Hamilton leads home Silver Arrows one-two in China

Mercedes China 2015

Reigning world champions Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes reconfirm their superiority over Formula 1 with a commanding victory at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Nico Rosberg had to settle with second position, but was not too happy with his team-mate during the Chinese Grand Prix, blaming Hamilton on intending to slow him down…

At least the Silver Arrows finished ahead of rival Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen gave chase throughout the race and yet it wasn’t really an entertaining Grand Prix.

Hamilton had made his intentions clear by aiming his car very aggressively towards Rosberg’s on the starting grid.

The pole sitter duly held his lead off the line, with Rosberg and Vettel stringing out behind the defending champion through the first stint.

The situation became more tense in the middle stint of the two-stop race, as both Rosberg and Vettel closed on the race leader.

A frustrated Rosberg got on the radio to Mercedes asking if Hamilton could speed up, as his tyres were wearing out too much whenever he got closer than two seconds away from his team-mate’s rear wing.

When Ferrari brought Vettel in for his second pit-stop ahead of the Silver Arrows, Rosberg was pitted a lap later in an effort to prevent the Malaysian Grand Prix winner getting an undercut on his new tyres.

But rather than his rivals’ earlier pit-stops putting Hamilton at a disadvantage, he was able to raise his pace considerably on his final laps on soft tyres.

Hamilton ran two laps longer than Rosberg and rejoined with a six-second cushion rather than the two-second advantage he had held prior to the pit-stops.

Rosberg reduced Hamilton’s lead slightly before the chequrered flag.

A safety car appearance with just two laps to go – caused by Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso parking on the pit straight in a cloud of smoke – made things even more comfortable for Hamilton, as the race finished under yellow caution.

Vettel was not a match for the Mercedes once all were onto medium tyres and dropped away in third place.

The Ferrari driver then came under late pressure from his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Iceman quickly cleared both Williams on the opening lap to make up for his qualifying frustration, and though he could not keep pace with the top trio initially, he ran long in his middle stint and made up lost ground.

Raikkonen was still 1.4 seconds behind Vettel when the late safety car came out and had to be content with fourth.

Williams ran a lonely and distant fifth and sixth with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, a minute behind the leaders prior to the field being bunched up.

Lotus achieved its first championship points of the year with Romain Grosjean in seventh position, but it was a crazy race for his team-mate Pastor Maldonado.

Maldonado got ahead of his team-mate in the first pit-stop sequence, before going down the pitlane entry escape road at his second pit-stop.

A spin while trying to recover left him even further behind, and Pastor was then involved in a spectacular battle with the McLarens of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

After several laps, this came to a conclusion when Button hit the back of the Lotus at Turn 1, ending Maldonado’s race and prompting a stewards’ investigation.

The race stewards didn’t take too kindly on Button and decided to add two penalty points on his license.

Despite that, McLaren still got its first double finish of the season with Alonso and Button’s battered cars P12 and P13.

Until his late engine failure, Verstappen was on course for eighth position, having sliced through the field with some very bold overtaking.

But his problem completed a terrible day for Renault and the Red Bull-owned teams.

Daniel Ricciardo had tumbled to P17 after a terrible start and was having great difficulty in coming back through the field to ninth between the Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, which scored again.

Daniil Kvyat was also out early with a suspected engine failure, while Carlos Sainz Jr spun at Turn 1 in the opening laps and later lost time with a gearbox problem before finishing between the McLarens and Manors in P14.

Force India spent a while in the points as a unique three-stop strategy for Sergio Perez shook out, but in the end 11th was his limit.

A gearbox failure ended team-mate Nico Hulkenberg’s race.

So not a thrilling race but it’s fascinating to see that the same three drivers have finished on the podium three times already.

Lewis Hamilton is riding on a crest of confidence, while Sebastian Vettel appears to be a close challenger.

As for Nico Rosberg, he needs to turn this situation already and start reducing the points gap to his Mercedes team-mate.

