Category Archives: Qualifying and Races

Nico Rosberg wins bizarre British Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has taken an unexpected victory today at Silverstone, after 4 tyre blowouts and a shock engine failure for other drivers gifted him first place.

Lewis Hamilton initially led proceedings, until the first of many tyre failures rocked his race. His left rear tyre was blown to bits, and the Mercedes driver dropped to last place after only 8 laps.

This granted Sebastian Vettel what appeared to be an easy victory. However, he was kept under pressure from Nico Rosberg throughout the race. While tyres were exploding left, right and centre, both Sebastian and Nico hung on, until a shock engine failure for the Red Bull put him out of the race, and granted Rosberg victory.

At the start, Rosberg had been jumped by Sebastian, while Mark Webber was shunted off the racing line by Romain Grosjean, and dropped to 14th place. Felipe Massa had a terrific start, leaping past his teammate up to 5th place.

Hamilton’s tyre failure destroyed his chances of victory soon after though, and Massa’s Ferrari suffered a similar fate only two laps later. This resulted in worried faces across the paddock, which was only made worse after Jean-Eric Vergne suffered a tyre explosion on the Hangar Straight on Lap 15.

The safety car was deployed to clear rubber debris, while team engineers examined tyre data from the first pit stops. Red Bull noticed that Vettel’s tyre had unusual cuts in the sidewalls, meaning they got extremely lucky with their pit stop.

Some engineers blamed the kerbs, the outside of which may have been causing unusual damage to the sidewall of the tyres. Others simply believed that the Pirellis weren’t standing up to regular wear, which is odd considering how the medium and hard compounds were being raced. Either way, it seemed as if a repeat of Indianapolis 2005 was on the cards.

The safety car peeled off on lap 22, with Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso becoming embroiled in a battle with Lewis Hamilton, who had recovered from last place. Alonso had made his way up from 10th on lap 1, getting past Daniel Ricciardo, Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta in quick succession earlier on.

Hamilton later had a fantastic battle with di Resta over 11th place, after his second stop. Up front, Rosberg began to slowly catch Vettel, but it proved to be unnecessary, as the Red Bull suffered a catastrophic engine failure, pulling over on the pit straight.

With the safety car out for the second time, Rosberg, Alonso and Webber all pitted. This time, it was Nico who was granted good luck, as it was revealed that his tyres were developing blisters near the end of his stint. With 10 laps to go, Rosberg led Raikkonen – who hadn’t pitted – , Adrian Sutil, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.

The second Red Bull driver swiftly found a way past the Ferrari, and set his sights on the leaders. Together with Fernando, they carved up Sutil and Ricciardo in a matter of minutes, and were immediately all over the back of Raikkonen battling for a podium finish.

Kimi was left to rue not pitting under the safety car, as he was dropped from 2nd to 4th. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton charged up the field from 9th place, making his way up to 5th by the final few laps.

With the Force India and Lotus dispatched, Webber began a last-gap charge to catch Rosberg, getting to within the 1-second window in the final lap. Depsite a nail-biting push, Nico just hung on to take his second win of the year by only 0.7 seconds, with Webber and Alonso joining him on the podium.

Sergio Perez – the fourth victim of Pirelli delaminations – was forced to retire in the closing laps. Hamilton passed Raikkonen for 4th place, while Felipe Massa recovered from last to 6th place, pipping the Force India of Sutil, who had been gunning for a podium finish.

Ricciardo and Paul di Resta were left stranded in 8th and 9th, while Nico Hulkenberg scraped a point for the struggling Sauber team. After 64 consecutive points-scoring finishes, McLaren have now failed to score a single point in the last 2 races.

While this race will be rembered for a thrilling finish and the closing up of the championship contenders, there must also be serious steps taken to ensure that these tyre failures never happen again.

Hamilton storms to pole position for British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has delighted the home fans by taking pole position for his home Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Mercedes have locked out the front row, with the Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber on row 2 ready to attack. Ferrari and McLaren has poor sessions, with Fernando Alonso only starting 10th, and neither McLaren making it into Q3.

Q1

In a dry but windy session, Mercedes were quick off the mark. A 1:30.995 by Hamilton was the quickest lap all weekend, and saw no response in the first session.

Ferrari almost suffered a huge embarrassment, with their drivers lying 14th and 15th. In particular, Felipe Massa remained in the drop zone until the final few minutes, only matching his teammate’s time despite being on the faster compound tyre.

