Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pärmäkoski: Vettel was happy over Kimi's comeback


- He is a tough guy, hats off to him. Kimi is a man who walks his own paths and has the courage to make brave decisions. His return will lift up both the team's and the serie's PR-value without any doubt because a WDC is always a person who is followed.

Räikkönen is a familiar man to Pärmäkoski because in Switzerland they used to live nearby. At that time the duo also met on the badminton field. Despite the good relationship Pärmäkoski has naturally his own view about next season.

- In badminton the victories can go quite evenly. When thinking about next season I hope that Kimi and the team will get the car in such condition that it's realistic to reach for podiums. Yet I have to admit that although I'm a Finn my heart is pounding towards a certain German driver when it comes to victories, Pärmäkoski said.

He also tells that Vettel is happy over Räikkönen's return.

- We haven't talked much about it but I know that Sebastian is happy over Kimi's return. They were already familiar to each other and I believe that two champions will give each other additional heartbeat.

TOMI OLLI


Source: Iltalehti
Courtesy: Nicole

Vettel says Räikkönen return will be tough


Sebastian Vettel has admitted it is “difficult to judge” whether his friend Kimi Räikkönen will be at full speed when he returns to formula one next season.

The pair often meet near their Swiss homes to play badminton, but reigning world champion Vettel does not want to predict a smooth comeback for the 2007 world champion after two years in world rally.

“We have all seen Michael’s comeback,” the 24-year-old is quoted by France’s 20minutes.fr on a visit to Red Bull’s engine supplier Renault.

“He (Schumacher) left when he was at the top, but when he came back he said a lot had changed and that he needed time to adapt.

“If I think about the car I drove two years ago, so many things have changed,” said Vettel. “It’s amazing. Even during a season, new buttons appear on the steering wheel.

“I can imagine it would be very difficult to return straight away to the same level as before,” added the German.

Renault/Lotus boss Eric Boullier revealed on Tuesday that Räikkönen will soon be able to use the team’s new driver simulator, and get some laps under his belt in a two-year-old “demo car” before real testing begins in February.

But the former McLaren and Ferrari driver insisted on Tuesday that while his neck may be out of shape, his motivation is back at full power.

Britain’s Guardian wrote: “If he got fed up with driving a Ferrari … what will happen at Renault, a midfield outfit who are unlikely to be challenging the top teams next year?”

Mercedes’ Norbert Haug is quoted in German reports: “I look forward to seeing Kimi back if he is motivated, and that seems to be the case.”


Source: YallaF1

Räikkönen's Lotus-time starts from Friday's Christmas-party


Two years and 29 days ago Kimi Räikkönen drove his last F1-race in Abu Dhabi at Ferrari. Two years and three months ago Räikkönen snatched his last GP-victory in Belgium.

On Tuesday it became sure that Räikkönen will come back to F1 when Lotus-Renault published their 2-year contract with the 32-year old Finnish WDC.

Turun Sanomat got an exclusive intervew with Räikkönen right after the contract was announced.

How does it feel to go back to F1 after rally?

– It feels cool. I don't have to roll in the mud anymore, a very relaxed and sunny Räikkönen grinned.

– It felt cool to drive rally too but you can't get over the fact that I also missed racing. The longer I was away from F1, the more I wanted back there.

Why Lotus-Renault?

– We talked for a long time with Williams and when nothing happened there we turned to Renault and after that everything proceeded quickly in three weeks. Now I have a contract and I'm pleased that I can race with F1-cars again.

When did your will to go back to F1 arise?

– When I drove those Nascar-races in May I noticed how cool it was to race on track again. That's when the spark came and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted back.


Racing fascinates more

Did you get bored with rally driving?

– Absolutely not. I would still like to drive rallies. But yet it's a different thing when you race against other drivers on the track. It is afterall what I have been doing for almost my whole life.

What remained as your best rally?

– I guess it's this year's Jyskälä. We didn't get into the speed the first day but after that it started to go well. We had a good pace until we hit the fence.

– That's the thing that bugs me most in rally, how much disadvantage for a long time you can get from the smallest situation. If you hit a little but the service park is far away that blunder willl reflect on your times in so many stages.

How long would it had taken for you to drive for trophies in WRC?

– It would have taken a lot of time. Every now and then I could take the same times as the lead did. Better results would have required that I would get to test just as much as the drivers from the factory team got to test.

Räikkönen didn't finish the last rallies.

– The decision was based upon the prognosis that it was going to rain and I didn't want to go sliding there. Then the weather was good afterall so of course I should have continued.

– On the other hand it wouldn't have made any use since I had already retired. It's a bit stupid when you can continue in rally although you have retired. You can't continue the race in F1 anymore if something happens, Räikkönen said.

Most to learn about is tyres

How difficult is it to come from rally back to a F1-car?

– I don't think it's that tricky. Afterall I have drove F1-cars for a long time and haven't had more than a two years break. The last time I was there we had KERS and we had a lot of buttons in the steering wheel back then already. I guess I'll also control the buttons soon.

– The biggest difference will be the tyres. It takes more time to learn how they work the best way. But it was more difficult when I went from McLaren and Michelin-tyres to Ferrari and Bridgestone-tyres. Now I haven't raced for two years with F1-tyres so I haven't got the most fresh feeling of them. This way I surely adapt easier to the new tyres.

What kind of information do you have about Pirelli's tyres?

– I have chatted with my old team mate Pedro de la Rosa and from what he has told me it feels pretty good. I hear that the tyres have a damn good grip right from the beginning and in my case it's important that the front is working.

How much information do you have about Lotus-Renault's team?

– Not much. I talked for the first time with Eric Boullier on Monday in the phone. On Friday I will visit Enstone factory and from there I continue to the team's christmas party.

Getting used by using GP2-tyres

When will you start testing?

– I can drive with this year's car as long as it has GP2-tyres. I guess I start getting used to it by that. I don't know exactly about next year's schedules. The new car comes when it comes and then we test with it, Räikkönen told.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kimi Räikkönen - “I never really lost the passion for racing in Formula 1”

Kimi, good news today, you have decided to come back to Formula 1. Why are you coming back?
The main reason was that I never really lost the passion for racing in Formula 1, just maybe for all the other things around it. But when I did some NASCAR races this year I noticed that I was increasingly missing the racing side – to race against each other – because in rallying you really race against the clock. And then I got the call from certain people in Formula 1. All sorts of things happened and we managed to have a nice conversation with Lotus Renault GP and make a deal – I’m really very happy with that!

Why did you choose Lotus Renault GP?
Really there were two options – it was this team or Williams. And everything worked out with Lotus Renault GP as we wanted, so that’s really the reason. Have you been following the team and the performance this year? I didn’t follow Formula 1 much at all last year. This year I followed it a bit more but not really any specific team. I watched the last 20 laps of the last race, the Brazilian Grand Prix, and because I knew this was going to happen I also watched how the Lotus Renault GP team did. But before that I didn’t know anything about what was going to happen or that there would be a deal in Formula 1 for next year, so I just watched Formula 1 as a whole. I saw a few races but nothing special.

Do you think Formula 1 will be very different for you from what you know from 2009, with the DRS, Pirelli tyres, etc?
Comparing 2009 to next year the biggest difference will probably be the tyres. I don’t think there is a lot of difference with the cars. DRS is a new thing but this is basically similar to before. The button that used to be for the front wing has disappeared, so now it’s for the rear wing. I would guess the main difference is really the tyres.

Personally, what’s the main difference from the Kimi Räikkönen we saw in 2009 – in which way are you a better driver?
I don’t know – I’ve been away for two years. I haven’t driven and I haven’t even sat in a Formula 1 car since the last race in 2009. I’m interested to get back into the car, I’m two years older now and I don’t think anything else has really changed. It has been really nice to try to learn rallying in the last few years. On some days it was hard. It’s been easier this year than last year but still it’s a very difficult sport. I’m really looking forward to coming back. At least Formula 1 is something where I know how everything works as I’ve been there for many years – compared to rallying when I didn’t know what would really happen. Then I went to NASCAR and I had no clue how it would be. So in that way it should be much, much easier to come back and it should be pretty normal.

