2022 Spanish GP

The Spanish Grand Prix brings us round 6 of this years World Championship. The season so far has been a story of Ferrari versus RedBull, with this race being the race where the first major upgrades are brought to the cars would we see a change in the pecking order, would Mercedes be back in the hunt for wins? A scorching day in Barcelona would bring us all the answers we have been waiting for.

The front row had Leclerc and Verstappen again and could deliver us a titanic battle into turn one. Strategy would be key in the hot weather and whoever looks after their tyres the best would surely go on to win the race.

Home favourite Fernando Alonso took an engine penalty and would start from last, the 2 time world champion promising to give it everything and put on a show for his adoring fans. Could his popular compatriot Carlos Sainz improve his form after an indifferent start to his season, a win not impossible for the Spaniard. Everyone will start on the soft tyre apart from Lewis Hamilton who chose to start on the mediums.

The front 2 clearly ahead of the rest on the start. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Room

Lights out and the battle to the first corner was between the front two, they came through the first turns in the same order that they started.  Russell up to third. Hamilton then had a collision with Magnussen who tried to go around him on the outside of turn 4 causing a puncture with Magnussen into the gravel. Both drivers pitting at the end of the first lap.

At the start of Lap 5 Bottas went around the outside to Mick Schumacher into turn one. Alonso in the Alpine already up to P14, plenty of overtaking moves so far including a great pass from Alonso again on Sebastian Vettel. Sainz then makes a big mistake and spins into the gravel at turn 4 putting him down in 11th.

At the start of lap 9 Max Verstappen also lost it at turn 4 and went into the gravel, returning to the track in 4th. The RedBull team telling him it was a gust of wind. Russell now ahead of both RedBulls and clearly holding them up, RedBull clearly order Perez to let Verstappen through to see if he can make any ground on the Mercedes.

Ricciardo overtaken by hos teammate early on. Image courtesy pf Pirelli F1 Press Room

The McLaren of Ricciardo is falling down the order with the Aussie now down on 15th after pitting for fresh soft tyres. Lap 13 and Norris pits in his McLaren returning to the track in 9th place ahead of Sainz in the Ferrari. Both Russell and Verstappen pitted together, the world champion would need to get passed quickly to try and salvage his race. The RedBull struggling with an intermittent DRS fault meaning Verstappen couldn’t  get to close to the Mercedes on the main straight. The world champion looking very ragged in the RedBull complaining on the radio that they should be able to get the DRS working.

Leclerc up front still hadn’t pitted at the start of lap 20 and led by 30 seconds from Russell and Verstappen. The top 10 completed by Perez, Bottas, Ocon, Sainz, Vettel, Norris and Tsunoda. Alonso now up to 11th after starting last in his Alpine. Hamilton in the Mercedes seemingly with damage as he has only moved back to 16th.

Lap 22 and Leclerc finally pits, a great stop by the Ferrari team at 2.2 seconds, he returns to the track with 4.6 second lead but he now has tyres 8 laps fresher than the cars behind him.

At the start of lap 24 Hamilton pits for new medium tyres but falls down to 19th. Verstappen makes a move into turn one but Russell hangs him out to dry and makes him go the long way around and he can’t quite do it. Great defending by George Russell. Anyone who thought this race would be boring was very wrong. Perez now behind Verstappen asking the team to get him out of the way.

Suddenly Leclerc has trouble and the Ferrari is limping back to the pits, The first DNF of the season for the championship leader. Russell now leads in the Mercedes, Verstappen still struggling to find a way by the slower Mercedes.

Back down the field Lance Stroll again runs out of talent and spins after contact with the Alpha Tauri into turn one. RedBull decide to pit Verstappen dropping him to 4th but in clean air. Surely a 3 stop is now on the cards. Russell now out front ahead of Perez but the Mexican goes straight passed at the first attempt. His team mate now back up to 3rd, just 13 seconds behind.

At half distance this race is between the two RedBulls but seeing as team orders were clearly used earlier surely it is Verstappens race to lose now. As he closes on Russell the Brit pits in his Mercedes. The two RedBulls now leading the pack just 6 seconds apart. Perez pits the very next lap for mediums, returning to the track clear of Russell in the Mercedes. Further down the field Lando Norris is now up to 8th position despite feeling unwell this weekend.

Perez making a move on Russell. Image courtesy of Red Bull content pool

Hamilton in the Mercedes is currently the quickest car bar the RedBulls and showing that the Mercedes does in fact have quite a lot of pace which shows well for the rest of the season, the 7 time world champion now up to 6th.

