Rosberg victorious at the Red Bull Ring

AustrianGP 2015 winner

Nico Rosberg reduced the points gap on his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to ten points with a commanding victory in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Rosberg took the advantage by making a great start and taking the lead at Turn 1 from Hamilton. Even with the worry about tyre vibrations in the final stages of the race, Rosberg had this covered and held on to take victory. His third this season.

Hamilton, who had five seconds added to his race time for crossing the white line at the pit lane exit, finished second with Felipe Massa scoring his first podium of the year in third for Williams after Sebastian Vettel was delayed at his pit-stop.

The safety car was called into action on the first lap when Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen made contact, sending both into the barriers and out of the race.

It looked like The Iceman had a big tank-slapper on the exit of Turn 2 and when the car snapped back to outside, Alonso had nowhere to go, vaulting the Ferrari as they came to rest against the outside barrier.

Both drivers walked away from the accident, with Alonso heading to the medical centre for a precautionary check before returning to the paddock.

With Alonso’s updated car out, the Austrian Grand Prix weekend then got worse for McLaren-Honda a few laps later when Jenson Button retired for the second race in succession.

In the battle for fifth, Valtteri Bottas had to pass Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg twice after losing out during the pit-stops.

Pastor Maldonado took his second successive points finish when snatched seventh from Max Verstappen on the penultimate lap.

Maldonado nearly lost control on the start/finish straight as Verstappen defended the inside line, but he got the position when the Toro Rosso locked up and went wide at Turn 1.

Carlos Sainz was running in the points early on as he banged wheels with Romain Grosjean before passing the Lotus to take ninth.

But he picked up a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane and then pulled into the pits to retire with a loss of power.

Grosjean’s race didn’t last much longer as he ran off track onto the grass before reporting a problem with the gearbox and retiring.

Sergio Perez recovered from a difficult qualifying to give Force India its first double-points finish since the season opener in Australia with ninth.

Daniel Ricciardo salvaged a point for Red Bull at its home race with 10th, passing Sauber’s Felipe Nasr in the closing stages.

Nasr crossed the line P11, with the Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat, who like his team-mate Ricciardo had a grid penalty for an engine change, was classified P12.

Marcus Ericsson had a troubled race, first picking up a drive-through penalty for jumping the start and then losing around 15 seconds when he stopped on the start/finish straight and had to do a full system reset before getting going again.

Manor’s Roberto Merhi was the last of the finishers in P14, the best finish of his Formula 1 career, while his team-mate Will Stevens retired for the first time this season with a suspected oil leak.

Rosberg winner AustrianGP 2015

Austrian Grand Prix race results, 71 laps:

1 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1h30m16.930s
2 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    +8.800s*
3 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    +17.573s
4 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    +18.181s
5 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    +53.604s
6 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes +64.075s
7 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1 Lap
8 Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
9 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
10 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
11 Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
12 Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault        1 Lap
13 Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    2 Laps
14 Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    68    3 Laps
– Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    Retirement*
– Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    Retirement
– Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    Retirement
– Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    1    Retirement
– Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    Collision
– Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    Collision

*Hamilton had 5s added to his race time for crossing the white line at the pit exit. Sainz received a 5s time penalty for speeding in the pit lane. 

Fastest lap Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m 11.235s (lap 35)

Drivers’ standings:

1 Lewis Hamilton 169
2 Nico Rosberg 159
3 Sebastian Vettel 120
4 Kimi Raikkonen 72
5 Valtteri Bottas 67
6 Felipe Massa 62
7 Daniel Ricciardo 36
8 Daniil Kyvat 19
9 Nico Hulkenberg 18
10 Roman Grosjean 17
11 Felipe Nasr 16
12 Sergio Perez 13
13 Pastor Maldonado 12
14 Max Verstappen 10
15 Carlos Sainz 9
16 Marcus Ericcson 5
17 Jenson Button 4
18 Fernando Alonso 0
19 Roberto Merhi 0
20 Will Stevens 0

Constructors’ standing:

