I don’t have much to blog about right now, that will be right after Qualifying. When we have the grid set. When we have the answers to a couple of the key questions about this weekend. Can Mercedes continue their fastest one-lap form and take another pole? Has Ferrari moved any closer to the Mercedes or Red Bull in Qualifying? Has Red Bull be hiding their true speed?
Some of these question will for the most part be evident after free practice on Saturday morning, but it is Qualifying that will have the final say on what our race will look like and its possible podiums finishers on sunday. So until then, this blogger has only a couple of thoughts but nothing to really sink his teeth into.
Instead, I am passing along some cool reading from Peter Windsor. Here are a coulpe of excerpts of a post from his website. Just click on the title below and it will direct you to the full post.
“What you see here does not come under the heading of “good photography”. It is, though, my attempt to try to illustrate some of the principles about which we talk on The Racer’s Edge and occasionally on these pages. All the pictures were taken at La Rascasse on Thursday afternoon at Monaco (after Romain Grosjean had hit the barrier at Ste Devote!).”
“Fernando Alonso (left) was (with Pastor Maldonado) the driver who turned-in earliest to Rascasse. He refrained from applying any soft of substantial steering lock until he was right at the apex (out of the photograph to the bottom left), and this he did with increasing power. He looked superb, I thought.”
“I was surprised by the massive differences between the Red Bull drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Although the positioning of the two cars looks fairly similar in these two pictures, look closely at the amount of steering lock Seb has applied (relative to Mark). This was absolutely typical of what we saw all afternoon.”
“Kimi was of course just beautiful to watch, even if he was locking up the front brakes more than we usually see. He wasn’t quite as far to the right as Alonso and Maldonado (or Di Resta, as it happens) but his initial steering movements were very slight and very small – a mile away from Vettel’s. Then, in one clean movement, he would tuck in the front for the major rotation and accelerate without fuss towards the exit of the corner.”
Do yourself a favor and give it a read. If your like me, you will find it so interested in regards to way each diver approaches his race-craft that you’ll want to re-read it several times. Pieces like this one that Mr. Windsor put up are so valuable in understanding why some drivers can find that extra 10th and what makes some divers truly great instead of very good. In a way Mr. Windsor is playing the role of teacher to all of us (me included) that do not have a trained eye to pick up these nuances driver to driver. I hope enjoy it. -jp- (wish I was there)
Now that the everyone has thrown in their two cents, five cents and in the case of experts, pundits and crazy bloggers like my self, our 50 cents, about pirelli, the tires and everything else in the wake of the the last race (at least for now) I thought I would say a few words about Fernando Alonso.
Before the tires took the conversation hostage post Spain, this was supposed to be a big post about what a great driver Alonso is, how this might be the year that it [finally] all comes together and how Alonso will [finally] enter into the elite group of 3x World Champions. How his gutsy pass to move around Kimi and Lewis on the outside of turn three was nothing less than super human when it comes to driving a F1 race car. How no matter what you think of the tires or the roll they played, Alonso was driving on a different planet at his home Grand Prix. Etc. etc. etc.
However, it occurs to me, as I go on with great bias about the driver that most team principals voted, the most complete, also a euphemism for the best, 2 out of 3 years according to the Autosport survey, that instead you might more enjoy it coming from not me, but yourselves.
Here is a sampling of comments from James Allen’s website, which I have stated many times is simply second to none for a complete picture of and insight about F1. Not to mention, his followers are highly informed and intelligent. Mr. Allen has a post after each race in which he presents a group of drivers from the race, and he asks, you, me, us, who we thought was the driver of the day based on their performance in regards to their car’s capabilities and their starting position. This is not always predicated on who won the race, however on many occasions the two end up being the same.
The winner of the Spanish GP was Fernando Alonso driving for the Scuderia Ferrari and Driver of the Day was also Fernando Alonso. Here is what you said:
(I hope this is legal, otherwise I suppose I will be receiving a cease and desist order in my gmail account lol.)
