Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 27. syyskuuta 2015

Japanese GP: Hamilton cruised to victory!

I couldn´t wait to get up this morning and hear more interesting stories from Sebastian´s ex trainer Tommi Pärmäkoski, who has been visiting MTV3´s F1 studio both yesterday and today. Viewers were asked to post questions on Twitter for Tommi and I also posted one. My question to Tommi was this: During those years that he worked with Sebastian, what was the most difficult moment and on the opposite, what was the most rewarding moment? I had no clue that they would pick my question for Tommi! I was so so happy to hear Tommi answering my question live on TV! He gave a very long answer but shortly told he said that the Turkish GP in 2010 when Sebastian collided with his team-mate Webber has been the most difficult moment during those years. The answer didn´t surprise me. I remember that race so so well and I remember thinking it was probably a crucial turning point in terms of Sebastian´s Formula 1 career. The most rewarding moment then... Tommi told about Red Bull´s first moments of success. The team had built up from "nothing" and had faced lots of setbacks on the way. When the same mechanics and team members started to succeed it was a very touching moment to experience it together after all those difficulties.

The weather was sunny and hot when the lights went out at Suzuka. It was extremely tight between the Mercedes team-mates into turn one. Hamilton, however, seemed absolutely determined to get past Nico, so he gave Nico no room to turn two and Nico went wide and Hamilton took the lead. Sebastian starting from P3 had made his way past Bottas in his Williams and the German also managed to pass Nico a moment later and take the second place. Ricciardo had also taken a stunning start but unfortunately he hit Massa in his Williams going into turn one and they both suffered a puncture, which forced them to limp into the pits. Due to Ricciardo´s incident Kimi had jumped 5th. Also Force India´s Perez had contact at the start and the Mexican also had to pit on the opening lap.

 From the very start Hamilton started to open a gap to his rivals. There was nothing Sebastian could do to match the Briton´s sweeping pace. On the other hand there was one team that was lacking pace and performance badly and it was McLaren. Button experienced a bitter moment when he was overtaken on both sides on the main straight by Nasr and Verstappen. Quite awkward in front of the home crowd of their engine supplier... Rosberg had caught Bottas but the German was told on the team radio that his engine was overheating so he had to leave a bigger gap to the Finn.

On lap 13 Sebastian pitted for a fresh set of hard tyres. Sebastian had a perfect pit stop: it took only 2.2 seconds! Kimi pitted a lap later for a similar tyre choice. Hamilton on the other hand opted for a fresh set of medium tyres for his second stint whilst his team-mate Rosberg opted for hard tyres as well. Bottas´ tyre choice was similar to Hamilton´s so it was very interesting to see how the race was going to evolve. After the first pit stops Hamilton was still in a firm lead, Sebastian was second and Bottas managed to keep his third place ahead of Rosberg. Not for long though: already on the out lap Rosberg made an overtaking move on Bottas and managed to make his way past the Finn. Kimi was still in P5.

On lap 27 we saw a bizarre situation when Toro Rosso´s Sainz made a very late decision to come into the pits and the Spaniard hit the mark at the pit entry destroying his front wing. At the same time Kimi had closed the gap to Bottas who seemed to be struggling with his pace on the medium tyres. However, Kimi found no opportunity to try to overtake his fellow countryman so Ferrari called him into the pits. Another set of hard tyres for the Iceman. Those orange-marked hard tyres seemed to suit the SF15-T extremely well.  The second pit stops were a turning point in the race: Kimi managed to jump Bottas to P4 but Rosberg also managed to jump Sebastian to P2 so Mercedes were back in the double lead!

By the lap 40 Sebastian had closed the gap to Rosberg but even if the German got within DRS distance from his fellow countryman, there was no opportunities for Sebastian to challenge the Mercedes pilot for the second place. Bottas at the wheel of his FW37 had also chased down Kimi but no real chances to overtake in that battle, either. At the back of the pack there was a dangerous situation as Marussia´s Stevens had a 360-degree spin and his team-mate Rossi just barely was able to avoid crashing into his team-mate. Behind the top ten Verstappen had impressively made his way through the pack. The Dutchman started from P17 (he had been handed a 3-place grid penalty due to parking his STR10 dangerously on the track in yesterday´s qualifying) and finally made his way up to P9! Stunning overtaking moves and no stupid mistakes. Great performance from this young rookie indeed!

