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  • #276317
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 14: Singapore
    Qualifying: 11th – Race: DSQ
    I was 11th in practice, and in Q1, still on the prime compound, I set a time which would have put me on top of the timesheets in practice and which was worth fourth place in Q1 itself; Petrov, on the other hand, was eliminated in 22nd place. In Q2 I couldn’t improve my previous lap time on the option tyres with my first set, but with my second I came within 0.090s of Vettel’s time: he was 10th, and I was knocked out in 11th place. Hamilton from pole led the two Red Bulls, with Vettel on the second row; Button and Alonso wrapped up the grid in 12th row. I jumped into second place by the time we reached turn 5 as Rosberg and Hamilton impeded each other in an attempt to snatch the lead from Webber. I lost touch with the Red Bull immediately, but was satisfied by my pace as our best times only differed by two seconds. I pitted on lap 7 and came out 4th behind Pic and Petrov and ahead of Raikkonen, while Hamilton and Rosberg had lost some time and took some and though I gently touched the wall, slightly damaging the front wing, I had to reverse to get back on track. I spun again and into the approaching Vettel, and received two penalties at once. I continued in 8th place, having let Massa by to get DRS, before I accidentally hit Kobayashi at turn 8: he spun 180° and prompted the stewards to disqualify me. Webber beat Hamilton and Rosberg and my championship lead has been halved to 20 points only.

    #276109
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Sadly, before my final race of the season, I received the “corrupt file” message and lost all my progress. Not only career but time trials and scenarios and everything else. I decided to do a Grand Prix weekend in Brazil to complete, unofficially, my career. I put the same settings as I’d had but somehow I had too great a performance advantage on my rivals.

    Race 19: Brazil
    Qualifying: 1st – Race: 1st

    Practice was a dry start to a wet weekend, and I topped the session by over two seconds. I was first on intermediates in Q1 and second in Q2. A first run on those tyres put me 8th in Q3, but I noticed the track was too dry. On full wets I improved by two seconds to take first, and had time to do another run on another set of wets and beat my own provisional pole time while others also improved. I was almost two seconds ahead of Raikkonen and Hulkenberg, who beat Vettel and Alonso. The race was run under light rain and everyone used intermediate tyres. Raikkonen overtook me on the inside of turn 1 at the start but ran deep enough for me to move to the inside and take the lead back. I led by three seconds at the end of the first lap as Hamilton had fought his way up to 2nd. I then proceeded to earn around a second per lap on Hamilton himself, and set the fastest lap right away. On lap 9 Alonso, now 3rd, pitted, but Hamilton stayed out one more lap and I, wanting to record a Grand Chelem, stayed out two more laps as I wanted to be sure Hamilton was stopping. I pitted just after momentarily lapping Pic and came back out with 10 seconds on Hamilton. I immediately lapped Chilton and Bianchi, set the fastest lap again before lapping van der Garde and Pic, then improved further the fastest lap. I stayed in the 1:14s every lap till the end and won with a 20-second margin on Hamilton who preceded Alonso. Vettel out of the points meant Fernando has taken 3rd place in the standings back.

    Season Summary
    Wins: 7 – Poles: 3 – Doubles: 3 – Grand Slams: 1

      1. Australia – 6th + 2nd
      2. Malaysia – 9th + 15th
      3. China – 13th + 16th
      4. Bahrain – 10th + 2nd
      5. Spain – 7th + 2nd
      6. Monaco – 4th + 2nd
      7. Canada – 4th + 1st
      8. Great Britain – 1st + 1st
      9. Germany – 6th + 2nd
      10. Hungary – 3rd + 2nd
      11. Belgium – 9th + 1st
      12. Italy – 1st + 1st
      13. Singapore – 6th + 2nd
      14. South Korea – 13th + 2nd
      15. Japan – 10th + 8th
      16. India – 12th + 3rd
      17. Abu Dhabi – 6th + 1st
      18. United States – 4th + 1st
      19. Brazil – 1st + 1st (Grand Slam)
    #275622
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 18: United States
    Qualifying: 5th – Race: 1st

