Raikkonen-Ferrari: il team radio della discordia
17 maggio 2014 – Il team radio di Kimi Raikkonen al termine del Gran Premio di Spagna testimonia tutto il nervosismo di Iceman verso una strategia che non lo ha affatto convinto.
Sulla differente strategia seguita dalla Ferrari per i suoi due piloti nel Gran Premio di Spagna si è largamente parlato per tutta la settimana. Sono passati ormai diversi giorni dall’episodio e, complici i test di questa settimana, Kimi Raikkonen è già salito nuovamente a bordo della F14 T, lavorando a stretto contatto con la squadra.
Sicuramente il finlandese e il muretto del Cavallino hanno dunque già abbondantemente chiarito gli aspetti di questa vicenda, che per il bene della Ferrari si spera non lasci strascichi. Sì perché Raikkonen, subito dopo la bandiera a scacchi, era piuttosto contrariato da quanto successo a Barcellona.
Con la pubblicazione di tutti i filmati onboard della gara e dei relativi team radio, è infatti divenuto di dominio pubblico anche il duro confronto tra Kimi e il suo ingegnere di pista Antonio Spagnolo. Ve ne avevamo accennato nell’articolo con le dichiarazioni a caldo del pilota, dove vi riportavamo anche la reazione di Raikkonen alle domande sull’episodio postegli da Natalie Pinkman di ‘Sky Sports F1 GB’ (qui).
Ecco dunque la registrazione del team radio in questione e relativa trascrizione:
Antonio Spagnolo: “It went bad just at the very end, sorry about that/È andata male proprio alla fine: mi dispiace.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Yes, but who is making the calls? In one of those, I mean it seems to me at least we are not…. We seem to be getting second choice every time! So, [incomprensibile] I wanna know what the hell is going on/Sì, ma chi fa le chiamate? In una di quelle, voglio dire, mi è sembrato quasi che noi non siamo… sembra che ci siamo beccati la seconda scelta! Quindi, [incomprensibile] voglio sapere che diavolo sta succedendo!”
Antonio Spagnolo: “Understood. Anyway, we’ll speak later/Afferrato. Ad ogni modo, ne parleremo più tardi.”
Il momento di tensione vissuto è dunque innegabile. Montecarlo, con le sue strette strade su cui si formano sovente trenini di monoposto, potrebbe subito mettere alla prova la stabilità del rapporto tra Raikkonen e la Ferrari: cosa succederà in caso di situazione analoga?
Da Autosprint n.19 del 13 maggio 2014
13:59 Kimi Raikkonen isn’t happy with being jumped by Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso. After the race he quizzes his engineer about "who is making the calls? We seem to get second choice."
Spanish GP: Kimi Raikkonen wanted to ‘clear up’ Ferrari strategy
Kimi Raikkonen says he wanted to clarify the thinking behind Ferrari’s strategy after losing out to team-mate Fernando Alonso in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Alonso overtook Raikkonen for sixth place in the closing stages, having caught the Finn on fresher tyres by virtue of stopping three times compared to his team-mate’s two pitstops.
Earlier in the race Alonso had been able to make the first pitstop of the pair despite running behind Raikkonen on the road. Teams often give pitstop choice priority to the driver who is ahead on track.
On team radio messages from the slowing-down lap broadcast to television audiences, Raikkonen asked "who made these calls?" as he felt he was getting "second choice".
Asked by AUTOSPORT to explain the messages and whether he felt Alonso was getting priority, Raikkonen replied: "I just wanted to clear up some things."
The Finn played down the significance of the differing strategy choices and being beaten to sixth.
"Obviously there was not much between it," Raikkonen said. "We still finished far away from the others. It did not make much difference to the result."
ALONSO ‘ONLY THINKING ABOUT VETTEL’
Alonso insisted that his strategic priority had been to beat Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull, not to try to win an intra-team war. Vettel managed to jump Alonso at the final stops and pulled away to take fourth.
"I don’t know how the tyres were for Kimi, but for me after two or three laps I had a very difficult rear end so was asking when we could stop," said Alonso.
"When it was time, we stopped. Then I had traffic and because of that I didn’t pass Kimi.
"In the second stint I finished the tyres again and asked when we could stop. They said we could keep going or do two stops, or we stop and do three.
"They said Vettel was on three so if we stopped now, we covered him. And I said ‘we do it’.
"I tried to protect the position from Vettel and it was not possible. The intention was just to keep Vettel behind once we’d changed strategy. We didn’t manage it and it was a shame."
Although Raikkonen was closer to Alonso in Spain after being outperformed by some margin at the preceding race in China, the Finn said he was more concerned with Ferrari’s poor overall position.
"It’s just a different race. We’re trying many things and it was a bit better, but we are still sixth and seventh," he said.
"We had some chances to fight but we are still far away from where we want to be. Overall we were the fourth-quickest team, so it’s disappointing.
"But there were some good points over the weekend compared to the last race."
Kimi Raikkonen: “A long way off our goal” Kimi Raikkonen: “That was a complicated race for me, with the main problem being a lack of grip and in general, it was very difficult to find the right balance on the car. Going for a two stop strategy proved to be the wrong choice because tyre degradation meant I couldn’t push all the way to the end. Overall here, we went better than in the last race, maybe because the characteristics of this track are very different to those we have raced on so far, but we cannot be happy with sixth and seventh places, because we are a long way off where we want to be. It will take time, but we will do our utmost, because we know where we must keep pushing if we want to improve.”
Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton denies Nico Rosberg in F1 thriller
Lewis Hamilton recorded his fourth straight Formula 1 victory of 2014, after narrowly defeating Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in a thrilling conclusion to the Spanish Grand Prix.
The silver cars had more than a second per lap in hand over their rivals, so this was only ever going to be a proverbial two-horse race.
Hamilton nailed the start from pole position and held a slender lead through the early stages.
Erstwhile championship leader Rosberg attempted to outwit his team-mate with an alternative strategy, running three laps longer than Hamilton in the first stint and switching to Pirelli’s hard tyre rather than taking another set of the mediums on which they both started.
The race appeared to hinge on whether Rosberg could stay within a couple of seconds of Hamilton through his stint on the slower tyre, in order to jump him with an earlier final stop.
But Hamilton stayed out of reach and was four seconds up the road when Mercedes decided to pit him for the final time on lap 43 of 66.
That gave him track position for the final stint, but the penalty of 23 laps on the slower tyre, while Rosberg faced the prospect of trying to catch and pass his team-mate on-track with his final set of the quicker tyres.
Rosberg homed in as the leaders reeled off the laps, but fell short by just 0.6 seconds, which allowed Hamilton to leapfrog him in the title race and lead the championship table for the first time since he won the Canadian GP of 2012.
Behind the dominant Mercedes cars, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo claimed his maiden podium finish in F1 by taking third.
