Monday, August 25, 2008

Much To Stew Over In Stewards' Ruling

Re-published from Planet F1
Sunday 24th August 2008

In a ruling eventually published almost two hours after the end of the European GP, Felipe Massa has been fined and reprimanded for being released into the path of Adrian Sutil following his second pit stop.

No further explanation was provided, leaving PF1 to ask three questions about the ruling:

Why Did It Take So Long?
Having announced they would investigate Massa's pit stop release within a few minutes of the actual incident occurring, only three more laps had passed before they announced that a judgement would have to wait until the end of the race. Why the wait? It could be for only three reasons:

1) The evidence was complex and required detailed analysis as well as the testimony of numerous witnesses.

2) The stewards were too busy dealing with another case to consider a separate incident.

3) The incident took place near the end of the race, leaving the stewards with insufficient time to make a ruling.

It was none of those things. There was nearly a third of the race still to run, no other incidents were under investigation, and, courtesy of the television cameras, there was ample evidence immediately available on which to base a ruling. Ferrari were clearly guilty of failing to abide by article 23.1 of the FIA Sporting Regulations 2008 that states, "It is the responsibility of the competitor to release his car after a pit stop only when it is safe to do so". The only decision the stewards had to make was determining the extent of their punishment. There was no justification for the delay - especially not when it meant that a television audience was still left to wonder whether the result stood long after coverage from Valencia had ended. Bernie Ecclestone, accountable to the television executives who fund the sport, will have been livid at such an unsatisfactory conclusion.

So why the delay? Bereft of any viable alternative, the explanation must be that the stewards wanted to wait until the result of the race was in and they could impose their punishment accordingly. Suspicion is rife that, in the expectation of a convincing Massa victory, they wanted to add ten seconds to his time in the knowledge that it wouldn't actually change the result. Only when Massa crossed the line just six seconds ahead of Hamilton did they have to reconsider.

Why Punish Massa?
Although the competitor cited in article 23.1 is apparently the driver and not the team - note 'his' car rather than 'their' - it is perplexing that it is Massa rather than Ferrari who suffered a punishment. This was the team's offence, not his.

Amid the confusion about the process in which Ferrari drivers are released back into the pit lane after their stops, the stewards were arguably also entitled to demand clarification from the team. If the problem is the process then 'reprimanding' Massa -a passenger rather than a driver - is as pointless as fining a multi-millionaire 10,000 euros.

Did The Stewards Consider Massa's Testimony?
In attempting to deflect blame towards Sutil for daring to pass the Ferrari garage, Massa's ludicrous post-race commentary inadvertently confirmed that the crime was worse than depicted.

Consider some of his remarks: "It was a little bit of a shame to fight with him in the pit lane because he would have had to have let me pass. We came so close to the wall and I had to back off which cost me a bit of time. Fortunately the gap was enough."

The extracts particularly worth emphasising are "fight in the pit lane", "fortunately" and "close to the wall". Anyone who argues that this was an insignificant incident whose danger was exaggerated by television should think again. It is difficult to commensurate the imposition of such a meaningless punishment with a crime that wasn't only clearly committed but also subsequently revealed by its perpetrator to be serious and potentially catastrophic.

Pete Gill

European GP: Winners and Losers

Re-published from Planet F1
Sunday 24th August 2008

Star of the Race

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1st
An immaculate race from Felipe Massa and a perfect response to his disappointment at the Hungaroring. He and Lewis Hamilton were a class apart at Valencia, but it was the Ferrari driver who set the majority of Fastest Laps in a race where only the two of them got a look in. If Ferrari are to favour one driver now, then he's making it a very easy choice, he was faultless.

What a pity he should ruin all that good work with the tossiest of comments in the press conference afterwards. To brand Adrian Sutil's failure to slow down in the pitlane and let him out as "not very clever" takes the kind of arrogant stupidity only an F1 driver could conjure up. Massa was toe-curlingly embarrassing. Did he really expect the Force-India to cruise down the pitlane on the rev limiter waiting to stand on the anchors should the Ferrari emerge?

