Da Sky (pw leavemealone9):
Raikkonen bemoans ‘inconsistent’ Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen said his Ferrari’s unpredictable handling was to blame for his poor showing during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Raikkonen will start from 11th on the grid in Sunday’s race after failing to make the top-ten shootout at the Shanghai International Circuit. He said the car was catching him out and that he lost too much time in the final sector of the lap on his final run in Q2.
"The car’s handling was inconsistent, as it was stable in some parts of the track and less so in others," Raikkonen said. "I had some problems with the balance and this had an effect on my performance. The past two days have been difficult, because after yesterday’s technical problem, this morning I also only did a single run, but overall, I felt more comfortable in the car.
"Unfortunately, on my last run in Q2, when I was on my quick lap, I lost a lot of time in the final sector and that meant I didn’t make the cut to Q3. It’s too early to say what happened, but the time lost yesterday definitely didn’t help. Now I want to concentrate on tomorrow’s race and try my best to end this weekend with a good result."
Raikkonen has struggled to put a solid weekend together since returning to Ferrari this year, but said his last season with the team in 2009, in which he still managed to win a race, was even worse.
"I have had difficult years with other teams and with Ferrari. I think 2009 was even more worse. It’s not ideal but there is only one way that we can go. I’m sure we can make things better and make me happier and make better results."
Chinese GP: Kimi Raikkonen finding weekend ‘painful’
Kimi Raikkonen described his Chinese Grand Prix weekend as "painful" thus far, after failing to make it into the top 10 in qualifying.
The Finn lost most of Friday’s dry free practice sessions to technical problems with his Ferrari and failed to graduate to the final segment of qualifying for the second time in four races on Saturday.
He will start 11th for Sunday’s race at Shanghai, after struggling with the gearshifts on his F14 T.
"It’s been a pretty painful couple of days," said Raikkonen.
"In the morning [free practice] it felt a bit better but obviously it didn’t turn out to be a very good day. But that’s how it goes.
"[I had] some issues upsetting things with the gearshift. It felt OK at some points but I lost quite a lot of time in the last sector.
"It’s been a pretty bad weekend so far. I didn’t get much running yesterday and it seems to get more difficult all the time. I don’t really understand why.
"There are moments it feels pretty good but then days like this.
"I’m sure there is something we can do to get things running nicely all the time, but obviously the issues we had yesterday didn’t help to start with.
"[It's] not easy with the weather to pick it up and turn it around. It looks pretty bad right now, but I have had difficult years with other teams and with Ferrari – I think 2009 was even worse.
"[It's] not ideal, but there’s only one way we can go and I’m sure we can turn it around."
Chinese GP: Lewis Hamilton continues Mercedes’ pole run in damp
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton claimed his third pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season by setting the pace in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
With qualifying held in wet conditions, initially with most running on wets before the intermediates became the tyre of choice, Hamilton went fastest on his first run in Q3 then improved by almost half a second on his second run to consolidate his position.
It is the 34th pole position of Hamilton’s F1 career, meaning he has broken Jim Clark’s British record, with only Michael Schumacher (68), Ayrton Senna (65) and Sebastian Vettel (45) still ahead of him overall.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo will start second, setting a time six tenths slower than Hamilton on his final attempt.
This means he outqualifies team-mate Sebastian Vettel for the third time this season, with Vettel third ahead of the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg had looked set to take provisional pole away from Hamilton on his second run, but he carried too much speed into the hairpin, running wide and preventing him from improving.
A spin at the final corner on his final attempt ensured that Rosberg could do no better than fourth.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest having never threatened the top positions during qualifying, with Williams pairing Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas closely matched in sixth and seventh.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified eighth, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.
Romain Grosjean put a Lotus into Q3 for the first time since 2013, ending up slowest in the top 10 shootout.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren driver Jenson Button were the big-name casualties during Q2.
Both were unable to set a good enough pace on their second set of intermediates to break into the top 10 after being bumped out of it by well-timed improvements by Vergne, Massa, Hulkenberg.
Button, who complained of a lack of front tyre temperature, and Raikkonen both lapped quickly enough in the first two sectors to make Q3 on their final laps, but worsening conditions in the final sector made it impossible to improve overall.
Daniil Kvyat was 13th ahead of Adrian Sutil, Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez.
Esteban Gutierrez was the fastest of those to fall in Q1. He had looked set to seal a place in the second stage of qualifying with a late run on intermediates before a very poor final sector, including a wide moment at the final corner, ruined his attempt.
Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi beat Jules Bianchi to 18th, with team-mate Marcus Ericsson outpacing the second Marussia of Max Chilton.
Pastor Maldonado was classified 22nd as he was unable to participate thanks to an engine problem that forced him to stop on track during morning practice.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m53.860s 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m54.455s +0.595s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m54.960s +1.100s 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m55.143s +1.283s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m55.637s +1.777s 6. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m56.147s +2.287s 7. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m56.282s +2.422s 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m56.366s +2.506s 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m56.773s +2.913s 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m57.079s +3.219s Q3 cut-off time: 1m56.847s 11. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m56.860s +2.831s* 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m56.963s +2.934s* 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m57.289s +3.260s* 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m57.393s +3.364s* 15. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m57.675s +3.646s* 16. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m58.264s +4.235s* Q2 cut-off time: 1m58.411s 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m58.988s +3.472s** 18. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m59.260s +3.744s** 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m59.326s +3.810s** 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2m00.646s +5.130s** 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2m00.865s +5.349s** 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 107 per cent time: 2m03.602s * Gap to 1st in Q2 ** Gap to 1st in Q1
Chinese GP: Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo leads damp final practice
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo recorded the fastest time in a wet practice session on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying for the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix.
The Australian driver was quickest in the damp, slippery conditions ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa.
Rain started to fall at the beginning of the session and intermittently throughout the hour. More rain is expected for qualifying later on Saturday afternoon.
The bad weather meant running was limited, with the Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren teams sitting out most of the session.
In the late stages, both Nico Rosberg and Kevin Magnussen emerged in the last 10 minutes for a run but did not complete a timed lap.
Romain Grosjean was third quickest in his Lotus, but there were more problems for his team-mate Pastor Maldonado.
Despite setting the sixth fastest time he was ordered by his team to stop his car with 20 minutes of the session remaining and pulled to the side of the track at Turn 10.
Just ahead of Maldonado on the timesheets was Kimi Raikkonen, who emerged from his garage for a late run to set the fifth fastest time overall in his Ferrari.
Nico Hulkenberg was fourth fastest in his Force India, while Daniil Kvyat was seventh in his Toro Rosso.
Next up was Valtteri Bottas who was one of the drivers who was caught out in the tricky conditions, spinning his Williams on the exit of Turn 10 in the mid-stage of the hour, but able to continue unharmed.
On his installation lap Jean-Eric Vergne was complaining about a problem with his Renault power unit in the back of the Toro Rosso, but managed five laps in total.
Track temperatures were particularly low – 14 degrees C air and 15 degrees on track. Qualifying commences at 2pm local time.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m53.958s 5 2. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m54.492s +0.534s 5 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m54.514s +0.556s 4 4. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m55.032s +1.074s 6 5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m55.062s +1.104s 4 6. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m55.228s +1.27 s 12 7. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m55.235s +1.277s 7 8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m55.381s +1.423s 5 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m55.673s +1.715s 4 10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m56.019s +2.061s 6 11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m56.233s +2.275s 8 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m56.380s +2.422s 9 13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m56.760s +2.802s 8 14. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m56.841s +2.883s 13 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m57.468s +3.51 s 9 16. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m57.812s +3.854s 12 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m57.976s +4.018s 14 18. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m59.507s +5.549s 6 19. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 4 20. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 3 21. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1 22. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 3
Kimi Raikkonen: “Inizio difficile”
Kimi Raikkonen: “E’ stata una giornata difficile, iniziata con un problema tecnico che nel turno di prove del mattino mi ha concesso di scendere in pista solo per effettuare il giro di installazione. Una volta risolto questo inconveniente nel pomeriggio abbiamo cercato di recuperare il tempo perduto, concentrandoci soprattutto sulla ricerca del set up più adatto a questo tracciato e sacrificando parte della simulazione di gara. E’ difficile esprimere un giudizio generale, di sicuro ci è mancata un po’ di esperienza in pista. Questa sera ci concentreremo sull’analisi dei dati raccolti e domani cercheremo di sfruttare al massimo l’ultima sessione di prove libere per preparare al meglio la vettura per qualifica e gara”.
