Whitmarsh: “Raikkonen resta uno dei migliori”
Dopo mesi di silenzio è tornato a parlare quello che è stato un vero gentiluomo del Circus, alias Martin Whtimarsh, ormai dedito alle imbarcazioni dell’America’s Cup ma ancora interessato al mondo della velocità a quattro ruote.
Tema della questione Kimi Raikkonen, pilota che da sempre suscita sentimenti contrastanti negli addetti ai lavori a nel pubblico della F1.
“Forse i giorni migliori sono passati, tuttavia credo sappia fare ancora molto bene il suo lavoro senza commettere grossi errori – ha dichiarato al magazine Motor Sport l’ex team principal McLaren – A mio parere è un incompreso. Decisamente più disciplinato di quanto si pensi, è intelligente e soprattutto è capace di analizzare nel dettaglio il comportamento della macchina come in pochi altri sanno fare”.
“Per quanto mi riguarda lo avrei ripreso in squadra al termine del 2009 quando venne mandato via dalla Ferrari – ha proseguito – Avevamo anche iniziato le trattative però le richieste del suo management si erano rivelate un po’ troppo ambiziose e così abbiamo messo sotto contratto Button”.
“Oggi purtroppo sembra non riuscire a tirare fuori il potenziale di cui dispone, ad ogni modo continua a piacermi parecchio, in particolare il suo senso dell’umorismo…”.
“Much better than we started”
Kimi draws the positives from a charge-up race
Kimi Raikkonen: “Obviously we cannot be very happy with where we finished, but it’s much better than from where we started. Yesterday we had some issues but today we wanted to get a better end result. My start was pretty bad, I had a lot of wheelspin and then obviously the first corner was not ideal, but I was able to recover quite well. My car was handling pretty well through all the race, only towards the end I ran out of the front tyres. Today we kept doing our best and tried to improve our position, but coming from so far back it was not easy. We keep trying and hopefully we have some more luck on our side in the future, we are doing the right things as a team but all the times something happens and we cannot get the result we expect. Now we go to Monza, our home race: it would be very nice to have a strong weekend there in front of all our fans. Again the track has a lot of straightlines and is not going to be easy against all those cars but we’ll bring some new stuff that hopefully will help us to be in fight.”
Kimi Raikkonen believes Ferrari deserves better luck in F1
Kimi Raikkonen believes Ferrari’s efforts deserve more luck than the team is getting in Formula 1 at the moment following a difficult Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
A dramatic right-rear tyre blowout cost Sebastian Vettel third place at Spa while Raikkonen could only recover to seventh, after starting 16th due to a problem in qualifying.
Ferrari also lost a potential one-two finish in the Hungarian GP when Raikkonen was forced to retire due to an MGU-K problem, and the team now trails Mercedes by 184 points in the constructors’ standings.
"We keep trying and hopefully we will have some more luck on our side," said Raikkonen during his first race weekend since it was announced he would stay at Ferrari next season.
"We’re doing the right things, we’re just not getting the results.
"It’s disappointing not just for me but the team. We’ve had two issues and it hurt both cars quite badly.
"We were looking OK on Friday and the end results don’t really give us an awful lot."
There were seven Mercedes-powered cars in the top eight grid slots at the high-speed Spa circuit, as Ferrari, Renault and Honda struggled to match the performance of the German firm’s engines.
With Monza next on the calendar, Raikkonen concedes Ferrari’s home race will also be difficult.
"If you look at qualifying, most cars were Mercedes-powered in the top 10 so I guess they have a little edge in this kind of circuit," said Raikkonen.
"I hope to have a stronger weekend next time out in our home grand prix, but again there is a lot of straight lines.
"It won’t be easy against all those new cars, but we’re bringing some new stuff and hopefully that’ll allow us to be in the fight."
Belgian GP: Lewis Hamilton stretches F1 points lead with Spa win
Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to victory in the Belgian Grand Prix to extend his Formula 1 world championship lead to 28 points.
The reigning F1 champion made a good getaway and then held off a fast-starting Sergio Perez in the Force India at Les Combes to lead.
Rosberg bogged down at the start, dropping to fifth, and though he recovered to second and started closing the gap to Hamilton, he was unable to get close enough to challenge.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was on course to complete the podium, after attempting a one-stop strategy that required a 29-lap stint on the mediums, but a right-rear tyre failure with a few laps to go ended his race.