Posted By: Flash Bristow
Date: May 13th, 2013 @ 1:32 am
How can driver of the day go to anyone but Alonso? Coming from 5th to win on a circuit which is usually won from the front row, including an early final stop to deal with a puncture? He drove impeccably, including those first lap overtakes, and deserves the credit.
Massa and Kimi did well too, and so did Gutierrez to some extent. But this was Alonso’s day.
Posted By: Alistair McDonald
Date: May 13th, 2013 @ 1:29 am
Alonso was faultless and deserves the DotD title.
Posted By: Andrew H
Date: May 13th, 2013 @ 1:52 am
Alonso easily wins the accolade!
He seemed like the only driver racing & really showed his skill & brains. It seemed like everyone else just went into single file ‘tyre saving’ right after Turn 1. Alonso was like ‘we are still racing guys…..lol’
Alonso’s start was beautiful to watch, he was thinking a corner ahead of everyone else. The way he set up for Turn 3 at Turn 2 was masterful.
Posted By: Mitchell
Date: May 13th, 2013 @ 2:07 am
It can’t be anyone other than Alonso. He made a fantastic start overtaking Raikkonen and Hamilton on the first lap, then outpaced the rest of the field. Honorable mention to Raikkonen for his performance on a 3 stop strategy as well.
Posted By: Matt
Date: May 13th, 2013 @ 2:28 am
Fernando Alonso is by far the driver of the day. Not only is it the first time in the history of the Spanish Grand Prix that a driver has won the race from as far back as 5th on the grid, but his over-taking moves on Raikkonen, Hamilton, and Rosberg were just spectacular.
I’m extremely fond of this one:
Posted By: Yak
Date: May 13th, 2013 @ 2:51 am
As much as I don’t particularly like him, I guess Alonso. He made the moves that he had to early on, they got the strategy right with the undercut to take Vettel, and then quickly got Rosberg out of the way to cruise to the end in clean air.
Posted By: clyde
Date: May 13th, 2013 @ 3:33 am
Definitely Alonso, His commitment into turn three on Raikkonen and Hamilton was Senna-esque in nature and reminded me of Donnington 1993 ……Breathtaking stuff
Posted By: ric_z
Date: May 13th, 2013 @ 5:26 am
Alonso, without a doubt. The only driver yesterday that made my jaw drop. A double-overtake around the outside is not something you see every day.
Let’s finish up with one from Mr. Allen himself:
James Allen Reply: May 13th, 2013 at 12:55 pm
Alonso was on a different level.
Kimi brilliant, but if we are being objective, he again lost the initiative at the start
Nice to see Massa on the podium again, from 9th on the grid. So maybe him, to be different!
Of course there were several comments that did not choose Alonso as the DOTD, and that is to be expected. We all have a different criteria that we use to determine who and what is exceptional. I did not actually take a count of how many comments were for each of the drivers that Mr. Allen picked for his followers review, but it seemed pretty clear to me that Fernando was the over all winner. This is now the second time Fernando has won his home GP, the first was back in 2006 with Renault, and if you take into consideration his dramatic and emotional win last year in Valencia, that makes 3 wins on Spanish soil. Quite an achievement.
Five races in the books. Vettel and Alonso have now recorded two wins a piece and Kimi one. Next up is Monaco and according to Alonso the boys over at Mercedes will have the edge. Nico and Lewis could again lock out the front row and passing is almost non existent around the streets of the little fishing village on the coast of the Mediterranean. But then again that was the case back in Spain with people saying, no one has ever won from other than positions one, two, or three on the grid and well, we all know how that turned out. So I think we could see Ferrari end a 12 year drought at F1′s most famous circuit and Alonso claim his third win with as many teams at the principality.
I leave you with a quote from the man himself, “I remember in 2011 we were lapped here [in Spain] by the McLarens and Red Bull, and we arrived in Monaco and we nearly won the race – we finished second behind Sebastian [Vettel]. “We were fighting for victory so I don’t see any reason – with this car which is also competitive everywhere – not to fight for top positions in Monaco.”
