Tag Archives: Felipe Massa

2011 final driver rankings: 18th – 11th

This is the second article out of 4, ranking all 28 drivers from this season. This section includes drivers such as Felipe Massa, Kamui Kobayashi and Jaime Alguersuari.

18th – Felipe Massa

The Pirelli tyres brought no improvement to Massa's form

The Pirelli tyres brought no improvement to Massa's form

Previous ranking: 14th

Review from previous ranking: “Ferrari need a second driver who can consistently take podiums, not struggle for 6th.”

The one thing I find more frustrating than Felipe Massa is those who keep praising him despite his disastrous pace. Every single year, we are promised a return to form by the Brazilian, and every year is a let-down.

This year, it was the Pirelli tyres that were to catapult Massa to the top, which of course never happened. While teammate Fernando Alonso took 10 podiums, one of which was a win, Massa was never higher than 5th.

A clear sign of his ineptness at the Ferrari was in India, where he was the only driver to find trouble with the kerbs – and did it twice. as well as this, he was not blameless in the spat with Lewis Hamilton – turning into the McLaren in India was ill-judged to say the least.

The best indicator of a driver’s pace is their performance relative to their teammate, and Massa didn’t even get half of what Alonso won. Even Mark Webber, who had a shocking season by his standards, was able to beat this.

Renault and Ferrari have, in recent times, shown that it is entirely plausible to end a driver’s contract prematurely. Why they haven’t done this with Massa yet, we’ll never know.

17th – Bruno Senna

Senna's first race was ruined by his own hand

Senna's first race was ruined by his own hand

Previous ranking: 24th (2010 half-way rankings)

Review from previous ranking: “Senna’s potential is still unclear.” (2010 half-way rankings)

After spending 2010 lingering at the back of the grid, the Senna name was thrown into the midfield of the grid, after Nick Heidfeld was given the boot. So far, Bruno’s impact has been unconvincing to say the least.

He qualified an excellent 7th at his first race of the year in Spa, but bottled it at the first corner. A pair of points were scored at Monza, but that was the only top 10 finish of the season.

Despite this, he showed interesting flashes of pace, generally being faster than Vitaly Petrov, and driving well at his home race in Brazil, before clashing with Michael Schumacher – the first time since 1993 that those two surnames have collided.

As the Renault and its radical front exhausts fell apart, it became clear that Senna was unable to demonstrate his prowess. I’m unsure as to his full potential, but many feel that despite the circumstances, he should have performed better in 2011.

16th – Vitaly Petrov

A single podium was the only high point of Petrov's season

A single podium was the only high point of Petrov's season

Previous ranking: 9th

Review from previous ranking: “It will be up to Petrov to take the majority of Renault’s points this year.”

As the Renault car became more and more hopeless, Petrov began to falter, and was being worryingly out-paced by new recruit Senna by the end of the year.

A podium in Australia was undoubtedly the standout moment of the year, but there wasn’t much to talk about after that. In Malaysia, a mistake by Petrov resulted in a spectactular launch into the air, which was the last race the team had any chance of racing at the front.

Apart from a 5th place in Canada, he was only able to snatch 9th and 10th places throughout the year, and only had 3 points more than Nick Heidfeld – who missed the last 8 races.

It was an improvement from 2010, but not improvement enough to keep his seat for next year, and I can’t complain about that.

15th – Sebastien Buemi

The wheels came off Buemi's season in the second half

The wheels came off Buemi's season in the second half

Previous ranking: 16th

Review from previous ranking: “Of Ricciardo impresses at HRT, then Buemi may still be under pressure for the race seat in 2012.”

After the unceremonious dumping of both drivers, Toro Rosso have indicated that they have had enough of their drivers. Buemi and Alguersuari tussled for the lead in the team throughout the season, but ultimately the better driver came out on top.

Sebastien had the upper hand in the first few races, adapting well to the Pirelli tyres. He was able to out-qualify Alguersuari, and conserve his tyres better in the races. However, when Jaime turned his season around, matching pace from Buemi was nowhere to be seen.

It must be considered that he suffered more than his fair share of technical problems, but the general consensus is that Buemi should have achieved more after 3 years in Toro Rosso, which is considerably more than what many other drivers got.

