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.

Jenson Button: 300 GP and the Magic Formula

This weekend sees Formula One’s most experienced current driver celebrate a big milestone in his career. Jenson Button – who recently announced he would be taking a sabbatical next year – will start his 300th Grand Prix this weekend in Malaysia. It was the race where he took his first F1 podium, way back in 2004. Here’s a look at the numbers which make up his magic formula.

16 full seasons

Jenson Button made his debut back in 2000, driving for Williams. Since then he has enjoyed relationships with Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn, and now McLaren. He is currently competing in his 17th season of Formula One – his 7th for McLaren, the longest he has spent driving for any one team.

15 wins

While the past few years have been barren in terms of winning in Formula One, JB has wracked up 15 wins over the years. His first was of course the memorable 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix in mixed conditions. JB’s most recent win came at the season ending 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, bookending his season having won the season opener in Australia that same year.

Winner at 12 tracks

JB’s 15 wins have come at 12 tracks, his most successful being Australia. He has won the Australian Grand Prix on three occasions – 2009, 2010 and 2012. He has also won in Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Turkey, China, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Belgium, and Brazil.

50 podiums

There have also been a number of podium finishes for JB over his years competing in Formula One. His first podium was at the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix and his most recent podium finish was the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. His most frequented podium spot is third – where he has stood 20 times – in relation to 15 times in first and 15 times in second.

Podiums at 16 races

JB has stood on the podium at 16 tracks over the course of his Formula One career. He has enjoyed more than one podium in Malaysia, the European Grand Prix, Canada, Germany, Italy, China, and Abu Dhabi. He has also stood on the podium in Bahrain, San Marino, Monaco, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, Turkey, Singapore and Australia. He has had three podiums – his most at any one race – in Germany, Italy and China.

8 pole positions

Most of JB’s victories have come from not starting on pole position, but he has qualified on top on eight occasions. Five of his pole positions have been converted into victories. His first pole position came at the 2004 San Marino Grand Prix while his most recent was the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix which he also won.

8 fastest laps

As well as pole positions, wins, and podiums, JB also has had eight fastest laps. His first was at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix – a race he started from pole and also won – while his most recent was at the 2012 Indian Grand Prix.

Average 8th in championship

JB has finished an average 8th position in the championship over 16 full seasons. His best finish was 1st in 2009 while his lowest finish was 17th in 2001. He currently lies 15th in the 2016 championship with one more point than he had at the end of the season last year.

11 consecutive points finishes in one season

JB’s longest streak of points finishes in a season came in his championship winning year of 2009. He won six of the first seven races, finished third in one of them, and then went on to pick up points in the next four races too. His longest consecutive points finish run overall was 12 which happened between 2005 and 2006. Scoring points in the last ten races of 2005 – including two podiums – he then scored at the first two races of the 2006 season.

6 wins in one season

There were six wins in 2009 for JB when Brawn took over the Honda Racing team after the Japanese manufacturers pulled out of F1 at the end of 2008. JB won six of the first seven races of the season and that remains his record of most wins in a year.

80% classified finishes records

Despite having some difficult years in Formula One with cars not quite performing as they should, JB still has a 80% classified finishing record. Of the 299 races he has started to date he has been classified as a finisher in 240 of them. 13 of these have been retirements but with him having completed over 90% of the race distance.

66% points finishes

Of his 240 classified finishes, 160 of them – or 66% – have been in the points.

3rd most experienced driver of all time

JB lies in third in the all time list of both entries and starts. He has entered 302 races to date and started 299 of them. Rubens Barrichello is the most experienced F1 driver of all time with 326 entries to his name (322 starts) while Michael Schumacher has 308 entries (306 starts). With five races still to come after Malaysia – JB’s 303rd entry – he will end 2016 tied on entries with Schumacher.

1 World Championship

And saving the best ’til last, JB is a world champion. After years of ups and downs he finally won the championship in 2009 with Brawn GP. His best championship finish before that had been 3rd in 2004 and he went on to finish second in 2011.

So there we have it. 16 full seasons + 15 wins + winner at 12 tracks + 50 podiums + podiums at 16 races +8 pole positions + 8 fastest laps + average 8th in championship + 11 consecutive points finishes + 6 wins in one season + 80% classified finishes + 66% finishes in points + 3rd most experienced driver of all time +  1 world championship = 300 GP!


