Monthly Archives: November 2011

Young driver test Day 2 – Vergne still on top

Vergne finished day 2 on top again

Vergne finished day 2 on top again

Jean-Eric Vergne again headed the timesheets for the young driver test in Abu Dhabi.

A time of 1:40.188 in the morning was enough to secure the Frenchman top spot, despite sensor and KERS issues in the afternoon.

Ferrari test driver Jules Bianchi was again 2nd, but this time was only 0.091 seconds behind the Red Bull. Gary Paffett drove the McLaren for the entire day, and was 3rd, albeit 1.5 seconds slower than Vergne. He caused the only red flag of the day, when his McLaren spilled oil on the track.

Valterri Bottas was 4th for Williams, ahead of newest F1 debutant Johnny Cecotto Junior, driving for Force India. Sauber reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez was 6th.

Sam Bird was 7th for Mercedes, ahead of newcomer Kevin Korjus, driving for Renault. Luiz Razia was 9th for Lotus, with Kevin Ceccon 10th for Toro Rosso.

HRT split their running between Jan Charouz and Nathanael Berthon, who finished 11th and 13th respectively – Berthon only driving for the final half hour. Virgin shoe-in Charles Pic was 12th.

Times from day 2:

 1.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Red Bull-Renault      1:40.188
 2.  Jules Bianchi        Ferrari               1:40.279   0.091
 3.  Gary Paffett         McLaren-Mercedes      1:41.756   1.568
 4.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Cosworth     1:42.367   2.179
 5.  Johnny Cecotto Jr    Force India-Mercedes  1:42.873   2.685
 6.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1:43.637   3.449
 7.  Sam Bird             Mercedes GP           1:43.734   3.546
 8.  Kevin Korjus         Renault               1:43.776   3.588
 9.  Luiz Razia           Lotus-Renault         1:43.944   3.756
10.  Kevin Ceccon         Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:44.808   4.620
11.  Jan Charouz          HRT-Cosworth          1:46.644   6.456
12.  Charles Pic          Virgin-Cosworth       1:46.698   6.510
13.  Nathanael Berthon    HRT-Cosworth          1:48.646   8.458

Young driver test Day 1 – Jean-Eric Vergne leads

Vergne ended the first day on top

Vergne ended the first day on top

Jean-Eric Vergne set the pace on the first day of the young driver test in Abu Dhabi.

Jules Bianchi tested a strange aero device

Jules Bianchi tested a strange aero device

The 21-year-old, who recently tested for Toro Rosso and finished 2nd in this year’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series, set a time of 1:40.011 – 1.530 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel’s pole position time last Saturday.

He was nearly a second faster than Ferrari test driver Jules Bianchi, who tested a ridiculous-looking aerodynamic device on the side of his car in the morning. Robert Wickens, driving for Renault, was another 1.3 seconds behind.

Fabio Lemer, the fastest driver of the day to never drive an F1 car before, was 4th for Sauber. McLaren shared their car between 30-year-old Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey finishing 5th and 8th respectively.

GP2 driver Max Chilton (whose brother Tom drives in touring cars) was 6th for Force India. Valtteri Bottas finished in 7th in the Williams FW32.

Mercedes GP test driver Sam Bird was 9th, ahead of Rodolfo Gonzalez (Lotus) and Stefano Coletti (Toro Rosso – also another newcomer to an F1 car). Dani Clos was 12th for HRT.

The two slowest drivers of the day were both Virgin Racing drivers. Charles Pic – who is widely tipped to join the team next year – finished three tenths faster than Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.

Bottas was the only driver to suffer serious technical failure, losing several hours of running time due to a gearbox problem.

Times from day 1:

 1.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Red Bull-Renault      1:40.011   83
 2.  Jules Bianchi        Ferrari               1:40.960   85
 3.  Robert Wickens       Renault               1:42.217   78
 4.  Fabio Leimer         Sauber-Ferrari        1:42.331   67
 5.  Gary Paffett         McLaren-Mercedes      1:42.912   41
 6.  Max Chilton          Force India-Mercedes  1:43.016   81
 7.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Cosworth     1:43.118   71
 8.  Oliver Turvey        McLaren-Mercedes      1:43.502   35
 9.  Sam Bird             Mercedes GP           1:43.548   51
10.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Lotus-Renault         1:44.022   87
11.  Stefano Coletti      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:45.278   87
12.  Dani Clos            HRT-Cosworth          1:45.329   68
13.  Charles Pic          Virgin-Cosworth       1:46.930   30
14.  Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  Virgin-Cosworth       1:47.292   32

Maldonado and Alguersuari handed time penalties

Both Jaime Alguersuari and Pastor Maldonado have been given time penalties for failing to respect blue flags during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Alguersuari was handed a drive-through penalty, which was converted into a 20 second penalty after the race. Meanwhile, Maldonado was given a stop/go penalty – as he had already been given a drive-through earlier in the race for the same offence – and will be docked 30 seconds.