Have you already changed your training routine?
I kept training the whole time for the rallying but of course it’s not so physical – in the rallies it’s more that you have to sit in the car for the whole week. In Formula 1, it is more physical but over a shorter time. A month ago I started to get back into proper training for Formula 1. The neck is the most difficult thing to get ready but we still have plenty of time.

When you think about your last race in 2009, what is the feeling you have of driving in Formula 1?
I certainly remember all the braking and how quickly everything happens. But compared to rallying, say, you have slightly more time. In rallying, it doesn’t give you a second chance. When you make a mistake you go off. There are no run-off areas. In Formula 1 you have a lot of run-off areas, you can run a bit wide and it is not such a big deal. You lose a lap in the practice or in qualifying but in the race you maybe don’t even lose a place. So this time, the braking and the G-forces will certainly come back very quickly. The biggest thing will definitely be to get the neck used to it again. All the rest will take a while but it’s not really a big thing.

Six world champions on the grid next year, you are coming back to Formula 1 – how big of a boost is it for your motivation?
I would not have come back if I wasn’t motivated. There is always a lot of talk about motivation but nobody really knows what I do or what I think apart from myself so I don’t really care about what people say. But I’m happy to be coming back. I wouldn’t put my name onto a contract if I didn’t think I’d really enjoy it – so it will be interesting and exciting to get back!

Source: LotusRenaultGP

Riku Kuvaja: Kimi isn't dreaming of a victory immediately

Kimi's assistant Riku Kuvaja told IS that Kimi will hide for a while before showing up before Finnish F1-fans and the Finnish media.

- We will keep press conferences both for Europe's and Finland's media in the near future, Kuvaja tells.

He conveyed Räikkönen's greetings where the driver is all fire over his comeback to F1.

- Great that the deal was born. Now Kimi only waits to get to business meaning developing the car and driving the car.

- Renault is a potential team. We are not speaking of victories yet, we speak of pushing into the grid's top.

Source: Ilta-Sanomat
Courtesy: Nicole

Good luck, brother Kimi


Posted by Leo Turrini Tue, 29/11/2011 - 11:20

Oh, last night a Greek friend greek told me that it is final. Kimi in Renault for two years.

I said to myself: I am waiting for the official announcement.

And this morning the blog had covered it.

The Curse of the Cola!

What can I say?

I'm happy and sad at the same time.

Glad, because F1 gets a great character. An authentic champion. One to whom I owe emotions from the legendary Interlagos 2007.

Melancholy, because Renault-Lotus future is what it is. I do not believe in miracles. I doubt that Raikkonen could aspire to great things, even though he himself speaks of 'top of the grid' as a goal.

Realistically I take as a parameter the return of Schumacher.

In two years, two fourth places.

Can the Holy Drinker do better?

Given the already certain identity of the winner of Spa 2012, why not?

A serie with six champions simultaneously on the track has never been seen!

Only one last message.

Good luck, Kimi.

You deserve it.

Blow the buggers!


Courtesy: Nicole

Video: Kimi Räikkönen back in F1 with LRGP in 2012

Lotus Renault GP is pleased to announce that Kimi Räikkönen will race for the team next season. The 2007 World Champion, who left Formula 1 at the end of 2009 to pursue a career in rallying, has decided to make a comeback at the pinnacle of single-seater racing. He has now signed a two-year agreement with Lotus Renault GP





Source: Youtube

Kimi's Assistant: Kimi Got What He Wanted


Kimi Räikkönen is really satisfied with his new F1 deal.

Räikkönen's assistant Riku Kuvaja has gotten used to dampening Kimi related stories. Now you can hear the happiness in his voice and you can almost see the smile via phone.

- Kimi is really satisfied with the deal, Kuvaja says happily.

He will not reveal the financial value of the two year long Lotus Renault deal but admits that it matches the value of an ex-World Champion. So Kimi got what he wanted.

Räikkönen's dream of returning to F1 lived almost through all his time spent in WRC. In the end Kimi didn't get to drive rally long enough for it to have been realistic to wait podiums nor championship.

- The desire to return to F1 kept growing all the time and in the end that lead to the negotiations and to this deal, Kuvaja says.

There were negotiations with several teams but according to Kimi's assistant the decision came easy. That was influenced both by Kimi's role in the team and the finacial side. But the most important thing was the return itself.

Source: Iltalehti

Lotus-Renault will bring Räikkönen back to F1-tracks


Lotus-Renault published on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. Finnish time that they had made a two-year deal with Finnish F1-champion Kimi Räikkönen. This way the crew at Enstone factory ensured that next year there will be driving six world champions in F1.

– I am happy to be back on F1-track after two years. I am grateful to Lotus-Renault for the chance they offered to come back to the racing tracks.

– My time in WRC was a useful experience in my career as a racing driver. But I can't deny that my will to go back to F1-driving had become unbearable, Räikkönen said in the team announcement.

– It was easy to choose Lotus-Renault. It's an ambitious team which wants to develop further. I am waiting with interest to start working with them in order to help them get more up in the F1-serie, Räikkönen said.

Gerard Lopez welcomed the world champion with open arms.

– All this time I have been assured that our team is at the beginning of a new era and we will work hard to get up to the highest level.

– Kimi's decision to come back to the F1-tracks with us, is a first big push for new development steps in order for us to become an even tougher challenger in this sport.

– On behalf of the whole Lotus-Renault personnel I welcome Kimi to the house, Lopez said.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Räikkönen still knows F1 as his own sport


Kimi Räikkönen comes back to Formula 1 after spending two years in WRC. Lotus-Renault – to be named Lotus in 2012 – announced Tuesday morning the two-year deal with Räikkönen.

– I felt fine in WRC, too. But all the time I have missing racing. The longer you stay away from it, the more you miss it. It’s good time to come back. Obviously, it’s still F1 and I have been doing it one third of my life time, already, says Räikkönen to Turun Sanomat.

October 17th Räikkönen became 32 years of age. From 2001 to 2009 Räikkönen had 156 Grands Prix with Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari. He is the world championship with Ferrari from the super exciting season 2007 and he is the last driver, who has brought to championship to Maranello.

Räikkönen has won 18 times and been on the podium 62 times. He has 16 pole positions in his merit list and he has started the GP 31 times from the first row.

The comeback of Räikkönen makes history to F1. First time ever in the season 2012 there will be six world champions racing against each other.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Kimi Räikkönen back in F1 with LRGP in 2012


Lotus Renault GP is pleased to announce that Kimi Räikkönen will race for the team next season. The 2007 World Champion, who left Formula 1 at the end of 2009 to pursue a career in rallying, has decided to make a comeback at the pinnacle of single-seater racing. He has now signed a two-year agreement with Lotus Renault GP.

Kimi’s F1 roll of honour includes 18 wins, 62 podiums and 16 pole positions. This experience and success is sure to help the team make a step forward next year. The 32-year-old Finn’s commitment indeed makes for a vote of confidence in Lotus Renault GP, demonstrating the team’s determination and new philosophy for the seasons ahead.

Kimi Räikkönen: “I’m delighted to be coming back to Formula 1 after a two-year break, and I’m grateful to Lotus Renault GP for offering me this opportunity. My time in the World Rally Championship has been a useful stage in my career as a driver, but I can’t deny the fact that my hunger for F1 has recently become overwhelming. It was an easy choice to return with Lotus Renault GP as I have been impressed by the scope of the team’s ambition. Now I’m looking forward to playing an important role in pushing the team to the very front of the grid.”

Gérard Lopez, Genii Capital, Chairman: “All year long, we kept saying that our team was at the start of a brand new cycle. Backstage we’ve been working hard to build the foundations of a successful structure and to ensure that we would soon be able to fight at the highest level. Kimi’s decision to come back to Formula 1 with us is the first step of several announcements which should turn us into an even more serious contender in the future. Of course, we are all looking forward to working with a world champion. On behalf of our staff, I’d like to welcome Kimi to Enstone, a setting that has always been known for its human approach to Formula 1.”

Source: Lotus Renault GP

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Räikkönen drove completely reasonable times"


They believe that Kimi Räikkönen's rallying career is over for now when he is seriously negotiating about a comeback to F1. Kimi drove in WRC for only two seasons but the difference to the top has been several minutes. His best result is Rally Turkey in 2010 when he came in 5th.

SWRC-serie's world champion from this year, Juho Hänninen with Skoda, was often faster than Räikkönen although Räikkönen drove in a class higher with a WRC-car. Still Hänninen thinks that Räikkönen's performances in rally were good.

