Tag Archives: Red Bull

Webber pips Vettel in Red Bull Korean qualifying lockout

Mark Webber caused a minor surprise, beating teammate Sebastian Vettel to pole position for the Korean Grand Prix.

Championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will line up 3rd and 4th, setting us up for an exciting race tomorrow. Jenson Button didn’t make it through to Q3, while Mercedes showed signs of improvement, with both cars getting through to Q3. Here is what happened:

Q1

With the track still dusty off-line, times were still relatively slow. Fernando Alonso’s first flying lap, a 1:39.543, was enough to put him on top.

Continuing on from his good form in Japan, Felipe Massa improved on his teammate’s time by half a second. Narain Karthikeyan had a huge spin at turn 3, “losing the brakes completely” in the braking zone, but was able to move his car out of the way.

Lewis Hamilton struggled with brake locking, but took 3rd after several attempts. After dominating Saturday morning practice, Vettel again set the standard, with a 1:38.2.

Teammate Webber could only manage to get within 2 tenths of the sister Red Bull. The Saubers showed much less pace than last week in Suzuka, and like Williams were forced to expend a set of super-softs to get both drivers into Q2.

Incredibly, despite dropping as low as 16th place, Lewis Hamilton opted not to set another lap time, just scraping through to Q2 alongside Fernando Alonso.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Bruno Senna – 1:39.443

19) Vitaly Petrov – 1:40.207

20) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:40.333

21) Charles Pic – 1:41.317

22) Timo Glock – 1:41.371

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:42.881

Narain Karthikeyan – N/A

Q2

The two Sauber drivers left the pits first on scrubbed supers-softs. A 1:38.901 for Perez and 1:38.594 for Kobayashi briefly put them on top, until Mark Webber went 0.3 seconds faster.

Fernando Alonso was the first driver to get into the 1:37s, but he was instantly beaten by Sebastian Vettel. After a complete lack of pace in Q1, Lewis Hamilton got close to pipping Vettel, but lost several tenths in the final sector.

In the final few minutes, all drivers but Vettel went back on track. However, many fast laps were ruined after Jean-Eric Vergne caused double-waves yellows in the final sector, pulling over to the side of the track.

Amazingly, Jenson Button only took 11th place, losing out on Q3 by 0.005 seconds.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Jenson Button – 1:38.441

12) Sergio Perez – 1:38.460

13) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:38.594

14) Paul di Resta – 1:38.643

15) Pastor Maldonado – 1:38.725

16) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:39.084

17) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:39.340

Q3

Despite the light going green at the end of the pit lane, the Mercedes drivers opted to hold at pit exit for half a minute, to improve track position.

Fernando Alonso was first up, setting a 1:37.667, 4 tenths faster than Felipe Massa. Mark Webber got very close to Alonso, while Vettel quickly slashed the fastest time by 0.35 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton was nowhere in comparison, again locking up his front left and ruining his lap. Nico Hulkenberg pitted after his out lap, opting not to set a fast time on his first run.

All 10 drivers decided to go out on track for the final few minutes. Mark Webber was up first, pipping Vettel’s time by 0.074 seconds. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg lost huge amounts of time in the final sector, while Fernando Alonso could only manage 4th position.

After Vettel failed to improve on his last lap, pole position was confirmed for Webber, while championship contenders Hamilton and Alonso line up 3rd and 4th, right behind Sebastian Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen was a quiet 5th, with Felipe Massa 6th. Nico Hulkenberg decided to set a time at the end of the session, lining up behind  Romain Grosjean. The two Mercedes drivers made it into Q3, but could only manage 9th and 10th.

Vettel unfazed by first lap incidents to dominate Suzuka

Sebastian Vettel has become the first back-to-back winner of the 2012 season, taking an easy victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Championship leader Fernando Alonso was elminated on the first lap after a clash with Kimi Raikkonen, while several other drivers’ races were ruined. Lewis Hamilton struggled to a 5th placed finish, while Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi both impressed. Here is what happened:

By the first lap, the championship battle had taken a massive twist, with Fernando Alonso pointing backwards and out of the race. Replays showed that the Ferrari made contact with Kimi Raikkonen, and spun in front of the entire field, luckily avoiding another accident.

