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Tag Archives: F1 2011

RED BULL took their twelfth pole-position out of 12 this season in the qualifying session for today’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) set a time of 1:48.298 (144.667-mph) around the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the final session yesterday. Vettel will be looking for his and his team’s first F1 win at Spa.

Last year’s winner, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), will line up second on the grid after setting a time of 1:48.730, while Red Bull’s Mark Webber will start the race from third.

Pretty much all of qualifying was dictated by the infamous changeable weather in the Arden forest, and yes we do have a mixed up grid.

Fourth to tenth on the grid are: 4th) Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 5th) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 6th) Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso), 7th) Bruno Senna (Renault. Bruno Senna has replaced the much more experienced but not as rich sponsor wise Nick Heidfeld, who is seeking to take legal action against Renault over this move. It is truly frightening to see that yellow helmet in an ‘80s style Lotus). 8th) Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 9th) Sergio Pérez (Sauber) and 10th) Vitaly Petrov (Renault).

11th-17th on the grid for today’s race are: 11th) Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso), 12th) Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), 13th) Jenson Button (McLaren. Button and McLaren got their timings wrong in Q2 and the 2009 world champion was left high and dry at the end of the session. But, Spa is known for its changeable weather and in those conditions Button is the best driver on the grid). 14th) Rubens Barrichello (Williams), 15th) Adrian Sutil (Force India), 16th) Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus, who got into Q2 on merit) and 17th) Paul di Resta (Force India, who was going to start 18th having fallen out of Q1, but was promoted on the grid for reasons I will now explain).

In the last seconds of Q2 Lewis Hamilton was on a flying lap as he approached the last corner, the Bus Stop, with Pastor Maldonado in his Williams right ahead of him. Hamilton forced his way past the Venezuelan rookie who he took out of the Monaco Grand Prix in the last few laps when they were fighting over a points place. Hamilton went into Q3 but Maldonado (who himself was being held up by two other cars) didn’t.

As the pair exited the first corner, La Source, and began the run down to the infamous Eau Rouge, Hamilton twitched, causing Maldonado
to pull out and pass him. Then either out of the inexperience of having only raced in 11 Grand Prixs or out of pure anger, Maldonado swiped Hamilton’s McLaren with his Williams, damaging the Silver car and forcing the Woking based team into emergence repairs.

After qualifying, Hamilton was given a warning by the Stewards and Maldonado was demoted from 16th to 21st on the grid. He’s a very lucky boy to be racing at all today in my opinion.

The drivers at the back of the grid are: 18th) Jarno Trulli (Lotus, in the last five races the driver starting 18th has scored points). 19th) Timo Glock (Virgin), 20th) Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Virgin, he is the first Belgian driver in the Belgian Grand Prix since Thierry Boutsen (Jordan) in 1993). 21st) Maldonado, 22nd) Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT), 23rd) Daniel Ricciardo (HRT) and 24th) Michael Schumacher (Mercedes).

Schumacher’s right-rear wheel fell off on his Q1 out lap as he approached Rivage and slid into the tyre barrier. So Michael Schumacher will start his 20th anniversary Grand Prix from dead last, his worst ever grid position.

Four drivers: d’Ambrosio, Liuzzi, Ricciardo and Schumacher were all outside the 107% time (2:10.339) but will race because of the changeable
weather conditions and times in practice.

I’m not going to say who will win, because at Spa anybody can win.

Winners of the Belgian Grand Prix on the grid today:

  • Michael Schumacher, a record six-times, 1992 (his first F1 win…I wasn’t even alive when this happened) and 1995 for Benetton and 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2002 for Ferrari. Spa is also where he won his seventh world title back in 2004.
  • Felipe Massa, 2008 for Ferrari after Hamilton was (wrongly!) bumped down to third.
  • Lewis Hamilton, 2010 for McLaren.

2009 WORLD champion Jenson Button (McLaren) won this season’s Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring, the same track where he took hismaiden victory back in 2006 for Honda. This win was made even more special becausethis was Button’s 200th Grand Prix.

Button's second win in Hungary.

Mind out Jenson, you might break it.

Button once again proved he is the best driver on the grid in changeable conditions, but if his McLaren team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, was on the right tyres Button may not have had it all his own way. Hamilton ended up finishing back in fourth behind current championship leader Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso who came second and third respectively.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber came fifth just over a second behind Hamilton, while Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was sixth and the last driver to complete the full 70 lap race distances.

The most dramatic moment of the race was when Nick Heidfeld’s Renault caught fire just before Turn 1 on lap 24 and then exploded, almost wiping out the marshal who was attempting to put the blaze out.

As far as I know he is okay.

Massa set the fastest lap of the race on lap 61 with a 1:23.415 (117.389-mph) tour.

Top 10 finishers of the XXVII Hungarian Grand Prix:

  1. Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes), 70 laps, 1h:46m:42.337s @ 107.145-mph. 25 points.
  2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault), +3.588s. 18 points.
  3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), +19.819s. 15 points.
  4. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes), +48.338s. 12 points.
  5. Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault), +49.742s. 10 points.
  6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari), +1m:23.176. 8 points.
  7. Paul di Resta (Force India-Mercedes), + 1 lap. 6 points, his best finish in F1.
  8. Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari), + 1 lap. 4 points, not bad from 23rd on the grid, plus this was Toro Rosso’s 100th Grand Prix.
  9. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), + 1 lap. 2 points, this was also Rosberg’s 100th Grand Prix.
  10. Jaime Alguersuari, (Toro Rosso-Ferrari), + 1 lap. 1 point.

 

I’m sorry for the lateness and shortness of this report, but my University placing hasn’t gone exactly to plan.

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 11/19 Races.

Pos

Driver

Constructor

Points

Gap From 1st

1

Sebastian VETTEL (GER)

Red Bull

234

2

Mark WEBBER (AUS)

Red Bull

149

85

3

Lewis HAMILTON (ENG)

McLaren

146

88

4

Fernando ALONSO (ESP)

Ferrari

145

89

5

Jenson BUTTON (ENG)

McLaren

134

100

6

Felipe MASSA (BRA)

Ferrari

70

164

7

Nico ROSBERG (GER)

Mercedes

48

186

8

Nick HEIDFELD (GER)

Renault

34

200

9

Vitaly PETROV (RUS)

Renault

32

202

10

Michael SCHUMACHER (GER)

Mercedes

32

202

11

Kamui KOBAYASHI (JAP)

Sauber

27

207

12

Adrian SUTIL (GER)

Force India

18

216

13

Sébastien BUEMI (SWI)

Toro Rosso

12

222

14

Jamie ALGUERSUARI (ESP)

Toro Rosso

10

224

15

Sergio PÉREZ (MEX)

Sauber

8

226

16

Paul DI RESTA (SCO)

Force India

8

226

17

Rubens BARRICHELLO (BRA)

Williams

4

230

 

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 11/19 Races.

