Tag: Kamui Kobayashi

2014: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview – the final showdown

After 19 races it has come down to Lewis Hamilton versus Nico Rosberg for the 2014 Formula One World Championship. Mercedes have been a dominant force all year winning all but three races and wrapping up the constructors championship in Russia. Hamilton has a 17 point lead but with double points in play, it’s not over yet. While Hamilton has won ten races in 2o14 to Rosberg’s five, Rosberg has been the superior of the two in qualifying.

This will be the sixth holding of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, having made its debut in 2009. It has been won three times by Sebastian Vettel, once by Hamilton and once by Kimi Raikkonen. The grid will be slightly bigger than it was last time out in Brazil with Caterham returning to the grid following a successful crowd-funding initiative. Marussia had hoped to be joining them but will miss the race. Kamui Kobayashi will be driving for Caterham but his team-mate is currently unknown, with reports it could be Roberto Mehri or Max Chilton. Andre Lotterer, who made a one race appearance for Caterham at the Belgium Grand Prix, reportedly turned down the opportunity to race at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Abu Dhabi GP Stats

Circuit: Yas Marina Circuit
Number of Laps: 55
Circuit Length: 5.554km
Number of Corners: 21
Lap Record: 1:40.279 Sebastian Vettel 2009
Previous Abu Dhabi winners still on the grid: 3
Most Successful Team: Red Bull (3 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Soft and Supersoft

The race in Abu Dhabi is unique as it is the only race to run from day to night. It also features a mix 0f fast corners and long straights, with a twisty technical section. It can be a hard circuit to overtake at, as Fernando Alonso discovered in 2010 when he failed to pass Vitaly Petrov and lost out on the championship to Vettel who won the race. The race has only been won from pole position once, however, with three being won from second and once from fourth. Raikkonen won the race from fourth in 2012 at the end of his return season with Lotus.

For some drivers, the race will be significant for more than just being the last race of the season. For Vettel it will be the last race with Red Bull – the team with whom he won his four world championships. It is almost certain that Alonso will make way for Vettel at Ferrari although this has not been confirmed yet. Alonso is in turn expected to be announced as a McLaren driver for 2015, but the team revealed yesterday that there would be no announcement before the first of December. As a consequence of this, this could be Button’s final race in Formula One, with seats at other teams being filled up. Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil both do not have a seat for next year while Jean-Eric Vergne is still waiting to hear whether or not he will be retained by Toro Rosso next year. Sergio Perez is also expected to be confirmed as a Force India driver for a second year in due course.

Hamilton is going for his second world championship while Rosberg is hoping to secure his first. If Rosberg wins the race then he needs Hamilton to finish no higher than third. If Rosberg finishes second then Hamilton must finish fifth to win the title. If Rosberg finishes anywhere outside the top six then the title belongs to Hamilton.


Mercedes clinch championship with Russian 1-2

In a season of domination, Mercedes championship winning race was an inevitability. Going into the Russian Grand Prix the Silver Arrows team just needed 25 points to clinch the constructors championship with three races remaining. And with yet another 1-2 – their ninth of the season – Mercedes won their first constructors championship in some style.

Lewis Hamilton lined up on pole position with team-mate Nico Rosberg alongside him for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix. When the lights went out Hamilton got the better initial start but with the help of a slipstream Rosberg passed him on the run to Turn 2. He locked up and straight lined the corner, soon being asked by the team to give the position back to Hamilton. The lock-up also badly flat spotted his tyres and forced his hand, meaning he had to pit for new tyres after just one lap and faced the unfavourable task of making them last to the end of the race. Felipe Massa – who had a disappointing qualifying session and started 18th – also pitted at the end of the first lap but could not eke his tyres out the full 53 laps. Rosberg put in an impressive drive to fight from the back of the pack to finish second – just 13 seconds off his team-mate. The Mercedes duo were joined on the podium by Valtteri Bottas with the Finn taking his fifth podium of the year and first fastest lap.

McLaren impressed on Friday in Free Practice and, having started fourth and eleventh, put in a strong race performance as well. Kevin Magnussen – who originally qualified in sixth but dropped to eleventh due to a gearbox penalty – enjoyed some early battles with the Toro Rosso drivers as he progressed into the top ten, and leap-frogged Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in the pit-stop phase. Jenson Button ran in the podium positions early on but the McLaren duos eventual finishing positions were fourth and fifth. It was the team’s best collective performance since the Australian Grand Prix where they were classified second and third. The result and the fact that Sergio Perez was Force India’s sole representative in the points meant that McLaren jumped ahead of their rivals in the constructors championship, now leading them by 20 points. Button revealed post race that McLaren have genuinely made a step forward and it wasn’t all circuit specific and he believes that, although it is unlikely, there is a chance they could close the 45 point gap to Ferrari in the championship.

