Nico Rosberg in control at Italian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has closed the gap at the top of the championship to just two points, following a win at the Italian Grand Prix.

It was his team-mate Lewis Hamilton who started from pole position but was slow away at the start, losing out to the Ferraris, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas. Rosberg took the lead and was untroubled over the course of the race, eventually crossing the line with a 15 second advantage over Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel finished in third place – where he started – ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Ricciardo, and Bottas. Max Verstappen finished seventh ahead of Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa, with Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the top ten and points finishers.

Everyone from Romain Grosjean in 11th down was lapped and there were 18 finishers from the 22 starters. Jenson Button enjoyed some battles throughout the race, having been forced wide at the start and dropping to the back of the pack. His fun included a pass on “cheeky monkey” team-mate Fernando Alonso who finished 14th. Esteban Gutierrez nearly stalled at the start but did get going eventually and finished in 15th place. Alonso put on a new set of tyres in the closing stages of the race and set the fastest lap on his way to 16th.

Carlos Sainz, Marcus Erisson, Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon rounded out the finishers. Daniil Kvyat suffered another disappointment with another retirement along with Pascal Wehrlein. Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr both retired following an early accident with Nasr being apportioned the blame and a ten second penalty.

The Italian Grand Prix marked the end of the European season as the action now heads to Singapore.

Nico Rosberg avoids chaos to win Belgian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg saw Lewis Hamilton’s championship lead cut to just nine points by winning the Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton started from the back of the grid after a number of engine penalties but was able to take advantage of a safety car and red flag period to secure a podium finish. He finished behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

The start of the race was chaotic with a number of drivers getting themselves into difficulty. Max Verstappen – who started alongside Rosberg on the front row of the grid- bogged down at the start and as a result lost out to Kimi Raikkonen. Verstappen tried a move up the inside at the first corner but Sebastian Vettel squeezed the pair resulting in contact. Both Ferraris dropped to the back of the pack while Vetstappen picked up damage which Christian Horner suggested cost him 1.5 seconds a lap.

Elsewhere Carlos Sainz picked up an early puncture and as the tyre delaminated it got caught in his rear wing, causing damage and the car to spin. Pascal Wehrlein and Jenson Button were also casualties of the first lap as the Manor driver drove into the back of the McLaren. Marcus Ericsson started from the pit-lane but was forced to retire after just three laps following a gearbox failure.

The safety car was brought out following a huge shunt for Kevin Magnussen on the fifth lap. He lost control of his car at the top of Eau Rouge and the impact was such that his headrest came free from the car. Thankfully Magnussen was able to get out of the car unaided, however with a limp. After a trip to the medical centre and a local hospital Magnussen tweeted that he had a cut on his ankle but expected to be able to race in Monza.

A red flag was eventually brought out after about ten laps behind the safety car to allow marshals to properly fix the damaged barrier. The red flag stoppage benefited Fernando Alonso and Hamilton as they stayed out while most ahead of them pitted. This left Alonso fourth and Hamilton fifth, due to the McLaren driver having got ahead of the Mercedes at the start and leading him for the duration of the race so far.

When the race was restarted Rosberg was once again unchallenged at the front and he was able to drive his own race and win by 14 seconds. Ricciardo was second with Hamilton 27 seconds off his team-mate in third. Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were fourth and fifth for Force India meaning that they have now moved into fourth in the championship ahead of Williams. Vettel fought back to sixth and finished ahead of Alonso, who showed some good pace to stay ahead of the Williams duo. Raikkonen split the Williams after passing Felipe Massa, having had spirited battles with Verstappen throughout the race.

Verstappen missed out on a points finish after finishing 11th. He was visibly aggrieved by the incident, driving aggressively against Raikkonen. The Finn at one stage came onto team radio to suggest that Verstappen’s “only interest” was running him off the track. One incident saw Raikkonen having to back right off on the Kemmel straight after a last minute change of position for Verstappen. Esteban Gutierrez finished 12th ahead of Romain Grosjean, Daniil Kvyat and Jolyon Palmer. Rookie Esteban Ocon finished 16th on his debut ahead of Felipe Nasr.

There is a quick turnaround with the Italian Grand Prix taking place this weekend.

F1 2016: Belgian GP – FP3 Times & Laps

Free Practice 3

Times

Drivers

  1. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:47.974
  2. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:48.189 – +0.215
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:48.297 – +0.323
  4. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:48.504 – +0.530
  5. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:48.635 – +0.661
  6. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:48.739 – +0.765
  7. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:48.742 – +0.768
  8. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:48.783 – +0.809
  9. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:48.915 – +0.941
  10. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:49.272 – +1.298
  11. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1:49.453 – +1.479
  12. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:49.631 – +1.657
  13. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:49.665 – +1.691
  14. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 1:49.716 – +1.742
  15. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 1:49.761 – +1.787
  16. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:50.023 – +2.049
  17. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:50.078 – +2.104
  18. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:50.241 – +2.267
  19. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:50.420 – +2.446
  20. Esteban Ocon – Manor – 1:50.693 – +2.719
  21. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:51.319 – +3.345
  22. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – No Time Set

Teams

  1. Ferrari – 1:47.974
  2. Red Bull – 1:48.189 – +0.215
  3. Williams – 1:48.504 – +0.530
  4. Mercedes – 1:48.635 – +0.661
  5. Force India – 1:48.739 – +0.765
  6. Haas – 1:49.272 – +1.298
  7. McLaren – 1:49.453 – +1.479
  8. Renault – 1:49.716 – +1.742
  9. Manor – 1:49.761 – +1.787
  10. Toro Rosso – 1:50.023 – +2.049
  11. Sauber – 1:50.420 – +2.446

Laps

Drivers

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

Teams

  1. Mercedes – 39
  2. Williams – 38
  3. Manor – 33
  4. Haas – 32
  5. Force India – 24
  6. Ferrari – 23
  7. Renault – 22
  8. Red Bull – 20
  9. McLaren – 19
  10. Sauber – 18
  11. Toro Rosso – 18

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.