14th – Kamui Kobayashi

A difficult second half of the season for Kobayashi

A difficult second half of the season for Kobayashi

Previous ranking: 6th

Review from previous ranking: “Kobayashi continues to punch well above his weight with scintillating drives.”

The fans’ favourite overtaker suffered a disappointing second half to the season, while his teammate took the limelight.

The first half of 2011 was spectacular, with Kobayashi finishing in the top 10 7 races in a row, something that neither of the Mercedes drivers could achieve.

However, his qualifying pace began to falter alarmingly, and teammate Perez began to take control. Finishing the season with 2 points finishes was impressive, and helped him end the season with double what Perez achieved. However, it must be considered that Sergio missed out on two races which I feel he would have performed well in.

Overall, it was a decent season, but improvement is still necessary for Kobayashi.

13th – Jaime Alguersuari

A spate of points-scoring finishes was not enough for Alguersuari

A spate of points-scoring finishes was not enough for Alguersuari

Previous ranking: 12th

Review from previous ranking: “Alguersuari came very close to being replaced, but several good drives have rescued his career.”

Not good enough, I’m afraid. An impressive improvement came in the second half of 2011, but Alguersuari was still dropped at the end of the year.

A series of 18th-to-points runs were entertaining to watch, and a pair of 7th places in Monza and Korea were the high points for Jaime. Qualifying 6th in Spa was also an excellent performance, before he was cruelly taken out by Bruno Senna.

In the end, he was comfortably ahead of his teammate, where he deserved to be. However, holding up Vettel in Korean practice did him no favours with Red Bull, and earned him an severe dressing-down from Helmut Mark0 (which I’ve heard will be featured in the F1 review DVD).

Whether this politics hurt his chances at retaining his seat, we’ll never know.

12th – Nick Heidfeld

Heidfeld was a casualty of Renault's demise

Heidfeld was a casualty of Renault's demise

Previous ranking: 11th

Review from previous ranking: “Reliable driving has helped him in the races, but a lack of raw pace is holding Nick back.”

A surprise ditching by Renault saw Heidfeld out of a drive halfway through the season. Because of this, we will never know how he was to handle with the deteriorating R31.

A magnificent start in Malaysia, as well as holding up the McLaren drivers, saw Nick take a well-deserved podium. As the Renault slipped down the order, Heidfeld was able to take as many 7th and 8th places as he could. He was taken out on the first lap in Germany, and an exploding sidepod took him out in Hungary, which proved to be his last race.

I’m still confused as to why Renault bothered dropping Heidfeld, considering Petrov could hardly amass his points total with an extra 8 races in hand. He was a safe pair of hands, and consistently got the job done, aside from a calamitious error at the Nurburgring.

His main weakness was dire qualifying, which principal Eric Boullier was particularly angry about. Still, I feel that Renault was worse off without Heidfeld.

11th – Heikki Kovalainen

Kovalainen far exceeded the car's potential

Kovalainen far exceeded the car's potential

Previous ranking: 19th

Review from previous ranking: “It will be up to Kovalainen to secure 10th place in the Constructor’s Championship for the team.”

With HRT and Virgin constantly falling further behind, and Jarno Trulli proving lacklustre, it was always going to be up to Kovalainen to prove Lotus’ worth.

I admit that I had nearly given up on Kovalainen after his dismal years at McLaren – he recently said that those two years had drained all his confidence. In that light, going back to basics was the best possible move for Heikki. With little pressure around him, he has been able to re-invigorate his racing spirit.

Whenever a midfield car faltered, it was Kovalainen who snatched the opportunity to move into Q2, which he did three times. He absolutely demolished his teammate in every sector – qualifying (16 successes out of 18), and races, where he often finished half a minute ahead of Trulli.

A 13th-placed finish in Monza secured 10th for Lotus in the constructors’ championship. With luck, the team soon to be known as Caterham can finally improve to the midfield, with Kovalainen the driving force of the squad.

My top 5 overtakes of the year

With the Pirelli tyres and KERS providing a welcome new element to on-track racing, 2011 saw some fantastic battles between the drivers.   Although DRS grew slightly stale in its repetitive passes, we were in no shortage of wheel-to-wheel action. Here are my favourite overtaking moves from this season:

5th – Michael Schumacher on Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa – Canada

This year saw an improvement from Schumacher, after struggling for much of his return so far. After Felipe Massa got held up by Kamui Kobayashi in Canada, we saw a glimpse of the old Schumacher as he sliced through to take 2nd place.