Ferrari’s race was not one to write home about with Alonso finishing sixth. He had a slow pit-stop which cost him about five seconds but his eventual finishing time behind Magnussen was seven seconds. Kimi Raikkonen had a quiet race and finished in ninth place. Mercedes’ distant rivals and reigning world champions Red Bull also had a quiet afternoon, finishing seventh and eighth with Daniel Ricciardo ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Perez finished tenth for Force India after nursing a “critical fuel situation” for the latter stages of the race.

Romain Grosjean and Adrian Sutil had a coming together and Grosjean was given a 5 second stop/go penalty for causing a collision after Sutil was sent into a spin. The Sauber driver was able to continue but both he and Esteban Gutierrez were both once again outside the points. Local hero Daniil Kvyat – who qualified an impressive fifth – was hampered (along with team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne) by the need for extreme fuel saving. Marcus Ericsson was the final classified finisher in 19th place, two laps down and behind Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. The sole Marussia of Max Chilton failed to finish the race, having to retire after nine laps while Kamui Kobayashi was also forced to retire. He revealed that he did not know why he had been asked to retire but had just been told to box.

There is now three weeks before the next round of the 2014 Formula One world championship. Hamilton now has a 17 point lead over Rosberg and there are just three races left, but the last carries double points.

2014: Russian Grand Prix Preview

From the familiarity of Suzuka, teams have travelled to Russia for a new race at the Sochi Autodrom track, another designed by Hermann Tilke.

With 18 corners, Sochi is a step into the unknown – as is the case with any new circuit – and has been likened to a mix between the Valencia street circuit and Korean International Circuit. Its key statistics are very similar to those of Suzuka visited not even a week ago – 18 turns, a 5.8km track and 53 laps to be completed on Sunday. Last time out Lewis Hamilton beat team-mate Nico Rosberg to extend his championship lead to ten points. Of course the race was won under very difficult circumstances and 21 drivers have travelled from Japan to Russia with their thoughts preoccupied by Jules Bianchi who remains in hospital after a very serious accident. They will all race with stickers dedicated to the French driver on their helmets.

Circuit: Sochi Autodrom
Number of Laps: 53
Circuit Length: 5.848km
Number of Corners: 18
Lap Record: N/A
Previous Russian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: N/A
Most Successful Team: N/A
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Medium and Soft

The track features long straights and low to medium speed corners, meaning it will require downforce in the higher regions of the scale. Pirelli have brought their medium and soft tyres for the weekend. For Mercedes there is an opportunity to wrap up the constructors championship if they score 25 points.

Racing has taken place before in Russia – pre-F1 back in the early 1900s – and this year the weekend will feature not one but two Russian drivers. Daniil Kvyat – who is set to step up to Red Bull for 2015 – drives for Toro Rosso while Sergey Sirotkin will be driving in FP1 for Sauber. Elsewhere, Catherham have confirmed that Kamui Kobayashi will once again race for them while Roberto Mehri will take part in FP1 again. For Marussia, it is a very difficult weekend and Alexander Rossi has been registered to drive for the team for the weekend, should they decide they will run both cars.


Advantage Hamilton as Rosberg falters in Singapore

Lewis Hamilton has taken the lead in the world championship following a win at the Singapore Grand Prix. After starting from pole position the Mercedes driver pulled away and overcame a safety car and tyre worries to win by 13 seconds.

Before the race even started there were troubles, in particular for Nico Rosberg and Kamui Kobayashi. Rosberg established a wiring problem in the steering loom and didn’t make it from his grid position to take part in the parade lap. Kobayashi did make the start of the parade lap but pulled off the track due to loss of oil pressure. Rosberg did manage to start the race – albeit from the pit-lane – but had to contend 13 laps with only the gear shift working. He was warned that when he pitted his pit-lane limiter would not be working, he would have no clutch, and he would have to stall the car and be rebooted during the pit-stop.