Lap 45 and Verstappen pits for what surely is the last time. He comes back out ahead of Russell, just 5 seconds behind his team mate. Sainz in the sole remaining Ferrari also pits for the 3rd time. He is now 7th, another disappointing show from the Ferrari driver.

Lap 49 and RedBull tell Perez to let Verstappen passed for the lead, The Mexican agreeing but not very happy with the order.

Mercedes pit Russell again for fresh soft tyres, he remains in 3rd and on for a podium, RedBull bring Perez back in also to protect his 2nd position.

The rest of the field seems to have settled with a few battles developing for the back end of the top ten before the end of the race.

With 10 laps to go Verstappen leads from Perez, Russell, Bottas, Sainz, Hamilton, Ocon, Norris, Alonso, Schumacher, Tsunoda, Vettel, Ricciardo, Gasly, Stroll, Magnussen, Latifi and Albon with the only 2 retirements being Leclerc and Zhou.

Hamilton making moves. Image courtesy of Mercedes Media

Bottas, Sainz and Hamilton were running within a second of each other at the start of lap 58. Sainz is straight passed down the main straight, Hamilton then drives around the outside of turn three to overtake his former team mate. The Brit in his Mercedes clearly on a mission after the disappointment of lap one. His sights now clearly on the Ferrari ahead. He swoops around the outside of the Ferrari into turn one, a great drive today from Hamilton that might stop all the Netflix fans saying he’s finished.

After 66 laps Verstappen crossed the line as the race winner and also takes the lead of the world championship, he is followed over the line by Perez and the Mercedes of George Russell, Sainz is fourth after taking Hamilton one lap from the end due the Mercedes having to lift and coast for the last few laps, Hamilton finishes fifth ahead of Bottas, Ocon, Norris, Alonso and Tsunoda rounding out the top ten.

The rest of the classified finishers were Vettel, Ricciardo, Gasly, Schumacher, Stroll, Latifi, Magnussen and Albon.

Probably the best Spanish Grand Prix since 1991, plenty of overtaking and battles throughout the field all race long. The next stop on the F1 circus is Monaco, obviously we wont have the amount of overtaking that we did here but every lap has jeopardy and so anything can happen.

 

W Series Spain: Two-time Champion Shows Her Class

Jamie Chadwick had a very dominant drive in Spain to add to her double win in Miami. Abi Pulling put in a solid performance to take the second spot on the podium with her mentor and flatmate Alice Powell making it an all British podium inf Barcelona.

In qualifying yesterday Chadwick topped the session with an under the radar lap after teammates Powell and Hawkins battled with Powell eventually coming out in P2 with Pulling splitting the two drivers. That gave Chadwick her 9th pole in W Series and the advantage for the race.

A great start for Jamie Chadwick. Image courtesy of W Series Media

Lights out and Chadwick makes a great start immediately coming across to cover off Alice Powell. This gives room Abi Pulling to take advantage of her great start. By turn 1 Pulling was on the outside of Powell, making a great move to take P2. Emma Kimiläinen took advantage of her good start as well as she passed Visser for P4.

The drivers get away clean with only Chloe chambers going wide around turn 3, just kicking up some gravel on her way around. Everyone made it round the first lap safely with Marti making the biggest leap forward from P11 to P8 on lap one.

By the end of the first lap Chadwick had pulled out a one second gap on Pulling, however it didn’t take Pulling long to close that gap to half a second. Chadwick was beginning to come under pressure from both Powell and Pulling as Moore was setting the pace with some fastest laps.

With 20 minutes to go Powell was pushing Pulling all the way by setting replacing Moore’s fastest laps. The aim to get Pulling to either overtake Chadwick or Powell will overtake her. At this point Powell was only 3 tenths back and looked to make a move down the main straight, unfortunately not making anything stick.

The top 3 chasing each other down. Image courtesy of W Series Media

About halfway through the race and further down the field, Moore was showing that earlier pace and lined up a move on Jess Hawkins. When the gap was close enough down the main straight Sarah Moore got into the slip stream and the took the inside line on Hawkins into turn 1. The move was almost done for Moore but Hawkins stuck with her, forcing Moore to make a great move around the outside of turn 2 for P10.

There was then a stalemate for the rest of the race as the drivers needed to protect their tyres from degrading. However, the gap between Pulling and Chadwick was very slowly coming down with Pulling’s engineer encouraging her to keep the pressure on.

As the final lap came around protection of the tyres no longer mattered so it was time to push. Pulling really put the pressure on Chadwick all the way through but just wasn’t quite close enough to make a move.

All smiles on the podium. Image courtesy of W Series Media

While Chloe Chambers unfortunately spun out on the last lap, her teammate won for a fifth time in a row and a third time this year. Chadwick won from pole with a very dominant performance. Pulling finished P2 with Powell in P3 after having to back off to preserve tyres.

