British Grand Prix: Pre Race Thoughts

Greetings and salutations from Silverstone in Northamptonshire*, for round eight of the Formula 1 Championship. This weekend kicked off with a drizzly P1 on Friday in which Daniel Ricciardo dominated in the wet. Ricciardo continued to perform well in all three qualifying sessions, could Webber’s announcing his retirement have spurred the young Australian on to fight for a seat at Red Bull next year? I think it might have something to do with it, but there is no denying Ricciardo’s skill.

Mercedes secured another front row lockout with Hamilton and Rosberg to start first and second on the grid. Red Bull will take out the second row with Vettel starting third. I feel like Webber will be one to watch in tonight’s race. He’s had a good history at Silverstone, winning back in 2010, and 2012, and still making the podium in 2009, and 2011. Red Bull perform well at “the local”, but I’m thinking Mark will try and stick it to Seb this year.

Di Resta had qualified fifth on the grid, but has been handed a grid penalty for his car being underweight, and will therefore start from the back of the grid. On a brighter note, Ricciardo (who qualified sixth) will now be starting from fifth. I really hope he scores high in the points this race, it will be a good Birthday present to himself (Daniel Ricciardo and I share the same birthday, July 1st, tomorrow, I’ll be 23, he’ll be 24).

Kimi struggled in qualifying yesterday, though the trye god has his ‘points finishing’ record riding on this race. Ferrari also struggled on Friday and Saturday, with Massa colliding with the barriers in practice, and Alonso losing grip on Saturday.

I’m looking forward to tonight’s race. I’m thinking Vettel, Webber and Rosberg have a good shot of being on the podium. Though Kimi, Hamilton, and Ricciardo will definitely be drivers to watch tonight.

Other important events to note include Williams Team 600th Grand Prix start on Sunday, and the FIA and the teams pay tribute to Canadian marshal, Mark Robinson, who suffered fatal injuries clearing Gutierrez’s car during the Canadian Grand Prix. I’m not often serious in my articles, but my thoughts go out to Mark’s family and all those affected.

*Please note that I’m not actually at Silverstone, but hey, a girl can dream.

Candian Grand Prix: Another Red Bull victory

Round 7 of the championship kicked off on Friday with  Free Practice. However, the driver’s  track performance still seemed to be overshadowed by the ongoing secret tyre testing scandal. Most of the post practice press conference was devoted to discussing the issue. This is all well and good, but I think maybe we should try not to get too bogged down in the regulations, and focus a bit more on the race.

Qualifying saw quite a greasy track, with almost no grip at all from the inters. Wet conditions on track made the cars look as if the were on ice. Kimi must have been feeling nostalgic for his rally days because he quite quickly took his Lotus off track on turn 2. Silly Kimi. Massa crashed in Q2, which red flagged the session, and ended his qualifying. The rest of the qualifying sessions saw strong lap times by both the Red Bull’s, Hamilton, and Alonso. Surprising to most was Valtteri Bottas’ qualifying third on the grid, his highest qualifying position ever. Not bad for a driver’s first season in F1. Grosjean had qualified 19th, but his collision with Ricciardo in Monaco resulted in a 10 spot grid penalty for Canada.

The Canadian Grand Prix is usually met with a bit of rain on race day, and the conditions during qualifying looked like this year would be the same. On Sunday however the skies were clear and there was no need for teams to worry with slicks. As a result the race was fairly standard and largely without incident for the drivers. Bottas would have been hoping for more rain so he would have a change to race in the conditions he practiced in.

From lights out, Vettel had a strong pace on the rest of the pack and his lead was secured from pretty early on in the race. Webber had a strong first leg, but damage from an incident with van der Garde ruined his pace, and saw van der Garde retire on lap 43. The only thing that left me stunned the entire race was Sutil’s spin at turn two in which he somehow managed to not hit anything or anyone. Maybe he thought the race needed some livening up? I don’t know, but it was pretty impressive. He didn’t even lose that much time, just a few positions. The dying laps of the race saw a cat and mouse between Hamilton and Alonso, culminating in second and third for Alonso and Hamilton respectively. Kimi didn’t do too much during the race, he made his usual 1-stop-strategy work for him (Tyre God). Although finishing in the points saw him equal Schumacher’s 24 consecutive point finishing races. The Fin finished ninth.

Overall, the race could be summed up as, dare I say, boring? Was it Canada being too polite and making sure every driver had a fair go? I don’t think so somehow by the “Boos” that could be heard from the fans during Vettel’s podium interview. Whatever it was, I hope that it doesn’t follow through to Silverstone. I want a good race that day because due to time difference from the UK to Australia I’ll be watching that race on my 23rd birthday. Please pass on the Vettel that I’d like another victory (and his phone number) for my birthday.

That’s all from me tonight.

– Alex