Esteban Gutierrez was knocked out of Q1 for the 6th time in 8 races, while Pastor Maldonado’s final lap put Valtteri Bottas back in 17th place. While Max Chilton qualified 22nd, Giedo van der Garde will start from the back, after his 10-place grid penalty from Canada.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

17) Valtteri Bottas – 1:32.664

18) Esteban Gutierrez – 1:32.666

19) Charles Pic – 1:33.866

20) Jules Bianchi – 1:34.108

21) Giedo van der Garde – 1:35.48 1

22) Max Chilton – 1:35.858

Q2

Sebastian Vettel’s initial run in Q2 was 0.005 seconds faster than Hamilton’s Q1 lap – a signal that Red Bull were still in the running.

With an empty seat left by Webber at the end of this year, both Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo were keen to impress. However, Vergne ran wide on his final lap, and could only manage 13th, while Ricciardo made it into Q3.

Both McLarens were knocked out, taking only 11th and 14th places. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen almost joined them, surprisingly, but both drivers scraped through.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Jenson Button – 1:31.649

12) Felipe Massa – 1:31.779

13) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:31.785

14) Sergio Perez – 1:32.082

15) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:32.211

16) Pastor Maldonado – 1:32.359

Q3

A 4-way shootout was on the cards, with both Mercedes and Red Bull duking it out in Q3. Mark Webber was first up, setting a 1:30.505, but this was quickly beaten by Nico Rosberg by almost half a second.

Hamilton then put himself on top, while Vettel’s first attempt only put him 4th. With a few minutes to go, Rosberg’s second flying lap was initially faster, until a blinding lap by Lewis put him 4 tenths clear of the rest of the field.

Vettel could only slot in front of Webber in response, locking out the second row.

Raikkonen and Alonso were the disappointments of the day, only managing 9th and 10th respectively. Almost unnoticed performances were done by Paul di Resta and Daniel Ricciardo, taking 5th and 6th places. Adrian Sutil was 7th, while Romain Grosjean marginally beat Raikkonen to 8th place.

Hamilton was ecstatic to take pole in front of his home crowd, but will he be able to hold off his 3 rivals behind?

Marshal killed after Canadian Grand Prix in crane accident

A track marhsal has died at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve this evening, after a post-race accident.

The marshal is believed to have been run over by a recovery crane, after tripping while attempting to pick up a radio. The marshal was too low for the crane operator to see, and was run over near Turn 1.

The accident occurred while the recovery team were moving Esteban Gutierrez’ stricken Sauber from the barriers of Turn 2. While he was transferred to the Sacre-Coeur hospital in Montreal, he passed away this evening.

The currently unnamed marshal is the first voluntary worker to be killed at a Formula 1 race since the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, when Graham Beveridge was hit by a wheel that came of Jacques Villeneuve’s car following an on-track collision.

My thoughts and condolences are with the marshal’s family at this time. Formula 1 could not operate without the support of thousands of these volunteer marhsals around the world, and they undertake risks every single race weekend to keep this sport running.

Vettel takes dominant Canadian Grand Prix win

Sebastian Vettel has taken a crushingly dominant victory today, winning the Canadian Grand Prix and extending his championship points lead.

Fernando Alonso recovered from 6th on the grid to take 2nd by the chequered flag, ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Further behind, Valtteri Bottas couldn’t hold his position in the race, while Paul di Resta and Jean-Eric Vergne had exceptional afternoons.

At the start, Vettel made a good getaway, while Valtteri Bottas was surrounded by the first corner. Mark Webber pounced on the Williams first, then Fernando Alonso sliced his way past soon after.

The top 5 – Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber, Alonso – were in a class of their own, immidiately pulling away from the rest of the field, and effectively setting up a separate Grand Prix. Jean-Eric Vergne led the rest of the pack, after putting a move on Bottas on Lap 6.

Adrian Sutil then tried to make a move on the young Finn, but promptly spun in the middle of Turn 3, forcing several drivers to take evasive action.

Kimi Raikkonen’s race pace failed to materialise. After failing to make considerable progress at the start, he got sandwiched in between Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa in the opening stint.

Up front, Mercedes decided to split strategies between their two drivers, with Hamilton taking the medium compounds for his second stint, while Nico Rosberg took on the super-softs. Hamilton was aiming for a 1-stop race, as proved when he stayed out 6 laps longer than Vettel in the first stint.

Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil did battle for 12th place. Their duel lasted for nearly 10 laps, with the Ferrari making every possible attempt to get past. Eventually, Felipe put a move on the Force India, and entered the battle for a points-scoring position.

Mark Webber was embroiled in a similar battle with Nico Rosberg, but the Red Bull’s high downforce setup was crippling him on the straights. Alonso soon caught up behind, and both drivers put a move on the Mercedes on Lap 32. Nico was instructed to conserve his tyres until the end of the race, and slipped back from the Red Bull and Ferrari.

Webber’s race was dealt a swift blow soon after though, as he clashed with backmarker Giedo van der Garde. The Caterham driver ignored blue flags entering the hairpin, and turned into Mark at the apex, damaging Webber’s front wing and putting the Dutchman back to front.

Despite doing his best to catch Hamilton instead, he was instead caught by Alonso behind, and was powerless to prevent the Ferrari diving down the inside of Turn 1 to take 3rd place.

Paul di Resta had made the option to start on the harder tyres at the start, and it paid off – he was as high as 7th during the race, and managed to drag 57 laps out of the prime tyre before he made his only stop.

It took until Lap 48 for the first retirement of the day, with Nico Hulkenberg clashing with Giedo van der Garde. The safety car was almost deployed due to the Caterham stopping out on track, but luckily for Vettel only double-waved yellows were shown. Sebastian made a rare mistake late in the race, slipping wide at Turn 1 and losing a few seconds, but had such a massive lead it didn’t even matter.

Felipe Massa continued his recovery after a dismal qualifying, and after an eventful battle with Adrian Sutil, dispatched of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen in the final few laps to take 8th place.

Hamilton’s second place came under threat in the final stint, with the ever-threatening Alonso hunting down the Mercedes. Adrian Sutil didn’t help proceedings, ignoring blue flags and holding up the Mercedes, costing Lewis precious seconds. With 5 laps to go, Alonso put a pass on Hamilton to snatch 2nd place.

Up front, Vettel was totally unchallenged, leading by 20 seconds until the chequered flag. Alonso and Hamilton completed the podium, with Webber and Rosberg falling back in the last stint. Jean-Eric Vergne was anonymous all race, but held on for an excellent 6th place, ahead of Paul di Resta. Massa and the two Lotuses completed the top 10.

Alonso has taken 2nd place in the championship off Kimi Raikkonen, but now lies 36 points off leader Vettel.

Vettel pips Hamilton for Canadian Grand Prix pole

Sebastian Vettel will start at the front of the grid for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix, ending a thrilling qualifying session just ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas was the star of the day, earning a superb 3rd place on the grid in changeable conditions. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen both struggled, while the McLarens and Felipe Massa didn’t even make it into Q3.

Q1

A shower before Q1 dampened the track, although many drivers tried an initial run on slicks, with little reward.

With a 10-place grid penalty for tomorrow, Romain Grosjean was hoping for a good performance to minimise the damage. However, a poor closing lap put him 19th, and with his penalty will start from the back of the grid.

Most of Q1 was relatively wet, but as the track dried out towards the end, Paul di Resta was caught out on old intermediate tyres, and didn’t progress past the first session for the second race in a row.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

17) Paul di Resta – 1:24.908

18) Charles Pic – 1:25.626

19) Romain Grosjean – 1:25.716

20) Jules Bianchi – 1:26.508

21) Max Chilton – 1:27.062

22) Giedo van der Garde – 1:27.110

Q2

A spurt of rain between Q1 and Q2 threw many teams’ plans into disarray, with most drivers losing 5 seconds per lap once they had left the pits for the second session.

A crash for Felipe Massa with 2 minutes to go almost ruined the days of several drivers, but a swift red flag meant that drivers were able to set a lap afterwards. The Ferrari driver made a mistake entering braking for Turn 3, spun and slammed into the barriers, leaving him 16th on the grid.

Both McLarens suffered a dismal qualifying performance. Sergio Perez will take little solace in beating Jenson Button today, considering they lie in 12th and 14th places respectively. Nico Hulkenberg was initially impressive in Q2, but wasn’t quick enough after the red flag restart, and lies 11th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:29.435

12) Sergio Perez – 1:29.761

13) Pastor Maldonado – 1:29.917

14) Jenson Button – 1:30.068

15) Esteban Gutierrez – 1:30.315

16) Felipe Massa – 1:30.354

Q3

While the track dried slightly after Q2, it still wasn’t dry enough for slick tyres.

