United States GP: Lewis Hamilton edges Nico Rosberg in FP1
Formula 1 title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg predictably set the pace for Mercedes in the first free practice session for the United States Grand Prix.
The absence of F1 minnows Caterham and Marussia meant just 18 cars took to the track for the first time since the 2005 Monaco GP, and points leader Hamilton was the only driver to lap in the 1m39s as he beat team-mate Rosberg to the top spot by just under three tenths of a second.
McLaren led the way for most of the session, despite technical problems enforcing radio silence between the pitwall and both drivers.
Jenson Button ran the Mercedes drivers close and ended the session less than a tenth slower than Rosberg.
Team-mate Kevin Magnussen also enjoyed a spell at the top of the times early on, but he slipped to fifth in the final classification, a tenth behind Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso.
Ferrari trialled experimental front and rear wings in this session, as well as checking driver visibility should it decide to raise the height of the top surface of the nose on next year’s car.
Fernando Alonso rounded out the top six, 1.124s off the pace, while Kimi Raikkonen was 12th quickest in the sister car.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who is set to start from the pitlane on Sunday after breaching rules that limit the number of engines he is allowed to use across the season, set the seventh quickest time in his Red Bull-Renault.
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo ran into engine problems of his own early on in the session, which restricted him to the 17th fastest time and meant he completed just five laps.
Romain Grosjean was the only driver to lap slower than Ricciardo, as he trialled an experimental non-twin-tusk nose on his Lotus E22.
Max Verstappen made his second free practice appearance of the season, taking over the Toro Rosso normally raced by Jean-Eric Vergne.
The Dutch teenager lapped nine tenths off Kvyat in rounding out the top 10, just behind Williams reserve Felipe Nasr – in Valtteri Bottas’ car – and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Cars returned to the circuit at the end of the session to allow the FIA to trial a new yellow flag speed limit set to be implemented to improve safety following Jules Bianchi’s Japanese GP crash.
|4||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.887s||0.946s||33|
|7||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.463s||1.522s||20|
|8||Luiz Felipe Nasr||Williams/Mercedes||1m41.545s||1.604s||19|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m41.722s||1.781s||24|
|10||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.785s||1.844s||32|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.359s||2.418s||23|
|17||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.598s||2.657s||5|
US GP: Lewis Hamilton pips F1 title rival Nico Rosberg in practice
Lewis Hamilton outpaced Formula 1 title rival and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by three thousandths of a second in Friday afternoon practice for the United States Grand Prix.
Rosberg initially had the advantage after both had set their first flying laps following their switch to the soft-compound Pirellis, but Hamilton found time on his second lap to jump ahead of his Mercedes team-mate.
Although Rosberg did set the fastest sector time of all in the middle sector on his second quick lap, he was unable to improve overall so had to settle for second place.
The Mercedes drivers completely dominated the session, outpacing McLaren pairing Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button in the early stages on the slower medium-compound Pirellis by over 1.5s.
Their advantage over the rest of field was trimmed to 1.104s once everyone had completed performance runs on the softs, with Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso best-of-the-rest after leaving his switch to the faster rubber later than most.
Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest for Red Bull, while Felipe Massa jumped up to fifth shortly after the halfway mark in the session despite having suffered a minor lock-up on his quick lap and spun his Williams at the first corner early on.
The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was sixth, with the Finn struggling to find a set-up on his car that gave him the necessary feel to extract more pace.
One of the stars of the session was Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, who continued his impressive form of the morning to set the seventh-fastest time of the day.
Behind him were the two McLarens of Magnussen and Button, who were unable to be as competitive in relative terms on the softs as they had been on the mediums.
Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10, even though he did make an error on his quick lap, just beating Valtteri Bottas to the position.
Romain Grosjean recovered from a dramatic high-speed spin in the fast Turn 5/6 to set 12th fastest time, almost two seconds off the pace, ahead of Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez.
Like Lotus team-mate Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado also struggled with the tricky-to-drive Lotus, spinning on what should have been his quickest lap and ending up 15th ahead of the two Saubers of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez.
Sebastian Vettel was slowest of the depleted, 18-car field, almost five seconds off the pace.
The German is focusing entirely on preparations for the race given he will start from the pits irrespective of where he qualifies, but made a late start to the session because of a gearbox change.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.390s||1.305s||30|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.631s||1.546s||34|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.800s||1.715s||25|
|13||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.110s||2.025s||36|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m41.123s||2.038s||35|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m44.437s||5.352s||19|
Kimi Raikkonen denies rumours Ferrari struggling with 2015 F1 car
Kimi Raikkonen has rubbished suggestions that Ferrari is behind with its 2015 Formula 1 car.
Reports emerged last week claiming that initial windtunnel data from Ferrari had indicated next year’s car was not producing as much downforce as the 2014 F14T.
But speaking ahead of the United States Grand Prix, Raikkonen said that he had not heard any negative messages from inside the team and he was full of confidence about what would be delivered next year.
"There are a lot of rumours in F1 but I have 100 per cent trust in the team, in the people who build the cars, and all the mechanics," said Raikkonen about the rumours.