Hamilton 2015 China winner

Chinese Grand Prix, 56 laps:
1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h39m42.008s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    0.714s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    2.988s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    3.835s
5    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    8.544s
6    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    9.885s
7    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    19.008s
8    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    22.625s
9    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    32.117s
10    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
11    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
12    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
13    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
14    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
15    Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari    2 Laps
16    Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    2 Laps
17    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    Engine
–    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    Collision
–    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    Engine
–    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    Retirement

Drivers’ championship:
1    Lewis Hamilton    68
2    Sebastian Vettel    55
3    Nico Rosberg    51
4    Felipe Massa    30
5    Kimi Raikkonen    24
6    Valtteri Bottas    18
7    Felipe Nasr    14
8    Daniel Ricciardo    11
9    Romain Grosjean    6
10    Nico Hulkenberg    6
11    Max Verstappen    6
12    Carlos Sainz    6
13    Marcus Ericsson    5
14    Daniil Kvyat    2
15    Sergio Perez    1
16    Jenson Button    0
17    Fernando Alonso    0
18    Roberto Merhi    0
19    Will Stevens    0

Constructors’ championship:
1    Mercedes    119
2    Ferrari    79
3    Williams-Mercedes    48
4    Sauber-Ferrari    19
5    Red Bull-Renault    13
6    Toro Rosso-Renault    12
7    Force India-Mercedes    7
8    Lotus-Mercedes    6
9    McLaren-Honda    0
10    Manor-Ferrari    0

Next race: Bahrain Grand Prix, April 17-19.

Read More

Hamilton achieves hat trick of poles this season with P1 in China

Hamilton China 2015

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton scored his third successive pole position this season after fending off his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by four hundredths of a second to take P1 at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Hamilton had been the favourite for the top spot after setting the quickest lap in all three practice sessions plus Q2.

His first Q3 run with a time of one minute, 35.782 seconds underlined his status as number one. Rosberg was unable to compete and was three tenths behind.

The gap between the Silver Arrows was reduced to 0.042 seconds in the final Q3 run, set by Rosberg but last season’s runner-up was left feeling frustrated on missing out on P1.

Malaysian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel was nearly a second off Hamilton’s pole time in third position for Ferrari.

That denied the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, which were top-three contenders but ultimately found themselves three tenths and half a second down on Vettel respectively.

They still managed to beat Kimi Raikkonen, who was sixth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

His Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat failed to reach Q3 and will start the race in P12.

Romain Grosjean was eighth for Lotus, while Pastor Maldonado missed out on Q3 by just 0.007 seconds and will line up in P11.

The most improved team in qualifying was Sauber. Both Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson will the start the Chinese Grand Prix on row five ahead of Toro Rosso.

After scoring his first championship point in the last race, Max Verstappen made a mistake when locking up heavily on his final run. His team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr will share row seven.

McLaren’s encouraging practice times proved deceptive as Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso found themselves out in Q1 and on row nine, just 0.004 seconds apart.

At least McLaren-Honda was within a tenth of the Force Indias. Nico Hulkenberg only got ahead of Button with a final Q1 effort, while Sergio Perez scraped through into Q2 then languished seven tenths off the Toro Rossos.

The Manor-run Marussias were three seconds off the tail of the field but made the 107 per cent target in Q1 so are both clear to start the Chinese Grand Prix, Will Stevens ahead of Roberto Merhi.

So pole position number 41 for Lewis Hamilton. The reigning world champion has serious speed and confidence in the Mercedes this season.

It’s going to be fascinating if his team-mate Nico Rosberg can challenge for race victory but will Sebastian Vettel spoil the party once again, just like Malaysia? We shall find on on race day in China.

Hamilton China 2015 pole

Qualifying positions, Chinese Grand Prix:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m35.782s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m35.824s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m36.687s
4    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m36.954s
5    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m37.143s
6    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m37.232s
7    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m37.540s
8    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m37.905s
9    Felipe Nasr          Sauber-Ferrari    1m38.067s
10    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m38.158s
11    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m38.134s
12    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m38.209s
13    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m38.393s
14    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m38.538s
15    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m39.290s
16    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m39.216s
17    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m39.276s
18    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m39.280s
19    Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari    1m42.091s
20    Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    1m42.842s

Read More

Vettel takes first victory for Ferrari at Sepang

Vettel Sepang 2015

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel achieved his first victory for Scuderia Ferrari in a thrilling Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver took advantage with track position thanks to staying out during a safety car period and assumed the lead.

