2017: Australian GP Round-Up

Free Practice 1

  1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:24.220
  2. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes – 1:24.803 – +0.583
  3. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:24.886 – +0.666
  4. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:25.246 – +1.026
  5. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:25.372 – +1.152
  6. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:25.464 – +1.244
  7. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:26.142 – +1.922
  8. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:26.168 – +1.948
  9. Nico Hulkenberg – Renault – 1:26.183 – +1.963
  10. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:26.276 – +2.056

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest in the opening practice session of 2017, beating new team-mate Valtteri Bottas by half a second. Daniel Ricciardo was third for Red Bull. Mercedes were the only team to use the Ultrasoft tyres.

Free Practice 2

  1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:23.620
  2. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:24.167 – +0.547
  3. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes – 1:24.176 – +0.556
  4. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:24.525 – +0.905
  5. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:24.650 – +1.030
  6. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:25.013 – +1.393
  7. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:25.084 – +1.464
  8. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:25.436 – +1.816
  9. Nico Hulkenberg – Renault – 1:25.478 – +1.858
  10. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:25.493 – +1.873

Lewis Hamilton maintained his five tenths advantage but this time it was Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in second. Valtteri Bottas ended the session in third. Jolyon Palmer brought out red flags by crashing at the final corner in the first half of the session. Marcus Ericsson and Max Verstappen also had off track excursions while Felipe Massa’s Williams stopped out on track.

Free Practice 3

  1. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:23.380
  2. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes – 1:23.859 – +0.479
  3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:23.870 – +0.490
  4. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:23.988 – +0.608
  5. Nico Hulkenberg – Renault – 1:25.063 – +1.683
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:25.092 – +1.712
  7. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:25.581 – +2.201
  8. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:25.948 – +2.568
  9. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:26.049 – +2.669
  10. Kevin Magnussen – Haas – 1:26.138 – +2.758

Sebastian Vettel seized the advantage in the third and final practice session. The Ferrari driver broke the lap record, going four tenths faster than Valtteri Bottas. Antonio Giovinazzi was a last minute replacement at Sauber with Pascal Wehrlein withdrawing from the remainder of the weekend.

Qualifying

  1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:22.188
  2. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:22.456
  3. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes – 1:22.481
  4. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:23.033
  5. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:23.485
  6. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:24.074
  7. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:24.443
  8. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:24.487
  9. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:24.512
  10. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – No Time Set

Lewis Hamilton secured the first pole position of the season with a lap-time nearly three tenths faster than Sebastian Vettel. Antonio Giovinazzi, Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Lance Stroll and Jolyon Palmer dropped out in Q1 – from 16th to 20th respectively. Sergio Perez narrowly missed out on a spot in Q3 out-qualifying former team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Marcus Ericsson. There was disappointment for local hero Daniel Ricciardo in Q3 who crashed out leading to a subsequent five place grid penalty for a new gearbox. Hamilton was fastest having already secured provisional pole. Vettel, Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen, Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, Carlos Sainz, and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top ten.

The Race

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Valtteri Bottas
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Max Verstappen
  6. Felipe Massa
  7. Sergio Perez
  8. Carlos Sainz
  9. Daniil Kvyat
  10. Esteban Ocon
  11. Nico Hulkenberg
  12. Antonio Giovinazzi
  13. Stoffel Vandoorne

Sebastian Vettel took his first victory since 2015, beating pole sitter Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ new recruit Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton kept in front when the lights went out but was unable to drop Vettel. It was the Ferrari driver who took the lead when he stayed out longer before making his first pit stop. Eventually Vettel’s advantage was nine seconds as he crossed the line to win with Mercedes unable to fight back. Hamilton finished second ahead of Bottas who had a late charge. Kimi Raikkonen was a distant fourth for Ferrari with Max Verstappen fifth and Felipe Massa sixth. Massa was the last of the unlapped runners with Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz, and Daniil Kvyat seventh, eighth and ninth respectively. Esteban Ocon was the tenth and final points scorer.

Nico Hulkenberg finished 11th ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi and Stoffel Vandoorne who was the last finisher. Fernando Alonso retired with suspension issues on the 50th lap having run in a points paying position for a lot of the race in tenth. Kevin Magnussen retired having had an eventful race which started with a collision with Marcus Ericsson. Lance Stroll’s F1 debut came to a premature end after 40 laps with Daniel Ricciardo also retiring having started the race from the pit-lane a couple of laps down. Marcus Ericsson, Jolyon Palmer, and Romain Grosjean also retired.

Lewis Hamilton wins Abu Dhabi GP as Nico Rosberg becomes World Champion

Lewis Hamilton has won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but it was not enough to prevent Nico Rosberg becoming world champion.

Rosberg held off a late charge from Sebastian Vettel – who finished third – to become 2016 world champion. Hamilton backed his team-mate into the chasing pack, despite numerous calls from the pit wall to pick up his pace, but Rosberg was able to remain in second place. He crossed the line just four tenths off his team-mate with Vettel just four tenths further back on him.

