Tag Archives: Mark Webber

Webber retains advantage in second practice

Webber continued to lead in FP2

Webber continued to lead in FP2

Mark Webber continued to lead proceedings in the Spanish Grand Prix second practice.

However, he was closely followed by Lewis Hamilton, as McLaren hone their latest updates.

Sebastian Vettel was 3rd, 3 tenths off his teammate. Jenson Button was 4th, while Fernando Alonso was held up on his fastest lap, but was still 5th.

Rosberg and Schumacher secured 6th and 7th for Mercedes. Both Saubers got into the top 10.

Vitaly Petrov was half a second slower than Heidfeld in 12th. The Williams drivers were 14th and 16th. Adrian Sutil was the only driver to have been slower than one of the 3 bottom teams. His teammate Paul di Resta was a full second faster than him.

The 107% rule only applied to the two Hispanias in this session.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1.22.470           35 
 2.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes       1.22.509   0.039   27
 3.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault       1.22.826   0.356   37
 4.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes       1.23.188   0.718   32
 5.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari                1.23.568   1.098   34
 6.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes               1.23.586   1.116   35
 7.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes               1.23.981   1.511   30
 8.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari                1.24.278   1.808   30
 9.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari         1.24.290   1.820   33
10.  Nick Heidfeld       Renault                1.24.366   1.896   31
11.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari         1.24.483   2.013   38
12.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault                1.24.786   2.316   43
13.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.25.296   2.826   33
14.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth      1.25.303   2.833   38
15.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.25.457   2.987   34
16.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth      1.25.603   3.133   43
17.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes   1.26.073   3.603   32
18.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault          1.26.417   3.947   37
19.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes   1.27.123   4.653   20
20.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Renault          1.27.189   4.719   34
21.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth        1.28.036   5.566   36
22.  Timo Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1.28.062   5.592   28
23.  Narain Karthikeyan  HRT-Cosworth           1.29.469   6.999   28
24.  Tonio Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth           1.29.476   7.006   31

Webber dominates Spanish first practice

Webber was a second faster than Vettel

Webber was a second faster than Vettel

Mark Webber led teammate Sebastian Vettel by a full second in first practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.

A 1.25.142 was 1.009 seconds faster than Vettel, who headed Nico Rosberg in 3rd.

It wasn’t a completely satisfactory session for the Red Bull team though, as Vettel was instructed to disable his KERS after another reliability issue early on in the session.

Fernando Alonso was 4th, ahead of Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton. Nick Heidfeld was the only Renault in the top 10, while Jenson Button struggled with his tyres and was 9th.

Daniel Ricciardo took over Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso, and was 1.5 seconds faster than Jaime Alguersuari, although the Spaniard only completed 9 laps with an engine problem.

Felipe Massa was 16th, 3.5 seconds off the pace. Pastor Maldonado spun off, but was 13th.

4 cars were outside of the 107% rule: Both HRT cars, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock.

Times from FP1:


 1.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1.25.142    	   27 
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1.26.149   1.007  20
 3.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1.26.379   1.237  29
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1.26.480   1.338  27
 5.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1.26.738   1.596  26
 6.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1.26.988   1.846  19
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1.27.016   1.874  32
 8.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault               1.27.132   1.990  21
 9.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1.27.138   1.996  22
10.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth     1.27.212   2.070  20
11.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault               1.27.241   2.099  22
12.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.27.471   2.329  23
13.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth     1.28.005   2.863  11
14.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1.28.027   2.885  26
15.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1.28.163   3.021  22
16.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1.28.654   3.512  28
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1.28.819   3.677  23
18.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.28.995   3.853  9
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault         1.29.231   4.089  21
20.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth       1.30.896   5.754  18
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth       1.31.235   6.093  24
22.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth          1.31.268   6.126  23
23.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault         1.31.418   6.276  12
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1.32.106   6.964  25

McLaren keep Webber honest in Malaysia FP2

Mark Webber continues to head the timesheets in Malaysia, but was followed closely by the McLarens of Button and Hamilton.

The Red Bull was only 0.005 seconds faster than Button, as Friday Practice 2 concluded. Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were each one further tenth off.

The rest of the field were an entire second behind the top 4. The two Renault drivers missed the start of the session, as their cars were still being repaired after their wheel failures in FP1. The incidents were attributed to a material batch problem.