The Williams of Valtteri Bottas held that place initially, after an excellent start from fourth on the grid, but was jumped at the first round of pitstops and was powerless to prevent the Red Bull of reigning champion Sebastian Vettel jumping him for fourth at Turn 10 in the closing stages.
The four-time world title winner produced a swashbuckling performance to climb from 15th on the grid to finish only one place behind his team-mate.
Red Bull pitted Vettel early to get him out of sequence with the rest, and the German made full use of an aggressive three-stop strategy to climb the order, producing some bolshy overtaking moves when required.
Spanish home hero Fernando Alonso used a similar three-stop strategy to beat Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to sixth.
Raikkonen delivered his strongest performance of the season relative to his team-mate, but was powerless to prevent Alonso passing on fresher tyres in the late stages of the race, despite making it as difficult as he reasonably could.
Romain Grosjean delivered the first points of the season to the Lotus team by bringing the twin-tusk E22 home in eighth.
The Franco-Swiss driver started fifth and held that place early on, but gradually fell back as faster cars asserted their authority over the race distance.
The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg claimed the final points on offer by jumping the sluggish McLaren of Jenson Button at the start and rounding out the top 10.
A three-stop strategy did not pay off for Felipe Massa, who started ninth but trailed home 13th behind the McLarens of Button and Kevin Magnussen.
Results - 66 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h41m05.155s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +0.636s 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault +49.014s 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault +1m16.702s 5. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +1m19.293s 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +1m27.743s 7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +1 lap 8. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +1 lap 9. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes +1 lap10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +1 lap11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap13. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes +1 lap14. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap15. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault +1 lap16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap17. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari +2 laps19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari +2 laps20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault +2 lapsRetirements: Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 34 laps Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 24 laps
Drivers' championship: Pos Driver Points 1. Lewis Hamilton 100 2. Nico Rosberg 97 3. Fernando Alonso 49 4. Sebastian Vettel 45 5. Daniel Ricciardo 39 6. Nico Hulkenberg 37 7. Valtteri Bottas 34 8. Jenson Button 23 9. Kevin Magnussen 20 10. Sergio Perez 20 11. Kimi Raikkonen 17 12. Felipe Massa 12 13. Romain Grosjean 4 14. Jean-Eric Vergne 4 15. Daniil Kvyat 4 Constructors' championship: Pos Team Points 1. Mercedes 197 2. Red Bull-Renault 84 3. Ferrari 66 4. Force India-Mercedes 57 5. Williams-Mercedes 46 6. McLaren-Mercedes 43 7. Toro Rosso-Renault 8 8. Lotus-Renault 4 9. Sauber-Ferrari 0 10. Marussia-Ferrari 0 11. Caterham-Renault 0
Swap of champions
Montmelò, 10 May – Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen met up with two time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo, who was visiting the Catalunya circuit today. The meeting ended with an exchange of helmets, as the Majorcan Team Movistar Yamaha rider wanted to pay tribute to Kimi and Fernando, with two specially designed helmets bearing the Alfa Romeo logo and in return the Ferrari duo handed over one each of their own. “It was great spending the day with the Ferrari family,” said Lorenzo. “I was in the garage and was able to watch from close up the work of the mechanics and they showed me lots of interesting things relating to the car and the telemetry. I support Fernando, but I think Kimi is also a great champion and I am really happy to have been given their helmets, as they are two incredibly talented guys.”
Spanish GP: Kimi Raikkonen reckons every flying lap is a fight
Kimi Raikkonen says every qualifying lap is a battle at the moment as he continues to try to get to grips with Ferrari’s 2014 Formula 1 car.
The Finn outpaced team-mate Fernando Alonso in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying, taking sixth place – one spot ahead of the sister car.
But asked if that was a sign of progress, Raikkonen replied: "No, the morning was a disaster and we changed the car quite a bit.
"It was still very difficult, I had to fight a lot to get the one lap out. There are small things all the time and it’s tricky to get the one lap.
"You have to stay on line and try not to make a mistake, it’s always a fight to get the lap out, and obviously it’s still disappointing to be six or seventh.
"We still want to be at the front so we cannot be happy but that’s how it goes.
"It was better this afternoon, but still not where we should be."
Raikkonen shrugged off the significance of outqualifying Alonso.
"Obviously people are interested on that side but for me it’s about being at the front," he said.
"It doesn’t give me much satisfaction to be only six or seventh, that’s not where we want to be.
"There’s a much bigger picture that we have to look at and right now it’s nice, but [outqualifying Alonso] isn’t going to change my life.
He also played down the chances of Ferrari fighting for a podium on Sunday.
"That’s the aim but is it going to happen? Hard to say," Raikkonen responded when asked if he expected a podium bid.
"This year there has always been something that has happened to make it difficult so hopefully it’s just a normal race.".
Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton denies Nico Rosberg pole
Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season by topping qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton was outpaced by Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg during the first two segments of qualifying, but delivered when it counted in Q3 to take pole by 0.168 seconds in a tense final-lap battle.
With Mercedes continuing to dominate, the rest were battling for third and it was Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who emerged as best of the rest, albeit a second off Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas qualified fourth for Williams, comfortably ahead of Romain Grosjean, who continued the recent upward trend for the twin-tusk Lotus E22 with a season’s best fifth place.
The two Ferraris lapped at a similar pace, ending up sixth and seventh with Kimi Raikkonen shading team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Jenson Button was eighth ahead of Felipe Massa, the latter looking set for a stronger grid position but for a disappointing Q3 lap.
Sebastian Vettel qualified 10th after being unable to complete a lap during Q3 thanks to his Red Bull grinding to a halt early in his run, prompting a brief red flag stoppage.
Nico Hulkenberg was fastest of the drivers to fail to make the top 10 shootout. He was bumped out of the Q3 slots by Bottas late on, albeit less than a tenth slower than home hero Alonso, who just scraped through.
The second Force India of Sergio Perez was 13th ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Gutierrez.
Behind them, Kevin Magnussen was classified 15th despite not running in Q2 with an engine problem striking his McLaren-Mercedes.
Jean-Eric Vergne was 16th after also not running, but he will start from the back of the grid thanks to a 10-place grid penalty for shedding a wheel during Friday afternoon practice.
Adrian Sutil, who complained about a problem with his Sauber over the radio, was the fastest of those who failed to escape Q1.
He was bumped down to 17th in the dying seconds of the first segment of qualifying by Button, who put on the quicker medium Pirelli in order to ensure he was not knocked out.
Max Chilton was 18th, outqualifying Marussia team-mate Jules Bianchi by six tenths of a second, with Marcus Ericsson doing a good job in the lead Caterham to end up just ahead of Kamui Kobayashi.
Pastor Maldonado will start last after failing to complete a flying lap before crashing.
