Monthly Archives: June 2012

Maldonado, Kobayashi and Vergne penalised for incidents

Pastor Maldonado, Jean-Eric Vergne and Kamui Kobayashi have been punished by the race stewards for causing collisions during the European Grand Prix.

Maldonado was handed a 20-second time penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Lewis Hamilton with two laps to go.

Pastor left the track in a battle with the position, but immediately returned to the track, and harpooned the McLaren into the tyre barriers. Because of the clash, he fell from 3rd to 10th. This penalty demotes him to 12th, and promotes teammate Senna into the final points-scoring position.

Jean-Eric Vergne clashed with Heikki Kovalainen, bringing out the safety car in the process. Despite the Frenchman classifying the crash as a “racing incident”, he was handed a 10-place grid penalty for Silverstone, and a $25,000 fine.

Kamui Kobayashi clipped Felipe Massa’s Ferrari and pushed him off the racing line. Massa was left with a puncture, and Kamui suffered front wing damage. He was handed a 5-place grid penalty for Silverstone.

Points standings after European Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Fernando Alonso 111
2 Mark Webber 91
3 Lewis Hamilton 88
4 Sebastian Vettel 85
5 Nico Rosberg 75
6 Kimi Raikkonen 73
7 Romain Grosjean 53
8 Jenson Button 49
9 Sergio Perez 39
10 Pastor Maldonado 30
11 Paul di Resta 27
12 Kamui Kobayashi 21
13 Michael Schumacher 17
14 Nico Hulkenberg 17
15 Bruno Senna 15
16 Felipe Massa  11
17 Jean-Eric Vergne 4
18 Daniel Ricciardo  2
19 Timo Glock  0
20 Charles Pic  0
21 Vitaly Petrov  0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Pedro de la Rosa 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan 0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 176
2 McLaren-Mercedes 137
3 Lotus-Renault 126
4 Ferrari 122
5 Mercedes AMG 92
6 Sauber-Ferrari 60
7 Williams-Renault 45
8 Force India-Mercedes 44
9 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
10 Caterham-Renault 0
11 Marussia-Cosworth 0
12 HRT-Cosworth 0


 

Unstoppable Alonso takes emotional Valencia victory

Fernando Alonso has taken the victory in a dramatic European Grand Prix.

Despite starting 11th, the Ferrari driver blitzed his way up the field, and took full advantage of Sebastian Vettel’s woes to dominate to the flag. The Lotuses were in contention all race long, but Romain Grosjean retired with a mechanical issue, although Kimi Raikkonen inherited 2nd after a safety car period.

Michael Schumacher took his first podium since his F1 return, while Mark Webber sliced up the field from 19th to 4th. Lewis Hamilton was set for a podium finish, but clashed with Pastor Maldonado with only 2 laps to go. Here is what happened:

Vettel pulls out an unassailable lead

Vettel pulls out an unassailable lead

At the start, Vettel held his lead comfortably, while Kamui Kobayashi and Romain Grosjean made good progress. The Ferraris made good progress from the midfield, with both Massa and Alonso moving into the top 10.

While Grosjean harassed Hamilton for 2nd place, Vettel began to pull out an astonishing lead, at over 2 seconds per lap. Jenson Button lost 3 places at the start, but passed Michael Schumacher on lap 3 for 12th place.

It quickly became clear that the Mercedes drivers were struggling to keep their tyres cool. Both Rosberg and Schumacher began to slide down the order.

Grosjean pushes his way past Hamilton

Grosjean pushes his way past Hamilton

By lap 10, Grosjean had had enough of staring at the McLaren’s diffuser. He pulled an incredible move on Lewis at turns 12 and 13, to take 2nd place.

Both the leader and Romain pitted on lap 17, the gap having been extended to over 15 seconds. Further back, Schumacher decided to stay out, and formed an enormous queue of cars behind him – at one point, there were 9 cars all battling for position.

This type of action was always going to end in tears. Kamui Kobayashi attempted to squeeze past Bruno Senna, but tipped the Williams into a spin. Senna suffered a puncture and broken front wing, while Kobayashi sustained minor damage. The stewards decided that Bruno was to blame for turning in on the Sauber, and handed him a drive-through penalty.

Ricciardo and Kovalainen clash, sending out the safety car

Ricciardo and Kovalainen clash, sending out the safety car

Vettel’s lead had extended to over 20 seconds, when the first of several incidents unravelled his race. A clash between Heikki Kovalainen and Daniel Ricciardo brought out the safety car, and reduced the Red Bull’s lead to dust.