Romain Grosjean, Bruno Senna and Mark Webber all crawled back to the pits after a chaotic first lap, and the safety car was deployed.

At the restart, Vettel continued to lead the race, while he was now challenged by Kamui Kobayashi and Jenson Button. Sergio Perez tried a move on Kimi Raikkonen at the first corner, but was squeezed out and dropped to 7th place.

After making a mistake with his setup in qualifying, Lewis Hamilton was 6th, and struggling to hold off the charging Sauber. By lap 6, Perez put a brave move at the hairpin to get past the driver he will replace next season.

While the Alonso/Raikkonen crash was clear for all to see, the Grosjean/Webber incident was more controversial. Within a few laps, the stewards had decided that Romain was at fault, handing him a 10 second stop/go penalty, dropping him to the bottom of the field.

After an action-packed opening stint, Button, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg all pitted for the harder tyre on lap 14. Kamui Kobayashi pitted a lap later, keeping a slim margin over Button behind. Kimi, meanwhile, exited the pits just behind Jean-Eric Vergne and Heikki Kovalainen, and was forced to pick them off to gain clean air.

By the end of the first round of stops, Button began to report a gearbox issue, but his team encouraged him to keep pushing. Felipe Massa, almost invisible to the rest of the field, emerged from his stop in 2nd place.

Sergio Perez tried a second move on Lewis Hamilton around the outside of the hairpin, but misjudged braking left him beached in the gravel trap and out of the race.

Lewis was free of the chasing Sauber, but within several laps he was then holding off the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg. While Hamilton bemoaned his setup, Nico was concerned about tyre wear, as the two ran closely lap after lap.

Both Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen pitted within a lap of each other, and the two tussled for position at the first corner, with the McLaren just moving into 5th position.

Not much changed at the second stop, with the majority of drivers taking on the hard tyres until the end of the race. Further back, Senna and Grosjean, who had both been penalised for first lap incidents, began to battle away, with Bruno eventually taking the Lotus at 130R.

Entering the closing laps, Kamui Kobayashi’s podium finish was under threat, as Button began to pressurise the Sauber. With a few laps to go, the McLaren closed the gap to a single second, but Kamui bravely held on to take his first ever podium finish.

Up front, Vettel was completely unchallenged to take his third win of 2012, and closes within 4 points of Fernando Alonso. Massa took an impressive 2nd place, which will help massively for his 2013 hopes, but the biggest cheer was saved for local hero Kobayashi.

Button and Hamilton took 4th and 5th, while Raikkonen was 6th, and still quietly in contention for the world championship. Mark Webber recovered to take 9th, while Daniel Ricciardo held off Michael Schumacher for the final point.

Red Bull crush opposition in Japanese Grand Prix qualifying lockout

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will share the front row for the Japanese Grand Prix for the first time in the 2012 season.

A spin by Kimi Raikkonen in the closing minutes ruined many drivers’ fastest laps, most notably Lewis Hamilton. Sauber had a fantastic showing, with Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez 3rd and 5th.

Q1

Vettel was one of the few drivers who was able to get through Q1 without going on to the softer tyres.

After a crash in Saturday morning practice, Nico Hulkenberg sat out much of qualifying, but was able to get out in time to set a 1:32.828.

Jean-Eric Vergne has received a 3-place grid penalty, after holding up Bruno Senna on his final qualifying lap. The Toro Rosso slowed down the Williams in the braking zone at the final chicane, and will drop to 19th position.

Michael Schumacher suffered a scare, nearly getting knocked out of Q1 after setting his only flying lap at the end of the session. Nevertheless, he just scraped through on the hard tyres.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Bruno Senna – 1:33.405

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1;34.657

20) Timo Glock – 1:35.213

21) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:35.385

22) Charles Pic – 1:35.429

23) Vitaly Petrov – 1:35.432

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:36.734

Q2

The top 3 drivers in Q2 – Vettel, Button and Webber – were the only ones confident enough to not go out at the end of the session, opting to set their fastest laps earlier than their rivals.

Paul di Resta was left furious, after being held up heavily by Romain Grosjean at the final chicane, though no penalty was given.