-jp- (and I love bucking history)
Well here we are day four, not counting Black Sunday, and although the F1 world has settled down a bit there are still articles, blogs and comments to be read and considered. I have made my thoughts pretty clear in the two posts I put up earlier in the week. I could go provide further insight that supports my point of view but instead I want to draw your attention to some others that do not necessarily agree with me although there is some overlap of opinion.
Earlier in the week I brought you a piece by Will Buxton the NBC pit lane reporter. I followed that up with a link to a post from Joe Saward. Now I would like to bring your attention to a new blogger I discovered.
F1 Shift.net wrote what I consider a well balanced piece, taking into account the tire degradation, the fans point of view, the teams, what is fair and what is not, the regulations, and the impact to the sport from a mid-season change.
I like this post because it is written from a place of principle, not one of emotion. We know points of view in regard to F1 can’t be completely free of our emotions, because lets face it we all follow F1 not just because it a great sport, but precisely because we are very emotional about it. The drivers, the teams, the locations that they race in, the technology, everything about F1 has an emotional aspect.
However, in this piece the author is able to table his emotions and reexamine what the true issues are and to then come to a logical conclusion. And this is what we need more of right now. Here is the link. Does Pirelli need to change the tires this soon?
The second article I want to share with you appears at the BBC Formula One website. It is from BBC Technical analyst Gary Anderson and he really gets to the core of the matter and sheds some light on the fans mis-placed ideas about the Pirelli tires and in particular how they performed last Sunday at the Spanish GP. The article has a couple of sections that delve into the effects that the change (Pirelli have decided to change the operating temperature window and the construction of the tires) might have and the issue of fairness, which now will be a spectre no matter who takes the championships at the end of the year. Here is that link. Formula 1: Pirelli tyre change could cause suspicion.
Hope you enjoy their insight. -jp- (and almost finished with this issue)
Well by now I have read so much about this whole Pirelli, Red Bull tire affair that I feel a little dizzy. From the blogs, news services, team sites and everything in between you would think this blogger is burned out. Problem is I am not. It is often said that in Formula One everything in addition to the cars are moving at an incredible speed. Blink and you might miss something.
News and reports, articles and blogs that cover Formula One are no different. The reporting and commentary is at full throttle. Yesterday while I was being completely absorbed in everything I could read and comment on myself, Joe Saward filed a post that is a must read. As soon I read it, I know straight away that I needed to pass this along. Not that he needs any help, but I felt compelled just the same.
I meant to do this last night, but somewhere amongst my real job, the twins (9 months now), making sure I didn’t ignore my wife the entire night due to F1, writing a post of my own, and sleep I just could not get to it.
Here is the link, enjoy. http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/choices/
Today the BBC ran a piece titled Red Bull boss on Pirelli tyres: ‘F1- nothing to do with racing any more‘ and although the boss of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz stops short of calling the racing faked, or false he comes pretty darn close.
It seems pretty disingenuous to come out and say that Formula One is not racing anymore right after your clock was cleaned by the competition. Where was all the complaining two weeks ago when Red Bull and Vettel were standing on the top step in Bahrain? Or for that matter in Malaysia?
Why is it the fault of the tires that Red Bull (Lets face it, Red Bull and Mercedes are doing all the complaining. I have not read any other article, or post anywhere online that give me any reason to believe there are other teams that share the same view as these two) are not streaking away into the distance, or in the case of Mercedes cannot carry their qualifying pace into a race distance the following day.
Yes, the tires have been made to degrade in a more aggressive way, that much Paul Hembery has stated in a quote that says, “We’re only doing what we’re being asked to do. We were asked to replicate Canada 2010.” They have done just that, and in doing so two out of the four top teams have interpreted these new tires correctly and two have not. He goes on to state, “Some of you-some of you-would like us to do a one-stop where the tires aren’t a factor. You can go back to the processional racing where the qualifying positions are the end positions.”
