Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 20. huhtikuuta 2014

Chinese GP: Another very predicted 1-2 for Mercedes GP!

At the start of the Chinese GP my hopes were very high. As the lights went out Hamilton was able to maintain his lead but Sebastian from P3 stormed to second. Alonso took another stunning start and made his way right up to third. Rosberg starting from P4 had a lousy start due to a telemetry issue in the car. All telemetry was lacking so it was impossible for the team to get Rosberg´s clutch set up correctly so the German lost many positions at the start. Both Williams drivers had a collision in the first corner: Massa had contact with Alonso in his Ferrari and Bottas collided with Rosberg. Luckily there was no damage in any of the cars involved but the collision cost Bottas many positions on the opening lap. However, I was so glad to see that Sebastian took a superb start and I was sure the German was finally going to keep his team-mate behind him!

My joy was so premature! Later on in the race things certainly didn´t go to my plan! But before my day turned upside down, that happened to Felipe Massa at the wheel of his FW36 at his first pits top on lap 11. There was a costly mistake at the Brasilian´s pit stop in terms of tyres and it took over a minute which meant that Massa´s race was ruined as he joined track behind everyone else.

Right from the very first laps Kimi seemed to be struggling with his car. There was a massive difference in the lap times between the Ferrari team-mates. I couldn´t help thinking that there must have been something utterly wrong with Kimi´s car once again as I wasn´t used to see such poor performance from the Iceman! It seemed that Kimi had simply no chance to match Alonso´s lap times :(

The lack of telemetry didn´t stop Rosberg from making his way up position by position. After the first pit stops the German Mercedes driver was already right at Vettel´s tail and Sebastian had no chance to hold Nico back. The Mercedes is frighteningly fast on the straights, which Red Bull certainly isn´t. Sebastian seemed to be struggling with the white-marked medium tyres as his team-mate Ricciardo was suddenly also able to close the gap to him. On lap 25 the team told Sebastian on the team radio to let Ricciardo through. Sebastian replied in memorable words: "Tough luck" and didn´t intend to let his team-mate overtake him. A bit later Sebastian was told that he was on a different strategy compared to his team-mate and after that Ricciardo passed Sebastian. I just couldn´t help wondering, where Sebastian´s pace had suddenly vanished! The start had been so promising but suddenly Ricciardo was a second faster than Sebastian! That seemed so unbelievable.

Right after the second pit stops Rosberg had caught up Alonso and the overtaking move looked so easy! The Mercedes GP are so overwhelmingly dominant at the moment that it´s even ridiculously easy to overtake others with that car! Alonso had no chance to hold Nico back. But Hamilton´s driving was absolutely crushing today: the Briton cruised to victory with almost a 20-second gap over his team-mate Rosberg. So once again a dominant 1-2 for Mercedes GP, which seem to be utterly unstoppable at the moment. Alonso´s podium place was warmly welcomed at Ferrari and it gave the Italian-based team hope that there´s still a distant chance to catch their rivals during this season. Ricciardo finished 4th ahead of his team-mate Sebastian. Hulkenberg in his Force India drove an impressive race and finished 6th only a few tenths of a second ahead of Bottas at the wheel of his FW36. Kimi finished 8th after a troubled race, Perez in his Force India in P9 and Kvyat in Toro Rosso scored the last point.

To be honest, I was sooo disappointed after the race. I had to go to gym to calm down before writing my blog, hahahaha! The result would have been easier to except if there had been some technical issue in both Sebastian´s and Kimi´s car. But Sebastian admitted after the race that he simply couldn´t get as much out of the prime tyres as his team-mate did. So Sebastian is facing whole new difficulties in his career. His former team-mate Webber never managed to beat him like this. The question is: how is Sebastian going to handle this? He has such a killer-instict for winning so I´m confident that he´ll turn this around at some point of the season. I just hope Sebastian´s current performance coach Antti Kontsas has similar skills to Tommi Pärmäkoski, who successfully helped Sebastian through all the difficulties back in 2010 when there were sparks flying between the team-mates.

In terms of Kimi´s performance the situation was quite much the same. There wasn´t a technical problem in Kimi´s car today but it just seems that it´s extremely challenging for Ferrari to improve the car the way Kimi wants. Kimi´s driving style doesn´t suit to the current car and Kimi has problems with the tyres when it´s cold or wet. It must be so frustrating for Kimi as the reporters have already started asking the old questions about the Finn´s motivation. At Barcelona I really really hope to see an F14T, which suits Kimi in a much better way!

