Sebastian Vettel has done it again! He clinched pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal with a scintillatingly fast lap at the start of the third and final qualifying session. Ferrari occupy the next two positions as Fernando Alonso took P2 ahead of Felipe Massa in P3.
Mark Webber starts in P4 with Lewis Hamilton P5, Nico Rosberg P6, Jenson Button P7 and Michael Schumacher in P8 ahead of the two Renaults of Nick Heidfeld in P9 and Vitaly Petrov rounding off the top ten.
Ferrari had topped the timesheets in Q1 and Q2 as the less than usual dependence on low downforce at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and also the reliance on Pirelli’s soft and super soft tyres suited their car better than others. But when it mattered, Vettel pulled out a quick lap which neither of the scarlet cars could overhaul and they had to make do with the second and third places on the grid.
McLaren will be disappointed at their performance with them now being the third fastest team, ahead of Mercedes and Renault. Hamilton has a good record in Montreal but fifth fastest was the best he could manage with Button sandwiched between the two Mercedes’.
Ferrari announced their revival with a one-two at the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim as Fernando Alonso took victory with teammate Felipe Massa finishing 2nd. Sebastian Vettel finished 3rd from pole position with Lewis Hamilton finishing 4th and Jenson Button 5th. Mark Webber took 6th place ahead of Robert Kubica in 7th, Nico Rosberg in 8th, Michael Schumacher in 9th and Vitaly Petrov in 10th.
But the victory will have a twinge of controversy in it as team orders – which are banned – might have come into play in deciding he outcome. Massa was leading the race after the first lap and despite Alonso’s attempts to string together a passing manoeuvre, Massa held fort. There’s no disputing that Alonso was quicker and the same was conveyed to Massa rather un-discreetly in lap 47, who “magnanimously” gave up his lead and settled for second place. I still think Alonso would have passed Massa on the track and all this needn’t happen…but the Ferrari hierarchy obviously didn’t want to wait and watch!
Half of the race outcome was decided at the start itself as pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel’s over-exuberance to hold off Fernando Alonso meant he had kept the door wide open going into turn one and Felipe Massa took full advantage of it and stormed into the lead. Alonso himself managed to outbrake Vettel into the second corner and halfway through the first lap, we had a Ferrari 1-2 at the head of the order. Down the order, Mark Webber had a bad start and dropped off behind both the McLarens – who themselves had a decent start and managed to hold position. Toro Rosso had a forgetful start as Jaime Algersuari barged into the back of teammate Sebastian Buemi into the hairpin and took off the rear wing off his car and that meant an early retirement for Buemi. Lotus’ Jarno Trulli was another early retirement with what looked like a driveshaft problem.
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.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber scored his first ever Grand Prix victory at the Nurburgring in the German Grand Prix in a race that was expected to be weather-effected but was dry throughout. Sebastian Vettel finished in 2nd place to hand Red Bull their second consecutive 1-2 finish. Felipe Massa scored Ferrari’s first podium place of this season in 3rd place.
Williams’ Nico Rosberg unobtrusively drove to the 4th place finish as Championship leader Jenson Button finished in 5th place ahead of teammate Rubens Barrichello with the Renault of Fernando Alonso and McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen finishing in 7th and 8th place respectively. The race’s only two retirements were Sebastian Bourdais and Kimi Raikkonen – with hydraulic and mechanical failure.
The start was a crucial affair as the Brawn of Rubens Barrichello managed to come alongside pole-sitter Webber and that prompted a right-side lunge from Webber which was deemed to be ‘un-sportsman like behaviour’ by the FIA stewards and promptly handed him a drive-through penalty. By the end of the first lap, there were a couple of incidents – Webber & Barrichello’s moment & then Lewis Hamilton, using his KERS, streaked alongside the leaders at the start but ran wide at the first corner and as the rest of the field trooped past him, picked up a right rear puncture which effectively ruined his race. Both the Ferraris made a good start and were in the midst of it all but a mechanical failure put paid to Kimi Raikkonen’s race and he retired on lap 36.