Chinese GP: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton recovers to lead practice two
Lewis Hamilton bounced back from a late start to top Friday’s second free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver missed the first 25 minutes of the one-and-a-half hour session thanks to a suspension problem, which had also limited his running during free practice one.
But after a brief stint on the medium-compound Pirellis, during which he lapped a second-and-a-quarter off the pacesetters on equivalent rubber, Hamilton switched to softs at around the halfway mark.
Hamilton, who complained of understeer on his first run, blitzed the final sector of the lap, setting comfortably the quickest time of the afternoon in that part of the circuit to knock Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso off top spot by 0.141s.
Alonso had earlier relegated the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg from the top of the times by four tenths of a second, setting a particularly strong pace in the twisty middle sector of the lap.
After a dismal Bahrain GP weekend, it was a far stronger day for Alonso. He earlier topped the first free practice session and then set the fastest time during the medium-compound running at the start of the afternoon’s running.
Rosberg had the potential to produce a better time and after setting the fastest time of all in sector one, yellow flags at the final corner cost him time, although it is not clear how much. He had to be content with third-fastest time.
Daniel Ricciardo beat Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel to fourth place, with Felipe Massa making good on the Williams team’s hopes for a stronger weekend in China in sixth overall.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh fastest after a brief off at the final corner, with McLaren’s Jenson Button eighth ahead of Romain Grosjean and Daniil Kvyat.
Behind them, Force India failed to recapture its Bahrain form, with Nico Hulkenberg 11th fastest and almost a second-and-a-half off the pace, and Sergio Perez 15th.
Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado endured a fraught session, suffering off-track moments at the final and the first corner prior to crashing in the pit-entry shortly after the half-hour mark.
Both Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi and Marussia’s Max Chilton spun during the session, with Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg, Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen among those to have off-track moments.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m38.315s 25 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.456s +0.141s 28 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.726s +0.411s 30 4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m38.811s +0.496s 30 5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.015s +0.700s 31 6. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m39.118s +0.803s 25 7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m39.283s +0.968s 25 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.491s +1.176s 29 9. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m39.537s +1.222s 36 10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.648s +1.333s 26 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m39.736s +1.421s 30 12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.744s +1.429s 29 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.759s +1.444s 28 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m39.830s +1.515s 25 15. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m40.124s +1.809s 32 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.359s +2.044s 32 17. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.395s +2.080s 30 18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m40.455s +2.140s 12 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m42.327s +4.012s 27 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.473s +5.158s 30 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m43.530s +5.215s 32 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m43.679s +5.364s 32
Chinese GP: Fernando Alonso and Ferrari lead first Friday practice
Fernando Alonso set the early pace for the Ferrari Formula 1 team in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
The two-time world champion was 0.398 seconds faster than Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes at a cool and misty Shanghai International Circuit.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was third quickest in his Red Bull ahead of Jenson Button’s McLaren.
Nico Hulkenberg was fifth fastest for Force India, one place in front of the other McLaren of Kevin Magnussen.
The second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton was eighth fastest overall, but his session ended a few minutes early after he reported a problem with the balance of his car.
Alonso’s pace will have pleased Ferrari’s new team principal Marco Mattiacci, who made his first appearance in his new role with the Scuderia this morning.
There was less joy on the other side of the garage as Alonso’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen could only manage a single installation lap after he suffered problems with the front of his car.
As ever the first practice session of the weekend was characterised by low grip and many drivers struggled with locking brakes. A number of teams were also trailing new parts – including Mercedes, which has arrived in China with a new front wing.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez did not emerge from his garage until an hour into the session after he suffered a malfunction his clutch. Jules Bianchi had a fuel system problem following his installation lap and sat out nearly all of the 90 minutes before joining for a brief late run.
There was early drama for Pastor Maldonado when he spun his Lotus at Turn 9 just 10 minutes into the session. He appeared to be looking down to make an adjustment on his steering wheel as he lost control.
Rookie Daniil Kvyat was another to leave the track, when he made a small mistake and spun at Turn 1 and also Turn 14.
Williams ran its test and reserve driver Felipe Nasr in place of Valtteri Bottas for this session and he finished with the 13th fastest time.
Sauber also used one of its test roster, with Giedo van der Garde standing in for Adrian Sutil.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m39.783s 20 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.181s +0.398s 16 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.772s +0.989s 23 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.970s +1.187s 23 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m41.175s +1.392s 16 6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.366s +1.583s 20 7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.505s +1.722s 26 8. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m41.560s +1.777s 9 9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.629s +1.846s 19 10. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m41.699s +1.916s 14 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.977s +2.194s 23 12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m42.090s +2.307s 24 13. Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1m42.265s +2.482s 13 14. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.615s +2.832s 16 15. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m42.733s +2.950s 13 16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m43.731s +3.948s 22 17. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m44.038s +4.255s 16 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m44.162s +4.379s 17 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m44.270s +4.487s 7 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m44.782s +4.999s 20 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m44.835s +5.052s 22 22. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1
Raikkonen surprised by Ferrari F1 boss Domenicali’s departure
Kimi Raikkonen has admitted Stefano Domenicali’s departure from the Ferrari Formula 1 team took him by surprise, though he does not think it will disrupt the squad.
Domenicali resigned earlier this week in response to Ferrari’s poor start to the F1 season.
He has been replaced by Marco Mattiacci, formerly CEO of Ferrari’s North American operations.
"I think everyone is a bit surprised but obviously it was Stefano’s own decision as I understand it," said Raikkonen when asked by AUTOSPORT for his reaction to the shake-up.
"If he felt like that, fair enough. Life goes on.
"He was a great guy. I worked with him for many years and I spoke to him often. But that’s how it goes.
"We can handle this sort of thing."
Raikkonen said he knew little about Mattiacci – "I don’t know him. We’ve probably met before" – but thinks Ferrari’s management structure will ensure a seamless transition.
"He’s got great people around him to help him so I don’t see that there will be any issues," he said.
"I’m sure he’ll do everything in his power to push things forward."
The Finn backed team-mate Fernando Alonso’s insistence that replacing Domenicali with Mattiacci would not have an immediate impact on Ferrari’s form, although he believes steady progress is being made.
"Even if you change things around, you cannot make a miracle because we know where we are and we have to improve. It won’t change overnight," said Raikkonen.
"In the rules there is quite a lot of space for improvement. We can find quite big things suddenly. But it might be the same thing for other teams.
"We understand things better after a few races and we have already improved a lot since the first race. Obviously it’s hard to see it when everyone is doing the same.
"I think Bahrain was always going to be one of the most difficult races for us. But we have improved."
Raikkonen: “Ho una miglior comprensione della vettura”
Shanghai, 17 aprile – Nella hospitality della Scuderia Ferrari all’interno del paddock che si affaccia sulla laguna, Kimi Raikkonen ha incontrato i giornalisti nel giovedì del Gran Premio della Cina. La prima cosa che la stampa ha voluto sapere è stato cosa ne pensasse dell’addio del team principal Stefano Domenicali: “Tutti siamo rimasti un po’ sorpresi, ma si è trattato di una decisione di Stefano” – ha commentato il finlandese – “Se si è sentito di fare così bisogna accettarlo, la vita va avanti. Personalmente io trovo tutto questo triste perché credo sia un ottimo ragazzo e perché ho lavorato con lui per molti anni. Le cose però sono andate in questo modo e sono sicuro che il team saprà gestire la situazione”.Kimi ha poi detto di avere già incontrato in passato l’uomo nuovo della Ferrari, Marco Mattiacci: “Però non lo conosco molto bene. Di certo qui troverà un grande gruppo di persone che lo accoglieranno e lo aiuteranno ad adattarsi rapidamente” – ha detto il finlandese – “Prevedo che non avrà problemi e sono sicuro che farà un ottimo lavoro per noi. Avrà tutto ciò che gli serve per farci crescere. Però non cambierà nulla nell’immediato dal momento che nessuno fa miracoli e che conosciamo il nostro attuale valore. Noi sappiamo in quali aree dobbiamo lavorare ma miglioramenti significativi non arrivano nel giro di una notte”.Raikkonen sostiene comunque di aver continuato a vedere dei progressi nelle ultime settimane: “All’ultima gara le sensazioni generali che avevo dalla vettura erano migliorate. Il problema in Bahrain è stato che eravamo un po’ troppo lenti” – ha affermato – “Mi aspetto che già in questo weekend avremo dei piccoli miglioramenti. Difficile dire quando saremo al livello che vogliamo, ma con le nuove regole c’è sempre la possibilità di fare grandi passi avanti improvvisi, anche se a volte si progredisce lentamente. Quello che è importante è che adesso abbiamo una migliore comprensione della vettura rispetto alle prime gare e che c’è già stata una grande crescita rispetto a Melbourne, un miglioramento che magari dall’esterno non è stato notato perché sono cresciuti anche gli altri. Sapevamo che quella del Bahrain sarebbe stata per noi una delle gare più difficili della stagione e sono fiducioso che qui le cose possano andare meglio”.