When the lights went out Hamilton maintained his lead while Fernando Alonso slotted into second from fifth on the grid. Sebastian Vettel took advantage of the empty grid slot ahead of him to move ahead of his team-mate but lost out to Alonso. Alonso soon gave Vettel second after he cut the first chicane and found himself under investigation for gaining an advantage – which resulted in no further action. The McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen looked racy with the Williams pairing, and it was Button who eventually got the upper hand, rising from his starting position of 11th to seventh. He retired later in the race after his car went into “complete shut-down” after hitting a kerb. Magnussen overcame the hot and humid conditions to salvage a point. He reported during the race that his drink was burning his mouth and he also had to stick his hands out of the car to try and get some cool air during the safety car period.

The safety car was deployed on lap 31 due to debris left on track from Sergio Perez’s damaged front wing which happened as a result of contact with Adrian Sutil. Perez was able to return to the pits for a new nose and finished the race in sixth place – ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg. Sutil compounded another miserable weekend for Sauber with a DNF, following team-mate Esteban Gutierrez’s earlier retirement. Both were reportedly due to ERS failures and Gutierrez was visibly annoyed after believing he had the opportunity to score Sauber’s first points of the season.

While Alonso battled at the front, Raikkonen had a fairly anonymous race after early running with his team-mate. He eventually finished a distant eighth place from his team-mate in fourth, but locked in a close fight with Perez, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, and Hulkenberg. Bottas dropped out of the points in the closing stages after losing grip while Massa finished in fifth place. Jean-Eric Vergne, who finished sixth, had a late charge to make sure that a five second penalty that would be added to his race time would not lose him positions. He was penalised twice for exceeding track limits but a storming last few laps saw him finish sixth and more and enough time clear of seventh to keep him ahead. His team-mate finished in 14th and incredibly dehydrated having not had a drink for the entire race after his drinks system failed on the lap to the grid. Both Lotus drivers were also outside of the points, as were the Marussias and the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson who finished ahead of both Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton.

The result – which was Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo – means that Hamilton takes a three point championship advantage into the Japanese Grand Prix in two weeks time. The result demonstrates how quickly the championship can change and just one problem can give the other driver an advantage. Hamilton has gained 32 points on his main rival – team-mate Rosberg – in Italy and Singapore, and with 150 still up for grabs it is far from over. The race was also Vettel’s best result of the season.


F1 2014: The Season So Far in Numbers

With eleven races having already been completed just eight stand between 22 drivers and the end of the 2014 Formula One season. Mercedes have dominated so far and the team are leading the constructors championship by a considerable margin while Nico Rosberg is on top of the drivers championship. We have already looked at the winners and losers of 2014 (part one & part two) but here is an overall look at the season so far in numbers.

The Basics

Unsurprisingly, Mercedes top most of the basic statistics. Nico Rosberg has most pole positions (6), Lewis Hamilton has most wins (5), and Rosberg also has most podiums (9). Mercedes have the most pole positions overall (10) – Williams are the only other team to have a 2014 pole – while they also lead the wins tally (9), with Daniel Ricciardo winning the other two for Red Bull. Mercedes have 16 podiums in total (from a possible 22) compared with Red Bull’s 7.

It’s Fernando Alonso who has most points finishes – a 100% record for the year – but Mercedes have most points finishes as a team. You will also find the Silver Arrows at the top of the fastest laps total as well as the team have 7 – that’s six more than any other team. While Mercedes may be dominating every other statistic one area they falter is finishes.

Jenson Button and Alonso have most classified finishes – another 100% record – with McLaren and Ferrari also leading the way with 21 each. Mercedes have 19 classified finishes from 22 so far. Alonso is the only driver to finish every race in 2014 and Ferrari lead the actual finishes tally as well.


Not one driver in 2014 has a clean sweep in qualifying. The driver with the best record over their team-mate is Romain Grosjean who currently leads Pastor Maldonado 10 – 1. Nico Hulkenberg leads Sergio Perez 9-2 as does Kamui Kobayashi over Marcus Ericsson. Other biggish gaps are 8-3, with Valtteri Bottas leading Felipe Massa and Jules Bianchi leading Max Chilton.

The most evenly matched team-mates in qualifying can be found at McLaren, Toro Rosso, and Red Bull where one driver is beating the other 6-5. Jenson Button, Jean-Eric Vergne, and Daniel Ricciardo are the drivers ahead.

There have been 17 grid drops so far in 2014 with drivers losing a combined total of 94 places between them (not including when drivers are excluded from qualifying/made to start from the pit-lane).

