Tag Archives: Mark Webber

Webber hinting at 2011 exit

While earlier in the year he silenced the critics who speculated that he would soon retire, Mark Webber appears to be slowly backtracking, as he talked about the possibility of leaving Formula 1 after the 2011 season.

Mark Webber has said that he cannot guarantee him racing in F1 in 2012

Mark Webber has said that he cannot guarantee him racing in F1 in 2012

The 33-year-old (34 on Friday), who first entered the sport with Minardi in 2002, has been improving all the time, and is now leading the driver’s championship for the first time as well. However, while talking to Globo, he said that he could not guarantee him driving in Formula 1 from 2012 onwards.

He said:

“I can not guarantee that my head will be in the same place in 
2012. Sure, I want to try and win the world title, I know that 
it changes people's lives; it changes the person and I want to 
see how it feels. 

I also want you to realise that athletes can get over their 
dreams, though. Maybe I'll end up doing a little hiking, I 
don’t know, but surely some more sporting challenges before 
I get too old and return to Australia to drink red wine.”

To be honest, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Webber leave after 2011. While he is driving better than ever before, it must be noted that he will be 36 at the end of 2011, and if his heart isn’t in it then, there is little point staying. To lead the world championship, and be in contention to win it, must be propelling him through this season, but maybe the team’s favouritism of Sebastian Vettel has had an impact on him.

Only time will tell, but before he leaves, whenever that is, I would like for him to win a championship, and he certainly deserves it this year.

Vettel penalty hands Webber the win in Hungary

Mark Webber took the win in today’s Hungarian Grand Prix, despite a change in strategy after a safety car period. Sebastian Vettel was leading up to Lap 15 or so, but a drive-through penalty ruined his race, and left him 3rd. Fernando Alonso took this opportunity to get into 2nd place, in between the two Red Bulls.

At the start, Vettel finally held his lead up to the first corner. Alonso got past Webber, who was on the dirty side of the track, and pressurised Sebastian, but the German held him off. Once the toughest part was over for Vettel, he put his foot down, and extended his lead at the front by 1 second every single lap.

Vettel manages to hold his lead at the start, while Alonso gets ahead of Webber

Vettel manages to hold his lead at the start, while Alonso gets ahead of Webber

Vitaly Petrov made a fantastic start, getting past Lewis Hamilton to get into 5th place. By Lap 2 however, the McLaren’s tyres were back up to temperature, and easily out-braked the Renault into Turn 2. Jenson Button, on the other hand, dropped down the field to 15th, after he got caught out by the heavy pack into Turn 1.

Up front, Vettel was in a class of his own, 10 seconds ahead of Alonso after 12 laps. This looked like a done deal. But, on Lap 15, Vitantonio Liuzzi lost a piece of his front wing, and it landed near the racing line on Turn 11, a blind-entry high-speed corner, and the safety car had to be deployed. As only a handful of drivers had pitted before this point (Button notably being one of them), the pit lane was going to be very busy. And that’s where things went out of hand.

First off, when Robert Kubica was being released from his box, he clashed with Adrian Sutil, who was entering the box just ahead of the Renault garage. The fault lay at the feet of the Renault lollipop man, but Kubica was able to keep going, albeit a lap down, after having his engine restarted. Sutil was out on the spot, and the stewards were soon investigating the incident.

The mechanics try to clear up the mess after the crash between Sutil and Kubica

The mechanics try to clear up the mess after the crash between Sutil and Kubica

Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, was released from his box while the mechanics were still working on the back left wheel. The tyre detached, flew off and bounced straight through a busy pit lane, narrowly dodging the Sauber pit crew, then knocking down and injuring a Williams mechanic. It was a miracle that he only suffered bruising, and later on took part in Nico Hulkenberg’s pit stop. Meanwhile, Nico stopped at the end of the pit lane to retire.

Every driver on the soft tyres except one went in to pit, while Barrichello and Hulkenberg stayed out, as they were on the hard tyres. The only driver on the softs who failed to stop was Mark Webber, whose team never told him to pit, surely angering him, as while he was in the lead now, he had no gap to the cars behind, and still had to stop.

Nico Rosberg's wheel detaches i the pit lane, and nearly takes out the Sauber pit crew, then knocks down a Williams mechanic

Nico Rosberg's wheel detaches i the pit lane, and nearly takes out the Sauber pit crew, then knocks down a Williams mechanic

At the restart, Mark put his foot down to build a gap, while Vettel in 2nd was caught napping, and held up the rest of the field by too much, and was too far behind his team-mate’s car at the restart. The rules say that you must be within 10 car lengths of the car in front, to stop team-mates bunching the field up. The stewards now had a lot to deal with, as they also had to investigate this incident. Meanwhile, Kubica had been served a 10-second stop and go penalty, and after falling 2 laps down, gave up 10 laps later.

