Category: F1

Two wins in a row for LeClerc

It was only a week agp that Ferrari’s rookie Charles LeClerc took his maiden win at the Spa-Francorchamps. Before he even got soaked into it, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza which happened to be Ferrari’s home race saw the Ferrari Rook take his second win, again beating the two Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Although a little late in the season, LeClerc is proving he is the main staple of the team instead of 4-time F1 Champion Sebastien Vettel. Speaking of Vettel, he skidded in the early part of the race and had to battle his way back to end up 13th. LeClerc’s win means Ferrari has 237 wins in F1 and their 9th at Monza.

The race start had LeClerc in front of the two Mercedes, while Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg beat out Vettel for fourth position. Vettel would snatch fourth back in an instant.

Lap 6, Vettel was too eager to get close to the second Mercedes and collided with Lance Stroll’s car at the Ascari. He reoovered but was way back in 19t , after a stop to change the front wing and having to serve a 10-second stop and go.

Up front, the Mercedes didn’t give much room to Leclerc as they gave chase. The Rook however managed to maintain a small lead over Hamilton, up to the point when the Mercedes was due for  a stop on lap 19. Ferrari decided the pit the race leader the lap after. It was then an interesting battle between Hamilton and LeClerc happened at the Roggia turn. The Ferrari’s tyres weren’t up to temperature yet. But, the rookie wouldn’t give in even with Mercedes cars chasing him to the brink. LeClerc was able to hold them off.  Ferrari attributed this to the new Power unit, the speed of the car, the specially-tuned aerodynamics and the amazing drive of LeClerc. The LeClerc-Mercedes pursuit went on for 33 laps.

In the final stages, LeClerc held his own as the Mercedes settled into their respective positions. The Ferrari finished just 850 thousandths of a second ahead of Bottas’ Mercedes. Hamilton was third, while the two Renaults of Daniel RIcciardo and Hulkenberg were fourth and fifth. Alexander Albon took sixth for Red Bull with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen in seventh and eighth. Final points went to Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

The Formula 1 World Championship resumes in a fortnight’s time in Singapore.

LeClerc commened, “It felt ten times stronger than anything I have ever experienced in my whole career. It was very special. The first stint was quite controlled, but the second stint was a bit less strong on my side, because I had to focus on the car behind me a lot as the gap was closing. It was very difficult and I had a lot of pressure on me.”

2019 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix results

1     16   Charles Leclerc       FERRARI      53   1:15:26.665       25

2     77   Valtteri Bottas       MERCEDES 53   +0.835s  18

3     44   Lewis Hamilton       MERCEDES 53   +35.199s       16

4     3     Daniel Ricciardo       RENAULT     53   +45.515s       12

5     27   Nico Hulkenberg       RENAULT     53   +58.165s       10

6     23   Alexander Albon  RED BULL      53       +59.315s       8

7     11   Sergio Perez BWT   53       +73.802s       6

8     33   Max Verstappen   RED BULL      53       +74.492s       4

9     99   Antonio Giovinazzi       ALFA ROMEO       52   +1 lap    2

10   4     Lando Norris MCLAREN RENAULT     52   +1 lap

Drivers standings

1     Lewis Hamilton    GBR       MERCEDES 284

2     Valtteri Bottas      FIN       MERCEDES 221

3     Max Verstappen   NED       RED BULL RACING HONDA       185

4     Charles Leclerc    MON       FERRARI      182

5     Sebastian Vettel   GER       FERRARI      169

6     Pierre Gasly  FRA       SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 65

7     Carlos Sainz ESP       MCLAREN RENAULT 58

8     Daniel Ricciardo   AUS       RENAULT     34

9     Alexander Albon  THA       RED BULL RACING HONDA       34

10   Daniil Kvyat   RUS       SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 33

Constructors rankings

1      MERCEDES 505

2     FERRARI      351

3     RED BULL RACING HONDA       266

4     MCLAREN RENAULT 83

5     RENAULT     65

6     SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 51

7     RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 46

8     ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI      34

9     HAAS FERRARI  26

10   WILLIAMS MERCEDES     1

LeClerc scores Maiden Win at Belgian F1 GP

A year earlier, you’ve probably never heard of Charles LeClerc. Even Ferrari’s massive media hype will not deter F1 fans from 4-time Champion Sebastien Vettel.

