Mark Webber was untouchable around the principality of Monaco as he aced around the street track and picked up his and Red Bull’s second victory on the trot. It was a perfect race from Webber, as he led from pole-to-finish and took home maximum points. Teammate Sebastian Vettel finished 2nd, making it the second Red Bull 1-2 of the season. Renault’s Robert Kubica finished 3rd, after he was jumped at the start by Vettel. The race finished under the Safety Car, which was brought out as a result of an accident between Lotus’ Jarno Trulli and HRT’s Karun Chandhok.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa finished 4th followed by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in 5th. Fernando Alonso – who started from the pit-lane after sitting out qualifying – drove a solid race and would have finished 6th but on the last lap, just as the Safety Car pulled in, Michael Schumacher passed him into taking the place. Alonso eventually was classified 7th, ahead of Nico Rosberg in 8th places with the two Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi taking home the last of the points in 9th and 10th respectively.
Update: Michael Schumacher’s overtaking move over Fernando Alonso was deemed illegal and he was penalised by adding 20 seconds to his race time, which drops him to 12th and moves up Alonso to 6th place. Rosberg, Sutil and Liuzzi move up a place with Sebastian Buemi moving upto 10th place to take the last point.
It was a right dramatic start for the Monaco Grand Prix as Williams’ rookie Nico Hulkenberg crashed in the tunnel on the very first lap, bringing out the Safety Car. This, after Webber made a clear start and Vettel got the jump on Kubica. Championship leader Jenson Button had a woeful start as his Mercedes Engine gave way on the second lap and he had to retire. At the restart, Webber maintained his lead as at the back of the grid Alonso made his way up the grid after a quick pit stop to get onto the hard tyres. Almost all the teams ran one-stop strategies as they switched onto the second type of tyre compound and nursed them through the race.
Red Bull continued their vice-like grip on the pole positions for this season as Mark Webber edged out teammate Sebastian Vettel to grab the pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. The Red Bulls were fastest throughout the three practice sessions and that continued into the Qualifying sessions. Vettel and Webber traded quickest laps throughout the session and whenever Vettel posted a quick time, Webber usurped it during his run.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton grabbed 3rd spot on the grid with a late surge, unseating Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso into 4th place. Jenson Button and the rejuvenated Michael Schumacher will take up the 5th and 6th places on the grid. Renault’s Robert Kubica, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa and BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi rounded off the top ten positions. Force India’s Adrian Sutil was unlucky as he was holding onto P10 at the fag end of Q2 but Kobayashi usurped him at the last minute.
Q1 saw the usual back-of-the-grid runners getting dropped off, with Hispania’s Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna starting at the back. They were joined by the two Virin’s of Lucas Di Grassi and Timo Glock and the two Lotuses of Jarno Trulli & Heikki Kovalainen and somewhat surprisingly, the Williams of Rubens Barrichello.
The Red Bulls proved they do have wiings at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne as they locked out the first row at the Saturday Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel notched up his second successive pole position as he drove the wheels off his car on his first flying lap in Q3 and that proved more than enough.
Teammate Mark Webber grabbed the second fastest time and would hope this time around he’ll have a fulfilling home race. Fernando Alonso took P3 as Ferrari couldn’t quite match up to the pace of the Red Bulls. There seemed to be some rain falling at the end of the qualifying session and probably that put off the drivers from going all out at the fag end of the session.
McLaren’s Jenson Button took P4 and Felipe Massa only managed P5, ahead of the Mercedes’ of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher in P6 & P7 respectively. Rubens Barrichello put his Williams on P8 ahead of the Renault of Robert Kubica and the Force India of Adrian Sutil.
The 2010 F1 Season finally vroomed off at the Sakhir circuit for the season-opening Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix and the first pole position for what seems like a glorious F1 season was grabbed by Sebastian Vettel for the Red Bull racing team as he ran around the circuit in 1 Min 54.101s. Felipe Massa lines up in P2 with teammate Fernando Alonso in P3.
The top 10 lines up as follows:
- Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull
- Felipe Massa – Ferrari
- Fernando Alonso – Ferrari
- Lewis Hamilton – McLaren
- Nico Rosberg – Mercedes
- Mark Webber – Red Bull
- Michael Schumacher – Mercedes
- Jenson Button – McLaren
- Robert Kubica – Renault
- Adrian Sutil – Force India
Q1 was a see-saw affair (I’ll admit that I was late into catching the telecast ) The Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were the early pace-setters and were briefly P1 for a while before the Red Bulls of Mark Webber & Sebastian Vettel quickly established them at the top of the timesheets. But Fernando Alonso had the last say as he ended Q1 on P1, with Adrian Sutil of Force India a very credible P3. The ones to face the axe at the end of the first qualifying session included the Toro Rosso of Jaime Algersuari, the two Virgin cars of Timo Glock & Lucas di Grassi, the two Lotuses of Heikki Kovalainen & Jarno Trulli and the two Hispanias of Bruno Senna & Karun Chandhok.
Now that the F1 season is over, we’ll have nothing to do but twiddle our thumbs till the 2010 cars are unveiled and the new season vrooms off in March. But fret not…the media is not surely gonna lie down till then. They’re leaving no stone unturned to bring us the latesht hot gossip from the paddock…er…not exactly the paddock but from the boardrooms, negotiation tables, factory aisles, agents’ offices, luxury yachts and the like.
BBC Sport has now started their F1 Gossip Column, having long devoted such space only to Football. In their own words: “With the Formula 1 season finished, BBC Sport will bring you a regular round-up of the gossip in newspapers and on specialist websites around the world”. I guess that’s one way to keep the journalists occupied till the action starts! And with less than half of the driving seats for next year being decided, I’m sure the gossip mills will be in overdrive for the next few months. So if you’re curious about the off-season happenings around the F1 World, head over to the gossip zone and have your fill of the latesht news.