30/09/2012

Saturday Review

World Endurance Championship
Race Result: Chandhok DNF.

Huge disappointment for the JRM team in this race. Karun Chandhok started the race for the team, but one hour in the car began to develop an electrical problem. The team tried their best to sort the issue during an unscheduled pit stop and they did get the car back on track in the hands of Karun's teammate, Peter Dumbreck. Unfortunately after one more lap it became clear the problem was not fully fixed. With 1 hour 10 minutes remaining the car was retired. On the official results the problem has gone down a "faulty loom section".

Karun Chandhok (JRM driver):
"The race started OK and I was running behind Jonny [Kane]. I was a little bit slower than him, but this was as expected as I was managing the tyres very carefully. Then in my second stint the race started to come to me – I was quicker than the other guys on used tyres and I think we could have had a good race. However very early on in the first stint I lost the power to the dash and the guys had no telemetry, which is critical for the engine and also knowing where we are on fuel consumption. We pitted quite conservatively and lost time as we were caught speeding in the pitlane – the pitlane limiter didn't work due to the electrical problem. From then on we tried to reset, but it didn't work out. Sometimes it's like that, unfortunately.

So no points scored for the JRM boys this weekend, this is how things stand in the championship:

Drivers World Championship (13th-17th):
13=) Pierre Kaffer (33 pts)
13=) Luís Pérez Companc (33)
14) Stéphane Sarrazin (30.5)
15=) Peter Dumbreck (30.5)
15=) David Brabham (30.5)
15=) Karun Chandhok (30.5)
16) Soheil Ayari (21)
17) Tom Kimber-Smith (21)

LMP1 trophy standings:
1) Rebellion Racing (155 pts)
2) Strakka Racing (118)
3) JRM (87)
4) Pescarolo Team (25)
5) OAK Racing (8)

It's a real shame for JRM, they've had so much bad luck this year. They do have the pace for second in the LMP1 trophy. However with two races to go, there's only 50 points available - so it's looking unlikely, sadly.

Formula Renault 3.5
Race One Result: Bianchi 4th (12 points).

A hailstorm just before the action began made for a chaotic race. Thankfully, Jules managed to keep all four wheels pointing in the right direction to take 4th place (where he started on the grid) and 12 points. It's a crucial result for Jules as championship leader, Robin Frijns, finished 7th.

Updated championship standings:

Drivers' Championship (1st-3rd):
1) Robin Frijns (172 pts)
2) Jules Bianchi (154)
3) Sam Bird (140)

Things got better for Jules this morning when he secured pole position for race two!

Qualifying Two Result: Bianchi 1st (1:48.103).

What makes this pole even more crucial is that Frijns will start 8th. Sam Bird starts alongside Jules in 2nd place. The end of the championship is turning out to be very exciting!!

29/09/2012

Friday Review

World Endurance Championship
Qualifying Results: Chandhok 6th in class & overall (1:48.784, +2.970 gap to session leader).

As usual, the manufacturer teams (Audi & Toyota) took the top three spots so this result is 3rd in the LMP1 trophy (four LMP1 trophy teams are taking part this weekend). It was Karun in the car for qualifying by the way :-)

The race is today (after the Warm-Up session) - we'll let you know how the team do!

Formula Two
As expected, Parthiva Sureshwaren is not taking part this weekend, we're guessing due to sponsorship problems - but that's unconfirmed.

Formula Renault 3.5
Test One Results: Bianchi 13th (1:50.064, +1.100 gap to session leader).
Test Two Results: Bianchi 15th (1:48.497, +1.081).

A decent start to the weekend for Jules, poor positions, but it looked like he was sandbagging.

The first qualifying session was held (in the wet) this morning:

Qualifying One Results: Bianchi 4th (2:10.006, +0.413 gap to session leader).

This means he'll start 4th on the grid for race one later today, a decent place to start from - the win is possible! Qualifying two & race two take place tomorrow.

British GT Championship & GT1
As expected, both Sailesh Bolisetti (saving money for 2013) & Armaan Ebrahim (dropped when the Indian race got cancelled) are not taking part in their respective series' for the remainder of the season.

28/09/2012

Thursday Review

It's not often we have a Thursday review but we've already had some action!

World Endurance Championship

FP1 Results: Chandhok 6th in class & overall (1:51.334, +3.607 gap to session leader).
FP2 Results: Chandhok 5th in class & overall (1:49.100, +1.697).
FP3 Results: Chandhok 5th in class & overall (1:49.419, +1.780).

Don't forget the teams (usually) occupying the podium are manufacturers. So 4th (which would be top of the LMP1 trophy cars) is the aim for Karun's JRM team. That means these results are pretty good so far :-)

If you don't understand how the different positions and classes work in WEC, please let us know via a blog comment or facebook comment, we'll happily let you know!

Other
There has been no action in any other series yet, however here is an article you may want to read about the Formula Renault 3.5 title battle.

27/09/2012

What's happening this weekend?

No F1 this weekend, but there's still an awful lot of action to keep us interested!

World Endurance Championship
The venue is the Bahrain International Circuit for round six (of eight) of the 2012 World Endurance Championship.

The race this weekend is a six hour race and the team will be hoping they do better than they did at the last race where an electrical glitch made the JRM car lose a whole 12 laps of running.

Here are the championship standings:

Drivers World Championship (17th-27th):
17=) Harold Primat (34.5 pts)
17=) Andrea Belicchi (34.5)
19=) Nick Leventis (33)
19=) Jonny Kane (33)
19=) Danny Watts (33)
22=) Peter Dumbreck (30.5)
22=) David Brabham (30.5)
22=) Karun Chandhok (30.5)
25) Stéphane Sarrazin (25.5)
26=) Pierre Kaffer (25)
26=) Luís Pérez Companc (25)

LMP1 trophy standings:
1) Rebellion Racing (137 pts)
2) Strakka Racing (93)
3) JRM (87)
4) Pescarolo Team (25)
5) OAK Racing (8)

Formula Two
It's the final race of the season this weekend at Monza. Parthiva Sureshwaren missed the last three rounds of the championship (reason: unknown, but we guess sponsor issues) and so it is expected he won't take part this weekend either, however this is unconfirmed.

If he does take part, he'll be aiming to score his first points of the season. It's as simple as that really; one round, two races, two chances to score points.

Formula Renault 3.5
Luck has not been on Jules Bianchi's side this season, yet he still finds himself in contention for the FR3.5 title, i think that shows just how much quality Jules possesses.