"People are always speaking, but the problem is they are not the people designing the car or in the windtunnel.
"I am sure we can have a good package. Is it good enough? Time will tell. But we have a lot of work to do.
"We learned a lot from this year and we don’t expect to lead the championship from the front and be winning all the races. But I am sure we will make a big leap and be up there fighting and improving things."
"We know where the issues are, and I know the people can make good decisions and fix the issues.
"There are some limits of what we can do and cannot do, and obviously that limits us a little bit but for sure we will improve."
Although Raikkonen has had a disappointing campaign for Ferrari, he insisted he has no regrets about joining the Maranello outfit.
"For sure I made 100 per cent the right decision," he said. "Obviously the results have not been what I want or what the team wants, but that is how it goes.
"We have improved from where we started. There have been some better moments but it is not easy to fix some issues and get things exactly as you want.
"You end up with a small thing here and a small thing there, and the end result is that you end up having a big price for it.
"But I am happy to be here. For anything after first place, I would rather be in a Ferrari than any other team."
Kimi Raikkonen: “Doing our best”
Kimi Raikkonen: “We knew we could expect a very demanding race and that starting from far back it would not be easy to move up the order, but at the start we did very well. Unfortunately a Toro Rosso squeezed me towards the wall once we were on the straight. Because I had to brake hard, various cars passed me and I lost any chance of having a good race, because from then on I was always stuck behind other cars.
The car handled well and with a clear track I had a good pace, but we lacked top speed with which to try and overtake on the straight and having to save fuel meant I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to. We are aware that this year it’s hard to fight for the top places, but all the same, we will continue to try our best, starting with the very next race in Austin. That track is very demanding and interesting and I hope I don’t have the same problems I had here, so that I can aim for a good result. However, what I wish for most is that all our prayers help Jules at this difficult time.”
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton cruises to win as Mercedes takes title
Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the Formula 1 world championship to 17 points over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with a commanding victory in the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton generally looked more at ease than Rosberg with the demands of the new 3.6-mile F1 circuit in Sochi, and the Briton converted pole position into his ninth win of the year with a measured drive, which also meant he equalled Nigel Mansell’s British record of 31 grand prix victories.
Rosberg also started on the front row, and briefly headed his chief rival after sneaking up the inside after the first run through the flat-out Turn 1 right-hander, but Rosberg locked up heavily under braking for Turn 2 and flat-spotted his front tyres.
That forced him into the pits for a tyre-change at the end of the opening lap and effectively handed victory to Hamilton, as Rosberg was forced to battle his way back through the pack.
Extraordinarily, Rosberg made his set of medium Pirelli tyres last 52 of the scheduled 53 laps as he limited the damage to his own championship aspirations by recovering to second in a largely processional race.
The pair’s eighth one-two finish of the season also clinched the constructors championship for Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas ran second for the majority of the first half of the event, but had to settle for the final podium spot once he had made his own stop and it became clear Rosberg’s tyres would last the distance.
Jenson Button recorded his best result since July’s British GP by finishing fourth, while McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen – who qualified sixth but started 11th thanks to a grid penalty for a gearbox change – made an excellent start and recovered well to finish fifth.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso also got away well to climb from seventh on the grid and lie fourth at the end of the first lap when Rosberg pitted, but the Spaniard ultimately lacked the pace to fight the McLarens and also suffered a delay at his only pitstop.
The Spaniard held off Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull to finish best of the non-Mercedes engine runners and round out the top six.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel ran ahead of slow-starting Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo in the early stages, but his strategy of running an extended first stint backfired and Vettel had to settle for eighth.
Kimi Raikkonen finished a distant ninth in the second Ferrari, while Force India’s Sergio Perez survived fears of excessive fuel consumption to claim the final point by rounding out the top 10.
The Mexican just held off the second Williams of Felipe Massa, who started 18th after a fuel pressure problem ruined his qualifying session.
Massa attempted an aggressive two-stop strategy in an effort to recover the lost ground, but ultimately just fell shy of salvaging any points.
Nico Hulkenberg took a close 12th in the second Force India, while Russian home hero Daniil Kvyat started a superb fifth but slipped backwards after a scruffy opening lap and wound up finishing 14th, behind Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.
Both Kvyat and Vergne – who also started inside the top 10 and ran as high as fifth in the early stages – struggled for speed in the race as they finished well outside the points.
All drivers stood united at the front of the grid ahead of the race, as a mark of respect to injured Marussia driver Jules Bianchi.
The French racer’s team-mate Max Chilton raced on in Marussia’s sole entry for this grand prix, but retired with a front-left vibration at the end of his ninth lap.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||-||23h28m09.s|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||-||23h28m09.s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||-||23h28m09.s|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||-||23h28m09.s|
|13||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||-||23h28m09.s|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|15||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber/Ferrari||-||1 Lap|
|16||Adrian Sutil||Sauber/Ferrari||-||1 Lap|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Lotus/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|18||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|19||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham/Renault||-||2 Laps|
Kimi Raikkonen: “Make up some places”
Kimi Raikkonen: “After a difficult Friday, things went better today, the car has improved a lot thanks to a series of changes that worked and we had a good pace. Sure, we can’t claim to have ended up where we would have liked, but compared to the start of the weekend, we have made a step forward and this makes me confident for the race. Today, it wasn’t easy to put a quick lap together because I still have some difficulties with the front end, especially in the final sector, but tomorrow we will try our hardest to be in the game and make up some places.”
