Dominant victory for Hamilton in China

Hamilton Chinese GP 2014 winner

Lewis Hamilton achieved his hat trick of victories this season with a dominant victory at the Chinese Grand Prix.

This result equals Niki Lauda’s record of 25 wins in Formula 1 and Hamilton is slowly closing the gap to championship leader Nico Rosberg to four points.

Hamilton dominated the race from pole position, while Mercedes team-mate Rosberg had to battle through to second after a slow start.

Australian Grand Prix winner Rosberg started fourth behind the Red Bulls, but drop down to seventh after a sluggish getaway and was fortunate to emerge from the first corner unscathed after tagging the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Mercedes lost the telemetry readings from Rosberg’s car before the start of the Chinese Grand Prix, but the team was able to help manage his race without them.

Rosberg repassed Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and Felipe Massa’s Williams early on, before jumping the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo for fourth at the first round of pitstops.

Once it became clear Rosberg did not have to worry about fuel consumption in his second stint, he closed down and passed the reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull for third.

Vettel slipped back on his second set of tyres and fell into the clutches of team-mate Ricciardo, also recovering after a slow start from the front row of the grid.

Vettel refused a team order to let Ricciardo through, but the Australian got the best of their personal duel anyway when the four-time world champion Vettel ran deep into Turn 1 around half race distance.

The pair eventually finished fourth and fifth behind Fernando Alonso, who survived contact with his former Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa at the start to score the Scuderia’s first podium of the 2014 season.

Alonso climbed to third with a fast start from fifth on the grid and jumped Vettel for second by making his first pitstop earlier than the Red Bull.

But the improved Ferrari was not fast enough to prevent Mercedes scoring its third consecutive one-two result, so Alonso had to settle for the final podium spot when Rosberg passing him easily on the back straight with 14 laps to the flag.

Alonso had to do a long stint on his final set of tyres and only held off Ricciardo’s Red Bull by 1.2 seconds, while Vettel finished 24 seconds behind his team-mate.

Massa survived his brush off Alonso as he tried to squeeze between the Ferrari and Ricciardo’s sluggish Red Bull at the start to run as high as fifth, but the Brazilian’s race was ruined by a slow first pitstop at which Williams encountered a problem with the left-rear wheel.

Nico Hulkenberg got the better of Massa’s Williams team-mate Bottas to round out the top six, while Hulkenberg’s Force India team-mate Sergio Perez – a podium hero last time out in Bahrain – climbed from P16 on the grid to finish ninth, just 2.4 seconds behind Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.

Romain Grosjean’s Lotus retired with gearbox problems – no fourth gear – allowing Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat to continue his strong start to the season and claim the final point by rounding out the top ten in China.

Jenson Button completed a disappointing race for McLaren by finishing in P11, ahead of the slow-starting Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne and his rookie team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

Pastor Maldonado climbed from the back of the grid to P14 for Lotus, one position ahead of the recovering Massa.

So a not a thrilling race at the Shanghai International Circuit compared to Bahrain but the race results means it’s an exciting battle for top honours. Nico Rosberg still leads the Drivers’ championship with 79 over 74 to Lewis Hamilton. While Red Bull Racing moves to second in the Constructors’ as Mercedes extends their lead.

Chinese Grand Prix, race results after 54 laps:

1.  Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes              1h36m52.810s
2.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes                  +18.686s
3.  Fernando Alonso    Ferrari                   +25.765s
4.  Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull-Renault          +26.978s
5.  Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault          +51.012s
6.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes      +57.581s
7.  Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes         +58.145s
8.  Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari                 +1m23.990s
9.  Sergio Perez       Force India-Mercedes    +1m26.489s
10.  Daniil Kvyat       Toro Rosso-Renault          +1 lap
11.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes            +1 lap
12.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso-Renault          +1 lap
13.  Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes            +1 lap
14.  Pastor Maldonado   Lotus-Renault               +1 lap
15.  Felipe Massa       Williams-Mercedes           +1 lap
16.  Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber-Ferrari              +1 lap
17.  Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault            +1 lap
18.  Jules Bianchi      Marussia-Ferrari            +1 lap
19.  Max Chilton        Marussia-Ferrari           +2 laps
20.  Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault           +2 laps


Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault              27 laps
Adrian Sutil       Sauber-Ferrari              4 laps