Vettel’s first attempt was enough to put him on top, with Rosberg slotting behind. He was soon pushed down the order by Hamilton, Webber, and Vaterri Bottas, who excelled in the challenging conditions.

Nico’s next lap put him 4th, while Fernando Alonso could only manage 6th, with Kimi Raikkonen a disappointing 9th – the Lotus appeas to be out of its comfort zone in the wet.

Both Toro Rossos made it into Q3, with Jean-Eric Vergne taking a respectable 7th position, ahead of Adrian Sutil, Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo.

While most drivers put on a new set of tyres for the final few minutes, a badly-timed shower dampened the track further, and secured Vettel’s pole position.

Points standings after Monaco Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 107
2 Kimi Raikkonen 86
3 Fernando Alonso 78
4 Lewis Hamilton 62
5 Mark Webber 57
6 Nico Rosberg 47
7 Felipe Massa 45
8 Paul di Resta 28
9 Romain Grosjean 26
10 Jenson Button 25
11 Adrian Sutil 16
12 Sergio Perez 12
13 Daniel Ricciardo 7
14 Nico Hulkenberg 5
15 Jean-Eric Vergne 5
16 Valtteri Bottas 0
17 Esteban Gutierrez 0
18 Jules Bianchi 0
19 Charles Pic 0
20 Pastor Maldonado  0
21 Giedo van der Garde  0
22 Max Chilton  0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull 164
2 Ferrari 123
3 Lotus 112
4 Mercedes 109
5 Force India 44
6 McLaren 37
7 Toro Rosso 12
8 Sauber-Ferrari 5
9 Williams-Renault 0
10 Marussia-Cosworth 0
11 Caterham-Renault 0

Rosberg takes first victory of 2013 in eventful Monaco Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has become the 4th race winner of the 2013 season, taking a lights-to-flag victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

At the start, Sebastian Vettel put Rosberg and Hamilton under immediate pressure, but was forced to recede into 3rd place. Jenson Button got to work on passing his teammate, but was unable to in the opening laps.

However, the McLaren pair began to clash wheels within a few laps, with Perez cutting two corners while battling Jenson. The Brit took to his team radio to complain, while Perez maintained 7th position.

Mercedes’ strategy of backing the rest of the field up began to materialise, as Nico’s 1:22.5 lap times were several seconds slower than those who had pitted early for new tyres. The top 5 – Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Webber and Raikkonen, were nose-to-tail, while Fernando Alonso in 6th began to slip into the grasp of Perez, Sutil and Button behind.

A cagey first stint limited proceedings until about lap 21, when Rosberg and Hamilton were instructed to turn up the engine and push. This move was copied by the Red Bulls, Raikkonen and Alonso, who all began to catch the leaders again.

A stop for soft tyres for Mark Webber on lap 26 started the pit stop frenzy. While the leaders pitted, Paul di Resta put a brave move on Felipe Massa into Sainte Devote. Felipe’s race didn’t last much longer, as he shunted into the barriers a few laps later, in a similar situation to his crash in Friday practice.

The safety car was deployed, which secured Rosberg’s lead. However, Hamilton was less lucky, being held up while he waited to pit, and slipped to 4th behind Sebastian and Mark.

The safety car pulled in on lap 39, and the racing resumed. Unlike the first stint, there was very little conservative racing, with drivers  immediately getting stuck into fascinating battles up and down the field. Hamilton did his best to get past Webber, while Alonso hunted down Raikkonen. He got slightly wide at Loews, and got a clip from Jenson Button behind as a result, but both drivers were able to continue.

The inter-McLaren battle continued, with Sergio Perez putting a fantastic move on Jenson for 7th place. He then chased down Fernando Alonso for 6th, making another move at the Nouvelle Chicane, but the Ferrari was forced to cut the corner to defend his position.

However, there was no time for the stewards to intervene just yet, as the red flag was out for a crash at Tabac. Pastor Maldonado was squeezed by Max Chilton, and the Williams was launched into the barriers, luckily getting away unscathed.

After a quick scramble where all the drivers changed their tyres, the race restarted 20 minutes later. Alonso was instructed to hand his place back to Perez, and it only got worse for the Spaniard after that – he was soon put under pressure by Adrian Sutil in 7th. A mistake at Loews corner put the Ferrari wide, and Adrian wasted no time in punishing the 2-time world champion.

