him. Making your very best in spite of all the set backs and obstacles is what counts. 13 might be the lucky number, who knows :)

maanantai 9. syyskuuta 2013

Italian GP: Sebastian´s triumph to victory!

It´s Monday evening and I´m sitting in my kitchen in the candlelight writing this blog post. Yesterday after the race I headed to the burlesque class where I turned out to be the only one attending the class! Well, the class started well but then the instructor started to talk like this: "Imagine there´s Vettel sitting in front of you so that you´re dancing to him..." My face turned red and my dancing became a mess after that! ;) Sometimes I wonder if I´m really acting like a woman in her thirties, hahaha! I do feel like a teenager from time to time ;)

The race was absolutely amazing. Before the lights went out, it was still uncertain if it was going to rain or not. The sky was dark and there were a few drops coming down from the sky. Everyone started to the race with the slicks on. Kimi, Hamilton and Gutierrez had the hard tyres on whilst all the others had medium tyres. The first lap was crucial for Kimi and not in any positive regard unfortunately. Kimi hit Perez´s rear and damaged his front wing so the Iceman had to pit for a new front wing. That made the Finn drop to the very back of the field which was very frustrating indeed! Kimi´s team-mate Grosjean got into a collision with Force India´s Di Resta on the opening lap and Di Resta´s race was over. Stewards considered Di Resta at fault in the collision.

Once again the Ferrari drivers took a marvellous start. Massa jumped 2nd and Alonso moved 3rd after making a stunning overtaking move on Red Bull´s Webber. And after that it was only a matter of time as Alonso moved past his team-mate (you can´t really talk about overtaking in this case! Everybody knows team orders at Ferrari...;) ). After the difficult start we saw incredible driving from the Iceman as the Finn set fastest lap time again and again and snatched position by position making his way nearer to the top ten. Same time in the lead Sebastian was building his gap over Alonso tenth by tenth. The only man on track matching Sebastian´s speed was Kimi Räikkönen in his Lotus!

After the first pit stops Sebastian was still leading the race. Alonso was 2nd, Webber 3rd, Massa 4th and Sauber´s Nico Hulkenberg was in the stunning P5. There was never a fight for the victory at Monza. There was simply nobody who could have challenged the super fast German in the Italian GP! Sebastian had an over 10-second gap over Alonso who got some pressure from Webber. Webber, however, suffered from gear box issues. Sebastian also had similar issues but they didn´t prevent him from winning the race in an impressively dominant way! Alonso drove to the chequered flag in P2 and Webber P3. Massa (P4), Hulkenberg (P5), Rosberg (P6), Ricciardo (P7), Grosjean (P8), Hamilton (P9) and Button (P10) completed the top ten. Kimi in spite of his impressive drive was the first driver not to score points by finishing 11th. In addition to the front wing damage the Finn also suffered from a KERS problem at the end of the race.

The Ferrari fans were booing when Sebastian celebrated his victory on the podium -something that can only happen in Italy. But Sebastian seemed to enjoy every second of it. There´re now 53 points separating Sebastian and Alonso in the championship standings. You can´t take the 4th championship for granted but on the other hand, Sebastian could just go on a holiday for two next races and he would still be leading the championship battle! Once again there´re no words that could describe how this young man drives an F1 car, I´m speechless! There´s something unique and extraordinary about this combination of Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull car, I can´t put it any better...

Can´t wait for Singapore GP in a fortnight! I hope Kimi´s dry season will be over by Singapore and the Iceman will bounce back stronger than ever -no matter that the Finn is already 88 points off the championship leader. Meanwhile I´m impatiently waiting for contract news as far as Kimi is concerned... There´re sources saying that Kimi is about to make a deal with Ferrari, which would make things interesting. I have mixed feelings about Kimi returning to Ferrari but from the bottom of my heart I´d enjoy every second of seeing Kimi kicking Alonso´s ass! :D Though there´s an option that Kimi would return to Ferrari and Alonso would exit... You never know when we´re talking about Formula 1. Better not say anything but just patiently wait and see, haha!

lauantai 7. syyskuuta 2013

Italian GP / Qualifying: Vettel was unstoppable today!