The series races this weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard, France. The aim for Jules at this stage of the season has to be wins, it's a crucial weekend for Sahara Force India's reserve driver, here's why:

Drivers' Championship (1st-3rd):
1) Robin Frijns (166 pts)
2) Jules Bianchi (142)
3) Sam Bird (139)

There are four races to go which means 100 points up for grabs; 50 of those points can be scored this weekend. The gap between Robin & Jules is 24 points. If the gap between Robin and the rest, after this weekend, is more than 50 points - Robin takes the title. Therefore it's pretty imperative that Jules out-scores Robin. All this tension will surely make for a very exciting weekend in the championship!

Super One Championship
The SFI academy boys will finish their season this weekend at the Shenington Kart Racing Circuit, England. This season is all about development for Arjun Maini, Tarun Reddy & Jehan Daruvala. Don't forget, Indian nationals they are ineligible to score points in the series - this season is purely about honing their skills.

British GT Championship & GT1
It's the final race of both seasons this weekend but we (probably) won't have anybody in action. Sailesh Bolisetti was having a good season in the British GT Championship until his visa application to attend one of the races was rejected, ruining his title chances. He has since decided to save his money for next season.

In GT1, Armaan Ebrahim joined halfway through the season and took part in one race (and did well). He was due to continue until the end of the season, but when the race at the Buddh International Circuit got dropped, so did Armaan. He will probably remain dropped for this weekend, but this is unconfirmed.

We'll have regular updates this weekend on how everybody is doing, make sure you check back for that.

25/09/2012

Singapore GP, Marina Bay Circuit- Lights on, action begins


The start to the race wasn’t a great one and till the middle of the race, it was a bit on the downside but the SC’s brought some charm to racing and suddenly we were seeing drivers getting aggressive for places. With Hamilton’s retirement, it was a clear road for Vettel to take his only second win of the season with Button ending in P2 & Alonso once again on podium with P3. SFI’s Di Resta finished a career best P4 & Hulkenberg ended P14. Karthikeyan suffered a DNF which brought the SC.


Detailed review of the weekend, here:



Practice Sessions, FP1:


Not very surprisingly, the track was damp due to rain before the session. But that didn’t affect the teams running as they did many laps in the improving track. Vettel stamped his authority topping the times in daylight session of Singapore. Hamilton ended P2, very close to Vettel while Button completed the top 3. SFI enjoyed a good outing as Hulkenberg ended P7 & Di Resta at P8. The sector times were looking good as well as Hulkenberg topped the speed trap. Karthikeyan was once again replaced by Ma, perhaps it is contractual off from Narain.


FP2:


I was watching this session live on TV, the track looked spectacular. The session was all dry and an important one because it was the first session under lights. Vettel continued his top form and finished P1 with Button at P2 & Alonso P3. SFI continued their impressive form as Di Resta ended P6 & Hulkenberg P7 who once again topped in speed trap. And once again, they were good in the sector times. Both were happy with the performances and hoped that it will continue into Friday. Karthikeyan was back and looked good straightaway as he almost matched his teammate, ended P24. The HRT car was suffering from overheating a bit.


FP3:


A daylight session, will say it looked a bit odd on TV. But things were intense in the session as the team went on with the soft & super soft tyres run. And Vettel made it 3 in a row with ending at P1, Hamilton ended at P2 while Alonso P3. FI were clearly looking the best of the rest as Hulkenberg ended P4 & Di Resta P7, pretty impressive sector times and well in place to qualify well. Karthikeyan improved a lot as well ending P22 beating Glock & Pedro.

The practice session gave us the indication that it was all between Vettel & Hamilton for pole battle. Ferrari, Lotus were bit off the pace while Force India looked very quick and good to get both drivers in Q3. Karthikeyan even after missing FP1, was looking good to beat Pedro for second time. The car had upgrades which they said was working well.


Qualifying, Q1:


Lights were on for the qualifying session and the first session was underway with usual suspects to bow out along with one mid-field driver. And it happened that way, Caterham, Marussia & HRT bowed out along with them, Kobayashi missed out. Grosjean ended P1, Di Resta P2 & Kimi P3. Both the SFI car made it safely in Q2. Karthikeyan was super in the HRT as he beat his teammate Pedro for the second consecutive time.


Q2:


This was an intense session as we had some 12-13 cars eyeing for the top 10 positions. Apart from the likes of Vettel, Hanilton, Button everyone used super soft tyres. Hamilton ended P1, Webber P2 & Grosjean P3 in the session. Di Resta made it safely to Q3 but it was unfortunate that Hulk missed out and ended Q3, just fell short by 0.032s. He was a bit disappointed post the session, the car had the pace. He said that he just didn’t get a good lap and thus fell short.


Q3:


Everybody went out straight to the track apart from Alonso & the Mercedes duo. McLaren & Vettel had already saved a tyre and so they could have gambled a bit. I am happy to see SFI going for two runs, going for aggressive strategy. Hamilton in the end got the pole though he couldn’t get a clear lap, still managed to set an amazing time. Vettel faltered as Maldonado took P2 pushing Vettel to P3. Di Resta ended a superb P6 having done his best lap when mattered. The Mercedes duo didn’t run at all.


The qualifying battle for pole was known and Hamilton richly deserved it. Only surprising factor was Maldonado in there, he was quick all weekend but on the give time he was spot on. I was very happy with SFI as Di Resta made the most of the pace. It was unfortunate for Hulkenberg but the pace was such that it was certain he could finish in points. Karthikeyan has improved his qualifying pace and that’s good for the Indian as he looks to cement his 2013 seat.


Raceday:


Lights were on for the action to begin, a spectacle & a treat for the viewers at home and at the GP with the amazing lights. The front row was unusual as Maldonado was alongside Hamilton, some eyebrows was raised for a clean start. I for one predicted that it will be a clean start and that what happened. Hamilton took the early lead with Maldonado being pushed down by Button & Vettel. Di Resta stayed where he was but Hulkenberg lost a place to Kimi. Karthikeyan made a steady start getting ahead of the Caterham but lost a place to his teammate Pedro.


It all went silent until Hamilton’s retirement & the first SC. On lap 22, Hamilton car stopped due to gearbox failure which gave Vettel the lead. Behind them everything remained the same as it started as Hulkenberg, Perez making some grounds using the soft tyres. Webber was struggling while Massa was charging up the field with a superb move over Senna. The second SC disrupted the proceedings and slowed down the things but teams were quite aggressive post the SC period.


Di Resta after making a steady start was always behind the car of Alonso, a bit far but pace wise at similar level. Though the SC didn’t disrupt his strategy but he lost a place to Alonso in the pit stop. He was lapping on similar pace to that of Alonso and better to that of people behind him, giving him a considerable amount of gap from P5. Hulkenberg was having a wild ride as he battled with Kimi & Schumi at the start and then with Webber & the Sauber duo. The SC threw his strategy back as he lost all the momentum. And a late tangle with Perez & Kamui, forced him to go for a 3rd pit stop.