Hamilton took a sweeping victory, which was the 41st victory in his F1 career. Now Hamilton equals Senna in the all-time standings. Another 1-2 for Mercedes as Rosberg finished second. Once again Sebastian had to settle for being "the best of the rest" by completing the podium. Kimi drove an excellent race and the Iceman finished 4th behind his team-mate. Bottas finished 5th, Hulkenberg 6th, Grosjean 7th, Maldonado 8th, Verstappen 9th and Sainz 10th. Important points for Lotus, who are in a serious economical crisis at the moment. Another very frustrating day for McLaren. Alonso was complaining on the team radio by saying that he had "a GP2 engine" on his car. Not the best and most constructive comment to say on Honda´s home soil...

On the podium it was enjoyable to watch how Hamilton and Vettel were fooling around with each other. When Sebastian was interviewed, Hamilton poured champagne over the German. A moment later when Hamilton was interviewed, Sebastian did the same for the Briton. The great champagne revenge by Sebastian, hahaha ;) Hamilton has a crushing 48-point lead in the championship standings and he seems to be on the path towards the world championship if there won´t be any miracles happening in the upcoming races. It will be tight between Rosberg and Vettel: Rosberg managed to increase his gap by 3 points but the gap to Sebastian is still only 11 points. Let´s see how things evolve at Sochi in a fortnight... First of all it will be interesting to see in what condition the track will be after last summer´s flood!

P.S. My husband bought me a new laptop yesterday so now I can enjoy writing my blog again :D My wrist and fingers didn´t like tapping blog posts on my smart phone! ;)

lauantai 26. syyskuuta 2015

Japanese GP / Qualifying: Mercedes back on top form!

It was quite an early morning in Finland when pre-qualifying broadcasts got underway. But I became so so happy when I noticed that Sebastian Vettel´s ex trainer Tommi Pärmäkoski had been invited to join the F1 studio. It was so exciting and entertaining to hear him telling stories behind the scenes. He worked with Sebastian for 3,5 years so he really knows Sebastian like his own pockets.

When qualifying got underway one thing was certain: Mercedes were back on top form! All the struggling they had in Singapore now seemed to be distant history. Hamilton set the pace in the first segment with his team-mate second. I was happy how well Kimi could match Mercedes´ pace as the Iceman was only half a second down on Hamilton. Ferrari and Williams were quite evenly matched on their first runs as Bottas was 4th and Sebastian 5th. Those times were set on the orange-marked hard tyres. Surprisingly, both Hamilton and Rosberg made second runs on the hard tyres although it wouldn´t have been necessary. The Ferrari team-mates and Williams´ Bottas instead decided to sit out the second runs. In the last minute of the first session Toro Rosso´s Verstappen lost power and stopped at an odd angle at the hairpin and it naturally caused yellow flags. How disappointing for Verstappen, who was in P8 at the moment! But the technical failure meant that the Dutchman´s qualifying was over. Button led those who failed to make it through to Q2. Both Sauber drivers as well as the Marussia duo were out of the second session.

Q2 saw everyone coming out on the white-marked medium compound. This time Rosberg turned the tables and set the fastest lap time ahead of his team-mate Hamilton, who was less than a tenth of a second down on his team-mate. Kimi was third 7 tenths down on Rosberg. Only a few hundredths of a second separated Kimi, Massa and Bottas so it was extremely tight between Ferrari and Williams. It was no surprise that Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams decided to sit out the second runs. Those top three teams had absolutely no difficulties to make it into the final session. Hulkenberg, Sainz, Maldonado and Alonso got knocked out of the final segment.

