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!

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

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.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying report

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg needs a lot to go right for him this weekend to wrest the world championship from the grasp of Lewis Hamilton and he started well by earning himself pole position for tonight’s race.

Rosberg’s time (1:40.480) was comfortably faster than Hamilton’s (1:40.866) who made a few minor mistakes. It would be easy to say the pressure is getting to Lewis and maybe it is, but if he can stay out of trouble and finish the race he should be celebrating his second world championship.

Valtteri Bottas (1:41.025) edged out a flying Felipe Massa (1:41.119) for P3 but as the image above shows, the only story in town is all about the Lewis v Nico title fight.

Qualifying in P5 and P6 were Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo (1:41.267) and Sebastian Vettel (1:41.893) but they have both been disqualified for running an illegal front wing.

Speaking before the Stewards had disqualified him Ricciardo said: “I’m really happy with quali; we knew after FP3 we had a bit of work to do, but we knew when the sun went down the temperature would drop so we stayed optimistic that our set up would work better in the evening and we made some good changes for that.

“I was the happiest I have been all weekend during quali. We are fairly close to the Williams and not too far off at least one of the Mercs, so not a bad session.”

Daniel and Sebastian will start from the back of the grid and any points they can claim will be a bonus.

The top 10 was rounded out by Daniil Kvyat (1:41.908), Jenson Button (1:41.964), Kimi Raikonnen (1:42.236) and Fernando Alonso (1:42.866).

It will be all eyes on the front of the grid at the start of the grand prix. Lewis Hamilton needs third or better to guarantee his title win. Let’s hope we see an exciting and fair race.

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

2014 Russian Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Russian Grand Prix

The fun has come and gone from the Sochi sun and the Russian Grand Prix passed by without any idiot from the Formula 1 world threatening to “shirtfront” Putin. Which, in some ways, in just as bad as it would have been if some idiot did engage his mouth before his brain.

Anyway, enough of that, let’s just try and enjoy the images from the race. Hopefully, they’re not quite as dull as the on track action ended up.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Russian GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Russian Grand Prix

So after Lewis’ procession to win the 2014 Russian Grand Prix maybe the post-race presser had some spark in it? Something to add a bit of life to the race. Well, don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo explains a little about his tyre performance and some of the challenges he faced in securing P7.

“Starting the race the tyre was already blistered, it had quite a bit from qualifying,” Daniel said. “So it wasn’t looking too healthy and the first stint made it worse; I could see it starting to come apart, so we had to pit quiet early.

“Then on the prime the tyre lasted well and we had good pace and could match Alonso, but couldn’t get past. Congrats to Mercedes—it’s been a dominant season by them, so hats off to them.”

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Russian GP

2014 Russian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has won the Russian Grand Prix and in doing so has helped the works Mercedes AMG team secure its first ever constructors’ world championship. It’s Hamilton’s ninth win of the season and the second time this year he has won four races in a row. He now has 31 career grands prix victories, which puts him equal with Nigel Mansell.

For all of that though it was a boring race. The only excitment was at the approach to Turn 2 on the opening lap when Nico Rosberg overtook Hamilton for the lead, but in doing so locked up his tyres so badly that he had to pit for new rubber at the end of the lap.

In an illustration of how lifeless this race was Rosberg was then able to complete the race on the tyres he had fitted at the start of Lap 2. That enabled him to claw back every position except the lead and claim yet another Mercedes AMG 1-2 for the year (nine in total so far this season).

Valtteri Bottas continued his good form to finish P3 and ensured the Silver Arrows didn’t have it all their own way by securing the fastest lap of the race on his final tour. Jenson Button came home fourth, ahead of his teammate Kevin Magnussen.

If you’re paying attention you’ll notice the first five cars were Mercedes-powered.

Fernando Alonso was the first non-Mercedes powered driver across the line, hanging on to keep his Ferrari ahead of the Red Bull pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel. Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10.

With three races left, including the double points novelty at Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton has a 17 point lead over Rosberg and seems unstoppable for the drivers’ title. But as we all know, anything can happen in Formula 1 and it usually does.

Let’s hope that is the case, because after tonight’s Russian Grand Prix we need soemthing to wake us all up.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Russian GP: qualifying report

2014 Russian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for the first Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix. Hamilton’s time (1:38.513) was exactly two tenths quicker than teammate Nico Rosberg (1:38.713) who will share the front row.

Valtteri Bottas (1:38.920) was looking good to upset that Mercedes front row until he made a mistake on the final corner. He had to settle for P3 and will have Jenson Button (1:39.121) to his side.

The third row gives us a brief insight into 2015, with Daniil Kvyat (1:39.277) delighting both his Toro Rosso team and the local fans by qualifying fifth. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo (1:39.635) qualified seventh, but inherits P6 thanks to an unscheduled gearbox change from Kevin Magnussen (1:39.629), who drops to P11.

“It’s tough to get a lap together around here,” Daniel said. “For a new track it’s really high in grip but at the same time it’s hard to read the grip; it’s not such a natural feeling that it gives us behind the wheel, but it’s fun and a new challenge.

“We were trying to get the fronts in and get grip out of them and on the last lap I lost the rear. We’re better off than we were yesterday, but I was hoping for more than seventh.”

The top ten is rounded out by Fernando Alonso (1:39.709), Kimi Raikkonen (1:39.771), Jean-Eric Vergne (1:40.020) and Sebastian Vettel (1:40.052). Vettel missed out on Q3, qualifying eleventh, but moves up due to Magnussen’s penalty. Felipe Massa was another unexpected quali casualty, failing to make it out of Q1 after suffering from a fuel pressure problem. He will start from P18.

The drivers have, in general, praised the Sochi circuit. Its high grip and low abrasion mean there is a low level of tyre degradation. It will be an interesting race tonight, make sure you tune in.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Japanese GP: qualifying report

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg (1:32.506) has qualified on pole for the eighth time this season and will start alongside his Mercedes AMG teammate, Lewis Hamilton (1:32.703), for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix at the much loved Suzuka circuit.

The second-row is an all-Williams affair, with Valtteri Bottas (1:33.128) to start from P3 ahead of Felipe Massa (1:33.527). Fernando Alonso (1:33.740) has put his Ferrari on P5 and has Daniel Ricciardo (1:34.075) to his side.

“I’m happy with how we bounced back in qualifying after my mistake yesterday,” Ricciardo said. “I thought we would be better here, but I think sixth is realistically what we could do today. If it rains tomorrow then we should be looking a bit better.”

Daniel’s departing teammate, Sebastian Vettel (1:34.432), could only manage P9. Ahead of the four-time world champ are Kevin Magnussen (1:34.242) in P7, then Jenson Button (1:34.317). Kimi Raikkonen (1:34.548) rounds out the top 10.

Heavy rain is expected for tomorrow’s race and it’s likely to be an entertaining affair. For Australian readers don’t forget the change to daylight savings time tonight. Check your local guides for TV times, it looks like we’re set for some awesome race!

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.