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Malaysian Grand Prix 2012 Qualifying : Hamilton gets pole, Button second in all McLaren front row

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Sorry for being out of action for the Australian Grand Prix, too much work, missed some of today’s qualifying also. Karun Chandhok is commentating for Star Sports now, so things surely have changed. Sepang looks like a good place to start tracking the season.

I am starting a new thing, wherein I will be penning my thoughts as the sessions progress. The third session of qualifying is about to start and Star Sports just showed 30 seconds of footage with 10 seconds focusing  on a driver’s wife/girlfriend with race control headphones on before going into a commercial break again.

Iceman Kimi Raikkonen is the first man out on track in his Lotus Renault followed by last year’s champion Sebastien Vettel in his Red Bull and McLaren’s Jenson Button. Red Bull seems to be totally off pace so far this season although they tasted some success in Melbourne.

After the 1st three cars have set a flying lap, its Lewis Hamilton in P1,  leading Jenson Button who leads Kimi Raikkonnen.

www.hoch-zwei.net

As more cars set their 1st Q3 times, Sebastien Vettel only manages a P6 in his Red Bull. I am eagerly awaiting the 2 Mercedes and the Ferraris at this point. Nice Rosberg and Michael Schumacher are on their warm-up laps even as I write.

As they head onto their flying laps, Michael is inside the best time on Sector1 (Lewis Hamilton’s) while Rosberg is much slower in the 1st Sector and outside Hamilton’s P1 time. Schumi is just outside Hamilton’s time in sector 2 where Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren gained the most time and is the fastest.

Haven’t felt this excited by a Michael Schumacher flying lap in a long time, Schumi is off Hamilton by .18 of a second at the end of his flying lap, but its nice to see Michael Schumacher at the top again (almost). The Mercedes cars opting only for 1 lap in Q3, I wonder why, it was always awesome to see Michael doing flying laps 1 by  and getting awesome times in. Here is a photo from Friday with Michael surveying the track in trademark style on his scooter.

Michael Schumacher Sepang on track on scooter

Red Bull and Lotus are now pushing in their second laps in the last 20 seconds of Q3. Some random commentary chatter about Red Bulls (its Sebastien Vettel only) using harder compound tyres putting the race ahead of qualifying. Webber still gets P3 and Button is pushed to 5th position by Kimi Raikkonen’s 4th best time.

But wait Jenson Button fights back with a P2 time now. It’s an all McLaren front row with Button’s time, Michael Schumacher has to be content with a second row P3. Kimi Raikkonen has a 5 place penalty to contend with so his P4 isn’t actually a P4.

And the qualifying sessions ends, the final order being (before penalties):

Pos  No  Driver  Team  Q1 Q2 Q3  Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton  McLaren-Mercedes  01:37.8 01:37.1 01:36.2 14
2 3 Jenson Button  McLaren-Mercedes  01:37.6 01:36.9 01:36.4 14
3 7 Michael Schumacher  Mercedes  01:37.5 01:37.0 01:36.4 14
4 2 Mark Webber  Red Bull Racing-Renault  01:37.2 01:37.4 01:36.5 19
5 9 Kimi Räikkönen  Lotus-Renault  01:38.0 01:36.7 01:36.5 13
6 1 Sebastian Vettel  Red Bull Racing-Renault  01:38.1 01:37.4 01:36.6 14
7 10 Romain Grosjean  Lotus-Renault  01:38.1 01:37.3 01:36.7 14
8 8 Nico Rosberg  Mercedes  01:37.7 01:37.0 01:36.7 14
9 5 Fernando Alonso  Ferrari  01:38.2 01:37.4 01:37.6 16
10 15 Sergio Perez  Sauber-Ferrari  01:37.9 01:37.5 01:37.7 17
11 18 Pastor Maldonado  Williams-Renault  01:37.8 01:37.6   14
12 6 Felipe Massa  Ferrari  01:38.4 01:37.7   15
13 19 Bruno Senna  Williams-Renault  01:38.4 01:37.8   13
14 11 Paul di Resta  Force India-Mercedes  01:38.3 01:37.9   15
15 16 Daniel Ricciardo  STR-Ferrari  01:38.4 01:37.9   14
16 12 Nico Hulkenberg  Force India-Mercedes  01:38.3 01:37.9   13
17 14 Kamui Kobayashi  Sauber-Ferrari  01:38.4 01:38.1   12
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne  STR-Ferrari  01:39.1     7
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen  Caterham-Renault  01:39.3     9
20 21 Vitaly Petrov  Caterham-Renault  01:39.6     6
21 24 Timo Glock  Marussia-Cosworth  01:40.9     8
22 25 Charles Pic  Marussia-Cosworth  01:41.3     8
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa  HRT-Cosworth  01:42.9     4
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan  HRT-Cosworth  01:43.7     6

Good news for the HRTs finally, they make the race cut this time unlike the disappointment in Australia. Although, I sometimes wonder if its even worth it. They are so off the race pace that it makes no sense for them to be in formula one racing,what do you think ?