Rosberg took provisional pole but there were only 76 thousandths of a second separating the German from his team-mate, who had made a mistake on his flying lap. Bottas in his Williams pulled out an impressive lap and made it P3 on his first run. Sebastian´s lap left a little more to hope for and he was only 4th fastest. Kimi didn´t feel as confident as in the previous sessions and the Iceman couldn´t make it higher than P6 on his first run. The Ferrari duo was split by Massa in his Williams. Kvyat at the wheel of his Red Bull and Force India´s Perez opted for one run only. However, the final segment ended in dramatic fashion. In the last minute of the session the Russian Red Bull driver Kvyat lost control of his Red Bull approaching to the hairpin,tearing off both wheels and flipping before coming to rest. The session was immediately red-flagged. Amazingly, Kvyat managed to walk away unharmed from the wreckage of his heavily-damaged RB11. It seemed that the Russian himself was at fault: he had put a wheel on the grass, which caused him to lose control of his car. As there were only 38 seconds left in the clock it was decided that the red-flagged session would not be restarted. That meant no one could improve their lap times so Rosberg took pole with Hamilton second and Bottas third. Sebastian qualified 4th, Massa 5th, Kimi 6th, Ricciardo 7th, Grosjean 8th, Perez 9th and Kvyat 10th. After the qualifying I read that Red Bull need to change Kvyat´s chassis so the Russian will start to the race from the pit lane.

I was so confident that Kimi was fighting for P3 today so it was very unfortunate for him that the session was red-flagged. And Suzuka isn´t known as a circuit of many overtaking possibilities... It´s interesting to see how Williams´ race pace will turn out. It hasn´t always been as good as their qualifying pace. However, I don´t think there´s anyone who can seriously challenge the Mercedes duo in the normal dry conditions. But you never know how the weather turns out in Japan... Sebastian seemed so disappointed after the qualifying so I think he´ll do everything he possibly can to take the fight to both Williams and Mercedes!

I can´t wait for tomorrow´s pre-race broadcasts and to hear more of those great stories behind the scenes from Tommi!

sunnuntai 20. syyskuuta 2015

Singapore GP: Vettel was the most shining star in the Singapore night!

Due to work I´ve missed all the free practice sessions this weekend so I was extremely happy that today I didn´t have to rush anywhere but I could just sit down on my sofa and watch all those pre-race broadcasts on TV. Mercedes drivers faced difficulties already before the start. Rosberg´s engine went off twice in the pit lane and there was a fuss around Hamilton´s car as well. However, both Mercedes drivers were able to start normally to the race. Lights went out and the race was on! This time it was Max Verstappen´s Toro Rosso that was halted on the 8th grid slot. What a shame! In Monza the same had happened to Kimi and now Max shared the same fate. Sebastian on the other hand got a superb start and kept his lead. The order in terms of the top seven maintained unchanged: Ricciardo was second, Kimi third, Kvyat 4th, Hamilton 5th, Rosberg 6th and Bottas 7th.

In just two laps Sebastian had increased his lead into 4 seconds. Kimi followed Ricciardo very closely but the Iceman seemed unable to try an overtaking move on the Australian. The Mercedes duo was unable to match both Ferrari´s and Red Bull´s pace. That was something I actually didn´t expect although Mercedes´ qualifying pace had been quite tame.

On lap 13, when Sebastian had already made his lead grow up into 5 seconds, Massa in his Williams and Hulkenberg in his Force India collided! Massa was simply unable to avoid the collision in any way as there was really nowhere the Brazilian could go. The virtual safety car was deployed due to the incident as Hulkenberg´s Force India was stuck in the barrier. The incident was taken into investigation by the stewards and Hulkenberg was decided to be at fault. The German was handed a 3-place grid penalty for the Japanese GP next week. All top drivers rushed into the pits: Sebastian, Ricciardo, Kimi and both Mercedes drivers. The top three opted for a fresh set of super soft tyres whilst the Mercedes duo opted for the prime tyres. Kvyat at the wheel of his RB11 was the one who lost most during the pit stop as the Russian Red Bull pilot dropped from P4 down to P6 behind the Mercedes duo. A few laps later the actual safety car was deployed and Sebastian´s 6-second lead slipped through his fingers.

On lap 18 safety car came in and after the re-start the top six remained unchanged. Sainz in his Toro Rosso suddenly faced problems with his gearbox and it took a moment for the Spaniard to get the gears working again. However, Sainz dropped down to P18. At this stage Sebastian´s pace didn´t look too convincing. Ricciardo could easily keep up almost within DRS distance from Sebastian. I started thinking if Sebastian was doing that deliberately so that his team-mate Kimi could possibly try to make an overtaking move on Ricciardo.

