Tag: championship

F1 2016: German GP Preview

Following the Hungarian Grand Prix, the German Grand Prix is the last race before the summer break. Lewis Hamilton leads the championship by six points following his win last time out, but a win for Nico Rosberg on home soil would see him move back to the top of the table.

The Hungarian Grand Prix was a somewhat uneventful race but it did have some close battles, particularly between Red Bull and Ferrari. In their fight for second in the constructors championship Ferrari have the edge – but only just. Just one point separates the two teams so it is finely poised.

In Hungary it was Daniel Ricciardo who joined the Mercedes duo on the podium but Sebastian Vettel had a late charge and could have taken it. Similarly, Kimi Raikkonen closed in on fifth placed Max Verstappen but was unable to find a way pass. Raikkonen was voted Driver of the Day for his charge through from 14th.

Circuit: Hockenheimring
Number of Laps: 67
Circuit Length:4.574km
Number of Corners: 17
Lap Record: 1:13.780 Kimi Raikkonen (2004)
Previous German Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 4
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (22 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Supersoft, Soft and Medium

The German Grand Prix was last held in 2014 – at the Hockenheimring – having been cancelled last year. That race was one by Rosberg and he will undoubtedly be looking to repeat that feat this year.

The track features a mix of fast long straights as well as technical corners. Due to the nature of the circuit there are some heavy braking zones into medium to low speed corners. Drivers will change gear approximately 49 times per lap and will reach a top speed of 350kmh. The Hockenheimring is also considered a power circuit.

Pirelli have brought the same tyre compounds as were used in Hungary – the Supersoft, Soft and Mediums.

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Nico Rosberg extends championship lead in Bahrain

Nico Rosberg currently sits 17 points clear of team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the championship.

This lead is thanks to picking up maximum points at the first two rounds of the season. Following a 1-2 for Mercedes in Australia, Rosberg stood on the top step again in Bahrain although this time he finished ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton started the race from pole but it was a fast starting Rosberg who led by the first corner. As Hamilton swept across the track after realising he had lost his lead, there was contact with Valtteri Bottas – something the stewards felt warranted a drive through penalty for the Finn. This led to damage on his car which was something he had to contend with for the duration of the race.

While Rosberg romped away at the front, Hamilton once again found himself having to fight back from about fifth or sixth, something he had already endured in Australia due to a poor start.

Ferrari’s leading – and only – contender in this race was Kimi Raikkonen, a driver who has excelled in Bahrain in the past picking up seven podiums. Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel didn’t even make the race start when he suffered an engine failure on the formation lap. Raikkonen drove a good race and finished in second place, undoubtedly particularly welcome following a retirement in the opening race of the year.

Following the top three Daniel Ricciardo came home in fourth place in front of Haas driver Romain Grosjean, the latter picking up another solid points haul for the new team. It was once again a bittersweet event for Haas as their other driver Esteban Gutierrez retired, this time with a brake issue. Max Verstappen finished sixth for Toro Rosso ahead of Daniil Kvyat in seventh, Felipe Massa in eighth and a recovering Bottas in ninth.

Rounding out the top ten finishers was late McLaren call-up Stoffel Vandoorne. Following the news that Fernando Alonso had been declared unfit to race by the FIA, McLaren’s test and reserve driver was rushed to the track to stand in for him. With Alonso watching his every move from the pitwall and offering guidance, Vandoorne raced to tenth place. It was a point on his debut and McLaren’s first points finish of the year.

Jenson Button was frustrated to pull off at the side of the track with a power problem, later suggesting he could have been on for a top five or six finish had he not retired. He joined Vettel on the sidelines along with Gutierrez and Jolyon Palmer, who also did not start. Carlos Sainz was the fifth retirement having picked up a puncture during the race and retiring a few laps later.

Outside of the top ten, Kevin Magnussen recovered from a pit-lane start to finish 11th, ahead of Marcus Ericsson and an impressive Pascal Wehrlein. After qualifying 16th, the Manor driver put in a strong performance in the race to finish 13th, having ran in the points. Felipe Nasr was 14th for Sauber ahead of the two Force Indias and Rio Haryanto.

