Tag Archives: Sauber F1

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 Canadian Grand Prix Preview

That time of year is upon us. I can’t believe it’s been one full year since I was sitting in a grandstand in the Senna S curve watching Formula One cars and getting a great tan. This weekend, despite the protesters wishes, the whole of Montreal will be reverberating to the sounds of 2.4 liter V8 engines as the best drivers take to the Circuit Gilles Villenueve. I am actually glad not to be there this year because of those hoodlums, but I still always wish I could be anywhere that sweet, sweet sound is being made. Anyway, let’s get right to it. As always, Lewis Hamilton looks quick, and we know he generally likes this track (he took his maiden win here). Over one lap, both he and the two (surprisingly enough) Ferraris looks to be the front runners for this race. However, the Mercedes has been decidedly slow all weekend and may have something up its sleeve for qualifying and the race. I also wouldn’t count out Vettel, who seems to be liking the Red Bull, despite its lack of straight line speed.

We also know that Montreal is probably going to give us the best racing of the year, so enjoy it while you can. With multiple spots to pass (the Senna curves, the hairpin, into the final corner, etc), the ever present threat of unpredictable weather – remember the two hour rain delay because of the torrential downpour last year when I almost developed hypothermia? Well I certainly do – a possible one-stop strategy, crashes and safety cars, this is going to be a great race.

1. Fernando Alonso

2. Lewis Hamilton

3. Felipe Massa

4. Sebastian Vettel

5. Nico Rosberg

6. Jenson Button

7. Roman Grosjean

8. Kimi Raikkonen

9. Michael Schumacher

10. Kamui Kobayashi

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 Australian Grand Prix Results

Well, well, well. It seems as though it won’t be a Red Bull runaway this season. However, we may just see McLaren go on a tear. After locking out the front row, the duo from Woking went straight to work on the rest of the field and romped out to a huge lead. This would prove to be insurmountable in the case of Jenson Button, who had an absolute serene day at the front of the pack, only being closed in on during the safety car period. Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, came under pressure midway through the contest from Sebastian Vettel, starting from sixth, and was passed in the pit stop rotation resulting from that safety car. Mark Webber put up a good fight for fourth, which is his best finishing position ever in his home race, but was never really close enough to challenge for a podium.

The biggest movers of the day had to have been the Ferraris at the start, with both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa jumping right up into points positions. However, while Alonso was able to keep a reasonable pace with the front runners for awhile, it all proved too much for his car and he eventually fell off the pace and claimed a “best of the rest” fifth. Massa meanwhile ended up being swallowed up by backmarkers and was run into in the closing stages, having to retire the car. Other big movers were both Kimi Raikkonen, coming up to claim seventh from 18th on the grid after some closing lap incidents in front of him, and Sergio Perez, who started dead last in 22nd and finished eighth. He probably could have made up more positions but his one-stop strategy made for some dodgy tires at the end of the race.

The biggest losers from this race were undoubtedly Mercedes and Williams. Both of the Mercedes team were expecting to run faster, with Nico Rosberg even saying that he thought he had a car that could challenge for the win, and Michael Schumacher starting in fourth. Neither of the cars finished in the points, as Schumacher damaged the gearbox and Rosberg obtained a punctured rear tire from Perez on the last lap. The Williams team also came away disappointed as their main man Pastor Maldonado started in eighth and had a great fight going with the Ferrari of Alonso for most of the race. They had the pace in their car and it was a shame that Maldonado ended up smacking the wall on the final lap.

All in all, I would say that this was one of the better opening rounds of any season I’ve watched. It was incident filled, but not to the extent that it caused too many stops with safety cars. There were some good fights on track and there are some great stories that are about to burst forth. For instance, the battle between the midfield teams is amazingly tight this year, with both Saubers scoring points and the Lotus and Williams looking mighty respectable. In fact, if you look at the Constructor’s points, Sauber is ahead of Ferrari right now! Whether that will last is to be seen, but if both of their drivers continue to end up in the points and Ferrari has to continue relying on Alonso to secure all of their points, there are a few teams that will eventually garner more points than the squad from Maranello. As a bonus, we won’t even have to wait that long to see how this season continues to shape up, as the Malaysian Grand Prix is next weekend already! Mark your calendars, it’s going to be spectacular!

1. Jenson Button

2. Sebastian Vettel

3. Lewis Hamilton

4. Mark Webber

5. Fernando Alonso

6. Kamui Kobayashi

7. Kimi Raikkonen

8. Sergio Perez

9. Daniel Ricciardo

10. Paul di Resta

An Amazing, Enthralling, Wet Canadian Grand Prix

I don’t think anyone saw that coming. Forget Monaco. Don’t even talk about the Chinese Grand Prix. And you can take the Turkish GP and toss it in the garbage. The Canadian Grand Prix was once again the highlight of the F1 season to date and provided thrilling racing right to the very last lap. Luckily, I was there to witness it in all its glory. This is the reason that I didn’t make predictions for this weekend, although, even if I had attempted to, they would have been entirely wrong as I would have had a Ferrari on the podium and never in a million years would I have had Button winning. But this was Montreal, and anything can – and did – happen.