Jerome D’Ambrosio never went out on track after his car’s failure in Practice 1.

Pastor Maldonado briefly led proceedings, but spun at pit lane entry and hit the barrier. The damage to his Williams was only minor, and he was able to continue later on.

The only other yellow flag came courtesy of Vitantonio Liuzzi, whose HRT hit a kerb, which seemed to switch off his Cosworth engine.

Times from Malaysia FP2:

Pos  Driver               Team                     Time               Laps
 1.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault         1.36.876           24
 2.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes         1.36.881   0.005   30
 3.  Lewis Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes         1.37.010   0.134   23
 4.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault         1.37.090   0.214   30
 5.  Michael Schumacher   Mercedes                 1.38.088   1.212   26
 6.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari                  1.38.089   1.213   31
 7.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes                 1.38.565   1.689   25
 8.  Nick Heidfeld        Renault                  1.38.570   1.694   16
 9.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari                  1.38.583   1.707   27
10.  Jaime Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari       1.38.846   1.970   31
11.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth        1.38.968   2.092   25
12.  Rubens Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth        1.39.187   2.311   30
13.  Vitaly Petrov        Renault                  1.39.267   2.391   17
14.  Kamui Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari           1.39.398   2.522   29
15.  Sergio Perez         Sauber-Ferrari           1.39.603   2.727   34
16.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes     1.39.625   2.749   31
17.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes     1.39.809   2.933   28
18.  Sebastien Buemi      Toro Rosso-Ferrari       1.40.115   3.239   31
19.  Timo Glock           Virgin-Cosworth          1.40.866   3.990   24
20.  Jarno Trulli         Lotus-Renault            1.41.890   5.014   19
21.  Narain Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth             1.43.197   6.321   15
22.  Tonio Liuzzi         HRT-Cosworth             1.43.991   7.115   14
23.  Heikki Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault            1.44.886   8.010    4

Webber dominates by 1.6 seconds in Malaysia FP1

Webber led FP1 by a huge margin

Webber led FP1 by a huge margin

Mark Webber was miles ahead of his rivals in Friday Practice 1 for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Webber set a 1.37.651, more than a second and a half faster than any other driver, to easily slot into first place on the leaderboards. Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher were 2nd and 3rd.

Nico Hulkenberg, driving in Paul di Resta’s Force India, was 4th after a late improvement. Pastor Maldonado held his Pirellis for 19 laps to take 5th.

Ferrari had a quiet session, spending a lot of time running the cars at a fixed speed on the straights for aerodynamic testing. Felipe Massa was 6th and Fernando Alonso 9th.

Nick Heidfeld managed 7th after only setting 6 laps. After he went fastest in the session, his front right brake completely locked. The Renault driver was forced to drag his car back to the pits on 3 wheels, with a destroyed tyre, and sparks and smoke coming from under the car.

Petrov's wheel comes off in speclacular fashion

Petrov's wheel comes off in speclacular fashion

Worryingly, teammate Vitaly Petrov suffered a front left wheel failure, which caused him to spin into the Turn 9 gravel trap. Jerome D’Ambrosio suffered a similar failure on his front right, when the wheel came completely off at the final corner. The Virgin car would not complete any more miles that day.

Daniel Ricciardo took over from Sebastien Buemi, and just pipped Jaime Alguersuari to 12th.

Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel had very low-key sessions, with the McLaren and Red Bull 15th and 17th repectively. It is known that Vettel was testing a KERS unit, but it is unknown was Webber running the device. Davide Valsecchi drove in Heikki Kovalainen’s car, but was over 6 seconds off the pace.

Narain Kartikeyan’s HRT gave up on him after 10 laps, with smoke pouring out of the back.

