2015: The Spanish Grand Prix in Numbers

Statistics from the Spanish Grand Prix weekend

Total number of laps completed (by driver)

Nico Rosberg 166
Max Verstappen 158
Felipe Massa 158
Carlos Sainz 157
Sebastian Vettel 153
Felipe Nasr 153
Kimi Raikkonen 148
Jenson Button 147
Lewis Hamilton 146
Nico Hulkenberg 142
Sergio Perez 140
Valtteri Bottas 140
Will Stevens 137
Roberto Merhi 126
Marcus Ericsson 125
Daniil Kvyat 120
Pastor Maldonado 117
Daniel Ricciardo 113
Romain Grosjean 109
Fernando Alonso 104
Susie Wolff 22
Jolyon Palmer 21
Raffaele Marciello 15

Total number of laps completed (by team)

Williams 320
Toro Rosso 315
Mercedes 312
Ferrari 301
Sauber 293
Force India 282
Manor 263
McLaren 251
Lotus 247
Red Bull 233

Total number of laps completed (by engine supplier)

Mercedes (4 teams) 1161
Ferrari (3 teams) 857
Renault (2 teams) 548
Honda (1 team) 251

Number of race laps: 66
Number of safety cars: 0
Number of race starters: 20
Number of times race lead changed hands (includes pole sitter): 4
Number of different race leaders (excludes pole sitter if lead changes off the line): 3
Number of classified drivers: 18
Number of retirements: 2
Number of drivers on lead lap at chequered flag: 6
Number of teams scoring points: 6
Most places gained: Sergio Perez 5 (18th – 13th)
Number of visits to pit-lane: 48
…of which were pit-stops: 46
Stop/go penalties (added to pit-stop): 0
Drive through penalties: 0
Retirements in pit-lane: 2
Fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton 1:28.270

Spanish Grand Prix victory for Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg has won the Spanish Grand Prix, beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

The Mercedes duo joined by a Ferrari driver image is fast becoming very familiar as it has been the result at all five races so far. It was Rosberg’s first visit to the top step of the podium in 2015 as he convincingly beat Hamilton by 17.5 seconds. Vettel was a distant third for Ferrari.

The Circuit de Catalunya is notoriously difficult for overtaking so it was not much of a surprise that the top four on the grid were in the same order come the chequered flag. A slightly longer than usual pit-stop for Hamilton cost him some time and he also lost out at the start when he was passed by Vettel. He nearly lost out to Valtteri Bottas as well but he was eventually able to keep the Williams driver at bay. Hamilton used a three stop strategy while Rosberg and Vettel went for two stops. Bottas finished fourth also on a two stop, keeping Kimi Raikkonen at bay in the closing laps of the race. Felipe Massa ended up the last unlapped driver in seventh, with the rest of the top ten being passed by the leaders.

Pastor Maldonado enjoyed a feisty start to his race, passing a number of cars. He made early contact with his team-mate Romain Grosjean and after running wide across bollard, one of his rear wing endplates became dislodged. At one of his pit-stops the team removed the broken part, leaving him circulating with his rear wing attached by just one mount. He managed to run faster than the cars around him but the team eventually retired his car. There was some drama in the pit-lane when Grosjean missed his marks in the pit-lane and caused the front jackman who be lifted airborne on the jack. He was later spotted being wheeled through the paddock on a trolley with his foot in a bandage. That wasn’t the only pit-lane drama as Fernando Alonso dramatically had rear brake failure and was not able to stop in his pit-box. The front jackman had time to react and moved out of the way as Alonso came to an eventual smoking stop. He had already encountered brake issues on the previous lap, struggling to stop for the first corner and it was the brake issues which ended his race.

Daniel Ricciardo picked up his fifth points finish of the year in seventh place ahead of Grosjean, Carlos Sainz, and Daniil Kvyat. The latter two made contact on the last lap and Sainz used the run off area to get ahead. Max Verstappen missed out on points by just a second. Felipe Nasr, Sergio Perez, Marcus Ericsson, Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button, Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi were the rest of the finishers. Button endured a difficult race from start to finish as he struggled with throttle issues and wheelspin.