Towards the halfway point of the race Hamilton suddenly reported about significant loss of power on his car. In no time the Briton was overtaken by his team-mate Rosberg, Kvyat and then Bottas. The Briton´s lap time was 13 seconds slower than that of Vettel´s but the team didn´t take him in. They did everything to fix the issue on track but finally Hamilton had no choice but to drive to the pits and retire the race. Also Massa in his Williams had to retire the race due to gearbox problems. Alonso in his McLaren was the next driver to retire.

On lap 37 the safety car was deployed for the second time! Sebastian reported on the team radio that there was a man walking on the track! Sometimes crazy things happen in F1 races and this was definitely one of them! The race was on a few laps later. Verstappen at the wheel of his STR10 had made his way sensationally through the field and was already in P8 when there were some 15 laps to go. The Dutchman had closed the gap to Perez in his Force India but overtaking was no easy task. At the same time Verstappen´s team-mate Sainz was right at the Dutchman´s tail. Suddenly on the second last lap we heard a team radio message saying that Verstappen should let Sainz past. The immediate reaction from the 18-yaer old rookie was to shout "No!!" on the team radio. I didn´t understand the team order at all. Why would Verstappen have let Sainz to pass him? Verstappen seemed really fast and he was seriously challenging Perez although overtaking wasn´t easy. I was so so happy that Verstappen decided to disobey the team orders! There was absolutely no reason for him to give his position to Sainz!

Sebastian took the third win of the season for Ferrari and I was thrilled. Ricciardo finished 2nd and Kimi completed the podium by finishing third. So my dream actually came true as both red warriors were standing on the podium today. Kimi had had some issues with his SF15-T so P3 was an outstanding result from the Iceman. Rosberg drove to the chequered flag in P4, Bottas in P5, Kvyat in P6, Perez in P7, Verstappen in P8, Sainz in P9 and Nasr in P10. There really seems to be something magical about Sebastian and Singapore. Without any doubt Sebastian was the most shining star in the Singapore night. I hope he is having a heck of a party with Kimi and the team tonight!

I was so happy to read after the race that Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost hadn´t upbraided Verstappen for not obeying the team orders but he had said instead that Verstappen was right to question the order to allow Sainz pass. Verstappen´s driving is so passionate, I really love to watch him race!

Sebastian is now seriously involved with the championship fight! Hamilton still has a firm 41-point lead in the drivers´ championship standings but Sebastian is only 8 points off Rosberg! Ferrari really seem to have found extra speed in the second half of the season! Luckily the next race will be already next week. Oh how I love these back-to-back races!

lauantai 19. syyskuuta 2015

Singapore GP / Qualifying: Vettel stormed on pole in a superior way!

I started my day by going swimming in a lake. The water was about +13 degrees so it was a very refreshing start to the day! Exceptionally I had a work day although it's Saturday. But luckily I got home right in time to watch qualifying live on TV. And what an incredible qualifying I was about to see!

The venue of Marina Bay Circuit is absolutely breathtaking. In my opinion it's the most perfect venue for an F1 race. The cars look astonishing in those artificial lights. During the opening minutes of the first session I just kept staring all those shiny cars and enjoyed the sight of their beauty. The Ferraris didn't only shine nicely but they seemed to perform convincingly as well. What really caught my eye was the fact that Mercedes seemed to lack pace in the way that hasn't been seen previously this season. Sebastian was the fastest man on track after the first run on the soft tyres. His pace was utterly crushing as the German was 7 tenths of a second faster than Red Bull's Ricciardo. Sebastian's lap time was so convincing that he could afford to sit out the second runs. His team-mate Räikkönen and Red Bull's Ricciardo made their second runs on another set of soft tyres whilst all their rivals opted for a set of red-marked super soft tyres. Red Bull's Kvyat topped the timesheets with Hamilton second. Sebastian was third and Ricciardo fourth in spite of the different tyre strategy. Maldonado in his Lotus, both Saubers and both Marussia drivers were out of Q2. American Alexander Rossi replaced Merhi at Marussia for five upcoming GP weekends including this at Singapore.