Times from Malaysia FP1:

Pos  Driver         Team                   Time              Laps
 1.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1.37.651           22
 2.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1.39.316   1.665   16
 3.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1.39.791   2.140   29
 4.  Hulkenberg     Force India-Mercedes   1.40.377   2.726   23
 5.  Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1.40.443   2.792   31
 6.  Massa          Ferrari                1.40.453   2.802   22
 7.  Heidfeld       Renault                1.40.525   2.874    6
 8.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1.40.581   2.930   21
 9.  Alonso         Ferrari                1.40.601   2.950   23
10.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1.40.646   2.995   29
11.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1.40.734   3.083   21
12.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.40.748   3.097   23
13.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.40.770   3.119   24
14.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1.40.872   3.221   27
15.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1.40.927   3.276   16
16.  Trulli         Lotus-Renault          1.41.620   3.969   21
17.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1.41.627   3.976   18
18.  Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1.41.642   3.991   24
19.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1.42.154   4.503   18
20.  D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1.42.540   4.889   20
21.  Valsecchi      Lotus-Renault          1.44.054   6.403   18
22.  Liuzzi         HRT-Cosworth           1.45.228   7.577   20
23.  Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1.46.267   8.616   10
24.  Petrov         Renault                1.47.932   10.281   4

Webber leads Vettel in Australia first practice

Webber led for the first practice session of 2011

Webber led for the first practice session of 2011

The 2011 Formula 1 season started today, with a Red Bull 1-2 in Friday Practice 1 in Melbourne.

Sebastian Vettel had taken the lead early on in the session, before his team-mate Mark Webber took back the top spot with minutes to go. Despite splitting the Red Bulls earlier on, Fernando Alonso failed to get near to Vettel and Webber by the end, losing out by 0.9 seconds.

Nico Rosberg and Rubens Barrichello out-performed their team-mates to finish 4th and 5th. The McLarens of Button and Hamilton were 6th and 7th, 1.6 seconds off Webber. Michael Schumacher led Kamui Kobayashi, whose Sauber lost a section of its engine cover late in FP1.

Felipe Massa was one of many drivers having off-track moments, struggled for raw pace and ended up 11th. Pastor Maldonado finished his first official session 15th, ahead of Toro Rosso’s test driver Daniel Ricciardo. Nico Hulkenberg also drove for Force India, but languished in 18th.

Karun Chandhok suffered a disastrous return to the F1 track, as he crashed his Lotus 3 corners in to his first installation lap. The car snapped right on cold tyres, and hit the wall. Karun has since admitted the crash was his fault:

"I’m obviously disappointed to have had such a short run for my first time in the
Team Lotus car, but I put my hands up to it and totally accept it was a combination
of a slippery track and less grip than I expected from the tyres that combined to
put me out so early.

I’m just pleased the guys could get Jarno out in the afternoon session and it shows
what a great team this is that they could get the car fixed that quickly to ensure
Jarno could get a decent number of laps under his belt in FP2."

Virgin Racing were another team to have a horrible first outing for 2011. Both Glock and D’Ambrosio were miles off the pace, and 2.3 seconds off the 107% rule, meaning that both drivers are at huge risk of not qualifying tomorrow.

At least they got 32 laps under their belt. Less can be said for HRT, who spent the entire session in the garage, with both F111 cars still being assembled.

Despite much speculation over the winter, Sebastian Vettel has downplayed the impact of the Pirelli tyres, stating that they are wearing less than they expected:

"I think we expected worse conditions here in terms of how long the tyres last.
I think this morning and this afternoon was quite useful and helped us understand
what to do in the race on Sunday. So far I think it is positive.

Still we cannot race with one stop only. I think we have to come in a couple of
times so ultimately we will find out on Sunday if the track improves or not as
it is also something we have seen in the test."

Times from Australia FP1:

Pos  Driver         Team                   Time       Gap    Laps
 1.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1.26.831          20
 2.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1.27.158   0.327  19
 3.  Alonso         Ferrari                1.27.749   0.918  20
 4.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1.28.152   1.321  16
 5.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1.28.430   1.599  24
 6.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1.28.440   1.609  29
 7.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1.28.483   1.652  26
 8.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1.28.690   1.859  14
 9.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1.28.725   1.894  13
10.  Petrov         Renault                1.28.765   1.930  15
11.  Massa          Ferrari                1.28.842   2.011  20
12.  Heidfeld       Renault                1.28.928   2.097  14
13.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1.29.314   2.483  19
14.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.29.328   2.497  21
15.  Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1.29.403   2.572  24
16.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.29.468   2.637  23
17.  Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1.29.643   2.812  18
18.  Hulkenberg     Force India-Mercedes   1.31.002   4.171  20
19.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1.32.428   5.597  13
20.  D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1.35.282   8.451  17
21.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1.35.289   8.458  15
22.  Chandhok       Lotus-Renault          N/A               1
23.  Liuzzi         HRT-Cosworth           N/A
24.  Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           N/A

Barcelona Day 5: Webber hints at Red Bull’s potential

Mark Webber led Day 5

Mark Webber led Day 5

Mark Webber headed the fifth day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, after Sergio Perez’s fastest lap was deleted for cutting a chicane.