2022 Spanish GP Qualifying

Round 6 of the 2022 F1 World Championship brings us to the traditional start of the European season at Barcelona for the Spanish GP. Every team apart from Haas has brought big upgrades to their cars, the biggest seems to be with Constructors champions Mercedes who look too have cured most of the porpoising issues they have suffered from all season long. The most surprising upgrade is that of the Aston Martins who appear to have blatantly copied the RedBull design, whether they have done this legally or not will no doubt be something that rumbles on all season long.

After the three practice sessions the top 6 drivers were all from the top 3 teams, it could be the closest battle for pole so far this season. Going into qualifying Ferrari looked to be favourite for the front row closely followed by RedBull and Mercedes.

Gasly setting pace in Q1. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Room

Q1 began in scorching temperatures. First out on to the track was the Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu, he was followed out onto the track by the Alpha Tauri’s of Gasly and Tsunoda. After the first runs the top six were the two Ferrari’s, Verstappen, the two Mercedes and then Valterri Bottas in the Alfa.

Out of qualifying at the end of the session were Vettel, Alonso, Stroll, Albon and Latifi. At the front it was Leclerc on a 1.19.861 ahead of Sainz, Verstappen , Russell, Magnussen and Hamilton in 6th.

It seems the green RedBull is not as quick as a blue one. A big shock that both of the Aston’s were out in Q1 along with home favourite Alonso who had been looking quick so far this weekend.

Lance Stroll couldn’t get better than P17. Image courtesy of Aston Martin Media

The two Mercedes started the action in Q2, Russell going fastest with a 1.19.470, three tenths ahead of his team mate. At the end of the first runs the Mercedes were first and second, however they used new tyres whereas the RedBull and Ferrari used a scrubbed set of tyres. Perez was third ahead of Leclerc, Bottas and Verstappen.

For the final runs both Mercedes stayed in their garage feeling safe at the top of the standings, so did Leclerc in the Ferrari. Sainz needed to go back out as his first run was only good enough seventh. He crossed the line and moved to first giving the home support something to cheer about.

As the session ended Max Verstappen went quickest on a 1.19.219 ahead of Sainz, Russell and Hamilton. Out of qualifying were Lando Norris who had his fastest time deleted because of track limits, Ocon in the Alpine, Tsunoda, Gasly and Zhou.

Lewis Hamilton driving the improved Mercedes in Q2. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Room

And so to Q3, would we get the top 6 fighting it out for pole as it has seemed we would get throughout the weekend so far.

Lewis Hamilton was first over the line and so went fastest. He was quickly bettered by Verstappen, Sainz, Perez and team mate Russell. Leclerc spun on his quick lap at the final chicane and immediately returned to the pits. Everyone else then returned to the pits to prepare for their final runs. The top 5 were covered by half a second but 3 tenths of that was between first and second.

Leclerc completing his stunning pole lap. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Room

Charles Leclerc came out earlier than everyone else obviously trying to make up for the mistake on his first run. He set a blistering time of 1.18.750, an amazing lap under such pressure. Verstappen aborted his lap after complaining of no power but remained second. Third was Sainz who was joined on the second row by George Russell. Then came Perez, Hamilton, Bottas, Magnussen, Ricciardo and rounding out the top ten was Mick Schumacher.

Not quite as close as everyone had hoped but the top six is definitely closing up. Tomorrow will be a shoot out down to turn one. The RedBull race pace on Friday looked pretty ominous so could come down to a race of strategy and tyre management.

F1 Weekend Preview: Barcelona Battle Incoming

After the inaugural race in Miami had mixed reviews but was definitely a spectacle. We move to the familiarity of Barcelona which is expected to be a real test of the new regulation, with teams bringing upgrades.

A Rollercoaster Championship Battle

Verstappen beating both Ferrari’s in Miami. Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

In Miami, Ferrari managed to lock out the front row in qualifying after Verstappen had an error in the final runs of Q3. However, Verstappen showed his pace at the beginning of the race, creating a lead which the Ferrari’s couldn’t keep up with. This means that he keeps his form of winning every race he finishes.

Charles Leclerc has pushed him hard and still leads the championship by winning the races Verstappen didn’t finish and picking up podiums in all but 1 race. Leclerc will be looking to bring back the initial pace from testing in Barcelona, where they were clearly ahead of the rest.

For Carlos Sainz he will want to capitalise on the race winning car he has found himself in for his home race. The last time a Spanish driver won the Spanish Grand Prix was in 2013 where Fernando Alonso put his Ferrari on the top step after an epic start. Sainz will want to give the Spanish fans something to shout about again.