He lost the rear end of his Lotus at the exit of Turn 3 after drifting wide on his first flying lap in Q1, spinning into the inside wall and bringing out the red flag for seven minutes.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.232s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.400s +0.168s 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m26.285s +1.053s 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m26.632s +1.400s 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.960s +1.728s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m27.104s +1.872s 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.140s +1.908s 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.335s +2.103s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m27.402s +2.170s 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault Q3 cut-off time: 1m27.602s ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m27.685s +1.597s 12. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m28.002s +1.914s 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m28.039s +1.951s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.280s +2.192s 15. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault Q2 cut-off time: 1m28.472s * 17. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.563s +1.799s 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m29.586s +2.822s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m30.177s +3.413s 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m30.312s +3.548s 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m30.375s +3.611s 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 107 per cent time: 1m32.837s * Gap to fastest in Q1 ** Gap to fastest in Q2
Spanish GP: Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton in final practice
Mercedes continued its dominance of Formula 1 as Nico Rosberg topped the third practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Qualifying this afternoon will most likely be another personal duel between the two Silver Arrows machines. They were split by 0.869 seconds in Saturday morning practice.
Local hero Fernando Alonso was third quickest in his Ferrari, more than 1.3s behind Rosberg and just fractionally ahead of Felipe Massa’s Williams.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean was fifth quickest for Lotus ahead of Kevin Magnussen (McLaren), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) and the other McLaren of Jenson Button.
Pastor Maldonado was ninth quickest in the second Lotus, while Sebastian Vettel made up for the time he lost on Friday by completing 20 laps in his Red Bull and finishing with the 10th fastest time.
At the beginning of the hour the Ferraris set the early pace, with firstly Kimi Raikkonen, then his team-mate Alonso going fastest on the hard tyres in the first 20 minutes.
As the half hour mark approached the Mercedes drivers emerged from the pits and started lighting up the timesheets. Rosberg was first to post the quickest time, over a second faster than Alonso’s Ferrari.
Rosberg and his team-mate Hamilton then traded fastest lap times at the top of the order, but it was clear that a number of drivers continued to struggle with the low grip on a dry but overcast day in Barcelona.
Several drivers, including the spectacular Alonso, battled with rear grip issues and once again Max Chilton’s session ended in the gravel trap, this time after he locked up his front left heading into Turn 5 and slid wide into the gravel on the outside of the corner.
Kamui Kobayashi also had a late off-track excursion in his Caterham but was able to continue unharmed.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.887s 16 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.756s +0.869s 9 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.188s +1.301s 15 4. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m27.223s +1.336s 10 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m27.682s +1.795s 18 6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.806s +1.919s 16 7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m27.808s +1.921s 12 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.006s +2.119s 11 9. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m28.076s +2.189s 19 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m28.085s +2.198s 20 11. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m28.101s +2.214s 12 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m28.242s +2.355s 16 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m28.298s +2.411s 16 14. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m28.419s +2.532s 16 15. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m28.571s +2.684s 13 16. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m28.668s +2.781s 13 17. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.715s +2.828s 16 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.865s +2.978s 18 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m30.169s +4.282s 15 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m30.670s +4.783s 12 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m30.712s +4.825s 18 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m31.559s +5.672s 19
Luca Cordero di Montezemolo:
[…] Raikkonen returned to Ferrari over the winter but has struggled more than Alonso this year. However, Montezemolo has no doubt that the Finn will turn his fortunes around.
"Kimi I think has improved step-by-step until today and I hope he can do good tomorrow, although tomorrow I don’t expect a lot. I know Kimi very well, he is a fantastic driver who does not feel comfortable with the car but is improving. I spoke a lot with him today and he is more pleased with the car and I think he will be even more pleased in the near future. He’s strong and I like him very much."
Alonso jokes that Raikkonen struggle is no surprise
Fernando Alonso could not resist a mischievous joke on Thursday when asked about teammate Kimi Raikkonen’s struggles so far in 2014.
Finn Raikkonen has struggled notably at Ferrari since returning to his 2007 title-winning team, but for the moment the high-pressure Maranello marque is backing him.
"He has class written all over him," said technical director James Allison, "and in a very short space of time I’m sure we will also see the results of that on the track."
When asked about the gap between himself and Raikkonen so far this season, however, Alonso undoubtedly recalled the pre-season banter that suggested his ‘number 1′ crown at Ferrari may finally be in doubt.
"Usually I beat my teammates," the Spaniard joked, according to Finland’s MTV3. "So it’s not a big surprise."
More seriously, Alonso said Ferrari is working hard to get "both Ferraris" fully up to speed.
"We are not in a position at the moment that we expect," he said ahead of his home grand prix.
"The start of Kimi was not the best in terms of points but I think hopefully soon they will be close to the podium or to the victories and we – both Ferraris – can score many points for the team."
Un solo commento s’impone a questo punto:
Raikkonen: “E’ stata una giornata particolarmente intensa”
"Abbiamo cercato di girare il più possibile per portare a termine il programma previsto"
Il commento di Kimi Raikkonen al termine delle due sessioni di prove libere sul circuito di Barcellona per il Gran Premio di Spagna.
Kimi Raikkonen: “Questa è stata una giornata particolarmente intensa, in cui abbiamo cercato di girare il più possibile per portare a termine il programma previsto per le due sessioni di prove libere.
Al mattino abbiamo provato differenti soluzioni di assetto, alternando due diverse ali posteriori, mentre nel secondo turno ci siamo dedicati alla preparazione di qualifica e gara, e allo studio del comportamento delle due mescole messe a disposizione dalla Pirelli. Questa sera analizzeremo attentamente tutti i dati che abbiamo raccolto, per scegliere quale direzione seguire”.
The Barcelona boost
The short break is over. We have had quite a busy time since the last race in China, but now it feels good to get back to racing again.
It’s always a nice boost for everybody, when we get back to Europe. Obviously, you don’t have to travel that much, as it’s only a short way from your home.
I’m not too happy with the results, but as usual, I just look at the next race, not at those we have had, while you cannot change them anymore.
All the time I have been working with my engineer trying to help improve things. But, as I have said earlier, it is not an overnight fix, while there have been certain issues with the front end of the car for my style of driving. We feel that step by step it should be getting where we want it to be.
This is the first time we will go to Barcelona without any pre-season testing at the circuit with the new cars. But as drivers, we know what to expect as there have already been those four races this season.
However, there will be a difference as we now have less downforce with these cars compared to previous years, so certain corners will feel different. We also now have much more torque from the engine.
The team has worked extremely hard to get the car better. Now we will have some interesting running to do on Friday to find out how new things work at the circuit. Let’s hope we will get a clean and good weekend.
Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton stays on top in FP2
Lewis Hamilton dominated Friday afternoon practice ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, outpacing Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg by almost half-a-second.
After Hamilton and Rosberg topped the times during the early running, when all drivers lapped on the hard-compound Pirellis, Daniel Ricciardo was the first frontrunner to run the faster rubber.