Ferrari launch SF16-H

Ferrari has launched the car they hope will see them take the championship challenge to Mercedes in 2016.

The SF16-H was revealed online in a series of videos and photographs. The traditional red livery has been given a twist this year with a predominantly white engine cover. The car comprises 100 different metal alloys, 20,000 different pieces for gearbox, chassis and engine, and spent 1,500 hours in the wind tunnel. It features a shortened nose and a tapered rear end.

Following a year where they were the only team to beat Mercedes on track, Ferrari are confident for the year ahead.

“This year is the year for us,” Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene said. “We have to demonstrate that the expectation of the public is going to be satisfied by our result. Of course it’s not an easy task because our competitors – especially Mercedes – are not waiting for us to be beaten but I think we try to do our best. We’re not going to the races to play – we want to go to races to put our red and white car in front of the others. But, I recognise that our competitors are very very strong.”

“It is certainly a very bold car but then it needs to be,” James Allison explained. “If we look at last year’s car, we were working to improve a baseline that was really quite poor so you could make big steps. To improve a car that was already quite reasonable – last year’s car – to make something this year that was also a big step forward, you need to take some bolder steps. You need to be able to be braver and to work across the entire car in an aggressive way.”

“That is something that we have done on the chassis side and on the power unit,” he continued. “On this year’s car we have a very high proportion of new, bold approaches and that is necessary for us to make the sort of step forward that we need to make.”

Four time world champion Sebastian Vettel joined Ferrari last year and took three wins for the team and finished third in the championship. “I think last year was very good for us, very positive,” he said. “Obviously the success that we had early on helped to stabilise the team, but nevertheless it is still a very young team with a lot of new people. I think you can feel it going round in the factory – everyone is fired up and we want to win. The target is clear, the expectation is there but I think that’s also where we want to be.”

Kimi Raikkonen, who has raced five seasons with the Scuderia, revealed he had not made many changes to his preparations for the season ahead. “We do the normal things over the winter and obviously want to have a stronger season,” he explained. “It’s just putting small things together. I think we did a better job at the end of the year – we’ll see where we are with the car and then go from there and see what happens in the races.”

Felipe Massa: 200 GP and the Magic Formula

This weekend Williams Racing driver Felipe Massa will celebrate his 200th Grand Prix start. The Brazilian, who entered Formula One in 2002 with Sauber, is celebrating the milestone at the British Grand Prix where his team celebrated 600 GP a year ago. So here is a look at his magic formula.

12 years

Massa entered Formula One in 2002 when he drove for the Sauber team, having just won the Euro Formula 3000 championship in 2002. 12 years on, in 2014, Massa is still on the grid, albeit not for 12 seasons. He was replaced at Sauber at the end of 2002 and had a year on the sidelines before returning in 2014.

3 teams

Despite having quite a long Formula One career, Massa has only driven for three teams – Sauber, Ferrari and of course now Williams. Massa spent three years racing for Sauber but it is his Ferrari relationship that lasted the longest.

7 team-mates

Over the years Massa has driven with a number of high profile drivers. He started his career partnering Nick Heidfeld, before then racing alongside 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, and Giancarlo Fisichella. When he was promoted to a Ferrari race seat in 2006 he partnered seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher before being joined by Kimi Raikkonen in 2007. Raikkonen departed at the end of 2009 and Massa’s next team-mate was Fernando Alonso. Following his departure from Ferrari, Massa has partnered Valtteri Bottas at Williams.

8 seasons at Ferrari

He made his debut in 2003 with Ferrari, spending the year as their test driver. Massa’s stint at Ferrari was a lengthy one and it saw him become one of only a handful of drivers to compete in more than 100 races for one team. At Brazil in 2011, Massa started his 100th team for the team and finished in fifth place. In 2012 and 2013 he added to his tally, and left the team with a grand total of 139 races for the Scuderia. He came close to winning the championship with them in 2008, but was narrowly pipped at the post. In his first season with the team he finished third in the championship.