4th – Sebastian Vettel on Fernando Alonso – Italy

Seeing one driver dominate at the front is no fun, it’s much more entertaining for everyone when Vettel has had to fight for the win. This pass on Fernando Alonso after a safety car restart showed Sebastian at his very best, racing at the limit even when the title had been neatly wrapped up.

3rd – Fernando Alonso on Jenson Button – Brazil

The surprised expressions from Brundle and Coulthard says it all – very few could imagine overtaking around the outside of Turn 6 in Brazil, but Fernando Alonso made it look easy.

2nd – Mark Webber on Fernando Alonso – Spa

An incredibly committed move by Mark Webber, shoving Alonso aside as the two cars entered Eau Rouge. This was a pass achieved through sheer bravery – and hoping that Fernando would give Mark space, which thankfully he did.

1st – Lewis Hamilton on Fernando Alonso – Germany

Victory for Lewis Hamilton at the Nurburgring was sweet, but the moment of the day had to be this fantastic opportunistic pass on Fernando Alonso. As the Spaniard exited the pits on cold tyres, Lewis swept around the outside to take the lead – and later the win.

Massa vs Hamilton round 5 – who’s at fault now?

Today’s Indian Grand Prix saw the latest spat between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa – both on and off track.

The pair collided while racing for 6th position, leaving Felipe with a drive-through penalty and Lewis with a broken front wing. Hamilton has borne the brunt of blame for most of their collisions this year, most notably in Monaco.

However, this time the McLaren driver is not 100% at fault, as both drivers made poor judgement:

Felipe Massa

Replays showed the Ferrari driver checking his mirrors several times, so there is no doubt that he was aware that Hamilton was closing in. The fact that Felipe continued to turn in was more than likely an estimation that the McLaren wouldn’t attempt a pass – a poor decision considering who he was racing against.

Massa was dealt the drive-through for the incident, but protested his innocence afterwards:

"I simply stayed on the ideal line, braking on the limit and staying on the part of 
the track that was rubbered in. What else could I do?

It’s the umpteenth time that Hamilton runs into me this year and it seems it’s some 
sort of fatal attraction. In the past, I tried to talk to him but he did not seem to 
be interested in doing so."

The Ferrari team have also suggested that the collision contributed towards Felipe’s suspension failure, which is of course absolute rubbish.

Lewis Hamilton

Never the one to stay out of trouble, Lewis is back in the headlines for the wrong reasons once again.

After being docked three places on the grid for ignoring yellow flags on Friday, Hamilton’s weekend was already compromised. The collision with Massa came after a very poor first stint, where the McLaren driver failed to make any progress from 7th.

It was a slightly ambitious move that presumed that Massa would give him space – which of course he didn’t. Lewis will of course argue that he had every right to move up the inside and attempt a pass, which is true. However, he failed to place his car in between Massa and the kerb, backing off slightly as the two cars entered the corner. This resulted in the Ferrari cutting across Lewis and causing the crash.

The most interesting thing I found about the crash was Hamilton’s reaction immediately afterwards. After he gestured towards the Ferrari, he continued to slow for several seconds before he got back on the throttle. To me, it seemed as if he didn’t even care about the race for a while, being incredibly frustrated after this many accidents.

In my opinion…

While Lewis could have judged his move better, I feel that Felipe gave him absolutely no opportunity to make a move. Hamilton has been lambasted for his off-form driving this year – and rightly so – but this incident should not be blamed on the Brit.

The more I look into these past collisions,the more childish Massa appears to me. While it is understandable that a driver would be furious after a collision, it is immature to say that they “don’t care” about what the other driver feels about the incident (referring to minor tap by Hamilton in Suzuka).

However, the most important thing out of this is that it doesn’t turn into a juvenile clash-fest every single race. These drivers should realise that F1 is supposed to be the collection of the finest racing drivers in the world, and should at least attempt to resolve their conflict. Not that many see that happening, of course.

