Formula 1

F1 winter testing: Barcelona II

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG W06

Formula 1 pre-season testing is all done and the post-rationalising from the teams telling us what a great job they were able to do is well underway. As the saying goes, when the flag drops the bullshit stops and we’ve got less than two weeks until the Australian Grand Prix.

After the break is a list of times for the final four days of testing in Barcelona. Mercedes AMG and Williams shared the spoils with their drivers setting the fastest times across the week.

Nico Rosberg claims the title of fastest man in pre-season with his 1:22.792 lap on day two, a full 1.2 seconds faster than his nearest challenger on the day.

It’s no surprise, then, that reigning constructors’ champions Mercedes AMG look to be the team to beat once again this season.

Formula 1

2015 Williams FW37 revealed

2015 Williams FW37

Williams has released this single image of its new FW37 on the morning of its track debut in pre-season testing. Pretty stingy, hey! And it’s not even 2000px in size.

Truth be told, the pictorial offerings from Williams have been pretty tight since Martini began to sponsor them.

It’s okay, there is a video of the car launch, too. Just don’t blink!

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2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Another Formula 1 season has come and gone and, as usual, it’s been a hell of a ride. Lews Hamilton’s win in Abu Dhabi secured his second world crown and put the perfect exclamation mark on a season of dominance for Mercedes AMG.

It’s a big job for a sole contributor compiling a season’s worth of F1 images too. Apologies for the delay in getting these images to you, but I’m not scared to admit there’s a sense of relief in posting the last gallery of photos for the year.

Never fear, the lure of F1 is great and I’ll be back again in 2015, hope to see you here.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Abu Dhabi GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

As you might expect the post-race press conference after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was all about the newly crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton. It’s good for the fans that he was on the podium so that we can get a first-hand account of his thoughts after a big season.

Similarly, it would have been nice to see Daniel Ricciardo on the podium so we might have been able to get some more insight into his breakout year in Formula 1. Instead we have to make do with the words supplied to us by Red Bull:

“I think it was pretty much a faultless race from all sides, from the strategy, to myself and the pit stops, everything was good so we did everything we needed to,” Daniel said. “I had fun passing, it wasn’t boring out there, so it was pretty much what I asked for. One spot better would have been nice, but fourth is really cool from the pit lane.

“It’s been pretty much a perfect season, as perfect as it can be without holding a world title, so no real regrets, no complaints. It’s nice to not only start the season well, but to finish it well also and I think all the way through it was good—we had a strong summer as well, so the start, middle and end were pretty good!”

If last summer was a strong one, let’s pray this summer is a bit stronger for Daniel and Red Bull. It will need to be of they’re to catch the all conquering Silver Arrows.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Abu Dhabi GP

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton secured his eleventh race win for the season and his second world championship with victory in the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix overnight.

The 29-year-old Briton made a lightning start from P2 on the grid, powering into the lead leaving his championship rival and teammate Nico Rosberg in his wake. Rosberg wasn’t able to mount a serious challenge and his title hopes were dashed mid-race when his ERS system failed, meaning he lost the ability to boost engine performance by 120kW for 33 seconds per lap.

Despite his engineer asking him to retire with two laps to go, Rosberg held on to finish the race having dropped to a lowly P14 and was also lapped by Hamilton.

Felipe Massa made a late charge and although Hamilton’s winning margin was a reasonably slender 2.5 seconds the Williams driver wasn’t able to get close enough to challenge for the lead of the race. In the end Massa will be happy with P2, his highest finishing position this season.

Valtteri Bottas finished third and proved he’s got some serious potential. The 30 points he collected were enough to elevate him to fourth in the world championship.

After starting from the pitlane due an illegal wing used in qualifying Daniel Ricciardo impressed everyone, but surprised noone to charge his way through the field to finish the race in P4. He also set the fastest lap and a podium finish may have been possible had he been able to start from the P5 he qualified in. Still, it’s a been a great year for Daniel and we hope Red Bull is able to provide him with a decent car in 2015.