This however should not be confused with the statement that Red Bull have repeated ad nauseam, We can’t drive our car as fast as we would like. Here is a direct quote from Mr. Mateschitz, “Under the circumstances, we can neither get the best out of our car nor our drivers.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that your job? The job of your designers, your engineers? It is as though you just made the whole point, argument and answer against yourselves. Which is, you [Red Bull] engineered your cars in way you thought was best. So in that respect you can drive it as fast as you designed it to go, just not as fast as you would like it to go. I’ll say this again; is it the fault of tires? Everyone had the same opportunity to decide how they were going to approach the fundamental design of their cars with the data from last years test when Pirelli made available the 2013 tire compounds. Red Bull took one path.
On the other hand Ferrari and Lotus took another path which looks right now like a more productive one. Will this be the case as the season unfolds? Your guess is as good as mine. I would say no, as much as I would welcome Ferrari and Alonso to race everyone into the ground, F1 just does not work that way. Remember, it took Red Bull until the final race to win the drivers championship two out of the last three years. And it is common knowledge that the Spanish GP is a very different track than almost all others on the F1 calendar. It is almost a one-off in terms of tire wear and the difficulty of improving driver position due to the nature of the track surface and lay-out.
I have a theory. For all the depth at Red Bull with the mighty Adrian Newey at the helm, could this just be a case of Red Bull got it wrong? And now it is easier to make Pirelli the villain (to borrow a phrase from Will Buxton) than to admit the mistake or design flaw, and to address this issue which of course means quite a bit of redesigning the chassis. Don’t forget once the FIA has signed off on the tub (chassis) you can’t change it. Other parts yes, but the actual chassis, no, it is set in carbon fiber stone so-to-speak. Could they be deflecting the real issue, that they missed something in the design in regards to the tire wear? And by a stroke of luck the best leveraging chip is in the front pocket of Red Bull in the form of the fans and their/our displeasure (more on that later).
So there seems to be two issues at the center of this whole affair and not to piss anyone off too much (well maybe just a little) it is not the tires, despite what the Red Bull propaganda machine would like you to think. Or the other guy from Austria, the one that is complaining over at Mercedes. The real issues as far as I can tell are as follows: One, who is at fault for the reason why the Red Bull and the Mercedes chassis is suffering from high tire wear? Is it the teams that designed the car or is it Pirelli for following orders from the FIA, because the tires are performing exactly as they have been constructed to. Secondly, are the fans (of which I am a very passionate one, similar to most everyone that has entered the hundreds, more than likely thousands of comments over the last 36 hours) to be listened to, regardless of our varying levels of understanding the issue?
Fans have been complaining for a very long time about the nature of Formula One, how there is not passing anymore, how the cars are too aero-dependent and create too much turbulence, that when an approaching car trys to make a pass it cannot. Or how there are too many driver assisted aids to allow the driver to go faster but at the expense of driver skill.
In contrast, when F1 comes up with a wider track car, a taller rear wing and a wider front wing to address some of the problems of passing, we proclaim how ugly the car is. Or when F1 comes up with a device to allow passing despite the turbulence (the DRS) we then say passing is now meaningless. We fans are a fickle bunch.
The latest introduction to help the show and to please fans has been the tires that Pirelli have designed and for the most part they have been a benefit to the show providing a fantastic challenge for the teams and the drivers to produce great racing and, I feel, accurate results. Red Bull, the best car for the last three seasons has indeed taken both championships. And no one can say they did not deserve it, at least speaking of the constructor part of the championship. Most of the F1 fan base has begrudgingly supported the introductions that the teams and FIA have put into motion in the interest of the sport, and for the benefit of the fans. But over the last two days the fans have said enough, whether this is right or wrong we overwhelmingly don’t like it. You have gone to far. Ok fair enough.
Listen, Red Bull and Mercedes are wrong. It is their own fault that their cars have not maximized the tires that Pirelli have supplied this season. But at the end of the day it really does not come down to whether Red Bull or Mercedes are right in their claims. Instead what does matter at the end of each and every Sunday when 11 teams, 22 drivers and countless team members come together and go motor racing, is did the fans have an enjoyable time and right now, and that answer is, not… -jp-
This was supposed to be a post about how Fernando Alonso and Ferrari bounced back from Bahrain. I had a really snappy title for it, which was: Mercedes Fades, Vettel Loses His Wings, And Alonso Rewrites History…
How through bold strategy, a perfectly timed pit stop call, and a car that seems to have the pace in all situations, they delivered an inspired result. How Fernando executed a drive that was nothing less than exceptional and to prove yet again why he is the most complete driver on the grid.
