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Classic F1 Races – 2002 Austrian Grand Prix

Above Image: Ferrari’s enforcement of team orders resulted in one of Formula One’s most infamous moments

Image Source: © Danny Briggs via Wikipedia

The 2002 season saw Michael Schumacher’s supremacy at Ferrari continue, blowing away the competition by finishing every race on the podium and setting a then-record of 11 wins. However, thanks to team orders, one of those wins was severely reputed as team-mate Rubens Barrichello gave way in controversial and infamous circumstances.

Barrichello had dominated most of the practice sessions and unsurprisingly took pole position, more than sixth tenths faster than Michael Schumacher, who was third behind his brother Ralf in second. Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth in the sister Williams-BMW, with Nick Heidfeld fifth for Sauber-Petronas and the McLaren-Mercedes of Kimi Rӓikkӧnen alongside him in sixth.

The opening two laps contained a lot of action across the field. At the start, both Williams’ were sluggish off the line, allowing Michael to take second and Heidfeld pass Ralf around the outside of Turn 1 for third. Jenson Button (Renault) also had a great start, gaining four positions to move into ninth. Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas) went wide at Turn 1 and caused damage to his suspension which would in his retirement on Lap 7.

At Turn 2, Jacques Villeneuve (BAR-Honda) loses the rear of the car under braking and bumps into Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Arrows-Asiatech) in the process, forcing the German wide and ruining a good chance to score points having started 11th. Frentzen’s team-mate Enrique Bernoldi was forced to retire after Lap 2 due to a collision, Pedro de la Rosa (Jaguar-Cosworth) failed to complete a single lap because of a throttle linkage issue and Kimi Rӓikkӧnen’s engine blew up on Lap 6.

Back at the front, the Ferrari’s were galloping away and had pull a gap of 14.2 seconds to Ralf Schumacher in third after Heidfeld had dropped to fifth after running wide. As the two drivers traded fastest laps, Villeneuve was on a charge, passing Jarno Trulli (Renault) and Alan McNish (Toyota) in quick succession before overtaking Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan-Honda) at Turn 1 for ninth on Lap 8. Six laps later, Michael sets the fastest lap of 1:09.914 as he and leader Barrichello approach the backmarkers. Villeneuve continued to demonstrate signs of his former self, passing Button at Turn 3 before doing the same to Mika Salo (Toyota) for seventh at Turn 1. This time though, he must defend on the climb into Turn 2, but the former champion holds position.

On Lap 22, team-mate Olivier Panis spins on the pit straight after his Honda engine is set alight and deceases. Although the Frenchman avoids contacting the wall, the Safety Car is deployed and the first round of pit stops are made. Ferrari have no choice but to stack their cars and Michael concedes second place to Ralf. Villeneuve also pits and drops to 12th. The race restarted on Lap 28, and Heidfeld pulls alongside David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes) to attempt an overtake at Turn 2. Like Villeneuve on the opening lap, he loses the rear of the car under braking but unlikely the Canadian, he spins and crashes into the lapped car of Takuma Sato (Jordan-Honda) and narrowly avoids Montoya’s as well.

2002 Austrian GP - Crash.jpg

Despite the heavy impact involved with the crash, both Nick Heidfeld and Takuma Sato escaped without major injuries.

Source: Reddit

Thankfully, both drivers are well and are taken to the medical centre for check-ups. Team Principal Eddie Jordan talked to pit lane reporter Peter Windsor about what he was told by Professor Sid Watkins: “Prof said it was a miracle, and he should know he was there. There’s not much, you know he is obviously concussed and it was a huge accident. But thankfully, someone up there likes him and he is okay”. Many drivers decided to pit, but Williams keep their cars out on track, as Villeneuve serves a drive through penalty for his first lap incident with former team-mate Frentzen.

The race resumes on Lap 37 and Eddie Irvine (Jaguar-Cosworth) pulls into the pits to retire shortly after with a hydraulics problem. Having regained several places behind the safety car, Villeneuve continue his assault on securing BAR’s first points finish of the season, overtaking Coulthard fifth at Turn 3 on Lap 40. Four laps later, the engines of Trulli and Alex Yoong (Minardi-Asiatech) expire simultaneously at different parts of the track, whilst Minardi’s Mark Webber receives a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags.

On Lap 47, Ralf pits from second for a full service and re-joins in fifth, just ahead Fisichella. Now in clean air, Montoya put the hammer down to pull a big enough gap to his team-mate ahead of his stop, which he does on Lap 51, and maintains position. A lap later, Villeneuve also pits, and exits in eighth behind Button. Nevertheless, the fifth and sixth placed cars of Fisichella and Coulthard are within three seconds of the Canadian.

Once again, the Ferrari’s trade fastest laps before making their final stops. Barrichello sets a 1:09.320 before pitting with a gap of 4 seconds. Michael stops a lap later and the Brazilian reclaims first place. Yet, Michael continues to push setting a 1:09.298 to close the gap to 2.5 seconds as Jean Todt and Ross Brawn communicate with each other on the pit wall, sparking fear that team orders will be issued. These fears were unfortunately realised when Barrichello slowed significantly to allow Michael passed after the final corner and take the chequered flag. This understandably angered the crowd, who booed the driver as they made their way to the podium.

