Tag Archives: Monaco

2012 Canadian Grand Prix Results

Well, the one-stop strategy was tried and in full effect… it just failed miserably for a few of the front runners and predicted winner especially. In the end, it was Lewis Hamilton, whose record in Montreal is either a win or a DNF so far in his career, meaning that I really should have picked him to win as he had a pretty good shot. This makes it seven winners from seven races and means that the championship is still wide open and anyone can take it in the remaining 13 races.

Usually, Canada provides some good racing, and it provided some good moments to be sure, but not if you are a fan of the Prancing Horse. With Felipe Massa spinning out of his own accord and Fernando Alonso trying to nurse some very well worn tires for over 45 laps, neither of the two I picked to have good results finished that well. Alonso’s tires fell off the cliff in the final three laps, making him easy prey for Hamilton, Perez, Grosjean and Vettel, all of whom passed the struggling Ferrari in the last few laps of the race. To his, and his team’s, credit, the McLaren driver had the right strategy for the day called all along. Even when Hamilton came in for his second stop and both Alonso and Vettel stayed out, it looked like the race would be over for him. Either they would put in a few fast laps to come in and stay ahead after the pit stops, or they would stay out and just run out the few remaining laps to the checkered flag. However, the team must have known something – or got very lucky – as they were adamant that Alonso and Vettel would be stopping again before the end and that Lewis would catch them in the rotation. However, the longer they stayed out, the more Hamilton had to push, and the faster he wound up catching them both as their tires began to fall apart. As Kimi Raikkonen proved earlier this year, when the tires fall of the cliff, they fall off hard, and both Red Bull and Ferrari made critical errors that they might come to regret later on in the season. Lewis is one of the most consistent drivers on the grid for scoring points, and now leads Alonso in the Driver’s Championship by two points.

Yes, there is a long way to go, but with every point becoming more and more valuable, no driver can ill afford to have a blunder or blown strategy call anymore. Both Ferrari and Red Bull will learn from this, but Hamilton is going to only find strength in this win and it could be a three horse race as they start to come down to the wire. Look for these three to lead the way and start to pull clear of the rest of the field soon enough.

1. Lewis Hamilton

2. Romain Grosjean

3. Sergio Perez

4. Sebastian Vettel

5. Fernando Alonso

6. Nico Rosberg

7. Mark Webber

8. Kimi Raikkonen

9. Kamui Kobayashi

10. Felipe Massa

 

In other racing news, the next race is one of my most detestable: The European Grand Prix in Valencia. And it comes as no surprise to me that the race is struggling to find an audience. As I have said before, it makes no sense for one country to have two races, and even Bernie said as much, then went ahead and did the damn thing anyway! Now, the director of the circuit was quoted as saying, “Two races for Spain is meaningless. Like everything, you have to rationalise.” If that isn’t proof enough of what I had been preaching since this race’s inception, nothing is. Bernie, stop lining your goddamn pockets, pull your head out of your ass and either alternate the race (bad idea) or get rid of the parade lap that lacks the pomp and theater of Monaco (best idea) known as the Valencia circuit.

2012 Monaco Grand Prix Predictions

Who can master the streets of the Principality this weekend? My money is on Hamilton. I wish it wasn’t but he is fast and Webber is bad on starts and I don’t see the Red Bull holding that pole position for the entire race. I really hope that Webber can hold off Hamilton and Rosberg for that matter, but Webber just doesn’t seem like he can. It doesn’t seem like he, or the car, can keep up the pace. And what happened to the Lotus cars? They just seemed to fall off the map. I was expecting on picking Grosjean or Raikkonen for the win, but not now. Grosjean is in with a chance for a podium at least, but I was expecting more. Great lap from Schumacher, but his penalty really, really hurt him (obviously). Felipe looks like he has some more life and fight in him, and I look for him to finish in the points, but I wanted to see him continue his ascension as he did in Q2. Either way, here is my list.

1. Lewis Hamilton

2. Mark Webber

3. Romain Grosjean

4. Fernando Alonso

5. Felipe Massa

6. Nico Rosberg

7. Michael Schumacher

8. Kimi Raikkonen

9. Sebastian Vettel

10. Kamui Kobayashi

 