    I had never shown good pace so I was thinking of using prime tyres in Q3: Hamilton had a 20-position penalty in practice so I had one rival less to worry about. Instead I saved two sets of options in Q2 and I used them: I was first by two tenths with my first lap, but my mechanics repaired an inexistent problem on my car and I was prevented from lapping again, and dropped to 5th, 6 tenths off Alonso’s pole time. Due to Hamilton’s penalty, I started 4th. I overtook Vettel and Rosberg at turn 1 and chased Alonso, but did not force a move. Unfortunately he was quick enough through sector 3, my weakest point, to be too far ahead by the time we approached sector 1, my strongest point, on the next lap. I stayed in second place but noticed, the lap I was due to pit, that he was back in my sight despite having been much further ahead. I pitted on lap 6, and me and Vettel came out of our boxes in time to avoid an enormous traffic jam: a queue of cars lined up behind us in the pit lane. One lap later I was back in second place, despite Webber setting the fastest time; however, it was Maldonado who led. I saw that Alonso had begun lapping at least five seconds slower for three laps before stopping, and was held up in the pit lane, dropping down to around 13th place. Maldonado stopped and I led the two Red Bulls, while Rosberg had also started dropping down. While Alonso fell down to 20th, Hamilton climbed to reach us fighting trio at the end of the race: as I lapped consistently in the high 1:40s or in the low 1:41s, I kept my lead while Hamilton overtook Webber for the podium place behind Vettel. This means Alonso has dropped to 4th in the drivers’ standings.

    #275187
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 17: Abu Dhabi
    Qualifying: 6th – Race: 1st

    I went from being quickest by 6 tenths in FP to being 1.1s slower than Vettel in Q3. I qualified 6th, and ahead of me on the grid, on my same column were Alonso, on row 1, and Hamilton between us. I had a good start, overtook Vettel at turn 2 and Alonso at the hairpin. I handled the lead well but I had to anticipate my stop for excessive tyre degradation to lap 5. I pushed hard in the following lap but Vettel came out ahead of me. Sutil, though, held him up at the hairpin and, after obtaining DRS, I passed both at the hairpin. I had skidded out of track when I passed Sutil, though, so I had to give him the position back in the acceleration zone. I lost some time but re-passed the Force India with DRS and KERS, and continued that lap knowing Webber was likely going to get past me as well. He was closer than Vettel was, though, and again I took DRS and overtook him before the activation zone. I only resisted a few laps before I had to lower my pace to handle my tyres, visibly losing traction. Luckily there was battle behind me as I’d slowed down the field, and at times it proved crucial, especially on the last lap when Grosjean and Raikkonen made it to the podium at the expense of Hamilton and gave me a safety margin in the second DRS zone. I held my lead through the tight third sector and took a 5th win of the season when I’d stopped hoping for them and though I’d have to defend my championship lead till the last round. Instead, despite Alonso’s 11th place, we took both titles after this race, and I renewed my contract with Maranello.

    #274879
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 16: India
    Qualifying: 12th – Race: 3rd

    Free practice wasn’t encouraging and despite being 6th in Q1 I was 12th in Q2; Alonso took pole from Rosberg, Vettel and Hamilton. I recovered to 3rd at turn 3, behind Alonso and Vettel and ahead of Hamilton. I soon notice, though, that my option tyres wouldn’t have made it till the planned pit stop, but I decided that an extra lap in my second stint was feasible as I’d seen in practice that the prime compound could last ten laps. I stopped on lap 6 and despite two imperfect laps I was 4th when Webber and Hamilton pitted two laps later. I was in Webber’s tow, got DRS and overtook him into braking for turn 3. Button got past as well and held the pair up for a couple of laps. I set my personal best time on lap 9 but then it became a five-way fight for 3rd place: I held back Webber, Button and the two Mercedes. Uncountable swaps of positions later I was still ahead, when I realised tyre degradation was worse than planned. I slowed, perhaps excessively, on lap 13, and went a bit faster in the final two laps, still driving much more smoothly than I had previously done. I often had to counter-attack going into turn 4, at times with three cars alongside me using DRS, but I did not let the podium slip away from me and I finished 3rd, ages after Alonso and Vettel had crossed the line. I held Hamilton behind me and Fernando is now very close to him in the championship.