This weekend it´s time for the last race in Europe this season. Monza being the fastest track of the calendar with very low downforce it wasn´t supposed to suit either Red Bull or Lotus very well. Nevertheless, Sebastian had shown excellent pace in all three free practices and Kimi had been up there in the 3rd place in the FP2 so I was confident in terms of the qualifying.

Sebastian was the fastest man on the track in Q1. Toro Rosso seemed very competitive under the Italian sun as well as Vergne was 4th fastest in the first session. Sauber´s Gutierrez was the first man to be eliminated from Q2. Unfortunately Bottas at the wheel of his FW35 didn´t make his way through in to the second session, either but qualified 18th. His team-mate Maldonado managed to finish his lap 3 tenths faster than the Finn and he was 12th in Q1. So not a very strong performance from Bottas today but I know he´ll do everything he can to fight for positions in tomorrow´s race!

Q2 was filled with surprises. Once again Sebastian was the fastest man on the track -there was no one who could have challenged the German! So in that regard everything was looking very promising. But in the second session it could clearly be seen that Lotus was struggling with their performance. The E21 simply wasn´t fast enough! Kimi was the first driver to be knocked out from Q3, which was quite shocking indeed! Only 18 thousandths of a second separated the Iceman from the top ten. Hamilton, who had snatched four pole positions in a row, was also knocked out from Q3 as the Briton was only 12th fastest! The British Mercedes driver got impeded by Force India´s Sutil in Q2 but Hamilton himself admitted after the qualifying that he had "driven like an idiot" and apologized to his team. Kimi´s team-mate Grosjean was only 13th fastest and also out of Q3! It was very worrying that both the Toro Rosso and McLaren drivers made it among the top ten but either one of the Lotus drivers didn´t!

Today there was nobody who could have been capable of putting up a fight for pole with Sebastian! Sebastian´s driving was simply epic and phenomenal and the German was completely unstoppable today. Webber at the wheel of his RB9 made it a front row lock-out for Red Bull. And this happened on the track that wasn´t supposed to suit Red Bull! So pretty amazing achievement indeed. Sauber´s Nico Hulkenberg made it in P3 -who could have predicted that! Hulkenberg´s performance was staggering considering that his team-mate Gutierrez didn´t even make his way through in to the Q2! Very well done from the young German! Ferrari tried to gain advantage from slip-streaming but the strategy didn´t work out as Massa was too far ahead of Alonso in the decisive moment. So Massa ended up being 4th fastest ahead of his team-mate Alonso who qualified 5th. We heard an angry message on the team radio by Alonso who called his team members idiots because the strategy failed. Rosberg qualified 6th, Ricciardo 7th, Perez 8th, Button 9th and Vergne 10th.

I´m expecting Sebastian to cruise to the victory tomorrow if there won´t be any technical worries. The weather might be a factor tomorrow as some showers are predicted to arrive in the area tomorrow afternoon. Alonso at the wheel of his Ferrari will have strong race pace for sure but I don´t think the Spaniard will be able to challenge Sebastian for the victory. Kimi will have loads of work to do tomorrow but Kimi if anyone is capable of fighting for good points. It´s so amazing how dominant Sebastian seems at Monza this weekend. It seems the German has the perfect car, the perfect skills, the perfect team and the perfect concentration to make his races victorious -even in venues which haven´t proven victorious before. It´s absolutely imposing to watch Sebastian in the pit garage with headphones on and eyes shut -there´s nothing that can break this man´s concentration. I believe he is on his way towards his fourth world title!

sunnuntai 25. elokuuta 2013

Belgian GP: Wow, what a sweet and dominant victory for Sebastian!

The weather forecast predicted yesterday that it was very likely to rain during the race. Well, there´s nothing more uncertain than the weather at Spa! It shoudn´t be predicted at all as you never know how the weather really turns out. This time it turned out that the possible rain kept away throughout the whole race!