- I think that it was a realistic result. Maybe the majority expected more and I bet Kimi himself also expected more, however Kimi realised pretty quickly that it isn't that easy. Still he made good times especially when driving a stage for the second time since he remembered them better. That's when he drove completely reasonable times, Hänninen told Sport Content.

Hänninen reminded that rallying requires a lot of training and that it takes several years to develop into a top driver.

- Nobody can succeed in this without practice, Hänninen said.


Source: elisa.net
Courtesy: Nicole

The countdown continues

It boils in the Finnish driver market because Kimi Räikkönen's sensational comeback just keeps on going on and on. They don't whisper a thing in Williams whereas they tell straightly from Renault again that they are negotiating. Neither formula necessarily promises anything.

In principle one doesn't have to leave it up to Räikkönen when it comes to filling driver seats. Williams has at the least as their Plan B to put Valtteri Bottas racing, now that they have in addition to sponsor money also the assurance of his performance in Abu Dhabi's rookie test.

At this moment it looks most obvious that Bottas is more likely on the F1-grid with Williams next year than Räikkönen is.

My Polish reporter buddy just sent me greetings that he believes Finland has three drivers in next year's F1-serie: Bottas in Williams, Räikkönen in Lotus and Kovalainen in Caterham.

It's good to live in hope...

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Räikkönen could replace Kubica

Eric Boullier made it known already during Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Kimi Räikkönen's manager had inquired about prospects for a team seat

Those who heard about it drew immediately the conclusions that it wasn't as sure that Räikkönen would be hired to Williams as the F1-media had believed.

As far as I know, no final decisions concerning Räikkönen has been made in Williams or in Renault for that matter. Both teams are believed to announce their drivers in the beginning of December.

In principle there's no rush since the test work for next season starts only on February 7th in Jerez.

Bouillier assured during Brazil GP that he has collected a long list of driver candidates. Among them Räikkönen is one of the options, but undoubtly the most famous one.

– It all depends upon the strategy we will take in the board of directors, but the decisions will be taken in the next couple weeks, Boullier informed.

Kubica's situation rubs relationships

Bouillier has got into an argument with manager Daniele Morelli over the way he has treated Robert Kubica. Renault published an announcement saying that Kubica won't rehabilitate in time for next season's start but Morelli denied it.

Boullier wants to ensure Kubica's plans and avoid the situation where he gives him a chance for testing so that he won't use it as a stepping stone to show his performance to another team - like for example Ferrari.

The only one who has a contract for next year in Lotus is Vitali Petrov.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Remu Aaltonen: Räikkönen travelled an insane distance to see our gig

The rock legend Remu Aaltonen was impressed over the fact that Kimi Räikkönen travelled a long distance to get to see his gig in Spain.

Kimi Räikkönen was recently in Fuengirola, in Mai Tai -restaurant where Remu Aaltonen had a gig. Remu was performing as the lead singer of CostaGanes-band.

– It was a quite interesting story, my buddy said that Kimi Räikkönen had been on the gig. And after that dudes with messed up hair came backstage to say hi, they were slightly in a partying mood, Remu tells.

Kimi and his entourage had travelled to see the gig in Fuengirola all the way from Malta. Remu took Räikkönen's travelling as a gesture of honor.

– It was an insane distance, quite wild that they come to follow our gig on their day off. I was really impressed over that matter. Quite cool, you get it? They had arrived all the way from Malta on a boat, 30 liters fluids aren't enough, that much I understand.

Remu didn't have any deeper discussions with Räikkönen because Kimi's entourage continued shortly after the gig.

– When those kind of dudes come to a joint it's clear that they don't nest there. They just come and go, honoring with their presence. They had digged the gig, a pleased Remu tells.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Video: BBC - Brazilian GP - Hamilton explains special Senna tribute helmet in Brazil

Lewis Hamilton explains why he is wearing a specially-designed helmet as a tribute to his hero, the late Ayrton Senna, during the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.

The helmet will be auctioned after the race in aid of the Ayrton Senna foundation, with Hamilton revealing he will "wear it proudly" in honour of the three-time world champion who Hamilton says was "one of the most significant people in my life growing up".



Source: SixtyBuckss

Super Vettel takes historic 15th pole in Brazil


Sebastian Vettel broke an almost two decades old record, held by Nigel Mansell since 1992, when he powered to his 15th pole position of the season during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Circuito Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo.

Vettel scorched around an overcast Interlagos circuit in 1 minute 11.918 seconds, the only driver to dip into the 71 seconds zone with a staggering final lap in the session.

The 24-year-old German, who had equalled Nigel Mansell’s 1992 record of 14 in a single Formula One season at the previous race in Abu Dhabi, went a step further in Sao Paulo and etched his name in the record books yet again.

His team mate Mark Webber made it an all Red Bull front row of the grid when he too delivered an impressive lap to finish second quickest, 0.181 seconds down on his world champion team mate.

Clearly Red Bull found some energy and were given wings when it mattered. Record breaker Vettel summed up his history making afternoon: “There has been quite some talk before qualifying about this particular record and the best thing to do was not to think about it at all. We did have a rough start to the weekend where I was not 100% happy with the balance. But we made changes and I was happy. I put everything into my last lap and I was very emotional when I crossed the line because I knew whatever happened I gave it my all. It’s really special. It’s different than other poles. Obviously it took that master Nigel Mansell a couple of races less to do it but it is still very special to me. Now I’m just happy to be here and start from the front.”

Webber said: “I thought qualifying went well. The whole weekend, we’ve been strong. Seb did a good lap and my lap was pretty good which is very positive for tomorrow.”

The energy drinks team’s lockout of the front row will come as a blow to McLaren’s race hopes, as the Woking squad looked strong on Friday, but 24 hours later Jenson Button was third quickest 0.365 seconds down on Vettel with Hamilton fourth fastest albeit over half a second down off the champ.

Button was taking a positive spin from the afternoon, commenting afterwards: “I’m enjoying the moment because this is my best qualifying here for the last six years. I always love racing here; it’s such a good circuit for fighting and overtaking. Whatever happens this has been a great season for us but just not quite good enough. Hopefully we can end on a high tomorrow.”

After ending Friday fastest of all, Hamilton was expecting more from qualifying as he explained: “It’s a little bit disappointing. We’re still on the second row but I would have liked to have been stronger. I’m not too happy with my performance. I just wasn’t quick enough. I was a couple of tenths off Jenson [Button]. The Red Bulls were just massively quick. It’s definitely a place where you’re inspired because this is [Ayrton] Senna’s home. I’ve started fourth quite a few times here. Four is a good number for me. Let’s hope I can turn it into something more positive tomorrow.”

Digging deep, as he has had to do all year with the awkward Ferrari 150 Italia, was Fernando Alonso who will head up the third row after setting the fifth fastest time with his team mate Felipe Massa starting behind him on the grid, in seventh. The Brazilian. sporting a gold helmet for his 100th race for the Maranello squad was half a second down on the Spaniard.

Splitting the red cars was Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes GP who ended the session sixth and will start beside Alonso on the grid, while fellow German Adrian Sutil will start from eighth in the Force India VJM04.

The great Senna/Schumacher names will share a grid row for the first time in over 16 years as Bruno Senna – Ayrton Senna’s nephew – lines up his Renault beside Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes GP on the fifth row of the grid. Senna was ninth fastest and Schumacher tenth, the seven times world champion opting to save a set of tyres and not do a fast lap in Q3.

Paul di Resta was best of the rookies and will start 11th on the grid alongside the most experienced F1 driver of all time.

Delivering a remarkable performance and ending the session 12th was Rubens Barrichello in the woeful Williams FW33. If this weekend is the 39 year old’s last in Formula 1, then he obviously intends going out in style at his home grand prix.