Compare and contrast Massa's comments to some of the post-race comments from Fernando Alonso, who had every right to be blindingly angry, but who was restraint itself when talking to ITV's Louise Goodman.


Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 2nd
Lewis looked distinctly under the weather this weekend and was the only guy to keep Massa honest. It's doubtful whether he could have matched Massa even on his best form, but he was never more than 10.2 seconds behind over the race distance.

Robert Kubica, BMW, 3rd
Kubica almost sneaked past Hamilton at the start but from then on it was damage limitation and one eye in the mirror for Heikki Kovalainen. If the Ferraris are going to blow engines at alternate races he could still be in there with a shout at the end.

Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 4th
Kovalainen wasn't held up by anyone in the race, so you'd expect him to be a bit closer to Lewis Hamilton than thirty-four seconds - that's a consistent lap time of over half a second slower.

Jarno Trulli Toyota, 5th and 7th
Jarno will be glad to be outscoring Timo Glock again and the Toyota team look like making fourth place in the Constructors' Championship their own now that both he and Timo are getting into the points. Even qualifying outside of Q3 is no barrier to Glock who is proving very adept at handling a heavily-fueled car. Maybe it's a good job overtaking is so difficult.

Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 6th
Given the increased pace of the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso compared to the Renault-powered Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel may be having second thoughts about moving over. Vettel produced another solid performance, though he escaped unscathed from his familiar first lap moment-of-madness, coming from too far back and banging Raikkonen's wheels square on. Coulthard did the same to Sutil and wasn't so lucky.

Nico Rosberg, Williams, 8th
Despite starting the race on the supersoft tyres, Rosberg survived to score a point.


Valencia Organisers
Now repeat the mantra - "Valencia is a distinctive racing circuit and a valuable new addition to the F1 calendar. It's a modern Monaco". Or that's what Bernie would like you to think anyway. How about the Winners and Losers alternative: "Valencia is a very dull race in a faceless, dusty dockside car park."

The great redeeming feature about F1 street circuits is that they're nadgy tracks, likely to bite the driver for the tiniest of mistakes. That makes up for the intrinsic lack of overtaking. Take that danger away - as they have done at Valencia - and you have a track that can only rely on its scenery. When that scenery is a dockside dominated by ferries, the glamour evaporates.

It's hard to imagine the Automobile Club de Monaco getting worried about Valencia as an alternative for the beautiful people to hang out after the 2008 race. In fact you get the feeling that the Spanish have invested £70m in a white elephant. We have seen from the demise of the two German GPs after Schumacher's retirement, that simply having German drivers in the race cannot sustain the level of interest for a double dose of F1,

For a country that has no tradition of following F1 (they didn't even have TV coverage until Alonso's emergence into the spotlight, despite Marc Gene and Pedro de la Rosa) the organisers are absolutely dependent on Fernando's involvement.

It's been a great achievement to get the facility up and running so quickly, but most people don't watch sport for the swiftness and execution of the capital infrastructure projects.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, DNF
Zero points is not what Raikkonen would have wanted - even if it evened up the Scuderia score after Massa blew an engine unit last time out. He's had a sorry time of late, qualifying behind Massa, starting poorly and getting stuck behind slower cars, and now he's caused uproar by exiting too early after his second pit-stop. Yet with six races to go, if two of them are wet (and Mount Fuji and Spa often are) then Raikkonen is a far bigger threat to Hamilton than Massa would be. Ferrari have a difficult path to tread.

Fernando Alonso, Renault, DNF
In the stop-start action of the opening corners it looked like Nakajima had half an eye on a car cutting the apex of the corner and didn't expect Alonso to brake so hard in front of him as they jostled with Timo Glock. Fernando was the innocent victim of what looked like a GP2 accident. Hard to know why it wasn't investigated further as it left 100,000 spectators distinctly unchuffed.

FIA Stewards
Where do you want to start, then...?

The shambolic performance of the stewards exceeded all W+L's expectations in Valencia, reaching new lows of inconsistency and demonstrating yet again that the multi-billion dollar sport of F1 is refereed by three blokes tossing a coin.