Sebastian at the wheel of his RB9 had a perfect start to the race. Hamilton was the first one to come in to the first corner but right after Eau Rouge Sebastian was able to overtake the Briton. Seb took the lead and started building up a gap over Hamilton instantly after that. Webber had a lousy start and Rosberg jumped 3rd. Button in his McLaren had a fantastic start instead and gained two places jumping 4th. Unfortunately Kimi was one of those guys losing positions at the start. The Iceman dropped down to P10. Alonso in his Ferrari had a staggering first few laps. By lap 6 the Spaniard had made his way up to P3!

Already at the beginning of the race it was obvious that Kimi had some technical worries. There was some black dust coming from his front left brakes. In spite of that Kimi was able to overtake Sauber´s Hulkenberg in a stunning way. On lap 12 it was time for the first penalty: Perez was handed a drive through penalty due to pushing Grosjean off track at the start.

After the first pit stops Sebastian was still leading the race followed by Alonso 2nd and Hamilton 3rd. In spite of the brake problem we saw more stunning overtaking moves from the Finnish Lotus ace: Sauber´s Gutierrez had no chance to hold Kimi back! Kimi was chasing Massa and prepared to make a move on the Brazilian as suddenly the brakes broke down in Kimi´s E21 on lap 26. Kimi had to retire which hasn´t happened for a long long time! So no 28th consecutive finish in the points for the Iceman. This hasn´t been a good weekend for Kimi but everybody faces setbacks in some point.

On lap 30 Maldonado caused a weird looking collision with the two Force India´s. First the Venezuelan hit Sutil but that didn´t cause any major damage for either of them. Then Maldonado suddenly changed his line and decided to head in the pits and that move lead to a crash with Di Resta whose race was over! A bit later the Williams driver was handed a 10 second stop and go penalty due to causing the collision. Somehow I´m not surprised that Maldonado was involved in this, he often seems to be around when collisions happen.

There was absolutely no question about the fastest man on the track today. Sebastian Vettel at the wheel of his Red Bull was utterly staggering, no one could even dream about challenging the German today! Sebastian controlled the race from the first lap to the last and was totally in a class of his own. What a dominant and sweet victory for the blonde-haired Red Bull ace! Ferrari´s Alonso drove to the chequered flag 16 seconds behind Sebastian and Hamilton was 3rd 11 seconds behind Alonso. Rosberg finished 4th, Webber5th, Button 6th and Massa 7th. Grosjean in his Lotus was the only top driver with a one-stop strategy but not even that helped the Frenchman finish higher than 8th.

Sebastian was unbelievably strong today. No one could match his pace! Sebastian has now a 46-point lead over his closest rival Alonso in the championship standings. Kimi´s DNF unfortunately made the Iceman drop from P2 down to P4 in the standings and the Finn is now massive 63 points behind Sebastian. I was gutted for Kimi today but emotions created by Sebastian´s victory are impossible to describe with any words! If it´s possible to get intoxicated by seeing a certain driver winning a race, I guess that´s the best way to describe my feelings! Sebastian was so incredible today, how on Earth some one can be so skillful and amazing at what he does... I headed to a burlesque class right after the race and I have to say I was in a completely different world, I was floating somewhere high above within the clouds... I enjoyed all the sexy dancing moves from the bottom of my heart and it was just the perfect way to celebrate Sebastian´s victory ;) Usually I suffer from a poor self-esteem but today I felt hot in many ways, haha ;) It´s amazing what a driver like Sebastian Vettel makes you feel. Can you get intoxicated by Formula 1 action? Hell yeah! I assure I can!

lauantai 24. elokuuta 2013

Belgian GP / Qualifying: 4th consecutive pole for Hamilton!

Luckily the qualifying for the Belgian grand prix has filled my head with Formula 1 thoughts because I´ve been very stressed with my new job. Even Formula 1 action hasn´t managed to make me forget all the work stuff completely and that really means I´ve some serious stress, haha! But I´m sure writing about the sports that I adore is the perfect way to cope with the stress so here are my thoughts on today´s qualifying.

