• News Week Round-up

    Ferrari F1 2013
    Ferrari Struggling?

    A lot of the stories surrounding F1 in the past week has been about Ferrari and the comments made by the President to Alonso and whether the Spaniard would still be racing for the Prancing Horse in 2014 at all, speculation also is mounting on Massa for 2014 as well. Here is a summary of those stories plus others.

    Alonso Not Tempted by Red Bull

    Fernando Alonso is not tempted to join Red Bull next season and is fully committed to a future at Ferrari, says his manager Flavio Briatore.
    Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
    Alonso to Red Bull?
    After a weekend of speculation about Alonso’s future, with Red Bull revealing that the Spaniard was a contender for a race seat in 2014 after learning that he could be available, Briatore has moved to quash such talk.
    Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has ordered a detailed investigation by his technical chiefs in to why his team’s race pace disappeared at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
    The team has usually been stronger in the races than in qualifying, and believed the key to delivering the championship was simply to secure better grid spots.
    Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn insists the team was not on the brink of going under before its deal with a trio of Russian companies.
    While the Swiss Formula 1 squad said the major partnership helped secure its long-term future, Kaltenborn denied the team had come close to folding.

    Luca Cordero di Montezemolo
    Frustration in Italy?
    Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo says he shares Fernando Alonso’s frustration at the team’s poor form.
    But the Italian said he had no regrets about reprimanding his star driver for making remarks critical of the car.
    Di Montezemolo said Ferrari “must” get back to early-season form, when Alonso took two dominant victories in the first five races.
    Sochi
    Will Russia Make it to 2014?
    Russia has missed the deadline to submit its application to the FIA to hold a Formula 1 race in 2014.
    Although work is ongoing at the Sochi venue, and organisers announced last week that they had pencilled in an October 19 date, doubts have been cast on the event amid a dispute they are having with the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF).
    Felipe Massa Ferrari F1 2013
    Massa in Trouble Again?
    Felipe Massa accepts he must raise his game in order to avoid being axed by Ferrari at the end of the current Formula 1 season.
    The Brazilian began 2013 by out-qualifying Fernando Alonso in Australia and Malaysia, but his form has tailed off amid a flurry of accidents and mistakes in recent events.
  • Kimball wins strategy filled Honda 200

    Charlie Kimball rebounded yesterday qualifying 5th after totaling his primary car in practice and today he drove a perfect race and had the best strategy and took his first win in his 45th career start at Mid Ohio.

    Kimball’s win is a feel good story. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2007 while competing in Formula Three in Europe which required him to be hospitalized and put his racing career on hold. That did not hurt his determination and returned to America in 2009 to run in the Firestone Indy Lights series. He didn’t win a race, but he finished 4th in points in 2010 and in signed with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 to race in IndyCar full time and after 2 full seasons under his belt, he has improved tremendously this year and is running as well as his Ganassi teammates.

    Before today, Kimball had only led 15 laps in his IZOD IndyCar Series career and only had 1 podium to his credit. Today he led 46 laps and with today’s win puts himself tied for 7th in the standings with James Hinchcliffe.

    Kimball pitted on lap 19, 11 laps before the early leaders Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Scott Dixon, who were all on a two stop strategy, and was able to pick up the lead when they pitted on lap 30. From there Kimball ran a fast paced race and was able to stay in the lead. Thru the middle of the race, Kimball was held up by E.J. Viso and his closest rival Simon Pagenaud began gnawing at Kimball’s sizable lead. Kimball pitted for the final time on lap 65, while Pagenaud was able build up a cushion on Kimball. When Pagenaud pitted, he came out right in front of Kimball, Kimball, in desparation mode to catch Pagenaud, ran wide in turn one but with warm tires to his advantage, caught Pagenaud in the esses and completed the pass. Kimball pulled away from there and widened his gap to 5.533 seconds at the checkered flag.

    “It’s nice when the team gives you such a great car,” said Kimball. “The No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car was quick.  All I needed to do was to hit the lap times they needed me to.  For a while they were saying 67.5s, and I threw down a couple 67.1s.  They said OK, see if you can do a 66.   We just kept pushing the limit.  Simon (Pagenaud) was on a similar strategy.  I caught traffic at just some of the wrong times, so that meant that he came out of pit lane ahead of us.  But we had the momentum to take the lead and make the pass for what turned out to be the win.”

    It is the 4th straight win for Chip Ganassi Racing who had not won before Pocono on July 7th, it is the 4th straight win for Honda as well. Chevrolet and Honda are now evenly matched in terms of wins for the first time since the introduction of the new engine formula in 2012.

    Pagenaud was on a similar 3 stop strategy as Kimball and got to the front the same way Kimball did and picked up his second podium of the season (his first was at Detroit Race 2 where he won the race).