It started on Saturday with Timo Glock making Nick Heidfeld so angry about being blocked in qualifying that he drove his BMW off track. The stewards reviewed the tapes and came to the opinion that Glock hadn't got in the way. Compare this to Alonso's supposed impeding of Massa at Monza a few years back, or Heikki Kovalainen getting in the way of Mark Webber (who like Heidfeld, still qualified) before the French GP.

Kazuki Nakajima drove straight into the back of Fernando Alonso on the opening lap. You'd think that they might have considered that an avoidable accident and at least replayed the tape. Nope.

And finally, they set the most dangerous precedent of delaying Felipe Massa's "unsafe pit-stop release " decision for no real reason and set the tariff for dangerous driving in the pitlane at a mere 10,000 euros.

Effectively what they have said to the teams is that they can let their driver out into a narrow pitlane near another car and the most they can expect to get is a 10,000 euro fine. In the past we have had races where Michael Schumacher has grazed the pitlane exit line with half a tyre (all on his own, no cars around) and been given a drive-though penalty. Other drivers too. This looked like F1 politicking at its very worst and the FIA should explain themselves so we don't all jump to conclusions.

Mark - Git orf me barra - Blundell
What a relief to get back to watch a bit of (knees up muvver bra-a-a-n) Blunders. Having watched a barrage of American TV coverage of the Olympics over the last two weeks I'm now in a position to give you the NBC slant on the Valencia result.

I can tell you that Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica, all podiumed in the race. Massa poled his Ferrari, while Hamilton gridded in P2 with Kubica gridding in P3. They all checker-flagged on Lap 57

Had it been an Olympic discipline then they would have "medal-ed", if not "semi-final-ed".

Andrew Davies


Typical FIA and as expected, Massa gets away with or should I say Ferrari got away with it. Not only did he get to keep his win, he got off scott-free. And people wonder why the FIA is called Ferrari International Assistance or why there's so many Ferrari haters out there. I may not have been watching F1 for very long but I've seen enough to know that there is a bias towards Ferrari with the FIA. Ferrari said that they'd be surprised if they get a penalty (maybe because they own the FIA and the FIA shouldn't bite the hands that feed).

And it would seem that when Ferrari tries to cheat by using some banned or un-approved modification to their cars, it's ok (think the movable floor device in Melbourne 07) and they get away with a slap on the wrist. But if other teams try to do the same (either intentionally or not), Ferrari will jump and complain to daddy dear (that's you Max) and all sorts of punishment is meted out (in the interest of sporting fairness of course).

So, to McLaren haters or Lewis haters or other team haters (that's you with the red shirt), please wake up and take a good look at your so-called beloved team. If you cannot identify with fairness and righteousness, then continue to support Ferrari.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Well, the race didn't turn out as expected. I mean, I knew Ferrari was strong but the race didn't turn out to be as exciting as I'd thought. There was never any danger of a safety car and it didn't rain. Only 1 car was taken out in the first lap and that was Alonso losing his rear wing courtesy of Nakajima.

Lewis ran a strong race but he was no match for Massa, who got off to a good start and never looked threatened all the way. I knew that Lewis couldn't catch up with Massa and was hoping that Lewis would keep his cool and look at the bigger picture i.e. the championship is more important than winning this race. Just finishing second was better than trying too hard to chase Massa then losing the race altogether.

My only gripe with the race was Massa and Ferrari. What else is new right? First off, the FIA changed the starting grid from the left to the right, thereby handing Massa the cleaner side of the track and the results speak for themselves, Massa got off to a flying start.

Then the most obvious, annoying and dangerous display of stupidity happened when Massa and Sutil was in the pits. Sutil got off from his pitstop and was his way out of the pits when Massa also finished his pitstop and rushed out, almost hitting Sutil and causing an accident. It was obvious that Sutil was already on his way out, so Massa didn't have a choice but to give way but noooo..he had to be a hero.

Fine, he's competitive and we had the pitlane incident. Next up and most annoying, the FIA didn't do anything. We have seen many times before how hard the FIA can come down on any driver that makes that kind of mistake or even less. Massa should've been penalised during the race via a drive through penalty or at least a penalty at the next race, at least a 5 place grid penalty. His result tonight is still under scrutiny though, so we'll wait.