Carlos Sainz on his way to another podium in Miami. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Room

Upgrades in Spain

Barcelona is the race which teams traditionally bring upgrades to. It is the start of a European run which, now due to the budget cap, parts are easily transported to the track at lower cost. It also comes as teams are now more on top of the regulations and developing their cars.

Particularly for Mercedes, previous upgrades brought to Miami appeared to show more of the potential of the car, but also displayed a very small window in which the car can run at optimum performance. But, with more upgrades due in Spain, they might be able to extract the speed required to bring them back to the top.

Fighting to get higher up the grid in Miami. Image courtesy of Mercedes Media

The New Regulations put to the Test

The aim of the new regulations was to allow the drivers to get closer together without the cars losing downforce. So far we have had exciting racing, and, with the exception of possibly Miami, the regulations appeared to have worked.

However, Barcelona is notoriously difficult to overtake at, often dreaded by fans as a more boring race on the calendar. This will test if the regulation changes have actually created closer racing at this style of track.

Following along behind in Miami. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Room

We saw an improved race in Imola but it still had mixed reviews. Miami seemed to suggest that it doesn’t matter what the regulations are, a street track is always difficult to overtake at. Therefore, the feeling is mostly of cautious optimism as we look to Spain.

Last year the race was strategically exciting, keep fans on the edge in what was a very unusual season. Any repeats of this would make for a great race.

Watch Qualifying on Saturday at 3pm BST and the Race on Sunday at 4pm BST.

Dominant Verstappen beats Leclerc to Miami GP victory

Max Verstappen took victory with a commanding performance at the Miami Grand Prix after passing polesitter Charles Leclerc early on.

A crash and a hydraulic issue had limited Verstappen’s running in practice before he qualified third behind Ferrari, who qualified first and second for the first time since the Japanese Grand Prix of 2019, 48 races prior after they both capitalised on a mistake by the reigning champion in qualifying.

Due to an issue heating the fuel up, Aston Martin’s promising looking qualifying was undone as both Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll were forced to start from the pit lane.

Verstappen with a great start. Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

Off the start, Leclerc kept the lead through the first corner as Max Verstappen got round Carlos Sainz at Turn Two, splitting the Ferraris and giving Red Bull a near perfect start.

The Monegasque opened out a second advantage to the reigning champion after the first two tours of the circuit, setting the fastest lap as both of the leaders began to drop Sainz.

Having made a poor start from sixth, Sir Lewis Hamilton was passed by both Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso, with the Briton claiming that Alonso had hit him, but he streamed back ahead of the double world champion shortly after.

The seven-time champion then got back ahead of Gasly, regaining sixth and putting him just over two seconds behind former Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Mick Schumacher and Yuki Tsunoda then engaged in an entertaining battle for 11th as the German got past, while Verstappen was beginning to close on Leclerc as Zhou Guanyu brought his Alfa Romeo back into the garage to retire.

Yuki Tsunoda fighting Mick Schumacher. Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

He was told of significant graining on the Ferrari driver’s front left tyre, and he duly took full advantage by getting to within a second and passing his fellow 24-year-old into Turn One, and Leclerc then began to fall away while Sainz began to fall into the clutches of Sergio Perez.

The first stops of the race arrived on lap 13 as Tsunoda and then Kevin Magnussen came in for Hard tyres, followed by Schumacher, with the lack of longevity of the Pirelli rubber this weekend being confirmed.

Alonso’s stop was intended to gain the undercut on Gasly, but an issue on the front right delayed his getaway, and cost him time to the Frenchman.

Vettel would then engage in an entertaining battle with Williams’ Nicholas Latifi after Stroll had cleared the Canadian, with the German and then Magnussen making their way past, as Gasly’s came back out of the pits comfortably clear of Alonso as Alpine’s misfortune this season continued.

Vettel then narrowly cleared Norris as the Briton exited the pits, before Magnussen followed him through past the McLaren after a slow stop, and Perez began to lose power in his Red Bull, causing him to fall back towards Bottas, but his lap times began to improve as he returned to the pace.

Magnussen had a go at clearing Vettel at Turn 11, but he ran out of table on the outside as the 34-year-old defended well.

A great stop for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. Image courtesy of Mercedes Media

Hamilton came in on Lap 23 and was given a splendid stop by the Mercedes crew, and he re-joined behind George Russell after the 24-year-old’s P12 in qualifying left him out of position.

Leclerc then began using the rest of his residual grip on the Mediums as he set the fastest lap, indicative of an imminent stop, but the gap to Verstappen had risen to 4.5 seconds.

