It was a lights-to-flag victory for Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix as he continued Ferrari’s resurgence in the past few races and score the maximum points once gain. Red Bull sorta remained in the hunt with Sebastian Vettel finishing in second position ahead of Jenson Button in third. But that is not a foregone conclusion as his late race overtaking move over Button is under investigation by the stewards for having done so outside the track!
Kimi Raikkonen was a fine fourth for Lotus ahead of the two Saubers of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez in fifth and sixth, Michael Schumacher in seventh, Mark Webber in eighth, Nico Hulkenberg ninth and Nico Rosberg in the last point scoring position in tenth.
Alonso controlled the race from the start and remained ahead all through except for the pit stops as Ferrari called the perfect two-stop strategy and chose the right set of tyres this time around for the second and third stints. The second Ferrari of Felipe Massa suffered a lost rear wing at the start and the debris from that ultimately ended Lewis Hamilton’s race causing a right rear puncture. It was a better result for the second McLaren of Jenson Button as he steadily moved up the order as the updates and the dry race worked well for McLaren.
Oops! Two ‘rejected appeal’ posts one after another
FIA’s International Court of Appeal has dismissed McLaren’s plea against the 25 seconds penalty accorded to Lewis Hamilton in the Belgian Grand Prix on the grounds that it is “inadmissible”.
The Court rejected McLaren’s right to appeal, citing Paragraph 5 of Article 152 of the International Sporting Code, which states: “Penalties of driving through or stopping in pit lanes together with certain penalties specified in FIA Championship regulations where this is expressly stated, are not susceptible to appeal.” The Court’s decision means Hamilton’s championship lead remains at just a single point over Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who inherited the victory at Spa.[Formula1.com]
That was what many pundits had foreseen but back then, my immediate thought was that the penalty would be overturned! As it turned out, mine was one of the very few opinions in favour of McLaren/Hamilton . Most of his racing colleagues were also against him and supported the penalty, albeit somewhat mutedly.
The F1 season is now moving into its home-stretch, with just four more races remaining and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa trails Hamilton by just one point. As ESPN’s Sporstcenter showed earlier tonight, if the remaining four races go the same way as last year, Massa would win the Drivers’ Championship by 4 points! The onus is now upon Lewis to lift himself up for the immediate Singaporean Grand Prix. No doubt, the news would have come as a shot in the arm for Massa and he also would look towards maximising the results from the next races. Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica would be ever eager in the background to snap up the points in case the leaders trip up. Exciting days (and the lone night) ahead for F1.
Sebastian Vettel took his and Scuderia Toro Rosso’s first-ever F1 victory at the Italian Grand Prix which started out in damp conditions and behind the Safety Car. Heikki Kovalainen was second for Mclaren with BMW’s Robert Kubica taking third place. Just when it seemed that it would be a dull race behind the safety car, came the news that it would pull off in the second lap and when it did so and racing resumed, there were no sudden manoeuvres or lunges from any of the drivers as the conditions were still treacherous to make any ill-thought moves. The first few laps were very gingerly done as the drivers tiptoed around the fast Monza circuit on extreme-wet-tyres while trying to watch the track in-front through the spray threw about by the car in front but as the rain relented, the front-runners started making their moves and it was Lewis Hamilton who made the most places as he overtook a bunch of cars and ran as high as second at one time.
Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel scores his maiden F1 victory at the Italian Grand Prix
The pit-stops were strategic as few drivers were on a single-stoppers whilst others were on two-stoppers but ultimately almost every driver stopped twice – those on a single-fuel-stop had to stop again to throw on intermediate tyres as the forecast rain did not appear and the track dried sufficiently to warrant going onto them. The middle-part of the race saw Felipe Massa as the strongest of the drivers as he wove his way around the slower cars in front while Hamilton again demonstrated his wet-weather drive as he overtook few cars again after his second pit-stop; but he didn’t endear himself to his fellow drivers with some needless aggression on those moves! Those who had a disappointing second-stops included the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen & both the Toyotas of Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock who dropped down to 14th, 15th and 16th places at the end of it! Those who took advantage from their sole stops included BMW’s Robert Kubica who was the last of the drivers to stop for fuel thus propelling him to third place. Towards the latter laps, tyre graining on the intermediates affected many, including Lewis Hamilton as he almost lost his seventh place to the Red Bull of Mark Webber and there was a needless shutting-of-the door from Lewis as he and Webber touched wheels. The only retirement of the race was that of Giancarlo Fisichella on the 11th lap, who hit the back of David Coulthard as he overtook him and damaged his nose-wing in the process. It was a bitter end to the Italian’s home grand prix and also scuppered Force India’s best start of the season.