Domenicali si è dimesso, arriva Mattiacci
Stefano Domenicali si è dimesso.
Lascia l’azienda nella quale entrò da ragazzo nel 1991 e all’interno della quale ha percorso, senza raccomandazioni, l’intera carriera.
La notizia verrà ufficializzata nel corso della giornata.
Il Dom mi ha chiesto di aspettare mezzogiorno per informarvi ma siamo amici e capirà.
Non è più tempo di ipocrisie (non sue, sia chiaro).
La mia opinione sulla vicenda è nota, nonchè certamente impopolare.
Reputo Stefano una bellissima persona e un ottimo manager.
Credo abbia contribuito in maniera non lieve ai trionfi dell’epoca d’oro.
Riconosco che dal 2008 in poi, anno in cui subentrò a Todt del quale era stato vice, poche sono state le soddisfazioni. Un mondiale costruttori, molti secondi posti, due titoli persi in volata.
Non era un bilancio devastante, ma il flop della F 14 T è stato valutato alla stregua di un fardello insopportabile.
Dirà il futuro chi ha ragione: per me questo è un errore.
Mi risulta che il successore sia il signor Mattiacci. Origini umbre, sulla quarantina. L’ho conosciuto quando dirigeva la divisione Asia-Pacifico della Ferrari. Attualmente era al comando della Divisione America.
E’ un uomo molto stimato a Maranello e più ancora a Torino.
Non ha esperienza di corse. Se la farà. Merita mille auguri. Ne avrà bisogno.
Domenicali esce di scena, lascia anche l’azienda.
Chi non aspettava altro, può stappare lo spumante.
Per me, è una brutta giornata.
Per la Ferrari, lo scopriremo solo vivendo.
Com’era bella la mia Ferrari
Aspettando la sentenza Red Bull da Parigi, racconterò qui una storia.
C’era una volta la mia Ferrari.
Tra il 2008 e il 2009 a Maranello c’era un bravissimo ingegnere a capo della squadra prove. Si chiamava Gigi Mazzola. Una mattina gli fecero trovare gli scatoloni nella portineria del reparto corse. Si disse che così aveva voluto il dt, che si chiamava Aldo Costa.
In un giorno pasquale del 2009 ci venne detto che un formidabile uomo di pista, il mio amico Luca Baldisserri, era troppo stressato, dopo aver vinto con Schumi e con Kimi e persino con Irvine. Per alleviargli la tensione, lo spostarono a dirigere la più rilassante Driver Academy. Si disse che così avevano voluto nelle altissime sfere, dopo un bizzarro cambio gomme eseguito sulla Rossa di Raikkonen in Malesia.
Nell’estate del 2009 apprendemmo che un promettentissimo comunicatore di mestiere, il brillante Matteo Bonciani, non poteva più restare in divisa Ferrari. Pare non fosse gradito ad un certo Bahar o qualcosa del genere, allora molto in auge in Emilia. Oggi Bonciani gestisce l’informazione Fia per conto del Pinguino, alias Jean Todt.
In un giorno del tardo inverno del 2010 ci dissero che Cris Dyer, dopo un breve periodo trascorso rinchiuso in uno sgabuzzino, non poteva continuare a lavorare al muretto della Ferrari. Era l’uomo finito anche in un rap di Fiorello, ‘by one point’. Ma in un pomeriggio ad Abu Dhabi aveva fatto la mossa sbagliata e non aveva calcolato che Petrov, fortissimo, era insuperabile. La rimozione di Dyer venne attribuita alla irritazione di Sergio Marchionne, fisicamente presente nel deserto in una dolorosissima domenica.
In un lunedì di maggio 2011 venimmo informati che Aldo Costa, il direttore tecnico, era stato sollevato d’urgenza dall’incarico. Motivo: la Ferrari di Alonso era stata doppiata, il giorno prima, dalla concorrenza in quel di Barcellona e si disse che i vertici del Banco Santander, annichiliti dalla umiliazione, avevano preteso la testa dell’ingegnere parmigiano.
Alla fine del 2012 prendemmo atto che Luca Colajanni, irsuto e bolscevico, per oltre un decennio Guardia Rossa con piglio maiosta, nemico della libertà di opinione ma devotissimo alla causa del comunismo e della Ferrari, non andava più bene per l’ufficio stampa del Cavallino. E’ stato deportato in Siberia su un vagone piombato, destinazione Marussia.
Infine ieri, lunedì 14 aprile 2014, mi è toccato fare un scoop mondiale annunciando in anteprima le dimissioni di Stefano Domenicali e l’arrivo di Marco Mattiacci. Sinceramente avrei preferito non essere ‘ripreso’, come si dice in gergo, da tutti i siti web del globo terracqueo.
Perchè la mia Ferrari non c’è più. Come nei dieci piccoli indiani della divina Agata, forse un giorno scopriremo chi è il vero colpevole.
Cioè, la prossima vittima. Ne manca solo una, ormai.
Dom, il punto finale
Care amiche e cari amici,
siete talmente tanti e scrivete con tale frequenza che mi diventa onestamente difficile leggere tutto di tutti.
Vorrei però chiudere (magari per ora, vabbè) l’argomento Domenicali.
1) Non ho mai nascosto la mia fraterna amicizia per Stefano. Chi partecipò alla premiazione del vincitore del Quizzone 2012 potrà testimoniarlo di persona. In pratica siamo due ex giovani cresciuti insieme nello stesso ambiente, ovviamente in ruoli diversi. Mi dispiace per le fobie dei suoi numerosi detrattori, assai numerosi in questa sede: parliamo di una persona che ha fatto tutta la gavetta, senza raccomandazioni, senza essere ‘figlio di’ o ‘protetto da’. Per come io vedo la vita questo è un valore, a prescindere dagli esiti di una avventura professionale. Inoltre e in generale chi ha avuto problemi con le scelte compiute da Domenicali deve accettare di essere in conflitto d’interessi, quando ne valuta l’operato. Vale, in astratto, per i miei amici Baldisserri e Mazzola, per ex meccanici che leggo volentieri qui, eccetera.
2) Io rispetto le opinioni di tutti e sono lieto del planetario trionfo di questo Clog, tradotto ormai in non so quante lingue . Vorrei solo invitare chi mi legge a rifiutare la manipolazione mediatica. E’ stato dannatamente ingiusto descrivere il Dom come il responsabile delle sconfitte dal 2008 in poi, ignorando che era parte integrante (e non irrilevante) del Dream Team che vinceva sempre. La storia va raccontata per intero, non solo a pezzi e bocconi. Se no, siamo alla prostituzione intellettuale (Mourinho docet).
3) Visto che ho citato un simbolo interista, mi dispiace che le sconfitte nerazzurre abbiano ottenebrato il mio amico Quattropalle. Per capirci, io non ho mai detto che Montezemolo non può essere criticato (e infatti sono uno dei pochi che, quando lo ritiene necessario, da ventidue anni e mezzo lo critica). Ho detto e ripeto che è assurdo, come altri amici scrivono qui, affermare che non gliene frega nulla della Ferrari e che la sua presidenza è stata un disastro. L’azienda non è mai andata tanto bene come oggi e in F1 la gestione LCDM ha battuto tutti i record. Poi parliamo di quello che volete, ma le stronzate da bar no, per favore.