    Dario Franchitti was on a 2 stop strategy like Hunter-Reay, Dixon and Power and changed his strategy late in the going when no yellows flew in order to make the 2 stop strategy viable and finished in 3rd place. Power got by Hunter-Reay on pit road on their last pit stop after Hunter-Reay’s team had fueling issues which delayed his stop and finished 4th. Hunter-Reay rounded out the top 5.

    Points leader Helio Castroneves started in 14th and made use of good strategy to finish in 6th place, maintaining his points lead over Scott Dixon with 5 races remaining.

    “If you would have told me we would have finished in the top-10 today, I would have said you were crazy,” said Castroneves. “We made great strategy calls throughout the race. Working with Mr. Penske is awesome, he relays great information over the radio. It was a great day for our PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet. I know that it was only a sixth place finish but it could win the Championship at the end of the year. I have said all along that we will continue to do our thing and not change a thing and it will pay off at the end of the day.”

    The two debutants James Davison and Luca Filippi ran quiet, methodical races and finished in 15th and 16th respectively. Filippi started the race in 24th while Davison finished in 16th.

    Race results:

    1. (5) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 90, Running.

    2. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 90, Running.

    3. (6) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 90, Running.

    4. (2) Will Power, Dallara-Chevrolet, 90, Running.

    5. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevrolet, 90, Running.

    6. (14) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevrolet, 90, Running.

    7. (3) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 90, Running.

    8. (7) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 90, Running.

    9. (4) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevrolet, 90, Running.

    10. (12) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevrolet, 90, Running.

    11. (9) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Chevrolet, 90, Running.

    12. (13) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevrolet, 90, Running.

    13. (10) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 90, Running.

    14. (17) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevrolet, 90, Running.

    15. (16) James Davison, Dallara-Honda, 90, Running.

    16. (24) Luca Filippi, Dallara-Honda, 90, Running.

    17. (11) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Chevrolet, 89, Running.

    18. (22) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 89, Running.

    19. (20) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevrolet, 89, Running.

    20. (23) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 89, Running.

    21. (21) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 89, Running.

    22. (15) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 89, Running.

    23. (18) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 88, Running.

    24. (19) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevrolet, 64, Off Course.

    Race Statistics

    Winners average speed: 117.825. Time of Race: 1:43:29.1371. Margin of Victory: 5.5334 seconds. Cautions: 0 for 0 laps. Lead Changes: 5 among 3 drivers.

    Lap Leaders: Hunter-Reay 1-30, Kimball 31-41, Pagenaud 42-47, Kimball 48-64, Pagenaud 65-72, Kimball 73-90.

    Top 10 in standings

    1 Helio Castroneves 453
    2 Scott Dixon 422
    3 Ryan Hunter-Reay 388
    4 Marco Andretti 377
    5 Simon Pagenaud 350
    6 Dario Franchitti 342
    7 James Hinchcliffe 325
    8 Charlie Kimball 325
    9 Justin Wilson 320
    10 Tony Kanaan 313

    ..

  • Hungary GPR Race Recap: Hamilton gains 1st Merc win in racy, strategy-filled GP

    Lewis Hamilton won the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix from pole, though that seemingly lights to flag finish belied the surprisingly thrilling grand prix. The race started with an exciting start as a number of drivers shifted though the standings and pushed through the first lap. Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel stood on the podium with Hamilton after engaging in their own last lap battle. Mark Webber went with a medium-medium-medium-soft strategy and gave catching his teammate his best shot in the final ten laps, but ended up fourth. Despite pushing hard on the start and through the race, Fernando Alonso finished fifth.

    As the race continued, Romain Grosjean looked set to pass anyone in any way at Turn 4. That charging spirit would give him a drive through penalty and a post-race investigation that allowed him to finish only sixth. Jenson Button made a great difference in the race, giving Vettel a hard time early on for twelve laps and featuring largely in Grosjean’s battles. He finished seventh. Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, and Pastor Maldonado rounded out the top ten finishers. After a dismal start, Nico Rosberg’s day never recovered and his day ended when his Mercedes engine expired in the final five laps.

    Hamilton made a splash during Saturday’s three qualifying sessions, stealing pole from Vettel despite the former’s dominance through the practice sessions. Mercedes fought back during qualifying, as Rosberg led the timesheets in Q1 and Q2, but Hamilton took pole in the final moments of qualifying after the flag. Vettel’s first hot lap in the final session took eight tenths off Hamilton’s previously provisional pole, taking control back from the Briton. It did not last, as Hamilton soon improved, and Vettel could not match Hamilton’s new pace.

    Webber had an even worse qualifying, nearly dropping out in Q2. He managed to push forward, but a KERS issue grounded him without a set time in Q3. He stormed out to the back of the garage and gave several angry interviews after qualifying. Also clearly upset, di Resta wondered over the radio “where did that go? Where did the tyres and grip go?” after the session.