Amidst all of this, Sebastian Vettel drove a near-perfect race as he led from start to finish and became F1′s youngest ever victor, beating Fernando Alonso’s record. Toro Rosso also hauled in their first-ever victory in F1 but it could have been all the more sweeter if Sebastian Bourdais’ car hadn’t stalled at the start of the race. McLaren had something to savour as Heikki Kovalainen took home second place ahead of Robert Kubica. Renault had their best finish of the season with Fernando Alonso taking the fourth place with BMW’s Nick Heidfeld in fifth. Felipe Massa ended where he started on the grid – in sixth – but his title contender Lewis Hamilton made up eight places and took the seventh place. Mark Webber finished eight and took the last available point. Kimi Raikkonen went home with 0 points and just the fastest lap to his name! Surely this signals the end of his Championship defense…especially with Kubica now moving seven points clear of him into third place in the Championship table. F1 now moves onto Singapore for the first-ever night race with Lewis Hamilton holding a 1 point lead over Felipe Massa (pending the Spa penalty appeal, which will be heard on Sep 22).
In an interesting development, the Belgian Grand Prix victory was handed over to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa as the stewards decided to penalise Lewis Hamilton for his overtaking manoeuvre on Kimi Raikkonen by handing him a 25 second add-on. This drops him to 3rd place and promotes Massa and Heidfeld to 1st and 2nd respectively.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa has been declared the winner of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix after McLaren’ Lewis Hamilton was handed a 25-second time penalty following the race. Hamilton drops to third place as a result, with BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld moving up to second. Hamilton was penalised after stewards decided he had gained an advantage by cutting the final chicane in his late-race battle with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren plan to appeal the decision.
The revised result means that rather than extending his championship lead over Massa, Hamilton now sees it cut, with the Briton heading the Brazilian by just two points, 76 to 74, with five races remaining. [Source: Formula1.com]
This surely throws a spanner in Hamilton’s Championship hopes and increases Massa’s chances dramatically. Though if McLaren win their appeal (and I think they will), the advantage is back with Hamilton!
Rain was the biggest hero/villain at the Belgian Grand Prix after it came down with just 5 laps to go and changed the entire complexion of the race (and probably the World Championship!). Hero, because it shook up the race like anything at the end and gave us few hold-your-breath moments of racing. Villain, because it had a part in scuppering the chances of Kimi Raikkonen, who had drove a corker of a race up until that time! He and Lewis Hamilton were playing out a humdinger of a race at the top of the pack and with just 5 laps to go, the gap between these two was a mere 2 seconds. Then the rain came and some hectic slipping, sliding, passing and re-passing later, it was Hamilton who emerged unscathed as Raikkonen hit the barriers. Thus ended the Finn’s hope of a fourth consecutive win at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Championship battle also seems over for Kimi as with five more races to go, the gap between him and leader Hamilton has increased to 23 points!
Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Nick Heidfeld on the Podium at the Belgian Grand Prix
Felipe Massa finished the race in 2nd position after Kimi’s shunt and now Ferrari must surely put all their efforts behind him. BMW’s Nick Heidfeld clinched 3rd place after some daring passing moves in the wet on the last lap of the race! Fernando Alonso took fourth place, after pitting and putting on wet-weather tyres on the penultimate lap. Fifth place fell to Sebastian Vettel with Robert Kubica, Sebastian Bourdais and Timo Glock taking up sixth, seventh and eighth places.
The winner maybe Hamilton but the drive of the race was produced by Kimi Raikkonen. What more can be a better way to answer your critics than to get a good start, pull off two overtaking manoeuvres – one over your teammate and another over pole-sitter & Championship leader – & drive a stormer of a race! Of course he took home zero points but it showed that the racing fire is still burning steadily. It was sheer bad luck, coupled with unfavourable conditions and some better level-headed driving from Hamilton that saw Kimi lose out. The Championship race must surely be a two-horse one, with Hamilton and Massa separated by 8 points going into the last 5 races of the season. Robert Kubica jumps into 3rd place with a 1 point advantage over Kimi Raikkonen. It will now be a straight shootout for the title and I feel Kimi will be more helpful to Massa than Kovalainen will be to Hamilton. But again, Hamilton is ahead in points so its pretty much balanced out.