Rain had been predicted for the qualifying and indeed, when the Q1 got underway there was some light rain in the air. All the drivers started to the session with the intermediate tyres. The track kept getting drier throughout the first session and in these changing conditions we saw some huge surprises. Caterham´s Giedo Van Der Garde went out on the slick tyres at the end of the first session and the Dutchman managed to jump 3rd in the standings! Both Marussia drivers Bianchi and Chilton had also put the slicks on and Bianchi was 11th fastest whilst his team-mate also made his way through in to the Q2 by being 16th fastest. The absolutely perfect tyre call from both teams really! I think a Caterham driver has never qualified as high as 14th before! On the other hand, Q1 was a huge disappointment for the Williams team as both their drivers were eliminated from Q2: Maldonado qualified 17th and Bottas only 20th. Mixed conditions could have been a chance for them to achieve an excellent qualifying result but they just didn´t manage to get either timing or their tyre choice right this time.

When Q2 got underway the track was dry but there were some very dark clouds lurking in the sky. These dry conditions seemed perfect for Lotus: Kimi was the fastest man on the track in Q2! It really shows that Kimi loves driving on this 7-kilometer track. In Q2 I had high hopes: I was confident that the Iceman had enough pace to challenge the Red Bulls and the Mercedes drivers for pole... If only it was dry in Q3!

Which wasn´t the case unfortunately. At Spa the weather can change in a heartbeat and it´s utterly impossible to predict! All the drivers except Force India´s Di Resta started to the final session on the intermediate tyres -which was clearly the wrong choice. They had to pit for slick tyres and when they all came out again it had started to rain pretty heavily. Di Resta had already completed his flying lap on the drier track so for a moment it seemed that we would have a surprise pole setter: Force India´s Paul Di Resta! The shower, however, lasted only for a short while and it was incredible how fast the track dried up! At the end of the session the track kept improving lap by lap and once again, for the fourth time in a row, Hamilton managed to make it on pole despite the few mistakes that the Briton made on his last flying lap! Hamilton himself was amazed at getting the pole! Sebastian made it in P2 and his team-mate Webber in P3. Rosberg was 4th, Di Resta finally 5th, Button 6th and Grosjean 7th. In the changing conditions Kimi couldn´t make his Lotus fly and the Iceman was only 8th fastest which was a disappointment as I was hoping for a higher grid position. The only good thing is that Alonso will start to the race behind the Iceman in P9.

It seems likely that there will be changing weather conditions in tomorrow´s race as well. But in terms of weather, you can never know at Spa whether it will rain or how long the rain will last if there will be a shower... Red Bull´s pace seems very promising but I know Hamilton won´t be easily beaten. The circumstances might not be the best possible for Kimi and his E21 but I know that at Spa the Iceman is capable of making miracles! He doesn´t need a front row grid position to win the race, that we´ve seen already before. But one thing is for sure: the weather conditions will play a significant role in the race. And that means the teams have to make the right decisions at the right time! I´m sure we´re going to see an entertaining race tomorrow. I´m sure Kimi and Alonso agree on one thing: the blonde-haired guy called Sebastian mustn´t finish the race ahead of them!

lauantai 10. elokuuta 2013

Who will replace Mark Webber at Red Bull in 2014?

There´re two more weeks left of the summer break but the silly season has turned sillier than usually. All kinds of rumours are moving around and the hottest topic has been this question: who will replace Mark Webber at Red Bull next season? Red Bull´s team principal Christian Horner has stated that the final call will be made between Toro Rosso´s Daniel Ricciardo and Lotus´s Kimi Räikkönen. But there´ve been suggestions that even Ferrari´s Fernando Alonso could move to Red Bull next year!

Why would Red Bull hire Daniel Ricciardo?

In my opinion Ricciardo would be the most obvious and natural choice for Red Bull. Ricciardo is driving for Red Bull´s sister team Toro Rosso and has been a part of Red Bull´s development programme for young drivers. And since Ricciardo got a chance to sit into the RB9 in the young drivers´ test at Silverstone in July the Australian has shown that he has the pace needed. We´ve seen a few glimpses of Ricciardo´s skills in the previous qualifying sessions as the Australian has managed to make his way through among the top ten. Ricciardo would be a "safe" choice for Red Bull also because hiring the Australian wouldn´t jeopardise the harmony inside the team. Ricciardo is fast for sure but I don´t believe he would be able to seriously challenge Vettel inside the team. Vettel would still be the number one driver. But Red Bull also wishes that they have the two continuosly competitive drivers who bring as many points for the team as possible. Would Ricciardo be able to fulfill those expectations? I doubt that. Ricciardo would be the safest choice for Red Bull but not the best one available!

