Thursday, September 25, 2014


A slow race to begin with and I almost switched it off halfway if not for the safety car. From then on, it was nail biting to see Lewis Hamilton hammering the field and on to winning the race. Here is the winners vs losers piece by Andrew Davies of PlanetF1. Original article HERE.

F1 race strategists may use algorithms and 'Latin hypercube sampling', but tossing a coin would probably have got the same result on Sunday...

Star of the Race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st
Lewis maintained the high pedigree of the Singapore Grand Prix Winners Club by making it seven World Champions in seven races. Only he, Seb and Fernando have won at Marina Bay before and for much of the afternoon that looked like being the podium. Obviously his job became a lot easier the second he pulled away on the parade lap and left his team-mate searching for a gear.

Lewis's biggest threat, after Vettel went backwards in the first stint, was a badly timed Safety Car and we almost got one. After the team made the decision to keep the No.44 car out, Lewis was constantly questioning the strategy, something that almost all the top ten drivers were doing in a race when (ironically) engineers were nervous about giving out too much information. In a race where drivers really did need to rely on what they were being told, there was a certain coyness about team radio.

Once the Safety Car came in at the end of Lap 37 Hamilton produced a devastating series of laps to create his 25-second advantage. The gap to Vettel went: 3.2, 5.8, 7.6, 9.7, 11.5, 13.5, 15.3, 17.3, 18.7, 20.3, 21.1, 22.7, 24.0, 25.2 on Lap 51. Even when Lewis came in he was still putting in laps that were a second quicker than Vettel. But he was right to be jumpy about the possibility of a late Safety Car. We've now had ten in seven races.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 59: Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso on Kimi Raikkonen for P7
In the latter stages of the race Jean-Eric Vergne looked like a man on a mission, and we all know what that mission is... To remind other teams that last season he was a pretty good match for Daniel Ricciardo who is now embarrassing a four-time World Champion. In the closing stages of the race on fresher tyres he came up against the Bottas train and picked them off one by one. Hulkenberg's Force India was a nadgy pass, but on Lap 59 he threw his Toro Rosso down the inside of Kimi Raikkonen into Turn One and got the car stopped with only a slight lock-up of tyres. He then dispensed with Bottas and managed to get five seconds clear of Perez to negate his five-second penalty, given to him, for going off track to pass Maldonado.

It looked to many as though Maldonado had forced him off the track, but JEV got a five-second penalty for it. Interestingly, Fernando Alonso, in a far more calculated run off the track limits, didn't give up that amount of time to the cars behind when he did it on Lap 1.


Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 2nd
With no Rosberg to interfere with his run to Turn 1, Sebastian got a flying start, which was briefly interrupted by Alonso taking the short-cut to P2. He had to hand the place back to Seb straight away. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was thinking that maybe he should have got a place back, too, but was too polite to say despite a lot of post-race prompts. After that Vettel was clearly the faster of the two Red Bull drivers thanks to what seemed like a recurring problem for Daniel's energy recovery system. Vettel's tyres started going away from Lap 9 when Hamilton's lead suddenly went from 3.8 seconds to 5.1.

So right from early on it was clear that this was not going to be a race when Red Bull matched the Mercedes for pace despite a few people predicting that Vettel or Ricciardo might win.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 3rd
Dan couldn't get close to his team-mate all afternoon thanks to spending most of it in his role as IT manager for his hybrid system. It's a credit that he could do all that and stay on the podium.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 4th
A tremendous bounce back from Alonso after Monza but it could have been so much better. He surrendered second place for a change of tyres during the Safety Car period, which seemed a brilliant move because Red Bull were going to run out of tyres. Before Perez lost his front wing, Seb had already been on the team radio and said he wanted supersofts for a final 12-lap dash to the line. But after the Safety Car Red Bull were reluctant to give up track position, and Alonso could close but not pass.

Felipe Massa, Williams, 5th
With Bottas acting as his rear gunner, Felipe was able to stay ahead of the late-race chargers with a useful buffer, and his 38-lap stint on the soft tyre succeeded. Valtteri's gave up the ghost and punctured. From a team point of view it was very important to minimise losses to Ferrari.

Sergio Perez, Force India, 7th
An amazing result for Checo, who'd have thought you could be tooling around in 18th place on Lap 39 and make it through to P6? He put in some robust moves towards the end, including one on his team-mate. But the fact that he could get as far as he did in the closing stages justified the aggression.

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 10th
Kevin Magnussen did a heroic job fighting off cramp and burns from an overheating cockpit, which went some of the way to atone for his first lap errors. Just like Spa he put his own interests in front of the team's and tried to block Button coming through on Lap 1. The result? If he'd let Jenson go, McLaren would have finished the opening lap in 6th and 7th places. As it was, Massa was able to get past Jenson and so they finished the opening lap in 7th and 9th instead. Button's car failure meant that they have now dropped behind Force India in the constructor's championship so they really can't afford to chuck places away.

Lotus, 12th and 13th
Considering the Qualifying session that Lotus endured, and the year they're having, it should be noted both cars finished, unlike McLaren and Mercedes. It allowed Pastor to get a bit more combative than usual and do what he does best as the boy scout of F1 - helping older drivers across kerbs.

Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, 15thHaving been outpaced by both the one-shot drivers that Caterham have brought in for the race at Spa and Monza practice, Marcus got the better of both Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton in Singapore. However there wasn't the kind of late-race drop-off to capitalise on.

Quieter Engines
It was a rare moment when you heard the crowd roar in F1 races of old. The cheers that Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton got in Qualifying and the race have brought a new dimension to the sport and it's simply great to hear. Deaf octogenarians with a distant contact of reality should take note.


Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, DNF
Nico Rosberg was probably aware when engineer Tony Ross radioed through that: "the only thing working on your dash is the gearshift pedals." And even then they seemed to be shifting up two at a time. Nico's racing demise may have helped Lewis regain the World Championship lead, but both men will be nervous that the same thing doesn't recur in the closely-packed races ahead. Imagine the anti-climax before the double points last race in Abu Dhabi should it happen there.

The score of wins to DNFs for Mercedes is now - Rosberg 4/2 - Hamilton 7/3 not including two technical failures in Qualifying for Lewis and one severe glitch in Canada for Nico. So we're getting towards parity. Rosberg took the blow squarely on the shoulders. More than ever this World Championship looks like it will be decided by stuff such as a wiring loom failure and less by wheel-to-wheel action.

Jenson Button, McLaren, DNF
A strong opening lap for Jenson. Given what happened with Bottas at the end he would probably have been duelling it out with Kimi and Jean-Eric instead he was looking for a scooter.