When Q2 got underway it became clearer and clearer that Red Bull were on top form. The Mercedes pilots seemed to be seriously struggling with their pace. However, to me it still seemed too unreal to be true and I was sure that at least by Q3 they would push some miracle button on their car and they would be back on top. But after the first attempts Sebastian had clocked the fastest lap time with Kvyat second and Kimi third. Hamilton was 9 tenths off the pace! Both Ferrari and Red Bull drivers sat out the second runs. In the dying moments of Q2 Sainz in his Toro Rosso clobbered the wall with the left-rear of his STR10 in turn 19 and caused yellow flags in sector 3. This meant that no one could improve his lap time at the end of the session. Both Force Indias were out of the final session, so were the McLarens of Alonso and Button. Sainz, who had hit the wall, was naturally also out of Q3. I was very happy for his team-mate though: Verstappen continued his impressive performances and was 5th fastest in Q2! Hamilton was left in P6 and his team-mate Rosberg in P7.

In Q3 Hamilton aborted his first flying lap after running wide over the kerb in turn 7. Sebastian took provisional pole by three tenths of a second over Ricciardo. Kimi was third only six hundredths of a second off Ricciardo. Verstappen at the wheel of his STR10 opted for one run only. Right at the end Sebastian emphasized his superiority by increasing his pole margin from 3 tenths into half a second! Wow, he was really on fire today! Ricciardo managed to maintain his second place and Kimi made it P3 today. Although I couldn't help noticing that Kimi was 7 tenths of a second off his team-mate's pace. But any way, third place on the grid is an excellent place to start to the race. Kvyat completed the second row by qualifying 4th. Finally Hamilton qualified 5th and Rosberg 6th 1.4 seconds back from Vettel's polesitting Ferrari! Bottas in his Williams qualified 7th, Verstappen 8th, Massa in the other Williams 9th and Grosjean completed the top ten for Lotus.

So for the first time since June of last year, Sunday will see a grand prix start without a Mercedes on pole position! Mercedes' streak of consecutive front-row starts is halted at 23 races - one short of Williams' all-time record. Also Hamilton's personal run of consecutive pole positions was halted at seven, one short of Ayrton Senna's record. Performance-wise it's really interesting to see what will happen in the race tomorrow. Mercedes have only finished off the podium once this season, which happened in Hungary in the summer. After the qualifying Hamilton was complaining that the tyres weren't working on the car and that there was no grip.

I hope Sebastian's pace in the race will be as mesmerizing as it was today in the qualifying! Kimi had also issues with the grip today so the Iceman was surprised that he managed to qualify as high as third. Hopefully his start will be much better than in Monza two weeks ago! However, I have a good feeling about the race. But before that I want to seize this moment and this feeling of happiness, which Sebastian created by conquering pole for the first time as a Ferrari driver! If he won tomorrow I would definitely want to hear comments from him in Finnish. He has put so much effort into speaking Italian lately that he seems to have forgotten all about Finnish... And I miss him speaking Finnish in his own perfect way! :D

sunnuntai 6. syyskuuta 2015

Italian GP: Hamilton started from pole, lead every lap of the race, set the fastest lap time and took a sweeping victory!

The start of the Italian GP was absolutely perfect for Hamilton, who managed to maintain his lead easily. I had high hopes for the Ferrari duo but the start turned out to be an absolute nightmare for Kimi. I still don´t know what went wrong but Kimi´s SF15-T got into anti-stall mode, which meant that it took a few seconds for Kimi to get his car rolling from the grid slot. This meant that the Iceman got passed by the whole pack! I can´t help admiring his rivals´ reflexes that nobody actually hit the rear of Kimi´s Ferrari in this very unexpected situation. It was such a devastating moment indeed! Right when everything looked so good in terms of the race... But I knew the Iceman wasn´t going to give up but put up a great overtaking spectacle.

Hamilton started pulling away from his rivals right away. Sebastian tried to keep up with the British Mercedes driver but unfortunately there was very little he could do. Massa in his Williams was third followed by his team-mate Bottas. Rosberg was down in P5. By lap 10 Kimi had already made his way up to P9. The Finn´s driving looked utterly entertaining and Kimi seemed determined to make his way as high up as possible. By lap 14 Rosberg was right at Bottas´ tail but the Finn was determined to keep the German behind him. Rosberg was told on the team radio that his brakes started to overheat so he had to back off a little. Rosberg was the first top driver to pit on lap 19. He rejoined the track on a fresh set of prime tyres. Massa at the wheel of his FW37 pitted a lap later but Rosberg´s undercut move worked out and the Brazilian rejoined the track behind the German Mercedes pilot. Hamilton on the other hand kept on storming on the track and he set faster lap times than those on the fresh set of tyres!

