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  • #290681
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    Fixy
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    Together with the livery, Force India have shown their drivers’ helmets:

    Hulkenberg’s design is a polished version of his 2014 lid which looks even more menacing!

    Perez has kept his yellow/green background but has added silver and black, whith a Mexican flag stylized on top, making it, in my eyes, one of the prettiest helmets of recent years!

    #290426
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    Fixy
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    Race 5: Spain
    Qualifying: 1st – Race: 4th
    I was in the top ten in free practice and in the first two qualifying sessions, but the gaps were minimal and everything could go wrong very easily. I was perfect in Q3 and took provisional pole on my first attempt, then improved by three thousandths. I was beaten by both Mercedes at turn 1 but by the end of the first sector I was back in the lead, and I kept it without trouble until the pit stops: I was overall the fastest driver, though both Rosberg and Schumacher had taken turns in beating my fastest laps. I sat stationary an extra second in the pits but stayed in front of Schumacher; on cold, hard tyres I lost my advantage on Rosberg, who came out over two seconds ahead. As I’d seen in Q1, I lost my performance advantage on the prime compound, and Nico ran away. I lost KERS for four laps as well but after that Schumacher was no longer a threat. Trying to steal the fastest lap (which was still in the high 1:23s) from Rosberg, I spun at the final chicane on lap 14 and dropped to fourth place, behind Vettel. Of course now I needed to catch the Red Bull he went fastest, and he and Rosberg took turns in lowering the fastest lap until it became a 1:23.0, over a second faster than I could achieve and two seconds faster than my current pace, meaning I couldn’t aim to overtake anyone. Instead, I almost spun at the last corner but preceded Vergne to the chequered flag.

    #290307
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    Fixy
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    Stoffel Vandoorne and ART will be together again in 2015!

    #290147
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    Fixy
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    @f199player I was going to post about that one! Luca <3

    #290107
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    Fixy
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    Indeed, Schuberth no longer appears in the list of Ferrari partners on thier website; though there is no sign of the Bell logo instead. I also noted the Santander logos on either side should be moved backwards, in a place I think would be normally covered by the cockpit’s side walls.

    #290106
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    Fixy
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    After Raikkonen raced the season with a Bell helmet, Ferrari seem to have dropped its partnership with Schuberth. The German brand started in the 2000s to provide their helmets to Heidfeld and Schumacher brought them to the Scuderia. Barrichello (in 2004 or 2005) then joined in and with them Badoer and Gené. In 2014 Ferrari juniors Bianchi, Marciello and Fuoco amongst the rest wore Schuberths, along with Hulkenberg, Rosberg and Massa. Alonso might still have a contract with them, though it is unlikely as it looked to be more linked to the team than the driver, though Massa still uses one. Marciello has published his 2015 design using a Bell template and Vergne has asked fans to draw his using the same, a Bell helmet.
    Personally, I’m gutted. As I tend to rank everything, I preferred Schuberth to Arai, and Arai to Bell.

    #289732
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    Fixy
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    So what will happen in 2015? Of course Ferrari aren’t going to run Gutierrez or Vergne in Friday practice, but will they use, if the need arises, their own numers (21 & 25) or the allocated test driver numbers (30 & 31)? Also, with 33 taken by Verstappen, that means McLaren will be allocated 34 & 35, Force India 36 & 37 and so on.

    #289720
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    Fixy
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    Race 4: Bahrain
    Qualifying: 1st – Race: 1st
    I did not run in practice, and in qualifying I was messy through sector 2 meaning I was ninth and fifth in the first sessions. In Q3 I used full revs and was tidy so I took pole by over half a second on Alonso. I kept the position at the start and so did Fernando, and we stayed in that order until the pit stops, having battled once with me losing the lead on the pit straight and taking it back at turn four. I pitted on lap 6 and Maldonado pitted too just behind me. We were seventh and eighth on lap 7 and we both overtook Alonso and the other driver leaving the pits on lap 8. I was already two seconds ahead and the Williams driver couldn’t beat my pace, so I did not have to worry too much about the gap. I tried to set the fastest lap which was a second quicker than I could manage, and after twice risking losing the car at the final corner I decided to be more careful. Maldonado had thus gone from being three seconds behind me to just under two, with Alonso still in his exhausts but unable to make a move stick at turn 1. I pushed again for the final laps and pulled out half a second on my rivals, winning the race comfortably. Maldonado took his first points with a podium and Alonso is now third in the standings.