In the post-race conference, Barrichello was asked if he found it difficult to let Michael by: “I think I had the experience actually, so it wasn’t. I’m not joking and that is something that I’ve been asked. I’ve said nothing and just think of it as a team decision. I’ve just signed a two-year contract with them and I thought I should have respect”

He added: “Well, I mean it’s…I’m going through a period of a very good time in my life. I’m becoming a better person, a better driver so there is no point arguing. My determination will take me more wins and that’s the way I see it, so there is no point arguing its…you saw it. Michael giving me the trophy, I take it home today, but I’m happy for them”

Michael then explained his thoughts on what happened: “Yeah, very obvious, as Rubens pointed out it was a team decision last year. I was sort of involved in the situation because I felt the championship was much more tighter than it was this year. This year I didn’t even think about this and before the race I was asking, I said I don’t believe there’s going to be a team strategy…involved and suddenly they told me he’d move over and…yeah. I mean I’m not very pleased about it either. I think nobody, of us, is honestly happy and we have to look what is the team’s ambitions and the team’s ambition is to win the championship and you have to secure this because you never what is going to happen in the next races. Therefore, well, I have to thanks Rubens because he has done a fantastic race. He has been outstanding all weekend honestly, and this gesture, the way we have done it shows, how we say, the work we do together. The belief we have each other and the relationship to some degree because it’s not natural what he has been doing, the way he’s been doing it and I’m just thankful for him, the points, but I don’t take a lot of joy from the victory”

Michael continued: “In the end of the day, Ferrari itself, there is a top person of Ferrari, Mr. Montezemolo, who goes down to Mr. Todt and so on. Who is the person, I don’t know believe me. The team is investing a lot of money for one sort of target, and imagine in the end it would have been not enough by this amount of points, how stupid would we look? We have always had this philosophy and it is very known to everybody that this is our philosophy, it’s within the sport. Some people may like it, some don’t like it. As I said today, I felt a little bit sorry as well and I’m not really in favour of it but then, you never know what happens in the end, and I’m sure the way Rubens drove today he has a lot of opportunities to secure victories this year. I told him on the podium that the championship is soon finished so we go for real racing and I’m sure he is going to win loads of races”.

As the two Ferrari drivers talked amongst themselves, Montoya discussed the incident involving Heidfeld and Sato: “I really couldn’t see anything. I was turning in, I was on the inside of Sato and the Sauber came backwards right in front of me and saw a huge bang. And I was just really lucky there and that made my race as well. Because my strategy was to be on the hard tyres and we didn’t have the pace we needed to”.

Kymi Ring – Why Finland has Chosen MotoGP over Formula One

Above Image: In 2018, The Kymi Ring is scheduled to host Finland’s first Motorcycle Grand Prix since 1982.

Image Source: gpxtra.com

For countless years, there has been discussion as to why Finland hasn’t hosted a Formula One race, with the odd rumour being spread around from time to time. The country has produced three Formula One world champions over the years in Keke Rosberg (1982), Mika Hӓkkinen (1998-99) and Kimi Rӓikkӧnen (2007), in addition to race winners Heikki Kovalainen, and more recently, Valtteri Bottas.

The case has usually been that the Scandinavian’s haven’t had a suitable venue available for such an event. Next year though, the Kymi Ring, located 150km North-East of the capital city of Helsinki in the Kouvola region of the country will be hosting the Finnish Grand Prix, albeit in MotoGP. At first, it seems odd given Finland’s association with four wheels thanks to their multiple world champions in Formula One and the World Rally Championship.

However, they do have strong in links with motorcycle racing’s premier class. In addition to rider Niklas ‘Niki’ Ajo currently competing in Moto3, Finland strongest link comes in the form of the Ajo Motorsport team. Run by Aki Ajo, the team currently fields riders in each category, using the Red Bull KTM name in the MotoGP class, as well as Ajo managing the careers of current MotoGP riders Maverick Viñales and Jack Miller, both of whom claimed their debut wins last season. It’s no wonder why he touted as the most influential Finn in the paddock.

MotoGP has been the primary focus of the circuit’s organizers and for the foreseeable future, Formula One isn’t a viable option due to the high hosting fee involved. Speaking to Italian website Omnicourse, Kari O. Sohlberg from Finland’s national governing body for motorsport stated that despite this, he is open to other four-wheel series competing in the country.

“The track will certainly be approved for Formula 1, but a Grand Prix has never been in the plans. An F1 race is not a realistic goal, because the amount of money required every year is so great that it would not be possible to pay for the rights. This kind of money cannot be found today in Finland. Instead, MotoGP and Superbikes, and series such as GP2, GP3 and DTM fit perfectly with our plans.” The Kymi Ring currently holds a Grade A license with the FIM, but only Grade 2 rating with the FIA for four-wheel events, meaning it’ll need a Grade 1 upgrade before being considered for Formula One.

Finland has previously been hosted motorcycle Grand Prix at two venues, originally held on the Tampere street circuit in 1962 and 1963, before moving to Imatra the following year hosting the race until 1982 across two circuit configurations. The inclusion of the Finnish race is part of MotoGP’s current ‘expansion’ program, with Chile, Thailand and Indonesia announcing plans to join the calendar soon alongside the recent inclusions of Argentina and Austria.

F1 Classic Races – 1996 Monaco Grand Prix

Above Image: Olivier Panis celebrates victory at Monaco, a race which presented itself with a twist at very turn of the circuit.

Image Source: BBC Sport

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of Formula One’s Jewels in the Crown and is also part of Motorsport’s Triple Crown, alongside the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. One which challenges the bravest and most determined drivers, on a street circuit with minimal spots to overtake, with the possiblity of weather conditions changing in a heartbeat to turn the course of the race on its head. Those who succeed will receive the winners trophy from the Prince of Monaco; those who fail are left to wonder about what could have been. 

1996 was a year which had it all. Michael Schumacher produced a specatular lap, sliding his Ferrari around the tight street circuit to take pole position with a 1:20.356; 0.510 seconds ahead of his title rival Damon Hill in the Williams-Renault, marking the Scuderia’s first pole position at the principality since 1979. The German was favoured by many for the win, having won the previous two races for Benetton.

The Benetton-Renault duo made up row two, with Jean Alesi third and Gerhard Berger fourth, whilst David Coulthard managed a respectable fifth for McLaren-Mercedes, who were celebrating the team’s 30th anniversary of its Formula One debut. Rubens Barrichello rounds up the top six in the Jordan-Peugeot. In contrasting fortunes, Schumacher’s teammate Eddie Irvine was 1.186 seconds slower in seventh and the same time, Hill’s teammate Jacques Villeneuve could only manage tenth.

Michael Schumacher was unstoppable in qualifying, giving Ferrari’s first pole position at Monaco in 17 years.

Image Source: Eurosport

Damon Hill was looking to win at Monaco for the first time and emulate his father Graham Hill, who was famously dubbed ‘Mr Monaco’ for his five wins at the famed street circuit during the 1960’s. Speaking of his chances after qualifying, Damon stated: “It’s always a very difficult race to predict this one, and I know I am in with a shout and I’m on the front row”.

He added: “It’s always interesting to race with Michael, I mean I’ve got some pretty good guys behind me too, its a pretty packed grid there and it was incredibly close all (through) qualifying”.

After the warm up session, in which Olivier Panis (Ligier-Mugen-Honda) was quickest, a heavy downpour of rain hit the track, resulting in an additional 15 minute acclimatisation session as per the FIA regulations. 

The rainfall caused chaos due to the lack of grip, as demonstrated by Mika Häkkinen’s heavy crash at the exit of Tabac during the acclimatisation session.

Image Source: Eurosport

Unsurprisingly, the lap times were significantly slower and caused mayhem on track. Mika Häkkinen (McLaren-Mercedes) had set the fastest time of 1:54.332 but crashed heavily on the exit of the Tabac corner, while Alesi was second yet suffered a right rear puncture. Pedro Lamy (Minardi-Ford) locked up under braking for Mirabeau and went up the escape road. In addition to this, both Pedro Diniz (Ligier-Mugen-Honda) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Minardi-Ford) spun at the exit of the Anthony Noughes corner, whilst Panis and Andrea Montermini (Forti-Ford) did the same at the Nouvelle Chicane. Whilst Panis was able to continue, Montermini lost his front wing when making contact with the armco barriers and was unable to start from 22nd, as the Forti team didn’t have a spare car.

Interestingly, Irvine and Villeneuve opted to stay in the pits, believing it wasn’t worth the risk of damaging the car a hour before the race start. The Footwork-Hart’s of Jos Verstappen and Riccardo Rosset did the same, the reason being the team didn’t have enough spare parts for their cars available. 

At the start of the race, the track was beginning to dry out but still considerably wet, leading to all the team to put wet tyres on their cars. Hill manages to overtake Schumacher and lead into the Sainte Devote. Behind them, Fisichella and Verstappen crash out, whilst Schumacher does the same at the Portier, having run onto the kerbing, losing grip and sliding into the barrier. Lamy retires off camera, as does Barrichello spinning at La Rascasse. 

After two laps, Hill leads the Benetton’s of Alesi and Berger by six seconds, followed by Irvine, Heinz-Harald Frentzen’s Sauber-Ford and Coulthard, who is wearing Schumacher’s spare helmet due to issues with his own visor. Uyko Katayama (Tyrrell-Yamaha) is the next to fall victim to the slippery track surface, stopping at the exit of Tabac. Hill then sets the fastest lap of 1:49.608 has he effortlessly extends his advantage. Rosset then mirrors Barrichello’s spin at La Rascasse from 14th, rear ending the barrier and losing his Footwork’s rear wing and ends his day early.

Eight drivers retired within the first five laps of the race.

Image Source: BBC Sport

The next driver to retire is Diniz, who is halted at the Nouvelle Chicane with transmission failure on lap five. Fourth placed Irvine has a train of cars behind him, with Frentzen, Coulthard, Villeneuve, Mika Salo (Tyrrell-Yamaha), Johnny Herbert (Sauber-Ford), Häkkinen, Panis and Martin Brundle (Jordan-Peugeot) give chase. Back at the front, Hill continues to lay the rubber down and goes even faster with a 1:48.377 on lap nine.

At the end that lap, Berger pits from third for fuel, having begun to lose time on track to teammate Alesi. However, the Austrian cannot restart the car due to a gearbox problem and becomes the ninth retirement of the race. Speaking to Tony Jardine during a mid race interview, Berger discussed the conditions of the track: “It was a bit slippery but it was good. I could of gone a little bit quicker but Jean was approached and I didn’t want to take any risk. It was fine, everything was under control”.

Now in a tussle for third, Irvine, Frenzten and Coulthard begin to pull away from the chasing pack, all within two seconds of each other. Villeneuve was still in sight in sixh, closely followed by Salo and Herbert. Häkkinen and Panis were fighting for ninth, with Brundle close behind them and Luca Badoer (Forti-Ford) a long way behind in 12th and last. 

The train of cars trailing the Ferrari of Eddie Irvine at the Loews hairpin.

Image Source: BBC Sport

Hill, now leading Alesi by 19 seconds, sets a new fastest lap of 1:48.007 on lap 16 as he comes up to lap Badoer, who commentator Murray Walker aptly refers to as a “mobile chicane”. A lap later, Frentzen avoids hitting Irvine at the Swimming Pool chicane. Frenzten attempts an overtake around the outside of Sainte Devote but the Sauber’s front wing makes contact with the Ferrari’s rear wheel, causing the nose cone to collapse. Sauber are forced to pit their German driver for fresh wet tyres and a new nose cone, rejoining in 11th. 

After 20 laps Hill led Alesi, followed by Irvine, Coulthard, Villeneuve and Salo in the last points position in sixth, with Herbert and Panis within striking distance. Frentzen then sets the fastest lap of the race of 1:44.862, leading to him briefly trade fastest laps with Hill before Alesi sets a 1:43.144 on lap 23 and tries to close the gap.

Frentzen then pits for slick tyres, having been lapped by Hill, who pits for slick tyres himself and takes on fuel at the end of lap 28. Alesi inherites the lead and Hill drops to second. Irvine, Salo and Panis also pits for slick tyres, with teams realising how quickly the track is drying. Frentzen sets a 1:31.698, as Hill overtakes Alesi on the run up to Massenet for the lead. After all the cars have pitted, the top six is as follows: Hill, Alesi, Irvine, Panis, Coulthard, Herbert. Brundle, who was in seventh, rear ends his car into the armco barrier at Massenet, damaging one of his rear tyres and is the next driver to call it a day. 

Panis sets the fastest lap of 1:28.540 on lap 33, as he catches up to Irvine and they battle over third place. On lap 36, he lunges down the inside of the Lowes hairpin, and the two cars touch, causing Irvine to stop and touch the barrier. After restarting, the Ulsterman eventually continues and pits for a new nose cone. After initally stalling the car, the Ferrari mechanics restart the engine and Irvine rejoins a lap down in front of Panis, who is beginning to gain on Alesi. 

On lap 40, Hill suffers a cruel turn in luck, as his engine blows up in the tunnel having lead comfortably for most of the race. The Williams-Renault pulls into the escape road at the Nouvelle Chicane and joins the long list of retirements, the team’s first mechanical failure of the season.

Speaking about the failure, Hill said the following: “What had actually happened was the engine blew in the tunnel, and I came out of the tunnel with oil coming out of the back of the engine. I don’t know what caused the engine to fail, but I had a warning light come on about a lap before that, so I knew there was a problem anyway”

Adding about the lost victory, he said: “Well, I thought I had it. I thought I had a grip on the race and we had enough fuel to go to the end of the race so I didn’t have to do another stop. So I thought I could hold Alesi at that gap and the only thing remaining was to keep concentration and to also have reliability but we didn’t have that last bit so we’re all very disapointed. We’ll just have to wait another year”.

Damon Hill has a famous victory snatched away from him in the cruelest of ways.

Image Source: BBC Sport

This gifts the lead back to Alesi on lap 41, with fellow Frenchman Panis 32 seconds down the road in second, who himself is three tenths ahead of Coulthard in third. Herbert is in fourh, trying to hold off the challenge faced from Villeneuve, Salo, Häkkinen and Frentzen behind him, all seperated by three seconds. 

Panis begins to create a gap between himself and Coulthard, set six seconds on lap 52, whilst Alesi continues to push on, setting the fastest lap of 1:25.366. Not long after, he pits to refuel and changes tyres, but maintains the lead. Frentzen pits for third time shortly after, remaining eighth but loses ground to his closest competition. 

On lap 57, light rain hits parts of the track which adds another element for the drivers to deal with. Then Alesi returns to the pit and pandemonium ensues in the Benetton garage as they try to resolve the issue before rejoining. However, he returns not long after to retire the caron lap 60, which had suffer a suspension failure. 

Panis now leads, with Coulthard three seconds behind in second as they negotiate their way passed the traffic of Irvine’s Ferrari and Badoer’s Forti. Villeneuve subsequently collides with Badoer – who is six laps down – at the exit of Mirabeau both retire. Seven cars are left on track, with Herbert now third, with Finnish drivers Salo and Häkkinen scrapping over fourth place, Frentzen in sixth and Irvine lapped in seventh. 

As the rain begins to fall once more, it becomes clear that the race won’t reach the full distance because of the rule regarding a race excedding no more than two hours. Irvine spins at the Portier corner, who subsequently stalls. As Irvine attempts to restart his engine, Häkkinen and Salo crash into each other and all retire on the spot. 

Collisions involving backmarkers near the end of the race added more drama to what was an action packed Monaco Grand Prix.

Image Source: BBC Sport

Despite this, Olivier Panis managed to keep his cool and win the Monaco Grand Prix for Ligier, having started 14th; to date, this is the lowest grid slot in which a driver has gone on to win at the principality.

It was also Ligier’s first win for 15 years, and indeed their final victory before being rebranded as Prost Grand Prix at the the season’s end by former world champion Alain Prost, who had watched on from the McLaren pitwall. David Coulthard finished five seconds behind in second for McLaren, with Johnny Herbert claiming third for Sauber, the team’s first points finish of the season alongside Frentzen’s fourth place albeit a lap down. Salo and Häkkinen were both classified in fifth and sixth respectively, despite their crash, as was Irvine in seventh six laps down. 

Speaking in the post race conference, Panis spoke of the difficultly the team were facing after Tom Walkinshaw’s departure, who had bought a share in the Footwork team: “Yeah, the race was very difficult, I’m very happy for the team and for every sponsor. At the moment, the Ligier team is very difficult becaue there are many changes, the mechanics, everyone behind me are pushing very hard to improve the car and every way”.

He also gave his view on his incident with Eddie Irvine: “The track is really difficult. For three laps, I try overtake Eddie. Eddie is not happy. I push in, as its very important to overtake here. There is a little crash, for me there is no problem, its alright”.

Speaking about the race in 2001, then a driver for BAR-Honda, Olivier had good things to say about his crowning moment: “Sure, it’s a really good memory. For me, it’s a little lucky to be honest, but I make very strong race here and I feel I have a good car to finish, but when I start, I don’t feel (as if) I could win. But for me, it’s a fantasic moment”.

To date, Olivier Panis remains the last Frenchman to have won a Formula One Grand Prix.

Image Source: BBC Sport

F1 Classic Races – 2013 Spanish Grand Prix

Although the statistics may not demonstrate this, the 2013 Formula One Season was quite close at the front on of the field; even if Sebastian Vettel went on equal Michael Schumacher’s record of most Grand Prix wins in a season (13) for Red Bull-Renault.

For that year’s Spanish Grand Prix, it was a Mercedes front row lockout, with Nico Rosberg on pole (1:20.718) with teammate Lewis Hamilton second. Defending champion Vettel third with Kimi Räikkönen’s Lotus-Renault in fourth and the home favourite, Spaniard Fernando Alonso fifth for fifth.

However, despite the pace demonstrated by the Silver Arrows in qualifying, the team had been struggling with race pace and tyre wear, something Rosberg echoed in a post-qualifiying interview: “Recent experience (in Bahrain) has been from pole to ninth and that’s not a really nice thing, it’s not really enjoyable. I doubt at the moment we can fight for the win and the podium could even be difficult”.

Despite qualifying on Pole Position, Nico Rosberg wasn’t feeling particularly confident about his Mercedes race pace.

Image Source: BBC Sport

Further down the field, Williams were experiencing a contrast in fortune as then rookie Valtteri Bottas qualified 16th, whilst winner of the 2012 race Pastor Maldonado could only manage 17th in the Renault powered car.

Strategy would be crucial as the compounds provided by sole supplier Pirelli were high in their tyre wear. As a result, teams were expected to make three or four on the avaliable medium and hard tyres.

Graining on the tyres, notably on the front left tyre, was an issue for many drivers during the race, as demonstrated in these slow motion replays of Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault, top) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari).

Image Source: BBC Sport

At the start of the race, Rosberg manages to maintain his lead into turn 1, with fellow compatriot Vettel in second. Alonso moves up to third, with what was regarded as one of the overtakes of the season, by going around the outside of Hamilton and Räikkönen at turn 3. Further down the pack, Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa, who started ninth with a three place grid penalty for blocking Red Bull-Renault’s Mark Webber, had climbed to sixth place, whilst Force India’s Adrian Sutil had a brilliant start, making up seven places on the opening lap to move from 15th to eighth.

Both of the Mercedes drivers are fighting to stay in contention from the get go,knowing they’ll be making three stops due to their lack of raw pace. However, proves to be fruitless as Hamilton concedes fourth place to Räikkönen at turn 10 on lap seven. At the end on the same lap, Webber is the first of the front runners to put, putting on a fresh set of hard tyres.

A lap later, Massa also pits for hard tyres, having also passed on his in lap. Meanwhile, the Lotus of Romain Grosjean suffers rear suspension damage caused by a mechanical failure, causing the car’s rear right tyre to begin to turn and subsequently forcing the Frenchman into retirement. In addition, Sutil experience brakes issues during his stop, costing him valuble time and reduced hus excellent start to nothing.

Romain Grosjean’s day didn’t last too long, with suspension damage leading to the Frenchman’s retirement on lap eight.

Image Source: BBC Sport

Back at the front, Alonso and Hamilton both make their first pit stops at the end of lap nine as Webber sets the fastest lap of the race with a 1:29.767. On lap 10, Rosberg and Vettel are bought in for hard tyres, as is Räikkönen, who instead goes for the Medium tyres, the faster of the two compounds. Williams’ small chance of scoring points is ruined by Maldonado receiving a drive through penalty for sppeding in the pit lane during his first put stop.

After 11 laps, in which most drivers had pitted, Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber-Ferrari) had yet to do so and took temporary charge of the lead. Rosberg was second, with Alonso third, followed by Vettel, Massa (who’d set the fastest lap of the race; 1.28.778), Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes; yet to stop) and Räikkönen, whilst Webber, Sergio Perez (McLaren-Mercedes) and Paul di Resta (Force India-Mercedes) rounded up the top ten.

After Guiterrez eventually made his first stop, Rosberg regained the lead but failed to pull away due to his car issues with the tyres, causing a train to develop behind him. 

Rosberg’s lack of race pace caused many of competitors to close right up to the German and give him a hard time.

Image Source: BBC Sport

On lap 13 however, Alonso eventually broke free, overtaking Rosberg around the outside under braking for t1 with the use of the DRS (Drag Reduction System) to take first place to the delight of the adoring crowd. As the Ferrari begins to pull away, Vettel and Massa also get passed Rosberg’s Mercedes on the same lap to demoted the German to fourth, before Räikkönen overtakes Rosberg on lap 15.

The day was going just as badly, if not worse for Hamilton, as Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) overtakes the former world champion for ninth, as both of the Silver Arrows continue to slide down the order. The young Aussie continued on, passing Di Resta for eighth position on lap 19.

The end of lap 20 marked the beginning of the second of pit stops, as Massa and Webber pit for another set of hard tyres. A lap later, race leader Alonso pits, rejoining in fourth behind Rosberg. As Massa demonstrates the Scuderia’s pace, by setting another fastest lap of the race with a 1.28.132, Alonso quickly disposes Rosberg for third.

Near the tail end of the grid, Geido van der Garde (Caterham-Renault) loses a wheel on the exit of turn 10. Despite bring the car back to the pits, sufficient damage to the brake caliber causes the second retirement of the race. 

Giedo van der Garde (Caterham-Renault) loses his rear wheel and retires from the race. 

Image Source: BBC Sport

Vettel pits from the lead at the end of lap 24 and release Räikkönen into clean air – who had been considerably quicker -allowing the Finn to push before his next stop. Red Bull opt to give their world champion another set of hard tyres and he rejoins in fifth behind Rosberg. Before long, Vettel passes by for third.

Hamilton pits on lap 25, having dropped four places over the previous two laps. He takes on another set of hard tyres and rejoins in 14th. He makes his engineer aware of his understandable frustration later on, stating “I’ve been overtaken by a Williams” when overtaken by Maldonado, with the climate of the track making it difficult to fight back.

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG, left) struggled to challenge all race. Here he is being passed by Pastor Maldonado (Williams-Renault) for 14th place.

Image Source: BBC Sport

At the end of the following lap, Räikkönen pits for another set of mediums and cruically rejoins ahead of Rosberg into fourth place, beginning his pursuit of Vettel. In response, Mercedes bring Rosberg in for his second stop, and drops to 11th behind Perez.

The rear view camera of Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault demonstrates a charging Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus-Renault) on his tail.

Image Source: BBC Sport

In clean air once again, Räikkönen hunts down Vettel in the knowledge that he needs to pass quickly in order to have a change of catching the Ferrari’s and challenging for the race win. He does so on lap 33, gliding his way passed for third and continue his assult to the front. Near the tail end of the points, Ricciardo continued to showcase his potential by taking ninth place of Perez. 

Noticing that Räikkönen is gaining on them, Ferrari pit both of their drivers on lap 36, this time going for the faster medium tyre, rejoining and fourth, with Vettel now up to third. Webber also pits from fifth, dropping to ninth. On lap 39, Alonso reclaims first place from Räikkönen. Now on fresher tyres, Alonso to pull away to put the win beyond Lotus’ capabilities. Behind them, Vettel pits for mediums and loses a place to Massa’s Ferrari.

Aerial shot of Fernando Alonso (right, Ferrari) retaking the lead for Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus-Renault)

Image Source: BBC Sport

On lap 45, Räikkönen makes his final stop of the day, putting on the hard tyres. He concedes second to Massa, and rejoins thirty seconds behind Alonso. Four laps later, Alonso pits for hard tyres and comfortably maintains the race lead. On lap 51, Massa makes his last stops and falls third behind Räikkönen, whilst Vettel also pits and stays fourth.

After the final of pit stops, the on track action died down, with Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) retiring near the end from 18th due to an issue with his rear tyre. 

Because of this, Alonso cruised over the finish line to win the Spanish Grand Prix, his second after winning the 2006 race for Renault. It was also his third race win in Spain, having won the previous year’s European Grand Prix which took place at the Valencia Street Circuit.

Räikkönen took second for Ltous whilst Massa rounded up the podium in the sister Ferrari. Vettel was fourth ahead of teammate Webber. Rosberg held off di Resta for sixth, with the McLaren’s of Button and Perez eighth and ninth and Ricciardo beating Guiterrez to the line for tenth a lap down.

To date, Fernando Alonso has yet to win another Formula One Grand Prix.

Image Source: BBC Sport

In the post race interview on the podium with former team owner Eddie Jordan, Alonso spoke of how much the race win meant: “Definitely fantastic emotion and really (it) helped because you feel the support from everybody. Every single member of the team taking care of every detail because we want to do well here in front of our fans, in front of so many people supporting Ferrari. So we did it we happy for that, but we don’t want to stop here obviously”.

Räikkönen felt positive about his performance despite missing out on first place: “I don’t mind you know, I’m here only to do as good races as we can and obviously we want to win and it’s disappointing to finish second. But sometimes we have to take what we can get and, like I said, I don’t mind if people don’t notice us we do our work and we happy what we do and always try to achieve the big goal in the end”

Massa discuss the challenge of moving up the field for fight near the front: “It was a little bit disappointing yesterday after the qualifying losing three places, but the race was very good for us, our car was fantastic, so very aggressive strategy. Straight away I gain back the position, I think maybe the first lap I was already sixth. Then (I was)overtaking cars, struggling a bit on the tyres, you know, to make it survive every stint in a good way but I think the race was very good for us”

F1 Dominators – Lotus 25 Climax

(Above Image): A cutaway image of the Coventry-Climax powered Lotus 25, demonstrating its narrow shape which help contribute towards its success.

Image Source: WallpaperUp

The Lotus 25 Climax was used by Team Lotus in Formula One between 1962 and 1965. In the 49 Grand Prix entered, the car won 14 of those, all of which were courtesy of double world champion, Jim Clark.
In 1961, Formula One regulations stated that the engine capacity would be reduced to 1.5 litres. As a result, the majority of British teams were down on power in comparison to Ferrari’s famous shark nosed 156’s, which saw their drivers Phil Hill and Wolfgang Von Trips battle for top honours.

In response, designer and team owner Colin Chapman help develop the Lotus 25. Powered by a mid-engine 1.5 litre Coventry-Climax V8 which produced 195bhp @ 8,200rpm, the car weighed 452kg, with a slim body designed to reduce aerodynamic drag. The car also used a monocoque chassis, and although Lotus weren’t the first to do so, its artistic but simplified shape revolutionised Grand Prix racing.

Jim Clark en route to victory at the 1963 British Grand Prix, held at Silverstone. 

Image Source: Sports Car Digest

Debuting at the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix, the Lotus 25 had a difficult beginning at the hands of Jim Clark, finishing ninth. However, over the course of the season, Clark would pick up three wins, at the Belgian, British and United States Grand Prix’s, alongside a fourth place finish in Germany. His main title rival was fellow compatriot Graham Hill, who subsequently won four races in his BRM. However, as quick as the Lotus 25 was, it suffered reliability issues as well, leading to Clark retiring from four of the season’s nine race. As the five best results counted towards the finish points tally, Hill’s consistency allowed him to win his first of two world titles by 12 points from Clark.

1963 proved to be more successful for the Norfolk based team. After retiring from the opening race in Monaco with an gearbox issue, Clark went on to win seven of the remaining nine races, granting the Scotsman the honour of winning his first world title with maximum points, considering only the best six results counted that year.

Jim Clark and Colin Chapman celebrate another victory aboard the Lotus 25 Climax, winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on this occasion.

Image Source: Grand Prix History

To put Clark’s dominance into context, 73 of Team Lotus’ 74 points that year were scored by Clark, with teammate Trevor Taylor claiming a solitary point for his sixth place in Monaco. In addition to this, Clark set a record for most wins in a Formula One season. This record was equalled by Alain Prost in 1984 driving the McLaren MP4/2 before Ayrton Senna eclipsed this with eight wins in 1988 at the hands of the all conquering McLaren MP4/4.

For 1964, The Lotus 25 was still preferred whilst its successor, the Lotus 33, was still in development, participating in six races that year, with Clark winning three. However, in the remaining four races at the hands of the Lotus 33, Clark could only manage two points – from the season finale in Mexico – having retired in Germany and Austria, as well as failing to score in the United States. Consequently, Clark could only manage third in the championship, finishing eight points behind fellow countryman John Surtees in the Ferrari.

Jim Clark driving the Lotus 25 at the 1964 Dutch Grand Prix. He’d go on to win the race by 53.6 seconds from championship rival John Surtees’ Ferrari, with teammate Peter Arundell a lap down in third.

Image Source: Harry Pot (via Wikipedia)

The Lotus 25 was only used once more, at the 1965 French Grand Prix, which Clark appropriately won and was one of his six wins that year in helping the popular Scot towards his second world title. 

Classic F1 Races – 2007 Chinese Grand Prix

(Above Image) A disheartened Lewis Hamilton climbs out of his McLaren-Mercedes, knowing he has lost a golden opportunity to win his first Formula One championship.

The full race can be viewed via Dailymotion here (ITV coverage)

The 2007 Formula One Season was one jam packed with drama and controversy, remembered mostly for two things; the inter team at McLaren between defending champion Fernando Alonso and rookie Lewis Hamilton, and the espionage scandal involving McLaren and Ferrari.

Hamilton headed into the penaltimute round at the Shanghai International Circuit with a eight point lead, knowing that a podium finish ahead of his teammate would make him Formula One’s first rookie champion. In a dry qualifying session, Hamilton took pole position, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkonen, with Felipe Massa (Ferrari) in third. Alonso could only manage fourth and accused his team of changing the tyre pressures in favour of his teammate. 

Leeis Hamilton’s pole position lap at the Shangahi International Circuit.

Image Source: 2007 Formula One Official Season Review

At the start of the race, the track surface was wet as a result of Typhoon Krosa which had hit the east coast of China, forcing the drivers to use intermediate tyres. Hamilton got a good start, with Alonso initally overtaking Massa around the outside of turn 1 for third, before conceding the position later on the same lap. Behind them, Ralf Schumacher, who started sixth for Toyota, spun on the exit of turn 1 and dropped to the back of the field.

The starting grid for the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix.

Image Source: 2007 Formula One Official Season Review

In the early stages, Hamilton was consistently faster than second placed Räikkönen, increasing his lead by more than half a second each lap. As the track began to dry, some drivers struggled to find grip, including Heikki Kovalainen in the Renault, who complains about understeer in the corners. On lap 15, Hamilton makes his first pit stop as light rain returned. Despite his intermediates beginning slightly worn, McLaren opt to not change the tyres and instead only fill up the car with fuel, rejoining in fourth ahead of David Coulthard (Red Bull-Renault). 

Most teams decided not to change tyres in their first pit stop in anticipation of the unpredictable weather conditions. This strategy made it difficult for some drivers to keep their cars on the island, this being exemplified by Adrain Sutil spining his Spyker-Ferrari on lap 18.

Felipe Massa makes his first pit stop of the day.

Image Source: ITV Sport

Räikkönen stayed out four laps longer than Hamilton and closed the gap before pitting on lap 19 but rejoined behind. However, at the beginning of the second stint, the Finn was faster, his outlap being two seconds quicker than that of the championship leader. The track conditions continue to worsen for the cars intermediate tyres, Schumacher collides into Tonio Luizzi’s Toro Rosso-Ferrari at turn 4 and spins off. 

Meanwhile, Alexander Wurz puts on soft tyres and subsequently sets the fastest lap of the race on lap 23 with a 1:42.154. As a result, a number of the midfield cars, including Robert Kubica (BMW-Sauber) and Rubens Barrichello (Honda), gamble on dry tyres. 

Alexander Wurz (Williams-Toyota) took advantage of the changeable conditions to set the fastest lap of the race during its midpoint.

Image Source: ITV Sport

On lap 25, Alonso overtakes Massa at turn 14, who then pits for dry tyres as Ferrari try and work out which tyre is most suitable for the track. In contrast, Hamilton is struggling to maintain control of his car as his rear tyres are worn to the canvas. On lap 28, he goes wide at turn 9 and gives the lead to Räikkönen as light rain hits the track. In the space of three laps, Alonso gains more than 10 seconds on Hamilton, causing the Briton to put on lap 30. 

Lewis Hamilton’s beached McLaren-Mercedes in the gravel trap.

Image Source: 2007 Formula One Official Season Review

However, his car understeers in the gravel pit preceeding he pit lane entry as a consequence of carrying too much speed into the corner on his worn intermediates. Unable to drive off or recieved a push start from the marshalls, Hamilton was forced to climb out of his car and retire, as Räikkönen drove past to pit for soft tyres as the rain disappeared once again. Alonso also pitted, putting on the harder compound tyres. 

In a mid race interview with ITV’s Louise Goodman, Hamilton stated: “The tyres were finished, these sort of things happen,” before adding “I’m sorry for the team, but I can still do it.” Kubica saw his earlier gamble begin to pay dividends as his took the lead of the race, albeit needing to make another pit stop. His luck would quicker evapourate, as his car slowed to a halt and retired on lap 33 with a hydralics issue.

Kimi Räikkönen celebrates a hard fought victory for Ferrari to order give the Finn a chance of winning the drivers’ title in Brazil.

Image Source: 2007 Formula One Official Season Review

The second half of the race was more straight forward as the track stayed dry. Kimi Räikkönen won the Chinese Grand Prix, finishing 9.806 ahead of Fernando Alonso in second, and in doing so put himself back in the title race. Ferrari teammate Massa finished third, setting the fastest lap of 1:37.454 on the final lap. 

Speaking in the press conference, Räikkönen talked about the challenges of the race: “He (Alonso) was pushing hard, he was catching me at first when I had some problems with the front tyres, but once they start working I could keep the gap and then I knew that we should be fine.”

Sebastian Vettel, who was heavily crticised for crashing into Mark Webber’s Red Bull behind the safety car in the previous round in Japan, drove his Toro Rosso-Ferrari to a superb fourth after a perfectly timed pit stop for dry tyres. Jenson Button secured a rare points finish for Honda in fifth, with Luizzi sixth in the second Toro Rosso-Ferrari in sixth; the team’s best finish to date. Nick Heidfeld finished seventh for BMW-Sauber whilst Coulthard held off a late charge from Kovalainen to take the last point in eighth place. 

The drivers’ standings before the season finale in Brazil.

Image Source: ITV Sport

Trivia

  • Kimi Räikkönen’s race win was the 200th for Ferrari in Formula One.
  • This race marked the last time a tobacco sponsor explictly shown on a F1 car. 

    Varsity 2017 – Team Derby Volleyball Report

    Above Image: A member of Team Derby’s Mens Volleyball team serves the ball. 

    Last week, the annual Varsity sports event between Derby and Northampton University took place, with the final being held at the Sixfields Stadium, home to League 1’s Northampton Town Football Club. On the day, I focused on Team Derby’s Men’s and Women’s Volleyball team’s and how they faired against the Northampton Stallions.

    First, I watched the Women’s Volleyball, and unfortunately they lost three sets to nil. In the post match interview, team member Anastasija Matvejeva explained that the team didn’t get enough time to prepare for the contest: “Well, I think we did okay because this wasn’t actually our team. We only had three girls from the first team and the rest were from the second team. The first team and second team never play together, so we were settling down for about two sets and the third set we played properly. If we had set up earlier, it could of been (better).”

    A lack of playing time together hampered the efforts of the Team Derby’s Women’s Volleyball team.

    The Men’s team didn’t fair any better, also losing three sets to nil. After the game, I talked to team captain Michael Lee about where the weaknesses were in the team’s overall performance: “I think we came in thinking its going to be an easy game. We didn’t take warm up very seriously, we were doing the wrong things and we didn’t get into it soon enough.”

    Despite controversy in their game, the Northampton Stallions were the better team on the day.

    However, the game did have its controversy, as one of the officials – who was wearing a Northampton Stallions shirt – called the ball to be in bounds against Derby, when the ball was in fact out of bounds on two separate occasions. These decisions however were overturn after review. In addition, the person responsible for adding to the scoreboard was told off for not adding scores for Team Derby, something which also occurred in the Men’s Basketball game.


    You can also view my interview the Volleyball games on the Facebook page for the University of Derby Student Union (UDSU) or by clicking this link