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 14th
Singapore is always tough for rookies, but even more so when their drinks bottle packs up before the race even starts. As he let his team know: "Without a drink, I'm dying here!" Sauber's Adrian Sutil has been known to go without a drinks bottle before now to save weight but not even he would attempt Marina Bay without one. So, heroic to get to the end. Drivers have stopped for lesser reasons than that, but were the team wise to leave him out there...?

Media Watch
It's always a pleasure to listen to ex-Honda, Red Bull and Toro Rosso communications director Eric Silbermann in the Radio 5 commentary box. They should give Allan McNish the weekend off more often.

Eric Silbermann: "Jenny, you're standing in an F1 pitlane. So if they're moving their lips then they're probably lying."

Eric Silbermann in response to the question about how the stewards judge what is and what isn't driver coaching: "Maybe we should bring someone along from the old Jim Russell driving school at Snetterton to get his training manual out to work out what is coaching and what is not."

James Allen "We look at Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost looking up at about 14 data screens. Does he understand all that, Eric?"
Eric Silbermann: "Every team principal understands everything about everything in F1. That's the golden rule..." (said with the Martini driest of wits)

For once Eddie Jordan was tub-thumping for the small independent teams who are under threat from his mate Bernie. "No, I think it's the fault of the manufacturers. They're the ones who have left In Formula 1 days."

The STBO Award
Radio 5's Jenny Gow has completely got the hang of night racing. "It's pitch black here. Very dark."

Andrew Davies

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Thursday, September 18, 2014


At the end of 2013 F1 bid farewell to its normally aspirated V8s and embraced brand new power units that combined a hybrid V6 turbo engine with two energy recovery systems - the MGU-K that works under braking, and MGU-H which harvests energy at the exhaust. Monza 2014 offered an ideal opportunity to compare and analyse the performance of modern low downforce-spec F1 cars with their previous counterparts.

The recent Grand Prix emphasised an important point: the 2014 regulations have greatly enhanced the cars' efficiency while maintaining - and even increasing - their level of performance. Renault takes a look and explains the differences and improvements made so far.

A two-second gain in a single year

2013 saw F1 cars fitted with normally aspirated V8s delivering around 800bhp (that's 590kW without the extra 60kW provided by the KERS). Monza's speed traps recorded single-seaters clock around 340kph, with pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel posting a lap of 1:23.755 in qualifying aboard his Infiniti Red Bull Racing-Renault. A year later the fastest Q3 time was 1:24.109, achieved with a car weighing 50kg heavier - a 1.8secs deficit - and using harder tyres. Once these differences have been accounted for and the times corrected, this year's lap represents a two-second gain over the course of 12 months.

Fuel consumption down to 1.9kg per lap

The 2014 regulations also brought another revolution with a 35% reduction in the amount of fuel permitted for each race (100kg against 150kg last year). It's been made possible thanks to the V6 engine's high degree of hybridisation: 20% of the power is now electric and comes from the energy recovered under braking and harvested at the exhaust. The average Monza consumption rate therefore went from 2.5kg per lap in 2013 to under 1.9kg a lap this year. With the same mass, the corrected 2014 time is faster.

An F1 car's energy source distribution

2013: The vast majority of energy available came from the 160kg of fuel used by the car. Power generated by fossil energy and transferred to the wheels reached 30%, while the remainder escaped in the air. A single KERS unit also ensured the share of electric power remained quite limited.
2014: With a 100kg restriction in fuel mass, the share of electric power has grown significantly. A greater percentage is now transferred to the wheels, which vastly improves the overall energy efficiency. Electric energy is much more important (4MJ) than it was last year. It comes from two different sources: braking and the exhaust.

Better energy efficiency

In 2013 an F1 car's efficiency was rated at 30%, which has increased to 40% in 2014. This has been made possible by reducing the internal combustion engine's displacement (and amount of friction), the introduction of a turbocompressor, and cutting the number of revs (from 18,000 to 13,000). The efficiency of a car fitted with an internal combustion engine cannot exceed 50%. Only a fully electric engine can achieve a much higher efficiency. To do so, however, requires 25 tons of batteries!

Additional stats and facts

30% fuel mass reduction between 2013 and 2014.
10 points: the efficiency improvement of an F1 car between 2013 and 2014.
In qualifying, the 25kg battery delivers an extra 10% of energy, which amounts to 200g in fuel.
While overtaking during the race, Daniel Ricciardo's Infiniti Red Bull Racing-Renault reached 362.1kph, smashing the 2013 top speed by an impressive 20kph.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The Singapore Grand Prix is a motor race on the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The event takes place in Singapore on the Marina Bay Street Circuit and was the inaugural F1 night race and the first street circuit in Asia. Spaniard Fernando Alonso won the first edition of the grand prix, driving for the Renault F1 team. The Singapore Grand Prix will remain on the F1 calendar through at least 2017, after race organizers signed a contract extension with Formula One Management on the eve of the 2012 event.

The longest race in the F1 calendar at almost two hours, one of the hardest on brakes, with a 100% record of a safety car, a long slow pit stop and a choice of the softest tyres which cannot do the 308km marathon in one stop, the Singapore Grand Prix is always a strategy challenge.

But now, with a new ban on team radios due to come into force this weekend, it makes it even more fascinating. Messages from engineers to drivers about strategy are permitted, but drivers are no longer allowed coaching when looking after the tyres and the brakes and getting the start procedure right, which opens up some big question marks.


Track Length : 5.073 kilometres.
Race Distance : 61 laps (309.316 kilometres).
Corners : 23 corners in total. Street circuit around Singapore’s Marina Bay area.
Aerodynamic Setup : High downforce.
Top Speed : 305km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 290km/h without.
Full Throttle : 45.5% of the lap time (low).
Time Spent Braking : 21% of lap.
Number Of Brake Zones : 16.
Brake Wear : Very high. Toughest race of season for brakes as no cooling opportunities.
Total Time Needed For Pit stop : 29 seconds (very high).
Lap Record : 1:48.574 - S Vettel (2013).


The temperatures are always high for this event, around 30 degrees with high humidity, but amazingly none of the six races at Singapore have been affected by rain. There has been plenty of rain around the event, but not during the race.


The night race featured just one zone in 2011 and 2012, but moved to two from 2013; the first area is situated on the long stretch from Turns 5 to 7, known as Raffles Boulevard, with the second on the start-finish straight.

Separate detection points control the two zones – the first just after Turn 4 and the second before Turn 22.