It was Mercedes’ fourth 1-2 finish of the season. The next race of the season is the Monaco Grand Prix, where generally anything can happen. Can Ferrari or someone else halt the Mercedes duo once again?

It’s coming home – Spanish Grand Prix quali

There’s a persistent feeling in F1 that glamorous as the flyaway races are, the real business is done on the European circuits. As the circus rolled into Barcelona, a number of questions persist: has Alonso’s move to a floundering McLaren Honda lost him support in his home country; will Ferrari have brought the fight any closer to a dominant Mercedes; will Hamilton continue to subjugate his team mate in the season’s most high profile intra-team rivalry?

Free practice hadn’t hinted that there was to be any change to the existing order, despite a scrappy final session from the current leader of the Drivers’ Championship. Eyes were also on McLaren, still struggling to benefit from the incremental developments to their all-new chassis/motor package. Would they be able to convert a seemingly improved practice performance into qualifying success?

Local favourite Mehri was first out for Q1 onto a track registering at the upper end of the expected temperature range. As is becoming customary, it was the Mercedes pair trading fastest times through the session, with Vettel’s Ferrari duelling with the Williams pair to be ‘best of the rest’. Raikkonen, who had opted not to run the aero developments brought for this race, was complaining about a lack of rear grip. The McLaren pair quickly posted top ten times, boding well for their progress to Q2. Biggest casualties of Q1? Force India, with both drivers failing to progress.

It was ‘Fred’ Nasr first away in the remaining Sauber for Q2 but as expected, it was the Mercedes pair setting the pace despite Hamilton being released into traffic for his first run. McLaren’s improvement faltered  as they failed to beat the Lotus pair and progress to Q3. Lotus remained upbeat about their prospects for Sunday, citing their race pace.

With history illustrating the importance of a front row start, there was extra pressure on the frontrunners for the final session, particularly Raikkonen who outpaced his illustrious team mate in the preceding runs. Perhaps underlining the twitchiness of the cars on this circuit, Bottas put his Williams well outside the track limits as struggled to hold it on his first timed lap. It was again Rosberg, seemingly more comfortable in the car, who set the target time for pole. As all ten remaining qualifiers raced to the flag, it was indeed Rosberg who held his nerve to take pole from is teammate, with Vettel’s Ferrari and Bottas’ Williams lining up on row 2 behind them.












Nico Rosberg fastest ahead of qualifying in Spain

Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap in FP3 to top the final practice session ahead of qualifying, having already been fastest in FP1.

Pastor Maldonado was the first driver out on track to start FP3. The Lotus driver had restricted running in FP1 yesterday due to a gearbox issue but was able to get 34 laps under his belt in FP2. He was soon joined on track by local hero Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo who endured a difficult start to his weekend yesterday, completing just 13 laps over two sessions. Early phases of running saw drivers’ tyres below the optimum operating temperature and a number struggled with lock-ups.

Daniil Kvyat was confined to the garage for most of the session due to a water leak but he eventually got out with twenty minutes to go. Lewis Hamilton found the limit at Turn 3, spinning as he drifted wide onto the astroturf. He was able to select reverse in the car and get going again. In the final 20 minutes drivers started to put on the option compound tyre to do qualifying runs ahead of the real thing this afternoon. This resulted in a number of time improvements with Valtteri Bottas taking over at the top from initial pacesetter Nico Rosberg, who then got it back again. He ended up ahead of Sebastian Vettel and team-mate Lewis Hamilton who set the pace in FP2.