He improved his time by a second to go top by half-a-second from Hamilton shortly after the half-hour mark, with Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen also completing a relatively early lap on mediums to go third.
But both Mercedes drivers were soon out on the medium Pirellis, with Rosberg momentarily taking top spot with 51 minutes to go before Hamilton set a time 0.449s faster.
Ricciardo’s lap was good enough to hold third, with home hero Fernando Alonso jumping ahead of Raikkonen.
McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen went sixth fastest shortly after the halfway mark of the session, shading team-mate Jenson Button with Felipe Massa’s Williams just behind.
Pastor Maldonado, the first driver to set a time on the mediums which briefly elevated him to fourth fastest, was shuffled down to ninth by the end of the session ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.
Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean was only 17th after a troubled session, initially complaining of a lack of rear-end downforce before being called in with a braking problem that potentially made the car unsafe.
Force India had a quiet session, with Nico Hulkenberg the faster of its drivers in 11th place ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, whose session came to an end with five minutes to go after his right-rear wheel flew off after he had stopped to change tyres.
Behind them was Adrian Sutil in the improved, lightweight Sauber-Ferrari C33, a car he hopes will allow him to fight for a points finish for the first time in 2014 this weekend.
Sebastian Vettel sat out the session after completing only four laps in the morning thanks to an electrical problem.
His Red Bull squad discovered that the wiring loom had been damaged, meaning there was not enough time to get the car fixed and back out on track.
Marussia driver Max Chilton also hit trouble, suffering an engine problem that restricted him to only in-and-out laps early in the session before completing some meaningful running later on.
He ended the session in the gravel at Turn 4 after what appeared to be a driver error.
He also caused a yellow flag at the entry to the final corner when his Marussia shed a piece of bodywork that had to be recovered by a marshal.
Track conditions were good throughout the session, with the ambient temperature around the 23-24C mark and track temperatures in the mid-40s.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:25.524s 33 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.973s +0.449s 36 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1:26.509s +0.985s 38 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:27.121s +1.597s 33 5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:27.296s +1.772s 33 6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.788s +2.264s 37 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.811s +2.287s 29 8. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:27.824s +2.300s 31 9. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:27.866s +2.342s 42 10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1:28.049s +2.525s 35 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:28.074s +2.550s 31 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1:28.246s +2.722s 30 13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:28.284s +2.760s 33 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:28.698s +3.174s 33 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:29.105s +3.581s 24 16. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:29.129s +3.605s 34 17. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:29.463s +3.939s 26 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:29.991s +4.467s 26 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:31.148s +5.624s 28 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:31.338s +5.814s 38 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:31.586s +6.062s 39 22. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault no time
Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton leads first practice for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton set the pace for the opening Formula 1 practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend to continue his stronghold on this year’s championship.
The Mercedes driver ensured it was a British 1-2 at the top of the timing sheets as he finished 0.868s ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button.
Button held the fastest time for the majority of the Friday morning session recording his best time on the hour mark.
The McLaren driver was stationed at the top of the timesheets until his compatriot Hamilton set the fastest time five minutes from the end of the session.
There were problems for Sebastian Vettel, who sat out nearly the entire practice period after an electrical issue halted his running and he pulled to the side of the track at Turn 5, just 25 minutes into FP1.
The German had only completed four laps when the problem struck his car and he ended up with the 20th fastest time.
Nico Rosberg could only manage the fifth fastest time after he suffered a lack of running due to a problem with his Mercedes power unit.
Behind Button, Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest in his Red Bull ahead of Fernando Alonso, who was visibly hustling his Ferrari around the Spanish GP circuit.
His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was sixth ahead of the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen.
There was drama for Giedo van der Garde when he suffered a partial brake failure at Turn 1 and ran through the gravel at high speed, just missing the barriers on the outside of the corner.
Sauber’s reserve driver was in the car in place of Esteban Gutierrez for FP1. He was able to continue to the pits unharmed.
The opening practice session of the weekend was the first chance for all the teams to try test the performance of their upgrades.
There was a bizarre moment for Sergio Perez when his left rear view mirror broke and came into his cockpit, forcing the Force India driver into the pits.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m27.023s 17 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.891s +0.868s 26 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m27.973s +0.950s 21 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m28.128s +1.105s 23 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m28.168s +1.145s 9 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m28.337s +1.314s 19 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.423s +1.400s 27 8. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m28.744s +1.721s 34 9. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m28.779s +1.756s 18 10. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m28.791s +1.768s 13 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m28.792s +1.769s 24 12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m28.828s +1.805s 17 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m28.859s +1.836s 24 14. Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1m29.272s +2.249s 15 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m29.688s +2.665s 16 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m29.820s +2.797s 22 17. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m29.444s +2.421s 21 18. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m30.440s +3.417s 21 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m30.748s +3.725s 19 20. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m30.942s +3.919s 4 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m30.997s +3.974s 22 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m31.421s +4.398s 22
Piloti della Scuderia protagonisti all’evento Ferrari-Oakley
Barcellona, 8 maggio – Serata di gala a Barcellona per la presentazione della partnership tra Ferrari e Oakley. Nello scenario dei Barcelona Studios è stato organizzato un grande evento per presentare la nuova collezione di occhiali Scuderia Ferrari by Oakley. Ospiti d’onore tre dei piloti della Scuderia, i collaudatori spagnoli Marc Gené e Pedro de la Rosa e il pilota finlandese Kimi Raikkonen. A Raikkonen sono state rivolte alcune domande. La prima è stata relativa al senso dei dettagli e all’importanza che questi ricoprono in uno sport come la F.1. La risposta di Kimi è stata esauriente: “Credo che i dettagli siano fondamentali. Nelle vetture di F.1 così come nelle auto da strada la cura del particolare è un elemento imprescindibile, in questo senso Ferrari e Oakley condividono la grande attenzione per ogni più piccolo componente e questo è importante”.Poi a Kimi è stato chiesto se prenderebbe mai in considerazione l’idea di un visore sul quale possano essere proiettati dati e statistiche in modo da non dover staccare gli occhi dalla strada. Su questo il finlandese è parso meno convinto: “Sarei curioso di provarlo anche se non sono sicuro che lo userei. Io sono un pilota un po’ all’antica. Forse però avere solo qualche dato fondamentale potrebbe essere interessante”.Infine si è parlato di occhiali da sole, uno strumento cui Kimi è particolarmente affezionato: “Io li uso molto perché ho gli occhi sensibili alla luce. Qualcuno dice che li indossi per non dover guardare in faccia le persone” – ha sorriso – “E a volte è anche vero”. -
God damned second place – again!
Winning means everything to me. Obviously, I hate losing, but it¹s not that meaningless to finish a Grand Prix in a second place. Right now it means good points every time.
Well, finishing second three times in a row, doesn¹t feel that great, but if there is a different winner, you gain the most points with a series of second spots, as well.