1 Mercedes 328
2 Ferrari 192
3 Williams-Mercedes 129
4 Red Bull-Renault 55
5 Force India-Mercedes 31
6 Lotus-Mercedes 29
7 Sauber-Ferrari 21
8 Toro Rosso-Renault 19
9 McLaren-Honda 4
10 Marussia 0

Next race: British Grand Prix, Silverstone. July 3-5

Hamilton takes Austrian Grand Prix pole before sliding off in qualifying

AustrianGP 2015

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton achieved his 45th career pole position in Formula 1, as both Mercedes drivers went off during their final laps of qualifying.

The Canadian Grand Prix winner led the times after the first tuns in Q3 by two tenths of a second from his team-mate Nico Rosberg, but spun under braking for Turn 1 when attempting to secure the top spot.

Rosberg set a personal best time in the first sector, then the fastest time of all in the second sector, before he too went off. The Monaco Grand Prix winner had to settle with second place with his Silver Arrows stuck in the gravel at the final corner.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel improved on his final run in Q3, but this was good enough for only third position, 0.155 seconds slower than Rosberg’s earlier effort.

Last year’s Austrian Grand Prix pole star Felipe Massa was fourth fastest for Williams, while Le Mans 24 Hours winner Nico Hulkenberg produced a superb effort by splitting Massa from his Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas by recording the fifth quickest time for Force India.

Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen shaded Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat by less than a tenth of a second to post the seventh fastest time, as behind him Sauber’s Felipe Nasr recorded his best qualifying result since the Chinese Grand Prux by going ninth.

Romain Grosjean’s Lotus failed to set a time in Q3, after a suspected brake by wire problem forced him back into the pits early on.

Team-mate Pastor Maldonado missed out on the top ten shootout by 0.187 seconds as track conditions improved in Q2, while Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz, and Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull qualified on the same tenth of a second in P12, P13 and P14 but some way adrift of their respective team-mates, who all made Q3.

Sainz complained of traffic on his fast lap, while Ricciardo briefly ran off the track at Turn 3 before failing to make the top ten shootout for the first time this season.

Fernando Alonso managed to push his McLaren-Honda through to Q2, but the MP4-30’s lack of grunt left him adrift of the rest in P15.

Due to the many power unit upgrades and penalities, Alonso will technically start the race from P40!

Improving track conditions throughout a Q1 that began damp meant laptimes tumbled as the session reached its climax, creating the potential for upsets.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was the highest-profile driver in this segment, The Iceman missing the Q2 cut by 0.359 seconds and winding up P18, much to his own surprise over team radio.

Force India’s Sergio Perez also missed out, just 0.014 seconds slower than Alonso’s McLaren, while Jenson Button had been fastest at one point, before slipping back to P17 at the end.

Like his McLaren team-mate, Button will have a massive grid penalty due to the many power unit changes. The 2009 world champion will start the Austrian Grand Prix in P42!

Roberto Merhi outqualified his team-mate Will Stevens, who went off early on in the wetter conditions, by more than 1.3 seconds as the Manor Marussias again qualified slowest of all twenty cars.

Both McLarens and both Red Bulls will be hit with grid penalties for unscheduled engine changes this weekend, so will drop to the back of the grid.

AustrianGP 2015 spin

Qualifying positions, Austrian Grand Prix:

1 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m08.455s
2 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m08.655s
3 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m08.810s
4 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m09.192s
5 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m09.278s
6 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m09.319s
7 Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m09.612s
8 Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m09.713s
9 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    No time
10 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m10.374s
11 Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m10.426s
12 Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m10.465s
13 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m12.522s
14 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m12.867s
15 Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m09.694s*
16 Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    1m14.071s
17 Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    1m15.368s
18 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m10.482s*
19 Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m10.736s*
20 Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m12.632s*

*Kvyat, Ricciardo, Alonso and Button all have penalties

Hamilton victorious in Canada

Canada 2015 Hamilton winner

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton placed aside his disappointment from Monaco with a victory at the Canadian Grand Prix. His fourth win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The Mercedes driver finished 2.2 seconds ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg at the end of 70 relatively-uneventful laps around Montreal, to extend the points gap to 17.