    Vettel had an excellent Friday, as he and Webber made both hour and a half practice sessions Red Bull 1-2. Alonso, Raikkonen, Grosjean, and Massa each spent time joining the Red Bull duo in the top five. On Saturday, Grosjean took the lead. Alonso, Perez, Vettel, and Massa joined him. Despite, or perhaps because of, his hard charging pace, Perez ended his session in the barriers. That left the McLaren crew little time to repair the car, though they managed to do so without replacing the gearbox.

    The Sunday sun shone brightly as the drivers and teams prepared for lights out. Hamilton and Vettel started on the front row, with Grosjean and Rosberg on the second. Alonso and Raikkonen completed the front three rows of starters. Perez and Webber drove out to the grid on the harder medium tyres, as did Sutil, Button, Gutierrez, Bianchi, and Chilton. Most teams seemed only able to do a three stop, while it appeared likely that Lotus would again attempt to undercut the rest of the field with a two-stopper. Rosberg headed out to the grid, but Mercedes called him back to the garage before he could make the grid after a front vibration. He gridded normally soon thereafter.

    Race Start:
    Hamilton got off the line well, but Vettel did not. The start was even more frantic than usual as Rosberg looked for a way through on his countryman, as did Grosjean. Alonso attempted to dive through on Grosjean, having already taken a position off Rosberg as well. Grosjean pushed the Spaniard wide to keep position. Rosberg also went wide, then locked up and went three wide while fighting and off again after contact with Massa. Drivers pushed hard on the first lap on this difficult to pass circuit, with Hamilton over a second ahead of Vettel at the end of L1. Grosjean, Alonso, Massa, Raikkonen, Webber, Button, Ricciardo, and Perez were then the top ten.

    Vettel caught Hamilton up on the second lap, dropping the gap down to a half second b the time L2 ended. Rosberg had dropped from fourth to twelfth, while Webber moved up to seventh, the leading driver on the harder tyre. As the early laps ticked by, Hamilton picked up the pace and eked out a half second on Vettel. Grosjean sat just over a second behind Vettel, with Alonso dropping off the pace. At the end of L4, he was four and a half seconds back from Grosjean. Meanwhile, Raikkonen had nearly caught up Massa.

    Lotus’ pace continued as Grosjean gained time on Vettel even as Alonso drifted further behind. The Ferrari driver had a two second cushion with his teammate behind. Massa had Raikkonen close but not yet worrying him from behind as the first ten laps neared completion. On the radio, Rob Smedley asked Massa if he felt the difference with his damaged front wing. After dropping down to twelfth from that contact with Massa, Rosberg remained twelfth and a second behind Maldonado.

    First pit stops Begin (L9)/End L10 of 70:
    Vergne and van der Garde pitted on L9, but Hamilton led the way to the pits for Maldonado and di Resta on L10. He gave up the race lead and rejoined in eighth, just behind Button. Ricciardo, Rosberg, and Bottas pitted on L11. Back on the track, Massa continued to hold off Raikkonen, but Hamilton had made his way around Button. As Mercedes and McLaren were likely on entirely different strategy, Hamilton’s pass would likely prove very important for the race. Vettel, Massa, and Hulkenberg pitted on L12. As Vettel rejoined, Hamilton had already gone by pit out. Vettel similarly rejoined behind Button, but the Briton would prove more difficult to pass for the German.

    Alonso pitted on L13, as both Lotus drivers continued to lap without stopping. Still, Raikkonen had begun complaining of rear tyre wear. Though his tyres looked as fresh as could be considered, Grosjean relinquished the race lead to pit on L14. Lotus performed perfectly in double pitting both cars. Raikkonen was far enough back for a comfortable margin between servicing both cars. Vettel remained stuck behind Button as Webber took over the race lead without yet stopping.

    Hamilton was just over five seconds off Webber, with Button holding Vettel and heating his car in the dirty air. Red Bull told Vettel that he had to ease off a bit to keep the car cool. Apparently, even Webber in the clean air of the lead had also to keep an eye on his hot car. Button was third (having not yet stopped) at L15 ended, with Vettel refusing to back off of the Briton. Grosjean, Alonso, Perez, Sutil, Massa, and Raikkonen then completed the top ten, though neither Perez nor Sutil had yet stopped. Nor had either of the Marussia drivers.

    As Vettel continued to attempt to pass Button, the McLaren’s slower pace had allowed Grosjean to catch up both Button and Vettel. The Frenchman had a go just after Vettel attempted a pass on Button, but the order remained the same. Vettel damaged his front wing endplate even as the team admonished him to cool the car in the second sector. Things only got worse as Red Bull told it’s driver that “we cannot have full power.” Grosjean looked to pass at the end of the DRS zone and into T1, trying twice to go around the outside. He could not pass, but pushed Vettel enough to force the German to slide slightly wide. As this battle continued, Alonso nearly caught up Vettel and Grosjean. Button had managed to gain two seconds on the fray.

