TT3D: Closer To The Edge

The world of racing has many big time races. Formula 1 has Monaco, NASCAR have the Daytona 500 and the Aussies have the Bathurst 1000. All need balls of steel and the endurance beyond what you think can be had. But these all pale into insignificance when compared to the complete the bike race that insanity is made of, The Isle Of Man TT.

While of course the other races are fast, hard and push the drivers skills to the limit, the 33 mile TT road race has always gone one step further. The complete disregard for safety. The other races to some extent have all been touched the hand of the Safety Police. Quite beyond comprehension and despite well over 200 deaths since its inception, the Isle Of Man TT has remain almost untouched by the people in Hi-Vis vests. Okay so they have been instructed to have a few hay bales thrown around the most vicious corners (and we are talking very few), some padding around lamp posts, but I think by padding they only meant some sort of thin carpet and well, that’s it! The riders are let loose riding on the public roads at some 200mph on the mountain pass and well over 150mph through the towns streets with the already mentioned lamp posts and many other very solid hazards, whizzing past just inches from the bikes and riders.

To the outsider seeing footage of this race usually generates just one question, why? Showing the 2010 race, this 3D documentary tries to show you just why these riders and their families go through this race once a year. Mainly following the incredible Guy Martin, we get to see the mentality of everyone involved and how they overcome the dangers of the TT.

Despite not actually winning a single race so far, it’s easy to see why Guy was the main subject in the film. Upon seeing other riders and their background and preparation for the race, it’s plain to see that they are nearly all the same as Micheal Schumacher. By that I mean DULL. Guy Martin on the other hand is a mish mash of Alex Higgins, James Hunt, Ronnie O’sullivan, and culminating with the greatest player never to have won the big one, Jimmy White. A lot of snooker players I know, but they all are a part of Guy. Massively charismatic (Higgins), a ladies man in the form of Hunt (though we get told in vivid detail that he isn’t a ladies man), a rule breaker (O’Sullivan) and of course the never quite able to win the big one, Jimmy White.

We follow is his run up to the race and get to see that he is a (very) down to earth, North Linconshire bloke who’d rather spend time fixing anything with an engine and getting covered in oil than lead the playboy lifestyle of a famous racer.

We also get to see how this race effects the families of those who race in particular Paul Dobbs’ life. Later it’s apparent why, when he has a tragic accident and leaves behind his wife and their two children. Yet as common among all attendees including the spectators, the complete acceptance that their time could be ended at 170mph, is fascinating to watch. So long as, with a few shown on camera, a tear may be shed.

Talking of watching, this film is an incredible visual feast. The 3D aspect brings the speed right in your face with on-board shots, superb set piece drive-bys and great artistic shots which really make this film worth catching wearing those silly specs. Also included are some brilliant still photos that are panned across showing you bikes being launched into the air. It is truly amazing to see the speed these guys ride at through the dusty, lumpy, cambered roads at such high speed and getting to see how much the bikes flex and twist with each turn, bump and jump. Brilliant stuff indeed. But of course this is the TT so we also get to see some horrific accidents. After the adrenaline of the rushing bike speeding past, there is nothing to make you think of the danger so vividly than seeing the results of getting a corner wrong or even just mechanical failure, especially when it’s all done in 3D or post production 3D.

Considering the subject though, this is not for bike lovers only however. It’s a great insight to how the human mind gets itself around the problem of death and why some of us volunteer to shake it’s hand with such passion and decisiveness that death almost doesn’t matter.

It’s truly great stuff and great use of 3D, but again it shows that 3D also has no place in the home. This on a small 3D TV would be nothing.

Film reviewed by Invisiblekid

Hamilton victorious in thrilling Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton recovered from an early scare with a fuel leak even before the race started to win the Chinese Grand Prix in dramatic style with some fantastic overtaking moves.

The McLaren driver had a technical issue with the engine refusing to fire up and the rush to prepare the car caused a moment of panic for the engineers in the pits. With only seconds to spare, Hamilton was sent out to make it on the starting grid and drove an aggressive race to take the chequered flag in style.

