Monday, April 30, 2012

Kimi's Bahrain Review - Up Where We Belong!

Obviously, I've got more points than ever before, but, for sure, it was not the best race of my life. We had a chance to get to the top position at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Well, we tried our best, but it was not enough. We finished second and I've got my first podium after a couple of years.

The weather was good. Finally it was consistently warm. Our car likes that and it felt really good after we had the proper set-up work done on Friday better than in the previous race weekends.

The key factor was the tyre degeration. It's the same for everybody, but everybody can approach it in their own way. We decided to gamble the qualifying and went accordlingly through it. To save new tyres for the race, we did only one lap in Q2. We knew it will be tight, and we lost it. But still I had a encouraged feeling for Sunday.

After the race in China and after the qualifying in Bahrain, people probably started thinking that we are idiots and cannot do anything right. But we showed in the race why we did what we did. It was close already in China and this time our strategy paid back very nicely for us.

We were at our fastest speed while it counted. I managed to overtake Romain and after that I've was hunting down Sebastian. It was close getting past him, too, but I would have needed more than one chance to make it. Now I chose the wrong side for braking, Sebastian survived and after that, I pretty much knew, that was it.

Of course, I wanted to win. I would have been much happier myself after the race. But, most of all, it was a great result for the team. The team gained many places in the contsructors' championship, while finally we got both our cars in the points ­and, most of all, in the podium as well.

Only McLaren has had two cars in top 3 in the season like us. That shows how tight and how close it is with so many top teams. You have to get everything exactly right to be at the top. Small mistakes­ or a measured risk like we had ­ and you are out from Q3 and most likely out of podium, too.

Now the team is back up where we belong. The Bahrain result was good, but it's not good enough for us. We will push even harder to get good results on regular basis. I wouldn't count on winning, but you never know how it goes in motor racing.

Next step is testing in Mugello. For Barcelona we have again some new parts and also some good data from the winter testing. Let's wait and see how it goes there in two weeks time.


Bild am Sonntag: Kimi Räikkönen Interview

Kimi Räikkönen is notorious. He is considered a daredevil on the track, an unrestrained party beast and a talented man of few words. After two years as a rally driver, the world champion from 2007 is once again mixing up formula 1

Bild am Sonntag met the Finn for an interview. He greets us with his now obligatory sunglasses. Excuse me, Mr. Räikkönen, can you take them off maybe? Shruging, answer: "No." Well, then ...

Bild am Sonntag: After 952 days of rest last Sunday, you are finally back on the podium. And then there was instead of champagne only rose water at the awards ceremony. Still disappointed?

Kimi Räikkönen (32): Whatever that was, what we had to drink there for sure it would have tasted better from the top! Hopefully there is real champagne soon for me - and then not again for a second place.

You were two years completely out of Formula 1 and now with Lotus placed 7, 5, 14 and 2. Do you think your comeback is successful?

It's not gone bad. I like what I'm doing, that's enough. I do not care if someone says I do it well or not. However, it is disappointing when you still only get second. After the race in 14th place in China has not gone the way we wanted, we first have to be happy with the result in Bahrain.

Will the second place soon be a first? Do you believe you can be at the top with Lotus?

That's the goal. I do not like second places. This also could have happend in the first three races. The basis is good, and who knows what will happen in the next races.

You are known for excessive partying. What happens when you're first time at the top of the podium?

No plans. I always look on the next day and try to make the most of it. Life can change so quickly ...
You have returned to Formula 1 because you missed the fights. On Sunday you found Sebastian Vettel a hard nut to crack

He was faster. I hope that I will once again come so close to him. Then it's his turn.

Sebastian is also a friend of yours ...

He's a nice guy. With him you can make good jokes. But on the track he is my enemy.

Did you miss anything during your time off other than the battles on the track?

No. I'm only here for racing. The other bullshit I can do without. If you would take away the cars of Formula 1, I would not be here. All the trappings, that fame and stuff, I'm not interested.

You are supposed that you often can’t sleep the night after a race because you are still upset

Believe me, I can sleep anywhere, wherever I want. And whenever I want! This is a job for me, and when I go home I am not taking work with me there. Formula 1 plays no role in my personal life. I have a real life! I think for many people Formula 1 is their live. For me it's not.

Formula 1 is your job, not your passion?

If I did not like it a bit, I probably would not be here. You certainly too, right?

Have you earned enough money in your career, to quit work tomorrow?

It always depends from which perspective you look at it. The work at the moment is fun, so the question does not arise for me.

Why don’t you take your wife Jenni Dahlman with you like many other drivers?

Because it would be boring for her to sit around here all day. The time she can certainly use better.

Source: Bild am Sonntag
Courtesy: miezicat

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Turrini's blog: Kimi's confession

Elton John and other great music stars also did a song about it. It was called, if I remember correctly, That's what friends are for.

And indeed you need friends.

The other day I was comforting the brave Matthew Bonciani. He is the Italian at the court of the monarch Penguin, which means that the Tuscan Bonciani works for FIA and deals with communication.

Among other things, he has to receive the first three drivers classified at the end of each Grand Prix, to take them to the ritual press conferences.

Big Bonciani has worked for Ferrari in the past. Being very good, he is then placed elsewhere. It's a classic, if one thinks about the recent events in Maranello: A is the FIA president, B drives a fast Phantom Blot, C from a consultant has become a driver for Daimler Benz, D was placed at the same Daimler Benz, etc. etc. .


I was saying that I was comforting the exiled Big Bonciani in Mazzini's style. Reason: in the Middle East they have stolen his smartphone. They weren't the rebels of Bahrain, but unknown in transit in the Pacific as well as rich Abu Dhabi. Where, however, the thieves are not these: they simply suffer of kleptomania.

But I comfort him and ask: what did the Holy Drinker say you privately of the Phantom Blot, while you were waiting for the podium of the awards on Sunday?

Follows the original version.

Kimi dixit.


Very good.


Okay, let's not exaggerate.

"We threw the victory in the toilet."

That's it.

"We were wrong to copy Vettel in last pit stop, if I stayed out just two more laps I could take the advantage for coming ahead and I could go away."

I also thought it.


Legitimate expression of personal disappointment.

"However, if the car continues to go so I can win soon"

Fu*k! (Exclaimed this time by someone of another team).

"I'm pissed because I lost seven valuable points in the general classification."


But is not that this man is imagining to...

Source: Turrini's Blog
Courtesy: _TaniaS_

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kimi surprised the reporter with his answer

Martin Brundle was thrilled over Kimi's performance in Bahrain GP.

- Kimi's race was separate from the group.

- It's impressive that how he hasn't lost any of his striking ability in races although he stayed away for 2 years. We have seen him in several duels and he has not been in difficulties in starts.

Brundle chatted with Kimi after the race. Kimi was not satisfied.

- I chose the wrong side in the only place where I could have overtaken Vettel, he said to Brundle.

Should you then had changed to the inner side?

- No, I should have just blasted from the outside, Kimi replied and according to Brundle he surprised him completely.

According to Brundle Lotus should had let Kimi past Romain earlier.

- If Lotus had won more often lately, then they would have an advantage over Red Bull.