Pirelli tyre choice for Singapore: soft and supersoft. This has been a popular combination this season and has appeared at Monaco, Canada, Austria and Germany. The Singapore lap is long and the great challenge is to look after the rear tyres; it is 15% harder on the rear tyres than Monaco, for example. This means that this combination of the softest tyres in the range will give less mileage and suffer more degradation than in Monaco, which could be done as a one stop race. In Singapore you have to stop twice ,but timing is everything.


Because the track is lined with walls, making it difficult for marshals to clear debris, the chance of a Safety Car at Singapore is 100% ! There has been at least one Safety Car at every Singapore GP so far with an average of 6 laps spent under Safety Car.


The start is particularly crucial at Singapore as it’s very hard to overtake on this circuit and the field spread is significant, so gaining places on the run down to Turn 1 is vital. The undercut is a very useful tactic here to gain places; you pit before the cars ahead of you, use the performance of the new tyres versus old and then gain places when they pit. Kimi Raikkonen did it very effectively last season on his way to a podium.

The race on the Marina Bay Circuit is also one of the longest and toughest of the year for the cars and drivers. The race can last up to two hours and with high temperatures , humidity and constant braking and turning, it is a real marathon.

Plus we're getting a new FIA mandated radio ban on driver coaching and car situation. Some drivers may be pushing to the limit and not know it so this should be a very interesting race indeed. As for the 2 championship leaders, it will be interesting to see how Rosberg will handle this race without having so much information on Hamilton's status all the time.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014


The FIA's World Motor Sport Council, meeting in Beijing ahead of the inaugural Formula E event, has announced the 2015 F1 calendar.

In essence there are no changes to the calendar leaked over the course of the Italian Grand Prix weekend other than the fact that the Japanese event takes place a week earlier than originally scheduled and the United States and Mexican races change order.

Date         Race                  Circuit
15-Mar Australia          Melbourne
29-Mar Malaysia   Sepang
05-Apr Bahrain     Sakhir
19-Apr China        Shanghai International Circuit
10-May Spain         Barcelona
24-May Monaco    Monaco
07-Jun Canada      Montreal
21-Jun Austria      Red Bull Ring
05-Jul Britain      Silverstone
19-Jul Germany   Nurburgring
26-Jul Hungary    Hungaroring
23-Aug Belgium Spa Francorchamps
06-Sep Italy          Monza
20-Sep Singapore Marina Bay
27-Sep Japan        Suzuka
11-Oct Russia       Sochi
25-Oct United States Austin
01-Nov Mexico     Mexico City
15-Nov Brazil        Interlagos
29-Nov Abu Dhabi Yas Marina

At 20 races, the 2015 calendar equals the number of events held in 2012, the busiest season in the history of the sport. Azerbaijan is scheduled to join the schedule in 2016.

Friday, September 5, 2014


The Italian Grand Prix (Gran Premio d'Italia) is one of the longest running events on the Formula One calendar. The Italian Grand Prix was also one of the inaugural Formula One championship races in 1950, and has been held every year since then. The only other championship race for which this is true is the British Grand Prix, and the only other inaugural F1 races that are still on the calendar are the Monaco Grand Prix and the Belgian Grand Prix. Every Formula One Italian Grand Prix since 1950 has been held at Monza except in 1980, when it was held at Imola. The Italian Grand Prix counted toward the European Championship from 1935 to 1938. It was designated the European Grand Prix seven times between 1923 and 1967, when this title was an honorary designation given each year to one grand prix race in Europe.

Monza is the fastest circuit on the F1 calendar and the one with the highest straight line speeds, which are expected to reach 360km/h this year, due to the reduction in downforce and drag on the cars. Strategy is also important as there is a long pit lane, which makes for slow stops and as the cars remaining on track are travelling at high speeds, so it is easy to lose track positions with wrong strategy moves.

Monza has tended to be a one-stop race, but this year Pirelli has been making moves to encourage one more stop than in 2013. However, due to the heat build up in the tyres from the high wheel rotation speeds, they are obliged to bring the medium and hard compound tyres, which are likely to maintain the one stop strategy. Evaluating the tyre performance during the Friday practice sessions will be vital.


Track Length : 5.793 kilometres.
Race distance : 53 laps (306.72 kilometres).
Corners : 11 corners in total.
Average Speed : 247km/h.
Aerodynamic Setup : Low downforce.
Top speed : 360km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing).
Full Throttle : 74% of the lap (high).
Time Spent Braking : 11% of lap.
Number Of Brake Zones : 6.
Brake Wear : High.
Total Time Needed For Pit Stop (at 80km/h) : 25 seconds (ave/high).
Lap record : 1:21.046 Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004.


The weather forecast predicts a warm weekend with temperatures of 27-29 degrees, but there is a 40% chance of rain on Saturday morning.


Pirelli tyre choice for Monza: medium (white markings) and hard (orange markings). This combination of tyres was seen in Malaysia, Spain and Silverstone. Monza is not particularly hard on tyres, as there are no high energy corners to speak of apart from the Parabolica. However as it is a low downforce circuit, the tyres will tend to slide more, especially under traction out of the low speed chicanes and this increases the degradation. Also with the biggest stop of the season from 360km/h down to 75km/h in Turn 1, with little downforce to help, it is easy to lock a wheel up and flat spot a tyre.

The fast Parabolica corner places high lateral energy demands on the tire, while the stop-go nature of the chicanes means Monza also makes high longitudinal demands on the rubber. Even so, the presence of the hard and medium tires combined with the long pit lane time makes this a good place to try a one-stop strategy.

There will be two DRS zones in Italy. The detection point for the first zone will be 95m before Turn Seven, with the activation point 210m after Turn Seven. The second detection point will be 20m before Turn 11, with the activation point 115m after the finish line.


The chance of a safety car at Monza is statistically very low at 43% and 0.4 Safety Cars per race. There was however a Safety car three years in a row recently from 2007- 9.


In a season dominated by Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has won three races, including the relatively low downforce Canadian Grand Prix. Due to various circumstances, the Australian has led 68 laps in the last two races, compared to 27 laps for Hamilton and Rosberg combined!

Meanwhile Mercedes has dominated pole position, apart from Austria, where Williams came out on top. Williams has a low drag car and is likely to feature strongly this weekend. Red Bull has never had the best straight-line speeds, but managed to win the race in 2011 and 2013 due to clever gearing which kept Vettel ahead on acceleration out of the chicanes. It has been a good circuit for McLaren over the years too. The Mercedes power unit advantage is likely to help them once again, as it will Force India, although they have fallen behind recently on development.

