Ciao Marco – An International Tribute

Marco Simoncelli

Hi Racers

I was lucky enough to be involved in an incredible, international tribute to the late Marco Simoncelli on my friends ( and great sports writer and blogger ) Alex Goldschmidt’s Blog.

You can check it out here:

http://alexgoldie.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/ciao-marco/

My contribution is below:

From a lover of all things Motorsport, the death of a competitor is always a startling reminder of the dangers, but also the courage these sportsmen take when they don the helmet and rev their engines. All in the name of love for their sport. Marco was, and will always be an incredible gift given to the world of MotoGP. His passing won’t be a waste, and in the form of Senna in F1, his accident with teach us and encourage to develop more safety and appreciation to the sport.
The king of the Afro (his helmet design must have needed tweaking to fit that in) and a solid young gun in the world of MotoGP. Your skill, courage & determination will be missed, as will your quirky sense of humor and outlandish personality.
Go the FRO!
Thanks to Bonnie Hutchins, aka @bonvonhutch from Perth, Western Australia, who is also a blogger.

________________________________________________________________________________

I will be back in touch soon, as Alex has also asked me to be involved in a 4 part Pre Season Series, that I was lucky enough to write for.

Of course, I will be keeping you all posted when its ready to be viewed.

Happy New Year!

Keep the revs high,

Vroom Vroom

Mark’s final BBC column of the year

20111215-195220.jpg

Mark with glasses – perfect for his Journo role at BBC 🙂

Hi Racers

As always, here is the link to Mark’s BBC column. His final of the year.

http://www.news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/formula_one/16198349.stm

On another note, apologies if my blog hasn’t been as exciting as recent months. I’m collating information to post a nice report on all the driver changes that have been happening.

Will get on the comp & post this weekend.

Until then,

Keep the revs high

Vroom Vroom

Congratulations

Hi Racers

Big congratulations to Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button & Mark Webber on receiving their World Champion standings trophies at the FIA Gala in India.

Great season 🙂

20111211-143831.jpg Sebastian Vettel 1st

20111211-143929.jpgJenson Button – 2nd

20111211-144001.jpgMark Webber – 3rd

Keep Racing

Vroom Vroom

Mark’s latest BBC Column write up.

20111201-180553.jpg

Mark in Brazil

Hi Racers,

Mark Webber’s latest write up for the BBC has been released.

He writes about his win in Brazil, his feelings on the season as a whole, and a few “off the Mark” topics.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/formula_one/15976820.stm

Enjoy 🙂

Vroom Vroom

20111201-180624.jpg
Vettel congratulates Webber on his win in Brazil

The Rare Sight – Vettel Retires

Hi Racers

Thought some of you may want to see this. Seeing as it doesn’t happen very often, we may as well revel in it.

Video is when Vettel got his puncture and went off track at Abu Dhabi GP.

Enjoy 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py96OdFnJ_M

Vroom Vroom

Post Race Review – Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit

Hamilton has his mojo back. WINNER in Abu Dhabi 2011

 

Hi Racers,

Well, what a TREAT we had last night. Finally, we were exposed to a race where the odds were tipped in anyone elses favour and it was anyones race.

So much was happening, that I think I’m going to go with a different layout this time around, and I’ll go through each drivers race ( the Top 4 ) and if there is anything else worth mentioning I’ll pop that in as well.

Vettel spins off on the first corner.

Puncture & Retirement for Vettel.

No need to be so upset Vettel - everyone makes mistakes 😉

Firstly, Vettel.

As he took off the line, into the first corner, he went OFF! Yes, that’s right. The unstoppable Vettel was stopped due to a puncture ( the cause is still being investigated ) and hobbled back to the pits in 24th position. unfortunately for Vettel, the damage had been done after doing a full lap on a shredded tyre and he retired. I can only imagine the JOY on Hamilton’s face as he came into the first corner behind him and saw his car veer off. Its Vettels first DNF for nearly a year.

Hamilton

Hamilton, who had been in fine form all weekend, finally came back to his true self with a fantastic race around Yas Marina circuit. Following Vettels exit from the race, he remained in front, holding off a merciless Alonso, who kept up with him the entire race ( we are talking between 2 – 5 seconds ) . Hamilton went with a 2 stop strategy and it treated him well.  There really is nothing much left to say about Hamilton’s performance. It was smooth, without incident, fast and just all round great to watch.