But not before he sort-of ruined Adrian Sutil’s race (yet again!) Sutil was running in fourth place and as he emerged from his first pit-stop, Kimi tried to overtake on the outside and there was contact which saw the Force India’s front wing clipped off. Another pit-stop effectively ended Sutil and Force India’s quest for their maiden points. Last year at the Monaco Grand Prix, it was Kimi again who ended Sutil’s 5th place run as he lost control exiting the tunnel and careened into the Force India’s back. Heartbreak for Sutil!
With the threatening rain never materialising, it was a race of strategy and the Brawn GP team switched into a three-stop strategy in the latter part of the race as a tyre-graining problem affected their race somewhat. Red Bull however had the truer race pace and despite Webber’s penalty, they stuck to their strategy and emerged the biggest winners with a second consecutive 1-2. Fernando Alonso picked up the pace at the end of the race and clocked the fastest lap of the race.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton is the 2008 Formula One World Champion as the title was decided AFTER the Chequered Flag had waved down on Felipe Massa’s dramatic victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso finished second and Kimi Raikkonen third and that ensured the Constructors’ Championship was won by Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel finished fourth and Lewis Hamilton finished fifth – just enough to make him Champion. Dramas dominated at the fag end of the race as Sebastian Vettel managed to overtake Hamilton with two laps to go thus dropping him to sixth place and thus ensuring Massa would become the Champion but Timo Glock’s Toyota – who was in fourth place ahead of Vettel and Hamilton - slowed down just before the finish line thus giving back fifth position to Hamilton, and thus making him the Champion.
Brazilian Grand Prix Podium Finishers - Fernando Alonso 2nd, Felipe Massa the winner & Kimi Raikkonen 3rd
There was a big surprise in store even before the red lights could go off as the rain started belting down on Interlagos before the formation lap and as a result, the race start was delayed by ten minutes. All the teams then strapped on intermediate tyres as the rain quickly stopped but the track was still wet. The start was pretty much hectic and everyone kept their places but the ones to lose out were David Coulthard, in his last Grand Prix who was tucked into a spin by Nico Rosberg; Heikki Kovalainen who was overtook by Fernando Alonso & Nelson Piquet, who spun out of his home grand prix. Felipe Massa kept his lead but teammate Kimi Raikkonen was unable to pass second placed Jarno Trulli in the opening laps. Hamilton did what he had to do – stay out of trouble & keep within fifth place – and was scarcely troubled.
Teams’ strategies were compromised as they had to make an extra pit stop to replace the intermediates with dry-weather tyres and temporary advantage-gainers were the Force India of Giancarlo Fisichella, who ran as high as fifth before dropping down the order. Trulli also fell steadily down the order and it was Sebastian Vettel who initially troubled Massa at the head of the order. Fernando Alonso kept his good start intact and steadily ran in third place and towards the closing stages, had to fend off a charging Kimi Raikkonen.
But there was some more surprises in store as it started to rain with just five laps to go and all the drivers had to make a splash-and-dash pit stops for fitting on intermediate tyres. And amidst all of that, the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel – with a Ferrari engine in the back – pulled off a stunning overtaking manoeuvre over Lewis Hamilton and thus put him in sixth place, which meant if it finished that way, Felipe Massa would become Champion. It was a nail-biting finale and as the Chequered Flag waved down on Felipe Massa, Vettel led Hamilton onto the finish line but crucially ahead of them, the Toyota of Timo Glock slowed down and let these two pass, which meant Vettel had finished fourth and Hamilton fifth, handing the WDC title back to Hamilton! It couldn’t have been scripted better than that!
Felipe Massa will start on pole position for his home grand prix – the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix as Championship leader Lewis Hamilton could only manage 4th fastest. The surprise package of the session was the Toyota of Jarno Trulli who was second fastest, pushing Kimi Raikkonen to third place on the grid. Heikki Kovalainen would start on the third row with Fernando Alonso alongside him in sixth. Sebastian Vettel, Nick Heidfeld, Sebastien Bourdais and Timo Glock complete the top 10.
Brazilain Grand Prix Grid - Toyota's Jarno Trulli in P2, Ferrari's Felipe Massa on Pole and Kimi Raikkonen in P3
BMW’s Robert Kubica had a dismal qualifying session as he failed to make it to Q3. Others who failed to make the top ten shootout included the two Red Bulls of David Coulthard and Mark Webber, Nelson Piquet and Rubens Barrichello. Q1 accounted for the two Force Indias of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil, both the Williams’ of Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima and Honda’s Jenson Button.