4) La F 14 T è un disastro. Il capo della Scuderia si chiamava Stefano Domenicali. Il primo responsabile è lui, non si discute. Ma è una soluzione spingerlo alle dimissioni dopo tre Gp, sostituendolo con una ottima persona fin qui estranea all’universo delle corse? Non sarebbe stato il caso di gestire la vicenda in maniera diversa? Come è possibile che i ‘torinesi’, le cui attività in Italia sono di fatto finanziate dalla Ferrari e dai suoi bilanci, pretendano una cosa del genere?
5) In tutto questo, Mattiacci non c’entra niente. Io sono ferrarista e spero moltiplichi i pani e i pesci all’istante. Sarei felicissimo. Ho le mie perplessità: non sull’uomo, che conosco poco, ma sulla logica pallonara. Non è che in F1 cambi il mister e lo spogliatoio ritrova l’armonia e si vincono sette partite, pardon, corse, di fila. E andiamo: tanto, che te lo dico a fare?
6) Voglio molto bene al cloggaro Abramo, seguace della primissima ora. Se davvero crede che Mazzola non sia più in F1 (in tutta la F1, intendo) perchè il Dom ha emesso una ‘fatwa’, insomma, potrebbe sempre chiedere ad Aldo Costa, che detestava Mazzola. Vediamo di non scivolare sul piano inclinato dei complotti. In ogni azienda si fanno scelte. Per me Mazzola è bravissimo, gli dedicai il primo articolo nel 1989, definendolo ‘il Rivera’ degli ingegneri. Ne sono ancora convinto. Costa non la pensava così, evidentemente Domenicali nemmeno. Si può concordare, non si può però ridurre tutto alle fisime di un individuo per giunta incompetente (Costa o il Dom, chi volete) .
7) Sul bilancio dal 2008 in poi, io ho le mie idee da sempre. Un mondiale costruttori e tre mondiali piloti persi all’ultima gara (non per colpa del team principal, credo). E’ un bottino di cui ci si deve vergognare? Vergogniamoci. Ma il vero flop è il 2014, se pensiamo che il 2009 fu una truffa legalizzata. E un po’ il 2011. Ma fino a questa stagione, con le eccezioni citate, la Ferrari è stata sempre lì, non lontana dai migliori. Fa schifo? Va bene, fa schifo. Per chi non si ricorda altri periodi, certamente. Periodi che non vorrei rivivere.
8) Uno che riporta Kimi alla Ferrari, vincendo immaginabili resistenze, è davvero uno senza le palle, come gentilmente viene narrato da chi ama infierire? Nel 2010 è stato Domenicali a non sorpassare Petrov? E le qualifiche di fine stagione del 2012, quando Massa stava spesso davanti, erano colpa sua? Potrei continuare, ma non ce l’ho con Alonso, a scanso di equivoci. Però, ancora e sempre, do you like the truth o le barzellette, numerosissime nella sterminata prateria del web?
9) Amico di Robben, tu sei simpaticissimo, ma ti devi decidere. Se la Ferrari può uscire dalla crisi che tanto ti umilia solo venendo venduta alla Audi-Vw, allora dovresti concludere che il Domenicali (o Mattiacci) di turno non ha responsabilità, risalendo il tutto al controllo azionario della più bella azienda che ci sia in Italia. Non si scappa. O hanno colpa i proprietari o hanno colpa i manager, fai tu e poi ordina anche per me crauti e birra, con rutto libro finale.
10) Infine, Stefano Domenicali non è in clausura, non è un uomo distrutto, è una persona che ora ha tempo di immaginare un futuro diverso e io lo conosco e so che domenica farà il tifo per Alonso e per Raikkonen, in un paese nel quale gli ‘anti’ (ferraristi, nel nostro caso) curiosamente pullulano e prosperano, perchè siamo pur sempre la nazione dei Tafazzi e buon pro vi faccia, dopo di che io casa mia, potendo scegliere, la affiderei al Dom e non al magico Briatore.
Che ci volete fare, non siamo tutti uguali, nella vita.
Ps. Da domani, in altri post, parliamo solo di Cina, che è vicina. Grazie a tutti.
Stefano Domenicali si dimette dalla Direzione della Gestione Sportiva
Maranello, 14 aprile – Stefano Domenicali ha deciso di rassegnare le sue dimissioni da Direttore della Gestione Sportiva.“Ci sono particolari momenti nella vita professionale di ognuno di noi” – ha detto Domenicali – “in cui ci vuole il coraggio di prendere decisioni difficili e anche molto sofferte. E’ ora di attuare un cambiamento importante. Da capo, mi assumo la responsabilità – come ho sempre fatto – della situazione che stiamo vivendo. Si tratta di una scelta presa con la volontà di fare qualcosa per dare una scossa al nostro ambiente e per il bene di questo gruppo, a cui sono molto legato. Ringrazio di cuore tutte le donne e gli uomini della squadra, i piloti e i partner per il magnifico rapporto avuto in questi anni. A tutti auguro che presto si possa tornare ai livelli che la Ferrari merita. Infine, vorrei fare l’ultimo ringraziamento al nostro Presidente per avermi sempre sostenuto e un saluto a tutti i tifosi con il rammarico di non aver raccolto quanto duramente seminato in questi anni”.
Da Ferrari. com
Il Presidente Luca di Montezemolo ringrazia Stefano Domenicali per il suo operato
Maranello, 14 aprile – Accettando le dimissioni di Stefano Domenicali il Presidente della Ferrari Luca di Montezemolo ha dichiarato: “Ringrazio Stefano Domenicali non solo per il suo costante contributo e impegno, ma per il grande senso di responsabilità che ha saputo dimostrare anche oggi anteponendo l’interesse della Ferrari al proprio. Ho stima e affetto per Domenicali, che ho visto crescere professionalmente in questi ventitré anni di lavoro insieme e per questo gli auguro ogni successo per il suo futuro. Voglio anche augurare buon lavoro a Marco Mattiacci, un manager di valore che conosce bene l’azienda e che ha accettato con entusiasmo questa sfida”.
Da SportWeek (La Gazzetta dello Sport) del 12/04/2014 (e riescono pure a far resuscitare i cani…)
Kimi Raikkonen: Ferrari Formula 1 team is ‘not stupid’
Kimi Raikkonen says Ferrari is "not stupid" and knows what it needs to do to close the gap to the frontrunners in Formula 1 this season.
The Scuderia has struggled in the first three grands prix of 2014, managing a best finish of fourth while Mercedes has dominated at the front.
Raikkonen, who won a race for Lotus last season but has yet to finish above seventh this year, said he had confidence Ferrari could turn its poor form around.
"At least on paper [Bahrain] was the hardest track for us but we have some new parts coming and hopefully we improve," Raikkonen said.
"We know what we have to do. The people are pushing 100 per cent, but it takes time. That’s the fact.
"We are not stupid people, we have good things going on.
"Unfortunately right now it’s not the prettiest thing when you look at the end of the race, but I have belief in the team that we can turn it around.
"I’ve been with this team and other teams having a hard time and I’m sure we can get it right."
Raikkonen was still happier with the set-up of his F14 T in Bahrain, despite another difficult race in which he was hit twice and complained that racing the Mercedes-engined cars was like being in "a different class".
"I think we improved the car – it feels nicer," added Raikkonen, who is missing this week’s in-season Bahrain test, but will drive on both days at Barcelona after the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
"The feeling is better but obviously the results don’t show that.
"We have a lot of work to do and we can only push forward. I’m sure we can be stronger in the next race."
Da Raisport (pw leavemealone9):
Bahrain GP: Mercedes-engined Formula 1 teams are in a ‘different class’ – Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen says it feels like Ferrari is racing in a different class to the Mercedes-engined Formula 1 teams, after the Scuderia’s difficult start to the season continued in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Raikkonen lined up fifth, but made a bad start and survived two contact incidents to end up 10th in the final classification, just behind team-mate Fernando Alonso and over 30 seconds adrift of the winning Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
The 2007 world champion said he could not blame his poor result on contact with Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren, nor a later incident with Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso, because the customer Mercedes cars were just too fast for Ferrari on the straights.
"The Mercedes cars seemed to be able to pass us very easily on the straightlines. One Force India got me on the exit of corner eight and it was like a different class," said Raikkonen.