It was now Webber’s mission to get as far away from everyone else as possible. By Lap 24, he was 7 seconds ahead of Vettel, although they were than matched in pace after that. At the moment, he was only aiming to rejoin behind Vettel after he pitted, as Alonso was falling away from Sebastian. But, on Lap 29, the state of the race took another twist, when it was announced that Vettel had been served a drive-through penalty for exceeding the 10-length limit at the safety car restart.

While all of this was going on, Lewis Hamilton was making a very quiet retirement from the Grand Prix, as a transmission failure took him out of 5th place. While he had little impact on the race, his championship battle would suffer significantly as a reault of this retirement.

Once Sebastian served his penalty, he emerged well behind Alonso, but still ahead of a silent Massa in 4th. The focus now switched to Webber, who had to get a 20-second gap to Alonso by the time he pitted. On Lap 31, he was 11 seconds ahead, and the good news was that his super-soft tyres could hold up for another 10 or so laps.

Over the next few laps, we saw successive stunning laps from the Red Bull, as he charged away from the helpless Ferrari. A blistering set of laps ensured that he was an entire second a lap faster, just like all of the other sessions this weekend. By Lap 40, Webber had his 20 second gap, and stopped 3 laps later. The Red Bull mechanics did their job perfectly, and it was high-fives all around, and even Christian Horner applauded the team’s performance.

Once Webber exited in the lead, the focus was back on Vettel to catch and pass Alonso for 2nd place. While he was much faster, he was unable to make the pass in the end, and was held back in 3rd until the end. Further back, there was an excellent battle for 10th place, as Michael Schumacher was under pressure by former team-mate Rubens Barrichello. But, as he tends to do this year, Schumacher made a move that nearly ended in disaster.

Schumacher pushes Barrichello within inches of a huge collision

Schumacher pushes Barrichello within inches of a huge collision

He pushed Barrichello to within centimetres of a concrete wall at over 300km/h. Rubens then ran onto the grass to stay alive, and still managed to get past Michael, despite possibly the stupidest and most dangerous defensive move I’ve ever seen. The stewards have since given Schumacher a 10-place grid penalty in Spa, which is nowhere near enough. A separate blog post will be up about this tonight.

So, Mark Webber crossed the line first, 17 seconds still ahead of Alonso, who managed to hold off Vettel until the end. While the fastest man didn’t win, Webber still drove magnificently to fully deserve the win, and the lead in the drivers’ championship. Jenson Button was completely invisible all race, but still took advantage of the safety car to move up to 8th place, although he was still overtaken by both Red Bulls in the standings.

A shout-out must also be given to Vitaly Petrov and Nico Hulkenberg, who finished 5th and 6th respectively, their best finishes in F1. Hulkenberg made his way up the grid thanks to starting on the harder tyre, while Petrov was just plain fast for the entire race. Kamui Kobayashi was impressive yet again in 9th place, after starting 23rd on the grid.

Red Bull gives you.... an unfair aerodynamic levitation advantage?

Red Bull gives you.... an unfair aerodynamic levitation advantage?

While there were only a handful of overtaking moves, the Hungarian Grand Prix was anything but boring, with plenty of events to keep us talking over the 4-week break. More articles about the race will be up today and tomorrow.

The standings have been updated as usual, you can view them here.

Webber wins as Vettel struggles in Silverstone

Mark Webber took the win today at the British Grand Prix today, as pole sitter Sebastian Vettel suffered a puncture on the first lap. There was more controversy for Fernando Alonso, as the stewards dealt him a harsh drive-through penalty. Here is the full race report:

At the start, Vettel made a mistake with the clutch, and span his wheels too much. This allowed Mark Webber to get alongside him at the first corner, and he pushed Sebastian wide. Also, Lewis Hamilton’s front wing was seen to clip the back of Sebastian’s car. This caused a puncture on Vettel’s rear tyre, and he crawled back to the grid to the pits. He switched his tyres, and emerged at the back, 63 seconds down on the leaders. Felipe Massa also suffered a puncture on Lap 1, as a slow-starting Fernando Alonso came into contact with the other Ferrari.

Mark Webber leads, after Sebastian Vettel runs wide after contact with Hamilton

Mark Webber leads, after Sebastian Vettel runs wide after contact with Hamilton

Robert Kubica made a fantastic start, getting up to third position by Lap 2. However, he was unable to keep the pace up, and fell into the clutches of 4th placed Nico Rosberg. Pedro de la Rosa’s good starting position was lost, as he fell to 11th, while Jarno Trulli was now 16th.

Massa was 20 seconds behind Sakon Yamamoto on Lap 5. But, by Lap 9, he had already got past the HRT driver. The Force India drivers were pressurising Trulli’s 16th place, but Jarno did well to hold them back. At the front, Mark Webber began to carve out a lead from Lewis Hamilton in 2nd.