This is a very tight championship. We have been able to start with pretty good results in the first five races, so it¹s not that bad situation to carry on to the summer season.
We had high hopes for Spanish Grand Prix. We did our very best, but all in all, I have to say, we didn¹t deserve more than finishing second.
Obviously, the Mercedes cars seem to be too fast for everybody else in qualifying. While they got the front row, the rest of the pack was competing for the second row places. We got P4. It was not that brilliant to start from the dirtier side of the track, but we survived and start climbing higher again like in the last few races.
I was leading the race in the midway, and for a short while, I thought we could challenge Fernando Alonso for the victory, but it was not to be this time.
We settled down taking the second place, so we got a podium again and that was enough to catch the championship leader Sebastian Vettel by some points. That was the main target for Barcelona, and that was achieved in a deserved way.
After Spain I chilled out with the friends, watched the icehockey championships on TV and, most of all, focussed on the the huge challenges of Monaco.
Dal pregara Sky del 12/05/2013:
Da Autosprint n.19 del 14/05/2013
Da Sky, Race Anatomy post GP Spagna:
Kimi Räikkönen Happy to Sneak Under the Radar
After a hat-trick of second place finishes, Kimi moves to within four points of Sebastian Vettel at the head of the Drivers’ Championship; he’s not getting carried away just yet though…
P2 for the third consecutive race; how are you feeling?
Unfortunately it’s second place again so it’s not time to celebrate too much. The car felt good and we did pretty much all we could today, but we didn’t have the pace to challenge Fernando [Alonso]. I drove to the maximum and it’s good for the championship that Sebastian finished behind us. It’s nice to be on the podium for me and the team; let’s see what we can do in Monaco.
You achieved your result with a three stop strategy today when many rivals opted for four; talk us through that decision?
That’s the strategy we chose and it worked pretty well for us. Fernando did make four stops, but we didn’t think we could beat him whatever the strategy today as he has looked pretty quick all weekend.
Did you enjoy your battle with Sebastian Vettel?
Yes, but it didn’t last very long; just a few laps. I maybe had a chance to pass a bit earlier but I didn’t think I could take him at the end of the straight; they [Red Bull] were very fast coming on to the straight so I couldn’t catch him there. It took a bit longer than I expected but then it was a good battle – fair, but quite tough – and it worked out okay for us in the end.
Some say your championship challenge is somewhat under the radar; is that a good thing?
I don’t mind if people don’t notice us. We do our work, we’re happy in what we do and we obviously try to achieve the best for Enstone. I’m just here to race the best i can. You always want to win and it’s disappointing to finish second, but sometimes we have to take what we can get.
Kimi, four points off the championship lead at this stage and you’re coming in under the radar so to speak, because nobody is really giving you enough credit for what you’re doing at the moment. How do you respond to that?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I don’t mind. I’m here only to do as good races as we can and always you want to win and it’s disappointing to finish second but sometimes we have to take what we can get. Like I said, I don’t mind if people don’t notice us. We do our work, be happy what we do and obviously try to achieve in Enstone.
Is the lack of attention possibly helping you?
KR: It makes no difference really to me. We know in the team, and all the sponsors, what we try to achieve and what we are doing and that’s the main thing.
Kimi, we heard you say on the podium there you were disappointed you didn’t win. You had a different strategy to Fernando, doing one stop less than the Ferrari today. Was there a point at which you thought you might have an opportunity to challenge Fernando for the win today?
KR: Maybe half way through. Obviously, we were leading but when we were on old tyres and he had newer tyres, it’s too easy to overtake. There’s no point to really fight against [him] because you cannot hold him behind. I knew if I could somehow stay a bit more closer, even with old tyres, maybe I have some chance, even if I’m already behind and will be with old tyres in the end but you never know. But they were just too fast. He had a good start around the outside of me. I don’t think the end result really was decided there but we just did a different way of doing the race. It wasn’t a winning way today but… We’re never happy if we’re not winning. We’re only here to try to win. But we kind of caught up with Vettel few points and obviously Fernando caught me up [by] some points but we’re still in the hunt and we’ll keep ourselves there and hopefully in the future just try to win a bit more.
Consistency is the key though, isn’t it? It’s the fourth time in five races you’ve stood on the podium, including that win in Australia and as you say you’ve got it down to just five points to Vettel. How do you feel about your championship situation and what comes from here?
KR: Obviously it’s better than before the race now. It will not be easy. We cannot fight against… it’s the same for everybody. Everybody wants to win it, but sometimes you have a bad day. You try to minimise those and make the most out of them and give yourself a chance to be up there and fight for wins. I think if you can do that often it will give a good chance in the end to fight for the championship. It’s only a five race-old season, so there’s an awful lot to be raced. We’ll see what happens. We’ll try to do well and see where we are in the end.
Kimi, your thoughts on that?
KR: I don’t really think it’s any different to last year. Obviously I wasn’t there the year before but they had a lot of pitstops also. So that’s the way it is and it’s the same for everybody. For sure sometimes it’s a bit tricky, even for us, who is where and what is going on if you haven’t seen it as the guy in front, what’s going on. But that’s what Formula One is today. It might change, it might not.
Q: (Pierre Van Vliet – F1i.com) Kimi, in the early part of the race when you had your first pitstop, you came back with new soft tyres and you spent… you lost a few laps behind Vettel. Without that time lost do you think you could have been in front of Fernando on the last stint?
KR: It wasn’t a new, it was used from qualifying. So, I mean obviously I have to overtake and I took maybe a few laps more than I expected but I got past him and I really could pull away but in the end I really don’t think those were the decisions that were the deciding story of the race. I think we had the speed but we should have done it different. Maybe more pitstops, then you can push all the time – but I think this was our best way of doing the race. That’s what we planned and that’s what we did and I think we deserved to be second and not really winning today. It’s OK for the team, the guys did a good job and we go for the next race to try to do better and get the best out of it.
Q: (Leonid Novozhilov – F1Life) Kimi, what do you think about the pit stop strategy in Monaco?
KR: I have no idea. I know what we did here and yesterday. There’s a few weeks to go. We will see what happens, what tyres they bring and how everything plans out. I think it’s usually quite straightforward there. Usually, if you’re not in the front, you start behind somebody else and it’s really difficult to overtake. We will see.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, you have three successive second places and now you’ve managed to catch up Sebastian by six points; was this the most rewarding of these three races, and how do you see your chances to do better in Monaco?
KR: First of all, Monaco is a different place compared to this, so it’s a bit hard to say. Last year I wasn’t very good there. For sure, it should be a bit better but I’ve had some good races there – it’s a dangerous thing to say – but as Fernando said, I think Mercedes will unfortunately be pretty quick there and after that it’s difficult to overtake. The only difference that they have made against most of us is in the last sector where it’s tight so you can really expect, from what they did last year and what they did here, that they should be pretty fast there. We will see what happens there, but gaining the points on Sebastian was nice. If he would have lost more points and still be second it would have been even more annoying, but OK, you also want to win but we cannot still put ourselves in a better position for the championship so at least something good came out of it.
