Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Will Hamilton overtake Vettel in Baku?

 

GP EUROPA F1/2016 – BAKU (AZERBAIJAN) 19/06/2016
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

Azerbaijan and Austria are the two final stops for the teams and Formula 1 drivers before the summer break. Most of the teams have arrived in Baku and setting up their garages for the upcoming race.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas secured Mercedes first 1-2, this season, after seven races in Canada and scored crucial points for the championship. Lewis Hamilton remained close to Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship and Mercedes is now leading in constructors’ battle followed by Ferrari.

Baku is the newest circuit in Formula One calendar, it made its debut in 2016 and Nico Rosberg was the driver who took the first chequered flag in the street track.

The track was designed by the German architect Hermann Tilke, one of the most experienced and recognised architects in the Motorsport family. The track combines high speed parts with slow corners, which makes it one of the most fascinating street circuits.

Max Verstappen – “Baku in my opinion is quite a special street circuit, it’s really unique in terms of having quite wide sections but also some of the tightest parts of track on the calendar. Sector 2 is tighter than parts of Monaco which has always been regarded as really narrow and challenging. When you drive up into the old town and past the castle it is fun and tricky but also amazing to watch as a spectator. That section of the track is my favourite, the straight is quick but seems to go on for a long time and gives you a chance to relax a bit. As the hotel is really nice and new as well as being situated right next to the paddock I didn’t manage to get out and have a look around last year. The old town is fun to drive so I think I should try and get up there one evening this year and see what else it has in store.”

Baku City Circuit

Laps: 51

Circuit Length: 6.003 km

Race Length: 306.049 km

Lap Record: 1:46.485 (Nico Rosberg – 2016)

Pirelli announced the tyre compounds for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the teams will be able to use the white (medium), soft (yellow) and supersoft (red) compounds.

Mercedes and Ferrari selected the same sets of tyres, whilst Red Bull decided to have two sets of medium and three sets of soft, one less from the Mercedes and Ferrari.

The two DRS zones are spotted close to each other, the first one is at the starting straight and the second zone is after the first two corners.

Kevin Magnussen – “I never tried the Baku City Circuit in a simulator before actually racing there. It was a cool experience to just go on a track you don’t even have 100 percent idea which way the corners are going. I really had to learn the circuit from scratch. It was a cool experience and the track was really cool. I’m looking forward to going back again. It’s going to be fun. The corners are going to be faster this year because of the increased downforce. We’re going to be a bit slower on the straights, so I suspect Baku might be one of the tracks where we’re not going to be that much faster than the old cars, but it’s still going to be massively fun and challenging in the corners.”

In Monaco Ferrari had an advantage compared to Mercedes, Baku has not the same outline with Monaco but both are street circuits and they have similar characteristics. I am expecting a strong Ferrari and a close battle between Hamilton and Vettel.

Victor Archakis

Follow me on Twitter for more: @FP_Passion

(Images courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)

Lewis Hamilton, the Defender of the Castle Black

 

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada.
Friday 09 June 2017.
World Copyright: Andy Hone/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _ONY2825

As the day of the new Game of Throne season is closing, I couldn’t think of a better title for this article. Lewis Hamilton this season is like the defenders of the Castle Black, he is fighting to hold the castle from Sebastian Vettel and from Ferrari.

On Sunday in Montreal, the Brit, avoided the wall of champions and defended his own wall, the wall of the world champion. A great weekend for Hamilton as he took the pole position and lead the race from the begging to the end, drove seventy laps, made zero mistakes and secured Mercedes’ first 1-2 of the season after seven races.

Valtteri Bottas finished behind his team-mate, but I’m not sure if he could achieve that if Max Verstappen didn’t have to retire due to a mechanical problem at the first laps of the race.

Daniel Ricciardo was the third man on the podium, a good race for the Australian, who once again finished on the podium and scored some points for Red Bull.

After an amazing recovery, Sebastian Vettel, who started second, finished fourth. The German, had to pit because his front wing was damaged after a collision between him and Max Verstappen at the opening lap. Verstappen had a good start and jumped from fifth up to second, but on his way up his left-rear wheel collided with Vettel’s front wing and that caused problems to Vettel.