Courtesy: Nicole

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hamilton fumes at pit stop failures

A furious Lewis Hamilton has called for an inquest into his two disastrous pit stops during the Bahrain Grand Prix that lost his crucial time and track position

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was not happy to lose almost 20 seconds in total during two disastrous pit stops during the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton initially kept his second place off the grid, only to be undone by a general lack of pace in the car at the Bahrain International Circuit - and, critically, the two very slow pit stops with problems over the left-rear wheel nut.

"We need to look into this very seriously. There has to be an investigation because we gave away a lot of points again today, that's how championships are lost" he said. "We have to try and make sure we pick up on the next race because we can't afford to lose points like we did today," he added.

"For the driver sitting in the car, that's always frustrating, because you're just waiting and there's nothing you can do to help," he said.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh explained that two different problems hit Hamilton's pit stops, the first being down to the drive pegs and the drive holes not precisely aligning, while the second incident was a cross-threading issue.

However, he ruled out a switch to the more sophisticated approaches to wheels nuts used by the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, pointing to the disastrous situation with Michael Schumacher in China that saw the former world champion's wheel detach after a pit stop.

"I would say at the moment the right thing to do is get to a fool-proof system that doesn't cause failure before you get more adventurous," he insisted, before going on to defend the performance of the pit stop crew.

"There is an enormous amount of stress on them," pointed out Whitmarsh, revealing to BBC Sport that the team had even decided to change the left rear wheel man during the race. "We changed him for the last stop because he was stressed but it's our job to protect them. Things go wrong and that's life. We need to make sure we pull together.

"Clearly, our performance was disappointing this afternoon," he admitted. "Having said that, both Lewis and Jenson drove very well in extremely challenging conditions.

"Lewis and Jenson are as resilient as they are competitive, so you can be well sure that in Spain they'll both do their utmost to score as many points as possible," added Whitmarsh.


Video: Kimi Räikkönen: I should have won - F1 2012 Bahrain

Kimi Räikkönen was disappointed not to win the Bahrain Grand Prix but was pleased for the Lotus team

Source: F1ARAB

Seb: We finally got everything right

It may have taken them a couple of races to get up to speed, but Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull finally managed to get everything right to secure their first win of the 2012 campaign in Bahrain

After being off the pace in qualifying in Australia, Malaysia and China, the Milton Keynes squad got their act together in Bahrain on the Saturday to get Vettel on pole and then on Sunday the German drove a faultless race to claim the win.

The defending World Champion, who had to hold off a charging Kimi Raikkonen during the latter stages of the race, felt the hard work that the team put in the last few weeks is finally paying off.

"I think it was an incredible race, extremely tough," he said.

"We had a good start, I was able to pull away immediately which turned out to be a big advantage because we always had to go on a used set of tyres as we used nearly all of them in qualifying. Kimi was very quick, so was Romain [Grosjean]."

He added: "The strategy, everything seemed to work.

"I can only say a big thank you to the team. They did an incredible job. The amount of work they had to do which we have given them because we were weren't happy with the car.

"Little tweaks here and there. It was tough. We were trying to get the car to our liking. We got it right this weekend, I was very happy in qualifying and the race to be fair."

Vettel's victory in Bahrain helped him to jump to the top of the Drivers' Championship with 53 points, four ahead of Lewis Hamilton with Mark Webber another point adrift.

"It's a very tight season. The cars are very close to each other. Small things can make a huge difference," he said.

"We started the season with McLaren as the best car by far but we have seen Sunday can be a different picture. I think they still have one of strongest packages. China was a very good lesson for us, driving two packages. For here we focused on our new package and pushing that forward. I'm just happy for now. I don't care what happens in the next race, at least not today."

Source: Planet-F1

Kimi Räikkönen Press Conference at Bahrain GP 2012

Kimi Räikkönen of Lotus Renault at Press Conference in Bahrain GP 2012

Kimi, welcome back to the podium in Formula One. You had the tyres but was the race win there for you instead?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: I think we gave ourselves a chance at least. It’s a bit disappointing that I didn’t manage to do it. But I made a small mistake at the beginning and lost one place to Ferrari. I had to re-overtake him and it took a little time. I got past the people quite easily but if you look in the end I think we still took too long and we couldn’t win the race. But at least we got the podium with both cars. After the last race we tried hard and failed and probably people thought we were a bit stupid. Even after yesterday what we did. But it turned out to be the right decision and I think the team deserves what we have achieved now. We have been working hard. We’ve not been 100 per cent happy with how the weekends have run so far but finally we’ve got some proper results for the team, so it’s an important step.

Had you been able to get past your team-mate Romain Grosjean in the middle part of the race, a little sooner, would that have made the victory a little easier for you? You certainly had the pace in that middle stint?
KR: Yeah but there are no team orders and we know the rules. I try to get past as quickly as I can but it’s not easy with two similar cars. It’s always easy to say afterwards ‘if we had done that’ but in the end we were not fast enough to win and we have to take the second. I got one chance on Sebastian but I chose the wrong side under braking, so that was it really. In the end I didn’t have any other chances to try. It’s disappointing to finish second but after the last race we have to take it and be pretty happy.

Kimi, again a team that changed the car quite a lot during this weekend, especially after last weekend as well – but obviously it was a good car.
KR: My car was the same the whole weekend. We tried two cars with different floors but I mean in the end I don’t think there’s much difference between them but for sure it looks like we did the right thing. The car cannot be too bad because we finished second and third, we’re still not happy in certain areas but that’s a pretty normal thing. You’re never really 100 per cent happy with things. You always try to find something new and improved. But, I mean, great thing for the team to finish second and third, so I’m happy for them but a bit disappointed to not have more, to not be able to challenge more for the win. I’m not winning but that’s life.

Was it difficult even with the DRS to get really, really close, close enough?
KR: I think like you saw on TV I got close enough once to have a chance to try but I chose the wrong side, so that’s about it. After that my tyres dropped off a bit and I couldn’t get close enough. Yep, next time we try, hopefully we can put ourselves in a similar position later on this season in the next coming races. It’s not going to be easy but we will try. And that would be nice.

Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi, was it the right decision to come in for the last pit stop at the same time as Sebastian? Could you have waited one more lap?
KR: That was the plan. Even if we came in a lap later it would be more or less the same. That was our plan and we followed it. They came in at the same time.

Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) You’re now going to have three days of testing in Mugello ; do you think that some teams are going to bring big updates, like Ferrari who are struggling a lot? What are your plans for your cars, are you also having big updates? Do you more or less know the direction?
KR: I don’t what the others are doing, you will have to ask them. I’m not aware of our plans regarding the test and we will see what happens there. I haven’t talked about it. We first have to finish this race and then put the effort into the test and then go racing after that. I can’t say what the other teams are going to do. We try to find more understanding of the car and improve it.

Q: (Khoda Rawi – Kimi, a good result today, but do you think Lotus can keep up the momentum for the next races?
KR: We will try. It’s the same story; I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next races but the team’s been pushing hard to try to improve the car, bringing new parts, but of course they haven’t been working as well as we hoped, but anyhow, they are bringing new updates every time when they can. We try to keep pushing and stay up there, but I cannot answer because they are not. That’s our aim and that’s what we’re working for and hopefully it will happen, but who knows how well we can improve or what the others will do. The team is doing good work and we deserve to be here and hopefully we can stay up here in other races also.

Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Are you surprised, Kimi, that it took you only four races to return to the podium?
KR: It could have been in the first three races also, not putting ourselves in a bad position and some problems, being a bit smarter than certain teams but we know from the winter that we have a very good car, good baseline package and just have to make the right decisions and put ourselves where the car can be. This weekend it worked, last weekend it didn’t. We know that the speed is there, we just need to try to get everything exactly right.

Source: Fia

Räikkönen: We weren't fast enough

Kimi Räikkönen has lamented Lotus' lack of pace which prevented him - along with a mistake of his own - from winning the Bahrain GP

Four races into his Formula One career, the Finn was back on the podium, finishing runner-up to Sebastian Vettel at the Sakhir circuit.

Räikkönen, though, was left to wonder about what could have been if only his one serious attempt to overtake Vettel had come off.

"I think we gave ourselves a chance but I'm disappointed I didn't manage to win it," he said.

"I made a small mistake at the beginning, lost one place to Ferrari, and I had to get that place back.

"In the end we were not fast enough to win.

"I got one chance to get past Sebastian but I chose the wrong side.

"That was the only chance really."

The Finn at least found something to be cheer about as Lotus achieved a ouble podium finish with team-mate Romain Grosjean in third as, unlike in China, the team made the right calls.

"At least we got on the podium with both cars.

"In the last race we failed and probably people thought we were a bit stupid.

"But it turned out to be the right direction and the team deserves what it has achieved today."

Source: Planet-F1

Vettel Reigns Supreme In Bahrain

The familiar finger salute of Sebastian Vettel was back on the podium in Bahrain as the defending World Champion bounced back with a bang

After finishing P11 at last weekend's Chinese GP, the German returned to top form in style as he started on pole position and then held off the charging Lotus of Kimi Räikkönen to claim his and Red Bull's first win of the 2012 season.

It was an impressive afternoon for the Lotus team with Raikkonen securing his best finish since returning to F1 and his team-mate Romain Grosjean making it onto the podium for the first time in his career. Grosjean was also the first Frenchman on the podium in more than a decade.

Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, who was driving by himself most of the afternoon, finished P4 while Chinese Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg had to settle for P5.

Force India's Paul di Resta equalled his best-ever finish as the decision to opt for a two-stop strategy paid off as he just managed to keep Fernando Alonso behind him in P8.

McLaren had another disappointing afternoon with Lewis Hamilton their only finisher in P9. Two appalling pitstops saw the 2008 World Champion lose valuable time on the front runners.

His team-mate Jenson Button's misfortune was even worse as he was forced to retire on the penultimate lap. He was running P5 when he picked up a puncture and was then ordered to park his car in the garage a lap later.

Button's poor luck meant Felipe Massa finished P9 and Michael Schumacher P10.

Full results
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h35:10.990
02. Räikkönen Lotus-Renault + 3.300
03. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 10.100
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 38.700
05. Rosberg Mercedes + 55.400
06. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 57.500
07. Alonso Ferrari + 57.800
08. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 58.900
09. Massa Ferrari + 1:04.900
10. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:11.400
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:12.700
12. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 1:16.500
13. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:30.300
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:33.700
15. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1 lap
19. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
20. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
22. Senna Williams-Renault + 3 laps

Did not finish
Bruno Senna Williams-Renault Lap 54
Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault Lap 25
Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth Lap 24

Source: Planet-F1

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Comment: What happened to Kimi?

Kimi Räikkönen starts from 11th position on Bahrain GP. Why?

Räikkönen falling from the last quali has already been judged as a huge blunder from Lotus-team, but what happened exactly?

Räikkönen went to Q2 from the first minutes to get a good laptime. He also thought he got one and believed it would be enough for Q1.

Going for an excellent laptime right in the beginning shows that Räikkönen and the team were prepared to improve the time at the end of Q2. The driver and the team didn't initially have any intention to use only one set of tyres during Q2. If they would have, then they should have absolutely made one fast stint right in the end of Q2 when the track would be clearly faster.

Räikkönen and Lotus failed in their calculations. Falling from Q1 came as a surprise. It wasn't a planned strategy or calculation. However they spared more new tyres for Sunday's hot race than many others, and that has a great value.

The significance of qualifications has already grown really much smaller after they started using Pirelli's tyres which wear out faster and the DRS-wings which help immensly in overtakings.

Back in the days 11th grid would have given small chances to get on the podium. Nowadays it's much more easier - especially if the car is a good friend with the tyres.

Janne Aittoniemi

Courtesy: Nicole

Qualifying Bahrain: Vettel takes first pole of 2012

After three races off the boil, Sebastian Vettel came good in Bahrain on Saturday as he claimed pole position ahead of Lewis Hamilton

Although Mercedes were the favourite going into the Saturday afternoon session they were not able to make a mark with Nico Rosberg losing time in the final sector.

That left Vettel, Mark Webber, Hamilton and Jenson Button fighting for pole position.

Vettel took it with a 1:32.422, which put him 0.098s ahead of Hamilton with Webber third, 0.215s off the pace.

Button settled for fourth, aborting his final run with Rosberg fifth ahead of a very impressive Daniel Ricciardo.

The biggest casualty in qualifying was Michael Schumacher who was sitting in the pits for the final few minutes of Q1 and could only watch as his time came under pressure.

And as Heikki Kovalainen crossed the line, Schumacher could do nothing but climb out of his car down in 18th place.

01 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:32.422
02 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:32.520
03 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:32.637
04 Jenson Button McLaren 1:32.711
05 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:32.821
06 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:32.912
07 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:33.008
08 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:33.394
09 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
10 Paul di Resta Force India

11 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1:33.789
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:33.806
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:33.807
14 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:33.912
15 Bruno Senna Williams 1:34.017
16 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:36.132
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams

18 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:34.865
19 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:35.014
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:35.823
21 Charles Pic Marussia 1:37.683
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:37.883
23 Timo Glock Marussia 1:37.905
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:38.314

Source: Planet-F1

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Räikkönen's quietness benefits setup work

Race engineer Mark Slade praises Kimi Räikkönen's skills in improvement of the car's settings

Slade has worked as race engineer for Raikkonen in McLaren and Lotus.

- Kimi's feedback is excellent. He is one of the most punctual drivers with whom I have ever worked with. He makes my job very easy. He tells you what is wrong with the car and I will offer a solutions to fix it. We will together decide which is the approach we choose, and then implement it, Slade said on MTV3's live TV broadcast from Shanghai paddock.

Taciturnity is a distinct advantage when improvements must be found in the car.

- With Kimi we get the car to the best setup faster than with some of the other drivers, who speaks perhaps more, but are not able to analyze at the same precision, what in the car is right or wrong, Slade says.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: reppo

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Alonso's Blog: A bit of Chinese relaxation before Bahrain

Another day off in Shanghai, before heading for Bahrain. I feel comfortable here: it’s a city that’s full of life and that offers so many things to do. And on top of that, the weather is really lovely today, as you can see in the photo I’ve posted on @alo_oficial. I had lunch in a nice open-air restaurant on the Bund with my physio Fabrizio, my manager Luis and some guys from the team. For once, Formula 1 did not appear on the topics of conversation as we just had a bit of healthy fun. Everyone needs a bit of break, otherwise you’ll struggle to be at your best over the race weekend, don’t you think?

