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  • #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
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    #289198
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    Fixy
    Participant

    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
    Participant

    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

    #287661
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    Fixy
    Participant

    His design wasn’t particularly inspiring, though the Red Bull branding took up most of the space. I guess he’ll have something totally new, and though I like helmets what I love most is the surprise of new ones!

    #287660
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 20: Brazil
    Qualifying: 11th – Race: 5th

    I was 6th in practice though not everyone ahead of me was also on primes, so I held high hopes for qualifying. I did get through to Q2 on the medium compound but only in 15th place, and I was one second off pace in Q2, two tenths off tenth place, and I qualified 11th. Luckily enough the front row was occupied by Vettel and Button, and with a good start I had Hamilton alongside me at turn 4. I attacked him and took third place. I was pretty happy with my pace but I was losing touch with the leading pair and was vulnerable in the second DRS zone. I had Rosberg on my tail, and thankfully Schumacher and Kobayashi had taken the following positions ahead of my other rivals. I pitted on lap 8 but my mechanics were slow and we had to led Schumacher through, meaning Rosberg, who waited a further lap, was also ahead of me. Now 5th, I lowered my lap times and finally set my best time which was 1.4s slower than Schumacher’s, which was the fastest of all. I had slightly pulled away from Kobayashi, and behind him only Alonso was in sight now. As I turned down my engine revs to save fuel in the last laps the two caught me, with Hamilton quickly reaching us. I fended off a couple of attempts down at turn 4 and held onto 5th place, and over fifteen seconds after Rosberg had crossed the line in third place I took the chequered flag meaning I was world champion by six points on the German. Vettel won, Hamilton preceded Webber to seventh place and Petrov recovered three positions to finish 21st.

    #287659
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 20: Brazil
    Qualifying: 11th – Race: 5th

    I was 6th in practice though not everyone ahead of me was also on primes, so I held high hopes for qualifying. I did get through to Q2 on the medium compound but only in 15th place, and I was one second off pace in Q2, two tenths off tenth place, and I qualified 11th. Luckily enough the front row was occupied by Vettel and Button, and with a good start I had Hamilton alongside me at turn 4. I attacked him and took third place. I was pretty happy with my pace but I was losing touch with the leading pair and was vulnerable in the second DRS zone. I had Rosberg on my tail, and thankfully Schumacher and Kobayashi had taken the following positions ahead of my other rivals. I pitted on lap 8 but my mechanics were slow and we had to led Schumacher through, meaning Rosberg, who waited a further lap, was also ahead of me. Now 5th, I lowered my lap times and finally set my best time which was 1.4s slower than Schumacher’s, which was the fastest of all. I had slightly pulled away from Kobayashi, and behind him only Alonso was in sight now. As I turned down my engine revs to save fuel in the last laps the two caught me, with Hamilton quickly reaching us. I fended off a couple of attempts down at turn 4 and held onto 5th place, and over fifteen seconds after Rosberg had crossed the line in third place I took the chequered flag meaning I was world champion by six points on the German. Vettel won, Hamilton preceded Webber to seventh place and Petrov recovered three positions to finish 21st.

    #287650
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Vettel was driving an F2012 for Ferrari in Fiorano for a filming event – his helmet was white with a red visor stripe, and the words “il mio primo giorno in Ferrari” (“my first day in Ferrari”) and something on top, probably his number 5 (the same used on the car).

    #287599
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Round 18: Abu Dhabi
    Qualifying: 9th – Race: 3rd
    Before the race I finally got the long awaited call from Ferrari and accepted it. I was 10th in practice, second in Q1 (behind Vergne and ahead of de la Rosa), while Petrov was 20th. I was 10th in Q2 for a couple of tenths, and with a single effort in Q3 I was 9th, 0.014s off 18th place and 1.098s off P1. I reached 5th place at turn 2, then overtook both Red Bulls at turn 4 and took 3rd place. I did not have the pace of Hamilton and Rosberg but I held Webber and Vettel at bay. I pitted on lap 6 and came out 4th, only Grosjean having continued, and one lap later, when I took 3rd place back, the Safety Car came out. I had half a minute to earn back on the leaders and it took me over a lap and a half, then we waited a further lap before we went racing again. I didn’t have the best of restarts and mistook turn 1, so I had to defend from Grosjean for the rest of the lap. Then I started setting personal best laps, though two seconds off Hamilton’s pace, and I kept Grosjean behind me quite easily from then on to finish on the podium. Hamilton now is only fourteen points behind me in the championship.

    Race 19: United States
    Qualifying: 10th – Race: 6th
    I was only 19th in practice and did not have the pace to complete my R&D program. Nonetheless, also thanks to a tow from Hulkenberg, I was 7th in Q1, while Petrov was eliminated in last place. With another great lap I went 4th fastest in Q2 before heavy rain spoiled the plans of the other drivers. I thought the rain would’ve played in my favour but I was at great disadvantage and ended tenth, five seconds off Rosberg’s pole time. I reached fourth place after the first corners but took some time to find my rhythm and therefore lost touch with the leaders. I was untouchable in sector 1 if I got it right, and thus defended well in the first DRS zone. I pitted on lap 6 with a crucial two-second lead on Maldonado: the pit lane got busy and most drivers were caught in traffic, but I wasn’t. Hamilton was the big winner as he pitted one lap later and came out behind me, while Senna and Ricciardo were on the opposite strategy and stopped on lap 8, joining behind us. I was doing my job really well but on lap 11 I made a mistake at the hairpin and Senna went by, and I had no hope to catch him. At the penultimate corner of lap 13, as it started raining, my worn-out tyres almost caught me out, and though I kept the car facing the right direction Ricciardo was now ahead and I was sixth, defending from Vettel. I made no further mistakes and Button thankfully beat Webber and Rosberg, who now are the only ones still in contention for the title together with me and Hamilton, who failed to score.

    #287511
    #287367
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    Fixy
    Participant

    I for one welcome the prospect of F1 drivers taking part in a few events in other categories, the WEC above all – but with 20 races on the calendar it’s going to be tough to find a spare weekend!

    #286993
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    Fixy
    Participant

    @magnificent-geoffrey You win, sir. For a moment I feared you were leaving F1 Fanatic! By the way, love your current avatar :)
    Poor Kamui! I hate it when good (or even mediocre) drivers get the boot, but the other day I was thinking about how many more drivers it would be nice to see in F1: Vandoorne, Nasr, Evans, Palmer even, Sainz, someone else I don’t know, and definitely Valsecchi and Filippi! But there’s no room, so you have a limited time to prove yourself – and that means Ericsson should leave, not Kamui. Gutierrez is a wasted talent and I support him but objectively he’s failed at F1. Vergne… I don’t know what to say really. How many free seats would we have? Too few, too few indeed. 26 cars would be great, gosh even three-car teams would be better than 18 cars…

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