The safety car was deployed on the first lap of the race after a collision between Carlos Sainz Jr. and Romain Grosjean. Sainz had a contact with Grosjean after the straight on turn 2, Carlos lost the control of his car and crashed on Massa’s car. Both walked away unharmed, but they had to retire and Romain pitted for a new front wing.

When the safety car returned into the pits, Hamilton defended his place from Verstappen and that was the only time in which the Brit had to do that. When Verstappen retired, Hamilton increased his lead to his competitors and had an easy evening in Montreal.

Scuderia Ferrari altered their strategy and from one-stop strategy they decided to go for a two stop strategy which gave an advantage to Sebastian Vettel during the final laps of the race. The German was unstoppable during the final part of the Grand Prix and after some flying laps he overtook his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and also passed the two Force Indias which were unable to defend their positions.

Nice drive from the four-time champion, who showed how strong he is this year and how much he wants to win his fifth world title and first with Ferrari.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada.
Sunday 11 June 2017.
World Copyright: Steven Tee/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _O3I0168

Driver of the Day

Many said Vettel, but I am between Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll. Ocon managed to control his tyres during the race and before his first pit stop, he was second behind Lewis Hamilton, both pitted on the same lap. In Canada, Esteban was better than his team-mate, but he didn’t want to risk a move on Perez, so he finished sixth behind him.

Lance Stroll scored his first points as an F1 driver in his home race and became the second youngest driver who scores points in Formula One. The Canadian, had a good race and especially compared to his previous results this time the young driver was outstanding.

Once again McLaren- Honda was a disappointment. Fernando Alonso had a good race and he was in the top-10 but an engine problem in the penultimate lap forced him to retire. The Spaniard wanted to enjoy the weather and he decided to climb in the grandstands to meet his fans.

Lewis Hamilton, with his victory, remained close to Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship, just 12 points behind his main rival. Mercedes, passed Ferrari in the constructors’ championship and they are leading by eight points.

Victor Archakis F1 Editor – @FP_Passion

 

Images Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media

Canadian Grand Prix Preview, 9-11June

GP CANADA F1/2016 – MONTREAL 12/06/16
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE). Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media

 

Montreal is getting ready to host the Canadian Grand Prix, one of the most famous and historic tracks in Formula 1. In 1977, Giles Villeneuve inspired the French Canadians and they decided to design and construct an F1 circuit.

In their mind was the famous quote “simplicity is the best”, so their idea was to take the lle Notre-Dame, and connect all the roads around the island. It took them less than a year and about $2m to build and upgrade the track to meet Formula One’s standards, the first race was held in 1978.

No one could imagine a better debut for the track, Gilles Villeneuve on his debut season with Ferrari won the first Canadian Grand Prix, but the track was marked by Villeneuve’s death in 1982 and renamed in his honor.

Michael Schumacher holds the record of seven victories in Canada, whilst McLaren have won the race for thirteen times.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Laps: 70

Circuit Length: 4.361 km

Race Distance: 305.27 km

Lap Record: 1:13.622 (Rubens Barrichello – 2004)

Tyre Allocations: Ultrasoft (Purple), Supersoft (Red), Soft (Yellow)

Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media

The drivers will aim to warm up their front tyres properly, because that is the key to a quick lap in Montreal, especially during the qualifying session. The circuit’s format affects the brakes and the tyres, and that is because the track applies longitudinal forces rather than lateral forces. Finally, this year’s cars are much faster than last year’s, which means that the lap record is in danger and it might be broken this weekend.

Last season Lewis Hamilton lead the race from the start to the end as the Brit took the pole position and remained first till the chequered flag followed by Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas. Nico Rosberg, qualified second but finished fifth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and behind Max Verstappen.

This year Ferrari will try to build their own wall of champions, a wall which will allow them to remain first in the constructors’ championship and give the advantage to Vettel to increase his lead from its competitors.

The question is if Scuderia will manage to finish once again in the front row and secure the second 1-2 of the season.