Why would Red Bull hire Kimi Räikkönen?

There´re several reasons why Red Bull should definitely hire Kimi Räikkönen. Any team would be absolutely insane if it wasn´t interested to get the most consistent and competitive driver of F1 and that´s Kimi Räikkönen. The Iceman has won the world championship in 2007 and he holds the record of 26 consecutive points´ finishes. There´s no other driver in F1 who would more probably bring the maximum amount of points for the team than the Iceman! So in regard of points and future constructors´ titles Kimi would be the safest choice for Red Bull. But what happens to the harmony inside the team if Kimi moves to the team? Kimi and Sebastian get along with each other very well and they respect each other on and off the track. But it´s different as long as they drive in different teams. Kimi would definitely challenge Sebastian from the very first lap on the track! They both have a deep desire to win. Sometimes Sebastian wants to win at any cost like we saw in Malaysia this year. What would happen if there were team orders between Kimi and Sebastian? That would be the ultimate test for their mutual respect! But I believe this duo could achieve great things together! It could be a dream team in the right circumstances. Kimi is a guy who doesn´t play any mind games. He says directly if something is bothering him and he´s an honest guy. I believe that if Red Bull won´t hire Kimi it´s because of Kimi. I´m sure Kimi is Red Bull´s number one candidate for Webber´s seat. Money won´t be a problem for Red Bull: they can afford hiring Kimi. But if Red Bull wants to make a long-term deal with their driver, that could turn out to be a problem for Kimi. I don´t think that the Iceman is willing to make a multi-year contract. And though Red Bull would be willing to financially support Kimi´s Ice1Racing team in motocross, Kimi´s hands would still be tied in terms of his hobbies. I don´t think Red Bull would allow Kimi to participate in rallying or other dangerous activities. So if Red Bull really wants to get Kimi, all the details in the contract must be exactly right from Kimi´s point of view. It seems obvious that Kimi feels comfortable at Lotus but their financial situation seems unstable.

Why would Red Bull hire Fernando Alonso?

This doesn´t even feel like a realistic question to be asked but there´s been speculation about Alonso going to Red Bull next year. Alonso has expressed his frustration at Ferrari´s current car very loudly before the summer break. Alonso, however, has a contract with Ferrari until 2016. Though having a contract doesn´t necessarily mean that you would really drive for the team like we saw in Kimi´s case. The Finn had a contract with Ferrari for the season 2010 but still Santander bought the seat for Alonso that year! But Alonso and Vettel as team-mates would be the craziest idea ever! Two absolutely stubborn drivers who share an ultimate desire to win sounds like an impossible team. This duo would make sure that there wouldn´t be anything left of the harmony inside the team! This idea seems purely speculation and I don´t think this has anything to do with the reality. So no matter how frustrated Alonso feels I believe Red Bull would be the utterly last choice for the Spaniard!

And the final question: could Kimi actually go back to Ferrari?

I really don´t believe that Alonso is going anywhere but Massa´s seat is a whole different question. So far Massa´s results haven´t been impressive: too many personal mistakes this year. But if Red Bull doesn´t get Kimi, could the Finn decide to go back to Ferrari? For a fan like me it sounds like an odd idea: who would like to go back to the team that resigned you in spite of the contract just to get another driver to the team? But Kimi is a guy who doesn´t care what other people think of him. And he doesn´t have bad memories of working with Ferrari, so he has said. Kimi got along extremely well with everybody else except Di Montezemolo. There is an aspect that could make Ferrari a tempting choice for Kimi: they would possibly allow Kimi to participate in any motorsports activities that Kimi wants! Kimi has said that he´d love to take part in rallying at the same time as he´s involved with F1. And I think these personal interests are a high priority for Kimi.