By the end Vettel had pushed enough to create a considerable amount of gap to Button and win comfortably. His second win of the season taking him a bit closer to Alonso’s tally. Button ended P2 far off from Alonso who completed yet another podium finish. Di Resta was superb in the last stint as he finished P4, could have challenged Alonso but didn’t have the extra pace but still well deserved P4, his career best finish. Hulkenberg could have scored easily but SC disruptions and tangle with Suaber driver pushed him back. Only boon was that he got his fastest lap of the race and second one for the team. Karthikeyan unfortunately suffered a DNF who brought out the first SC. He went over the marbles and the braked didn’t work as he hit the barrier. He looked good in qualifying but luck didn’t go with him in the race.


The championship battle is still open Alonso leading from Vettel & Kimi. While Red Bull looks firm in CC but McLaren is pushing them hard. SFI has gained lot of points as they have crossed their 2011 points tally which is significant for a small team. They now sit 26 points behind Sauber, a gettable points but it will go down the wire. Both Di Resta & Hulkenberg also have crossed their 2011 & 2010 points which is good for them. Next up is Suzuka in two weeks time, another driver favourite track and loved by most. till then have a safe time.


24/09/2012

Golden age of young drivers?

Formula Renault 2.0
The last time we updated you, Shahaan Engineer had just had the following results at the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands:

Qualifying One Result: Engineer 2nd (1:37.778).
Qualifying Two Result: Engineer 1st (1:36.611).

There were three races this weekend, these are the results:

Race One Result: Engineer 6th (15 points).
Race Two Result: Engineer 2nd (24 points).
Race Three Result: Engineer 2nd (24 points).

What a cracking weekend for the 17-year old Indian! He's the youngest driver in the series, yet he was able to score more points than anyone during this round - very impressive stuff.

(Shahaan with his 2nd place trophy after race two)


(Shahaan (left) on the podium after race three)

Shahaan started the season as a top ten runner but then he had a lot of bad luck. As a result he began finishing further into the midfield halfway during the season. However as we're now getting towards the end of the season, Shahaan really seems to have upped his game. Considering his lack of experience in comparison to other drivers in the series, these podiums are incredibly impressive. Perhaps Shahaan has the potential to be India's next racing star?

There are two races to go at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. It's going to be absolutely fascinating to see if Shahaan can maintain his current, impressive pace.

Drivers' championship (5th-9th):
5) Steijn Schothorst (195 pts)
6) Shahaan Engineer (180)
7) Kevin Kleveros (180)
8) Stoffel Vandoorne (176)
9) Gabriel Casagrande (162)

Shahaan managed to jump from 11th to 6th this weekend, great stuff!

Formula Pilota China
The series wasn't in action this weekend, but we now received the results in full from last weekend (Guangdong, China):

Race One Result: Ghorpade 1st (20 points), Bharath DNF.
Race Two Result: Bharath 3rd (24 points), Ghorpade 8th (1 point).
Race Three Result: Ghorpade 1st (21 points), Bharath 6th (6 points).

Again, a cracking weekend for Indian drivers. In fact, we had an Indian on the podium in each race!

(Parth Ghorpade celebrating his two wins in Guangdong)

Championship standings:

Drivers' championship (1st-8th):
1) Antonio Giovinazzi (138 pts)
2) Dan Wells (118)
3) Parth Ghorpade (110)
4) Sean Gelael (92)
5) Ren Nagabuchi (91)
6) Shota Kiyohara (74)
7) Raj Bharath (58)
8) Yin Hai Tao (36)

Best Asian driver trophy (1st-5th):
1) Parth Ghorpade (135)
2) Sean Gelael (131)
3) Ren Nagabuchi (116)
4) Raj Bharath (88)
5) Shota Kiyohara (79)

Teams' championship (3rd-5th):
3) KCMG (138 pts)
4) Meco Motorsport (50)
5) Asia Racing Team (22)

Fantastic positions for Parth Ghorpade in the championship, 1st in the Asian trophy, 3rd overall. Raj is also doing quite well too for his constantly-improving level of development.

Parth really does have a shot of the title though, which is awesome! Just to give you some idea of what this means; last season Swiss driver, Mathéo Tuscher, won the title. This season, Mathéo entered Formula Two (despite only being 15-years old) and he's 2nd in the championship, with two races to go - he could still win the title. This shows that you need to be talented to win the Formula Pilota China title. Is Parth Ghorpade India's next racing star?

As for the teams' championship, Parth drives for Eurasia Motorsport who are leading. We just highlighted Meco Motorsport as they are the Indian team, they gave Raj his drive.

Final Word
These results are very promising for the future, will Shahaan & Parth become the new Narain & Karun? Only time will tell!

23/09/2012

Singapore GP - Sunday Analysis

Race Result: di Resta 4th (12 points), Hulkenberg 14th, Karthikeyan DNF.

It was a cracking race for Sahara Force India, an absolutely flawless drive from Paul di Resta saw the team take 12 points this weekend.

Paul started in 6th place and got a great start, overtaking Fernando Alonso into 5th. Unfortunately the Ferrari driver got back past pretty quickly. For most of the race, Paul remained in 6th, with Webber in close company. Di Resta's pace was good however and he was slowly pulling away from those behind. The Scottish driver ended up benefiting from retirements to Hamilton (gearbox) & the impressive Maldonado (hydraulics).

I should say here that in my Saturday analysis i said that i didn't think Pastor Maldonado would be able to retain front running pace over a race distance - actually, i was wrong. He was doing a great job until his retirement, SFI got a little lucky with that one. However don't take anything away from Paul - he didn't put a foot wrong and maintained his concentration in the heat to secure his best finish in Formula One.

Nico Hulkenberg opted to start on the soft tyres, against what most others were trying. It was pretty clear Nico was attempting a two-stop strategy which, on paper, was quicker. With him starting P11, it was probably the right thing to try. The German got a decent start, just losing one place to be P12 after the opening lap. Surprisingly, he managed to show great pace and keep up with those ahead of him on the super-soft tyres.

Nico was looking like he'd finish in the points early-on, and the first safety car saw him up in P5! However a second safety car, almost straight away, really ruined Nico's race - from that moment, points weren't really possible. He had a good battle with Webber & the two Sauber drivers in the latter stages, actually making contact with the two Sauber drivers too! The incident with Perez was just a racing incident, no fault anywhere. As for the incident with Kobayashi; in my opinion Nico probably should have given Kamui a little more room. It wasn't a major error from Nico though so no penalty was required. Both Kamui & Nico had to pit for a third time after this incident ...