Webber’s best lap came in the morning during a qualifying simulation, when the track was still damp. At that point, he was up to two seconds faster than anyone else on track.

A strange addition to Button's McLaren

A strange addition to Button's McLaren

Jenson Button ran with a strange addition to the nosecone, and was 0.3 seconds behind the Red Bull. His day was spoilt by being forced to abandon a race simulation, losing him up to 50 laps.

Vitaly Petrov took over from an unwell Nick Heidfeld, who had a cold. Petrov was 3rd, several hundreths behind Button. Perez was in the top 5 all day long, and ended up 4th. With a few minutes to go, a shock time of 1.21.176 propelled him to the top, 1.4 seconds faster than Webber. However, the live timing revealed he had gained two full seconds in the final sector by cutting a chicane, and the lap was removed.

Nick Heidfeld was 5th, after dropping out after 20 laps. Paul di Resta was 6th for Force India, while Lotus tested Davide Valsecchi. He managed 50 laps, and was 2.8 seconds off the fastest time, although he spun into the gravel in the afternoon.

Sebastien Buemi was 8th, and Nico Hulkenberg 9th. Luiz Razia shared the Lotus car with Valsecchi, but was 6.5 seconds off the pace.

Jerome D’Ambrosio did not set a competitive lap time, but set 57 laps and was in and out of the pits all day long.

Times from Barcelona Day 5:

Pos  Driver             Team                  Time       Gap    Laps
 1.  Mark Webber        Red Bull-Renault      1.22.544          97
 2.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1.22.910   0.366  74
 3.  Vitaly Petrov      Renault               1.22.937   0.393  27
 4.  Sergio Perez       Sauber-Ferrari        1.24.117   1.573  90
 5.  Nick Heidfeld      Renault               1.24.735   2.191  20
 6.  Paul di Resta      Force India-Mercedes  1.25.039   2.495  38
 7.  Davide Valsecchi   Lotus-Renault         1.25.406   2.862  50
 8.  Sebastien Buemi    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.26.004   3.460  48
 9.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1.26.030   3.486  31
10.  Luiz Razia         Lotus-Renault         1.26.723   4.179  29
11.  Jerome D'Ambrosio  Virgin-Cosworth       1.32.060   9.516  57

Stewart: 2010 drivers are the best ever

Stewart highly rates the 2010 F1 grid

Stewart highly rates the 2010 F1 grid

Jackie Stewart, three-times world champion in the 1960′s and 1970′s, has claimed that the current batch of F1 drivers are “the best ever”. He even went as far as saying that current title holder Sebastian Vettel could be compared to former legends such as Jim Clark, Jack Brabham and Graham Hill.

The 2010 title battle included 5 drivers and 3 teams, and went all the way to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Stewart was very impressed with the racing he saw across the year:

 "I think it's the best field ever. Red Bull had a good car this year 
but right down to the last race there were four drivers battling for 
the championship, and there were five for most of the season really 
in contention."

"Up there was a Red Bull, a Ferrari and a McLaren, and a Renault 
pushing and shoving, so you cannot ask for much better than that. 
It was a long season and it came down to the very last race. It was 
close racing too."

Despite enormous changes in Formula 1 over the years, to both the cars and the drivers, Jackie claims that the raw driver instinct remains the same:

"I think the animal is exactly the same. I don't think Sebastian Vettel is 
any different from what Jim Clark was, or Graham Hill was, or Jack Brabham 
was, or people who have won the world championship more than once."

"These drivers are the same - all the same desire, want, focus, commitment 
and God-given talent that has been developed to the highest level."

"So they are not different as individuals, but we have a crop of them just 
now and we have got a little closer unification of the quality of the 
performance of the cars, so it is going to give us better racing - and I 
see 2010 was as good as the late 1960s/early 1970s."

Despite giving particular praise to Vettel, saying that there is “a lot more to come”, he still says that all of this year’s title contenders are hugely talented. He also touted Robert Kubica as a future champion, and noted each driver’s different driving talent:

"Webber is still in there, and Kubica could one day be world champion. You 
also have Jenson driving in the smoothest and cleanest way of any driver, 
and Lewis is probably the best racer of the whole lot - and the best 
equipped is still Alonso. You have such a group of extraordinarily 
skilled people."