    End L20 of 70:
    Webber still led just under the completion of the first third of the race, but fourth place saw the real battle. Sutil pitted on L20, only to be pushed into the garage. Force India informed him the car had a hydraulic leak via the radio. Back to the running order, Webber still had not pitted, with Hamilton just over four seconds behind. Button, who also had not yet pitted, was another eight back from his former teammate. Vettel had begun to catch Button back up, with Grosjean still directly behind. Alonso was close behind that fight, ready to pick up any fallen pieces of points. Perez, Raikkonen, Massa, and Gutierrez completed the top ten.

    Gutierrez, Perez, Button, and Webber had yet to stop on L23, though Chilton picked up his first set of fresh tyres of the race on that lap. All those who had not stopped started on the harder tyres. Webber finally pitted on L24, at around the time a Lotus radio transmission informed Raikkonen that the team looked for him to do a target plus ten. Lengthening the stint might allow him to undercut others.

    Vettel finally made his way through on Button, sliding through at T4. Grosjean looked set to follow, only to cut the chicane on his attempt to keep himself undamaged. Their contact allowed Alonso through on Button as well. Button pitted, swearing on the radio as he informed the team that he had front wing damage, and picked up his first set of soft tyres for the race. Grosjean pitted on the next lap (L26) for more medium tyres. He rejoined just ahead of Button.

    All drivers had pitted at the end of L26. Hamilton led Vettel by more than thirteen seconds, with Alonso, Webber, Raikkonen, Massa, Grosjean, Button, Rosberg, and Maldonado the top ten. Button set a new race fast lap on his fresh softs, but had not yet passed Grosjean. Vettel began pushing very hard, after Hamilton excitedly radioed Mercedes to inquire as to the fitness of his pace.

    Second Pit Stops Begin (L28 of 70):
    Di Resta then van der Garde pitted on L28 and 29, then Maldonado made his second stop on the next lap. On the track, Massa went wide and allowed Grosjean to stick his nose in. He went around the outside at T4 and nearly got lightly tagged as both he and Massa went wide exiting the turn. Grosjean maintained the sixth position he had just gained, though the stewards had announced that his incident with Button would be investigated. Meanwhile, Gutierrez pitted and also retired.

    Vergne pitted on L31, with Hamilton making his seconds stop as he began L32. His former teammate made his move to take seventh from Massa, only to have the Brazilian pt as soon as Button had passed him. Hamilton rejoined in fourth, just behind Webber, while Massa rejoined in tenth. Mercedes gave Hamliton the rundown: Webber and Alonso were ahead on old and very old medium tyres, respectively. He needed to pass. Meanwhile, the stewards announced that Grosjean was under a double investigation, also for leaving the track at T4, presumably when he passed Massa.

    Halfway (End L35 of 70):
    Nearing halfway, Webber went very wide and nearly directly into the path of Hamilton’s Mercedes. Hamilton shoved his way through on the Australian out of T2 and into T3. He was then directly behind Alonso. Vettel pitted from the lead on L35, as Alonso pitted behind him and out of the path of Hamilton. Bottas had snuck into the pits just before. Both Alonso and Vettel remained on the medium compounds, safe to go the second half of the race per the regulations.

    Vettel rejoined just behind Button, who also had van der Garde in front of him. The Caterham got neatly out of the way. At the front, Hamilton set a new race fast lap at halfway, leading Webber, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Button, Vettel, Alonso, Perez, Massa, and Rosberg as the top ten. Maldonado, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, di Resta, Vergne, Bottas, Pic, van der Garde, Bianchi, and Chilton completed the drivers still racing at halfway.

    Meanwhile, the stewards gave Grosjean a drive through for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. His incident with Button would be investigated after the race. Grosjean served his penalty immediately, though he angrily asked “why?!” before doing so. Lotus thought it was for the Button incident, though this penalty appeared to be for the pass on Massa. A couple of laps later, Hulkenberg received a drive through for speeding on the pit lane. Button pitted on L38, taking off the soft tyres and putting on the mediums. Perez, Ricciardo, and Pic made their second stops on the next lap.

    End L40 of 70/Second Pit Stops Continue:
    Hamilton led Webber and Raikkonen with thirty laps to go, though the latter two had yet to stop for a second time. Vettel and Alonso in fourth and fifth had done so, with Grosjean in sixth and just a half second behind Alonso. Button, who wanted a rundown on the cars around him, sat seventh fifteen seconds behind the Frenchman, with Massa four seconds behind in eighth. Rosberg and Maldonado then rounded out the top ten. Of that group, only Webber and Raikkonen had yet to stop twice.

    After a feint, Lotus pulled Raikkonen in to pit from third on L43. He rejoined in sixth, behind teammate Grosjean. On the radio, McLaren told Button that twenty laps seemed to be the limit for the medium tyres. He would have to pit again. Webber made his own second stop on L44, returning to the track with more mediums on his Red Bull and ahead of Grosjean, who was slightly stuck behind Chilton. Webber would have to stop again as well.