From a driver perspective, Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton are the only drivers in the field who have won the Italian Grand Prix; Vettel three times, Alonso twice and Hamilton once.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014


Slippery Nico..yeah I know..
A fantastic race, exciting with crazy overtaking up and down especially during the last few laps. If it were not the Rosberg incident, this race would have been perfect. Thanks to Rosberg, there is a slight bitterness in the mouth. Here is the winners vs losers piece by Andrew Davies of PlanetF1. Original article HERE.

Daniel Ricciardo made it two on the trot thanks to Nico Rosberg's one-man campaign at wrecking Mercedes' challenge.

Star of the Race
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1st
With virtually no elements to the Red Bull rear wing, the middle sector of Spa was incredibly tricky to drive. Dan was driving a Monza wing (at the next race, there will be nothing left to take off) around Spa. Maybe the trickiest bit of all was qualifying in the wet on Saturday. As we saw from the onboard footage from Q3, Dan made the most monumental of saves going through Blanchimont to keep all of his car in Belgium.

In the race he got a reasonable start and was soon closing up on Alonso, and once past on Lap 4, capitalised on a mistake when Vettel got a tank-slapper in the middle sector. From then on it was a careful exercise in tyre preservation as Rosberg came at him on the charge in the closing stages.

This wasn't the street-fighting demonstration of Canada and Hungary, this was another facet of the complete Ricciardo set of virtues, driving to a perfect plan to achieve a result that his team thought was barely possible.

Overtaking Move of the race
Lap 31: Valtteri Bottas on Sebastian Vettel for P4
The Mercedes engined Williams of Valtteri Bottas may have had a power advantage over the Red Bull, but in the canny aero configuration that Adrian Newey had adopted for his cars at Spa, they didn't necessarily have a speed advantage. Although Bottas had DRS going up to Les Combes, to go side by side with Vettel into the braking zone and then tough it out round the outside through the corner (without touching) was a demonstration of precision driving from Bottas (helped by Vettel).

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 4th
Despite his best result of the season Kimi was reassuringly downbeat after finishing fourth. The Ferrari looked dishearteningly slow through Eau Rouge and it probably won't be a whole lot easier in a fortnight's time.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 5th
An exemplary Qualifying performance from the World Champion, but he wasn't able to look after his tyres in the race. It didn't help that he tried an overtaking move on Lewis Hamilton on Lap 1 that immediately demoted him to P3 when he locked his brakes and ran straight on at Les Combes. He finished the race a massive 51 seconds behind his team-mate. Some of that will be accounted for by the Magnussen/Alonso/Button/Vettel circus at the end of the race, and some by the strategy, but it's quite a defecit at a track where Seb can get pole.

Jenson Button, McLaren, 6th
It's been rare for the McLarens to hustle the Ferraris this season, but Button was able to do that at the end by making late stops and keeping life in his tyres. He even briefly led the race.

After Magnussen put Alonso on the grass on Lap 43 he and Fernando Alonso shared a few corners that will easily make the Best of the Season highlights. Jenson nicked the place past the recovering Alonso going into Les Combes, Alonso forced his way back, then Jenson kept his foot in as he and Alonso ran side by side behind Magnussen as they headed for Rivages. Jenson edged Alonso out, before his team-mate pushed him over the kerbing at the exit of Rivages allowing Alonso back past Button. Epic stuff.

Button was still able to finish 7th, elevated to 6th by his team-mate's post-race penalty. However the McLaren debriefing will be an interesting transcript. I doubt "a fun little battle" is what Jenson will be saying there.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 7th
Fernando was unlucky to be still up on the jacks on the grid at the 15-second signal, but managed to get away just in time to reclaim his grid slot. He made light of the Magnussen incidents after the race and will probably be more put-out that Raikkonen beat him so convincingly.


Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 2nd
Mathematically Nico was not a loser in his Championship battle, but a bit of inexpert braking put the kybosh on a Mercedes 1-2 and put his bolted-on win in jeopardy. He then compounded the Lap 2 error by another piece of overtaking ineptness, flatspotting his tyres in a late-braking move as he failed to get past Sebastian Vettel on the outside into the final chicane on Lap 16. The flatspot created an almighty vibration that meant Rosberg had to pit on Lap 19, forcing him into a 3-stop race which ultimately cost him the win.

So it was two racecraft errors that lost him points, after some sensationally good Qualifying that showed a consistency in wet conditions that Hamilton just couldn't match.

At Les Combes on Lap 2, it wasn't the degree of the error, because it was only a small error, it was the fact that Rosberg was trying way too hard way too early.*

*Subsequent to writing this, after the Mercedes debrief it seems now that Rosberg deliberately left his car there 'to prove a point'. Exactly what point he was trying to prove will take all of the fortnight up till Monza.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, DNF
Lewis got the dream start from P2 and was well clear by the time he got to La Source, making up for another error-strewn Qualifying on Saturday. As we have now seen countless times, he got tapped from behind, and had a floor-destroying drive back to the pits.

Having to complete a race distance with a car lacking 50 to 60 points of downforce was clearly not an interesting challenge, and though his engineer regularly lied to him about how good he was doing in comparison to the other cars, Lewis could see for himself that he could hardly catch Sutil. So even if the field had closed up under a Safety Car, he was still only driving at Sauber speed.

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 12th
Kevin Magnussen has had a thing about Ferrari drivers this season, usually qualifying in or around Kimi Raikkonen and having fun, and sometimes contact, with the Finn. Today he received the ire of Fernando Alonso, who could have had the most monumental of accidents had he lost control on the grass at 200 mph as the two cars sped towards Les Combes on Lap 43.

Earlier he had moved to block the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg into Les Combes at the very last second, another move which looked marginal.

Alonso's favourite move of the day had been to take a wide line through Rivages, and overtake on the outside heading towards Turn 9, as he did on Perez on Lap 13. Magnussen didn't allow him to do that and washed him out to the edge of the track as he was entitled to do. Alonso wasn't pleased, but that was just racing. And to show that Kevin was treating everyone equally, he did the same thing to team-mate Jenson Button.

The only problem is that Magnussen blocked Button so comprehensively that his team-mate was then passed by Alonso and Vettel in rapid succession. Had he played the team game then Button would have finished the race in front of Vettel to take P5. Magnussen was already heading for a meeting with the stewards and a 20-second penalty. Drivers had had points on their licence for less.

Felipe Massa, Williams, 13th
Massa finished the opening lap in front of Jenson Button, so should have been in the hunt for some Ferrari-threatening points. Tyre debris in his front wing and floor seemed to slow him down an awful lot.