Narain Karthikeyan’s sponsors have to do some soul searching and get him a better drive, who knows what he can do in a Sauber or a Red Bull.

Force India is not living up to their pre-season hype and is struggling to keep pace not making it to the Q3 also.

Onto the Press conference now, Lewis Hamilton isn’t swearing this season, what’s up with that ? Also its Michael’s best qualifying since Monza 2011, where he was 5th. That’s just wow !

With rain predicted for tomorrow, Steve Slater would bet on Lewis Hamilton, really Steve ? The lady host would bet on Michael Schumacher though, finally some support. sorry I don’t know who your are or your name Smile

Sebastian Vettel pulls off another victory in perfectly executed Indian Grand Prix

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Felipe Massa at the Indian Grand Prix

Apologies that we don’t have a Sebastian Vettel image for you there, the prudes at Red Bull media feel we don’t deserve access to their media section.

As the race telecast began, the atmosphere was electric, there were people with their faces painted, there were dancers dancing bhangra and there were the who’s who of bollywood and even hollywood (atleast Lady Gaga 🙂 ) at the track. There were murmurs all around of the ticket pricing though. Everyone seemed discontent with the high ticket pricing. And most of these were the ones who had paid Rs.2.5k , imagine the light of those who had paid Rs.35000 for the 3 day pass. The feeling though was still upbeat, India was finally hosting it and with minimal government intervention. Suresh Kalmadi thankfully had nothing to do with this event and the private consortium Jaypee Sports was able to pull it off.

Rowan Atkinson Mr Bean at Indian Grand Prix

As the warm-up lap started, the newly converted formula one fan crowd started to applause, don’t ask me why. The noise obviously was deafening, those without earplugs were the unluckiest and would most probably lose some hearing ability. I couldn’t secure media access , partly due to my laziness, so I don’t know what the atmosphere was in the media room.

Michael Schumacer at the Indian Grand Prix

I wouldn’t review whole of the race, you can find that anywhere else, we usually talk about the race and other stuff around the races and it usually isnt coherent also. The post is peppered with a few photos of the Indian Grand Prix I know you would enjoy. Heading into the race Red Bull is easily the team to beat, Sebastian Vettel is breaking record after record. His comparison once was done with Michael Schumacher, but now those are moving to Ayrton Senna. I somehow disagree with those comparisons. Both Schumacher and Senna have proven themselves with average cars, Vettel on the other hand is blessed with a car that beats the rest of the grid. Same way that Brawn GP had beat almost everyone else last season and Button was the hero of heroes.

Bernie Ecclestone, Subrata Roy, Sachin Tendulkar, Shahrukh Khan and Gulshan Grover at the Indian Grand PrixAs the five red lights went out and the Indian GP was go, there was a first corner incident, nothing like Spa though. Button tried to make moves on Vettel, but to no avail.  Most of the race wasn’t very interesting though, Vettel lead from start to finish.

Shahrukh Khan faking some formula one gyaanThe bigger highlight was Sachin Tendulkar waving the chequered flag for the formula one cars. There were some interesting bits on Lap 24, Lewis Hamilton tried to take the inside line on Felipe Massa, Massa tried to block and hit Hamilton. Seeing it on High Definition on ESPN later , it does seem to be Massa’s fault, but I read somewhere that Hamilton’s been told to reduce the bad blood with Felipe Massa on the track. Like that would go any good. Ask Ron Dennis what happens when you are Lewis Hamilton to do anything. Looking at Rowan Atkinson during the incident just made by day. No Mr.Bean face could have said it better.

The ending was perfect, with Vettel sipping champagne and telling everyone that Indian girls are good looking. Quite a few social networking jokes on that. Overall it was pulled off without a hitch and the Indianess usually expected from huge events held at India. Sure traffic was a mess, but you cant have your cake and eat it too.

Written by Formula One Addict

October 31st, 2011 at 5:13 pm

FIA faces flak on haphazard rule changes, Red Bull unhappy

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FIA is facing flak from all corners on its haphazard rule change policy mid-season. The latest change is the banning of use of engine electronics and exhaust gases for performance gain. FIA has also told teams that alteration of engine configuration is not allowed between qualifying and the race sessions.