    #274824
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 15: Japan
    Qualifying: 10th – Race: 8th

    I was first in practice, but only 6th, 9th and 10th in each section of qualifying respectively, while Vettel beat Alonso and the two Mercedes to pole. I rose to 2nd on the first lap by overtaking Rosberg before going under the bridge, but Vettel had enough margin at Spoon Kurve to avoid my attack and run away. I noticed halfway-through my stint that my tyres should already have been replaced, so rather than trying to extend my second stint by a lap I was forced to take the difficult decision of converting to a 3-stop strategy. I stopped on lap 4 and put on another set of mediums. I was 13th and overtook two cars to become 11th before the others served their mandatory stop too. I was 3rd for a lap behind Alonso, who had overtaken me off track, and ahead of Hamilton. I stopped again on lap 8 and put on hard tyres, coming out 11th behind Ricciardo. I passed him on that lap, two laps later I caught and overtook Sutil and on the final lap I overtook di Resta to finish 8th after what could probably have been my best performance ever. Despite an extra stop I was in contention for points and despite pitting two laps earlier than Alonso I lost only a couple of seconds to him. However, my eleven-race podium streak came to an end; this is also only the second time, since I joined Ferrari, I have scored points but not stepped on the podium. Vettel won but Hamilton was only 5th, limiting his points gain to 6 in this round, while Vettel has passed Webber in the championship.

    #274767
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 14: South Korea
    Qualifying: 13th – Race: 2nd
    I could only manage 13th in Q2 as rain affected my second run, while Vettel took pole from Hamilton and Alonso. I had a good run on the outside of turns 1 and 2 and combined with a good tow down the straight I got up to 2nd place by overtaking Hamilton at turn 3. Vettel ran away, though I lapped only a second slower than him, and the drivers behind me didn’t form a train. Rosberg knocked Alonso into a spin at turn 3 on the fourth lap. I pitted on lap 5 and forced Vettel to stay stationary for some more time as Rosberg and other drivers stopped too. Hulkenberg was fractionally late and allowed Vettel to leave while I waited for him to go by, meaning I had cut on Vettel’s lead but not enough to attack him. He was caught in traffic but Alonso was barely going to hold him behind and Ricciardo wasn’t slow enough, and both pitted anyhow at the end of the lap. Rosberg was delayed by Bottas and messed up as he was then overtaken by Webber. I kept him behind quite easily till the end, and after sandwiching between the two Mercedes in Singapore I did so between the two Red Bulls in Korea. Raikkonen did not score points for the first time this year after a crash but Alonso recovered to 6th; Hamilton was 10th after recovering through the field.

    #274669
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 13: Singapore
    Qualifying: 6th – Race: 2nd

    In practice I had to run five laps starting with a fuel load of 56 laps, meaning I was last by 2 seconds, but with 40 laps’ worth of fuel less I was 10th, 2 seconds off Hamilton which I selected as my rival going into the weekend. Qualifying was the first dry session of the weekend and I confirmed my fears that I lacked grip and traction out of corners. 11th in Q1, 7th in Q2, as I found more confidence on the super softs, set me up for Q3. A good first lap put me 6th, and I cut a corner on my second attempt and had to give up. Alonso set pole ahead of Vettel and Hamilton. At the start I successfully tried a crazy move, squeezing through Hamilton on the right and Vettel on the left, with only a few inches of space more than my car’s width. I took the lead and pitted on lap 5, but Hamilton had done so one lap earlier and leapfrogged me. Alonso and the others who waited one more lap stayed behind. It started raining towards lap 8, but I waited to see if the situation got bad enough to have to switch tyres. On lap 11 I became the first one to put intermediates on, excluding Vettel who had pitted for a new front wing one lap earlier. Hamilton and the others followed on lap 12 and I recovered to be 3 seconds from Hamilton instead of the 13 I had before stopping. Perhaps had my crew not replaced my slightly damaged front wing I could’ve made it back to the lead, but anyhow Hamilton ran away again and I managed my gap on Rosberg to finish 2nd.