That allowed Romain Grosjean, who had been hustling Vettel, to give Lotus its first podium of the season – a big boost amid an uncertain future and legal battles.
The start was initially aborted when Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg encountered mechanical gremlins on the grid, waving his hands to signal he would be unable to get away.
The field went round for a second formation lap while Hulkenberg was pushed into the pits where he retired the car.
At the second time of asking, the field got away with Perez battling Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo into La Source and coming out on top to take second.
Red Bull ran its Monza-spec at Spa, which allowed Daniil Kvyat and Ricciardo to attack on the straights.
Kvyat charged to fourth after going out of sync on strategy, but last year’s race winner Ricciardo was in contention for a podium, running third early on, before slowing and retiring on the exit of the Bus Stop. A brief virtual safety car was required while the Red Bull was retrieved.
Perez secured his best result of the season with fifth in the Force India ahead of Williams’s Felipe Massa and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who rescued some points after starting 16th.
Max Verstappen tried a move on Raikkonen at Les Combes on the last lap but ran out of road and had to settle for eighth, ahead of Valtteri Bottas, whose race unravelled when Williams mistakenly fitted his car with three soft tyres and a medium, which earned him a drive-through penalty.
Sauber fitted the 2015-spec Ferrari engine to its cars for the first time this season with Marcus Ericsson benefiting from Vettel’s late tyre failure to snatch the final point with 10th, one place ahead of team-mate Felipe Nasr.
Vettel was classified 12th for his first non-scoring finish of the season.
McLaren’s Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso made brilliant getaways, on a weekend when drivers had to find their own clutch bite point under new rules.
Alonso climbed from 20th and last to 12th while Button rose from 19th to 14th, but duo struggled on the high-speed Spa circuit and finished 13th and 14th respectively.
Carlos Sainz Jr pulled into the pits after the formation lap, citing a loss of power, and though Toro Rosso managed to get him going, he retired with 11 laps to go.
Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado was unable to take advantage of his top 10 start as he parked the car early in the race with a mechanical problem.
RESULTS – 43 LAPS:
|4||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||45.692s|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||53.997s|
|8||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||56.076s|
|13||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|14||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|15||Roberto Merhi||Marussia/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|16||Will Stevens||Marussia/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|–||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||Not started|
Kimi determined despite Qualifying issues
Kimi Raikkonen: “I don’t know exactly what happened, I lost some drive and had to stop. It’s too early to say what the problem was, we have to wait to know more about the issue. Our car has been handling pretty nice all weekend, unfortunately the issue has come at the bad time, my position could have been a bit better. Yesterday we had been trying few different things and I think we had made the right choices for today. Obviously we know we have to improve in all areas. My starting position will make my race very tricky but I hope that the race condition will turn in our favour. It’s important to go through the first corner: even if it won’t be easy to get past Mercedes-engined cars, we’ll keep fighting and doing our best.”
Belgian GP F1: Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen gets gearbox penalty
Kimi Raikkonen is to receive a five-place grid penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix due to a gearbox change on his Ferrari Formula 1 car.
Raikkonen’s Ferrari ground to a halt during the second period of qualifying at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on Saturday, with the team opting to replace the gearbox.
FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer has referred the matter to the stewards as the old gearbox has failed to last the regulatory required six races, which will result in the grid drop.
Raikkonen, who would have started 14th, will only fall to 17th due to other grid penalties for Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Jenson Button behind him taking precedence.
Overall it means a grand total of 125 grid-place penalties have been handed out by the stewards for this event – affecting Fernando Alonso (55), Button (50), Verstappen (10), Romain Grosjean (five), and now five for Raikkonen.
Belgian F1 GP: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton extends pole streak at Spa
Lewis Hamilton claimed his 10th pole position in 11 Formula 1 races this year by comfortably defeating Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Rosberg was narrowly faster than team-mate Hamilton in Q2 at Spa, but the reigning world champion reversed the situation by a massive 0.446 seconds after their respective first runs in Q3, then lowered his benchmark time to a 1m47.197s on his second run to secure pole.
In doing so Hamilton became the first driver to score six pole positions in a row in a single season since Mika Hakkinen in 1999 and also clinched the FIA pole trophy for 2015.
Rosberg also improved on his second run, but he dropped almost half a second to his title rival in sector two of the circuit, which runs from Les Combes through the double left-hander at Pouhon to the right-hander at Stavelot, so wound up second best again.