F1 2016: Hungarian GP – FP2 Times & Laps

Free Practice 2

Times

Drivers

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:20.435
  2. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:21.030 – +0.595
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:21.348 – +0.913
  4. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:21.770 – +1.335
  5. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:21.960 – +1.525
  6. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:22.058 – +1.623
  7. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1:22.328 – +1.893
  8. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:22.387 – +1.952
  9. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:22.449 – +2.014
  10. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:22.653 – +2.218
  11. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:22.673 – +2.238
  12. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:22.681 – +2.246
  13. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:22.689 – +2.254
  14. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:22.773 – +2.338
  15. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:22.864 – +2.429
  16. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:22.948 – +2.513
  17. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 1:23.347 – +2.912
  18. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:23.437  – +3.002
  19. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:23.528 – +3.093
  20. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:23.986 – +3.551
  21. Pascal Werhlein – Manor – 1:23.992 – +3.557
  22. Rio Haryanto – Manor – 1:24.265 – +3.830

Teams

  1. Mercedes – 1:20.435
  2. Red Bull – 1:21.030 – +0.595
  3. Ferrari – 1:21.348 – +0.913
  4. McLaren – 1:22.328 – +1.893
  5. Force India – 1:22.449 – +2.014
  6. Haas – 1:22.673 – +2.238
  7. Williams – 1:22.681 – +2.246
  8. Toro Rosso – 1:22.689 – +2.254
  9. Renault – 1:23.347 – +2.912
  10. Sauber – 1:23.437 – +3.002
  11. Manor – 1:23.992 – +3.557

Laps

Drivers

  1. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 46
  2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 45
  3. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 43
  4. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 41
  5. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 41
  6. Felipe Massa – Williams – 39
  7. Sergio Perez – Force India – 38
  8. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 38
  9. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 38
  10. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 36
  11. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 36
  12. Rio Haryanto – Manor – 36
  13. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 35
  14. Jenson Button – McLaren – 34
  15. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 31
  16. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 31
  17. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 28
  18. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 24
  19. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 22
  20. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 21
  21. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 12
  22. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 4

Teams

  1. Force India – 79
  2. Ferrari – 77
  3. Williams – 77
  4. Red Bull – 71
  5. Toro Rosso – 67
  6. Sauber – 67
  7. Haas – 66
  8. Manor – 58
  9. McLaren – 55
  10. Renault – 53
  11. Mercedes – 49

F1 2016: Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

The Hungarian Grand Prix has been on the Formula One calendar since 1986, with the circuit having been purpose built for the sport.

Lewis Hamilton goes into the weekend having won his home race at Silverstone where he reduced the championship gap to just a point. Nico Rosberg has led from the start of the season but the momentum is currently with Hamilton. The three leading teams at the minute – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – have all won at the circuit at the Hungaroring in the past.

Circuit: Hungaroring
Number of Laps: 70
Circuit Length:4.381km
Number of Corners: 14
Lap Record: 1:19.071 Michael Schumacher (2004)
Previous Hungarian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 6
Most Successful Team: McLaren (11 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium, Soft and Supersoft

The circuit has been resurfaced for the 2016 event and Pirelli have brought the Medium, Soft and Supersoft compound tyres. Thermal degradation can be an issue due to the high temperatures normally experienced. The Hungaroring requires an emphasis on mechanical grip with a number of low speed corners. It has a low average speed while brake wear is medium.

It is often compared to Monaco due to being a tight and twisty track, although obviously there is a lot more run off. This means that drivers normally place a lot of emphasis on qualifying as track position can be key.

The championship is finely poised at the top with just a point separating Hamilton and Rosberg. Kimi Raikkonen is third, six points ahead of Daniel Ricciardo with Sebastian Vettel just eight points ahead of Max Verstappen. Last year saw the Mercedes duo suffer a number of misfortunes allowing Vettel to win. He had been leading a Ferrari 1-2 before Raikkonen unfortunately retired. Daniil Kvyat and Ricciardo were second and third respectively. Ricciardo has previously won the race in 2014.

A number of drivers in Formula One history took their first wins in the sport at the Hungaroring including Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Following Button’s highs in Austria, the team were disappointed to finish 12th and 13th in tricky conditions at Silverstone. They scored their best results of the season last year in Hungary so will no doubt be trying to repeat their form this year.

Both Williams drivers finished outside the points at the British Grand Prix while both Force India drivers finished in the points. There are 19 points between the two teams and Force India are aiming to close the gap and claim fourth in the constructors championship. Ferrari are just six points ahead of Red Bull while Mercedes are well clear at the top.

Kimi Raikkonen to remain with Ferrari for 2017

Kimi Raikkonen will drive for Ferrari next season it has been confirmed.

There had been much speculation over the Finnish driver’s future, with drivers such as Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean being linked to his seat. The team has put an end to all the rumours by confirming that Raikkonen will race for the team for a seventh season.

They released the following short statement:

Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its technical and racing agreement with Kimi Raikkonen. The driver line-up for the 2017 racing season will still consist of the Finnish driver and Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen first joined Ferrari in 2007 and we went on to win his first – and only – World Championship. He left the team, and F1, at the end of the 2009 season before returning to the sport in 2012.He returned to Ferrari in 2014 and he has raced with the Scuderia ever since.

During his time at Ferrari he has won nine races, stood on the podium 33 times, and started from pole position five times. This weekend’s British Grand Prix will be his 100th with the team.