Max Verstappen recovered from a lap one spin to make a different strategy work to finish in fourth, ahead of his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Kimi Raikkonen was a distant sixth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Felipe Massa ended his F1 career with two points ahead of Fernando Alonso who finished in tenth.

Romain Grosjean finished in 11th place ahead of team-mate Esteban Gutierrez, Esteban Ocon, and Pascal Wehrlein. Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr and a penalised Jolyon Palmer were the remaining finishers. Palmer was given a five second time penalty for crashing into Carlos Sainz and ending his race.

Joining Sainz on the sidelines were team-mate Daniil Kvyat, Valtteri Bottas, and Kevin Magnussen. Jenson Button suffered disappointment on his last Grand Prix appearance when his front suspension broke, bringing a premature end to his race.

At the front, defiant Hamilton backed his team-mate into the chasing pack but Rosberg withstood the pressure and finished where he needed to to become world champion. It is 34 years since his father Keke Rosberg won the world championship and they become one of only two father-son world champions. The other father-son world champions are of course Graham and Damon Hill.

 

Lewis Hamilton takes victory in rain disrupted Brazilian Grand Prix

Two red flags and several safety cars disrupted the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix, but they didn’t prevent Lewis Hamilton taking his ninth win of the season. His first victory in Brazil couldn’t have come at a better time as he prevented Nico Rosberg from wrapping up the championship.

Treacherous conditions greeted teams and drivers on Sunday and the FIA took the decision to start the race behind the safety car. Romain Grosjean became the first driver to get caught out by aquaplaning as he spun on his reconnaissance lap on the way to the grid. The race start was also delayed by ten minutes.

The race eventually concluded three hours after it started with Hamilton crossing the line 11 seconds clear of Rosberg. Max Verstappen was driver of the day as he recovered from a late spin to climb back up the order to third. Sergio Perez was fourth ahead of another spinner Sebastian Vettel. Carlos Sainz was sixth with Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo seventh and eighth.

Local driver Felipe Nasr started last on the grid but finished in ninth place ahead of Fernando Alonso in tenth. Alonso was another driver who spun during the race but recovered to score a point.

Valtteri Bottas was 11th ahead of Esteban Ocon, Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen and Pascal Wehrlein. Jenson Button struggled throughout the race with the handling of his McLaren and was the last of 16th classified finishers.

Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, and Marcus Ericsson joined Grosjean on the sidelines after getting caught out by the conditions – their cars being sent into spins by aquaplaning and into the barrier. Jolyon Palmer cited poor visibility for his race ending accident when he made contact with Kvyat who continued. Esteban Gutierrez retired with car problems.

It was a disappointing end to his last Grand Prix for Massa who retired during the race. He was clearly emotional as he climbed out of his car after hitting the barrier, raising the Brazilian flag above his head. There were extraordinary scenes in the pit-lane as Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams congregated outside their garages to give him a guard of honour while the race was still happening. Massa was greeted by his family as he walked down the pit-lane. He later described the moment as overwhelming but said the reaction from the fans made him proud.

The championship will conclude in Abu Dhabi.

 

 

 

Lewis Hamilton keeps title hopes alive with a win in Mexico

Lewis Hamilton kept his title hopes alive with a win in Mexico, beating team-mate and championship rival Nico Rosberg. They were joined on the podium by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel however he later lost it due to a penalty.

The Mercedes driver started from pole position and nearly lost out when he was forced to cut the corner at turn one. He maintained the lead while Nico Rosberg also went wide to avoid contact with Max Verstappen.

Pascal Wehrlein was an early retirement from the race having been tagged which resulted in the Virtual Safety Car. A number of drivers took this opportunity to pit and get rid of the supersoft tyres.

The race settled down in the middle and the focus instead turned to frustrated drivers’ radio messages – namely Vettel. After charging down Verstappen he failed to pass, with Verstappen locking up heavily and cutting across turn one. Vettel felt he had gained an unfair advantage but Verstappen did not give the place back. This led to an expletive filled radio message from the Ferrari driver.

Verstappen was handed a post-race five second penalty resulting in him dropping to fifth. He was in the podium room when it happened and Vettel had to make a last minute dash to make it to the podium. However, later on Vettel was given his own time penalty for a move he pulled on Ricciardo giving the Australian driver the podium eventually.

The final order was Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Verstappen and Vettel in the top five. Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas. Felipe Massa had local favourite Sergio Perez behind him for most of the race and he kept them there as they crossed the line to round out the points finishers.

Marcus Ericsson was 11th ahead of Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Jolyon Palmer, Felipe Nasr, Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen. Daniil Kvyat, Esteban Gutierrez, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon were the remaining finishers.

As the title fight heads to Brazil, Rosberg has a 19 point lead and can become champion with a win.

Lewis Hamilton takes 50th career victory with win in Austin

With Nico Rosberg firmly in control of the drivers championship, Lewis Hamilton really needed a win to reignite his fight.

He took a controlled victory at the Circuit of the Americas, beating Rosberg by four seconds and taking seven points out of his lead. It was Hamilton’s 50th career victory in F1 and at a circuit where he has won three times previously.