Ferrari would normally be expected to fill row two of the grid, but Sebastian Vettel could only lap ninth fastest in his SF15-T, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen failed to make it into Q3 at all after his car broke down on track with what the team believes was a loss of oil pressure.
Mercedes-powered Williams, Lotus and Force India thus filled the next three places on the timesheet, as Valtteri Bottas, Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez all lapped to the same tenth of a second, but well over a second adrift of Hamilton.
The Renault powered Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top six, ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa and the second Lotus of Pastor Maldonado.
Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso rounded out the top 10, albeit well adrift of the rest of the Q3 runners.
Perez had set a stunning fourth-best time in Q2, but Nico Hulkenberg failed to make the top 10, finishing up over three tenths adrift of his Force India team-mate in 11th.
Red Bull’s Daniel Kvyat was another surprise failure in Q2, finishing up 12th, ahead of Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.
Raikkonen ended up 14th, ahead of the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen, who took not part in Q2 after suffering a suspected loss of power with his Renault engine in Q1.
Sauber’s Felipe Nasr was the big loser among the tight midfield battle in Q1.
Verstappen’s Toro Rosso was vulnerable thanks to a suspected loss of power early on in his final flying lap, but Nasr fell short of beating the Dutch teenager by 0.121s, so wound up 16th.
Jenson Button was a second further back in the best of the two McLaren-Hondas.
The 2009 world champion described his 1m50.978s effort as "the best lap I’ve done for a long time", but it was only good enough for 17th place.
Team-mate Fernando Alonso was nearly half a second adrift in the other MP4-30, after sitting out the final practice session with an exhaust leak.
Will Stevens won the private battle of the Manor/Marussias at the bottom of the timesheet, beating team-mate Roberto Merhi by 0.151s.
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.599s||1.402s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m48.639s||1.442s|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m49.771s||2.574s|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m49.121s||–|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.228s||–|
|18||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||–||–|
Belgian F1 GP: Lewis Hamilton heads practice three for Mercedes
Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton set an impressive pace as he topped the timesheets in final practice for the Belgian Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg.
The reigning F1 world champion clocked a 1m48.984s to finished 0.498 seconds quicker than his title rival, who was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday.
Ferrari proved to be Mercedes’ closest challenger at a gloriously sunny Spa Francorchamps, with Sebastian Vettel third and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fourth.
Sergio Perez set the fastest final sector as he ended up fifth, two tenths and three places clear of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg to suggest Force India can aim for the final part of qualifying later on Saturday.
The Red Bull drivers and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen, who will start towards the back of the grid because of a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change, completed their soft tyre qualifying-simulations early in the session.
That allowed them to spend the rest of the session to gathering long-run data, making up for the red flag disruptions in Friday’s second practice.
Daniel Ricciardo was sixth quickest, 0.050s ahead of Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat, with Verstappen 13th overall.
The Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa completed the top 10 ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr in 11th and Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado in 12th.
It was a difficult day for McLaren-Honda, whose cars are already destined to stat at the back of the grid following a host of engine penalties.
Fernando Alonso managed just a single installation lap before returning to the garage.
The team stripped down the car in a bid to get to the root of the problem, which chief operating officer Jonathan Neale suggested could be an exhaust gas leak, and failed to get him back out..
His team-mate Jenson Button managed more running, completing 12 laps, but finished 17th, 2.997s off the pace.
Sauber, which has the 2015-spec Ferrari engine for the first time this season, was quick on Friday, but Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson failed to repeat that form, ending practice three 14th and 15th respectively.
Romain Grosjean was 16th quickest, but complained to his team on the radio that he was baulked badly by Raikkonen, who was cruising slowly back to the pits.
Following Rosberg’s rear tyre failure at high speed in second practice, which Pirelli determined not to be a structural integrity issue, final practice passed without further incident.
PRACTICE THREE TIMES:
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m49.866s||0.882s||15|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.930s||0.946s||20|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.980s||0.996s||19|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m50.000s||1.016s||15|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m50.552s||1.568s||20|
|13||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m50.599s||1.615s||21|
Kimi rather pleased despite loss of track time
Kimi Raikkonen: “The day was not too bad, even if our programme was a bit affected by the red flags, but then it was the same for everybody. In the end we were able to do all the work we had planned. Regarding the tires we had had a little bit of blistering in the front, which obviously was not ideal, but not a disaster either, there are many things we can do for this. Tomorrow we’ll try our best and see what we can do for Sunday.”