Spanish Grand Prix Results and Monaco Predictions

This’ll be sort of a double post this time around because I forgot to recap the Spanish Grand Prix from last weekend, and the Monaco Grand Prix is happening this weekend. I wasn’t too far off in my predictions, but at the start it sure looked like I was going to be. After a raucous and, frankly, amazing start, the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso was at the head of the pack. Not only did nobody see this happening, but I was surprised at how long he held off the faster Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel and the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton. However, with the crowd behind him, Alonso charged off in the lead for about 20 laps. Then things went the way I thought they would. Alonso’s Ferrari couldn’t keep up with the aerodynamically superior cars after the initial pitstops and he was eventually lapped by both the front runners. It must have been an odd feeling to not only lead your home grand prix, but then to be lapped by the people you were running in without having an accident or any mechanical problems of any kind. After the race, Ferrari’s technical director, Aldo Costa, stepped down from his position. It just goes to show that this team hasn’t been the same since it had that amazing grouping from the late 90s and early 2000s. A few key people make all the difference. However, imagine where this team would be without Alonso behind the wheel. Granted, I really like Felipe Massa, but he is nowhere close to the same driver that Alonso is. But I digress. As it happened, the Spanish Grand Prix featured a ton of action in the first few laps, then turned into the normal parade that we have come to expect out of Formula One. Which is a shame, but at the same time, that won’t change this next weekend in Monaco. Here are the results of the Spanish Grand Prix.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Lewis Hamilton

3. Jenson Button

4. Mark Webber

5. Fernando Alonso

6. Micheal Schumacher

7. Nico Rosberg

8. Nick Heidfeld

9. Sergio Perez

10. Kamui Kobayashi

Will the story be any different after this weekend? Judging by the timesheets, I would have to say yes, as Fernando Alonso seems to have a bead on all things Monaco. However, I thought that last year too and he then went and stuck it in the wall because he was trying so hard to control the car and make it fast that he had to be on the limit or above it for the entire time. This year, I think he will do better, but the Red Bulls still seem to have something up their sleeves. Here then, are my picks.

1. Sebastian Vettel – will get his first Monaco victory after coming close last year

2. Fernando Alonso

3. Mark Webber

4. Jenson Button

5. Lewis Hamilton

6. Felipe Massa

7. Michael Schumacher

8. Nico Rosberg

9. Vitaly Petrov

10. Nick Heidfeld

Austin Circuit Plans Revealed

I have been critical of the supposed US GP that will come to Austin, TX in 2012. Although I am still skeptical of the whole “Formula One in the heart of NASCAR” concept, they have actually made public their plans for what the track will look like. As you can see, the track takes a counter-clockwise approach, making it unique in the world of F1, as only a select few other tracks also feature the counter-clockwise layout.

Some of the other features of the track include 133 feet of elevation change (probably man-made as Texas is fairly flat I believe) as well as multiple corner viewing for spectators and a magnificent view of the downtown skyline. From the looks of things, I would say there are three decent overtaking spots, and maybe one or two others that could be tried if the driver is willing to take a chance (which most won’t). The thing that sort of bothers me is the willingness to copy other layouts from other tracks, specifically Silverstone, Hockenheim and Istanbul. While this seems like a good idea, I think that every track should have its own personality. If a track has to rely on corners to be transplanted into it to make it flow and work, then it’s not very unique and the design looks lazy. And because this is yet another Tilke designed track, laziness is probably setting in at this point. His tracks have been criticized before for being all right to drive, but not fun to watch, as there are rarely any passing opportunities. We can all hope this one will be different, but dollars to donuts says it will probably just be more of the same tired design that Tilke has become known for. You know why drivers like the old tracks so much? Because they still have a sense of danger about them. They are not some cookie-cutter, stale parade. Spa, Monaco, Monza, Silverstone, the Nordschleife. These are tracks that make drivers look like hairy-chested daredevils, sawing at their wheels in a vein attempt to hold all four wheels on the pavement, whereas most modern circuits are humdrum affairs that are run and conclude with a whisper of a cough.

I guess that the best thing I can think of about this course is that it is not a city track. There are too many of them these days – and too many on the horizon. Stick to Monaco for the city track, otherwise build actual circuits that take both the driver and the spectator for a ride. If the US GP at Austin does ever come about, I do hope they can make it work. As always, I am still skeptical.

US GP at Austin: Circuit Map

US GP at Austin: Circuit Map

3D US GP at Austin track map

3D US GP at Austin track map

Hungarian GP Predictions

All right, here’s what we know. We know that this weeks race takes place at the Hungaroring. We know that this track is similar in setup to Monaco, and we know that both the Red Bulls and the Ferraris were very quick there. We also know that there may be rain in the forecast. And finally, we know that the times show the Red Bulls and the Ferraris to be at the front of the pack on Sunday. I have a feeling about the top four spots in the points, but after that, its sort of a crapshoot. First off, you have Petrov super quick, while the McLarens and Williams and especially the Mercedes, are all off the outright pace. In fact, judging by the times, the Red Bulls and Ferraris are going to run away with this one! Those are the only two teams on track that have dipped into the 1:20 range. Everyone else is a lot farther back, and that is very surprising to see. Based on that information, here is what I think the points will look like.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Fernando Alonso

3. Felipe Massa

4. Mark Webber

5. Jenson Button

6. Robert Kubica

7. Lewis Hamilton

8. Vitaly Petrov

9. Nico Rosberg

10. Michael Schumacher

This is going to be an interesting race though because there are some other contenders that could get up into the points because of the nature of the twisty track. The Force India cars had a miserable week last week, and will probably bounce back, but they have never been really good on circuits that are not flat out, so I would tend to discount them. Also, the Williams cars could probably be put up in there (I think I could probably swap out a few names and put Rubens in there instead… I mean, he did go out and beat the lap time of The Stig!) but its just too tough to call, so I’m going with what I have. Stay tuned for Sunday.