Vettel then made a two-stop strategy work while Mercedes did three stops with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

It proved to be the wrong strategy call for the world champion team as neither Hamilton nor Rosberg had the speed, tyre longevity or enough laps to catch and pass Vettel in the final stint.

This was Ferrari’s first victory since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, with Vettel’s first since that year’s season finale in Brazil.

Hamilton maintains the championship lead with 43 points, with race winner Vettel three points adrift and Rosberg, who finished third, seven further back.

Following a dominant Mercedes performance in Australia, this result was well deserved for the sport and Ferrari. The Manarello-based team provided a challenge to the reigning world champion squad.

Vettel held onto second at the start, behind Hamilton, and chose to stay out when the safety car was called into action following Marcus Ericsson’s spin into the Turn 1 gravel on lap four, while Hamilton and Rosberg, in third, pitted for the hard compound.

Vettel pitted at the end of lap 17 and fitted the medium compound before chasing down and passing both Rosberg and Hamilton on their older Pirelli.

The Mercedes had needed to fight back through traffic as several midfield cars followed Vettel’s strategy and Rosberg was delayed in the pits queuing behind Hamilton.

The Brackley-based team then decided to split the strategy when it pitted Hamilton and Rosberg for the second time, with Hamilton taking the mediums and Rosberg the hards.

Vettel only made his final pitstops with 14 laps to the flag after a long middle stint, taking on the hards and crucially rejoining ahead of Rosberg in second.

The Ferrari driver then regained the lead when Hamilton pitted and had hard tyres fitted a lap later.

Hamilton was unhappy with the choice, with the defending world champion saying on team radio: “This is the wrong tyre, man,” but being told Mercedes only had used mediums as an alternative.

While Mercedes assured him that he would be in a position to catch and pass Vettel for the win, it soon became clear that that wasn’t the case, with Hamilton unable to close in.

Kimi Raikkonen recovered from a poor start with a solid fourth position having dropped to the back of the field following a puncture sustained in contact with Felipe Nasr’s Sauber on the first lap.

Valtteri Bottas passed his Williams team-mate Felipe Massa with a brilliant late move around the outside at Turn 5 to finish fifth, with the duo followed by Max Verstappen, who passed Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz late on.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, who recovered from a spin having made contact with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, completed the top ten.

And yet, Red Bull faced some embarrassment by being lapped by their former driver during the race. While Toro Rosso scored some championship points to be ahead of the main factory team in the constructors’ standings.

Romain Grosjean had an eventful race, the Lotus driver trying an ambitious move around the outside of Sergio Perez at the fast Turn 12, only to clip the Force India and spin.

Though he rejoined, Grosjean finished outside the points in P11, with Perez receiving a 10-second time penalty for causing the incident and ultimately finishing P13. Felipe Nasr in between them.

Hulkenberg was P14 in the Force India, having been given a 10-second time penalty for hitting Kvyat at Turn 2, with Manor’s Roberto Merhi the last driver to see the chequered flag in P15.

At least Manor made the finish considering a complete lack of testing. A remarkable achievement for everyone  at this little team.

Pastor Maldonado retired the Lotus, having run well down the field after picking up a puncture on the first lap, while the McLaren-Hondas showed improved form but had nothing to show for it as Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button retired with mechanical problems.

Will Stevens did not start the race – his Manor team was unable to cure the fuel system issue that stopped his car running in qualifying.

So a brilliant result for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. After a period of Mercedes victories, it’s refreshing to see the four-time world champion put on a fight and won. Ferrari have a good car and can mount a challenge to the Silver Arrows.