However, instead of me going on about Fernando’s brilliance, I have to spend what will seem like a week blogging about the tires, how bad they are, how the sport is being ruined, and that four pit-stops is somehow a F1 sacrilege. Or how Vettel and the RB9 can’t race to their true potential (news flash: they raced as true to their potential today as they did in Bahrain, one race they won, one they did not). Or how when Lewis Hamilton starts second but ends up 12th then there is surely something wrong. That when drivers are driving at 70% of their potential, somewhere along the way F1 made a wrong turn. Hopefully you can sense my sarcasm between the lines. News flash: Alonso and Ferrari race at 100% of their potential why didn’t any one else?
The web is already lit up with fans saying “F1 RIP”, “the sport is a farce”, “racing is a joke”, “Pirelli should be fired”, “I turned the TV off half way through”, and on and on and on. While online, I came upon a comment on my favotite site, James Allen on F1. By the time I got to his site after the race 300 comments (and still counting) were already posted to give you an idea of the scope of the displeasure of the F1 fans. The comment turn out to be a re-post from Will Buxton. I am going to share Will Buxton’s thoughts on the matter, which I am in complete agreement with, and I might have to write a couple more blogs to set people straight until I get to write the blog I really want to write. The one about how Alonso stole the show, is simply in a class by himself, how Ferrari got it right, and that when Fernando has a well balanced car he is unstoppable. Shucks, even when the car is not well balanced, out of balance, half balanced, doesn’t balance at all, can’t be balanced, Fernando can still deliver the goods. Yeah I can’t wait to get to that post, but whatever…
Without any further delay here is a reprint of Will Buxton’s thoughts after the Spanish GP, from his blog http://willthef1journo.wordpress.com/
I loved the Spanish Grand Prix. Every lap of it.
I jest not. I loved. Every. Single Lap.
You may ask why, with the world at large seemingly set on berating another race in which tyre strategy played too large a role. I hope I can go some way to explaining myself.
Earlier in the weekend I had a fabulous conversation with a driver in the paddock. I didn’t record it as it was just two friends chewing the fat, and he probably wouldn’t want me to quote him anyway. So please forgive the paraphrasing.
“Mate, everyone is complaining about the tyres. But the guy who wins… does he complain? No. You should ask them why they don’t complain when they do well, when the day before they were saying it was the end of the world. The only one who understands it is Kimi. He says it’s the same for everyone. If you don’t like it, **** off, do something else. He’s right. If you make the tyres more durable and you only have three stops in a race everyone will still try to make only two stops. It’s the same now as it was with Bridgestone. You always try to do one less stop. By complaining you only damage the sport. It’s the same for everyone. Get on with it and race.”
I loved the opinion. I loved the candor.
There’s nothing more depressing than standing in the pen at the end of the race and asking a driver how his day went, and how happy he must be with his result, only to get an answer that racing to a delta is boring and gone are the days of pushing during a race.
So ask yourself. What did Ferrari do on Sunday?
Did they drive to a delta? Did they try and make one fewer stop than their rivals? Did they hell. They went out and they pushed. Every. Single. Lap.
Fernando Alonso’s opening stint was mesmerising. He was running quali laps on full fuel. It was an absolute joy to behold. And while he might not have been putting in quali laps all day, he certainly wasn’t hanging around.
What Ferrari did in Spain was to completely flip the script. Rather than going into the race and telling their drivers to hold back, they told them to push with everything they had. Four stops was always their intention and it caught everyone else off guard.
Red Bull realised what was going on too late and switched from three stops to four, but by then the race had already been won.