    #274256
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Just for fun, I don’t buy these claims…

    Mercedes: Rosberg, Hamilton, Bottas
    Red Bull: Ricciardo, Vettel, Vergne
    Williams: Massa, Nasr, Wolff
    Ferrari: Alonso, Raikkonen, Calado
    McLaren: Button, Magnussen, Vandoorne
    Force India: Hulkenberg, Perez, Bianchi
    Toro Rosso: Kvyat, Sainz Jr., Verstappen
    Marussia: Chilton, Marciello, Cecotto Jr.

    #274257
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Just for fun…

    Mercedes: Rosberg, Hamilton, Bottas
    Red Bull: Ricciardo, Vettel, Vergne
    Williams: Massa, Nasr, Grosjean
    Ferrari: Alonso, Raikkonen, Calado
    McLaren: Button, Magnussen, Vandoorne
    Force India: Hulkenberg, Perez, Bianchi
    Toro Rosso: Kvyat, Sainz Jr., Verstappen
    Marussia: Chilton, Marciello, Cecotto Jr.

    #274057
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 13: Italy
    Qualifying: 18th – Race: 1st

    I used all my three sets of mediums but I wasn’t able to improve the time I set on my first lap, especially in the second sector. I did so by a quarter of a tenth on my last lap but I was one tenth off Q2 and qualified 18th, five positions ahead of Petrov. I didn’t have a brilliant start but I braked late and earned some places, then used the tow at Curva Grande to pass both Mercedes and Hamilton to take 4th place. Button spun out at Lesmo 2 and Grosjean passed Vettel for the lead at Variante Ascari. This allowed me into their tow and Vettel still trying to take the lead back helped me: at della Roggia I overtook Vettel, and Grosjean’s defending line allowed me to attack him going into Lesmo 1 to take the lead myself. This was one of my toughest defensive drives, as both at Curva del Serraglio and on the Rettifilo my DRS-equipped opponents had good runs, especially as I could never get the exit of Lesmo 2 completely right. I led Perez on lap 6 as I pitted, and lost time behind di Resta as he cost me downforce and Petrov overtook me in the first DRS zone, forcing me to overtake him on the outside of Ascari. Nonetheless Perez was exiting the pits as I approached Variante del Rettifilo and I out-braked him and passed him on the outside. The drivers battling behind me meant that at least once every two laps I had less to worry about in the DRS zones: Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso overtook Perez initially. On lap 10 Hamilton was going to attack me going into Ascari but I saw him slow down and pull aside as he retired from second place. Vettel, Perez and Alonso had a scrap for the podium positions. I started the last lap by lapping Glock and immediately after I lost the lead to Vettel on the pit straight. I braked very late but cut off Vettel on the exit of the first chicane to hold onto my lead, and dragged the car across the finish line as the chequered flag waved above me. Just before the race I’d chosen Vettel as my championship rival, and with this runner-up position he’s now third in the standings not far from Hamilton.

