Monday, August 27, 2007

Massa hails `amazing` Turkish victory

Felipe Massa hailed his "amazing" Turkish GP victory, which saw the Ferrari driver's title campaign get back on track. The Brazilian, who clinched the victory at the Istanbul Park last season, won this year's race from pole to flag while his family watched on from the Ferrari garage. It was an emotional win for Massa, who reduced the gap from himself to Championship leader Lewis Hamilton to just 15 points after the McLaren driver suffered a tyre blow-out.

"It is amazing. Really fantastic," said Massa.
"I love the track, love the place. Here was where my career made a switch, where I started winning races and fighting with the front-runners.
"It is a special place for me. Having the second win is special, it is difficult to find the right words.
"It was an emotional podium, the team likes to take this feeling from the people. I am proud to win in front of him (his father) and my mother."

However, it wasn't all smooth sailing for the Ferrari driver, who came under attack from his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and was seen throwing aside a piece of his broken helmet. "I had a crack on the cooling system on the helmet and I had a big turbulence and my head was going up and down and I lost concentration and I took it away. I cracked it completely and took it off and it was better," he said.
Meanwhile team-mate Raikkonen was left to lament an error in Saturday's qualifying that saw him claim third place on the grid. Although he immediately moved up to second place at the start, the Finn found himself unable to pass Massa throughout the 58-lap race.

"I had a very good car but at this stage in F1 is difficult to get past," he said.
"The race was really decided yesterday. I tried to do something at the pitstops but when two teammates are fighting usually whoever is first is going to stay there.

"The car was good but there was nothing I could do."

Ferrari's 1-2 means the team is now just 11 points behind McLaren in the race for the Constructors' Championship title.

Source: Planet-F1

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Todt: Ferrari needs to get its act together

Jean Todt has called on Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa to be podium perfect for the remainder of the season if the team are to have any chance of title glory. Raikkonen came home second in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, slipping to 20 points behind race winner and Championship leader Lewis Hamilton. Team-mate Felipe Massa, meanwhile, is a further point down after finishing 13th, making up just one place from his grid position after a fuel problem in qualifying. Ferrari at least closed the gap on McLaren to 19 points in the Constructors' title race after their rivals had all team points docked following a controversial qualifying session. But time and races are running out for Ferrari, and with just six grands prix remaining the Maranello marque face coming away empty-handed for a third successive season.

"A second and 13th place are a meagre reward for this weekend," said Todt.
"There is a slight bitter taste at seeing how competitive we were in the race with Kimi, as it showed again that starting from the front is vital
"Of course, Felipe was even more heavily penalised because of the negative outcome of qualifying, given that he was constantly stuck in traffic. But we knew this track would not suit us that well. "Now we need to try to get both our drivers on the podium all the time to try to make up the gaps in both championships for the remaining third of the season. "We have all we need - the team, the car and drivers - but we have not always been able to put them all together to the best effect.

"If we don't manage it, the Championships will not be won."

Raikkonen is at least confident there will be an improvement after Formula One's traditional summer holiday, with the Turkish Grand Prix three weeks away. "I fought to the very end to try to win, but I never had a real chance to pass Hamilton," said the Finn. "Qualifying did not help. Clearly on some tracks we suffer a lot in qualifying and we have to understand why. "But in the coming races the situation should definitely be better, starting in Istanbul."

Massa, who suffered what he described as "a horrible race," will not be throwing in the towel despite the problems that continue to blight his chances and those of Raikkonen. "It's been a weekend to forget, but I have not lost confidence," insisted Massa. "We know we have a good car and we must return to winning as soon as possible, starting in Turkey. We must not give up."

Source: Planet-F1

Kimi knocks `boring race`

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen called the Hungarian Grand Prix "boring" after he finished second behind Lewis Hamilton. Unlike last season, the Budapest event failed to offer much excitement and Raikkonen pointed out what millions of F1 fans already know.
He explained: "It was a kind of boring race, just driving behind and waiting for something to happen. The Finnish star made a splendid start and went into the first corner on the tail of the McLaren, but in a race bereft of action, Raikkonen was unable to overtake Hamilton. He thus had to settle for the second step on the podium despite setting the fastest lap of the race. "Nothing really happened so we finished where we started," he added.