Formula 1 loves a villain and this year Pirelli has been cast into this pantomime role. But, as I explained at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix in my final thought on the NBC Sports Network, the job of a Formula 1 team is to design a car around the variables which are unchangeable. Hermann Tilke used to get the blame for ruining the show for his apparently dreadful circuit design. But is it not the job of the teams to design a car for the circuits on which the championship races? Of course it is. Just as it is the job of the teams to design a car that maximizes the tyres on which it runs.
The problem we’ve had of late is this unfortunate trend towards the creation of a formula based upon the misheld belief that preservation is a better mode of attack than consumption.
What Ferrari showed in Barcelona was that yes you may have to make more pitstops than we’ve seen in the past, but that it is possible to push from the moment the lights go out to the moment that the flag falls. That so much of the press is decrying the race shows, I believe, a disappointing cynicism. Pirelli has become too easy a target.
But should we blame Pirelli for simply doing what they’ve been asked to do and make the tyres less durable? Or should we blame the teams who have seemingly got themselves into the rut of a blame culture that hides the true fact that some have not designed a car capable of maximizing one of the unchangeable variables that has defined the history of the sport?
Because this is nothing new.
I remember with great fondness an interview I conducted with Sir Stirling Moss about a decade ago about his greatest races. And the one that always sticks in my mind is his explanation of how he won the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix. He lined up in a privately entered Cooper and against the might of Ferrari he won, taking the first F1 victory for a mid-engined car in the process. How he did it holds as much relevance today as it did back then.
The tyres were only good for 30 laps. 40 tops. The race was 80 laps long. You couldn’t finish without stopping for new tyres. The Cooper’s tyres were fixed with studs, rather than the quick hammer release nuts on the Ferraris. Moss couldn’t win with such a long pitstop delta to change a studded wheel.
He pulled into the lead but nobody paid it any attention. He’d have to stop and all would be lost. But he didn’t stop. He carried on. And by the time Ferrari figured out he wasn’t going to stop, it was too late. The pack gave chase, but Moss won… by 2.7 seconds from Luigi Musso. His tyres were down to the canvas. He’d been driving on the grass for the last few laps to try and cool them down.
“Was I brave that day or stupid?” Moss confided in me. “To this day I don’t know as the two were very closely related. I did everything you shouldn’t normally do to win that race.”
In a way, and although actually completely the opposite of Moss’ fabulous Argentine win in that Ferrari made more stops than expected, that’s precisely what the Scuderia did on Sunday. Because they did everything that, apparently, you shouldn’t normally do on Pirelli tyres to win the race.
They actually raced.
As the Moss story highlights, trying to make fewer pitstops has always been a part of F1. It is nothing even vaguely new.
But, for me, the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix was a game changer. Ferrari’s victory was the perfect riposte to those who claimed that Pirelli’s tyres could not be raced on. Does anybody now have the excuse of saying that it is impossible to push in a race on these tyres, when Ferrari showed that for 66 laps you could… and that by doing so you could win?
With the exception of Lotus the other teams have every reason to feel frustrated after the Grand Prix, as do their fans. Ferrari showed what was possible. It is now up to everyone else to react. For while it might not be achievable for everyone at every race to do what Ferrari did today, what they proved is that Formula 1’s greatest misconception is that doing so at all was impossible.
That’s why I loved the Spanish Grand Prix.
he goes on to say :
Think about it for a minute. It’s why you should have loved it too.
very well said Mr. Buxton, very well said… -jp-
Nico Makes It Two In A Row, Vettel Looks Perplexed, And A Home Town Favorite Just Hangs On – Qualifying For The Spanish GP.Posted: May 11, 2013
Well, well, well, it looks like there is a new kid in town when it comes to one lap pace. Mercedes AMG has now made it three for three courtesy of Nico Rosberg in the last two races and Lewis Hamilton’s pole back in China. I was not the only one surprised by this, the footage of the top 3 qualifiers, Rosberg, Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel shows Vettel in a state that can only be described as perplexed. I was perplexed as well! I was sure Vettel would be on pole and second and third would be between Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. For the most part of the weekend it did not look as if the Mercs would have the pace. Oops, I got that one wrong (not an uncommon occurrence for me) but I’m sure I am not the only one.