The session ended as dark, clouds heavy with rain shifted into the Sao Paulo skies, with rain predicted for race day at Interlagos…

Qualifying times:

1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 11.918s
2. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 12.099s
3. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 12.283s
4. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 12.480s
5. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 12.591s
6. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 13.050s
7 Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 13.068s
8. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 13.298s
9. Bruno Senna Brazil Renault-Renault 1m 13.761s
10. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes no time Q3

11. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 1m 13.584s
12. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth 1m 13.801s
13. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 13.804s
14. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 13.919s
15. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault-Renault 1m 14.053s
16. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 14.129s
17. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1m 14.182s

18. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Cosworth 1m 14.625s
19. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Renault 1m 15.068s
20. Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Renault 1m 15.358s
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy HRT-Cosworth 1m 16.631s
22. Daniel Ricciardo Australia HRT-Cosworth 1m 16.890s
23 Jerome d'Ambrosio Belgium Virgin-Cosworth 1m 17.019s
24. Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth 1m 17.060s

Source: YallaF1

Petrov hopes that he meets Räikkönen on the track

Vitali Petrov has this year drove against five F1-champions. Nowadays also Kimi Räikkönen has been preparing his comeback to GP-races.

How has Petrov followed the WDC's career who comes from his neighboring country?

– Of course I have followed Kimi when he was at McLaren, he was always damn fast but also suffered from terrible mechanical flaws. Then at Ferrari he won the WDC in a splendid way.

– I'm sorry that I don't know Kimi personally. I hope he comes back. F1 is all the more splendid the more world champions it has, Petrov thinks.

Enjoys being in Finland

In Turun Sanomat's interview Renault's Russian driver shed light on his other relations to Finland as a Vyborger.

– I live in Oxford but I spend my vacations in Vyborg. I often go to Finland with my family and friends. We usually do some shopping and go to a spa. Yet the formalities when crossing the border are always the same.

– Sometimes when we think about what to do and decide to visit Finland, we notice that it's Friday and you don't want to leave then because it would take too much time at the border, Petrov told.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Friday, November 25, 2011

Video: BBC - Brazilian GP - Lewis Hamilton seeking wet race to be competitive in Brazil

Lewis Hamilton believes McLaren will be "there or there abouts", but does not think they will be able to challenge Red Bull for victory in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix as long as conditions stay dry.

Wet weather has been forecast for the race at Interlagos, with Hamilton expecting the car to be "really good in the wet" if the predicted rain does fall in Sao Paulo




Source: SixtyBuckss

Räikkönen now negotiating with Renault


Several media sources at the Brazilian Grand Prix are now reporting that negotiations between Kimi Raikkonen and Williams are over.

“It’s true that we had serious negotiations with Raikkonen,” Williams team boss Sir Frank Williams said to Italy’s La Stampa, indicating that the team is no longer negotiating with the 2007 world champion.

French website Sportune.fr reported that the negotiations broke down because Raikkonen’s managers, David and Steve Robertson were asking for 30 million euros for just the 2012 season – which is 30% of the annual budget of the Grove team. Williams proposed a counter-offer of a fixed salary of 6 million euros and 10 million euros in stock for the 2012 and 2013 seaons. The counter-offer was not accepted by Raikkonen’s management.

However, Renault team principal Eric Boullier admitted today in an interview with Finnish television broadcaster MTV3 that Raikkonen’s management has been in contact with Renault regarding a potential drive with the Renault team for next year.

“I will not tell anything about it but yes, we have contact with the management of Kimi,” said Boullier, when asked whether Raikkonen was still an option for the team next year. Boullier also did not give a definite date for when they would be making decisions about drivers.

The Renault team principal refused to elaborate more on the negotiations, saying: “Nothing more about this matter. Ask them [Raikkonen's management]. I learned from last year and I don’t want to talk anymore about this matter.”

Boullier was referring to the big media fallout between Raikkonen and Renault last year after Robert Kubica’s tragic accident left one of the Renault seats vacant. Raikkonen’s management had quietly sounded out the Renault team with a view of returning to Formula One in 2011. Boullier had described Raikkonen’s interest in driving for Renault next year as “flattering” but insisted that he wanted to meet Raikkonen face to face to find out about the Finn’s motivation to return to Formula One. Raikkonen hit back angrily at the team, accusing them of using his name merely for marketing purposes.




Source: F1Zone.net

Hamilton takes control in Brazil

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in Friday's second practice, a session that saw the top eight separated by less than half a second

The McLaren driver, who won the previous race in Abu Dhabi, is determined to end his season of "growth" with a fourth grand prix victory and perhaps signalled his intent on Friday afternoon.

Hamilton clocked a 1:13.392 during a short-distance run to take to the top of the timesheets ahead of reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel. The German, who was also on a shorter run, was 0.167s off the pace.

However, on the long distance runs, which both Hamilton and Vettel embarked on in the latter stages of FP2, it was the Red Bull racer who seemed to have the edge - although lap times are dependent on fuel loads.

Mark Webber was third quickest, a further 0.028s adrift while Fernando Alonso, with a new used engine in the back of his F150, brought his car home in fourth place.

Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa were next in line ahead of Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg. But even though Rosberg was P8, the Mercedes GP driver was only 0.480s slower than Hamilton.

Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta completed the top ten for Force India with both drivers needing a good result to help secure their future with the team.

Sergio Perez was the only driver who failed to see the chequered flag as he stopped out on track with 11 minutes remaining, telling his Sauber team "I have no gears."

The Mexican rookie was lucky to avoid an accident as he stopped on an incline and initially started rolling backwards down the hill after Juncao before finally came to a complete standstill.

Times

01. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m13.392 35 laps
02. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m13.559 + 0.167 41 laps
03. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m13.587 + 0.195 41 laps
04. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m13.598 + 0.206 35 laps
05. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m13.723 + 0.331 38 laps
06. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m13.750 + 0.358 39 laps
07. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m13.787 + 0.395 36 laps
08. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m13.872 + 0.480 42 laps
09. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m14.144 + 0.752 41 laps
10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m14.807 + 1.415 48 laps
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m14.856 + 1.464 38 laps
12. Bruno Senna Renault 1m14.931 + 1.539 37 laps
13. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.970 + 1.578 32 laps
14. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.019 + 1.627 45 laps
15. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m15.264 + 1.872 44 laps
16. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m15.388 + 1.996 41 laps
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m15.679 + 2.287 43 laps
18. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m15.903 + 2.511 40 laps
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m16.298 + 2.906 36 laps
20. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m16.338 + 2.946 48 laps
21. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m18.031 + 4.639 39 laps
22. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m18.051 + 4.659 45 laps
23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m18.367 + 4.975 42 laps
24. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m18.476 + 5.084 42 laps

Source: Planet-F1

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Räikkönen says F1 future an open question

Kimi Räikkönen’s chances of returning to Formula 1 next year with Williams seem to have receded according to latest reports.

Autosprint reports that the 2007 world champion’s prospective sponsors may have withdrawn their interest, leaving fellow Finn and rookie Valtteri Bottas at the top of the candidates list now.

German commentator and former F1 driver Christian Danner would not mind if Raikkonen’s comeback attempt fails.

“Quite simply, he was already past his best when he stopped,” he told German broadcaster RTL, referring to Raikkonen’s departure from Ferrari in 2009.

Swiss commentator Marc Surer agrees: “Whenever I think about Kimi I always worry about his motivation.

“His rallying did not bring him the desired result so he tries formula one again?

“I think he would fit well with Williams, who have the motto that the driver drives and the team worries about the technology.

“But he would be only in the midfield,” he told Germany’s T-Online. “I would rather see a hungry, young driver there.”

A current competitor of Räikkönen’s, Mikko Hirvonen, hopes the 32-year-old stays in the world rally championship.

“Two years is not enough to get the experience you need,” he is quoted by World Rally Radio. “The last rally of the season was not so good but (if Räikkönen stays in 2012) it would be good for the world of rallying.”

Typically, Räikkönen himself is giving nothing away.

“What happens in the future is still an open question,” said the winner of 18 grands prix.

Source: YallaF1

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Williams and Räikkönen


The rumours about Kimi Räikkönen and Williams continue and the presence of his management team David and Steve Robertson in the Williams team hospitality unit in Abu Dhabi only added to the story-mongering. The fact is that the pair are based in Dubai, where they run a trading company, dealing in steel, wood and consumer goods, so it is a logical place for them to appear each year. However, there is no question that they are talking to Williams about Räikkönen but is is not as simple as most team-driver negotiations as I hear that Räikkönen is looking to acquire some equity in the team. Sir Frank Williams is famous for not parting with shares. The team lost Adrian Newey back in the mid 1990s because it would not make him a shareholder and the recent flotation was simply a device to raise money to allow both Williams and his longtime partner Patrick Head to extract some of the value from the team, without losing control of the business. Williams continues to hold the majority share of slightly more than 50 percent, while Austrian wheeler-dealer Toto Wolff has around 16 percent, Head has reduced his stake to just 5.8 percent and Cyrte Investments, a Dutch investment company, largely controlled by Dutch media magnate John de Mol bought up 5 percent. The rest is traded on the XETRA exchange in Frankfurt.