Despite his pace, he told his team that the car was “so difficult to drive,” and he was shortly thereafter brought into the pits for a set of Mediums.

Red Bull waited a couple of laps to bring Verstappen in as he got a super stop from his mechanics, and came back out ahead of Perez, who had yet to make a stop, with Sainz in the lead for the same reason.

Sainz pitted on lap 27, but had a slow stop as the crew struggled with the front left, but owing to Perez’s earlier issues, was able to re-join in front of the Mexican, before Hamilton reported to his team that he was beginning to suffer from overheating tyres.

Lance Stroll battles Magnussen. Image courtesy of Aston Martin Media

Magnussen, having finally cleared Vettel, now had a face full of Stroll’s Aston Martin, and Norris was behind the train involving Schumacher as his slow stop continued to cost him time.

As Vettel’s attempt to get back past Magnussen failed, Schumacher gladly took the opportunity to get ahead of the Aston Martin.

That left the Banbury-made cars to battle between themselves as the 29-year-old endeavoured to defend from his younger team-mate.

Schumacher was eventually allowed to get past the Dane, before a Vettel mistake at Turn Seven opened the door for Norris to gain the position.

Russell, meanwhile, had been completing a remarkably good stint, and he told his team he was more than happy to stay out in anticipation of a Safety Car or some rain as Christian Horner began to look nervously at the sky.

Gasly and Alonso made contacted as they continued their squabble as the Spaniard went for an ambitious move down the inside, and the subsequent time loss cost the 25-year-old a place to Stroll, who had yet to pit in another miserable day for Aston Martin.

Contact then ensued between Norris and Gasly, causing a puncture and a spin out of the race for the McLaren and extracting the Virtual Safety Car – an ideal opportunity for Russell to make his stop.

Gasly had been slowing after going off at Turn Eight and, as he re-joined, he turned into the back of the Briton, and the departure of his tyre followed by his stricken car lying out on track brought eventually brought out a full Safety Car.

The subsequent stops put Russell into seventh, while Aston Martin were brought back into the picture, and Esteban Ocon, having started last after being unable to contest qualifying due to an FP3 crash, was placed onto Softs.

Alonso was also given a five-second penalty for the collision with Gasly, who then came in for Softs of his own.

Most importantly though, Perez had put on fresh Mediums, leaving the Ferraris vulnerable to him for when the race restarted, and a neglect on Hamilton’s side of the garage to pit him also looked set to leave him at the mercy of Russell.

Sergio Perez in for his vital stop. Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

Sainz was immediately forced to fend off Perez on the restart, but Verstappen negotiated it perfectly, remaining ahead of Leclerc as everyone kept it clean on lap 47.

Schumacher managed to clear Ocon for ninth place as he chased his first points finish, and Perez continued to attack the second Ferrari.

Russell tried to make a move stick on Hamilton, but the 37-year-old defended well before a mistake from Bottas allowed both of them to clear the Alfa Romeo, which had made contact with the barrier.

Russell did then manage to clear his Mercedes team-mate after a boisterous battle of the Britons, and Leclerc was sticking within a second of Verstappen as he chased the win.

A highly audacious attempt from Perez into Turn One, and the subsequent lock-up allowed Sainz to get back in front.

Schumacher would then dive down the inside of his friend and mentor Vettel, hitting hi and spinning him at Turn One, allowing Ocon to climb into the points, as well as Alex Albon.

Verstappen opened out the gap to a comfortable margin, and as he crossed the line on the final lap, claimed the 23rd win of his career.

It leaves him 19 points behind Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship, while Ferrari’s lead over Red Bull has been cut to six points.

W Series Miami Race 2: Chadwicks makes it a Double

Chadwick puts in a dominant performance to win the second race in Miami. In contrast to yesterdays race it was a clean session but still had the last lap which W Series is becoming known for.

The second fastest times in qualifying set the grid for this race. This meant Chadwick started on pole with Marti in P2, Kimiläinen in P3 and Powell in P4. Both Kimiläinen and Powell were looking to improve on their results from race 1.

Lights out and everyone gets away clean. Chadwick with a good start kept the lead into turn 1 while Kimiläinen behind her had a great start. She was alongside Marti heading towards turn 1 but gets stuck behind Chadwick and stayed in P3.

Through sector one kimiläinen stayed close to Marti which meant by the time they got to turn 11 she was lining up a move on Marti. She goes too deep just like the restart of race 1 and undoes all the hard work she had done. Next time around, on lap 2 she had another go and this time made it stick.

While this was happening Marta Garcia was making up places which is important for her after receiving a penalty after the race yesterday for colliding with Kimiläinen in the closing stages of race 1.