Times from FP3:

  1. Nico Rosberg – 1:26.021 – 19 laps
  2. Sebastian Vettel – 1:26.177 – 14 laps
  3. Lewis Hamilton – 1:26.222 – 10 laps
  4. Valtteri Bottas – 1:26.682 – 19 laps
  5. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:26.944 – 14 laps
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:27.048 – 19 laps
  7. Felipe Massa – 1:27.109 – 19 laps
  8. Max Verstappen – 1:27.132 – 18 laps
  9. Daniil Kvyat – 1:27.313 – 7 laps
  10. Carlos Sainz – 1:27.809 – 17 laps
  11. Jenson Button – 1:27.938 – 17 laps
  12. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:28.082 – 13 laps
  13. Felipe Nasr – 1:28.096 – 23 laps
  14. Fernando Alonso – 1:28.304 – 17 laps
  15. Romain Grosjean – 1:28.578 – 17 laps
  16. Pastor Maldonado – 1:28.618 – 18 laps
  17. Marcus Ericsson – 1:28.788 – 20 laps
  18. Sergio Perez – 1:28.996 – 14 laps
  19. Will Stevens – 1:31.125 – 16 laps
  20. Roberto Merhi – 1:31.749 – 17 laps

FP2 in Bahrain sees Nico Rosberg top the times

Following a free practice session spent focusing on long runs and tyre evaluations, Mercedes returned to the top of the times in FP2.

Nico Rosberg lead the way just a tenth of a second faster than his team-mate. Earlier pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen ended the session third – continuing Ferrari’s impressive showing – four tenths down on Lewis Hamilton’s time. With a top 11 separated by under a second in FP1 the gap increased in FP2. The top eight were within a second while the gap to eleventh crept up to one and a half seconds.

Romain Grosjean returned to his car after Jolyon Palmer’s appearance in free practice one. The Frenchman – who scored his first points of the year in Malaysia – ended up 13th just behind the McLaren of Fernando Alonso. After grinding to a halt after just a few minutes in the first practice session, Jenson Button again came to stop early on. This time he managed three laps before stopping on the back straight. He did get out again later in the session, however, ending up 19th fastest and completing 15 laps.

A number of drivers struggled as the conditions turned from day to night. The lock-ups from earlier in the day continued while a number of drivers ran wide. In the closing stages of practice Sebastian Vettel picked up front wing damage as well as suffering from braking failure. He later apologised for hitting Sergio Perez which was what resulted from his brake failure. Raikkonen found himself in hot water, being investigated for not leaving the pit-lane correctly. He was reprimanded but no further action was taken.

Free practice two results:

  1. Nico Rosberg – 1:34.647 – 31 laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton – 1:34.762 – 33 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:35.174 – 30 laps
  4. Sebastian Vettel – 1:35.277 – 26 laps
  5. Valtteri Bottas – 1:35.280 – 36 laps
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:35.449 – 27 laps
  7. Pastor Maldonado – 1:35.474 – 34 laps
  8. Felipe Nasr – 1:35.793 – 27 laps
  9. Daniil Kvyat – 1:35.883 – 23 laps
  10. Felipe Massa – 1:35.884 – 35 laps
  11. Marcus Ericsson – 1:36.148 – 34 laps
  12. Fernando Alonso – 1:36.191 – 22 laps
  13. Romain Grosjean – 1:36.334 – 31 laps
  14. Carlos Sainz – 1:36.471 – 32 laps
  15. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:36.805 – 30 laps
  16. Max Verstappen – 1:36.917 – 26 laps
  17. Sergio Perez – 1:37.062 – 33 laps
  18. Will Stevens – 1:39.131 – 21 laps
  19. Jenson Button – 1:39.209 – 15 laps
  20. Roberto Merhi – 1:40.592 – 26 laps

Guy Martin wins third consecutive Ian Watson Trophy at Oliver’s Mount Spring Cup

Guy Martin won his third consecutive Ian Watson Trophy at Oliver’s Mount over the weekend while contesting the Spring Cup.

The Tyco rider was getting his first pure road racing taste of the team’s new BMW and he won the first leg of the Spring Cup itself on Saturday. In tricky conditions on Sunday he came fourth but it was enough to see him the overall winner of the Ian Watson Trophy, beating Ivan Lintin and Dean Harrison.