    Bottas made the third retirement of the race, pulling to the side on the front straight. Race direction disabled DRS while the marshals pushed the smoking Williams along the Armco at the exit of the final turn. Van der Garde pitted for he third time under the yellows. The marshals soon cleared the car and the race returned to a fully green lap.

    Grosjean made his third stop and fourth trip into the pits from fifth on L48. Alonso, Massa, and Rosberg all pitted on L49, as Ferrari doubled its drivers with plenty of gap between them. Grosjean seemed ready to make another move at T4, this time on Button, but thought better of it and backed out slightly.

    End L50 of 70:
    Hamilton had more than fifteen seconds on Vettel with twenty laps to go, pitting at he began L51. Webber was third, but he still had to make another pit stop, while Raikkonen, Alonso, Button, Grosjean, Massa, Rosberg, and Maldonado completed the top ten. Hamilton rejoined alongside Webber, locking up as they went through T1. Hamilton pushed back, giving Webber a shove and pushing him wide out of T3. Webber went well wide and into the runoff area but managed to keep going and rejoin ahead of the backmarker that made their battle even more exciting. Vettel gained the lead on Hamilton’s stop.

    Maldonado pitted for the third time on L53. Vettel did so three laps later, giving the lead back to Hamilton. Red Bull put on a fast pit stop performance, getting Vettel back out in fourth just ahead of Ricciardo, who was a lap down. After that stop, Hamilton led Webber, Raikkonen, Vettel, and Alonso as the top five. Webber, and possibly Raikkonen, would have to stop again. Vettel had to pass Raikkonen to come close to Hamilton, who was then nearly twelve seconds ahead. As Mercedes attempted to get Hamilton to change a setting, he said “hey, man, trying to focus here,” and indicated that he was happy with the settings.

    10 Laps Remaining:
    Webber pitted from second for the regulation tyre compound switch with ten laps to go. He rejoined in fourth, between Vettel and Alonso. Hamilton had nearly eleven seconds on Raikkonen with ten laps to go. Vettel completed the podium, but Red Bull had told Webber to push and that he could catch Vettel and Raikkonen ahead before then end. He had twelve seconds to make up on his teammate alone. Alonso was not fully safe in fifth, either, as he had Grosjean just over a half second behind his Ferrari.

    Webber soon took a second away from Vettel, but did not always gain time with backmarkers in his way. Vettel had more of a fight ahead of him, looking to move into second around Raikkonen. Less than a second covered the two cars with five laps to go. Vettel continued to look, but did not really elbow Raikkonen into a pass. The Finn remained around eleven seconds behind Hamilton. Life was considerable worse for Rosberg, who never recovered after his horrible start, as his Mercedes engine blew with five to go. He pulled off and hopped out as a small oil fire raged.

    Vettel continued to receive cryptic messages, as Red Bull told him “fail 22 fail.” He still seemed safe, as Webber was still more than eight seconds behind his teammate with three to go. Raikkonen left Vettel a bit of room, and the German attempted to take advantage. Vettel pushed, but Raikkonen pushed back and Vettel went wide out of T4 and lost a bit of time. He complained that Raikkonen did not give him enough room. further back, di Resta’s tyres finally fully gave out on him. He stopped and retired.

    Hamilton began the final lap more than twelve seconds ahead of Raikkonen. The Finn held off Vettel as the German locked up his way around the track in any effort to pass Raikkonen. He would be unable to do so, while Webber trundled home in fourth and Alonso fifth. Raikkonen pulled into pit out to stop just after the line, presumably having run out of fuel.

    Final Positions, 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix:

      Driver Team Gap Stops
    1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 3
    2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 10.9 2
    3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 12.4 3
    4. Mark Webber Red Bull 18.0 3
    5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 31.4 3
    6. Romain Grosjean* Lotus 32.2 4
    7. Jenson Button McLaren 53.8 2
    8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 56.4 3
    9. Sergio Perez McLaren 1 Lap 2
    10. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1 Lap 3
    11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1 Lap 3
    12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1 Lap 3
    13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1 Lap 2
    14. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 2 Laps 3
    15. Charles Pic Caterham 2 Laps 2
    16. Jules Bianchi Marussia 3 Laps 3
    17. Max Chilton Marussia 3 Laps 3
      Paul di Resta Force India 4 Laps 4
      Nico Rosberg Mercedes 6 Laps 3
      Valtteri Bottas Williams 28 Laps 2
      Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 42 Laps 2
      Adrian Sutil Force India 51 Laps 1

    *under investigation for racing incident with Jenson Button

    .