Alonso, Hamilton, Perez, Kobayashi and Raikkonen all secured their places in Q3 comfortably, while the focus shifted onto Felipe Massa. The struggling Ferrari driver appeared to be safe with a 1:32.293, but dropped swiftly from 5th to 12th, only managing to split the Force Indias.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Felipe Massa – 1:32.293

12) Paul di Resta – 1:32.327

13) Michael Schumacher – 1:32.469

14) Pastor Maldonado – 1:32.512

15) Nico Rosberg – 1:32.625

16) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:32.954

17) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:33.368

Q3

The Red Bulls quickly showed their hand – Vettel setting a 1:30.839, with Webber 2 tenths off. Although Button managed to get into 3rd on his first lap, nobody could get close enough to challenge for pole yet.

Hamilton bemoaned a setup change in third practice, and could only manage 9th.

On the final set of runs, Sebastian was set to go even faster, but his momentum was ruined after Kimi Raikkonen spun at Spoon curve and brought out the double-waved yellows.

Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton all failed to improve on their times, while Kamui Kobayashi leaped up to 4th place. Sauber’s pace was confirmed with a P6 from Sergio Perez.

A grid penalty for a gearbox change for Button promotes the Saubers to 3rd and 5th respectively. With the grid sealed, Vettel was able to cruise back to the pits for his 31st pole position, and his 4th consecutive pole in Suzuka.

Japanese Grand Prix practice: Webber back on top, with Hamilton close behind

After two dismal showings, Mark Webber appears to be getting back on top of his game, leading Friday practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

After extensive re-surfacing on the majority of the track over the winter, the times tumbled throughout both sessions, and a late time on the softer time put the Red Bull on top.

First practice

Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to set a fast lap, and spent most of the session battling against Webber and teammate Jenson Button.

A 1:34.507 was enough to put Jenson on top, with Lewis slotting in 2 tenths of a second behind.

Nico Rosberg’s best lap was good enough for 4th, but he soon pulled over at the Esses with an unspecified technical problem. Despite announcing his retirement yesterday, there was no drop-off in pace from Michael Schumacher, who was only 0.06 seconds off Rosberg.

Local favourite Kamui Kobayashi pleased the crowd with 6th, despite nearly losing the car at the exit of the Spoon curve. Fernando Alonso ran with high fuel loads in the morning, and was 11th.

Giedo van der Garde made his second appearance in a Caterham, taking 23rd, over a second off Vitaly Petrov.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:34.507           20
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:34.740  +0.233   26
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:34.856  +0.349   24
 4.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:35.059  +0.552   18
 5.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:35.112  +0.615   20
 6.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:35.199  +0.692   27
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:35.283  +0.776   24
 8.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:35.474  +0.967   22
10.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:35.478  +0.971   24
11.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:35.484  +0.977   26
12.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:35.584  +1.077   24
13.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:35.691  +1.184   22
14.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:35.724  +1.217   21
15.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:36.123  +1.616   19
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:36.222  +1.715   25
17.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:36.366  +1.859   23
18.  Valterri Bottas       Williams-Renault      1:36.389  +1.882   24
19.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:37.716  +3.209   17 
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:38.295  +3.788   23
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:38.616  +4.109   25
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:39.043  +4.536   25
23.  Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault      1:39.374  +4.867   22
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:39.688  +5.181   19

Second practice

After a fuel-laden run in FP1, Sebastian Vettel was battling at the top again in FP2. He, along with Romain Grosjean, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber all had moments on top of the timesheets.

Paul di Resta caused the first red flag of the weekend, spinning into Spoon curve and hitting the barriers. That move was replicated by Michael Schumacher in the closing stages, with similar results.

Kimi Raikkonen suffered a KERS failure while out on track, disrupting his running and leaving him 14th.