I knew it would happen! Whenever I miss watching a Qualifying session, Kimi Raikkonen doesn’t do good! (of late he doesn’t seem to be doing good even when I’m watching). At the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, which ranks as one of his favorites & where he has won all the previous three races, Raikkonen will start Sunday’s race from P4! McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton took pole position in a raucous Q3 session wherein he posted his fastest lap at the last possible run. Title contender Felipe Massa had held provisional pole until then but was pushed down to P2 by Hamilton’s run. Heikki Kovalainen then added insult to Ferrari’s injury as he edged out Raikkonen into P4.
Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa & Heikki Kovalainen - Top Three Qualifiers for the Belgian Grand Prix
BMW’s Nick Heidfeld had an upswing in Qualifying fortune as he took P5 ahead of the Renault of Fernando Alonso. Red Bull’s Mark Webber occupied P7 with Robert Kubica in P8. The two Toro Rossos of Sebastian Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10.
The prospects doesn’t seem bright for another Raikkonen Revival at Spa but with the two title contenders on the first row, the race is expected to be a keen one. Finishing in points will be of primary importance and moreso, finishing ahead of the competition! Massa’s daring opening move on both the McLarens at the Hungaroring is fresh in the mind and I won’t be surprised if he does it again over Hamilton in tomorrow’s race. And I hope for the best for Kimi. If anytime is the time for a comeback, this is it! Go Kimi Go!
BMW and Robert Kubica took their first ever Formula One victory in a very very unpredictable and topsy-turvy Canadian Grand Prix! In an incident-filled race, BMW scored a 1-2 finish with Nick Heidfeld following his teammate in 2nd position. Red Bull and David Coulthard tasted a rare success with a 3rd place finish. Toyota took the 4th and 6th places with Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli, with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa between them in 5th. Honda’s Rubens Barrichello finished 7th and Sebastian Vettel, who started from the pitlane, took the last point in 8th.
Front-runners Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen were involved in a pit-lane accident and both were out of the race. Adrian Sutil’s stall brought out the safety car and the lead runners pitted, afraid that the pit lane would close anytime. While Raikkonen was at the end of the pit exit waiting for the light to go green, Hamilton ploughed into the back of him and Nico Rosberg hit the back of Hamilton! Kimi’s and Lewis’ cars were damaged beyond repair and both got out, shook hands, and retired into their garages. Rosberg was able to continue after changing the nose wing. After the shakedown, Nick Heidfeld emerged as the race leader and had a 20+ seconds gap over teammate Kubica with a pit stop still to be made. Drivers who were caught out by the marbles on the track included the Renault of Fernando Alonso whilst teammate Nelson Piquet retired with brake problems.
The race threw up a great result for BMW who are just 3 points behind Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship but more importantly, Robert Kubica is leading the Drivers’ Championship from Hamilton and Massa who’re tied on points with Kimi Raikkonen further behind in 3rd place. This sets up the battle for the title race rather nicely. The next race is in two weeks time – the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton grabbed the pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix – for the second year in a row – at the last possible instant with a blinder of a lap. On a track which was fast breaking up at the newly-relaid turn 10, Ferrari were the fastest in sectors 1 and 2 but were losing out a hell lot of time in the 3rd sector. Kimi Raikkonen did string together a decent lap on his final run but again lost time in the final sector to end up P3. BMW’s Robert Kubica took P2 at the track where he had a horrific crash last year. Renault’s fortunes seem to be on the upswing as Fernando Alonso brought round his car in P4. Nico Rosberg’s Williams is in P5 – making it five different cars in the top five positions. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was P6 with Heikki Kovalainen, Nick Heidfeld and Rubens Barrichello behind him. Rounding off the 10th position was the Red Bull of Mark Webber who had a spin n’ wall-bang in Q2 and did not run in Q3.
Drivers to drop off in Q3 were Bourdais, Sutil, Button, Fisichella and Vettel whilst Q2 drop-outs were Piquet, Glock, Trulli, Coulthard and Nakajima. Much of the attention was on the deteriorating track surface at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit and the track had to swept off the debris at the end of each qualifying session. That was the place where the Ferraris were losing much time but there were also indications that they were carrying a bit more fuel than Hamilton. If Kimi doesn’t let Hamilton get away too far ahead in the race, a superior strategy could yet see him win the race. Of course, Hamilton isn’t to be discounted. He won his first F1 race over here last year and he would want to do an encore. And in between these two, Robert Kubica could still throw in a surprise result. All’s set for a cracking Canadian Grand Prix tomorrow!!!