2nd longest serving Ferrari driver

Massa is beaten only by Schumacher – who raced in 181 races for Ferrari – in terms of the amount of races for the Scuderia. With a total of 139 races, that puts him clear of fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. It also makes Massa third in the all time list for most races with one team – between Mika Hakkinen’s 131 and David Coulthard’s 150, both for McLaren.

11 wins

Massa has 11 wins to his name in Formula One. His first was at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix before going on to win his home Grand Prix that same year. Wins in Bahrain, Spain and again in Turkey in 2007 brought his tally to five, before winning six more times in 2008. His 2008 wins were at Bahrain, Turkey, France, the European Grand Prix, Belgium, and an emotional home victory which saw him nearly win the world championship. That win also happens to be his last in Formula One to date.

3 wins at the Turkish Grand Prix

Massa took to the Turkish Grand Prix like a duck to water and won the race on three occasions – 2006, 2007 and 2008. He didn’t let anyone else have any of the fun on those three years as he also secured pole position for all three races.

5th Brazilian driver to win in Brazil

In 2006, Massa became the fifth Brazilian driver to win his home Grand Prix. He followed Emerson Fittipaldi (1973 & 1974), Carlos Pace (1975), Nelson Piquet (1983 & 1986) and Ayrton Senna (1991 & 1993).

36 podiums

Including his 11 wins, Massa has stood on the podium a grand total of 36 times. His first Formula One podium was at the 2006 European Grand Prix where he qualified in third and narrowly beat McLaren’s Raikkonen. His most recent podium was last year’s Spanish Grand Prix where he finished third.

16 pole positions

Massa’s first victory was preceded by his first pole position, at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix. He out-qualified his team-mate by mere hundredths of a second but made it count, going on to win by over five seconds. Eight of his wins have come from pole positions, including the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix where he also set the fastest lap of the race. His pole lap was emphatic, beating Jarno Trulli by four tenths of a second.

15 fastest laps

As well as his pole positions, wins, and podiums – Massa also has a number of fastest laps to his name. 15, to be precise. The 2006 Spanish Grand Prix was his first one, and the most recent was this year’s Canadian Grand Prix.

7th – average finishing position in championship

Massa’s average finishing position in the world championship is seventh. Finishing in the top three on two occasions, Massa has finished solidly in the top ten since his move to Ferrari. The one exception is 2009, when he finished 11th, but he was forced to miss half the season after a nasty accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix saw him hit by a spring and sustaining life-threatening injuries. Thankfully he made a full recovery and was able to return to racing in 2010.

70% of finishes in points

Of his 199 starts, 119 of them have resulted in points finishes. That’s a 70% finishing record in the points. He has a finishing record of 84% from his 199 race starts thus far.

4th most experienced driver on the grid

Massa is the 4th most experienced driver on the grid, behind Jenson Button, Alonso, and Raikkonen. Fellow countryman Barrichello holds the record for most F1 starts, at 322.

1 point away

One point – all that stood between Massa and a world championship in 2008. So near, and yet so far…

So: 12 years + 3 teams + 7 team-mates + 8 seasons at Ferrari + 2nd longest serving Ferrari driver + 11 wins + 3 Turkish Grand Prix victories + 5th Brazilian driver to win Brazilian GP + 36 podiums + 16 pole positions + 15 fastest laps + 7th (average finishing position in the championship) + 70% finishes in points + 4th most experienced driver on grid + 1 point = 200 GP.

The passionate Brazilian impressed at the last race, the Austrian Grand Prix, when he qualified in pole position. He finished the race in fourth place but the Williams duo showed good pace, with Bottas finishing third behind the Mercedes duo. The team showed decent pre-season pace so they will no doubt be hoping to continue their Austrian form into this weekend’s British Grand Prix. Massa’s 100th Grand Prix start was the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix, a race which he won…

 

Jenson Button: 250 GP and the magic formula

Jenson Button is the most experienced driver on the current Formula One grid, and the fifth most experienced driver of all time. This weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix he will celebrate his 250 Grand Prix start. Over the years he has enjoyed a number of wins, podiums, and a championship – just some of the numbers that make up his career. But what contributes to his magic formula?