There are 10 million Williams shares and trading thus far has produced no sale larger than 18,715 shares, which is a tiny percentage, so there is no sign of anyone building up a stake. On paper the team is worth €170 million, but it should be remembered that when the shares were floated the value was €246 million, so anyone other than the original shareholders will make a substantial loss if they sell now.

Räikkönen and the Robertsons have already been team owners in Formula 3. They established Räikkönen Robertson Racing at the end of 2004, when Kimi was still racing for McLaren. The team, based in Woking, was managed by Boyo Hieatt and enjoyed some success in the British F3 Championship, winning the title in 2006 with Mike Conway. The team was never really in contention after that and at the end of 2010 the company was sold to Hieatt.

It is probably a good time to try to buy shares in the team, as it is at a low point in its history and the chances are that with new engines and a different design team, the team will make some progress next year. If not the share price will suffer and so shares might become easier to acquire. The team admits it is interested in signing Raikkonen and says that a negotiation is going on at the moment.

Source: joesawardwordpress.com

Courtesy: Claudie

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Alonso's Blog: Twenty podiums in two years with Ferrari: not bad!


I’m already home from the trip to Abu Dhabi which ended on a high note. Yesterday’s second place is definitely a better result than we had expected going into the weekend, but what gave me the most satisfaction was the speed we had for practically the whole race. It was a good battle with Hamilton: at some points he was quicker and at others I was. Usually, at the start of a stint, he was able to pull out a bit of a gap, but then I’d close it in the final part, especially when we were both on the Softs. In the second stint the traffic also added to this sort of elastic movement between us, but it’s hard to say which of us it affected most. Having analysed the data in last night’s debrief, it was also clearly the case that the little problem at the second pit stop did not impact on the final result: I would not have been able to get back out on track ahead of Hamilton, who was immediately quick on the Medium tyres. In fact the ability to get the most out of the tyres right from the very first lap, is one of the areas we need to work on for next year.

Bringing home a trophy from Abu Dhabi was very pleasing for me, but I’ve realised I made a statistical error, when I said that in my collection I have at least one trophy from each of the Grand Prix venues since I’ve raced in Formula 1: I’m missing one from Austria where I raced only twice, in 2001 and 2003, failing to finish on both occasions. The first time was in a Minardi, when the gearbox let me down, the second was when I was with Renault and the engine failed. Well, I’m not sure if the Austrian Grand Prix will ever return to the calendar, but if it did happen, then that would be just an extra reason to try and make it to the podium!

Still on the subject of statistics, yesterday’s podium was the twentieth of my “red” career, which means that I have managed to finish in the top three in over half the races I have driven for Ferrari. This shows that even in a year like this, which has not been so fantastic, in terms of our car’s performance, the average level is still very high. It’s not by chance that over the last eighteen years, the Scuderia has managed to win at least one Grand Prix per season. No other team can say the same and factors like this also influenced my decision to extend my contract with Ferrari for such a long time. I know many of you will think it would have been better if I could have come second in Abu Dhabi a year ago. I know it too, but there’s no point in thinking about what might have been, also because I am sure that the time will come sooner or later when we can obtain the satisfaction that has eluded us so far. I am sure that from now until 2016 there will be many more bottles of champagne for me to hand to the mechanics as I come down the steps from the podium!


Source: Ferrari.com

Parr amused by Kimi 'tittle-tattle'

Williams chairman Adam Parr remains coy over the team's 2012 driver line-up, but admits some of the reports regarding the Kimi Räikkönen deal are "absolute drivel"

Williams shareholder Toto Wolff admitted last week that they are in negotiations with the 2007 World Champion and the latest paddock rumours claim the team are awaiting upon investment from Qatar to help fund the deal.

Parr, though, remains tight-lipped about talks with Räikkönen and says some of the rumours have brought a smile to his face.

"I read stuff and I just want to laugh because people construct these conspiracy theories from tittle-tattle and nonsense, and it's absolute drivel on all fronts," he said.

"I understand everything people are saying, but unfortunately it doesn't mean you can draw conclusions from it."

Parr appears in no hurry to confirm next year's line-up, stating it will be done "as soon as we can".

He added: "We have not made a decision yet about the future. When we have we will discuss it with the people concerned and then we'll announce it."


Source: Planet-F1

Monday, November 14, 2011

Alonso completes silverware collection

Second place in the Abu Dhabi GP not only transcended Ferrari expectations, but made a welcome addition to Fernando Alonso's personal haul

Fernando Alonso entered the third Abu Dhabi Grand Prix wanting a podium finish almost as much as win in order to complete an envious record of having finished in the top three at every circuit on the F1 schedule. In the end, he could have had both....

The Spaniard made another storming start to the 55-lap race, driving around the outside of Mark Webber to pick up one place immediately, before then out-fumbling Jenson Button before the end of the lap. With pole sitter Sebastian Vettel spinning out with a sudden puncture, Alonso's blitz left him in second place and chasing Lewis Hamilton for the lead.

"The opening lap was exciting," he admitted, "At the start, I squeezed round the outside of Webber at the first corner because I knew there was more grip there. Then, once I saw Vettel was off, I got into Button's slipstream, taking a bit of a risk but, in the end, I managed to pass him too. After that, I expected to struggle more, but today was one of those where the car went much better than expected and you are kept busier fighting with those ahead of you than in looking in your mirrors."

At no point through the weekend had Ferrari looked to have the pace to threaten either Red Bull or McLaren, but Alonso kept Hamilton in sight, even if the gap at the front gradually extended. By lap eight, Hamilton was 2.7secs in front, and there was no change to the order as the leading pair pitted together on lap 16, the Briton taking advantage of a slightly quicker turnaround to pull out another second on his rival as the race approached half-distance.

As the sun began to set over Yas Marina, the two men continued to battle it out, with both falling foul of recalcitrant backmarkers from time to time, allowing Alonso to narrow the gap slightly. Hamilton was the first to pit second time around, giving the Spaniard a couple of laps to bridge the margin and hopefully emerge in front after his final switch to the harder Pirelli tyres.

With Hamilton also running to the finish, but almost 20 seconds down after his stop, Alonso needed everything to go in his favour but, right from the moment he headed for pit-lane, it was clear that it was to be the Briton's day. First, the Ferrari trailed one of the HRTs into the pits, then the Scuderia executed a slower than usual stop, all of which meant that Alonso emerged in second spot, 4.4secs behind his former team-mate.

With victory out of the question barring a problem for Hamilton, Alonso had to switch his attention to Webber who, having yet to change to the harder rubber, was making a third set of the soft Pirellis work in his favour by closing in on the Spaniard. The fastest man on track, the Australian was reducing the gap in big chunks, but there wasn't enough time for him to reverse the positions and make a third stop to comply with the rules. By pitting at the end of the penultimate lap, the pressure on Alonso was lifted and the Ferrari cruised to second place.

"Today we were fighting for the win all the way to the end," the Spaniard confirmed, "We got a good start and could match Hamilton's pace and the first pit-stop went well, but I lost a couple of seconds at the second one, what with traffic on my in-lap and a problem changing the front left wheel. However, I don't think that's where we lost the race, because I am convinced that, in the end, it's the quickest car that wins and so it was.

Before the weekend, Alonso had revealed how he had a podium trophy from each of the races on the calendar with the exception of Abu Dhabi, but his performance in attack ensured that he at least fulfilled a personal goal.

“I am pleased with this result - finally my podium trophy collection is complete!" the Spaniard enthused, "I have 73 top three finishes and have managed to stand on the podium of all the circuits that have been on the F1 calendar over the past ten years. Next year, we go to Austin, and the year after to Russia, so there will always be new challenges to tackle and objectives to reach - even if, obviously, the main one is always to win the title."

Team principal Stefano Domenicali was full of praise for his lead driver, and delighted to have gone some way to addressing the disappointment of last year, when a pit-wall error cost the Spaniard a possible third world title.