Behind the front 2, a very large train of cars was beginning to form, from 3rd to 9th, with Robert Kubica, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Kamui Kobayashi all in the mix. At the first stops, Ferrari tried to leapfrog both Rosberg and Kubica, but Nico managed to stay ahead and get past Kubica at the same time, after delaying their first stop.

On Lap 19, Alonso made a controversial move on Kubica. At the Vale corner, Kubica pushed Alonso, which forced Fernando to cut the corner. He emerged ahead of Kubica, but failed to give the position back. It took a long while before the stewards announced that they were investigating the incident. There was a twist, though, as Kubica retired into the pits on Lap 21, meaning that now no driver had completed every lap this season. Now, the stewards couldn’t instruct Alonso to give the position back.

Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica battle at Vale

Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica battle at Vale

Fernando assumed the matter was over, and proceeded to overtake Jaime Alguersuari for 6th, and then hassling Rosberg for 5th. Meanwhile, Jenson Button, who started from 14th, had a longer first stint, and when he pitted, emerged in 5th place.

On Lap 28, the stewards finally handed out their penalty: a drive-through penalty for Fernando Alonso, for cutting a chicane and gaining an advantage. However, it got even worse for the Spaniard, as the safety car was deployed a lap later, for debris on the track. It came from Pedro de la Rosa’s rear wing, which also caused the retirement of the Sauber car.

This safety car prompted Hulkenberg to make his first stop on Lap 29, as he had started on the harder tyre, and had banked on a safety car, like Kamui Kobayashi did in Valencia. It only worked to an extent, and he emerged in 11th. The debris was cleared soon, and the safety car pitted on Lap 30. This is when Fernando Alonso served his penalty.

The safety car gave a chance to Sebastian Vettel for some points. He was in recovery mode after his first lap puncture, and was now lying in 15th place, and was elevated to 14th after Alonso’s penalty. The bunched-up field gave him a chance to overtake them and get into the points. He, and Adrian Sutil, were the men on the attack. On Lap 34, Sutil dived down the inside of Michael Schumacher, and although he was squeezed a bit, got past for 7th place.

Sebastian Vettel was on fire, getting up to 11th place by Lap 37, and now harassing Vitaly Petrov for position. Ahead of the Russian was Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher, so points were definitely on the cards. Vettel got past Petrov and Hulkenberg within 2 laps, and muscled his way past Schumacher 2 laps later, getting him up to 8th.

Felipe Massa, despite being in 13th place, was still pushing hard, and spun at Club corner, flat-spotting his tyres. He pitted for a new set, but caught his team out, and lost even more time.

Within another 2 laps, Vettel was all over the back of Sutil, but the Force India’s straight line speed kept the Red Bull behind. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso was caught up in a battle with the other Force India, Vitantonio Liuzzi. With 3 laps to go, Fernando finally got past, but got tagged by Liuzzi as he overtook, and was forced to pit again for repairs. Vettel finally got past Sutil with only 2 laps to go.

While all of this went on, Mark Webber was having a fantastic race keeping Lewis Hamilton well at bay, and he crossed the line first, with Lewis 2nd and Nico Rosberg hanging on against Jenson Button to take the final posium spot. Jenson had the pace to get past, but unfortunately had to conserve fuel near the end. Rubens Barrichello and Kamui Kobayashi impressed with 5th and 6th, Sebastian Vettel was 7th ahead of Adrian Sutil, and Michael Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg finished off the top 10.

Mark Webber celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix

Mark Webber celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix

The Ferraris languished in 14th and 15th after their dismal afternoon, but oddly enough didn’t complain much about the stewards’ decision on Fernando Alonso. However, there wasn’t much focus on Ferrari, as much as Mark Webber. He had overcome the rumoured favouritism on Saturday, when the team gave Vettel a new front wing and left Mark in the cold. However, Mark wasn’t going to forget quickly about this, ending his race with a short message to the team:

“Not bad for a number 2 driver”.

The standings have been updated, you can view them here.

Webber leads British FP2 session

Mark Webber led the way for the second practice session of the British Grand Prix, at the revised Silverstone circuit. Mark was fastest, ahead of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa. However, McLaren seemed to make a step back in this session, after introducing new upgrades to the car.

Several top drivers made mistakes this session, such as Vettel, Massa and Hamilton. Nico Rosberg was 5th, ahead of team-mate Michael Schumacher and Vitaly Petrov. The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were 8th and 13th respectively.

There were problems this session for Lotus. Jarno Trulli took back over his car from Fairuz Fauzy, but his car broke down after only 3 laps. Heikki Kovalainen stopped out on track with a steering issue near the end of the session.

Since Trulli only managed 3 laps, and therefore didn’t set a fast lap, Sakon Yamamoto was again the slowest driver this session, as he was 7 seconds off the pace, and 1.3 seconds slower than team-mate Karun Chandhok. For the second session in a row, Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest of the new teams.

Times from FP2:

Webber drops to 7th after gearbox change

Mark Webber will now start 7th because of a gearbox change

Mark Webber will now start 7th because of a gearbox change

Mark Webber has dropped to 7th position on the grid, thanks to an overnight gearbox change which resulted in a 5-place grid penalty. This promotes Sebastian Vettel up to 2nd place, alongside Lewis Hamilton on the front row of the grid for the Canadian Grand Prix.

This will cause problems for his tyre strategy, as he is starting on the medium tyre. The only other two drivers in the top 10 on that compound are Vettel and Robert Kubica, who is on the same row as Webber, in 8th place. Also, this promotes Vitantonio Liuzzi up to 5th place, his highest qualifying position so far in Formula 1.

If Lewis Hamilton cannot manage his tyres at the start, then I feel that Sebastian Vettel is the best choice for the win today, after what happened to Webber.

Webber extends Red Bull contract until 2011

Mark Webber will continue to drive alongside Sebastian Vettel next year

Mark Webber will continue to drive alongside Sebastian Vettel next year

Mark Webber has signed with Red Bull Racing until 2011, alleviating fears of him possibly making way at the end of this year. He will continue to be alongside Sebastian Vettel, whose contract also expires at the end of 2011. This should also help concerns after their Turkish Grand Prix collision.

Webber said this about his new contract:

It was an easy decision to remain with Red Bull Racing. We began 
talking very early this year and were in a position to sign by 
the Barcelona Grand Prix.

The decision to extend for a further year was a mutual one; it’s 
widely know that I’m not interested in hanging around in Formula 
One just for the sake of it and at this stage of my career, I’m 
happy to take one year at a time.

Christian Horner also seemed happy with Mark:

He is an important member of our team and is currently in the best 
form of his career, as the current leader of the drivers’ 
championship. The team is extremely happy that the driver pairing 
of Mark and Sebastian will remain unchanged for a third season in 
2011.

A no-brainer really in my opinion, as despite their collision, Webber and Vettel are up there with Hamilton and Button as the best driver line-up on the grid. Mark should be around for a good few years more, and I don’t think that Sebastian would have any reason to move any time soon.

However, this practically gets rid of any possibility of Kimi Raikkonen returning to F1 in 2011, as many rumours were linking him to Red Bull. Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes already have solid line-ups, so I don’t think we’ll see Kimi ever again.

Webber takes 3 pole positions in a row in Turkey

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton after Turkish Grand Prix qualifying

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton after Turkish Grand Prix qualifying

Mark Webber took his third pole position of a row, ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton will make McLaren’s first fron row start this season, with 2nd place. Sebastian Vettel was 3rd, Jenson Button 4th, and Michael Schumacher 5th. Here is the full qualifying report:

Q1

As Q1 began, the Virgin and Lotus cars were out first. Jarno Trulli set the early benchmark with a 1.31.7, ahead of Timo Glock. The HRt cars were unable to challenge any of the new teams at this time.

Fernando Alonso was the first of the frontrunners to go out on the harder tyres, and set a 1.28.1. Vitaly Petrov set a good lap to get in between the top drivers. Vitantonio Liuzzi was struggling in the drop zone, and a spin at Turn 10 didn’t help his cause. He pitted to check the car soon after.

The Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber were the last out, and were quickly on the pace, getting 3rd and 5th respectively. Soon after, they got to the top of the timesheets. Vitaly Petrov got another good lap in to take 4th momentarily. However, Vitantonio Liuzzi was unable to improve on his previous time, and was knocked out in Q1 alongside the new teams.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Vitantonio Liuzzi

19) Jarno Trulli

20) Heikki Kovalainen

21) Timo Glock

22) Bruno Senna

23) Lucas di Grassi

24) Karun Chandhok

Q2

As the first drivers went out, Lewis Hamilton surprised many by going out on the harder tyres again. After 4 minutes, he had already got the fastest lap of the session. Webber and Vettel quickly get 2nd and 3rd positions after this.

Nico Rosberg was struggling with his car, and his first attempt only put him into 13th place. His next lap was similarly poor, a 1.27.7, only placing him 11th. Again, Vitaly Petrov got another good lap in to get ahead of team-mate Kubica. While Kamui Kobayashi was in 9th, team-mate Pedro de la Rosa was lacking pace on the soft tyres, and only finished 13th.