Pos

Constructor

Engine

Points

Gap From 1st

1

RED BULL (AUT)

Renault

383

2

MCLAREN (ENG)

Mercedes

280

103

3

FERRARI (ITA)

Ferrari

215

168

4

MERCEDES (GER)

Mercedes

80

303

5

RENAULT (ENG)

Renault

66

317

6

SAUBER (SWI)

Ferrari

35

348

7

FORCE INDIA (IND)

Mercedes

26

357

8

TORO ROSSO (ITA)

Ferrari

22

361

9

WILLIAMS  (ENG)

Cosworth

4

379

SEBASTIAN VETTEL (Red Bull) took the 23rd pole-position of his career in the qualifying session for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring.

The reigning world champion’s Q3 time of 1:19.815 (122.684-mph) was just quick enough to bump last weekend’s German Grand Prix winner, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), into second place after the Englishman set a 1:19.978 on his first run, but couldn’t go faster on his second hot-lap.

Hamilton’s team-mate, Jenson Button, will start his 200th Grand Prix from third on the grid after setting a 1:20.024.

For the first time this season, Felipe Massa out-qualified his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso. Massa will start the race from fourth, Alonso fifth.

Sixth to tenth on the grid are: 6th) Mark Webber (Red Bull), 7th) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 8th) Adrian Sutil (Force India), 9th) Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) and 10th) Sergio Pérez (Sauber) who didn’t set a time in Q3.

Q2 saw grid slots 11-17 filled by: 11th) Paul di Resta (Force India), 12th) Vitaly Petrov (Renault) in his de facto home Grand Prix, 13th) Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), 14th) Nick Heidfeld (Renault), 15th) Rubens Barrichello (Williams), 16th) Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) and 17th) Pastor Maldonado (Williams) who also didn’t set a time.

The last seven places on the grid, 18-24, were decided in Q1. The drivers who will fill these placers are: 18th) Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus), 19th) the returning Jarno Trulli (Lotus), 20th) Timo Glock (Virgin), 21st) Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT), 22nd) Daniel Ricciardo (HRT), 23rd) Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) who actually qualified 18th (still failing to make it out of Q1) but has a five-place grid bump for causing the accident between himself and Heidfeld in Germany last Sunday, and 24th) Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Virgin) who’s time of 1:26.510 was nicely inside the 107% Rule time of 1:27.288.

With his pole today, Vettel is now tenth on the all-time list for most pole-positions in a career, and is one behind Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet – both three-time world champions. However, with a strike rate of 31.5%, Vettel is still way off the next man up who just so happens to be Ayrton Senna, who’s strike rate is 40.1%.

As for who is going to win tomorrow, I have a sneaky suspicion that Hamilton will win. That’s put the mockers on him you watch.

Previous winners of the Hungarian Grand Prix on the grid:

  • Michael Schumacher, four times (most wins of the Hungarian GP): 1994 (Benetton), 1998, 2001* and 2004 for Ferrari. *Schumacher won his fourth world title at this race and equalled Alain Prost’s then record of 51 wins.
  • Lewis Hamilton, twice: 2007 and 2009 for McLaren.
  • Rubens Barrichello, 2002 for Ferrari.
  • Fernando Alonso, 2003 for Renault. This was Alonso’s first win and made him (at 22 years and 26 days old) the youngest ever F1 winner at the time.
  • Jenson Button, 2006 for Honda. This was Button’s 113th Grand Prix and his maiden victory.
  • Heikki Kovalainen, 2008 for McLaren. This is Kovalainen’s only F1 win of his career so far. He also became the 100th driver to win a Grand Prix.
  • Mark Webber, 2010 for Red Bull. This is the last race that Webber has won.

THE German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring was one of the best races of the 2011 Formula 1 season so far, with three drivers (none of them Red
Bull’s reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel) fighting it out for the victory over the whole 60-laps.

Before the race began however there was bad news for Toro Rosso driver Sébastien Buemi. He was sent to the back of the grid because of an irregularity in his fuel from qualifying, were he qualified 16th on the grid.

The start line itself had been moved 240m (790’) closer to Turn 1, roughly halving the distance between the previous start-line and the first corner.

Unfortunately for pole-sitter Mark Webber (Red Bull) the shorter run down to the first corner couldn’t prevent him from keeping second on the grid, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) behind him at the start. Webber let his revs drop just as the lights went green, allowing Hamilton to roar past him and take the lead before the pack even got to the first turn.

Just behind the leading pair, the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were hounding Vettel, who was looking to win his home Grand Prix for the first time. Alonso forced his way up into third place ahead of Vettel, but Massa was passed by another German driver, Mercedes’ Nico
Rosberg.

Jenson Button (McLaren) had a poor start, dropping from seventh to tenth, while Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) made up a couple of places to go from tenth to eighth. Further back, Nick Heidfeld spun both himself and Force India’s Paul di Resta at Turn 3, dropping them both to the back.

As Alonso exited Turn 2 on lap 2, he put his Ferrari’s tyres on the damp carpet behind the curb and ran wide, allowing Vettel up into third place. However, Alonso took his third place back away from world championship leader on lap 8 by passing him up the inside at Turn 1.

A lap later Vettel spun off at Turn 10 after touching the white line, and instead of pursuing Alonso’s Ferrari, he had to focus on keeping Rosberg’s Mercedes and Massa’s Ferrari behind him. At this point in the race, Hamilton was just 0.7-second ahead of Webber and three ahead of Alonso.

Nick Heidfeld received a drive-through penalty for causing the spin between him and di Resta on the opening lap, but never got to serve it. The Renault driver was attempting to pass Buemi’s Toro Rosso around the outside before the Turn 14/15 chicane when Buemi moved over and put Heidfeld on the grass, which launched the Renault and sent it deep into the gravel trap. For his actions, Buemi has been given a five-place grid bump for the next race in Hungary.

A few laps later (lap 12) Hamilton’s lead had been cut by Webber to just half a second. Hamilton went into the Turn 14/15 chicane too deep and Webber got a run up the Englishman’s inside line as they rounded the final corner. Webber was now first and technically led his first lap of the 2011 season. But Hamilton knew his McLaren was faster in a straight line and showing massive balls, stuck his car in a McLaren shaped hole in between the pit wall and Webber’s Red Bull and drove clean past him, retaking the lead of the Grand Prix.

Webber pitted from second place at the end of lap 14 and rejoined the action behind the Vettel-Massa fight for fourth place (Rosberg had pitted earlier).

Massa got by Vettel at the chicane on lap 16 as Webber closed right up behind them. Vettel pitted immediately, allowing Webber to get into Massa’s slipstream as they raced down the start-finish straight. All this was happening while both Hamilton and Alonso were trundling down the pit-lane having just pitted for new soft tyres.

The quartet all got to the first corner together, with Massa emerging as the leader ahead of Webber who had undercut both Hamilton (now third) and Alonso.

Massa soon pitted and Webber could finally enjoy leading a race for the first time in ages. His joy could only last until the end of lap 30 (the halfway point of the race and the 2011 season) because he needed new tyres.

One lap later and Hamilton pitted, promoting Alonso to the lead of the race. Webber couldn’t make his fresher tyres work to their full advantage because he had Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus in front of him. This meant that Hamilton exited the pits back ahead of Webber and into the net-lead of the race.