“We knew a podium was possible and that was confirmed this evening when, thanks to yet another extraordinary drive from Fernando, we were in the fight for the win right up until the final part of the race," Domenicali noted, "The first lap was exceptional, as was his race pace after that.

"Finally getting a driver onto the podium in this race is indeed cause for satisfaction, but there's one race to go, in two weeks time in Brazil, and second place in the drivers' championship is still up for grabs. That will be hard to achieve, but it is definitely not impossible and we will do all we can to give Fernando the tools to achieve this."

Source: Crash.net

Hamilton: Victory is good for the soul

Lewis Hamilton admits arriving in Abu Dhabi with a "less weighing" on him played a huge role in his fantastic grand prix weekend

The McLaren driver had had a difficult 2010 season, earning almost as many penalties and reprimands as he has top-three finishes.

It was apparent that his issues, both on and off the track, were weighing heavily on his shoulders as even his pole position last month in Korea could not encourage a smile.

However, two races later, Hamilton was finally smiling in Abu Dhabi thanks to a near perfect weekend.

Having topped two of the three practice sessions, he only missed out on pole position by 0.141s but was back at the very front on Sunday evening when he claimed the victory at the Yas Marina circuit.

"I'm usually my own biggest critic, but I felt like I maximised everything," said Hamilton.

"I definitely think that this weekend I've been clearer in my mind and I've had less weighing on me, less thoughts and issues or whatever problems that I've got.

"I was just able to drive clearly.

"I think my qualifying has always been generally good and my practice has always been pretty good but obviously in the last race I had that mistake which was... I was just not thinking straight and this weekend I was able to think straight.

"This is so uplifting, to be able to walk away with a smile feels fantastic. Victory is good for the soul."

And although one could argue that Hamilton's victory was courtesy of Sebastian Vettel's first retirement of the season, the fact that he didn't put a wheel wrong can't be taken away from the Brit, who reckons a bit of bad luck helps one appreciate the good.

"I don't remember the last time he (Vettel) had a bit of bad luck," said Hamilton. "Every now and then, we need a bit of bad luck to notice the good times."

As for whether his Abu Dhabi victory is the beginning of a resurgence, Hamilton said: "It is early days yet but this is definitely the start of something hopefully very good."


Source: Planet-F1

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Video: BBC - Ferrari's Fernando Alonso buoyed by Abu Dhabi GP display

Fernando Alonso is pleased with his second-place finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying his Ferrari car did "better than expected".

The Spaniard, who started fifth on the grid, overtook Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Jenson Button of McLaren to sit just behind leader Lewis Hamilton for the rest of the race.

However, Alonso insists his start was not "special" and McLaren simply had "more pace" than his Ferrari team at Yas Marina




Source: Formula1Arab

Räikkönen's managers in Williams premises


Kimi Räikkönen's managers David and Steve Robertson made a quick visit to Yas Marina Grand Prix -paddock on Sunday. What do you know, the Robertsons followed the beginning of the F1-race in Williams premises.

Frank Williams assured on Friday night to MTV3 that he is very interested in getting Räikkönen to his team.

Robertsons were completely silent about the matter.

– The times are completely different from those times for example in 2001 when Kimi started in Sauber, because these days even being a top talent isn't enough to assure a team seat, Robertson told Turun Sanomat.

Co-founder of Williams-team, Patrick Head, admitted before the race when asked once again, that they have thought about getting Räikkönen earlier too.

– We were interested in Kimi when he drove for Sauber. We proposed to make a deal to our partner at the time, BMW, but they thought it would be too expensive, Head cleared.

So far only Pastor Maldonado's continuance in Williams next year is sure.

Turun Sanomat, Abu Dhabi

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Abu Dhabi GP 2011 | Sebastian Vettel blog | Unfortunate end

World champion Sebastian Vettel suffered his biggest disappointment of the season at the Abu Dhabi GP on Sunday. In his latest blog, the German explains why he was forced to retire after an unexplained puncture on the first lap ended his race prematurely

by Sebastian Vettel, Nov 13, 2011

A final hello from Abu Dhabi!

We would have wanted a different result today but now it's over there's nothing we can do about it. We don't actually know why I lost the car on the first lap and all I can say is that it happened so fast it was a complete surprise to me too.

It was a pity because I got off to an amazing start but suddenly I lost all of the air out of the back tyre and my race was over.

I tried to nurse the car back to the pit to see if the guys could do something to save the race, but they saw immediately that it was impossible to continue.

'I tried to nurse the car back... but it was irreparable'

On the way back round, the tyre had fallen off completely – taking part of the suspension with it which was irreparable. It's really sad, but there was nothing we could have done to prevent it.

Some might say that one retirement isn't that bad because we've already won the two championships, but that's not the way we think. We had a really good feeling before the start, the car was in great shape and we had the potential for a great race.

Sadly, we won't find out how we would have got on and it's something we have to accept. All we can do is sit down together, watch the footage and find out what happened so we can understand it. Then we'll concentrate on the last race in Brazil to make sure we can end this season in style and shine once again.

Thank you for all of your support! We'll do better next time!

All the best,

Seb

Source: Red Bull

Video: BBC - 'Positive energy' inspires Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton says winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the perfect end to the weekend and says things "just seemed to go right" at the Yas Marina Circuit.

It was the 26-year-old's first victory in eight races and he admits that he had been suffering from a "negative vibe" that has affected his performances.

Hamilton is joined in the McLaren garage by his mum who is in Abu Dhabi celebrating her birthday, and the McLaren driver admits he needs to surround himself with more friends and family at races




Source: Formula1Arab

Hamilton Wins In Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton claimed the victory in Abu Dhabi on Sunday after Sebastian Vettel retired on the opening lap

Vettel's phenomenal season, in which he has claimed 11 race victories and only finished once off the podium, suffered its first black mark at the Yas Marina circuit when the pole sitter suffered a puncture on the opening lap.

Spinning off the track and limping back to the pits, it was soon discovered that Vettel's return journey had caused damaged to his RB7's floor and brake ducts forcing Red Bull to bench their World Champ.

Bad news for Vettel, but great news for Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Hamilton inherited the lead while Alonso overtook first Mark Webber and then Jenson Button to move up into second place. The Ferrari tried to hold onto Hamilton but the Brit etched out a steady lead.

So began a game of cat and mouse where every time Hamilton extended his lead, Alonso closed the gap only for Hamilton to extend it again.

And despite Ferrari's attempts to undercut Hamilton in the final round of pit stops, it was all the Brit on Sunday as he claimed his third win of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Alonso finished second ahead of Button, who had an interesting battle with Webber in the DRS zones with the Red Bull driver repeatedly overtaking the McLaren only to be retaken through the next zone.

Times
01. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h37:11.886
02. Alonso Ferrari + 8.457
03. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 25.881
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 35.784
05. Massa Ferrari + 50.578
06. Rosberg Mercedes + 52.317
07. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:15.900
08. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:17.100
09. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:40.000
10. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
14. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Senna Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
18. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
19. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
20. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps

Did Not Finish
Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 49
Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 19
D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 18
Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1


Source: Planet-F1

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Close your eyes, Kimi!


My reporter buddy Alan Baldwin wrote after Abu Dhabi qualification on his twitter: "Don't look here, Kimi".

Why not? Well because this is the first time in the history when Williams-cars have to start from the back to a GP. Baldwin came up with a joking slogan about how the result better not be shown to the driver who they want in the team.

Williams bottom rock this season is a harsh fact. When I asked the team's other founder Patrick Head if he remembers the cars ever being in the back row, he shook his head and assured it has never happened before.

And if it has, then a painful information like that has at least been wiped out of his memory.

In a way this grid result comes at a bad time. The future big sponsors from Qatar are at the paddock as the team's guests. With these kind of positions they won't at least speed up those negotiations which already are about to be finished.

Williams has had an awkwardly bad season. Head was asked what the main reason for the catastrophy is, but according to him it's the sum of many factors. When the reliability has plagued the whole team this season Williams hasn't got any kind of compensation for their positions behind the top 10.

By changing Rubens Barrichello into Räikkönen it would in some way at least shake up the team to shape up. I heard from the inside circle that the mechanics in Williams already have a tough competition over who gets in the team operating around Kimi's car. The spirit is that it will definitely be fun in Kimi's team.