Kimi picked off drivers in front driver by driver. Sebastian pitted not until on lap 26 and the Ferrari pilot rejoined the track in P2. Hamilton pitted from the lead a lap later and easily kept his lead. Kimi was still staying out on track but his tyres were seriously coming off. There was absolutely nothing Kimi could do to prevent Rosberg from overtaking him on the straight. Right after that the Iceman was called to the pits for a fresh set of medium tyres. However, there was huge drama when Kimi was coming to the pit entry as Marussia´s Merhi was about to hit the rear of Kimi´s car. Luckily Merhi was able to control his car and avoid collision. But this episode certainly made my heart jump into my mouth! Luckily Kimi´s pit stop was quick and the Finn rejoined the track in P10.

Kimi continued to put up a staggering overtaking show and on lap 33 Force India´s Hulkenberg had to surrender to the storming Iceman. Hamilton had a safe lead but Sebastian in P2 was slowly but surely getting pressure from Rosberg in P3. With 10 laps to go Hamilton´s lead had already increased into 22 seconds. The Briton proved to be absolutely untouchable. However, with 5 laps to go dark clouds suddenly started to gather upon the Mercedes drivers. On TV we saw clearly upset Toto Wolff and soon after that we heard Hamilton´s team radio message where Hamilton was told to set competitive lap times, not to ask any questions but just execute. I started wondering if there were some technical worries in terms of Hamilton´s car...

On the closing laps Kimi had closed the gap to Perez in his Force India and Kimi attacked the Mexican in turn 1 making his way ahead of the Force India pilot. Excellent work from Kimi indeed! The start of the race had been horrendous for him but he had fought his way through the field in an impressive way. With just two laps to go it was Rosberg´s turn to face huge drama. Without any warning his engine blew out with flames coming from the rear of his car. Rosberg had already closed the gap to Sebastian being ready to fight for the 2nd place!  So a highly frustrating DNF for Rosberg and no points!

Hamilton cruised to victory in an absolutely dominant way and Sebastian made all the tifosis super happy by finishing second. I was so so happy for him! The Williams team-mates Massa and Bottas had an intense and thrilling but fair fight for the 3rd place, which ended in Massa´s favor. Kimi drove to the chequered flag in P5, which was a great result after the catastrophic start. The Force India duo scored excellent points as Perez finished 6th and Hulkenberg 7th. Red Bull´s Ricciardo finished 8th, which was the absolute maximum after all the penalties. Ericsson and Kvyat completed the top ten.

However, no matter how dominant Hamilton was today, his victory may still be compromised. Both Mercedes drivers are under investigation over starting tyre pressures. When both Mercedes were checked ahead of the start Hamilton´s left-rear tyre was found to be 0.3 psi below the required mark, with the same tyre on Rosberg´s car 1.1 psi under. Ferrari´s starting tyre pressures were also checked but they were found to be above the required value. So we´re living exciting moments now... What will be the penalty for the breach? Will the Mercedes drivers get a time penalty, which wouldn´t possibly change the result in Hamilton´s case as his winning margin was 25 seconds? Or will the Mercedes duo be excluded from the final standings? I really don´t know what to expect although there was a similar case in the GP2 series this weekend and the driver was excluded from the standings due to a similar breach.

For now Hamilton has massive 252 points in the championship standings to Rosberg´s 199 and Vettel´s 178. It certainly seems that there´s nobody who can challenge the self-confident Mercedes pilot for the championship this year. Rosberg really seems unable to take the fight to his team-mate. So in a fortnight the F1 circus will move to Singapore. The night race in Singapore is in my opinion the most perfect venue for Formula 1. Sebastian has always performed well there so once again I´ll be looking forward to the race with high hopes. And I´m convinced that Kimi won´t make the same mistake with the start twice if it even was his mistake... Roll on Singapore!

P.S. I just read on the Finnish web site that no penalties have been given to the Mercedes drivers due to the breach! Quite unbelievable... Something like this can only happen in Formula 1! (I mean I can´t understand why the GP2 driver was penalised for a similar breach and the F1 drivers weren´t... It doesn´t make any sense to me!)

Italian GP / Qualifying: Finally a perfect qualifying from Kimi!