By winning the Chinese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has ended Sebastian Vettel’s run of victories thanks to a three-stop strategy over his rival’s two-stops. With better grip from the Pirellis, Hamilton was able to hunt down the championship leader and pass the tyre-hampered Red Bull in the final laps.

Mark Webber drove an outstanding race to come from P18 on the grid to finish third in the second Red Bull, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button and Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg – both of whom led for long periods in a fascinating race.

Vettel’s race began to get complicated following a poor start off pole position, which allowed both McLarens to get past him into Turn 1. Nico Rosberg also made a good start and Sebastian had to fend off the Mercedes in the opening corners to keep track position.

The trio then ran in a queue covered by two seconds through the first stint, with Rosberg and the Ferraris close behind.

Mercedes then pulled a masterstroke by bringing Rosberg in on lap 12. The German emerged with a clear track and made the most of his fresh Pirellis, but was also helped by a chaotic few laps from the top three. As Hamilton’s tyre performance faded, Vettel surged past him using the Drag Reduction System on the back straight.

Button and Vettel then pitted nose to tail, but bizarrely Button pulled into the Red Bull pit box rather than his own! He was frantically waved on to the correct pit, slightly slowing both pit-stops, although Red Bull reacted quicker and got Vettel out ahead.

With Hamilton losing pace dramatically on his in-lap and being caught and passed by Felipe Massa, Rosberg’s new-tyre pace and uncomplicated out-laps really paid dividends. As the second stint started, Rosberg led Vettel by five seconds, with Button, Massa and Hamilton giving chase.

But while Rosberg and the McLarens were committed to three-stop strategies, Vettel and Massa had decided to go for just two.

The latter looked like the best plan once everyone had made their second stops just after half-distance, for though that put Vettel and Massa fourth and fifth behind Rosberg and the McLarens, they were matching the leaders’ pace and not allowing the top three to pull out a sufficient margin to stay ahead when they made their additional stops.

Hamilton was now on a charge, slicing down the inside of team-mate Button to take second on lap 35, and then quickly catching Rosberg after their third stops and diving past him into Turn 6.

Lewis then hunted down the two-stopping Massa and passed the Ferrari with ease on the pits straight with 12 laps to the flag.

Next in his sights was race leader Vettel and by lap 50 Hamilton was right with the Red Bull and attacking with the Drag Reduction System on the back straight, though the championship leader defended his track position by hugged the inside line at the hairpin every time the McLaren drew alongside.

Hamilton had to be creative and on lap 52, the McLaren driver got much better traction out of Turn 6 and swept through on the inside into the fast Turn 7. After that he quickly pulled away to take a sensational victory in a race that proved the sport’s new rules regulations is achieving everything in providing entertainment for the fans.

Rosberg fell behind Button when he ran wide trying to pass Massa. With an issue with fuel consumption and his tyres just too old to resist the three-stoppers, Massa was swiftly overtaken by Button, Rosberg and even Webber – who also became a factor in the podium battle in the enthralling final stages.

The Australian had made little impression in his first stint on hard ‘Prime’ tyres, but like Sepang last weekend, pitting three times gave him plenty of opportunity to gain ground in clear air – and saving the much quicker soft ‘Option’ for the final stint when everyone else was on Prime gave him a huge pace advantage, as Webber proved by taking fourth from Rosberg with a Turn 6 dive three laps from the end.

Lapping two seconds quicker than anyone else, the Red Bull was flying (setting the fastest lap in the process) and at the end of the penultimate lap, Webber passed Button to grab a sensational podium finish.

Massa had to settle for sixth, but could take satisfaction from outpacing Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso, who both lacked Massa’s speed and lost ground emerging into traffic after pit-stops. He just beat Michael Schumacher to seventh, the Mercedes having got clear of the midfield by making a very early first of three stops.

Renault’s Vitaly Petrov finished in ninth ahead of Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber. As for Paul di Resta, he continues to impress with his speed in the Force India and recorded another points finish with P11, ahead of Nick Heidfeld.

