zondag 6 juli 2014

F1 2014 GP of Britain - review

Well, this weekend started of with a premiere, as Williams put Suzie Wolff in the car on FP1 friday morning, the first woman in Formula One since Amati in the Brabham in 1992.

But unfortunatly for the blonde bombshell, the Williams lasted only 4 rounds before having to be put to the side due to an engine issue, resulting in her lapping only the 21st and last time.

But qualifications where a whole other matter, as it rained and both Ferrari and Williams gambled and lost, being knocked out already in Q1. This left top spots open for the others, and it was Rosberg who took pole position before Vettel, but more impressively Button was third and Magnussen 5th.

Both Caterhams, the team having been sold to an investment group advised by Colin Kolles last week, didn`t even make the 107% barrier as the team keeps sliding downwards (long gone are the days of the promising new comer, then called Lotus still) and only got to start thanks to the stewards discretion, but even behind the guys with grid penalties like Gutteriez and Chilton.  I expect Caterham to disappear end of season and become Forza Rossa though...

And what was the deal with Button`s helmet...

The start: Button shoots to second as vettel has a very bad start, falling back to 5th.  Hamilton, who had qualified only 6th, is in 4th place after the first turn, but then Raikkonen puts his Ferrari in the wall, taking out Massa with him.  Kobayashi also gets damaged in the incident, but like Perez who had an issue with Vergne before, make it to the pits as the race is red flagged, and both can start later on.

The break lasts almost an hour in which we get to see a furious Niki Lauda, who is fuming especcially about all the nitpickering rules and grid drops, stop and go`s and all of the last seasons, instead of letting people just race. Chilton, who pitted under the red flag, has to restart at the pitlane, and will get a stop and go on top.

The order of the restart will be Rosberg - Button - Magnussen - Hamilton - Vettel - Hulkenberg - Ricciardo - Kvyat behind the safety car.

Lap 3: and of we go again, as Rosberg suprises Button and puts an immediate 1.5 seconds between them.  Bottas in the meantime steams through the field to 8th already.  Hamilton goes by Magnussen while Bottas now puts pressure on, and passes, the Red Bull of Ricciardo.

Lap 4: Hamitlon goes by Button to second place and commences the hunt for his team mate Rosberg, 4 seconds leading.  Bottas passes Hulkenberg in the meantime.

Lap 5: Alonso in the meantime is already in the points at 10th position.

Lap 7: Alonso pushes past Kvyat an Ricciardo to 8th, as Hamilton closes in on Rosberg.

Lap 8: Alonso now goes by Hulkenberg to 7th place.

Lap 10: Ricciardo passes Hulkenberg, while Bianchi bravely battles at 12th, could he repeat his stunt Monaco?  Guterriez in the meantime first bumps into Maldonado trashing his frontwing... then crashes in to him again and lifting his wheels of the track.  Those two really are the biggest idiots of the field for the past years, I think both respective stand inns better be prepared, one or both will get those 12 penalty points this year for sure...

Lap 12: Ericsson`s suspension collapses, forcing him to retire.

Lap 13: Alonso will get a (correct) stop and go penalty for not being in line with his start position at the original start of the race.

Lap 14: Bottas passes Magnussen

Lap 17: Bottas is unleashed, and closes on Button by 0.5 sec a sector, to pass the McLaren on the straight under DRS.  Together with the Mercedes, the Williams has been so far the strongest car of the field, only some bad luck standing between them and a lot of podiums so far.

Lap 18: Rosberg pits, but both Mercedes already have such an impressive lead they can`t even be threatened by the others during the pitstops.

Lap 21: Rosberg calls in an issue with the gearbox in downshifting as Ricciardo passes Hulkenberg for 8th

Lap 25: Hamilton, on a different strategy, now pits and passes the lead back to Rosberg.  Vettel in the meantime goes past Magnussen, the McLaren cars clearly lacking a decent straightline speed.

Lap 26: Alonso pits and serves his stop and go as well, retunring in 9th.  Bianchi in the meantime is falling back down the field, so unless crashes and break downs start happening, none of the small teams will score today.

Lap 28: Alonso goes past Hulkenberg as Hamilton is gaining like a madman on Rosberg at a rate of a second a lap.

Lap 29: just as Rosberg laps Chilton, his gearbox breaks down and gets stuck in fifth.  Hamilton shoots by, but with the best efforts they cannot reset the gearbox and for the first time Rosberg has to retire this season, leaving the road wide open for Lewis if the Mercedes holds to close the championship gap again to 4 measly points.

Lap 32: Bottas makes his only pits, returning in 3rd place behind Vettel who still has to make his second stop.  He immediatly does so, and comes out 5th right in front of Alonso and Magnussen.

Lap 35; Alonso goes past the reigning world champion, and an epic battle that will last to almost the finish commeces with two pure blood racers facing off. 

Lap 41: Sturdy and in control, Hamilton comes in for his second stop, still half a lap in front of Bottas and a minute before... Ricciardo.  The Red Bull rookie is once more outshining his team rival.

Lap 48: Vettel finally gets past Alonso after a truly epic battle in which every trick in the book has been used.  This is what racing is all about!

Lap 50: Button tries to start a desperate final offensive on the 3rd place of Ricciardo who is running 30+ laps on his tyres now.

Lap 51: so close to the finish, Maldonado`s engine decides it has been enough for today and he is forced to retire.

Lap 52: Hamilton is victorious, as Button lacks a single second to attack Ricciardo, putting the aussie again on the podium, behind the impressive Bottas!

The Result:

1. Hamilton - Mercedes
2. Bottas - Williams Mercedes
3. Ricciardo - Red Bull Renault

4. Button - McLaren Mercedes
5. Vettel - Red Bull Renault
6. Alonso - Ferrari
7. Magnussen - McLaren Mercedes
8. Hulkenberg - Force India Mercedes
9. Kvyat - Toro Rosso Renault
10. Vergne - Toro Rosso Renault

11. Perez - Force India Mercedes
12. Grosjean - Lotus Renault
13. Sutil - Sauber Ferrari
14. Bianchi - Marussia Ferrari
15. Kobayashi - Caterham Renault
16. Chilton - Marussia Ferrari

No less then 5 non Mercedes cars in the top 10, that has been a while!  Though of the finishers, the only one not in the points, was Perez, and Massa couldn`t help it he was taken out, for the thrid time this year after Australia and Canada.

Driver of the Race:

A hard one, either it would be Lewis Hamilton for putting spark back in the championship (I think he would have gone past Rosberg none the less, but now the gap is even smaller) or Bottas, who started 14th and steamed on to 2nd before half way.  In the end, I`m going for the fin.

Team of the Race:

We know Mercedes and Williams are the best cars.  We know Red Bull is the first ones to be able to take the opportunity if it arises, but it was both Ferrari and McLaren that showed a very good pace this weekend since long.  So I went for McLaren, as they put both cars in the points, scoring solid gains for the constructors championship and after their excellent qualifiers.

Well, these 52 laps of Silverstone surely where more exciting then those gazillion train track laps of Austria, and as the season goes over halfway with the following GP, one cannot say who will be champion, who will be the best of the rest, and it is an open guess if Williams will be able to step to the highest spot.  But if they do, my money is on Monza as to where they will do it, as purely straight line, she is the fastest of all...

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