I know I promised this on Friday, and I am sorry… but I have a bit of flu and after I got to Glugs’ place I didn’t even open my laptop except to download my email, and I hardly had a chance to read blogs on Friday let alone post properly… Then my Glugs took me out for supper to somewhere neither of us had been to. I had an ostrich fillet and Glugs had a rump. Both good, though his honey-mustard sauce was a bit of a let down. I found a website for “Butcher Boys”, which was where we went, but it’s an empty site! Then on Saturday Glugs worked and I slept off my pain killers… Oh, and be warned- this post does contain spoilers for the Spanish grand prix in Barcelona.
Anyhoodle, as most of you may know, I am a die hard Ferrari fan. Always have been and always will be. No matter who is driving my beloved red fire engines, or what happens in a season… and that little snippet should clear up any confusion that may be lingering. And of course, any other F1 enthusiasts out there will understand why I so enjoyed the last two races.
Malaysia started brilliantly with Felipe Massa on pole- after he qualified with a near flawless flying lap. Kimi Raikkonen was also on the front row right alongside him. The McLarens were penalized 5 grid positions for getting in the way of the BMWs during qualifying (a definite rule revision was made for the flying lap set up…) The Ferraris had opted for the harder Bridgestone compound where most everyone else was on the softer tyre. Malaysia was a dry track, with a small chance of rain halfway through the race. It’s a 56 lap event, with the average temperature in the cockpit at 50°C. And 70% of every lap is at full throttle with an average of 3G, reaching almost 4G on some corners! Unbelievable! I would give a kidney to experience that…
Anyhoodle, the first lap was pretty hectic. Lewis Hamilton in one of the McLarens gained 4 places in the first 3 corners with some spectacular driving. The rookie, Sebastien Bourdais, who performed so brilliantly in the first race, took himself out on the first corner. Niso Rosberg lost his front wing in an incident that put Timo Glock into the pits for the rest of the race. There was some awesome position battling between David Coulthard and Fernando Alonso- and whilst they were so busy with each other- Nick Heidfeld came flying round the both of them to gain 2 places! Adrian Sutil flew off into the grass on lap 6 with a very clearly lack-of-traction-control error. After the first round of pit stops, Raikkonen took the lead from Massa. I was ecstatic to have my team in the lead! Hamilton had a dreadful first pit stop; they couldn’t get the right front tyre off- as at the first race of the season! Then out of the blue, Massa flew off into the gravel trap between corners 7 and 8 on lap 30. It was so strange- totally out of the blue! Sebastian Vettel blew his engine on lap 40 and Barrichello got himself a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Hamilton spent the whole race absolutely pulling out all the stops to catch and pass Jarno Trulli… he made up for time losses- but couldn’t get past him.
The chequered flag put Raikkonen in first, Kubica second and Kovalainen third, with Trulli, Hamilton, Heidfeld, Webber and Alonso making up the remainder of the point scoring positions. The end the second round of the season still had Hamilton in the lead for the championship, Raikkonen and Heidfeld tied in second place and Kovalainen in third place. It was an awesome race for Kimi! Very interesting indeed!
Bahrain is a desert race, and the sand on the track is a huge challenge because conditions change all the time and it gets into the engine. It looked to me like all the teams had opted for the softer Bridgestone compound.
In a very surprising turn of events, Kubica qualified on pole, with Massa next to him in second. Hamilton and Raikkonen shared the second row of the grid in third and fourth respectively. I must just tell you- I LOVE the on board car camera on Glugster’s big screen TV!! When the green lights went out, Massa and Raikkonen gained a place each and Hamilton dropped to 10th with a dismal start! The sand is visible even on the TV and its quite unbelievable to see! Then Hamilton the climbed up the back of his arch-rival Alonso’s car and lost his front wing… leaving everyone to speculate about whether Alonso had deliberately braked or eased off the throttle to hamper Hamilton’s progress. They are FAR from friends those two. If there’s any foul play suspected it’ll be investigated… Hamilton then having to put into the pits to replace his front wing dropped him to 18th place. It was strange for me to see Coulthard and Button battling over 19th and 20th place, two former championship contenders so far down the rack… and then the two of them taking each other out in an overtaking maneuver! Personally, I think Coulthard “closed the door” too soon, forcing Button into retirement for the rest of the race. I did giggle at all the hand signals and signs shown to each other during the race. It looks like Ferrari has definitely stepped up their game in terms of pit stops. They’re no longer using a lollipop man, instead using a digital light display thingy that comes down in front of the driver during his stop. Both Raikkonen and Massa’s stops were almost clinical. Piquet retired due to gearbox trouble- which will mean a penalty for Renault in the next race as they’re s’posed to last 4 races.