On the restart, an unknown car failure caused Sebastian to coast to a halt, throwing away what was an almost certain victory.

This left Grosjean in the lead, albeit briefly. Fernando made a sensational move on the Lotus into turn 1, and inherited the lead after the Red Bull’s retirement.

Senna is tipped into a high-speed spin by Kobayashi

Senna is tipped into a high-speed spin by Kobayashi

To make matters worse, Romain was next to fall prey to mechanical issues, suffering a driveshaft failure.

Amidst all the drama, Vitaly Petrov had made progress up to 10th place in the Caterham. However, he was quickly swamped by Schumacher and Webber, and later clashed with the Toro Rosso of Ricciardo. He slipped to 13th, ahead of his teammate.

Maldonado harpoons Hamilton with 2 laps to go

Maldonado harpoons Hamilton with 2 laps to go

As the race entered its final few laps, Kimi Raikkonen closed right up behind Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren’s tyres were swiftly falling apart, and an extremely slow pit stop during the safety car period had ruined his chances of the race win. With this, Kimi pushed his way past, and moved into 2nd place.

With his tyres fading fast, Hamilton was now a prime target for Pastor Maldonado. He took to the run-off area to make a move, but smashed into the side of Lewis’ car with only 2 laps to go. Hamilton was out on the spot, and was absolutely furious. Maldonado continued on with no front wing, but slipped to 10th position.

But, the drama still wasn’t over. Only a few laps after passing Petrov for 10th, Michael Schumacher had sliced 10 seconds out of the leaders’ gap, and blasted his way into 3rd place. Mark Webber had recovered brilliantly from his 19th grid spot to take 4th position.

It was probably the most emotional win ever for Alonso

It was probably the most emotional win ever for Alonso

Despite this, there was no stopping Fernando Alonso. After crossing the line, he pulled over in one of the most emotional and memorable celebrations in recent history. He stopped on track, celebrated with the fans and stewards, and laid a Spanish flag across the track.

He delayed the podium celebrations considerably, but nobody was complaining. With this win, Alonso has now streaked into the lead of the driver’s championship, and has considerable momentum going into the British Grand Prix in two weeks time.

Vettel charges to Valencia pole position

Sebastian Vettel has taken his 33rd pole position at the European Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was a full 0.3 seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton, ahead of Pastor Maldonado and the two Lotuses. The qualifying session saw probably the tightest field in the history of F1 in Q2, but it did not continue into Q3.

There were several shocks as the session continued, as Mark Webber, Michael Schumacher and the Ferraris didn’t make it through to Q3. Here is what happened:

Q1

Webber was dejected after qualifying 19th

Webber was dejected after qualifying 19th

As the session began, Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez both locked up and ran wide at turn 1. With all drivers starting on the prime tyres, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen set the early pace.

Despite running wide at the final corner, Michael Schumacher pipped Massa at the top of the timesheets. Within a few minutes, Lewis Hamilton had slashed the top time by almost half a second.

The Red Bull drivers waited until the final 5 minutes to set their times. Sebastian Vettel backed out twice before setting a fast lap, while Mark Webber went out on the option tyres, yet still struggled to get on the pace.

Paul di Resta raised eyebrows by going 0.3 seconds faster on the softer compound. That time was quickly beaten by Pastor Maldonado by several hundreths of a second.

Webber attempted several more laps, but was unable to pull himself out of the drop zone. Amazingly, Heikki Kovalainen managed to pull himself into Q2, at the expense of Webber and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:40.203

19) Mark Webber – 1:40.395

20) Vitaly Petrov – 1:40.457

21) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:42.171

22) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:42.527

23) Charles Pic – 1:42.675

24) Timo Glock – N/A

Q2

Both Ferraris found themselves out of Q2

Both Ferraris found themselves out of Q2

Fernando Alonso was first out of the pits, and wrangled with the prime tyres. He briefly went on top, but was soon passed by the Force Indias, Kamui Kobayashi and Nico Rosberg within a minute.

The Ferraris initially struggled, but Fernando Alonso pulled himself into 6th with 3 minutes to go. Felipe Massa got within 0.2 seconds of the pole time, but could only manage 12th.

Paul di Resta went within one hundreth of Rosberg’s time, while Maldonado, Kobayashi and Hulkenberg got back into the top 10.