I´ve read in the news on the F1 websites that Red Bull´s decision is to be announced during the summer break. So two more thrilling weeks to wait... Summa summarum: if Lotus manages to convince Kimi of their financial possibilities to ensure the development work around the car, Kimi will stay at Lotus. And Red Bull will make the most obvious choice and hire Ricciardo. Let´s see if I´m right or not ;)

sunnuntai 28. heinäkuuta 2013

Hungarian GP: First win for Hamilton as a Mercedes driver!

It has been a hot day here in Finland. Not as hot as in Budapest though! The temperature at Hungaroring was 34 degrees Celsius when the lights went out and the thrilling race got underway. The top three remained the same at the start: Hamilton kept his lead into the first corner, Vettel followed him and Grosjean was 3rd. Kimi lost a position at the start whilst Button in his McLaren took a stunning start and jumped from P13 to P8. Rosberg and Massa collided on the opening lap which lead to Rosberg dropping down to P12.

We saw the first pit stops already on lap 10 when the race leader Hamilton pitted for a fresh set of prime tyres. I expected to see a longer first stint from the Lotus drivers but Kimi and Grosjean pitted only a few laps later than their closest rivals. At this point Webber at the wheel of his RB9 was leading the race. The Australian had started to the race with the prime tyres so he had a different strategy compared to the other top five drivers. Webber pitted not until on lap 23.

Grosjean was driving a superb race fighting for a podium finish... until on lap 24 the Frenchman collided with Button when he tried to overtake the Briton! Button´s front wing got damaged and both drivers had to pit. Button wasn´t happy about the incident but called Grosjean "an idiot" on the team radio. Only five laps later Grosjean made a splashy overtaking move on Massa. A little later the stewards handed the French Lotus driver a drive-through penalty due to leaving the track when overtaking Massa. The penalty ruined Grosjean´s chances to finish on the podium!

Unfortunately Bottas at the wheel of his FW35 faced his first DNF of the season. The Finn had a hydraulics issue in his car and he lost all power and was forced to retire from the race. Also Rosberg in his Mercedes had an engine failure when there were only 5 laps to go.

Kimi had a different strategy compared to his closest rivals. Kimi had a 2-stop strategy whilst Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso pitted three times. At the end of the race Sebastian was right behind Kimi with the fresher tyres chasing the Iceman. With two laps remaining Sebastian tried to overtake the Iceman but Kimi kept his line and kept the Red Bull driver behind. Sebastian complained on the team radio that Kimi hadn´t left enough room for him. That was a bit childish, I have to say. Kimi didn´t do anything wrong in that situation. But I can understand Sebastian´s frustration as he always wants to fight for the win...

Hamilton took his first win as a Mercedes driver with a significant 10-second gap to Kimi who finished 2nd! Who would have predicted that Hamilton would actually win the race? No problems with tyre degradation whatsoever! Sebastian was stuck in the traffic after the first pit stop so he lost crucial amount of time and was unable to challenge Hamilton today. Hamilton is becoming a serious contender in the championship battle! Kimi drove a fantastic race keeping Sebastian behind him in spite of the high pressure from the German. With a higher grid position the Iceman would have been up there fighting for the victory! Webber finished 4th, Alonso 5th, Grosjean 6th (Grosjean was handed a 20-second penalty due to the Button move which didn´t change the results), Button 7th, Massa 8th and Perez 9th. Maldonado in his Williams managed to finish 10th and scored the first point for the team this season!

Now we´re facing the summer break of an entire month. Sebastian has a very convenient 38-point lead in the championship standings over Kimi who´s second in the standings now. Alonso is only one point off Kimi and Hamilton has been scoring points massively during recent races... So anything can happen as there´re still 9 more races to go! The rest of the season will be thrilling I´m sure. And the next venue will be Spa, which is totally like Kimi´s kingdom! Kimi is the "king of Spa" so I´m expecting to see the Iceman winning there! Anything less would be a disappointment, haha ;)

Though I´ll be missing F1 action massively during the summer break all the drivers and teams have definitely deserved the break and some holiday time! I hope Kimi and Sebastian will have a relaxing and awesome holiday :) Let´s see if we´ll hear about the driver replacing Webber at Red Bull during the break or after it... The wildest rumours say that Alonso will move to Red Bull next year!

lauantai 27. heinäkuuta 2013

Hungarian GP / Qualifying: Hamilton surprised by taking pole!