This was a spectacular race for Felipe Massa- he led from lights to flag and gave Ferrari their first 1-2 for the season. Kubica claimed 3rd and Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Trulli, Webber and Rosberg took the remainder of the points.
It was also decided later that Alonso had in no way deliberately hampered Hamilton’s progress by braking, although he had taken his foot off the throttle a wee bit according to the recorded telemetry.
The 66 lap Spanish race at Catalunya had Raikonnen taking his first pole this season and Ferrari qualifying in 1st and 3rd. When the green lights went out Massa put his foot flat and shot past Alonso to put the two Ferraris leading the race. Adrian Sutil hit Coulthard before the end of the first lap, and as he spun out Sebastian Vettel went into him and lost his front wing, bringing them all under safety car driving for a lap or so. Piquet made a rookie error and lost his chance at points. When he was trying to regain his lost places after a trip into the kitty-litter, he tried to overtake Bourdais and surprised him when Bourdais didn’t see him and turned in too soon, taking both of them out. Several of the teams still have the far apart side view mirrors and it seems they’re exceptionally ineffective. On lap 23, Kovalainen who was running third, shot off into the tyres at turn 9 doing about 140mph (about 225kph), it looked like something came off his car a split second before his left front tyre burst. They were battling to pull his McLaren out from under the tyres when the safety car came out for the second time. When they showed him again 4 laps later he was on a stretched but managed to give thumbs up for the crowd. I get such goose-bumps when an accident like that happens… He was flown to the hospital in Barcelona to undergo further medical examination; though he hadn’t broken anything they will be checking him for concussions and so on. Heidfeld had to pit during the safety car control and served a drive-through penalty for it (I reckon a rule revision is required here) and poor Barrichello bumped someone as he exited the pit lane and took his front wing off… it got stuck under the car and he spent the whole lap trying to get rid of it before having to pit again for a new nose cone. He then retired. McLaren let the press know that Kovalainen was conscious and stable, but said no more on the cause of the accident or injuries. On lap 33, Alonso blew his engine and retired on the side of track. 1100 parts in a Renault engine… and Renault then confirmed engine failure for Alonso. Nico Rosberg who was running 7th in a Williams Toyota then also blew an engine right in front of his garage! By lap 50, the four drivers at the front of the race were so close together it could be anyone’s race! Coulthard and Glock then had a bit of a run in on lap 53 when Glock tried to overtake Coulthard WAAAY too fast on the inside of turn 5, resulting in a left rear puncture for Coulthard and a new nose cone for Glock. Their little wheel banging will be investigated after the race. Heidfeld over took Fisichella beautifully with some incredible straight line speed on lap 56, making up for his drive-through penalty and giving him the opportunity for points.
The chequered flag saw the second Ferrari 1-2 finish of the season- luvverly stuff- with Raikkonen leading from lights to flag off of pole position. Hamilton took third place, with Kubica, Webber, Button, Nakajima and Trulli taking the rest of the points for the race.
So the season points standings by driver this far are as follows:
Kimi Raikonnen 29
Lewis Hamilton 20
Robert Kubica 19
Felipe Massa 18
Nick Heidfeld 16
Heiki Kovalainen 14
Jarno Trulli 9
Mark Webber 8
Kazuki Nakajima 8
Nico Rosberg 7
Fernando Alonso 6
Jenson Button 3
Sebastien Bourdais 2