Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian Grand Prix after having started from second on the grid as a two-stop strategy paid good dividends compared to an ultimately failing one-stop strategy for Fernando Alonso. Having led the race after the second pit stops, Alonso decided to stay on the same tyres and that allowed Hamilton as well as three other drivers to go past him on newer tyres towards the latter laps of the race. Alonso eventually finished fifth.
Renault’s Romain Grosjean was another one-stopper but his fresher tyres enabled him to overtake Alonso for second place and so did the Sauber of Sergio Perez who finished third. Sebastian Vettel also stayed out on his second set of tyres but after Hamilton passed him, he came in for his second stop and fresher tyres enabled him to pass Alonso into fourth place, dropping the Ferrari into fifth.
Nico Rosberg finished sixth for Mercedes ahead of Mark Webber in seventh, Kimi Raikkonen in eight, Kamui Kobayashi in ninth and Felipe Massa in tenth. Michael Schumacher had yet another disastrous race as a failed DRS wing forced him to retire after lap forty five. The Force Indias finished just outside the points as the race didn’t quite come to fruition for them.
The 2012 European Football Championships get underway today in Poland & Ukraine with the top sixteen teams in Europe battling it out for getting crowned the continent’s best team. Billed as the third biggest (er…fourth or fifth, if you believe the yoo-yes-yay doubters who say the Superbowl or NBA finals are bigger) global sporting event after the Olympics and the World Cup, the Euro is a coveted tournament for the football-crazy continent.
Of course Spain are the team to beat this year (reigning World Champions and Euro Champions and all that hoo-haa) and Germany & Netherlands are being touted as the next hot favourites. Italy, France and England the outside bets (why do I hear laughter). But is there a surprise on the cards? Can Croatia or Portugal do a ‘Greece’ and emerge champions of Europe?
All will be revealed on July 1st (too bad it will be revealed on Neo Prime/Sports *shudder*)
Not on Pole position, so what? He’ll still take the victory. Sebastian Vettel celebrated winning the 2011 WDC by notching up victory at the Korean Grand Prix as he made an excellent start off P2 position at the start of the race to slot into the lead and held onto it all throughout. Lewis Hamilton finished second having started from pole, ahead of Mark Webber who was all over the McLaren towards the final laps and even passed it twice but couldn’t make the move stick as Lewis fought back to retake his position after each move.
Jenson Button finished fourth, hounded all the way to the chequered flag by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso who ultimately settled for fifth place. Felipe Massa finished sixth, ahead of Jaime Algersuari in seventh, Nico Rosberg in eighth, Sebastian Buemi in ninth and Paul di Resta in tenth. The race had three retirements – Pastor Maldonado with mechanical failure and Vitaly Petrov & Michael Schumacher as a result of Petrov ploughing into the back of Schumacher and taking out the front and back wings of the Renault & the Mercedes respectively.
The start of the race was where it was all won as Vettel had a clean start off the dirty side of the track but still got the power down as he passed the McLaren of Hamilton into turn four. Mark Webber also had a decent start and slotted into third position as Jenson Button slipped back, allowing the two Ferraris to get ahead of him. There was a bit of passing and re-passing between the lead pack but as it shook down, Vettel had the lead with Hamilton & Webber behind – the order staying the same till the end.
Jenson Button won the Japanese Grand Prix but it will be Sebastian Vettel who will be celebrating his second Drivers’ Championship as he finished third and ensured that he has an unassailable lead in the drivers’ tally. Fernando Alonso finished second in the race and managed to hold off Vettel behind him for the best part of the latter laps.
Mark Webber finished fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton in fifth, Michael Schumacher in sixth & Felipe Massa in seventh. Sergio Perez finished eighth ahead of Vitaly Petrov in ninth and Nico Rosberg took the last point in tenth, having started from the back of the grid!
It was never in doubt coming into Suzuka that barring a DNF, Vettel would sew up the WDC and the question was that whether he would do that with a resounding win or a careful points finish. At the start it surely seemed like the former as, having made a slower start as compared to Button, Vettel gradually eased Button towards the right of the track and onto the grass whilst maintaining his lead. As Button was seemingly forced off-track, Hamilton eased into second place and starting to hustle Vettel. BTW, Vettel was not penalised for his actions!
Hamilton was soon passed by Button and he further slipped down the order as a right-rear puncture meant an early pit stop for the McLaren. The order remained the same as the first round of pit stops shook down but at the second window of stops, Button managed to leap frog Vettel into the lead and held it till the end.
Sebastian Vettel continued his pole position dominance as he set the fastest time in the Saturday Qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Jenson Button tried hard to match or better Vettel’s time but he could only manage second fastest for McLaren whilst Lewis Hamilton failed to set a time in his second running but his initial time was good enough for him to finish third fastest.