After Rosberg finally improved to get into Q3, Fernando Alonso was the only top driver in the knockout zone. On his first attempt with 3 minutes to go, he made a mistake at Turn 12, ruining his lap. The next time, he couldn’t get the pace he needed, and only got 12th place.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Adrian Sutil

12) Fernando Alonso

13) Pedro de la Rosa

14) Sebastien Buemi

15) Rubens Barrichello

16) Jaime Alguersuari

17) Nico Hulkenberg

Q3

Michael Schumacher spins at Turn 8 and gets beached in the gravel trap

Michael Schumacher spins at Turn 8 and gets beached in the gravel trap

Even though the softer tyres only seem to be able to get one fast lap in, most of the first drivers out on track took on the soft tyres. Robert Kubica, as he seems to do a lot, set the first lap of Q3, with a 1.27. Lewis Hamilton soon improved on that with a 1.26.5. Sebastian Vettel seemed to be able to take provisional pole off Hamilton, but messed up the final sector, and was 2nd. Mark Webber didn’t make the same mistake, and was 0.03 seconds quicker than Lewis.

Kamui Kobayashi waited a long time to go out, but eventually did so with 4 minutes remaining. He only had one set of soft tyres left though, so he had to be careful. While he was on track, everyone else pitted to prepare for their final runs. However, his car wasn’t fast enough, and Kamui was 10th.

Mark Webber was the first of the leaders to go out on his final run, and improved on his time to take a 1.26.295. But, Lewis Hamilton got very close to Mark, only 1 tenth slower. Oddly enough, instead of a mad scramble for pole, the other drivers all messed up their final laps. Sebastian Vettel had a massive lock-up at Turn 1, ruining his tyres, while Nico Rosberg just didn’t have the pace. Michael Schumacher spun at Turn 8, and got stuck in the gravel trap.

So, Webber took pole position for the third time in a row, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, which is McLaren’s first front-row start this season. Sebastian Vettel was third, Jenson Button 4th, Michael Schumacher 5th, Nico Rosberg 6th, Robert Kubica 7th, Felipe Massa 8th, Vitaly Petrov 9th, and Kamui Kobayashi 10th.

Full times from qualifying:

Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.27.500 1.26.818 1.26.295
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.27.667 1.27.013 1.26.433
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.27.067 1.26.729 1.26.760
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.27.555 1.27.277 1.26.781
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.27.756 1.27.438 1.26.857
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.27.649 1.27.141 1.26.952
7 Robert Kubica Renault 1.27.766 1.27.426 1.27.039
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.27.993 1.27.200 1.27.082
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.27.620 1.27.387 1.27.430
10 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.28.158 1.27.434 1.28.122
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.27.951 1.27.525
12 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.27.857 1.27.612
13 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.28.147 1.27.879
14 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.28.534 1.28.273
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.28.336 1.28.392
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.28.460 1.28.540
17 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.28.227 1.28.841
18 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.28.958
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.30.237
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.30.519
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.30.744
22 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.31.266
23 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.31.989
24 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.32.060

Webber takes Monaco Grand Prix win

Mark Webber took a well-deserved win at the Monaco Grand Prix today. It wasn’t handed to him on a plate though, as 4 safety car periods repeatedly ruined his leads.

At the start, all 23 cars (and Alonso) made it through the first corner without incident. However, in the tunnel, Nico Hulkenberg appeared to have a mechanical failure, and smashed into the left barrier, bringing out the safety car on Lap 1. This prompted Fernando Alonso, who started the race from the pit lane, to switch to the harder tyre for the rest of the race. This was to prove a decicive moment, as he could now try to complete the entire race on this set, without having to pit again.

Nico Hulkenberg crashes in the tunnel, causing the first safety car

Nico Hulkenberg crashes in the tunnel, causing the first safety car

Jenson Button retires due to an overheating engine

Jenson Button retires due to an overheating engine

On Lap 3, still under safety car conditions, Jenson Button pulled over with an overheating engine. After a while, it was revealed that McLaren had left a radiator cover on the left sidepod, which meant the engine couldn’t cool itself, and the car overheated, which is a pretty poor excuse for a retirement for an F1 team.

The safety car pitted on Lap 8, and the racing commenced. All eyes focused on Fernando Alonso, who had to work his way up from 20th position. He got cracking soon, and within a few laps, had got past Lucas di Grassi, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen. On Lap 18, Lewis Hamilton was the first of the frontrunners to pit, switching to the harder tyre. He emerged just in fron of Alonso in P15, leading many to believe that McLaren were trying to cover Alonso.

Within a few laps, the entire field reacted. Barrichello, Schumacher, Liuzzi, Buemi, Kubica, Petrov, Alguersuari, Sutil and de la Rosa all pitted. But, there was a problem with Pedro’s stop, as he was stationary for over a minute, before the team finally retired him. Judging by what I saw on the TV screens, it looked like de la Rosa repeatedly stalled the car.