"I was surprised. He came out of the pitlane but I had only done a few laps on the tyres. I went OK out of the corner and he just came inside of me and went past; I had no answer.
"And the next corner he had massive traction also, so it’s not just the horsepower."
Both Ferrari drivers reckoned the back end of the top 10 was probably the best Ferrari could have managed in Bahrain, given the F14 T’s current performance deficit.
"We are ninth and 10th and we didn’t have a crash or any problems. We are ninth and 10th because that’s what we could do today," added Alonso.
"I won this grand prix three times. It’s not that I forgot how to drive here.
"We are ninth and 10th because there were eight people who were better than us.
"We want to change this as soon as possible and that needs to start in China.
"We have a test here, I will drive the two days and I won’t rest until the situation changes."
Da SkyF1 (pw leavemealone9):
Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg in thrilling race
Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg to win a breathless Bahrain Grand Prix by just one second.
A late-race safety car, deployed after Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus tipped Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber into a roll at Turn 1, turned the 57-lap race into a 10-lap sprint under floodlights in the desert.
Both drivers had gone wheel-to-wheel in the early stages, as Hamilton outdragged poleman Rosberg at the start and the German attempted to come back at his British team-mate, so they were warned to keep it clean by Mercedes boss Paddy Lowe.
They just about managed it as they scrapped mightily for the win.
Rosberg had the advantage of softer tyres for the showdown and had several stabs at passing Hamilton using DRS into the Michael Schumacher corner.
But he could not make either stick, and Hamilton prevailed on his medium tyres after some epic side-by-side racing through the esses.
Behind, Force India recorded its first podium since Spa 2009 as Sergio Perez just held off the quicker Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
The Red Bulls also had the advantage of soft tyres for the final sprint and Ricciardo got the better of his world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India to finish fourth.
Vettel, who complained of a lack of power from his Renault engine, could not find his own way past Hulkenberg (on ageing mediums) so had to spend the final two laps fending off Williams pair Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas for sixth.
Williams gambled on a three-stop strategy where most of the other frontrunners went for two, and the safety car undid its hopes of a better result.
The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top 10, after Jenson Button joined McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen in retirement, after plummeting down the top order following the re-start.
Bahrain GP - 57 laps Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h38m42.743 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +1.085s 3. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes +24.067s 4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault +24.489s 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +28.654s 6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault +29.879s 7. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes +31.200s 8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +31.800s 09. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +32.500s 10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +33.400s 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault +41.300s 12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +43.100s 13. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari +59.900s 14. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault +1m02.800s 15. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault +1m27.900s 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari +1 lap 17. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +2 laps Retirements Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 40 laps Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 39 laps Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 33 laps Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 18 laps Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 17 laps Drivers' standings: 1. Nico Rosberg 61 2. Lewis Hamilton 50 3. Nico Hulkenberg 28 4. Fernando Alonso 26 5. Jenson Button 23 6. Sebastian Vettel 23 7. Kevin Magnussen 20 8. Valtteri Bottas 18 9. Sergio Perez 16 10. Daniel Ricciardo 12 11. Felipe Massa 12 12. Kimi Raikkonen 7 13. Jean-Eric Vergne 4 14. Daniil Kvyat 3 Constructors' standings 1. Mercedes 111 2. Force India-Mercedes 44 3. McLaren-Mercedes 43 4. Red Bull-Renault 35 5. Ferrari 33 6. Williams-Mercedes 30 7. Toro Rosso-Renault 7
Bahrain GP: Raikkonen now more comfortable with Ferrari’s car
Kimi Raikkonen believes that the changes Ferrari has made to its 2014 Formula 1 challenger have helped him feel more comfortable on track.
The Finn will start Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix from fifth place on the grid, having qualified sixth with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo taking a 10-place grid penalty.
Raikkonen has struggled to feel at home with the Ferrari F14 T this season, but after outqualifying team-mate Fernando Alonso for the first time this season, he said he was happier in the cockpit.
"The feeling is a bit better with the car," Raikkonen told reporters in the Sakhir paddock.
"I think the parts I wanted have definitely helped.
"In qualifying it felt more like we expected and wanted. It’s definitely the right direction.
"We’re still not where we want to be but we know what we’re doing. It will just take time to get where we want."
The 2007 world champion said there is no specific area that needs improvement on the Ferrari, as the team needs to make gains in every department.
"We need to go forward with all areas of the car," he added. "Obviously we need more.
"Understanding on engines and electronics to improve those small things that make a lot of improvement.
"We improved a lot of things in the first three races, all areas. [And] I improved a little with the front end."
Raikkonen said that he has not really suffered many problems with the new brake-by-wire system in the last two race weekends, after it proved troublesome earlier in the year.
"[Brake-by-wire] wasn’t really a problem," he said. "We had some issues in testing, there were some odd things in Australia.
"It’s all really to do with front end, and if you have a good feeling with the brake it gets easier. We’ve improved in that area."
Da SkyF1 (pw leavemealone9)
Bahrain GP: Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole as Mercedes dominates
Nico Rosberg claimed his first pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season, leading a Mercedes front row lockout.
Lewis Hamilton had set the pace throughout practice and headed into the session as favourite for pole position, but after being outpaced by Rosberg on their first runs in Q3 had a big lockup on his second lap at Turn 1 and ran wide, preventing him from mounting a challenge for pole.
Rosberg aborted his final run having been informed Hamilton made a mistake, earning the fifth pole position of his F1 career.
Daniel Ricciardo was one of the few drivers to improve on his second run in Q3, jumping to third on the grid.
This relegated Valtteri Bottas to fourth, the Finn proving that the Williams team’s pace during pre-season testing here was no fluke with a place on the second row.
Force India driver Sergio Perez has been strong all weekend and was fifth fastest, only a tenth slower than Bottas.
He shaded Kimi Raikkonen, who had only one run in Q3 because he had only one set of fresh rubber remaining, by 22 thousandths of a second.
McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen ended up seventh and eight, split by the second Williams of Felipe Massa, with both making late improvements as they also had only one set of new softs for the session.
Fernando Alonso was slowest in Q3 after a disappointing final lap, ending up six tenths slower than team-mate Raikkonen.
World champion Sebastian Vettel failed to make Q3 for the second time in three races.
Red Bull opted to complete just one run in Q2 and Vettel complained about downshift problems after missing the cut by six-hundredths of a second.
Nico Hulkenberg, who has struggled to match Force India team-mate Perez all weekend, also failed to hook up a good enough lap to make Q3 after running wide onto the kerb at Turn 11, ending up 12th ahead of the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez shaded Lotus driver Romain Grosjean for 15th place by just 17 thousandths of a second.
Pastor Maldonado was the fastest driver to fall in Q1 in 17th place. He was pipped by Grosjean, who set a time just nine thousandths of a second faster than his team-mate in the dying moments of the first part of qualifying.
Grosjean was impeded by Adrian Sutil’s Sauber late in the session, an incident which will be investigated by the stewards tonight.
The German was also knocked out in Q1, while Caterham continued its recent upward curve in terms of performance, with Kamui Kobayashi 19th fastest, lapping within a quarter of a second of Sutil, and Marcus Ericsson 21st.
Jules Bianchi split the two Caterhams, with Max Chilton slowest.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m33.185s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.464s +0.279s 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m34.051s +0.866s 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m34.247s +1.062s 5. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m34.346s +1.161s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m34.368s +1.183s 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.387s +1.202s 8. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m34.511s +1.326s 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.712s +1.527s 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m34.992s +1.807s Q2 cut-off time: 1m34.925s Gap ** 11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m34.985s +1.277s 12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m35.116s +1.408s 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.145s +1.437s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.286s +1.578s 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.891s +2.183s 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m35.908s +2.200s Q1 cut-off time: 1m36.654s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m36.663s +1.789s 18. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.840s +1.966s 19. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m37.085s +2.211s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m37.310s +2.436s 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m37.875s +3.001s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m37.913s +3.039s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton completes practice sweep for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton continued Mercedes’ domination as he set the fastest time in final practice for Formula 1′s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Briton, who was fastest in both Friday sessions at the Sakhir circuit, headed his team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.115 seconds.