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton takes pole for F1’s Sochi debut
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix, denying Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas at Sochi.
Hamilton outpaced Mercedes team-mate Rosberg by two tenths of a second, with the part both completing three increasingly fast flyers on their sole Q3 run.
Although Rosberg was the faster on their first runs thanks to Hamilton’s conservative opening lap, Hamilton had the edge and took his seventh pole position of the season.
There was a very real threat to the dominance of the Silver Arrows, with Williams driver Bottas putting in a spectacular final lap to challenge for pole position.
The Finn set the fastest sector times of all in the first two sectors, but the rear stepped out at the final corner and he ran wide, which cost him any chance of beating the two Mercedes drivers and left him in third place.
McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen continued the strong form for the team in fourth and sixth place, although Magnussen will take a gearbox-change penalty.
They sandwiched arguably the star of qualifying, Daniil Kvyat, who qualified a career-best fifth after a strong performance on home soil.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh on a weekend of damage limitation for Red Bull, ahead of the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Jean-Eric Vergne, in the second Toro Rosso, was slowest in Q3 and qualified 10th.
Reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel was eliminated in Q2, his final lap only good enough to take 11th, 0.123s slower than Red Bull stablemate Vergne.
Vettel did not report any specific car problems, although he had been struggling with the balance of his Red Bull.
Just behind were the two Force Indias, with Nico Hulkenberg narrowly ahead of Sergio Perez but also set for a penalty.
Esteban Gutierrez won the intra-Sauber fight, over four tenths faster than team-mate Adrian Sutil, the Mexican doing a good job after sitting out Friday morning practice in favour of Sergey Sirotkin.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was slowest in Q2, ending up 16th.
Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson continued his recent run of good form with 17th, fastest of those to be eliminated in Q1.
The Swede’s final lap allowed him to jump ahead of Williams driver Felipe Massa, who ended up 18th.
Massa had looked set to qualify well, but a fuel pressure problem that the team did not have time to fix meant that he was down on power.
He did complete eight laps during Q1, but the hobbled car did not have the performance to get into the top 16.
Kamui Kobayashi, in the second Caterham, ended up just a tenth off Massa after improving by almost six tenths on his final run.
This was enough to put him ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who received an apology over the radio for what was described as a “shambles” after a problem delayed him.
He has to serve a five-place grid penalty anyway, a consequence of using his sixth engine during the Japanese GP weekend, so will drop to last.
Max Chilton in the sole Marussia was 21st, just over four tenths slower than Maldonado.
PROVISIONAL STARTING GRID:
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.277s||0.764s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.635s||1.122s|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.020s||1.507s|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.052s||-|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.163s||-|
|17||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.058s||-|
** Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Maldonado have had five-place penalties applied
Format: Q1 sets 17th-22nd, Q2 sets 11th-16th, Q3 sets 1st-10th
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton still in control in final practice
Lewis Hamilton marked himself as favourite for pole position as he set the pace in the final practice session for this weekend’s Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes duo were once again the pace setters throughout most of the hour-long session, with Hamilton heading his team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.290 seconds.
Hamilton ended the practice period in the pits after he spun at the penultimate corner on the lap, seven minutes from the chequered flag. After the spin Hamilton was able to nurse his car across the circuit and into the pitlane.
The main interloper at the top of the timesheets was Valtteri Bottas in his Williams. At one stage he was the quickest runner in the field and ended up splitting the Mercedes drivers. He ultimately finished third overall.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was next up ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa.
The partisan crowd would have been delighted with the performance of Russian Daniil Kvyat. He was third behind the Mercedes mid-way through the session and finished the hour-long period with the sixth fastest time.
Drivers continued to struggle on the new low-grip surface at the new Sochi Autodrom and in particular a few racers ran wide at the tricky right-handed Turn 4.
Sebastian Vettel set the tenth quickest time, but he appeared to struggle with the grip levels, running wide at number of times throughout the session.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh, one place ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.
The session was red-flagged on the 18 minute mark after Kevin Magnussen brought his McLaren to a stop heading into Turn 4.
On the radio he complained of either a puncture or suspension failure and replays showed how he skilfully managed to keep his car off the wall around Turn 3.
Pastor Maldonado could only manage an installation lap after a problem with the energy recovery system on his car.
To compound his misery, the Lotus driver goes into qualifying with a five-place grid penalty for an engine change that has been carried over from Suzuka.
Nico Hulkenberg also goes into qualifying with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
The Sochi circuit was bathed in warm sunshine for the lunchtime session and the good weather is set to continue for the rest of the weekend.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.755s||1.029s||16|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.009s||1.283s||27|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.205s||1.479s||26|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.338s||1.612s||21|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.669s||1.943s||23|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.699s||1.973s||26|