Thursday, April 23, 2015


The Bahrain GP was way better than the Chinese GP. I missed the thrilling race last year but this year it was just as good. With Ferrari powering up, the Mercs had a fight on their hands. And did they fight with Nico overtaking Vettel 3 times and Raikkonen taking Nico in the last few laps. He also almost got Lewis on the last lap due to brake problems on the Mercs.

Here is Andrew Davies of PlanetF1 to give you the lowdown of the winners and losers. Original article can be found HERE.

It wasn't the duel in the desert, but at least it wasn't dull in the desert...

Star of the Race
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 2nd
Depending on how serious Lewis Hamilton’s last-lap Break-By-Wire failure was, Kimi might have been on for a win had the race run to 58 laps. But it didn’t and he didn’t. And as we were reminded from his Lotus career – a drive against the odds to capture second place doesn’t really excite him that much.

As early as Lap 9 Kimi was being held up by team-mate Sebastian Vettel and he radioed to engineer Dave Greenwood, “I think I can go a bit faster, but I will try and overtake.”

His ability to keep pace with the cars in front during the middle stint, on the slower Medium tyre  was particularly impressive.

On Lap 22
Hamilton – 1:39.0
Rosberg – 1:39.4Vettel – 1:39.3
Raikkonen – 1:39.0

On Lap 19 the gap to Vettel was 10.0 seconds, by Lap 31 he’d got the deficit to his team-mate down to 4.3 seconds. Rosberg may have gifted him second place when his brakes failed just at the wrong moment, but you kind of felt that Kimi would have found a way past anyway. Once over the finish line and showered with praise by his team on the radio, we didn’t get a euphoric: “Bella! Bella! Bella! Multi grande!” we got a “Yeah, thanks everybody”. That’s how it should be. His 7th podium in Bahrain and his 78th career podium wasn’t on the step he wanted to be. And the day Kimi starts spouting Italian on the slowing down lap is the day Bernie goes and gives John Booth a great big hug.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 25: Felipe Nasr, Sauber, on Felipe Massa, Williams
More heroics from Felipe Nasr who made a superb overtaking move on Nico Hulkenberg, (not with the DRS) later in the race. On Lap 25 he was in a hurry to get past Felipe Massa and claim 11th place. Massa anticipated him coming and took a defensive line into Turn 11, but Nasr saw that it gave Massa poor traction out of the corner and swept up the inside before Turn 12 in a beautifully executed, clean move.

It kind of spoiled thing that he, Massa and Maldonado then came into the pits line astern – 11th, 12th and 13th – and that they left the pits in the order – Maldonado, Massa, Nasr, but it was still a great move.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st
Another dominant pole position, backed up by a flying getaway, put Lewis in the perfect position to control the race. Mercedes made him play the team game by pitting Nico Rosberg first, when it was obvious that he would lose out to the two cars behind by coming into pitlane third. The other two managed to gain three or four seconds on him, so it was a good job he had the buffer. The rest of the race was another exercise in tyre and engine management, with a last minute panic when the brakes became too hot.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 3rd
Nico finally got the message that there could be no more pussying  around while Lewis Hamilton disappeared off into the distance. Having lost out in Qualifying and at the start, he had no choice but to attack once he was demoted to P4. His passes of Raikkonen and multiple Turn 1 passes of Vettel showed that he can get aggressive when it’s required. His pass of Raikkonen – who wouldn’t give it up – included the same exit-of-turn-4-move that Lewis had employed on him last year and which he’d studied pre-race. As he said, it was good to pass some red cars – but it would still be better to pass a silver one, and not just Alonso.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 4th
A superb defensive drive from Bottas who managed to keep a four-times World Champion in a faster car at bay for 14 laps. On Lap 53 he got away with a misjudgement from Vettel who sliced past his rear tyre by centimetres into Turn 1. That had puncture and post-race acrimony written all over it.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 5th
Not such a great race for Seb, he was beaten for race pace by his team-mate, out-muscled a couple of times by the guy who rarely out-muscles, and then forced into a last corner mistake that warranted an extra pit-stop. Then he got stuck behind a canny Bottas who knew exactly where to position his car and where to apply the hybrid energy in defence of fourth place.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 6th
Some good points for the Red Bull team but at a cost. Dan’s lonely run to P6 was ruined about 100 metres before the flag when his Renault engine shrugged its shoulders in a gallic way and emitted the smoke of a thousand gauloises. So, four races in and he’s almost through his seaon’s allowance. McLaren-Honda thought they had this particular title race sewn up, but it looks like Red Bull are going to push them all the way.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 7th
More important points for Lotus, Grosjean made the most of his stronger qualifying position and was 7th or thereabouts for much of the race. He was 23 seconds shy of Daniel Ricciardo at the flag, but then again he probably wasn’t stressing his engine so much.