However, neither driver will move positions in the official classification, with Pastor and Jaime finishing 14th and 15th respectively.

Both penalties were issued for failing to allow Felipe Massa and Mark Webber through.

Points standings after Abu Dhabi GP

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 374
2 Jenson Button 255
3 Fernando Alonso 245
4 Mark Webber 233
5 Lewis Hamilton 227
6 Felipe Massa 108
7 Nico Rosberg 83
8 Michael Schumacher 76
9 Vitaly Petrov 36
10 Nick Heidfeld 34
11 Adrian Sutil 34
12 Kamui Kobayashi 28
13 Jaime Alguersuari 26
14 Paul di Resta 23
15 Sebastien Buemi 15
16 Sergio Perez 14
17 Rubens Barrichello 4
18 Bruno Senna 2
19 Pastor Maldonado 1
20 Vitantonio Liuzzi 0
21 Jerome D’Ambrosio 0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Narain Karthikeyan 0
24

25

26

27

28

Jarno Trulli

Pedro de la Rosa

Timo Glock

Daniel Ricciardo

Karun Chandhok

0

0

0

0

0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 607
2 McLaren-Mercedes 482
3 Ferrari 353
4 Mercedes GP 159
5 Renault 72
6 Force India-Mercedes 57
7 Sauber-Ferrari 42
8 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 41
9 Williams-Cosworth 5
10 Lotus-Cosworth 0
11 HRT-Cosworth 0
12 Virgin-Cosworth 0


Hamilton takes commanding win in Abu Dhabi

Vettel leads at the start, but not for long...

Vettel leads at the start, but not for long...

Lewis Hamilton was back on form for the first time in months, as he drove fantastically to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel didn’t even make it around the first lap, resulting in a surprisingly exciting race on the Yas Marina track.

Fernando Alonso drove the wheels off his Ferrari to take 2nd, with Jenson Button 3rd after a relatively slow race. Here is the full report:

At the start, Vettel retained his lead at Turn 1, but for no longer. A puncture exiting the corner blew a rear tyre, reducing Sebastian to a crawl for the entire lap.

Lewis Hamilton leaped into the lead, while Fernando Alonso shoved his way into 2nd place, ahead of a struggling Jenson Button. Meanwhile, after pitting, it became clear that Vettel’s right rear suspension was ruined, and the world champion retired from the race.

The battle for the lead was between Hamilton and Alonso, as the two traded fastest laps, with Button and Webber squabbling behind. Further back, Paul di Resta and Sebastien Buemi battled for 9th place, with the double DRS resulting in constant passes and re-passes.

Kamui Kobayashi, who pitted on Lap 6, began his ascent through the field, passing both HRT cars in a single corner, as Liuzzi and Ricciardo tussled for position.

Button’s lack of pace was explained by a radio message stating that there was “still a problem” –  which became apparent as a KERS failure. Felipe Massa was the first to pit on Lap 16, taking on more soft tyres.

Hamilton and Alonso stopped a lap later, with Button not far behind in the pits. Webber pitted on Lap 18, but a slow tyre change resulted in the Red Bull dropping down the order, behind Felipe Massa. Replays showed Vitaly Petrov running wide and losing places to Adrian Sutil and Michael Schumacher.

Paul di Resta was instructed to allow Sutil past into 8th place, while Sebastien Buemi retired with an ailing car. It became clear that Di Resta was on a one-stop strategy, losing up to 3 seconds per lap on the medium tyre. He eventually pitted for the option tyre on Lap 28 – a risky call.

Pastor Maldonado was given a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags. Button’s lack of KERS meant he was slowly caught by Massa and Webber. Mark was the first to make a move, slicing past the Ferrari, but Felipe re-took the position at the second DRS zone.

Their battle was interrupted by Pastor Maldonado, who, after not learning anything after his first drive-through, held up both drivers as he swerved around the track.

Webber pitted for soft tyres on Lap 36, indicating he was on a three-stop strategy. Button stopped a lap later, taking on the harder compound. At the front, Alonso began chopping into Hamilton’s lead, bringing the gap down to 3.9 seconds.

Webber gets by Button while on a different strategy

Webber gets by Button while on a different strategy

Sergio Perez got past Vitaly Petrov for 10th place. Mark Webber set fastest lap after fastest lap on the option tyres. Lewis Hamilton pitted with 14 laps to go, to cover Alonso’s excellent pace.

While Fernando stayed out, Webber’s race began to slowly unravel, as he was stuck behind Jenson Button, despite two instances of DRS helping the Red Bull. Eventually Mark pushed his way past the McLaren, but as he needed to stop again, Jenson didn’t bother defending his position.

