Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lewis in India

Lewis Hamilton was to India on Tuesday after the Singapore Grand Prix for a Vodafone India promotional event. Given the great turn out (40,000 spectators) it would have been a great distraction from his 'tussle' with a Brazilian on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton in India

From Bengaluru, photo by @thefifthDriver

Video of an interview with Indian TV

Fan video (apologies for poor quality)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Singapore GP: Race Summary

First the 'vanilla' news: Vettel won the Singapore Grand Prix and needs just 1 more point to clinch his second World Drivers' Championship. Button came second and Webber finished in third place. There was only 1 Safety car deployment after an ambitious (read: unnecessary) overtake attempt by Schumacher on Perez.

Vettel tires of finger-pointing (photo from usatoday.com)
Now for the 'tastier' stuff: Lewis Hamilton clipped his front wing on Felipe Massa's wheel while justling for position and both required a visit to the pits for repairs. This incident resulted in a drive-through penalty for Hamilton. The Brit eventually visited the pit-lanes 5 times during the race and made several overtakes to finish 5th. Massa on the other hand, finished in 9th place and made his feelings about the Hamilton incident clear for all to see by interrupting Hamilton's interview saying “Good job, man, well done” with a sarcastic thumbs-up.

Video by SixtyBuckss

Other notable drives were by Paul Di Resta (6th position), whose rookie year continues to impress everyone in the paddock and Heikki Kovalainen (Team Lotus) who finished ahead of a Lotus-Renault. Sweet revenge against the team his is currently embroiled in a legal battle with.

More 'tastier' stuff, albeit strange was Anthony Hamilton's comments about his son's management (XIX Entertainment) and their non-appearance at his races. It is understood that he said: 
“You look up and down the pit lane and every driver, except for Lewis, has a driver-manager in his life, not people from a company". “I am sure his management are very good – I don’t know – but Formula One drivers need people personally involved in the driver’s lives because it is a big pressure" - Interview by Tom Cary
Vettel may have won the race at Singapore but another driver is dominating newspaper's columns. 

For more photos and a fan's experience of the Singapore Grand Prix, check out @nicolaheartsF1's blog and Please continue to vote in my poll on the right-hand tool bar.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hamilton versus... (II)

Most people admit Lewis Hamilton is an interesting and exciting driver. His aggressive driving style has been his trademark since his debut year (2007) and has provided viewers with exciting races even though some of his overtaking moves have not been successful. Nonetheless, to date, Hamilton has constantly out-performed his team-mates. 

An article I wrote in October 2010 (Hamilton versus...) shows a graph with Hamilton's performance against all his team-mates since 2007 (his debut year) i.e. Alonso, Kovalainen and Button. (Hamilton eventually finished 26 points ahead of Button in 2010).

Relative Performance of Hamilton against his team-mates

By the 2011 season, Hamilton's current team-mate, Jenson Button admitted that he is more comfortable with his technical team and even his car seat has been customised for him. And recently, he has been doing better than Hamilton on the track, prompting pundits to comment that Hamilton is now playing second fiddle* at McLaren. A very public 'chat' with another team principal has also added weight to the idea that Hamilton is no longer happy at McLaren. Perhaps frustrated by Ron Dennis's replacement's approach to design developments?

After the Italian Grand Prix (a race at which a more aggressive Button pull off an overtake on Michael Schumacher, that a seemingly more conservative Hamilton could not manage), it is looking more probable that Lewis Hamilton will lose his crown as the 'leading driver at McLaren'. Also, as things stand Vettel already has a finger on the 2011 WDC trophy and this season might be the first one Hamilton is not in mathematical contention for the champioship by the last race. So one wonders;
  • is this the beginning of a downward spiral in terms of his future F1 performance, given that alternative options for him are limited i.e. other championship winning teams like RedBull and Ferrari are unlikely to sign him for various reasons, OR
  • if he is out-performed in 2011, will that be the impetus he needs to buck up and come back stronger and drive a more calculated race in 2012, perhaps tempering his naturally aggressive style to increase his chances of succeeding and possibly winning another WDC?
I would appreciate your participation in the poll running on this blog and your comments on this blog article. 

*second fiddlen - someone who serves in a subordinate capacity or plays a secondary role

Monday, September 12, 2011

Italian GP: Race Summary

For me, these three words describe the 2011 Italian Grand Prix:  
Unfortunate: for Rosberg and Petrov who didn't get the chance to complete a lap of the race. They retired due to a collision caused by Liuzzi.
Agonising: Lewis Hamilton got stuck behind Schumacher for several laps and had to cope with illegal defensive moves from the German. He lost a place to his team-mate and had an unsuccessful last-lap attempt to overtake Alonso to gain a podium place.
Emotional: Bruno Senna scored his first F1 WDC points in his newly acquired seat in Lotus-Renault and the Senna name makes an apperance on the points board for the first time in 18 years.

Alonso had a great start which delighted the Ferrari 'tifosi'. Both McLarens were sluggish off the line and they dropped several places at start. Liuzzi's crash within a few minutes of race-start brought out the safety car, and at the re-start, Schumacher got ahead of Hamilton. And there began the British driver's race woes.