As I have said prior to this post despite who wins on race day (this blogger always want the guy from Oviedo, Spain to win on race day) it is refreshing to have a different car on pole. It means that the possibilities increase for a different outcome, and one is never really sure who will take the checkered flag. The last three years have been less than exciting on Saturday afternoon, unless you’re a Red Bull or Vettel fan. Of course we have been down this road before. You only have to look back at the last race, or Lewis’s pole in China, to see that the Mercedes could not carry the single lap pace into a full race distance. We have had three weeks off as fans but there has surely been lots of hard work back at the team factories. Has it been enough to improve the shortfall that the Merc has? This blogger does not think so. It was only lap three at Bahrain when Vettel stormed past Rosberg and “that was that” as the saying goes. In the end Rosberg finished 9th. We are looking for two things in the race tomorrow. One, how long can the two Mercedes stay out in front of the Red Bull and two, if they do surrender the lead, where will they end up?
As frustrating as it is to say (again) I think the smart money is on Vettel. The car looks good, Vettel is driving with a real sense of championship focus and if he does not win, at the very least he looks good to increase his lead in the driver standing. There is however one caveat to this, and that is the tires. If the RB9 starts to chew through them, all bets are off.
This brings us to the Iceman, Kimi Raikkonen. Now as much as I just said the smart money is on Vettel, since I like to always take the road less traveled I would put my money on Raikkonen. He has been very consistent, the car is very fast, (Raikkonen is only a tenth behind Vettel) and we already know how kind the Lotus chassis is on the tires. So I am predicting we will have two, two-time winners come the end of sunday.
Ferrari and Alonso. One can only say – Wha’ Happen? But then again we all know that the Ferrari is not the greatest qualifier, not in the last three years, and not this year as well. There have been large gains in overall pace, which does have a knock down effect so by default the qualifying has been improved, but the F138 is still behind in the one lap department. That being said if you take the Mercs out of the equation and use Vettel as the bench mark, Fernando is only 2.3 tenths behind Vettel and 1.4 tenths behind Raikkonen. This can only been seen as an encouraging for the race because the Ferrari is always faster on full tanks, and like the Lotus is kinder on its rubber. And as we have seen on several occasions in the past three years Fernando is a threat anywhere on the grid up to 12th.
Of our other top drivers, look for Hamilton to do something special, Felipe Massa to have a change of luck, Mark Webber to make it way up to the front, and Roman Grosjean to end with a good result. Will any of these drivers reach the podium, my guess is no. Here is my full prediction not including any crazy on track drama…
Raikkonen = 25 points.
Vettel = 18 points.
Alonso = 15 points
And here are the full results for today qualifying for the spanish gp
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m20.718s
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m20.972s + 0.254s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m21.054s + 0.336s
4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m21.177s + 0.459s
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.218s + 0.500s
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.219s + 0.501s
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m21.308s + 0.590s
8. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.570s + 0.852s
9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m22.069s + 1.351s
10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.233s + 1.515s
Q2 cut-off time: 1m22.019s Gap **
11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.127s + 1.126s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.166s + 1.165s
13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m22.346s + 1.345s
14. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.166s + 2.165s
15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.389s + 1.388s
16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.793s + 1.792s
Q1 cut-off time: 1m23.218s Gap *
17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m23.260s + 1.532s
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m23.318s + 1.590s
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m24.661s + 2.933s
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m24.713s + 2.985s
21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m24.996s + 3.268s
22. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m25.070s + 3.342s
One last note of interest, if for some reason the Mercedes boys can pull this off, what we will have for the rest of the season is eight cars and drivers all with an honest chance of winning a Grand Prix, and at least half of them candidates for the the driver’s crown. This would be unprecedented in the current Formula. One can only hope….
jp (and come on Fernando/.…)
This just in: Felipe Massa and Esteban Gutierrez have been both handed a 3 spot grid penalty.