Oh and another thing, to make it worse, during the post race press conference Massa said that he thought Sutil should have given way to him because he was in front in the race or something to that effect. Basically he is saying that the blue flag applies in the pitlane too, that Sutil should stop and wait for the Ferrari to finish his pitstop and his coffee and croissant, then let him go first and then only move on. And you McLaren/Lewis haters wonder why we hate Ferrari?

Lewis: Massa will be hard to beat

Re-produced from Planet F1.
Saturday 23rd August 2008

Lewis Hamilton faces an uphill struggle to win the European GP as he takes on a man desperate to erase the heartache he suffered in his last race.

Current Championship leader Hamilton starts from second on the grid at the impressive Valencia street circuit behind a fired-up Felipe Massa, on pole for the 13th time in his career.

The Brazilian, eight points adrift of Hamilton in the standings, is still smarting after victory was snatched from his grasp in a cruel fashion three weeks ago in Hungary.

Massa would have taken over at the top but for his Ferrari engine blowing three laps from home when he was coasting to the win.

The 27-year-old has had to carry that pain through the summer break and is now eager to atone and take the chequered flag in Valencia, making its debut on the Formula One calendar.

With a determined Massa ahead of him, Hamilton knows he will have his hands full.

"It will be a close fight again with Ferrari, but as you saw in sector one (on the track), Felipe destroyed everyone," remarked Hamilton.

"They're going to be the car to beat, but we're going to push as hard as we can to do so.

"We've done a great job so far. Our approach has been as good as ever. We've come here with a strong package, and at least we're close to the Ferraris.

"I'm quite happy with the job we've done today, and being on the front row puts us in a good position to fight for a win, so I'm very, very happy.

"It's just important we get a good start. I'll aim to challenge Felipe, but if I don't get close enough then I will just try to keep my position."

Qualy: First Valencia pole belongs to Massa

Re-produced from Planet F1.
Saturday 23rd August 2008

Felipe Massa made history on Saturday when he became the very first F1 driver to take pole position at the new Valencia street circuit.

The Brazilian continued his good run of form when he clocked a 1:38.989 during Q3 to take pole position away from Lewis Hamilton.

The McLaren driver posted a 1:39.199 to fall 0.210s short of Massa's time while Robert Kubica was third quickest for BMW.

Kimi Raikkonen was the only other driver to get within half a second of Massa's P1 time while fifth place on the grid goes to Heikki Kovalainen.

Qualifying Report
The temperatures at Valencia's new dockside circuit were unusually low as the first ever qualifying session got underway. The ambient temperature was just 26C and the track at 30C with the potential for slight showers to come in from the south-east and the grey skies making teams very attentive to their weather radars.

Nelson Piquet set a slow benchmark P1 time of 1:40.044, hitting a seagull in the process. Jarno Trulli, who'd had successive engine problems in the morning practice and managed just two laps, was next to set P1 at 1:39.792, while team-mate Timo Glock lowered it to 1:39.178. Robert Kubica reduced it to 1:38.935 in his BMW.

Felipe Massa was just 6th on his first lap, but Championship rival Lewis Hamilton took provisional P1 with a 1:38.464. Kimi Raikkonen was only just faster than Massa and the Ferrari drivers went on to set second laps to improve their times, though only marginally.

Sebastien Bourdais demonstrated the consistent pace of the Toro Rossos this weekend with P2 on his first hot lap. Fernando Alonso entertained his passionate home fans with P2 before Nico Rosberg took it off him.

As the session progressed the times improved considerably but with four laps left the danger positions were: 12.Massa, 13.Coulthard, 14.Webber, 15.Nakajima, 16.Piquet, 17.Heidfeld, 18.Fisichella, 19.Sutil, 20.Barrichello

Massa went out and grabbed a decisive P1 with a 1:38.176, though team-mate Raikkonen could only manage 8th place. Nick Heidfeld was held up by Timo Glock's Toyota and tried to overtake him, lost control, went straight on at a turn and cut a corner. He still managed to post a P9 time, but as Kovalainen found out at the French GP when he impeded Mark Webber, (who also qualified for the next session despite the hold-up), he is likely to face a five-place grid penalty tomorrow.