Frank Williams is still the master in his team. They were a bit astonished over the way he replied on Friday evening to two questions presented by Finnish reporters.

When I asked in FIA:s official press conference if he is interested in taking Räikkönen as his driver, he replied that he won't comment on the rumours.

When MTV3 asked the same from him in their own exclusive interview, filmed by two cameramen, he said that it's not a secret that they are very interested in getting Räikkönen.

This or that. I guess that Räikkönen's rallying career at least ended to his retirement in Wales on Saturday.

Turun Sanomat, Abu Dhabi

HEIKKI KULTA


Courtesy: Nicole

Video: BBC - Abu Dhabi GP - Balance an issue for Jenson Button in Abu Dhabi

Jenson Button admits he is struggling to find the right balance in his McLaren, despite putting in an impressive drive to qualify third for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 31-year-old Englishman looked good for his first pole position of the season, but his team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel pipped him to second and first respectively




Source: SixtyBuckss

F1 blog | Inside the Abu Dhabi GP | Kimi Shelter


With the Abu Dhabi grand prix around the corner and the global economic crisis in the back of everybody's minds, one question was on the press' lips... When will the iceman cometh back to F1?

Sitting in Yas Marina looking at the mega-yachts bobbing up and down in front of the five-star Yas Viceroy hotel, lit up as usual in all its pomp, it’s fair to say that the global economic downturn isn’t exactly in evidence. Then again, who knows? Maybe the people on the boats are ranging against the dying of the light and its all going to be repossessed in the morning? Even the fantasy-land that is the F1 paddock isn’t immune to the travails of the global economy and at today’s press conference team principals accustomed to answering questions about grumpy drivers and broken gearboxes were asked to step out onto the rather more unfamiliar territory of airing their views on the state of the Euro and other such matters economic. Admittedly, the questions were couched in fairly comfortable terms, mostly along the lines of ‘If Europe sinks into a catastrophe not seen since the Mongol horde was at the gate of Vienna and fire, famine, plague and pestilence rain down, will it affect your development budget for next year?’ Reassuringly most of them said ‘No'.

Rather more in keeping was the inevitability that Frank Williams would receive a question or two about Kimi Räikkönen. The Iceman is currently sliding around the forests of Wales in a borrowed Citroën, but his presence is very much in evidence on Yas Island as the saga of whether or not the 2007 F1 World Champion is coming back for another tilt edges nearer to an answer. Whenever one of the Williams board is put in front of the microphone these days, that’s usually the first question, and always if the man doing the asking is Finnish.

“Frank, 10 years ago you were interested in getting Kimi to your team. Now, 10 years later are you still interested to get him now you can do so?’

Newspaper men know that local talent is what sells their papers, so when Red Bull Racing disappear into the distance and record another one-two finish, the headlines in Italy are going to be ‘Ferrari disaster’, while the British will probably go for ‘HAMILTON SNATCHES THIRD as Vettel wins again.’ As the F1 media’s professional Finn, Heikki Kulta of the Turku daily Turun Sanomat has a rather more narrow window of opportunity. Heikki Kovalainen is the amiable bread and butter story, but the possibility of a returning Räikkönen is an ice-cream sundae with a cherry on top. A cherry that’s probably been dipped in vodka and taken a ride on a jetski dressed as a gorilla, but definitely a cherry. So when Frank’s on the panel, and Heikki snaffles the microphone, everybody in the room smiles, including Frank. Credit to Heikki he asks the same question he’s asked every race but for variety changes the phrasing. This week it was “Frank, 10 years ago you were interested in getting Kimi to your team. Now, 10 years later are you still interested to get him now you can do so?’

Frank pauses for dramatic effect, eyes twinkling before saying “A lot of supposition, and I cannot make any comment about supposition, sorry to be so unhelpful.” It’s the ‘no comment’ everybody knew was coming, but delivered with sufficient grace to create a respectable quote to file. Even with the world falling about their ears, you can still depend on the old school.

Source: Red Bull

Hamilton relieved to be clear of Massa

Lewis Hamilton looked forward to a trouble-free Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after qualifying well clear of Ferrari's Felipe Massa on Saturday

The pair has collided six times this season, most recently in India two weeks ago when they were alongside on the grid, but Hamilton qualified his McLaren on the front row at Yas Marina while Massa starts sixth.

"I am ahead of Felipe, so that helps," the 2008 champion said with a grin when asked whether it would be easier to have a clean race and fight for victory on Sunday.

Hamilton has had a nightmare season, with regular visits to stewards and controversial actions on and off the track as well as splitting from his singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, but there are signs his troubles may be easing.

He was fastest in two of the three practice sessions and missed out on pole only at the very last to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

He remains the sole driver outside of Red Bull to have started a race on pole this year, and in Abu Dhabi he earned warm praise from former McLaren team mate and Ferrari foe Fernando Alonso.

"With racing, a lot of it is mental," said Hamilton, who spoke earlier in the week of his desire to create a happy 'bubble' around him like that enjoyed by team mate Jenson Button.

"Even if you think you're ready, you could subconsciously not be ready.

"I think this weekend I feel fresh, I feel clean in the mind. Obviously I've stayed out of trouble and that makes a huge difference and it just adds to your confidence and you just roll with it.

"I'm second on the grid now, taken no penalty, which is usually quite a big hit to confidence and we are in a good position tomorrow to move forward."

Hamilton revealed that he had spent time with his family since India, enjoying a traditional British bonfire night with fireworks before flying to the Middle East.

"Those kind of positive things make a big difference," he said.

Source: Reuters Sports

Video: BBC - Abu Dhabi GP - Sebastian Vettel pride at equalling Nigel Mansell pole record

World champion Sebastian Vettel shares his pride at equalling Nigel Mansell's 1992 record of 14 pole positions in a season.

The 24-year-old Red Bull driver produced a stunning last lap of 1:38.481 as darkness fell on the twilight session, beating Lewis Hamilton's benchmark by 0.141 seconds.

The pole is the 29th of Vettel's career and leaves him on target to complete a hat-trick of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix wins


Hamilton surprised by Alonso warning

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that it is nice to learn that he has the attention of his rival, despite a poor 2011 season

Lewis Hamilton has admitted to being pleasantly surprised by Fernando Alonso's claim that he will be the one to watch in pre-season testing, having struggled for form in 2011.

The Briton, who endured a fractious relationship with Alonso during their season together at McLaren in 2007, admitted that he would not have expected anyone to tip him as a threat for next season based on what has happened in 2011. Citing 'personal issues' as a distraction throughout the past couple of years, Hamilton has won just twice this season, with such performances surrounded by a litany of questionable on-track moments and visits to the stewards' office.

Despite that, Alonso was quoted as warning the F1 field to watch out for the McLaren driver in pre-season testing ahead of the 2012 campaign, telling the Italian press that Hamilton was 'the only driver able to clinch a championship with a car that's not the best'.

"Hamilton did not have a super season this year, who knows whether it was due to the Pirelli tyres or the fact that, with blown diffusers now, driving has changed," the Spaniard mused, "On top of that, [Jenson] Button is having a great year. All of this concurred to give the impression that his season hasn't been so good.

"But let's consider India, when he took second place in qualifying. It's like soccer: if Real Madrid or Barcelona are not performing particularly well on a given season, that does not mean that they're not top league. In fact, at the next winter testing, [Hamilton] will be the only one I'll be watching closely. The other guys can win if they've got the best car; he's the one who's able to clinch a championship with a car that's not the best."

The comments, while taking a little while to register, clearly went down well with Hamilton.

"I'm blown away that Fernando is so positive towards me, despite my season and also despite the differences we've had," the 26-year old admitted after the opening day of practice in Abu Dhabi, "It's nice to know that I've got support from some drivers."

The Briton, who is only fifth in the current standings and hoping to end a series of well-publicised clashes with Alonso's Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa, claimed that, since Alonso left McLaren to return to Renault in 2008, their relationship has got steadily better, with respect now mutual.

"I think our friendship and the respect we have for each other has got a lot stronger," Hamilton confirmed, "It's nice to see that coming out because I have only ever said he is one of the best drivers - if not the best driver - here."


Source: Crash.net

Räikkönen still has hunger for rally


How is it Kimi Räikkönen, would it be time for podiums next year if your career would happen to continue in WRC?