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about the next race, far from it. I am well aware that in Sakhir, we can expect another difficult weekend, which is only natural, partly because of the track characteristics and also because the car is the same one we had in Shanghai. Both the Scuderia and I have a good record in Bahrain: the team has four victories here and I’ve got three, the last of which was also my debut race for the Prancing Horse. But the past counts for nothing in this sport and this weekend will be all about damage limitation for us. The championship is very open and there are a lot of teams that can aspire to victory, but clearly we need to make a leap forward to be more competitive if we want to aspire to coming out on top at the end. We have to take the step forward as soon as possible. I have faith in the team and I know everyone at Maranello is giving their all so that we can reach this objective.

This weekend we will do our best and I hope I can have a race where I spend less time in traffic than I did last Sunday. It was definitely frustrating not being able to get almost a single traffic-free lap because my pace, at least in some phases of the race was not at all bad. However, when I found myself behind Hamilton after the final stop, he had the turn of speed to get past the others, whereas I had to turn somersaults to overtake in rather more difficult places than the very long straight. Not only that, but I also had little hope of defending my position when others used the DRS, as was the case with Maldonaldo. I had passed him, but then he got me back just at the braking point for Turn 14.

I want to congratulate the pit crew: again in China they were the quickest and to do a time of 2”6 up to the green light, not once, but twice, as they recorded that time with both me and Felipe, is really a great time!

Today also sees the start of an important cycle in Real Madrid’s season: in just over a week, it will go up against Bayern Munich twice for the Champions League semi-final and, in between they take on Barca at the Camp Nou in the return match of what is known as “the Clasico.” I hope I can find a Chinese TV channel tonight showing the Munich match: the commentary might be hard to follow, but it’s the picture that matters!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Räikkönen's risky strategy hit him on the fingers

Kimi Räikkönen year model 2012 can surprise in a new way. Not even the complete downfall in China GP got the Finn upset

The crushing drop from 2nd postion to far away from point-positions didn't get Räikkönen irritated, nor did he start to curse swear words after he got out of the car.

The driver seemed to be completely okay with the situation. The goal was to get the best result of the season, he was offered a place on the podium even after poorly timed pit stops, but now the calculated risk hit on his own nails.

– The strategy had only two options. We tried with more risk, thought it would pay off because it was in theory the fastest for this race. It just didn't work now since the tyres didn't last in the final games. They were completely gone, Räikkönen said.

Räikkönen did his everything to keep the pace reasonable during the 28 laps, but 10 laps before the finish the reaper came - or rather 12 reapers came.

When Räikkönen's Lotus was overtaken by Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull the car went off the driving line and was after that like on a black ice. Completely worn out medium tyres didn't work anymore and Räikkönen was a helpless prey for the chasers just like a bird who can't fly is for hunters.

– Everything went okay until those last laps. We had a good pace and the possibility to a good result. Then the tyres just failed and it was impossible to keep up the same rhythm.

– Once Vettel went past the downhill took off. I was on pieces of rubber and couldn't control the car at all. I just tried to stay on the track. I guess I lost about 10 positions during one lap when I couldn't do anything to stop it, Räikkönen sighed.

Räikkönen got a good start from 4th position and the E20 -car proved out to be faster than it had been all weekend. However two pitstops went slightly wrong and Räikkönen lost his position during both of them.

– Then I got stuck behind Felipe Massa. I was much faster than he was but I just couldn't get past, because Ferrari was stronger in exactly that place where I needed to get close enough to overtake him.

– All and all it doesn't matter if I would have got past earlier or not, because the tyres wore out and the result would have been the same. But at least I would have been more ahead of the other bunch behind me, than I was now when everybody caught up with me, Räikkönen said.

Turun Sanomat


Courtesy: Nicole

Video: Especial Interview with 6 WDC CCTV 5 at Chinese GP 2012

Interview with Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel from CCTV 5

Source: AnneCarvalho78

Räikkönen knew the risks of his strategy

Kimi Räikkönen's goal in China GP was to get the best result of the season. It went wrong: Räikkönen's gutty fight for podium positions peeled off together with his tyres and Kimi ended having his worst result in China GP -

Three years ago Räikkönen was 10th with Ferrari. In 2006 in McLaren he had to retire from 2nd position.

Räikkönen scored 16 points to Lotus in the two opening races. Now his team mate Romain Grosjean finished the race for the first time and scored the team 8 points with his 6th position.

– We tried to master a faster strategy with two pitstops and it looked good until the 10 last laps. In the end the performance ability of the tyres vanished and that was that. I got stuck behind Felipe Massa for a long time and couldn't get past him, because I wasn't fast enough in the right places to make an attempt. Whatever. Even though I would have overtaken him it wouldn't had changed the end result much.

– We had a good pace in the race, we tried a different strategy but it didn't pay off. That's how simple it just is, Räikkönen was irritated.

Grosjean got his career's first WC-points in his 10th GP.

– This was a really good race. I enjoyed it tremendously. Unfortunately I made a small mistake when fighting with Webber, but overall this was a good performance. The car felt fantastic. The team did a brilliant job when trying to improve it from Friday. I'm especially happy that I finished the race and scored good points home, Grosjean shined.

– It feels really good when you can battle with McLaren and Red Bull. I'm happy that my season actually began from here. We had huge expectations in Melbourne and after a few setbacks we can now focus higher. There's always room to improve and we can aim to the top 5 and score points from there. We take step by step forward with confidence, Grosjean said.

Eric Boullier is frustrated since they missed out on the podium positions that were so close.

– We are so close in achieving good results and then something happens. This is frustrating. Now we had during the last 12 laps one car 2nd and the other one 5th after pitstops. Unfortunately our strategy was a little too aggressive.

– When we saw that a few cars made 3 pitstops, it was clear that we had chances to get to the podium. However we didn't foresee that the tyre consumption would be so hard. The strategy paid off with Romain, but it didn't pay off with Kimi.

– What is positive here is that we still showed a good speed in both qualification and race and that we could fight for the podium positions together with Kimi, Boullier said.

Turun Sanomat


Courtesy: Nicole

Räikkönen: We ran out of tyres

Kimi Räikkönen went from a podium to a point-less finish in the space of 10 laps as his tyre strategy proved to be the wrong one

Räikkönen was running as high as second as Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix entered its final stint, albeit over 20 seconds down on Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.

However, the Lotus driver had opted for a two-stop strategy, which may have worked in getting up to second, but it didn't work in allowing him to keep it as those on three-stoppers came storming by.

Räikkönen, who had been one of the first of the two-stoppers to pit, could do absolutely nothing to keep those with fresher tyres at bay.

The 2007 World Champ finished the grand prix down in 14th place, over 50s behind race winner Rosberg.

"We tried to run two stops but we ran out of the tyres in the end," said the Finn.

"We tried but it didn't pay off today.

"There are two choices and we took another one, we thought it was going to work out but it didn't."