7 teams

2014 is Jenson Button’s 15th season in Formula One and over that time he has raced for seven teams. He started his F1 career with Williams in 2000 and since then has spent time with Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn GP, and currently races for McLaren. While the records show that he has raced for seven teams, some are linked. Benetton was rebranded as Renault between 2001 and 2002 and Button remained with the outfit. BAR was bought by Honda at the end of 2005 and Button drove for Honda Racing until the team’s withdrawal from F1 at the end of 2008. The team was then bought out by Ross Brawn and so Brawn GP was born. Button then moved to McLaren for the 2010 season and is currently taking part in his fifth season for the team.

10 team-mates

During his time at those seven teams, Button has had ten different team-mates. His team-mate in his rookie year was Ralf Schumacher. In 2001 when he moved to Benetton he was partnered by Giancarlo Fisichella, who was replaced by Jarno Trulli in 2002. Button’s 2003 team-mate was 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve. Takuma Sato partnered Button at BAR for 2004 and 2005, being replaced at one race for Button’s fellow Brit Anthony Davidson. Rubens Barrichello joined Honda in 2006, following his departure from Ferrari, and was Button’s team-mate for four seasons, including the world championship year in 2009. Button partnered Lewis Hamilton at McLaren for three seasons before lining up alongside Sergio Perez in 2013. Button currently races with Kevin Magnussen at McLaren.

5 times

This is the number of times Button has been beaten by his team-mate in the drivers championship. In his rookie year he was beaten by team-mate R Schumacher by 12 points. Button was also beaten by Fisichella in 2001 this time by a smaller margin of six points. From 2002 to 2007 inclusive Button had the upper hand over his team-mates, beating Trulli, Villeneuve, Sato, and Barrichello. His advantage over Trulli was five points, it was 11 over Villeneuve and 51 over Sato in 2004. In 2005 his advantage was 36 points over Sato, and in his first year up against Barrichello Button out-scored him by 26 points. Barrichello got the better result in 2008, by eight points, but Button was obviously ahead in 2009 when he won the world championship. Button’s advantage then was 18 points over his team-mate. Hamilton outscored Button by 26 points in their first year as team-mates, but Button had the upper hand in 2011 by 43 points. Hamilton scored two more points than Button in 2012 while Button had the advantage over Perez in 2013 by 24 points. So, during his 14 years in F1, Button has finished ahead of his team-mate nine times.

15 victories

Since that memorable first victory in 2006, Button has won a further 14 times, bringing his win tally to 15. He had to wait six seasons before his first win and his second followed after two seasons of disappointment. After Honda withdrew from F1, Brawn GP rose from the ashes and dominated the first half of the season. Button won six of the first seven races, missing out on the top step of the podium in China but still finishing in third. He won again in Australia in 2010 and won in China that same year. He won a dramatic 2011 Canadian Grand Prix, where he dropped to the back of the field on more than one occasion and had contact with his team-mate. He fought up to second on the last lap and when Sebastian Vettel made an uncharacteristic mistake he took the advantage and won. He also won in Hungary again, and his adopted home race in Japan. In 2012 victories came in Australia, Belgium and Brazil. The 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix was his last victory to date. As well as 15 victories, Button has started on pole position eight times but only five of his wins came from pole.

8 races on current calendar not won

Button’s 15 victories have come at 12 different circuits. This means that he has won eleven of the races on the 2014 F1 calendar. He has not won in Austria (which makes its F1 return this year), his home race at Silverstone, in Germany, or Italy despite standing on the podium four times there. He is also yet to win in Singapore, Russia, Abu Dhabi and the USA.

50 podiums

Button’s 50th podium came at this year’s Australian Grand Prix although he didn’t actually stand on it as the result came after the disqualification of Daniel Ricciardo. His 50 podiums include his 15 aforementioned victories. Button has stood on the podium at 18 different races – from Australia to Brazil and many other races in between. Not including his victories, he has been on the podium the most times at the Italian Grand Prix – a total of four. Other multiple podium appearances have come at the Malaysian, German, Chinese, and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (three times); and the Monaco, European, Canadian, Belgium, Brazilian, and Singapore Grand Prix (two times). He has been on the podium in Bahrain, San Marino, Japan, Turkey, Spain, India and Australia as well.

