Red Bull were back to winning ways as Sebastian Vettel ended his nine-race winless streak with a fortuitous victory at the Singapore Grand Prix. Pole sitter and race leader Lewis Hamilton retired after 22 laps with a gearbox failure on his McLaren, handing over the race on a platter to Vettel who was running second behind him. Jenson Button rescued some points for McLaren with a second place finish and Fernando Alonso finished third, maintaining his lead atop the drivers’ championship.
Force India’s Paul Di Resta finished fourth ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in fifth, the Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in sixth and seventh, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa in eighth, Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo in ninth and Red Bull’s Mark Webber in tenth. The race was ended two laps early on the two-hour time limit as two safety car periods meant the entire 61 laps could not be completed
The result means Alonso now has a 29 point lead in the championship standings over Vettel in second place with Kimi Raikkonen a further 16 points behind. Hamilton slips to fourth, trailing Alonso by 52 points with six races remaining.
That headline sounds so clichéd but that was exactly how the race panned out at the Belgian Grand Prix. Jenson Button took victory from pole position as he was rarely troubled at the front by anyone else and finished a good 14 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel in second place. Kimi Raikkonen finished in third place as he continued his & Lotus’ consistent season.
Nico Hulkenberg finished in fourth place in what has been a good hunting ground for Force India in the past with Felipe Massa fifth, Mark Webber sixth and Michael Schumacher finishing seventh in his 300th Grand Prix start. The two Toro Rossos of Jean Eric Vergne & Daniel Ricciardo finished eighth and ninth ahead the second Force India of Paul Di Resta in tenth.
Yet, the talking point of the race would be the first lap action at the first corner which saw not one, not two but four cars come together in a horrific-looking pileup – the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, the Sauber of Sergio Perez and most importantly, the Ferrari of championship leader Fernando Alonso! Grosjean swiped into Hamilton and sent them both careening into the back of Alonso’s Ferrari, with the Lotus launching into the air and flying inches away from Alonso’s head in the cockpit. Perez was on the outside of it all but was hit by the out of control McLaren, thereby ending all four drivers’ race prematurely.
The Formula One season is back after its summer break and the second half of the season started off in earnest at the much loved Spa Francorchamps circuit for the Belgian Grand Prix. And it was Jenson Button who scored his first pole position for McLaren and his first since 2009 as he clocked the fastest qualifying time in Q3. Starting from P2 on the grid would be the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi with the Williams of Pastor Maldonado in P3.
Race favourite and four-time winner Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest ahead of Sergio Perez in fifth and Fernando Alonso on sixth. Red Bull’s Mark Webber was seventh fastest but will drop down five places due to a gearbox change. Lewis Hamilton was eighth, Romain Grosjean ninth and Paul Di Resta tenth.
With Friday’s practice sessions affected by rain, most teams did not have enough mileage on the cars to get the perfect setup and Lotus, who were expected to run their upgraded DRS system opted not to do so. McLaren had to choose whether to run a new rear wing or not and in the end Jenson rode with it & Hamilton without. Other teams had tyre choice concerns as well as gearbox issues – Rosberg & Webber specifically.
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.
McLaren continued their superb qualifying form this season as Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang with teammate Jenson Button a shade behind in second place. Mercedes GP had a good showing at their title sponsor’s home grand prix as Michael Schumacher set the third fastest time.
Red Bull had a lacklustre qualifying with Mark Webber starting fourth and Sebastian Vettel sixth – but will start from fifth place on the grid. Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen set the fifth fastest time but will drop down to tenth on the grid as a result of a gearbox change. Romain Grosjean will start sixth ahead of a disappointed Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes in seventh. Ferrari got into the top ten for the first time this season with Fernando Alonso starting eighth as Sauber’s Sergio Perez will start ninth.
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.
The vroom of the engines is back for another enthralling year as the Formula 1 season kickstarted off in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix. And it was McLaren and not Red Bull at the head of the order as Lewis Hamilton headed a McLaren lockout at the front of the grid with teammate Jenson Button. Lotus’ Romain Grosjean will be a surprising third place starter.
Mercedes showed good pace as Michael Schumacher clocked the fourth fastest time in Qualifying with the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Champion Sebastian Vettel in fifth and sixth places ahead of Nico Rosberg in seventh and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado in eighth. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg & Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo rounded off the top ten.
It was a disastrous qualifying session for Ferrari as Alonso could only muster 12th fastest and Felipe Massa 16th. They clearly are struggling to come to terms with their car as was evident throughout the pre-season tests and earlier practice sessions. It was also not a good comeback for former Champion Kimi Raikkonen as he could only muster 18th place on the grid with Lotus as he complained of steering issues with his car and a miscalculation from his team denied him another lap to get into Q2.
Though it is still early days, McLaren seem the team to beat but remains to be seen if Hamilton or Button score points off each other and allow the other drivers to take advantage. Red Bull & Mercedes seem to be playing catch up and although the Mercedes looked quicker throughout the first practice, there have been murmurs of irregularities with its DRS wing & how it handles the aerodynamic air flow around the car.
My prediction is Jenson Button for the Race win with Schumacher second and Vettel third.
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.