The 27-year-old won this race two seasons ago with McLaren and he complained that his Ferrari did not suit the Hungaroring. "Our car is maybe not exactly suited for this circuit," said Raikkonen, who is now 20 points adrift of Championship leader Hamilton.

Source: Planet-F1

**go kimi go**

An `emotional` victory for Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton admitted the third win of his rookie season in Hungary was "quite emotional". Hamilton, who had controversially started from pole following a five-place grid penalty for Fernando Alonso, now holds a seven-point lead over his McLaren team-mate in the drivers' title race. Alonso, who was forced to start from sixth after being accused by stewards of illegally impeding Hamilton in yesterday's qualifying session, came fourth behind the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and the BMW Sauber of Nick Heidfeld. "It's been an eventful weekend and quite emotional for all the team," the 22-year-old Englishman said. "It's good to be back at the top after an eventful race the last time out (European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring).

"With all the drama that has gone on over the weekend, it would have been easy to lose focus. "It's been a downer on the team, but the team have still done a great job, and I know how to win races. "It's probably one of the hardest I've had. I had to push that bit extra with Kimi behind. "It was good to get the points, for me and the morale of the team, to show we can beat anyone." Hamilton is also confident that McLaren have taken a step foward with the MP4-22. "We made a really good step forward with a great package but we still weren't sure whether we'd be ahead of the Ferraris. You could see in the race they had great pace."

Source: Planet-F1

Dennis struggling to cope with McLaren tension

An emotionally-drained Ron Dennis has admitted that his McLaren outfit is being stretched to breaking point by the "tremendous amount of tension" existing between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Looking tense and tired at the end of an "exhausting weekend", Dennis confirmed that the team would conduct an internal investigation into the qualifying debacle at Hungary that resulted in Alonso being demoted five grid-slots and McLaren denied collecting any points towards the Constructors' Championship. It was apparent, however, that Dennis believed that his two title-chasing drivers, rather than the team itself, were at fault on Saturday.
"What happened yesterday was really unacceptable and neither driver was blameless," he confirmed to ITV. "We could have been more aggressive in handling matters, but that isn't my style. "There is a tremendous amount of tension within the team. Both our drivers are phenomenally competitive and looking for every advantage within a system that does not offer any advantage. "We will not deviate away from equality. It is the foundation of the company. We will not, under any circumstances, offer either driver any advantage."

Already suffering relentless scrutiny from the Stepneygate crisis, McLaren and its chief executive have suffered a traumatic few weeks and it was palpably obvious from Dennis' overwrought demeanour that Hamilton's victory in Budapest had brought scarce consolation. "I am so drained that I cannot feel any emotion," he reflected. Hamilton is believed to have apologised for launching a foul-mouthed tirade against his boss on the team's pit-to-car radio at the end of qualifying, an outburst which prompted an aggrieved Dennis to throw his headset down in disgust.

Source: Planet-F1

Alonso stripped of pole!

Lewis Hamilton will start on pole for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix after McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso was penalised by a loss of five grid positions following a qualifying infringement. McLaren will also be docked all constructors' points from the race after the stewards refused to accept the team's explanations into the controversy that has overshadowed the event. The stewards signed off on the official qualifying classification at 9.30pm GMT, and with Alonso on pole it indicated that the reigning double world champion had been exonerated. However, it was later explained by an FIA official that regardless of such a release, the stewards could still issue grid sanctions. At 10.35pm, and following an investigation that had started at 3.30pm with team principal Ron Dennis being summoned, the panel finally delivered their verdict.

