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Monaco Grand Prix : Qualifying from Monte Carlo

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As we start the session and I switch on the television Sergio Perez bangs into the wall and loses his rear suspension and a rear tyre.

The 1st session is a bit interesting, the top 3 drivers are Hulkenberg, Koayashi and Grosjean followed by world champion Sebastien Vettel. The only issue being that the top3 have already used their super soft compound tyres while the biggies managed to qualify using just soft compound tyres so that they can get better times in their subsequent runs. Perez, Karthikyean, Pique, Delarosa, Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock are among those relegated.

In Q2, Nico Rosberg seems to be doing pretty well, Rosberg was also the fastest guy in the morning practice session. He leads from Webber, Hamilton, Alonso and Schumacher, all of them in .200th of a second. Infact, top 11 drivers in Q2 are within 1 seond of each other. Pastor Maldonado and Michael Schumacher have to contend with a 10 place and 5 place penalty respectively. And Felipe Massa just goes P1, apparently Ferrari have asked him to perform or perish. As the Q2 session ends Jenson Button is unable to enter the top 10 and the previous Monaco Grand Prix winner will have to start from P13.

Q3, was whoa ! Straight to the result, Michael Schumacher gets pole position. He is ecstatic and so are we, he is cheering and flashing the victory sign. Its fate’s cruel turn that he has a 5 place penalty to contend with.

More later !

Chinese Grand Prix 2012 : Shanghai (Live Blog)

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The cars take their positions and the start sequence starts, 5 red lights go out and Nico is super fast, Schumi holds onto 2nd place, Button is 3rd in front of Kimi Raikonen who leads from Hamilton and Perez. By lap3 Mercedes have opened up such a gap that DRS wont be available to Button and party Smile.

On Lap 9, Nice Rosberg is pulling away from the pack. Michael Schumacher is struggling to hold second place and with Jenson Button in the DRS zone its becoming tougher and tougher.

On Lap 11 , Kimi Raikkonen have a good fight inside the pitlane. Kimi almost noses the McLaren while coming out. Did Lewis Hamilton overtake Kimi Raikkonen in the pitlane ? Its too close to call.

On Lap 13, Michael Schumacher comes in for a pit stop and loses position to Lewis Hamilton as he takes on the harder compound tyres. Race over for Michael Schumacher as he rolls to a standstill on the track side. He lost a wheel apparently (whatever that means).

We just see a replay of Michael Schumacher’s mechanic frantically trying to stop Michael’s car, nut didn’t go on properly.

Lap 27 and the race is a bit boring, Mark Webber overtakes Felip Massa for 12th place I think. Yeah these are Ferraris and Red Bulls fighting for out of points positions.

Lap 31, Massa asked to let Alonso pass as the 2 Ferraris are on different strategies.

Lap 41 , Another pit disaster, Jenson Button’s rear jack fails, loses more than 6 seconds in the pits which ensures that Nico Rosberg isn’t pressurized. Mercedes tells Nico to take it easy.

Lap 50, race is getting super duper exciting, everyone is off the racing line, Raikkonen is probably slower than my grandma at this point, from 2nd place to 12th for him.

Note to Karun Chandhok : Don’t make your co-commentator look like a super fool on international television.

Lap 56/56 – Nico Rosberg all set to take the chequered flag on a 2 stop strategy.

Nico Rosberg wins the Chinese Grand Prix, his 1st grand prix win. Jenson button takes second place for McLaren and Lewis Hamilton makes it a McLaren 2-3.

The camera shows a shot of Michael Schumacher rejoicing, bitter sweet joy there.

Race report in some time.

Chinese Grand Prix 2012 at Shanghai : Qualifying : Rosberg leads Mercedes GP 1-3 as Lewis Hamilton splits them

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Shanghai Grand Prix

Its so good to have another Asian race, so you wake up, have coffee and there is qualifying on TV for you. And on the television you see Chinese girls with tattoos of ‘I love Kimi Raikkonen’ alongwith a weird rendition of the Finnish flag on their cheeks.

Qualifying Session 2

As the boring Q1 finishes, Narain Karthikeyan is last as usual but within 107% of qualification time so he gets to start again. Its now Q2 and 16 cars are out on track, Romain Grosjean is sitting inside since he used the prime tyres in the 1st session. Alonso is struggling, Ferrari is even slower than the Saubers at this point. Talking of Romain Grosjean, no one has told me who issued him a driver’s license ? Maybe he got his FIA superlicense here in India through some agent.

Nico Rosberg goes fastest and Michael Schumacher is second fastest in what could be his last Chinese Grand Prix as per the 3 year contract he is supposed to have signed with the Mercedes GP F1 team. The Mercedes GP team with Schumi were the fastest during Friday practice , they really seem to have got their setup right this time. A welcome change from mistake after mistake Smile

As the session comes to an end, Felipe Massa is 10th fastest, and every other car is clocking 11th fastest, Massa is living dangerously. And Perez with a P3 time pushes Massa to 11th place. So no qualifying session 3 for Massa, Fernando Alonso is the only Ferrari in top 10 at 10th place. Sebastien Vettel is 11th fastest and he wont be in the 3rd leg of qualifying. Massa is only 12th fastest. Very poor results for both Vettel and Massa. Vettel would be heartbroken especially when Mark Webber is P1 after Q2. Maybe its karma for calling Narain Karthikeyan a cucumber.