Victor Archakis F1 Editor – @FP_Passion

Italian Shades in Monaco

Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Sunday 28 May 2017.
World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Images (Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)
ref: Digital Image _W6I4711

Monaco Grand Prix, a race which most of us want to forget and delete it from our hard disk, a race which only one team and one driver wants to remember it. The team, as you can guess, is Ferrari and the driver is the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Ferrari celebrated their first victory in Monaco since 2001, Sebastian Vettel overtook Kimi Raikkonen took the lead of the race after his first pit-stop and secured an easy victory and Ferrari’s first 1-2 in 2017.

A bad weekend for Mercedes, they lost the lead in the constructors’ championship, they didn’t finish on the podium, but at least both drivers finished in the points.

By now I guess most of you, you will know what happened in Monaco, the winners and the losers of the previous weekend, but there are several trends in social media, about “team orders”, the unfair way that Ferrari gave the lead and the victory to Vettel and that Kimi had to win.

The facts indicate that when Kimi pitted, Vettel made some flying laps, remained on track, pitted a couple of laps later and passed Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn, couldn’t follow Vettel’s pace, and I assume that he preferred to protect his engine than to push in a difficult and risky track for overtakes, which would be very difficult for him to pass Vettel.

Who can blame Ferrari for choosing different strategies for Raikkonen and Vettel? Who can say that Ferrari is not fair with the way that they are treating their drivers?

Even if I accept that Ferrari decided to help Vettel to win, I don’t think that it was a bad move. First of all Vettel is leading into the drivers’ championship, he is more competitive than his team-mate, he has a bigger contract and finally he is a four-time world champion.

Another difference is that Kimi Raikkonen will, probably, retire after the end of this or the next season, he is 37 years old, compared to Vettel, who is 29 and if he wins the title this year he will remain at Ferrari and will his chances to win more trophies will be increased.

And don’t forget that Vettel is from Germany, he was born in the same country with Michael Schumacher, Ferrari’s legend and Vettel’s hero. For me that plays the biggest role in team’s decisions.

Ferrari wants to return to the top and win the championship after almost 10 years, and they are not willing to risk it for any reason. I am sure that if they secure the title before the final race they will let Raikkonen to win a race. It won’t be the same, but remember that the team is above the drivers.

At least we have to recognise that Ferrari have improved their “team orders” skills, no team radio this time and no “Kimi, Vettel is faster than you!”

Victor Archakis F1 Editor – @FP_Passion

 

 

Sergio Perez, the Mexican Podium Master

Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 celebrates his third position with the team.
Monaco Grand Prix, Sunday 29th May 2016. Monte Carlo, Monaco. courtesy of Force India F1 Team

 

This week is dedicated to Sahara Force India, PitCrew’s members wrote several articles related to Force India’s history and success and now it’s the time for me to share my article with you. Enjoy!

Sahara Force India’s first entry in Formula One, with this name, was in 2008 at the Australian Grand Prix, it was not the best weekend for the team. Giancarlo Fisichella started the race from the 16th place, while Adrian started from the pit lane because he had to change his chassis. Both drivers retired, Sutil had issues with his hydraulics and Fisichella retired after a collision. A bad start doesn’t mean anything. From 2008 since today, Force India has scored more than 850 points they have secured one pole position, five fastest laps and five podiums. The first fastest lap was set by Adrian Sutil at the Italian Grand Prix in 2009, the German finished fourth in that race and scored points for the second consecutive time.

One of the best moments in team’s history was in 2009, when Giancarlo Fisichella finished second in the Belgian Grand Prix and Force India celebrated their first podium finish in their history. The Italian was the first driver who finished on the podium for the team, but another driver holds the record of the most podium finishes for Sahara Force India. He is known as Checo, comes from Mexico and has finished four times on the podium, all of them in the third place.

Bahrain 2014, Sergio Perez qualified fifth, but moved one place higher because Daniel Ricciardo dropped from third to 13th as he received a ten-place grid penalty for an unsafe pit release in Malaysia. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had their own battle for the first place, whilst Felipe Massa was trying to defend the third place from Sergio Perez. The Mexican failed to pass Massa on his first attempt, but on the next lap he overtook the Brazilian driver and took the third position. Checo, finished third behind the two Mercedes and followed by Daniel Ricciardo. Nico Hulkenberg, Perez’s team-mate, finished fifth at that race, behind Daniel Ricciardo.