Adrian Sutil’s race in the second Force India was spoiled by contact with Sergio Perez, for which the Sauber driver was penalised with a drive-through.

Toro Rosso’s great qualifying effort turned to nothing, with the pair falling down the race order – with Sebastien Buemi finishing only in P14 behind Rubens Barrichello’s Williams, and Jaime Alguersuari retiring when a right-rear wheel fell off after his pit-stop. Behind Sutil, Heikki Kovalainen gave Team Lotus plenty to cheer by beating Perez and Pastor Maldonado’s Williams to P16.

So a fantastic race in Shanghai. The differences in tyre strategies while running the harder ‘Prime’ tyres compared to the softer ‘Option’ Pirelli offered plenty of overtaking moves and it made the Chinese Grand Prix a thriller. Both Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber drove a sensational race to victory and podium spot respectively.

As for Sebastian Vettel, he still leads the championship with 21 points but he must feel vulnerable as the competitiveness of the McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari is matching the performance of the Red Bull as Formula One heads back to Europe.

Race result from Shanghai, 56 laps:

1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           1h36:58.226
2.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +5.198
3.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +7.555
4.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +10.000
5.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +13.448
6.  Massa         Ferrari                    +15.840
7.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +30.622
8.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +31.206
9.  Petrov        Renault                    +57.404
10.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +1:03.273
11.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1:08.757
12.  Heidfeld      Renault                    +1:12.739
13.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +1:30.189
14.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1:30.671
15.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
16.  Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault              +1 lap
17.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +1 lap
18.  Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth          +1 lap
19.  Trulli        Lotus-Renault              +1 lap
20.  D’Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth            +2 laps
21.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth            +2 laps
22.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +2 laps
23.  Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth               +2 laps

Fastest lap: Webber, 1:38.993

Not classified/retirements:
Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari           12 laps

World Championship standings, round 3:

1.  Vettel        68
2.  Hamilton      47
3.  Button        38
4.  Webber        37
5.  Alonso        26
6.  Massa         24
7.  Petrov        17
8.  Heidfeld      15
9.  Rosberg       10
10.  Kobayashi      7
11.  Schumacher     6
12.  Buemi          4
13.  Di Resta       2
14.  Sutil          2

1.  Red Bull-Renault          105
2.  McLaren-Mercedes           85
3.  Ferrari                    50
4.  Renault                    32
5.  Mercedes                   16
6.  Sauber-Ferrari              7
7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          4
8.  Force India-Mercedes        4

Next race: Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul. May 6-8.

Vettel takes commanding pole in Shanghai

Sebastian Vettel achieved his hat trick of pole positions at the Shanghai International Circuit with an impressive lap (one minute. 33.706 seconds) in the flying Red Bull RB7.

The world championship leader remained unbeatable in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, maintaining his strong form that saw Vettel top all three practice session followed by his fourth successive pole.

With one Red Bull on the front row – with a margin of seven tenths of a second clear of the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton – the other car will start Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix down in a disappointing P18.

For Mark Webber, his bad luck continued with a technical issue with the KERS unit during the final practice session and then, in the first stage of qualifying, the Australian was eliminated when Michael Schumacher and Pastor Maldonado improved.

It seems the team made a strategically decision in keeping Webber on the hard ‘Prime’ tyres in order to save a set of soft ‘Option’ tyres for the main race. This tactic back-fired not only for a lack of grip but the problem with the KERS meant the Australian was unable to use the device to gain extra straight-line speed and in the end, he was knocked out in Q1.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was the only challenger to the reigning world champion, but was still 0.7 seconds adrift of pole position. At least Jenson is ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, by a small margin of 0.042 seconds.

Taking the fourth position on the grid is Nico Rosberg for Mercedes GP, while forming row three are the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

The upper midfield pack was shuffled by a late red flag in Q2, caused by Vitaly Petrov’s Renault grinding to a halt on track at Turn 6.

That happened with two minutes remaining, at which point the Toro Rossos and Force Indias were inside the top ten. Unlike the Saubers, Williams, Mercedes and Petrov’s team-mate Nick Heidfeld.