A total of 12 drivers have received grid penalties in 2014 of either 3, 5 or 10 places. Esteban Gutierrez has dropped the most places in total – 23 – from four grid penalties. Three of these were as a result of car problems (gearbox) and one was for a driver error (causing a collision). Other drivers with grid penalties this year are as follows:

  • Valtteri Bottas: 1 car (5 places, gearbox), 1 driver (5 places, impeding)
  • Max Chilton: 1 car (5 places, gearbox), 1 driver (3 places, causing a collision)
  • Daniel Ricciardo: 1 car (10 places, unsafe release)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne: 1 car (10 places, loose wheel in practice)
  • Sebastian Vettel: 1 car (5 places, gearbox)
  • Jules Bianchi: 1 car (5 places, gearbox)
  • Kamui Kobayashi: 1 car (5 places, gearbox)
  • Lewis Hamilton: 1 car (5 places, gearbox)
  • Adrian Sutil: 1 driver (5 places, impeding)
  • Pastor Maldonado: 1 driver (5 places causing a collision)
  • Sergio Perez: 1 driver (5 places, causing a collision)

The top ten in terms of average starting position is as follows:

  1. Nico Rosberg 1.90
  2. Daniel Ricciardo 5.09
  3. Lewis Hamilton 6.09
  4. Sebastian Vettel 6.45
  5. Fernando Alonso 6.72
  6. Valtteri Bottas 7.72
  7. Felipe Massa 8.18
  8. Nico Hulkenberg 8.18
  9. Jenson Button 9
  10. Kevin Magnussen 9.54

In terms of starting positions the biggest gap between team-mates is 4.18 between the Mercedes duo while the smallest gap between team-mates is 0.45 between the Toro Rosso and Williams pairing.


Monaco, Canada, and Hungary have been the races so far with most safety cars – 2 – while Malaysia, China, Spain, and Austria all had 0 safety cars.

All but two of the eleven races so far have seen all 22 cars start the race. Sergio Perez failed to start in Malaysia due to a gearbox problem while Pastor Maldonado failed to start in Monaco thanks to a faulty fuel pump. The races with most classified finishes were China and Spain – both with 20 – while Australia had the fewest classified finishers (13). The race with most retirements was the Canadian Grand Prix which saw 9 drivers retire from the race while China and Spain had fewest retirements – 2 each.

The race with the most lead changes was Hungary (8) which also had the most different race leaders (5). Bahrain saw 15 drivers finish on the lead lap while only four managed that feat in Monaco. Eight teams scored points in Monaco – including Marussia’s first ever Formula 1 points – while only 5 scored in Bahrain and Austria. The most positions gained in one race was achieved by Lewis Hamilton last time out when he climbed 19 spots from 22nd and starting in the pit-lane.

The Malaysian and Bahrain Grand Prix both saw 60 visits to the pit-lane while the British Grand Prix saw fewest visits (25). The Bahrain Grand Prix saw 57 pit-stops with the British Grand Prix only featuring 23.

The race with most retirements in the pit-lane was Canada (5) while Spain and Germany saw none. There were most penalties in the pit-lane (stop/go or drive through) in Monaco (4) and fewest in China, Spain, Canada and Hungary (0).


Eight drivers have led a race in 2014: Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas. Of the eight drivers Rosberg has led most laps (342) while Button has led fewest (1).


Fernando Alonso is the only driver in 2014 to complete every racing lap. So far this season there have been 698. Next up are Jenson Button with 693 and Daniel Ricciardo with 691. Marcus Ericsson has completed fewest racing laps (466) with Jean-Eric Vergne and Pastor Maldonado both also completeing fewer than 500 laps each (484 and 487 respectively).

McLaren are the team who have completed most racing laps in 2014. They have completed 1369/1396 (98.07%). Only one other team has completed over 90% of available racing laps and that is championship leaders Mercedes who have completed 1303 in total (93.34%).

McLaren also dominate in overall laps for the season with 1695 for Kevin Magnussen the most of any driver. This takes into account laps completed in all three practice sessions, qualifying, and the race every weekend. The Caterham duo have completed fewest laps overall with Kamui Kobayashi on 1212 while Marcus Ericsson has completed a few more (1277). McLaren as a team have completed 3357 laps overall – 133 more than Mercedes.



Hamilton fends off Rosberg to take championship lead

Lewis Hamilton has taken the lead of the drivers championship after winning the Spanish Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver, who fended off a late attack by his team-mate Nico Rosberg in the closing stages of the race, led home another Mercedes 1-2, resulting in the team more than doubling the advantage they have over Red Bull in the constructors championship.