Friday – Practice Day.

Friday was gorgeous. We got to the track around 10:30 or so and were in our stands in time to see the first practice session end, with Rosberg on top of the timesheets, and then we sat around taking pictures and generally soaking up the beautiful sun and great scenery that Circuit Gilles Villenueve and grandstand 11 have to offer. In the afternoon, it was Alonso giving the Tifosi in the crowd something to be optimistic about as he went fastest of all. The weekend was looking good for them and for the McLarens. Red Bull of course was not showing their hand, but they didn’t really have to as most would have thought that Vettel would be up to his usual fast tricks in qualifying.

Canadian GP Friday

Canadian GP Friday

Canadian GP Friday - McLaren Tattoo Guy

Canadian GP Friday

Nick Heidfeld

Fernando Alonso

Felipe Massa

Michael Schumacher

Fernando Alonso

Friday Crowd

Vintage F1 Cars

Vintage F1 Cars

Gilles Villenueve's Ferrari - Vintage F1 Cars

Jarno Trulli Opposite Lock

Felipe Massa

Heikki Kovalainen

Mark Webber

Jenson Button

Saturday – Qualifying Day.

Qualifying started at 1:00 so we had time to take a leisurely trek to the track and we ended up there about 11:30 or so and had lunch. Q1 and Q2 were pretty much what you would expect, with the big hitters doing a few laps each and then going back to the garage to await Q3. And once again, the Ferraris provided some hope as they were clearly loving the tires and the track. Vettel showed that he was indeed the fasted overall, with Alonso and Massa close behind. Webber was next followed by Hamilton, Rosberg and Button. Schumacher followed him with the two Renaults rounding out the top ten. This is sort of the status quo in F1 right now, with these five teams making up the Q3 session pretty much every race.

Nick Heidfeld

Lewis Hamilton

Sunday – Race Day.

I knew that rain was forecast. It was a 60% chance, which is pretty good odds. However, no one could have predicted the amount or the voraciousness of the rain that was to come. Watching the Ferrari support race was fun with the damp track and the lively nature of the cars, so I thought that the race would be pretty fun as well – as long as it didn’t rain any more. Boy, was I in for a shock. The start of the race was extremely uneventful as the cars started behind the safety car to clear water from the track before actually setting off. And once they did, it was action from the get-go. In the first corner (where I was sat) Webber was spun from behind and dropped back in the pack as the rest of the drivers blew past in a cacophony of highly strung V8 power and noise. For my money the V10s still sounded better, but these V8s are still something to behold. Case in point, the last time I was in Montreal, I wore earplugs, but I felt they were not needed this time around as the V8s don’t have the same aural presence or staccato that the V10s once had. This isn’t to say that these cars aren’t loud though. You could hear the engines in the city proper, which is almost two miles away!

After a few laps, the rain began to let up and the track began to clear of some of the water. Button, the star of the race, spectacularly came together with Hamilton soon after the rain let up right in front of the pit wall, causing his teammate to break the suspension on his car, ending Hamilton’s race right in front of the grandstand I was in (I’m serious about this grandstand 11 people). Some drivers then dove into the pits to slap on the intermediate tires as opposed to the full wet, which proved to be something of a disaster when the rain finally came down like God was pissing on all of us. Seriously, this rain was unbelievable. In fact, it was so bad that the entire race was red flagged (meaning stopped entirely) and the cars queued up on the starting grid. It was soon apparent that there was not going to be an end in sight for the rain and the drivers bailed from their machines and into the pits.

This left the crowd wondering what to do. Most, like my father and me, opted to wait it out and watch the entire race. Some others opted to leave the track and go home as they were cold, wet and disgruntled and didn’t know when the race would start again. These people were suckers as they missed the finish of probably the most exciting F1 race in four or five years. I was also a sucker in that I was only wearing my Ferrari shirt and a long sleeve shirt over that as well as my Ferrari flag as a cape. This did not keep me dry in the least and by the end of the race I was shivering so hard that I couldn’t hold a camera steady to take pictures and my dad thought I was going to get hypothermia. In fact, my shoes were so completely soaked through with water that they weighed over five pounds combined and didn’t even get fully dry after a full cycle of the dryer. But it was all worth it in the end. After two hours and five minutes, the race was restarted and the action began anew.