But while the two stops did not work for Räikkönen, they did for his team-mate Romain Grosjean who finished in sixth place after winning an exciting battle with Bruno Senna, Pastor Maldonado and Fernando Alonso.

"It was pretty good, I am very pleased for myself and the team. It looked like Formula Three at times but it was tough out there."

Source: Planet-F1

Rosberg wins in China for first F1 victory

Germany's Nico Rosberg celebrated the first victory of his Formula One career with a commanding pole-to-flag win for Mercedes in China on Sunday

While the son of 1982 champion Keke sprayed the champagne to mark the end of an 111-race wait, the German manufacturer rolled back the decades to savour their first grand prix success as a works team since 1955.

"Brilliant race, Nico. Just brilliant," yelled team principal Ross Brawn over the radio as the 26-year-old let out a long and loud whoop of delight after taking the chequered flag.

Britain's Jenson Button finished a distant second for Mercedes-powered McLaren, 20.6 seconds behind, with team mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton third for the third race in a row to take the championship lead.

Hamilton now has 45 points after three races to Button's 43. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who had led before Shanghai, finished ninth and dropped to third overall with 37.

Rosberg's victory was the first by Mercedes, as a works team, since 1955, when Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio won that year's season-ending Italian Grand Prix from pole.

Mercedes pulled out of Formula One as a works team in 1955 and did not return, other than as an engine partner, until 2010 after buying the title-winning Brawn team.

While Rosberg celebrated, drenching Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug in champagne on the podium with the eager assistance of Button and Hamilton, there was disappointment for team mate Michael Schumacher.

The seven times world champion, winner of a record 91 races, had started alongside Rosberg on the front row but the 43-year-old's hopes of a first podium appearance since he was at Ferrari in 2006, disappeared on lap 13 after a pitstop.

To the despair of the mechanic on the front right wheel, Schumacher was given the signal to go before the nut was attached properly. He rejoined the race before having to pull off and retire.

"The front wheel got a bit loose, but I don't know what happened. I feel a bit sorry for one of my boys, but that's part of the game," said Schumacher philosophically.

Button's hopes of a second win in three races were also dashed in the pits when the crew struggled with the rear left, losing vital seconds, at his third and final stop.

Australian Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull with double world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel fifth after starting 11th, his lowest grid placing since 2009.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean took his first points for Lotus with sixth place, ahead of the Williams cars of Brazilian Bruno Senna and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.

Sauber's Japanese Kamui Kobayashi took the final point for Sauber in 10th.

1. Rosberg Mercedes 1h36:26.929
2. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 20.6
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 26.0
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 27.9
5. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 30.4
6. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 31.4
7. Senna Williams-Renault + 34.5
8. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 35.6
9. Alonso Ferrari + 37.2
10. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 38.7
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 41.0
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 42.2
13. Massa Ferrari + 42.7
14. Räikkönen Lotus-Renault + 50.5
15. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 51.2
16. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 51.7
17. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:03.1
18. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
19. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
21. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
22. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
23. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 3 laps

Source: Reuters Sports

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Interview with Kimi Räikkönen for the Motorsport-total

Question: "Kimi, are you satisfied with your fourth place?"
Kimi Räikkönen: "In a way yes, because it was not too bad, but because of the gap to the top I'm a bit disappointed. Overall I think we were stronger in the last race. However, the position is quite okay. "

Question: "How do you explain the gap? Was there a problem with the car?"
Räikkönen: "We are just improving in some areas but in others not, we are in a learning process."

Question: "So on your lap no problems occurred?"
Räikkönen: "The car could not have been much faster. We have tried everything, but it has not worked."

Question: "Were there more problems in the slow or the fast corners?"
Räikkönen: "More in the slow corners. Otherwise the handling of the car was right except in the final qualifying when it was cooler, it got worse a bit."

Question: "Are you generally satisfied with the handling of the car?"
Räikkönen: "Overall I was more satisfied with the car at the last race. There are a few areas where we have problems and the gap to the top is slightly larger than expected. But one must say that the times are very close. I think we could have even further ahead. "

Question: "How do you rate your chances for the race starting fourth?"
Räikkönen: "I don't know. Usually our car is good in the race. Tomorrow it will be hotter than today, which is better for us. Hopefully the other teams then have problems. We have to wait and see what happens."

Question: "If you compare the soft with the hard tires - you realize there is a big difference?"
Räikkönen: "No. On one lap maybe, but then it depends on the temperature."

Question: "What areas do you think you can improve your car?"
Räikkönen: "We could further improve the downforce. Then the tire would work even better."

Question: "Regarding the updates on your car: Is it true that you still drive with the old rear end here?"
Räikkönen: "No, that one didn'T work. We use the one we have used the last race. We had tried the old again, but then changed back to the new one."

Question: "Are you surprised of Kamui (Kobayashi, editor's note) performance?"
Räikkönen: "No. The Sauber were fast all season so far. Both drivers were quick, so I'm not surprised that he is in front of me.."

Question: "How do you assess the durability of your tires in the race?"
Räikkönen: "I don't know. We were not able to simulate a race distance. Like I said, it depends much on how hot it is. If it is really hot, we will make advantage. If it is cooler it will be difficult for us to get temperature into the tires. Then the others may have an advantage. "

Question: "How do you assess the situation when it rains, there is little chance that it will rain tomorrow?".
Räikkönen: "No matter what happens, we are simply trying to achieve the best possible. The situation will be the same for all. It makes no difference for us. But it would be nicer to drive a race in dry conditions. But we can't change the weather. "

Question: "IYou were the fastest in sector 1. Because of the car and you like the sector specifically?"
Räikkönen: "Actually I was not so happy with the first sector, so I'm surprised that I was the fastest there, the car does not feel so good there.."

Question: "Do you think that Mercedes will not be as fast tomorrow as it was today?"
Räikkönen: "Usually not, but if it should be cooler, it could be advantageous for them. They seem to have a greater tire wear than others in the race, so cooler temperatures should be better for their tires."

Question: "You've already used all the soft tires, do you?"
Räikkönen: "I have not driven my fastest lap on my last set of tires, so I have another one."

Question: "In Malaysia, you were at the end of the race very fast. Do you think that here in China it will be the same?"
Räikkönen: "We are always fast Usually at race end the times are faster overall. We will see how it will be tomorrow."

Question: "Are you surprised from Sebastian's (Vettel, editor's note) performance?"
Räikkönen: "I don't know what happened. Maybe he had a lot of traffic. Such things can."

Question: "Do you expect the two McLarens of Button and Hamilton at the start?"
Räikkönen: "Yes, because they have always been very fast."

Source: Motorsport-total
Courtesy: Miezicat

Kimi Räikkönen – “Hopefully We Can Move Forward in the Race”

Despite achieving his best qualifying result of the season so far, Kimi feels that the E20 could be further up the order here in China; the Finn gives us his thoughts on qualifying at the Shanghai International Circuit this afternoon

Kimi, today saw your strongest qualifying result of the season to date; how are you feeling after that performance?
Qualifying in P5 is ok but overall our pace is not as good as we had hoped. We’ll start in P4 after Lewis (Hamilton) takes his penalty so the result isn’t bad, but the time could have been better. I tried to improve after my first lap but got a bit wide through one corner, so maybe we could have been a bit closer to the front but really I think we got the maximum from the car today. In a way it’s not too bad, but we’re disappointed with the gap to Nico (Rosberg). Anyway that’s how it goes sometimes; hopefully we can at least keep our position at the start and try to move forward in the race.