    #274023
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 11: Hungary
    Qualifying: 11th – Race: 1st

    I reached Q2 in 15th place, then I was 10th for a brief time in Q2 but I lost out to Grosjean by half a tenth. Hamilton started from pole but on my side was the weather: heavy rain meant no pits tops on the wet compound. I started well and courageously took the inside line and braked late at turn 1 to take the lead. I lapped slower than what my rivals could have done but I wasn’t slowing them enough for them to swap positions frequently. On lap 10 Rosberg, unfortunately for him, tried to overtake me and I cleanly edged him and as he touched the kerb he moved off track and lost several positions. On lap 11 my KERS started malfunctioning and I couldn’t defend on the main straight. Luckily on that lap there were yellow flags waving, and in the upcoming two laps I used my full engine power to defend. It started working again and as the tyres degraded I had some more scares on the kerbs which I carelessly continued using, especially on entry to the chicane. Webber got past Vettel and unfortunately Hamilton clinched the final podium position limiting my points gain to 10, which still means that I’ve taken the lead of the championship back for now.

    Race 12: Belgium

    Qualifying: 19th – Race: 5th

    I did all I could in qualifying but with 1.3s to recover to be 18th I didn’t even try and settled for 19th, whilst Petrov was 23rd. I had a good start and stuck to the inside of La Source to recover to around 12th place, then overtook some cars on the outside of Eau Rouge and some exiting Raidillon, among which Hamilton who had started 2nd. Thanks to the KERS, the tow, the maximum engine power on the Kemmel straight I was now up to 5th and decided that was enough as the Mercedes ahead of me ran away into the distance. Through battles and probably accidents between the drivers chasing me, so close to each other, I earned some margin on the cars behind and by the time I pitted only Maldonado and Raikkonen were in a group with me. I managed to keep ahead of both during the stop and recovered the two lost positions on the next lap as Senna and Kobayashi pitted too. I still was 5th and defended with all my KERS battery against the attacks in the DRS zone, and despite having to out-break Raikkonen a couple of times I stayed ahead and salvaged an excellent 5th place which has only cost me two points to Rosberg, my second-nearest rival, and was worth a full ten points on the pointless Hamilton.

    #273243
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 10: Germany
    Qualifying: 18th – Race: 5th

    I was only three tenths from Q2 but never could put in a good lap; Petrov was 21st. Between turns 1 and 2 I recovered to fourth place, then kept a good pace as I was only a second slower than Grosjean ahead of me and Button had trouble passing as I was the fastest driver through sector 2 and I always held a little margin going into the DRS zone. I pitted on lap 7 and Rosberg leapfrogged me by waiting an extra lap to stop. After Vergne pitted on lap 11 I had no one behind me for seconds and I could concentrate on my driving, as I lapped in the 1:21s repeatedly. The fastest lap was lowered by Rosberg and Hamilton and eventually became a 1:18.9. Hamilton recorded a hat-trick and now leads me in the drivers’ championship.

    #272983
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    Fixy
    Participant

    Race 12: Italy
    Qualifying: 1st – Race: 1st
    In front of my home crowd I led a Ferrari one-two in practice, beating Alonso by over half a second and receiving excellent signs from my tyres. I led Q1 by the same margin which put me in P6 in Q2, last of the front-runners. When it mattered most, though, I put in a perfect lap, a 1:22.601, and beat Vettel by 453 thousandths, while Alonso missed out on the front row by one thousandth only. While I ran away in the lead Vettel and Alonso battled for P2, with the Spaniard being overtaken by Hamilton and eventually dropping to 7th. Webber in P4 was much further behind but slowly caught up with us leading trio by the time I had to stop, on lap 6. Vettel stayed behind and lost time on cold tyres and I passed Hamilton who was coming out of the pits one lap later. The pair swapped places and fell to 5 seconds behind me while I used all my engine power to set the fastest lap, although by not that much of a margin as Alonso was later able to improve it. He also passed Vettel for P3 while I was about to lap Chilton and slowly falling into Hamilton’s clutches again, but the chequered flag fell to stop that from happening. For the second year in a row I’ve won at home from pole, and with two poles set this year I’ve already gone one better than last year; my two poles are also the only times I’ve beaten Fernando in qualifying this season.

    #272973
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    Fixy
    Participant

    My avatar is now Stefan Bellof’s helmet. He died 29 years ago today at Spa.

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