The AMG Mercedes F1 Team’s dominance of the pole position continued as Nico Rosberg emerged fastest in the Saturday Qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix at the glamorous street circuit. It was Mercedes’ fourth pole of the season and Rosberg’s third consecutive one. Team mate Lewis Hamilton was second fastest with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel third.
The grid will line up in a Mercedes 1-2 and a Red Bull 1-2 as Mark Webber was fourth fastest ahead of the best of the rest – Kimi Raikkonen fifth for Lotus, Fernando Alonso sixth for Ferrari, Sergio Perez seventh for McLaren, Adrian Sutil eighth for Force India, Jenson Button ninth and Jean Eric-Vergne in tenth for Toro Rosso.
Light rain at the start of qualifying ensured that the initial runs were made on the intermediate tyres but the latter sessions were dry enough which saw the slicks come into play and although Red Bull put up a brief fight with Webber & Vettel holding the one-two positions provisionally, the last runs saw both the Mercedes pip them and claim their own one-two.
Mercedes took their second consecutive pole position of this season as Nico Rosberg posted the fastest time of all in Q3 for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Red Bull & Ferrari are also in the reckoning with Sebastian Vettel in second & Fernando Alonso third.
Lewis Hamilton & Mark Webber were fourth & fifth fastest but will drop down by five & three places on the grid due to a gearbox change and a penalty respectively. That promotes Felipe Massa to fourth in the grid with the two Force Indias of Paul di Resta & Adrian Sutil in fifth and sixth places. Webber slots in seventh with Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen eighth, Hamilton ninth & Jenson Button tenth.
As has been the case this season, tyre strategy will be key for Sunday’s race and though Rosberg starts on pole, it remains to be seen if the Mercedes has the consistent race pace that Ferrari or Lotus have shown so far.
I’ll go for a back-to-back win for Fernando Alonso & Felipe Massa to finish second with Raikkonen third.
Michael Schumacher showed he’s still got it as he set the fastest time in Saturday Qualifying for the Grand Prix of Monaco but he doesn’t get to reap the reward of his good work as a five-place grid penalty sees him drop down to sixth on the grid. That means Red Bull’s Mark Webber will start from pole with Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg in second place and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in third.
Lotus’ Romain Grosjean starts fourth with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on fifth and Schumacher sixth. Felipe Massa makes it to the top ten for the first time this season as he starts seventh ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in eighth, Sebastian Vettel in ninth and Nico Hulkenberg in tenth. Continue reading →
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull continued their dominance at the head of the grid as he & teammate Mark Webber locked out the first row for the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix. Mercedes showed a sign of revival as Nico Rosberg was P3, ahead of the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton in P4, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in P5 and Jenson Button in P6.
Renault’s Vitaly Petrov was P7, ahead of the second Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and the second Renault of Nick Heidfeld. Felipe Massa did not run in Q3 and will start the race from 10th position on the grid.
Q1 ended with seven drivers missing the cut – the two Lotuses of Heikki Kovalainen & Jarno Trulli, the two Hispanias of Narain Karthikeyan & Tonio Liuzzi, the two Virgins of Jerome D’Ambrosio & Timo Glock and the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi, who did not set a time due to Engine problem.
Q2 saw the two Williams of Rubens Barrichello & Pastor Maldonado, the two Force Indias of Adrian Sutil & Paul Di Resta, the two Toro Rossos of Sebastien Buemi & Jaime Algersuari and the Sauber of Sergio Perez drop out of contention.
The Race starts tomorrow at 5:30 PM IST, LIVE telecast on Star Sports.
Mark Webber took victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone as the outcome was decided at the start of the race as pole-sitter Vettel ran wide and then picked up a puncture that ruined his race. Lewis Hamilton stuck like glue to the back of Webber and finished second in what will be seen as a great result, given their team’s woes over Friday and Saturday. Nico Rosberg scored the third podium finish for Mercedes this season as he finished third.
McLaren’s woeful weekend was bettered further by the fourth place finish for a resurgent Jenson Button. Williams’ Rubens Barrichello finished 5th, BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi in 6th place with Sebastian Vettel recovering to take home 7th place and leading an all-German line-up of Adrian Sutil in 8th, Michael Schumacher in 9th and Nico Hulkenberg in 10th.
The race went off to an exhilarating start as Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton, starting on the dirty side of the track, had a better start than pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, who were on the cleaner side of the track. As they approached the fist corner, Webber had his nose in front and Vettel was forced wide onto the grass and then got tagged in the back by Hamilton and picked up a rear puncture. In the blink of an eye, he went from pole-sitter to end-propper as an early pit-stop put paid to his hopes of a repeat win at Silverstone.
Felipe Massa was another big loser in the first lap as a coming together with his teammate Alonso caused a right-rear puncture and he too had to undergo a quick pit-stop. Renault’s Robert Kubica had a good start and was upto third ahead of Rosberg and Alonso and so did McLaren’s Jenson Button, who jumped up from 14th on the grid up into 8th. For the ensuing few laps, Kubica lead a train of 6-7 cars, some faster than him but unable to pass and all the time, Webber and Hamilton were edging ahead with each lap. By the time the pit-stops came up, Hamilton pitted and rejoined in second place whilst Webber held onto his lead after his stop.