  • Hungary Quali Recap: Hamilton surprises Merc with pole

    Lewis Hamilton (1:19.388) stole pole away from Sebastian Vettel on his final lap at the end of a frantic set of qualifying sessions for the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix. Though the practice sessions seemed to indicate that Red Bull would run away with the pole, the Mercedes duo fought back, and Rosberg led both Q1 and Q2. Vettel had set a monstrous time early in Q3, but Hamilton snuck through on his final lap. Though Vettel beat his own previous time, the German could not quite catch the speed of Hamilton. Romain Grosjean, Nico Rosberg, and Fernando Alonso rounded out the fastest five qualifiers. Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo, and Sergio Perez completed the men to have set times in Q3. Interstingly, both Grosjean and Perez outqualified their more experienced teammates.

    Red Bull’s Mark Webber nearly dropped out in Q2, sitting sixteenth before his final lap hauled him up to eighth in the final seconds after the flag. He suffered an electrical problem that killed his KERS for what must have felt like the thousandth time for the Australian and did not set a time in the final quali session. Paul di Resta dropped out of qualifying in Q1 for the third time this season, plaintively asking Force India, “where did that go? Where did the tyres and grip go?” after the session. Gutierrez, the Caterham drivers, and the Marussia drivers also did not move on to Q2.

    Vettel (1:22.723) and Webber led the way during the Friday practice sessions, even though the reigning world champion did not post a timed lap until the clock showed less than thirty minutes to go in the morning session. Still, no other teams could boast a driver who set a lap in the 1:22s, with Raikkonen, Alonso, and Grosjean rounding out the top five Friday morning. Button managed a superb-for-2013 sixth fastest in his McLaren, while the Mercedes duo of Rosberg and Hamilton managed only eighth and thirteenth, respectively.

    Though their standings improved Friday afternoon to sixth and seventh, Hamilton seemed fully unimpressed with his sixth fastest time after the second session. He pursed his lips and shrugged at his Mercedes’ pace and conceded that he could not look for a pole this weekend, what with the Red Bulls’ continually improving times. Vettel (1:21.264) and Webber again led the afternoon, though the field had tightened up, leaving the top ten covered by barely more than a second. Grosjean, Alonso, and Massa completed the fastest five at the end of the second practice, allowing Ferrari to feel optimistic, as well as Lotus.

    The order changed Saturday morning, as Grosjean (1:20.730) took charge in the final practice and dropped the fastest time of the weekend by a half second. Alonso, a shockingly quick Perez, Vettel, and Massa filed positions two through five, with Hamilton and Webber sixth and seventh. Despite his teammate’s pace, Button sat ninth fastest, just over a tenth slower than eighth fastest Rosberg. Sutil rounded out the top ten, with Raikkonen languishing in eleventh. Despite his pace, or perhaps because he pushed so hard, Perez completed his session in the barriers after spinning on the way into Turn 11. That gave his McLaren crew a busy break between FP3 and qualifying as they frantically attempted to repair the car without a gearbox change.

    Q1:
    The sun shone with only a few wisps of clouds in a blue sky as the twenty minutes of Q1 got underway. Gutierrez led the way on the medium compound after an issue cut his FP3 session short before he set a time. Perez remained in the garage, along with most of the field, as McLaren continued to repair the car. Rosberg left the garages second, nearly three minutes into the session, also on the mediums. The Force Indias followed soon thereafter, as did the Williams drivers, though many drivers remained on the pit wall or in the back of the garage with five minutes gone.

    Rosberg, meanwhile, had gone out for an out lap, but cruised back to the garage without setting a time. The Marussias soon joined the fray, as had Hulkenberg and Pic. Both Pic and Chilton entered the track directly on the soft tyres, which seemed to be about 1.3s faster than the harder compound. That speed would last for a very short time before the grip dropped off.

    Half the field lapped when eight minutes had been completed. Bottas (1:21.532) went to the top on soft tyres eight minutes in, with teammate Maldonado just over two tenths slower. Sutil, di Resta, Pic, Hulkenberg, Gutierrez, and Bianchi completed the top eight, the only drivers to have set times nearing halfway in Q1.

    Hulkenberg soon shook up the order, sliding into third fastest. The Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus, and Mercedes drivers all remained in the garage at halfway. At that point, Bottas, and all the Toro Rosso, Caterham, and Marussia drivers were all lapping on the soft compounds.

    With eight to go, Ferrari and Lotus entered the track. Of the four drivers, only Massa had medium compound shoes on his car. Ricciardo Bottas, Vergne, Maldonado, and Sutil were the fastest five with seven minutes to go and none of the fastest men yet to set a time. Alonso immediately set the fastest S1 of Q1, then the fastest S2, then went straight to the top with a 1:20.652, the fastest lap to the point of the weekend. Raikkonen looked set to beat his time, but instead Grosjean topped Alonso by two tenths. The Finn had lost time in the middle sector. Massa made it a Lotus-Ferrari- Lotus-Ferrari top four.