    #289534
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    Fixy
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    Race 3: China
    Qualifying: 22nd – Race: 1st
    I was over a second clear of anyone else in practice, but rain in Q1 meant my setup was unusable and I qualified twenty-second once more, while Schumacher and Rosberg locked out the front row ahead of Alonso. I started quietly but stayed away from collisions and made my way up to seventh place in the first sector. I overtook Perez at the hairpin, then Button at turn 1 and reached fifth place. I pursued Vettel who was almost three seconds ahead, and with near-perfect laps 5 and 6 I reached him and overtook him on the outside of turn 11. On that lap he, Alonso and race-leader Schumacher pitted and I followed Rosberg, four seconds behind him. I went faster than before and he stopped on that lap, while I continued since I was on the reverse strategy. I went better still and I saw that Rosberg had come out ahead of Schumacher. The world champion then overtook his teammate giving me a few more tenths’ advantage before I pitted on lap 8. I came out and left the pit lane with a couple of cars’ lengths of margin over Schumacher. I then set the fastest lap of the race on lap 10, and though I never beat it I lapped close to that limit on several occasions, extending my lead to 2.2 seconds. Hamilton improved the fastest lap on lap 13 and deprived me of that extra gratification, but I led the two Mercedes and Alonso to win the race having started in front of only the HRTs.

    #289498
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    Fixy
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    Race 2: Malaysia
    Qualifying: 22nd – Race: 2nd
    I topped free practice ahead of Alonso, but Q1 had light rain which made the choice between slick and grooved tyres tricky. I was second for most of the session but quickly became twenty-second in the final moments without chance to go out and improve. Alonso and Grosjean had no times and lined up behind me. I decided to try the opposite strategy to what I usually do, and put on hard tyres. In the first sector I managed to make my way up to third place without making contact with anyone. Schumacher was running away but Button was a little slower and I kept him in sight until he made a mistake on lap 3 and I overtook him. Schumacher was eleven seconds ahead when he pitted on lap 6 but I was keeping Vettel a bay. Hamilton and I continued and the Briton re-joined behind Schumacher. I pitted on lap 8 and came out second, ten seconds from the leader. I started pushing and set the fastest lap of the race on three consecutive laps, lowering it by a second on my third try. Nonetheless, I was barely earning useless tenths on Schumacher, who stayed nine seconds in front, while Hamilton dropped to around seven. As Alonso retired one lap from the flag I crossed the line in second place.

    #289315
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    Fixy
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    2012
    2007
    2010
    2014
    2008
    2009
    2013
    2011

    #289198
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    Fixy
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    Season 3 – Ferrari #1

    Race 1: Australia
    Qualifying: 1st – Race: 1st

    I was first in free practice by seven tenths. In Q1 I struggled and qualified in 15th place by a tenth or so; in Q2 I was 6th, a second off Alonso, but only on my fourth lap, having risked elimination. Times in Q3 were much slower as my Q2 time would have secured me pole, and with a single set of options, I waited until two minutes were left to leave the pits for my only attempt. I was 8 hundredths down in S1, 1 up in S2 and I crossed the line fractionally slower than my Q2 time, but with a 1:27.0 I was 0.011s faster than Vettel and two tenths quicker than Alonso, and I took pole in my first appearance for Ferrari. Kovalainen confirmed the progress I helped Caterham make by qualifying 9th. I started well and Alonso took second place from Vettel, with Schumacher lining up third. I easily kept the lead until I stopped on lap 6, when Alonso passed into the lead. I came out ahead of Vettel and Schumacher and behind Ricciardo. Alonso came out one lap later just ahead of me, and I used all my KERS on the first straight after the pits to catch up, and I dived down the inside at turn 3. I was going to run a little deep and I couldn’t turn on apex as I carried too much speed, but Fernando did not care and steered towards me. We banged wheel and he ended up on the grass, losing around three seconds to me. Ricciardo stopped from the lead and I took it back, and managed my gap to Alonso over the rest of the laps. On lap 10 I wanted to take the fastest lap and I did so by two tenths, before Webber further improved it by almost three tenths. Alonso later fractionally beat that and I bettered mine to be only 0.230s slower, but he was catching up with me on the final laps. I caught and lapped Hulkenberg, who dangerously let me through on the outside of turn 5 and forced me to run wide, but Alonso lost more time than me. I lapped de la Rosa on the pit straight seconds before I crossed the line to take the win, and my first one-two.

