zondag 9 november 2014

GP F1 2014 Brazil - review

We`re nearing the finish line of the season, with the Brazilian GP often having been the title decider.  Not so this year though, because of the idiotic rule of double points at the final GP, which would mean that IF Hamilton wins today and Rosberg falls out, he would have a 49 point lead... and not enough because if he fell out in turn at Abu Dhabi and Rosberg would win, Rosberg would still be world champion.

Yes, quite a silly system if you ask me though, but on with the show for Sao Paolo.

Perhaps the biggest news this week was that Marussia has closed down officially, and Caterham is looking for funds through... crowdfunding to make it to Abu Dhabi.  The second biggest, but still not officialised, is that Alonso has signed indeed for McLaren Honda next year.

Felipe Nasr in the meantime has been confirmed for Sauber next year, where they will have a whole new line up with him and Ericsson, while Perez will stay with Force India.

Qualies have put Rosberg on pole once more, but lately, he doesn`t seem to be able to keep up when Hamilton is laying down the inevitable pressure from behind.  The second line is a Williams lock out with Massa and Bottas, and Guterriez has struggled to a good 11th, perhaps another chance for Sauber to wipe the blank slate, as Sutil is a decent 13th as well.

Perez and Kvyat still carry penalties from previous GPs, so they make up the back row...

Start: For once in Brazil, it is a good start from the field as anyone takes off cleanly for this 71 lap race, with an estimated 3 stops.  And the predicted storm for the whole weekend hasn`t shown a single drop...

2: Guterriez goes past Raikonnen to 10th, but Sutil has to pit early and falls back to 18th place.

4: Fastest lap Lewis Hamilton

5: Maldonado comes into the pitlane, followed a lap later by Massa.  Those that started on the soft tyres start dribbling in to change to the harder Medium compound.

8: As Massa gets a 5 second penalty for speeding in the pit lane, Rosberg comes in to pit.

9: Hamilton now pits as well, and Rosberg barely retains the lead on him by 2 tenths, putting Hulkenberg, who is on a different strategy, in the lead.

11: Fastest Lap Rosberg

14: Rosberg takes over the lead from Hulkenberg, as Bottas passes Grosjean to 6th.

16: Hamilton now also passes Hulkenberg, but has lost some time behind the Force India

17: As Hulkenberg now comes in, Massa overtakes Kvyat to reclaim his third place.

18: While the whole field has issues with tyre degradation, Rosberg calls in balance issues causing oversteer, while Hamilton says he has a vibration in his brakes... will any or both of them get to the finish?

22: Fastest lap Hamilton as Magnussen goes by Grosjean for 7th

25: Another fastest lap for Hamilton as he closes in to Rosberg, as Massa, serving his penalty as well, Vettel and Grosjean pit.

26: Rosberg makes a small braking mistake, and the upcoming pitstops might hold the key to the victory.

27: Rosberg comes in followed by Magnussen and Bottas, but there is an issue for the last one causing him to loose a lot of time in the pitlane and cancelling his podium chances.

28: Vettel puts in the fastest lap, but Hamilton immediatly breaks it as he wants to close up as much as possible before pitting.  This nearly has fatal consequences as he overshoots in turn 4 and nearly misses the wall.  he then duly pits, but when exiting, Rosberg now has a comfortable 8 second lead.

30: Perez gets a stop and go as well, and as well for speeding in the pit lane.

31: In just a few laps, Hamilton has already brought down the difference to 1.5 seconds.  Button in the meantime goes past Kvyat for 6th.

36: Raikonnen pits after a long and great stint in 3rd, but the jack man botches the stop and costing him a lot of time, putting Massa back on the virtual podium.

41: Ricciardo has to come in and is pulled out of the race, only the first car to retire today, but with Bottas so far down he locks the 3rd place in the drivers championship for sure to Red Bull, which will be probably him or with a lot of luck for Vettel (for that, Vettel must win in Abu Dhabi while Ricciardo retires).

42: After being passed by both Hulkenberg and Raikonnen, Bottas comes in for fresh tyres.