The lead of the race swapped hands a number of times but never went outside the Mercedes camp. Daniel Ricciardo finished in third place for Red Bull after a close battle with Valterri Bottas during the race. Ricciardo’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel – who missed all of Friday practice due to a wiring loom which needed replaced – battled through the field from 15th to fourth. He finished ahead of Bottas who in turn was clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. The Ferrari driver was the last unlapped driver and had a busy race battling with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who had out-qualified the Spaniard. He finished in sixth place, the first of the lapped drivers. It was a positive day for the Enstone based Lotus team who picked up their first points of the year – four for Romain Grosjean’s eighth place finish. His team-mate Pastor Maldonado did not have such a great afternoon, however, making contact with Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson and being handed a 5 second stop/go penalty for causing a collision. Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg both finished in the points for Force India, rounding out the top ten.

It was another disappointing race for McLaren who finished outside the points for the third race on the trot. There was also disappointment for Jean-Eric Vergne who retired due to an exhaust problem and Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi who retired with brake failure. Adrian Sutil race finish was just the second time he has managed it this season while both Marussias once again finished, albeit two laps down. Up at the front it was another crushing display from Mercedes who have won five from five. Rosberg had a late charge and closed a ten second deficit to his team-mate to finish just six tenths down. Following the race he revealed that he felt he could have got him if he had had a lap more. It was also a welcome return to the podium for Ricciardo who was disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix after finishing in third. The Formula One circus moves on to Monaco in two weeks, a race which was won last year by Rosberg.


Lewis Hamilton leads home Mercedes 1-2 in Malaysia

Lewis Hamilton has won the Malaysia Grand Prix, leading home a Mercedes 1-2 in the process. After starting on pole, Hamilton eked out a two second lead by the end of the first lap, staying ahead of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. There were six retirements from the race and Sergio Perez did not start after a power unit failure on his way to the grid. The race remained dry although there was a late threat of rain which never really materialised.

The Mercedes domination sent another ominous message to the chasing teams, with Vettel finishing in third place seven seconds down the road. It was a highly disappointing afternoon for Vettel’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo – who was disqualified for fuel-flow irregularities after the Australian Grand Prix – after a front wing failure, an unsafe release and subsequent stop/go penalty. Due to the unsafe release, which was a consequence of the front left tyre not being securely fastened as he pulled away from his pit-box, he will also serve a ten-place grid drop in Bahrain. Fernando Alonso finished a solid fourth place for Ferrari but was another driver whose team-mate suffered a disappointing afternoon. Kimi Raikkonen’s race was ruined after Kevin Magnussen tagged his rear tyre and caused a puncture. Raikkonen limped round to the pits and spent the rest of the afternoon fighting from the back of the field. He eventually finished in 12th. Magnussen was given a five second stop/go penalty for the collision and he also received two penalty points. He apologised to the team following the race, admitting he had made a mistake and cost himself points even though he did pick up two for finishing ninth. Jenson Button finished in sixth place, holding off the Williams duo towards the end.

It was a case of deja vu for Felipe Massa who was told that his team-mate was faster than him in the closing stages and asked to let him through. Massa stood his ground and eventually finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas, getting some good points for Williams. Nico Hulkenberg finished ahead of the Button, Massa, Bottas train but not able to hold off Alonso. Kvyat scored points again, two weeks after becoming the youngest F1 driver to score points, doing so on his debut. Before the race Pastor Maldonado revealed that Lotus’ target was getting two cars to the finish line. He retired after seven laps but Romain Grosjean did make it to the end, albeit a lap down and outside the points although only just – as he finished 11th. Following a disappointing short appearance in the Australian Grand Prix, Kamui Kobayashi enjoyed a stint in the top ten and eventually finished in 13th ahead of his team-mate Marcus Ericsson. Max Chilton secured another race finish although in last position.

Jules Bianchi retired from the race after a coming together with Maldonado after picking up a puncture. He was given two penalty points for causing a collision and a five second stop/go penalty during the race. Adrian Sutil came to a halt on the left hand side of the pit straight – off the racing line – and was swiftly followed by team-mate Esteban Gutierrez who retired in the pit-lane. The Bahrain Grand Prix will take place next weekend, where teams will be hoping to reign in the dominant Mercedes duo.

The 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix Results