You’ve mentioned that the car hasn’t quite lived up to expectations so far this weekend; where do you think improvements need to be made?
We seem to be losing time on the straights and through the corners, but the main thing we’re lacking is downforce. More downforce means more grip, and although the handling is fine we can’t push as hard as we’d like. The colder weather didn’t help us, and the temperature dropped quite a lot in Q3 which made a difference to our speed. It should be warmer tomorrow which will help, but then again it will help some of the other teams too. So far our car has had good race pace, so hopefully we’ll see that again tomorrow. Of course, if it rains then we have a level playing field as everyone will need to start from scratch.

How much of an effect do you think the upgrade package brought in for this weekend has had on the car’s performance?
We’ve tried some new parts which unfortunately haven’t worked as we expected, so the car is now more or less back to the set-up we ran in Malaysia. Hopefully we’ll get the updates working soon so we can keep moving forwards; we don’t want to get into a situation where the others are improving and we’re staying where we are. Our pace is not as good as it was in the last race, but I’m sure we’ll get there once we find how to get the new parts working.

Tyres seem to have been the big topic of the weekend, with high wear at the front and difficulties getting the rubber up to temperature being a common complaint in the paddock; what are your thoughts?
I didn’t have any major issues with the tyres. There is clearly a difference between the compounds, but it’s the same for everybody and again the weather will affect this. It’s hard to say how the tyres will perform during the race as we haven’t done any particularly long runs. Again it depends on how hot it is; when it’s cooler we can’t quite get them working how we would like, but once the track warms up we’re fine. A positive from qualifying is that we didn’t set a timed lap on the last set of tyres so, while they’re not brand new, they have very little wear which should help us at the start.

You set the fastest time in the first sector today; despite not being entirely happy with the car, does this give you some optimism for the race?
I’m surprised we were fastest in the first sector as it didn’t feel particularly quick. In a way we can look at today in a positive light; the fact that we qualified in P5 even though the car isn’t performing as we’d like is actually quite encouraging, especially as we’re not as strong around this track as we were at the previous circuits. Not counting the pole time, we’re not far behind the cars in front of us either so we can be pleased with that. I’m not sure we’re in such a strong position as in the first two Grand Prix – which is strange to say when we have our highest grid slot so far – but we’ll see what we can do.

Source: LotusF1

Räikkönen: I'm disappointed with the pace

Kimi Räikkönen: We go into the race less confident in the car than in the last two races, but knowing that we start from a higher position on the grid. Let's see what we can do tomorrow, we'll try to do the best we can...

Kimi Räikkönen was disappointed following qualifying for the F1 2012 Chinese Grand Prix today, even though he set the fifth fastest time.

Räikkönen, who will actually start from the second row of the grid in fourth, benefiting from the gearbox penalty that has been handed to Lewis Hamilton, felt the speed of his Lotus E20 just wasn't 'where it should have been' and he finished Q3 over eight tenths off pole position.

The Finn also revealed that the updates the team have brought to Shanghai haven't work as they had hoped and as a result the squad has reverted 'almost entirely' to the Malaysia car specification.

“The grid position is okay but when you look at the times, I'm disappointed with the pace of the car today,” Räikkönen confirmed. “We've gained a position after Lewis's penalty but the speed wasn't where it should have been, especially when you look at the pole time.

“We've tried some updates this weekend, but they haven't worked as we wanted so we've gone back to how the car was before. We go into the race less confident in the car than in the last two races, but knowing that we start from a higher position on the grid. Let's see what we can do tomorrow, we'll try to do the best we can and hopefully we can be higher up than we are on the grid, and that means a podium.”

Team-mate Romain Grosjean meanwhile also made it through to the shootout, however, he did not set a time, as unlike the other nine runners in Q3, he didn't have a new set of soft tyres left. He will start in P10.

“I have mixed feelings after today's session. After struggling a bit yesterday it's great to have both cars in Q3, but unfortunately after a terrible first run in Q2 we were forced to use up all our new sets of soft tyres before the final session. This meant there was no point trying to set a competitive time in the pole position shoot out which is a real shame, as our pace in Q2 was good,” Grosjean commented.

“I feel much more comfortable with the car and I think that shows in the lap times today. The team did a great job to turn things around and get us back towards the top where we should be. I still have some fine tuning to do but 56 laps in tomorrow's race will certainly help that!”


Hamilton: We can still make it...

Lewis Hamilton: I've set my car up to be at its strongest in the race...

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton believes he is in a 'good position' for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, even though an unscheduled gearbox change has landed him with a five-place grid penalty.

Hamilton led the way this morning in final practice at the Shanghai International Circuit. However, in the top-ten shootout he was unable to replicate that and finished up just over half a second off Mercedes men Nico Rosberg, who managed to secure his first-ever F1 pole position. Following his penalty, Hamilton will line-up seventh.

“Very big congratulations to Nico today,” Hamilton said. “We first met back in 1997 and were team-mates in 2000. We've been good friends ever since. When we were team-mates, we always dreamed of qualifying first and second together in F1 – and it's crazy that we did that today.

“Looking at the race, we've got a good car but I'm going to have to work my way up through the field tomorrow. But as long as I move forward in the race, I'll be happy.

“We're in a good position, I think. I've set my car up to be at its strongest in the race. So, although Jenson [Button – my team-mate] and I are a little bit further back than we'd like, and we've got a bit of work to do, we can still make it.

“There's a good group of drivers ahead of us on the grid, but we're right with them in terms of race pace. This is a track where you can overtake, and we've got DRS too – so I'm massively excited about tomorrow.”

McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh meanwhile was philosophical after what was undoubtedly a disappointing qualifying session for the Woking-based outfit, especially given the squad's form in practice. He is hopeful, though, that race day will be different.

“First of all, I'd like to offer our congratulations to Mercedes AMG, for whom Nico took his first ever Grand Prix pole position this afternoon,” Whitmarsh added. “It was a peculiar qualifying session, in which the to-ing and fro-ing of grip levels was abnormally unpredictable. During Q3, the air and track temperatures cooled rapidly as the sky overhead became suddenly overcast, and the circuit became appreciably slower as a result. Nico, who had already cut a very good lap early in the session, was therefore unassailable. Jenson, who went out later, found that the track surface had become much less grippy than it had been beforehand, and the inevitable result was a slower-than-expected lap time from him.

“But that wasn't his fault; pretty much everyone who was on track at the end of Q3 either recorded a slower lap-time than they'd hoped for, or indeed aborted it, as Lewis did.

“Tomorrow, though, we're confident that we'll have two competitive race cars, and, from fifth and seventh on the grid respectively, Jenson and Lewis will be approaching the race with their customary controlled combativeness,” Whitmarsh summed-up.


'I'm happy' insists Vettel

Sebastian Vettel insisted he is happy with his RB8 despite failing to reach the final qualifying session for the first time in three seasons at the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday

The defending World Champion, who has not started a race outside the top 10 since the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix, will line up 11th on the grid four places behind team-mate Mark Webber.

