Sunday, May 31, 2015

Indian Grand Prix: Is there hope?

Indian Grand Prix: Is there Hope?

Formula 1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone has put the ball firmly in the court of Jaypee Group when he was asked about the future of the Indian Grand Prix. The Indian Grand Prix at the Budh International Circuit was first held in 2011 and continued for the next two years. There was supposed to be a break for a year to shift the time to the beginning of the calendar. However, it remains out of the calendar till date.

Bernie Ecclestone however said that it is upto Jaypee group to agree and revive the contract. He however cautioned that time is running out and the Jaypee Group has to revert back within the next two months.

It is known that Bernie Ecclestone demands his pound of flesh and the contract is such that the circuit owner makes very little profit, if miraculously it can make any. Bernie's recent statement is more in a technical nature to squarely put the blame on the shoulders of Jaypee Group.

Bernie Ecclestone runs F1 in a very tight fisted manner and this results in many participating teams running into losses, going bankrupt and dropping out of formula 1. However, he continues to blame the teams and people of not being able to run their business. Same thing happens with the circuit owners. We estimate that it would be a miracle to find the Indian Grand Prix in the 2016 calendar.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mercedes robs Hamilton, gifts Monaco victory to Rosberg

Mercedes robs Hamilton, gifts victory to Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton’s sure shot victory chance at Monaco vanished during the safety car period because of a decision by Mercedes, which can politely be called a blunder. Lewis Hamilton was on the lead for 63 laps and had built up a lead of about 17.7 seconds. Then suddenly Max Verstappen had perhaps a brain failure as he has been driving well till that point and rammed behind the Lotus car of Romain Grosjean and then ploughs into the barrier. This brought the safety car. Mercedes then told Lewis Hamilton that both the two cars behind him have pitted whereas his teammate Nico Rosberg (of Mercedes) and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari did not pit. So Hamilton agreed to get into the pits and changed his tyres. However, he lost the lead as after the pitstop, despite the lead he had built in, Lewis Hamilton joined the track behind Rosberg and Vettel. It was a sure shot win gifted to Nico Rosberg.

For some reason, someone in Mercedes wanted to perhaps keep Nico Rosberg in good humour after signing Lewis Hamilton for the next three years with a reported millions of dollars in salary. This is not an error. Despite the Mercedes boss Toto Wolf apologising, this is simply not possible. Someone somewhere decided to gift the win to Nico Rosberg to help him create the record of three wins in a row at Monaco. More importantly, now we know that this years drivers championship is far from over and Nico Rosberg does have a chance of winning it despite the brilliance of Lewis Hamilton.

The agony was evident in Hamilton’s face. He obviously didn’t celebrate by spraying the champagne. However, he said that he trusts the team.
Max Verstappen was penalised five places on the starting grid for causing the accident. He will start five places lower than his qualifying position in the next F1 Grand Prix at Canada.

Daniil Kvyat of Red Bull came in fourth. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo was fifth. Initially the Red Bull team allowed Ricciardo to overtake Kvyat as they felt that Ricciardo might challenge the other front runners and score a podium. When they realised that it is not going to happen, they allowed Kvyat to overtake Ricciardo and take his rightful position.

Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari was sixth. It is surprising that consistently Kimi has qualified behind Vettel and as a result has finished behind Vettel in most of the races. Kimi is a fast driver but his reputation as a fast and ice cool driver is taking a beating. In 2014, he was comprehensively beaten by Fernando Alonso. However, it was known that Kimi had walked into the team and was driving a car which was designed as per the preferences of Alonso. So there was some consolation. However, Sebastian Vettel routinely being in the podium and Kimi finishing in fifth or sixth is becoming difficult to digest.

Kimi was followed by Sergio Perez of Force India in seventh. It was a big surprise as Jenson Button of McLaren finished in 8th position. Earlier, Jenson Button had predicted that his McLaren team is not going to be in points in 2015. Hopefully this is the start of a good patch for the McLaren team.

Felipe Nasr and Carlos Sainz finished in 9th and 10th positions.

Nico Hulkenberg finished in 11th position. Romain Grosjean who was on the path of a points finish was crudely hit by Verstappen and finished in 12th position.

Marcus Ericsson was 13th followed by Valtteri Bottas of Williams in 14th. His teammate Felipe Massa was 15th.

Roberto Merhi for the first time finished ahead of his Marussia teammate. Merhi finished in 16th ahead of Will Stevens in 17th.

Results of Monaco F1 2015 Grand Prix

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hamilton scores first Monaco Pole

Hamilton scores his first Pole in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton scored the crucial pole position in the F1 Grand Prix at Monaco

The qualifying in the F1 race at Monaco is very important given the twisting nature of the street circuit which makes overtaking difficult. The pole sitter generally wins the race. In the last 10 races, 9 times the driver has won from the pole.