Webber pitted from the lead on Lap 24, and retained his advantage ahead of Nico Rosberg, who had yet to stop. Timo Glock suffered suspension damage on track, and retired soon after. On Lap 28, Rosberg, Trulli, Kovalainen all pitted. Rosberg fel to 8th place behind team-mate Schumacher, but there was a disaster at Lotus. On both occasions, the back right wheel gun jammed, meaning both Trulli’s and Kovalainen’s stops were 26 and 12 seconds long respectively.

By Lap 31, everybody had made their first stop, but the safety car quickly put a stop to most strategies. Rubens Barrichello had suffered a back left tyre failure, and hit the barriers at Turn 3. In anger or panic (we don’t know which yet) he threw his steering wheel out of the car onto the track, which was run over by either a HRT or a McLaren. It is yet to be seen whether Rubens will get a penalty for that incident.

When the safety car peeled in on Lap 34, it became apparent that the order of the field was starting to be set. Fernando Alonso had made his way up to 6th position, still behind Hamilton, while Kubica was pressusising Vettel for 2nd. For the next few laps, gaps started to appear between the cars, until the third safety car ruined all of that.

This time, there was a loose drain cover at Turn 3. Within a lap, the stewards had decided that it was all right, and had secured it properly, and the racing recommenced. On Lap 61, both Heikki Kovalainen and Bruno Senna pitted, but neither made it out of the pit lane. Senna was retired instantly, while Kovalainen had a gearbox problem, which meant he couldn’t select a gear to exit his box after his stop.

From there until the end, most drivers decided to settle for their position, and conserve their cars, Everyone except Robert Kubica, who was doing a great job of sticking behind Sebastian Vettel in the battle for 2nd. Unfortunately, thanks to the tight and twisty nature of the Monaco track, Kubica was unable to make a move.

But, just when everyone thought it was over, Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok collided heavily at La Rascasse. Jarno tried to dive down the inside of the corner, a dangerous move, and his car launched itself over the HRT car, going extremely close to Chandhok’s head. With two wrecked cars and debris lying over the track, the safety car was forced to make its fourth appearance, and led the cars until the finish.

So, Webber crossed the line first, well ahead of Vettel in second, for another Red Bull 1-2. This meant that Webber and Vettel are now equal on top of the drivers’ championship, both on 78 points. Since Webber has taken 2 wins compared to Vettel’s one, it means that the Aussie leads his team-mate. Red Bull also took the lead in the constructors’ championship, to top off a great race for the Austrian team.

Interestingly enough, Michael Schumacher passed Fernando Alonso on the precise safety car line, the line that you must pass before you can overtake when the safety car pits. It was an extremely opportunistic move, but I’d say Schumacher will get away with it.

Another fantastic performance from Webber, which gives him a fulls deserved lead in the championship. In my opinion, it is now turning into a battle between Webber and Vettel for the title, unless Ferrari and McLaren can improve their cars in time. Robert Kubica did a great job for another podium finish, and Force India did well to get a double points finish.

The standings have been updated, you can view them here.

Webber takes stunning pole in Monaco

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Robert Kubica after Monaco GP qualifying

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Robert Kubica after Monaco GP qualifying

Mark Webber took pole position for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix, with a stunning lap at the end of the session. He was battling with Robert Kubica for the entire session, and Sebastian Vettel was behind these two. Here is the report in full.

Q1

At the start of the session, it became clear that Fernando Alonso would not be able to compete in Q1, due to his crash in Saturday practice. He will therefore start from the pit lane, since the team are still working on the car.

All of the cars went out very quickly as the session started, as nobody wanted to be caught out by backmarkers. Robert Kubica set the initial pace, but was soon held up by one of the Virgin cars. Felipe Massa set a 1.15.6, to take the top of the timesheets, and Lewis Hamilton was soon 0.01 seconds behind. Nico Rosberg was setting fastest sector times in S1 and S2, but was constantly being held up in S3, so he was unable to set a fast time in the first half of the session. Once he did get a time in, he set a 1.15.1 to lead the session.

It was only momentary though, as Massa blitzed a 1.14.7 only seconds after Rosberg. As the session continued, most drivers improved as the track cleared, which was indicating that the new teams would all be knocked out in Q1. Kamui Kobayashi took a risk by setting all of his times on the harer tyre, which is half a second slower than the soft tyre, although he was able to get into Q2.

Heikki Kovalainen tried his best to go faster than Kobayashi, but spun at Mirabeau, and then at the Casino hairpin the next lap. Despite the new teams’ efforts, all of them were knocked out in Q1, in the usual order. Despite this, the Lotus cars were only 3 seconds off the pace, which is a good improvement.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen

19) Jarno Trulli

20) Timo Glock

21) Lucas di Grassi

22) Bruno Senna

23) Karun Chandhok

24) Fernando Alonso

Q2

Again, like Q1, all cars went out instantly at the start, to try and avoid traffic. Vitaly Petrov went first, and set an impressive 1.15.5. Michael Schumacher used good tactics to give himself plenty of space, but wasn’t able to set the pace at the start. Again, Robert Kubica was the fastest man on track, with a 1.14.9.