Webber wasn’t going to go down without a fight mind, and attempted to go around the outside of Hamilton at Turn 2. But Lewis was wise to this move and hung Mark out to dry on the run-off area.

Alonso’s tyres lasted him until the end of lap 32. He surprisingly emerged from the pits still in the lead with Hamilton and Webber right up his
exhaust pipe. Hamilton got a much better run out of Turn 1 and drove his McLaren clean around the outside of Alonso at Turn 2 to spectacularly snatch the lead away from his former McLaren team-mate.

Speaking of team-mates, Lewis’s team-mate Jenson Button was busy passing people too. On lap 35 he took sixth place away from Nico Rosberg
at Turn 1 after the German had out braked himself. Unfortunately on the very same lap Jenson was called into the pits and retirement by his team because they had detected a terminal hydraulic problem. 😦

Webber and Alonso stayed with Hamilton out front for the next 15 laps. But it was now time to change to the significantly slower medium compound tyre. The race would be won or lost here. Who would blink first?

Out of the three leaders it was Hamilton who pitted for the medium tyres first at the end of lap 51. Vitaly Petrov (Renault) was the first driver to put the mediums on and was lapping extremely quickly, so McLaren decided to roll the dice.

Two laps later Alonso pitted but Webber carried on. Hamilton comfortably passed Alonso as the Spaniard was exiting the pits and was now second.

Three laps later Webber put the medium compound on and exited the pits third behind Alonso who was still behind Hamilton. Behind those three was the ongoing battle for fourth place between Massa and Vettel.

On the penultimate lap Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:34.302 (122.123-mph) tour…and Massa and Vettel still hadn’t put the medium compound on!

In order to avoid the 30-second time penalty for not using both compounds in the race, Massa and Vettel pitted at the end of lap 59. The Red Bull pit crew worked lightning fast and got Vettel out before Ferrari could safely release Massa. Vettel was now fourth and on course for an extra two
world championship points.

But the man who was on course for 25 world championship points, his second win of the season and 16th career victory was Lewis Hamilton! He had written off his chances of winning on the Thursday, but proved himself and the world wrong on Saturday and Sunday to take yet another
memorable victory. 😀

Alonso, Hamilton and Webber on the podium.

Could this win spark an epic championship fight-back?

Alonso was second and Webber was third, but Alonso had to stop his Ferrari on the lap of honour because it had run out of fuel. Mark Webber converted his Red Bull into a Taxi and gave Alonso a lift back to the pits, causing all us nostalgia nuts to go all teary eyed for a moment. 🙂

“Turn 13 to the pit-lane...that’s £8.30 please, mate.”

Top 10 finishers of the LXXII (72nd) German Grand Prix, 2011:

  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes. 60-Laps in 1h:37m:30.344 @ 118.097-mph, 25 Points.
  2. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari. +3.980, 18 Points.
  3. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault. +9.788, 15 Points. His third-straight 3rd place.
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault. +47.921, 12 Points.
  5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari. +52.252, 10 Points. His third-straight 5th place.
  6. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes. +1:26.208, 8 Points. His best finish this season.
  7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes. +1 Lap, 6 Points.
  8. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes. +1 Lap, 4 Points.
  9. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari. +1 Lap, 2 Points.
  10. Vitaly Petrov, Renault. +1 Lap, 1 Point.

 

Well done to Karun Chandhok (Lotus) who finished his first race since Silverstone last year in 20th place.

The F1 circus now travels to Hungary for what are Jenson Button’s 200th Grand Prix and the 100th Grand Prix of 2.4 litre V8 engine.

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 10/19 Races.

Pos

Driver

Constructor

Points

Gap From 1st

1

Sebastian VETTEL (GER)

Red Bull

216

2

Mark WEBBER (AUS)

Red Bull

139

77

3

Lewis HAMILTON (ENG)

McLaren

134

82

4

Fernando ALONSO (ESP)

Ferrari

130

86

5

Jenson BUTTON (ENG)

McLaren

109

107

6

Felipe MASSA (BRA)

Ferrari

62

154

7

Nico ROSBERG (GER)

Mercedes

46

170

8

Nick HEIDFELD (GER)

Renault

34

182

9

Vitaly PETROV (RUS)

Renault

32

184

10

Michael SCHUMACHER (GER)

Mercedes

32

184

11

Kamui KOBAYASHI (JAP)

Sauber

27

189

12

Adrian SUTIL (GER)

Force India

18

198

13

Jamie ALGUERSUARI (ESP)

Toro Rosso

9

207

14

Sergio PÉREZ (MEX)

Sauber

8

208

15

Sébastien BUEMI (SWI)

Toro Rosso

8

208

16

Rubens BARRICHELLO (BRA)

Williams

4

212

17

Paul DI RESTA (SCO)

Force India

2

214

 

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 10/19 Races.

Pos

Constructor

Engine

Points

Gap From 1st

1

RED BULL (AUT)

Renault

355

2

MCLAREN (ENG)

Mercedes

243

112

3

FERRARI (ITA)

Ferrari

192

163

4

MERCEDES (GER)

Mercedes

78

277

5

RENAULT (ENG)

Renault

66

289

6

SAUBER (SWI)

Ferrari

35

320

7

FORCE INDIA (IND)

Mercedes

20

335

8

TORO ROSSO (ITA)

Ferrari

17

338

9

WILLIAMS (ENG)

Cosworth

4

351

RED BULL took their tenth pole-position out of ten races this season, as Mark Webber took his second straight pole at the Nürburgring ahead of tomorrow’s German Grand Prix.

Webber’s fastest Q3 time was 1:30.079, averaging 127.848-mph around the 3.199-miles (5.148-Km) circuit. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton will start
the race from second on the grid after setting a 1:30.134. Hamilton had said earlier that he wasn’t expecting to be able to challenge for pole, and described his best lap as: “Wicked!” Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel will start off the front row of the grid for the first time this season. He only managed to be third fastest in Q3, setting a 1:30.216.

Fourth to tenth on the grid are: 4th) Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 5th) Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 6th) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 7th) Jenson Button (McLaren), 8th) Adrian Sutil (Force India), 9th) Vitaly Petrov (Renault) and 10th) Michael Schumacher (Mercedes).

Q2 saw grid slots 11-17 filled by: 11th) Nick Heidfeld (Renault), 12th) Paul di Resta (Force India), 13th) Pastor Maldonado (Williams), 14th) Rubens Barrichello (Williams), 15th) Sergio Pérez (Sauber), 16th) Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) and 17th) Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) who made it out of Q1 for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix.

The unlucky ‘established team’ driver who fell in Q1 was Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, who will start from 18th on the grid.

19th-last on the grid for the race tomorrow are: 19th) Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus), 20th) Timo Glock (Virgin), 21st) Karun Chandhok (Lotus), 22nd) Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Virgin), 23rd Daniel Ricciardo (HRT) and 24th) Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT) who would have been 23rd on the grid but has been given a five-place grid drop because he has had his gearbox changed.

Chandhok is racing this weekend for Lotus after the team (rather bizarrely) dropped Jarno Trulli, a veteran of 243 Grand Prix starts. The team say he’ll be back for the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend, but I can’t help but think this is the end of the F1 road for the Italian.