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX F1/2012 – MONTREAL 10/06/2012 – ROMAIN GROSJEAN – MARTIN WHITMARSH – LEWIS HAMILTON – SERGIO PEREZ. Courtesy of Pirelli

 

One year later, in Russia, Perez repeated his success and scored another podium for Force India. This time he has finished behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Despite that he qualified seventh behind his team-mate he took advantage of a collision between Hulkenberg, Verstappen and Ericsson on the first laps of the race and also the fact that the safety car was deployed two times, helped him to move up to the third place after an early pit-stop. After a thrilling race, the Mexican celebrated Force India’s third podium in their Formula 1 history. Last year, Perez decided to go one step further with the podiums and finished two times on the podium in the same season.

In Monaco he set the eighth fastest lap during the qualification session, but moved up to seventh because Kimi Raikkonen received a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change and dropped from sixth to eleventh. The race started behind the safety car, because the track was wet, that was beneficial for Force India, which after a good strategy managed to secure the third place for Perez. Perez benefited during the second round of stops, whilst many teams were confused and didn’t know when to switch from intermediates to slicks, Force India took the right decision and scored another podium. Hamilton was the winner of the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, followed by Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 celebrates his third position in parc ferme.
European Grand Prix, Sunday 19th June 2016. Baku City Circuit, Azerbaijan. Courtesy of Force India F1 Team

The second podium, in 2016, was celebrated in Baku, also known as the European Grand Prix. The odds were not with Perez, as he was demoted to seventh, because his mechanics had to replace his gearbox after a small crash into the barriers in turn 15 during the final practise session. The Mexican qualified second, but started the race from the seventh place. At the start of the race, Sergio gained two positions and moved up to fifth, on the seventeenth lap Force India called Perez into the pits, a move which helped him to pass Hamilton. During the final laps of the race, Raikkonen got a five-second time penalty for crossing the pit exit line, so Perez, who was behind him, didn’t have to pass him for the third place, but the Mexican made his move on the final lap and passed Raikkonen. This was Force India’s last podium and Perez’s fourth podium with the same team.

Last season was Force India’s best season in Formula One, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez collected 173 points combined and the team finished fourth in the constructors’ championship behind Ferrari and ahead of Williams. So far in 2017, Force India has not managed to finish on the podium, but they have scored 53 points they are fourth and just 44 points behind Red Bull Racing. It is a very promising season for the ‘pink panthers’ and I am sure that they will finish on soon as they are very competitive so far.

Victor Archakis F1 Editor

Monaco Grand Prix, Let the Party Begin

GP MONACO F1/2016 – MONTECARLO 29/05/16
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

The famous race of Monaco is taking place this weekend in Monte Carlo, a race which almost every motorsport driver wants to participate and win it, it is like Indy 500 and Le Mans. It is not a very demanding circuit for the cars, but requires high concentration from the drivers. There is no space for overtaking and any mistake might be crucial for the driver and the car.

The king of Monaco is Ayrton Senna with six victories, followed by the Mr.Monaco and Michael Schumacher who have won the race five times.

Monaco Grand Prix is one of the oldest circuit on Formula One’s calendar, the first race held in 1950 and traditionally the first two free practice sessions held on Thursday instead of Friday.

Lewis Hamilton holds the lap record with 1:17.939. Last year, Lewis stopped Rosberg’s domination in Monaco, the German have won the Monaco Grand Prix for three consecutive times, but the Brit despite that he started the race third, behind Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg, managed to take the chequered flag and celebrate a victory in Monte Carlo. The race started behind the safety car due to a rain which occurred before the race.

Daniel Ricciardo finished second behind Lewis Hamilton, followed by the Mexican driver, Sergio Perez, who secured a podium finish for Force India.