Vitaly Petrov had a scare at Turn 1, after his Caterham’s rear wing came off, but luckily he managed to stop the car without slamming into the tyre wall.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:32.493           34
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:32.707  +0.214   32
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:32.836  +0.343   37
 4.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1:32.987  +0.494   30
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:33.093  +0.600   28
 6.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:33.107  +0.614   35
 7.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:33.349  +0.856   22
 8.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1:33.499  +1.006   35
 9.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:33.614  +1.121   32
10.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:33.750  +1.257   13
11.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:33.866  +1.373   19
12.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:33.903  +1.410   36
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:33.983  +1.490   33
14.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:34.291  +1.798   12
15.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:34.300  +1.807   33
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:34.863  +2.370   32
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:35.080  +2.587   34
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:35.711  +3.218   41
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:35.870  +3.377   37
20.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:36.194  +3.701   32
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:36.636  +4.143   28
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:37.342  +4.849   30
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:37.701  +5.208   35
24.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  N/A                 2

Hamilton disaster hands Vettel Singapore win

Sebastian Vettel has claimed a comfortable Singapore Grand Prix win, ahead of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton was set to take the win, but a gearbox failure left him out of the running. Two safety cars in close succession bunched up the field halfway through the race, which led to some excellent racing after a dull first half. Here is what happened:

At the start, Hamilton retained his lead, while Vettel and Button demoted Maldonado to 4th. Further back, there was embarassment for Caterham, as Heikki Kovalainen clashed with teammate Vitaly Petrov, forcing Petrov to pit for a new front wing. Felipe Massa suffered a puncture before the end of the lap.

A huge amount of drivers cut the first two corners, causing a mass investigation by the stewards. Replays showed that Webber, Rosberg, Senna and Ricciardo all may have gained an advantage.

The Mercedes drivers, starting 9th and 10th, were instructed to cool their tyres, causing a train of cars to form behind them. Despite the advantage of DRS, Kimi Raikkonen in 11th was unable to pass them before the pit stops.

Mark Webber surprised many, by pitting prematurely on lap 9, despite having no drop-off in lap times. The rest of the field ignored this move, and the Red Bull was relegated to 19th place.

By lap 10, tyre degradation became the main issue, as Sebastian Vettel began losing a second to Hamilton in front, and 2 seconds to Button behind. Unsurprisingly, he swiftly pitted, taking on the prime tyres like his teammate. He emerged in 12th, and wasted no time in getting past Sergio Perez.

Up front, Hamilton reported something felt wrong with his right-rear tyre, and pitted on lap 12. Now only two places behind, Vettel made another pass, this time on Kimi Raikkonen. After staying out a few laps more, Button eventually pitted, and came out well behind the battling duo.

Nico Hulkenberg was one of the few who decided to start on the prime tyre. He had made his way up to 6th, but was ordered to allow teammate Paul di Resta past, who was on a fresher set of tyres. Nico, along with Sergio Perez, both pitted on lap 19.

The race was soon turned on its head, after Lewis Hamilton suddenly suffered a gearbox failure on lap 24. Vettel eased into the lead, noticing a plume of smoke coming out of the McLaren. Lewis was forced to retire, delivering a crushing blow to his championship hopes.

With Vettel now leading, teammate Webber was struggling in 6th, failing to make an impression on the race. Again, he was the first to take on a new set of tyres.

Both Maldonado and Alonso pitted on lap 30, with Pastor just keeping a slender lead over the Ferrari. Interestingly, the Williams took on the super-soft tyres, while Alonso was on the softs.

The two began to battle it out, running side-by-side through some corners, but their fun was cut short after a crash by Narain Karthikeyan. The safety car was deployed, causing all the frontrunners to pit, and cutting the gap between Vettel and Button. The Force Indias ended up 4th and 5th, with Hulkenberg having only stopped once.

While still under safety car conditions, a disaster loomed for Williams, as Maldonado suffered a hydraulics problem, and was forced to retire.

On the restart, the frontrunners all held their positions, while Sergio Perez lost two positions. Mark Webber pulled an impressive move on Nico Hulkenberg, but his fun was cut short, as the safety car was called out again. Similarly to last year, Michael Schumacher had a complete brain fade, slamming into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne, taking both cars out on the spot.

Webber, Perez and Hulkenberg all took the opportunity to stop again. Vitaly Petrov’s race was completely ruined at his pit stop, stopping at the end of the pit lane and being pushed back to his pit box.

At the second restart, Grosjean shut the door on his own teammate at turn 1, nearly causing an embarassing crash. Felipe Massa put an incredibly brave move on Bruno Senna, nearly spinning, but just about taking the position. Only a few laps later, he was easily past Daniel Ricciardo for 8th place.