Jenson Button finished fifth in what could be his final race in Formula 1. It would be a quiet and understated ending for the likeable Brit if that were the case. As a world champion he probably deserved the right to say goodbye, assuming McLaren has already made up its mind on who will drive for the team next year.

The Force India pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finished in sixth and seventh, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton’s win is the 33rd of his career, which now moves him ahead of Fernando Alonso on the all time winners list. In addition to his 2008 title, he now joins Jim Clark (1963, 1965) and Graham Hill (1962, 1968) as Britons who have won two world championships.

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2014 Brazilian Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg’s win at the 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix will give his confidence a nice boost going into the title deciding double points bonanza in Abu Dhabi.

Wouldn’t it be the ultimate troll on British F1 fans if Nico could beat Lewis Hamilton to the title with four fewer race wins!

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Brazilian GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix

This morning’s 1–2 result for Mercedes AMG at the Brazilian Grand Prix was their eleventh of the year, the best ever in a single season, eclipsing the 10 1–2 results secured by Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna at the wheel of the legendary McLaren MP4/4 in 1988.

In the post-race presser there was a bit of focus on the history made by Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Also of note are some of Hamilton’s answers where he’s clearly trying to get into the mind of Rosberg as the pair head into the title deciding final race in Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, in what’s probably his worst race weekend all year, Daniel Ricciardo remained philosophical: “When I went into Turn One, the car went to the right and I knew there was a problem. I came into the pits and the team told me it was suspension failure and we retired.

“It had been a bit of a boring race, we were close to everyone but not close enough to have many fights. It’s a shame, but I had a pretty good run until now, so I can’t be too greedy. It would be good to finish on the podium at the final race of the season.”

The full press conference transcript featuring Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa can be read after the break.

[Pic: Sky Sports F1]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Nico Rosberg wins 2014 Brazilian GP

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has kept his title hopes flickering by winning the Brazilian Grand Prix this morning. He was fast all weekend, he started the race from pole and he was fast when it mattered most. Lewis Hamilton was second, of course. It’s the eleventh 1–2 finish for Mercedes AMG this year.

Rosberg’s winning margin was only 1.4 seconds and but for a spin early on Lewis Hamilton might have overtaken Rosberg during the second round of pitstops. As it stands the Brit takes a 17 point lead into the final race, with a maximum of 50 points for first, 36 points available for second and so on.

Felipe Massa’s good late season form continued and he was able to overcome clumsy tyre change and a five second penalty for speeding in pit lane to finish third in his home race. Jenson Button reminded Ron Dennis that he’s actually a pretty handy driver by finishing fourth (five places ahead of his teammate Kevin Magnussen).

Sebastian Vettel made a clunky start, losing two places, but clawed his way back to fifth, finishing ahead of the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. There was a moment late in the race where Alonso was behind Raikkonen and clearly the faster of the two. In the past Ferrari would have paved the way for Alonso to stroll past his teammate, this morning though he was made to earn it. There’s no favours now for the wantaway Spaniard.

Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 10 in a race that didn’t have any major incidents or excitement it has to be said. If you slept in past your 3am alarm call you didn’t miss much.

Daniel Ricciardo’s race came to an uncustomary early finish on Lap 39 when his front left suspension broke, forcing him into only his second retirement for the year. The other was in Malaysia, where he suffered wing damage late in the race.

In better news for Daniel other results from Sao Paulo mean that he will finish third in the world championship this year; he enjoys a 55 point lead over Sebastian Vettel, who now sits fourth ahead of Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas.

The season will reach its climax in two weeks at Abu Dhabi and with Lewis Hamilton’s title chances looking good the bias and focus on his fortunes during the race from the British media and commentary crews will be nigh on unbearable. C’est la vie. Love or hate Lewis, with 10 race wins already to his name, it’s hard to deny him the championship this year.