Who do you hold at fault for today’s collision? Here is a replay:

Massa heads the field for Indian second practice

Massa led the way for second practice

Massa led the way for second practice

Felipe Massa put his controversial Ferrari on top of the timesheets for second practice for the Indian Grand Prix.

The Scuderia’s front wing continued to raise eyebrows, scraping off the track surface on occasions during the session. Felipe was 0.088 seconds faster than Sebastian Vettel in 2nd.

The other Ferrari driver, Fernando Alonso, was 3rd, followed by Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Jenson Button.

The main event of the session was Jerome D’Ambrosio crashing out at Turn 11. The Belgian lost control at the exit of the corner, and slammed the right-rear end of the car into the barriers.

Vitaly Petrov and Pastor Maldonado both had off-course excursions, but both were able to rejoin the session.

Times from Friday practice 2:

 1.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:25.706   	    33
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:25.794   0.088  34
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:25.930   0.224  34
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:26.454   0.748  26
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:26.500   0.794  30
 6.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:26.714   1.008  28
 7.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:27.316   1.610  34
 8.  Bruno Senna           Renault                1:27.498   1.792  36
 9.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:27.853   2.147  35
10.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:27.868   2.162  35
11.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1:27.890   2.184  37
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:28.050   2.344  34
13.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:28.289   2.583  36
14.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:28.552   2.846  31
15.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:28.691   2.985  29
16.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1:28.708   3.002  24
17.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1:29.332   3.626  39
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1:30.241   4.535  41
19.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:31.098   5.392  38
20.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1:31.469   5.763  32
21.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:31.804   6.098  28
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1:32.593   6.887  12
23.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth           1:32.768   7.062  33
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1:32.824   7.118  33

Massa: Hamilton “not learning” and “can’t use his mind”

A furious Felipe Massa has struck out at Lewis Hamilton for their collision in today’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Lewis hit the back of Felipe’s car during Turn 7, leaving Hamilton with a broken wing and drive-through penalty, and Massa with a puncture.

Massa was livid, particularly after them nearly colliding in qualifying:

"My thoughts is that again, I told you yesterday, he cannot use his mind. Even in 
qualifying, so you can imagine in the race."

And after having his race ruined by the McLaren driver, Felipe didn’t mince his words on their collision:

"I was on the straight and he touched me, not even when he was on my side. He 
touched me when he was behind me.

Then, when I got to the end of the braking, my tyre was already punctured. For 
sure it was a big, big problem for my race. And he paid for that as well, so 
what can I say?

How many races this year he did this? He went in the wrong direction and he paid 
and he never learned. The FIA is looking for sure for that, because he is doing 
that so many times.

I think he is not learning. I tried to speak to him after we wait, but he didn't 
listen to me. I called him two times, but he didn't listen to me, he [walked] past 
me. He didn't even look to me.

I called him to speak, but when I show him, I said, 'very good job, well done'. 
Like that you will win many championships!"

Regarding the last paragraph of that quote, when Felipe went to speak to Lewis in the driver’s pen, Hamilton responded “Don’t touch me again” after Felipe grabbed his arm.

While Martin Whitmarsh defended his driver’s actions, I feel that Lewis must calm down on the racetrack if he is ever to win another world championship. Countless crashes and mistakes in 2011 have possibly resulted in the worst year of Lewis’ F1 career.

Lewis has been racing at the highest level for 5 years now, and silly rookie mistakes should be well ironed out by now.

2011 mid-way driver rankings: 14 – 6

Here is part 2 of the mid-season review of all the Formula 1 drivers. This article tackles drivers ranked 14th up to 6th.

14 – Felipe Massa

Massa has found himself being beaten by all his rivals

Massa has found himself being beaten by all his rivals

Ranking in 2010: 14th

Review from 2010 ranking: “No race wins, no pole positions, no fastest laps, and no hope for 2012 if he doesn’t improve fast.”

To lag behind Sebastian Vettel in 2011 is to be expected. But to have only a quarter of the German’s points, while driving a Ferrari, is nothing short of laughable.

This year was where the Pirelli tyres would leap Massa back through the field. Nothing of the sort has occurred. Take the Spanish Grand Prix for example – Fernando Alonso tussled for the lead in the early stages, while Massa was being beaten by the Force Indias in the envious battle for 10th.