Vettel Ferrari Sepang 2015

Malaysian Grand Prix, 56 laps:

1    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1h41m05.793s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    8.569s
3    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    12.310s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    53.822s
5    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m10.409s
6    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m13.586s
7    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m37.762s
8    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
9    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
10    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
11    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1 Lap
12    Felipe Nasr       Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
13    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
14    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
15    Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    3 Laps
–    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    Retirement
–    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    Retirement
–    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    Retirement
–    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    Retirement
–    Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari    Withdrawn

Drivers’ standings:

1    Lewis Hamilton    43
2    Sebastian Vettel    40
3    Nico Rosberg    33
4    Felipe Massa    20
5    Kimi Raikkonen    12
6    Felipe Nasr          10
7    Valtteri Bottas    10
8    Daniel Ricciardo    9
9    Nico Hulkenberg    6
10    Max Verstappen    6
11    Carlos Sainz    6
12    Marcus Ericsson    4
13    Daniil Kvyat    2
14    Sergio Perez    1
15    Romain Grosjean    0
15    Jenson Button    0
17    Roberto Merhi    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    76
2    Ferrari    52
3    Williams-Mercedes    30
4    Sauber-Ferrari    14
5    Toro Rosso-Renault    12
6    Red Bull-Renault    11
7    Force India-Mercedes    7
8    Lotus-Mercedes    0
8    McLaren-Honda    0
10    Manor-Ferrari    0

Next race: Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai. April 10-12.

Read More

Hamilton resisted Vettel challenge to take Sepang pole

Sepang 2015 F1 qualifiers

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton edged out Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari to pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix by less than a tenth of a second in a rain-affected qualifying.

Hamilton’s first flying lap on intermediate tyres in Q3 proved enough to secure P1, as Vettel split the reigning Formula 1 world champion from his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with second.

The Silver Arrows drivers appeared to get in each other’s way in the crucial closing stages of Q3, and Hamilton failed to improve on his final run while Rosberg’s final lap was only good enough for third.

The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat will line-up fourth and fifth, just ahead of the Toro Rosso of super rookie Max Verstappen, who rounded out the top six.

The drivers who began the delayed Q3 session on full wet tyres and had to switch to intermediates filled the remaining spots in the top ten.

Romain Grosjean’s Lotus split the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who could only manage seventh and ninth fastest times respectively, while Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber rounded out the Q3 times.

A thunderstorm in the early stages of Q2 effectively reduced the second segment of qualifying to a single-lap shootout, and delayed the final session by 30 minutes.

The big casualty of the scramble for track position to get one dry lap in before the rain came was Kimi Raikkonen.

The 2007 world champion was delayed at the final corner trying to pass Ericsson’s Sauber – the last car to make the cut in tenth –  and by being passed by Hamilton’s Mercedes at Turn 1, and wound up only P11.

Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, the Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez – who both ran on used medium tyres – and the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr – who impressively matched Vettel in setting the fourth quickest time in Q1 – were also eliminated.

Australian Grand Prix star Felipe Nasr had a troubled Q1, having struggled to get comfortable with his Sauber’s handling since taking his car back from Ferrari junior driver Raffaele Marciello after the first practice session.

The Brazilian qualified almost three tenths adrift of Perez and that same time margin ahead of Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda.

Yet again, this was a difficult qualifying session for McLaren. With both cars knocked out in Q1. Making his Formula 1 return is Fernando Alonso but this was a shock to the double world champion to only be down in P18.

Manor GP has at least completed some track running this weekend, but failed to qualify within the 107 per cent cut-off in Q1.

Roberto Merhi set a time almost half a second too slow to make the cut-off. 7.4s shy of the outright pace compared to the leading Mercedes.

While a fuel system problem discovered in final practice confined his team-mate Will Stevens to the garage, so no lap time was set in qualifying.

Despite that, Stevens registered a lap quick enough to make the cut in the second free practice session.

Previously the stewards have allowed cars to start the race in such circumstances, even if they haven’t posted a time in qualifying.

The wet weather tried to spice up the establishing order of Formula 1 and yet the same result reveals Mercedes still the quickest car. Ferrari are a close competitor and it’s encouraging to see Vettel splitting the Silver Arrows.

As for Max Verstappen, this talented 17-year-old is doing a solid job for Toro Rosso. Hopefully his car can get to the end and score his first championship points.

