29/05/2012

Weekend sweep-up

F1
Di Resta 7th (6 points), Hulkenberg 8th (4 points), Karthikeyan 15th.

A very good weekend in terms of F1 for Indian fans. Sahara Force India picked up 10points with both cars coming home ahead of Kimi Raikkonen; is that justice for 2008? (If you're not sure what we're referring to checkout the second entry for May 2008 here).

Narain Karthikeyan meanwhile had his best result in F1 since his return to the sport in 2011. True, the 15th place was due to a large number of retirements but Narain still did well to maintain his concentration and keep his car out of the barriers to complete the race.

What this means for the championship is that Sahara Force India have closed to the gap to alot of the teams infront. The gap to the target of 5th place is now only 33pts - in a season as random as this - that's nothing! I still maintain that all teams, excluding the newer ones, have almost identical baseline setup. This season will be decided on data collection, understanding the tyres and the drivers.

As for the drivers championship; Paul di Resta has jumped into 11th place on 21pts, just behind Sauber's Perez on 22pts. Nico Hulkenberg remains in 15th place but now the German has 7pts on the board. Meanwhile that 15th place finish for Narain Karthikeyan was crucial for the Indian:

Drivers Championship (drivers on 0pts)
19) Kovalainen (best finish: 13th)
20) Glock (best finish: 14th)(x2)
21) Pic (best finish: 15th)
22) Karthikeyan (best finish: 15th)
23) Petrov (best finish: 16th)(x2)
24) de la Rosa (best finish: 19th)

Narain gained positions and is now ahead of Caterham's Petrov and HRT-teammate de la Rosa.

Here are the review quotes:

Paul di Resta (Sahara Force India driver)
"A great result today and I'm very happy to make up so much ground on my starting position. We went aggressive with the strategy and I have to say the team really optimised it. The secret was managing the tyres and trying to find clean air when we could. The car felt really good, much stronger than yesterday, and that allowed me to push when we needed to. Fortunately the rain held off at the end because that could have had a big impact on the end of the race. It’s great that we managed to get both cars in the points and we can celebrate tonight".

Nico Hulkenberg (Sahara Force India driver)
"It was a pretty messy start with lots of cars touching and I was lucky to make it through because I had to avoid Grosjean, who was in the middle of the track. For the first few laps I was running with Michael and we were stuck behind Kimi who was struggling on the supersofts, but it was difficult to get by. Unfortunately Kimi stopped on the same lap as me so I remained behind him and we came out in a lot of traffic, which is when Paul jumped ahead of me. The rest of the race was quite uneventful and I just focused on looking after the tyres. It's a great result for the team and we should be happy with the result".

Vijay Mallya (Sahara Force India team principle)
"A very enjoyable Monaco Grand Prix and I am delighted to see both Sahara Force Indias well inside the points. Paul drove a very strong race, making up seven places on his grid position and managing the tyres perfectly. Nico was running the reverse strategy to Paul, which also worked out well, and means we leave here with ten important points. Now we look forward to the next race in Canada where we hope to continue our run of points finishes".

Narain Karthikeyan (HRT driver)
"It was a tough race because we were very limited on our tyres. We tried to keep a constant pace, stay out of trouble and finish the race; we knew that if we managed to do that we would be able to finish in a good position. 15th position is a good result and a good way of getting over the disappointment from Barcelona. Now what I need to do is work on putting together a good lap in qualifying as that has been my weakest point this season. Hopefully I'll be able to carry the momentum from here onto the next race in Canada and continue to progress".

Formula Renault 3.5 
Bianchi 2nd (18 points).

After a disappointing opening weekend in Spain, Sahara Force India's reserve driver got his title challenge back on track with a 2nd place finish in Monaco. The Frenchman finished just 2.689s behind race winner Sam Bird. After three races, Jules is 6th in the championship, 27pts behind the leader.

Formula Two
Sureshwaren 12th (race one), 12th (race two).

The Indian driver had a consistent weekend finishing 12th in both races. Unfortunately though this means that his pointless run now extends to 23 races.

Indy Lights

Ebrahim 13th (17 points).

Going into the race named the Firestone Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Armaan Ebrahim sat in 12th place in the championship on 60pts. The Indian driver could only manage 13th place in the race however the way other drivers finished meant that Armaan has actually gained a spot in the championship. He now sits 11th on 77pts making him the 5th best rookie out of the 14 rookie drivers this season.

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