It's almost midnight in Finland. I've spent the day at my parents' house and I didn't come home until at half past nine in the evening. I've had an awful headache all day but finally I managed to get rid of it! And what would be a better way to spend the midnight than writing about Formula 1 ;)

This weekend the F1 circus moved to legendary Monza, which is also the venue for Ferrari's home race. The top teams started to Q1 on the medium tyres like expected. At the beginning of the first segment there was an incident where Sauber's Ericsson was blocking the Force India of Hulkenberg but the stewards declared that the case was to be investigated after the qualifying. The Ferrari team-mates both made their second runs on the prime tyres, which I found a bit surprising. Hamilton who was topping the timesheets had also set his lap time on the medium tyres. Rosberg was second with a similar strategy. I was happy to see Kimi in P3. Both Force Indias seemed to have excellent pace as well although both Perez and Hulkenberg had set their fastest lap times on the soft tyres. To my disappointment Toro Rosso lost their race against time to get Verstappen out for a flying lap due to an engine issue. This was the first time in Verstappen's brief F1 career that he failed to reach Q2. We saw a bizarre episode when the team sent Verstappen out in the dying moments of the first session and almost immediately Verstappen's engine covers came off! In addition to the Dutchman also both McLarens and both Marussias got knocked out of Q2.

When Q2 got underway Hamilton was on fire right from the start. The Briton set a staggering lap time being 7 tenths of a second faster than his team-mate! However, partly Rosberg's tame performance can be explained by using an old-spec engine, which the German had reverted to. Ferrari's pace seemed fantastic: both Kimi and Sebastian were faster than Rosberg! Hamilton and Räikkönen , who were the fastest drivers after the first attempts, decided to sit out the second runs. Red Bull's Ricciardo also suffered from engine issues and didn't set a lap time in Q2. Also his team-mate Kvyat was knocked out of the decisive Q3 as well as Maldonado (Lotus), Nasr (Sauber) and Sainz (Toro Rosso).

Once again there was no doubt about who was going to snatch pole in Monza. After the first runs the Briton was topping the timesheets with Sebastian second and Kimi third. Massa in his Williams was fourth and Rosberg was in surprisingly low P5 being half a second slower than his team-mate! After yesterday's free practice sessions it seemed that Mercedes were 1,5 seconds faster than their closest rival Ferrari, which looked quite depressing. Luckily this didn't turn out to be the case in today's qualifying! Hulkenberg was yet another driver to suffer from technical woes in the qualifying: the German stopped at the pit lane entry as he reported a loss of power in his VJM08. Hamilton didn't manage to improve his lap time on his second run but his pole was never threatened. Kimi pulled out an amazing lap and edged his team-mate Sebastian fair and square! What a perfect day for the Iceman for a change! It was tight though as there were only five hundredths of a second separating the Ferrari team-mates. Rosberg was left fourth, which must have been a bitter disappointment for the Mercedes driver. The Williams duo Massa and Bottas occupied the third row with Massa being the faster one of the Williams drivers. Perez qualified 7th, Grosjean 8th, Hulkenberg 9th and Ericsson 10th.

Various penalties have been applied for tomorrow's race. Ericsson has been penalized three grid places for impeding Hulkenberg in Q1. The McLarens of Alonso and Button, the Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Kvyat and the Toro Rossos of Sainz and Verstappen are all affected by multiple engine and gearbox penalties. Verstappen will also have to serve a drive-through penalty in the first three laps of the race after the stewards decided that his STR10 was released in an unsafe condition during Q1. This many penalties make me very confused about tomorrow's grid. All I know is that Red Bull and Toro Rosso are set to occupy the final two rows of the grid but I've lost the count of the number of grid slots that each driver has been dropped... A 35-place grid drop feels nothing but ridiculous, not to mention the 105 grid places that the McLaren duo was set to drop at Spa! 4 power units per season is too little for the majority of the teams it seems.

Rosberg faced problems with the new-spec engine so problems may emerge for Hamilton as well. I'm sure that both Kimi and Sebastian will drive with all their heart in front of the tifosis so I'm confident that both of them will stand on the podium tomorrow! I don't mind the order as long as either one of them will be on the top step, haha! ;D But I definitely don't want to see any exploding tyres this time!