Tag Archives: Nico Hulkenberg

2012 European Grand Prix Results and Maria de Villota Update

In my last piece, I wrote that Valencia needs to be gotten rid of because it is just a parade lap with the same weather, but lack of history and theater that makes Monaco so special still. Well, I know when I am wrong. And how wrong I was! Did I need to wait this long to write this? No. Was I just lazy and not willing to sit at my computer for a few minutes to write this? Yes. But now I am and it was a phenomenal race that had me yelling and screaming and jumping and fist-pumping throughout. In a few words, it was the best race we have seen this season. As if we didn’t have enough of a wild ride already with seven different winners in the first seven races, Fernando Alonso comes through from 11th on the grid (with the aid of some bad luck for other runners, including two alternator failures on the Renault and the Renault powered Red Bull, and another horrendous pit stop for Lewis Hamilton). Plus, it was a remarkable showing for both Michael Schumacher, making his way to third on the podium, and Mark Webber, who started a lowly 18th to finish fourth. Overall, quite the exciting race, and one that will hopefully propel this season forward to continue as one of the greatest ever.

1. Fernando Alonso

2. Kimi Raikkonen

3. Michael Schumacher

4. Mark Webber

5. Nico Hulkenberg

6. Nico Rosberg

7. Paul di Resta

8. Jenson Button

9. Sergio Perez

10. Bruno Senna

In much sadder news, it was revealed today that the test driver for Marussia F1, Maria de Villota, after a freak accident during testing wherein she crashed into one of the team’s support trucks, is in critical, yet stable, condition, but has lost her right eye. No doubt the car she was driving is being inspected and picked apart and having loads of information culled from it to see just what happened to destroy this promising young woman’s racing career in one fell swoop. Marussia will hopefully find the problem and things will be done to correct it, but it no way can replace what would have been a very big achievement for a woman race car driver. I wish Maria all the best in her long recovery. Because of this accident, I have to believe that the FIA will take an even harder look and do more testing on the front roll cage. After Felipe’s freak accident and now this (along with many other freak roll-over and tire detachment accidents), there might be some more new rules coming down the pipeline shortly.Maria de Villota

2012 Grand Prix of Monaco Results

What can I say? I tried to get cutesie with my pick and it came back to bite me as the Grand Prix of Monaco became just another parade lap with the pole sitter taking the victory. There was the threat of rain, but of course, the skies didn’t open up until about five minutes after the race was won. How exciting would that have been? If that downpour had happened just 10 minutes earlier… well, we would have had quite a different race on our hands. As it ended up though, we did get our sixth different winner from six races, and now both Vettel and Webber are tied on points, while Fernando’s third place finish has him out in front… just. Really though, the Grand Prix of Monaco has always been more about brokering deals and the spectacle of the town rather than the race. Honestly, when was the last truly epic race there? The last vivid memory I have of any race there was in 2009, and that was AFTER the race when Button parked in the wrong spot and had to run the entire length of the front straight to collect his trophy.

Either way, the season is shaping up to continue to be unpredictable. And with the next race usually being the undisputed best race of the season in Canada (Montreal is both an amazing city and provides some of the best on track action the entire year) we are going to be in for even more unpredictability. Can Hamilton shake off his funk and become the seventh winner in seven races? What about the turn of speed that Massa just showed. And how about Kimi or Schumacher or Grosjean (if the last two can stay out of trouble that is). All I know is that I wish I were back in Canada like last year, because it is always a spectacular time… even if it does rain for over two hours non-stop and I almost develop hypothermia and end up standing in a porta-potty just to retain warmth, wait out the rain and wring out my sopping clothes!

1. Mark Webber

2. Nico Rosberg

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Sebastian Vettel

5. Lewis Hamilton

6. Felipe Massa

7. Paul di Resta

8. Nico Hulkenberg

9. Kimi Raikkonen

10. Bruno Senna

2012 Spanish Grand Prix Results

Huh.. that one certainly came out of left field.