Media Watch
The BBC team were keen to take on the Ice Bucket Challenge at Spa, but it came one day earlier than scheduled. In Qualifying all hell broke loose when the sky went dark and the heavens opened
Eddie Jordan: "I'm not sure what's going on here, is it hailstones, or maybe it's the end of the world."
Suzi Perry: "And I'm going to spend it with you...?"

David Coulthard, talking about events at the Hungarian GP on Saturday: "At this moment in time, with my trousers soaking wet, I don't care what language Mercedes delivered the team orders in..."

Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish was a bit discomforted by the fact Caterham had recruited Three Times Le Mans Winner Andre Lotterer in the grand prix. 'How long till the phrase "Three Times Le Mans Winner" becomes on object of derision?', you could imagine him thinking.

There were shades of the violent French revolution of 1789 when Allan McNish was discussing the problems encountered by French driver Romain Grosjean at Lotus. "I have to say. He's kept his head very well in difficult circumstances," said Allan.

"We are in the Ardennes forest. Anything can happen. We've known this for all this time." Eddie Jordan

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Thursday, August 21, 2014


The Belgian Grand Prix is an automobile race, part of the Formula One World Championship. The first national race of Belgium was held in 1925 at the Spa region's race course, an area of the country that had been associated with motor sport since the very early years of racing. To accommodate Grand Prix motor racing, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps race course was built in 1921 but it was only used for motorcycle racing until 1924. After the 1923 success of the new 24 hours of Le Mans in France, the Spa 24 Hours, a similar 24-hour endurance race, was run at the Spa track.

Since inception, Spa-Francorchamps has been known for its unpredictable weather. At one stage in its history it had rained at the Belgian Grand Prix for twenty years in a row. Frequently drivers confront a part of the course that is clear and bright while another stretch is rainy and slippery.

The Belgian Grand Prix was designated the European Grand Prix six times between 1925 and 1973, when this title was an honorary designation given each year to one grand prix race in Europe. It is one of the most popular races on the Formula One calendar, due to the scenic and historical Spa-Francorchamps circuit being a favorite of drivers and fans.

Spa Francorchamps has many claims to fame; popularity among drivers, a superb collection of high speed corners, unpredictable weather. But the factor which will probably stand out this weekend is that it is the highest engine power factor circuit on the F1 calendar. The track is 70% full throttle and the run from La Source hairpin to the braking point for Les Combes features 23.5 seconds of constant full throttle. And in this first season of the hybrid turbo power units, that will have a significant bearing on the result.

Add to that the fact that, with only five engines per driver permitted for a season and some drivers already struggling with reliability, we could see some drivers saving engine mileage in Free practice and we could see some blow-ups as engines reach end of life. So engine strategies could be as important as race strategies this weekend.

Track Length : 7.004 kilometres.
Race Distance : 44 laps (308.052 kilometres).
Corners : 19 corners in total.
Average speed : 238km/h. Circuit based on public roads.
Aerodynamic Setup : Medium to Low downforce.
Top speed : 322km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 312km/h without.
Full Throttle : 70% of the lap (high).
Time Spent Braking : 14% of lap.
Number Of Brake Zones : 9.
Brake Wear : Low.
Total Time Needed For Pit Stop : 21 seconds.
Lap Record: 1:47.263 (Vettel, Red Bull, 2009)


The forecast for this weekend is for cloudy weather, with a chance of rain on Saturday qualifying day.
However this can change very quickly. It’s always a good idea to factor in a wet weather plan. Spa is notorious for fickle weather. With such a long lap, it can be raining on one part of the circuit and the rest can be dry. Also the temperatures can fluctuate dramatically, so it can be 25 degrees one day and 15 degrees the next. This can have a significant effect on the cars.


Like in previous years, there will be two DRS zones. The detection point for the first zone will be 240m before Turn 2, with the activation point 310m after Turn 4. The second detection point will be 160m before Turn 18, with the activation point 30m after Turn 19.

New debris fences have been installed at Turn 1 of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, the FIA has confirmed. In addition, the wall on the driver's left after Turn 11 has been renewed, while drainage has been installed or improved at Turns 2, 4, 8, 11, 16 and 17 – something that is rather critical given rain is a threat over the Spa weekend.


Pirelli tyre choice for Spa: Medium and soft. This is the fifth time this season that Pirelli has brought this combination.

It is a more adventurous selection than the last two seasons, where Pirelli brought medium and hard tyres. This reflects a growing confidence on Pirelli’s side after the problems of 2013 with tyre failures. One of the key things for teams to establish in Friday practice is the fastest way to do the race and so getting the maximum preparation time in Free Practice is crucial.

The soft tyre is designed for higher temperatures, so crucial to getting a competitive lap time will be setting the car up so that it switches the tyres on in the all important middle sector.


The chance of a safety car at Spa is statistically high at 80% and 1.4 per race. Rain is one reason, but also accidents tend to be high speed and so there can be quite a lot of debris.


Qualifying rarely determines the final race result; the pole sitter has only won the race four times in the last 13 years. Overtaking is not a problem at Spa and the DRS wing makes it very straightforward anyway. Throw in a more adventurous tyre selection from Pirelli than in the last couple of years at this track and you have multiple elements that could add up to an exciting race.

It's been a whole month since we've seen any F1 action so Spa is the best place to start off again with all the right ingredients in place.

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Friday, July 25, 2014


The Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungarian: Magyar Nagydíj) is a motor race held annually in Hungary. Since 1986, the race has been a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The first Hungarian Grand Prix was held on June 21, 1936 over a 3.1-mile (5.0 km) track laid out in Népliget, a park in Budapest. The Mercedes-Benz, Auto Union, and the Alfa Romeo-equipped Ferrari teams all sent three cars and the event drew a very large crowd. However, politics and the ensuing war meant the end of Grand Prix motor racing in the country for fifty years.

The Hungaroring circuit is 19 km from the centre of Budapest, alongside the M3 motorway at the border of the village, Mogyoród. The track is in a natural valley, surrounded by 50 hectares of rolling hillside. With this exceptional natural advantage, almost 80 percent of the racetrack is visible from any point. This is the reason why it is called "The Shallow Plate", it is because the spectators are watching races sitting by the side of an imaginary plate.Hungary is a much maligned circuit, due to its tight low speed nature and the difficulty of overtaking, but it has produced a surprising number of exciting races.

The Hungaroring circuit is rarely used and so the track is usually dirty at the start of the F1 race weekend and the grip improves as the weekend goes on. This means that it’s very easy to be misled by the tyre performance on Friday and the only really meaningful work that can be done on car set up and planning race strategy is often the one hour session on Saturday morning.

