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.

Ferrari Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Chinese GP

2014 Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton cruising to victory has been the story of the early season so far in Formula 1 and that narrative continued in Shanghai today when Hamilton strolled to his third race win on end at the Chinese Grand Prix.

It also says something of Mercedes AMG’s dominance over the field when a comparatively bumbling Nico Rosberg, driving a car unable to transmit its telemetry back to the pit wall, was able to recover from a poor start to take an easy second place, making it the third Mercedes 1–2 in succession.

Fernando Alonso extended his reputation for delivering more than his car can give by finishing third, able to hold off a late charge from Daniel Ricciardo who came home fourth. The young Aussie once again ruffled the feathers of four-time world champ Sebastian Vettel, who finished fifth.

Around mid-race distance Ricciardo was on a two-stop strategy and at the time Vettel was planning to three-stop. With fresher tyres Daniel was closing in quickly on his more credentialled teammate and for the second race in a row an order from the team came through asking Vettel to let Ricciardo past.

Vettel’s initial response over the radio, after establishing both men were on the same tyres, was, “Tough luck!” Although, on the next lap Vettel opened the door for Daniel and the impressive youngster went through. To rub further salt into Vettel’s wound the team later switched him to a two-stop strategy.

After the excitement of Bahrain, this was not a race for the ages. The only incidents of any note came during the early stages of the opening lap when Felipe Massa and Alonso clunked wheels. Almost immediately afterwards, in a separate incident, Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas interlocked wheels. It was a stroke of good fortune for all four drivers that no damage was done and all managed to finish the race uninhibited.

That said, Felipe Massa’s chance at a stronger points haul was ruined when his Williams crew completely botched his first pit stop. To call it a comedy of errors would have been kind. In the end the Brazilian resumed the race in last place and did well to fight back to finish P9.

Reliability improved across the field, too, with only two drivers failing to finish the race. Adrian Sutil retired early with an engine problem, while the Lotus of Romain Grosjean succumbed to a gearbox failure.

Trivia buffs will be keen to note an oddity to the final result thanks to the chequered flag first being shown to Lewis Hamilton on lap 55 of the 56 lap race. That mistake meant the final classified result reverted back to the positions on lap 54.

You can see the full lap 54 positions after the break, along woth updated championship tables.

There will be a delay in our F1 in pictures gallery for this race. We expect to have the images ready for you by next weekend, or hopefully before.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Video

Why is the Mercedes AMG F1 W05 so good?

Mercedes AMG F1 W05 turbo design

The Mercedes AMG F1 W05 has been untouchable so far this season. That’s no surprise, though, because the team dominated pre-season testing and has backed that up by winning the first three races of the year. So what makes the 2014 Silver Arrow so good?

In short, the answer centres around the design of its turbo. Despite what SkySports F1 will tell you this was first discussed by Scarbs back in March. But it’s still worth taking a look at this piece from Sky as described by Martin Brundle.

Looking at the image above the car on the left has a conventional turbo design, while the one on the right, illustrating the W05, shows a split turbo arrangement. The air compressor is placed at the front of the engine where it has better access to cooler air, while the turbine remains at the rear to make use of the exhaust gasses.

The net result of that change is that the turbo is more efficient, it allows for better weight distribution and improved aero packaging at the rear of the car.

So why aren’t all Mercedes-powered cars fighting for race wins? The story we’ve heard is that the customer teams did not get the full details of the new PU 106 A Hybrid V6 power unit until they had signed contracts. Whereas Mercedes AMG was able to develop the W05 from the start with full knowledge of the split turbo design, allowing it to better refine its aero and other packaging.

It’s a simple concept that must be incredibly difficult to implement, otherwise you wonder why nobody else has done it. Moreover, you’d have to think this concept has wider applications beyond motorsport too, into the cars we drive on the streets.

[Thanks to Tiaan for the tip]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Bahrain GP

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has edged out his teammate Nico Rosberg to win the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix and the pair delighted fans all around the world in doing so.