Hamilton Sepang 2015

Qualifying times from Sepang:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m49.834s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m49.908s
3    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m50.299s
4    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m51.541s
5    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m51.950s
6    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m51.980s
7    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m52.473s
8    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m52.980s
9    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m53.179s
10    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m53.260s
11    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m42.173s
12    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m42.197s
13    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m43.022s
14    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m43.468s
15    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m43.700s
16    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m41.308s
17    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m41.635s
18    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m41.745s
19    Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    1m46.677s
20    Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari

Read More

Hamilton victorious in Australia

Australian GP 2015 winner

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton scored his 34th career victory in Formula 1 with a commanding drive in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

This was the perfect result for the reigning world champions. Hamilton dominated this race from pole, while Nico Rosberg gave chase but had to settle for second, resulting in a one-two finish for Mercedes.

Hamilton led away from P1 in Melbourne and only momentarily lost the lead to his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg during the pitstop sequence before securing the first win of the new season.

Rosberg crossed the line second, 1.3 seconds adrift, and yet the advantage from Mercedes was impressive. Over 30 seconds clear of the field.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished in third on his debut with the Scuderia. The German benefitted from a mid-race pitstop to jump ahead of Felipe Massa’s Williams.

Just 15 cars started the Australian Grand Prix, with McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat stopping on their way to the grid with mechanical issues.

Valtteri Bottas had already been ruled out on medical grounds because of a back injury sustained in qualifying, while neither Manor ran all weekend as it continues its efforts to get back into the sport.

The field was further depleted after just a few corners, when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was clipped by Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso at Turn 1.

That nudged the Ferrari into Felipe Nasr’s Sauber, which then hit into Pastor Maldonado, spinning the Lotus driver into the barriers and out of the race.

That brought out the safety car and yet, it was further misery for Lotus after just one lap when Romain Grosjean was forced to retire due to a power issue on the formation lap.

Rookie Felipe Nasr provided Sauber with a sensational end to what has been a difficult weekend, which saw the team involved in a legal battle with Giedo van der Garde, as he finished a brilliant fifth.

It was an impressive debut for the Sauber racer, who was 12 seconds clear of home crowd favourite Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.

Nasr’s team-mate Marcus Ericsson, who started P16, pulled off a late move on Sainz at Turn 13 to finish eighth, which failed to score a single championship point last season.

Nico Hulkenberg scored points for a Force India team that managed just two-and-a-half days of pre-season testing because of delays with the production of the 2015 chassis as ‘The Hulk’ finished seventh.

Sainz crossed the line ninth to score points on his debut, having lost a lot of time with a slow pitstop, while Force India’s Sergio Perez, who had a messy race, round out the top ten.

The Mexican spun, dropping to the back of the field, and then found himself facing the wrong way when he clumsily hit McLaren’s Jenson Button when attempting an opportunistic pass at Turn 3.

Button narrowly missed out on giving McLaren-Honda a remarkable points finish as he crossed the line P11 – and last.

And yet, it was the first time McLaren had managed to complete a race distance with its new car, following a troubled pre-season testing.

Raikkonen was on course to finish fourth, but during his second pit-stop his Ferrari team failed to fit the left-rear tyre properly.

The Iceman rejoined, but pulled off the track a few corners later and retired with his engineer saying “Sorry, Kimi” on team radio.

Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen, who became Formula 1’s youngest driver by taking the start, retired when running ninth with smoke pluming from the rear of the car.

It was a disappointing end for the Verstappen after an impressive 32 lap stint. He was on target to finish the race in the points, but his car let him down.

So a fantastic result for the world champions. Win number 30 for the Brackley-based team and 34 for the reigning world champion. The W06 Hybrid is one seriously fast car. Can anyone stop the Silver Arrows? We shall find out over the course of the season.