In a statement, the stewards said:
'During the final minutes of qualifying, the car driven by Fernando Alonso remained in its pit stop position at the completion of his pit stop notwithstanding the fact that his team-mate Lewis Hamilton was waiting immediately behind him to commence his own pit stop. The delay prevented Hamilton from being able to complete his final flying lap of qualifying. The team principal, together with the team manager and both drivers, were called before the Stewards and asked to explain their actions.
Reference was made to video and audio evidence. The facts and the explanation given by the team are as follows:
At the commencement of the third period of the qualifying practice it had been agreed within the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team ("the team") that Fernando Alonso would leave the pit exit ahead of Lewis Hamilton in order to benefit from the possibility for purposes of fuel burn allowance of being able to complete an additional lap. In the event, the car driven by Lewis Hamilton arrived at the pit exit before that of Fernando Alonso and when the pit lane opened he left in front of Alonso. The team required Hamilton by radio communication to allow Alonso to pass in order that he might endeavour to complete his extra lap. Because of the proximity of the Ferrari driven by Kimi Raikkonen, however, Hamilton declined to allow Alonso to pass despite repeated requests from the team to do so. Reference to the radio communications passing between the team and its two drivers shows that the team told Hamilton at 14:56:44 to "box this lap" and required him to do a "hard in-lap" but advised him some 32 seconds later to "slow the pace a little, just lose a couple of seconds before the end of the lap because Fernando is pitting in front of you". At 14:57:34, just 18 seconds later, Alonso was told that when he pitted "we are going to hold you for 20 seconds". At 14:57:46 Alonso's car arrived at his pit stop position, his tyres were changed and the jacks removed just 6 seconds later. The car then remained in position from 14:57:52 to 14:58:12 when the signal known as the "lollipop" was raised indicating that the driver was free to leave. By this time Hamilton's car had arrived and stopped immediately behind that of Alonso. Alonso, instead of leaving his pit in order that his team-mate Hamilton could complete his pit stop, remained in position for a further 10 seconds. He then left the pit lane in sufficient time to reach the Control Line before the end of qualifying, completed a flying lap in which he set the fastest time and secured pole position.

Because of the delay caused by Alonso, Hamilton was unable to complete his pit stop in time sufficient to enable him also to complete a flying lap. The team were asked to explain why, having indicated to Hamilton that he must stop at his pit on the next lap, they then informed Alonso whilst he was still on the track that when he also pitted on the next lap he would be held for 20 seconds. The team stated that they frequently give estimates as to duration of pit stop to their drivers before they pit and that the reason the car was in fact held for 20 seconds was that it was being counted down prior to release at a beneficial time regard being given to other cars on the track. Alonso was asked why he waited for some 10 seconds before leaving the pits after being given the signal to leave. His response was that he was enquiring as to whether the correct set of tyres had been fitted to his car. When asked why this conversation did not take place during the 20-second period when his car sat stationary all work on it having been completed, it was stated that it was not possible to communicate by radio because of the countdown being given to him. Reference to the circuit map shows that at the time Alonso was told he would be held for 20 seconds there were but 4 cars on the circuit, his own and those of Fisichella, Hamilton and Raikkonen. All but Raikkonen entered the pits such that there can have been no necessity to keep Alonso in the pits for 20 seconds waiting for a convenient gap in traffic in which to leave. The explanation given by Alonso as to why at the expiration of the 20 second period he remained in his pit stop position for a further 10 seconds is not accepted.

The Stewards find that he unnecessarily impeded another driver, Hamilton, and as a result he will be penalised by a loss of 5 grid positions. The explanation given by the team as to why they kept Alonso stationary for 20 seconds after completion of his tyre change and therefore delayed Hamilton's own pit stop is not accepted. The actions of the team in the final minutes of qualifying are considered prejudicial to the interests of the competition and to the interests of motor sport generally. The penalty to be applied is that such points (if any) in the 2007 Formula 1 constructors' championship as accrue to the team as a result of their participation in the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix wilt be withdrawn. The team is reminded of its right of appeal.'

Source: Planet-F1

**Make 2 different pitstop for two 'hungry' drivers**

Alonso blames McLaren for Lewis hold-up

Fernando Alonso insists it was McLaren's fault that Lewis Hamilton wasn't able to launch a counter-attack for pole position in Saturday's Hungarian qualifying. "The team held me back in this," the Spaniard said in the post-race press conference. We tried to have some space with the Ferrari (Raikkonen) in front of us." He added: "I am always monitoring the pitstop by the radio. They do the calculations, they find the gaps and I just drive the car. I am always ready to go, as soon as they put on the tyres." However, that's not how it looked.