By the way the 107% Rule time was 1:38.253, which was well beaten by Ricciardo who set a 1:37.036.

There are six German drivers on the grid for this year’s German Grand Prix. They are: Vettel, Schumacher, Rosberg, Heidfeld, Sutil and Glock. If any one of them is going to be the first man to win their home Grand Prix since Massa at the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, it will be Vettel. But I reckon Webber will be the man who takes the victory tomorrow.

Previous winners of the German Grand Prix on the grid:

  • Michael Schumacher, four-times, 1995 (Benetton) and 2002, 2004 and 2006 for Ferrari.
  • Fernando Alonso, twice, 2005 for Renault and 2010 for Ferrari…because he was faster than Felipe.
  • Rubens Barrichello, 2000 for Ferrari (his first win).
  • Lewis Hamilton, 2008.
  • Mark Webber, 2009 (his first win).

Previous winners of the European Grand Prix when it was held at the Nürburgring on the grid:

  • Michael Schumacher, five-times, 1995 (Benetton) and 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2006 for Ferrari.
  • Fernando Alonso, twice, 2005 for Renault and 2007 for McLaren.
  • Rubens Barrichello, 2002 for Ferrari.

WITH victory at this year’s British Grand Prix at the new pit complex Silverstone, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso equalled three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart’s tally of 27 Grand Prix victories. Only Nigel Mansell (31 wins), Ayrton Senna (41 wins), Alain Prost (51 wins) and Michael Schumacher (91 wins) have won more Grand Prixs.

Alonso’s 27th win. How fitting that he should achieve this milestone in a Ferrari.

This was also a special moment for the Ferrari team. Not only was this their first win since South Korea last year, but it was almost exactly 60 years ago to the day at the 1951 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, that the now 88-year-old Argentine José Froilán González won Ferrari’s first Grand Prix.

Alonso, the 2005 and 2006 world champion, took the lead from the reigning world champion and current runaway championship leader, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) during the second round of pit-stops. Both drivers were in the middle of the fight for the lead when the pair of them pitted for new tyres at the same time. The Ferrari pit crew flawlessly serviced Alonso’s car, but the Red Bull guys fluffed Vettel’s stop, thus letting the red car out ahead of the Red Bull. And in this case, having something red in front a Bull didn’t make it go any faster as Alonso raced off into the distance.

Vettel would now have his team-mate, Mark Webber, for company in the closing laps of the Grand Prix. Webber was using all of his years of experience to try and get past Vettel, but Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, told Webber to: “Maintain the gap.” To me, this says ‘Don’t take Vettel off Mark, he’s going to win the championship this year but we don’t trust you to try and pass him.’ Webber ignored these anti-racing orders but failed to pass Vettel, finishing third just 0.4-seconds behind him.

Further back, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton turned the last moments of his battle with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa into a banger race to the delight of his home fans, including me as well.

The 2008 world champion (Hamilton) had been told by his team that he needed to save fuel urgently. This allowed Massa to chase Hamilton down at a rate of at least a couple of seconds per lap. Massa got alongside Hamilton as they entered Vale corner for the last time. Hamilton missed his braking spot and the two made contact. Massa was forced wide and rounded the last corner, Club, on the run-off area while Hamilton forced his damaged McLaren around the right-hander and into fourth place, 0.024-seconds before Massa crossed the finish-line.

Felipe was faster, but Lewis’s use of brute force and ignorance won their race.

McLaren’s second home driver, 2009 world champion Jenson Button, didn’t get to the finish because of a blunder in the pit-lane. His front-right wheel hadn’t been attached by one of his mechanics when he was given the all-clear. Button knew something was wrong as soon as he turned out
of the pit-lane, but because he had crossed the line separating the pits from the track, his team couldn’t go and get him. Button’s race ended right there in rather embarrassing circumstances.

Sign of a p***ed off racing driver. He keeps his crash-helmet on.

The other British driver in the race, Scotland’s Paul di Resta (Force India) didn’t have much luck in the pit-stops either. When he came in for his first set of new tyres his team were expecting his team-mate Adrian Sutil instead. This meant di Resta had to wait for his tyres to be brought out and Sutil’s removed. This dropped him well down the running order, and he would soon come together with Toro Rosso’s Sébastien Buemi. Buemi’s left-rear tyre was damaged and ripped itself apart, causing the Swiss driver’s retirement from the race. di Resta would go on to finish 15th and out of the points, utterly negating the sixth place grid slot he had started the race from.

This race wasn’t the best British Grand Prix I’ve seen, and I was very disappointed to see McLaren slip behind Ferrari and even further behind Red Bull.

But hopefully the Silver Machines will find something special at the German Grand Prix, which this year is back where it belongs at the Nürburgring, but it’s only the GP-Strecke and not the mighty Nordschleife. I can dream can’t I?

By the way, because the start-finish line at Silverstone has moved to between Club and Abbey and is no longer between Woodcote and Copse, the race now starts in Buckinghamshire and not Northamptonshire.

The 66th British Grand Prix Top 10

  1. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 52-Laps in 1:28:41.194 @ 128.951-mph. Alonso also set the fastest lap of the race on lap 41 with a 1:34.908 (139.095-mph) lap. 25 Points.
  2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), +16.511-seconds. 18 Points.
  3. Mark Webber (Red Bull), +16.947-seconds. 15 Points.
  4. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), +28.986-seconds. 12 Points.
  5. Felipe Massa (Ferrari), +29.010-seconds. 10 Points.
  6. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), +1:00.655. 8 Points.
  7. Sergio Pérez (Sauber), +1:05.590. 6 Points. His best finish in F1.
  8. Nick Heidfeld (Renault), +1:15.542. 4 Points.
  9. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), +1:17.912. 2 Points.
  10. Jamie Alguersuari (Toro Rosso), +1:19.108. 1 Point. Despite not making it out of Q1 in the last four races, this is the third consecutive points finish for him.

 

Congratulations to Daniel Ricciardo (HRT) on finishing his debut race. He was classified 19th and last of the runners and was 3 laps down on Alonso at the end, but he finished. My one concern about him is that he is Red Bull’s and their sister-team’s (Toro Rosso) test driver. So in a way, Red Bull have five drivers out on track when they should only have two.

PS – This is my 250th post! 😀

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 9/19 Races.

Pos

Driver

Constructor

Points

Gap From 1st

1

Sebastian VETTEL (GER)

Red Bull

204

2

Mark WEBBER (AUS)

Red Bull

124

80

3

Fernando ALONSO (ESP)

Ferrari

112

92

4

Lewis HAMILTON (ENG)

McLaren

109

95

5

Jenson BUTTON (ENG)

McLaren

109

95

6

Felipe MASSA (BRA)

Ferrari

52

152

7

Nico ROSBERG (GER)

Mercedes

40

164

8

Nick HEIDFELD (GER)

Renault

34

170

9

Vitaly PETROV (RUS)

Renault

31

173

10

Michael SCHUMACHER (GER)

Mercedes

28

176

11

Kamui KOBAYASHI (JAP)

Sauber

25

179

12

Adrian SUTIL (GER)

Force India

10

194

13

Jamie ALGUERSUARI (ESP)

Toro Rosso

9

195

14

Sergio PÉREZ (MEX)

Sauber

8

196

15

Sébastien BUEMI (SWI)

Toro Rosso

8

196

16

Rubens BARRICHELLO (BRA)

Williams

4

200

17

Paul DI RESTA (SCO)

Force India

2

202

 

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 9/19 Races.

