Williams, German Grand Prix Preview

GP UNGHERIA F1/2016 – BUDAPEST (UNGHERIA) 24/07/2016
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After skipping a year in 2015, Formula One returns to Germany and to one of its most fabled locations, Hockenhiem. The circuit has seen much change since it first hosted F1 in 1970, the long straights which blasted through the forests are gone, replaced with a shorter but still relatively fast circuit. Sector one is the quickest on the track, featuring the best overtaking spot on the track, the turn five hairpin at the end of the straight which isn’t a straight, it mostly consists of a long left hander, easily taken flat out in the wet or the dry. The standout feature of sector two is the large Mercedes grandstand, always packed with Silver Arrows supporters. The final sector mainly consists of the much tighter stadium section, which is always a spectacular sight on race day.

 

For a race that has been held so many times, it is unsurprising that Williams have won the race on eight occasions. It was the location of one of the team’s first ever victories in 1979 and their first ever 1-2, Alan Jones took the honors that day from team mate Clay Regazzoni. Nelson Piquet would kick off a run of Brazilians winning the race 5 years in a row, taking the flag in 1896 and a race of attrition in 1987, in which just 6 cars finished. Senna’s McLaren won from 1988-90 but Nigel Mansell would take the trophy back to Grove in 1991, it was another 1-2 for Williams, Ricciardo Patrese backed up the Brit. Mansell took another lights to flag win in 1992, but the drama surrounded his team mate, who spun off on the penultimate lap whilst trying to pass Senna for second. Prost won in 1993 in equally dramatic circumstances, his team mate Damon Hill was odds on to take his first ever win when his tire failed on lap 42 of 45. Being classified fifteenth was of no comfort to the British driver as his team mate won his final race, prost his career on a (then record) of 51 wins. Hill finally got his German Grand prix in 1996, Alesi’s Benetton prevented another Williams 1-2. Williams dominated the last race to be held at the old track in 2001, Juan Pablo Montoya set pole position and fastest lap but a glitch with the refueling rig allowed team mate Ralf Schumacher into the lead, then Montoya’s BMW engine blew, forcing him into retirement. Ralf Schumacher won the race, 46 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello. Williams final win in 2003 was a truly dominant showing for Montoya, he took pole position, fastest lap and the race win by over a minute from Coulthard’s McLaren.

Williams were very impressive at the 2014 event, Bottas and Massa qualified second and third thanks to Hamilton’s brake failure and subsequent crash in qualifying. Massa didn’t make it past turn one, owing to a crash with the McLaren of Magnusson, which culminated with the Williams memorably rolling over. Bottas kept it all together to finish second, ahead of Hamilton’s charge from the back of the grid.

The 2014 event really made the grid stand up and take Williams seriously as podium challengers, they outclassed Red Bull and Ferrari the whole weekend. It is difficult to see a repeat performance in 2016 though, Red Bull and Ferrari are much stronger and Williams weren’t even close to challenging them in Hungary. Hockenheim should suit the car more but a podium still looks unlikely. The aim for this race weekend has to be to quash the rise for Force India with some good, solid points so that the team can go into the summer break on a high and focus on closing the gap to the top three teams.

Ferrari,German Grand Prix Preview

 

GP UNGHERIA F1/2016 – BUDAPEST (UNGHERIA) 24/07/2016
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Ferrari go into the returning German Grand Prix just one point clear of Red Bull in the race for second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

After losing less ground than expected in Hungary after strong race pace saw Sebastian Vettel split the Red Bulls in fourth and Kimi Raikkonen climb up to sixth from 14th on the grid at the Hungaroring, Ferrari were able to cling on to second – just.

It has been a turbulent build-up to the German Grand Prix for the Prancing Horse, with technical director James Allison departing after three years in what Ferrari called a “joint decision”, with Ferrari’s President Sergio Marchionne also reported to be sitting in on technical meetings.

Allison’s wife died in March, meaning a departure was almost inevitable with family based in England.

He has been replaced by former head of engines Mattia Binotto, although there are increasing rumours that ex-technical director Ross Brawn may rejoin Ferrari having left ten years ago following the retirement of Michael Schumacher.

Ferrari are easily the most successful team at the German Grand Prix having won it a staggering 22 times, 13 clear of Mercedes.