47: Guterriez is still holding to 10th at the moment, with Kvyat, who just passed Perez, in hot pursuit.

48: With Magnussen and Perez, the third and final round of pitstops has started.

50: Rosberg pits with Massa and Button in tow.  Massa misjudges his box and stops at... McLaren.  Luckily the Williams booth is the next in line.

51 - 56: Hamilton, 2 secs behind Rosberg before the pitstops, pits and comes out with less then a second difference.  Rosberg starts pushing and noting fastest laps, but the briton remains under his aft wing and seems set on placing an attack soon.

61: Button and Raikonnen battle for 4th, but as the briton goes past, Vettel follows suit and putting the fin back to 6th on his older tyres.

63: Hamilton is going all or nothing now, putting in the fastest lap

66: Grosjean is forced to retire with apparent engine issues only 5 laps from the end.

68: After 7 laps of duelling, Alonso gets by Raikonnen in their in-team battle to 6th place

71: Rosberg withstands the pressure and takes the victory, about a second before his team mate

The Result

1. Rosberg - Mercedes
2. Hamilton - Mercedes
3. Massa - Williams Mercedes

4. Button - McLaren Mercedes
5. Vettel - Red Bull Renault
6. Alonso - Ferrari
7. Raikonnen - Ferrari
8. Hulkenberg - Force India Mercedes
9. Magnussen - McLaren Mercedes
10. Bottas - Williams Mercedes

11. Kvyat - Toro Rosso Renault
12. Maldonado - Lotus Renault
13. Vergne - Toro Rosso Renault
14. Guterriez - Sauber Ferrari
15. Perez - Force India Mercedes
16. Sutil - Sauber Ferrari

Driver of the Race: Nico Rosberg

With the balance having shifted to Hamilton since the Belgian GP, the pressure was on for Nico.  In the recent GP`s, his cool demeanor and armour seemed to crack, but today he withstood all pressure.  Never the less, he will have to win the final GP AND hope Hamilton doesn`t come second to crown himself champion...

Team of the Race: McLaren Mercedes

In the recent GP`s the Woking team has really upped their game.  They no longer have to look back to remain before Force India in the constructors championship, but their string of strong points finishes, especcially by Jenson, are making them a serious thread with the double points for Ferrari in two weeks.

Blast from the Past: Forti

The small italian venture of Forti is generally considered the `last of the privateer` teams.  You know, those small budget teams that went and came until halfway the 90s, usually lasting on average a season, with a small team of personel, and when lucky remarked themselves in some way.

Forti, who in his first season had an all brazilian line up with Roberto Moreno and Pedro-Paulo Diniz (yes, belive it or not, I was actually a FAN of Diniz) and a car dressed up completely in the colours of Senna`s helmet, was a former F3000 constructor that dared take the plunge into F1. 

Now, with small teams, even the now late Marussia was a high industry giant compared to the privateer teams of those days, who would compare to them the size of the local corner grocery store in `professionalism` and `equipment`.

Their first car, the FG01, was charming, but compared to the rest of the field, also fat and dated in aerodynamics, with a brazilian developped Ford v8 customer engine.  Yet still, they got a very good rating of 50% finishes (okay, including the odd non classified in the beginning of the season, one race been as far down as 9 laps on the winner), but improved over the season and that for rookies.

1996, their second year, looked promising, but then the Diniz family withdrew it`s funding as Pedro signed for Ligier.  Down went the deal for the more powerfull Cosworth v8, and for a while it looked the team would fold.  But they made it to the grid none the less, with Badoer and Montermini as drivers. 

They didn`t make the 107 rule in the opener at Australia, but after that where on the grid in the still slow FG01B most of the races.  Come Imola, they fielded the new FG03, a very good design, but funds dried up.  the team was sold to Shannon, but this turned out to be a serious conflict over who owned the team and though the cars got a whole new green white orange livery, the money never came.  Come the german GP, the team folded, not wanting to be banned like Andrea Moda in 1992...

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