Pos

Constructor

Engine

Points

Gap From 1st

1

RED BULL (AUT)

Renault

328

2

MCLAREN (ENG)

Mercedes

218

110

3

FERRARI (ITA)

Ferrari

164

164

4

MERCEDES (GER)

Mercedes

68

260

5

RENAULT (ENG)

Renault

65

263

6

SAUBER (SWI)

Ferrari

33

295

7

TORO ROSSO (ITA)

Ferrari

17

311

8

FORCE INDIA (IND)

Mercedes

12

316

9

WILLIAMS (ENG)

Cosworth

4

324

RED BULL’S Mark Webber will start today’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone from Pole-Position, continuing the utter dominance displayed by
the Austrian team this season.

Webber’s Q3 time of 1:30.399 (146.033-mph) was just 0.032-seconds quicker than the fastest time set by his team-mate and reigning world champion, Sebastian Vettel, who will start from second on the grid. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will start the race from third on the grid, despite having slid off the track in Q1 at Luffield but kept his Ferrari going.

Q3, like the rest of qualifying, was affected by changeable weather conditions which resulted in some drivers being out of place on the grid.

Fourth to tenth on the grid for today’s race are: 4th) Felipe Massa (Ferrari), homeboys Jenson Button (McLaren) and Paul di Resta (Force India) are fifth and sixth respectively, 7th) Pastor Maldonado (Williams), 8th) Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), 9th) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and 10th) Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) in his home race.

He and Rosberg were really scuppered by the weather, but the pace of the McLaren is something to get worried about.

Q2 saw places 11-17 filled by: 11th) Adrian Sutil (Force India), 12th) Sergio Pérez (Sauber), 13th) Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), 14th) Vitaly Petrov (Renault), 15th) Rubens Barrichello (Williams), 16th) Nick Heidfeld (Renault) and 17th) Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus).

Yes Lotus’s stride towards the ‘established’ teams continues. This time their presents in Q2 was at the expense the Toro Rosso team who saw both drivers eliminated in Q1.

Q1 (as we all know) fills places 18-24 on the grid. 18th and 19th on the grid are the Toro Rossos of Jamie Alguersuari (who for the third race in a row failed to get out of Q1, but he did at least go quicker than his team-mate) Sébastien Buemi. Timo Glock (Virgin) is 20th on the grid, followed by: 21st) Jarno Trulli (Lotus), 22nd) Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Virgin), 23rd) Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT) and Formula 1 debutant, Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo (Narain Karthikeyan’s replacement at HRT) who qualified 24th and last for his first Grand Prix.

Ricciardo (pronounced Riccardo – the second ‘i’ is silent) was over a second inside the 107% Rule time of 1:39.156, setting a 1:38.059.
Yes, he is over half-a-second slower than his team-mate, but he has been faster than him in practice at some points. His participation in this Grand Prix means that for the first time since the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix we have two Australians on the grid. Back then it was Alan Jones (Shadow) and Vern Schuppan (Surtees). This was Jones’s first F1 win and Shadow’s only victory by the way.

Now for my winner prediction. We have two Australians racing today, one at the front of the grid and one at the back. The one at the front will win.

Previous winners of the British Grand Prix starting the race today

  • Michael Schumacher, 3 – 1998, 2002 & 2004 (all for Ferrari).
  • Rubens Barrichello, 2003 (Ferrari).
  • Fernando Alonso, 2006 (Renault).
  • Lewis Hamilton, 2008 (McLaren).
  • Sebastian Vettel, 2009 (Red Bull).
  • Mark Webber, 2010 (Red Bull).

THE 55th European Grand Prix was held on 26 June 2011 at the Valencia Street Circuit in Spain.

This was the fourth time that this particular track has hosted the event. The race was run over 57-laps.

The entire field were looking to stop the Red Bulls (who had locked-out the front row of the grid in Qualifying) and in particular, world championship leader and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, who started from pole.

But Vettel made a good get-away when the lights went green, as did his team-mate Mark Webber. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa made a terrific start
from fifth on the grid and by Turn 2 was challenging Webber for second. However he had to slow down too much, allowing his team-mate Fernando Alonso up into third ahead of him. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton lost out badly, dropping from third to fifth, just ahead of Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button.

“You can’t catch me, I’m Sebastian Ve!~”

Button chased Rosberg hard as the leading five drivers pulled away from the two Mercedes-powered cars. On lap six Button out braked
Rosberg into Turn 2 to take his sixth place from him.

Button (L) passed Rosberg on lap 6.

By lap 13 Vettel’s lead over Webber was 3.5-seconds. Meanwhile Hamilton and Rosberg pitted for new tyres, allowing Button up to fifth. Webber
also took the opportunity to stop for fresh rubber at the end of the lap.

On his newer tyres, Hamilton breezed past Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) at Turn 12 on the next lap to take sixth place from the seven-time world champion. Both Vettel and now second placed Alonso pitted, thus allowing Felipe Massa to inherit the lead of the Grand Prix.

After Massa pitted the front runners were back in the right order, and by lap 20 Vettel led the Webber-Alonso battle for second by
2.3-seconds, with Hamilton fourth, Massa fifth and Button sixth 20-seconds behind Vettel.

On the next lap (21) Alonso sold Webber a dummy on the run down to Turn 12 after gaining a massive slipstream from the Red Bull. The double world champion had no trouble with getting his Ferrari up to second.

At the end of lap 24 Hamilton pitted for the second time. But his pit-stop almost ended in disaster when he almost drove away too early. This cost him precious seconds and rejoined the race in sixth place.

Five laps latter Alonso pitted. He almost spun his Ferrari at the pit-lane entrance because he had no rear grip left. The Spaniard rejoined the race in fourth place behind Massa (second) and crucially, Webber who had pitted a lap earlier and passed him on the undercut. Vettel and Button pitted to have their tyres changed one lap later.

This led to Vettel being closely followed by: Massa, Webber and Alonso on lap 31. But Massa was on old tyres and this allowed Vettel to get away whilst holding up Webber and pushing him back into the clutches of Alonso. Webber used his DRS to get around the outside of Massa at Turn 17.
Alonso had to wait for his moment to pass his team-mate because they both had to lap the Lotus of Jarno Trulli. Trulli saw Massa but must have missed Alonso, because he came back across the track after Massa passed him and nearly put Alonso into the wall at well over 160-mph!

As you can well imagine this didn’t go down well with Alonso who waved his hand at Trulli in anger before inheriting Massa’s third place as the Brazilian went into the pits.

The top three of Vettel, Webber and Alonso continued to drive within close proximity of each other, and on lap 35 there were only 3.6-seconds covering them.