 

The maths behind the 2010 championship battle

With just one more race to go this year, Formula 1 is about to experience something historic, as this is the first time in history that 4 drivers have entered the last race with a chance of becoming World Champion. With this in mind, there are many ways that each of them can take the title.

With this in mind let’s have a look at each driver individually, starting with the underdog:

Lewis Hamilton

2 DNFs in Italy and Singapore have killed Hamilton’s title challenge, and he comes to Abu Dhabi with an extremely low chance of becoming champion. At the moment, he is 24 points adrift of Fernando Alonso.

His task is simple but very difficult: Take the win while Vettel, Alonso and Webber all finish out of the points. While the McLaren isn’t bad at Abu Dhabi, the likelihood of the other 3 drivers being taken out are slim to say the least.

My prediction: As likely as Nick Heidfeld shaving his beard.

Sebastian Vettel

The first of the Red Bull drivers is in with a better chance than Hamilton, but like the McLaren driver, will need a good performance and a stroke of bad luck to hit Webber and Alonso.

Although he is 15 points behind, a 3rd place (with Alonso scoring no points) will not be enough for Vettel, as Fernando has taken 5 wins already, more than any other driver this year. If Vettel finishes 2nd, he will need Alonso to finish 9th or lower, with Webber 5th or lower.

If Sebastian take the win, which is likely is he is on form, the Ferrari needs to be 6th or lower, while Webber will be knocked out automatically, seeing as even if he was 2nd and level on points, Sebastian would have taken one more win.

While the odds are against this Red Bull, the title is certainly not out of reach, though it will take some luck to push Alonso down the order.

My prediction: If he doesn’t win it, he will at least get very close.

Mark Webber

This Red Bull driver is within better striking range of the Ferrari, although Mark’s title hopes were hit slightly by failing to overtake his team-mate in Brazil. Nevertheless, Webber is in with a good shot.

If none of his rivals scored a point (although Hamilton can still win the race in this situation) Mark only needs 5th to take the title. If he gets 4th place, Alonso will need to be 9th or lower, with Vettel not taking the win. If he is in 3rd position, Alonso can be 7th or lower, and Vettel not to take the win.

If Webber takes 2nd place, Fernando has to be 6th or lower, while Sebastian again cannot take the race win (effectively 3rd or lower). Meanwhile, if Mark wins the race, Vettel is taken out no matter where he finishes, while Fernando would have to be 3rd or lower in order for Webber to take the title.

There are many more possibilities as you can see, and it demonstrates why Webber needs to be pushing as hard as he can coming into this final race.

My prediction: A good chance, although he may find trouble keeping Vettel (and Alonso) behind him.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando comes into this race with the title lead, and 8 points to spare against his rivals. He may have the point margin, but his Ferrari will probably be slower than the Red Bull this weekend, so he needs to be very careful.

If he takes either the win or 2nd place, then the championship is his, no questions asked. However, seeing as the Red Bulls are probably going to be on form in Abu Dhabi, this is unlikely, so now the fun begins. If he takes 3rd place, Webber would need to take the race win, and Sebastian Vettel would be knocked out.

If he is 4th, Webber will again need to take the win, and Vettel would still be out of the running.

However, if the Ferrari is 5th, Webber yet again needs to win, and the same goes for Vettel. However, you might notice a small problem there. If Vettel were to win, and Alonso was 5th, then they would be equal on points. FIA rules regulate that the winner would be the driver with the most 2nd place finishes, and both Alonso and Vettel have the same amount. The rule would then move to 3rd place finishes, and -surprise surprise – they have the same amount again! However, Sebastian has two 4th places to Fernando’s one, so this would most certainly be an interesting end to the championship to say the least.

If Alonso is 6th, Webber will need 2nd place, and Vettel would need to win the race. If Fernando was 7th, Mark would have to be on the podium, and Sebastian again requiring the race victory. The exact same requirements for the Red Bulls are needed if the Ferrari is 8th.

In the event of Alonso being 9th, Webber needs 4th, and Vettel needs 2nd or 1st. If Fernando is 10th, Mark would need 5th or higher, and Vettel again requires 1st or 2nd.