Very soon, Schumacher matched that time, and Kubica then went 3 tenths quicker. Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton were very close out on track, and on their first laps they went 5th and 6th. Felipe Massa went one hundreth faster than Kubica, and then Rosberg smashed another 3 tenths off that time.

While Sebastian Vettel was up at the top, he wasn’t fast enough to take the lead. Jenson Button was struggling with 7 minutes to go, as he was sitting in 11th place. His next lap put him into 10th place, but only just (0.006 seconds), as he was slightly held up by Pedro de la Rosa.

Vitaly Petrov was going for a fast lap, as he was in 13th place, but he crashed at the Snt Devote corner, and brought out the yellow flags, ruining many drivers’ laps. However, the stewards were excellent in getting rid of the broken Renault in less than a minute. Once the car was cleared, everyone had one lap remaining to set a time.

However, none of the top 10 drivers were displaced by the other 7. Having said that, it was a very good session, as the top 7 were seperated by only 3 tenths of a second.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Nico Hulkenberg

12) Adrian Sutil

13) Sebastien Buemi

14) Vitaly Petrov

15) Pedr de la Rosa

16) Kamui Kobayashi

17) Jaime Alguersuari

Q3

As Q3 started, it was very clear that is was going to be an incredibly close session, with many drivers gunning for pole. Both Robert Kubica and Vitantonio Liuzzi started the session on used super-soft tyres, to conserve another set for the race. It didn’t stop Robert though, as he quickly set a 1.14.7 to take top spot. Lewis Hamilton’s first time was 6 tenths slower than this.

But, in an instant, Kubica pulled out a stunning lap, a 1.14.2, to go an entire second faster than anyone else. All 10 cars then went out with 5 minutes to go, to try and knock Kubica off the top. Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button were first, but were miles off his time. However, when Jenson Button went round the last corner on a fast lap, he was hugely held up by Felipe Massa, who may well be penalised for that move.

As car after car set their lap, nobody got near Robert. Lewis Hamilton got within one tenth, but everyone else was still an entire second behind. Robert Kubica set another brilliant lap, but everyone was competely shocked when Mark Webber came out from nowhere to take provisional pole by a few hundreths. But, when many thought it was over, Webber set another stunning lap, a 1.13.8, to rip pole position from Kubica’s hands.

Sebastian Vettel still wasn’t entirely on the pace, but still took 3rd on the grid. Michael Schumacher was only 7th while team-mate Rosberg was 6th. Massa and Hamilton were 4th and 5th respectively, while Jenson Button was 8th after being held up by Felipe. Rubens Barrichello was 9th, and Liuzzi 10th. It was a stunning Q3 session, although Kubica must be dissapointed with 2nd after setting so many fast laps.

Full times from Monaco qualifying:

Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.15.035 1.14.462 1.13.826
2 Robert Kubica Renault 1.15.045 1.14.549 1.14.120
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.15.110 1.14.568 1.14.227
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.14.757 1.14.405 1.14.283
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.15.676 1.14.527 1.14.432
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.15.188 1.14.375 1.14.544
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.15.649 1.14.691 1.14.590
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.15.623 1.15.150 1.14.637
9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.15.590 1.15.083 1.14.901
10 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.15.397 1.15.061 1.15.170
11 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.16.030 1.15.317
12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.15.445 1.15.318
13 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.15.961 1.15.413
14 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.15.482 1.15.576
15 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.15.908 1.15.692
16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.16.175 1.15.992
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.16.021 1.16.176
18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.17.094
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.17.134
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.17.377
21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.17.864
22 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.18.509
23 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.19.559
24 Fernando Alonso Ferrari

Webber dominates at Spanish Grand Prix

Mark Webber had a dominant performance to take his first win of 2010, at the Spanish Grand Prix today. He led the entire race, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, who suffered several problems during the race.

Mark Webber defends from Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso at the start

Mark Webber defends from Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso at the start

At the start, Webber was forced to defend his position against Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton, who all took different routes to try and take the lead. However, none of them prevailed, and the top four kept their starting positions. At the back, Vitaly Petrov and Pedro de la Rosa collided, meaning the Sauber driver punctured his back left wheel, and was forced to pit. Also, Bruno Senna crashed into the barriers at Turn 3, although it is unclear what caused the incident. Sebastien Buemi lost his front wing in a separate incident.

Heikki Kovalainen never even started the race, as before the formation lap, his car’s gearbox was unable to select a gear, even with the help of the team’s laptops. A quick fix was impossible, so the Finn sat out the race.

