Hamilton wins in Singapore
Lewis Hamilton led almost from lights to flag to claim his second grand prix of the season, while Jenson Button again benefited from the misfortune of others to shore up his world championship advantage on the streets of Singapore.
Having made a lightning start, Hamilton was only briefly troubled, initially as Nico Rosberg tagged along with the McLaren, and later when Sebastian Vettel refused to be shaken off after a safety car restart, but looked comfortable as he paced the field to the chequered flag under the lights of Marina Bay. The world champion only lost the lead after taking his second fuel and tyre stop, allowing 2008 race winner Fernando Alonso a handful of laps at the front, but retook the advantage when the Spaniard stopped and cruised home over seven seconds to the good.
Rosberg appeared on course for another second place in Singapore, but made an error exiting the pits on his first stop and was relegated into the midfield by the ensuing penalty for crossing the blend line - a problem compounded by the timing of the race's only safety car, which was called for a collision between fellow Germans Adrian Sutil and Nick Heidfeld on lap 21.
Vettel took up the mantle of chief pursuer to Hamilton, but made his own mistake by exceeding the pit-lane speed limit on his second stop, although the damage was not as severe as that endured by his Williams rival. The Red Bull driver came home as the best-placed title contender, in fourth place, despite concerns over his brakes after team-mate Mark Webber crashed when his right front disc failed.
Vettel's problem promoted yet another German, Timo Glock, into an eventual second, the Toyota team being rewarded with a solid run back to the podium as Glock equalled his best finish in F1. Alonso completed the podium for the beleaguered Renault team, which had earlier seen rookie Romain Grosjean post the race's first retirement.
The Brawns were also in brake trouble, forcing Button to call of his late-race pursuit of Vettel and settle for fifth, enough to extend his lead over team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who chased the Briton across the line in a race that almost made it to the two-hour time limit.
1. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 61 laps 1hr 56m 06.337s
2. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota +00m 09.6s
3. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +00m 16.6s
4. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 20.2s
5. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes +00m 30.0s
6. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes +00m 31.8s
7. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +00m 36.1s
8. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber +00m 55.0s
9. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota +00m 56.0s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 58.8s
11. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota +00m 59.7s
12. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +01m 13.0s
13. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Ferrari-Ferrari +01m 19.8s
14. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes +01m 33.5s
Rtd Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 47 laps completed
Rtd Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 47 laps completed
Rtd Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 45 laps completed
Rtd Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 23 laps completed
Rtd Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 19 laps completed
Rtd Romain Grosjean France Renault-Renault 3 laps completed
Hamilton surprise by his pole!
Lewis Hamilton admitted it was an unexpected surprise to secure his third pole in four race for the latest round of the F1 season in Singapore.
Hamilton had endured a tough start to the weekend in Friday practice but a change of chassis overnight led to an upturn in fortunes when the current champion posted the quickest time during final practice.
The Briton then led the way in the first stage of qualifying and was again quickest after the first run in Q3 before the top ten returned to the track to complete their final qualifying runs. When Rubens Barrichello then went into the wall exiting turn five and brought out the red flags, a 16th career pole was secured and Hamilton admitted it had been a pleasant surprise.
“It's an absolutely fantastic result,” he said. “We came here with several technical upgrades, and we didn't know if we'd be up there – particularly after Friday practice, which wasn't spectacular for me. My pole lap was very relaxed: the car has just got better and better as the track has evolved, and I think I would have gone faster on my final lap if the session hadn't been aborted.
“I didn't expect to be on pole today, but our pace has been really good. We'll need to see what fuel loads everyone else is running, but I feel quite confident in what we're doing and I'm in the best position for the race tomorrow.”
While Hamilton benefitted from the red flag in Q3, the same couldn't be said for team-mate Heikki Kovalainen who could only post the tenth quickest time as he was unable to get a lap on the quicker option tyres due to the early stoppage.