Romain Grosjean leaped into 1st place in the final few seconds, knocking out Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Fernando Alonso – 1:38.707

12) Michael Schumacher – 1:38.770

13) Felipe Massa – 1:38.780

14) Bruno Senna – 1:39.207

15) Sergio Perez – 1:39.358

16) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:40.295

17) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:40.358

Q3

Kimi Raikkonen was first out the box for Q3. His time of 1:38.966 set the benchmark for the session.

Nico Rosberg looked set to beat the Lotus, and not even a lock-up could stop him taking provisional pole. The two McLarens went into 2nd within seconds of each other.

Pastor Maldonado had a scary swerve at the final corner, and was forced to abandon his first lap. Romain Grosjean was up next, making a mistake in the second sector, but still going fastest with a 1:38.505.

Pastor Maldonado then took the top spot, but only for a minute, as Sebastian Vettel smashed the pole time by nearly half a second.

Hamilton, Button and Raikkonen all improved on their times, but were unable to topple the Red Bull.

Glock drops out of qualifying due to stomach bug

Timo Glock will not participate in qualifying for the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

The Marussia driver has been complaining of a stomach since Friday, and has this morning been admitted to a hospital in Valencia for further treatment.

It is suspected that this stomach bug was caused by either food poisoning or some kind of infection.

If Glock wishes to take part in the race on Sunday, he will need to apply for permission from the race stewards.

A statement from Marussia reads as follows:

"Marussia F1 Team driver Timo Glock will not take part in this afternoon’s 
Qualifying session for tomorrow’s European Grand Prix for health reasons.

Timo has been fighting a stomach bug since Thursday. He felt well enough to 
take part in yesterday’s Free Practice sessions and had seemed to be improving. 
This morning, after Free Practice 3, he started to feel unwell again. It is clear 
that at this time, he is not sufficiently well to take part in a demanding 
Qualifying session and needs to recuperate further.

Timo and the Team will now seek further medical guidance this afternoon. Until such 
time as this guidance has been received, no decisions will be reached regarding 
tomorrow’s race. A further statement will be issued on Sunday morning."

Vettel on top in Valencia second practice

Sebastian Vettel reitered Red Bull’s fast pace this weekend, by topping second practice for the European Grand Prix.

Vettel, who has taken pole and the win in the last two races here, was lightly faster than the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg. Kamui Kobayashi, Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna completed the top 5.

The usual suspects were unusually far down the grid, with Button and Hamilton 12th and 14th, Alonso and Massa 7th and 15th. The Lotuses didn’t show much raw pace in 8th and 11th.

Local driver Pedro de la Rosa was the only man to crash during the session. His HRT understeered at turn 14, and couldn’t stop hitting the barriers.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:39.334           33
 2.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1:39.465  +0.131   32
 3.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:39.595  +0.261   20
 4.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:39.601  +0.267   27
 5.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault       1:39.644  +0.310   34
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:39.700  +0.366   32
 7.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:39.733  +0.399   34
 8.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1:39.868  +0.534   33
 9.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:39.901  +0.567   30
10.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:39.926  +0.592   32
11.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1:39.945  +0.611   34
12.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:39.990  +0.656   33
13.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1:40.075  +0.741   29
14.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:40.147  +0.813   25
15.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:40.244  +0.910   35
16.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:40.511  +1.177   29
17.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1:40.963  +1.629   20
18.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:41.121  +1.787   32
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1:41.197  +1.863   38
20.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:41.263  +1.929   29
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1:42.424  +3.090   21
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1:42.958  +3.624   30
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1:44.201  +4.867   33
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1:44.260  +4.926   12

Maldonado ahead in Valencia first practice

Pastor Maldonado was marginally fastest in first practice

Pastor Maldonado was marginally fastest in first practice

Pastor Maldonado gave an indicator of Williams’ returning pace, as he topped the timesheets for Friday Practice 1 in Valencia.

Both Red Bull drivers were within a tenth of Maldonado by the end of the session, with Sebastian Vettel pipping Mark Webber by 0.011 seconds.

The field was incredibly bunched up, even by 2012 standards, as the top 8 drivers were separated by 3 tenths of a second.

Jenson Button showed he may be getting on top of his tyre issues, finishing 4th, and only a tenth off Maldonado. Despite being tipped to shine this weekend, the Lotus drivers were 10th and 11th.

Heikki Kovalainen continued to make progress for Caterham, finishing ahead of both Toro Rossos and was only a tenth of Valtteri Bottas for Williams.