In the scramble once Petrov’s car was removed, both Toro Rosso drivers and the Force India of Paul di Resta were able to keep their Q3 positions. The same cannot be said to team-mate Adrian Sutil, who was again out-qualified by the former DTM champion and will start the race in P11.

It was another solid performance by Paul di Resta and by starting eighth, in between Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, the Scot has a good opportunity to score points in the race.

A mistake at the hairpin left Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher in P14, as for Nick Heidfeld – who damaged his Renault’s front wing in practice sessions one and two – the German could do no better than P16.

Williams suffered another frustrating qualifying session with Rubens Barrichello only in P15 with team-mate Pastor Maldonado two places behind.

And at the back of the grid, not including Mark Webber’s Red Bull, are the usual suspects with Team Lotus, Virgin Racing and Hispania.

Jerome D’Ambrosio out-qualified his Virgin Racing team-mate Timo Glock for the first time this season, while both Hispanias were comfortably within the 107 per cent margin.

Qualifying times from Shanghai:

1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m33.706s
2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m34.421s
3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m34.463s
4.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m34.670s
5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m35.119s
6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m35.145s
7.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m36.158s
8.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m36.190s
9.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m36.203s
10.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              No time
11.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m35.874s
12.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m36.053s
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m36.236s
14.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m36.457s
15.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m36.465s
16.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault              1m36.611s
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m36.956s
18. Mark Webber            Red Bull-Renault     1m36.468s
19. Heikki Kovalainen      Lotus-Renault        1m37.894s
20. Jarno Trulli           Lotus-Renault        1m38.318s
21. Jerome D’Ambrosio      Virgin-Cosworth      1m39.119s
22. Timo Glock             Virgin-Cosworth      1m39.708s
23. Tonio Liuzzi           HRT-Cosworth         1m40.212s
24. Narain Karthikeyan     HRT-Cosworth         1m40.445s

107 per cent qualifying time: 1m41.941s

Vettel victorious in Sepang

Sebastian Vettel continued his impressive start as the reigning world champion with race victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Despite the KERS unit not working during the 56-lap race, the consistency, speed and tyre management from Vettel enable the Red Bull Racing driver to pull away from the pack and score his twelfth career Grand Prix win.

McLaren’s Jenson Button finished in second while Nick Heidfeld earned Renault’s second successive podium following a great drive.

Mark Webber recovered from a poor start to take fourth position for Red Bull Racing, ahead of the Scuderia pair of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, with the latter damaging his front wing after clipping Hamilton’s car.

As for Lewis Hamilton, who started the race alongside Vettel on the front row, the McLaren driver suffered tyre degradation in the late stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix meaning four visits to the pits and seventh at the chequered flag.

As the five red lights went out, Sebastian Vettel made a clean getaway from the right side of the grid to lead into Turn 1. To the surprise of the world champion going into the first corner it wasn’t Lewis Hamilton alongside but it was the Renault of Nick Heidfeld who made a fantastic start from sixth.

Team-mate Vitaly Petrov also benefitted from a great start from eighth on the grid to take fifth on the opening lap, slotting in-between Hamilton and Jenson Button but ahead of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

The same cannot be said for Mark Webber, as his KERS already seemingly not working, the Australian plunged to ninth and was passed by a combative Kamui Kobayashi further around the lap.

Heidfeld did not lose too much time to Vettel, although the Renault staying within seven seconds of the leading Red Bull through the first stint. When Heidfeld then lost ground in the first stops, which released the McLarens and the rapidly-recovering Alonso to start gaining on Vettel.

While Hamilton got Vettel’s lead down to under four seconds, Alonso passed Button for third into the first corner early in the second stint and started closing in as well.

Vettel then looked even more vulnerable after the second of the leaders’ three pit-stops when his Red Bull team informed him that he could no longer use his KERS. But his pursuers’ hopes of taking advantage of this were quickly dashed – even without the energy boosting system Vettel managed to pull clear during this stint, stretching his lead over Hamilton back up to eight seconds.

