Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lewis Hamilton wins Singapore F1 race to lead Championship

Lewis Hamilton wins Singapore F1 race to lead Championship

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes did some superb driving to win the Singapore F1 race. Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull finished in 2nd followed by his teammate Daniel Ricciardo in 3rd. Fernando Alonso finished a close 4th.

It was double luck for Lewis Hamilton as he not only won the Singapore F1 race but also now leads the championship by 3 points as Nico Rosberg retired from the race due to car issues. Readers may remember that Nico Rosberg had purposefully hit Hamilton from behind at Spa forcing Hamilton to retire. Before this race Hamilton was behind Rosberg by 22 points. After all what goes around comes around.

Sebastian Vettel seemed to take benefit of an apparent starting weakness of Daniel Ricciardo as he overtook Ricciardo before going into turn 1. Fernando Alonso had a great start and took the 2nd position but he appeared to handle back the 2nd position to Vettel because Alonso perhaps feared the wrath of the stewards as he had cut a corner and seemingly gained an advantage. Since then it was a good race between Vettel and Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo.

However, it was not easy for Lewis Hamilton to just race away from the pole to victory as Singapore F1 race has got the record of having a Safety Car deployment in every race as inevitably one or the other car gets damaged and brings out the safety car. The safety car moves ahead of the F1 cars at a much slower pace than F1 cars are used to, so that stewards can clean the track during that time. In the 31st lap the safety car was out as Sergio Perez had his front wing get under his car after a wheel to wheel in turn 8 with former Force India driver Adrian Sutil, who is now driving a Sauber. Force India would be worried as they are on a tight constructors championship battle.

Lewis Hamilton informed Mercedes over the radio that he might have picked up some debris strewn on the track. His rivals Alonso, Ricciardo, Raikkonen quickly went to the pits to change tyres while Hamilton stayed ahead. The safety car cut down Hamilton’s lead. Fortunately for Hamilton, he had used 4 kgs less fuel than his immediate rival Vettel. So immediately after the Safety Car period was over in Lap 38, Hamilton started at a fast pace. In Lap 39 he had opened a gap of 3.2 seconds over Vettel. In Lap 41 he had increased the gap to 7.6 seconds. The gap kept on increasing every lap to 9.7s, 11.5s, 13.5s, 15.6s, 17.3s by lap 46.. Mercedes wanted to pit him around lap 50, however that was perhaps ambitious as the speed of Hamilton started coming down. Considering that the time to change for tyres in a pit stop is around 29 seconds in Singapore, Mercedes wanted Hamilton to have alteast 26 seconds lead over Vettel before coming to pits. Despite Hamilton saying that his tyres are worn out, Mercedes coaxed him to continue till Hamilton said that his tyres could explode at any moment. So Hamilton finally pit in lap 52 and it was a good decision as Hamilton emerged behind Vettel in second position and overtook him for the race lead in Lap 54. Through this race, Lewis Hamilton showed that he is not a world champion by just sitting and driving a fast car but also by showing tremendous ability to master adverse situations.

Felipe Massa of Williams finished in 5th position.

There was some good overtaking by Jean-Eric Vergne in the penultimate lap as he drove past Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas. However, he had a 5 second penalty slapped on him which was added to his race timing and still he finished in 6th position. Sergio Perez overtook Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and finished in 7th which was not expected as he had that problem of front nose going under the body and starting the safety car period. Kimi Raikkonen finished in 8th followed by Nico Hulkenberg of Force India in 9th and Magnussen of McLaren got the last points paying position of 10th.

Valtteri Bottas who so bravely was driving in 6th position till very close to the end, completely lost his tyres as he had his last pit stop in 23rd lap. If the safety car would have lasted a couple of more laps and he should have been fine.

Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean of Lotus finished in 12th and 13th. Kvyat of Toro Rosso finished 8 places down on his teammate in 14th. Ericsson of Caterham beat the two Marussias to finish in 15th. Jules Bianchi lead his teammate Max Chilton to 16th and 17th place finishes.

Due to the Safety Car this race could not finish it’s normal race duration as the two hour time limit was just reached.