Track Characteristics

Track length : 4.381km kilometres.
Race distance : 70 laps (306.630 kilometres).
Corners : 14 corners in total. Average speed of 190 km/h is the lowest of any permanent track on F1 calendar.
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce.
Top speed : 305 km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 295km/h without.
Full throttle : 55% of the lap (low).
Time spent braking : 14% of lap.
Number of brake zones : 11.
Brake wear : High.
Total time needed for pit stop : 16 seconds.
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.35 seconds (high).
Lap Record : 1:19.071 - M Schumacher (2004)

Weather Forecast

The forecast is for temperatures around 30 degrees on Friday and Saturday, but there are thunderstorms forecast for Sunday, which could bring rain, as we had here in 2011.

Once again the strongest chance of rain is on race day. It arrived on Sunday in Hockenheim but too early to affect the grand prix – although it did help produce a cracking GP2 race.

For Friday at least the conditions should be warm and sunny though not quite as hot as in Germany, around the high 20C mark.

Temperatures will rise slightly on Saturday but with cloud cover also increasing the possibility of thunderstorms is introduced. Sunday is most at-risk again, but the unpredictable nature of the storms makes it hard to say at this stage whether the race will be affected.


Pirelli tyre choice for Budapest: Soft (yellow markings) and Medium (white markings). This is the same as the last two years. This combination of tyres was used in Australia, Bahrain and China. There was around 0.6s performance difference between them in Bahrain.

The Hungaroring circuit is rarely used and so the track is usually dirty at the start of the F1 race weekend and the grip improves as the weekend goes on. This means that it’s very easy to be misled by the tyre performance on Friday and the only really meaningful work that can be done on car set up and planning race strategy is often the one hour session on Saturday morning.


There will be two DRS zones sharing a detection point 5m before Turn 14. The activation points are 130m after the apex of Turn 14 and 6m after the apex of Turn 1.

The guardrail to the left of the run-off area at Turn 3 has been re-aligned to better protect the recovery vehicle and to allow space for a car that has been recovered. Also, speed bumps 50mm high have been installed two metres from the track edge in the run-off area at Turns 6/7, while new debris fencing has been installed close to the guardrail on the left between Turns 11 and 12 and around the outside of Turn 14.

Safety Car

Safety cars are surprisingly rare at the Hungaroring. One possible explanation is that there are few gravel traps for cars to get stranded in, with tarmac preferred through most corners. The chances of a safety car are only 10% and there have been only two in the last seven years.


A Hamilton victory could go a long way towards the 2008 world champion overhauling a points deficit to his rival for the second time this season, while another win for Rosberg could restore his points lead to the heights he enjoyed pre-Silverstone – and deliver a crucial psychological blow to his team mate.

Despite losing ten points to Rosberg last weekend, Hamilton will likely take heart from the fact that this weekend’s race takes place at a circuit where he has so often dominated – having taken four victories here in his career, including the last two Hungarian races.

Lewis Hamilton can become the first driver to win three successive Hungarian Grands Prix if he wins again at the Hungaroring on Sunday, which would make him become the first man to win three on the trot in Hungary, while it would also make him the most successful driver at the Hungaroring, with the British competitor locked on four wins alongside F1 icon Michael Schumacher. Hamilton has won back-to-back races in Budapest - a feat shared with past champions such as Nelson Piquet (1986-87), Ayrton Senna (1991-92), Jacques Villeneuve (1996-97) and Mika Hakkinen (1999-00).

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


A fantastic race, exciting with crazy overtaking up and down especially Lewis Hamilton's kamikaze slicing of the field to P3. Here is the winners vs losers piece by Andrew Davies of PlanetF1. Original article HERE.

Not the best result, but Daniel Ricciardo drove the finest race of his F1 career on a storming afternoon at Hockenheim

Star of the Race
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 6th
What a guy! On the first lap he was run so wide avoiding the Felipe Massa accident that he put two wheels into the gravel and could have gone off, but he scrambled and finished the opening lap in 15th place. He steamed back though the field with Lewis Hamilton attached to his gearbox, cutting through the backmarkers and midfield almost as quickly as the Mercedes would have done it. Except the Mercedes was behind. He found a cheeky little way past Kimi Raikkonen much quicker than Lewis could get past the Ferrari, and he only succumbed to Lewis once his SuperSoft tyres started going off.

Dan didn't stop battling through the race; he put a fantastic move on Jenson Button on Lap 56, selling him a dummy that he was going up the outside of Turn 8 before diving for the inside to grab P5. It was a joy to watch. And if that wasn't enough, he did the same thing to another World Champion, Fernando Alonso, at the same place, while duelling with the Ferrari all the way from laps 58 through 61. In the end he had to give best to Alonso's fresher tyres, but bizarrely caught up with him on the finishing line - the timing screens registering that there was 0:0 between them. Alonso had no fuel left because Dan had pushed him so hard.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 5: Lewis Hamilton on Romain Grosjean for P13
There are regular editorials these days along the lines of 'What's Wrong With F1?' There's nothing wrong with F1, as evidenced by the serial overtaking moves and epic defences in this race and the one a fortnight ago at Silverstone. Lewis knew he had to get through the field quickly and that involved taking risks. He came across Grosjean on the Start/Finish straight on Lap 5 and instead of waiting for the run to Turn 2, (the sensible thing) decided to go up the inside of the Lotus into Turn 1. Turn 1 at Hockenheim is a bit like Copse at Silverstone - but even more dangerous. It's very rare you see an overtaking move there and Lewis pulled it off, but what a risk.


Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1st
From the moment that Lewis Hamilton's new brake disc exploded on Saturday afternoon, Rosberg had this in the bag. The duo had already demonstrated that a lack of FRICS might have slowed the team up a touch, but they were still in charge. Thus after the start and Turn 1 negotiated for Rosberg, it was a question of keeping one eye on the weather for rain and another on a Safety Car once Lewis had cleared the pack and was up to the vicinity of P4, P3 or P2. Neither happened and he was clear for the win.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 2nd
Bottas didn't get to indulge in the kind of wheel-to-wheel action enjoyed by almost all of the cars behind him, but his greatest feat was to keep his tyres together, especially for the final stint. It looked to all the world that Hamilton would steamroller past him, but Valtteri had kept enough tyre life back to make his straight-line speed advantage count in the DRS zones. He also noticed that Lewis's left front was graining (a result of the wing damage) and so he was safe and could maximise his advantage through all the key right-handers.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 3rd
Pitched to the back of the grid through no fault of his own in qualifying (and it has to be said, while he was making a much better job of it than his team-mate, who had blown two laps in a row by running wide and was even forced into taking a set of SuperSofts to get into Q2) Lewis had a combative afternoon of getting back to the front. He almost, almost made it back to P2, but the early dive for his second set of SuperSofts, when by rights we should have had a second Safety Car, meant that he ran out of tyres (as David Gates might say) just when he needed them most.