Lintin had a highly successful weekend on his racing debut for RC Express Racing. He was the overall class winner of the Junior A and Senior classes as well as finishing runner up in the Spring Cup and Super Lightweight classes. Elsewhere Michael Sweeney came out on top in the Spring Cup B class ahead of Davy Morgan and Adrian Harrison. Darren Cooper beat Ben Rea and Seamus Elliot in the Junior B standings while Paul Owen headed Nick Anderson and Adrian Haworth in the Lightweight class. James Cowton lead the Super Lightweight standings after a win and third place finish in the races, finishing ahead of Lintin and Adrian Harrison. The sidecar class was won by Conrad Harrison and Lee Patterson following a second place and race victory. Finally, Ryan Farquhar topped F1/F2 Classics, ahead of Peter Boast and David Bell. Full results can be found on the Oliver’s Mount Racing website.

The next road racing action takes place next weekend in Cookstown. The likes of William and Michael Dunlop will be in action, along with Jamie Hamilton, Derek McGee, and Maria Costello. #

Business as usual for Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton leads home 1-2 in China

Lewis Hamilton has won the Chinese Grand Prix leading home another Mercedes 1-2 on the way. The race ended behind the safety car following Max Verstappen’s retirement on the pit straight with just two laps remaining. Sebastian Vettel rounded off the podium positions meaning that it has been Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and Vettel on all three podiums so far this year.

Hamilton took an aggressive approach to the start of the race, angling himself on his grid slot to ensure he stayed ahead of Rosberg. He maintained the lead off the line with Vettel remaining in third. Kimi Raikkonen leap frogged both Williams drivers at the start, slotting into fourth behind his team-mate. Daniel Ricciardo did not enjoy such a good start, bogging down as he moved off the line. He dropped down to 17th and ended up amongst the McLaren drivers. Ricciardo then encountered a Groundhog Day type situation as he fought with Marcus Ericsson for position later in the race. He passed the Sauber driver at least twice before quickly losing the position again. He eventually made it stick and went on to fight with Ericsson’s team-mate Felipe Nasr for position.  It was not the most positive of days for Red Bull or Toro Rosso with one driver from each team retiring. Both Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen had a smoky end to their races as both their engines let go. Verstappen’s retirement came not long from the end – bringing out the late safety car – meaning he was still classified. Carlos Sainz nearly ended up on the sidelines as well following a gearbox issue but he was able to get going again.

Another retirement from the race was Nico Hulkenberg who had a gearbox problem early on, causing him to pull off at the side of the track. Pastor Maldonado also retired following an exciting race for him. He locked up on entry to the pit-lane but was able to get going again, later going on to have a spin. He then got involved in a feisty battle with Jenson Button and the pair made contact at Turn 1, allowing Button’s team-mate Fernando Alonso to pass them both. The incident was Button’s fault and Maldonado eventually retired following his adventures. Rear brake failure was the reason for his retirement.

At the front of the pack Vettel attempted to get the undercut by pitting before both Mercedes but ultimately it did not work. Raikkonen was frustrated by backmarkers – complaining over team radio for his team to get the slower cars out of the way. It would have been a frustrating moment for Alonso who was lapped by his former team-mate. Eventually Hamilton won under the safety car with his advantage wiped out, just ahead of Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen and Felipe Massa. Valtteri Bottas, Romain Grosjean, Nasr, Ricciardo and Ericsson rounded out the points finishers. It was Lotus’ first points of the season and they were unlucky to miss out on Maldonado also picking up points following his retirement. McLaren got both cars to the end but Button faces a post race investigation for his collision with Maldonado. Sergio Perez finished just outside the points in 11th, being the only driver to use a three stop strategy. Both Manor cars also made the chequered flag although Roberto Merhi found himself under investigation after the race after failing to stay within the Safety Car delta time.

There was drama post race when the Mercedes duo failed to agree over an incident in the race. Rosberg had complained about Hamilton going too slowly and backing him into Vettel. Hamilton’s reply in the post race press conference was that it was not his responsibility to look after Rosberg’s race. The Mercedes animosity is no doubt set to rumble on as the pair go head to head once again for the title with Hamilton clearly having the upper hand at the early stage of the season.

There’s a quick turnaround following this weekend with teams and drivers travelling to Bahrain for the race next weekend.

Both Button and Merhi received five second penalties and two penalty points following investigations.