    Meanwhile, Perez joined those lapping, along with the rest of the men yet to set a time. Vettel’s first lap ended with three and a half minutes to go, putting him second fastest.Chilton and Gutierrez then sat in the relegation zone with the four drivers without a time, but Button went sixth fastest to drop Bianchi. Perez, Rosberg, and Hamilton were all on hot laps and likely to move up and on to Q2. Perez went twelfth fastest, then Rosberg fastest of all, and Hamilton just a hundredth slower than his teammate.

    With less than two minutes to go, Gutierrez, di Resta, Pic, van der Garde, Bianchi, and Chilton were in the relegation zone. Di Resta could not improve and remained eighteenth with one lap left to play. Webber looked unhappy, sitting in thirteenth and slow through the first sector of his final lap.

    Di Resta’s lap looked equally as bad as Webber’s, who had an electrical problem, as much of the rest of the knockout zone looked to improve. Di Resta just barely made the flag, leaving him another lap to try. Webber pitted from thirteenth to abort his final lap as Gutierrez was unable to improve out of the relegation zone. Nor could Bianchi, despite quick early sectors. In the end, di Resta could not make it out of Q1. Rosberg (1:20.350) led Hamilton, Grosjean, Vettel, Alonso, Maldonado, Raikkonen, Massa, Hulkenberg, and Button as the top ten

    Knocked Out in Q1:
    17. Esteban Gutierrez
    18. Paul di Resta
    19. Charles Pic
    20. Giedo van der Garde
    21. Jules Bianchi
    22. Max Chilton

    Q2:
    No one bit as the flag waved green for the fifteen minutes of Q2, with the lights not working at the end of the pit lane. Raikkonen led the way a minute into the session on softs. Hulkenberg soon followed. Three minutes into the session, seven drivers had gone out on to the track, all on the softs. Anyone listening to the radio learned that the electrical issue plaguing Webber had knocked out his KERS. As the latter two thirds of the session began, all but Massa and the McLaren drivers were lapping.

    Raikkonen set a 1:20.987 and pitted. Ricciardo and Hulkenberg slotted in behind the Finn, only to have Sutil then Grosjean go tops. Grosejan (1:20.442) led after the first burst of times, with Sutil, Raikkknen, Bottas, Ricciardo, Vebber, Vergne, and Hulkenberg rounding out the top eight. Hamilton beat Grosjean on his own first fast lap, with Rosberg only able to go a few hundredths slower than Grosjean. Alonso slotted into fourth.

    Vettel (1:19.992) burst into the lead by nearly four tenths with seven minutes remaining. As much of the field returned to the garage for the typical mid-session break, Button and Perez looked set to set their first times of Q2. Vettel led Hamilton Grosjean, Rosberg, Alonso, Sutil, Massa, Raikkonen, Button, and Perez (both McLarens were on scrub tyres) were the top ten with five to go. Bottas, Ricciado, Webber, Vergne, Hulkenberg, and Maldonado were then in the knockout zone. Raikkonen and Grosjean were the first back out, with enough fuel for two laps for Raikkonen. Raikkonen’s first one put him second fastest, half a tenth faster than Hamilton, having moved up from eighth.

    As a few clouds rolled in, the track temperature dropped by four degrees. Ten drivers were on track with three minutes to go. Grosjean moved up from fourth to second on his second set of fast laps. Bottas, Ricciardo, Webber, Vergne, Hulkenberg, and Maldonado were set to be dropped with two minutes to go. At that point, all drivers but Vettel and Raikkonen were out on track. Rosberg soon beat Vettel’s time by two tenths on fresh tyres. Sutil moved up to sixth, as Hamilton also beat Vettel. Alonso slotted into fourth, just after that, with Sutil moving up to seventh.

    Webber continued to fall down the order as Ricciardo popped up to seventh, Webber was down in sixtheenth on his last lap, managing to haul himself up to eighth, just after Button dropped Massa, who returned the favor by jumping up the order. The final few drivers shook up the order, with each moving up and dropping another as he crossed the line. In the end, Rosberg (1:19.778) led Hamilton, Vettel, Grosjean, Alonso, Raikkonen, Massa, Webber, Ricciardo, and Perez the top ten to move on to fight for pole in Q3.

    Knocked Out in Q2:
    11. Adrian Sutil
    12. Nico Hulkenberg
    13. Jenson Button
    14. Jean-Eric Vergne
    15. Pastor Maldonado
    16. Valtteri Bottas

    Q3:
    Webber led the way onto the track for the ten minutes of Q3, with Perez and Ricciardo following. Within the first minute, Rosberg and Hamilton followed, as all the drivers got right to work in the first two minutes of the session. Webber aborted his lap, despite his engineer’s radio transmission that the Australian would not need to save the tyres. He was admonished, “we do need to do a reasonably quick lap.”