Alonso - Sunset, Yas Marina Circuit

Alonso

Alonso managed to pass Webber at the first corner, and streaked ahead of Webber & Button. Within no time at all, Alonso & Hamilton were racing their own race, at around 12 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack. Alonso also went for a 2 stop strategy. He attempted to carry on after Hamilton’s second pit stop on the harder tyre, in the hope that he could gain enough time for a pit stop and retain his first place spot ( which he had inherited after Hamilton’s stop ) but it wasnt to be. The tyres just didn’t have the stamina that late in the race. Alonso pitted, and found himself back in 2nd, only a few seconds behind the leader. In the end, a solid effort from Ferrari to keep up with McLaren, who had been super fast all weekend. It did make me wonder, wether Hamilton was on power saving mode, or perhaps keeping something in reserve, as if is speeds over the weekend were anything to go by, I assumed that with Vettel out of the picture, Hamilton would streak ahead from the nearest competitor with no problems at all. Either way, it didn’t matter what he was doing. He retained first place. With Alonso securing second.

 

 

 

Jenson Button in Abu Dhabi, as twilight approaches

Button

Button had some serious issues for this race. After battling it out with Webber over 3rd/4th position, at around Lap 14 he suddenly started flailing. It was obvious he had some kind of a mechanical issue. His KERS had failed, and therefore now had disastrous braking ability and was losing serious time. But, being the champion that he is, he was actually resetting his own KERS from within the cock pit every 2 – 3 laps, all whilst holding off Webber & Massa. In the end, Webber managed to pass Button at around Lap 40, but still needed to pit for the hard tyres, so in the end, Button inherited back his 3rd place position, and secured it for the race. A supreme effort considering his mechanical glitch.

Mark flies in Abu Dhabi.

Webber

Ok – It became apparent pretty early on that with Vettel out of the race, all eyes were on Webber to see “what he could do in the same car”without Vettel to contend with. I think this is a bit unfair, he always does his best regardless of whether Vettel is racing or not, and this was to be no different.

After losing his 4th place start to Alonso at the 1st/2nd corners, Webber soldiered on in 5th place for most of the race. After his 2nd pit stop, it became apparent that he would be on a 3 stop strategy, and pitted again for softs at lap 38. This meant of course, that he would then have to pit again. His plan, was to gain enough time on the softs ( while everyone else is on options ) to streak ahead, with enough of a gap to secure 4th place ahead of Massa, and perhaps, if Button lost enough time with his ongoing KERS issue, to pit and come out ahead of him to secure 3rd place. Webber was FLYING in the last 15 laps of the race, gaining almost 10 seconds in 10 laps. It was well & truly enough to secure himself 4th place ahead of Massa ( especially after Massa made a mistake and went off track ) but wasnt going to be enough to secure himself 3rd ahead of Button, however, it was great to watch him go with a different strategy. His Pit crew will be getting a talking to today I’m sure after he went in for the all important pit stop to put on his softs the team did a 9.3 SECOND PIT STOP! Probably the worst pit stop the Red Bull garage has ever done. Webber was not impressed, screeching off down the pit lane and sending sparks as he went around the corner. I don’t blame him really. After Vettel going off, really they only need to concentrate on ONE person, and they didn’t seem to be able to do that? Cest la Vie. Webber secured 4th, and some points towards the championship, so all is well in the end.

 

 

A welcome change with no Vettel on the podium. Hamilton, Alonso, Button.

That covers the driver basics really. Here are the results:

 

Pos # Driver Car Laps Gap Difference Reason
1 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 55
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 55 8.457 8.457
3 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 55 25.881 17.424
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 55 35.784 9.903
5 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 55 50.578 14.794
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 55 52.317 1.739
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 55 75.964 23.647
8 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 55 77.122 1.158
9 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 55 101.087 23.965
10 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 54 1 lap 1 lap
11 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 54 1 lap 13.321
12 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 54 1 lap 0.710
13 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 54 1 lap 3.852
14 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 54 1 lap 53.333
15 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 54 1 lap 1.305
16 9 Bruno Senna Renault 54 1 lap 8.470
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 54 1 lap 3.345
18 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 53 2 laps 1 lap
19 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 53 2 laps 29.272
20 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 53 2 laps 32.001
Not classified
22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 48 7 laps 5 laps Electrics
18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 19 36 laps 29 laps Hydraulics
25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 18 37 laps 1 lap Brakes
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1 54 laps 17 laps Suspension

 

Yes Maldonado – what WERE you thinking!

Ok – lets talk about Pastor Maldonado. If there was a trophy for IDIOT of the race, he would win it. For some unknown reason, Maldonado must have thought that a blue flag meant to fight to keep a place you are being LAPPED in. Earlier in the race he was handed a drive through penalty for ignoring the blue flags and not allowing the front-runners past. THEN, after serving his drive through penalty for his first offence, up drives Webber during his fight with Button. So, Maldonado thinks, great, I’ll pretend I’m fighting for a place with the big boys ( who knows what he was bloody thinking ) and actually DEFENDED his Lapped position, AND drove wheel to wheel with Webber down the straight. What. A. MORON!