It was Button who started making progress in the second half of the Grand Prix, taking third back from Alonso in the second pit-stops, then making an early final stop on lap 38 and setting some great lap times thereafter – which allowed him to take second position from team-mate Hamilton who pitted on lap 41.

As Button then started to reduce the gap towards Vettel, Hamilton was struggling to maintain his pace on the hard Prime tyres. Fernando Alonso sensed the opportunity to overtake and was soon all over the back of his racing rival, but with his Drag Reduction System not working, the Ferrari driver had to be creative in finding the right place to overtake.

On lap 45 Alonso got too close through Turn 3 and clipped the rear of the McLaren damaging his Ferrari front wing, forcing an extra pit-stop.

The lead up to the incident resulting in twenty-second penalties handed to both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso by the stewards hours after the race. See comments for further details.

Hamilton was then caught by first Heidfeld, who slipped past into Turn 1 using the DRS with four laps to the flag, then the recovering Webber – who despite being on a four-stop strategy and still without KERS – managed to get back up with the leaders. The Australian grabbed fourth when Hamilton slid off the track briefly.

Vettel kept Button at bay to win by 3.2 seconds, with Heidfeld resisting the pressure from Webber in the final laps to claim third.

Alonso charged back onto Massa’s rear wing but had to settle for sixth behind his Scuderia team-mate, with Hamilton only seventh after his additional pit-stop.

Petrov was set for seventh until a wild moment on lap 53, when he ran wide and tried to rejoin the track flat-out over the grass. That launched the Renault in the air and as it crashed back down to the track, the force of the impact broke the steering column mount and the Russian was out on the spot.

Kobayashi managed to make a two-stop strategy work to take eighth position, after several spectacular battles with Michael Schumacher, who was ninth on a tough afternoon for Mercedes. His team-mate Nico Rosberg fell into the midfield on opening lap and never recovered, finishing P12 behind the Force Indias, as Paul di Resta recorded another points finish with a solid drive in his second Grand Prix.

Further back, Team Lotus got closer to the established midfield pace than ever before as Heikki Kovalainen finished P15 behind the Toro Rossos. Both Williams retired, as did Melbourne hero Sergio Perez after the Sauber sustained damage from running over debris.

So a fantastic result for Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing. Pole Position followed by race victory and scoring the maximum available championship points. The reliability of the KERS may still be a major issue for the team but the speed of the RB7 continues to impress this season. Can McLaren fight back in the next race in Shanghai? We will find out in seven days time.

Race results from Sepang, 56 laps:

1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h37:39.832
2.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +3.261
3.  Heidfeld      Renault                    +25.075
4.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +26.384
5.  Massa         Ferrari                    +36.958
6.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +57.248*
7.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +1:07.239
8.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +1:09.957*
9.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +1:24.896
10.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1:31.563
11.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +1:45.000
12.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +1 lap
13.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
14.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
15.  Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault              +1 lap
16.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth            +2 laps
17.  Petrov        Renault                    +4 laps

*Twenty-second penalty

Fastest lap: Webber, 1:40.571

Not classified/retirements:

Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth                 47 laps
D’Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth              43 laps
Trulli        Lotus-Renault                32 laps
Perez         Sauber-Ferrari               24 laps
Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth            23 laps
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 15 laps
Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth            9 laps

World Championship standings, round 2:

1.  Vettel        50
2.  Button        26
3.  Hamilton      22
4.  Webber        22
5.  Alonso        20
6.  Massa         16
7.  Heidfeld        15
8.  Petrov      15
9.  Kobayashi      6
10.  Buemi          4
11.  Sutil     2
12.  Schumacher          2
13.  Di Resta       2

1.  Red Bull-Renault           72
2.  McLaren-Mercedes           48
3.  Ferrari                    36
4.  Renault                    30
5.  Sauber-Ferrari             6
6.  Torro Rosso-Ferrari                    4
7.  Force India-Mercedes          4
8.  Mercedes        2

Next race: Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai. April 15-17.