Qualifying Session 3

Nico Rosberg is the 1st car out on track, you may think it’s a bad move, but the track is getting cooler, so it could be smart of the Mercedes GP team as cooler track means slower lap times. Rosberg sets a 1:35.1 lap time. That’s pretty awesome I tell you. Michael Schumacher is a full half second slower and Lewis Hamilton now splits the 2 Mercedes.

The Red Bull struggle continues, Webber only manages a P5 on his 1st hot lap with only 5 cars on the track.

And as the session comes to an end Rosberg is still  P1 , Lewis Hamilton is P2 and Michael Schumacher is P3. First ever pole position for Nico Rosberg in 110 races as Michael congratulates him after disembarking from his car. Lewis Hamilton will only start 7th though due to a gearbox change.

And did I mention I like this new Star Sports raceday host, she keeps rooting for Michael Schumacher. Here are the final timings from the qualifying and a smashing portrait of the man of the moment : Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg - Pole Chinese Grand Prix

Pos  No  Driver  Team  Q1 Q2 Q3  Laps
1 8 Nico Rosberg  Mercedes  01:36.9 01:35.7 01:35.1 11
2 4 Lewis Hamilton  McLaren-Mercedes  01:36.8 01:35.9 01:35.6 14
3 7 Michael Schumacher  Mercedes  01:36.8 01:35.8 01:35.7 13
4 14 Kamui Kobayashi  Sauber-Ferrari  01:36.9 01:35.9 01:35.8 13
5 9 Kimi Räikkönen  Lotus-Renault  01:36.9 01:35.9 01:35.9 15
6 3 Jenson Button  McLaren-Mercedes  01:36.7 01:35.9 01:36.2 16
7 2 Mark Webber  Red Bull Racing-Renault  01:36.7 01:35.7 01:36.3 14
8 15 Sergio Perez  Sauber-Ferrari  01:36.2 01:35.8 01:36.5 17
9 5 Fernando Alonso  Ferrari  01:36.3 01:36.0 01:36.6 17
10 10 Romain Grosjean  Lotus-Renault  01:36.3 01:35.9   15
11 1 Sebastian Vettel  Red Bull Racing-Renault  01:36.9 01:36.0   11
12 6 Felipe Massa  Ferrari  01:36.6 01:36.3   14
13 18 Pastor Maldonado  Williams-Renault  01:36.5 01:36.3   14
14 19 Bruno Senna  Williams-Renault  01:36.7 01:36.3   14
15 11 Paul di Resta  Force India-Mercedes  01:36.6 01:36.3   14
16 12 Nico Hulkenberg  Force India-Mercedes  01:36.9 01:36.7   14
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo  STR-Ferrari  01:36.9 01:37.0   14
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne  STR-Ferrari  01:37.7     8
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen  Caterham-Renault  01:38.5     9
20 21 Vitaly Petrov  Caterham-Renault  01:38.7     7
21 24 Timo Glock  Marussia-Cosworth  01:39.3     10
22 25 Charles Pic  Marussia-Cosworth  01:39.7     10
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa  HRT-Cosworth  01:40.4     7
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan  HRT-Cosworth  01:41.0     10

Fernando Alonso wins rain marred Malaysian Grand Prix, Perez wins hearts

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Fernando Alonso victory Malaysian GP Sepang

At the start of the race no one would have placed their bets on seeing a scarlet car on the podium let alone winning the race, even Ferrari wouldn’t have bet on Ferrari winning the race, but heavy rain which was followed by a game of tyre poker ensured a Ferrari and Fernando Alonso victory even as Sauber’s Sergio Perez won hearts challenging Fernando Alonso till the end of the race and being the faster of 2 cars almost throughout the race.

The race was well dominated by the McLarens before they lost the plot in tyre strategy and before Jenson Button turned out to be an idiot clipping the back of Narain Karthikeyan’s car who wasn’t a back marker as the Brit tried to pass him and was infact racing for position. This damaged his front wing and he had to pit. Needless to say this cost him the race.

Later on Jenson Button accepted blame for the unfortunate? accident

“I was struggling to keep the tyres up temperature and it was totally my fault,” Button admitted.

“I hit the brakes, I lost the rear. I was struggling to get the car slowed down. I tried to get around the corner but I couldn’t do anything but hit him really.”

Moving onto the happy story of the day though, luck favoured Alonso as the Spaniard even though a full 3 seconds slower than second place Perez on most laps clinched the chequered flag.

“It’s an unbelievable result, a great job from the team,” Alonso said.

“It’s a big surprise to win. We were not competitive in Australia and we were not competitive in qualifying here.”

Sergio Perez on the other hand was disappointed, although the second place result was more than what Sauber Ferrari driver would have ever hoped for, Perez was much faster than Alonso and just couldn’t pass him. In the end it had to do with racing experience which Perez didn’t seem to have a lot of.