In the unlikely event of the Ferrari not taking any points at all, or retiring, Mark Webber would need 5th or higher, and Sebastian Vettel once again has to take 1st or 2nd. If Alonso was not to score, with Vettel 3rd and Webber 6th, then all 3 would be tied on points, but Alonso would take the title because of the “most wins” tiebreaker rule.

My prediction: Best mathematical chance, but needs to watch his back.

Round-up

As you can see, with a 4-way battle for the first time ever, the amount of mathematical possibilities are greater than ever before. With all of these chances of winning the title, we are in for an epic showdown in Abu Dhabi in just a few days time!

Webber leads second practice in Korea

Mark Webber led the second practice session for the first ever Korean Grand Prix. He became the first driver to go under the 1.38 mark. Fernando Alonso was 2nd, followed by Lewis Hamilton.

Mark Webber led FP2 in Korea

Mark Webber led FP2 in Korea

Robert Kubica was 4th, Jenson Button 5th, and Felipe Massa 6th, who was complaining of his Ferrari being “undriveable” in the final sector of the lap. Sebastian Vettel, Vitaly Petrov, Nico Rosberg and Kamui Kobayashi finished the top 10.

Nick Heidfeld was 11th, followed by Michael Schumacher. Rubens Barrichello headed the two Force India cars, with Liuzzi leading Sutil. Nico Hulkenberg was 16th, while Toro Rosso were 17th and 18th.

The Lotus duo of Trulli and Kovalainen stamped their authority on the best new team title, with both drivers being within several hundreths of a second within each other. Timo Glock then headed Lucas di Grassi, who had been given back his car from Jerome D’Ambrosio. Sakon Yamamoto was 7.2 seconds off the pace, while Bruno Senna only managed 3 laps thanks to his car being repaired for most of the session, after his suspension failure in FP1.

This second session was much more eventful, with Sakon Yamamoto crashing at Turn 16 within a few minutes of the session starting. Several turns, especially Turn 12 in particular, caught out many drivers such as Mark Webber. Vitantonio Liuzzi stopped on track with a few minutes to go in the session, while Jenson Button experienced a fault with his exhaust.

I would post the times for this session, but my chart isn’t uploading properly. I’ll try to fix this soon.

Webber pips Hamilton to Spa pole

Mark Webber took pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix today. He pipped Lewis Hamilton, who was 2nd, ahead of Robert Kubica. Sebastian Vettel was 4th, while Fernando Alonso was caught out and is 10th. Here is the full report:

Mark Webber in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix

Mark Webber in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix

Q1

The weather was dry at the start of Q1, but the clouds looked threatening. This resulted in all of the drivers going out at the start, but not a single one of them set a lap. This is because Vitaly Petrov brought out the red flags after a minute and a half, by crashing before the Pouhon corner, as there was a small amount of standing water on the kerbs. His session was over, and he will start from the back of the grid.

When the session restarted, the cars all lined up again at the end of the pit lane, except for the Red Bulls, who held their cars in the pits while they made space for themselves on the track. However, on their warm-up laps, the rain started to fall, and a huge scramble emerged for position on track. Many drivers, especially Schumacher, were jostling for position in the middle of their flying laps, which ruined their time.

The rain fell harder, and a disaster occurred at Stavelot corner, where half the field ran off the track, spun or nearly collided. With so many dangerous incidents, the stewards soon announced they would be investigating the incidents. Within a few minutes, most of the field pitted again. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls, who struggled as they went out later on the wetter track, decided to stay out and switch to intermediates.

Vettel’s first lap was a 1.58, which was enough to put him into 3rd, but then he had to crawl back to the pits, to conserve his inters. Adrian Sutil then went 5th, and Jarno Trulli got 14th. Timo Glock, in the middle of all the previous chaos, was now up to 12th.

Heikki Kovalainen, on the other hand, chose to experiment with the slick tyres. Rosberg and Vettel noticed his improvement, and also went onto the dry tyres. Robert Kubica went fastest on the inters with a 1.56, before the session was yellow flagged after Kamui Kobayashi slipped and got stuck in the gravel track. To make matters worse for the Sauber team, Pedro de la Rosa swiftly ran off and hit the barriers.