Pedro de la Rosa’s DRS jammed open during FP1, similarly to Michael Schumacher’s incident in Canada.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:40.890           22
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:40.973  +0.083   21
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:40.984  +0.094   19
 4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:40.994  +0.104   19
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:41.065  +0.175   26
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:41.105  +0.215   15
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:41.117  +0.227   22
 8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:41.158  +0.268   18
 9.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:41.182  +0.292   21
10.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:41.620  +0.730   21
11.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:41.784  +0.894   15
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:41.838  +0.948   19
13.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:41.861  +0.971   16
14.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:42.109  +1.219   20
15.  Jules Bianchi         Force India-Mercedes  1:42.175  +1.285   21
16.  Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault      1:42.299  +1.409   24
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:42.442  +1.552   26
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:42.758  +1.868   26
19.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:42.777  +1.887   28
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:43.209  +2.319   19
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:44.173  +3.283   18
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:44.996  +4.106   15
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:45.120  +4.230   23
24.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:45.338  +4.448    7

Mixed results for F1 drivers at 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 24 Hours of Le Mans has concluded today at the Circuit de la Sarthe, with Audi roaring away with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th places.

There were 22 drivers there today who have previously raced in Formula 1. Some finished well up the field with consistent drives, while others were involved in terrifying crashes. Here is the report of the F1 drivers from today’s race:

Brundle & Brundle impress in LMP2

Sky F1 commentator and former F1 driver Martin Brundle, along with his son Alex, competed in the LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) category.

Clocking in an impressive 340 laps overnight, the father-son pairing finished 5th in class, and 15th overall. However, during the race, they were forced to switch to right-foot braking – a first for Alex – after problems began to develop on the car.

Alternator and throttle issues prevented them from battling for a podium finish, but the elder of the two stated he was pleased with his racing return.

Davidson lucky after horrific crash

Further up the field, 2007 Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson was competing for the overall victory with the resurgent Toyota team. He took control of the #8 car, about 80 laps into the race.

However, a horrific smash with a Ferrari 458 (GTE Pro category) sent Davidson flying into the barriers, and the Toyota out of the race. After being sent to hospital to treat him for shock and back pain, it was confirmed that Davidson had suffered two broken vertebrae in the crash.

However, from watching the replay, you could argue that he is lucky to be alive:

Teammate Sebastien Buemi, a former Toro Rosso driver, drove a fantastic stint to bring the #8 Toyota within 3 seconds of the lead beforehand. Stephane Sarrazin – a once-off driver for Minardi, also drove well in his opening stints.

McNish and Gene throw away vital positions for Audi

2002 Toyota F1 driver Allan McNish has moved on to the Audi Le Mans team, this year racing the #2 R-18 e-tron quattro, a hybrid 4-wheel drive car. He inherited the lead from the #1 car, and was in contention for the race win.

However, when lapping a backmarker, McNish spun out and hit the barriers, losing vital time with repair work:

Amazingly, just minutes beforehand, fellow Audi driver Marc Gene (former Minardi and BMW Williams driver) had clashed with another barrier, this time on one of the Mulsanne chicanes. Earlier in the race, the same car was crashed in the exact same spot by Romain Dumas.

Both cars were repaired, at the same time, by the Audi crew, and sent out within 10 minutes – an incredible performance by the team.

Wurz and Nakajima suffer bad luck at Toyota

Besides Davidson’s crash, the sister Toyota car was in the wars as well.

The #7 car was running second after a safety car restart, with former Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima at the wheel. However, he clashed with the radical Nissan Delta Wing, forcing both cars to undergo extensive repairs.

The Delta Wing was out, while the #7 Toyota never recovered. Benneton and Williams racer Alexander Wurz brought the car out of the pits, but it repeatedly stuttered to a halt.

It was a disappointing end to a promising campaign for the Toyotas, but they’ll be back even stronger next year.

Bruni and Fisichella win GTE Pro category

2004 Minardi driver Gianmaria Bruni and Jordan, Renault and Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella experienced success at this year’s Le Mans.

They won the GTE Pro category in the #51 Ferrari 458. While Fisichella was the one who crashed the car on Friday, forcing the car to start at the back of the grid, he did well to move 3 laps clear of his nearest competitor.

Brabham and Chandhok impress in JRM HPD

David Brabham – son of 3 times world champion Jack Brabham – and Karun Chandhok (2010 HRT racer) finished 6th overall in the LMP1 category.

They were racing for the JRM team. Despite some stalling while Chandhok attempted to leave the pits, the #22 car was brilliantly reliable, and briefly ran ahead of some of the Audi R18s.

Heidfeld splits the Audis with Lola

Nick Heidfeld, who has had a stunted career in F1 to say the least, was driving for the Lola team, and managed to finish ahead of one of the Audi cars.