F1 2016: Malaysia Grand Prix Preview

Despite having been on the Formula One calendar since 1999, teams and drivers are heading into the unknown this weekend. The entire circuit has been resurfaced and a number of modifications have been made to corners including banking and elevation changes.

ircuit: Sepang International Circuit
Number of Laps: 56
Circuit Length: 5.543km
Number of Corners: 15
Lap Record: 1:34.223 Juan Pablo Montoya 2004
Previous Malaysia winners still on the grid: 5
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (6 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Hard, Medium and Soft

The Malaysia Grand Prix has traditionally held an early spot in the calendar – usually after the Australian Grand Prix – but this year will host round 16 of the championship. Ferrari are the most successful team at the circuit and it was here last year that Sebastian Vettel took his maiden win for the Scuderia.

Lewis Hamilton won the race for Mercedes in 2014 and will be needing a win this weekend after seeing his team-mate win three in a row and take back his championship lead. Vettel has won the race on four occasions, Fernando Alonso three times, Kimi Raikkonen twice, Jenson Button & Hamilton once.

The Malaysia Grand Prix has a significant history for Alonso, Raikkonen and Button. In 2003 Alonso scored his first ever F1 podium at the track, Raikkonen took his first ever race win and Button joined them both on the podium for his first in F1. This weekend will also see Button’s 300th Grand Prix celebrated.

Drivers will be at full throttle for about 65% of the lap with about 57 gear changes per lap. There is a mix of medium and high speed corners and about 15% of the lap is spent braking. Pirelli have brought the hard, medium and soft compound tyres for the weekend and high tyre degradation is always a factor . Humid conditions can play a big part in the weekend with warmer conditions causing cooling problems.

Stoffel Vandoorne to partner Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2017

After months of increased speculation, McLaren have confirmed their driver line-up for 2017.

The Woking team has announced an “innovative three-driver strategy for the 2017 and 2018 Formula 1 seasons” which will see current reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne promoted to a race seat alongside Fernando Alonso.

While Jenson Button – who has raced with McLaren since 2010 – has signed a new two year deal with the team, he will take a backseat in 2017.

“As a race driver for our team these past seven seasons, he’s been superb, both on and off the track,” Ron Dennis said of Button. “And, as we’re seeing this season, he remains superb – not only fast and fit but also experienced and expert. He’ll start his 298th Grand Prix tomorrow; as such, he’s the most experienced driver on the grid. Having extended his contract to include 2017 and 2018, he’ll continue to be a senior, influential and committed member of the team, and will remain centrally involved in the development of our cars. He’ll also be available to race for us if circumstances require it.”

As expected, Alonso will continue as a race driver into 2017 and will be partnered by Vandoorne. Vandoorne deputised for the Spaniard at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix and scored McLaren’s first point of the season with an impressive drive to tenth. He has been waiting in the wings for a couple of years and won the GP2 championship in 2015. This year has seen him race in Super Formula.

For Button, he does not view the news as a retirement. “I’m delighted that I’ll be staying on as a key member of the McLaren-Honda team,” he revealed. “I’m massively excited about my new role [and] specifically I’m looking forward to becoming even more deeply involved in the team’s efforts to bring about the success we’ve all been striving to deliver.”

“I love McLaren-Honda – I firmly believe it’s made up of the best bunch of people I’ve ever worked with and I have no intention of ever driving for another Formula 1 team,” he continued. It had been suggested that he might be on his way to Williams – with whom he made his Formula One debut back in 2000 – to replace the retiring Felipe Massa. “To be clear, I’m very definitely not retiring. I’m contracted for both 2017 and 2018, I intend to work hard on car-development, and I’m sure I’ll get behind the wheel of the new car at some point.”


Button has enjoyed eight victories with McLaren to date along with 18 further podiums. His best finish in the championship with the team was 2nd in 2011. 201



F1 2016: Belgian GP – Qualifying Times & Laps



  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:46.744
  2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:46.893
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:46.910
  4. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:47.108
  5. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:47.216
  6. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:47.407
  7. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:47.543
  8. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:47.612
  9. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:48.114
  10. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:48.263
  11. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:48.316
  12. Kevin Magnussen – Renault  – 1:48.485
  13. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:48.598
  14. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:48.888
  15. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:49.038
  16. Pascal Wehrlein – 1:49.320
  17. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:48.949
  18. Esteban Ocon – Manor – 1:49.050
  19. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:49.058
  20. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:49.071
  21. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:50.033
  22. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – No Time Set


  1. Jenson Button – McLaren – 15
  2. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 14
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 13
  4. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 12
  5. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 12
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 12
  7. Sergio Perez – Force India – 12
  8. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 12
  9. Valtteri Bottas – Williams- 12
  10. Felipe Massa – Williams – 12
  11. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 12
  12. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 12
  13. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 12
  14. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 12
  15. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 11
  16. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 9
  17. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 6
  18. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 6
  19. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 6
  20. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 4
  21. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1

Lewis Hamilton takes championship lead after Hungarian GP win

Lewis Hamilton has taken the championship lead for the first time this season following his win at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

It was his team-mate Nico Rosberg who started from pole position but Hamilton took control after the first corner and, apart from pit stops, never lost the lead.