A poor pit stop for the Ferrari ruined his chances of jumping Hamilton in the stops. Rosberg and Webber in 3rd and 4th both needed to stop again, but battled it out on track regardless. Mark got past the Mercedes, but it became clear he had lost his chance of a podium finish.

Massa spins after yet another poor race

Massa spins after yet another poor race

Kamui Kobayashi eaasily passed teammate Sergio Perez for 10th place with 8 laps to go. Felipe Massa spun at Turn 1, ensuring that Webber would remain ahead of the Ferrari after his final stop.

Daniel Ricciardo became the final retirement of the day, pulling off the track with 3 laps to go. As expected, Webber pitted on the final lap, dropping him to 4th place.

Lewis Hamilton crossed the line to take his first win since the Nurburgring, ensuring a return to form at the end of the 2011 season. Alonso pushed as hard as he could, but a win was too much to ask for. Button took a steady 3rd after his KERS issues.

After a troubled year, Hamilton is back on top

After a troubled year, Hamilton is back on top

Webber led Massa home, while Nico Rosberg beat teammate Michael Schumacher, who pulled over on the cool-down lap to conserve a fuel sample.

The Force Indias performed well, with Sutil and Di Resta 8th and 9th after utilising different strategies. Kobayashi grabbed the final point after a difficult string of races for the Japanese driver.

Vettel pips McLarens to Abu Dhabi pole

Sebastian Vettel pulled out another last-gasp lap to steal pole position off Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Jenson Button was 3rd, just 0.009 seconds off his teammate. Mark Webber was 4th, with the Ferraris 5th and 6th. Here is what happened:

Q1

Both Williams cars will start on the back row

Both Williams cars will start on the back row

Rubens Barrichello failed to set a lap time in his Williams, after suffering an oil leak earlier on that day. He will start in 24th place alongside his teammate, who took a 10-place penalty for an engine change.

With this, there was no shootout to see what midfield car would be knocked out. Both Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher went out on soft tyres late on in Q1, but abandoned their laps when it became clear Rubens wasn’t taking part.

Heikki Kovalainen out-qualified Jarno Trulli for the 15th time this year, while Daniel Ricciardo did well to out-perform both his teammate and Jerome D’Ambrosio.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:42.979

19) Jarno Trulli – 1:43.884

20) Timo Glock – 1:44.515

21) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:44.641

22) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:44.699

23) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:45.159

24) Rubens Barrichello – No time set

Q2

Schumacher passes a stray bollard

Schumacher passes a stray bollard

The Red Bulls and McLarens battled it out at the top of the timesheets for a while, before the red flags came out.

Felipe Massa, and then Jenson Button, had dislodged a bollard at Turn 8, and it landed on the racing line. When racing resumed, Hamilton remained ahead of Sebastian Vettel at the top.

Pastor Maldonado was 17th, and with his grid penalty, will start on the back row alongside his fellow Williams driver.

Both Force Indias made it through to Q3, while a mistake by Sebastien Buemi ensured he only qualified 13th.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Sergio Perez – 1:40.874

12) Vitaly Petrov – 1:40.919

13) Sebastien Buemi – 1:41.009

14) Bruno Senna – 1:41.079

15) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:41.162

16) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:41.240

17) Pastor Maldonado – 1:41.760

Q3

Vettel heads both McLarens for tomorrow's race

Vettel heads both McLarens for tomorrow's race

Q3 saw a fantastic shoot-out between the McLarens and Vettel, each driver just pipping the other after every lap.

A cooling track resulted in times being slower than in Q2. Lewis initially led Sebastian going into the final run, but Jenson Button threw himself into the mix by taking top spot on his final lap.

Hamilton then snatched the lead back, but only just – a gap of 0.009 seconds separated the McLarens. However, just when it looked as if it could be a McLaren front row lockout, Vettel smashed his Red Bull into pole position by 0.141 seconds.

It was his 14th pole position this year, equalling Nigel Mansell’s record from the 1992 season. However, it must be considered that there were only 16 races that year.

Interestingly, while Vettel and Button managed to go faster in Q3 despite the dropping temperatures, Lewis Hamilton felt that his Q2 lap was much better.

Mark Webber and the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa never challenged for pole, each finishing 4th, 5th and 6th. Nico Rosberg was 7th, with Michael Schumacher and Adrian Sutil considerably further back. Paul di Resta was the only driver not to set a time.

Hamilton fastest in Abu Dhabi second practice

Hamilton kept McLaren on top

Hamilton kept McLaren on top

McLaren once again dominated practice in Abu Dhabi, but this time it was Lewis Hamilton on top of the timesheets.

Hamilton led teammate Button by nearly two tenths of a second, with the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa behind. Mark Webber was 5th, with Sebastian Vettel 6th.