Nearing the end of the third and final qualifying segment, Alonso remained stationary in the McLaren pitbox for several seconds while Hamilton queued up behind him - and Alonso did so despite having already been waved out by the team. The hold-up meant that while Alonso was able to get across the line before the chequered flag fell and start a flying lap, Hamilton was not. And as a result, the McLaren rookie lost out on pole position. As for his thoughts on the incident, Hamilton said: "There's not really much to say. You saw what happened."

Asked by how much he missed across the line to start his flying lap, the Brit added: "By about as much as I was held up." Hamilton, though, wasn't the only one keeping his thoughts to himself. His team boss Ron Dennis told ITV: "It is a matter to be discussed within the team, and we will do so later."

Source: Planet-F1

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A controversial Pole for Fernando Alonso - Hungarian GP - Qualifying

A hollow Pole Position for Fernando Alonso

Ron Dennis was not smiling at the end of the qualifying session despite the fact that Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton locked out the front row ahead of tomorrow’s 70-lap Hungarian Grand Prix. As if there was not enough controversy at McLaren Mercedes at the moment, the final second of qualifying would bring yet more.

Lewis Hamilton held the provisional pole position following his first run in qualifying, but heading to the pits to take his second and final set of tyres, he found team-mate Alonso sitting there in the pit box, tyres changed but not moving.

We do not know if Alonso was instructed to wait in the pits, or took his own decision to wait. The end result however was that Alonso was able to get back out and start his final flying lap, while Hamilton was unable to make it around in time... A strange situation as Alonso would complete the final flying lap and claim the Pole Position from Hamilton. The championship leader would deflect all questions regarding the issue after climbing from his car.

While talks will go on behind closed doors at McLaren, Nick Heidfeld is probably the happiest driver today in Hungary as he qualified his BMW Sauber a fine third fastest. Team-mate Robert Kubica will be relatively content with seventh, given his struggle this morning in final practice.

Kimi Raikkonen salvaged fourth position for Ferrari.
The fact is that the Italian team struggled in qualifying as the Finn was nearly two-tenths off the pace of Heidfeld’s F1.07. For Massa, the session was a disaster. He struggled with massive understeer on his F2007 and qualified just 14th with a time nearly a second slower than his practice pace.

Nico Rosberg had a strong session as he qualified his Williams Toyota in fifth position. The German seems especially well hooked-up at this circuit. Ralf Schumacher did a similarly solid job for Toyota as he qualified sixth fastest with team-mate Jarno Trulli ninth fastest. Giancarlo Fisichella set the eighth fastest time in his Renault but it remains to be seen if the Renault driver will retain his grid position after badly blocking Sakon Yamamoto early in the session.

Mark Webber qualified tenth in his Red Bull Renault just ahead of team-mate David Coulthard. Heikki Kovalainen qualified 12th in the second Renault ahead of Alex Wurz and Massa. Anthony Davidson continued to show the way to team-mate Takuma Sato and they set the 15th and 19th best times respectively, while Tonio Liuzzi did a good job to make it into the second round of qualifying in his Toro Rosso.

It was a bit of a disaster for the Honda team as expected. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were both eliminated after the first qualifying session as they qualified 17th and 18th ahead of Takuma Sato.

Sebastian Vettel had two scruffy qualifying runs in his Toro Rosso and was therefore just 20th. In fairness to Vettel, he has had no testing at all in the car ahead of his debut with the team. At the back, Adrian Sutil set the 21st time while Sakon Yamamoto may well have been closer to his Spyker team-mate were it not for some poor driving from Giancarlo Fisichella who baulked the Japanese racer on his final run.

We’re all set for a McLaren fight for supremacy tomorrow. Alonso holds the advantage for now, but Hamilton will certainly feel aggrieved over the going on this afternoon within his own team.