Hamilton took pole position on Saturday and was never really challenged for the lead of the race. Daniel Ricciardo got the jump on Rosberg at the start but the championship leader was able to come back at the Red Bull driver to finish second. Ricciardo had to settle for a distant third when his strategy was compromised by his team-mate’s retirement.

Sebastian Vettel finished in fourth for Ferrari ahead of a spirited Fernando Alonso in fifth. The Spaniard had qualified outside the top ten but drove a superb race to finish in the points. He went wheel to wheel with Felipe Massa which eventually led to a stewards investigation due to contact but ultimately no action was taken. In the closing laps of the race he also fought hard with fellow countryman Carlos Sainz who lost out to his childhood hero in the end. Sainz finished in sixth place ahead of Massa, Sergio Perez, Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean. Button and Grosjean had both dropped out of qualifying in Q1 but enjoyed good races to pick up some points.

Daniil Kvyat was 11th, ahead of Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer, Marcus Ericsson, and Felipe Nasr. Valtteri Bottas didn’t recover from an early puncture, eventually finishing 16th, ahead of the Manor duo of Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon.

Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire when he left the pits with a tyre not secured properly. Max Verstappen was also a retirement when he suffered transmission issues having already had a pit stop blunder during the race. He pitted when his crew were not ready for him – claiming to have thought that the team had called him in. While that cost him a lot of time, it was ultimately a car failure which led to his retirement. He pulled off at an awkward part of the track which led to the deployment of the Virtual Safety Car which in turn hampered Ricciardo’s strategy. Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg were the other retirements.

Nico Rosberg wins in Japan as Mercedes clinch constructors championship

Following Red Bull’s 1-2 in Malaysia, it was Mercedes who returned to the top step of the podium in Japan with Nico Rosberg taking his ninth win of the season. He now leads team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 33 points going into the last four races.

Rosberg started the race from pole position and made the perfect start while Hamilton dropped down the order to eighth. He faced a fight back and eventually finished third behind Max Verstappen with the pair going wheel to wheel in the closing stages. Sebastian Vettel finished in fourth for Ferrari ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Malaysia winner Daniel Ricciardo, and Sergio Perez. Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the points finishers.

There were close battles up and down the field including the aforementioned Verstappen Hamilton fight. Mercedes believed that Verstappen had driven somewhat aggressively when Hamilton was forced to take avoiding action at the chicane but a protest was later withdrawn. The Williams duo in ninth and tenth finished just tenths of a second apart and were in turn just a few tenths clear of Romain Grosjean who finished in 11th.

Jolyon Palmer was 12th ahead of Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen, and Marcus Ericsson. McLaren had a weekend to forget with Fernando Alonso languishing in 16th just ahead of Carlos Sainz. There were 22 race starters and all 22 finished with Jenson Button 18th, Felipe Nasr 19th, and Esteban Gutierrez 20th. Esteban Ocon was the lead Manor car home in 21st with Pascal Wehrlein finishing 22nd.

Mercedes outscored Red Bull by the amount of points they needed confirming their third constructors world championship in as many years.

Daniel Ricciardo leads home Red Bull 1-2 in Malaysia

This year’s Malaysia Grand Prix saw Daniel Ricciardo score his first F1 victory since the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.

The Australian driver led home a Red Bull 1-2 with Nico Rosberg rounding out the podium finishers. It was an eventful race which saw Rosberg extend his championship lead to 23 points. Championship contender Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying and started the race from pole but his Mercedes engine gave up on lap 40, leading to his second retirement of the year.

At the start of the race it was Hamilton who made the best start, maintaining his lead. Rosberg was sent into a spin following contact with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and dropped right down the order. Vettel pulled off at the side of the track with broken suspension and was subsequently handed a three place grid drop for Japan.

Rosberg faced a fight back through the field and eventually finished in third behind the hard – but fair – fighting Red Bull duo. Rosberg picked up a ten second penalty for making contact with Kimi Raikkonen as he passed but was able to finish more than ten seconds clear of the Finn. The Ferrari suffered floor damage and lost what it reported to be about three tenths per lap.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams just ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez. Fernando Alonso drove a fine race to finish seventh having started last and he finished ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. Jenson Button celebrated his 300th Grand Prix with a ninth place finish and points while Jolyon Palmer picked up his first ever F1 point.

The Toro Rosso duo struggled with brake issues with Carlos Sainz 11th and Daniil Kvyat 14th. Marcus Ericsson was 12th with Felipe Massa recovering to 13th having started from the pit-lane when he failed to get away on the warm-up lap.  Pascal Wehrlein was 15th ahead of Esteban Ocon – who picked up two separate 5 second penalties for speeding in the pit-lane.

Felipe Nasr joined Vettel and Hamilton on the sidelines along with Kevin Magnussen. Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas lost a wheel on one of the straights causing his retirement while Romain Grosjean suffered brake failure and spun into the gravel, bringing his race to an end.

Ricciardo dedicated his win to Jules Bianchi following the race, after making Max Verstappen and Rosberg take part in celebratory ‘shoeys’ on the podium.

The next race is this weekend at the Suzuka circuit in Japan.