Really? F1 Without Monaco? What is Bernie Smoking Now?

Why? Why is Bernie still in charge? He must be the only person on the planet who can’t see that he is a complete and utter idiot. I mean, Formula One without Monaco?! He must be off his meds even more than usual to be spouting that sort of crap. That race is the “crown jewel” of the Formula One calendar and not having it would be a blow to the whole sport. And the only reason that Monaco doesn’t pay to play is that they have it in their contract that they don’t have to use Bernie’s monopoly to broadcast the race. Otherwise they totally would have to pay in, and it must be that Bernie maybe needs more cash (however that may be considering he is a multi-multi-millionaire. And yes, the race cap is at 20 a year, but so what? I’ll tell you which you can get rid of: Valencia, Turkey and possibly China as well. These events are boring, underattended and in some cases – like China – hated by the teams. Leave Monaco, get a USGP that is real, and stop with Russia, another Italy and for godsakes DO NOT go to India! Here is the article for those who want to try and figure out Bernie’s logic… although no one can. Not even he.

Bernie Ecclestone

Not even Mick Jagger can comprehend Bernie's insanity.

Race Six: Monaco

Soooo, yeah. Ummm. I was waaaay off base for this weekend’s race. Apparently, my new strategy will be to pick one of the two Red Bulls for the pole and then see if anyone can catch them, or if they break. The race at Monaco is normally a fairly dull affair, spiced up by a few crashes and safety car periods. This one was that way for the most part, but one man was the star of the entire show. Of course, I think my prediction would have been a lot closer to reality had Fernando Alonso not hit a barrier and destroyed his car on Saturday. Having done that, he had to start from the pit lane and try to make up positions. And since I also predicted a nice crash going into Sainte Devote, that had to not come true was well. All of the cars got though cleanly and the race was on.

Mark Webber led away from pole, as another Pole, Robert Kubica, unsuccessfully tried to defend second place on the grid from Sebastian Vettel. Felipe Massa slotted home fourth and they held onto those positions for the remainder of the race. The real story came from the back of the grid, as I mentioned already. On the second lap, at 170mph, Nico Hulkenberg crashed in the tunnel and brought out a safety car period. Seeing this, Ferrari brought Alonso into the pits to change out his tires. Since he was then good to go according to the regulations, he simply tooled around for another 75 laps, making pass after daring pass on the back markers coming out of the tunnel. He really was a one man show on the track while Webber and the front runners just kept pushing and getting farther and farther ahead. His plan was to take advantage of the track position as everyone else had to dive into the pits to change tires. Obviously, he could not make it to the front of the pack, but by using his strategy and racing his balls off, he made it up to sixth from a pit lane start! Quite the feat at Monaco and certainly helped by the no refueling and safety car periods. In the end, it would be Mark Webber finishing ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica. Interestingly, at the end of the race, there was another safety car period and the race was to end under yellow… meaning no passing. This was a rule that was put into place this season, so I’ve read, and one Mr. Schumacher did not know about it apparently. On the final corner, he floored it and passed Alonso for sixth place, but because of the rule, he was given a 20 second penalty after the race and was bumped back down to 12th place, and out of the points. Here is how the top ten finished and my predictions after that.

1.Mark Webber

2.Sebastian Vettel

3.Robert Kubica

4.Felipe Massa

5.Lewis Hamilton

6.Fernando Alonso

7.Nico Rosberg

8.Adrian Sutil

9.Vitantonio Liuzzi

10.Sebastian Buemi

And my predictions based on the Thursday practice sessions:

1.Fernando Alonso

2.Lewis Hamilton

3.Michael Schumacher

4.Nico Rosberg

5.Sebastian Vettel

6.Jenson Button

7.Felipe Massa

8.Mark Webber

9.Adrian Sutil

10.Robert Kubica

I’m not even going to try and analyze that because this is a screwy race and I was way off. The closest I got was with Sutil and he finished a spot ahead of where I thought he would be. Wow. And I even said I thought it was a good call. Man. What a fool I feel. Maybe I can get back on track when the Turkish Grand Prix takes place in two weeks.