The Red Bull duo battled for the lead at the start of the race but ultimately it was Hamilton who came out on top with Rosberg dropping to third. The Mercedes driver quickly disposed of Daniel Ricciardo and it was another Silver Arrows 1-2 come the end of the race. Ricciardo finished third – his third podium in as many years at the Hungaroring.

Behind the top three Sebastian Vettel finished fourth for Ferrari although he was close to a podium finish. He started reeling Ricciardo in in the closing stages of the race but ran out of time to pass him, instead finishing just seven tenths behind the Red Bull. That wasn’t the only close battle in the last 20 laps as Raikkonen fought with Max Verstappen. It isn’t the first time this season that the grid’s oldest driver has gone wheel to wheel with the youngest – Raikkonen trailed Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix, the Dutchman’s first win.

Both drivers were complaining over the radio about each other throughout their fight. Raikkonen complained that Verstappen was moving about too much and if he continued then they would make contact with each other. Verstappen had been given warnings about exceeding track limits and he complained over his team radio that Raikkonen was exceeding them too. They did have a minor coming together as Verstappen moved into the space Raikkonen was already occupying. It resulted in Raikkonen losing part of his front wing but both were able to continue. The gap over the line was just four tenths of a second and Raikkonen demonstrated his frustration by passing the Red Bull driver after they reached the chequered flag.

Fernando Alonso finished where he had started the race – in seventh – while team-mate Jenson Button battled hydraulic issues from early on and eventually became the race’s only retirement. Carlos Sainz was eighth for Toro Rosso with Valtteri Bottas ninth and Nico Hulkenberg tenth.

Sergio Perez was 11th ahead of Jolyon Palmer – who had been running in the points before a spin dropped him down the order again. Esteban Gutierrez finished 13th – picking up a five second penalty for ignoring blue flags –  with Romain Grosjean 14th and Kevin Magnussen 15th. Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Nasr, Felipe Massa, Pascal Wehrlein, Marcus Ericsson, and Rio Haryanto completed the 21 finishers.

There is a quick turnaround with the next race being this weekend in Germany.

Hamilton wins in Austria despite Rosberg collision

Lewis Hamilton won the Austrian Grand Prix despite a last lap incident with his team-mate.

It was the British driver who started from pole position with Nico Rosberg starting sixth following a gearbox penalty. Hamilton maintained his lead at the start with Nico Hulkenberg, who also started on the front row, dropping down the order. Jenson Button – starting a season best third for McLaren – slotted into second and was able to keep Kimi Raikkonen behind him for seven laps of the race.

Ferrari were looking strong, having started the race on a different tyre compound to the Mercedes duo. Following pit-stops it was Sebastian Vettel who led but a tyre blow-out on lap 27 put him out of the race. Raikkonen’s own stop had dropped him behind the Red Bull pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen which compromised his afternoon.

Hamilton lost out to team-mate Rosberg, who pitted first, and from there on in it looked like Rosberg’s race to lose. Having won on the previous two occasions Formula One has visited the Red Bull Ring – since its return to the calendar in 2014 – it looked like the German driver could be making it a hat-trick, despite losing out in qualifying. Hamilton closed the gap and on the last lap it became apparent that he was close enough to make a pass.

The pair collided after Rosberg failed to leave Hamilton enough space – not the first time the two of them have come to blows on the race track. Hamilton emerged unscathed after being forced wide while Rosberg’s front wing came loose. He was subsequently given a ten second penalty and a reprimand for causing a collision and not pitting an unsafe car.

Hamilton continued to win the race while Rosberg limped home in fourth – his penalty not affecting his finishing position. Joining Hamilton on the podium were Verstappen and Raikkonen. Ricciardo finished fifth ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button who finished a credible sixth having started third. Romain Grosjean returned to points with Haas in seventh ahead of Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas. Pascal Wehrlein picked up his first ever points in Formula One with a tenth place finish – Manor’s first point since Monaco 2014. Sergio Perez had been running in tenth before brake failure caused his retirement in the closing stages of the race.

Joining Perez on the sidelines were team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Daniil Kvyat and Vettel.

The next race is the British Grand Prix which will take place at Silverstone this weekend.