With less than half of Alonso’s points, and not even a sniff at a podium finish, Felipe has been completely dominated. He has yet to out-qualify Fernando at any point in 2011.

While it would be incredibly difficult for Ferrari to find a driver as talented as Alonso, they need a second driver who can consistently take podiums, not struggle for 6th.

13 – Paul di Resta

Di Resta has had a solid start in F1

Di Resta has had a solid start in F1

Ranking in 2010: N/A

Review from 2010 ranking: N/A

Ragged drives have lost him points, but nevertheless a decent start to his F1 career for the Scot.

Di Resta’s best performances so far have been in qualifying, as he has out-qualified teammate Sutil 7 times in 9 races, with over 0.6 seconds in the average gap between the two.

However, despite spending more laps in front of Sutil than vice-versa, Paul has struggled for results, with only 2 points to his name. He was on course for a large points haul in Britain, before a tyre mix-up ruined his chances.

Poorly-judged moves, particularly in Monaco and Canada, have also cost Di Resta. However, with more consistency and experience, he may be able to challenge Sutil in the driver’s championship.

12 – Jaime Alguersuari

Alguersuari has improved in recent races

Alguersuari has improved in recent races

Ranking in 2010: 19th

Review from 2010 ranking: “Three points finishes is all he could do, with a car that never really looked like pushing for points.”

Alguersuari came very close to being replaced, but several good drives have rescued his career.

3 points-scoring finishes in a row have kept Jaime his Toro Rosso race seat from going to Daniel Ricciardo. The Spaniard now lies one point ahead of Sebastien Buemi.

His qualifying results have been poor, but in recent races Alguersuari has been able to turn Q1 knockouts into points on race day.

Both of the Toro Rosso drivers’ futures still hang in the balance though, so it will be interesting to see which driver ends the season on top.

11 – Nick Heidfeld

Heidfeld has not performed up to expectations

Heidfeld has not performed up to expectations

Ranking in 2010: 16th (Only 5 races)

Review from 2010 ranking: “He will need to work fast just to get a drive for next year.”

Hailed as a consistent replacement for the injured Kubica, Heidfeld has not had the required impact at Renault so far.

The German has only just taken the lead in the championship standings battle with Vitaly Petrov. With 11 years of F1 experience, much more was expected, especially going up against a rookie driver.

Heidfeld has been soundly beaten in qualifying, being knocked out in Q1 on more than one occasion. Reliable driving as always has helped him in the races, but a lack of raw pace is holding Nick back.

10 – Michael Schumacher

Driver errors are still an issue for Schumacher

Driver errors are still an issue for Schumacher

Ranking in 2010: 12th

Review from 2010 ranking: “Schumacher’s 2011 campaign entirely hinges on the W02.”

Expected to be soundly beaten this year, Michael Schumacher has surprised some by showing much improvement from last year.

While his qualifying record against Nico Rosberg is still extremely poor, race day has allowed Schumacher to make huge progress, often held back by misfortune.

Punctures in Australia and Britain, DRS difficulties in China, as well as being swamped near the end of the Canadian GP, show that Michael’s points tally doesn’t reflect his occasionally great drives this year.

12 points is a gap that could be easily bridged with good luck. Further improvement this year would be the main aim for Schumacher.

9 – Vitaly Petrov

Petrov has improved compared to last year

Petrov has improved compared to last year

Ranking in 2010: 10th

Review from 2010 ranking: “2011 should see Petrov improve even more.”

A first-ever podium in Australia, followed by leading Heidfeld for most of this year – 2011 has not gone badly for the Russian.

Consistently out-qualifying Nick, often by huge margins, shows that Petrov has improved alongside Renault this year. However, it is still apparent that neither driver could hold a candle to Robert Kubica, who surely would be dicing it with the Red Bulls at this stage.

The hot-blown diffuser crackdown has hugely hurt the team, so expect to see Petrov and Heidfeld slip down the order. Still, it will be up to Petrov to take the majority of Renault’s points this year.

8 – Sergio Perez

Perez is arguably the rookie of the year

Perez is arguably the rookie of the year

Ranking in 2010: N/A

Review from 2010 ranking: N/A

Already a master of the 1-stop strategy, impressive pace has led many to praise Perez as rookie of the year.