They last won it in 2012 when Fernando Alonso’s unlikely title challenge in an inferior car was taking hold, while Alonso won in more controversial circumstances in 2010 when teammate Felipe Massa was ordered to move over and let him into the lead.

After an absence in 2015, the German Grand Prix returns to the Hockenheimring with the future of the German round heavily in doubt beyond 2018, with neither Hockenheim nor the Nurburgring having the finance to secure the race long-term.

Ferrari will hope to gain ground on Red Bull at one of their traditionally stronger circuits, with Raikkonen in fourth just one point behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel a further four behind, ten ahead of Max Verstappen.

The Scuderia therefore need to put behind them a turbulent week in order to fend off Red Bull.

Hungarian Grand Prix Review

For Ferrari, the Hungarian Grand Prix was a solid if unspectacular affair which in all likelihood quietly exceeded expectations.

Sebastian Vettel showed strong race pace against the Red Bulls to finish fourth after applying heavy pressure on Daniel Ricciardo for third, while Kimi Raikkonen produced a stunning drive to climb from fourteenth to sixth place.

In a performance from the Iceman seen more often during his previous Ferrari spell, Raikkonen was unfortunate not to take fifth place after breaking his front wing against an ever-aggressive Max Verstappen, as Ferrari avoided being soundly beaten by a resurgent Red Bull.

The Iceman was uncharacteristically vocal in his criticism of Dutchman Verstappen, who appeared to move twice when defending fifth position at Turn 2 on lap 58.

“There are so many rules discussed and in some rules you can move, but when the guy behind makes the decision to commit to something, and when the other guy moves afterwards it’s difficult to avoid the car in front.”

Raikkonen also questioned the stewards handling of qualifying, with changes to the grid concerning Session 1 and the 107% rule almost coming into effect before a last-minute U-turn. He also criticised what he felt was a lack of consistency from the stewards in applying the rules, calling them a “joke”.

“A good example is the qualifying. You have the 107 per cent rule and the people who didn’t go through from first qualifying they are applying it to those cars, but not applying it on the rest. How can you apply it two different ways?

“If somebody can explain to me how that works? But it seems to be F1 these days. Something must change because it looks bad to people outside. There is a rule and it should apply in exactly the same way to every person.”

Raikkonen slipped from third to fourth in the standings, one point behind Ricciardo. Vettel is fifth, four behind his teammate and ten clear of Verstapen, while Ferrari only have a one-point advantage of Red Bull in the Constructors’ standings.

German Grand Prix, at the end, the Germans always win

2014 Formula One German Grand Prix, Hockenheimring, Hockenheim, Baden-Wurttemberg,Germany, 17th – 20th July 2014.
World Copyright: © Andrew Hone Photographer 2014.
Ref: _ONZ8035

Teams and drivers are focused on the final race before the summer break, which will take place in Germany. Gary Lineker once said that at the end, the Germans always win, that is what I expect to see in the German Grand Prix, a German to celebrate a victory in his home race.

 

 You still don’t know to whom I’m referring to? I’m talking about Nico Rosberg.

Nico Rosberg took the pole position in Hungary, but he finished second behind his team-mate and lost the leading position in the championship standings. Germany is a good place for Nico to start his counterattack and return on the top of the championship.

If Rosberg wins the German Grand Prix, he will become the first German who wins a back to back races on home soils.

Hockenheim Key stats

Laps: 67

Circuit Length: 4.574 km

Total Length: 306.458 km

Fastest Lap: 1:13:780s (Kimi Raikkonen – 2004)

Tyre allocations: Medium, Soft, Supersoft

The pole positions have a significant role in Germany, six of the last ten races at Hockenheim have been won from pole position.

Ferrari must feel worried about Red Bull’s form in the last races but, Hockenheim is not Kimi Raikkonen’s favourite circuit, the Finn had five consecutive DNF’s in his first five races in Hockenheim.

It’s a home race for Pascal Wehrlein, the German driver made some comments about the upcoming race: “It’s my home Grand Prix – the one I’ve been most looking forward to. It will also be the busiest so far for me, so maybe after that a little break will be nice. I intend to enjoy it. Of course Germany will have a special significance as the first home race of my F1 career. First of many, I hope! Knowing a race track does have its advantages but, really, we push just as hard at every track we race at.”

I expect to see a battle between Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari for a place on the podium and an easy victory for Mercedes. Both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are in a good form and it will be hard for Ferrari to beat them.