Last Sunday at the spectacular Spa-Francorchamps Circuit, fans finally got to know the rookie LeClerc as he scored his first ever win. The kid from Monaco managed the 44 lap race to perfection; he’s also the first from Monaco to take an F1 win. The two Mercedes were right there as well with Lewis Hamilton second and Valtteri Bottas third. LeClerc’s illustrious team mate Vettel was fourth to complete an all Ferrari and Mercedes white wash. LeClerc becomes only the third winner this season, after Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

The race was LeClerc’s all the way. He  got away well from pole to keep the lead. Behind him, Vettel was overtaken at the first corner by Hamilton but retook the place getting by again at the end of the Kemmel straight.

After a restart, LeClerc managed to pull away from the group, running at a consistent pace. He would soon relinquish the lead for a bit when he had to pit for new shods. Vettel took the lead but had to give the lead back to his team mate on lap 27.

At the halfway mark, Vettel and Hamilton got into a scrap for few laps. Once he had lost the place, the team changed his strategy, bringing him in for another set of soft tyres to run for the final ten laps of the race. Vettel would drop another position to Bottas in the process.

LeClerc had no issues in the front, though the Mercedes cars tried to inch closer. He also hit the fastest lap of the race for an extra point.

In the final stage, there was a nail biting moment, as LeClerc fought off a hard-charging Hamilton, who never got quite close enough to use the DRS. But, that was it…Hamilton couldn’t do it and it was LeClerc’s win, less than a second ahead of the reigning champion.

Ferrari got their 236th win, while LeClerc becamethe youngest driver to take pole and the win at Spa-Francorchamps. He is also the youngest ever driver to win a Grand Prix at the wheel of a Ferrari.

The series is  back on track right from next week in Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.


LeClerc commented in post-race, “It is difficult to enjoy a first victory on a weekend like this. The race itself was good and nothing would have been possible without the amazing car the team gave me. We made good improvements in terms of race pace and tyre management this weekend. The last few laps weren’t easy. I saw Lewis coming closer and closer in the mirror, so I put my head down and tried to focus on the work I had to do in the car. At the end, I managed to cross the line in first place!”

2019 F1 Belgian GP results

1     Charles Leclerc       FERRARI      1:23:45.710    

2       Lewis Hamilton       MERCEDES   +0.981s

3     Valtteri Bottas       MERCEDES +12.585s   

4       Sebastian Vettel       FERRARI         +26.422s      

5      Alexander Albon  RED BULL RACING         +81.325s      

6     Sergio Perez RACING POINT BWT     +84.448s      

7     Daniil Kvyat   SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO        +89.657s      

8       Nico Hulkenberg       RENAULT        +106.639s      

9       Pierre Gasly  SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO        +109.168s    

10   Lance Stroll   RACING POINT BWT       +109.838s

Drivers standings

1     Lewis Hamilton    GBR       MERCEDES 268

2     Valtteri Bottas      FIN       MERCEDES 203

3     Max Verstappen   NED       RED BULL RACING HONDA       181

4     Sebastian Vettel   GER       FERRARI      169

5     Charles Leclerc    MON       FERRARI      157

6     Pierre Gasly  FRA       SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 65

7     Carlos Sainz ESP       MCLAREN RENAULT 58

8     Daniil Kvyat   RUS       SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 33

9     Kimi Räikkönen    FIN ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI     31

10   Alexander Albon  THA       RED BULL RACING HONDA       26

Constructors

1     MERCEDES 471

2     FERRARI      326

3     RED BULL RACING HONDA       254

4     MCLAREN RENAULT 82

5     SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 51

6     RENAULT     43

7     RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 40

8     ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI      32

9     HAAS FERRARI  26

10   WILLIAMS MERCEDES     1

Verstappen wins 2nd race of the year at rain-hit German GP

In a topsy-turvy rain-soaked German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Max Verstappen was the big winner for Red Bull Racing. The two Mercedes finished out of the points for the first time in the season. Lewis Hamilton ended up 11th and Valtteri Bottas crashed out of the race. It took a horrid weather to stop Mercedes’ progress in the championship, so be it…at least we have an interesting race to witness.