Drivers’ standings:

1.  Nico Rosberg      79
2.  Lewis Hamilton    75
3.  Fernando Alonso   41
4.  Nico Hulkenberg   36
5.  Sebastian Vettel  33
6.  Daniel Ricciardo  24
7.  Valtteri Bottas   24
8.  Jenson Button     23
9.  Kevin Magnussen   20
10.  Sergio Perez      18
11.  Felipe Massa      12
12.  Kimi Raikkonen    11
13.  Jean-Eric Vergne  4
14.  Daniil Kvyat      4

Constructors’ standings:

1.  Mercedes              154
2.  Red Bull-Renault      57
3.  Force India-Mercedes  54
4.  Ferrari               52
5.  McLaren-Mercedes      43
6.  Williams-Mercedes     36
7.  Toro Rosso-Renault    8

Next race: Spanish Grand Prix, Circuit de Catalunya. May 9-11.

Hamilton resists Red Bull challenge to get pole in China

Hamilton China 2014

Lewis Hamilton achieved his third successive pole position by setting the quickest time at the Chinese Grand Prix.

In additional to taking the number one spot in China, the Mercedes driver recored his 34th career pole position in Formula 1.

Holding off the Red Bulls must be a bonus to the 2008 world champion.

With qualifying held in wet conditions, initially with most running on wets before the intermediates became the tyre of choice.

Hamilton went fastest on his first run in Q3 then improved by almost half a second on his second run to consolidate his place.

With this pole position in China, Hamilton has now broken Jim Clark’s British record, with only Michael Schumacher (68), Ayrton Senna (65) and Sebastian Vettel (45) still ahead of him overall.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo will start second, setting a time six tenths slower than Hamilton on his final Q3 attempt.

This means the Australian has outqualified his team-mate Sebastian Vettel for the third time this season, with the defending world champion only in third place ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg had looked set to take provisional pole away from Hamilton on his second Q3 run, but he carried too much speed into the hairpin, running wide and preventing him from improving.

A spin at the final corner on his final attempt ensured that Rosberg could do no better than fourth.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fifth quickest having never threatened the top positions during qualifying, with the Williams pairing of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas closely matched in sixth and seventh respectively.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified eighth, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.

While Romain Grosjean put a Lotus into Q3 for the first time this season, despite ending up the slowest in the top ten shootout.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren driver Jenson Button were the big-name casualties during Q2.

Both were unable to set a good enough pace on their second set of intermediates to break into the top ten after being bumped out of it by well-timed improvements by Vergne, Massa and Hulkenberg.

Button, who complained of a lack of front tyre temperature, and Raikkonen both lapped quickly enough in the first two sectors to make Q3 on their final laps, but worsening conditions in the final sector made it impossible to improve overall.

Daniil Kvyat will start in P13 ahead of Adrian Sutil, Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez.

Esteban Gutierrez was the fastest of those to fall in Q1.

The Sauber driver had looked set to seal a place in the second stage of qualifying with a late run on intermediates before a very poor final sector, including a wide moment at the final corner, ruined his attempt.

Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi beat Jules Bianchi to P18, with team-mate Marcus Ericsson outpacing the Marussia of Max Chilton.

Pastor Maldonado was classified P22 as he was unable to participate thanks to an engine problem that forced him to stop on track during FP3.

So a brilliant qualifying record for Mercedes. Four pole from four races with Lewis Hamilton setting a new British record with poles.

Can the Silver Arrows continue that impressive run into the race? It should be a fascinating Chinese Grand Prix.

Qualifying positions at the Chinese Grand Prix:

1.  Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes              1m53.860s
2.  Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull-Renault      1m54.455s
3.  Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault      1m54.960s
4.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1m55.143s
5.  Fernando Alonso    Ferrari               1m55.637s
6.  Felipe Massa       Williams-Mercedes     1m56.147s
7.  Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes     1m56.282s
8.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1m56.366s
9.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso-Renault    1m56.773s
10.  Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault         1m57.079s
11.  Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari               1m56.860s
12.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1m56.963s
13.  Daniil Kvyat       Toro Rosso-Renault    1m57.289s
14.  Adrian Sutil       Sauber-Ferrari        1m57.393s
15.  Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes      1m57.675s
16.  Sergio Perez       Force India-Mercedes  1m58.264s
17.  Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber-Ferrari        1m58.988s
18.  Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault      1m59.260s
19.  Jules Bianchi      Marussia-Ferrari      1m59.326s
20.  Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault      2m00.646s
21.  Max Chilton        Marussia-Ferrari      2m00.865s
22.  Pastor Maldonado   Lotus-Renault

107 per cent time: 2m03.602s

The Raid : Berandal

The Raid 2 Berandal

The first Raid film came almost out of nowhere, but before it was even watched, the talking point was it’s Indonesian, it’s Indonesian Pencak Silat martial art style and it’s directed by, a Welshman!?