After all the drama, there was still time for one set of flying laps. Nico Rosberg chopped a second off Kubica’s time while on slicks, while Michael Schumacher went 5th. Not many others went out again, so it was a quiet end to a chaotic session. Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock managed to get through to Q2. Meanwhile, both Saubers, Hispanias, Lucas di Grassi and Vitaly Petrov were eliminated.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Jarno Trulli

19) Kamui Kobayashi

20) Bruno Senna

21) Sakon Yamamoto

22) Pedro de la Rosa

23) Lucas di Grassi

24) Vitaly Petrov

Q2

The track had dried out by the time Q2 started. Again, another charge of cars out of the pit lane greeted the start of the session, as there was no guarantee of the rain staying away. Both McLaren drivers went out on a used set of soft tyres. 1.50.7 was the fastest lap so far, set by Lewis Hamilton.

Mistakes by Button and Alonso, followed by a spin from Liuzzi, showed that the track was still damp in places, most notably Stavelot. Schumacher ignored this danger, and went fastest with a 1.49. Felipe Massa, on the other hand, spun and nearly got stuck in the gravel track, in the same place as Kobayashi, but he managed to struggle his way out.

Heikki Kovalainen went out for the first time with only 5 minutes remaining. His main rival, Timo Glock, went 15th for Virgin. Jenson Button went fastest with a 1.47.4, showing the track was much drier. Sebastien Buemi went 7th, while Kovalainen was 15th. Lewis Hamilton then went a full second faster than Button to take top spot.

Adrian Sutil, the man tipped to surprise the field in a dry race scenario, went 5th. His team-mate Liuzzi could only manage 12th, and was out of Q2. In the dying seconds, the Williams drivers of Barrichello and Hulkenberg went 9th and 10th, while Schumacher and Rosberg were 11th and 12th. Michael’s 10-place grid penalty means that he will be starting 21st.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Michael Schumacher

12) Nico Rosberg

13) Jaime Alguersuari

14) Vitantonio Liuzzi

15) Sebastien Buemi

16) Heikki Kovalainen

17) Timo Glock

Q3

While the Ferraris and McLarens went out quickly, the Red Bulls, Adrian Sutil and Rubens Barrichello opted to hold back. Lewis Hamilton, the first man out, was quite wild on his flying lap, but still set a 1.46.2. Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, and Fernando Alonso went 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Robert Kubica then went fastest, before Mark Webber topped all of them.

Rubens Barrichello beat Nico Hulkenberg to 7th, then Adrian Sutil split the two. While rain started to fall, Fernando Alonso was left in huge trouble, as he was in 9th, and track conditions were deteriorating quite a bit. Mark Webber’s time seemed to be unbeatable, seeing as the track wouldn’t support another driver’s challenge for pole. Despite this, both of the McLarens improved their times.

However, nobody was able to knock Webber off top spot, so he deservedly takes pole position. But knowing Spa (heavy rain forecast for tomorrow), anything can happen in the race…

Full times from qualifying:

Pos.
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1′57.352 1′47.253 1′45.778
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1′56.706 1′46.211 1′45.863
3 Robert Kubica Renault 1′56.041 1′47.320 1′46.100
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1′58.487 1′47.245 1′46.127
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1′57.981 1′46.790 1′46.206
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1′58.323 1′47.322 1′46.314
7 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1′55.757 1′47.797 1′46.602
8 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1′58.730 1′47.292 1′46.659
9 Nico Hülkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1′55.442 1′47.821 1′47.053
10 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1′57.023 1′47.544 1′47.441
11 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1′56.313 1′47.874
12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1′54.826 1′47.885
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1′58.944 1′48.267
14 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 2′01.102 1′48.680
15 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2′00.386 1′49.209
16 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 2′01.343 1′50.980
17 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2′01.316 1′52.049
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 2′01.491
19 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 2′02.284
20 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 2′03.612
21 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 2′03.941
22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 2′05.294
23 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 2′18.154
24 Vitaly Petrov Renault

Notes: Michael Schumacher will start 21st after a 10-place grid penalty for his move on Barrichello in Hungary.

Sebastien Buemi has been docked 3 places for impeding Nico Rosberg and Timo Glock.

Timo Glock has been given a 5-place penalty for holding up Sakon Yamamoto (!).

Nico Rosberg has been given a 5-place penalty, because of  a gearbox change.

Amazingly, this leaves Heikki Kovalainen in 13th place on the grid.

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