140 points finishes

Of the races that Button has finished, he has finished 140 times in the points (not including his two points finishes in 2014). This is from 199 finishes. Since 2000, Button has had an average of 5.6 DNFs per season.

6.8 average finishing position

Following on from Button’s 140 points finishes, his average finishing position is 6.8. This is taken from races he finished and not including the two in 2014.

 8th – average championship position

Over his 14 full seasons in F1 Button has finished an average eighth in the championship. His highest championship position was when he won it in 2009, his lowest was 18th in 2008 when Honda had a particularly dismal season. He finished third in 2004 and second in 2011.

1 world championship

Last but by no means least Button has won the world championship. This was in 2009 when he dominated the first half of the season, winning six of the first seven races. It was a long time coming for the British driver, but he eventually got there and made sure his name was in the history books.

So, there we have it. 7 teams + 10 team-mates + 5 times + 15 victories + 8 races on current calendar not won + 50 podiums + 140 points finishes + 6(.8) average finishing position + 8th average championship position + 1 world championship = 250 GP.

Button is regarded as a smooth driver who is particularly good in wet/dry conditions. He revealed on the McLaren website that the nicest thing someone ever said to him was something his late father John Button said: “You might not be the quickest driver in the world… but you’re the best.”

For more magic formula posts follow this link.

McLaren ’50 in 50′: Jenson Button

Jenson Button is McLaren’s most recent race winner in two ways. He won last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, making him the last McLaren driver to stand on the top step of the podium. He is also the 19th driver to win a race for McLaren and, unless Sergio Perez wins one of the last few races, he will remain the most recent race winner for them until next year at least.

Button joined McLaren in 2010, fresh off the back of his first world championship, which he won driving for Brawn GP. Button joined 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton at the team making it an all British, back-to-back champions line-up. Victor of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award in 1998, Button got his first taste of Formula One testing a McLaren in 1999. He became a race driver for Williams in 2000, giving him over a decade of experience in the sport.

Button’s route to Formula One is a standard one – started karting when he was young, and progressed through single seater championships. In 1991 he won all 34 races in the British Cadet Kart Championship, impressing from the get go. British Formula Fords was his first port of call in single seaters, and he won that in his debut year by 15 points. British Formula 3 followed and he finished the year in third place. He tested for McLaren and Prost and was involved in a shoot-out with Bruno Junqueira for a vacant seat at Williams.

Button finished eighth in his first year with Williams, finishing in the points on six occaions. Despite impressing, he was dropped by Williams in favour of Juan Pablo Montoya, so he joined Benetton. He had a lacklustre season in 2001 before finishing seventh in 2002. Button’s long relationship with Honda started when he joined BAR for 2003. He had his best season to date in 2004, finishing on the podium on ten occasions and scoring points in all but three races. He finished the year in third place – the closest challenger to the Ferrari duo of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. 2005 was so-so and at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, Button was awarded for all his perserverence over the years. He won in tricky conditions, ending his long spell without a win. He had to wait until 2009 to win again, however, but by that stage it was worth the wait.

After Honda pulled out of the sport, the team was bought and rebranded Brawn GP, with former Ferrari man Ross Brawn at the helm. With a major technical and regulation shake-up mixing the order up, Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing moved to the fore. Button won six of the first seven races in 2009, demonstrating the domination of Brawn GP. That proved to be all his victories for 2009 after the latter half of the season was spent consistently scoring points but not podiums. The early domination, however, was enough for Button to win the championship and Brawn GP, with Barrichello’s added success, became the constructors champions.