I think the Hockenheimring is actually a pretty fun track. I like entering the stadium section. Also, the fans are huge motorsport fans, which is always pretty awesome. There are some cool little towns around the track which offer some traditional German food and after my week in Austria, I can’t wait to enjoy my second round of Schnitzels.” Said Daniel Ricciardo.

My predictions for the race are: 1 – Nico Rosberg 2- Lewis Hamilton 3 – Max Verstappen

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Sauber Hold Station In Hungary

 

The Sauber F1 team headed to Hungary on the back of the news that Longbow Finance, a Swiss based organisation, had acquired ownership of the team, essentially securing their future in F1.

Despite the good news, race day itself was not ideal as Marcus Ericsson started in the pit lane after his Q1 crash resulted in a chassis change and Felipe Nasr (who had briefly been P1 in Q1) found himself stuck in traffic on a circuit that is notoriously difficult to pass at.

MARCUS ERICSSON

Finished P20 – 3 Stop Strategy

The Swedish driver suffered his second crash in succession at a Grand Prix weekend, after the damp conditions in Q1 saw him crash into the advertising hoardings. Starting in the pits, he hoped to be able to move up the field quickly in his characteristic style.

He however found himself stuck behind Rio Haryanto in the early stages which put pay to his alternative strategy. Buoyed by a large contingent of Swedish fans, he improved in the middle stint but tyre degradation forced a stop closer to the end of the race which saw him hold station in 20th place.

FELIPE NASR

Finished P17 – 2 Stop Strategy

Nasr briefly ran in P1 during the first qualifying session in wet conditions on Saturday and had hoped to be able to fight for points on Sunday, which got off to a positive start after he gained a place on the first lap.

The nature of the Budapest circuit however tripped up the Sauber driver as the traffic and the limited overtaking opportunities prevented the Brazilian star from climbing up the order. He remains upbeat and believes that the team can improve step by step.

Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn is understandably not satisfied with the result but remains positive given the fact that the much needed finance has been secured which will inevitably lead to the necessary development on the car.

It has been an historical week for the team as the legendary Peter Sauber has stepped down as owner of the team, leaving it in the hands of Kaltenborn and the new backers. Sauber have formed a part of the fabric of F1 and the mid-season break after Germany should bring with it a renewal of that spirit.

Red Bull Racing Germany GP Preview

 

GP UNGHERIA F1/2016 – BUDAPEST (UNGHERIA) 24/07/2016
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Red Bull Racing Germany GP Preview

Red Bull closed to within a point of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship as Daniel Ricciardo finished in third with Max Verstappen in fifth.

The German Grand Prix returns to the Formula One race schedule this year after a break in 2015.

In 2014. The ‘Honey Badger’ finished in sixth at the Hockenheimring and the Australian should be confident of extending his strong performances over the past month:

“I think the Hockenheimring is actually a pretty fun track. I like entering the stadium section. Also the fans are huge motorsport fans, which is always pretty awesome.

Ricciardo is looking forward to his trip to Germany especially as Austria has good local food to feed his big appetite:” There are some cool little towns around the track which offer some traditional German food and after my week in Austria I can’t wait to enjoy my second round of Schnitzels.”

Verstappen will be determined to get one over his team-mate Ricciardo this weekend after his highly entertaining battle with Kimi Raikkonen.

The Dutch man and the Finn fought for fifth position in Hungary but ultimately the 18-year-old won the battle.

If Red Bull can get both cars in the top five places after qualifying, then they might overtake Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of the break at the half way stage.

Red Bull Racing Hungarian GP Preview

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished in third as the Milton Keynes based team showed they have the quality to challenge Ferrari.

Max Verstappen ended the Hungarian Grand Prix in fifth but his battle with Kimi Raikkonen was the standout moment at the Hungaroring: “It was a shame because at the beginning we were quick and I tried to create a gap to the Ferraris which lead to me having to back off as I got too close to the car in front.

“Regarding my battle with Kimi I was simply protecting my position. I drove hard and just made sure I didn’t lock up or make a mistake, “said Verstappen.

Team boss Christian Horner was pleased they had one car on the podium and that Red Bull are closing on Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship: “Unfortunately Max dropped behind after the first round of stops and thereafter both drivers entered into battles with the respective Ferrari drivers.

