2012 Spanish Grand Prix Predictions

It feels like the season is going to start to become predictable now. The timesheets from practice play almost exactly as I would expect them too, with Lotus now moving up the ranks and Ferrari still in the back, but in the top 10. On the longer runs, it sounded like the McLaren and Lotus cars have it figured out, but for some reason I feel that Vettel got a bunch of confidence from that last race and that he the Red Bulls were sandbagging it a bit. If they have gotten their stuff together finally, look for Vettel to come under fire, but hold on for the victory. Thus follow my predictions.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Kimi Raikkonen

3. Jenson Button

4. Romain Grosjean

5. Lewis Hamilton

6. Mark Webber

7. Nico Rosberg

8. Fernando Alonso

9. Michael Schumacher

10. Felipe Massa

 

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix Results

Turns out that only one protester was killed during the Grand Prix weekend. So all in all, not too bad for Bernie I guess, although F1 was marred by sharing headline space on the international papers with the goings on in Bahrain when they should have stayed out once again. No matter the result of this race, F1 did not gain any new fans.

Also, how freaking insane is this season so far? Four races and four different winners. I think next week might see the fifth if either Hamilton or Raikkonen can get to the front of the pack. Who knows? Anything seems possible this season. Hell, it’s so crazy I didn’t have even one position in the top 10 correctly called! Usually I can hit on at least one of them, but nothing is for certain in 2012. Also, if anyone noticed, the previous race featured an all Mercedes podium, while this one featured all Renault powered cars. And the race before that almost featured all Ferrari powered vehicles… well, not almost, but 2/3 of the podium isn’t bad. Seriously, anything can happen. Should be the slogan for this season. The Spanish Grand Prix is up next.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Kimi Raikkonen

3. Romain Grosjean

4. Mark Webber

5. Nico Rosberg

6. Paul di Resta

7. Fernando Alonso

8. Lewis Hamilton

9. Felipe Massa

10. Michael Schumacher

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix Predictions

Well, it’s been a bit uneventful this weekend, and that’s a good thing. Off the track, there has been an incident involving the Force India team who decided to sit out of free practice two because they wanted to get an early jump on leaving the track early for fear of more problems with protesters after dark. They are committed to qualifying and the race though, so we will see what, if anything happens (both to the team and with the protesters).

The other news is that the Mercedes is once again very quick over a timed lap. If the team can repeat what they did in China, then good for them, but I don’t see it happening. I think that Nico probably got that huge monkey off his back though, just as Jenson did before him many years ago, and that winning will come more easily, but this weekend it won’t. This is due mainly to the weather here. I believe that the hotter temps will see the Mercedes team struggle once again with tire degredation and that the McLaren and Red Bull teams will once again rise to the top. However, I am not counting Nico out of the podium, but I feel that over a race distance, Jenson is going to be able to preserve his tires better and have the pace to take the top step. If, however, I am proven wrong (which, let’s be honest, isn’t all that far-fetched) and the Mercedes DO continue their winning ways, then the rest of the field is going to have to really be on their toes and bring some heavy updates in a few weeks. And with this season already being screwy with three different winners over three different races, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hamilton, Webber, Vettel or even Schumacher on that top step instead of a Button or Rosberg. In fact, based on my track record of predictions this year, it’s pretty likely you could count on everything I predict being completely wrong! Oh well, we’ll just have to see how the race unfolds. Hopefully things continue to run smoothly over there and we see a race that is as good as first three have been.

1. Jenson Button

2. Nico Rosberg

3. Mark Webber

4. Lewis Hamilton

5. Sebastian Vettel

6. Sergio Perez

7. Michael Schumacher

8. Kimi Raikkonen

9. Fernando Alonso

10. Kamui Kobayashi

 

2012 Chinese Grand Prix Results

Well, what an interesting race! In the early stages, I thought that it would just be a processional until the checkered flag, but the battle for second place (after Schumacher’s retirement) really heated up over the last 20 laps or so. In fact, so heated was the battle that in two laps, Kimi Raikkonen went from second spot to 12th! Such is the pace of all the cars this season that you can never count on one dominant team. However, I do still believe that the McLarens are the class of the field this season, and had it not been for poor qualifying, troubles in the pits for Jenson, the gearbox change for Lewis and the cooler temps, it would have been a very different outcome. But those are a lot of “ifs” in a race that saw Nico Rosberg finally record his first – and very convincing – win after taking his first pole position as well. The Mercedes benefitted from those cooler temps and the long straights where it could flex its top speed and walk away from the rest of the pack. Will the same prove true in Bahrain, if everything goes smoothly and no one gets brutally shot? I’m betting no. My money next week will still be on the McLarens, as they will be in warmer temps, and there isn’t as much opportunity to have the DRS activated as much as it was in China with those two tremendous straights. But my predictions for then will have to wait, although not very long. Bahrain is up next in what should be one of the more interesting races, both on and off the track, in a very long time.

