Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

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!