A crash by Jules Bianchi at Sainte Devote out out double-waved yellows, but the safety car was soon to make another appearance. This time, it was Romain Grosjean who caused a crash on the Monte Carlo circuit, spearing into Daniel Ricciardo at the Nouvelle Chicane, putting both cars out on the spot.

But after the safety car peeled away, the carnage wasn’t over yet. On lap 70, Sergio Perez clashed with Kimi Raikkonen under braking out of the casino tunnel, breaking Perez’s front wing and giving Kimi a puncture. The McLaren retired several laps later with a brake issue, while the Lotus was left stranded in 16th with only a few laps to go.

However, Raikkonen pulled off an amazing raft of overtakes on his final stint, passing Chilton, Van der Garde, Bottas, Gutierrez and Hulkenberg in a matter of laps, and continuing his 23-race streak of points-scoring races.

Up front, Rosberg maintained a 4-second gap to the Red Bulls until the chequered flag, taking an emphatic victory in his home city. Teammate Hamilton chased down Mark Webber for the second half of the race, but couldn’t find a way past. Sutil took an excellent 5th place, with Button, Alonso, Vergne, di Resta and Raikkonen finishing the top 10.

While Mercedes can finally rejoice in their first victory of 2013, it is Sebastian Vettel who gains the most, stretching out an 18-point lead to Kimi Raikkonen in the drivers’ championship.

Rosberg takes thrilling Monaco pole position

Nico Rosberg has taken his third pole position in a row for the Monaco Grand Prix, after a fantastic shootout between 5 different drivers in challenging conditions.

Lewis Hamilton was once again cast to one side, and forced to settle for 2nd place. Sebastian Vettel was extremely close to the Mercedes drivers, just a single tenth of a second off the pace.

Q1

The rain began to fall half an hour before Q1 began, dampening the track to the extent where intermediate tyres were a necessity.

Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean remained in the garage though, as both drivers were undergoing repairs after shunts in third practice. Grosjean made it out with 5 minutes to go, and got through to Q2, but Massa will start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid.

Jules Bianchi became the third driver to encounter trouble, after his Marussia overheated while waiting in the pit lane, then failed on the run up to Massenet.

The session was filled with small incidents, mostly drivers locking their brakes at Sainte Devote and Mirebeau, as well as the Nouvelle Chicane. The changing conditions allowed Giedo van der Garde to slip into the next session, at the expense of Paul di Resta, who was left fuming on the team radio.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

17) Paul di Resta – 1:26.322

18) Charles Pic – 1:26.633

19) Esteban Gutierrez – 1:26.917

20) Max Chilton – 1:27.303

21) Jules Bianchi – N/A

22) Felipe Massa – N/A

Q2

The times again tumbled throughout Q2, going from 1:35s to 1:23s in a matter of minutes.

The decision to switch to slick tyres was first made by Giedo van der Garde, and quickly copied by the other teams. The Caterham driver managed to qualify an impressive 15th place, ahead of Pastor Maldonado.

Jean-Eric Vergne made it into Q3 for the first time this season, while Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean were frustrated to be knocked out of Q2. Valtteri Bottas stayed out on intermediate tyres too long, and it resulted in him being only 14th.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:18.331

12) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:18.344

13) Romain Grosjean – 1:18.603

14) Valtteri Bottas – 1:19.077

15) Giedo van der Garde – 1:19.408

16) Pastor Maldonado – 1:21.688

Q3

The track had dried sufficiently for all drivers to start on super-soft tyres as Q3 began. After drivers’ first round of laps, Sebastian Vettel was on provisional pole.

Fernando Alonso changed tyres in the final few minutes, but he struggled massively to put temperature into his tyres. He eventually got a fast lap together, but it was only good enough for 6th place. Kimi Raikkonen was similarly not quick enough for the pole shootout, taking a quiet 5th position.

While both McLaren drivers made it through to Q3, they didn’t impress in terms of pace. Sergio Perez took 7th, while Jenson Button was 9th, behind Adrian Sutil’s Force India.

It was therefore a clear-cut Red Bull vs Mercedes shootout, with Vettel taking first blood. However, a set of searing laps from both Rosberg and Hamilton locked out the front row, with Vettel and Webber being forced to settle for row 2.