Vettel then stunned the pundits with P1, Kubica grabbed P4, Piquet elevated himself to P13 on his third run, Nakajima leapt forward to P10 and Jarno Trulli seized P1 in the final seconds.

As the dust settled, out went:
16. Button

Jenson Button was clearly disappointed not to make it into Q2 having been put on the slower tyre for his final run, though Rubens Barrichello had been consistently slow.

Qualifying 2
There were light rain drops on Kimi Raikkonen's roll hoop camera as the Ferrari took to the track first in Session 2. He duly set P1 at 1:38.276, Robert Kubica reduced it to 1:38.050 and Sebastian Vettel showed that Toro Rosso meant business when he dipped into the 1:37s at 1:37.842.

Lewis Hamilton could only go P2, which he lost to Jarno Trulli's Toyota as the Roman set two purple sectors on his way to P2.

McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen set the P5 time ahead of the two Ferraris which had now been demoted to P6 and P7 - Massa being the slower of the two.

Going into the last three minutes the danger positions were: 7.Massa, 8.Rosberg, 9.Bourdais, 10.Nakajima, 11.Alonso, 12.Glock, 13.Heidfeld, 14.Piquet, 15.Webber

Hamilton was in third place, but such was the improvement in times in the final runs of Session 1 that the McLaren team were taking no chances. In the end 1st to 15th place was covered by just 0.8 of a second, so it was a sensible move.

As the cars finished their final runs Kovalainen stayed in P5, Massa jumped up to P2. Raikkonen slipped to P7, Bourdais stayed P9, Rosberg jumped to P9, Hamilton stayed P4, Alonso couldn't improve and finished P12 while Heidfeld jumpd up to P3.

So out went:

The great disappointment was that home boy Fernando Alonso failed to get his car into Q3, while the great joy was that both Toro Rossos had made it into the Top 10.

Qualifying 3
The big question going into Q3 was - could the Toro Rossos and Jarno Trulli's Toyota upset the Ferrari/McLaren domination of the front two rows? After the previous two sessions it looked possible.

Jarno Trulli set a benchmark pole time of 1:40.309 which Vettel reduced to 1:40.142. Lewis Hamilton took P1 from the German, but only just, his lap included a mistake going into the penultimate corner that sent him way offline. His 1:40.040 was soon eclipsed by Kimi Raikkonen and then by 0.6 of a second by Felipe Massa with a stellar 1:39.371.

Going into the final runs it was Massa, Raikkonen, Kubica, Hamilton and Vettel in the top five places.

Hamilton took another set of the softer tyres for his second run and there was no mistake this time as he grabbed P1 with a 1:39.199. Raikkonen couldn't beat it, but a final burst from Massa saw him take an impressive pole with a 1:38.989, while BMW's Robert Kubica slotted ahead of Raikkonen and Kovalainen climbed into P5.

It was another great lap from Massa and the body language in the press conference showed a Felipe brimming with confidence and a totally subdued Lewis Hamilton. With Safety Cars expected on the fast street circuit the race is still wide open, and with a grid that could favour P2 over P1, the opening lap could be spectacular and packed with incident.


01 F. Massa Ferrari 1:38.989
02 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:39.199
03 R. Kubica BMW 1:39.392
04 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:39.488
05 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:39.937
06 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:40.142
07 J. Trulli Toyota 1:40.309
08 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:40.631
09 N. Rosberg Williams 1:40.721
10 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:40.750
11 K. Nakajima Williams 1:38.428
12 F. Alonso Renault 1:38.435
13 T. Glock Toyota 1:38.499
14 M. Webber Red Bull 1:38.515
15 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:38.744
16 J. Button Honda 1:38.880
17 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:39.235
18 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:39.268
19 R. Barrichello Honda 1:39.811
20 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:39.943

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ten Things You Should Know About Valencia

I suppose everybody's excited about Valencia, it being a new circuit and all. Street circuit that's new with features of street circuits and permanent tracks. First thing comes to mind when looking at the track is safety cars, which Force India is planning for.

