Sebastian Vettel stormed to pole position for the European Grand Prix at Valencia’s street track in a close but curious qualifying session which saw his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber fail to make it out of Q3. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was second fastest ahead of the Williams of Pastor Maldonado. It was a given that the Red Bull likes the twisty Valencia circuit and hence not totally surprising that the gap was 00.324 of a second between Vettel & Hamilton for the pole shootout.
Lotus were strong with Romain Grosjean starting fourth and Kimi Raikkonen fifth, with Nico Rosberg in sixth, Kamui Kobayashi in seventh. Force India also had a good qualifying with both their cars in the top ten – Nico Hulkenberg in eighth and Paul Di Resta tenth. Jenson Button, who had a forgetful Canadian GP, didn’t have the best of the sessions and starts ninth on the grid.
What was interesting to note that was how close the top teams were in terms of their timed runs. The fastest time in Q2 was Romain Grosjean’s 1:38.429 and though they clocked 1:38.7, Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa all failed to get through to Q3!
I got really bored by the last two races at Valencia and this time too have no hopes of an exciting race. Only thing remains to be seen is whether we will have an eighth different winner or someone will notch up their second win of the season. I’m tipping Kimi for the win!
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.
Red Bull pah-hah-ed at the sceptics after their race winning car was deemed “illegal” for having holes in the floor by grabbing pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in each of the qualifying sessions to absolutely dominate Saturday’s proceedings. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was fastest in each of the practice sessions but fell short when required and will start from second on the grid. Ferrari continued their resurgence as Fernando Alonso will start from third place on the grid.
Mark Webber will start from fourth ahead of Nico Rosberg in fifth and Felipe Massa in sixth. Renault’s Romain Grosjean was the best of the Lotuses in seventh place and Paul di Resta eighth. Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button complete the top ten for Sunday’s race.
He might have started from P2 on the grid but that didn’t stop Jenson Button from storming to victory at the season opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. Reigning Champion Sebastian Vettel finished second, ahead of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton in third.
Button took the lead on the first corner itself and never looked like relinquishing it as he kept the gap to those behind him and controlled the race pace. It was a lucky break with the Safety Car for Vettel on lap 38 as he took second spot and Hamilton ended up behind him in third place.
Mark Webber finished fourth ahead of Fernando Alonso who had started from 12th but drove a good race to finish fifth. Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi finished sixth with Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen in seventh & Sergio Perez in eighth. Daniel Ricciardo finished ninth for Toro Rosso and the last point in tenth place was taken up by Paul Di Resta of Force India.
Mark Webber finally ended his winless streak for the season by taking the chequered flag at the last race – the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos in Sao Paolo. He was followed home by teammate Sebastian Vettel in a Red Bull one-two – their fourth of the season and first time with Webber in front. Jenson Button capped off a fine season by finishing third and this consolidating his second-place finish in the Drivers’ Championship Standings.
Fernando Alonso drove a valiant race but could only manage fourth place as tyre degradation and a DRS-failure allowed Button to pass him during the closing stages of the race. Felipe Massa finished fifth in his home grand prix, with Adrian Sutil sixth, Nico Rosberg seventh and Paul Di Resta eighth. Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov took the last points places in ninth and tenth respectively. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton had to retire due to a gearbox problem.
Some might argue that Webber was only handed the win due to a gearbox problem for pole-sitter Vettel, who had no 2nd gear and had to nurse his car using short shifts – which allowed Webber to take the lead – but still had enough pace to keep him out of the clutches of Button/Alonso behind him. Alonso might have had the third place after a good start saw him overtake Hamilton into the first corner and then pass Button on lap eleven, but Button clawed back the position towards the fag end of the race as the Ferrari’s tyre degradation made it tough for the Spaniard to hold fort.
It was a disappointing end of the season for Lewis Hamilton as well, who retired on lap sixty eight due to a gearbox failure. He was having a good battle with (who else!) Felipe Massa for fifth place and even after the second round of pit stops found himself behind the Ferrari and was lining up a DRS move before having to retire. Another driver who had a disappointing race was Michael Schumacher, who suffered a left-rear puncture as he closed the door on Bruno Senna’s Renault – a move which incredulously saw the Renault driver get a drive-thru penalty – and could only finish fifteenth.
Sebastian Vettel set a new record of 15 pole positions in a single season as he set the fastest time for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos in the last Qualifying Session of the season. Despite insisting that the record was not in his thoughts, it surely would have felt good for the Champion driver – if only as something to aim for having wrapped up the title sometime earlier! Red Bull locked out the front row of the grid for the seventh time this year as Mark Webber was second fastest, ahead of the McLaren of Jenson Button in P3.
Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest, ahead of the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso in fifth and Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in sixth. Felipe Massa starts seventh in his home grand prix with the Force India of Adrian Sutil beside him in eighth. Bruno Senna was ninth fastest for Renault and rounding off the top ten was Michael Schumacher, who did not set a time in Q3.
He was pipped to the Pole position by Sebastian Vettel on Saturday but Lewis Hamilton still managed to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit as a Vettel had to retire on the first lap itself due to a right-rear tyre puncture suffered as a result of clipping a kerb at the start. Vettel limped back to the pits but there was too much damage on his tyre drum & suspension to continue and thus had his first DNF of this season.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished second having passed Jenson Button at the start and though he stayed close to Hamilton and even led the race after Hamilton’s second pit stop but dropped back after his own stop for a tyre change. Jenson Button took third place as he battled a failed KERS System on his McLaren and wasn’t able to mount as serious a challenge as he would have liked.
Mark Webber finished in fourth place (the first time no Red Bull driver was on the podium) as he followed a three-stop strategy and had to change to the harder compound tyre at the last lap of the race, allowing Button to move ahead. Felipe Massa finished fifth, ahead of Nico Rosberg in sixth and Michael Schumacher in seventh. Adrian Sutil finished eighth in his Sahara Force India and teammate Paul Di Resta used a one-stop strategy to finish ninth. Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber took the last point in tenth place.
The McLarens were quick on Friday and on Saturday’s practice sessions and many were of the opinion that Lewis Hamilton was a shoo-in for pole position. Pah! said Sebastian Vettel as he wheeled around in his Red Bull around the Yas Marina circuit as fast as he could and took Pole Position for Sunday’s race. Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second position, 0.141 seconds slower than Vettel with Jenson Button a teeny weensy 0.009 seconds behind in third.
Mark Webber starts from fourth with the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso in fifth & Felipe Massa in sixth. Mercedes have Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher seventh and eight with the two Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta completing the top ten.
It was a thrilling finale to Q3 as first Button took provisional pole as the Chequered Flag fell on the session but Hamilton came steaming in behind to usurp his teammate by the slenderest of margins – 0.009 seconds to be exact! Vettel was running the last and he beat Hamilton’s time quite effortlessly, equalling Nigel Mansell’s most-pole-positions-in-a-year record in the process.