After their close call, the Lotus team intervened in the Grosjean-Raikkonen battle, instructing Romain not to hold his teammate up. Sergio Perez attempted a move on Hulkenberg for 13th, but clipped his front wing off the Force India. Mark Webber put a move on Kamui Kobayashi, who then immediately clashed with Hulkenberg like his teammate, giving Nico a puncture and taking off a second Sauber front wing.

As the race hit the two-hour limit, Mark Webber made a late dash to take 10th from Bruno Senna, but was unable to take 9th from Daniel Ricciardo.

Up front, Button was unable to match Vettel’s pace, so the Red Bull cruised to only his second win of the season. Fernando Alonso took a comfortable 3rd, while Paul di Resta took an excellent 4th place. Nico Rosberg was quiet in 5th, while Felipe Massa climbed all the way up the grid to take 8th.

Vettel now leaps up to second in the championship, but Alonso’s lead continues to grow over his rivals.

Singapore GP practice: Vettel leads in varying conditions

Sebastian Vettel has emerged as the early favourite for this weekends’ Singapore Grand Prix, topping both practice sessions.

The first session began on a damp track, but quickly dried out, and the drivers soon took on slick tyres. Here is today’s report:

First practice

Water off the racing line, as well as leaves scattered across the track, signalled a difficult start to FP1 for the drivers. Intermediate tyres were the way to go in the opening few minutes.

However, once Kamui Kobayashi blitzed the timesheets on slicks, others scrambled to put on the dry compound.

The times tumbled throughout the session, with Vettel eventually winning out, by 0.049 seconds to Lewis Hamilton. Jenson Button was over 8 tenths off his teammate.

Pastor Maldonado took to the run-off area several times, but still impressed with 5th. Ma Qing Hua made another appearance in the HRT, finishing 1.4 seconds off Pedro de la Rosa.

Times from FP1:

Pos  Driver                Team                  Time              Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:50.566          24
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:50.615  +0.049  15
 3.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:51.459  +0.893  17
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:51.525  +0.959  20
 5.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:51.576  +1.010  20
 6.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:51.655  +1.089  19
 7.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1:51.658  +1.092  24
 8.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:51.943  +1.377  21
 9.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:52.275  +1.709  24
10.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:52.296  +1.730  19
11.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1:52.629  +2.063  25
12.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:52.716  +2.150  16
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:52.839  +2.273  23
14.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:53.028  +2.462  20
16.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:53.080  +2.514  17
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:53.189  +2.623  25
18.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:53.227  +2.661  25
19.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:54.908  +4.342  20
20.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:55.091  +4.525  16
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:55.335  +4.769  22
22.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:55.760  +5.194  22
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:56.656  +6.090  21
24.  Ma Qing  Hua          HRT-Cosworth          1:58.053  +7.487  20

Second practice

Bruno Senna disrupted many teams’ plans, after crashing out at turn 19. He clipped the barrier exiting the corner, skidded and damaged his suspension, and stalled on the racing line at turn 20. The red flag was deployed for several minutes, and Senna took no further part in proceedings.

Kimi Raikkonen – who was unhappy with his car’s pace all day – was forced to abandon his high-fuel run, after a hydraulic issue. Like in FP1, he finished 12th.

Further down the grid, Timo Glock produced a stellar lap to finish only 2 tenths off Jean-Eric Vergne.

Again, Vettel was fastest on the super-soft tyres, this time by 0.3 seconds to Button.

Times from FP2:

Pos  Driver                Team                  Time               Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:48.340           27
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:48.651  +0.311   24
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:48.896  +0.556   26
 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:48.964  +0.624   26
 5.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:49.086  +0.746   28
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:49.300  +0.960   30
 7.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1:49.339  +0.999   31
 8.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:49.790  +1.450   32
 9.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:50.039  +1.699   28
10.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:50.161  +1.821   23
11.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:50.263  +1.923   23
12.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:50.345  +2.005   24
13.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:50.636  +2.296   32
14.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:50.791  +2.451   26
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:51.122  +2.782   28
16.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:51.450  +3.110   21
17.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1:51.452  +3.112   11
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:52.004  +3.669   31
19.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:52.218  +3.878   29
20.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:52.576  +4.236   27
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:52.863  +4.523   27
22.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:52.936  +4.596   25
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:54.448  +6.108   25
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:54.514  +6.174   30

Webber to stay with Red Bull through 2013

Webber has turned down a switch to Ferrari

Webber has turned down a switch to Ferrari

After his recent victory at the British Grand Prix, Mark Webber has announced that he will stay on at Red Bull until at least 2013.