The quality of racing throughout the field all race was first class, with most scraps taking place behind the leading Mercedes drivers. The men in the silver arrows must have felt obliged to bring some spice to the front of the field and they gave us some brilliant wheel-to-wheel racing.

After Pastor Maldonado exited the pits following his final pit stop he decided he didn’t need to worry about too much about the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez ahead in Turn 1 and just speared into him, flipping the young Mexican who eventually landed back on his wheels and escaped serious injury.

The wash up from that incident was the obligatory penalties for Maldonado and a Safety Car which bunched up the field and was released with 10 laps to race.

Quickly speeding off into the distance was leader Hamilton with Rosberg hot on his heels. The pair pitted just as the Safety Car came out and Rosberg was on the grippier and theoretically faster Soft tyres. We were set for a grandstand sprint finish and that’s exactly what we got.

Out front the Mercedes pair diced for the lead with millimetres separating cheers from tears. It was great to watch and afterwards Hamilton and Rosberg appeared good humoured and shared a few laughs. One thing is certain, though, if they keep racing that closely there will be contact and we could have a repeat of Turkey 2010 on our hands.

The raw pace of the Mercedes AMG F1 W05 was brutally exposed when you consider the winning margin was 24 seconds from the race winner to P3. That’s not to say the racing behind was boring, though, far from it!

Sergio Perez emerged as the best of the rest in what is just Force India’s second ever podium result. Yet the man who will attract more headlines is Daniel Ricciardo who finished fourth after starting back in P13. In doing so he established once again that he is not afraid of his four-time world champion teammate and fought his way past Vettel on track as he edged his way through the field.

Nico Hulkenberg picked up more good points for Force India and split the Red Bulls, with Vettel finishing sixth.

The Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished in P7 and P8 respectively. The latter may have expected more after starting from P3. The top 10 was rounded out by the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

With the Mercedes power unit being the clear stand out so far this season McLaren will be bitterly disappointed to have endured a double retirement. Kevin Magnussen pulled off track on lap 40 and Jenson Button returned to the pits with just a couple of laps to go.

All in all it was a very exciting race and if there is a coming to blows at some stage between Hamilton and Rosberg this season could get very tasty indeed! Equally, the RB10 is a very strong chassis and if Renault can find some power then Mercedes could have a fight outside of its own garage.

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2014 Malaysian Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

Can you believe it’s over 58 years since we saw a Mercedes driver on steps one and two of a Formula 1 podium, that was at the final race of the 1955 season, the Italian Grand Prix.

Back in 1955 Mercedes won 70% of the races in the season and Juan Manuel Fangio won the third of his five world championships. The mighty W196 silver arrow was powered by 2.5 litre straight eight producing 220kW at 8500rpm.

Now, some 21,386 days after the last Mercedes 1-2, the podium feat has been repeated. Not at a legendary racetrack in Europe, but in Malaysia. Using a 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 engine mated to an arsenal of energy recovery systems that would make Fangio’s head spin. That’s if he knew what the hell it all meant in the first place.

At least we know Juan Manuel would have loved logging into AUSmotive to relive the race in pictorial form. And that’s what you can do after the break as well.

“What’s that Juan; how can you see all these photos?”

“It’s called the internet.”

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Malaysian GP

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton has continued Mercedes AMG’s strong early season form by driving to a comfortable victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix today. He finished 17 seconds ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg. Amazingly, it’s the first Mercedes 1-2 finish since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel collected Red Bull’s first official points for 2014 by coming home third, ahead of a largely anonymous Fernando Alonso. The dual world champion did have to fight hard for that P4, enjoying a nice late race scrap with Nico Hulkenberg.

Jenson Button came home in sixth for McLaren. While the Williams intra-team rivalry went up a notch with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas fighting on track and over the radio waves. Once again Felipe got the “your teammate is faster than you” radio call, but he’s learnt not to be pushed around so easily since his Ferrari days and did not let Bottas through as instructed and held on for P7.