Luckily it´s Formula 1 weekend again after the 3-week break that felt almost like eternity! I haven´t had any particularly good week so watching Kimi and Sebastian driving at the twisty Hungaroring was exactly what I needed. I faced a huge disappointment in terms a huge dream of mine a few days ago and today I haven´t even felt very well physically. But no matter how bad your day gets, Formula 1 always cheers you up!

Qualifying got underway in the burning heat of Budapest. Q1 looked very promising for the Williams duo. Maldonado was 6th fastest in the first session and his team-mate Bottas in P11 so it really seemed that either Williams had been able to take a step forward or the new tyres brought to Hungary by Pirelli were suiting the FW35 very well. After struggling the entire first half of the season I was so happy that both Williams drivers managed to make it in to Q2. Gutierrez in his Sauber and Di Resta in his Force India on the other hand were eliminated from Q2.

Mercedes had shown already in Q1 that they´re up there fighting for pole. The silver arrows topped the timesheets also in Q2. Grosjean at the wheel of his E21 seemed extremely fast whilst his team-mate Kimi was struggling a bit with the behaviour of his car. The Iceman went sideways a couple of times in a very splashy way at the final corner! Unfortunately the pace Williams seemed to have had in Q1 had mysteriously vanished and both Maldonado and Bottas were out of Q3. At the end of the second session they were the slowest of all: Maldonado in P15 and Bottas P16. Perez in his McLaren was able to make his way through in to Q3 but Button didn´t manage to make it higher than P13 today. Ricciardo at the wheel of his Toro Rosso made it in to the top ten for the 4th consecutive time and some sources are already saying that it´ll be Ricciardo who gets the Red Bull seat for next year.

The fight for pole was extremely tight. When Sebastian set a time of 1.19.5 I was convinced that the German had conquered pole. But no matter how magical this lap time felt, Mercedes´ Hamilton managed to run his lap even 38 thousandths of a second faster than the German Red Bull driver! Hamilton himself was amazed at the fact that he had just taken pole. The Briton was sure that Sebastian had made it on pole with that staggering lap. So once again another pole for a Mercedes driver! Grosjean made it in P3 but the Frenchman was at risk to get excluded from the qualifying due to the front floor of his car deflecting more than it´s allowed to after qualifying. Luckily Grosjean escaped the penalty because deflecting was caused by kerbing. Rosberg made it in P4 and Alonso in P5. Kimi wasn´t able to qualify higher than P6 today. Webber at the wheel of his RB9 faced multiple difficulties in qualifying. The Australian had a KERS failure already in Q2 and he was unable to set a lap time in the final session due to a gear box problem. So Webber will start to the race in P10 which must be utterly frustrating for a driver whose car has potential for positions much higher on the front! Perez set his fastest time on the prime tyres so he´ll start to the race with a different tyre strategy.

The weather forecast says that tomorrow it´ll be even hotter in Budapest. The temperature can be as high as 40 degrees Celsius. Sounds like a perfect weather for the Lotus team! I´m sure that Hamilton has no choice to hold his rivals back when the lights go out! Kimi can´t afford to let Sebastian run away from his sight. What is sure is that you have to have a perfect strategy to win the race... I hope to see a staggering fight for the victory between Sebastian and Kimi, like three weeks ago in Germany. Kimi will make everything he can to chase down Sebastian and such heat doesn´t exist which could possibly make the Iceman melt!

sunnuntai 7. heinäkuuta 2013

German GP: Finally Sebastian won his home grand prix!

I´ve had a perfect summer day! Life doesn´t get any more perfect than this! I woke up at the summer cottage by the lake and there were no clouds in the sky: just blue blue sky and the sun was shining. After a quick breakfast I walked through a forest to a peer nearby and had a wonderful morning with my sister: we enjoyed the sun and went swimming in the lake many times! It was a perfect carpe diem morning, enjoying the very moment at hand!