With 7th place in his first ever F1 race, his talent was clearly apparent. Poor luck in Malaysia and China held him back, before another points finish in Spain.

His year was disrupted by a heavy crash in Monaco, ruling him out for 2 races. However, the smash did nothing to faze the Mexican, taking 11th on his return, then a career-best 7th in Britain.

A large tally of points could have been taken in Monaco and Canada, so Perez’s current total doesn’t reflect his excellent performances so far.

Two energetic rookies may not seem like an intelligent combo, but it has worked wonders for Sauber so far. With luck, Perez could even challenge to finish in the top 10 in the championship.

7 – Mark Webber

Webber has been dominated by his teammate

Webber has been dominated by his teammate

Ranking in 2010: 2nd

Review from 2010 ranking: “Dominant at times, disappointing at others, but still a wonderful campaign.”

While Sebastian Vettel continues to rip up tarmac at the front, Mark Webber seems to be lacking in pace, and is at risk of being overtaken by Fernando Alonso. What’s going on?

It’s not like the days of Ferrari domination, though. Back then, when Schumacher crushed his opponents to win, Barrichello would come around in 2nd place. This year, a single 2nd place is all Webber can muster so far.

In Australia, for example, Mark had absolutely no pace. His first pole position (Spain) was ruined by a bad start, relegating him to 4th after the chequered flag.

Webber has had good moments though. A spirited charge through the field in China saw him take 15 places back after a qualifying disaster.

However, his second pole saw him suffer a similar fate, slipping to 3rd during the race.

On the plus side, the Australian is yet to finish outside the top 5. Still, that doesn’t mean much when your teammate hasn’t fallen lower than 2nd at any point.

6 – Kamui Kobayashi

Kobayashi is as impressive as ever

Kobayashi is as impressive as ever

Ranking in 2010: 9th

Review from 2010 ranking: “Kobayashi has breathed fresh life into Formula 1 with his “unique” [driving] style.

Still as exciting to watch as ever, Kobayashi continues to punch well above his weight with scintillating drives.

If people were asked which car was quicker – the Mercedes or the Sauber – there would be little doubt that the Mercedes has much better pace. Because of this, seeing Kobayashi only 3 points behind 7-time world champion Schumacher will demonstrate how much Kamui is extracting from the car.

6 points finishes in a row is much better and more consistent than many drivers – only the Red Bulls, McLarens and Alonso can claim better records.

While teammate Perez is taking headlines for his special 1-stoppers, Kobayashi tends to take the 2-stop route. Compared to the rest of the grid, both Perez and Kobayashi have taken the least pit stops this year, which is a massive advantage.

Like Perez, a top 10 finish in the championship is well within Kamui’s reach.

Barcelona Day 4: Massa ends test on top

Felipe Massa topped the final day of this test

Felipe Massa topped the final day of this test

Felipe Massa led the final day of testing in Barcelona today.

He set the quickest time out of all four days – 1.22.625 – after a successful day running various set-ups and fuel loads.

Trulli's Lotus is recovered after his crash

Trulli's Lotus is recovered after his crash

He was 8 tenths of a second ahead of Mark Webber, while Sebastien Buemi continued Toro Rosso’s good form in 3rd.

Nick Heidfeld was delayed with a KERS issue, but was 4th. Lewis Hamilton made up for losing ground on his rivals in recent days, by setting over 100 laps to take 5th.

Pastor Maldonado was another driver to suffer KERS problems, relating to the water pump, which left him without the device for most of the day. Nevertheless he set the most laps today (121) and was 1.4 seconds behind in 6th. Adrian Sutil, Sergio Perez, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Michael Schumacher were 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th respectively.

It was a disaster for Lotus today. Little more than an hour into the test, and Jarno Trulli crashed at Campsa corner. He had only completed 18 laps, and the car was stuck in the garage for the rest of the day.

Despite his crash, Trulli was still pleased with Lotus’ progress:

“It's obviously disappointing to have the test cut short like this but these things 
happen in motor racing. We started the day well and until the accident happened I had 
picked up where I left off yesterday.