Here's some more information about the track and some trivia for you. Plus, I'd be putting my money on McLaren this weekend as I feel they are better at twisty tracks and it seems that they have a power advantage this year.

Hamilton robbed in Spain

It seems that everybody had a good break during August with many drivers and teams doing different things just to relax and recharge. Everybody had a good time and are now returning to work with renewed enthusiasm except for Lewis perhaps. He was mugged in Spain.

I wonder if he had any bodyguards around (according to the news report he did) and if they were sleeping on the job. I suppose I'll have to think about that if Lewis decides to go holidaying here in Malaysia one day.

Monday, August 18, 2008


It's been a while since I've put anything here, so today I've got a few stuff to update. I can't believe it's been such a long wait for the Valencia GP and now it's race week. The race is this weekend. Woohoo!. The Olympics has been exciting and filling up my time. It's a shame that this weekend is the Olympics closing and the Valencia GP, so I'll probably have to miss out on some of the Olympics to watch the race.

Valencia is exciting as it is a totally new race and a street race at that. No teams have experience of data there so they have had to use whatever information they can get their hands on such as simulators and descriptions from the previous races held there such as the GT Championships. Button has had to use simulators to learn the track. So has Lewis and Heikki. Here's what Mercedes race boss Norbert Haug had to say about their prep for the race.

Things don't look too good for Nelson Piquet at the moment. yes he's had a few good result lately but consistent he's not. His position next year looks shaky with Renault pushing his confirmation further back.

And for those writing off Kimi, better think again. He sounds like he's not quiting but the proof is in the pudding. We'll see.

As for Lewis and McLaren, they had better wake up and smell the roses. There's no time to waste and be complacent now. As we have seen countless times, F1 is unpredictable, so McLaren better keep their form for the rest of the season. Consistency is better than winning sometimes and they had better keep an eagle eye out for Ferrari.

Monday, August 11, 2008


From 22 to 24 August, 2008, Valencia will be the focus of the motoring world. More than 500 million spectators worldwide will watch the Formula One Grand Prix of Europe which will be held for the first time at the Valencia Street Circuit.

A special event in the Formula One calendar, this spectacular sport will take place in the unequalled setting of the port of Valencia, previously venue for the 32nd America's Cup. The 21st-century urban circuit is designed to ensure the safety of the drivers and, the comfort and enjoyment of the supporters.

A look at the circuit has made my mouth water at the potential. It has long straights and lots of turns. It also wants to be another Monaco with the race whizzing by the marina lined with yatchs and boats. Singapore wants to have the same effect also but Valencia will probably beat them.

Here's the track specs:

Track specifications
Total track length 5.473,5 metres
Estimated lap time 1 min 37 seconds
Estimated maximum speed323,3 km/h
Estimated minimum speed95,2 km/h
Estimated average speed201,3 Km/h
Length of Pit Lane 657 metres
Length of service roads 3.824 metres
Length of private access service roads 1.828 metres
Minimum width on home straight 15 metres
Minimum width on rest of track 12 metres
Number of turns25
Left turns11
Right turns14

Here's an image of the track:

Can't wait for the race.


This issue of up and coming F1 stars losing their focus when they're on the uptrend is not new. So many potential stars and world champions lost the racing line when they were distracted by girls and partying.

Lewis has so much potential but it seems that his penchant for girls is getting dangerous for him. I'm not his mother or father so I can't tell him to stay away from the girls and just focus on racing but as a concerned fan, I have to voice it out. A good example is Adrian Sutil who said that he doesn't want a girlfriend now as he wants to concentrate on his career and achieve something at it. I suggest Lewis pay attention.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Well, it's going to be a 3 week break for the F1 boys and to be honest, I feel that 3 weeks is quite long between races. Probably, the only news that we'll get would be bits and pieces of the drivers' personal life or the teams' progress.

Reading the news today, which is quite a lot before it dries up over the next 3 weeks, I've come across some interesting comments. it would seem that Ron Dennis doesn't think much of Ferrari's pace here but Lewis is staying grounded here. I've said a lot of things in the past and usually I get kicked in the head after that, so I think I'm just gonna keep it low here and just say that I hope Lewis keeps focussed and aim for the championship. His idea of training extra hard makes sense.