It was almost 3 o´clock in the afternoon when I got home and the warm-up lap was just about to get underway. The Formula 1 race today couldn´t have matched my expectations any better! German GP was a truly magical race! At the start Sebastian made instantly his way past Hamilton and snatched the lead. Also Sebastian´s team-mate Webber was able to overtake Hamilton at the start so the Briton lost two places immediately. Ferrari´s Massa was the first driver to retire from the race and that happened already on lap 4 when the Brasilian spun at turn one and the engine of his F138 turned down so Massa´s race was over.

The first pit stops were seen sooner than I expected: not even 10 laps were completed before the Red Bull duo came in for a new set of medium tyres. Webber had a very unlucky and bizarre pit stop: he was released from the pits with his rear-right tyre still loose. Immediately after that the tyre went off and it struck a cameraman who fell down on to the asphalt. Luckily the man only got a shoulder injury and some broken ribs but this incident could have had even life-threatening consequences! Webber was able to continue the race after a new rear tyre had been put on but naturally he dropped way down to the very back.

Another dramatic incident occurred on lap 24 when Marussia´s Bianchi had an engine failure with a lot of smoke and the car even caught fire causing big flames. Bianchi got out of his car but something absolutely bizarre happened after that: I saw on TV how the Marussia started rolling down the track with no driver in the cockpit! Luckily there were no drivers at that part of the track at that moment. This, too could have evolved into being a serious situation! Safety car was deployed so that the Marussia could safely be removed from the track. The top three (Vettel, Grosjean, Räikkönen) all came in for a pit stop.

On lap 42 Sebastian pitted for the third and final time. Kimi was leading the race and there was speculation about his race strategy: could the Iceman make one pit stop less than his rivals and make the last stint as long as over 30 laps? Kimi´s pace looked excellent and I was sure the victory was what Kimi hunted. When there were only 10 laps to go Kimi pitted for a new set of option tyres. Alonso pitted on the same lap but Kimi had no difficulty to keep the Spaniard behind him. Sebastian in his Red Bull was leading the race but Grosjean at the wheel of his E21 was right behind the German and Kimi was right behind his team-mate. The Lotus drivers had a different strategy: Grosjean had had a long first stint with the option tyres and in the last stint he had the prime tyres. Kimi instead had the faster soft tyres in his last stint. On the team radio we heard that Grosjean was told that Kimi had different tyres and was faster than Grosjean and the Frenchman shouldn´t hold up his team-mate. With 5 laps to go Grosjean let the Iceman go past him so Lotus used team orders so that Kimi would have a chance to try and catch Sebastian in the lead.

We saw thrilling closing laps as Kimi had the fresh option tyres whilst Sebastian in the lead had the old prime tyres. Kimi decreased the gap to Sebastian sector by sector and lap by lap. On the final lap Kimi was near enough so that the Iceman was allowed to open the DRS and try to make an overtaking move. It didn´t pay off this time and Sebastian drove to the chequered flag as the winner of his home grand prix! Only a second separated Sebastian and the Iceman at the race finish. Grosjean finished the race in P3 so it was the second podium finish for the French Lotus driver. Alonso was 4th, Hamilton 5th, Button 6th, Webber 7th, Perez 8th, Rosberg 9th and Hulkenberg 10th. Webber´s result is impressive considering the pit stop incident that dropped him to the very back at the beginning of the race. At the warm Nurburgring Mercedes suffered again from tyre degradation and they faced some setbacks in terms of their race pace.

Finally Sebastian managed to win his home grand prix! It was so heartwarming to see Sebastian and Kimi on the podium together. What a magical race! Which wasn´t totally problem-free for either one of the drivers. Sebastian had had a KERS problem for a couple of laps but luckily the system had started to work again. Kimi instead had problems with his radio: the Iceman could hear what the team told him but the team couldn´t hear Kimi! So in that regard, both of them drove a fantastic race! If the race had lasted a couple of laps longer, who knows what would have happened! Kimi really hunted down Sebastian and was hungry for the victory. I would have been equally happy if Kimi had won the race. Those two guys are my heroes!

Seb leads the championship with a 34-point gap over Alonso. Kimi on the other hand is only 7 points off Alonso. And now we´re facing another 3-week break before the F1 circus moves to Hungary. Luckily today´s mesmerising result has given me wonderful memories to think about during this too long break!