    Hamilton (1:20.324) led Rosberg, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, and Perez after the first burst of lap times. Ricciardo had also aborted his lap, but Vettel (1:19.506) completely demolished the fastest lap of the weekend, going eight tenths faster than Hamilton on new soft tyres. All other drivers were on used softs for their first run.

    Everyone returned to their garages for fresh tyres before setting off on a final run to pole. Perez remained out to set his first time while the two Australians in the field remained in the garage without times. Drivers streamed back out at around the two minute mark. Everyone but Webber rejoined with less then two minutes to go. He got out of the car and stormed out the back of the garage. McLaren sent Perez out on mediums, looking for a strategy to gain points.

    Everyone was on their only laps after the flag, with Rosberg, then Hamilton setting the fastest first sectors. Raikkonen could manage only second fastest on his last lap, only to have Rosberg, then Grosjean take second off of the Finn. Alonso slotted into fourth, only to have Hamilton beat Vettel’s provisional pole by just over a tenth.

    Vettel bettered himself, but it was not enough to beat Hamilton, to the cheers and whistles of the crowd on the front straight. Hamilton was as surprised as Mercedes after the radio transmission that informed him that he had won pole. Grosjean and Rosberg would start on the second row, with Alonso and Raikkonen on row three.

    Final Qualifying Times for the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix:

      Driver Team Time Laps
    1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:19.388 15
    2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:19.426 12
    3. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:19.595 15
    4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:19.720 16
    5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:19.791 15
    6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:19.851 17
    7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:19.929 15
    8. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:20.641 14
    9. Sergio Perez McLaren 1:22.398 16
    10. Mark Webber Red Bull no time 13
    11. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:20.569 17
    12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1:20.580 13
    13. Jenson Button McLaren 1:20.777 10
    14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:21.029 12
    15. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:21.133 15
    16. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:21.219 13
    17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:21.724 11
    18. Paul di Resta Force India 1:22.043 11
    19. Charles Pic Caterham 1:23.007 8
    20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:23.333 7
    21. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:23.787 8
    22. Max Chilton Marussia 1:23.997 8

    Thanks to formula1blog.com

  • What’s next for Tag?

    According to a report by Racer, Alex Tagliani has been asked to sit out the remaining races of the season for Barracuda Racing while the team evaluates looks at putting young drivers in the #98 Barracude Networks Honda entry. The team currently sits 23rd in entrant standings and Tagliani is 21st in driver points.

    The rumored drivers are 2011 GP2 runner up Luca Filippi, who had a ride lined up at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing last season but went south and former Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand. Filippi will test for the team at the Mid-Ohio and will run the race for the team. JR Hildebrand was released from his ride at Panther Racing after crash early in this season’s Indianapolis 500.

    Last season was very symbolic of what Tagliani’s career has always been- never giving up despite adversity. He started the season with the underpowered Lotus and made the switch to Honda at the Indianapolis 500 and after that he instantly become competitive. He made nearly every Firestone Fast Six in qualifying, won a pole at Texas and had a dominant car at Edmonton. At Fontana, Tag showed what he was made of and slithered his way thru the field starting in 16th and at the end of the race looked as if he would finally get a win, but his Honda powerplant failed on lap 229.

    To elaborate on his challenges, when Champ Car was absorbed into IndyCar in 2008, Tagliani’s team (Rocketsports) did not make the transition over and Tagliani was unable to land a ride. “Drivers had long term contracts, long standing relationships with teams that they were with and you can’t take anyone’s ride away,” said Tagliani when I interviewed him for a spotlight story in October of last year. In order to save his career, Tagliani had to take a ride with whomever would hire him, and that team ended up being Conquest Racing and he did what he needed to do–run competitive and prove that he is a good driver. He had never ran the Dallara chassis before and with that it mind the results he ended up with at Conquest are impressive. He finished 4th in the non-championship race at Surfer’s Paradise and in 2009 he never finished out of the top 15, came from 33rd to 11th at Indianapolis and led 21 laps at Toronto and had it not been for an ill timed caution which forced him to change his strategy, he may have pulled off an upset win.

    In the last few years, Tag has pulled off some impressive results driving for the FAZZT Race Team which was absorbed into Sam Schmidt Motorsports as well as Bryan Herta Autosport and has been able to contend with the giants of the sport. This season, Tagliani only has 2 top tens and has a string of finishes of 21th or worst from Indianapolis to Iowa, so the reason for Bryan Herta and Steve Newey to try something new is understandable, but that does not mean that Tagliani is untalented. It has come down to bad luck like at Long Beach where he collided with Charlie Kimball or at Detroit where he crashed after starting in 5th.

    So what does lie ahead for Tag? He is confident, determined, personable and has the talent and his results sometimes do not match how well he has ran. The unfortunate truth is that with so few full time rides available, it may be hard for him to land something full time at the moment.

    ..

dd