As usual, Alonso just can't talk nice and is still sore at not being put on a pedestal and labelled "God" here. He's a good driver I admit but his attitude just spoils it. Then there's talk of him joining Ferrari (God forbid) by going through Honda or BMW here. C'mon, it doesn't make sense, even Flav didn't want him to just stay for 1 year.

BMW, what can I say. I'm a supporter as I love BMW (the car). I want the team to finish high and win more races but it seems they've fallen off the pace since Hockenheim. Even team boss Dr Mario Theissen admits they were barely in the Hungary race here.

I love Massa's confidence but really I just can't believe that here. I don't want the Ferraris to win either title because frankly I'm quite fed-up seeing red cars winning all the time (Schumacher, hint, hint). He's good on a good day and really bad on a bad day. I don't think he has the consistency to win the championship. And Ferrari are right to feel worried about their reliability as like or not, I have to admit Ferraris don't break down like that.

Damon Hill may be a respected world champion but he should really learn to stick to his reading of the season. A few races ago he was waxing lyrical about Lewis and how he thought that lewis would win the title this year. Now he's saying Kimi is the favourite, which one is it?

I guess we'll have to wait to find out then. Until then, break out the simulators.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hamilton relieved to salvage the best of the worst

Re-published from Planet F1
Sunday 3rd August 2008

Lewis Hamilton has expressed his relief that his lead in the World Championship is still intact.

The Englishman's recovery from a potentially disastrous puncture, coupled with Felipe Massa's luckless engine blow-up on the penultimate lap of the Hungarian GP means that his advantage at the top of the standings has been extended when, for most of the afternoon, it appeared as if Massa would deliver a remarkable turnaround. The Brazilian blitzed Hamilton, expected to cruise to victory, off the start-line and then steadily built up a five-second lead before the McLaren suffered a puncture. At that point, disaster loomed large for Hamilton but Massa's late misfortune transformed the afternoon's complexion.

"I salvaged the best of the worst," reflected a relieved Hamilton. "It's nowhere near as bad as it could have been. What can you do with a puncture? Last year I lost a championship on a puncture so it is nothing new."

The surprise of the afternoon was Hamilton's failure to repel the challenge of Massa, with the Ferrari able to maintain a comfortable lead from the first corner onwards.

"It was disappointed. Felipe did a better job and had a better run into the first corner. I struggled behind him."

Hungarian GP: Kovalainen Gifted Maiden Win

Re-published from Planet f1
Sunday 3rd August 2008

Heikki Kovalainen was gifted his maiden grand prix victory when Felipe Massa's engine failed him just two laps from the end of the Hungarian GP.

The Brazilian had been leading ever since the first lap when he pulled off the overtaking move of the race to take the lead off Lewis Hamilton.

Massa made good work of it, etching out a gap over Hamilton before the Brit's charge came to an end on lap 42 when he suffered a left front puncture, dropping him well down the order.

The drama, though, wasn't over as Massa suffered an engine failure just three laps from the finish line, stopping his car on the pit straight, his third retirement of the season.

Massa's bad luck, though, was Kovalainen's good fortune as the Finn was handed his first grand prix victory, finishing 11 seconds ahead of Toyota's Timo Glock.

Kimi Raikkonen was third ahead of Fernando Alonso and Hamilton.

01 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:37:27.067
02 T. Glock Toyota + 11.020
03 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 16.811
04 F. Alonso Renault + 21.614
05 L. Hamilton McLaren + 23.048
06 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 32.298
07 J. Trulli Toyota + 36.449
08 R. Kubica BMW + 48.321
09 M. Webber Red Bull + 58.834
10 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:07.709
11 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1:10.407
12 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
13 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
14 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps
15 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
16 R. Barrichello Honda + 2 laps
Did not finish
17 F. Massa Ferrari + 3 laps
18 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 3 laps
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 6 laps
20 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 47 laps

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hamilton claims the Pole!

Re-published from F1-Live.