The car has good balance, pace we can build on and has the potential to help us take 
the fight to the midfield, so I'm leaving here feeling confident about the season 
ahead and am looking forward to the next test, wherever that will be."

Times from Barcelona Day 4:

Pos  Driver             Team                   Time       Gap     Laps
 1.  Felipe Massa       Ferrari                1.22.625           121
 2.  Mark Webber        Red Bull-Renault       1.23.442   0.817   69
 3.  Sebastien Buemi    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.23.550   0.925   90
 4.  Nick Heidfeld      Renault                1.23.657   1.032   95
 5.  Lewis Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes       1.24.003   1.378   107
 6.  Pastor Maldonado   Williams-Cosworth      1.24.057   1.432   121
 7.  Adrian Sutil       Force India-Mercedes   1.24.177   1.552   64
 8.  Sergio Perez       Sauber-Ferrari         1.24.515   1.890   74
 9.  Jerome D'Ambrosio  Virgin-Cosworth        1.26.501   3.876   50
10.  Michael Schumacher Mercedes               1.27.079   4.454   114
11.  Jarno Trulli       Lotus-Renault          1.29.992   7.367   18

Jerez Day 1: Massa heads the field

Massa headed today's Jerez session

Massa headed today's Jerez session

As the Formula 1 paddock rolls into Jerez for the next round of testing, Felipe Massa leads the timesheets after day 1.

He set his fast times early, and stayed on top for most of the day. Sergio Perez was over 7 tenths behind in the Ferrari-powered Sauber, while Mark Webber was third.

Lewis Hamilton, Timo Glock and Adrian Sutil were all trying out their 2011 cars for the first time, while HRT did not attend this test, instead moving to Monza for a few filming days with Pirelli.

Daniel Ricciardo only drove in the morning, but was still 4th. Hamilton was happy with the improvements of his MP4-26 in 5th, and Jaime Alguersuari was 6th, sharing his seat with Ricciardo.

Adrian Sutil had only 28 laps today, while Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg were 8th and 9th. Jarno Trulli was 10th and Timo Glock 11th. Pastor Maldonado was last, stuck in the pits because of a rear wing problem, and only did 14 laps.

Three red flags disrupted today’s session. Sergio Perez stopped out on track in the morning, while Rosberg stopped later on. Vitaly Petrov later spun his Renault into the gravel.

Pirelli brought all 4 tyre compounds to this test, and drivers seem to be happy with the new rubber so far.

Hamilton drove his car for the first time, and appears impressed:

“How it felt today was definitely a step forward.

Whether that’s aero or mechanical, I haven’t yet identified exactly which part it is but 
it’s a good thing that it feels good initially.

My initial response was that it felt quite comfortable to drive and there’s certain areas 
I noticed particularly that were quite a good improvement on last year.

We didn’t do that many runs today, we had quite a lot of programmes to get through. So I 
was really doing what a test driver would do: just go out and do this test, that test. We 
did that all day generally.

The car feels good, it’s positive. My initial thought was it’s a good step better than 
last year so I was quite happy with it.”

Times from Jerez Day 1:

Pos  Driver             Car                   Time       Gap
 1.  Felipe Massa       Ferrari               1.20.709
 2.  Sergio Perez       Sauber-Ferrari        1.21.483   0.774
 3.  Mark Webber        Red Bull-Renault      1.21.522   0.813
 4.  Daniel Ricciardo   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.21.755   1.046
 5.  Lewis Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      1.21.914   1.205
 6.  Jaime Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.22.689   1.980
 7.  Adrian Sutil       Force India-Mercedes  1.23.472   2.763
 8.  Vitaly Petrov      Renault               1.23.504   2.795
 9.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1.23.963   3.254
10.  Jarno Trulli       Lotus-Renault         1.24.458   3.749
11.  Timo Glock         Virgin-Cosworth       1.25.086   4.377
12.  Pastor Maldonado   Williams-Cosworth     1.34.968   14.259

Ferrari top both days of Pirelli tests

Two days of testing on the 2011 Pirelli tyres concluded a few days ago, with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso each topping one day each. While the tyres were slower than this year’s Bridgetones, most of the paddock appear to be happy with the new rubber.