Circuit De Monaco

Number of Laps: 78

Circuit Length: 3.337 km

Race Distance: 260.286 km

Lap Record: 1:17.939 (Lewis Hamilton – 2016)

Tyre allocations: Ultrasoft (Purple), Supersoft (Red), Soft (Yellow)

Jenson Button will cover Fernando Alonso’s absence, who decided to take part in the Indy 500 and qualified 5th. The British driver will return to Formula 1 after a few months of absence and he will be able to complete some laps with the MCL32 during the free practice sessions before the race on Sunday.

“It feels slightly surreal to be back in the cockpit for the Monaco Grand Prix, when the call came from Eric, there was no hesitation. It’s a totally unique situation and a great opportunity. I’m looking forward to stepping back behind the wheel for one of the most crazy, unpredictable and exciting races of the year.”

Button promised to Alonso that he will do his best to look after his car. Alonso misses the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time since 2001.

Monaco is a good opportunity for McLaren to score their first points of 2017, it will be interesting to see if Button will manage to do that in his 2017 debut with McLaren-Honda.

GP MONACO F1/2016 – MONTECARLO 29/05/16
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

Monte Carlo will also give the chance to Red Bull to try to secure their first victory of the season, as it is a track which is not suitable for overtaking, so the qualifications plays a critical role every year.

Max Verstappen – “There is no such thing as a low risk lap in Monaco, it doesn’t exist if you want to be fast because you have to be on the limit. Last year’s crash was very unfortunate but it doesn’t affect my confidence heading back there, it just makes me want to do better this year and learn from my mistakes. We still have a lot to learn from the car in terms of setup as it is always developing and we haven’t driven it on a tight street circuit yet. Preparation for Monaco is a little different, you definitely build up a little bit slower throughout the weekend and pace yourself. It’s important to find the limit carefully. With the new cars I think the chicane around the swimming pool will be the most challenging corner this year.”

Daniel Ricciardo – “In theory I could walk to work while we are in Monaco, it is still a bit of a way but it could be done. Luckily for me though we get boats to the Energy Station which is a nice change. Being able to sleep in your own bed and complain about the noise is also a treat. Monaco is definitely my favourite track to drive, it is so tight and intimidating. From the outside some of the sequences look impossible to go through at the speeds we do. Once you are in the car it’s an amazing feeling. If you kiss the wall it actually makes you want to do it again as opposed to scaring you. The whole spectacle of the weekend just makes it something unique and special.”

Victor Archakis- @FP_Passion

Images Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media

Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton The King of Spain

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
Sunday 14 May 2017.
World Copyright: Andy Hone/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _ONZ6737

The fifth race of the season belongs to Formula One’s history book, Lewis Hamilton started the race from the pole and after a thrilling race, he secured his second victory of the 2017 season and closed the difference to Vettel, in the championship standings, to six points.

Lights out

Lights out, and one of the most exciting starts took place in Barcelona. Sebastian Vettel qualified behind Hamilton, but he had a quicker start and passed the British on the first lap. Valtteri Bottas tagged Raikkonen’s car, into the first corner, and Kimi’s Ferrari collided with Verstappen’s Red Bull.

Kimi Raikkonen forced to retire after a broken suspension, while Max Verstappen retired after a few more meters.

The other Ferrari, which was still on track, was increasing the lead from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel had a comfortable lead, and his team called him into the pits on lap 14 for a fresher set of soft compounds. At that point Mercedes, decided to keep Hamilton and Bottas on track for a few more laps.

Mercedes’ strategy paid off, Hamilton pitted a few laps later, switched on mediums, while Bottas defended his leading position from Sebastian Vettel who was running on softs. The silver arrows, knew that Hamilton will have an advantage at the end, because Vettel had to go on mediums and Hamilton would be able to switch on softs and go faster than the German.

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
Sunday 14 May 2017.
World Copyright: Charles Coates/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image DJ5R0535

After a thrilling battle between Bottas and Vettel, the German managed to retain the lead and started to increase his gap by his competitors.

An incident between Stoffel Vandoorne and Massa forced the first driver in the gravel, which caused the deployment of the Virtual Safety Car.

Hamilton pitted, in order to switch on softs, whilst Vettel remained on the track and Ferrari called him one later, but Hamilton had an advantage at that point as green flags were waving and the race was on again.