Jenson Button, McLaren, DNS
Grand Prix statisticians absolutely hate this kind of thing. It was Jenson Button’s 100th race weekend for McLaren, but he still only has 99 race starts. This race will always be an asterisk.  It can’t have been a comfortable weekend for Ron Dennis, entertaining one of the team’s biggest investors (the Bahrain sovereign fund) and watching Button repeatedly park it a few hundred metres beyond the pitlane exit.

Felipe Massa, Williams, 10th
Felipe’s car failed to fire up on the grid and the subsequent pitlane start meant he was back there in the wild west of Maldonado country. A damaged floor from a Pastor shunt limited his progress through the field and he had to watch Dan Ricciardo carry home his pre-destined 6th place points.

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 15th
Nick Heidfeld’s speciality always used to be long, lonely races, where he didn’t see anybody after the first few laps. Pastor is the opposite, he rarely has calm races where he circulates on his own. At the start, he decided to go for someone else’s grid slot. On the opening lap he got contact from Max Verstappen – the fourth race out of four that someone has hit him. Then he had a coming together with Felipe Massa. Never dull.

Toro Rosso, Double DNF
After such a great start to the season, a double failure for the Toro Rosso team will come as a significant blow. They had never scored points in Bahrain before, so maybe it was to be expected, but it is rapidly becoming the garage full of anguished parents.

Media Watch
STBO Award
The BBC’s Ben Edwards won this one convincingly. After Sebastian Vettel sustained wing damage and had to return to the pits for an extra-long pit-stop while the nose was changed, Ben came up with: “This could well count against him getting a podium finish.” With 21 laps left, Vettel set off 35 seconds behind P3.

Suzi Perry after Jenson ground to a halt beyond the pitlane exit (or maybe a nad’s more): “It’s one thing and the other for Jenson this weekend.”

Eddie Jordan in Qualifying: “It’s all about bragging rights – and Sainz there, just pulling the wool over Verstappen’s face at the last minute.”

Allan McNish  “I haven’t seen Nico Rosberg driving with that much teeth for a long, long time.”

Final Lap
A big thank-you to Michelle Foster and Shahida Jacobs for putting up with this errant column over the last 12 years. Just as the McLaren-Honda will be sporting a far superior rear end in Barcelona, so PlanetF1 will be running a new (and superior) post-race feature after the Spanish GP. You will still be able to catch up with the indulgences and eccentricities of Winners and Losers on – where it started, back in the heady days of and the boom.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Formula 1 inspired designs at my online shop - Formula One Tees, click on image or proceed over to the online shop here -

You can put any of my designs on almost any available product (doesn't have to be t-shirts). To design your own, select the product, select the design, put your own text if you want to, arrange the size and placement of the design then click "Add to basket". The product will be created and added to your shopping cart. To finish and make payment, click "Checkout". Once you are happy with your order, click "Proceed To Checkout" where you will fill in your shipping information and payment method.

Here is a sample.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I wouldn't describe the Chinese GP as exciting. It was a bit boring with the filed spread out but there were some interesting battles in the midfield. Lewis Hamilton asserted his domination once again and Nico Rosberg was left wanting and crying why Lewis held him up. it's called racing Nico, so man up or shut up.

Here is Andrew Davies of PlanetF1 to give you the lowdown of the winners and losers. Original article can be found HERE.

Lewis completed the perfect GP weekend, while Lotus are installing SatNav on Pator Maldonado’s car.