Powell was also wanting to improve on race 1 and was closing the gap on Marti after Kimiläinen’s move. She kept searching for a passing position but couldn’t find the right opportunity to make a move.

The pressure from Powell pushed Marti closer to Kimiläinen, and with 20 minutes to go Marti was in the slipstream of the team Puma driver. Kimiläinen made a mistake in turn 17 and Marti took back P2.

This battle was far from over though. Down the main straight Kimiläinen had more speed and takes the inside line into turn 1. Just when she thought the battle was won though, Marti gave Kimiläinen one final battle into turn 11. Marti out braked Kimiläinen and came out on top.

Trying to get in on the action, Powell makes a lunge into turn 1 on Kimiläinen. She went too deep though and couldn’t make it stick, leaving Kimiläinen to great a gap to Powell. This opened the door for Belen Garcia, but Powell was able to keep her behind.

Moore chasing down Visser before her overtake. Image courtesy of W Series Media

Further back and Moore was putting in fastest laps in an attempt to catch Visser. With 14 minutes to go Moore had caught Visser, making a great move into turn 1. This pace wasn’t too last forever though as Abbi Pulling was on the charge behind her.

Having taken fastest lap, Pulling was following Moore and passed Visser in a great move around the outside of turn 11. It wasn’t long before she was only half a second behind Moore with only 5 minutes left of the race.

Moore was holding Pulling off until the pressure seemed to get to her, and she locked up, going deep into turn 11. Pulling took advantage and made it up to P7. It only got worse for Moore as Visser got past as well in the last minute of the race.

In the final few minutes of the race Powell had closed up on Kimiläinen in P3. On the final lap after the 30 minute time Powell looked to make a move on kimiläinen. Going into turn 17 kimiläinen was pushing hard to keep Powell behind but the back end stepped out causing her to spin round. This caused some damage to Powell’s front wing, but she was able to carry on to the end.

So heartbreak again for kimiläinen but Jamie Chadwick made it a double win in Miami to start her 2022 season. Nerea Marti and a damaged Alice Powell joined her on the podium. A second W Series podium for Marti and an important points haul for Powell after yesterday’s disappointment.

All smiles from Marti, Chadwick and Powell on the podium. Image courtesy of W Series Media

Next up is Barcelona where we only have 1 race on Saturday the 21st of May.

W Series Race 1: Chadwick Wins in an Exciting Season Opener

Jamie Chadwick opens her 2022 defence campaign with a win in a very exciting and dramatic race 1. Miami proved to be quick but had good overtaking spots as the was battles all the way down the field.

As they line up on the grid Marti was ready to cover off Chadwick into turn 1 but Chadwick was pointing towards her competitor. The rest of the grid follow behind as all 18 drivers made it to the race after various crashes in qualifying.

Lights out and disaster for Marti who stalled on the grid along with Powell. Heartbreak for Marti after taking pole but Chadwick and Kimiläinen made it through with great starts for each of them.

Jamie Chadwick leads into turn 1. Image courtesy of W Series Media

After stalling Powell was in P18 and was pushing to catch up to the pack on the opening lap. She hit the wall on the outside of turn 7.  She hit some dust just off the racing line and it dragged her wide, causing her to hit the wall which sprayed lots a debris.

This brought out the safety car which means that, in W Series, the clock keeps running down until the track is clear to go racing. But, with 18 minutes left on the clock, the stewards finally decided to bring out the red flag so the marshals could actually remove the car.

Abbi Pulling was reporting potential damage and vibrations on her car after the first lap incidents. However, after investigation by her engineer in the red flag period there was a flat spot on her tyre but it was not down to the canvas so her engineer gave the ok.

Alice Powell, the driver coach. Image courtesy of W Series Media

Just before the rolling restart we got to witness Alice Powell the driver coach. She is Abbi Pulling’s coach and, evening though she was in P9, Powell told Pulling to go and get a podium. This struck a cord with Pulling who then got on the radio to plan some push laps on the restart.

At the restart Chadwick timed it perfectly and bolted once the safety car was in. The cortDAO teammates where battling each other in P3 and P4. Garcia manged to stay ahead at turn 11 by being late under braking and eventually begun to pull away from Wohlwend.

As Garcia got up to the back of the leaders, Wohlwend became the leader of a train of cars, which were all trying to overtake each other. Down the main straight it became 3 wide with another pair overtaking behind. This repeated itself for several laps.

With about 9 minutes left many wanted to get past Wohlwend. But she tapped the wall in sector 2, causing the car to become unbalanced. As Abbie Eaton came to overtake the slower pink car, Wohlwend went straight on and took Eaton with her into turn 5 the next lap.