Loyal Tifosi in Ferrari red (photo by @ilariaF1)
Hamilton (running 5th) was 'stuck' behind a relatively evenly-paced Mercedes of Schumacher (4th) and because of the scarcity of braking zones at Monza, there weren't many opportunities to harvest energy for KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). 
Schumacher had to be 'reminded' by his team-boss to leave enough room for the Brit and while trying to make a pass past the German, Hamilton lost 4th place to his team-mate, Button.

Hamilton eventually made it past Schumacher several laps later (by which time the leading pack had built a decent gap to the rest of the field), and almost chased down Alonso in the last few laps. He finally crossed the line in 4th place - to the delight of the tifosi - who were happy to see a Ferrari driver on the podium.

Italian GP Podium (photo via www.ausmotive.com)
Hamilton refrained from commenting on the Schumacher incident and just seemed content and grateful just to finish a race after his latest run of bad luck

Video from Sixtybuckss YouTube Channel (via BBC.co.uk)

Top 10 drivers: VET, BUT, ALO, BUT, SCH, MAS, ALG, DIR, SEN, BUE.

Notable Drives
Of the rookies, Di Resta was the only one to score points, finishing in 7th place. Kovalainen equalled his best finish of 13th and both Toro Rosso drivers finished in points-scoring positions, having started from 16th (Buemi) and 18th (Alguersuari). My drivers of the day were Alguersuari and Di Resta.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Italian GP: Qualifying (Italiano)

Formula Uno ritorna a Monza questa fine settimana, una citta nel nord dall'Italia. Forse la prima gara di secco per un po, cosi le il passo dei piloti e le scelte di gomma avra' un grande ruolo per decidere i risultati. 
Italian GP Paddock (foto di @VoxVocis)
Il weekend è iniziato con 'cambergate' e dopo il FIA ha forzata un regola per il camber di gomme di 3.25°, perche RedBull hanno soffrire eccessivamente alla gara scorsa.

Nella prima parte della sessione di qualifiche, Trulli è stato il primo piloto di uscire sulla pista di Monza. I soliti sospetti di RBR, McLaren e Ferrari hanno scambiati il tempo migliore ed è stata una bandiera gialla per "l'escursione" di Pastor Maldonado. I piloti che non passato dal sessione seconda era Alguersuari, Trulli, Kovalainen, Glock, D'Ambrosio, Ricciardo, Liuzzi.
Nel Q2, il tempo migliore di 1min22.914 è stata fissato dal pilota Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel (nessuna sorpresa). Di Resta, Sutil, Barrichello, Maldonado, Perez, Buemi, Kobayashi sono i piloti nel posizione 11° al 18°. Di Resta (il pilota di Force India) appena perso il posizione 10° da Bruno Senna, che continua di mostrare buono ritmo di qualifica, dopo la sostituzione di Nick Heidfeld nella squadra di Lotus-Renault.
Bruno Senna (foto di RM)
Ferrari è stata la prima squadra fuori nel Q3 e sono arrivato da applausi dei tifosi. Ogni piloti sembrava essere alla cerca di altri piloti per un 'tow'. Ma alle fine, Vettel preso pole position dal Hamilton. Altri piloti nella Top 10 sono Button, Alonso, Webber, Massa, Petrov, Schumacher, Rosberg and Senna.
McLaren Pitwall (mcLaren.com/Formula1)
Primi tre piloti per Italian GP (foto di BBC Website)
I tifosi spera un vittoria della Ferrari ed entrambi piloti alla posizione 4° (Alonso) e 6° (Massa) cerchera tutto per non deludere i tifosi adoranti.

Italian GP: Qualifying

Apologies for missing out the Belgian Grand Prix, but F1 returns to the northern Italian town of Monza this weekend. Possibly the first dry race for a while so drivers' race pace and tyre choices will play a big role in deciding the results. 
Italian GP Paddock (photo by @VoxVocis)
The weekend started with 'cambergate' after which FIA enforced a tyre camber setting of 3.25° after RedBull's tyres blistered excessively in the last race.

The first part of Qualifying session Q1 saw Trulli first to step out onto the Monza track. The usual suspects of RBR, McLaren and Ferrari swapped places at the top of the timesheets and the session was momentarily yellow-flagged due to Pastor Maldonado's excursion. Drivers who dropped out after Q1 were Alguersuari, Trulli, Kovalainen, Glock, D'Ambrosio, Ricciardo, Liuzzi. 

In Q2, the best time of 1min22.914 was set by (no surprise) Red Bull driver, Sebastian Vettel. Drivers who didn't make it into Q3 were di Resta, Sutil, Barrichello, Maldonado, Perez, Buemi, Kobayashi. Di Resta was knocked out of Q3 in the last few seconds of the session by Bruno Senna, who continues to show great qualifying pace after replacing Nick Heidfeld in the Lotus-Renault team.
Bruno Senna (photo by RM)
Ferrari was the first car out in Q3 in the 10-minute session and were greated by loud applause from the fans. Every driver seemed to be seeking out other drivers to derive a tow from. But eventually, Vettel took pole position from Hamilton. Other drivers making the Top 10 are Button, Alonso, Webber, Massa, Petrov, Schumacher, Rosberg and Senna.

McLaren Pitwall (mcLaren.com/Formula1)
Top Three Drivers for Italian GP (photo from BBC Website)
The Italian fans (tifosi) will be hoping for a win by Ferrari and both drivers starting from 4th (Alonso) and 6th (Massa) will try all they can not to disappoint the adoring fans.