The 11th round of the Formula 1 World Championships was going Mercedes’ way after Saturday’s qualifying where they secured positions 1 and 2. But, the tide turned against them on Sunday. Verstappen was the winner, but it was Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel who overcame the odds from last place on starting grid to second place at the finish.

At race start, Vettel quickly made up grounds from 20th to 14th and up 12th, after dispatching Daniel Riccairdo in a Renault. Verstappen tagged the Mercedes cars as the rest of the field struggled for grip on a damp track. Hamilton gambled on slicks rather than intermediates. It would soon became a nightmare for him

After the first stop and a safety car period, the restart saw Charles LeClerc zip past Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen for fourth. Few cars behind, Vettel jumped from tenth to seventh.

The rain came pouring round about the halfway mark of the race which made it more interesting. LeClerc fell victim to the weather as he crashed into the barriers, while running second at the time. Vettel had to switch to intermediates and retook the track in eighth.

Another safety car period at the three quarters mark following Hulkenberg’s crash. The surviving Ferrari ran ninth after a stop for tyres.

In the final stint, Hamilton ran wide and hit the wall, damaging his front wing. He dropped out of the race. Later, Bottas would crashed out from the lead. With the two Mercedes gone, Verstappen led from the field as everyone got promoted. Vettel, meantime, carved his way to the front with relative ease.  Another restart was required but it didn’t stop Vettel as he took out Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll to get up to third, with three laps to go.

Final two laps, the Ferrari made quick work of Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso to take the chequered flag in second place behind Verstappen. If there were more laps, Vettel could have snatched the win from the factory Red Bull…

Although Mercedes had the worst race of the season they still lead the standings, way ahead. Hamilton was classified 11th but somehow finished ninth in the classification. Robert Kubica took home a point for Williams by finishing tenth.

The next round takes place in Hungary, next weekend/

Top three drivers’ quotes:

Verstappen: It was definitely not an easy race and very tricky with the changing conditions. The Team made all the right calls. They were giving me the right information and keeping an eye on all the other teams and sector times. They were really on top of things and everyone worked so well together. It has been one of my most difficult races and it is great to come out on top. For sure I enjoy driving in the wet but also you need a good car for that. You can find a bit of pace in yourself but today we had both things right and I’m very happy with the result.

Vettel: That was quite a race. I enjoyed it even though it was a tricky race, something of a lottery. I made up a lot of ground immediately after the start and in the first couple of laps, even though it was difficult to see. After that, it was quite hard to get into a rhythm as I did not feel so comfortable on the intermediates and their degradation was quite high. It was hard to tell if the lack of grip was because of the track being greasy or because the tyres were going off. There are so many decisions to make, but overall we stayed on track and in the race. In mixed conditions when it was starting to dry on the slicks I felt comfortable and that’s when we made up the most ground.

Kvvyat: It’s incredible to be back on the podium in what could be called my ‘second career’. I thought it would never happen again in my life, so I’m so incredibly happy. There’s so many emotions I still need some time to let it all sink in!
 