Talk turned into stunned silence as before everyone’s eyes the most incredible display unfolded before them. On a budget that Pixar’s Andrew Stanton would scoff at (Mark Kermode podcast fans will know), Gareth Evans turned $1.1 million into something that many couldn’t forget. Fight scenes that no one had seen since Tony Jaa first appeared. Talking of which, where the hell has he gone!?!

Sure it was short on character development, but not many cared since the balletic fighting just blew everyone away.

Soon after, an American remake was announced (BOOOO!), but also a sequel (HURRAY!). Of course the first thing that spring to mind was, what was going to happen with getting famous and the inevitable budget increase. Would we loose the rawness and give way to silliness?

Well no, not even close. The budget only sprang to just over $4 million and this was in fact the movie Gareth originally started to film, but money problems forced him to shoot the tower block scenario and we ended up with the The Raid: Redemption.

Taking place just two hours after the end of that film, we see the star Rama, (Iko Uwais) being forced to go undercover to infiltrate a notorious Jakarta gang as a way of bringing down crooked cops which ties it to the first film.

To start though he needed a cover story and so was “arrested” in order to befriend Uco, the son of the prominent gang leader who is being held in prison. We soon then have our first fight in the tight confines of the prison toilets. Action which makes Jason Bourne’s fight in the the Bourne Ultimatum with Desh when they end up in the toilet looks like a game of slapsies.

What follows to be perfectly honest, is not the most original story. The son feels he’s undervalued by his ol’ dad and plans to make more of a name for himself. However, there is nothing wrong with it either. It’s not cringworthy at all, makes sense, and you get decent amount of human emotion and development

Rama is fully taken in by the gang and is sent on some debt collection runs along with Uco, which end up unsurprisingly, in a fight or two. What follows is what you saw in the first film… and then some. Without the confines of the small tower block corridors and rooms (or toilets), the fights get to breath a bit more.

What doesn’t happen, is you actually being able to breath. Such is the choreography your just laughing, wincing and enjoying what your seeing, no quite believing that each and every hit makes full contact. Yes,  just about every hit is a real a hit, just painstakingly timed to avoid actually doing real damage.

Iko Uwais spent over half a year working with the stunt men in order to perfect the fight scenes and also befriend them, as what was to surely follow would push them to their limits with the inevitable missed timed hits.

The first film made incredible use of inanimate objects, which in your head means more ouch, since you of course know the punches to the head, body etc are pulled slightly. But heads hitting tables, walls, floors, cars, baseball bats, baseball balls, shelves, hammers, pots, pans, chairs, lights, bottles, glasses, cabinets and so on, looks so much more painful in these films.

In the past, it usually looked faked as you can see such weapons bend and give way. Not so in Gareth Evans’ world. They look very, VERY real. And very, VERY painful.

As we are in the open world, we also get out first car chase. This is first for Mr Evans and with the exception of speed, a brilliant one at that. We are far from talking about 100mph crashes. 15-25mph more like for the most part. But it’s the most realistic chase I have seen for a long, long time. It’s proper wheel to wheel bashing and incredible camera work and the inevitable human body hitting metal body.

So far, we’ve had lots of stupendous fights, inc a big nod to Kill Bill and the Crazy 88’s spectacular, minus swords. We also get a female fighter “Hammer Girl”in the vain of Kill Bill’s Gogo Yubari, only this time instead of a meteor hammer, we just get a claw hammer… times two. The destruction of bodies you get to see in a train scene is quite sensational all for the eye to see.

This is fully deserving of it’s 18 certificate. Hell, its quite amazing how the BBFC let it go almost untouched, save for a few frames. Back in the 1980’s, this would have NEVER, EVER seen the light of day. Wow, just wow.