There were spots of rain at the start of Q3. So Lewis Hamilton immediately started on his first qualifying lap in the Q3 and set a time of 1m 15. 304 for the provisional P1 slot. His teammate Nico Rosberg was further 0.136 seconds down. Sebastian Vettel was the only other driver to be in the 1m 15s. However, in the final run in Q3, Lewis Hamilton bettered his own lap time and scored a 1m 15.098 seconds. His teammate Nico Rosberg could not better his initial time and came in second and was 0.342 seconds behind him after setting a time of 1m 15.440s.

Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was 0.751 seconds behind with a time of 1m 15.849s. Surprisingly Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull came in 4th with 1m 16.041s. Daniil Kyvat was 5th with 1m 16.182s.

Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari was 6th and more than half a second behind his teammate. Raikkonen scored a 1m 16.427s. He was followed by Sergio Perez of Force India in 7th with a time of 1m 16.808. Perez had done only one run where he was provisional P6 which was subsequently pushed down to P7 during the second run by other drivers.

Carlos Sainz was 8th with a time of 1m 16.931 seconds. Pastor Maldonado of Force India was 9th after he set a time of 1m 16.946s. Max Verstappen, the youngest driver in the F1 history came in at P10 with a time of 1m 16.957s.

Romain Grosjean of Lotus was 11th with a time of 1m 17.007 seconds. He was followed by Jenso Button of McLaren with 1m 17.093 seconds. Nico Hulkenberg of Force India was 13th as he was a further .1 seconds down on Jenson Button. Felipe Massa of Williams qualified on 14th with a time of 1m 17.278 seconds.

Fernando Alonso of McLaren had bad luck as his car stopped with a potential engine problem. His time was good enough for 15th position and qualify for the Q2. However, since he couldn’t participate in Q2.

Fernando Alonso was followed by Felipe Nasr in 16th. Valtteri Bottas of Williams was 17th and was followed by Marcus Ericsson in 18th.

As expected the two Marusia cars of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi came in at 19th and 20th out of 20 cars in the Monaco F1 Grand Prix qualifying. They were the only two cars who were in the 1m 20s.

Anything is possible in Monaco as a number of cars hit the barriers and retire from the race. Last year, Marussia's driver Jules Bianchi had finished in 8th position and had earned their only points till date. Because of that points finish, they got an estimated 20 million pounds which helped them find a buyer and stay in this business. It is sad that Jules Bianchi had an accident at Japan in F1 race in 2014 and is fighting for his survival. His parents are now prepared to give up as the cost of medication is simply way too much for anyone to bear. Also Bianchi is not showing much improvement. It is time to remember him, so the Manor Marussia team has distributed a wrist band in Bianchi's name.

Lets hope tomorrow's race is entertaining without any injury to anyone.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rosberg wins Spanish Grand Prix from Pole

Rosberg wins Spanish Grand Prix from Pole

As was expected, Nico Rosberg of Mercedes won the Spanish Grand Prix after starting from Pole position. It is extremely difficult to overtake in Spanish Grand Prix. So the pole position virtually assures the winner unless there is a problem with reliability of the car the driver has a momentary lapse of concentration. Neither of which occurred in Barcelona and Rosberg raced to victory. His teammate and F1 Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished second. Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari finished third.

Lewis Hamilton’s only chance of overtaking Nico Rosberg was at the start of the race. However, Hamilton had too much wheel spin and not only he couldn’t challenge Rosberg, but also Sebastian Vettel overtook him. At that moment the thought of race victory perhaps overtook him. Whatever dreams of race victory he might have had, completely vanished when he had a tardy first pitstop. His mechanic couldn’t remove his left rear wheel nut and he had to stop for 5.2seconds. That was more than double the time Ferrari took for Vettel’s first pit stop. Sebastian Vettel had a 2.3 second pitstop. In comparison Rosberg’s pitstop was 2.5 seconds long. Mercedes put Hamilton in a 3 pit stop strategy and it helped him to overtake Sebastian Vettel.

Nico Rosberg finished 17.5 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel was a further 15 seconds behind Hamilton. It must have hurt Ferrari that its other driver Kimi Raikkonen couldn’t finish in fourth. Valtteri Bottas drove a strong race and Kimi couldn’t overtake him. Valtteri Bottas finished 12 seconds behind Vettel and Kimi was another 10 seconds behind Bottas. Felipe Massa finished another 8 seconds behind Kimi in 6th position. All other drivers were lapped atleast one lap.

Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull finished seventh and was lapped once. Romain Grosjean of Lotus was P8 followed by Carlos Sainz in P9 and Daniil Kvyat in P10.

Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso finished in 11th and outside the points paying positions. He was followed by Felipe Nasr of Sauber in 12th.

Sergio Perez of Force India was 13th and was followed by Marcus Ericsson of Sauber in 14th. Nico Hulkenberg of Force India was 15th and was followed by McLaren’s Jenson Button in 16th.

The two Manor Marussia racing cars of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi came in last at 17th and 18th positions.

The Spanish crowd favourite Fernando Alonso retired in lap 26 due to brake failure. Infact during a pitstop he couldn’t stop at his mark and the jack flew after getting hit. Fortunately nothing major happened. One wonders if the double world champion did the right thing to make this move to McLaren. Some even doubt whether he will win a race again.

It was again a bad day in office for Pastor Maldonado. He was driving aggressively and was P7 at one point of time. However, he had a collision with his teammate and his rear wing was damaged. The resulting pitstop was a big setback and he couldn’t recover from it and had to retire on lap 45.

F1 Championship Race 2015

After the Spanish Grand Prix, the following is the F1 2015 Championship Race
Sl. No. Driver                         Team              Points
1.         Lewis Hamilton          Mercedes       111
2.         Nico Rosberg              Mercedes       91
3.         Sebastian Vettel         Ferrari            80
4.         Kimi Raikkonen         Ferrari            52
5.         Valtteri Bottas            Williams        42
6.         Felipe Massas             Williams        39
7.         Daniel Ricciardo        Red Bull         25
8.         Romain Grosjean       Lotus              16
9.         Felipe Nasr                Sauber            14
10.       Carlos Sainz              Toro Rosso     8
11.       Max Verstappen        Toro Rosso     6
12.       Nico Hulkenberg       Force India     6
13.       Sergio Perez              Force India     5
14.       Marcus Ericsson        Sauber            5
15.       Daniil Kvyat              Red Bull         5
16.       Fernando Alonso       McLaren         0
17.       Jenson Button            McLaren         0
18.       Roberto Merhi           Marussia         0
19.       Will Stevens              Marussia         0

20.       Pastor Maldonado     Lotus               0

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Finally Rosberg beats Hamilton to Pole in Spain

Finally Rosberg beats Hamilton to Pole in Spain

Nico Rosberg finally managed to beat Lewis Hamilton and score the first pole in this season in the Spanish Grand Prix 2015. Nico Rosberg scored a time of 1m 24.681 to Hamilton’s 1m 24.948 seconds. It was a convincing gap between the two. They ran on medium tyres.

In the top ten shootout in Q3 of the qualifying, the drivers generally go for two runs. Hamilton as well as Nico Rosberg set their top times in the first run. In the second run Hamilton couldn’t try and beat the provisional pole set by Rosberg and had to settle for second. Sebastian Vettel of Ferarri came in third behind the two Mercedes cars after he set a time of 1m 25.458. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen could only score a P7.

Valtteri Bottas of Williams came in P4 with a time of 1m 25.694. He was followed by Carlos Sainz Jr of Toro Rosso with a time of 1m 26.136. As a rookie and that too a Spanish, it must be a great feeling for Sainz beating the favourite Spaniard Fernando Alonso in Spain.

Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso came in P6 with a time of 1m 26. 249 seconds. Kimi Raikkonen whose contract with Ferrari expires end of this season is expected to do well and beat his teammate. However, he could only set a time of 1m 26.414 for P7.

Danil Kvyat of Red Bull was P8 as he came in at 1m 26.629. He was followed by Felipe Massa of Williams at 1m 26.757 and Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull with a time of 1m 26. 770.

Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado of Lotus will start tomorrow at 11th and 12th positions respectively in the race tomorrow. The Lotus duo were followed by the McLaren drivers who were lead by Fernando Alonso in 13th and Jenson Button in 14th.

Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson of Sauber will start in 15th and 16th positions. The Force India duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez will start in 17th and 18th positions. Their times are about 3.5 seconds behind the pole timing and it shows how low they have fallen primarily due to the lack of funds. It would be pertinent to mention that one of the promoters of Force India, Subroto Roy is in jail for nearly a year as his company has not been able to furnish a bail bond of 1 billion dollars. The other promoter of Force India and its principal Dr. Vijay Mallya is also in deep financial trouble. Mallya’s Kingfisher airlines went bankrupt and Mallya is also been hounded by banks to recover the money. So it shows that even a midfield team in F1 can’t sustain just based on their performance.

The last placed drivers are as expectedly from Manor racing. Will Stevens again out qualified his teammate Roberto Merhi. Will Stevens scored 1m 31.200 vs 1m 32.038 of his teammate. Both of them will start in 19th and 20th position.

Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying Results: