Sunday, October 28, 2012

Alonso clings to championship dream as gap widens

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso lost a race battle but looked forward to winning the championship war despite falling further behind Red Bull's overall leader Sebastian Vettel after Sunday's Indian Grand Prix

Trailing Vettel by six points before landing in India, Alonso drove an aggressive race at the Buddh International Circuit to finish second - three places up from where he started but still behind winner Vettel.

It was, the Spaniard recognised, damage limitation with everything still to play for up to the final race in Brazil next month.

The gap, after Vettel's fourth successive win, is now 13 points with three rounds to go.

"It's not easy at the moment to fight with Red Bull but we will never give up. I think we are happy today, we have to congratulate them, they were fantastic this weekend so well done Red Bull, well done Sebastian," said Alonso.

"But we want to be happy and we want to enjoy Brazil, not only here so I'm sure we will do it."

The Spaniard, the only top 10 driver to improve his grid position in Sunday's race, said before the race that he was "100 percent confident" that he could win the title and he saw no reason to change that view afterwards.

"Of course," he emphasised after notching up his 10th podium finish of the season.

The Spaniard, a double champion with Renault, said there was some room for improvement in the qualifications but he was pretty much in the hunt.

"We know that we need to improve. We are not fast enough, especially on Saturdays as I said, but hopefully we can improve the situation in Abu Dhabi or in the USA (next month).

"The races are long and as we saw today with (Red Bull's) Mark (Webber), a KERS problem can happen to anyone. It can happen to Seb, it can happen to me and it can happen to all of us. Still many points on the table and I'm still very optimistic."

Ferrari will have some updates in Abu Dhabi and Alonso should also go well in the season-ender.

"I think Brazil will be quite good for us and hopefully it's a happy grand prix," he said.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali predicted Alonso's second place finish would keep his rivals worried and compared his driver's chances to Italy winning the 1982 soccer World Cup against stronger opponents.

"This second place is all down to his talent, to his aggressive approach and the fact that he never wants to give up, backed by a team that is doing the maximum to give him a car that is worthy of him," he said.

"Sure we leave India with a bigger gap to the leader of drivers' championship than when we got here, but this race should not leave those who are ahead in a calm and relaxed mood," added Domenicali.

Source: Reuters Sports

Dominant Vettel Cruises To Indian Win

Sebastian Vettel took another step towards a third World title with an emphatic victory in India while Fernando Alonso did all he could to stay in the hunt, finishing second

Starting from pole position - and with a six-point advantage in the Drivers' Championship - Vettel was the favourite for the victory at the Buddh International circuit despite Red Bull's rivals insisting they had the race pace to challenge. They didn't.
Vettel stormed into the lead, building up a gap over his team-mate Mark Webber who proved to be the perfect buffer as Alonso, Vettel's main rival for the title, used great skill to pass Lewis Hamilton and then the DRS to overtake Jenson Button to climb to third.
Alonso, the first of the leading trio to come in for his one stop of the afternoon, tried his best to fight the Bulls and eventually swept by Webber for second on lap 48 of 60. However, with the gap to Vettel more than ten second, second was the best the Spaniard could hope for.
After 60 laps, Vettel cruised to the Indian GP victory, his fourth in a row and the first time in his F1 history that he managed that feat. He also extend his lead in the Championship by a further seven points to 13 with three races remaining.
Alonso was second while Webber withstood a suspected KERS issue and a late charge from Lewis Hamilton to complete the podium. Hamilton was fourth ahead of Button, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h31:10.744
02. Alonso Ferrari + 9.437
03. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 13.217
04. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 13.909
05. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 26.266
06. Massa Ferrari + 44.600
07. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 45.200
08. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 54.900
09. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 56.100
10. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:14.900
11. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:21.600
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:22.800
13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:26.000
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:26.400
15. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1 lap
17. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
22. Schumacher Mercedes + 5 laps

Did Not Finish
De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 41
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 21

Source: Planet-F1

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Qualifying: Vettel leads Red Bull 1-2

Sebastian Vettel's 100 percent record in qualifying for the Indian GP continued on Saturday as he claimed pole position ahead of his team-mate Mark Webber

Despite failing to cross the line in time for a flying lap - which all his rivals managed to do - Vettel's 1:25.283 proved to be unbeatable, handing the Championship leader his fifth pole of the season.
Webber was second, 0.044s adrift of his team-mate as Red Bull secured the 1-2 at the Buddh International circuit.
The second row of the grid will belong to McLaren as Lewis Hamilton pipped Jenson Button to third place after finishing 0.261s adrift of Vettel.
Continuing the trend it is an all-Ferrari third row as Fernando Alonso brought his F2012 home in fifth place ahead of Felipe Massa. However, the Spaniard, who is six points behind Vettel in the Championship battle, will be hoping for better come Sunday's 60-lap grand prix.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh and the last driver within a second of Vettel's pole position time.

01. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.283
02. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.327

03. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.544
04. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.659

05. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.773
06. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.857

07. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.236
08. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.360

09. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.713
10. Nico Rosberg Mercedes no time

11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.136
12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercede 1m26.241
13. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m26.331
14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m26.574
15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.777
16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercede 1m26.989
17. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.219
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.525
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m28.756
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m29.500
21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.613
22. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m30.592
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m30.593
24. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.662

Source: Planet-F1

Friday, October 26, 2012

Räikkönen, the specialist of a last stint - needs more speed

Has Kimi Räikkönen's mental approach to the WDC-battle changed?

– Nothing has changed for me at least. I have nothing to lose. I just try and improve the position. If I don't succeed then it doesn't change anything in my life, Räikkönen assured when getting ready for the practice.

Räikkönen has experience of rising up from a hopeless situation to world championship. Is it an advantage when you know how it's done?

– One has to remember that I have both lost and won the championship in the last race. I guess the guy ahead of me have also experienced the same. I think Vettel is the only one who has only won, but at least Alonso has also lost and won the championship in the last race.

– The fact is however that we all have enough experience and we all know what we need to do, Kimi said.

Five years ago Räikkönen needed the credible and strong F2007-car for his last stint. Back then Kimi was 18 points behind Lewis Hamilton when four races were left. The difference to Vettel right now is in practice the same. Back then Alonso was also between as second.

Räikkönen won three times in the four last races.

– There is the difference that in 2007 I knew I could win everyone of those races with that Ferrari. Now winning would depend more on others making mistakes. Of course we can win but speed wise we aren't in the same place regarding others than we were in Ferrari.

Lotus is working night and day so that they could get more competitiveness to E20-car. However Red Bull seems to have escaped so far that it would require a completely massive development kick to reach them.

Red Bull is escaping far away

– Really much should happen so that the power relations would change remarkably from this. It's more depending upon if Vettel and Alonso or their teams make some mistakes. You never know what might happen. At least we try our best every time. Who knows if some track would suit our car better than others and then we could get better results.

– If I would have to place a bet on the WDC, my money would go for Vettel. He is leading and he has the fastest car. They have been fast in the last races and they don't make mistakes.

Lotus has modified the new exhaust system and will also get other new updates to their car.

– Hopefully we can improve from the last race and go forward in the same way as we did from Japan to Korea. We need better results in the end season. There is development coming all the time, but the problem is that no other team will suddenly stop their work either. Everyone is squeezing until the end, since the situation in the lead is so tight, Räikkönen said.

– On a fast track like this there's probably not much advantage of the exhaust as it is in the next race in Abu Dhabi, Räikkönen thought.

Contract still not signed

On the contract frontier we are still depending upon rumours. The latest grain of information from Lotus-camp tells that Räikkönen's contract might possibly next week be filed up to the dots so that it can be announced.

Assumably Romain Grosjean has to show his performances until the end of the season in order to get a new contract. They also have negotiations with other candidates.

– We have options, but nothing has been decided definitely. Both names have to be in the contract and I guess they will be there at some point, Räikkönen said.

Turun Sanomat


Courtesy: Nicole

Practice Two: Vettel tops Red Bull 1-2

Sebastian Vettel continued his Indian domination as he set the pace in Practice Two while his team-mate Mark Webber was a buffer between him and Fernando Alonso

With the track temperature a sweltering 38'C, the drivers were quickly down to business with Romain Grosjean setting the early pace with a 1:30.210. Within the first ten minutes every driver except the two Ferraris had set a time with Mark Webber the new pace-setter with a 1:28.847.
But it wasn't long before the Scuderia's drivers made their mark with Fernando Alonso, who is running new diffuser, new brake ducts and end plates, going 15th quickest. However, his title rival was at the other end of the grid as Sebastian Vettel went quickest with 1:28.064. Alonso, though, came back almost immediately and took the P1 slot.
He soon lost it to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton but again fought back and posted a 1:27.402 to lead the way. But while Alonso was running at the front, his team-mate Felipe Massa was running off the track, putting his F2012 into a spin while tapping the Pirelli advertising boards. No damage to the car.
The Brazilian, though, was not the only one slipping and sliding as Romain Grosjean added his name to that list when he lost it at Turn 11 while Bruno Senna spun his Williams at Turn 4. Vettel was the next to lead the way with a 1:27.256.
However, it was all change in the second half of practice as the Lotus drivers were the first out on the soft tyres. Kimi Raikkonen went quickest only to lose out to Nico Rosberg by 0.008s while Felipe Massa's first run was not at all successful as he slid off the track, kicking up gravel and grass. He wasn't the only Ferrari driver struggling with balance as minutes earlier Alonso's car had been snapping all over the place and looked to be a right handful.
Getting a handle on his F2012, Alonso finally went quickest with a 1:26.964 but was beaten by Vettel by 0.04s. A brief tussle began between the title protagonists and Webber for the P1 slot with the trio swapping positions as they made the most of the hot track and the soft tyres.
The battle eventually quietened down with Vettel in the P1 slto with a 1:26.211 and Webber second, 0.118s adrift while Alonso was third ahead of Nico Rosberg and Raikkonen. And with the drivers swapping to heavier fuel loads as the track cooled down, the times remained the same with Vettel finishing at the top.
Two drivers had the sessions curtailed; Vitaly Petrov with an engine problem and Narain Karthikeyan with a hydraulic issue.
01 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:26.221 35 laps
02 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:26.339 0.118 33 laps
03 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.820 0.599 34 laps
04 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:27.022 0.801 38 laps
05 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:27.030 0.809 40 laps
06 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:27.131 0.910 38 laps
07 Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.182 0.961 24 laps
08 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:27.233 1.012 37 laps
09 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:27.397 1.176 36 laps
10 Bruno Senna Williams 1:27.738 1.517 36 laps
11 Paul di Resta Force India 1:28.004 1.783 32 laps
12 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:28.178 1.957 39 laps
13 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:28.222 2.001 37 laps
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:28.239 2.018 37 laps
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:28.296 2.075 23 laps
16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:28.455 2.234 40 laps
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:28.596 2.375 38 laps
18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:29.167 2.946 35 laps
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:29.320 3.099 43 laps
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:29.606 3.385 22 laps
21 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:30.950 4.729 37 laps
22 Timo Glock Marussia 1:31.113 4.892 35 laps
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:31.372 5.151 20 laps
24 Charles Pic Marussia 1:31.493 5.272 31 laps

Source: Planet-F1

Practice One: Vettel tops the timesheets

Sebastian Vettel laid down his marker as the Championship leader set the pace in Friday's first practice in India, 0.3s ahead of Jenson Button

The session got off to a slow start on the dusty track with not a single lap time set in the opening 30 minutes. The deadlock was finally broken when Esteban Gutierrez, who was filling in for the unwell Sergio Perez, crossed the line with a 1:46.071.
The Mexican driver's run signalled the beginning of free practice proper and others hit the track with Lewis Hamilton, Pastor Maldonado and Jenson Button all spending time at the top of the timesheets. The two McLaren drivers had a brief exchange for the P1 slot, swapping fastest times before Button put in three fastest sector times to take it with a 1:29.684, 2.4s clear of Hamilton's best!
But while the lap times were dropping the drivers still had to be careful on the dusty track as grip was limited despite efforts in the days building up to the grand prix to clean the track. This meant drivers were slipping and sliding with Gutierrez, Maldonado, Romain Grosjean and others all taking to the vast run-off areas surrounding the track.
Back in the action, Button's 1:29.684 ensured he was still leading at the halfway point as, while others had closed the gap, the McLaren driver still had a full second on them. Nico Rosberg was leading the chase ahead of Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta and Valtteri Bottas.
Michael Schumacher was the one to finally overhaul Button only to lose out seconds later to Mark Webber as the Aussie crossed the line with a 1:28.963. He was soon joined by title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso as they improved to second and third as the session entered the final 30 minutes.
That kicked off with a mini battle between Vettel and Alonso for second place with the duo trading positions as they hunted down Webber. Alonso was the first to edge the Aussie but his reign was short-lived as Hamilton went quickest only to be dropped by Vettel by 0.010s.
The final few minutes saw Alonso move up to second, 0.008s behind Vettel, which prompted the reigning World Champ to put down his marker, extending the gap to 0.425s. Button then climbed to second, splitting the title rivals, while Hamilton was fourth.
01 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:27.619 22 laps
02 Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.929 0.310 22 laps
03 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:28.044 0.425 24 laps
04 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:28.046 0.427 25 laps
05 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:28.175 0.556 22 laps
06 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:28.447 0.828 25 laps
07 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:28.542 0.923 24 laps
08 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:28.993 1.374 23 laps
09 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:29.204 1.585 24 laps
10 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:29.291 1.672 24 laps
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:29.691 2.072 26 laps
12 Paul di Resta Force India 1:29.760 2.141 23 laps
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:29.802 2.183 18 laps
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:29.850 2.231 19 laps
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:29.895 2.276 19 laps
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:30.041 2.422 26 laps
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:30.401 2.782 23 laps
18 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:30.630 3.011 24 laps
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:30.896 3.277 20 laps
20 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:31.212 3.593 29 laps
21 Charles Pic Marussia 1:31.903 4.284 22 laps
22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:32.125 4.506 24 laps
23 Timo Glock Marussia 1:32.369 4.750 19 laps
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:32.859 5.240 13 laps

Source: Planet-F1

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Photos: Kimi Räikkönen at Korean Grand Prix 2012

Source: F1GrandPrix

Korean GP: Vettel Takes The Win, Title Lead

Sebastian Vettel claimed yet another dominant victory in Korea and by doing so took the lead in the Drivers' Championship

Vettel clinched his third successive victory - and fourth of the season - in dominant fashion in Korea on Sunday where no-one, not even his own team-mate, could compete with him.
The 25 points put the German at the top of the Drivers' standings where he now leads Fernando Alonso by six points as the Ferrrai driver could only manage third. Fourth place went to Felipe Massa despite the Brazilian making it clear in the latter stages that he was quicker than his Spanish team-mate.
It was a miserable race for the McLaren team with Jenson Button being taken out at Turn 3 by Kamui Kobayashi and Lewis Hamilton suffering a suspected suspension element failure that dropped fim from fourth place to tenth at the flag.
Race Report
It was hazy low sun over the Yeongam circuit, with no chance of rain, as the drivers came round on the parade lap with the ambient temperature at 21C and the track at 24C.
Seven rows of grid:
1.Webber, 2.Vettel, 3.Hamilton, 4.Alonso, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Massa, 7.Grosjean, 8.Hulkenberg, 9.Rosberg, 10.Schumacher, 11.Button, 12.Perez, 13.Kobayashi, 14.DiResta
As the lights went out Mark Webber got more wheel spin on pole than team-mate Vettel in P2 and despite there only being 200 metres to the first turn Vettel managed to get the inside line and lead through Turn 1.
Behind them, Lewis Hamilton got an even better start than the pair of Red Bulls and looked to head between the two just as the gap closed. Fernando Alonso starting from P4 went outside and then switched to the inside of Hamilton between Turns 1 and 2 and was able to use that edge all the way up the straight to Turn 3, a great bit of car positioning.
Vettel was ahead of Webber all the way up the long straight but could hear his engine to his left. As they hit the braking zone for Turn 3 Mark Webber was alongside him but out of position on the outside so Vettel moved across and took the place and had saved enough KERS to keep ahead for Turn 4.
Turn 3 was an almighty sort-out but showed the skill of the front six drivers - Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Massa - as they entered the braking zone sometimes three abreast.
Further back, the manouvering wasn't so skilful. Jenson Button had already avoided a tap from Sergio Perez who tried to take Turn 1 at an impossibly tight angle and almost hit his 2013 team-mate. Then on the long drag down to Turn 3 Button was sizing up outbraking Nico Rosberg who was alongside him when Kamui Kobayashi lost control and hit both Rosberg and Button hard.
Rosberg was able to continue for a lap but Button's right front wheel was now deranged at an angle and he couldn't continue. Kobayashi's front wing was damaged but he could continue back to the pits. Grosjean managed to stay clear of everyone.
Raikkonen wanted to get past Lewis Hamilton into Turn 4 and Lewis pushed him out wide losing the Lotus momentum, so much so that Felipe Massa was able to get past the Finn into P5 at Turn 5. Raikkonen tried to hold the line into the following corner but the Ferrari was already through.
Positions at the end of Lap 1:
1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Hamilton, 5.Massa, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Hulkenberg, 8.Grosjean, 9.Perez, 10.Schumacher, 11.DiResta, 12.Senna, 13.Maldonado, 14.Rosberg
There was little movement in the early stages when the cars were close, because the DRS zone was neutralised by waved yellow flags as Nico Rosberg's car - which had stopped on the long back straight on Lap 2 - was craned away slowly. By Lap 8 Kobayashi had been given a predictable drive-through penalty, although he was already in last place.
When the DRS was finally enabled on Lap 9 Kimi was suddenly 0.4 quicker in S1. At the front the Red Bulls weren't running away with the race, but they were edging clear. On Lap 10 Mark Webber put in the fastest lap and a lap later it was Sebastian Vettel's turn.
Lewis Hamilton had managed to stay clear of Felipe Massa despite the Ferrari driver edging into the DRS zone and on Lap 13 he was first to dive into the pitlane for a scheduled pit-stop, followed in by Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Schumacher.
A lap later and it was Mark Webber, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen in for untroubled stops, and then on Lap 15 it was Vettel and Alonso. There were no passes for position as a result of the stops although Alonso exited the pitlane alongside the yet-to-stop Sergio Perez and both raced up to Turn 3 side by side. Alonso managed to outbrake the Sauber and the following Lewis Hamilton got past Perez soon after.
Sergio Perez might have had thoughts about making his soft tyres last a lot longer but by Lap 18 he was losing a lot of time. On that lap he dropped 1.5 seconds in Sector 2 alone and was straight into the pits. The many predictions that some teams might be one-stopping were very soon put to rest.
Positions at the end of Lap 20:
1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Hamilton, 5.Massa, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Hulkenberg, 8.Grosjean, 9.Maldonado (not stopped) 10.Schumacher, 11.Ricciardo, 12.DiResta, 13.Perez
On Lap 20 Lewis Hamilton suddenly looked to be struggling. He had closed up on Alonso after the first stops but then the gap started to go out and he was a second a lap slower than the cars around him. After the race it was diagnosed that it was a possible rear anti-roll bar failure.
Hamilton wasn't able to resist Felipe Massa for very long and was soon under pressure from a very patient Kimi Raikkonen, who clearly couldn't hang on to the pace of the two Ferraris in front of Hamilton. On Lap 23 Hamilton was able to push Kimi wide around the outside of Turn 3 after the DRS zone. On Lap 24 Kimi got past Lewis into Turn 3 and then Lewis fought back with a KERS boost up the inside taking the place back into Turn 4. The battle was only settled when Lewis headed into the pits on Lap 26 for more tyres.
In front of him things weren't looking good for Mark Webber in the second stint, something not really picked up by the TV feed. Webber was significantly slower than Vettel, Alonso and Massa. On Lap 23 these three did 36.3 in the first sector while Mark could only manage a 36.7. The gap from Webber to Alonso came down from 3.0 on lap 20, to 2.6, to 2.3, to 1.6, and then 1.3 on Lap 24.
Alonso hovered just out of DRS range while the TV cameras focused on the likely sparks between Raikkonen and Hamilton. Then on lap 26 Mark started to show a bigger advantage in the second sector and the gap started to go out to 1.8 and then 2.2 and then 2.3 and the crisis seemed to have passed. By Lap 28 Mark was putting in the fastest lap of the race but by that stage Vettel was nine seconds up the road.
Nico Hulkenberg was enjoying a race-long battle with Romain Grosjean and the Lotus driver was having difficulty trying to find a way past into Turn 3. On Laps 29 and 30 it was close, but Hulkenberg had the craft to elude him and use his KERS to keep ahead despite the DRS favouring the car behind.
Massa was right up there in touch with Alonso all of the race and just 12 seconds covered the front four on Lap 31 while there was another 11 seconds back to Raikkonen and 17.5 back to the Hulkenberg vs Grosjean battle. Hamilton, having stopped much earlier than the others, had yet to take places back.
Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg then pitted for the second time on Lap 32, Alonso on Lap 34, Massa, Vettel and Raikkonen on Lap 35. On new tyres Grosjean finally got past Hulkenberg but was under pressure, as evidenced by a rallycross moment where he crossed the grass and went straight on in the final kink on Lap 34.
Positions at the end of Lap 36:
1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Massa, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Hamilton, 7.Vergne (one stop), 8.Grosjean, 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Ricciardo, 11.Schumacher, 12.DiResta, 13.Perez
On Lap 37 Vettel had a lead of 6.8 seconds from Mark Webber who was 4.5 ahead of Fernando Alonso, who was only 1.4 seconds in front of Felipe Massa. At this stage of the race Massa's Ferrari looked so quick that it was capable of catching the second Red Bull - on Lap 37 Massa put in a 1:42.689 to Alonso's 1:44.192.
Felipe Massa duly got the warning call from engineer Rob Smedley "Felipe, you're bit too close to Fernando, back off to a couple of seconds."
Hamilton still held on to sixth place but in some cases was two seconds a lap slower than Grosjean. The McLaren looked like a sitting target but when Grosjean tried a move round the outside at Turn 3 on Lap 40, Hamilton ran him off the track. The Lotus driver couldn't make the overtaking move stick as it had been off-track (like Vettel in Germany) and as they both shaped up for Turn 4 Nico Hulkenberg drove around the outside of them both, Hamilton pushed him onto the kerbs, but there was too much of the Force India to push him all the way and then Hulkenberg had the line for Turn 5. The move of the race.
Now fully engaged in proceedings again Lewis put in a personal best lap time before pitting for his third set of tyres on Lap 42. He set off after Jean-Eric Vergne on a set of supersoft tyres but such was the straightline speed advantage of the Toro Rosso that even with DRS Lewis couldn't get close enough going into Turn 3. Vergne caught and passed the struggling Daniel Ricciardo, but just as Hamilton looked to take advantage in the final few laps he hooked up a piece of torn Astroturf to the sidepod and trailed it around to the flag.
The front seven positions didn't change between Lap 41 to the flag on Lap 55. Despite being asked to back off, Felipe Massa was only 1.2 behind Alonso on lap 42. Massa was heard to be asking about Mark Webber's lap times but was obliged to drop back. (Last year he finished in front of Alonso)
The final ten laps of the race was filled with worries over the state of the tyres and in particular Sebastian Vettel's tendency to go for fastest lap at the close. His team thought that the tyre taking the most load, the right front, might go at any second and his engineer, Rocky, told him this repeatedly. "Sebastian, I'm sorry to be on your case but you will not know till it's too late!"
As it was, the man who had stopped for tyres earlier, Mark Webber, rained on Seb's parade by putting in the fastest lap on the penultimate lap, a 1:42.037 to edge the gap out to Alonso to 6.6 seconds. Seb countered with a personal best on his final lap but it was a long way off fastest. The new World Championship leader told Adrian Newy afterwards that if he backed off and let the tyres go cold he got problems as well.
Vettel came across the line for his third win of the 2012 season in a row, having led all three Korean grands prix from 2010 to 2012 with the exception of 12 laps (when he retired in 2010). Mark Webber took second with Alonso third and Massa an easy fourth, a country mile clear of Raikkonen in fifth, Hulkenberg in sixth and an intact Grosjean in seventh.
Lewis Hamilton, complete with Astroturf, couldn't catch Vergne in eighth or Ricciardo in ninth but managed to fend off Perez to hold onto 10th. Probably not the result he was expecting when he was sat on the grid and a lot of hard work with a "nervous" car that looked a problem to drive.
Although the momentum is with the Red Bull team and Vettel, the race pace of the revised Ferrari F2012 showed that they are not far away and Felipe Massa will certainly be wearing red in 2013. The same might not be said of Kamui Kobayashi.
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h36:28.651
02. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 8.200
03. Alonso Ferrari + 13.900
04. Massa Ferrari + 20.100
05. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 36.700
06. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 45.300
07. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 54.800
08. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:09.500
09. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:11.700
10. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 1:19.600
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:20.000
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:24.400
13. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:29.200
14. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1:34.900
15. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:36.900
16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 lap2
20. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 17
Rosberg Mercedes 2
Button McLaren-Mercedes 1

Source: Planet-F1

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Qualifying: Webber pips Vettel to pole

Mark Webber claimed his second pole position of the season as he edged team-mate Sebastian Vettel in Korea on Saturday

Although Vettel was the favourite to take pole position at the Yeongam circuit, it was his Aussie team-mate who stole the show with a 1:37.242. That put Webber 0.074s up on Vettel and secured the 36-year-old's second pole of the season.
The second row has Lewis Hamilton alongside Fernando Alonso. Kimi Raikkonen qualified fifth ahead of Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean.
Qualifying Report
It was overcast at the sparsely spectatored Yeongam circuit with an ambient temperature of 22C and the track at 28C.
Pastor Maldonado set the first sub-1:40 lap at 1:39.716 which was ramped up by Fernando Alonso with a 1:39.543 and then Felipe Massa did considerably better with a 1:39.074. Kimi Raikkonen moved it down to 1:38.887.
Drivers were running multiple laps on the harder of the two tyres (the Soft) and so Alonso edged his time down even though he didn't improve his place. Sebastian Vettel needed just three laps to set the definitive time of 1:38.208. Mark Webber slotted into P2 and then Jenson Button took P2 off him. Lewis Hamilton was faster than Alonso but not by much and was having issues getting his car stopped into Turn 1.
Narain Karthikyean had already ended his qualifying after a front brake disc failure pitched him into a spin in the braking zone for Turn 3, the HRT car out on the spot.
With four minutes left to run the danger positions were: 14.Hulkenberg, 15.Perez, 16.Vergne. 17.Kobayashi, 18.Kovalainen, 19.Petrov, 20.Senna.
The switch to the red-walled supersoft tyre was taken by all the mid-grid teams with Bruno Senna most vulnerable, already down amongst the new teams. However a set of supersofts immediately produced results as Maldonado jumped to P10, Senna to P13 and Kobayashi to P4.
With other cars improving the timesheet was rapidly turning over and seconds later the positions were: 14.Hamilton, 15.Alonso, 16.Senna, 17.Schumacher, 18.Vergne.
Ferrari were alive to the possibilities of Alonso going out and sent him back on track with a set of supersoft tyres. Hamilton stayed in the garage.
When Vergne put his Toro Rosso into P6 that pushed Michael Schumacher into P18, and when he grabbed P8 it made the positions: 16.Hamilton, 17.Alonso, 18.Senna. What's more Senna and Alonso were on laps that looked like improving their position yet Hamilton was sat looking at the timing screens.
Alonso took a scruffy P16 pushing Lewis to P17, but then after a good opening sector Bruno Senna had a 44.1 second middle sector (his best had been 43.6) and that was his Q1 over. The Williams team called him back into the pits, much to the relief of McLaren.
Out went: 18.Senna, 19.Petrov, 20.Kovalainen, 21.Pic, 22.Glock, la Rosa, 24.Karthikeyan (no time)
It was another poor result for Bruno Senna, although ultimately Pastor Maldonado would not finish that much further in front of him. Great outcomes for Petrov and Pic outqualifying their team-mates against the run of form this season. Overall the difference between P1 (Vettel) 1:38.2 and P17 (Hamilton) 1:39.1 was just 0.9 of a second.
Qualifying 2
There was no-one anxious to get clear track space at the beginning of Q2 and it took almost a minute before Sergio Perez came out to set the benchmark time of 1:38.981. Sauber team-mate Kamui Kobayashi reduced it to 1 1:38.504 before Fernando Alonso became the first man to break the 1:38 barrier with a 1:37.987.
Ferrari will have been encouraged to see that Sebastian Vettel couldn't beat that by very much - a 1:37.767 for Vettel put him top with Mark Webber slotting into P3 and then Lewis Hamilton displacing him in P3.
The McLarens had more brake locking issues than most and Jenson Button should have put in a faster first lap than he did on his opening tour but locked up. With four minutes of the session left to run the danger positions were: 6.Grosjean, 7.Schumacher, 8.Button, 9.Raikkonen, 10.Kobayashi, 11.DiResta, 12.Rosberg, 13.Perez, 14.Ricciardo, 15.Hulkenberg,16.Vergne, 17.Maldonado.
Everyone but Vettel went for another run on track, though not necessarily using a new set of tyres. With low wear on the smooth (underused) Yeongam circuit the supersofts could be used for more than one fast lap.
Nico Hulkenberg jumped up to P7, Maldonado could only improve to P13 and then the yellow flags came out for Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso which he parked at the side of the track in the final sector (gearbox). Despite the yellow flags Perez improved to P10, Rosberg moved to P7, then Raikkonen to P5, pushing Button into P11 where he stayed.
As the session closed, out went: 11.Button, 12.Perez, 13.Kobayashi, 14.DiResta, 15.Maldonado, 16.Ricciardo, 17.Vergne.
Button was the big casualty, losing out by 0.005 to Michael Schumacher, unable to put in a fast final sector, while Paul diResta hit a lot of traffic and was slower on a new set of softs than he was on a scrubbed set.
Qualifying 3
Mercedes produced an almost pantomime start to the final qualifying session by going to the end of the pitlane (with the green light on) and just sitting there, letting their tyres go cold. First Rosberg, and then Schumacher parked their cars. In fact Michael was sat there for an age while all the other cars went round him.
Hamilton was keen to get on with his outlap and passed both a Red Bull and a Lotus in his anxiety to get the track position he wanted.
Across the line they came on their opening laps, Massa set the benchmark with a 1:38.010, followed by Alonso 1:37.667. Grosjean slotted into P3 and then Lewis Hamilton displaced him in P3.
Sebastian Vettel then produced the much-expected provisional pole lap of 1:37.316, while team-mate Mark Webber could only manage P3 behind Alonso.
The keen-to-park-up Mercedes cars had come into the pits without setting a lap time, but in the second round decided to go for it. In fact Michael Schumacher was launched into the pitlane right in front of Lewis Hamilton who adeptly swerved round him.
The Force India of Nico Hulkenberg wasn't saving tyres either and claimed P7. Next round was a blistering lap from Mark Webber who put his Red Bull on provisional pole. Lewis Hamilton did a lot better to cross the line in P3, Alonso stayed P4, Nico Rosberg outqualified team-mate Michael Schumacher by taking P8, but lost a place when Romain Grosjean came past him to grab P7.
All eyes turned expectantly to Sebastian Vettel who would no doubt reclaim P1 but a poor first sector ruined his chances and he came up short of his team-mate.
So it was a Red Bull front row but with some interesting neighbours on the grid - Alonso just in front of Raikkonen who punctured Alonso's rear tyre at the last start in Suzuka. Grosjean next to his team-mate and not far away from Rosberg (who got shunted out of the last race) and Schumacher who he's had the pleasure of colliding with in the past.
Given that the low-tyre wear surface could produce a grinder of a one-stop race for some teams, then track position on the opening lap will be key. And with a lot of dust on the used-once-a-year-track that might generate some mistakes on Lap 1 tomorrow. Vettel and Webber should be clear of it, but further back there could be a lot of 'fun'.
01. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.242
02. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.316 + 0.074
03. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.469 + 0.227
04. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.534 + 0.292
05. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m37.625 + 0.383
06. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.884 + 0.642
07. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.934 + 0.692
08. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.266 + 1.024
09. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.361 + 1.119
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m38.513 + 1.271
11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.441 + 0.674
12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.460 + 0.693
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.594 + 0.827
14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.643 + 0.876
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m38.725 + 0.958
16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.084 + 1.317
17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.340 + 1.573
18. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m39.443 + 1.235
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m40.207 + 1.999
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m40.333 + 2.125
21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.317 + 3.109
22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.371 + 3.163
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.881 + 4.673
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth no time