The last round of pit-stops took place with around 12/13 laps to go. Alonso pitted at the end of lap 45, just one lap after Webber pitted for new tyres. But Webber was being held up by a train of lapped cars, negating any advantage he could gain over Alonso who exited the pits in second place.

But out at the front was (still) Sebastian Vettel, who drove to his 16th career win in a time of 1:39:36.169, an average speed of
115.618-mph. He has now won as many races as Sir Stirling Moss, and is now one ahead of Hamilton on the all time list. Not bad for a man who has only started 70 Grand Prix.

After all these wins, surly Champagne must taste a bit boring?

Vettel has now won six out of the eight races this season, eight of the last ten and nine of the last 12 Grand Prixs! He also completed a Hat-Trick by setting the Fastest Lap of the race on lap 53 with a 1:41.852 (119.008-mph) tour. In fact the only thing that stopped him from completing a Grand Slam was the fact that Massa led lap 14.

He has also become the first driver in F1 history to finish in the top two at the first eight races of a season. Can anybody stop this guy?!

2011 European Grand Prix @ Valencia Top 10

  1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault), 1h:39m:36.169s – 25 Points.
  2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), + 10.891s – 18 Points. The home fans loved this I bet.
  3. Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault), +27.255s – 15 Points. He backed off near the end in order to save his gearbox.
  4. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes), +46.190s – 12 Points.
  5. Felipe Massa (Ferrari), +51.705s – 10 Points.
  6. Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes), +1:00.065 – 8 Points.
  7. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), +1:38.090 – 6 Points.
  8. Jamie Alguersuari (Toro Rosso-Ferrari), +1 Lap –4 Points. This drive from 18th on the grid in front of his home crowd may just have saved his race seat.
  9. Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes), +1 Lap – 2 Points.
  10. Nick Heidfeld (Renault), +1 Lap – 1 Point.

 

This race – despite how boring it was compared to most of the races this season – has gone down in the record books. For only the fourth time in F1 history, there was not a single retirement. The other races when all of the starters finished are: the 1961 Dutch Grand Prix (15 starters)*, the
2005 American Grand Prix (6 starters)† and the 2005 Italian Grand Prix (20 starters).

*As well as every driver finishing the race, not a single pit-stop was made either!

†Only the Bridgestone runners started.

The fact that we have 24 drivers in the grid now means that this race has set the record for the most classified finishers in a Grand Prix. This also means that HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan has become the first man ever to finish 24th in a F1 Grand Prix. The fact that his team-mate, Vitantonio Liuzzi, finished 23rd and almost lapped him is probably the reason why he has lost his seat for the rest of the season to Toro Rosso’s
test driver, Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

The F1 circus now heads to Silverstone for my home race, the British Grand Prix.

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 8/19 Races.

Pos

Driver

Constructor

Points

Gap From 1st

1

Sebastian VETTEL (GER)

Red Bull

186

2

Jenson BUTTON (ENG)

McLaren

109

77

3

Mark WEBBER (AUS)

Red Bull

109

77

4

Lewis HAMILTON (ENG)

McLaren

97

89

5

Fernando ALONSO (ESP)

Ferrari

87

99

6

Felipe MASSA (BRA)

Ferrari

42

144

7

Nico ROSBERG (GER)

Mercedes

32

154

8

Vitaly PETROV (RUS)

Renault

31

155

9

Nick HEIDFELD (GER)

Renault

30

156

10

Michael SCHUMACHER (GER)

Mercedes

26

160

11

Kamui KOBAYASHI (JAP)

Sauber

25

161

12

Adrian SUTIL (GER)

Force India

10

176

13

Jamie ALGUERSUARI (ESP)

Toro Rosso

8

178

14

Sébastien BUEMI (SWI)

Toro Rosso

8

178

15

Rubens BARRICHELLO (BRA)

Williams

4

182

16

Sergio PÉREZ (MEX)

Sauber

2

184

17

Paul DI RESTA (SCO)

Force India

2

184

 

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 8/19 Races.

Pos

Constructor

Engine

Points

Gap From 1st

1

RED BULL (AUT)

Renault

295

2

MCLAREN (ENG)

Mercedes

206

89

3

FERRARI (ITA)

Ferrari

129

166

4

RENAULT (ENG)

Renault

61

234

5

MERCEDES (GER)

Mercedes

58

237

6

SAUBER (SWI)

Ferrari

27

268

7

TORO ROSSO (ITA)

Ferrari

16

279

8

FORCE INDIA (IND)

Mercedes

12

283

9

WILLIAMS (ENG)

Cosworth

4

291

RED BULL’S Sebastian Vettel secured his 22nd career pole position and seventh of the season with a Q3 time of 1:36.975 (124.993-mph) around the Valencia Street Circuit ahead of tomorrow’s European Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion will have his team-mate, Mark Webber, for company on the front row of the grid after the Australian set a 1:37.163 in the final part of qualifying. The 2008 world champion, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), will start from third on the grid, after setting a 1:37.380 lap time.

Fourth to tenth on the grid is as follows: 4th) home favourite Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 5th) his team-mate Felipe Massa, 6th) Jenson Button (McLaren), 7th) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 8th) Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), 9th) Nick Heidfeld (Renault) who didn’t set a Q3 time, as did 10th) Adrian Sutil (Force India). Heidfeld was the quickest of the pair in Q2 and thus is ahead of Sutil on the grid.

Q2 was Red Flagged for a short while after Pastor Maldonado (Williams) stopped out on track with what seemed like electrical problems and a mobile crane needed to be brought onto the track in order to move the car.

Those drivers who were knocked-out of qualifying in Q2 were: 11th) Vitaly Petrov (Renault), 12th) Paul di Resta (Force India), 13th) Rubens Barrichello (Williams), 14th) Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), 15th) Maldonado, 16th) the well again Sergio Pérez (Sauber) and 17th) Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso).

The main (and only) highlight of Q1 was Jarno Trulli spinning his Lotus at Turn 25 on his final lap. The session also claimed Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) as a victim for the third straight race. His race seat may now come under serious scrutiny if he cannot perform tomorrow in his second home Grand Prix of the season.

Alguersuari will start alongside his team-mate Buemi in 18th place on the grid and ahead of: 19th) Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus), 20th) Trulli, 21st) Timo Glock (Virgin), 22nd) Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT), 23rd) Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Virgin) and finally 24th) Narain Karthikeyan (HRT) who was nearly a whole second faster than the 107% Rule time of 1:45.301.

Past winners of the European Grand Prix on the grid:

  • Michael Schumacher, 6: 1994 and 1995 (Benetton), 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2006 (Ferrari). All except ’94 at the Nürburgring (Germany). 1994 Euro GP was held at Jerez (Spain).
  • Fernando Alonso, 2: 2005 (Renault) and 2007 (McLaren). Both at the Nürburgring.
  • Rubens Barrichello, 2: 2002 (Ferrari) and 2009 (Brawn). ’02 at the Nürburgring and ’09 in Valencia.
  • Felipe Massa, 1: 2008 (Ferrari). Massa won the first race on the Valencia Street Circuit.
  • Sebastian Vettel, 1: 2010 (Red Bull).