If Ferrari’s race was compromised by Massa’s first-lap puncture and subsequent pit-stop, it was further ruined when Alonso overtook Kubica by cutting a chicane and was handed a drive-through penalty. Kubica’s race ended a few laps later with suspension problems but in spite of that, Alonso had to serve his penalty. And it went from bad to worse as the Safety Car was celled in coz there were debris on the track & while without it Alonso would’ve dropped back a couple of places, with the field bunched up, he dropped down to 16th. From starting on 3rd and 7th on the grid, they finished 14th and 15th and took home zero points!
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the night-time F1 Singapore Grand Prix as he shrugged off mediocre practice sessions to post the fastest time around the Marina Bay circuit. Sebastian Vettel will start alongside him on the first row with Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber taking up the second row positions. Rubens Barrichello crashed at the fag end of Q3 while being fifth fastest but following a gearbox change, he will drop down to tenth on the grid. Fernando Alonso will start from fifth place alongside Timo Glock with Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen complete the top nine.
Q2 threw up some surprises as Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets and championship leader Jenson Button couldn’t manage a quick enough lap and went down along with the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, Williams of Kazuki Nakajima, Toyota of Jarno Trulli and Toro Rosso of Sebastian Buemi. Rubens Barrichello, despite a gearbox change, is two places ahead of Button and that could be a crucial factor in the championship stakes.
Q1 saw the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi join the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari, the Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella & the Renault of Sebastian Grosjean in getting relegated. The high downforce nature of the track doesn’t suit the Force India cars and after two high-flying races, they find themselves at the back of the pack again.
Fernando Alonso won the first-ever night race in F1 while starting from 15th on the grid in a topsy-turvy Singapore Grand Prix which saw no less than two Safety Car periods. Ironically, it was the crash of teammate Nelson Piquet which brought out the safety car in the first place which saw Alonso leapfrog many of the front-runners since he had already made a pit-stop before the accident. Both the Ferraris – and especially pole-sitter Felipe Massa – lost out massively in the first safety car period. Massa’s race and effectively the Drivers’ Championship chase was compromised when the fuel-nozzle got stuck while he made his first pit-stop and he was released with the nozzle still stuck into the car. Kimi Raikkonen was waiting behind and though his stop was not compromised that much, it delayed him enough so as to drop the pair to 16th and 18th places. It turned from bad to worse as Raikkonen crashed out four laps from the end, thus effectively ending his Championship defence. Massa finished 13th to signal the worst race for Ferrari this season!
Williams’ had a good race as Nico Rosberg finished in a creditable 2nd after running as high as P1 after the first safety car incident but had to serve a stop-go penalty for pitting when the pit lane wasn’t yet opened. Robert Kubica also had to endure a similar penalty which saw him drop out of the points contention altogether. Lewis Hamilton drove an almost inconspicuous race involving only one overtaking move over David Coulthard and finished third, which sees him open up a 7 point gap over Massa in the drivers’ championship. Toyota would be sad and happy at the same time; sad to see Jarno Trulli retire from a possible podium place with a one-stopper strategy and happy to see Timo Glock finish fourth. Sebastian Vettel, Nick Heidfeld, David Coulthard and Kazuki Nakajima finished in the last four point-scoring positions.
Force India had a glimmer of a hope in finishing in the points as single-stopping Giancarlo Fisichella was running as high as second after the first safety car period but a lack of pace meant he steadily dropped down the order and eventually finished 14th. Teammate Adrian Sutil was the casualty which saw the second safety car period as he smacked into the barrier at turn 17. This time around, there was no impact on the race except getting the front-runners to bunch up closer than they were before. From thereon, it was just a matter of holding onto the lead for Alonso and holding Hamilton behind for Rosberg and they managed to do that effectively.
The one team that will love to forget the Singapore Grand Prix will be Ferrari. A small electronic connection between the fuel nozzle and the stop/go red n’ green lights might have played the most crucial part in deciding the 2008 Drivers’ Championship yet! In Massa’s defence, the lights did go green for a split second before turning back to red again but in that split second, he had lifted off and was off…taking the nozzle with him! And what on earth is the matter with Kimi Raikkonen? It is the fourth consecutive racein which he has failed to finish which doesn’t bode too well for a defending champion. All he had to do was to hold onto his fifth position but a wobble over the kerbs meant he went straight into the wall at turn 10, drawing the curtains on a miserable weekend for Ferrari. To make matters worse, they were overtaken by McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship – though by just one point.
The F1 caravan now moves eastwards for the Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix and looks like McLaren and Hamilton have it nicely sewn up, unless Ferrari and Massa can pull off something special. Sigh! Time to switch over the support to Massa [as one guy over at BBC Sport pointed out, he's the Tottenham Hotspur of F1 ]