Her guide and brother is “Baseball Bat Man”. A favoured weapon used of course, but one that you have never witnessed like this guy uses it. Sound truly deserves a mention here and the metal thwack rings in your ears and as mentioned, your not for a second taken out of the film by a floppy bat.

As in Redemption, we have two main fights really. One with our Rama facing off with both hammer and bat at the same time (holy crap) and our finale with “Andi”, played by Donny Alamsyah. Now, the boss fight in the first film with “Mad Dog” (Yayan Ruhian) was incredible.

He also make a return in this film, but not at all related. However I’m not sure how well it now stands with Andi’s fight. It is just, just, mind-blowing. Taking days and days and days to film, we have to adversaries going at each other like nothing you’ve seen before. It’s truly incredible.

At it’s Sundance Festival premier, it was shown completely uncut. Quite what was cut I do not know, but it ain’t a whole lot. What you do see, you really question what the point of cutting the odd frame here and there. There is also a shotgun head shot that unless you have seen the real life head shot in the “The Faces of Death” documentary, you have never seen one as real as this.

Given the seamless cut from real life person to a dummy, I have honestly, honestly never seen anything close to that documentary until now. Evidence 100 per cent given by the fact of the shocked laughter of the audience when it took place. I cannot think for one second the team thought it’d make the cut.

So, here we have the most enjoyable martial arts film since, well, Gareth’s last attempt. With Raid 3 already signed, I cannot wait for the next instalment. While there are rumours that Gareth is linked to be the producer of the US remake, yet again it’s going to be pointless.

There is NOTHING that warrants it. Subtitles are not that hard to follow or even need in these films, certainly the first one anyway and I highly doubt the US health and safety bullshit will allow for similar fight sequences.

So get your backside into your local cinema and see this film. It’s one of the best martial arts film ever made. I’d even call it my favourite Asian action film ever made. I need another viewing of Hard Boiled to confirm, but I’m pretty certain this tops the list.

Review by invisiblekid

Hamilton victorious in thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix

Mercedes one-two Bahrain 2014

Lewis Hamilton won the intra-team battle against Nico Rosberg to score his second victory of the season for Mercedes.

The 900th Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit proved to be a thrilling race from start-to-finish with fantastic wheel-to-wheel battle.

A late-race Safety Car, deployed after Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus tipping Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber into a roll at Turn 1, turned the 57-lap race into a ten lap sprint under floodlights in the desert.

Both drivers had gone wheel-to-wheel in the early stages, as Hamilton edging out polesitter Rosberg at the start and the German attempted to come back at his British team-mate, so they were warned to keep it clean by Mercedes boss Paddy Lowe.

They just about managed it as they scrapped aggressively for the overfall victory.

Rosberg had the advantage of softer tyres for the showdown and had several stabs at passing Hamilton using DRS into the Michael Schumacher corner.

But he could not make either stick, and Hamilton prevailed on his medium tyres after some epic side-by-side racing through the esses.

Behind, Force India recorded its first podium since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix as Sergio Perez just held off the quicker Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.

The Red Bulls also had the advantage on running the soft tyres for the final sprint and Ricciardo got the better of his world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India to finish in fourth place.

Vettel, who complained of a lack of power from his Renault engine, could not find his own way past Hulkenberg so had to spend the final two laps fending off Williams pair Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas for sixth.

Williams gambled on a three-stop strategy where most of the other frontrunners went for two, and the Safety Car undid its hopes of a better result.

The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top ten, while Jenson Button joined his McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen with a non-finish. This was a disappointing result for the Jenson’s 250th Grand Prix appearance.

So a brilliant race in the desert. Full of action and drama throughout the field, and yet the Silver Arrows comes out on top once again with three victories out of three races.