He should have been benched straight away. After just receiving a penalty for the same offence, to go out and do it again, and blatantly too, is unacceptable and just dirty driving. There is no reason for it. Anyway, the stewards didn’t DSQ him, instead they handed him a stop-go penalty, however, because this was decided post race, they have handed him a 30 seconds time penalty to be added to his race time in Brazil.

 

 

 

 

It was a great race, I really enjoyed it. It was nice to not have Vettel in the race it must be said, it allowed for the other drivers, im sure, to feel a sense of relief, and also to just have a bit of fun and relax with the driving. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The fight for second place in the Championship is looking pretty close. Here are the standings as they are now ( to be honest, I think Button might nab it, with Webber in 3rd, that’s my prediction )

Position Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 374
2 Jenson Button 255
3 Fernando Alonso 245
4 Mark Webber 233
5 Lewis Hamilton 227
6 Felipe Massa 108
7 Nico Rosberg 83
8 Michael Schumacher 76
9 Vitaly Petrov 36
10 Nick Heidfeld 34

As always, I recorded the Post Race Press Conference and have put it on Youtube for your enjoyment 🙂

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNdN7GJ9zDQ

 

The next, and final race of the season is in Brazil. It’s a sad time when the end of the season comes around – what will we all do for nearly 4 months!!!

Until next time

Vroom Vroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qualifying Review – Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit

Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi.

Hi Racers

I love Abu Dhabi. The twilight aspect of this race is incredible. Racing begins during daylight hours, and as dusk approaches, the flood lights take over and its twilight. The cars look incredible, the atmosphere peaks and it’s just an all round incredible track.

In the 3rd year of this track, the main talk was that it was crucial that Webber, Hamilton or Button could break Vettels stranglehold and gain some crucial points in order to try to secure their 2nd place in the world championship.

Qualifying was exciting. Although, there is an aspect that will be surely discussed, and perhaps a new rule put in place for next season. The fact that it’s becoming more and more apparent that the Q3 is a 6 car battle, rather than the 10 cars that are capable of battling out for top qualifying times.

This is mainly because the top 6, are always the usual suspects. Red Bull, McLaren & Ferrari, the other 2 teams, Mercedes and Force India, probably feel that there isn’t much point, and would therefor prefer to save a set of tyres for the race. Fair enough in theory, but it makes for a fairly unimpressive battle. It would be wonderful for the spectators to be able to watch 10 cars, out on track for 10 minutes, battling it out as it should be.

Anyhow, apart from that, the Qualifying was great. Hamilton has been on top form all weekend, and was set to push Vettel off the qualifying perch. Button wasnt far off his team mates pace and it looked set to be a McLaren 1, 2 start tomorrow.

HOWEVER, Vettel, known for his somehow magical way of pulling something out of the depths, manage to smash Hamilton’s incredible fast time at the very last-minute, and meant that Hamilton was pushed into 2nd place. With Button starting 3rd, and Webber 4th.

Webber had some serious pace all weekend, but just couldn’t compete with the McLaren to get up there. He constantly matched times, up until the last flying lap, where he just couldn’t find the extra time.

Webber is consistent at this track, I think he has a good chance of getting a podium, and of course, im wishing on bated breath that he can get a win. If not him, then I’d be happy with Button. If Hamilton happens to win, then I’ll just be glad it’s not Vettel 🙂

Top 3 in Qualifying. Vettel, Hamilton & Button

Here are the qualifying results for you:

1. Sebastian Vettel 1’38.481
Red Bull

2. Lewis Hamilton 1’38.622
McLaren

3. Jenson Button 1’38.631
McLaren

4. Mark Webber 1’38.858
Red Bull

5. Fernando Alonso 1’39.058
Ferrari

6. Felipe Massa 1’39.695
Ferrari

7. Nico Rosberg 1’39.773
Mercedes

8. Michael Schumacher 1’40.662
Mercedes

9. Adrian Sutil 1’40.768
Force India

10. Paul di Resta No time
Force India

Mansell & Vettel. Record Holders for 14 Pole Positions in a single season.

 

On another note, Vettel has matched Nigel Mansells Qualifying record, with 14 pole Positions in a single season! Now, that’s just annoying 😉

Well done to Vettel, it seems, he just cant be stopped….

Vettel admires Buttons "mo".

Special mention to Jenson Button, who is sporting a moustache for “Movember”” to raise awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer. Can that man be any more awesome?

Lets hope with the start of a brand new season in 2012, we can start to see a fresh burst of confidence from the other drivers and get a nice battle going.

Enjoy the race tonight racers.

 

Until then,

Keep Racing

Vroom Vroom