2019 F1 German GP results

1     Max Verstappen   RED BULL            1:44:31.275  

2    Sebastian Vettel       FERRARI     +7.333s 

3     Daniil Kvyat   TORO ROSSO        +8.305s 

4     Lance Stroll   BWT        +8.966s 

5     Carlos Sainz MCLAREN    +9.583s 

6     Alexander Albon     TORO ROSSO    +10.052s      

7       Romain Grosjean HAAS    +16.838s      

8     Kevin Magnussen HAAS   +18.765s      

9     Lewis Hamilton       MERCEDES    +19.667s      

10   Robert Kubica       WILLIAMS        +24.987s

Drivers standings

1     Lewis Hamilton    GBR       MERCEDES 225

2     Valtteri Bottas      FIN       MERCEDES 184

3     Max Verstappen   NED       RED BULL RACING HONDA       162

4     Sebastian Vettel   GER       FERRARI      141

5     Charles Leclerc    MON       FERRARI      120

6     Pierre Gasly  FRA       RED BULL RACING HONDA     55

7     Carlos Sainz ESP       MCLAREN RENAULT 48

8     Daniil Kvyat   RUS       SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 27

9     Kimi Räikkönen    FIN ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI     25

10   Lando Norris GBR       MCLAREN RENAULT 22

Constructors rankings

1     MERCEDES 409

2     FERRARI      261

3     RED BULL RACING HONDA       217

4     MCLAREN RENAULT 70

5     SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 42

6     RENAULT     39

7     RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 31

8     HAAS FERRARI  26

9     ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI      26

10   WILLIAMS MERCEDES     1

Vietnam set to host F1 in 2020

Vietnam GP announces inaugural race ticket prices

Vietnam is set to host a Formula 1 race in 2020. Following a groundbreaking event in March, Vietnam is slated to be the third country in Southeast Asia to host an F1 race.

The Vietnam F1 GP is promoted by the Vietnam Grand Prix Corporation. The promoters have release pre-sale ticket prices for next year’s race. Prices for 3-day ticketing range from $165 (unreserved grandstand) to $4,100 (Diamond suite). Per-day ticketing is also available.

Set to become the fourth proper street race on the F1 calendar next year, the F1 Hanoi Racetrack will run to 5.57km and feature 22 corners, some of them borrowing heavily from iconic tracks like Suzuka and the Nürburgring. Designed by Tilke Engineers & Architects in partnership with F1’s own Motorsports team, the circuit is set to be one of the most challenging and exciting tracks on the calendar while also featuring one of the longest straights in the sport at 1.5km.

Chi Le Ngoc, CEO of the Vietnam Grand Prix Corporation, remarked, Today is another key milestone in the arrival of Formula 1 in Hanoi. We are thrilled to launch our ticket sales programme this week. Our message to everyone is clear: come to Hanoi next April not only to witness a spectacular race on F1’s newest street circuit but also to discover this beautiful city and all it has to offer.

The Vietnam GP 2020 is offering fans a choice of three different 3 ticket types: Hospitality, Grandstand and General Admission. Each ticket type is divided into several categories which include different benefits and can be bought as either 1-Day or 3-Day packages, ensuring that all spectators will have the chance to find the ticket category that best suits their requirements.

In addition to the three VGPC’s ticket categories, F1 fans can also choose to visit the F1 Paddock Club to enjoy the race weekend in style. No other sports hospitality event has the luxury of a whole weekend like Paddock Club, so there’s more than enough time to enjoy all the F1 experiences on offer here. On one side you can look down into the Paddock where drivers, celebrities and F1 legends walk. On the other, you look down onto the pit lane and the starting grid.

Apart from the F1 race, all ticket holders will also be able to enjoy watching the support series on track as well as participate in and witness the many entertainment activities, food festivals and live concerts that will be taking place across the circuit and F1 Fanzone all weekend.

For details, visit the official webpage at f1vietnamgp.com

2019 Formula 1 Austrian GP: Someone finally beats Mercedes for the win

Max Verstappen fights back for emphatic win

After nine races in the season, someone has finally dethroned Mercedes’ tight grip in the first eight races. Max Verstappen broke the chain in an emphatic second win at Red Bull’s home GP. Second was Charles LeClerc for Ferrari and third place went to, you guessed it, a Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas.

It was a tough race for Verstappen who had a problem at the start. He qualified seventh but had to work his way up from seventh. But the young Dutchman stayed calm and pushed hard. His pursuit for the top spot was aided by a super reliable and fast car.