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
Sunday 14 May 2017.
World Copyright: Andy Hone/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _ONZ6499

When Vettel rejoined the track, Hamilton was already close and tried to take the outside, but Sebastian closed the way, they touched and Hamilton forced to run-off. The British remained very close to Ferrari and five laps later made a move, used the DRS, and passed the German.

Hamilton retained the lead of the race and secured his second victory of the season.

Daniel Ricciardo was the third driver on the podium, an easy afternoon for the Australian, he took advantage of Raikkonen’s, Bottas’ and Verstappen’s retirement and finished on the podium once again.

A very good day for Sahara Force India, both Perez and Ocon finished in the points, fourth and fifth respectively. Force India, have a good season so far, they are fourth in the constructors’ championship ahead of Toro Rosso and Williams.

Amazing race for Pascal Wehrlein, who, despite the five second time penalty, for failing to remain to the correct side of the pit entry bollard, he managed to finish eighth and scored four critical points for Sauber.

Positive evening for Toro Rosso as Carlos Sainz and Daniel Kvyat finished seventh and ninth respectively. Romain Grosjean, with Haas, was the final driver who finished in the top-10.

Sebastian Vettel remains first in the drivers’ championship with 104 points, followed by Lewis Hamilton who is just six points behind.

The next race will take place in Monaco in two weeks, it will be Red Bull’s chance to take the pole position and try to win their first race of the season.

Best moment of the day, Kimi’s reaction to invite a young fan, who was crying when the Finn retired, in Ferrari’s garage and give him the chance to meet him personally.

Victor Archakis F1 Editor  – @FP_Passion

Images Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media

Let the Kismet Decide, Spanish GP Preview

BARCELLONA (SPAGNA) – 15/05/16
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

Spanish Grand Prix Preview 12-14 May

One of the most exciting races of the season is taking place in Spain this weekend. In Barcelona, Ferrari will try to overtake Mercedes in the constructors’ championship and Hamilton aims to get closer or even ahead of Vettel on the drivers’ championship.

Bottas’ victory in Russia, was a pleasant surprise for the Formula One community, if the Finn remains fast and concentrate during the season, he will play a key role in the championship in his debut year with Mercedes.

Barcelona is a familiar track for most of the Formula 1 drivers as they were driving there during the pre-season tests in winter, but that does not mean that it is an easy track to drive.

Last season, kismet decided that Max Verstappen must win one of the most thrilling races in 2016 and celebrate a victory on his debut with Red Bull Racing. A collision between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton forced both Mercedes out of the race and the safety car was deployed for the first time.

Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen were on a different strategy from their team-mates, they pitted two times while Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel stopped three times. That gave them an advantage and also gave the lead to Max Verstappen. After 66 laps the Dutch became the youngest ever race winner in Formula One.

Circuit De Barcelona – Catalunya

Laps: 66

Circuit Length: 4.655 km

Race Distance: 307.104 km

Lap Record: 1:21.670 (Kimi Raikkonen – 2008)

Nominated Compounds: Soft (Yellow), Medium (White), Hard (Orange)

Personal Race Prediction: Vettel (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas (Mercedes)

During the pre-season tests in Barcelona, a 1.5 second gap between medium and soft tyre compounds was detected, this is expected to be lower this weekend as the fuel load will be different and most of the teams are expected to present new upgrades on their cars.

It will be Fernando Alonso’s and Carlos Sainz’s home race and it will be nice to see them racing alongside their fans.

Carlos Sainz – “When racing at home, the feeling is so different to any other race – every time you drive out on track you know there’s more people watching and cheering for you, and this makes the whole weekend very special. I’ve been to the Barcelona track since I was nine years old, and now I’m the one racing there, it’s just amazing. Of course the whole weekend is also a bit busier than normal, but you just do everything with a big smile on your face, as I know I’m a very lucky person.”

Fernando Alonso – “I’m really excited about returning to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix. It’s my home race, I’ve had some great times there, and the atmosphere is always crazy. We spend a lot of time there in pre-season testing, but there’s nothing quite like the emotion of racing there in front of your home fans. It’s a very special feeling. After a run of difficult races for us, I’m not sure what we can expect from this weekend. We’re expecting some various new parts – which we bring to every race – but we can’t really focus too much on performance until we have solved our reliability issues. That’s always our focus.”