The seemingly haphazard and biased decision has drawn flak from the Red Bull team and supporters, however FIA race director Charlie Whiting dismissed that the decision reeked of any bias. Countering claims he said that its not for the FIA to see if 1 team would be more affected than others in a rule change.

    “What we are doing is stopping people breaking the existing rules,” Charlie Whiting said.     

    “It’s not for us to say whether a certain team would be more penalized than others. It just depends how extreme they are going. But I have certainly seen evidence of maps on a number of teams which are extremely extreme.     

    “It’s not confined to one team, I can assure you,”      

    “It’s a bit like the mass damper where its use when it was first introduced by one team was fairly benign when it came to aerodynamics. But the more it got developed, the more extreme the designs were.”     

    “These things escalate to the point where something has to be done.”     

 

Christian Horner of Redbull was however adamant in his criticism :

“It is slightly confusing with the technical directive that it was not addressed at the end of the year going into next year,” He said.

“Why has it been done midseason?”

Mike Gascoyne of the Lotus team was worried about the costs associated with such a decision :

“We have all spent a lot of money developing something,” Gascoyne said.

“We are always pushing to get an advantage and will obviously implement it if it is within the rules. It is just frustrating it is done in the middle of the season without consultation.”

Ross Brawn of Mercedes however was all for the decision and justified that it was for the good of the sport :

“The protagonists behind raising this issue were threatening to protest the cars and that was the difficulty they had,” Ross Brawn explained.

“If they hadn’t have taken action, then it sounds like some teams were going to protest the situation to get clarity through the stewards and that wouldn’t be very good for Formula One. We want to avoid that at all costs because … it would probably end up in the appeal courts again and that’s no good.”

FIA has been known to pass judgments on various technical issues mid-season. So why are the teams making such a big deal about it this time ? Is it because some teams are seeing their monopoly ending ? Only time will tell if this would rein in the rampaging Red Bulls !

Written by Formula One Addict

June 25th, 2011 at 10:56 am

Johnny Herbert predicts that Michael Schumacher will quit at end of season

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Michael Schumacher of Mercedes GP at Turkey

Michael Schumacher’s old teammate Johhny Herbert in an interview/article has predicted that Michael Schumacher will go back into retirement at the end of the season.

Critical of Michael Schumacher, the Brit driver said that the new generation of F1 drivers had raised the bar and Michael Schumacher couldn’t keep up with the new formula one blood.

In related news, in an interview Michael Schumacher said that he didn’t feel big joy racing anymore. This has further fuelled speculation that the German might call it quits from formula one at the end of this season. Schumacher further said :

“What I feel in my hands is the same as it’s always felt.”

Coming back to Johhny Herbert’s interview though :

“The simple fact is that he is no longer the best driver on the track,”

“Schumacher has not lost any of his skill – the new generation of young drivers are just better than him. It is a case that the level required to win in F1 has gone up and he is not at that standard anymore.

“I do not think he is any slower than he was when he was winning seven world titles; he is just struggling to cope with a situation he is not used to – he is no longer the best guy in the field and he does not have the best machinery at his disposal, as well as the fact that he has a team-mate in Nico Rosberg who is consistently beating him.”

“He did not return just to run in the middle order. His dream was to win again and make Mercedes race winners, but it has not turned out that way and I would be surprised if he chose to continue.”

It does seem like Michael is not feeling the magic he was known for, he had put his legacy on the line, very few people have the guts to do that. We as Schumi fans would support him in whatever decision he takes Smile

Written by Formula One Addict

May 10th, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Lewis Hamilton gets stunning win at Chinese Grand Prix

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It was a breathtaking win for Lewis Hamilton where he outwitted and outraced Formula One World Championship leader Sebastien Vettel by overtaking him with just 4 laps remaining in the race. Although with an atrocious beard like that I was hoping he wouldn’t win 🙂

Lewis Hamilton was on an unconventional three stop strategy and in the end that seemed to have made the difference with his McLaren outclassing the Red Bull of Vettel. The fresher tyres ensured he was able to overtake the Red Bull. It was nice to see strategy again playing a part in the races after the Red Bulls have truly shown technological dominance on the racetrack (Interpretation of Rules again ?, someone please enlighten !). Sebastien Vettel has already won the 1st 2 formula one races and does seem to be on-track for a successful title defense.

Mark Webber was third and Jenson Button took the 4th place. Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg outclassed Michael Schumacher once again and was 5th while the veteran German could manage only 8th. Questions are again being asked about the German’s comeback decision and whether it was a disastrous decision to make. Personally I am proud of him, it takes courage to put your legacy on the line like he has 🙂

Sorry for the short and intermittent updates, too much work these day ! But like all things , this too shall pass !

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