... both drivers came out on the super-soft tyres. This allowed Nico to set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:51.033. Kobayashi did the second fastest lap, a 1:51.690. This means that Nico did the fastest lap by a huge margin of 0.657 seconds! That's very impressive. However, when it later emerged that Nico did that lap on a used set of super-soft tyres - that's absolutely mind blowing! I don't posses the vocabulary to convey just how impressive that is ... 0.657 seconds up on used tyres; the most impressive thing i've seen all season. Just wow!

So let's see how the points scored today effects the championship:

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (136 pts) (+10)
6) Sauber (101) (+1)
7) Force India (75) (+12)
8) Williams (54) (+0)
Note: numbers in green represent the points scored this weekend.

For P5:
Pre-Singapore: an average of 9 points more than Mercedes needed each race.
Post-Singapore: an average of 10.17 points more than Mercedes needed each race.

For P6:
Pre-Singapore: an average of 5.29 points more than Sauber needed each race.
Post-Singapore: an average of 4.33 points more than Sauber needed each race.

Without a lot of luck, P5 looks impossible now. However P6 now seems realistic, it just goes to show how much one weekend can change things. I stick with what i said pre-Singapore though, the team really need Perez to have poor races for the remainder of the season, because when he finds the sweet spot with the tyres, he has the ability to push for wins/podiums.

It was an encouraging race for Sahara Force India though, good pace and a good result to match! The last word on the team for today is: look who was spotted sitting at the back of the garage post-race.

(Karun Chandhok's father/FMSCI president, Vicky Chandhok, at Sahara Force India post-race)

Note: this DOES NOT mean Karun will be driving for Force India next season!

Narain Karthikeyan lost out to his teammate, Pedro de la Rosa, at the start of the race. But the Indian found himself 22nd after incidents to other cars. Unfortunately he didn't have the best first stint and slowly began to slip away from Pedro. Narain Karthikeyan would eventually retire from the race, and cause a safety car, when he slid into the barriers. Initially it looked like a driver error, but actually an overheating problem that caused a "long break pedal" which meant that the Indian simply couldn't stop - an accident which was entirely not his fault.

On reflection, Narain will be happy. He showed good pace this weekend and did a stunning qualifying lap on Saturday. Let's see if he can make it three out of three (beating Pedro in qualifying) at the next race in Japan.

(Narain and Pedro in deep discussion post-race)

Singapore GP - Race Results

Results: di Resta 4th (12 points), Hulkenberg 14th, Karthikeyan DNF.

A great day for Sahara Force India!

Paul di Resta drove a flawless race and took advantage of problems to other cars (Hamilton & Maldonado) to finish in 4th place, his best ever finish in Formula One! That's 12 points in the bag for SFI - fantastic effort!

Meanwhile Nico Hulkenberg had great pace all the way through the race but the German driver had no luck today. He had small collisions with both Sauber's (Perez & Kobayashi) and that took away any chance of points.

At the other end of the grid, Narain Karthikeyan had a poor first stint to the race. He tried to push in the second stint to make up for the time lost, but he pushed a little too much and crashed into the barriers. An unfortunate incident for the Indian.

Full analysis later!

Singapore GP - Saturday Analysis

FP3 Results: Hulkenberg 4th (1:48.859), di Resta 7th (1:49.684), Karthikeyan 22nd (1:54.421).
Qualifying Results: di Resta 6th (1:47.241), Hulkenberg 11th (1:47.975), Karthikeyan 23rd (1:52.372).

Although 6th & 11th are good positions, i just can't help but feel a little disappointed that both cars didn't make Q3. Nevertheless, the team are in a good position for tomorrow - that's what we should focus on.

Paul di Resta did a good lap in qualifying, in fact, it was his best lap of the entire weekend! He was only 0.025 seconds behind Alonso who secured 5th place. Let's just take a second to digest that, only 0.025 seconds behind a Ferrari; we've come an awful long way since 2008!

Meanwhile Nico Hulkenberg pushed very hard, but just missed out on Q3 by a mere 0.032 seconds. It's P11 for the German driver. The good thing about this position is that he has free choice of tyres for the race. Additionally, he saved some tyre life by not having to set a lap in Q3.

Tyre wear will be crucial tomorrow. My guess would be that most teams will opt for a three-stop strategy. However if someone is feeling brave they may try a two-stop. Our main rivals, Sauber, will probably try a two-stopper. Thankfully for Sahara Force India, Sauber have looked poor in terms of race pace through all the practice sessions. Williams have looked similarly slow, although Pastor Maldonado was able to do a cracking quali lap to take P2 on the grid. I'm not worried about this though. Pastor is a bit of street-circuit specialist but their car simply doesn't appear to have the baseline pace. While Pastor may be able to do something special over one lap, can he do it consistently over a race distance? I doubt it. I'm predicting our cars to finish ahead of him.

It's going to be an exciting race for sure - let's hope both drivers can stay out of trouble and bring the cars home for a double points finish, that's the aim tomorrow.

At the back of the grid, Narain Karthikeyan did a wonderful lap in qualifying to beat teammate Pedro de la Rosa for the second time in two races. Narain described it as "an almost perfect lap", he was nearly a whole second quicker than his Spanish teammate! Can Narain stay ahead over 61 laps? It's definitely possible! You never know, Narain may bag points here if there are alot of problems further up the field :-)

Post-Saturday quotes are here. Enjoy the race guys!

P.S The threat of rain in the race had abated; it shouldn't be an issue today.

22/09/2012

Singapore GP - Qualifying Results

Results: di Resta 6th (1:47.241), Hulkenberg 11th (1:47.975), Karthikeyan 23rd (1:52.372).

A decent session for Sahara Force India, but i am a little disappointed that both cars didn't make Q3.

Paul di Resta did a great job to secure 6th place though, the crucial question for him is how many sets of new super-soft tyres did he use? When we know, we'll let you know.

As for Nico Hulkenberg, he did a decent lap in Q2, ended up in P11, just 0.032 seconds behind Rosberg who snuck into the final part of qualifying. Actually, this could play into Nico's hands. He's the first man on the grid who can chose his tyres tomorrow. It may actually become P10, Mark Webber is under investigation for holding up Charles Pic in Q1 - we often see 5-place grid penalties for that.

Speaking of five-place grid penalties, Narain Karthikeyan's teammate, de la Rosa had one - but it didn't matter. Narain beat him for P23 anyway - by a whole second! That suggests de la Rosa had some problem, but take nothing away from Narain, he did a great lap and has out-qualified his teammate for the second time this season.

More analysis coming later :-)

What's happening this weekend? (2)

As promised, we need to properly preview Shahaan Engineer & Armaan Ebrahim who have races this weekend.