The upgrades which the teams are bringing might play a critical role in the race, but personally, I don’t see Red Bull to be able to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari, the new parts will affect the battle between the ‘middle’ teams.

Bellow you can watch Red Bull Racing’s head of Aerodynamics, Dan Fallows, Spanish Grand Prix Preview via Mobil 1 The Grid.

Victor Archakis – @FP_Passion

(Images Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)

Valtteri Bottas, F1’s 107th Different Winner

Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia.
Sunday 30 April 2017.
World Copyright: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _31I1948

Valtteri Bottas, in Russia, won his first Grand Prix in his Formula One career after 81 starts. The Finn started from the third position, passed the two Ferraris on the first lap and led the race until the end.

Sebastian Vettel with his Ferrari finished only 0.617s behind Bottas. The German had a fresher set of tyres and tried to take advantage of that in the final laps. The Finn defended his position even when Vettel was in the DRS zone and remained until the chequered flag.

In Sochi, Valtteri Bottas became F1’s 107th different winner and the fifth Finn who has won a race, the other four are Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen.

Get in PitCrew’s time travel machine, fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a trip to the past! Where and when did some of the greatest drivers, in Formula 1, won their first race?

Ayrton Senna

In the second race of the 1985 Formula One season, Ayrton Senna with Lotus-Renault, celebrated his first victory in his F1 career. The Brazilian started the race from the pole and he was leading for 67 laps. Michele Alboreto with Ferrari and Patrick Tambay with Renault finished second and third respectively. Sixteen drivers retired in that race and Manfred Winelhock was not classified.

The race was originally scheduled for 70 laps, but at the beginning of lap 67, Ayrton Senna received a ‘one lap to go’ signal from the race director as the race esceeded the two-hour time limit.

The Portuguese Grand Prix was held in Estoril on April 21, 1985, and it was Senna’s first of the 41 Formula One victories.

Michael Schumacher

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX F1/2012 – SPA FRANCORCHAMPS 31/08/2012 – MICHAEL SCHUMACHER

Michael Schumacher raced for the first time in Formula 1 in 1991 at the Belgian Grand Prix, it took him almost a year and in 1992 at the same race, he won his first Grand Prix in F1. The German won with Benetton and it was the first of his 91 victories. Eighteen drivers finished that race, Nigel Mansell with his Williams-Renault took the pole position, but Michael Schumacher, who started third, took the chequered flag.

It was a wet race at the Spa circuit which gave to the German his first F1 victory. At that season, Schumacher finished third in the Drivers’ Championship and scored 53 points. Michael Schumacher’s last Grand Prix was in 2012 at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Nigel Mansell

Two races before the end of the 1985 Formula One season, Nigel Mansell at the European Grand Prix, took his first chequered flag. The race held at Brands Hatch on October 6, 1985. Ayrton Senna was the fastest driver during the qualifying session and with 1:07.169 he took the pole position. Nigel Mansell qualified third and started the race behind the two Brazilians, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna.

Frank Williams signed Mansell to drive alongside Keke Rosberg and the Brit said that ‘Keke was probably one of the best team-mates I’ve had in my career’. The British driver won 31 races in total, took 32 pole positions and celebrated one championship in 1992. During his Formula One career, he drove for Lotus, Williams, Ferrari and McLaren.

Jenson Button

2011 Spanish Grand Prix – Sunday
Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
22nd May 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-26 Mercedes.
World Copyright:Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic
ref: Digital Image _Q0C4200

Jenson made his Formula One debut in 2000 at the Australian Grand Prix with Williams. The British replaced Alex Zanardi and became the British youngest Formula 1, driver. On August 2006, in Hungary, Button after a long waiting, won his first Grand Prix and finished on the highest step of the podium followed by Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld. In qualifying, Kimi Raikkonen secured the pole position, while Button qualified fourth, but received a 10 place grid penalty due to an engine change.