The top 10 was rounded out by rookies Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat who have both continued their promising Formula 1 careers by collecting points in their first two grands prix.

Alas, once again the hard luck story was Daniel Ricciardo. At the start he made good ground dicing for position with Sebastian Vettel and claimed P3 in the early stages of the race. Vettel soon got past with the benefit of DRS but Daniel was looking safe for a solid fourth place finish. Then, on lap 41, through no fault of his own, it all went horribly wrong.

Daniel came in for what should have been his final pit stop. The wheel change seemed to go to plan but he was released without his right front wheel being secured properly. He was forced to stop in pit lane and then get pushed back into his pit box so the team could see to his wheel. Worse was to come. On his out lap his front wing broke and he had to pit again for a replacement.

The hard luck was still not done with as under new regulations he was given an automatic 10 second stop-go penalty for an unsafe release, wihch also brings with it a 10 place grid penalty for the next race. The disappointment was complete when he retired from the race seven laps from the end.

So once again Mercedes AMG showed it is the team to beat and Red Bull is the best placed team to challenge for race wins. We can expect that form to continue in Bahrain next weekend.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes AMG F1 W05 360° view

Mercedes AMG W05

Ever wondered what it would be like to have a 360° view from atop a Formula 1 car? Well, thanks to the Mercedes AMG F1 Team you can wonder no more. After the break there’s a couple of videos giving you a global view as you watch Nico Rosberg’s take you on a reasonably sedate lap around Silverstone.

If you like the look of that then get ready to spend some time getting familiar with the interactive F1 W05 360° View over at the Mercedes AMG F1 Team website.

[Thanks to Tiaan for the tip]

Formula 1 McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

Nico Rosberg wins 2014 Australian GP

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG

As I write this belated race report take your mind back to a time where all fuel flow monitors were created equal…

Nico Rosberg cruised to a dominant victory in Melbourne to start what could be a dominant year for the Mercedes AMG team. And yet the headline story is the second place finish by Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo who became the first local to stand on the podium in his home race.

Also deserving of huge plaudits is Kevin Magnussen who earned his spot on the podium with a flaweless debut in his Mercedes-powered McLaren.

Jenson Button had to be content with fourth place and watching his junior teammate steal the limelight. You sense after the season Button and McLaren endured in 2013 both will be over the moon with these results.

Fernando Alonso went quietly about his business and finished fifth. On current form it will be a surprise to see Ferrari win a race in 2014, yet they will be there or thereabouts. They came close in 2009 of course, but can they again build a car commensurate with Alonso’s undoubted talent and guile?

On any other day Valtteri Bottas would be attracting plenty of attention. The young Finn, in only his second season, drove like a man possessed to grab sixth place. His inexperience was on show when he clipped the wall and broke a wheel—and luckily nothing else—but he was able to recover from that, and a five place grid penalty for a pre-race gearbox change, to earn himself some very handy championship points. Without his error he would have found himself fighting for position with two world champions. Not bad after starting from P15.

Elsewhere Daniil Kvyat was another debutant to do well, crossing the line in tenth place for Toro Rosso. He was unable to upset his teammate, though, and Jean-Eric Vergne finished one place ahead in a pleasing result for the junior Red Bull outift. Renault will also be pleased to see three of its cars in the top 10, given four failed to finish (three due to mechanical issues).

Kamui Kobayashi’s return to F1 with Caterham lasted one corner and he took the Williams of Felipe Massa into the gravel with him.

After the race the crowd went wild for Dan Ricciardo as he accepted his trophy for second place. It was a great moment for F1 and motorsport in Australia.

And now is the moment we have to remind you all that Ricciardo’s podium moment in the setting sun was taken away from him by the FIA late in the night after declaring his car had “exceeded consistently the maximum fuel flow of 100kg/h”.