They finished ahead of Sergio Perez, who was half a second adrift of Hamilton’s best lap, but the pace of the Force India indicates that it is looking good for a strong qualifying performance later on Saturday.
Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest in his Williams ahead of his team-mate Felipe Massa.
Like Friday, Williams chose to save mileage by sitting out much of the practice period. But when both they first appeared on the medium compound tyre they were the second fastest runners behind the Mercedes pair at the mid-way stage of the hour.
Sebastian Vettel sat out the final 20 minutes of the session after he spun his Red Bull off the track. The world champion seemingly lost control of his car on the exit of Turn 2 and looped his car around into the gravel trap. He had only completed eight laps when he spun off.
Jenson Button was sixth fastest in his McLaren, just ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and the other Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.
Hamilton was the first of the frontrunners to head the timesheets, putting in a 1m37.340s lap halfway through the session on the medium compound tyre.
A few minutes later his team-mate beat him by less than a tenth of a second. At that stage they were quicker than Jenson Button’s McLaren by over a second.
A number of drivers were caught out at the end of the back straight and ran wide entering Turn 11 – including the Mercedes runners – thanks to the gusty tail wind at the Sakhir circuit.
There was further problems for Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson, who complained that his Renault was not delivering full power in the opening minutes of the hour.
Qualifying takes place under floodlights at 6pm local time.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m35.324s 12 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.439s +0.115s 12 3. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m35.868s +0.544s 10 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m36.116s +0.792s 10 5. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m36.364s +1.040s 8 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.394s +1.070s 8 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m36.454s +1.130s 12 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m36.455s +1.131s 11 9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m36.680s +1.356s 16 10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.772s +1.448s 13 11. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.822s +1.498s 8 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m37.030s +1.706s 11 13. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m37.119s +1.795s 11 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.325s +2.001s 18 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.089s +2.765s 24 16. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m38.400s +3.076s 17 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m38.736s +3.412s 15 18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m38.880s +3.556s 21 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m38.971s +3.647s 18 20. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m39.208s +3.884s 17 21. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.225s +3.901s 8 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m39.597s +4.273s 14
Kimi Raikkonen: “A difficult Friday”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall, this was a difficult day, because I didn’t feel comfortable with the car in either session. In the first one, I damaged the floor on the kerb at turn 4 and this meant I had to pit. The team did a super job, because they got me back out on track in a short time, but then, because of a problem with the brakes, I was unable to complete the programme. In the second session we concentrated on looking at the two Pirelli compounds and with the Soft it was definitely better than the Medium. Now we will get down to analysing all today’s data, especially regarding the immediate change in the track from day to night and we will try and improve for qualifying and the race.”
Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton stays ahead in second practice
Mercedes continued to set the outright pace in Formula 1 as Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets at the end of the second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton was 0.365 seconds faster than his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Held in warm, dry conditions – five degrees cooler than this afternoon’s first practice – this was the first ever Formula 1 practice session in Bahrain to be held under floodlights.
Third quickest was Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari, significantly more than a second slower than Hamilton, pointing to the continued superiority of the Mercedes team.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa, who had a nervy moment as he was seemingly baulked by Esteban Gutierrez on the back straight a few moments before the session ended.
In sixth place was Jenson Button’s McLaren, one position ahead of world champion Sebastian Vettel.
This second session of the day was all about the Mercedes pair. Rosberg was the first of the two silver machines to switch onto the soft tyre and his first run on the new rubber was two seconds faster than his pace on the medium tyres.
Soon afterwards Hamilton upped the ante and his first run on the soft tyre was immediately 0.365 seconds faster than his team-mate.
It was another eventual period for Lotus as first Romain Grosjean complained of a misfire with his Renault, while his team-mate Pastor Maldonado enjoyed a spectacular moment as he got all four wheels airborne after hitting the kerbs at Turn 4.
Briton Max Chilton retired from the session with 35 minutes remaining after he suffered a high-speed spin at Turn 4. He complained on his team radio that he lost drive then the rear axle locked and pitched his Marussia into a spin.
A few minutes later Adrian Sutil climbed out of the cockpit of his Sauber at Turn 6 following a problem with his car. Another retiree was Marcus Ericsson, who stopped his Caterham at the side of the track just five minutes from the flag.
Early on there was a dramatic moment as Sergio Perez narrowly avoided a slow-moving Rosberg as they headed towards the final corner.
The German initially moved to his right to get out of the Force India driver’s way, and Perez had to take action to avoid hitting the Mercedes. The stewards said they would look at the incident after the session.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.325s 28 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.690s +0.365 31 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.360s +1.035 28 4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m35.433s +1.108 28 5. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m35.442s +1.117 13 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.528s +1.203 21 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m35.606s +1.281 29 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.640s +1.315 31 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.662s +1.337 22 10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m35.802s +1.477 40 11. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m35.920s +1.595 9 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.972s +1.647 32 13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m35.998s +1.673 18 14. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.366s +2.041 32 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.962s +2.637 13 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.975s +2.650 35 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m37.259s +2.934 24 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.599s +3.274 23 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m37.800s +3.475 15 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m38.247s +3.922 10 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m38.257s +3.932 33 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m39.136s +4.811 30
Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in FP1
Lewis Hamilton continued the Mercedes team’s dominance of the 2014 Formula 1 season by topping first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Malaysian GP winner was fastest during the opening half-hour of the 90-minute session, during which drivers are permitted to use their extra set of medium-compound Pirellis, lapping 0.113s faster than team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Both Mercedes waited until the final 20 minutes of the session to head out on their second set of mediums, by which time Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso had taken top spot after setting a time four tenths of a second faster than Hamilton’s first run despite a brief lock-up at Turn 10.
Hamilton then set the fastest time of the session in all three sectors to reclaim top spot, the second time he has been quickest during FP1 in three 2014 races.
Rosberg retained second place, although he was around a tenth slower than Hamilton had been on the first runs, ending up 0.231s off the pace.
Alonso ended the session third fastest, four-and-a-half tenths slower than Hamilton and 0.169s ahead of Nico Hulkenberg as the Ferrari and Force India drivers continued the battle that has raged throughout the season so far.
The German looked to have the potential to outpace the Ferrari after lapping a quarter-of-a-second faster than Alonso in sector one but lost time over the rest of the lap.
Alonso endured an abortive start to his running on his second set of rubber, Ferrari inadvertently sending him out of the garage with one soft tyre and three mediums. He stopped in the pitlane and was dragged back to the garage to replace the soft.
Jenson Button’s McLaren was fifth fastest, just ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who had a big lock-up at Turn 1 and ran off the track while on his long-run on his second set of mediums.
The second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen was seventh fastest, ahead of Daniil Kvyat’s Scuderia Toro Rosso, the 19-year-old Russian ended up 1.5s off the fastest time.
World champion Sebastian Vettel was only 10th fastest behind the second Force India of Sergio Perez, 1.887s slower than Hamilton, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo a second slower in 14th.
Felipe Massa was the quickest Williams, setting the 11th fastest time after completing only one installation lap on his first set of tyres.
Three reserve drivers made their first appearances of the season during the session, with Felipe Nasr, driving Valtteri Bottas’s Williams, the quickest of them in 13th place.
Sauber’s Giedo van der Garde, who took over Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber, was 18th fastest, with Caterham’s Robin Frijns 21st quickest in Kamui Kobayashi’s car.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.502s 14 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.733s +0.231s 13 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.953s +0.451s 17 4. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.122s +0.620s 10 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.636s +1.134s 16 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m38.783s +1.281s 12 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.949s +1.447s 15 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.056s +1.554s 24 9. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m39.102s +1.600s 21 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.389s +1.887s 16 11. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m39.533s +2.031s 11 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.862s +2.360s 26 13. Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1m40.078s +2.576s 14 14. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.406s +2.904s 19 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.652s +3.150s 20 16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m40.793s +3.291s 31 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m40.$89s +3.387s 20 18. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.913s +3.411s 20 19. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m41.036s +3.534s 24 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m41.794s +4.292s 20 21. Robin Frijns Caterham-Renault 1m42.417s +4.915s 35 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m42.711s +5.209s 2
Kimi Raikkonen certain Ferrari capable of closing gap to F1 leaders
Kimi Raikkonen believes Ferrari has big gains to come that will help it get on terms with Formula 1 pacesetter Mercedes.