“This is a very disappointing result for me,” the Finn said. “In the first two sessions, things went smoothly – although my laptimes weren't as competitive as I was expecting. For Q3, I didn't get a good enough lap in during my first run as I'd been running the harder tyre, which wasn't quick enough. I also made a couple of mistakes, but I was focusing my efforts on my second run – which would have been on a set of new option tyres.
“It's going to be a tough race tomorrow: starting from ninth will make things very difficult, but there's nothing I can do about that now, so I'm just going to absolutely go for it tomorrow.”
Hamilton takes Singapore pole under red flag
Lewis Hamilton was assured of pole position for the second Singapore Grand Prix after Rubens Barrichello banged the wall on his final flying lap around the Marina Bay circuit.
The Briton was already fastest of the final ten runners when Barrichello lost his car over the bumps heading into turn five, connecting the wall heavily with the left-hand side of the Brawn.
While Hamilton was left sitting pretty in his third pole of the year - and one that many expected him to take - Q2 pacesetter Nico Rosberg could be a little more aggrieved, having been on a better lap at the time the red flags were shown. The German will subsequently start from the inside of row two, with countryman Sebastian Vettel between himself and Hamilton, having also been denied a final shot at top spot.
Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber will line up alongside Rosberg, while Barrichello remained fifth fastest. The Brazilian, however, will drop to tenth after taking his gearbox change penalty, putting him just two spots ahead of Brawn team-mate and title rival Jenson Button, who missed the cut for Q3.
Fernando Alonso, Timo Glock, Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen will all move up one spot because of Barrichello's penalty.
Singapore Grand Prix – Qualifying times
1. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 47.891s
2. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 48.204s
3. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1m 48.348s
4. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 48.722s
5. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes 1m 48.828s*
6. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 1m 49.054s
7. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota 1m 49.180s
8. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1m 49.307s
9. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1m 49.514s
10. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1m 49.778s
11. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1m 47.013s
12. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes 1m 47.141s
13. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 47.177s
14. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 47.369s
15. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota 1m 47.413s
16. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 48.231s
17. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 48.340s
18. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 48.350s
19. Romain Grosjean France Renault-Renault 1m 48.544s
20. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes 1m 48.792s
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
By Ossian Shine
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The race-fixing controversy that has shamed Formula One is a bump on the road that the sport will quickly get past, according to former world champion Mika Hakkinen.
The Finn, who escaped from an horrific accident that almost killed him before he won the world title in 1998 and 1999, said motor racing's premier category would also survive the ugly scandal surrounding the Renault team.
"Show must go on," Hakkinen told Reuters.
"People who have done wrong, they need a penalty...And life has to go on."
Formula One has been plunged into controversy after the Renault team were found to have ordered driver Nelson Piquet to deliberately crash at last year's Singapore Grand Prix to help his team mate Fernando Alonso to win the race.
Renault team boss Flavio Briatore was barred for life on Monday for his role and former engineering head Pat Symonds was banned for five years. Piquet walked away unpunished after being given immunity from prosecution for testifying.
The controversy has cast an unsavory shadow over the sport and undermined Formula One's credibility at a time when it is looking to bolster support and shore up investment.
But Hakkinen, who would have died at the 1995 Australian Grand Prix without the intervention of quick-thinking doctors who performed an emergency trackside tracheotomy, remains upbeat about the future.
"Forget it and concentrate on the future," he said. "I think what is important now is a great grand prix is coming."
Hakkinen, in Singapore ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix, said Sunday's nighttime spectacle was just the first step on the sport's road to recovery, as was the return next season of Lotus, the glamour-name that he started his career with.
"I think it's brilliant," Hakkinen said. "I think it's absolutely brilliant.
"A new organization in Formula One, new team in Formula One, new people in Formula One. All of this is a positive thing."
Running his hand through his blond-streaked hair the 41-year-old issued one piece of advice.
"You really, really have to keep your feet down on earth," he cautioned. "You have to have the right people running the operation.
"Obviously (there is) a lot of money involved, and you need professional people. So they, the people who have decided to bring the Lotus back, and run the Formula One team, I hope they have a good plan to get the right people."