Hamilton car 2015

Australian Grand Prix, race results after 58 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h31m54.067s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1.640
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    25.523s
4    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    29.196s
5    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m26.149s
6    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
8    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
9    Carlos Sainz Jr.    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
10    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
11    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    2 Laps


Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    Retirement
Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault
Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Honda    Not started
Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    Withdrawn
Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    Not started
Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    Retirement
Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    Collision
Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari    Withdrawn
Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    Withdrawn

Drivers’ championship:

1    Lewis Hamilton    25
2    Nico Rosberg    18
3    Sebastian Vettel    15
4    Felipe Massa    12
5    Felipe Nasr    10
6    Daniel Ricciardo    8
7    Nico Hulkenberg    6
8    Marcus Ericsson    4
9    Carlos Sainz Jr.    2
10    Sergio Perez    1
11    Jenson Button    0

Constructors’ championship:

1    Mercedes    43
2    Ferrari    15
3    Sauber-Ferrari    14
4    Williams-Mercedes    12
5    Red Bull-Renault    8
6    Force India-Mercedes    7
7    Toro Rosso-Renault    2
8    McLaren-Honda    0

Next race: Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang. March 27-29.

Read More

Hamilton begins his title defence with Australian GP pole

AusGP 2015

Reigning Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton got his title defence off to a perfect start with pole position in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver edged his team-mate Nico Rosberg by almost six tenths of a second. His first flying lap was solid. One minute, 26.419 seconds was enough for provisional pole and that affect Rosberg, who ran wide onto    grass at the penultimate corner.

The 2008 and 2014 champion improved by just under a tenth on his final Q3 run to apply further pressure on Rosberg. The time? One minute, 26.327 seconds. Earning Hamilton his 39th career pole.

Felipe Massa claimed third on the grid for Williams, edging out the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel by just 0.039 seconds on his final run.

The Scuderia looked to have an advantage over Williams in the early stages of qualifying, but Massa found a crucial improvement at the end.

Kimi Raikkonen made it a Ferrari top five, lapping on the same tenth as Vettel and Massa, while the Williams of Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top six.

Bottas looked strong through the early stages in the session, but struggled with the brakes on his FW37 in Q3 and wound up over three tenths slower than his team-mate.

Home crowd favourite Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a pooe set of practice sessions to grab seventh spot on the grid, ahead of Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz and the Lotus E23s of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, which completed the top ten.

Sauber’s Felipe Nasr fell less than a tenth shy of beating Maldonado into the top ten shootout, on what has been a miserable weekend off-track for the team, but the Brazilian’s best lap was good enough for P11 on the grid.

Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen looked a genuine Q3 contender early on, but complained of some discomfort in the cockpit of his STR10 in Q2 and suffered a “big moment” at Turn 5 on his final flying lap, which was only good enough for P12.

Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat couldn’t recover sufficiently from a difficult final free practice session to make to Q3. The Russian wound up a lowly P13, two tenths clear of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.

The Force India team-mates were separated by just 0.001 seconds as both VJM08s dropped out in Q2.

Manor GP failed to get its cars running in time for qualifying, meaning only three of the remaining entries could be eliminated in Q1.

After troubles in pre-season testing, McLaren-Honda faced an uphill struggle in Melbourne. Qualifying revealed the full result with Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen knocked out in Q1.

Button managed to lap within 0.046 seconds of Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, which was the other victim of the Q1 cut-off.

However, the Swede lapped almost a full second slower than his team-mate Nasr, who was the slowest of the drivers to make it through to Q2.

So a fantastic start by Mercedes. Strongest car with so much speed advantage. Williams and Ferrari are the closest challengers. Should be an exciting race at Albert Park come race day.

AusGP 2015 sparks

Qualifying positions, Australian Grand Prix:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m26.327s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m26.921s
3    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m27.718s
4    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m27.757s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m27.790s
6    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m28.087s
7    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m28.329s
8    Carlos Sainz Jr.    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m28.510s
9    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m28.560s
10    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m29.480s
11    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m28.800s
12    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m28.868s
13    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m29.070s
14    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m29.208s
15    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m29.209s
16    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m31.376s
17    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m31.422s
18    Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Honda    1m32.037s

Read More

Red Bull Racing unveils 2015 colours

RB11 colour front

Red Bull Racing has revealed its revised colours scheme for the upcoming Formula 1 season, over it’s unique black and while camouflage look.

The Milton-Keynes based outfit ran a spectacular camouflage livery during pre-season testing in Spain.

But for the new racing season, the team has tweaked its normal Red Bull colours.

An increase in purple hue, for title sponsor Infiniti, plus a larger Red Bull branding along the side of the nose.

Team principal Christian Horner mentioned a revamp to the Red Bull Racing livery that would pleased fans following the camouflage version.