Formula Renault 2.0
There are three races this weekend taking place at the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands. After three solid races last time out in Most (Czech Republic) the championship looked like this:

Drivers' championship (10th-13th):
10) Andrea Pizzitola (126 pts)
11) Shahaan Engineer (117)
12) Sandy Stuvik (113)
13) Leopold Ringbom (108)

These standings only tell half the story though as with 30 points for a win, there is a potential 90 points on offer this weekend! So everything could completely change.

They are already underway and Zandvoort, here are the results so far:

FP1 Result: Engineer 6th (1:38.777).
FP2 Result: Engineer 6th (1:38.290).

So heading into qualifying, things were looking great for the young Indian - but, they got even better!

Qualifying One Result: Engineer 2nd (1:37.778).
Qualifying Two Result: Engineer 1st (1:36.611).

At the start of the season, Shahaan was a mid-grid driver. But he's really developed quickly and these results demonstrate that. Front row of the grid for races one & two - great effort!!

We'll let you know how he gets on later today! :-)

GT1
After maximising the cars' potential and scoring two points on his debut at the last race, Armaan Ebrahim was hoping for more of the same this weekend at the Nürburgring, Germany.

However, he doesn't appear to be racing this weekend. The Spanish team, Sunred, have opted to give the seat this weekend to Frenchman Laurent Groppi. Perhaps the deal with Armaan got nullified when the season finale, which was due to be held at the Buddh International Circuit, got dropped.

The Indian race was dropped due to the "economic slowdown in Europe" according to Askari Zaidi (vice-president of corporate communication at Jaypee Group).

A shame for Armaan, he'll now probably turn attention to working on a drive somewhere in 2013.

Singapore GP - Practice Three Results

Results: Hulkenberg 4th (1:48.859), di Resta 7th (1:49.684), Karthikeyan 22nd (1:54.421).

So, Sahara Force India - race pace is good, quali pace is good, chances of a decent result is good!

These positions are a little skewed as there was a red flag at the end of the session which meant not all cars could do a run on the faster super-soft tyres. Webber & Button probably would have put in a time quicker than Nico Hulkenberg.

I'm not entirely sure why Paul di Resta was around eight tenths slower than Nico. Paul did do personal best times in all three sectors which suggests the gap is down to either a cracking lap by Nico, or, more likely, Paul not pushing 100%.

Both VJM05's should really get into Q3 this weekend & with Sauber struggling we really need this to happen in order to maximise our advantage this weekend. No excuses this time.

Meanwhile Narain Karthikeyan finished 22nd ahead of Timo Glock who stopped on track & ahead of teammate Pedro de la Rosa. Narain was around half a second quicker than Pedro, but this could be down to tyres. I'm not sure if the HRT-pair used super-softs or not.

It is worth noting that Pedro has a 5-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, so Narain should out-qualify the Spanish driver for the second time in two races :-)

We wish Narain, Nico & Paul the very best of luck!

21/09/2012

Singapore GP - Friday Analysis

FP1 Results: Hulkenberg 7th (1:51.658), di Resta 8th (1:51.943).
FP2 Results: di Resta 6th (1:49.300), Hulkenberg 7th (1:49.339), Karthikeyan 24th (1:54.514).

Both cars inside the top eight in both sessions for Sahara Force India, that's pretty impressive so far. The big question is; was it genuine pace or was it because others were sandbagging?

FP1 was all about understanding the car and getting feedback on how the upgrades are working. The team are being pretty tight-lipped about the upgrades this weekend. However there have definitely been revisions to the front & rear wings. I also noticed some difference on the sidepods too, i can't seem to tell exactly what to be honest, something just looks different - i may be wrong though, perhaps my mind is playing tricks on me!

In FP2 the drivers started to push a little more and focused (mostly) on race pace. Sahara Force India appear to be best of the rest this weekend; behind McLaren, Red Bull & Alonso for pace, but ahead of the rest. However, we don't know the fuel loads - so it could just seem like we're quick ... but, from the on-board shots of our cars, it didn't look like we were on low fuel. The car seemed very sluggish on turn-in to corners and the VJM05 wasn't squirming around much on exit - that suggests a decent amount of fuel.

My guess is that we'll be slower than those mentioned above (McLaren, Red Bull & Alonso) plus slower than the Mercedes cars who appeared to be heavily sandbagging. Apart from these seven cars, the data seems to suggest we'll be next in the pecking order. The crucial thing from the SFI's point of view is that Sauber seem to be struggling terribly for speed - on pure pace it looks like it'll be their worst race of the season so far. However they might be able to pull off a two stop race when most will be doing three stops, so let's see how they do. We'll discuss strategy more when we have a confirmed grid, post-qualifying.

Both our drivers did a good job today though, no mistakes, and both remarkably consistent - i would be very surprised if they are not next to each other on the grid; that's how similar their pace seems to be this weekend.

Meanwhile, Narain Karthikeyan had similarly close pace to his teammate, Pedro de la Rosa, in FP2 (the Indian driver missed FP1 as reserve driver, Qing Hua Ma, got to driver the car). Narain was only 0.066 seconds behind in FP2 on both drivers quickest laps whereas on race pace, Narain was about 0.1 seconds behind per lap. Can Narain out-qualify Pedro for the second time in two races? It's certainly possible!

I'll leave you with the post-Friday quotes and information about the one thing that Narain did win today:

(Narain Karthikeyan had the honour of reaching the highest vertical distance today!)

Singapore GP - Practice Two Results

Results: di Resta 6th (1:49.300), Hulkenberg 7th (1:49.339), Karthikeyan 24th (1:54.514).

In the FP1 report i said that it seemed Nico Hulkenberg had a few tenths more pace than Paul di Resta this weekend; i was wrong. In actual fact, i've never seen our drivers be so close together. On their quick laps they were separated by 0.039 seconds - very close! What is more amazing though is that on their race pace simulations they were always separated by just 0.010 seconds or less ... incredible consistency.

There's a lot of data to mull over, we'll have analysis later today on their pace - but initially, it's looking pretty promising. It is clear that our rivals; Williams and particularly Sauber, are struggling.

Meanwhile Narain Karthikeyan was in 24th, but he too had a great battle with his teammate - just 0.066 seconds behind de la Rosa.

Analysis later.

Singapore GP - Practice One Results

Results: Hulkenberg 7th (1:51.658), di Resta 8th (1:51.943).

A good session for the Sahara Force India team. Work was focused on the upgrades brought to this race and the team had no real problems.

Although no drivers were lapping at their ultimate pace just yet, it does seem like Nico Hulkenberg has a few tenths on Paul di Resta this weekend; but only time will tell!

Meanwhile Narain Karthikeyan was replaced down at HRT by Qing Hua Ma. The Indian will be back in the car for FP2 though.

We'll have a post-FP2 update, make sure you come back to read that :-)

What's happening this weekend?