The track was wet when the race started and Jenson Button fought all the way up to the first position. A collision between Raikkonen and Vitantonio Liuzzi deployed the safety car, at that moment Jenson Button decided to stay out on track and that led him up to the second position behind Fernando Alonso. When the safety car returned into the pits, Button was pushing Alonso but the Britt pitted for fuel, whilst the Spaniard pitted for dry tyres.

When Alonso rejoined the track he had problems with his rear wheel nut, Alonso lost the control of his car and crashed. That allowed to Button to take the lead and remained first until the end of the race.

Sebastian Vettel

2011 Australian Grand Prix – Sunday
Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
27th March 2011.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB7 Renault.
World Copyright:Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic
ref: Digital Image _Q0C1424

Four world titles, 90 podiums, 44 points and 2,194 points are some interesting numbers in Sebastian Vettel’s career. The German, made his F1 debut in Indianapolis Motor Speedway with BMW Sauber and replaced the injured Robert Kubica. Almost a year later, Vettel became the youngest driver in the history of Formula One to win a Grand Prix.

Heavy rain before the start of the race, made the track slippery and that forced the stewards to start the race behind the safety car. When the safety car returned to the pits, Sebastian Vettel increased his lead, from Kovalainen to two seconds and secured his first victory as an F1 driver.

Sebastian Vettel with his Toro Rosso-Ferrari scored 10 points and he was leading the Italian Grand Prix for 306.720 km.

These were a few of the 107 different winners in Formula 1 and I believe that the current grid has some skilful drivers which can increase that number.

Victor Archakis – @FP_Passion

 

Russian Grand Prix, Can Mercedes Beat Ferrari?

 

SOCHI (RUSSIA) – 01/05/2016
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

A crucial weekend for the Formula One teams and drivers is coming. The crews are traveling to Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix, the fourth race of the season. Sochi autodrom joined the Formula 1 calendar in 2014 and for the first time, the drivers will be able to use the ultrasoft tyre compounds.

In Bahrain, Sebastian Vettel with his Ferrari took the chequered flag and celebrated the second victory of the season. Lewis Hamilton finished behind the German driver and in Russia, he will have the chance to win for the second time this year if that happens Hamilton will equal Vettel’s points in the championship.

Sochi Autodrom

Laps: 53

Track Length: 5.848 km

Race Distance: 309.745 km

Lap Record: 1:39:094 (Nico Rosberg – 2016)

Tyre Compounds: Ultrasoft (Purple), Supersoft (Red), Soft (Yellow)

The circuit is located in Sochi and was designed by the famous F1 architect Hermann Tilke, circuit’s capacity is 55,000 and it is consists of 12 right and six left corners.

“Sochi is a really nice track to drive and it’s a race I enjoy a lot. In the past it’s a track we have done well at – I finished fourth and fifth in 2014 and 2015 – so I’m hoping we can have another good race there this year. The event has been getting bigger every year so I’m really looking forward to going back again.” Felipe Massa said, who turned 36 the past week.

Track’s formation will give an advantage to Mercedes, as it is not a very demanding circuit for the tyres and the 650 metre straight will allow the silver arrows to reach a speed around to 332 km/h.

“It’s very good to see people talking positively about Formula One. Clearly, the close fight between Ferrari and Mercedes is something that is interesting for the fans. It’s interesting for us too. This is why we go racing – because we’re racers and we thrive on the competition and the battle. It’s a totally different kind of track this weekend in Sochi and, in this season with these new regulations, you can’t take anything for granted. The trophies of previous years don’t guarantee that we’ll be winning in Russia when you have a very fierce competitor like we do in Ferrari. We’ll take it one step at a time, start the weekend well and hopefully have a good result on Sunday.” Toto Wolff added about the upcoming race.

Ferrari proved that they can match Mercedes’ pace and stay close to the silver arrows. It will be interesting to see if Scuderia can win two races in the row which will give them a big advantage in the championship. Whilst Mercedes has to respond to Ferrari’s pace and win the fourth race of the season in order to stay close to the Italians.

Join PitCrew’s live coverage on Sunday, starts 30 minutes before the race.

 

Victor Archakis F1 Editor  – @FP_Passion

(Images Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)