Formula 1 Season starts today!!


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Race - Advantage Hamilton after Spa thriller

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton won a dramatic Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, leading throughout and beating Red Bull's Mark Webber by 1.5s despite one agonising moment, as the rains came on lap 35 and he slid momentarily into the gravel at Rivage. In the process, on a day when title rivals Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso all failed to score, Hamilton moved back into the lead of the world championship with 182 points to Webber’s 179. Vettel remains third on 151 ahead of Button on 147 and Alonso on 141.

In the constructors’ stakes, Red Bull still lead McLaren with 330 points to 329, with Ferrari third on 248.

Hamilton really wanted this race, to add Spa to the list of places he has conquered, and stormed into the lead as Webber made a slow start due to a clutch problem and was quickly engulfed by Renault's Robert Kubica, Button, Vettel, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Force India's Adrian Sutil.

Button soon fought up to second and for a while a McLaren one-two was a clear possibility. But his left front wing endplate had been damaged slightly in traffic, and Vettel moved in, taking Kubica and Webber with him after the Australian had moved ahead of Massa. Button had things under control, but then it began to rain lightly from Blanchimont onwards and on the 16th lap Vettel simply got too close to Button, lost control under braking for the chicane, and then speared into the side of the McLaren.

Button was out on the spot, but Vettel crossed over into the pits for a new nose and resumed in 12th place. But then he was given a drive-through penalty for causing the accident, and was well out of the picture thereafter. Later still he touched Tonio Liuzzi’s front wing after passing him in the chicane after the Italian had given him something of a driving lesson, and finished a very unhappy, and lapped, 15th.

Kubica clung to second place ahead of Webber during the first tyre stops, by which time the track was completely dry again, but when the rain came back with a vengeance in the final quarter he was so busy adjusting his steering wheel buttons ready for his wet tyres that he slightly overshot his stopping place in the pits and lightly damaged the right front wing endplate. That was enough to lose second place to Webber, but third was still a great result for Renault on a weekend when the F-duct made the R30 very competitive.

Massa could not get any closer than fourth place, running just off the pace of the frontrunners, but his was a much more successful race than Fernando Alonso’s. His Ferrari was hit at the chicane on the first lap by Rubens Barrichello, sending the Spaniard into the pits for repairs and the Brazilian into an ignominious exit from his 300th Grand Prix. Later Alonso, like Vettel, got a driving lesson from Liuzzi, but was on course for some more points when he spun exiting Les Combes and had to abandon a damaged car. That was the incident which triggered the second deployment of the safety car, after the first-lap dramas.

Sutil drove a great race for Force India to take a fifth place that protects the team’s points advantage on a day when Williams failed to score, while Mercedes salvaged something from a tough weekend with sixth and seventh places for Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. Things might have been a little tense in the garage afterwards, however; on lap 10 Renault's Vitaly Petrov squeezed by Rosberg at Les Combes, running him wide and enabling Schumacher also to pass his team mate, but Michael swiped Nico’s front wing as he did so. Later Nico forced his way by Michael there on lap 41, then left him behind.

Kamui Kobayashi made some amends for his qualifying gaffe by driving his usual feisty race through to eighth for BMW Sauber, ahead of Petrov, who also did well to claw his way from the back of the grid. The final point fell to Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari, who resisted a strong challenge from Liuzzi when the safety car pitted at the end of lap 40.

Behind the Italian’s Force India, BMW Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa survived a late off at Rivage to take 12th ahead of Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso and Nico Hulkenberg’s Williams, with Vettel a lap down in 15th. In the new team stakes, Heikki Kovalainen brought his Lotus home 16th ahead of the duelling Virgins of Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock, with late-spinning Jarno Trulli 18th from final finisher Sakon Yamamoto. Besides Barrichello, Button and Alonso, Bruno Senna failed to finish after something broke on his HRT.

It was a great race, with fine performances from the top three. Hamilton was cock-a-hoop with what might turn out to be a crucial success, and looking back to the 2008 race which he won before the FIA applied a time penalty, he smiled and said: “I get to keep this one.”