Although the Maranello-based outfit has not finished on the podium yet this season, the team is confident that the rapid development rate of the new 2014 turbo engines means it can make big improvements.
Raikkonen said ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix that while Mercedes remained favourite, the competitive picture would change so much this season that the title fight was not yet an exclusive affair between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
"Obviously they have been looking strong over the test and over the first two races, but I am sure we have some big gains that will come," said Raikkonen.
"I am quite far away in the points, but that can all change with the new rules. And with only two races done, we try to do the best that we can.
"We try to improve but it is not easy to catch up with them. But we don’t give up. We know where we need to improve and I am sure we are going to get there."
Raikkonen has endured a tougher start to the season than team-mate Fernando Alonso because he has struggled to get comfortable with the front end of the car.
The team has focused on trying to improve the interaction of its energy harvesting, which has affected braking.
AUTOSPORT understands that revised suspension components will be tried out by Ferrari in Bahrain this weekend to help improve the front of the car further.
Despite the arrival of the new parts, Raikkonen is cautious about how quickly his problems will be fully solved, even though there were signs of progress in Malaysia.
"Overall we were much better but we were not where we wanted to be," he explained.
"There are a lot of things to improve in all areas, but we have all the right people and all the tools to fix those things.
"But those things are not easy to fix and I am sure it will take time. But we know where we want to be and where we are aiming, and we are going to get there.
"Hopefully we’ll get some better results here now if we can start a similar way in the last race, but not having the issues we had in the race."
Raikkonen: “we will get there”
Sakhir, 3 April – Kimi Raikkonen is keen to get racing this weekend, after early promise in Malaysia was wiped out on Sunday after a first lap coming together with Kevin Magnussen. “In Malaysia, the car was more or less the same as in Australia, although clearly we learned more from doing a lot of running and of course, the circuit layout in Sepang is different,” the Finn told the media at his usual Thursday press meeting. “Those factors make a difference and overall, we were much better in Malaysia, even if not quite where we want to be. Then my race was destroyed, which was not my fault, but that’s how it goes. There are a lot of things to improve in all areas, but we have the right people and all the tools we need to fix those things. It will take time, but we will get there. As for this weekend, if we start well as we did in Malaysia, but then don’t have the problems we had in the race there, we can have a better weekend.”As for how life was going with Fernando Alonso as a team-mate, the 2007 world champion explained he had more pressing matters on his mind. “I don’t have any real opinion formed yet as I’ve been putting all my effort into sorting out my side of things,” he said. “If I can do that, then we can get the results we want which is our aim. I haven’t given much thought to Fernando, apart from seeing his lap times and data of course. There’s nothing there I would not have expected.”Asked about whether or not he liked the current Formula 1 so far this season, Kimi was his usual pragmatic self. “It makes no difference if we like it or not, as we do not make the rules. We cannot change it and it is what it is. Sometimes you end up in areas that you would not choose, but you just have to make the best of it. I don’t see the point in talking about the sound of the cars or whether I like it or not.”
Raikkonen pins hopes on Bahrain GP upgrades to improve F1 form
Kimi Raikkonen is pinning his hopes of an upturn in form in Formula 1 on a set of new parts expected for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Finn has struggled with the front end of his Ferrari in the first two races of the season.
He showed improved form through practice and qualifying for round two in Malaysia last weekend, before contact early in the race from Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren ruined his chances.
Raikkonen says Ferrari is bringing new parts to his car for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix and he is hopeful they will finally allow him to drive the F14 T in the way he would like.
"The car was very similar to the last race, but the circuit layout worked a bit better for our overall situation," said Raikkonen of his performance in Malaysia.
"For the next race we should get some new parts and be happier with the front end and drive a bit more how I want.
"The front end should feel a bit nicer after that, but we have to wait and see how we do on Friday and go from there.
"From the [pre-season] test [in Bahrain] I know there were some difficulties with the handling, but hopefully with some new parts we can sort that out and be even happier with the car than we were here.
"I think we have a pretty good understanding of what we want to do and where we want to go to make the feeling better and we can go much faster if we make that happen.
"The good thing is we did much better here [in Malaysia]. Obviously the results didn’t show that but it’s nice we’re going in the right direction."
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Malaysian GP: Kimi Raikkonen says Kevin Magnussen destroyed race
Kimi Raikkonen says the contact from Kevin Magnussen on lap two of the Malaysian Grand Prix "destroyed" the second race of his 2014 Formula 1 season.
Magnussen’s McLaren tagged the rear of Raikkonen’s Ferrari heading into Turn 1, puncturing the right-rear tyre on the F14 T and earning Magnussen a five-second stop/go penalty and two penalty points on his licence for causing a collision.
Raikkonen fell to the back of the field following the puncture, and spent his race recovering to a pointless 12th. The Finn reckoned he could have been up with fourth-placed team-mate Fernando Alonso were it not for the incident.
"I haven’t seen what happened, I just heard that his front wing hit me and damaged my rear wheel," said Raikkonen.
"I didn’t feel anything, but obviously it destroyed our race and wasn’t very good for us.
"I had some damage after that, so we lost some downforce because the tyre damaged the floor.
"With the damage it’s hard to say how good we would have been, but how we started was good and for sure we could have been up there with Fernando, but it all went down when I got hit."
The non-score means Raikkonen has scored only six points in two races, compared to Alonso’s 24, but the Finn said he was not overly concerned by the lack of results so far.
"Obviously it’s not the ideal start but today we didn’t do much wrong ourselves and ended up paying a big price for someone else’s mistake," he added.
"It’s an unfortunate thing, but it’s part of racing. We just have to try to do everything [in the] better next race."
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Malaysian GP: Lewis Hamilton takes dominant victory
Lewis Hamilton sparked his 2014 Formula 1 season into life by dominating the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The 2008 world champion made up for the disappointment of early retirement from the season-opener in Australia earlier this month by comfortably beating Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to victory by 17 seconds at the Sepang circuit.
Melbourne winner Rosberg maintained his position as championship leader by finishing second.
He jumped reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel off the line and successfully repelled both Red Bulls after a massive tank-slapper coming through Turn 3 on the first lap.
He reported struggling with his rear tyres in the early stages and could not keep pace with Hamilton, who eked out an early and decisive lead before racing on to record the 23rd grand prix win of his career.
Rosberg finished a comfortable 7.2s clear of third-placed Vettel, who put his first championship points on the board after his own early retirement in Australia.
The Red Bulls were side-by-side through the opening sequence of turns, as Vettel’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo went round the outside at Turn 2.
Rosberg’s massive wobble coming though the long sweeping right-hander at Turn 3 allowed the reigning world champion to come back at his team-mate briefly, but Ricciardo held firm, only to be passed on lap four when Vettel slid up the inside at Turn 1 unchallenged.
Ricciardo had to get his elbows out again after the first round of pitstops, successfully rebuffing the efforts from Fernando Alonso to pass as he rejoined. The Red Bull prevailed over the Ferrari after more side-by-side action through Turns 1, 2 and 3.
But this proved a moot point ultimately, as Ricciardo suffered a botched late pitstop that required mechanics to push his car back to the Red Bull pit to refit the left front wheel correctly.
He rejoined the race, but then suffered a front wing failure on the start-finish straight, having broken it by running wide out of Turn 14 coming onto the back straight. He retired shortly afterwards.
Ricciardo’s misfortune promoted a personal duel between Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg, in which the Spaniard again prevailed to take fourth.
Hulkenberg’s Force India used an unconventional two-stop strategy to get ahead of the Ferrari, but ultimately Alonso used the advantage of fresher tyres to re-take the place in the closing stages.
Jenson Button completed a stealthy climb from 10th on the grid to complete the top six, ahead of the duelling Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.
The Brazilian finished in front of the Finn after ignoring orders from his team to let him through.
Button’s McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen recovered from an early five-second stop-go penalty for puncturing the right-rear tyre on Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari to finish ninth, while Formula 1′s youngest ever points scorer Daniil Kvyat scored again by rounding out the top 10 for Toro Rosso.
Raikkonen recovered to a pointless 12th, behind Romain Grosjean’s much-improved Lotus.