They won’t be disappointed, because the livery will be even stronger,” he said.

“The livery is different every year – although you may not have noticed. Every year it has evolved, so just wait and see.”

I have to admit, the back and white camouflage Red Bull looked quite striking. At least this is more colourful!

RB11 colour side

Read More

Force India finally reveals the VJM08 following delays

VJM08 F1 car

Following delays in the build of the new VJM08, Force India has finally revealed images of their 2015 challenger.

The Silverstone-based outfit were unable to take part in the two test sessions at Jerez and Barcelona but now the new car is ready, just in time for the final pre-season test before racing starts in the Australian Grand Prix next month.

Force India did some track running using the 2014 car at the Circuit de Catalunya and it was vital for the team and drivers in preparation for the new Formula 1 season.

Ahead of the final pre-season test which begins at Barcelona, Force India have now released the first image of the VJM08 and confirmed the car will arrive in Spain on the second day of running.

“The VJM08 will arrive in Barcelona on Friday morning and the final set-up will take place in the garage at the track,” Force India’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer said.

“We are aiming to get out on Friday and the new car will run as much as possible over the weekend.”

Szafnauer said the delayed build process had made rapid progress of late.

“It has progressed well over the last few days and the car has now been fired up at the factory,” he said.

“That’s always the key moment when the car truly comes to life.

“We have seen a tremendous effort from every department over the last few months to get us to this stage and we’re looking forward to seeing the car take to the track later this week.”

Although the team unveiled their newly “aggressive” livery for this season back in January, the first rendered image of the VJM08 reveals a shorter nose design than seen before.

Force India are once again powered by Mercedes power units and will field drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.

VJM08 side

Read More

Camouflage look for Red Bull Racing

RB11 front

Red Bull Racing’s new 2015 challenger has emerged for the first time at Jerez, with a distinctive and yet awesome camouflage livery.

The four-time champion outfil decided not to carry out any form of official launch or car unveiling for the Renault-powered RB11, instead heading straight out of the garage in the surprise colour scheme without any fanfare.

Daniel Ricciardo takes the honours of shaking down the RB11 on the first day of running at Jerez.

Scuderia Toro Rosso graduate Daniil Kvyat replaces Ferari-bound Sebastian Vettel as his team-mate for 2015.

RB11 car

Red Bull Racing’s chief engineering officer Rob Marshall, who has stepped into the new role following Adrian Newey’s change of emphasis, said that the majority of changes from the 2014 would be hard to spot, but that significant steps had been made.

“There are some changes that affect the shape of the front of the car but beyond that most of the changes are under the skin,” he said.

“We’ve identified the areas where we can make improvements and we’ve worked hard on these.

“There won’t be a lot that’s visible to the naked eye but a lot of hard work has gone into the bits that are hidden.”

Team boss Christian Horner had previously admitted that Red Bull Racing had opted for its tightest-ever car build programme in order to ensure that maximum developments were on the RB11.

RB11 side

Read More

Mercedes officially unveil their title defender, the W06 Hybrid

W06 Hybrid front

The 2014 world champions Mercedes AMG Formula 1 have officially unveiled its W06 Hybrid at Jerez, ahead of the first pre-season test.

Mercedes hopes that this car can help defend their drivers’ and constructors’ crowns in the upcoming Formula 1 season, as testing kicks off.

“The launch of a new car is an exciting moment for everybody involved,” said Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “To see the product of all that hard work turn a wheel for the first time is a great source of pride – and rightly so.

W06 Hybrid car

“However, there is a long road ahead before we reach the first race. We must build a fast, reliable racing car to be able to compete with rivals whose ability and competitiveness can never be underestimated. At this point, every team is on zero points.”

The Silver Arrows completed a brief shakedown run earlier at Silverstone and the social media channel released a few initial ‘spyshots’ of the W06 Hybrid.

Title-winner Lewis Hamilton and championship runner-up Nico Rosberg tried the W06 Hybrid during the Silverstone run, with Rosberg set to carry out the first full test at Jerez before handing over to his team-mate for more development work.

W06 Hybrid car rear

Read More