It was pretty clear that the rain was now going to hold off enough that a dry line could begin to form. And when a dry line begins to form, that means drivers are going to take a chance and put on slick tires. This means lots of interesting action for the fans and crashes and incidents galore. Some of the first cars out on track with the slicks were the backmarkers, meaning the bigger teams could watch their times to see if the dry tires were worth the chance. Turns out they were and soon everyone was sporting them. Just a few laps after the restart of the race, everyone had on dry weather tires and the racing got very intense. Button came together with Alonso and put him into the wall, causing the McLaren driver to pit again and on lap 40 of 70, he was at the very end of the pack. Felipe Massa also had an incident with the wall when he (as predicted by me) attempted to pass a very slow driver and slid the car into the wall, damaging the front end, but not ending his race. With other drivers crashing, including Nick Heidfeld pretty spectacularly after driving over his own front wing, Button began to catch the pack and was mounting a charge. All throughout the field battles were raging for the coveted podium steps. Vettel seemed to be in a league of his own, while behind him, it was a race to the finish between Schumacher, Webber and Button! Yes, Button made up over 20 positions in just about 20 laps. He was on an absolute tear and from the back of the pack made a spectacular couple of passes to catch, and pass, both Webber and Schumacher. But he wasn’t done yet. He was taking full seconds out of Vettel’s lap times, but everyone knew it was too close to the end and he didn’t have enough left in the tank to mount a full charge on the Red Bull. But Canada is different. Weird things happen in Canada. On the very last lap, at turn five, Button finally got close enough, or Vettel just lost his brain for a second, but a mistake was made and Vettel spun his car on the grass. This caused the crowd, and myself, to lose our collective minds! Button had done the impossible. He had started eighth. He had been in the pits six times. He had been relegated to the back of the pack with 30 laps to go, and now he was in the lead with half a lap left! It was unheard of. It was unprecedented. It was the Canadian Grand Prix. As he crossed the line, the crowd erupted. Everyone (with the exception of the Red Bull team and its fans I would guess) was jumping up and down and cheering for Button. And the race wasn’t even over yet as Felipe Massa also made a move on the last lap over Kamui Kobayashi to take sixth place right at the end of the lap. I don’t know what the times look like, but it was a literal photo finish for those two drivers with Massa crossing the line probably about a thousandth of a second before the Sauber driver. The end of this race will go down as one of the best finishes of the year and even though it probably won’t make any difference for the outcome of the season, it goes to show that perseverance is everything and that Canada is always the race to go to.

Here is the final finishing order:

1. Jenson Button

2. Sebastian Vettel

3. Mark Webber

4. Michael Schumacher

5. Vitaly Petrov

6. Felipe Massa

7. Kamui Kobayashi

8. Jaime Alguersuari

9. Rubens Barrichello

10. Sebastian Buemi

My Race Outfit. Not Meant to Ward Off Rain

Sunday's Crowd

Ferrari Support Race

Ferrari Support Race

Me. And this is before the really heavy rain hit.

Heikki Kovalainen

Michael Schumacher

Jenson Button

Lewis Hamilton

Mark Webber

Fernando Alonso

Sebastian Vettel

Felipe Massa

Fernando Alonso

Sebastian Vettel

First Lap After Safety Car. Webber Spun Out.

Vettel, Alonso, Massa Fight For Position

Massa on slick tires

Schumacher, Webber, Button Battle For Position

Pastor Maldonado Crash

Jenson Button Victory!

Massa after passing Kamui Kobayashi to take sixth.

The New Cars

This is only the first of a couple of posts. Basically, it is just a collection of some pictures of the first batch of new cars. Let’s get down to it then.

The Mercedes GP car with Michael Schumacher

The McLaren MP4/25 with Lewis Hamilton

The Ferrari F10 with Fernando Alonso

New Renault R30 with Robert Kubica

Sauber with Kamui Kobayashi

Newly designed STR with Sebastian Buemi

New Virgin Racing machine

Williams with Nico Hulkenberg

What strikes me most about these cars so far is that they don’t look as bad as they did last year. Maybe I’m getting used to the new design, or maybe it’s because I haven’t had a chance to really see them in motion, but they are not all that bad. However, I will caution that some of these cars from the side – especially the new Sauber – are horrifying. It looks like a giant Killer Whale on the track. There are still a few more manufacturers to go before we see the whole grid, but this is what we have for now.

Kobayashi Will Race… but will Kubica?

The impressive, young Japanese driver, Kamui Kobayashi will have a seat in a Formula One car next season. It has emerged that he will have one of the two seats at the Sauber team. Undoubtedly, his seat at the team is because of his impressive races that he had to finish out the season. He basically came into the Toyota team cold, after Timo Glock suffered an injury, and drove like his pants were on fire. In fact, he outdrove many veteran drivers in just two races, with an underachieving car no less. This is good to see as I was also impressed with his performances and couldn’t imagine him not getting another shot at driving an F1 car. Now he has his chance and he has to make the most of it.

Also in the news is the decision from Renault to sell their team to a Luxembourg-based investment group, but still retain their name and a minority stake in the team. They are also confirmed to be an engine supplier for various teams. After that huge scandal of last season, this is probably the best thing for Renault. They get to keep their name out there, but don’t have to spend oodles and oodles of cash to actually run the team. Hopefully they can try and put on a good show for the crowds this season and be somewhat competitive with the rest of the field. The problem now becomes their drivers. It has been reported that Robert Kubica is skeptical about the whole take over bid from Genii Capital – that Luxembourg-based group from before. Kubica doesn’t seem like the sort of person who likes not knowing what is going on and he is probably sure to want to know all of the details before he actually goes and races for this team. Now, we just have to sit and wait to see where the cards fall.