Meanwhile the battle for the lead had got closer. Even with the yellow flags in sector 1 this didn’t stop the speed of Kimiläinen. She had a great run into turn 11 and broke late to take the lead from Chadwick. Then putting in a strong defence before the safety car eventually came out for the stricken cars.

Fabienne Wohlwend gets a ride back after an incident. Image courtesy of W Series Media

It looked like Kimiläinen had timed that move perfectly as the clock ran down. But she would need one last strong defence because the safety car came in to give us an exciting 1 lap shoot out to the end.

On the restart Kimiläinen tried to leave Chadwick behind but the 2 time champion was with her all the way and brought Garcia along with her. In the slipstream Chadwick had more speed down the main straight and was ahead of Kimiläinen. Garcia then tried to follow Chadwick, making it a 3 way battling into turn 1.

Heartbreak for Kimiläinen as she goes deep into turn 1 trying to take back P1. She managed to get going into P3 and was all over the gearbox of Garcia. In a last attempt to push for P2 she out-braked Garcia into turn 17. But disaster as she spun out of the points finishing P17.

This left the first win of the season to Jamie Chadwick, Garcia capitalising on Kimiläinen’s mistake to finish P2 and a debut W Series podium for Jess Hawkins. The podium was full of smiles as the season is now officially underway.

Miami GP: Leclerc takes pole as Ferrari lockout front row

Charles Leclerc’s quest for redemption got off to a splendid start in Miami after the Monegasque driver delivered an excellent lap to put his Ferrari on pole for the race on Sunday. Leclerc looked in control throughout the free practice sessions and did not put a foot wrong when it mattered. His teammate Carlos Sainz who has been on a bit of a rough patch would be extremely satisfied with his result in qualifying after he was able to lock out the front row alongside his teammate.

Redbull and Max Verstappen would not be overly rejoicing at their qualifying result after a mistake from Verstappen in the second run of Q3 undid any chance of Dutchman trying to get closer to his championship rival Leclerc. Sergio Perez in the other Redbull could not replicate his FP3 result and had to settle for fourth position on the grid, locking out the second row next to his teammate.

Disappointment for Verstappen as he steps out of the car. Image courtesy of Red Bull content Pool

It was yet another disappointing session for Mercedes as only Lewis Hamilton could make Q3 this time, qualifying in 6th in the process. His teammate George Russell got knocked out in Q2 after the English driver could not deal completely with the issues of oversteer in his Mercedes. He will be starting the race from P12 on the grid which would mean that he has a decent amount of work ahead of him on Sunday to score some points.

Bottas on his way to a P5. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Room

Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo continued to impress this season after the Finnish driver put together a great lap in the final run of Q3 good enough for a fifth place on the grid. His teammate Zhou in the other Alfa Roemo unfortunately finished only P17 as traffic on the last runs of Q1 ruined his flying lap. This concluded a mixed Saturday for Alfa Romeo but they definitely look highly likely to score good points through Bottas come Sunday.

It was a great Saturday in Miami for Alpha Tauri after Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda qualified seventh and ninth respectively. Gasly got off to a shaky start in Q1 after he had his lap time deleted but he got on well with the rest of the session earning the team a great chance to score points on Sunday.

McLaren were able to get one car into Q3 via the courtesy of Lando Norris as the Englishman is set to start the race from P8. Daniel Ricciardo in the other McLaren could not improve enough in the second runs of Q2 and the Australian will be forced to start from P14 for the race.

Vettel not able to make it to Q2. Image courtesy of Aston Martin F1 Media

Aston Martin seem to be finding pace slowly as the season progresses as this time, Lance Stroll comfortably made it into Q3 after a very good lap in the last run of Q2. He will be starting the race from P10 while his teammate Vettel in the other Aston Martin will be starting the race from P13 after missing out on Q2 by 0.086 seconds, which the German driver admitted on radio was due to his mistake.

Alpine had only the one car of Fernando Alonso running in the qualifying after a heavy crash in FP3 meant that Esteban Ocon could not participate in qualifying. Alonso will be starting P11 whiile Ocon will be starting at the back of the grid.

Both the Haas cars will be starting P15 and P16 with Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen respectively. They will be looking to make inroads on Sunday for some points. Both the Williams will start with Albon at P19 and Latifi in P20 respectively and would take something special like Australia to score points come raceday.

It was Ferrari’s turn to draw first blood this weekend after Redbull took 1-2 in their home country a couple of weeks ago. The Italian team will be looking to convert their excellent qualifying result into a race result but they will be facing a big task of fast charging Redbulls from the second row.

