Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

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 ;)