Source: Planet-F1

Friday, October 12, 2012

Räikkönen hoped for a little more from Lotus-team's update

Kimi Räikkönen tested the new exhaust system based upon the Coanda-effect for the first time on Friday in Korean Grand Prix -practice. Kimi wasn't completely assured about it's benefits at once.

In theory it should give half a second to the laptimes.

- It was quite a difficult day. It's not easy to get the car to fall in place. Hopefully it goes better on Saturday, Räikkönen said.

Then what about the update-side?

- We will now look at the data we collected and decide if we will continue with it or not. Maybe we expected a bit more from it than it looked like, Kimi estimated.

James Allison let understand that the update-part will be kept in the car this weekend.

- It's still far from the optimum, but we are relatively satisfied with how it worked during practice, Allison assured.

It's difficult to compare, because the feeling in the car on Yeongam track is different when compared for example to ... eltaSuzuka with the same machinery.

- This is a completely different track and since I haven't drove with this new system anywhere else, it's completely impossible to evaluate my feelings, Kimi emphasized.

Yeongam is the season's first completely new track for Kimi.

- It's an ok track, although it was surprisingly bumpy on some parts when thinking that it's a new track. We are pretty much the same we always are on Fridays. Hopefully we get the car better for Saturday, because now it looked like we need to get one second more. Then again others surely also improve.

– Laptimes don't matter, what matters is that we get the right impression from these practices for Saturday, Räikkönen reminded.

Turun Sanomat


Courtesy: Nicole