Source: F1-Live

Friday, August 3, 2007

Handling an issue for Kimi Raikkonen - Hungarian GP - Ferrari - Practice

A difficult start to the race weekend for Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa ended the first day of practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix with the sixth and seventh fastest times respectively, just over six tenths off Fernando Alonso's pace. Raikkonen in particular was less than thrilled with the handling of his F2007 and was unable to get to grips with the super-soft and soft Bridgestone Potenza available this weekend.

Kimi Raikkonen
“I am not very happy with the handling of my car in these two sessions and obviously we have a lot to do in order to improve. But this is only Friday and there is no point in making a drama out of it as far as qualifying and the race are concerned. I wasn’t able to get a really clear picture of the performance of the two types of tyre, especially on the first lap, firstly because of traffic and secondly because of that quick short shower.”

Felipe Massa
“Overall, I am happy with the day. In the final series of laps I could have done a good time but there was a yellow flag and I had to slow. It’s hard to say at this stage of the weekend if we are faster or slower than our closest rivals, but we are definitely competitive. We worked a lot on the set-up and towards the end of the day we found some good solutions.
There is still a slight unknown as far as tyre performance is concerned, especially on the softer ones over a long run, while the harder ones however are more consistent.”

Luca Baldisserri
“The way these three hours of free practice went revealed a slight difficulty on our part when it came to finding the right balance for the car, especially on Kimi’s. We picked up a lot of data and we will have to analyse it very carefully to improve the situation for qualifying and the race. On top of this comes uncertainty over the weather and the influence that could have in terms of set-up, especially for qualifying which is so important. Therefore, it is easy to see why it is really difficult to make predictions for the rest of the weekend. The handling of the two types of tyre we have available is rather unusual so far: we have a big difference in terms of consistency of performance, while on the first lap the results are very similar.”

Source Ferrari

Source: F1-Live

Alonso sets the Friday pace - Hungarian GP - Second practice

A strong start from Alonso and McLaren Mercedes

Fernando Alonso set the Friday practice pace ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix for McLaren Mercedes as he lapped the 4.384 KM circuit in 1:20.919s, three-tenths ahead of Heikki Kovalainen who was impressive in his Renault and Lewis Hamilton who spun off late in the final minutes.

The 90-minute practice session started in sunny conditions but the clouds moved in and there were actually a few spot an hour into the session. This didn’t really create much of an issue, but the track temperate did drop off, and as a result, few were able to improve in the final 30 minutes.

The McLaren MP4-22 was expected to be well suited to this tight and twisty circuit and it was no surprise to see Alonso at the head of the timesheets. Hamilton looked to make it a McLaren one-two, but spun his McLaren off track and beached the car in the gravel with four minutes remaining.

Kovalainen and Renault will be happy to end the day second fastest, just 0.364s slower than Alonso and a fraction ahead of Hamilton. Team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella was eighth fastest in the second Renault, but there was an awful lot of activity amongst the mechanics at the back end of his car late in the session, suggesting a problem.

Nico Rosberg was a solid fourth fastest in his Williams Toyota and should he repeat the position when it really does count, it would be a big boost for the team. Team-mate Alex Wurz was 12th fastest with what was probably a more representative time at a second off the ultimate pace.

Nick Heidfeld set the fifth best time in his BMW Sauber with Robert Kubica back in the tenths position. Kubica in particular spent a lot of time running on the worn soft tyre while most of his rivals worked mostly on the harder option.

Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa were sixth and seventh fastest for Ferrari. The team struggled massively at Monaco earlier in the season compared to rivals McLaren and this circuit is similar, minus the Armco and the harbour…

Jarno Trulli set the ninth best time in his Toyota with team-mate Ralf Schumacher 11th ahead of Wurz and the Red Bull Renault duo of Mark Webber and David Coulthard. Anthony Davidson was one of the few to improve in the final 30 minutes as he posted the 15th best lap in his Super Aguri ahead of fellow Honda-powered runners Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and Rubens Barrichello.

Tonio Liuzzi and Sebastian Vettel were 19th and 20th for Toro Rosso Ferrari ahead of Adrian Sutil who had a few grassy moments in his Spyker Ferrari and Sakon Yamamoto.

Source: F1-Live