Ref: Formula 1


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Qualifying - Alonso delivers Monza pole for Ferrari

Fernando Alonso gave the tifosi what they came to Monza for on Saturday, as he pipped McLaren's Jenson Button to pole position for the Italian Grand Prix. The Spaniard took over setting the pace in Q2, and went faster still in Q3, clocking the only sub-1m 22s lap with 1m 21.962s for Ferrari on his first run in the final session. He failed to improve on that, as a good jump forward by Button, who unlike his team mate opted to run his MP4-25 in high-dowforce trim, left the reigning champion second on the grid with 1m 22.084s.

Felipe Massa backed his team mate with 1m 22.293s in the second Ferrari, with Mark Webber jumping ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton on their second runs when Hamilton had a slide in the first chicane and failed to improve. Webber lapped his Red Bull in 1m 22.433s to Hamilton’s 1m 22.623s, while Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel couldn’t better 1m 22.675s for sixth.

Seventh was very closely fought as Nico Rosberg lapped his Mercedes in 1m 23.027s to Nico Hulkenberg’s 1m 23.037s for Williams and Robert Kubica’s 1m 23.039s for Renault. Rubens Barrichello completed the top 10 with 1m 23.328s in the second Williams.

As Alonso set the pace with 1m 22.297s to pip Button and Hamilton in Q2, Adrian Sutil found himself bumped when Nico Rosberg improved, leaving the Force India driver 11th on 1m 23.199s. Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher’s efforts to improve came up short with 1m 23.388s, leaving him 12th ahead of Kamui Kobayashi’s BMW Sauber on 1m 23.659s, Sebastien Buemi’s 1m 23.681s for Toro Rosso, Vitaly Petrov’s 1m 23.819s for Renault, Jaime Alguersuari’s 1m 23.919s for Toro Rosso and Pedro de la Rosa on 1m 24.044s in the second BMW Sauber.

The only real surprise in Q1, when Massa set the pace with 1m 22.421s from Alonso, was that Vitantonio Liuzzi’s litany of trouble at Force India continued. As he did only one run of three laps for 1m 25.774s that left him behind the Lotuses in 20th place. He’d told the team in the morning that a fresh engine felt odd, and it seized its bottom end soon after Q1 began.

Jarno Trulli was 18th on 1m 25.540s with Lotus team mate Heikki Kovalainen shadowing him on 1m 25.742s. After Liuzzi, Timo Glock was Virgin’s lead runner with 1m 25.934s ahead of team mate Lucas di Grassi on 1m 25.974s. Glock, however, will get a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox replacement. Petrov also received a five-place grid penalty for impeding him in the first chicane early in Q1.

Bruno Senna recorded 1m 26.847s for HRT in 23rd, with team mate Sakon Yamamoto much closer than previously on 1m 27.020s for 24th.

Ref: Formula 1


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Qualifying - Alonso snatches crucial pole for Ferrari

Fernando Alonso repeated his Monza pole position in Singapore on Saturday night as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel failed to recover completely from a poor first run in Q3. A track that remained damp and slippery in places kept everyone on their toes.

Alonso lapped in 1m 45.390s on his first run in that final session, and though he did not improve on that on his second it remained good enough to keep him ahead of Vettel. The German moved from seventh fastest on 1m 47.937s after his first run to second in 1m 45.457s, edging McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton off the front row. The Englishman did 1m 45.571s on his first run, then failed to improve.

Both McLaren’s Jenson Button and Red Bull’s Mark Webber went quicker on their second runs. The Australian momentarily moved to fourth with 1m 45.977s before the Englishman took back the place with 1m 45.944s. Thus the five championship contenders start from the first five positions…

Williams’ Rubens Barrichello’s first-run 1m 46.236s stood up for sixth, ahead of Nico Rosberg’s 1m 46.443s for Mercedes GP, Robert Kubica’s 1m 46.593s for Renault and Michael Schumacher’s 1m 46.702s for Mercedes GP. Kamui Kobayashi was 10th for BMW Sauber on 1m 47.884s.