W Series Qualifying: A Maiden Pole Sitter for 2022

Nerea Marti takes her first pole in W Series after a dramatic end to the first qualifying of the season.

30 minutes of qualifying and it’s a double header weekend so the fastest time sets the grid for race 1 and the second fastest time sets the grid for race 2. The plan was simple then, drive the fastest to get the most out of the session.

10 minutes in and it was the usual suspects topping with time sheets. Chadwick was on pole with Powell and Kimiläinen closely behind. It is always important to remember that for W Series all the cars are required to start the session with a full tank of fuel, so lap times were consistently getting faster.

Pushing the limits at this new track, Marti had a moment nearly ending her session coming into turn 7 and 8 but she kissed the wall with her tyre and was able to carry on. Having watched the Formula 1 sessions as well the drivers are beginning to find gains around this new track.

Half way through and the traffic is causing havoc as Powell and Kimiläinen were now faster than Chadwick. Street circuits always create traffic issues. Those on fast laps can unintentionally be hindered by divers on slow laps because there are not many places to easily get out of the way on this fast street circuit.

Alice Powell bringing the heat in Miami. Image courtesy of W Series Media

The session saw its first red flag when Chloe chambers spun at the chicane. She was top rookie at that point in P5 and putting in a very soild performance, not far off her teammate, Jamie Chadwick. She did manage to get the car going again so the red flag didn’t last long.

With only 9 minutes left it was time for the drivers to push for their position for race 1. The banker laps are for race 2 which will mix up the grid. This format for double headers means the goal for drivers is just to go fast, which makes it much easier for us to follow at home.

Coming back out Chadwick had the pace on the drivers. She took top spot and only kept improving her time as fuel weight came down. Powell had a strong start to the session but now couldn’t seem to get on match Chadwick’s pace.

Jamie Chadwick back out for the final push. Image courtesy of W Series Media

In the closing stages of the session everyone was putting in faster laps and finding the limits of the track. Nerea Marti put in an incredible lap with 90 seconds left in the session, topping the time sheets. This pushed Chadwick down to P2 and Powell down to P3.

Just 30 seconds to go and Fabienne Wohlwend had a big incident bringing out the red flag. She got out of the car and was ok, but this ended the session. That meant that Marti took her maiden pole in W Series for race 1 and was on the first row for race 2.

Chadwick will be pole for race 2 while Powell lost out the most from the red flag. She was up by 2 tenths on Marti’s pole lap when the red flag came out. Powell will start P3 for race 1 and P4 for race 2.

W Series Weekend Preview: Miami

W Series starts its 3rd on-track season in Miami for the biggest season yet. The series will again be supporting the Formula 1 calendar with a record 10 races, starting with the double header at Miami.

After 195 days since the last race we get two for the price of one. This season features two double headers at the start and the end of the season in Mexico. The rest follows the format of last year with qualifying on Friday and the race on Saturday.

Miami is a very fast street track which demands a lot from the drivers. This is a great place to start to show off the talent of these women and test their ability to tame such a demanding track. Overtaking opportunities will be similar to Formula 1, coming mostly from turns 11 and 17, but lines will be different so don’t be surprised if they come in other corners.

The Two time Champion Returns

Jamie Chadwick is back with Jenner racing to defend her title. She starts the season as the women to beat in a newly formed team funded by Caitlyn Jenner. Her main rival from last year, Alice Powell, will be looking to bring the heat all season.

Last season Alice Powell started off her campaign stronger than Chadwick, winning the first race of the season at the Red Bull Ring while Chadwick finished in P6. This is something Powell will want to repeat and take full advantage of the double header. However, she will need to keep this momentum all season if she wants to finally beat Chadwick.

Champion Jamie Chadwick is congratulated by Alice Powell on the podium in Austin 2021. Image courtesy of W Series Media

Five New Rookies

After pre-season testing in Barcelona five drivers make their W Series debuts in Miami. Tereza Babickova, Bianca Bustamante, Chloe Chambers, Emely De Heus, and Juju Noda. This is the current surge of young talent to add to break out star from 2021, Abbi Pulling.

They will compete against some of W Series most seasoned drivers like Alice Powell, Jamie Chadwick, Emma Kimiläinen, Jessica Hawkins and many others. But all 18 drivers will start from zero and be given a fair chance to fight for the title.

Chloe Chambers getting to grips with her new car. Image courtesy of W Series Media

W Series has signed a contract with Sky Sports so all qualifying’s and races will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1. There will also be highlights on channel 4 and practice and qualifying streamed from YouTube and Facebook.

Qualifying starts at 2pm BST on Saturday. Race 1 is at 7:10pm BST on the same day and race 2 is at 3:10pm BST on Sunday.

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