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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

Compare US Pro Sports : Salary/Ticket Prices/Fan Base

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Slightly orthogonal post today deviating from strictly formula one.

Ever wondered how different US pro sports compare with each other, although formula one is not a US Pro sport yet, it will soon become one. I came across the below site consolidates this information.

Unfortunately I don’t think there is a formula one site which does this yet ?

I will also put forward a feature request to include the US formula one ticket prices and  driver salaries for comparison 🙂 , in the meantime you can enjoy the other sports and their corresponding stats.


Via: ABC Tickets

Fernando Alonso is paid more than anyone in the above infographic, he earned 28 million USD in the 2011 season beating all of the above in terms of annual salary.

Written by Formula One Addict

February 24th, 2012 at 4:23 am

Posted in F1,F1 ads

End of the road for Rubens Barrichello ?

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Brazilian Grand Prix - Saturday

Rubens Barrichello has had an illustrious formula one career, Wikipedia tells me that he is the eight highest point scorer ever in formula one. Now that is a big deal. I still remember his feisty driving in his early days with Jordan and Stewart.

He then moved to the Ferrari formula one team. He had a successful stint at Ferrari but was essentially the number 2 driver for the team, always shadowing Michael Schumacher.

2002 Austrian GP - Barrichello Slowing down

How can we ever forget the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, his number 2 status was confirmed when he was asked to hold off on the throttle to let Michael Schumacher go past and win the race. Ofcourse this move was criticized very heavily and Michael himself handed over the winner trophy and podium position to Rubens Barrichello who was in tears.

After his stint in Ferrari, Barrichello moved to Honda  becoming teammates with then novice Jenson Button. He was however outpaced by Button at most races in his seasons at the Honda formula one team. He was never really able to find his footing in the team and soon the Honda formula one team shut shop and the team was bought over by Ross Brawn and rechristened Brawn GP.

This would be Barrichello’s phoenix moment, using some clever rule interpretations, Brawn GP was able to secure the fastest car on the grid, but still Barrichello was behind Button and couldn’t outpace him for most of the season. He however finished third in the championship forcing critics to think that he may still have something in him. But that feeling was shortlived.

Its been downhill since then, he joined the Williams F1 team after Brawn and was a dud. And now the Williams formula one team has decided to replace him with Bruno Senna leaving Rubens Barrichello without a formula one seat for the 1st time in many many years.

There were rumours of Barrichello looking around at other formula one teams but then news reports came out confirming that he would be testing in Indy. Most probably this is the end of the road for the Brazilian, much like Juan Pablo Montoya who joined NASCAR after his formula one stint never to come back.

Written by Formula One Addict

January 29th, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Frenchman Jules Bianchi joins Sahara Force India as third driver for 2012 formula one season

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Jules Bianchi

The Manchester based Force India formula one team has announced the latest addition to their driver lineup for the 2012 formula one season. French driver Jules Bianchi gets the coveted seat ahead of other contenders (some even rumour that Karun Chandhok was in the running, totally unconfirmed though).

Before this Jules Bianchi has valuable experience racing in the GP2 Asia and world series. He has also driven in the Formula 3 championships. However his latest assignment was with the Ferrari formula one team for whom he was a reserve driver as of the 2011 season. Its interesting that he sees a brighter future at Force India than at Ferrari. Maybe its recognizing which team would realistically promote him to a raceday driver ?

Interesting part is that both Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg were reserve drivers before graduating to the real race day driving, maybe Bianchi hopes for that. That beside the Frenchman would get to ride the Force India car for testing and during Friday practice sessions. The Force India formula one team confirmed that Bianchi would get a minimum of nine Friday practice sessions.

Reactions :

Jules Bianchi: “I’m obviously excited to join Sahara Force India and the chance to get track time during race weekends is an important step for me. Being regularly in a current car is the best way to learn quickly and I hope it will put me in a strong position to one day move into a race seat. The next few months will be really exciting as I get to know the team, see how they work, and prepare for my time in the car. I would like to thank everyone for believing in me and especially Sahara Force India for giving me this great opportunity.”

Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “I am delighted to welcome Jules into the Sahara Force India family. We always keep an eye on young, talented drivers and his performance in GP2 certainly impressed us all. By giving Jules the opportunity to be part of our 2012 campaign, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to young drivers. We are proud of our track record in this regard and I have no doubt that Jules will quickly settle into the team and make a valuable contribution to our efforts on track this season.”

Photos: Sahara Force India Formula One Team

Written by Formula One Addict

January 28th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Will Kimi Raikonnen be able to avoid a Michael Schumacher ?

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Renault-LotusGP

Formula one’s blue eyed boy Kimi Raikkonen is all set for a return to formula one. the Finn would be driving for the renamed Lotus formula one team in the year 2012. After competing in the world rally championship for 3 years, he is expected to be a bit rusty, but how rusty ?

Kimi was able to win the formula one championship in his first year with Ferrari in 2007, but then that was a Ferrari, and let us not kid ourselves, Lotus are no Ferrari, heck they aren’t even a Sauber at this stage , the team with which Kimi started his career.

So the big question is how would be his performance, expecting a podium from him would be too much in my opinion, in fact I would be surprised if he manages top 10 finishes for majority of the season. His big test would be his rivalry with Swiss teammate Romain Grosjean.

Michael Schumacher’s comeback wasn’t dogged as much by his lackluster performances but by the fact that he was regularly beaten by teammate Nico Rosberg. Like Rosberg, Grosjean is no small fish, he is the current GP2 and GP2 Asia champ, one of the few drivers to hold both the titles.

Kimi packs in a wealth of formula one experience compared to Grosjean’s limited test driver experience with the Renault team in 2009. However, he has been in a different form of racing for quite some time now, rally sport is very different from formula one racing. He could take a good amount of time allowing the young Grosjean to take the lead, and once as an experienced driver you see the young ones leaving you behind, things can infact slip very fast.

What exactly happens, we would know only once the season starts, but Kimi Raikkonen surely has an uphill task ahead of himself.

Written by Formula One Addict

January 15th, 2012 at 12:49 pm

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