Rosberg and Hamilton have a double-lead in the championship standings, only 4 points separating the team-mates in favor of the German. Alonso is 3rd 34 points off Hamilton. Even Hulkenberg with 36 points is ahead of Vettel, who has only 33 points so far. And now we´ll have to wait long three weeks until the F1 circus moves to Europe and Barcelona!

lauantai 19. huhtikuuta 2014

Chinese GP / Qualifying: 34th career pole made Hamilton the new British record holder!

The entire qualifying session was affected by rain. When Q1 got underway the temperature was only 14 degrees Celsius and the track was wet. Maldonado was unable to take part in the qualifying due to an engine problem that had occurred in the final practice session. Some drivers started to Q1 with full wets whilst the others had chosen the intermediate tyres. Hamilton who topped the time sheets in the first session had set his lap time with full wets whilst Hulkenberg in his Force India (P2) had chosen the intermediate rubber. Gutierrez at the wheel of his C33 was the first man to be knocked out of Q2 which wasn´t a surprise. It was worrying to see that once again Kimi was struggling at the wheel of his Ferrari and the Iceman seemed to be lacking pace compared to his team-mate. Kimi was only the 14th fastest in Q1.

In Q2 the intermediate rubber was the right tyre choice. As always in rain-hit qualifying, there were some major surprises this time as well. McLaren who seemed so competitive at the season-opener in Australia had suddenly lost their performance! Both McLaren drivers were unable to make it through to the final session (Button qualified 12th and Magnussen 15th). At personal level it was much more disappointing to see that Kimi also got knocked out of Q3! Kimi was over a second slower than his team-mate Alonso! A really frustrating qualifying session for the Iceman: he struggled with the balance of the car and had problems with downshifting as well. So P11 was all the Finn could achieve today :( Another surprise was to see Grosjean in Lotus making his way in to the final session! Lotus was definitely one of the teams that benefitted most from the wet conditions.

Q3 held some further surprises though pole-setter was once again no surprise! Hamilton snatched the third pole of the season. It was the 34th career pole for the Briton which made Hamilton the new British record holder and 4th on the all-time list. Hamilton was almost 6 tenths of a second faster than his rivals so no doubt about the fastest man on track today! Rosberg on the other hand was unable to make it on the front row but qualified only 4th. Ricciardo at the wheel of his RB10 completed the front row and his team-mate Sebastian in P3 was beaten by his team-mate with half-a-second gap! To be honest, it really hurt to see Sebastian getting beaten by his Aussie team-mate. Ricciardo has outqualified Sebastian already three times this season! So not an easy start to the season for Sebastian. I´m sure we´ll see some action-packed wheel-to-wheel racing tomorrow by the Red Bull team-mates!

Alonso qualified 5th in front of the Williams duo (Massa in P6 and Bottas in P7). It was a delight to see that despite of the rainy conditions Williams were able to maintain their performance and fight for good grid slots. Although I´d have preferred to see Bottas ahead of his Brasilian team-mate. So there will be some intense battling between the Williams team-mates as well! Hulkenberg in Force India (P8), Vergne in Toro Rosso (P9) and Grosjean in Lotus (P10) completed the top ten.

The weather forecast says it should be a dry race tomorrow. Let´s see if the Red Bulls will be able to match Mercedes´s pace in the dry. Hopefully it will be a problem-free race for both my favourites! Kimi has definitely had his fair share of the technical issues so I hope his car will behave brilliantly tomorrow! Sebastian has also been struggling with the new car more than his team-mate. But Mercedes still have the edge over their rivals so I´d me amazed if somebody other than Hamilton or Rosberg won the race tomorrow. I´m also confident that without technical issues Kimi can score some decent points. I really hope I´ll soon see this series of setbacks coming to an end. Ferrari now have a new team principal Marco Mattiacci as Stefano Domenicali chose to step down earlier this week. But there´re no instant miracles despite the new leadership. Just hope that Kimi´ll be given a drivable car soon!