 

Pirelli are an easy target, but F1 is better off because of them

It’s extremely easy to complain about Pirelli tyres and how they’ve influenced the state of Formula 1 in recent years. I can’t go onto a single F1 forum, comment board or Twitter feed without seeing at least one resenting comment on how they’re “ruining” the sport.

It’s clear that many fans are angered by Pirelli’s approach – by creating tyres that deliberately generate extra pit stops, they were always going to come under fire at some point. But the complaints against them are becoming increasingly irritating, and I’m starting to feel that their detractors are missing the point.

Look back to Spanish Grands Prix several years ago, as recent as 2009. There was absolutely no on-track action, as every single position change was managed through the pit stops. It’s not a recent thing either – the 1999 Spanish Grand Prix saw ONE overtake in the entirely of the race. Just one.

Pirelli have completely revolutionised the way F1 races, and for the better. Fernando Alonso may have jumped Sebastian Vettel in the stops, but it wasn’t completely necessary, seeing as how easily he and Vettel soon dispatched with Nico Rosberg. Overtaking is finally possible in tracks like the Circuit de Catalunya for the first time in years, and it has benefited the sport massively.

Nevertheless, the argument that the tyres are “artificial” won’t go away. More worryingly, even some drivers complain that they’re only pushing at 90% during the race, conserving tyres instead of pushing as hard as possible. Vettel was the clearest example of this today, not even opposing several drivers and letting them past.

However, it’s important to remember that the winning driver did none of this. Fernando Alonso pushed as hard as he needed to, utilised a 4-stop strategy without breaking a sweat, and reaped the rewards. It’s quite clear nowadays that the drivers that win races and the drivers that sit around and complain about the tyres are mutually exclusive. I’m looking at you, Webber.

The best drivers will win races regardless of the circumstances. Alonso knows this, and so does Kimi Raikkonen. Both drivers have proven to be excellent at mixing tyre management with searing pace, ignoring delta times (target lap times) and just focusing at the job in hand. Their efforts have been rewarded, and we will see more of this as the year goes on.

But at the same time, complaints about Pirelli still won’t go away. An excellent article by Will Buxton today demonstrates why this doesn’t matter:

Formula 1 loves a villain and this year Pirelli has been cast into this pantomime 
role. But, as I explained at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix in my final thought 
on the NBC Sports Network, the job of a Formula 1 team is to design a car around 
the variables which are unchangeable. Hermann Tilke used to get the blame for 
ruining the show for his apparently dreadful circuit design. But is it not the job 
of the teams to design a car for the circuits on which the championship races? Of 
course it is. Just as it is the job of the teams to design a car that maximizes 
the tyres on which it runs.

What Ferrari showed in Barcelona was that yes you may have to make more pitstops 
than we’ve seen in the past, but that it is possible to push from the moment the 
lights go out to the moment that the flag falls. That so much of the press is 
decrying the race shows, I believe, a disappointing cynicism. Pirelli has become 
too easy a target.

But should we blame Pirelli for simply doing what they’ve been asked to do and 
make the tyres less durable? Or should we blame the teams who have seemingly got 
themselves into the rut of a blame culture that hides the true fact that some have 
not designed a car capable of maximizing one of the unchangeable variables that 
has defined the history of the sport?

I’m looking forward to the next batch of F1 races, and the challenges they will hold. I can only hope that the drivers and other fans do so as well.

Points standings after Spanish Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 89
2 Kimi Raikkonen 85
3 Fernando Alonso 72
4 Lewis Hamilton 50
5 Felipe Massa 45
6 Mark Webber 42
7 Romain Grosjean 26
8 Paul di Resta 26
9 Nico Rosberg 22
10 Jenson Button 17
11 Sergio Perez 12
12 Daniel Ricciardo 7
13 Adrian Sutil 6
14 Nico Hulkenberg 5
15 Jean-Eric Vergne 1
16 Valtteri Bottas 0
17 Esteban Gutierrez 0
18 Jules Bianchi 0
19 Charles Pic 0
20 Pastor Maldonado  0
21 Giedo van der Garde  0
22 Max Chilton  0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull 131
2 Ferrari 117
3 Lotus 111
4 Mercedes 72
5 Force India 32
6 McLaren 29
7 Toro Rosso 8
8 Sauber-Ferrari 5
9 Williams-Renault 0
10 Marussia-Cosworth 0
11 Caterham-Renault 0
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