Category: McLaren


Vettel was full of apologies following the ‘Multi-21′ controversy, but Webber would hear none of it. (Image | AP)

Formula 1 is back this weekend as the fun and games comes to Europe and the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona after a three week absence following the Bahrain Grand Prix. Whilst it hasn’t perhaps started off with the bang that was last year, the action has been simmering just nicely to really take off over the next few races, and the level of intrigue remains high. So it is perhaps worthwhile recapping what has passed over the course of the first four races.

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As Sebastian Vettel slides past the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne on the run down to Turn 4, the yellow flag indicators can clearly be seen showing on his dashboard, either side of the timing screen. This would seem to suggest that the pass is illegal, which could result in a penalty for the German. (Video | YouTube)

This is the moment which could ruin Sebastian Vettel’s hat-trick of Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship crowns.

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A horrifying crash at La Source removed Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean on the first lap but Jenson Button steered clear of chaos to win (Image | Sutton/Corbis)

Jenson Button returned to winning ways at the Belgian Grand Prix at historic Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, notching up his first victory since the season’s opening round in Australia with an utterly dominant lights-to-flag display. Managing to run a one-stop strategy following the opening lap carnage, Button’s incredible consistency helped him preserve both his tyres and his healthy lead for the duration of the 44-lap race.

I had intended to post a ‘Five Questions’ article ahead of this weekend, but I plain ran out of time between work and writing other pieces, so I’m flipping the script. Here, instead, are my five observations in the aftermath of a highly entertaining afternoon’s racing.

1) Is there a better circuit in Formula 1 than Spa?

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Coming up on the rails | Kimi Raikkonen‘s metronomic consistency, combined with a forthcoming major upgrade for Lotus, could see the Iceman become a serious title contender over the second half of the season (Image | AP)

Somewhat overlooked due to the Olympic Games, the Hungarian Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton record his second victory of the season to reignite his title bid, but the result observers should have been more wary of was the second place of Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen’s second place was his fifth podium of the season and although a win still eludes the Iceman (and Lotus), he has only failed to score points on one occasion this season - a record eclipsed only by championship leader Fernando Alonso. What’s more impressive about Raikkonen’s performance at Hungary is that he finished just over a second behind Hamilton, with the victor even admitting that had the race been at a circuit where there are more overtaking opportunities, he would have struggled to keep the blistering pace of the Lotus at bay.

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A long road | As the Olympic torch has been transported up and down the country, Olympic fever has slowly begun to take hold, despite the negative press surrounding the Games. (Image | The Sun)

It really has been a vintage summer of sport. The superb entertainment offered by the 2012 European Championships, England notwithstanding, Andy Murray reaching the Wimbledon final and Bradley Wiggins‘ dominance of the Tour de France will live long in the memory of sports fans everywhere.

Not only this, but arguably the most prestigious, and potentially exhilarating sporting event of the summer, is yet to even begin. It is the London 2012 Olympic Games to which that reference pertains, which unofficially begin tonight (with Women’s Football group games) and have already been hitting the headlines, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

Away from transport dilemmas, the issue of packing an extra 10 million visitors into London and the G4S debacle, the Olympic Games celebrate the greatest sporting talents of athletes from across the world. If you claim to be a sports fan, yet this somehow fails to excite you, may I suggest a quick examination of your pulse.

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The shadow of the Hockenheimring of old is still visible through the treeline, but the circuit’s new identity has proved just as entertaining (Image | f1techincal.net)

Formula 1 returns to one of its most prestigious events this weekend at the 59th championship edition of the German Grand Prix. The famous Hockenheimring hosts the event for the 33rd time since its debut in 1970.

It’s an event steeped in history and has been won repeatedly by some of the greatest names of the World Championship era – from Alberto Ascari and Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s through Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and into the modern era, with Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton all multiple-winners of the event.

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L-r: Martin Whitmarsh, Bob Fearnley and Ross Brawn flaunt the new FOTA “white shirt, black trousers” uniform (Image | FOTA website)

A number – a small number, perhaps, but a number nonetheless – of interesting quotes emerged from the second English Formula One Teams Association Fans’ Forum. The forum, held Tuesday at the Williams GP base in Grove, Oxfordshire, allowed F1 fans from around the country to pose questions to team chiefs Ross Brawn (Mercedes), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren) and Bob Fearnley (deputy team chief, Force India) in a 45-minute question-and-answer session.

The session, which took place after an autograph session with Pastor Maldonado and an hour or so looking around the Williams GP museum, featured questions from a variety of different fans with, it should be said, differing levels of F1 understanding and vocabulary (one nigh-incoherent individual rambled on for almost two minutes without posing a question). TAP, as you would expect, had a few questions lined up, but we never got near the microphone…

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Lewis Hamilton’s pace and McLaren’s strategy was too much for the likes of Sebastian Vettel in Montreal (Image | Getty)

Lewis Hamilton became the seventh race winner of the spectacular 2012 Formula 1 season in Montreal yesterday with a commanding drive and some late, great pace to eclipse the tactical manoeuvres of championship rivals Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

For F1, the unbelievable trend of different winners this season continues to break records. All seven grands prix have been won by different drivers, with Hamilton joining teammate Jenson Button as well as Alonso, Vettel, Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado in standing on the top step of the podium.

For Hamilton, this win – which should arguably have come sooner – is just reward for the maturation he has shown in dealing with a succession of setbacks thus far in 2012.

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Should he stay or should he go? | McLaren Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton should stay put, at least for the moment, with exit talk recently emerging in the media. (Image | Top News)

In a response to Andrew Benson’s article on the BBC Sport website, Billy Sexton believes it best for Lewis Hamilton to stay with McLaren Mercedes for the time being.

Benson acknowledges that former F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is frustrated with the failure of his team to provide him with a World Championship-winning car since he took his maiden title in 2008.

With Hamilton out of contract at McLaren at the end of this season and hungry for a second title, Benson points out that he has the option to switch teams, as a number of seats are expected to become available at the sharp end of the grid.

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A fire in the Williams garage, which began over half an hour after the race ended, will be the lasting memory of the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix (Getty)

Pastor Maldonado achieved a memorable first win in seven and a half years for the long-embattled Williams F1 team, but the occasion was marred by the hospitalisation of four team mechanics – and five more, four from Caterham and one Force India member – following the outbreak of a horrific fire in the team’s garage following the race.

Reports soon emerged from sources such as BBC.co.uk and Autosport.com that the fire had been caused either by a KERS or fuel explosion, possibly linked to the retired car of Bruno Senna which had been recovered to the pits after stopping out on track. Thick black smoke engulfed the pit lane as fire-trained mechanics from several teams rushed to join the firefighting effort.

The event cast an unhappy shadow over what should have been a memorable day for Williams, whose founder Frank Williams had his entire family at the race to celebrate his 70th birthday. Williams, who has been in a wheelchair for over 25 years following a car accident, was in the garage at the time of the fire but was reportedly evacuated safely.

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