Webber admitted that he had held discussions over moving to Ferrari, but felt that staying with the Milton Keynes squad was the right choice.

Since joinin Red Bull in 2007, Mark has achieved 10 pole positions, 9 wins and 31 podium finishes. He currently lies second in the driver’s championship, 16 points off Fernando Alonso, and 13 ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel.

In an announcement today, Webber stated:

"I’ve been with Red Bull Racing since 2007 and have achieved nine Grand Prix wins 
during that time. I’m high on confidence at the moment and firing on all cylinders. 
I know the team well and I’m very comfortable here; we have grown together over 
the years and it feels like absolutely the right thing to stay with Red Bull for 
another season.

The team is constantly working hard to improve in all areas and we’ve shown that 
together we can win races. It’s great to be able to make this announcement off 
the back of the win in Silverstone at the weekend and I’m looking forward to 
competing on the edge and pushing myself in every race again next season.

There were discussions with Ferrari, but my decision was to stay here.

Obviously with Seb [Vettel], we’ve worked very, very close together for a long 
period of time now. I think no-one would really have envisaged how long we have 
worked together, so that’s probably been a bit of a surprise.

There are not many team-mates staying together for that long in Formula One, but 
it’s proved to be a successful partnership with both of us working very hard with 
the key technical members of the team. It’s been a potent operation.

We’re still competitive when we hit the track, no question about it, especially 
in 2010 and this year. Last year there wasn’t much racing between Sebastian and 
I, but in 2009, 2010 and this year, there have been some great battles.

That’s been enjoyable for the team, sometimes stressful too as it’s not easy for 
both of us to be at the front and I can understand that, as both of us are 
thinking about ourselves sometimes, but ultimately we know that we need to get 
the cars home and get the best results for us and the team."

 

Webber snatches late win in Silverstone

Paul di Resta's race is ruined on Lap 1...

Paul di Resta’s race is ruined on Lap 1…

Mark Webber has won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, after taking the lead with only a few laps to go. Fernando Alonso controlled most of the race from the front, but was unable to halt the Aussie’s assault in the closing laps.

...And gets even worse on Lap 2

…And gets even worse on Lap 2

Sebastian Vettel made progress in his first stint, but lacked the pace to catch his teammate, finishing 3rd. Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean impressed, while the British duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button disappointed. Here is what happened:

Alonso defended his lead at the start, while teammate Massa moved past Sebastian Vettel. Paul di Resta was hit on the first lap, and pitted to replace a punctured tyre. However, a spin on the following lap ruled him out of the race.

Kamui Kobayashi made a fantastic move around the outside of Romain Grosjean and Jenson Button. Massa attempted to pass Michael Schumacher for 3rd, but slipped wide and lost a position to Vettel instead.

The Ferrari soon found a way past again, and by lap 9 was all over the back of Schumacher again.A few laps later, he pushed his way past at Stowe corner. Further back, Sergio Perez incurred the wrath of Pastor Maldonado, after attempting to pass the Williams. Pastor ran wide, and knocked the Sauber off the track and out of the race.

Massa fends off Vettel at Becketts

Massa fends off Vettel at Becketts

By lap 19, Hamilton had still not pitted, and found himself leading the race – albeit briefly. The charging Alonso quickly caught the McLaren, and passed Lewis with relative ease.

Once on fresh tyres, Hamilton found a way past Michael Schumacher for 7th place, following Kimi Raikkonen a few corners earlier.

Romain Grosjean was forced to pit early with a broken front wing, but soon made progress through the field. By lap 35, he passed Jenson Button for 9th place, and was stuck to the back of Hamilton’s McLaren. Effective use of DRS allowed the Lotus through to 8th position.

A bad day was made worse for Sauber, as Kamui Kobayashi clattered into his mechanics at his final pit stop. Several were taken to the medical centre for checks, but fortunately there were no serious injuries.

Up front, the battle for the lead began to materialise. With 15 laps to go, Webber was running on the prime tyres, while Alonso took on the options, which surprisingly the Ferrari struggled on. This allowed the Red Bull to close up on the Ferrari by half a second per lap.