Day 1

Sebastian Vettel suffered a tyre failure in the evening

Sebastian Vettel suffered a tyre failure in the evening

Only one car ran from each team on these two days. Neither Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Buttom took any part, as Gary Paffett was driving the McLaren. Adrian Sutil, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Paul di Resta all shared the Force India.

On the first day, Felipe Massa was fastest with a 1.40.170, two seconds off Daniel Ricciardo’s time during the young driver test. Sebastian Vettel was 2nd, 4 tenths off the Ferrari. Gary Paffett was 3rd, Kamui Kobayashi 4th, Robert Kubica 5th, and Rubens Barrichello 6th.

Paul di Resta was 7th, but had only run during the second half of the session. Adrian Sutil initially had the car, but an exhaust problem forced him into the pits. He was only 10th.

Nico Rosberg and Jaime Alguersuari were 8th and 9th. Timo Glock was 10th, Heikki Kovalainen 11th, and Pastor Maldonado last, 1.1 seconds behind the Lotus.

Vettel’s day was ended abruptly, after a puncture in the evening. Pirelli have already suffered cuts to their rear tyres, but believe that debris caused the failure.

Times from Day 1:

Driver Car Time
1 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.170s
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’40.500s
3 Gary Paffett McLaren 1’40.874s
4 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1’40.950s
5 Robert Kubica Renault 1’41.032s
6 Rubens Barrichello Williams 1’41.425s
7 Paul di Resta Force India 1’41.615s
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’41.778s
9 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1’42.019s
10 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’42.859s
11 Timo Glock Virgin 1’44.124s
12 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1’44.686s
13 Pastor Maldonado HRT 1’45.728s

Day 2

Fernando Alonso topped Day 2

Fernando Alonso topped Day 2

Fernando Alonso was quicker on the second day, but was 4 tenths off Massa’s time the day before. Michael Schumacher was 2nd, and Vettel 3rd.

Rubens Barrichello was 4th, Robert Kubica 5th, Gary Paffett 6th, and shared the car with Oliver Turvey, who was 7th. Paul di Resta was 8th, and shared the Force India with Liuzzi, who was 11th.

Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastien Buemi filled the top 10. Sergio Perez was 12th, Jarno Trulli 13th. Pastor Maldonado was 14th, but caused a red flag after a spin. Timo Glock was several hundreths off Maldonado.

Times from Day 2:

Driver Team Best lap
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’40.529s
2 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’40.685s
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’40.825s
4 Rubens Barrichello Williams 1’41.294s
5 Robert Kubica Renault 1’41.614s
6 Gary Paffett McLaren 1’41.622s
7 Oliver Turvey McLaren 1’41.740s
8 Paul di Resta Force India 1’41.869s
9 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1’42.110s
10 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1’42.145s
11 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India 1’42.416s
12 Sergio Perez Sauber 1’42.777s
13 Jarno Trulli Lotus 1’44.521s
14 Pastor Maldonado HRT 1’44.768s
15 Timo Glock Virgin 1’44.783s

Pirelli have declared the test a success, although they now have 11,000 km of data to filter through. Aside from Vettel’s tyre problems, the rubber stood up well, and the switch from Bridgestones to Pirellis shouldn’t be too difficult for the teams.

With this being the final session of 2010, the F1 engines will be switched off until the 1st February 2011, when testing resumes at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

Hamilton escapes penalty over Massa incident

The view from the camera bollard before Hamilton hits it

The view from the camera bollard before Hamilton hits it

Lewis Hamilton has avoided a potential grid penalty ahead of tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after an incident with Felipe Massa in Q2 in qualifying today.

As Massa was on a hot lap, entering Turn 4, Hamilton was close to the apex of the corner, and accidentaly turned into Massa, realised his mistake, then swerved off the track to avoid the Ferrari, hitting a camera bollard in the process. This incident, along with a separate one involving Massa and Rubens Barrichello, were reported to the stewards, but no action was taken in either case.

Here is what Massa had to say about the incident:

 "On my last out-lap, I came up behind so much traffic and it 
was all very confusing, especially as Hamilton, who was ahead 
of me, had slowed a lot at Turn 14.

At the end of the session, I was called to the stewards to 
discuss this incident and also the one with Hamilton again in 
Q2.

This sort of thing can happen as can be seen from the fact 
that no action was taken.

 

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