“There was some great racing between Daniel and Seb and Max against Kimi (Raikkonen), some robust defending from our guys particularly Max, who was firm but fair holding off Kimi. It was great to see Daniel finishing on the podium again, and to close the gap on Ferrari to within one point at the halfway point of the year.”

The ‘Honey Badger’ is third in the Drivers’ Championship despite being winless in 2016 but he is confident of winning despite the challenge of Mercedes:

“Three podiums in a row here is great, it’s a good place for me. I feel really good. Fridays and Saturdays have been really good for us from the start of the season but the last few Sundays, for whatever reason, I haven’t been that satisfied with, so it was important to put it together from Friday to Sunday this weekend and I believe I did that,” said an ever smiling Ricciardo.

Hamilton Takes Control In Hungary


Lewis Hamilton has taken command of the Drivers’ Championship for the first time this season, fending off Nico Rosberg to take a record fifth Hungarian Grand Prix victory.

The Briton was forced to settle for second behind his teammate on the grid after being caught out by yellow flags in Q3, but pounced when Rosberg bogged off the line and stole into the lead through the inside of Turn 1.

Rosberg then looked set to lose another place as Daniel Ricciardo went around the outside of the Mercedes at Turn 1 even as Hamilton was on the inside, though a bold switchback move through Turns 2 and 3 saw Rosberg wrestle back second place.

The German then continued to keep his teammate in check, repeatedly lowering the fastest lap in the early stages and even closing into DRS range as Hamilton struggled for pace on soft tyres after his first pit stop.

 

GP UNGHERIA F1/2016 – BUDAPEST (UNGHERIA) 24/07/2016
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But as close as Rosberg came, he simply couldn’t find a way past Hamilton, who exploited every inch of the famously tight Hungaroring to hold onto the lead and eventually take the chequered flag a comfortable two seconds ahead of his teammate.

The win was Hamilton’s fifth at the Hungaroring, now making him the most successful driver at the circuit ahead of Michael Schumacher. As his fifth win of the season as well, the Hungarian Grand Prix brings Hamilton level with Rosberg on victories and six points ahead in the standings with ten rounds remaining.

“I don’t know what the secret is here,” Hamilton insisted. “Naturally, having a great team and everything coming together is key, but it’s a track that I think works really well for an aggressive driver.

“I’ve not really thought about the standings much but it’s definitely a good feeling to get the job done here. It’s been an awesome few races and I’ve just got to keep that kind of form up for the rest of the season.”

The result was also Mercedes’ first ever 1-2 at the Hungaroring, and incredibly their first win at the venue in their dominant hybrid era.

“We’re delighted with today’s result,” said Toto Wolff. “This place has been Red Bull and Ferrari territory, so it just shows what a great place we have got to with our chassis and engine package that we were able to…control the race like we did.”

Double retirement in Austria for Force India

 

 It was a weekend to forget for Force India in Austria as both Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg failed to see the chequered flag.

Perez was languishing in the midfield when he had a failure at the rear of his car and ended up in the wall. This went largely unnoticed due to the battle between the Mercedes’ of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton taking the attention of the cameras. Meanwhile Hulkenberg struggled with his tyres from the start.

He dropped from P2 on the grid and was hit by graining issues on his tyres almost immediately, before retiring a handful of laps before the end of the race.

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA) – 19/03/2016
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This weekend was a large contrast to last time out in Baku where Perez and the team were celebrating a third podium in three races.

There was cause for optimism before the weekend with the upgrades the team made paying off and seeing the team taking podiums. These thoughts were amplified when Hulkenberg qualified third behind the Silver Arrows duo.

He was promoted to second thanks to Rosberg’s gearbox penalty but got a poor start and was overtaken by Jenson Button at turn one. Over the next few laps the Ferrari’s and the Red Bull’s got past Nico, thus the end of his points chances. He retired the car to save the power unit a few laps before the end of the race.

Meanwhile Perez qualified poorly, starting 16th he made his way up the grid and was fighting for points when coming into the last lap he went off into the barriers at turn three. It appeared to be a brake issue as he went straight on and seemed unable to slow his VJM09 down.

Overall not the weekend the team wanted, and with the next race being right in their backyard at Silverstone, they’ll be keen to make sure this is a minor blip in what appears to be the season of resurgence for Force India.

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