Jaime Alguersuari and Felipe Massa made good starts, while Robert Kubica fell down to 10th. At the front, Mark Webber pushed on, and set fastest lap after fastest lap to push away from team-mate Vettel. Until the first set of pit stops, gaps appeared between the top 10 runners, while the back markers battled amongst themselves.

Nico Rosberg was doing reasonably, until his pit stop ruined his race. He left his box before his front left wheel was securely fitted, and he was forced to stop, and have his car pushed back for his wheel to be fitted again. He fell to 16th place, and never really recovered after that.

Many of the drivers pitted around Lap 18. The two who benefited from these stops were Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, who got up to 2nd and 5th respectively. Lewis had to work for his position though, as he battled with Sebastian Vettel, while Lucas di Grassi lended a hand. The Virgin driver slowed to let them past at Turn 1 while Hamilton was exiting the pit, and Vettel was forced to run wide to avoid Di Grassi, which handed Hamilton the position.

Meanwhile, a fight was developing between Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher. The German was lapping very slowly after his switch to the harder tyres, in the 1.28 zone. While Button was considerably faster, he was unable to make a pass. This was mainly down to Schumacher’s excellent defending, meaning Jenson couldn’t make a move, as we saw so many times at Turn 1.

An incident soon occured between the frontrunners and the backmarkers. While Felipe Massa was trying to get past Karun Chandhok before the final chicane, he lost control and clipped his front wing off the HRT. While Felipe initially wanted to pit, he soon started setting personal best laps.

Felipe Massa loses control and hits the back of Karun Chandhok

Felipe Massa loses control and hits the back of Karun Chandhok

But, as soon as one backmarker incident was over, another happened. Jaime Alguersuari had just lapped Chandhok, and swerved straight in front of the HRT. Jaime lost control and lost a lot of time, while Karun was forced to pit for a new front wing. It was a dangerous and pointless move, and Alguersuari swiftly received a drive-through penalty.

On Lap 41, Lewis Hamilton asked his team how his tyres were, and whether he should pit or not. The team opted to keep him out, something which may come back to haunt him later. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel was told that his front wing flap adjuster was stuck, which hampered his performance for the rest of the race. On Lap 45, Sebastien Buemi pitted for a long time, then soon retired.

As the race entered its final stage, it became clear that overtaking was still incredibly hard around this track. Button was still stuck behind Schumacher, and a large train of cars was forming behind him. Nico Rosberg couldn’t make progress up the field, and was stuck behind Nico Hulkenberg for a huge portion of the race.

On Lap 54, Vettel pitted for the second time, which confused many people, as his tyres seemed to be OK. He switched to the softer tyre, and everyone soon saw the problem: his brakes were absolutely destroyed. The Red Bull team urged him to conserve his brakes, by backing off considerably before heavy braking areas. He struggled until the end of the race, and kept Michael Schumacher at bay, as he only lost 10 seconds to him until the end.

In the last few laps, Webber was leading, with Hamilton second, Alonso third, Vettel fourth, and Schumacher still leading the train of cars behind. But, with only 2 laps to go, disaster struck for McLaren. Lewis Hamilton’s front left tyre deflated at Turn 3, meaning he undesteered and smashed into the barriers, throwing away his potential podium finish. The upside (for the spectators anyways!) was that local boy Fernando Alonso was promoted to second, while Sebastian Vettel, despite his ailing brakes, clinched third position.

Fernando Alonso celebrates his second position

Fernando Alonso celebrates his second position

Mark Webber crossed the line first, 24 seconds ahead of Alonso, who was a further 27 seconds ahead of Vettel. Mark was delighted with his first win of the year, Fernando pleased the crowd with the most popular second place ever (probably), and Sebastian was happy to get a podium considering all of his problems. Further back, Adrian Sutil did well to get 7th, Rubens Barrichello improved well on his qualifying to get 9th, while Jaime Alguersuari got another point to add to his collection, despite his previous drive-through penalty.

Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel on the podium

Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel on the podium

The drivers’ and constructors’ standings have been updated, you can view them here.

Pictures, gallery and stats and facts will be added as soon as possible.

Full result from the Spanish Grand Prix:

Driver Team Gap # of laps
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 56
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 24.0 56
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 51.3 56
4 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 62.1 56
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 63.7 56
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 65.7 56
7 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 72.9 56
8 Robert Kubica Renault 73.6 56
9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1 Lap 55
10 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1 Lap 55
11 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1 Lap 55
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1 Lap 55
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1 Lap 55
14 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 2 Laps 54
15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 2 Laps 54
16 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 2 Laps 54
17 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 3 Laps 53
18 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 3 Laps 53
19 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 4 Laps 52
DNF
20 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 24 Laps 32
21 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 39 Laps 27
22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 48 Laps 18
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 0 Laps 0
24 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth DNS DNS
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