Alonso was visibly struggling on the options, unable to get the tyres into the operating temperature. With 5 laps to go, Mark finally made his move, pushing past the Ferrari on the Wellington Straight, and sailing around the outside of Brooklands to take the lead.

Further back, Bruno Senna and Nico Hulkenberg had an exciting battle for 9th, with the Williams winning out. Hulkenberg ran wide at Copse, allowing Jenson Button to steal a point on the final lap.

The McLarens were disappointed, but thank the fans regardless

The McLarens were disappointed, but thank the fans regardless

Kimi Raikkonen was catching Felipe Massa for 4th place hand over fist, but a mistake on the final lap.

Alonso had no response to Webber, who crossed the line to take his second win of the 2012 season, and his second British Grand Prix win in three years. The Aussie has now closed in on Alonso in the drivers’ championship, and Red Bull have cemented their lead in the constructors’ standings.

Lotus now are ahead of McLaren in the championship, as the Woking squad retreat and analyse what has gone wrong in the 2012 season.

Vettel on top in Valencia second practice

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

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

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

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

Times from FP2:

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

Vettel romps away with Canada pole

Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The German was 0.3 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber were several tenths further behind, while Jenson Button had another disappointing qualifying session. Here is what happened:

Q1

Despite his fuel coupling issues in practice, Nico Rosberg was the first out of the pits for Q1.

Lewis Hamilton set the first fast time – a 1:16.232. Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi out-braked themselves at turn 1, running over the grass and dumping debris on the tarmac.

The Saubers briefly took first and second, before Fernando Alonso set a 1:15.1 to take top spot. His teammate Massa recovered from his excursion to move up to 3rd.

Michael Schumacher improved on the Ferrari’s time, with a 1:14.8. Sebastian Vettel was the last to set his first time, going 4th. His next time was one tenth faster than the Mercedes.

Kimi Raikkonen had struggled all through Friday, and was first on the super-softs. Despite this, he was unable to beat the frontrunners. Jenson Button, in a similar state, was only 2nd on the softer compound.

Despite clipping the Wall of Champions, Heikki Kovalainen out-qualified his teammate, as well as the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:16.263

19) Vitaly Petrov 1:16.482

20) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:16.602

21) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:17.492

22) Timo Glock – 1:17.901

23) Charles Pic – 1:18.255

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:18.330

Q2

Again, Nico Rosberg was first up, setting a 1:14.568.

Lewis Hamilton then pipped that time by 0.05 seconds. Meanwhile, teammate Button suffered a massive lock-up on his super-softs. Sebastian Vettel improved on the McLaren’s time by another 3 tenths.

After a mistake on his first lap, Fernando Alonso moved to within one tenth of Vettel.

Paul di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi and Nico Hulkenberg all moved into the top 10. Felipe Massa just scraped into 10th place, then improved to 8th.

The two Lotuses struggled massively, with Romain Grosjean only just making it through to the top 10. A crash by Pastor Maldonado meant that Kimi Raikkonen was stuck in 12th.

The yellow flag saved Jenson Button from yet another embarrassing exit from Q2.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:14.688

12) Kimi Raikkonen – 1:14.734

13) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:14.748

14) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:15.078

15) Sergio Perez – 1:15.156

16) Bruno Senna – 1:15.170

17) Pastor Maldonado – 1:15.231

Q3

The McLarens were first out of the pits for Q3. Lewis Hamilton made a mistake on his first attempt, while Jenson Button opted for the prime tyre.

A 1:14.664 put Rosberg briefly on top, before being toppled by Felipe Massa. Hamilton’s next lap put him ahead by 0.02 seconds, before the time was smashed by Vettel by another half a second.

In the final two minutes, all drivers bar Button went out on track. Vettel improved on his time by another tenth of a second, and Hamilton was unable to match it.

Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber tried to beat the Red Bull, but only got 3rd and 4th. This left Vettel to take his 32nd career pole position, 3 tenths ahead of his nearest competitor.

Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean were 6th and 7th. Paul di Resta and Michael Schumacher were behind, the latter of which felt he was held up by Massa. Button was the only driver not to break into the 1:15 zone.

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