I just saw a touching interview of Sebastian Vettel on Finnish TV. He shared deep thoughts about life and what makes him happy. The German Red Bull ace reminded that we only have limited time here so you should enjoy the present moment and do what makes you happy. So let´s watch Formula 1 and write about it -that is what makes me so happy in life!

maanantai 7. huhtikuuta 2014

Bahrain GP: Awesome battle between the Mercedes team-mates!

This was an exceptional GP weekend in many ways. Many unexpected things happened. One of them was the fact that I didn´t see the qualifying live on TV, which was quite a shock to me! I had driven to a hotel on Saturday to spend time with my twin sister. I was 100 percent sure that the qualifying was going to be shown in a pub nearby. But when we went there it turned out that they showed a national hockey league match instead of Formula 1! I was absolutely devostated, couldn´t believe my eyes! So I ended up following the qualifying on my tablet on the official Formula 1 app, which made me even more nervous than usual, hahaha! What didn´t help my anxiety anyhow was the fact that Sebastian got knocked out of Q3! Kimi instead got an impressive P6, which was clearly higher than I expected to see.

On Sunday I was home in time to watch the race on TV. So it was another front row lock-out for Mercedes GP but this time Rosberg had managed to conquer pole. Ricciardo had been 3rd quickest in the qualifying but the Australian suffered from the grid penalty due to the unsafe release at Malaysia so he had been dropped down to P13. Bottas in his FW36 started from P3, Perez in his Force India (!) from P4, Kimi in his Ferrari from P5 and Button at the wheel of his McLaren from P6. Unfortunately both Finns took lousy starts and Bottas dropped down to P6 and Kimi even more further down to P9. Bottas´s team-mate Massa instead took a stunning start and made his way from P7 to P3!

Hamilton managed to steal the lead from Rosberg right at the start and soon after that the Mercedes duo vanished into the horizon. They were overwhelmingly dominant, totally in a class of their own! No one could challenge these two drivers, not in a slightest way! During the race it turned out that against the odds there wasn´t such a huge difference between the two tyre compounds. The softer tyre had been supposed to be even 2 seconds faster but in the race that wasn´t the case, however. So tyre tactics didn´t play as impressive role as expected.

On lap 41 we saw a frightening-looking incident where Maldonado at the wheel of his E22 was exiting the pits and crashed into Gutierrez´s Sauber, which caused the Mexican to flip in the air! Luckily Gutierrez didn´t get hurt. The accident could have had more serious consequences. Due to the collision Maldonado was handed a 10-second stop and go penalty and in addition to that a 5-place grid penalty for the upcoming Chinese GP. Safety car was deployed due to this incident and the Mercedes duo lost their impressive lead.

What happened after the restart was absolutely stunning to watch! Both Mercedes drivers had been told on the team radio to bring their cars home safely. But luckily we didn´t see any team orders but these two guys were allowed to race each other in a fair way! Rosberg didn´t want to settle for the second place and he did everything to overtake his team-mate. The German succeeded a couple of times but Hamilton always snatched his position back.

On lap 50 we saw something exceptional happening, something that we certainly haven´t seen for a while. I mean Ricciardo managed to overtake Sebastian Vettel and made his way up to P5! Although I´m a huge fan of Sebastian Ricciardo gets full respect from me. He has done a fantastic job and he really deserves his success. I don´t know what happened with Sebastian, on the team radio he told that he was extremely slow on the straights. I hope this pressure coming from Ricciardo will make Sebastian fight even harder in the next races. He must be gutted to get beaten by his team-mate!

Hamilton and Rosberg made it a sweeping 1-2 for Mercedes GP. Perez at the wheel of Force India made staggering job as well by completing the podium! Force India showed stunning performance yesterday. Ricciardo finished in P4, Hulkenberg in P5, Vettel in P6, Massa in P7, Bottas in P8, Alonso in P9 and Kimi in P10. Ferrari´s performance was such a crushing disappointment! They seem to be going nowhere compared to their rivals. The Italian team seems to be in a deep crisis and something needs to be done extremely quickly!

How will any team be able to catch up Mercedes GP in the championship fight? If it gets done by any team, I consider it a massive miracle! But the fact is that things can change in Formula 1 rather quickly. And the other teams will do their very best already at the two test days in Bahrain this week to improve their performance. What will happen at Shanghai in a fortnight is a mystery. But I do hope to see Sebastian beating his Aussie team-mate and Kimi fighting at the very top! I love watching F1 races, it makes me feel so much alive! :)