Result - 56 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40m25.974s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +17.313s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault +24.534s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +35.992s 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +47.199s 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +1m23.691s 7. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes +1m25.076s 8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +1m25.537s 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap 10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap 11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +1 lap 12. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +1 lap 13. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault +1 lap 14. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault +2 laps 15. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari +2 laps Retirements: Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 49 laps Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 35 laps Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 32 laps Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 18 laps Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 8 laps Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 7 laps Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 0 laps Drivers' championship: 1. Nico Rosberg 43 2. Lewis Hamilton 25 3. Fernando Alonso 24 4. Jenson Button 23 5. Kevin Magnussen 20 6. Nico Hulkenberg 18 7. Sebastian Vettel 15 8. Valtteri Bottas 14 9. Kimi Raikkonen 6 10. Felipe Massa 6 11. Jean-Eric Vergne 4 12. Daniil Kvyat 3 13. Sergio Perez 1 Constructors' championship: 1. Mercedes 68 2. McLaren-Mercedes 43 3. Ferrari 30 4. Williams-Mercedes 20 5. Force India-Mercedes 19 6. Red Bull-Renault 15 7. Toro Rosso-Renault 7 8. Sauber-Ferrari 0 9. Lotus-Renault 0 10. Caterham-Renault 0 11. Marussia-Ferrari 0
Raikkonen: “A question of feeling”
Kimi Raikkonen: “The rain made this qualifying very difficult. I knew that in the wet it would not be easy, but I didn’t expect to have so many problems. I had poor traction and on top of that, with the Extreme Wet, for some reason I was losing grip after the first lap. Now we have to find out why, as it will be useful for the coming races. Cleary, I’m not happy with sixth place, but given the circumstances, I cannot say I’m surprised and now I only want to think about doing well tomorrow. It will be a tough race with particularly high temperatures, but I am reasonably confident, because we have gone better here than in Melbourne and if we don’t have any problems, we can think in terms of getting a better result. Overall, my feel for the car is improving and even if there is still a way to go, we are working in the right direction.”
Malaysian GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole at wet Sepang
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix in a rain-delayed qualifying session for the second round of the 2014 Formula 1 season.
After a 50-minute delay, track conditions were still best-suited to full wet tyres in Q3 and Hamilton’s first flying lap of 1m59.431s was good enough to secure pole position.
But his advantage was a small one, as he ended up just 55 thousandths of a second faster than Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel.
Nico Rosberg showed disappointing pace on his first flier, ending up only fourth fastest, but with track conditions a little worse in the closing stages did enough to improve to third.
Fernando Alonso was the man he bumped down to fourth, although the Spaniard was fortunate to make Q3 after surviving a collision with Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat at Turn 9 during Q2.
The Spaniard suffered front-left suspension damage in the clash, which happened when he was struggling back to the pits on intermediate rubber while most were on full wets.
The Russian had closed rapidly on Alonso and dived to the inside of the slow left-hander, but Alonso turned in and Kvyat slid into him.
The incident will be investigated by stewards after the session.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest in the second Red Bull ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who was the only driver other than Hamilton to head the times during Q3, with Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg seventh.
Behind him was Kevin Magnussen, who started Q3 on intermediates but pitted to change to wets, salvaging eighth place while team-mate Jenson Button stuck with the inferior tyre and ended up slowest in 10th.
Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne was the other driver to reach the top 10 shootout, ending up ninth.
Williams pairing Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were the big-name casualties during Q2.
With everyone setting their times using wet Pirellis during the middle segment of the session, the Williams FW36 again struggled for traction in the low-grip conditions. And the pair ended up 13th and 14th respectively.
Vergne prevailed in a tense battle for the final Q3 slot, bumping Toro Rosso team-mate Kvyat from the position in the dying seconds of the session.
Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez ended up 12th fastest ahead of the Williams pairing, with Lotus driver Romain Grosjean suffering a late spin and unable to do better than 16th after making Q2 for the first time this year.
Pastor Maldonado was unable to join his Lotus team-mate in the second phase of qualifying, ending up the fastest of those to miss the Q2 cut 0.385s slower than Vergne.
After the delayed start, every team apart from McLaren opted to send their drivers out on intermediate rubber in wet conditions, with the majority of the order dictated by pace during the first half of the session.
Sauber’s Adrian Sutil, Marussia pairing Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton and the Caterhams of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson were the others to fall in Q1.
The session was brought to a premature close when Ericsson lost it on a wet kerb at the exit of Turn 3 after what the Swede described as a "silly mistake" and spun into the barrier, rebounding and coming to rest on the track.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m59.431s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m59.486s +0.055s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m00.050s +0.619s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m00.175s +0.744s 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 2m00.541s +1.110s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2m01.218s +1.787s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2m01.712s +2.281s 8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 2m02.213s +2.782s 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 2m03.078s +3.647s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m04.053s +4.622s Q2 cut-off time: 1m36.811s Gap ** 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 2m02.351s +3.310s 12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2m02.369s +3.328s 13. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 2m02.460s +3.419s 14. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2m02.511s +3.470s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2m02.756s +3.715s 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2m02.885s +3.844s Q1 cut-off time: 2m01.689s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2m02.074s +4.891s 18. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 2m02.131s +4.948s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 2m02.702s +5.519s 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 2m03.595s +6.412s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2m04.388s +7.205s 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2m04.407s +7.224s 107% time: 2m05.385s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Malaysian GP: Nico Rosberg fastest as Mercedes dominates
Nico Rosberg enters qualifying as a favourite for pole position after setting the fastest time in final practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Rosberg finished ahead of his Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton as the team was the class of the field in Saturday lunchtime’s period.
The duo topped the timesheets throughout the hour when they were running on both the hard and medium compound tyres.
The Mercedes pair were a whole second ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen at a hot and overcast Sepang International Circuit.
The Ferraris were the first to switch to the medium compound tyre with just over 20 minutes of the session remaining. But their positions at the top of timing screens were shortlived once the Mercedes switched to the softer compound rubber.
Both the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo sat out most of the beginning of the session, only coming out halfway through the hour. Vettel’s late lap gave him the fourth quickest time, two positions ahead of his team-mate.
German Nico Hulkenberg impressed with the fifth fastest time on the medium compound tyres in his Force India.
It was a problematic session for McLaren, which completed the least of amount of running.
Early in the session Kevin Magnussen complained on the team radio he had suffered a loss of power with his engine. Reports suggest it was a repeat of the exhaust sensor problem he suffered on Friday morning.
And team-mate Jenson Button also spent the majority of the session in the garage, save for a couple of early installation laps.
Lotus finally got some mileage this weekend as Pastor Maldonado managed a total of 20 laps across the hour, although he and his team-mate Romain Grosjean suffered a number of off-track excursions as they struggled to dial the set-up into the car.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m39.008s 13 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m39.240s +0.232s 13 3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m40.156s +1.148s 13 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m40.387s +1.379s 14 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m40.523s +1.515s 15 6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.686s +1.678s 14 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.736s +1.728s 14 8. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m40.781s +1.773s 20 9. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m40.891s +1.883s 20 10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m41.029s +2.021s 15 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.182s +2.174s 18 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.441s +2.433s 18 13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.552s +2.544s 15 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.041s +3.033s 17 15. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m42.749s +3.741s 16 16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m43.539s +4.531s 20 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.977s +4.969s 16 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m44.170s +5.162s 18 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m44.457s +5.449s 12 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m46.015s +7.007s 7 21. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m05.555s +26.547s 4 22. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 5
Malaysian GP: Raikkonen sees progress with F1 car issues
Kimi Raikkonen suggested that he might have made a breakthrough with his Ferrari Formula 1 car after an encouraging Malaysian Grand Prix practice day.
The 2007 F1 champion was uncomfortable with aspects of the Ferrari F14 T’s characteristics throughout testing and the season-opening Australian GP.
But Raikkonen was second fastest in both Friday practice sessions at Sepang.
Although he continued to play down his prospects, he acknowledged that the timesheets reflected a genuine improvement since Australia.
"This was definitely a positive day and I had a better feeling compared to Friday in Melbourne," he said.
"I was more comfortable with the F14 T today.
"Even if we had no problems whatsoever, we know there’s still a long way to go and a lot to do."
Both Ferraris showed promise on longer runs in particular, with Fernando Alonso fifth in practice two.
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