Jaime Alguersuari’s good weekend form continued all the way through to Q2, when he just failed to get into Q3 by a tenth of a second in the Toro Rosso. He lines up 11th on 1m 47.666s, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who lapped his Williams in 1m 47.674s. However, the German drops to 17th because of a gearbox change.

Renault’s Vitaly Petrov was 13th on 1m 48.165s despite spinning early in Turn Five and clipping the wall with his right rear wheel, then came Sebastien Buemi in the second Toro Rosso on 1m 48.502s, Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Sauber on 1m 48.557s and the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil on 1m 48.899s and Tonio Liuzzi, who missed the chicane on his first run and improved to 1m 48.961s right at the end.

Q1 took out the usual suspects, with one notable exception.

Timo Glock has had Lotus tucked up most of the weekend and was the fastest of the new teams in his Virgin VR-01, with 1m 50.721s, but right at the end Heikki Kovalainen banged in a respectable 1m 50.915s so they were 18th and 19th. Lucas di Grassi was next for Virgin with 1m 51.107s, leaving Lotus’s Jarno Trulli 21st on 1m 51.641s. Christian Klien was the faster HRT driver with 1m 52.946s, while Bruno Senna spun in Turn Five trying to better 1m 54.174s.

The notable exception was poor Felipe Massa. With 10 minutes of Q1 still to go he brought out the red flag when his Ferrari stopped in Turn Eight on its out lap, before he had even recorded a time. His race could not thus have got off to a worse start, but he’ll be able to start from the back with the race stewards’ permission.

Ref: Formula 1


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Race - Alonso claims superb Singapore win

Fernando Alonso scored his fourth win of the season in Singapore on Sunday night after a dramatic battle with Sebastian Vettel that saw them finish only two-tenths of a second apart after a race-long fight.

A slow-burn event finally exploded into life just past half distance when following a safety-car deployment after offs for BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi and HRT’s Bruno Senna, points leaders Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton collided while fighting for third place on the 36th lap.

The Englishman was pitched out of the race with broken suspension, and the Australian brought a vibrating Red Bull home third to increase his advantage in the title fight to 202 points to Alonso’s 191, Hamilton’s 182, Sebastian Vettel’s 181 and fourth-placed Jenson Button’s 177. In the constructors’ stakes, Red Bull have 383, McLaren 359 and Ferrari 316.

It was Vettel who made the best start, but Alonso chopped across the Red Bull’s bows to take a lead he never lost. After a lap Alonso was a second ahead, but it didn’t take long for the first safety-car deployment. This came on the third lap as Vitantonio Liuzzi’s suspension-damaged Force India was cleared away from its resting place just past the chicane, its demise the result of early contact with Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber.

Like Ferrari’s Felipe Massa at the end of the first lap - who started from the last position on the grid - Red Bull’s Mark Webber took advantage of the hiatus to switch from the soft-compound Bridgestone tyres to the more durable hard rubber, hoping to avoid stopping again. The Australian was followed by a host of midfield runners all hoping for similar strategic fortune. By the time racing resumed on the sixth lap, Webber was already back up to 10th as he swept past Timo Glock’s Virgin.

At the front Alonso quickly regained his rhythm, holding Vettel at bay by 1.3s as Hamilton maintained third and Button began to drift back in fourth place.

Webber’s recovery took him past Schumacher when the former champion made a mistake under pressure on the 11th lap. His team mate, meanwhile, was steadily losing touch with Alonso, who had a 2.3s lead after 12 laps as Hamilton followed a similar distance behind the Red Bull.

However, the Australian’s strategy came unravelled when he was unable to overtake Rubens Barrichello’s Williams, and from 16.5s his deficit to Alonso had grown to 30s after 16 laps. Over the radio, his team told him that he was now racing Hamilton for third place, rather than for the lead.

McLaren’s hopes of victory evaporated with serious rear tyre wear, leaving Hamilton and Button to lonely races until the mid-race incident.