    #288366
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    Fixy
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    They should go for the young Maldonados – Cecotto + Canamasas! They have the money to race for several seasons in GP2, despite the cars they destroy. And while Cecotto has become consistent I’m sure all it would take for the battle to start would be Canamasas running into him at the first race. They should be far behind everyone else so no one else should be at risk!

    If they can’t tie any type of partnership with an existing team (but both McLaren and Ferrari wouldn’t agree with the Renault engines, and Lotus are out of money) they would likely pick either a super-pay driver and a good driver with experience (Vergne?) or two pay-drivers. Stevens should be on top of that list as he raced in Abu Dhabi, but they could pick Merhi, rent a car to Red Bull for Gasly (like Ricciardo at HRT) if he doesn’t sign with DAMS in GP2, rush a promise like Ocon to F1 or take Sirotkin if he still has backing. I think Palmer and Rossi could buy the seat for at least some races, Chilton might be there keeping an eye on the availability too.

    #287945
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    Fixy
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    1. Hamilton – no reason to rank him any lower. 11 wins out of 19 races, including some great recoveries and 7 poles. The machinery was miles above the rest but it finally gave him the chance he deserved, and he took it.
    2. Rosberg – proved many wrong. At Williams he was said to be but mediocre, after beating Schumacher three years in a row it was down to Schumy’s age, now after 11 poles, 5 wins and 10 second places, having been a title contender up to the last race, his true speed is finally undeniable. He may have won half of Hamilton’s races, but over the course of the season it often looked like finishing second was going to be enough after Hamilton’s two retirements. Also, with Ricciardo so dangerous, finishing second would’ve meant beating Hamilton, so a few wins less than his teammate would’ve done it. Hamilton had to win and he did so, and with the failure in Abu Dhabi their misfortunes were equalised, yet the gap in points wasn’t so big. Had Rosberg won, the tally would’ve been 6-10, which is much less than the 5-11 we saw, so Rosberg wasn’t really far, on merit, to winning the title.
    I’d put Rosberg second on qualifying pace alone – on a single lap he was quicker than Lewis on average. Hamilton may have put a foot wrong in Q3 after dominating every other session, but Nico was always close enough to take advantage of it. And in races they usually finished only a couple of seconds apart after one hour thirty minutes of racing, which means that if Hamilton was better than Rosberg, Nico wasn’t far behind.
    3. Ricciardo – if he was underrated it’s our fault, so ranking him high based on the surprise is wrong. He is ranked high because he did a stellar job, taking a car which in pre-season looked much worse than what it turned out to be to three wins. Of course he took advantage of the Mercedes’ blips, but despite his car not clearly being second-best he was more often than not the closest to the Mercedes pair, and the only one to beat them.
    4. Bottas – I’d say consistency is what really highlighted Bottas out of all. Williams weren’t used to having such a fast car, and the results of the first part of the season show this. But with more experience every race, he took six podiums, and consistency became paired with performance.
    5. Alonso – The car started off badly and never improved, but I think it got worse as the season went on. Yet by looking at Alonso’s results you’d never imagine that this was Ferrari’s worst car since 1993 (results-wise). With the top two spots virtually locked by Mercedes at every event, with Red Bull and Williams clearly faster on average, Alonso managed two podiums, four 4th places, two 5ths, six 6ths, one 7th and two 9ths, with only two retirements down to technical faults. Again he put a bad car well above its standards, but when he could benefit from someone else’s misfortunes the maximum he could earn was not enough for a win.