Both Vettel and Alonso crashed at the same spot in second practice. At the entry to Turn 1, both cars hit the barriers, with Vettel rejoining the session later, and Alonso suffering damage to the back of the car.

Mark Webber also spun out, at Turn 18, but managed to rejoin the track.

Michael Schumacher was 7th, ahead of the two Force India and two Sauber drivers. Nico Rosberg was 20th and 4.5 seconds off the pace, despite setting over 40 laps.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:39.586          31
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:39.785   0.199  30
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:39.971   0.385  20
 4.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:39.980   0.394  34
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:40.104   0.518  35
 6.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:40.132   0.546  26
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:40.553   0.967  34
 8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:40.951   1.365  34
 9.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:41.021   1.435  37
10.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:41.490   1.904  34
11.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:41.565   1.979  34
12.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:41.680   2.094  33
13.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1:41.947   2.361  31
14.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:41.983   2.397  34
15.  Bruno Senna           Renault                1:42.369   2.783  36
16.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:42.798   3.212  35
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1:42.910   3.324  34
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1:43.562   3.976  36
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1:44.050   4.464  38
20.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:44.265   4.679  41
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1:45.486   5.900  34
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1:46.142   6.556  32
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           1:46.249   6.663  21
24.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth           1:46.328   6.742  34

Button heads Abu Dhabi first practice

Button was fastest in a McLaren-dominated session

Button was fastest in a McLaren-dominated session

Jenson Button was fastest in first practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The McLarens dominated the session, before Mark Webber went 2nd near the end. This session also saw the introduction of Pirelli’s new experimental soft tyre.

World champion Sebastian Vettel was 4th, ahead of the Ferrari drivers who had a difficult session. Both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa spun off the track within several minutes of each other. Alonso in particular seemed to struggle with the handling of his car.

Jean-Eric Vergne tested for Toro Rosso, finishing 11th and only 0.2 seconds behind Jaime Alguersuari. Romain Grosjean drove for Renault in place of Bruno Senna, taking 12th.

Robert Wickens also drove in his first ever Formula 1 session, and was slowest of all the drivers. Rubens Barrichello was last, after retiring with engine problems after 3 laps.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:40.263          21
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1:40.389   0.126  26
 3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1:40.403   0.140  27
 4.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1:40.755   0.492  27
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1:40.801   0.538  25
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1:41.260   0.997  17
 7.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    1:41.340   1.077  23
 8.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1:42.130   1.867  26
 9.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1:42.151   1.888  28
10.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:42.377   2.114  26
11.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:42.633   2.370  26
12.  Romain Grosjean       Renault                 1:42.685   2.422  29
13.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                 1:43.118   2.855  13
14.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth       1:43.255   2.992  29
15.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1:43.389   3.126  24
16.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1:44.412   4.149  28
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1:44.484   4.221  18
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault           1:44.565   4.302  27
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault           1:44.898   4.635  25
20.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth            1:46.385   6.122  28
21.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth            1:46.532   6.269  27
22.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth         1:48.024   7.761  20
23.  Robert Wickens        Virgin-Cosworth         1:48.551   8.288  23
24.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth                          3

Abu Dhabi to feature double DRS

Abu Dhabi DRS zones

Abu Dhabi DRS zones

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will feature two instances of the Drag Reduction System per lap.

The activation zones will be placed on the two longest straights on the track, each activated about a third of the way through each of the straights.

Unusually, the second DRS zone, occuring after Turn 9, will have the detection zone after the previous corner.

Lotus, Renault and Virgin to change names for 2012

Lotus will be known as Caterham next year

Lotus will be known as Caterham next year

The Lotus vs Lotus battle has finally come to a conclusion, with both teams agreeing to change team names for the 2012 season.

Meanwhile, Virgin will formally change their name to Marussia, who began sponsoring the team several months ago.

Tony Fernandes’ outfit, currently racing as Team Lotus, will soon be known as Caterham. They will race under the name of “Caterham F1 Team” and will use a Caterham chassis.

Team Lotus CEO Riad Asmat had some interesting words to say about their team moving away from the Lotus-Renault dispute:

"We are proud of what we have achieved by bringing the Team Lotus name back to 
Formula 1 when many tried and although we are sad to say goodbye to Team Lotus 
we are excited about owning our own future and being in control of our own destiny.

Now we have no one to be compared to. We make our own history and we will remain 
green and yellow.

Now we look forward to an exciting future racing under our new team name of 
Caterham F1 Team. Please continue to support our very special spirit of never say
die and support us on the track as we move up the field and demonstrate that the 
good do win."

The Renault team, which is sponsored by Group Lotus (who operate Lotus road cars), will now take control of the Lotus name. Earlier this year, the British High Court ruled that Renault did not have the rights to use the “Team Lotus” name, which has now been settled with this announcement.

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