Vettel seemed relaxed despite his poor performance and even suggested his car handled better than it had during the third practice session held earlier in the day.

"I was pretty happy with the car in qualifying. I think we did a step forward compared to the morning. Whereas in the morning the balance was pretty open and it had a lot of oversteer, in the afternoon I was happier," he said.

"I think doing the same lap time three times in qualifying showed this was more or less it. So it was not as if there was a tenth or another couple of tenths on the table. So I don't think we missed out, it was just not quick enough at the time."

No blame
Vettel's time in session two was around three tenths slower than that of Webber, who went quickest overall after both drivers had made two runs.

Each driver has opted to use a different exhaust configuration this weekend, with Vettel reverting back to the version which the team used on their RB8 chassis when it was launched.

Webber, in contrast, is sticking with the newer version which features an exhaust pointing outboard as Red Bull attempt to harness as much of the blown diffuser effect as they can under this season's tighter rules.

Vettel prefers the balance of the older version and insisted he remains happy with it, despite qualifying behind his team-mate.

"Don't get me wrong but I don't want to blame today's result on any sort of packaging or not. Mark was fast in qualifying. I was happy with the car yesterday, that's why I decided to keep that package," he said.

"If I would have been convinced yesterday then we would have changed it. But I was convinced of the current package, so it doesn't feel right now to sit here and blame the car or the packaging.

"At this stage I don't think there is any individual one to blame. I had a good session, I was happy with my lap. It was maybe not the best lap of my life but a good lap - I was happy with it for qualifying, it was just not quick enough.

"The car felt pretty good, so we were just not able to find the last couple of tenths."

Good job
As for the race itself, Vettel said he his car's pace over longer runs still placed him in "good shape".

However, despite Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher lining up first and second on the grid, he reckoned McLaren are best of all.

"Surely today the pace of Mercedes was a surprise: Nico had a very, very strong lap at the end and outqualified everyone by half a second. So we'll see how they will do in the race. I think McLaren is still the favourite for race pace," Vettel said.

He added: "I think, being completely honest, we can look at ourselves and be happy with the work that we have done. As in, I think we got everything out of the car that there was today. I think we did a good job in qualifying.

"Surely the result isn't good enough - we need to improve and work on that. But for now I think you need to be honest with yourself.

"It's not as if we've been lazy and we didn't care really."

Source: SkySports

Alonso: Melbourne not Malaysia

Fernando Alonso has predicted his Chinese Grand Prix will be more Melbourne than Malaysia as Ferrari's flat start to the season continued on Saturday

The double World Champion, who leads in the Drivers' Championship after his surprise victory last time out at Sepang, qualified ninth at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Alonso once again wrung all he could from Ferrari's troublesome F2012 but on a day of surprises, the Spaniard's place in the pecking order was pretty much as expected.

Despite lining up behind both Sauber drivers, Alonso said he believed the Swiss team were "definitely" better than Ferrari this weekend.

Furthermore, he reckoned he might also struggle to defend his position against the likes of Lotus's Romain Grosjean and World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who qualified 10th and 11th respectively.

"Definitely a Melbourne race," said Alonso, who finished fifth in Australia last month. "I hope Malaysia but I don't think we can have maybe the wet conditions or the pace we had with inters. The (qualifying) position was similar to Malaysia; in Australia it was P12 and it's more or less where we are in qualifying.

"In the race normally we improve on Sunday - the race pace - but it's true also that behind us on this grid of today, there are people quicker than us like Grosjean and Vettel. So even if we will try to overtake people at the front, we know that people from behind will be quicker than us."

Source: SkySports

Qualifying: Rosberg breaks his pole duck

Nico Rosberg will start his Chinese Grand Prix from the pole position slot after blitzing the field by half a second in Shanghai

It took Rosberg 110 starts to get there, however, he won't be counting that number. In a perfect lap to start Q3, Rosberg clocked a 1:35.121 to edge Lewis Hamilton by a massive 0.505s.

With Hamilton incurring a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change it will be an all-Mercedes front row as Michael Schumacher moves up from third to second.

Kamui Kobayashi was fourth quickest on Saturday and will therefore move up to P3 on the second row alongsideKimi Raikkonen.

Jenson Button is up to fifth and will start with Mark Webber alongside him. Hamilton is down to P7. The big surprise of qualifying was Sebastian Vettel failing to make Q3.


01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:35.121
02 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:35.626 0.505
03 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:35.691 0.570
04 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:35.784 0.663
05 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1:35.898 0.777
06 Jenson Button McLaren 1:36.191 1.070
07 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:36.290 1.169
08 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:36.524 1.403
09 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.622 1.501
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus No time
11 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:36.031 0.33
12 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.255 0.555
13 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:36.283 0.583
14 Bruno Senna Williams 1:36.289 0.589
15 Paul di Resta Force India 1:36.317 0.617
16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:36.745 1.045
17 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:36.956 1.256
18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:37.714 1.422
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:38.463 2.171
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:38.677 2.385
21 Timo Glock Marussia 1:39.282 2.990
22 Charles Pic Marussia 1:39.717 3.425
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:40.411 4.119
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:41.000 4.708

Source: Planet-F1

Friday, April 13, 2012

Video: Kimi Räikkönen interview after practices at Chinese GP 2012

Source: F1ARAB

Why don't we see Kimi's wife in F1-races? - "There's nothing here to see".

The reason is obvious, at least according to Kimi.

- There's nothing to see here. She would sit all day, read magazines and drink coffee. It would be pretty boring, Räikkönen told Motorsport-Total.

- I wouldn't like it at least - I wouldn't have anything to do all day. I'm sure there are better things to do at that time.

Source: SuomiF1
Courtesy: Nicole

Kimi Räikkönen – “The Race is Where it Really Counts”

After a mixed day for the team in China, Kimi remains philosophical about the weekend ahead at the Shanghai International Circuit, and looks forward to the all-important event on Sunday – race day

Kimi, it seemed like the car was not quite how you wanted it today; can you tell us a bit more?

It’s not often you have a perfect car on Friday and there are certain things we need to improve which is perfectly normal. It doesn’t really matter if you are first or last in testing because that’s exactly what it is; testing. We’ve been trying a few upgrades and some different set-ups to see how the car behaves which was the main purpose of today, so I wouldn’t read too much into it.

How would you summarise the two sessions?

We managed to put in a good number of laps, not so much this morning but this afternoon. Of course, we’d ideally like to be nearer the front but like I said it’s just testing. The changing conditions held us back a bit in FP1 and unfortunately we lost a bit of time making set-up changes in FP2, but towards the end we decided to stick with what we were running which gave us some good track time. We have a lot of work to do for sure, but it’s been the same at each race weekend this season so it’s not unexpected.

Do you think the weather today has had a real impact on the set-up of the car? A few drivers were complaining of the front tyres fading quickly…

Maybe, but the weather is the same for everyone – if it rains it rains, if it’s dry it’s dry. There were a few cold days during testing and we had no problems there. It’s just a matter of finding the best setup. The tyres felt ok, but we didn’t do any particularly long stints so it’s hard to tell.

How did you find the upgrade package for the car?

The conditions in FP1 made it hard to see where we are with the new upgrades which was a bit of a setback. When you make a few changes to the car it’s not as easy to go out and push straight away like other teams are able to, but this will improve over the weekend. The car didn’t feel too different from where we’ve been at previous circuits, but obviously the lap times are not as competitive yet. We’ll be looking at the data overnight and hopefully we can find some more speed tomorrow.

As you’ve said it would be nice to sit further up the order even at this early stage in proceedings; what are your ambitions for this weekend?

If you just go by the lap times and nothing else then we haven’t looked so fast today, but the race is where it really counts. For sure we have some work to do and changes to make, but this is normal. For the race I think we need to be aiming at improving on the results we’ve had so far, as we’ve been strong all year but not managed to get the points we deserved.

Free Practice 3 is next up from the Shanghai International Circuit at 11:00 local time tomorrow morning. Stay tuned to our website Twitter feed and Facebook page for updates throughout the session.

Source: LotusF1

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Räikkönen was found and was immediately surrounded by fans

The long wait was awarded when Kimi Räikkönen, who was lost 'somewhere in China' finally managed to get to the Shanghai F1-paddock.

Räikkönen was meant to participate in his Lotus-team's press conference but something else happened. Apparently Räikkönen wasn't able to get to the place in time because of being stuck in traffic and they already started to wonder on the paddock where on earth the Iceman is.

- We have lost Kimi somewhere in China, the team's representant told news agency SID earlier on Thursday.

In the end Räikkönen did however manage to get to the track-area and was immediately surrounded by his die-hard fans. Iceman's autograph was once again hot stuff among the Chinese fans.

Räikkönen managed in the end to wade through the fan-groups into Lotus premises. They published a photo today where Räikkönen is sitting beside Eric Boullier - and is yet again signing postcards.

- And at the same time in the backroom.... two new faces has joined the party, Lotus writes.

And right after that Räikkönen had to do PR-tasks and go to the press conference and on the stage together with Boullier.

Kalle Takala

Source: Ilta-Sanomat
Courtesy: Nicole

Hamilton to collect five place penalty in China

Lewis Hamilton's hopes of a hat-trick of pole positions disappeared at the Chinese Grand Prix on Thursday when McLaren said he would collect a five place penalty on the starting grid for an unscheduled gearbox change

The 2008 Formula One world champion has yet to win this season despite starting the first two races in Australia and Malaysia on pole.

The Briton won in China last year and is the only driver to have won twice in Shanghai since the race was added to the calendar in 2004.

A spokesman said Hamilton would use the car's existing gearbox for Friday practice before having it switched out for Saturday.

"It doesn't alter my approach at all. I'll approach it exactly the same," Hamilton said of qualifying and Sunday's race.

"I still have to qualify as high as possible. And then in the race... well, I won from third last year so now I just have to win from further back."

The forced change, which incurs an automatic penalty, means McLaren will also be unable to lock out the front row for the third race in succession.

Source: Reuters Sports

Kimi caused a horrible rush at the airport

Kimi Räikkönen arrived in Shanghai on Thursday

Finnish star did not have any peace in the Pudong Airport. Räikkönen was attacked by a huge number of locals, who wished to take a picture of F1 driver.

Obviously, by judging Räikkönen's facial expressions, he was not particularly happy for all the attention. Kimi walked determined to the escalator and tried to ignore to close sqeezing teenage girls. Finn's torment was immortalized by international photo agencies.

Tomorrow, Kimi can sit in the peace of F1 car. Third race of the season, the Chinese Grand Prix, is on Sunday.

Source: IltaLehti
Courtesy: reppo

Kimi's Column: Chinese Grand Prix preview

China in Your Hand

It’s time for the third Grand Prix of the season.

After the rainy race in Malaysia first I dried myself, did some pr-work in Beirut, went to Enstone factory to have a look on some new things for the car, then I trained properly at home and finally went to see some spectacular action of motocross world championship fight in Holland.

It was a good break, all in all. We are ready to race. I feel fresh and look forward to get with the grips in those very fast long straights and tricky slow-speed corners of Shanghai circuit.

The car should now be even better. We have some interesting new parts and they should give us more speed to challenge the top guys again. But we have to wait to see, how the track suits for our car. So far there has been no problems at all in all the circuits we have driven it.

Previously China has usually been a good place for me. Since the very beginning at Shanghai circuit we have had the speed to fight for the podium places. Our win five years ago in China was the turning point for the championship fight back then.

Let’s hope we have finally a normal weekend without any unnecessary problems. I have a good feeling with the car so far. Obviously, we expect the E20 going well in Shanghai. We will know more, where we are the after the first few laps in the circuit on Friday practise.

Like always my aim is to score good points – and, if possible, to challenge for the top positions. It was very close in Malaysia qualifying, while the gap was so small with all the top cars. The fastest lap on the race was a very positive sign, too.

But you never know beforehand how the weekend goes. China, especially, is one of those places, where the weather factor can very quickly change everything.

You’re going to be in trouble, if you don’t watch out all the time with the weather. The forecast tells us, there will be the typical showers during the weekend, so most likely it’s going to be a matter to get everything right with perfect timings to get out with the good results.

It’s China in our hands, for sure...


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Alonso's Blog: What enthusiasm from the Chinese fans!

Here we are in Shanghai for the start of the third race weekend of the year. For sure, arriving here in China as the leader of the Championship is something I would never have expected, at least given the way winter testing went. It means we have done a good job, managing to make use of all the potential at our disposal and making the most of every opportunity. Since I first arrived in Maranello, at the start of 2010, I have seen the team grow a lot in all areas relating to track activity, from strategy to the work in the garage and at the pit stops.

I know I can count on a very strong group, which is very important and there is a great sense of purpose shared by all. We know our car is not at the level we had wanted going into this season, but everyone is reacting very well, everyone is very united, which is what you get with a real team that wants to reach its objectives.

I’m not expecting any surprises in this race, compared to what we saw in Australia and Malaysia. It’s true almost three weeks have gone by, but that does not mean there was enough time to completely turn the car around in such a short time: we will have a few small updates, but nothing particularly significant and on top of that, we can expect that the other teams will also bring some new parts.

Therefore, we won’t change our approach to this Grand Prix: to get a good result, we will need to concentrate on ourselves, trying to be perfect and to exploit every possibility that might come our way over the weekend.

I don’t want to come out with statements that our aim is to finish in this or that position, as these discussions are not worth the time spent on them. We will have to do the maximum and bring home as many points as possible: a bit like ants who start something one day, knowing it will produce something worthwhile in the future.

I’m expecting tomorrow to be a rather busy day, with various promotional and media activities, both at the track and outside it. China is a very important country for Ferrari and for its technical and commercial partners and the Formula 1 Grand Prix represents a unique opportunity, not to be missed.

Finally, if I had to draw a conclusion from what I’ve seen in the last 24 hours, I would say there is a great enthusiasm from the local people, especially the young ones. As you have been able to see on @alo_oficial, yesterday afternoon there was a huge crowd of boys and girls waiting for me at the airport and even outside the hotel. It’s always nice to experience the enthusiasm of the fans, especially so in a country where Formula 1 is not part of its history. It means the spectacle and excitement that our sport provides is still very attractive.