After cutting off Rosberg at the start from the 44th pole of his Formula 1 career, Hamilton comfortably led for the opening 29 laps, during which time he became Britain’s all-time lap leader, passing Nigel Mansell’s haul of 2089, before pitting.

Rosberg followed a lap later, and with both drivers on soft tyres after starting out on the super-soft Pirelli compound, it was Rosberg who managed to get his rubber up to temperature far quicker, closing to within a second at one point.

With Hamilton managing fuel and Rosberg brakes, it then became a question of who would manage best with their situation, and in the end despite being told to lift and coast at times, it was Hamilton who held on for the victory.

Valtteri Bottas finished third for Williams, the first time this season a driver outside of Mercedes and Ferrari had visited the podium, with the Finn aided by a spin from Kimi Raikkonen at the hairpin on lap 28.

Raikkonen had settled into his starting position of third through the opening stage of the race until his first stop after 26 laps, only to lose the back end of his Ferrari a lap and a half later. “That’s exactly the same as last year,” he complained. “The energy store kicked in.”

Williams and Bottas took full advantage as he emerged from his pit-stop ahead of Raikkonen, and from there the latter could do no better than fourth.

Star driver of the Canadian Grand Prix was Sebastian Vettel. Despite starting from P18 following problems and penalties, the Malaysian Grand Prix winner came through the field to take fifth. Just 4.9 seconds behind his team-mate.

Vettel swiftly made up five places in the opening laps, but then found himself stuck behind Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Massa and was called in for a surprise early pit-stops.

It was a tactical decision, but a problem with the left-rear wheel added a further delay to the stop, ensuring he returned to the track in last position.

Vettel attacked again, taking on another set of softs after 35 laps, and despite a moment with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg 10 laps later that led to the latter spinning through the chicane, the four-time champion made it into the top five.

Massa finished in sixth, followed by Pastor Maldonado in his Lotus. This was the best finish since the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg was eighth, Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat ninth, with Romain Grosjean claiming the final point, despite having five seconds added to his time for cutting up Will Stevens at one point, suffering a puncture, with the Manor sustaining front-wing damage.

Sergio Perez was P11 in his Force India ahead of Carlos Sainz for Toro Rosso. Last year’s winner Daniel Ricciardo was a lowly P13 in his Red Bull.

As for McLaren-Honda, Fernando Alonso finally allowed his frustration with his car to come to the surface as after 24 laps he was involved in an exchange with engineer Tom Stallard.

Told to save fuel, a disgruntled Alonso said: “I don’t want to! I don’t want! Already I have big problems now. Driving with this, looking like an amateur. So I race and then I concentrate on fuel.”

Alonso ultimately retired with a loss of power from the Honda.

Team-mate Jenson Button’s terrible weekend also concluded with a retirement, having made little progress after missing qualifying, starting last and receiving a drive-through – all consequences of his final practice engine problems.

So car number 44, driven by Lewis Hamilton has won his fourth Canadian Grand Prix from pole number 44. Not the greatest race but a solid result for the reigning champion and Mercedes.

Canada 2015 Mercedes winner

Canadian Grand Prix, race results after 70 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1:31:53.145
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes       +2.285s
3    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes     +40.666s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari      +45.625s
5    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari       +49.903s
6    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes       +56.381s
7    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes      +66.664s
8    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes      +1 lap
9    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault     +1 lap
10    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes      +1 lap
11    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes      +1 lap
12    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault        +1 lap
13    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault      +1 lap
14    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari       +1 lap
15    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault      +1 lap
16    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari       +2 laps
17    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari     +4 laps
–    Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari      DNF
–    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda     DNF
–    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda     DNF

Fastest lap: Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m 16.987s (lap 42)

Drivers’ championship:

1    Lewis Hamilton    151
2    Nico Rosberg    134
3    Sebastian Vettel    108
4    Kimi Raikkonen    72
5    Valtteri Bottas    57
6    Felipe Massa    47
7    Daniel Ricciardo    35
8    Daniil Kvyat    19
9    Romain Grosjean    17
10    Felipe Nasr    16
11    Sergio Perez    11
12    Nico Hulkenberg    10
13    Carlos Sainz    9
14    Max Verstappen    6
15    Pastor Maldonado    6
16    Marcus Ericsson    5
17    Jenson Button    4
18    Fernando Alonso    0
19    Roberto Merhi    0
20    Will Stevens    0

Constructors’ championship:

1    Mercedes    285
2    Ferrari    180
3    Williams-Mercedes    104
4    Red Bull-Renault    54
5    Lotus-Mercedes    23
6    Sauber-Ferrari    21
7    Force India-Mercedes    21
8    Toro Rosso-Renault    15
9    McLaren-Honda    4
10    Marussia-Ferrari    0

Next race: Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull Ring. June 19-21.

All the fours with Hamilton claiming pole at Canada

Hamilton pole Canada 2015

Championhip leader Lewis Hamilton achieved his 44th career pole position in Formula 1 – driving car number 44, recording his fourth P1 at the Circuit Gilles Villenuve.

Hamilton edged out his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with a margin of three tenths, while Kimi Raikkonen had to settle with third position for Ferrari.

Rosberg described the conclusion to his qualifying session as “rubbish”, even though he was very competitive in Q1 and Q2.

The Silver Arrows duo were the only drivers to lap below one minute, 15 seconds around Montreal’s race track, and Hamilton’s one minute, 14.393 seconds lap on their first runs in Q3 stood as pole when neither he nor Rosberg improved on their second run.

With Vettel relegated to P16 due to a suspected MGU-H problem, Kimi Raikkonen was the sole Scuderia representative in the top ten shootout.

The 2007 world champion had a big moment exiting Turn 4 on his best lap but it was still reasonable to land third on the grid.

Fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas managed a big improvement on his final run to join The Iceman on row two for Williams and edge out the impressive Lotus pair of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg produced his best qualifying effort of the season to grab seventh, comfortably beating both Red Bulls and team-mate Sergio Perez, who rounded out the top ten.

Daniil Kvyat got the better of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo by less than a tenth to be best of the Red Bulls in eighth position.

Carlos Sainz Jr was highest placed of those to miss out in Q3 by just 0.036 seconds in a tight fight in Q2.

His Toro Rosso team-mate Max Verstappen was P12, but the 17-year-old will start last on account of a 15-place grid drop for a combination of driving standards and engine penalities.

Verstappen was just 0.017 seconds faster than Marcus Ericsson, who was P13 and well clear of Sauber team-mate Felipe Nasr.

Jenson Button’s engine problem in final practice forced him to skip qualifying, which meant only four cars were eliminated in Q1.

Vettel was not impressive to find out he was only P16. Swearing on the team radio. The Malaysian Grand Prix winner was over three tenths adrift of Alonso’s McLaren as he limped around significantly down on power.

Felipe Massa was the other shock loser in Q1, half a second further back.

The Williams driver complained of a lack of power from his Mercedes engine and he could do no better than P17.

The Manor Marussias were predictably the slowest of the cars that ran in qualifying.

Roberto Merhi was best of the two for the first time this season with a time just 0.024 seconds faster than team-mate Will Stevens.

Hamilton Canada 2015

Canadian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m14.393s
2 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m14.702s
3 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m15.014s
4 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m15.102s
5 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m15.194s
6 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m15.329s
7 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m15.614s
8 Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m16.079s
9 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m16.114s
10 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m16.338s
11 Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m16.042s
12 Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m16.262s
13 Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m16.276s
14 Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m16.620s
15 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m17.344s
16 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m17.886s
17 Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    1m19.133s
18 Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    1m19.157s
19 Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m16.245s*
20 Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda     No time

*15-place grid penalty