Our Daniel was disqualified and all other drivers move up one position. Ricciardo and Red Bull have no world championship points.

Red Bull have said they will appeal the FIA’s decision and were it not for the fact that the FIA spoke to Red Bull during the race to warn them that Daniel’s car was in breach of the regulations and to fix the problem we might think they were half a chance to have Daniel’s P2 reinstated.

Red Bull will claim they were just doing what they needed to do to remain competetive in spite of (what they will say is) a dodgy fuel flow monitor and that they didn’t actually break any rules.

We don’t expect there will be any joy for Daniel and his team.

If nothing else we do know that the RB10 can go the full race distance and, more tellingly perhaps, that Daniel has the pace to mix it with the best, including the four-time world champ on the other side of the garage.

That gives us hope that someone may be able to challenge Mercedes at some stage during 2014.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2014 Australian GP: Qualifying report

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Well, what a great result the first qualifying session of Formula 1’s new world order delivered yesterday. Seeing our Daniel on the front row is the headline story here in Australia. The smiling West Australian deserves the accolades too, after he put in a masterful performance in all three quali sessions.

Lewis Hamilton’s experience and guile pipped Daniel for pole with the last lap of the session and closed the book on what would hve been an epic fairy tale debut for Ricciardo with Red Bull. It’s hard to deny Hamilton’s effort and he too attracted sentiment by equalling the pole position record of British great Nigel Mansell, with his 32nd P1 start.

It was no surprise to see Nico Rosberg round out the top three, although you get the feeling he may be a little surprised to miss out on the front row to a Red Bull, following the latter’s dreadful pre-season form.

Indeed, qualifying delivered big stories right down the grid, thanks in part to wet and windy conditions in Q2 and Q3. Almost overshadowing Ricciardo’s P2 result is the outstanding debut from McLaren’s rookie Kevin Magnussen who qualified on the second row for his maiden grand prix.

Also overdelivering on expectations were thw Toro Rosso drivers, Jean-Eric Vergne qualified in sixth, while teammate Daniil Kvyat will start his first race from P8. We suspect Renault, too, will be happy to see three of its cars in the top 10.

There were huge stories in who missed out on a chance at pole position, as well. Three world champions failed to make it into Q3 and a huge roar went out around the track when Sebastian Vettel missed the final cut. The world champ will start from P12, behind his championship alumni in Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen.

The woes of Lotus continue with Pastor Maldonado failing to record a lap time. As a former grand prix winner you suspect the stewards will use their discretion to give him the green light to race.

Grid penalties have sent Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez further down the field than they would like and you can see the full starting grid after the break, along with the full press conference transcript.

We liked this question asked to Daniel Ricciardo:

(Mat Coch – Daniel, a question close to every Australian’s heart: what are you like at starts?
DR: Let’s see how we go tomorrow! Bit up and down last year. I guess everyone watched the races. I think they were on the up so let’s see how we go tomorrow. I think it’s going to be interesting for everyone now, with the V6 turbos. I think it’s also a bit of a different animal off the line. Hopefully we get off well.

[Pics: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Caterham Ferrari Formula 1 Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

Quick reference guide to the 2014 F1 season

We’re just a couple of sleeps away from the start to the most unpredictable Formula 1 season in recent memory. Is anyone else excited?!

Judging by pre-season testing form we’ll be lucky if half of the 22 cars entered in Melbourne finish the race. Remember, too, there’s just five complete power units available per driver all year, so we suspect reliability will have a big say in the outcome of both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

After the break you’ll find a full calendar with start Australian Eastern start times, a list of all the drivers and their new permanent numbers along with links to all of the new cars for 2104.

Right now it looks like the Mercedes power unit is the weapon of choice, with Renault proving the least reliable. Let’s see what happens between now and 23 November when double points are up for grabs at the final race in Abu Dhabi.