Felipe Massa was P4 ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. Michael Schumacher was P7 with Bruno Senna P8, Vitaly Petrov P9 and Kamui Kobayashi rounding off the top ten.
Pole position seemed going McLaren’s way as Hamilton had set the fastest time in the initial stages of Q1 and when the cars trundled out for their second stints on newer tyres, Hamilton dallied on his in-lap and couldn’t cross the start/finish line ahead of the chequered flag and hence could not better his initial time. That meant Vettel only had Button as a realistic competitor for the fastest time and as they finished their laps, the gap between them was only nine-thousandths of a second. Vettel had did it again…it was his fifteenth pole position this season.
Q1 had the local hero Kamui Kobayashi topping the timesheets for Sauber with Force India’s Adrian Sutil second – both of them on the faster soft tyre compound. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was third fastest ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Vitaly Petrov. Jenson Button was sixth fastest with Vettel just behind him. But the name of the game in Q1 is to make it to the next session and the biggest casualty of that was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, who failed to notch a time due to a hydraulics problem and will start 23rd. Joining him at the tail end of the grid were the two Lotuses of Heikki Kovalainen & Jarno Trulli, the two Virgins of Timo Glock & Jerome d’Ambrosio and the two HRTs of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo.
Sebastian Vettel made it eleven pole positions in fourteen attempts as he winged his Red Bull around the Marina May Circuit and set the fastest time for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix. Teammate Mark Webber was second fastest with McLaren’s Jenson Button third.
Lewis Hamilton will start from fourth place with the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa behind him. The two Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher start in seventh and eighth & the two Force Indias of Adrian Sutil & Paul Di Resta complete the top ten. Interestingly, the drivers line up in pairs on the grid for the start of the race – Red Bull on row 1, McLaren on row 2, Ferrari on row 3, Mercedes on row 4 and Force India on row 5!
Red Bull and Vettel laid down the marker early on the first qualifying session and topped the timesheets, ahead of the two McLarens of Button and Hamilton, with Alonso fourth fastest and Webber fifth. At the foot of the order, Renault’s Vitaly Petrov was bumped into the drop zone by his team mate Bruno Senna as he went 15th fastest. The others to miss out on getting into Q2 were the two Hispanias, the two Virgins and the two Lotuses.
Sebastian Vettel got pipped at the start of the Italian Grand Prix by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso but when Vettel eventually passed the Ferrari at the end of lap five, that was all the ‘racing’ he had to do as the Red Bull’s phenomenal pace, superior cornering speed/downforce/aerodynamics/tyre handling/whatever meant that the race win was in the bag even before the lap counter ticked into double digits!
The race for second place was won by Jenson Button who had passed Fernando Alonso after both of them fitted the harder prime tyres as Alonso had to settle for third place with his car not really as good as it was on the softer tyres. Lewis Hamilton came close to snatching the last step of the podium but had to settle for fourth place as his race didn’t go quite to plan. He was jumped at the start by Alonso who drove right around him into the lead and then lost out to Michael Schumacher for third place and was stuck behind him for the best part of the initial half of the race.
Michael Schumacher was fifth for Mercedes, which meant the top five places were held by the five World Champions on the grid! Felipe Massa was sixth for Ferrari, ahead of the Toro Rosso of Jaime Algersuari in seventh, Force India’s Paul Di Resta in eight, Renault’s Bruno Senna ninth and the second Toro Rosso of Sebastian Buemi in tenth.
Red Bull continued their domination at the head of the field as Mark Webber qualified on pole position for the German Grand Prix at Nurburgring. It was back-to-back poles for the Australian after his fastest lap at Silverstone in the last race. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton put behind his practice miseries and wrung around his car to take P2, which pushes Sebastian Vettel to the second row of the grid for the first time this season!
Ferrari took P4 and P5 with Fernando Alonso leading Felipe Massa, ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg in P6 and Jenson Button in P7. Adrian Sutil was P8 for Force India as Vitaly Petrov in the Renault and Michael Schumacher in the second Mercedes completed the top ten.
Red Bull and Ferrari had been the fastest cars in Friday and Saturday practice sessions as McLaren struggled with downforce throughout. But it was a great drive from Hamilton as he topped the timesheets in Q2 and then was second fastest in Q3. Alonso might have hoped that he will be the best-of-the-rest behind the Red Bulls but he has to be content with a second row start, beside a fast-starting Vettel and behind Hamilton!
Last year’s German Grand Prix (albeit at Hockenheim) was one of the key moments in the season and though Red Bull seem to be running away with both titles this season, another win for Alonso (with the Red Bulls tripping up over themselves & the McLaren ) would possibly bring back some excitement into the title chase.