02/09/2012

F1 Analysis

Race Results: Hulkenberg 4th (12 points), di Resta 10th (1 point), Karthikeyan DNF.

Well, it was quite a day, wasn't it?

(Nico Hulkenberg crossing the line to take P4 as team personnel celebrate, click to enlarge)

I'm left in two minds after this result; delight at the amount of points Sahara Force India scored (and the lack of points that our rivals scored) and disappointment that we didn't get to see the Sauber quali pace vs Sahara Force India race pace battle unfold.

Both Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg took the inside line into turn one on the opening lap, and avoided the chaos caused by Grosjean. When the safety car came out, the two VJM05's found themselves in P3 & P4!

What should be noted here is that 30 minutes before the race, di Resta's KERS package failed. It takes around an hour to replace it, so that wasn't possible unfortunately. This meant that Paul had to carry the extra weight of KERS with no benefit (KERS provides around 0.5s per lap on this circuit). This explains why he was so slow and fell back in comparison to Nico. Nevertheless, 10th place is a fantastic save from him given the circumstances.

Nico drove brilliantly though, didn't really put a foot wrong for the whole race - 4th place, a deserved 4th place, a deserved 12 points!

One thing that bugs me is that some fans are saying it was all luck. True, we were lucky with the accident, but we may have finished in that position without the accident too. Don't forget Nico managed to pass Raikkonen early on with pure pace. Raikkonen did get back past through the pit stops, but Nico kept with him, finishing just 2.5s behind the Finnish driver.

In my weekend preview i said that after this race we'd get an insight into how the rest of the season will play out ... well, i was wrong, to a certain extent anyway! We know we have similar race pace to Lotus; that's encouraging. However we didn't really get to see the pace of our close rivals Sauber & Williams. We'll have to wait until next weekend to make any firm conclusions/predictions.

This is how things have changed in the constructors championship:

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (112 pts) (+6)
6) Sauber (80) (+0)
7) Force India (59) (+13)
8) Williams (53) (+0)
Note: numbers in green represent the points scored this weekend.

Gaining one position in the title battle & two rival teams not scoring; that's a pretty good weekend!

Here are the average points needed to secure P5 and P6 in the championship:
For P5:
Pre-Belgium: an average of 6.66 points more than Mercedes needed each race.
Post-Belgium: an average of 6.625 points more than Mercedes needed each race.

For P6:
Pre-Belgium: an average of 3.77 points more than Sauber needed each race.
Post-Belgium: an average of 2.625 points more than Sauber needed each race.

Meanwhile in the drivers championship, it's all change!

Nico Hulkenberg has jumped up from 16th to 13th whereas Paul di Resta has dropped from 13th to 15th; despite the point he scored today. I do feel sorry for Paul today after his KERS failure; P5 could have been his in the race, a great shame for him - but he'll be back stronger in Monza.

This is what the drivers had to say:

Nico Hulkenberg (Sahara Force India driver):
"I'm delighted with the result today - my best finish in Formula One. It's a result that the whole team has worked hard for and I want to say a huge thank you to all the guys because everything went perfectly today. The start was eventful, but fortunately I avoided all the debris and was able to take advantage of the situation. I was up a high as second and for a while I was even thinking we could finish on the podium. But the race was tough; I had some great fights with Kimi and Michael, and I was always on the limit. For us it was clear that we had to stop twice and we made the strategy work. So I've got a big smile on my face today because it's just the result we needed for our fight in the championship".

Paul di Resta (Sahara Force India driver):
"A tough race for me largely due to the KERS failure on the car just before the race, which really hurt my performance and speed on the straights. I couldn't really attack or defend, which is a shame because I was up to fourth place at the start, but we couldn't capitalise on it. I kept battling and tried my best to come away with the final point, but so much more was possible today".

Vijay Mallya (Sahara Force India team principle):
"Spa usually delivers drama and great racing, and today's Grand Prix was full of both. Nico drove a brilliant race to finish fourth on a day when it was important to capitalise on the first lap incident that befell some of our competitors. He stayed out of trouble and ran as high as second after the safety car and showed strong pace with a perfect two-stop strategy. We've been waiting for a result like this for a while and it's a great reward for Nico and the entire team. We could have scored even more points had Paul's race not been compromised by the KERS failure, and he did well to pick up a point today. The result is important for our fight in the constructors' championship because we have now moved ahead of Williams. We will try and carry this momentum into Monza next weekend".

Meanwhile, Narain Karthikeyan was having a good race for HRT, up as high as P14 at one point after the opening lap melee. Unfortunately for the Indian, on lap 24, he slid off the track and went straight into the barriers. At first it looked like a mistake as the rear left wheel touched the grass which caused the slide. However it was not a driver error as first thought! The problem was that at the second pit-stop. The front left tyre was cross threaded. This means that it wasn't fully tight and it simply came completely loose on the turn-in to T13 causing a hefty impact for Narain. Thankfully he was okay; this is what he said:

Narain Karthikeyan (HRT driver):
"I got off to a very good start and the car was fantastic throughout the first stint, enabling me to keep up a good battle with Pic. But after the second pitstop I had some issues with the suspension and spun off track. It's a shame because I was having a good race ahead of a Caterham, but I'm happy with our performance and I hope to continue with this level in Monza next week".

A difficult weekend for Narain overall. A poor qualifying due to traffic and then a poor race due to the tyre issue. The positive thing is that on the limited occasions when the car was working well during the weekend, Narain was beating teammate de la Rosa - that's promising heading to Italy next weekend! :-)

2 comments:

  1. do u knw wer to find the telemetry hamilton posted?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. here you go: http://cdn-1.motorsport.com/static/img/ugl/1400000/1450000/1453000/1453700/1453771/s1_1.jpg :-)

      Delete

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