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2014 Italian Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Italian Grand Prix

We’re a little bit later in the week than usual with our Formula 1 photo smorgasbord, but here we are ready to help you relive Lewis Hamilton’s win at the 2014 Italian Grand Prix. How good is that lead image?!

Hopefully you will forgive our lateness, the 120-plus images for you after the break should help with that. And they’re in new 2560x1690px mega sizing too. Oh yeah!

Even more beautiful.

Thanks to Marussia for images of the famed Monza banking right at the end as well.

Formula 1

No changes at Williams

2014 Austrian Grand Prix

While Ferrari is making heads roll off the track Williams will go into 2015 with the same driver pairing doing the business this year.

It’s great timing for Felipe Massa who stood atop a Formula 1 podium at Monza for the first time in over a year. While Valtteri Bottas who has collected four podium finishes so far this season looks every bit a grand prix winner in waiting.

You can read the team’s official statement after the break.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Italian GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Italian Grand Prix

Formula 1’s biggest soap opera continued in Monza where Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix overnight. Lewis took the lead after Nico Rosberg made a repeat error at the first corner, allowing Hamilton to take the lead unopposed.

It was a bad error from Rosberg, this is true. However, suggestions Rosberg ran wide on purpose are a little hard to believe, we think and more inline with the overhyped fantasy land some journalists or their editors want to create.

Elsewhere Daniel Ricciardo’s late charge earned him unofficial drive of the day plaudits but in the end all that mattered were the 10 points he got for finishing fifth.

“The strategy helped today, it kept the tyres fresh enough to go those extra few laps at the end,” Ricciardo said after the race. “I saw the cars in front of me pit and the pace was still good enough, so seeing that we didn’t have great pace when we were out of position then we thought we would try something different and that’s why we went long, which helped towards the end of the race.

“The start wasn’t ideal, it’s one of the longest runs up to Turn One here from the start line and it’s not a place where you want to have a bad one, but I dropped the clutch and didn’t get the traction, so we will have to look at that, but we kept a cool head and picked our way back through the field. I think fifth, even with a good start, was the best we could do.”

You can read the thoughts of the first three drivers after the race and you’ll see that’s where the Rosberg conspiracy theories began, albeit with a subtle question from Peter Farkas.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Italian GP

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Italian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has overcome a fortnight of hyperbole and poor start from pole position to win the Italain Grand Prix. He’s now within striking distance of the world championship lead, 22 points behind Nico Rosberg.

Mercedes AMG also enjoyed maximum points with Rosberg coming home in a comfortable second place. The German made an excellent start from P2 leaving Hamilton in his wake. However, an error going into the first chicane after the start-finish line allowed Hamilton to take the lead.

Lewis dropped down to P4 on the opening lap but fought back to increase pressure on Rosberg. When Rosberg went straight on at the chicane Hamilton took control of the race, built a steady margin and was never troubled.

As expected the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were the next best, filling places P3 and P4. Massa’s podium is his first for Williams and his first taste of champagne since last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo’s race started badly, too. Starting from P9 he was soon out of the points in the early stages after he was forced off track through the first corner. Although, his day was salvaged thanks to his ability to run a long first stint in a one-stop race. With fresher tyres as the race drew to a close Daniel was carving through the field. His move to claim P5 from teammate Sebastian Vettel combined superb awareness, race craft and even some cheekiness.

Close behind Vettel were Sergio Perez and Jenson Button, who had a great scrap late in the race swapping positions a few times. Rounding out the top 10 in an otherwise drama free grand prix were Kimi Raikkonen and Kevin Magnussen. The latter copping a five second penalty for forcing Bottas off track.

The visit to Monza represents Formula 1’s final European race for the year as the teams head to Singapore for the next grand prix. While we may not like it the season is sure to stay alive until the final race in Abu Dhabi which will have that controversial double points policy in place.