Q: (Jussi Jakala – YLE) Kimi, all top drivers are kind of supermen; did you have time to enjoy the battle that you had with Sebastian?
KR: Yeah, it didn’t last very long. It took a few laps. I maybe had a chance earlier but I didn’t think that I would take him at the end of the straight but actually they were very fast at the start of the straight so I couldn’t catch him there, so it took a bit longer than I expected but then it was quite nice, fair but quite tough fight, but it worked out OK.
Spanish GP: Fernando Alonso takes commanding home win for Ferrari
Fernando Alonso sent the Spanish Grand Prix into ecstasy as the Ferrari driver and home hero charged to his first Barcelona victory since 2006.
Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus emerged as Alonso’s main rival, while Sebastian Vettel and the front-row-starting Mercedes faded in the race.
Felipe Massa moved in the opposite direction, recovering from a penalised ninth on the grid to take the final podium spot.
In a race full of tyre conservation, Alonso’s approach from the outset was to charge.
While Vettel split the Mercedes into Turn 1, Alonso accelerated around the outside of both Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton at Turn 3 to move into third.
Rosberg clung on at the front of the field through the first pitstops.
By the time they were done, Alonso was his main rival, having pitted one lap ahead of Vettel and jumped the Red Bull.
Rosberg’s plunge down the order began on lap 12, when Alonso passed him into Turn 1, and Vettel and Raikkonen further demoted him before the lap was complete.
Once in front, Alonso began to pull away.
Despite running longer, Vettel turned out to be on the same four-stop strategy as Alonso, but unable to match the Ferrari’s sheer pace.
Raikkonen, however, could pull off a three-stop. He lost time behind Vettel in the middle of the, then raised his pace after overtaking the Red Bull on lap 33.
Lotus had a potential edge going into the closing stages, with Raikkonen a few seconds ahead of Alonso at a point when both had a single stop to go.
But on his fresher tyres, Alonso stormed up behind Raikkonen at a rate of two seconds per lap, breezed past the Lotus then vanished into the distance, swiftly building a 12-second advantage.
Raikkonen was left to keep half an eye on Massa, who had been rapid all afternoon and got a green light from Ferrari to try to catch the Lotus. Tyre wear stymied this and forced Massa to back off again, but third was still safe.
Vettel’s attempts to run longer on tyres ultimately cost him so much pace that he fell behind the earlier-pitting Massa.
The world champion had to settle for fourth, followed by his team-mate Mark Webber.
Mercedes’ fade ended with Rosberg pulling off a three-stop in sixth and his despondent team-mate Hamilton right out of the points in a lapped 12th, having gone into freefall following his first stop.
Paul di Resta’s Force India chased Rosberg home.
McLaren ended up eighth and ninth. Jenson Button had tumbled to 17th in the opening laps, but nursed his tyres through three stops and emerged ahead of his early-charging, but four-stopping, team-mate Sergio Perez.
Daniel Ricciardo fended off Esteban Gutierrez to give Toro Rosso the final point.
It was still a breakthrough day for Gutierrez, as a long first stint meant Sauber’s rookie managed to lead a Formula 1 race for the first time.
Last year’s Barcelona winner Pastor Maldonado struggled home 14th, recovering from a pitlane speeding penalty to get there.
Romain Grosjean was an early retirement with skewed right rear suspension on his Lotus.
Two pitlane incidents attracted stewards’ attention.
Caterham could face sanctions after Giedo van der Garde lost a wheel on his out-lap, while Nico Hulkenberg had an unsafe release penalty following a pitlane clash with Jean-Eric Vergne, prior to which both had been points contenders.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS Classified: Pos Driver Team 1. Alonso Ferrari 2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 3. Massa Ferrari 4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 5. Webber Red Bull-Renault 6. Rosberg Mercedes 7. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 8. Button McLaren-Mercedes 9. Perez McLaren-Mercedes 10. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 12. Hamilton Mercedes 13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 14. Maldonado Williams-Renault 15. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 16. Bottas Williams-Renault 17. Pic Caterham-Renault 18. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 19. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth DNF Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari DNF van der Garde Caterham-Renault DNF Grosjean Lotus-Renault World Championship standings, round 5: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 89 1. Red Bull-Renault 131 2. Raikkonen 85 2. Ferrari 117 3. Alonso 72 3. Lotus-Renault 111 4. Hamilton 50 4. Mercedes 72 5. Massa 45 5. Force India-Mercedes 32 6. Webber 42 6. McLaren-Mercedes 29 7. Di Resta 26 7. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 8 8. Grosjean 26 8. Sauber-Ferrari 5 9. Rosberg 22 10. Button 17 11. Perez 12 12. Ricciardo 7 13. Sutil 6 14. Hulkenberg 5 15. Vergne 1
Kimi Räikkönen Confident in Race Pace at Barcelona
Did qualifying live up to your expectations?
It was not too bad; better than last race for sure. It’s very close here and we could have been P1 or P10 in that final session, so P4 is not too bad. Of course, unless you’re on pole you want to be further up the order, but tomorrow’s when really matters.
How’s the car feeling?
It’s been pretty okay over the weekend. Today in qualifying was a bit more windy than we saw this morning, which made the final sector a little more tricky. We didn’t have the pace get on the front row, but we should have a pretty good car in the race.
What do you expect from tyre strategy?
I don’t know what the others are doing but we’re still working out what our plan will be. A lot depends on how the tyres are working in the race and that’s part of the job for the guys on the pit wall tomorrow. I don’t expect that we’ll do anything massively different from anyone else; maybe we’ll stop at a different time, maybe we’ll stop at the same time, who knows…
What are your chances in the race starting from P4?
You can’t really say on Saturday what will happen; you just have to make a good start and then see what you can do. We’ve got two fast Mercedes ahead of us and we’ll have to see how strong they are over a full distance. I’m sure the Ferrari and Red Bull will be competitive, so like any race we’ll just do our best and see where we end up.
Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: We’ll see an interesting race tomorrow
Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen has been there or thereabouts near the top of the timesheets all weekend in Barcelona, but he ended qualifying on the second row of the grid in fourth position. After climbing out of the car the Finn spoke to reporters about his Saturday performance and his prospects for the race tomorrow…
Q: Kimi, you’ll start from P4 tomorrow – one of your best qualifying result so far this season. What do you make of that? Q: After the morning session had you hoped for a spot on the first row of the grid? Q: Did you have had any idea before qualifying where you would fit in? Q: A penalty points system for drivers has been spoken about recently. Sebastian Vettel clearly said in the FIA press conference that he is not in favour of it. What is your opinion? Q: Do you expect Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso will be in close combat tomorrow? Alonso sure wants to put on a show in front of his home crowd… Q: Do you think that you can do one stop less than the others or will it be an equal playing field?