Retirements in Singapore F1 Grand Prix

Jenson Button           McLaren          52nd lap
Adrian Sutil                Sauber            40th lap
Esteban Gutierrez      Sauber            17th lap
Nico Rosberg               Mercedes       13th lap

Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham        0

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lewis Hamilton grabs Singapore Pole

Lewis Hamilton grabs pole in Singapore F1 Qualifying

It was an interesting battle in Singapore. For the first time the dominance of Mercedes was challenged in Singapore. And Lewis Hamilton showed lot of character to grab the pole by 0.007s off Nico Rosberg, despite driving a mishandling car and suffering a big lockup during his run. Mercedes was no where in the competition till the last run in Q3.

During Q3, that is the top-ten shoot out, it was not a great beginning for the Mercedes drivers as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished 6th and 7th during their first runs. However, fortunately Hamilton could do a brilliant second run and grab the pole.

Daniel Ricciardo finished in third position just ahead of his team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Ferrari was appearing to be doing well. Unfortunately Kimi Raikkonen faced a problem as his engine appeared to die on him during his outlap but was still classified at 7th. His team-mate Fernando Alonso finished in 5th followed by Felipe Massa of Williams in 6th.

Valtteri Bottas of Williams scored P8. He was followed by Magnussen of Mclaren and Kvyat of Toro Rosso qualified in 10th position.

In the Q1, it was Raikkonen of Ferrari who topped the time sheets. At the bottom of the grid, there was a huge difference between the Caterham drivers as Marcus Ericsson came last and was nearly 2 seconds slower than his 20th placed team mate Kamui Kobayashi. They were separated by Max Chilton on Marussia in 21st position. Jules Bianchi of Marussia came 19th. Pastor Maldonado of Lotus joined them in 18th position and Adrian Sutil of Sauber in 17th to get relegated.

Maldonado’s teammate Romain Grosjean didn’t fare much better as he finished in 16th position despite qualifying for the Q2. Sergio Perez of Force India could only finish in 15th. His teammate Nico Hulkenberg finished in 13th. The duo being separated by Esteban Gutierrez in 14th position. Jean-Eric Vergne who has been dropped by Toro Rosso team for the 2015 season claimed the 12th spot. Former world Champion Jenson Button failed to qualify for the Q1 top ten shootout as he finished in 11th position. It would be pretty painful for Jenson Button as his younger teammate out-qualified him. Jenson Button doesn’t have a contract for the next year. And if McLaren thinks that Button is slowing down, then they may get someone in his place next year. This should be clear later during the year.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hamilton Wins Italian Grand Prix in Monza

Hamilton wins Italian Grand Prix in Monza 2014

If one is told that there is a problem with the Mercedes car, then invariably one would guess that it is Hamilton's car. If there is a slow pitstop then it would be Hamilton's. So many people gave up when Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes had a problem during the start and his second placed team-mate-cum-competitor Nico Rosberg took the lead.

It was said that there was a glitch in the race start software. Hamilton dropped down to fourth but patiently waited for his time. After 6 laps his problem was resolved. He then took his time and overtook Massa on lap 10.

Hamilton then put lot of pressure on Rosberg. Nico Rosberg was the first to pit. Hamilton followed one lap later. Hamilton did a good lap when in lead, however it was not sufficient to overtake Rosberg during the pitstop. Nevertheless, Hamilton kept on the pressure and Rosberg cracked. He ran wide in the chicane and Lewis Hamilton took the race lead in lap 29.

To make matters worse for Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton had consumed one kg less fuel. So it was a forgone conclusion that Lewis will win the race. And he won with more than 3 seconds lead over Nico Rosberg.

Felipe Massa of Williams got his first podium of the year when he finished in third place.

In the meanwhile, there was superb driving by Daniel Ricciardo who overtook number of cars and his team-mate and defending champion Sebastian Vettel to finish 5th behind Valtteri Bottas of Williams.

Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull finished in 6th. He was followed by Sergio Perez of Force India in 7th. Perez finished before his former teammate Jenson Button of McLaren.

Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari finished 9th behind Button. Button's team-mate Kevin Magnussen finished in 10th in the last points earning position.

Kvyat of Toro Rosso finished in 11th ahead of Nico Hulkenberg of Force India. Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso finished in 13th ahead of Pastor Maldonado of Lotus. Sutil of Sauber came 15th ahead of Romain Grosjean of Lotus in 16th. Kamui Kobayashi of Caterham returned to race after staying out for one race and finished in 17th and was followed by Jules Bianchi of Marussia. Esteban Gutierrez of Sauber was 19th ahead of the last finisher of Ericsson of Caterham.

Retirements in Italian Grand Prix 2014

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari in lap 28
Max Chilton of Marussia in lap 5