Button joined McLaren in 2010, replacing Heikki Kovalainen. He ranks joint eighth in terms of all time wins list, winning eight races (joint with Nika Lauda). In 2013 he became the de facto number one after Hamilton’s departure. He is regarded a consistent pair of hands, after his vast amount of experience. He finished seventh in his first race for McLaren but won in Australia, the second race of the year. He was in contention for the championship but ultimately fell at the last hurdle and finished fifth. In 2011 he came second to a dominant Sebastian Vettel and finished fifth in 2012. He has started 72 races for McLaren and has eight wins, 17 additional podiums, and 58 points finishes in total. 2013 has been a difficult year for the team and as yet the podium has alluded them. McLaren have not officially confirmed their 2014 drivers, but it is widely considered Button will remain. He is the most experienced current driver on the grid and, with another regulation shake-up and new engines coming into play, the McLaren team will hopefully progress to challenging at the front once again.

eBay Motors Remain in Contention

Colin Turkington at Silverstone
Colin Turkington at Silverstone

The eBay Motors team will head into the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season finale at Brands Hatch in contention for championship honours despite being dealt a huge blow in the penultimate meeting of the year at Silverstone.

Colin Turkington, Rob Collard and Nick Foster battled hard on track at the wheel of their NGTC-spec BMW 125i M-Sports, bringing home a pair of points finishes each from the latest three races of the 30 race campaign.

Despite losing out on straight-line speed to their rivals, Colin and Rob were able to qualify strongly in fourth and eighth, although Nick was left on the back foot with a turbo problem leaving him 22nd on the grid for race one.

A strong start in the first race saw Colin briefly jump up to second place before he settled into third, with Rob following behind. The pair ran together on track – with Rob on the Soft compound tyre – and took the flag fourth and fifth, having lost a place to a charging Matt Neal.

Nick’s race would end in disappointment however as, after a strong start, he went off into the gravel on the exit of the final corner after contact from the Audi of Will Bratt at the end of lap one.

Colin rocketed away from the line once again when the lights went out in race two to jump up from fourth to second, but after an early Safety Car period, he found himself shuffled back to fifth place, which is where he would finish.

Rob Collard at Silverstone
Rob Collard at Silverstone

Rob had again hoped to slot in behind Colin on track, but an electrical issue would unfortunately force him out in the early stages. However Nick would enjoy a solid run as he came through from the back of the field following his race one retirement to finish 13th.

The reverse grid draw saw Colin starting from second on the grid and a trademark strong start saw him jump into the lead, building an advantage of more than a second before the Safety Car was deployed for debris on track.

Losing his advantage, Colin was demoted back to fourth place but was still well placed to pick up more valuable points when contact from Mat Jackson at Copse broke the rear suspension on his car and put him into retirement.

As such, he leaves Silverstone still in contention for the championship in fourth place, but is now 48 points down on points leader Andrew Jordan.

For Nick and Rob, race three would prove to be a frenetic one in the midfield, with Nick running as high as ninth and Rob battling through from the back before they crossed the line together in eleventh and twelfth.

eBay Motors Hub Live
eBay Motors Hub Live

Rob ends the weekend sitting 14th in the championship standings with Nick one place further back, while the eBay Motors team sits third in the HiQ Teams’ Championship.

Colin Turkington (4th/5th/DNF): “We knew we were going to struggle for straight line speed here but going into the third race, things looked good. I knew there was a gap to Andrew but we had a chance to score some big points, and it was taken away from us. The Safety Car really hurt up my race as my pace was better in clear air, and it was when I had to defend after the Safety Car that the tyres went away from me.

“All five of us fighting for the title were in a delicate position and it’s hard to take that a driver who isn’t in contention for honours could have ended my championship hopes. I could have rescued it if it was a little nudge, but he hit me so hard that it broke the rear wheel and I couldn’t have gone any further. It was always going to be a challenge at Brands Hatch and even though I’ll not stop pushing, it’s hard to see how I can overcome the deficit there is now.”

Rob Collard (5th/DNF/12th): “It’s another case of what might have been. I showed good pace again and in the first race I did a job for the team and tried to protect Colin. In the second race I got a good start and was ready to settle in behind him again but then the electrical issue put me out and that meant I was at the back for race three. I got a good start again but when I was caught in an battle in the pack, it was hard to get any higher than I did.”

Nick Foster (DNF/13th/11th): “To battle back to take a 13th and an eleventh after race one is good, but it’s been a hard weekend for us. With the boost levels we have, it’s been difficult to fight against some of the other cars, especially coming out of the corners. Qualifying for me was tough because of a turbo issue but we were still on for three solid points finishes before the incident in race one. The team has given me a great car again but we just lost out on the straights.”