    6. Massa – had his share of bad luck at the start of the season, which led to him wanting to prove himself too much in races, which, in turn, meant accidents and low-scores. But he had an excellent pace season-long, often beating Bottas, though his track preferences were as clear as they’ve ever been. He sometimes didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, like in Austria, and that pole gave him all his trust in his abilities he’d lost since 2010 back. From then, a 2nd, two 3rd, two 4th, two 5th places gave him a boost in the standings. More than that, he has improved much in consistency, one of his greatest weaknesses (apart from 2011), and has performed well in a car that may have improved largely thans to his feedback.
    7. Button – confirmed his strong points and led Magnussen home most of the times when they both finished. With Magnussen equalling Raikkonen, and the two cars being pretty well matched, Button couldn’t match Alonso, though his team had more ups and downs than Ferrari. He was especially competitive at the end of the season, showing he still has a place in F1.
    8. Vettel – his season wasn’t as bad as it’s said to be my many. Ricciardo’s and his own results aren’t much different excluding the three wins, which were down to several circumstances being in favour of the Aussie. His first half of the season was also marred by unreliability but he was a consistent contender in the top 8, which is in line with what Red Bull showed in pre-season. More or less Vettel underachieved the car’s potential by the same amount Ricciardo overachieved it.
    9. Bianchi – once more showed he deserved a chance in a competitive car. Performed above expectations, still beat Chilton and Monaco alone is worth 9th place in these standings.
    10. Hulkenberg – perhaps less impressive than in previous years, his involvement in the WEC may show he’s had enough of being in midfield teams when he’s shown he can be both fast and consistent. Hopefully that’s not the case and he can get a chance.
    11. Magnussen – never looked as brilliant as in Melbourne but as a rookie he performed well ad hopefully learnt a lot from Button. He wasn’t consistent enough but that’s part of learning and that’s a process which has to take more than a year, so it’d be wrong to drop him now.
    12. Kvyat – another driver who performed at his best in the season opener. Vergne was never known for his qualifying speed but to beat your more experienced teammate is very positive on its own, to beat him around half of the times you both were classified is even better. Yet he was consistent but not spectacular, failing to get a result when it was, perhaps, easier to.
    13. Vergne – Performed, in relation to Kvyat, as he’d done with Ricciardo previously, though of course the Russian had zero experience and came from GP3. 5 retirements in the first 8 races halted his form, but although he may seem a little reckless when pushing hard it payed off in Singapore, and when he beat Kvyat he was usually in the points while Kvyat wasn’t, and when the opposite happened none of them scored so it mattered little.
    14. Perez – Apart from that podium in Bahrain, usually started and finished behind Hulkenberg in the first part of the season. The opposite happened more frequently later on as Nico lost his momentum, but Sergio had no stand-out moments.
    15. Lotterer – a brilliant qualifying for an above-30-year-old rookie, and a shame his race finished so early.
    16. Grosjean – wasted talent in such a car, was good at taking what he could when the Lotus didn’t fail.
    17. Raikkonen – he got up to speed quickly at Lotus but not as quickly at Ferrari. Of course the car was slow and built around Alonso, but he was too far behind on too many occasions. He caught up in the final races, with his best being Spa when he almost took a podium.
    18. Kobayashi
    19. Chilton
    20. Gutierrez
    21. Maldonado
    22. Sutil
    23. Ericsson
    24. Stevens

    #287822
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    Fixy
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    I just think it’s wrong not to put the World Champion as best driver – and we’re not talking of Mike Hawthorn or Keke Rosberg. So:

    1. Hamilton
    2. Rosberg
    3. Ricciardo
    4. Bottas
    5. Alonso
    6. Massa
    7. Button
    8. Vettel
    9. Bianchi
    10. Hulkenberg
    11. Magnussen
    12. Kvyat
    13. Vergne
    14. Perez
    15. Lotterer
    16. Grosjean
    17. Raikkonen
    18. Kobayashi
    19. Chilton
    20. Gutierrez
    21. Maldonado
    22. Sutil
    23. Ericsson
    24. Stevens

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