Lewis Hamilton claimed his tenth career pole position this afternoon in Hungary as he chases his third straight victory tomorrow afternoon at a circuit where passing is traditionally all but impossible.

There was none of the controversy that dogged the qualifying session 12 months ago as Hamilton, cruised to a relatively comfortable pole ahead of McLaren Mercedes team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. Hamilton’s fourth pole of the season was confirmed in the very final seconds of the session as he improved on his own best time by another tenth of a second with a best time of 1:20.889s.

Kovalainen really did leave it until the final opportunity as he started his final flying lap of the session in ninth position after problems on his first run. The Finn, recently confirmed by the team for the 2009 season, calmly posted a lap just over two-tenths slower than Hamilton but it was enough to make it all McLaren front row.

Felipe Massa has been carrying the hopes of Ferrari all weekend long and today was no exception as he pushed the F2008 to its limit to qualify in third position just five-hundredths of a second behind Kovalainen. Team-mate and defending champion Kimi Raikkonen was unable to match Massa’s pace and lines up a disappointing sixth in the second Ferrari.

BMW Sauber did not look fast until the very final seconds of the session as Robert Kubica got the best from the F1.

08 to set what was at the time the second fastest time behind Hamilton. Kubica would get bumped down fourth position which is still a very good starting position at this circuit.

Timo Glock continued his impressive weekend as he lines up in fifth position for tomorrow’s 70-lap Grand Prix. Glock breezed through the first two rounds of qualifying and then lapped within half a second of championship leader and pole-sitter Hamilton. Team-mate Jarno Trulli starts ninth in the sister Toyota.

Renault achieved its objectives with both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet making it into the top ten with the seventh and tenth best times respectively. Mark Webber did a good job to get the best from the Red Bull Renault package and lines up in eighth position ahead of Trulli and Piquet.

Considering his lack of Friday practice, Sebastian Vettel bounced back well in qualifying and only just missed out by a hundredth of a second into making it into the final round of qualifying. The Toro Rosso racer starts 11th with team-mate Sebastien Bourdais some eight-tenths adrift in 14th position.

Jenson Button’s final lap in the first round of qualifying did enough to promote him into the top 16 in the Honda. With a new rear suspension setup and a revised aero-package, Button did a solid job to go on to qualify in 12th position ahead of David Coulthard in the second Red Bull Renault. Team-mate Rubens Barrichello did not have one of his better days and starts the race from 18th position on the grid.

Nico Rosberg made it into the second round of qualifying, but then took no further part in the session after what must have been a mechanical issue with the Williams Toyota. The team had hoped for a lot better and with Kazuki Nakajima starting 17th, it will be another tough race for the Grove-based outfit.

With rumours doing the rounds regarding his future at BMW Sauber, Nick Heidfeld did himself no favours at all as he found himself eliminated from the first round of qualifying. After a poor first run that left him 15th on the grid and then Button demoting him a further position, Heidfeld had it all to do on his final run. Exiting the final turn to start his final lap, the German veteran was not in clear air as he followed Bourdais’ Toro Rosso onto the straight. The BMW Sauber slid wide and that was the end of Heidfeld’s day behind the wheel.

Shaking his hand at Bourdais, Heidfeld clearly felt he had been baulked by the Frenchman, but Bourdais himself was also tucked behind another car. That’s racing...

At the back, Nakajima starts 17th in the second Williams ahead of Barrichello and the Force India Ferrari duo of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil.

01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:20.899
02 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:21.140
03 F. Massa Ferrari 1:21.191
04 R. Kubica BMW 1:21.281
05 T. Glock Toyota 1:21.326
06 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:21.516
07 F. Alonso Renault 1:21.698
08 M. Webber Red Bull 1:21.732
09 J. Trulli Toyota 1:21.767
10 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:22.371
11 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:20.144
12 J. Button Honda 1:20.332
13 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:20.332
14 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:20.963
15 N. Rosberg Williams no time
16 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:21.045
17 K. Nakajima Williams 1:21.085
18 R. Barrichello Honda 1:21.332
19 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:21.670
20 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:22.113

© CAPSIS International