Star of the Race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st
It was pretty much perfection from Lewis Hamilton this weekend; fastest in all practice sessions, pole, fastest lap and the race win. The only flaw in Lewis’s GP was his failure to improve on his second run in Q3 which might, just might, have allowed Nico Rosberg to get pole. Maybe there is some psychology in that Lewis’s first lap of Q3 is often quicker than his second, typified by his failure to press on on a drying track at Silverstone last year with disastrous consequences (the track got much quicker at the end of the lap, as Hamilton aborted his final run).

In the race, once away in front, he drove an incredibly measured race only going as fast as his engineers allowed, based on the degradation of the limiting front left tyre. But we’re right back to the old complaint of driving-to-the-tyres. This was exemplified on Lap 20 when Rosberg got on the radio and moaned, “Lewis is driving very slowly, tell him to speed up.”

Lewis’s engineer ‘Bonno’ got on the radio and gave him a new target time, “Okay Lewis, if you’d like to pick the pace up, target time 1:43.7”. So on Lap 21 Lewis delivered a 1:43.735 – a whole 0.035 too slow. Next time round he put in a 1:43.696, a commendable 0.004 too fast. By Lap 24 he got the closest, a 1:43.702, and having done what he was asked to do, he decided to break loose with a 1:43.508 on Lap 25. This is F1 driving by numbers.

All this is absorbing to watch on timing screens, to see the ebb and flow of lap times, but it’s not exactly balls-out-round-the-Nordschliefe. Delivering perfectly executed sector times doesn’t put bums on seats.

Lewis did exactly what he had to do to win the race. Afterwards he had to field complaints from Rosberg that he was being backed up into Vettel, and it tells you something about the quality of the race when the post-race interviews are more interesting than what went on on track. At the front anyway.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 10: Max Verstappen, Torro Rosso on Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
Verstappen has built up an uncanny level of confidence in his car after just three races and this was demonstrated at the Chinese GP with positive moves on Kvyat, Nasr, Perez and Ericsson.

The pass he made on Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber into the Turn 14 hairpin may have been a DRS move, but it was far from routine. Max came from a long way back and Ericsson clearly thought he was going to follow him through when all of a sudden he looked right and there was a 17-year-old in a Toro Rosso blocking his view to the apex. Verstappen’s lock-up-less braking was superb and such was Ericsson’s surprise that he almost ground to a halt and wasn’t able to hound him back on the following start/finish straight DRS zone. Max was on for 8th place, but the power unit thought otherwise.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 2nd
Nico almost snatched pole on Saturday, and when he couldn’t beat Lewis into Turn 1 at the start of the race his main concern seemed to be behind him, not in front. Rosberg’s complaint that he was being backed up into Vettel had some substance in that when Lewis was allowed off the leash at the end of the second stint, he could run very much quicker than he did before. But the Malaysian GP showed that  Mercedes had to be careful. If Hamilton had gone too quick in either of the first two stints and compromised his tyres, the depth of criticism would have been enormous.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 3rd
Although he looked a potential threat for P2 up to the end of the second stint, the Ferrari on the medium tyres was no match for the Mercedes on them. And at the close, team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was closing on him at around 0.3 seconds a lap. On Lap 52 (of 56) the gap was 1.7 seconds and on lap 53 it was down to 1.4 seconds. What’s more, Kimi had fresher tyres.

Unluckily for everyone wanting a grandstand finish, the Renault Twingo engine in the back of Max Verstappen’s car called it a day and we were denied some serious Ferrari on Ferrari action by the appearance of the Safety Car. Three races and three podiums for Vettel and second in the Championship heading to the fourth race can be nothing less than a dream start.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 4th
Kimi’s qualifying performance on Saturday might have been less than expected, but at last he got a race start to remember and jumped from P6 to P4 on the opening lap. In the race, he kept station behind Sebastian Vettel, carefully looking after the tyres with a minimal amount of steering input. The only grievance he had was with lapping Alonso and then Button/Maldonado impeding his progress as he inexorably reeled his team-mate in at the end of the race. Close observers of F1’s nearest thing to ‘The Stig’ reckoned that he was even chuckling to himself as he yelled down team radio, “Come on, get these two cars out of the way!”

Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 5th and 6th
The emergence of the Safety Car at the end of the race robbed us of the true performance gap between Ferrari and Williams, but on Lap 51 Massa was 29 seconds in arrears to Kimi Raikkonen. Both Williams drivers got jumped by the Finn at the start and both had fairly uneventful races. No last-lap heroics from Bottas this time round.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 7th
Finally the result the Lotus team deserved, Daniel Ricciardo’s poor start meant that the most likely candidate for P7 was probably never going to make it back up there to challenge for the position.  Grosjean  managed to negotiate the pitlane entry far more successfully, than his team-mate and kept it on the island, thus inheriting the place that his team-mate gave up when he failed to turn left at the pitlane entrance.

Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 8th and 10th
Another double points finish for the Sauber duo who came home in the positions they finished Q2. Although Ericsson’s single point was more thanks to the adventures of Pastor Maldonado than anything else.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 9th
It’s hardly something to shout about, a 9th place for Red Bull, but Dan was the lead Renault runner. His third engine of the year kicked into anti-stall on the grid which converted a P7 gridslot into a P17 position at the end of the opening lap. On the way to 9th he had an unnecessary tussle with his Russian team-mate who was told to move over and didn’t. Any more of that and we’ll be cranking out the Putin-analogies. Dan looked to be struggling with his braking all race long, but still managed a great move on Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber despite the uncertainty of whether his car would stop or not.

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, McLaren, 12th and 13th
After a double race failure in Malaysia, a double race finish in China was not exactly The Great Leap Forward, but it was a significant move forward. The new McLaren-Honda was capable of lapping in the 1:43.7s in the hands of Alonso on Lap 41 at a time when Lewis was putting in laps less than a second quicker. Before the ‘Winners and Losers’ column heads off to pastures new – after the Bahrain GP – it would be nice to see them back in the points. That may not happen at a hot GP given the Honda’s inability to stay cool, but for old time’s sake it would be nice to go out without a bang.

F1 race Action
The over-supply of statistics in a sport is often an indication that nothing is happening. For instance there are a lot of statistics supplied in baseball. If baseball is the benchmark sport for nothing happening, then F1 is surely closing the gap. After the race we were told that it was the sixth race to end behind the Safety Car, the last one being Brazil in 2012.

Lewis Hamilton has now finished on the podium for the 10th consecutive race. His previous best  was the first nine races of his career, at McLaren in 2007. He’s also now passed fellow British World Champions Jackie Stewart (1,921) and Jim Clark (1,942) on the all-time laps led list. (though in many more races than Clark). It’s also the seventh time in his career that he’s got pole, the fastest lap and the win…etc

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, DNF
Pastor’s had three successive races where he’s been hit by another car. There is a website – Has Maldonado Crashed Yet – which really should be renamed, Has Someone Crashed Into Maldonado Yet. However at Shanghai, he set about taking himself out of the points a long time before Jenson Button arrived at Turn 1 too quickly. Having crashed at the pitlane entry once in his career you’d have thought he might have sorted it out. But no, his failure to make the left-turn dropped him from P7, and a nailed-on points finish, to scrapping it out with a couple of McLaren-Hondas that were just itching to have someone to play with.

David Coulthard said: "There’s no hiding from the fact that it’s a scrappy driver error," which is true. And when he crashed in the pitlane while leading a race, he never did it again. The Button versus Maldonado duel was one of the best in the race, the only pity being that it was a fight for that coveted P13 spot.

Media Watch
Radio 5’s Jenny Gow “Don’t count your eggs too quickly, Lewis’s bottom is getting hot. That happened to him yesterday…”
Former Cosworth boss Mark Gallagher adding to Jenny’s comments…"there was a suggestion last night that Lewis should take his salary and stuff it down his race overalls…"

R5’s Jack Nichols on the stranded Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen: “The engine seized and locked the rear wheels. That car’s not going anywhere. Oh no, they’ve just done it.”

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Formula 1 inspired designs at my online shop - Formula One Tees, click on image or proceed over to the online shop here -

You can put any of my designs on almost any available product (doesn't have to be t-shirts). To design your own, select the product, select the design, put your own text if you want to, arrange the size and placement of the design then click "Add to basket". The product will be created and added to your shopping cart. To finish and make payment, click "Checkout". Once you are happy with your order, click "Proceed To Checkout" where you will fill in your shipping information and payment method.

Here is a sample.