Lewis has done this kind of roll-your-sleeves-up-and-get-stuck-in kind of drive before, now it's time for Rosberg to have a couple of grands prix when he gets demoted back there and see how he copes.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 4th
It's nice to hear that after all the radio bitching we had at Silverstone that Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso sat down afterwards and had a beer and laughed about their intense duel. And the two were together again for Hockenheim, although this time the different strategies meant they couldn't spend as much time together as before. Seb also got the second best radio message from an engineer in the event (after Sergio Perez): "Sebastian, respect the beeps in Turn 13"

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 5th
Yet another race where Fernando Alonso dragged his Ferrari forward, when the benchmark performance was probably about four or five places further back. He thought that it was his best race of 2014. "For the last stint I was saving fuel but I was battling with Ricciardo so I had to decide to give up the position and cross the line or fight with Ricciardo and be on the limit to cross the line. I decided to fight with Ricciardo to be in the position and then try to manage the fuel as well as I could. On the last lap I had to massively save fuel - I was in eighth gear all lap and was lucky the race wasn't 100m longer!"

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 7th
There was some fantastic onboard footage in the race after Nico Hulkenberg's race engineer, Bradley Joyce, had got the Force India User's Manual out and was trying to get Nico Hulkenberg to re-set his car to "Chassis 2". Hulkenberg spent most of the long back straight at 200mph flicking through buttons, knobs and dials, like he'd just been thrown out of Minecraft and was trying to get back in the action.

Jenson Button, Mclaren, 8th
Button put together a strong opening lap which was the foundation for a good result, that was then totally undermined by a weak McLaren strategy. It also didn't help that an overlong first pit-stop didn't manage to get him in front of Nico Hulkenberg. As for the incident with Hamilton, after the race Jenson expressed surprise that Lewis would think he was letting him though. Maybe he ought to sit down and listen to some of the races where engineers tell their drivers not to lose time fighting a driver coming through the field because they're not racing them. It was still Hamilton's fault that the two made contact and it was the Mercedes driver who came off worst.

Button could also listen to some of Dan Ricciardo's post-race interviews and have a motto inscribed on his steering wheel - 'Moan Less'.

Sergio Perez's Race engineer
Sergio Perez has got a reputation for being bit 'chippy' but the Force India pitwall were taking none of it in Hockenheim.
Engineer: "Lift and coast Checo, lift and coast."
Perez: "What about the rain. (it was forecast that it might rain towards the end of the race and thus fuel consumption would be lower)
Engineer: "We can't rely on that so please lift and coast. That's the last time I'm going to ask you..."


Charlie Whiting, FIA Race Director
Whiting must be relieved that nothing happened to the marshals after Adrian Sutil's car got stranded in the middle of the circuit after he spun it at Turn 1. What seemed like an inevitable Safety Car was handled under yellow flags and the marshals had to push the Sauber away with cars racing past at speed. Fernando Alonso was one of the many who couldn't understand it: "We were hoping they don't bring the Safety Car out because it was 17 laps to the end and if we put the super-softs on, 17 laps was tough. But being objective and honest, probably we were expecting a Safety Car in a normal situation. Sometimes they put the Safety Car out for a piece of front wing on the track and now it was a car there and it was not a Safety Car.

Apart from this misjudgement Whiting also set an unusual precedent, allowing both Mercedes cars to change brake discs in parc ferme before the race and not making them start from the pitlane. Although Lewis's was demonstrably for safety reasons, nothing had failed on Nico's car.

Felipe Massa, Williams, DNF
Broadcasters wanting to spice up the highlight tapes will be grateful for Felipe Massa's run of accidents and incidents (Montreal, Silverstone, Hockenheim) and he must be tempted to buy one of the Mario Balotelli T-shirts, 'Why Always Me?' Although he was pretty angry with Magnussen, it's hard to know what else the McLaren driver could have done with Bottas in between them.

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, DNF
Kvyat's great qualifying was undone by a rookie overtaking move round the outside of Perez, and then cutting off the line to the apex so that Checo had nowhere to go. Except tip him into a spin. As the Mexican rightly said: "What is he doing?"

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 11th
It's always an interesting race when Kimi gets angry on team radio and he had a lot to be angry about this race, as everyone passing him thought it was a NASCAR event and they had to rub bodywork. At one stage he had Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso pinballing his Ferrari F14T from either side into the hairpin. However he got most angry when asked to make his SuperSoft tyres last longer than necessary: "We have to stop! We HAVE TO STOP!" yelled the iceman.

Media Watch
There's so much more to a trucky's job these days than just driving the transporters between races. BBC's Jenny Gow talking about Kimi Raikkonen's car after Saturday's FP3: "They'll have to change over the fuel pump, which is a trucky procedure."

Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish introduced us to a new phrase that Eddie Jordan would have been proud of saying. "He's staring down the back of the barrel in 4th place..."

Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish: "As Ron Dennis looks on with an impassioned expression, a stoney face."

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Here is the winners vs losers piece by Andrew Davies of PlanetF1. Original article HERE.

It was a feast of brilliant overtaking at Silverstone with immaculate passes into Brooklands, Luffield, Copse, Stowe and Club:


Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st
Given the kind of start he got in Austria last time out, it was always likely that Lewis would have clear sight of his team-mate early in the race. And rather than put the hammer down straight away, he sat back and let the gap to Rosberg go out before pegging it back.

Yet again he got the faulty pit-stop, 4.1 seconds compared to 2.7, but on the hard tyre he was over a second quicker than Rosberg. However by then Nico had got his downshift problem, (although Nico still claimed a Fastest Lap on Lap 21 with the problem). It was one of those days when Hamilton looked totally dialled in, and Rosberg's retirement spoiled what could have been a lot of fun. One more retirement for Nico and a few duff tyre stops and the team-mates will have parity. Rosberg's absence allowed us to watch the battle of Alonso vs Vettel, whereas if he'd continued we'd be watching two silver arrows duke it out and recalling Mansell vs Piquet in '87 (as if that doesn't happen enough).