“Today a win was possible,” Perez said.

“I was catching Fernando and I knew I had to get him soon because  the sectors with high speed I was losing the front tires.

“I touched the curb and I went onto the dirty side of the track. It was completely wet and I lost the win.”

This young lad can go a long way , just needs the right guidance.

Lewis Hamilton in his superfast McLaren was third. The McLarens are easily the pick of all the cars, superfast, super slick, they were off the grid at the start at such a pace that all other cars looked like 800cc cars of the past.

For a more detailed report, you can go through our live blog (previous post).

After Malaysia we head to China now, lets see how the race unfolds in Shanghai !

Malaysian Grand Prix : Live Blog (Ended)

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An hour to the race and the raceday coverage starts on TV and here tool. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are still hot favourites followed by Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber, as the Star Sports host makes a wildly inappropriate joke about all Indians looking alike. the good news is that Karun Chandhok is only here for this weekend, he is not really cut out to be a race expert. He should be in one of those F1 cars.

The clouds are dark and it certainly looks like its going to rain. I am sure Michael Schumacher in the back must be praying that it rains. Sebastien Vettel with his hard compound tyres would be kicking himself in the butt at this point ? If all the cars start from the pits or head into the pits for slicks, the clouds are looking menacing, definitely.

One thing to note is Narain Karthikeyan’s optimism with the HRT racing team, he mentions a few problems with cooling and power steering and no KERS, but still doesn’t fail to proudly mention that there is a provision for DRS in the car. Provision –> Working Prototype –> Final Product , there is a definitely a good million Euros there.

Confirmation of rain on some parts of the track, the cameras have droplets on them and it’s a rainy race for sure. Someone just called Michael a rainmeister ? , what’s up with that ? Nico Rosberg’s engineer has suggested him to use intermediate tyres, there are chances that the rain would be blown away also. The first corner would be interesting to see how many cars crash out this time.

Owen Wilson just recorded the start on his Nokia E series phone (I think), will the FIA sue him ? And Pedro De La Rosa’s car fails to move off the grid.

The red lights go off, McLarens are fast, Schumi is slow off the grid but tries to fight back. Michael Schumacher just spun, now he is at the tail of the field. Not a good start for Schumi.

The rain is getting heavier, will it be tyre poker again in Sepang ? Seeing the start replays again, boy those McLarens are quick off the grid, no other car matches their start speed and acceleration , not even the Red Bulls who seem to have lost most of their last season’s advantage this season.

Michael Schumacher was spun by Grosjean, the reckless racer claims another victim it seems. Reminds folks of the Schumi of earlier days ?

McLaren opting for Slick tyres for Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton however is still on intermediates. Lewis Hamilton into the pits very next lap, everyone is coming on slicks now, has Mercedes GP lost the plot ?

Narain Karthikeyan is in 13th place in his HRT, that’s because he started in full slicks, good call by them there, getting a taste of a decent track position which they may never get again this season.

Lap 8 : Safety car is out now, too dangerous to race in these conditions, spins and slips everywhere.

Lap 9 : Red flags, race is stopped ! Pit crews are back on track, all the commentators can think of is that Narain Karthikeyan may just get a point.

Is formula 1 racing getting more and more sissy ? Have people forgotten the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix ? Let the cars race and not be covered in tents on the starting grid Smile

Another joke about Indians, 9-10-11 we have Karthikeyan and Force India.

Lap 19 : Things starting to settle down, Bruno Senna  showing spunk, but fails to overtake Ricardo. No DRS allowed the commentator reminds us for the 1000th time.

Lap 26 : Perez sets the fastest lap, really ? Sauber Ferrari showing what tyre management can do.

Lap 27 : Vergne overtakes Massa in style, makes Felipe Massa look like an amateur.

Lap28 : Massa realises he needs new tyres after Bruno Senna almost overtakes him on all corners of the Sepang circuit.

Lap 44 : Race turns boring, everyone on dry weather tyres now. Rain forecast is maybe !

Lap 45 : Can Perez overtake Fernando Alonso ? 2 seconds faster than the race leader, Alonso must be scared !

Lap 48 :  Vettel just lost a tyre, coming into pit lane, throwing rubber all over the track.

Lap 50 : Whats up with Steve Slater, 2 laps ago suggesting Perez had gone over Vettel’s rubber and now that Perez runs wide, he reacts like he won a lottery.

Lap 54 : Kimi Raikkonen sets a fastest lap in his Lotus Renault, looks like he has avoided a Michael Schumacher and done his team proud.

Lap 55 : Williams lose the last championship point as their car billows blue smoke, Schumi gets into the last point scoring position in 10th place, disappointing race again from Michael Schumacher but Grosjean is to blame.

Lap 56 : Sebastien Vettel asked to retire the car and then asked to stay out, cant Red Bull make up their mind or are they high on redbull ? And now he is told “Emergency, stop the car, stop the car”

Fernando Alonso takes the chequered flag, Perez in second place, Lewis Hamilton is a distant third. Mark Webber salvages the race for Red Bull in 4th place. Who would have thought Ferrari would have a win today ?