1. Pastor Maldonado

2. Fernando Alonso

3. Kimi Raikkonen

4. Romain Grosjean

5. Kamui Kobayashi

6. Sebastian Vettel

7. Nico Rosberg

8. Lewis Hamilton

9. Jenson Button

10. Nico Hulkenberg

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

Race 18: Brazil

I really thought that the Brazilian Grand Prix would have more surprises in store, especially with qualifying taking place in the wet. Yes, Nico Hulkenberg was on pole, but he eventually moved back down the pack to where he normally resides. However, he did hold up Fernando Alonso much more than the Ferrari driver would have liked, so that probably influenced his third place finish instead of being able to challenge Mark Webber for second. The person I was really surprised with was Felipe Massa, I thought that he would help his teammate out more than he did and take the fight to the front runners. But, he just isn’t all that great in the wet, and that is what probably hampered his attempts to get toward the front of the grid on Saturday. The race itself was a pretty straightforward affair with only one safety car period. And even when the safety car bunched everyone up, there was too much traffic between the first three cars for anyone to really race each other. Here is how the finishing order stacked up.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Mark Webber

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Lewis Hamilton

5. Jenson Button

6. Nico Rosberg

7. Michael Schumacher

8. Nico Hulkenberg

9. Robert Kubica

10. Kamui Kobayashi

With this One-Two finish for the Red Bull squad, they have secured their first Constructor’s Title. This is the one that the teams really want to win, because it means the squad, as a whole, did the best of any other. The Driver’s Title is still on the line, as I said it would be, and it will be a big dog fight this weekend in Abu Dhabi. It’s pretty much a given that there won’t be rain, so whoever gets a handle on the track conditions the fastest should come out on top. I would love to give a prediction now, but there are too many variables between now and then. The title will come down to Alonso, Vettel and Webber though, as Hamilton is simply too far out and needs too many things to go perfectly correct for him. It should be another exciting title fight at the final race of the season.

Race 17: Wet and Wild Korea

Every time it happens, the rain makes for an interesting race. It has been said many times on this blog that the rain will change the entire face of the grand prix, and this time, that was proven almost instantly, as championship leader Mark Webber went too wide on the exit to a corner, spun his car into a wall and then was hit by Nico Rosberg, ending both their races. In a rather freak occurrence, the Red Bull engine in teammate Sebastian Vettel’s car decided to let go with only 10 laps remaining, handing the victory, and championship lead, over to the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. This race included all sorts of good and horrible passing attempts, crashes, engine failures and daring drives that made it one of the best of the year. Too bad most of the stands were empty, as there was a 20 mile-long traffic jam to get into the circuit, and most of the spectators probably never even saw the race. I think next year, the logistics must be worked out so that more people can see some F1 in Korea. Normally this is where I would talk about my predictions, but since the rain hit, those are totally not applicable anymore (although I did get Kobayashi correct!). So, here are the final results of the race. Be sure to check out the Brazilian Grand Prix in two weeks time, as the championship is starting to really come to a head.

1. Fernando Alonso

2. Lewis Hamilton

3. Felipe Massa

4. Michael Schumacher

5. Robert Kubica

6. Vitantonio Liuzzi

7. Rubens Barrichello

8. Kamui Kobayashi

9. Nick Heidfeld

10. Nico Hulkenberg

Race 16: Japanese Grand Prix

Well, thanks to the rain, the qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix was pushed back to Sunday morning. This meant that there would be no running in the wet and the order would be pretty much as normal. However, the first few laps would be anything but. With the two Red Bulls having locked out the front row, everyone was anticipating a dog fight into the first corner. But it was not at the front that people were to be watching. As the field broke away from their grid spots, the yellow Renault of Vitaly Petrov speared wildly out of control and slammed into the wall. He had gotten an extremely good start, but when he went to cut off Nico Hulkenberg’s Williams, clipped the front wing and spun off into the wall. This also ended the day for Hulkenberg, and already my results were going to be screwed up.

As the field continued to hurtle toward the first corner, the camera panned away just as Felipe Massa got his wheels off the surface of the track and onto the still wet grass. He couldn’t brake and speared the sidepod of Force India’s Tonio Liuzzi, ending both their races.

After the safety car period ended, it was Vettel, followed by Robert Kubica, Mark Webber and Alonso. However, after just a few more laps, one of Kubica’s rear wheels dislodged and his race was done. Up front, there was to be no more action, while at the back, it was all about Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi mopping up all of the slower drivers that he could. His preferred passing spot of the hairpin was both awe inspiring and unquestionably daring. His brakes must have been pushed to the limit because he was doing some really magical things with his Sauber. As far as how I fared in my call, well I did get Vettel right, but that was it. Here is how the final points looked at the end.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Mark Webber

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Jenson Button

5. Lewis Hamilton

6. Michael Schumacher

7. Kamui Kobayashi

8. Nick Heidfeld

9. Rubens Barrichello

10. Sebastian Buemi

The next race will (supposedly) take place in Korea in two weeks time. Not one of the drivers has driven on the circuit, so no one will have a huge advantage over anyone else. It’s always interesting to see a new track on the calendar and this should be no exception.