Star Sports again gave prominence to EPL and hence the deferred telecast of the Qualifying session is only at 1 AM in the night
It was a copybook victory for Lewis Hamilton at the Chinese Grand Prix as he led from start to finish in a blemish-free and slightly drab race. Felipe Massa finished second and kept his title hopes alive, albeit very diminished & teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished 3rd. There were none of the starting shenanigans as in Fuji and the top three cars ran around in the same order until Raikkonen allowed Massa to pass for 2nd place with a few laps to go. The 2008 Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship will be decided at Interlagos in the last round of the season.
Chinese Grand Prix Podium - Hamilton, the winner, Massa 2nd and Kimi 3rd
I was dozing off for most of the race (courtesy a really early start of the day for me) but I guess it wasn’t as exciting as Fuji anyway! Alonso and Kovalainen’s starting moves and few midfield battles were all that were for us to cheer about. And for Kimi fans, the ungainly sight of him slowing down to allow Massa to pass for second place was disappointing. Kimi has only the last race left to claim the most fastest laps record. Go Kimi Go! The title challenge is however a relatively easy one for Hamilton as he holds a seven point advantage over Massa and just needs to finish 5th to be crowned the sport’s youngest champion. One must bear in mind that last year too, he had the same seven point advantage over Kimi and lost the title! So anything can happen…
Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix with nearest rival Felipe Massa in P3. Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest while Heikki Kovalainen was fifth with the on-form man Fernando Alonso in P4. Red Bull’s Mark Webber was sixth fastest but will drop down ten places because of an engine change. Nick Heidfeld, Sebastian Vettel, Jarno Trulli and Sebastien Bourdais take the last of the top ten places on the grid. The front row of the grid is exactly same as the Japanese Grand Prix where Raikkonen had pulled off the starting line much quicker than Hamilton. If that happens again and with Massa and Alonso just behind Lewis, it can quickly turn into an ugly scrap for the race lead into the first corner.
Chinese Grand Prix Grid - Lewis Hamilton on Pole, with Kimi Raikkonen alongside and Felipe Massa on P3
Q1′s early leaders were Nelson Piquet, Timo Glock & Sebastian Vettel but when the big four came rolling, it was Lewis Hamilton who was P1 ahead of his teammate and the two Ferraris. Both the McLarens paced in the mid 1 Min 35s times and at the end of the session, the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel and the Renault of Fernando Alonso were in between the McLarens and the Ferraris. BMW’s Robert Kubica made it into Q2 by the skin of his teeth as he could manage only 14th fastest at the tail end of the session. Those who dropped out of the session were the Red Bull of David Coulthard, Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima, Honda’s Jenson Button and the two Force India’s of Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella.
Q2 started off amidst complaints from Coulthard about the BMW of Nick Heidfeld impeding his run but that’s something the Stewards will look into later on. Kimi Raikkonen was the early pace setter but was almost immediately pegged back by Heikki Kovalainen, who in turn was immediately pegged back by Massa. Hamilton could manage just fifth fastest initially but then put on soft tyres and did a blinder of a lap – the only driver to drop to 1 Min 34.9s – and was P1 for that session. Robert Kubica was again in trouble and could manage only 11th fastest which ultimately dropped down to 12th. Joining him in being relegated from the second session were Nelson Piquet, Rubens Barrichello, Timo Glock and Nico Rosberg. They will however move up a place on the grid owing to Mark Webber’s 10-place penalty for an Engine change (and may also move up two places if the stewards decide to punish Nick Heidfeld for impeding David Coulthard).
Q3, as usual, was a straight shootout for the pole position amongst the top two teams and as in Q2, Raikkonen was the early leader and surprisingly, Mark Webber was second fastest. Massa and Hamilton both couldn’t pip that but Heikki Kovalainen did and put his McLaren on provisional pole in the initial runs. When the final runs were made, it was Kimi first, then Hamilton eclipsed that effortlessly but Massa couldn’t and neither could Kovalainen. Crucially, Massa was slower than Kimi which meant he was in P3 and immediately behind Lewis. Fernando Alonso put his Renault in between Massa and Kovalainen and if the front-runners trip over themselves at the start of the race, it can be yet another win for the double world champion! All is set for an exciting race tomorrow!!!