He was driving with Nicolas Prost (son of Alain Prost) and Neel Jani (Lotus test driver), both of which are aiming for drives in F1 in the future.

With excellent reliability, the trio worked their way up to 4th place overall, and ruined a 1-2-3-4 finish for the Audi team. In fact, had any major problem befallen the top 3 cars, Heidfeld and co. would have finished on the podium!

Ecclestone approves revamp of Interlagos circuit

The Interlagos circuit pales in comparison to modern track facilities

The Interlagos circuit pales in comparison to modern track facilities

The Brazilian Grand Prix’s future looks to be more secure, as FOM ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone approved plans to revitalise the ailing racetrack.

The Autódromo José Carlos Pace is by far the most out-dated track on the F1 calendar, with a cramped pit lane, narrow track sections and crumbling grandstands compared to modern F1 standards.

Previous aging circuits such as Imola were booted off the F1 calendar for being too out of date, with no prospect of improvements. The Silverstone circuit was the most recent example, and only survived by agreeing to improve facilities into the future.

The Interlagos circuit has been cracking under the pressure of old age for a while now, and it was only a matter of time before it came under scrutiny. Thankfully, the circuit organisers have submitted plans for revised track facilities, including a brand new pit lane.

It is understood that the new pit lane will be located on the Reta Oposta straight, after the Senna “S” and Curva do Sol.

This was first reported by the O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, who claimed that Ecclestone agreed with the new plans. Previously, Bernie has been quoted as saying:

"Brazil will have the next World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. It makes sense. I have 
long believed in Brazil — we've been there since 1972.

The future of Formula One Brazil depends now on major improvements at Interlagos. 
These events [World Cup, Olympics] are a great opportunity to look at the circuit, 
as well.

I can no longer be questioned by the teams about why we are racing at the worst 
circuit in the championship."

 

Canadian Grand Prix analysis: McLaren nearly cost Hamilton dearly

Formula 1 has set another record – this time it’s 7 different race winners in a row from the start of the season. If this goes on for another two races, then it will be an all-time record for consecutive winners.

But, we were very close to not seeing this new record at all. As viewers noticed on Sunday, McLaren very nearly ruined Lewis Hamilton’s race win…

Another close shave for McLaren

McLaren’s strategy call of a 2-stopper was always going to be risky, considering how well others could conserve their tyres. However, the team appeared to massively underestimate their opponents.

On the pit radio, they stated that they believed that Vettel and Alonso could not one-stop. This risky call grew more and more doubtful, as the duo continued to stay out.

By the time they had realised their mistake, Lewis had a lot of time to make up. Luckily, he was up to the task, and snatched victory in the dying laps. But, even after the Red Bull and Ferrari, Hamilton was lucky Grosjean didn’t win the race.

By falling behind Paul di Resta at the start, the Frenchman lost about 10 seconds, and a (mathemeatically) probable victory. Fortunately for McLaren, his start-line mistake spared their blushes.

Radical Ferrari back on track

A risky strategy left Fernando Alonso in control of the race – and he nearly held it to the end.

The F2012 is already a far cry from the dangerous beast that thrashed its way through the corners in Melbourne. The deficit to the frontrunners was slashed in half a few races ago, and thanks to Fernando’s pace, the Maranello squad are back in contention for race wins.

Unfortunately, this is only the case for one of their drivers. Felipe Massa qualified and started close to his teammate, but ultimately fell prey to the track’s challenging Turn 1.

Still, it has become clear that Ferrari are back in the title hunt. When Alonso led the championship after Malaysia, it was called a miracle. For that to still happen only 5 races later is simply incredible.

HRT’s dash for glory falls short

As the midfield and frontrunners become increasingly assimilated, the trailing three teams lead exceptionally lonely races.

Last weekend, it appeared as if HRT were aiming to change that – albeit briefly. Pedro de la Rosa ran well all throughout Friday practice, qualifying and the start of the race. So much so, in fact, that he was leading the Marussias, Caterhams, and even Bruno Senna.

Clearly, there was more to it than it first appeared. Rumours from the paddock have been circulating that HRT deliberately underfuelled their cars, knowing that their brakes wouldn’t last the distance.

Their suspicions were correct, as De la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan retired within two laps of each other with brake failures.

Still, their possible plan to get some attention appears to have worked. While this strategy won’t be confirmed by the team, it is more than likely it occurred, since De la Rosa was only 2 seconds a lap slower than the leaders before he retired.

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