Kimi Raikkonen: Well, I have to make a good start and then I take it from there. What else do you expect I do? Mercedes have not been as strong in the races as they have been in qualifying so everything seems possible.
KR: It’s been pretty good all weekend long, but unfortunately during qualifying it was a bit more windy than it was in the morning session and that made it a bit more tricky in Sector 3. For sure we didn’t have the speed of Mercedes, but we have seen that before so I am open for anything in the race.
KR: After I made it into Q3 it could have been P1 or P10. Everything is pretty tight, so I am satisfied where I am as it was the best qualifying result in quite a while.
KR: Why should I make a comment over something that is not finalized yet? Nothing has been decided and I am sure there will be changes made to the proposal. We always had penalties when a driver did something wrong – now they are looking at a new catalogue for handling misbehaviour. The best way to avoid being confronted with any penalties? Do nothing wrong, don’t break the rules – then you’re fine!
KR: How would I know what’s on Alonso’s agenda! Go and ask him.
KR: We will sit down and discuss our strategy this evening. And you would have to tie me to a stake to get a word out of me! All I can say is that we will see a very interesting race tomorrow and that is what fans want to see.
Q: Kimi, you’ll start from P4 tomorrow – one of your best qualifying result so far this season. What do you make of that?
Q: After the morning session had you hoped for a spot on the first row of the grid?
Q: Did you have had any idea before qualifying where you would fit in?
Q: A penalty points system for drivers has been spoken about recently. Sebastian Vettel clearly said in the FIA press conference that he is not in favour of it. What is your opinion?
Q: Do you expect Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso will be in close combat tomorrow? Alonso sure wants to put on a show in front of his home crowd…
Q: Do you think that you can do one stop less than the others or will it be an equal playing field?
Spanish GP: Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes front row
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton secured an all-Mercedes front row in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Rosberg repeated his Bahrain pole in a brilliant Q3 performance in which he delivered two laps good enough for the top spot.
His initial 1m20.8s benchmark proved unbeatable, but Rosberg still improved to a 1m20.718s with his last run just to be certain.
Hamilton had to settle for second, 0.254 seconds adrift.
Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel was third for Red Bull, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.
Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa mounted a strong challenge for pole only to lose time in sector three and end up sixth.
He will also have to see the stewards after the session having seemingly impeded Mark Webber’s Red Bull in Q2.
The Australian subsequently qualified eighth, behind Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.
Hamilton had earlier starred in a thrilling end to Q2, throwing in a last-gasp lap that jumped him from a worrying 13th to a comfortable first, six tenths clear of the pack.
Sergio Perez also produced an eleventh-hour surge in Q2, getting up to seventh and then qualifying ninth. His McLaren team-mate Jenson Button could not match that – six tenths slower, he will start only 14th.
Toro Rosso had looked promising in practice and both Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne had a realistic shot at Q3, holding top-10 spots late on before being narrowly squeezed out.
They will share row six, ahead of Adrian Sutil, who could not join team-mate Paul di Resta in the pole session. The Scot took 10th.
Going into the final seconds of Q2, both Saubers had made it into Q3. But in the subsequent flurry of improvements, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez tumbled down to row eight. The Mexican could yet face sanctions for blocking Raikkonen in Q1.
Last year’s winner Williams’s plight deepened, despite its upgrades, as neither car got beyond Q1.
Twelve months on from his pole and win, Pastor Maldonado was only 18th – and accused of blocking by Button – while Valtteri Bottas was just one place ahead.
The back of the grid battle stepped up a gear with a very close tussle between Caterham and Marussia.
Giedo van der Garde finally emerged on top for Caterham, edging out Marussia’s Jules Bianchi by just 0.052s.
Max Chilton and Charles Pic were a few tenths behind having also had a sniff of ‘class pole’.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m20.718s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m20.972s + 0.254s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m21.054s + 0.336s 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m21.177s + 0.459s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.218s + 0.500s 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.219s + 0.501s 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m21.308s + 0.590s 8. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.570s + 0.852s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m22.069s + 1.351s 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.233s + 1.515s Q2 cut-off time: 1m22.019s Gap ** 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.127s + 1.126s 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.166s + 1.165s 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m22.346s + 1.345s 14. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.166s + 2.165s 15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.389s + 1.388s 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.793s + 1.792s Q1 cut-off time: 1m23.218s Gap * 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m23.260s + 1.532s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m23.318s + 1.590s 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m24.661s + 2.933s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m24.713s + 2.985s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m24.996s + 3.268s 22. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m25.070s + 3.342s
Spanish GP: Felipe Massa fastest for Ferrari in final practice
Felipe Massa put Ferrari back on top in the final practice session at Barcelona ahead of Spanish Grand Prix qualifying.
The Brazilian edged out Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus by just 0.006 seconds in a very tight end to the hour.
By the time the medium-tyre qualifying simulations were completed, just 0.353s covered the Ferraris, Lotuses and Red Bulls.
As had been the case on Friday, local hero Fernando Alonso spent plenty of time at the head of the order in the #3 Ferrari.
Early quick times from the Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel and the Lotus pair were deposed when Alonso set a 1m23.006s after 24 minutes.
The lap was far from perfect, but it was enough to edge a few fractions in front of Romain Grosjean and Raikkonen.
Alonso’s time was the quickest of the hard-tyre runs, and when the qualifying simulations on mediums began, he was first to raise the bar with a 1m22.254s.
Raikkonen then hinted that Lotus might have the one-lap pace to be a qualifying factor as he beat Alonso’s time by 0.347s 10 minutes from the end.
The only man able to beat this was Massa, who slipped in a 1m21.901s to secure the top spot.
Mark Webber ended up as Red Bull’s lead runner in third, followed by Grosjean and Vettel.
Alonso was eventually pushed down to sixth.
The Force Indias of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil took seventh and eighth.
Mercedes worked hard on long runs, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg completing more laps than anyone else.
They ended up ninth and 11th, split by another impressive run from Toro Rosso as Jean-Eric Vergne made the top 10.
McLaren continued to struggle. Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were only 12th and 14th in the heavily revised car.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.901s 13 2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m21.907s + 0.006s 14 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m22.044s + 0.143s 17 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m22.069s + 0.168s 13 5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m22.229s + 0.328s 17 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m22.254s + 0.353s 15 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.574s + 0.673s 11 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m22.729s + 0.828s 17 9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m22.740s + 0.839s 24 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.759s + 0.858s 15 11. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.839s + 0.938s 26 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.151s + 1.250s 13 13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m23.371s + 1.470s 21 14. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.373s + 1.472s 13 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m23.385s + 1.484s 17 16. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m23.388s + 1.487s 18 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m23.660s + 1.759s 16 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m23.767s + 1.866s 17 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m24.775s + 2.874s 18 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m24.793s + 2.892s 16 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m25.135s + 3.234s 17 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m25.250s + 3.349s 1
Kimi Räikkönen Predicts Close Qualifying Session in Barcelona
How was your Friday in Barcelona?