After that the fight for the lead was back on, as Vettel hounded Alonso mercilessly, less than a second behind. The German looked very aggressive on the harder-compound tyres and soon closed Alonso down, but as the race just completed its 61 laps before the two-hour mark, the Spaniard kept the German at bay.

They raced past Heikki Kovalainen’s burning Lotus on the pit straight as they completed their penultimate lap, and were only two-tenths of a second apart. But, as Alonso won his fourth race of the year to move into second place in the title hunt, the gap was the same.

Webber was a relieved third from Button, while Nico Rosberg drove an unobtrusive race to fifth for Mercedes ahead of on-form Rubens Barrichello for Williams and Renault’s Robert Kubica, who drove superbly to repass the Toro Rossos of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, team mate Vitaly Petrov, Massa, Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg and Force India’s Adrian Sutil after a Lap 45 stop for another set of tyres.

The aforementioned finished in the reverse of the above order after running nose-to-tail for much of the race, and Kovalainen’s late departure with a blown engine and ensuing fire elevated Lucas Di Grassi to 15th as the highest-placed new team runner. He was the only one still standing, as Kovalainen was classified 16th.

Virgin’s Timo Glock had led that category until late retirement, while Lotus’s Jarno Trulli and HRT’s Christian Klien were stopped by mechanical problems and Senna hit Kobayashi’s damaged BMW Sauber, the Japanese driver having run into the wall of his own accord at Turn 18.

Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher was classified 13th after a hard day in which he was attacked and pushed into a wall by Kobayashi just before the Japanese driver’s incident, and then had one of his own as he shoved Nick Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber into a spin and also spun himself.

Ref: Formula 1


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Sebastian Vettel will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix just where he wants, on pole position after lapping his Red Bull in 1m 39.394s. But the most important qualifying session of the year was a major disappointment for team mate Mark Webber who managed only fifth place in 1m 39.925s and will be separated from Vettel by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Jenson Button.

Earlier, Hamilton had been fortunate to avoid contact with Felipe Massa when, after a big slide on his first lap in Q2, he’d had to back off the pace and resumed just as the Ferrari was alongside. The former champion walloped a camera pole, but his McLaren did not sustain any damage and he recovered his momentum brilliantly to lap second quickest before his time eventually left him fifth in that session.

He already held second place as Q3 drew to its close, but trimmed his time down to 1m 39.425s to demonstrate to Vettel that he may yet have a race on his hands on Sunday. Alonso’s late improvement was bad news for Webber. The Spaniard lapped in 1m 39.792s to jump to third, ahead of Button on 1m 39.823s.

Webber will share row three with Massa, who lapped his F10 in 1m 40.202s, while Williams’ Rubens Barrichello’s 1m 40.203s left him seventh ahead of the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg on 1m 40.516s and 1m 40.589s respectively. Like Massa, both suffered in late-session traffic. Vitaly Petrov was 10th for Renault, with 1m 40.901s.

Vettel redefined the ante in Q2 with the fastest lap of the weekend thus far in 1m 39.874s, ahead of the revitalised Button, Rosberg, Webber and Hamilton. Further back, Robert Kubica surprisingly failed to make Q3, taking 11th place behind team mate Petrov with 1m 40.780s in a Renault that still seemed not to be running as well as it did on Friday.

Kamui Kobayashi improved late on but still didn’t make it beyond 12th on 1m 40.783s for BMW Sauber, ahead of Force India’s Adrian Sutil on 1m 40.914s, BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld on 1m 41.113s, Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 41.418s, Tonio Liuzzi whose Force India didn’t look as good as it had on Friday on 1m 41.642s and Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari on 1m 41.738s.

As the sun began to set, Alonso headed Q1 with 1m 40.170s as Sebastien Buemi led those who failed to make the cut after lapping his Toro Rosso in 1m 41.824s. Behind him, Lotus took the new team honours with Jarno Trulli 19th on 1m 43.516s ahead of team mate Heikki Kovalainen on 1m 43.712s.