What's happening this weekend? Well, it's the start of a mad few weeks in motorsport. Three series in action this weekend and a massive six series in action next weekend. Not to mention that this weekend is the Singapore GP which marks the start of a hectic run of seven F1 races in just nine weeks.

Formula One
The championship situation heading into this weekend is as follows:

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (126 pts)
6) Sauber (100)
7) Force India (63)
8) Williams (54)

For P5:
SFI need: an average of 9 points more than Mercedes needed each race.

For P6:
SFI need: an average of 5.29 points more than Sauber needed each race.

The good news for the Indian team is that they do have a quicker car than Sauber - or at least they did in the last race. The only real difference between the two teams this season is Sergio Perez, he's very good on the Pirelli tyres and the current regulations suit him so well. This is reflected in the drivers' championship standings for the two teams:

Drivers championship (Sauber & Force India)
9) Perez (65 pts)
12) Kobayashi (35)
13) di Resta (32)
14) Hulkenberg (31)

In all honesty, to beat Sauber, the team need Sergio to do badly in races. If the Mexican performs to his best, he will get podiums and he will, sadly, help Sauber pull away from Sahara Force India. Nevertheless, SFI need to keep pushing with their car. If bad luck does befall Sergio then we MUST be there to take advantage.

(Nico Hulkenberg previewing the Singapore GP)

I'm expecting a bit of an unpredictable race this weekend. Tyre wear will be very crucial; teams need to do as fewer stops as possible because Singapore his the longest pit lane of any circuit currently on the F1 calendar. The track consists almost of constant turns which means it's a huge challenge in terms of driver fitness & also mechanical reliability, especially the breaks.

The main reason this race could be unpredictable though is because of F1's biggest fan; rain. Every season the Singapore GP has been held there has been a threat of rain - but it has never actually happened. However this weekend, it looks like we'll see the first ever wet, night race! As we've never had this situation before, we really don't know how the drivers will cope. Some people have said that the reflection of the floodlights on standing water may make it impossible for the drivers, causing a red flag.

Actually, as i am writing this (just under a few hours before FP1) a thunderstorm has hit the circuit:

(A thunderstorm in Singapore. Note: It looks dark because of the clouds, it's actually still daytime!).

Actually i guess this gives us some idea of how rain will affect things in the race, the Ferrari Challenge cars were on track when this storm hit a few moments ago - there have already been two hefty crashes! Speaking of crashes, safety car probability around this track is 100% (according to the stats anyhow). There has been at least one every time the race has been held - it could certainly mix things up! But back to the rain, this track dries very slowly so it is likely FP1 will be held in wet/damp conditions.

Let's give the final F1-word to Narain Karthikeyan. He had a promising weekend in last time out in Monza. Narain managed to out-qualify his Spanish teammate for the first time this season and he generally had good pace for the whole weekend. Let's hope he can do this again on the maximum downforce circuit of Singapore.

You can read preview quotes from the SFI drivers, SFI team principle: Vijay Mallya, Narain Karthikeyan & other F1 personnel here.

Elsewhere ...
Shahaan Engineer is in action in Formula Renault 2.0 (Zandvoort, Netherlands) & Armaan Ebrahim takes part in GT1 (Nürburgring, Germany). We'll have a preview on these series shortly.

Meanwhile, Karun Chandhok was having fun yesterday. He did a shakedown test in the championship-dominating Williams FW14B. This car won a massive ten races of out sixteen in 1992. Karun said he had "the honour of fulfilling a lifelong dream".

(The FW14B. Notice Karun's helmet in the background?)

I had the pleasure of getting up close to this car earlier in the year; Karun is right, it really was an honour!

(Me with the magnificent FW14B)

And with that, it's time for me to watch the GP2 practice session. We'll have an update post-FP1, check back for that! :-)

16/09/2012

Sunday Analysis

World Endurance Championship
Race: Chandhok 7th (in class), 9th (overall) (2 points), 4th in LMP1 trophy (12 points).

The team had promising pace all the way through the practice sessions, and it looked likely that they could be the top car in the LMP1 trophy this weekend. However, a left damper failure caused a slight drop off in laptime during qualifying, so the JRM Racing car started in 7th overall (4th in class).

It was Peter Dumbreck who started the race for JRM. He did a double stint in the car and when he gave control of the machine to David Brabham, the team were in 5th overall. Unfortunately, this is when things started to go wrong as the car slowed to a halt on track. David managed to reset the car systems and re-start the car, but by that time, the team had lost 12 laps. David finished his double stint and handed the car over to Karun in 12th place overall. Karun drove well and set some quick laptimes to finish 9th overall, 7th in LMP1 & 4th in the LMP1 trophy.

A good save from the JRM boys, but without the 12 laps lost (due to an electrical glitch) the team would have finished 4th/5th overall and 1st/2nd in the LMP1 trophy!

Karun Chandhok (JRM driver):
"The first hour I was in the car was good fun. I was out in the thick of it with lots of cars around me and we were quick so I was able to overtake and fight my way through. But then we reached a point where it was going to be hard to make up any more positions on track so we started to conserve fuel and try to get past with fewer stops. Overall it's been a promising weekend and while it's disappointing not to get the result to show it, there are still plenty of positives".

This is how things have changed in the championships:

Drivers World Championship (17th-27th):
The three JRM drivers finished P9 overall so they score two points.

17=) Harold Primat (34.5 pts)
17=) Andrea Belicchi (34.5)
19=) Nick Leventis (33)
19=) Jonny Kane (33)
19=) Danny Watts (33)
22=) Peter Dumbreck (30.5)
22=) David Brabham (30.5)
22=) Karun Chandhok (30.5)
25) Stéphane Sarrazin (25.5)
26=) Pierre Kaffer (25)
26=) Luís Pérez Companc (25)

LMP1 trophy standings:
Note: Although JRM were 7th in LMP1; the teams in 1st, 2nd & 3rd are manufacturers (Toyota & Audi) and therefore not part of the LMP1 trophy. This means JRM score 12 points for 4th place.

1) Rebellion Racing (137 pts)
2) Strakka Racing (93)
3) JRM (87)
4) Pescarolo Team (25)
5) OAK Racing (8)

There are three races to go, the next one being the 6 Hours of Bahrain at the Sakhir International Circuit on the 29th September.

Formula Renault 3.5
Race One: Bianchi 3rd (15 points).
Race Two: Bianchi 9th (2 points).

Jules did a decent job in qualifying for the first race; he would line up P3 after being just 0.086 seconds slower than pole sitter Robin Frijns. Sahara Force India's reserve driver had an uneventful race and would finish where he started - a podium position.