It was a pretty normal Friday. We tried some new things on the car, ran with some different tyres and we’ll have a look at all the data to see where we think we are. We finished the day not too far off the fastest time, so we can say that the day wasn’t a disaster, but for sure there are some things we have to improve with the car which is normal after the first day’s running.
Times are pretty tight at the front of the pack today; should that make qualifying interesting tomorrow?
I guess it’s going to be very close in qualifying too. We aren’t always especially fast in qualifying so we’ll have to see what we can do. We have to get everything right to fight for a good position and then we’ll see where we end up.
How did you find the revised hard compound tyre?
Does the car feel any different with the latest upgrades?
It’s difficult to compare. We were here last time in the winter and the car has changed quite a lot since then. It feels okay on track; we’re looking at the data to see if the new parts are doing what they should, which is the normal way we do these things.
Does the change of tyres to a harder allocation for this race make any difference to you?
It makes no difference to me; they’re the same for everyone and we all try to get the most performance from them.
Spanish GP: Vettel edges out Alonso in second Friday practice
Sebastian Vettel narrowly edged out home favourite Fernando Alonso to set the fastest time in second free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Just 0.083 seconds covered the top three at Barcelona, as Alonso’s Ferrari split the Red Bulls of Vettel and Mark Webber.
After an early all-Mercedes battle for the top spot, it was Alonso and the Red Bulls that dominated the lead order through the low-fuel runs.
Webber kicked off the dice with a 1m23.112s after 22 minutes, but was deposed by Alonso on a 1m23.030s five minutes later.
When they switched to the softer medium tyres shortly afterwards, Webber reclaimed first place by 0.2s over Alonso, before Vettel jumped ahead of them both.
Alonso’s retaliation managed to get him back in front of Webber, but Vettel remained just out of reach.
Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari completed the top five.
Lewis Hamilton spun his Mercedes at Turn 11 during the early runs, swiftly rejoining without problems and ultimately taking sixth ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Tyre wear was again high and there was a scare at Force India when Paul di Resta’s left rear delaminated on the main straight, forcing the Scot to park on the grass. He was still 10th quickest, two places behind team-mate Adrian Sutil.
Jean-Eric Vergne split them, in a strong performance for Toro Rosso, which also had Daniel Ricciardo in 11th.
McLaren was only 12th and 13th with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez as it began to evaluate its major upgrade package, including a new front wing.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m22.808s 34 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m22.825s + 0.017s 35 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m22.891s + 0.083s 36 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m23.030s + 0.222s 32 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m23.110s + 0.302s 37 6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.140s + 0.332s 35 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.398s + 0.590s 45 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m23.840s + 1.032s 37 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.058s + 1.250s 31 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m24.104s + 1.296s 25 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.175s + 1.367s 32 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.306s + 1.498s 35 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.854s + 2.046s 31 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m24.888s + 2.080s 38 15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.167s + 2.359s 38 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m25.321s + 2.513s 32 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.441s + 2.633s 37 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.851s + 3.043s 35 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m25.963s + 3.155s 30 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.078s + 3.270s 31 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m26.930s + 4.122s 35 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.970s + 4.162s 25
Spanish GP: Fernando Alonso leads damp first practice
Fernando Alonso grabbed the fastest time in a Ferrari one-two as wet weather frustrated the Formula 1 field’s attempts to get an early understanding of the Spanish Grand Prix upgrade packages in opening practice at Barcelona.
It was only coming into the final quarter of an hour that slicks were viable, and even then there were sufficient slippery patches to limit the relevance of the laps that drivers managed.
But with so many developments to try, teams were less reticent about coming out early than is often the case in wet sessions.
The Spanish crowd therefore had a decent amount of track activity to enjoy all morning, and would also have appreciated seeing home hero Alonso on top of the times for much of the session.
Alonso spent a while as the fastest man during the wet running, though he tumbled down the order as conditions improved.
Going into the closing seconds, his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa was the latest to burst to the top of a constantly fluctuating timing screen as everyone got up to speed on slicks.
But Alonso finished the morning with a flourish, setting a 1m25.252s lap to beat his team-mate by 0.203 seconds.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne had starred by being the first man to get slicks to work, and he remained consistently up front for the rest of the session, ending up third.
Romain Grosjean had an early spin into the hairpin at the end of the back straight, before finishing the session fourth for Lotus.
Adrian Sutil’s Force India, Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas’s Williams were next up in an inevitably shuffled order, with Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg and Paul di Resta completing the top 10.
Jenson Button was the only driver not to attempt a flying lap, though he did six exploratory tours in the updated McLaren.
Red Bull also hung back when the track dried, with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the foot of the top 20.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.252s 20
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.455s + 0.203s 20
3. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.667s + 0.415s 25
4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.042s + 0.790s 21
5. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m26.212s + 0.960s 24
6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.374s + 1.122s 19
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m26.456s + 1.204s 20
8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.614s + 1.362s 21
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.621s + 1.369s 21
10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.755s + 1.503s 16
11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.940s + 1.688s 26
12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.061s + 1.809s 24
13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.135s + 1.883s 6
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.250s + 1.998s 26
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m27.576s + 2.324s 24
16. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m28.373s + 3.121s 14
17. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m28.600s + 3.348s 19
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.887s + 3.635s 14
19. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m29.457s + 4.205s 11
20. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m29.473s + 4.221s 21
21. Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.314s + 5.062s 13
22. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes no time 6
Kimi Raikkonen says ruling out title would be ‘stupid’
Kimi Raikkonen says Lotus would be ‘stupid’ not to believe it is knuckling down for a world championship fight this year.
The Finn is just ten points adrift of points leader Sebastian Vettel after the first four races of the year, and its car has proved to be a step forward on last year’s challenger.
Although there is still a view that Red Bull has the out-and-out fastest car, Raikkonen says there is absolutely no reason for Lotus not to set its sights on glory at the end of the campaign.
"It would be stupid to say we are not going to fight for the championship," he explained.
"The only reason why we are here is to try to win championships and races. Obviously we want to fight for it, but you only have to have a couple of bad races and you might be out of it completely.
"We’ll try to make the maximum out of every weekend and in the long run that’s key to the championship."
Raikkonen said that Lotus was not concerned about any specific element of its package – with qualifying the most notable area it can do better – and was just focusing on trying to improve in all areas.
"We try to improve everything," he said. "If we improve the car, we’ll automatically improve our qualifying. It all goes hand in hand.
"There’s no magic where you suddenly do one thing and you’re faster in qualifying. If we make the car faster we improve our pace in all conditions.
"You always want to do better. We still have some things that need looking after, and especially in Malaysia [where it rained] we had some issues that could have been better.
"Right now we’ve put ourselves in a pretty good position so let’s see if we can keep it going and improve."