Bahrain Grand Prix race results after 57 laps:

1. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes                  1h38m42.743
2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                  +1.085s
3. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes      +24.067s
4. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault          +24.489s
5. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes      +28.654s
6. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault          +29.879s
7. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes         +31.265s
8. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes         +31.876s
9. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                   +32.595s
10. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari                   +33.462s
11. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault        +41.342s
12. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault             +43.143s
13. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari          +59.909s
14. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault             +1m02.803s
15. Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham-Renault          +1m27.900s
16. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari          +1 lap
17. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes          +2 laps


Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes        40 laps
Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari          39 laps
Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault        33 laps
Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault      18 laps
Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari          17 laps

Drivers’ standings:

1. Nico Rosberg       61
2. Lewis Hamilton     50
3. Nico Hulkenberg    28
4. Fernando Alonso    26
5. Jenson Button      23
6. Sebastian Vettel   23
7. Kevin Magnussen    20
8. Valtteri Bottas    18
9. Sergio Perez       16
10. Daniel Ricciardo   12
11. Felipe Massa       12
12. Kimi Raikkonen     7
13. Jean-Eric Vergne   4
14. Daniil Kvyat       3

Constructors’ standings:

1. Mercedes               111
2. Force India-Mercedes   44
3. McLaren-Mercedes       43
4. Red Bull-Renault       35
5. Ferrari                33
6. Williams-Mercedes      30
7. Toro Rosso-Renault     7

Next race: Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai. April 18-20.

Rosberg edges Hamilton to take pole at Bahrain

Rosberg Bahrain 2014

Nico Rosberg achieved his fifth career pole position in Formula 1 by edging out Lewis Hamilton at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Throughout the weekend, Lewis Hamilton had set the pace in every session leading into qualifying. In fact, the Mercedes driver was the favourite for pole position, but after being outpaced by Rosberg on their first runs in Q3, he tried to make amends but ran wide on his final run.

Rosberg also aborted his final run too after been informed  Hamilton made a mistake, earning the top spot and another on-two for the Silver Arrows.

Daniel Ricciardo was one of the few drivers to improve on his second run in Q3, jumping to third. However, the Red Bull driver will serve a ten-place grid penalty after an unsafe release in last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

This relegated Valtteri Bottas to third, the Finn proving that the Williams team’s pace during pre-season testing here was no fluke with a place on the second row.

Force India driver Sergio Perez has been strong all weekend and was next quickest, only a tenth slower than Bottas.

He shaded Kimi Raikkonen, who had only one run in Q3 because The Iceman had only one set of fresh Pirellis remaining, by 22 thousandths of a second.

The McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen ended up seventh and eighth, split by the Williams of Felipe Massa, with both making late improvements as they also had only one set of new softs for the session.

As for Fernando Alonso, the Ferrari driver was the slowest in Q3 after a disappointing final lap, ending up six tenths adrift from team-mate Raikkonen.

And yet the biggest shock was when the previous Bahrain Grand Prix winner was knocked out in Q2. The defending world champion Sebastian Vettel was unable to make into the top ten shoot out for the second time in three races.

Red Bull Racing opted to complete just one run in Q2 and Vettel complained about downshift problems after missing the cut by six-hundredths of a second.

Nico Hulkenberg, who has struggled to match Force India team-mate Perez all weekend, also failed to hook up a good enough lap to make Q3 after running wide onto the kerb at Turn 11, ending up P12 ahead of the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez shaded Lotus driver Romain Grosjean for P15 place by just 17 thousandths of a second.

This was another disappointing qualifying session for Lotus. With Pastor Maldonado dropping out in Q1 with P17, beaten by his team-mate by nine thousandths of a second.

Grosjean is under investigation from the race stewards after impeding Adrian Sutil’s Sauber during qualifying.

Sutil was also knocked out in Q1, while Caterham continued its recent upward curve in terms of performance, with Kamui Kobayashi P19, lapping within a quarter of a second, and Marcus Ericsson in P21.

Jules Bianchi split the two Caterhams, with Max Chilton taking his usual grid spot, in last place.

Qualifying positions, Bahrain Grand Prix:

1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m33.185s
2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes             1m33.464s
3. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes    1m34.247s
4. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes 1m34.346s
5. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari              1m34.368s
6. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m34.387s
7. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes    1m34.511s
8. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes     1m34.712s
9. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m34.992s
10. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m34.985s
11. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m35.116s
12. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault   1m35.145s
13. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault     1m34.051s*
14. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault   1m35.286s
15. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari       1m35.891s
16. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m35.908s
17. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault        1m36.663s
18. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari       1m36.840s
19. Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham-Renault     1m37.085s
20. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari     1m37.310s
21. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault     1m37.875s
22. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari     1m37.913s

*Ten-place grid penalty for unsafe release in the pits