I’m not going to say who I think will win tomorrow, because at the moment anybody who bets against a certain German must have a hotwire to God.

THE 2011 Canadian Grand Prix around the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit will go down in history for producing perhaps the most dramatic last few laps Formula 1 has seen since Brazil 2008.

It started raining in Montreal just before the race was due to get underway. There was a possibility that the race would start under the normal procedure, but race control decided to start the race behind the Safety Car. This first SC period lasted for the first four laps of the Grand Prix. I think that if the race starts under the SC it should just be for the first lap of the race, but then again the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit has very little run-off areas and this was probably the best call.

One of the few occasions Vettel has had a car in front of him this year.

Anyway, the SC came in at the end of lap four and the: reigning world champion, current championship leader, pole sitter and newest inductee into the Wall of Champions wall of shame, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) came under immediate pressure from the second placed Ferrari of double world champion Fernando Alonso at Turn 1but held him off. Further back, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) challenged the other Red Bull of Mark Webber at the same corner for fourth place. Unfortunately the pair touched and Webber was sent into a spin. Hamilton lost ground to the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher as well as his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, whereas Webber found himself much further down the order when he got himself going again.

Button (#4) cashes in on Webber (pointing the wrong way) and Hamilton (behind Webber) nudging each other.

On the next lap Button ran wide at Turn 6and allowed Schumacher to pass him. He now had his team-mate Hamilton to deal with.

Hamilton quickly dispatched his team-mate and began trying to pass Schumacher. On the run down to Turn 10 (L’Epingle ) the seven-times world champion pushed the 2008 world champion wide and onto the run-off area, thus allowing Button to get back ahead of Hamilton.

By this time Hamilton was getting angry inside his helmet. His aggressive driving style (of which I am a great fan) had gotten him into trouble at the previous round in Monaco and was about to go too far once again. Only this time it was with the worst possible person on the track.

At the end of the seventh lap of the Grand Prix race control announced that the Hamilton-Webber incident was under investigation. At the exact same time both McLarens were exiting the Last Chicane and Hamilton had a much higher exit speed than his team-mate in front of him. He pulled out to Button’s left and tried to overtake him around the outside on the start-finish straight. But Button couldn’t see his team-mate due to the amount of spray in his mirrors and stuck to the racing line which was near the pit-wall…this is exactly where Hamilton had placed his car. Two into one didn’t go and the silver machines hit each other sending Hamilton into the pit-wall, puncturing his left-rear tyre and breaking his rear-suspension.

NOOOO!!! 😦

Button’s car was largely undamaged and he carried on at full racing speed though he was clearly unimpressed with his team-mates actions, asking the team over the radio: “What is he doing?!

Hamilton tried to get his car back to the pits as the SC came out so the marshals could pick up the debris on the start-finish straight. But the McLaren team told Hamilton to park the car as the damage was too great, and the Englishman’s race came to an end at Turn 5, the sight of Olivier Panis’s leg-breaking accident in 1997 when he was driving for Prost.

The pair almost come together again.

Rule #1 of Formula 1 – Don’t hit your team-mate.

Meanwhile Button pitted for intermediate tyres under the SC and also found out that hewas now under investigation.

The SC came in at the end of lap 12 with Vettel leading and the Ferraris of Alonso and Felipe Massa second and third respectively. Rosberg held off Schumacher’s attack on his fourth place at the Last Chicane, a move which Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) had a great view of in sixth place ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov (both Renault) who were in seventh and eighth. Webber had worked his way up to ninth ahead of Force India’s Paul di Resta. Button at this point was 12th.

By the end of the first racing lap Button was ninth but had been given a Drive-Through Penalty for being too fast behind the SC. Each drive must stick to a certain lap time under SC conditions, and Button had exceeded that time. He decided to take this penalty immediately (the track has a relatively short pit-lane) but still dropped well down the order to 18th place.

But by lap 19 Button had worked his way back up into eighth place and was challenging the two Renaults. He passed Petrov at Turn 7 but the rain suddenly became torrential, and Button was on the wrong tyres for that amount of rainfall. Unsurprisingly the McLaren ran wide at Turn 10 and the Russian (who used to race on ice) duly took seventh place back. Elsewhere on track Massa radioed his concerns about the rain.

Sure enough a lap later the SC was deployed again, but this time it was in order to prevent an accident. This is something that the drivers had been asking for and it’s nice to see that on this occasion they have been listened to.

The rain got worse and worse and on lap 23 Vettel (still in the lead behind the SC) radio: “[There is] So much water. [We] Cannot restart the race like this. People behind me won’t see in spray and crash.

The field continued behind the SC until the end of lap 25 when the Red Flag was thrown because of the constant downpour. The cars – as in South Korea last year – lined up on the grid in race order and waited for the rain to ease up.

There then followed a TWO HOUR period in which nothing happened on track. BBC commentators Martin Brundle and David Coulthard kept their worldwide audience entertained by discussing a vast range of important subjects which included: Do Birds have Shoulders? Why there aren’t seats in their com-box, pop-star Rihanna being shown around the McLaren garage by a now smiling Lewis Hamilton, a photographer falling over and getting a cheeky up-skirt shot of said pop-star 😀 (who had somebody else holding her Umbrella), how cool Mercedes’ rain tents looked, racing in Australia in the rain in ’89 and ’91, when Kobayashi will get out of his car and go for a comfort break and the boat race the teams used to have across the St. Laurence Seaway. BBC anchormen Jake Humphrey and Eddie Jordan interviewed Star Wars and Indiana Jones director George Lucas and proposed the idea of an F1 film. I on the other hand had to make do with eating cheese and worrying about my A-Level Philosophy & Ethics exam which was the next morning.

Vettel’s thoughts: “Can we just finish this race on the PS3?”

Then, mercifully the rain eased and the race restarted under the SC. The order was: Vettel, Kobayashi, Massa, Heidfeld, Petrov, di Resta, Webber, Alonso, Button and Sauber’s stand-in driver Pedro de la Rosa, whose participation meant that for the first time in 40 years there were two drivers in the race who were over 40 years old (himself and Schumacher, 42).

It wasn’t until the end of lap 34 that the SC returned to the pits because Heikki Kovalainen was limping into retirement with a driveshaft failure on his Lotus. Vettel bolted early so as he wouldn’t have to deal with the often Kamikaze Kobayashi, who actually had his mirrors full of Massa at Turn 1.

Several drivers (Button, Heidfeld, di Resta, Toro Rosso’s Jamie Alguersuari and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado to name a few) all came into the pits for inters at the end of the first racing lap. Button rejoined the race in 15th place.

The 2009 world champion was involved in his second crash of the race on lap 37 when he attempted to pass Alonso’s Ferrari up the inside at Turn 3 and (to me) had won the apex of the corner. But Alonso turned in on him and the pair touched. Alonso was sent spinning and beached his car on the curb as well as damaging the back of his Ferrari, forcing his retirement. Button’s McLaren suffered a front-left puncture and limped back to the pits. The SC came out yet again and the seemingly unstoppable Vettel pitted for new tyres.