"The championship remains open, but Robin Frijns did another great job today. It's not going to be easy if he maintains this form. As for me, we were on the pace in qualifying but not during the race. I made a few mistakes as I couldn't keep up with the pace, and we'll need to do some work so that we can bounce back tomorrow".

Second race qualifying was poor for Jules. He set a very similar time to what he managed in qualifying one, but all his close rivals improved meaning the Frenchman would start P7. Another uneventful race for Jules, but it was clear he didn't quite have the pace of his rivals. He lost a few places during the race and finished in 9th place.

Drivers' Championship (1st-3rd):
1) Robin Frijns (166 pts)
2) Jules Bianchi (142)
3) Sam Bird (139)

That podium in race one helped Jules to leapfrog Sam Bird this weekend in the title battle. The three title contenders have four races to go; the next of which is at Paul Ricard, France on the 29th September.

Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup

Race One: Kothadiya DNF.
Race Two: Kothadiya 18th (6 points).

Not the best weekend for Oshan at the Oschersleben circuit in Germany. Things aren't looking brilliant in the championship either:

Drivers championship (19th-21st)
19) Kasten (71 pts)
20) Kothadiya (62)
21) Eisemann (60)

21st place is last by the way, so with just one race to go (at Hockenheim, Germany) Oshan really needs to try and outscore Eisemann and not finish bottom of the championship.

Formula Pilota China
News is awaited on both Parth Ghorpade & Raj Bharath. We'll post their results when they become available.

14/09/2012

Friday Analysis

We didn't do a preview article this weekend, but actually we have four series (five drivers) in action. Here's a brief rundown of how our drivers are getting on so far:

World Endurance Championship
Practice One: Chandhok 6th (in class & overall), 2nd in LMP1 trophy (1:26.440, +2.070 down on leader).
Practice Two: Chandhok 4th (in class & overall), 1st in LMP1 trophy (1:24.265, +0.993).
Practice Three: Chandhok 4th (in class & overall), 1st in LMP1 trophy (1:24.138, +1.373).
Qualifying: Chandhok 7th (in class & overall), 4th in LMP1 trophy (1:24.320, +1.957).

WEC is racing at the Interlagos track this weekend in Brazil; a six hour race. Promising practice sessions were met with a disappointing qualifying result. This was down to a front left damper failure which caused a slight drop off in laptime. Nevertheless, it is a long event and the problem will be fixed pre-race, so the team are looking in great shape!

Formula Renault 3.5
Test One: Bianchi 13th (1:52.266, +1.723 down on leader)
Test Two: Bianchi 1st (1:29.086)

The FR3.5 boys are racing at the Hungaroring circuit this weekend in Hungary. After a wet morning session, the afternoon session was dry and this really allowed Jules Bianchi to show his pace; he clocked the fastest time of the session. This is what the Frenchman had to say:

"I've just completed 350 laps of the Magny-Cours circuit in two different Formula One cars, so I have to properly readjust to being back behind the wheel of the Formula Renault 3.5, and adapt to the different power and aerodynamic behaviour. I wasn't really satisfied in the wet this morning, but we worked well in the second session and we have a very quick car this evening. The championship is very tight, and it's as if we're starting over from scratch".

Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup

Oshan Kothadiya will be racing this weekend at the Oschersleben circuit in Germany. We'll bring you updates when we have them.

Formula Pilota China
Parth Ghorpade & Raj Bharath continue their respective seasons this weekend at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China.

No results have been published as of yet, but Parth Ghorpade managed to grab 4th for race one & pole for race two - that's a wonderful effort!

News is awaited on Raj Bharath, when we have it, we'll let you know.

13/09/2012

Magny-Cours Test - Day Three Results

Results: Bianchi 1st (1:16.985), González 2nd (1:18.018).

Sahara Force India reserve driver & Ferrari Protégé Jules Bianchi made it a clean-sweep today as he topped the third and final day of testing in France.

He made his second appearance for Ferrari and completed a total of 136 laps.

(Jules Bianchi in his Ferrari kit)

Meanwhile, GP2 driver Rodolfo González got his first taste of an F1 car as he piloted the Force India VJM05. It was a tough start to the day for him because the track was wet in the morning. Controlling a Formula One car in the wet is tough at the best of times, but when you're a complete rookie, it's an even bigger challenge! Rodolfo made no major mistakes though, a good day for the Venezuelan.

(Rodolfo González preparing for his first outing in an F1 car)

You can read quotes from each day here (day one), here (day two) & here (day three).

Combined test times, Sahara Force India
1) Bianchi 1:16.467 (day two)
2) Bianchi 1:16.985 (day three)*
3) González 1:18.018 (day three)
4) Bianchi 1:18.070 (day one)*
5) Razia 1:18.535 (day one)

Note: * = for Ferrari.


They're not particularly relevant laptimes due to differing fuel loads, but we thought they'd make an interesting comparison.

Italian GP, Monza- After all, pace matters


For a change, it was dry weekend and deep inside everyone would have hoped for that. It was a good race, we were spared by the first lap incident. I had a gut feeling that it will be a clean start. Although we did see some good dramas in the race. Lewis Hamilton took the win from pole while Perez ended P2, was fierce on his second stint, stunted everybody in the paddock. And final spot was taken by Alonso. SFI’s Di Resta ended P8 & Hulkenberg suffered a DNF. And Karthikeyan ended at P19.

Detailed review of weekend below:


Practice Sessions, FP1:


Friday had a different view in Monza as it was bright and sunny. Fans must be happy but more so the teams & drivers would have been elated. We saw it by the number of laps they did, most running in high 20’s. Schumacher started off the weekend with P1 with Button at P2 & Rosberg P3. Bianchi sat in for Di Resta and he must have been happy to get a drive in dry conditions. Hulkenberg ended P12 and was P3 in S1 times while Bianchi P16. Karthikeyan once again sat out, this time for Ma. I will touch upon his possible contract scenario towards the end of the blog.



FP2:


The weather continued to be great in the second session and it was time for them to check the medium tyres, softer of the two compounds. The Mercedes powered guys were doing a great job but Ferrari bounced back to top 5. Hamilton ended P1 with Button at P2 and Alonso at P3. Di Resta was back and straightaway back to pace ending P7 & Hulkenberg ended at P8 improving in morning’s pace and once again ended P3 in S1 times. Both were just about 0.250s off Hamilton’s pace. Both drivers were happy at the end of the day with the pace & progress. Karthikeyan was back as well but his car faced some mechanical problems which limited his run a bit as he ended P24.



FP3:


Yet another beautiful day and teams geared up to push before qualifying after analysing and making changes to the cars after going through the Friday data. It was very close by the end of the session as Hamilton continued to be on top with Alonso at P2 by just 0.001s and Di Resta at P3, this time he set P3 time in S1. Hulkenberg ended at P9 while Karthikeyan beat his team mate to end at P23. But there was a bitter news that Di Resta was to get 5 place grid penalty due to unscheduled gearbox change.


