Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

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!

lauantai 6. heinäkuuta 2013

German GP / Qualifying: Hamilton back on pole!

I'm sitting at my grandma's cottage by a lake and the scenery couldn't be any better! I'm enjoying the warm evening sun and what would be more perfect activity than write about Formula 1 racing! (Though I have to admit that I'm not feeling too perky at the moment as I stayed up pretty late last night and yes, some alcohol was involved ;-) )

Luckily the weather in Germany was warm and sunny when qualifying got underway. Q1 showed once again that Williams has huge amount of work to do! Both cars were eliminated from Q2. Bottas was some thousandths of a second faster than his team-mate but that really isn't much of a comfort. Kimi's pace seemed excellent so I was convinced that Lotus would be capable of challenging both Red Bull and Mercedes for the places on the first two rows.

Q2 held a major surprise as Mercedes made a tactical mistake with Nico Rosberg. At the beginning of the second session Nico had initially been 3rd fastest. At the end of the session the team made the call not to send Nico out for the second run as they thought his time was fast enough to ensure the place among the top ten. That wasn't, however, the case and Nico was out of Q3! Without the mistake the German would definitely have been out there to fight for pole! A valuable lession for Mercedes that you can't take anything for granted in Formula 1 and an arrogant attitude doesn't pay off! Surprisingly also both Force Indias were eliminated from the final session. Ricciardo's boost seems to continue as the Australian made his way through to Q3 whilst his team-mate Vergne failed to deliver. Button managed to make it among the ten fastest as well so the Briton showed that though McLaren is a difficult car to drive the situation still isn't hopeless.

Q3 was about tyre tactics. Both Lotus and Red Bull chose to make two runs on the soft tyres. Ferrari instead chose a different strategy. Both Massa and Alonso came out once at the end of the session and the Ferrari duo had the hard tyres on. So it was obvious that they had no chance to fight for pole as there's about one-second difference in terms of lap times between the tyre compounds. Hamilton was once again the fastest man on the track today. It starts to be already a bit annoying that the pole setter always seems to be either one of the silver arrows ;-) Sebastian made it on the front row which made me extremely happy. Initially it seemed that Kimi at the wheel of his E21 could make it among the top three but at the closing stages Webber was able to snatch P3 and Kimi was left in P4 followed by his team-mate Grosjean. Ricciardo in his Toro Rosso took excellent 6th place. Massa and Alonso were in P7 and P8 with the different tyre strategy. Button and Hulkenberg didn't set a lap time in Q3 so they're allowed go choose their tyres for tomorrow's race.

Pirelli has brought new rear tyres to Germany which has been done to ensure that the chaos seen at Silverstone won't happen again. And there hasn't been any tyre blowouts during this GP weekend  so far so everything  is looking good in terms of the tyres. The weather is expected to stay dry and pretty warm so I'm sure Kimi will be out there to hunt the victory! Nothing would be lovelier than to see a tight fight for victory between Kimi and Sebastian!

The sun is setting and I'm sitting  outside writing this blog post on my mobile phone. I usually write on my laptop  so please excuse me if this text looks odd in some way. But I'll be at home by the time that the lights go out so I'll be back at my computer tomorrow when it's time to write about the race!