1. Nico Rosberg

2. Jenson Button

3. Lewis Hamilton

4. Mark Webber

5. Sebastian Vettel

6. Romain Grosjean

7. Bruno Senna

8. Pastor Maldonado

9. Fernando Alonso

10. Kamui Kobayashi

2012 Chinese Grand Prix Predictions

The McLarens have something up their sleeves. If Hamilton can be as fast as he is in practice with a gearbox that is about to be changed, then Button is going to be having a very good race and I’m picking him for the win. Wherever Hamilton qualifies, he will get that five grid-spot penalty, but he is very determined to come through the field, but I don’t see him getting past Mark Webber in the Red Bull. Vettel is running an old exhaust configuration for this race, and maybe that will actually help him, but I don’t think it will. The duo to watch in qualifying will be the Mercedes of Schumacher and Rosberg, as there are a couple of hugely long straights for them to power down, but I think they will continue to eat their tires and won’t have the race pace, even if they do storm through qualifying. I’m interested to see if the Lotus team can actually make their cars last an entire race (especially Grosjean) and the Ferrari pair will continue to struggle, but Felipe will get at least one point – he had better anyway! Also, it was announced that the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead as planned this year. I’m hoping that Bernie can spend some of the exorbitant amounts of cash he makes on the GP to pump up security details all weekend. If anyone gets hurt – anyone from any of the teams at all – it is on his, and FIA President Jean Todt’s heads.

1. Jenson Button

2. Mark Webber

3. Lewis Hamilton

4. Sebastian Vettel

5. Michael Schumacher

6. Kimi Raikkonen

7. Fernando Alonso

8. Nico Rosberg

9. Romain Grosjean

10. Felipe Massa

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix Results

I know I’ve expounded on the amazing possibilities and potential benefits of a wet race, and this weekend certainly showed what can happen when the skies open up. It wasn’t as if the rain was unexpected, but I think it caught out people with the intensity of it for those first few laps of the race. By lap nine the whole shebang had been red flagged and the cars sat around on the grid for over a half hour before starting up again. And that is when things became really interesting. Turns out that Ferrari actually made a correct call at a correct time, when in years past it always seemed like they were on the back foot and couldn’t make a correct call to save their lives. But on Sunday in Malaysia, they got it right, and the bells that no one in Maranello thought would ring out this season, did. Fernando Alonso once again proved he is the best driver on the grid by taking a very under performing Ferrari to the checkered flag in first, with the young Mexican Sergio Perez hot on his heels for second.

What some (myself somewhat included) are now calling a conspiracy, saw the surging Sergio consistently gaining on the Ferrari in the closing laps to the tune of upwards of a second a lap. With just over 10 laps left, Perez made a mistake and ran wide in a corner where most drivers will never go off. The fact that the Sauber team are using engines supplied by Ferrari, and that Perez is a protege of the Ferrari young driver program makes the off all the more intriguing. Just before Perez’s off, a message came across the radio telling Perez to be careful and that the team needed the points. His off also happened to be in a spot where he wouldn’t be in any danger of not finishing, as their were no gravel traps around; just wide open tarmac to run off onto. What this means to me is that they don’t want to cross their engine supplier and outshine their ace when that might piss off the people at the house of the Prancing Horse. They want to make sure though, that Ferrari knows what they have in their driver, and that he is ready to ascend to the spot that Felipe Massa currently holds. Massa has been given every opportunity to prove that he can compete with Fernando, including having an entirely new chassis constructed and flown in for this race. And though he was much closer in qualifying, his race pace was abysmal. If he doesn’t perform in China, I do believe that his time in the team is going to be up. The team is trying to score valuable points, and with only one driver ever securing those in the Constructor’s Championship, they will never be higher than fourth, or possibly even fifth this year considering how well Lotus and now Sauber are coming along. The other thing to take into consideration might be that the Ferrari really is a handful and that Alonso is simply driving out of his Spanish mind. It could be like in 2009, when Massa had that spring hit him in the helmet and the team brought in the back up drivers of Luca Badoer and then Giancarlo Fisichella and neither of them could get any sort of performance out of the car. Perhaps this car is like that, and no one will be able to tame the beast the way the Spaniard does. Of course, all of this comes back to that ban on in season testing. As soon as that ban came into play, it seems that Ferrari fell off the face of the earth. They just can’t seem to keep up with developing a car that they can’t test. Regardless, it is going to be extremely interesting to see how this all progresses, but don’t expect Massa to remain in that second car as the teams start the European leg of the tour if he does not respond in a big way three weeks from now in China.

1. Fernando Alonso

2. Sergio Perez

3. Lewis Hamilton

4. Mark Webber

5. Kimi Raikkonen

6. Bruno Senna

7. Paul di Resta

8. Jean-Eric Vergne

9. Nico Hulkenberg

10. Michael Schumacher

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix Predictions

After the McLaren of Jenson Button dominated the field in Australia, they are clearly the class of the field. The Red Bulls are slightly behind, but will begin to show their true pace on the sweeping curves of the Sepang Circuit. Unless something truly screws up the starting order (RAIN) or something happens during the race (ALSO RAIN) I don’t see any way that a McLaren doesn’t win this race. But which one? This time out, I’m picking Lewis to have a flying start and run away from the field. If it rains, then I would still pick him, as he has proven in the past to be very good at feeling his way around a wet track. The only thing that could slow him down this weekend would be the abrasive track surface, as we all know that Hamilton is not the gentlest driver when it comes to preserving tires. That accolade would go to his teammate Button, but I just don’t see Lewis losing this one, but I think it will be a close fight between him and Vettel. Farther down the field is going to be much harder to call this year. The Mercedes are fast, but eat their tires up. The Ferraris are slow, but Fernando punches above his weight. And both of the Lotus cars could be well represented, but Kimi has a grid spot penalty and Grosjean is an unknown after not finishing in Australia. Regardless, it’s going to be a good race, and will be an absolute stormer should the rain start to fall.

1. Lewis Hamilton

2. Sebastian Vettel

3. Jenson Button

4. Mark Webber

5. Michael Schumacher

6. Fernando Alonso

7. Kimi Raikkonen

8. Nico Rosberg

9. Felipe Massa

10. Romain Grosjean