- The top of five goes fast but I guess I would develop if I would still drive for one more season. It's difficult to say what results I would achieve. I guess the level would go up and the speed would go forward, Räikkönen speculated in the service park in Builth Wells.

- We have improved all the time. It's important. If I would want to drive the same speed as the top, then I would have to test a lot and drive all the time. Yet we haven't gone into this so that we would be driving with the taste of blood in the mouth, Räikkönen reminds.

- I do everything I can but I have to know myself where we are. It's not wise to go and do something stupid, Räikkönen describes his rally speed.

No disappointment, own fault

- Muddy braking in downhill, from where the car slided into a soft bank. The driving line was wide and there was too much mud, Räikkönen thinks.

Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström got the car back on the road with the help of spectators, but the journey ended quickly. The power transmission got too severe hits in the off, so it wasn't possible to continue.

- It doesn't disappoint me, my own fault, Räikkönen said.

Nothing new from F1

-There are no contracts or plans for next season, Räikkönen says.

Then is it possible that your career continues in rally next season?

-Of course. I have enjoyed myself here.

MTV3-STT


Courtesy: Nicole

WRC RALLY OF GREAT BRITAIN | KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN: ICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT

Kimi Räikkönen, who made the move to world rallying with Red Bull last year, has finally admitted that he’s been in discussions with Williams about a return to Formula One. In the meantime, he’s got a rally to finish. In fact, the Rally GB could be the most important one of the year – because it might be the last one he ever does

Currently the ‘Iceman’, who should be particularly well-suited to the freezing conditions of deepest Wales, is battling for a top-eight position with Ford driver Matthew Wilson: a man with plenty of experience of rallying in Britain.

However, Kimi is not really loving the Welsh experience. Last year he finished eighth, but with this year’s Rally GB using plenty of brand-new stages (or to be completely accurate, stages that haven’t been used since the 1990s) Kimi hasn’t been able to capitalise on the experience he gained from the past.

Welsh mud and gravel – which tends to be more slippery than a Vaseline-coated mackerel – isn’t the easiest surface to drive on either when you’re accustomed to the smooth asphalt of the world’s grand prix circuits.

“I wasn't happy with my driving this morning,” said Kimi. The car has been okay but it’s really slippery out there. It’s difficult to know where the grip is and where it is slippery. I think to be in this position is not too bad though. We’ve not been on gravel for some months now and it’s not easy to come here when the conditions are like they are.”

How difficult would it be though to come back to Formula One? Michael Schumacher, whose own comeback was the subject of plenty of speculation a year ago, reckons that the 2007 grand prix champion wouldn’t struggle too much. And even Kimi himself reckons that it would probably be easier than the decision to go rallying.

“It’s what I’ve been doing all of my life,” said the Iceman when questioned about a return to circuit racing. “What would be more difficult would be to do something completely different…”

Naturally enough, he’s keeping pretty schtum when it comes to revealing his plans for next year, for the main reason that nothing is yet finalised. His co-driver Kaj Lindström says he always told Kimi that rallying was a four-year project if he was serious about it. Kimi’s not too sure however. “If I don’t want to carry on, then I can just stop tomorrow,” he said with a shrug. Which is pretty much his view of most things.

Source: Red Bull

Räikkönen and Solberg retire in Wales

Kimi Räikkönen and Petter Solberg won't take any further part on Wales Rally GB following their exits from the world championship finale this morning

Räikkönen suffered a light roll in his Citroen DS3 WRC on the opening Hafren test, while Solberg stopped prior to the run when a broken fuel pipe ignited a small fire in his similar Citroen.

Ex-Formula One world champion Räikkönen and co-driver Kaj Lindström, who were sixth overall prior to their exit, managed to regain the road after the roll following the intervention of a number of spectators. However, the damage sustained meant they failed to complete the 32.14.kilometre test.

Solberg had started day three in a fight with Mads Ostberg for the final podium spot. His team manager Ken Rees said: “The fuel pipe was broken in the engine bay, which started a small fire. Petter and Chris managed to put it out but they won’t be going any further. It’s very disappointing.”

Source: WRC

Vettel matches Mansell's pole record

Double Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel dug deep to seize pole position at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday and equal Nigel Mansell's 1992 record of 14 in a single season

The 24-year-old German, who has already clinched his second title with Red Bull, saved his best for last after McLaren's Lewis Hamilton had been fastest in the first two phases of qualifying as well as final practice.

Hamilton will start the season's penultimate race alongside on the front row, with team mate and fellow Briton Jenson Button third.

Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber, seemingly no closer to a first win of the season, lines up fourth.

The pole was the 29th of Vettel's career and 17th in 18 races this year for Red Bull.

"I think it's going to be a long, fun race," said Vettel, who has won both of the two races held to date at the Yas Marina circuit, where last year he won from pole to become Formula One's youngest champion.

"They will be very quick in the race...it will be a long fight to the chequered flag," he added, grinning at the McLaren drivers sitting on either side in the post qualifying news conference. "I'm confident and ready.

"We expected if we got everything right to be closer, much closer than in practice," added the German, who hit the barriers on Friday.

"I felt there was more in the car and we just had to get to it. Overnight we tried to find where the problem was and this afternoon it was already much better."

Hamilton, who lapped just nine thousandths of a second faster than Button, appeared to have done enough for his second pole of a troubled season but Vettel pipped him right at the finish.

"I'm happy with today," said Hamilton. "And to not have any penalties is a blessing for me."

Ferrari's double champion Fernando Alonso and Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa shared the third row, with the latter well away from Hamilton after six collisions between the two this year.

The next rows also followed in pairs, with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher seventh and eighth and ahead of Force India's Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta in ninth and 10th.

Struggling former champions Williams, with a meagre five points from 17 races representing their worst showing in F1, will fill the back row after Brazilian Rubens Barrichello failed to get a lap in.

"We had a brand new engine this morning and it was looking good. We went out and had difficulties after two laps (in practice). We tried to review the situation but before qualifying the team told me there was no way we could go out," said Barrichello.

His Venezuelan team mate Pastor Maldonado qualified 17th but has a 10 place penalty for exceeding his engine quota for the season.

Qualifying Times:

1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 38.841s
2. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 38.622s
3. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 38.631s
4. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 38.858s
5. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 39.058s
6 Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 39.695s
7. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 39.773s
8. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 40.662s
9. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 40.768s
10. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes no time Q3

11. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1m 40.874s
12. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault-Renault 1m 40.919s
13. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 41.009s
14. Bruno Senna Brazil Renault-Renault 1m 41.079s
15. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 41.162s
16. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 41.240s
17. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Cosworth 1m 41.760s*

18. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Renault 1m 42.979s
19. Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Renault 1m 43.884s
20. Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth 1m 44.515s
21. Daniel Ricciardo Australia HRT-Cosworth 1m 44.641s
22 Jerome d'Ambrosio Belgium Virgin-Cosworth 1m 44.699s
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy HRT-Cosworth 1m 45.159s
24. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth no time


Source: Reuters Sports

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vettel offered comeback-advice to Räikkönen


It is still only a rumour that Kimi Räikkönen willjump back to the F1-circus from rally as a Williams-driver.

But it's not a rumour that at least WDC Sebastian Vettel is very interested in knowing if Räikkönen comes back.

Vettel asked Turun Sanomat how close Räikkönen's comeback is. My counter question to him was what kind of advice he sends Räikkönen about how much F1 has changed during these two years.

Is the only change to Räikkönen's last F1-year 2009 that Vettel is now a WDC?

– First of all we all know that Kimi doesn't want to take advice from anyone. Kimi is not any rookie. He knows how to drive these cars fast.

– But I can say this much that these cars change a lot every year. First there's the new car and then there are the update packages that come during the season. When you drive them yourself all the time you also learn quickly the differences to the previous one. If you are away for a long time then the amount of changes is quite big.

– You don't understand it in any other way except by driving it yourself. It would be best to ask Michael Schumacher how different it was to drive a car when he was away for three years, Vettel advices.

Räikkönen will most likely drive his last WRC-rally this weekend. If the rumours about a possible move to Williams come true, then it's certain that he starts to get used to driving a F1-car again.

Turun Sanomat, Abu Dhabi

HEIKKI KULTA


Courtesy: Nicole