Racing was underway again at the end of lap 40 with Vettel still leading from Kobayashi and Massa. Button was now dead last, but was about to revive a McLaren tradition that began with John Watson almost 30 years ago. Attack from the Back.

But before McLaren fans could feel nostalgic again, millions of fans were treated to another blast from the past.

Michael Schumacher took sixth place away from Mark Webber at Turn 10 on lap 42 and was soon promoted to fourth after Paul di Resta broke his front wing on the back of Heidfeld’s Renault, causing them both to pit. By lap 51 Schumacher had caught the Kobayashi-Massa fight for second place. The pair of them got into trouble on the exit of Turn 8 and Schumacher drove straight past the two of them. Michael Schumacher was now second! Massa did pass Kobayashi at Turn 10 but was still third.

He wasn’t third for long however as he aquaplaned into a wall whilst trying to lap Narain Karthikeyan (HRT) just two laps later and the Brazilian damaged the nose of his Ferrari. Further up the track Vettel was pitting for super-soft tyres and his Red Bull team-mate Webber was on a charge.

There was yet more on-track drama on lap 56 when Nick Heidfeld broke his Renault’s front wing on the back of Kobayashi’s Sauber at Turn 2 (Virage Senna). The German carried on at full speed until he ran over his own front wing which sent him slightly airborne. He slid down the escape road at Turn 3 out the way, but the debris on the track was on the racing line and the SC was needed for a record shattering sixth time in the race (I believe Canada ’07 or ‘08 did hold the record with four).

One marshal had a moment to forget when he fell over like Bambi on ice more than once in front of oncoming cars. I reckon he did something then that he hasn’t done since he was a small boy.

But in all seriousness, we were now set for the grandstand finish we were robbed of in Monaco. Vettel had: Schumacher, Webber and Button (who had raced up through the field yet again) right behind him with just 10 laps to go.

When the SC came in Vettel gunned it in a desperate bid to get away from the chasing trio. Webber couldn’t pass Schumacher until the DRS was made available at the end of lap 63. He got ahead of the oldest driver in the race at the Last Chicane but missed the corner itself and went across the run-off area. He had to give Schumacher the place back but also needed to prevent Button from cashing in on him slowing up. Webber judged his move perfectly at Turn 2 and we were back to how we were.

On the end of the 64th lap Webber again cut the Last Chicane trying to DRS his way past Schumacher. Webber almost took out Button as he came back onto the track but couldn’t stop the McLaren moving up to third place.

Button DRSed his way past Schumacher before they got to the Last Chicane one lap later, and could clearly see Vettel ahead of him. Button was driving like a man possessed, but there was still a very real possibility that Vettel would win his sixth race out of seven this season.

With just three laps to go Button was 1.3-seconds behind Vettel and gaining on him, but at the moment wasn’t close enough to get his DRS to work. Webber was close enough to Schumacher however to get his to work and finally passed the Mercedes the Last Chicane.

Button set the fastest lap of the race on lap 69 (the last lap but one) with a 1:16.956 (126.774-mph) lap, but he still couldn’t get past Vettel, who just needed to hang on for another 2.71-miles (4.361-Km).

Then came the moment that has hopefully saved the 2011 season. Vettel ran wide at Turn 6 and slid on the damp surface allowing Button to take the lead with only seven corners to go! Remember what Red Bull said in Malaysia? “We pushed them and they cracked.” How ironic that seems now! 😀

My Dad and I cheered like crazy (perhaps louder than when Liverpool score an injury-time winner) as Button somehow won the 10th and unquestionably the greatest Grand Prix of his career having: started from 7th, had a crash with his team-mate and Alonso, been 21st and last, been in the pits six times and had a D-T Penalty!

Could this be one of the greatest wins F1 has ever seen?

This race was the longest in Formula 1 history at 4h:04m:39.537, breaking the record which had stood since the 1954 German Grand Prix which was won by the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio (then Mercedes), who would have turned 100-years-old yesterday (24 June). Button’s average speed over the course of the whole Grand Prix was only 46.522-mph, making this by far the slowest Grand Prix ever as well.

The race stared at 18:00 my time and did not end until just gone 22:00!

I have never seen Jenson Button drive like he did in Canada before and can’t wait to see if he can carry on this form into the next few races. It has also been proven that Vettel can crack under pressure.

2011 Canadian Grand Prix Top 10.

  1. Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) 70 laps in 4h:04:39.537 – 25 points
  2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) + 2.709-seconds – 18 points
  3. Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) +13.828-seconds – 15 points
  4. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) + 14.219-seconds – 12 points
  5. Vitaly Petrov (Renault) +20.395-seconds – 10 points
  6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) +33.225-seconds – 8 points, who passed…
  7. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber-Ferrari) +33.270-seconds – 6 points, on the line!
  8. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) +35.964-seconds – 4 points, his best F1 finish (also started from the pit-lane).
  9. Rubens Barrichello (Williams-Cosworth) +45.117-seconds – 2 points
  10. Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) +47.056-seconds – 1 point.

Rosberg came 11th, de la Rosa showed that he still has it by finishing 12th and Vitantonio Liuzzi came home in 13th, HRT’s best ever finish.

I have been watching F1 religiously since 1996, and I can confidently say that this was one of the very best races I’ve ever seen.

PS: The moral of the story is, all you need to do is lead the last lap.

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 7/19 Races.

Pos

Driver

Constructor

Points

Gap From 1st

1

Sebastian VETTEL (GER)

Red Bull

161

2

Jenson BUTTON (ENG)

McLaren

101

60

3

Mark WEBBER (AUS)

Red Bull

94

67

4

Lewis HAMILTON (ENG)

McLaren

85

76

5

Fernando ALONSO (ESP)

Ferrari

69

92

6

Felipe MASSA (BRA)

Ferrari

32

129

7

Vitaly PETROV (RUS)

Renault

31

130

8

Nick HEIDFELD (GER)

Renault

29

132

9

Michael SCHUMACHER (GER)

Mercedes

26

135

10

Nico ROSBERG (GER)

Mercedes

26

135

11

Kamui KOBAYASHI (JAP)

Sauber

25

136

12

Adrian SUTIL (GER)

Force India

8

153

13

Sébastien BUEMI (SWI)

Toro Rosso

8

153

14

Jamie ALGUERSUARI (ESP)

Toro Rosso

4

157

15

Rubens BARRICHELLO (BRA)

Williams

4

157

16

Sergio PÉREZ (MEX)

Sauber

2

159

17

Paul DI RESTA (SCO)

Force India

2

159

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 7/19 Races.

Pos

Constructor

Engine

Points

Gap From 1st

1

RED BULL (AUT)

Renault

255

2

MCLAREN (ENG)

Mercedes

186

69

3

FERRARI (ITA)

Ferrari

101

154

4

RENAULT (ENG)

Renault

60

195

5

MERCEDES (GER)

Mercedes

52

203

6

SAUBER (SWI)

Ferrari

27

228

7

TORO ROSSO (ITA)

Ferrari

12

243

8

FORCE INDIA (IND)

Mercedes

10

245

9

WILLIAMS (ENG)

Cosworth

4

251