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 35: Fernando Alonso on Sebastian Vettel for P5
On a day when there were some spectacular overtaking moves all round the circuit the battle of Alonso vs Vettel took top billing. Alonso had already dispatched Magnussen into Copse, Ricciardo around the outside of Club and was homing in on Jenson Button's fourth place. When Vettel emerged from his second pit-stop, just in front of Alonso on fresh tyres, it looked as though the four-times World Champion only needed to keep in front down the Wellington Straight till Brooklands and that would be job done. Alonso had other ideas.

The Luffield complex of corners allows drivers to take varying lines through Woodcote and out onto the old start/finish straight and Fernando took it wide, cut back in to get the power down early though Woodcote. Vettel saw him coming, jinked right to stop him going down the inside and Alonso just steamed down the outside and overtook on the outside of Copse. For anyone who has stood on the outside of Copse and watched that happen in the race, it is a hair-standing-on-end moment. Even watching on television it was that kind of moment. It's what we all watch F1 for, whether or not you wear Scuderia red, it is simply awe-inspiring.

Alonso's subsequent defence of P5 was heroic and Vettel shouldn't really have been allowed to take the place back when he returned the favour on Lap 48. Vettel's move was equally as brave but started on the previous start/finish straight when he ran outrageously wide through Turn 18 to gain momentum and get into the DRS zone for the Wellington Straight, in which he closed up on Fernando and put his car alongside through Luffield.

Vettel got his car beautifully placed on the inside, made a similarly brave pass into Copse, but then ran wide, over the line, at the exit. So clearly he gained an advantage by running off the track limits. Whereas Race Director Charlie Whiting had been giving the drivers warnings, this was now a stewards' call and they didn't make it. Presumably because both drivers had been skirting very close to the white line and Alonso had already collected a warning not to transgress again.

However nothing will take away from the moment when Alonso passed Vettel on the outside into Copse, and sixth place was ultimately a handy reward given that they were thinking about retiring the car at one stage with battery and rear wing issues.


Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 2nd
For a circuit that wasn't supposed to suit the Williams FW-36, Bottas got a great result, often barrelling down the outside of cars going into Stowe. In fact the top three all got the kind of result they might have expected in a wet race - 6th to 1st, 14th to 2nd and 8th to 3rd. Williams have now overhauled Force India, but they look to be the second best team on power circuits and the third best team overall.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 3rd
Dan held on despite the collective willpower of over 100,000 fans hoping that Jenson would be able to overhaul him and claim a podium in memory of his father. Ricciardo's tyres were going away at the end, but he made no mistakes and held on. He thought at the time: "If they have a sniff of DRS, especially with the ponies they've got behind them, then we're in trouble."

Jenson Button, McLaren, 4th
Before the race Jenson was doubtful whether the team could keep anything like the positions that he and Kevin Magnussen had qualified in, but he was only 0.8 seconds away from doing it. This was helped in no small part by his defence against Fernando Alonso earlier in the race. Given the Ferrari's practice pace it looked inevitable that Alonso would find a way past, but Button worked out his advantages and kept him at bay. Fourth still equals his best ever result at his home GP.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 5thSeb got a nightmare start and was lucky to be 5th on the opening lap. His early pit-stop looked to be in reaction to a potential Safety Car for the stricken Gutierrez, but that was a roll of the dice that didn't pay off. He then took so long to get past Alonso that when he did, Button was out of reach.

Like Perez, Button and Alonso, he was keen to share information about his rival exceeding the track limits but added playfully after the race: "I do not know who was keeping score on the list, obviously it was easier for me (to see) as I was behind Fernando. I don't know what the resolution of his mirrors is, but they must be very good."

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 7thMore points for Kevin but more importantly a few lessons on where to overtake at Silverstone. Vettel's pass of the Mclaren in Luffied going into Woodcote was genius.

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 8thNeither Force Indias got a good start thanks to the team 'over-torqueing the rear wheels', but Nico has still scored points in every race this year. Only he and Alonso have done that.

BBC Race Coverage
If that wasn't a BAFTA-winning sports broadcast, I'd like to see one that was better. From the preview films, through to the commentary and post-race analysis, the BBC's coverage of the race was exceptional. Obviously we like to take the mickey out of EJ and Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish when they say the odd thing out of context (see below) but take nothing away from the overall package, it showcased F1 at its very best.

From the pre-race film of Jenson Button and David Coulthard touring round London on Harley Davidsons, and then DC and Lewis Hamilton going back to the Rye House karting track to race, plus the footage of Lewis 'skydiving' with Suzi Perry and the behind-the-scenes film piece of Susie Wolff's Friday, it made F1 look a very impressive sport.


Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, DNF
Full marks for Rosberg for not giving up in Qualifying. That will be a learning curve for everyone, as Hamilton, Ricciardo and Perez all assumed the worst at the end of Q3. In the race he got an exemplary get-away, but looked to be losing out in what was presumably his middle stint (of a two-stopper), however it's difficult to know when his gear-shifting problem kicked in. Although the leader has the privilege of stopping first, this time round, by stopping first, Mercedes were able to see that there was actually quite a lot of life left in Rosberg's tyres and so Lewis was able to go much further.

Before anybody starts feeling sorry for Nico, he's had a 24-race run of finishing GPs. The kind of thing that Pastor and Esteban can only dream of.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, DNF
Raikkonen couldn't have imagined the bounce he was going to get when his Ferrari returned to the track and snapped to the right on the opening lap.

Felipe Massa, Williams, DNF
Not the best way to celebrate 200 races. When Jenson reached that landmark in 2011 he won the Hungarian GP. All Felipe had to show for making it into that rarest of motorsport clubs, the 200 Club, was a smart bit of Ferrari T-boning avoidance.

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, DNF
Just as Gutierrez had been launched into the air by Maldonado in Bahrain, the Mexican got him back at Silverstone by launching Pastor with an inept move into Club. There was some impressive air beneath the Lotus chassis. In fact it was a tribute to the robustness of the Lotus that it continued as long as it did. Gutierrez's three-place grid penalty for the German GP was hardly enough, given his love of leaving the track.

Media Watch
The STBO Award
Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish gets two nominations. For the first he was speculating about the stresses on engines when they need to do multiple starts in 2015 instead of a rolling start behind the Safety Car:

"It's going to be hard - they've got five engines - that's the internal combustion engine..."

When Valtteri Bottas lost part of his engine cover on the Hangar Straight:

Allan thought he better fill us in on its function. "The engine cover is very light. It's made to - well - cover the engine."

Eddie Jordan: "The special thing about Silverstone is that the circuit is so close to the track."

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design for Lewis Hamilton fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.