Belgian GP: Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg tops practice before tyre blows
Mercedes Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg set the pace in second Belgian Grand Prix practice before a spectacular rear-tyre blowout at high-speed ended his session early.
Rosberg, who led the way in first practice, clocked a time of 1m49.687s, 0.302 seconds faster than Hamilton on the soft tyres with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo four tenths further back.
Rosberg set the early pace on the medium tyres and maintained that advantage when he bolted on the softs for his qualifying-simulation before turning his attention to long-run data gathering.
However, with a little under 30 minutes to go, Rosberg’s rear-tyre exploded, sending the German into a spin approaching Blanchimont. He managed to keep the car out of the tyre wall.
Replays seemed to suggest a blister eventually started to fray and eventually resulted in the tyre shredding off the wheel.
Rosberg climbed out of the car unscathed, but the red flag was brought out while marshals cleared away the stricken Mercedes.
The session restarted 10 minutes later, but the red flag was called into action again shortly after the restart when Marcus Ericsson ran wide on the exit of Pouhon, which snapped the car into oversteer and into the barrier.
"I’m OK," said Ericsson, who finished eighth fastest, on team radio. "I hit the wall hard, I’m sorry guys."
Unusually beautiful conditions continued at Spa for second practice, with the air and track temperature 23C and 39C respectively and only a breath of wind in the air.
Red Bull proved to be Mercedes’ closest challengers with Ricciardo third quickest, 0.751s off the pace, and team-mate Daniil Kvyat three tenths further adrift.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who traditionally runs well at Spa, was fifth quickest ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India.
After missing first practice as Jolyon Palmer was in the Lotus, Romain Grosjean was seventh ahead of the Sauber duo of Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, who are running the 2015-spec Ferrari engine for the first time this season.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel completed the top 10, ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez.
Carlos Sainz Jr pipped Toro Rosso team-mate Max Verstappen to 12th.
Williams, which typically does not show its true pace on a Friday, finished down the pecking order with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa 14th and 16th respectively.
They were split by Pastor Maldonado, whose Lotus team did an impressive job to fix his car after his first practice crash and get him out for the final hour of the session.
McLaren’s Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, who will start from the back of the field on Sunday after taking big engine penalties, were 17th and 18th with the Manors propping up the timesheets.
PRACTICE TWO TIMES:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m50.136s||0.751s||15|
|4||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m50.399s||1.014s||18|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m50.461s||1.076s||21|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m50.971s||1.586s||21|
|12||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m51.037s||1.652s||24|
|13||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m51.117s||1.732s||25|
Belgian GP: Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton in first Spa practice
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in the opening Formula 1 practice session for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The German overcame early problems with his car to record the quickest lap ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.242 seconds.
Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest in his Red Bull, ahead of the two Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
Sixth at the end of the 90 minute morning session, held in dry, sunny conditions, was Danill Kvyat in the second Red Bull – just 0.878s behind first-placed Rosberg – and ahead of the two Toro Rosso machines of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Sergio Perez was ninth in his Force India, while the two Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa ended practice one in 10th and 14th place respectively.
The session was red-flagged after 50 minutes when Pastor Maldonado spun exiting the right-hander at Turn 7.
He lost the rear of his Lotus at the right-hander coming out of Les Combes and crossed the circuit smashing the right-front off his car, thereby bringing the session to a halt for 10 minutes while the marshals repaired the tyre barriers.
He finished with the 11th-quickest time.
There was concern for world championship contender Rosberg at the beginning of the session, as he appeared to lose drive entering Blanchimont.
He retuned to the pits where his mechanics investigated the problem with the engine on his Mercedes and half an hour later he was back on track with the issues seemingly resolved.
Briton Jolyon Palmer was the only reserve driving running this morning and took over Romain Grosjean’s Lotus seat for the opening session, recording the 17th fastest time.
The two McLaren-Hondas of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finished down the order in 16th and 18th.
PRACTICE ONE TIMES:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m51.373s||0.291s||18|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m51.960s||0.878s||18|
|7||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m52.158s||1.076s||27|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m52.421s||1.339s||26|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m52.423s||1.341s||20|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m52.614s||1.532s||20|