It was nice to see dry practice sessions and teams making the post of. McLaren, Ferrari were looking class apart specially Hamilton & Alonso. Red Bulls were far off the pace as were Lotus. The SFI’s were looking top class and double Q3 was sure shot, maybe even top 5 finish. Karthikeyan was looking good to beat his team mate in qualifying for the first time.



Qualifying, Q1:


All set for the first session to begin after three good sessions in practice. What was looking to be a great qualifying for SFI suffered an early bolt as Hulkenberg’s car came to a stop as he started his flying lap with a fuel-pressure issue throwing him out of Q1 and ending him at P24. Di Resta made it easily to Q2 with a good pace. Alonso ended P1 with Hamilton at P2 & Button P3. The usual suspects bowed out with Hulkenberg. Karthikeyan ended P22 beating his team mate for the first time, his best qualifying performance yet. He was to start P21 after Pastor’s penalty.



Q2:


Teams wasted no time as cars came out quickly in Q2 to set their first timed lap. The troubles for Red Bull continued as he was the major name to be out in Q2 along with Williams, STR, one Sauber & one Lotus. Also, Kimi & Vettel just made it in the top 10. Alonso ended P1, Button P2 and Di Resta continued an impressive run to end P3, boy he was looking good to perhaps get top 3 position?



Q3:


The session started with both Ferrari heading out together, by mid of their flying lap we saw an unusual site as Massa used Alonso’s slipstream to get some extra speed and post a decent time. At that time we all thought it was a strategic move but only in the end we came to know that he had a car failure as he ended only P10. Hamilton took a well deserved pole position with Button at P2. Massa came out and pushed Di Resta down to take the P3 spot, his first qualifying podium since 2009. Di Resta ended a superb P4 but unfortunately will start at P9. That was some lap from him.



Qualifying was fair and square, the expected things happened at the top with McLaren taking pole and Red Bull struggling. But everything didn’t go right for SFI as Hulkenberg faced car troubles. Di Resta did an amazing job but it was shame he was pushed down, otherwise P4 start would have been better, but then car had pace. Karthikeyan was delighted after beating his team mate for the first time, he would have hoped to do the same in race to complete a good weekend for him.


Raceday:


A beautiful day at Monza, perfect weather for a dry race and hot too which would give a different setting to the race. Strategies would come in handy as teams would want to stretch the tyre life and go for one stop and others to go for normal two stops. Hamilton was starting pole looking for his first ever win at Monza with Button alongside him also looking for first win at Monza. Di Resta starting from P9 & Hulkenberg P24 while Karthikeyan from P21. I was expecting a clean start and that is what we got, Hamilton took a good lead but Button lost to Massa as he took P2. Alonso passed only Di Resta but made some quick progress in the following laps. Di Resta lost a place to Alonso while Hulkenberg made super progress to come at P17. Karthikeyan started off well passing the Marussia’s but he lost to them in few laps.


The opening stint from all the front runners was fairly good. Hamilton lead the pack and Button got his P2 back while Alonso & Vettel were battling hard for P4 position. Behind this pack, the field was fairly open as Webber, Schumacher, Kimi along with the mid-field drivers were fighting for the bottom 5 positions. Rosberg was the biggest loser in the pack as he dropped out of top 10. Here, Perez was looking dangerous with his one stop after the first round of pit stops. At the bottom of the field, Caterham, HRT & Marussia were among their own fight.


Di Resta’s first stint had gone from bad to worse as he lost lots of positions. He had a bit of tussle with Senna as well which didn’t help his tyres. It was strange but the pace he had during qualifying just wasn’t there as he struggled to match pace with others but he hung on. Hulkenberg on the other hand was charging up the field from behind, he was running in points as he opted for one stop strategy and stretching his hard tyres. His pace looked good, better from Di Resta’s as he was able to lap with the teams running in top 10. Karthikeyan on the other hand was not having a great day as he slipped behind his team mate after having a   damaged his car in the opening lap.


Things changed dramatically by the end of the race. Hamilton was comfortably in a good position to win the race even though Perez was hot on heels by the end of the race. Talking about Perez, he was just superb in his second stint on the mediums, Sauber yet again showing class in managing the tyres well. By mid race, he gained loads of momentum and was lapping faster than the top 5 drivers. After Vettel’s DNF and Alonso having given P3 by Massa, Perez was right behind Massa. He wasted no time and passed him remarkably and in just few laps he caught Alonso and did the unthinkable. He overtook Alonso in Ferrari’s home ground and ended a well deserved P2. Alonso came home at P3, we can argue that he was gifted P3 but he did well. The Mercedes duo with their 2 stop did well and got to top 10.


Di Resta ended P8, he looked better in the second stint and was lapping some good times. Though Webber & Vettel’s DNF helped him but he was there to take the opportunity. Hulkenberg was running P12 and was looking good to finish in points after RBR’s DNF but a brake problem halted his run and he suffered a DNF. Karthikeyan finished P19, didn’t looked very good after having a great Saturday but he was happy that he could finish the race after s disappointing DNF in Spa.


The championship is wide open, RBR were looking good to seal CC but McLaren are catching up while gap to Alonso is still a GP win but fight for P2 has intensified as Kimi moves up to P3 in DC. SFI took P7 from Williams in Spa and stretched a bit while Paul & Nico are fighting it out for P12 & P13 positions in DC. I mentioned about Karthikeyan possible contract negotiation, from what I am seeing it looks like he has got in terms with HRT that he would sit for as many FP1 they want but he will race in all or most of the GP’s this season. He has sat out of the majority of the FP1 session when HRT gave their reserve driver a chance. Any ways, the double header is over and we now look forward to Singapore in 2 weeks time, hope to watch the FP sessions LIVE on TV.


12/09/2012

Magny-Cours Test - Day Two Results

Results: Bianchi 1st (1:16.467).

Jules Bianchi once again topped the three team session at Magny-Cours - this time for Sahara Force India (after driving for Ferrari yesterday).

(Jules Bianchi back in the VJM05)

The Frenchman was 1.603 seconds quicker than in the Ferrari yesterday; it's pretty clear that he was not pushing fully yesterday - or he was on heavier fuel. Therefore the laptimes are incomparable.

Interestingly, the time set by Jules today (1:16.467) is only 0.018 slower than the pole time when F1 last raced around Magny-Cours in 2008. Kimi Raikkonen set that time back in 2008 (1:16.449).

Jules is back on Ferrari duty tomorrow and so Sahara Force India are giving Rodolfo González his first taste of F1 machinery. To learn more about Rodolfo, read the pre-test feature we did on him here.