For easy reference be sure to save this link:

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

F1 winter testing: Bahrain II day 4

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG F1 W05

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-Benz walk away from the final day of F1 pre-season testing with their heads held high. Lewis (1:33.278) finished the day on top of the timesheets, just 0.02s off Felipe Massa’s fastest time at Bahrain during testing. While Mercedes AMG completed 4973km of testing in all, more than any other team.

Hamilton had a delayed start to his day with a gearbox issue, but was able to put that behind him with most of his running done during the afternoon session which was peppered with red flag stoppages.

“This has definitely been the most challenging winter I’ve experienced and the car is still very much a work in progress,” Lewis said. “But we’ve learnt a lot over the course of these last few weeks and overall it’s been a good winter of testing for us.

“There’s been an incredible amount of work put in by the team back at the two factories and on track. I have to say a special thanks to the crew here today who had a tough task in front of them but never lost their cool.

“It was a tough start to the day but they managed to get the car turned around for me to complete some good laps in the afternoon, which was a fantastic effort.”

Valtteri Bottas (1:33.987) went second fastest for the increasingly confident Williams team. That’s despite an old skool engine failure for Bottas right near the end of the day, which was extended by 25 minutes to make up for the lost time due to red flags.

A transmission problem interrupted the day of Fernando Alonso (1:34.280), but not enough to stop him from registering the third best time. A little over a second behind was Nico Hulkenberg (1:35.577) in the always thereabouts Force India.

Fifth fastest was Jean-Eric Vergne (1:35.701) who was pleased his testing ended with a 77-lap haul. Sauber ran both of its drivers for an incredible combined tally of 177 laps. Adrian Sutil (1:36.467) took the intra-team honours with the sixth fastest time and 91 laps. Esteban Gutierrez (1:37.303) went eighth fastest during his 86 laps.

The Sauber pair were split by Marussia’s Max Chilton (1:36.835). Sebastian Vettel (1:37.468) was ninth fastest, but his overall pace won’t have been a huge concern with track time the aim for Red Bull. He managed 44 laps in the morning session and a further 33 after lunch. That was his best result, in terms of mileage, during testing and much better than the day in the garage he spent on Saturday.

Jenson Button (1:38.111) ended testing on a relatively sour note for McLaren who have been used to being at the pointy end. Button managed just 22 laps and his day was curtailed by an engine failure and an unspecified electronics fault.

There was no surprise to see a couple of Renault-powered runners at the foot of the timesheets. As usual mileage wasn’t a problem for Caterham and Kamui Kobayashi (1:38.391) racked up 106 slow laps.

Romain Grosjean (1:39.302) and Lotus have the indignity of the day’s slowest time and whether or not they think they’ve suffered by being absent from the opening four days in Jerez they clearly have a lot of work ahead of them.

However, Lotus is not alone there. All teams are speaking very cautiously about their prospects in Melbourne and while this is normal behaviour after F1 winter testing there’s a definite sense that we’re about to head into the unknown when the cars head out on the Albert Park circuit.

There’s less than two to go now and, like you, we can hardly wait!

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F1 winter testing: Bahrain I in pictures

The design of the latest crop of Formula 1 cars, in response to new aero and crash regulations, has certainly encouraged plenty of discussion. The twin-tusk nose of the Lotus E22 (above) is certainly one of the most bizarre design solutions in the history of the sport.

Once the racing starts the novelty gawking at these god awful designs should ease and we can focus on what we love most, and that’s racing. In the meantime we bring you a gallery of 66 images from the recent pre-season test in Bahrain, six photos each of all 11 cars, that show you the class of 2014 in their best and worst angles.

A small pat on the back, too, goes to Eric Gandelin, the man responsible for the Sauber C33. We think that’s the best looking car of 2014. Although, a nod of appreciation also goes to the Williams FW36.

Those responsible for the horrors of the Caterham CT05 and Force India VJM07 should hang their heads in shame. As for the rest, a good hard look at themselves wouldn’t hurt!