Leading Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes will be the Lotus team principal. The 45-year-old set up Asian budget airline Air Asia, currently sponsoring the Williams team, and is Malaysia's 15th richest man with a net worth of $220 million according to the Forbes Malaysia 2009 rich list.
The team has the backing of the Malaysian government. Lotus will initially be based in Norfolk, some 10 miles from the original Lotus Cars factory in Eastern England, but the future design, manufacturing and technical center will be purpose built at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit.
(Editing by Julian Linden)
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Barrichello wins Italian GP at Monza
Brawn Grand Prix's Rubens Barrichello came through to take the victory at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, ahead of his team-mate, Jenson Button.
Barrichello eventually finished the race around 3 seconds up on Button, with Kimi Raikkonen inheriting third late on, when Lewis Hamilton crashed out on the final lap.
Force India's Adrian Sutil was next up, shadowing Raikkonen's Ferrari, followed by the Renault of Fernando Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen.
Nick Heidfeld and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the points' finishers in seventh and eighth respectively.
Italian Grand Prix - Race result
1. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes 53 laps 1h 16m 21.706s
2. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes +2.8s
3. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari +30.6s
4. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes +31.1s
5. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +59.1
6. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +60.6s
7. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber +82.4s
8. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +85.4s
9. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Ferrari-Ferrari +86.8s
10. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota +120.0s
11. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota +163.9s
12. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
13. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
14. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +1 lap
15. Romain Grosjean France Renault-Renault +1 lap
16. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota +2 laps
Rtd. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes 22 laps completed (gearbox)
Rtd. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 19 laps completed
Rtd. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 15 laps completed (oil leak)
Rtd. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 0 lap completed (accident)
Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 24.739s
Hamilton edges out Sutil for Italian GP pole
Lewis Hamilton secured pole position today in qualifying for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the thirteenth round in the 2009 FIA F1 World Championship, but only just as Adrian Sutil almost made it two in a row for Force India.
Hamilton was on the pace throughout, setting the second best time in both Q1 and Q2. In the final top-ten shoot-out he again looked strong in his McLaren-Mercedes and he held P1 until right at the end when Sutil demoted him to second.
However, Hamilton was still on track and clocking up best sector times, and he just edged back in front with a 1 minute 24.066 second lap, which was 0.195 seconds up Sutil.
Sutil thus had to settle for second and it could so nearly have been pole, especially as he made a slight error at the first Lesmo.
All-in-all though it was still another great result for Force India - following on from Giancarlo Fisichella's pole and runners-up spot at Spa, and with his replacement, Vitantonio Liuzzi also making it through to the final shoot-out and qualifying seventh, more points seem likely for the Silverstone-based outfit.
Meanwhile Kimi Raikkonen was third for Ferrari, almost half a second off Hamilton, with the second McLaren and fellow Finn, Heikki Kovalainen fourth.
Rubens Barrichello completed the top five, 0.015 seconds up on his Brawn GP team-mate and current championship leader, Jenson Button - both apparently running heavier than those up ahead.
Further down the order, after Liuzzi in seventh, came Renault's Fernando Alonso and then the Red Bull's of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
Jarno Trulli just missed the cut for Q3 and had to settle for eleventh spot in his Toyota, followed by Romain Grosjean and BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica. Kubica and his team-mate, Nick Heidfeld both bowed out in Q2 early on, when engine problems sidelined them.
Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying times
1. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 24.065s
2. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 24.261s
3. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 24.523s
4. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1m 24.845s
5. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes 1m 25.015s
6. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes 1m 25.030s
7. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes 1m 25.043s
8. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 1m 25.072s
9. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 25.180s
10. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 25.314s
11. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota 1m 23.611s
12. Romain Grosjean France Renault-Renault 1m 23.728s
13. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1m 23.866s
14. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 23.901s
15. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1m 24.275s
16. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota 1m 24.036s
17. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1m 24.074s
18. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1m 24.121s
19. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 24.220s
20. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 24.951s**