Timo Glock was close for Virgin but not close enough on 1m 44.095s, which put him ahead of team mate Lucas di Grassi who lapped in 1m 44.510s. Bruno Senna won the intra-team battle at HRT, with 1m 45.085s to Christian Klien’s 1m 45.296s.



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Race - Vettel grabs title with Abu Dhabi win

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is the new world champion, and the youngest in history, after a gripping Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel led from the start and only surrendered the lead after his tyre stop, but the outcome of the championship was effectively decided on the opening lap when Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher spun and was mounted by an unsighted Tonio Liuzzi. As the safety car came out, Renault crucially pitted Vitaly Petrov, as did Mercedes Nico Rosberg. Both stops would later play key roles.

When the racing resumed, Vettel opened a lead over McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who had beaten Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso off the line. Red Bull’s Mark Webber chased the Spaniard, but would be destined to spend a cheerless afternoon struggling in the Ferrari’s slipstream.

As Vettel controlled things, Webber pitted for Bridgestone’s harder rubber as early as the 11th lap, with Alonso following suit four laps later. But as they fell into the midfield behind Petrov, Hamilton did not stop until the 23rd lap, Vettel the 24th. That put Button into the lead, but as Vettel resumed behind the man he replaces as champion, Hamilton was crucially trapped behind the ever-quick Robert Kubica who was on a long opening stint for Renault on the harder tyres.

Alonso, meanwhile, was still trapped behind Kubica’s team mate Petrov as BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, Kubica, Force India’s Adrian Sutil, Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi, Rosberg and Williams' Nico Hulkenberg duked it out ahead of them. Kobayashi, Sutil, Buemi and Hulkenberg all fell way back when they finally changed tyres, but Button only dropped to fourth when he finally pitted on the 39th lap, and that became third when Kubica eventually did likewise on the 46th in the most crucial stop of the race.

Neither Rosberg nor Petrov, of course, needed to stop again, so by now it was clear that Alonso’s hopes were doomed even if he managed to pass Petrov, because he needed fourth overall if he was to avoid losing the title on fourth place countbacks if he finished fifth. Even that was not a realistic hope, as he failed to dislodge the Russian.

Going into the final eight laps the order was Vettel, around 10 seconds clear of Hamilton, with Button a couple more seconds back, then came Rosberg after a great but unobstrusive performance, Kubica, who got away with momentarily crossing the white line on the pit-lane exit, and… Petrov. Try as he might, Alonso just could not pass the Renault, and the frustrated Spaniard exchanged a few uncomplimentary hand signals with its driver on the slowdown lap, although later said the Russian had driven a good race.

Thus the final tally showed Vettel with 256 points, Alonso with 252, Webber with 242 and Hamilton with 240. In the constructors’ stakes, Red Bull of course had already wrapped things up but finished a brilliant season with 498 points to McLaren’s 454 and Ferrari’s 396.

It barely mattered that Jaime Alguersuari took ninth for Toro Rosso, not having helped his Red Bull stablemate Webber at all in the laps immediately after the Australian’s stop, then came a disgruntled Felipe Massa for Ferrari in 10th from Nick Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber, Rubens Barrichello’s Williams, Sutil, Kobayashi, Buemi and Hulkenberg.

Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen won the newbie stakes for Tony Fernandes’s team, ahead of Lucas di Grassi’s Virgin and the HRTs of Bruno Senna and Christian Klien. Jarno Trulli’s Lotus was the final classified finisher after both his front and rear wings suffered failures at different parts of the race.

Joining Force India’s Liuzzi and Schumacher as a non-fnisher was Timo Glock’s Virgin, which stopped late in the race.

And so the most dramatic season of Formula One racing in many years draws to its close, and as Bridgestone bid farewell, the era of Sebastian Vettel dawns. One has to feel sorry for his team mate Webber, for whom things just didn’t go to plan, and for Alonso, but with 10 pole positions the young German has laid just claim to the title, and the joy at Red Bull literally knew no bounds.


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Yes, one does feel sorry for poor Webber. An excellent year for him. He has stated that he will be racing again next year with RB

Maybe 2011 will be his year.

Great season, one of the best for a while imo.

looking forward to 2011

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