Vettel snatches Malaysian pole from Hamilton

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel achieved his 17th career pole position in Sepang and denying Lewis Hamilton from the top spot in a thrilling qualifying session.

Hamilton’s first flying lap in Q3 was impressive with a time of one minute, 35.000 seconds. Edging out Vettel by a tenth of a second at that moment.

The McLaren driver went even faster on his second run with one minute, 34.974 seconds but the world champion was able to react to the challenge and produced a fantastic time of one minute, 34.870 seconds to maintain his perfect qualifying record this season. Although Vettel’s margin was only 0.104 seconds compared to Melbourne.

After setting the pace in Friday’s two practice sessions, Mark Webber could only manage third but was only 0.309 seconds adrift to his Red Bull Racing team-mate. As for Jenson Button, who was the quickest in Q2, the McLaren driver will start in fourth position, only 0.021 seconds away from Webber.

That quartet had the pole position fight to themselves, with the rest of the frontrunners a long way off the pace and without enough soft ‘Option’ tyres to do more than one Q3 run.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso led this ‘best of the rest’ group in fifth, with his team-mate Felipe Massa down in seventh. This qualifying form is very disappointing for the Scuderia and questions will be asked on why that impressive winter testing form has disappeared over the course of two qualifying events in Australia and here in Malaysia.

The Renaults made it to Q3 despite the difficult start to the weekend, as during practice both Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov suffered suspension uprights failure. The former recorded the sixth fastest time, putting aside his Melbourne misery while the latter will start in eighth.

Rounding out the top ten is Nico Rosberg for Mercedes ahead of Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi.

For the second race in a row, Michael Schumacher missed out on a Q3 spot and will start P11 – this time after his Mercedes team-mate Rosberg’s late improvement knocked him out.

Neither Toro Rosso reached Q3 at Sepang, with Sebastian Buemi losing a large part of his sidepod bodywork in Q1, which required a brief red flag period. The Swiss driver was able to recover from this to qualify ahead of his team-mate Jaime Alguersuari in P12.

The Force Indias will start the Malaysian Grand Prix in P14 and P17, with Paul di Resta out-qualifying Adrian Sutil once again. Split in-between is Rubens Barrichello for Williams, while Melbourne hero Sergio Perez was only P16 for Sauber.

Even though Team Lotus didn’t get through to Q2, there is a great sign of encouragement as Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli got within half a second of the Williams of Pastor Maldonado. Plus beating Virgin Racing by a margin of two seconds.

As for Hispania, both Tonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan made the 107 per cent qualifying cut very comfortably in Q1 and will take part in Sunday’s race.

Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix will be intriguing as the excessive tyre degradation seen in the practice sessions could see three to four pit-stops during 56 laps. In addition, the weather forecast has hinted a chance of rain meaning we could see an exciting race!

Can the Drag Reduction System – which can be used on the main start and finish straight, which is significant longer than in Melbourne – provide a better representation on the new rules to make cars overtake one another? We will find out and more come race day in Sepang.

Qualifying times from Sepang:

1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m34.870s
2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m34.974s
3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m35.179s
4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m35.200s
5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m35.802s
6.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault              1m36.124s
7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m36.251s
8.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m36.324s
9.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m36.809s
10.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m36.820s
11.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m37.035s
12.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m37.160s
13.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m37.347s
14.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m37.370s
15.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m37.496s
16.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m37.528s
17.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m37.593s
18.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m38.276s
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m38.645s
20.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m38.791s
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m40.648s
22.  Jerome D’Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m41.001s
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         1m41.549s
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m42.574s

107 per cent lap time: 1m43.516s

Stylish Formula One 2011 posters

Check out these stylish posters promoting each round of this season’s Formula One World Championship. It has a retro feel and yet so sophisticated.

A freelance designer from Limerick, Ireland created it. PJ Tierney decided to create 19 posters in only 19 days.

I love these posters as each has its own personality. Not only representing the country but the use of the shape of the racing car to incorporate the flag design. It shows a sense of fun and excitement.

Click here to see the full set of artwork from a Formula One fan.