In the second stint, he topped Bottas on lap 56 to get to second and then hunted down LeClerc. It took until the final laps, on lap 68, till Verstappen got a clear straight line to pick off the Ferrari for the lead. The Ferrari man made the most of the SF90s good traction to retake the lead on the next straight. One lap later, Verstappen attacked again at the same place, but collided with LeClerc, which forced him to run wide. The Red Bull driver would take the flag 2.7 seconds ahead of the Ferrari man.

Behind LeClerc and Bottas came the usuel suspects Sebastien Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in fourth and fifth. In the closing laps, Vettel caught Hamilton and passed him for a fitting finish.

Here’s selected top ten drivers’ quotes:

Verstappen: All weekend we have been working really well and the upgrades seem to have worked. Thank you to all the crew here, everyone at the factory and of course Honda, it’s not been easy for them over the past years but to win for them today is just incredible.

LeClerc: It was a positive weekend overall. Unfortunately, it did not end as we would have liked it to. My first stint was good and our pace was there. We pitted early to prevent losing our track position to Bottas. This made the second stint longer and more challenging than expected, as the rear tyres degraded quite a bit towards the end of the race.

Bottas: We expected this race to be tricky, but it turned out to be even more difficult than we predicted. We had to do lots of lifting and coasting and couldn’t use all engines modes to keep the engine from overheating. So, we couldn’t really race properly, and I had to manage temperatures for the majority of the race. It made both defending and attacking very difficult. But you have to look at the positives – I got some good points out of this weekend and I don’t think there was much difference in terms of race pace.

Lando Norris: It was a fun race! A good start, managed to go forwards and battled the Mercedes and the Ferrari for a lap or so, but had to concede those positions and think of my own race.

Kimi Raikkonen: We can be satisfied with scoring points, it was a good result for the team. I had a good start and the first laps were pretty ok, but then it became a bit more difficult. I felt I lacked a bit of speed to challenge the cars around me and when I did have it, I had to be careful with the tyres. It was a balancing act, trying to keep the tyres alive long enough while still going fast enough.

2019 F1 Austrian GP results

1     33   Max Verstappen   RED BULL        1:22:01.822  

2     16   Charles Leclerc       FERRARI    +2.724s 

3     77   Valtteri Bottas       MERCEDES    +18.960s      

4     5     Sebastian Vettel       FERRARI        +19.610s   

5     44   Lewis Hamilton       MERCEDES    +22.805s     

6     4     Lando Norris MCLAREN      +1 lap   

7     10   Pierre Gasly  RED BULL   +1 lap   

8     55   Carlos Sainz MCLAREN   +1 lap   

9     7     Kimi Räikkönen    ALFA ROMEO      +1 lap   

10   99   Antonio Giovinazzi       ALFA ROMEO   +1 lap

Drivers standings

1     Lewis Hamilton    GBR       MERCEDES 197

2     Valtteri Bottas      FIN       MERCEDES 166

3     Max Verstappen   NED       RED BULL RACING HONDA       126

4     Sebastian Vettel   GER       FERRARI      123

5     Charles Leclerc    MON       FERRARI      105

6     Pierre Gasly  FRA       RED BULL RACING HONDA     43

7     Carlos Sainz ESP       MCLAREN RENAULT 30

8     Lando Norris GBR       MCLAREN RENAULT 22

9     Kimi Räikkönen    FIN ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI     21

10   Daniel Ricciardo   AUS       RENAULT     16

Constructors rankings

1     MERCEDES 363

2     FERRARI      228

3     RED BULL RACING HONDA       169

4     MCLAREN RENAULT 52

5     RENAULT     32

6     ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI      22

7     RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 19

8     SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 17

9     HAAS FERRARI  16

Hamilton continues rampaging 2019 Formula 1 season

It doesn’t matter if it’s a fast track or down right slot circuit like the Monaco strip, Mercedes F1 Team continues rampaging the grid with the likes of Reigning Champion Lewis Hamilton and Valtter Bottas.

After six rounds, Mercedes has blown away the competition with at least three 1-2 finishes. This time at Monte Carlo, Hamilton took the win with Bottas third, spilt by the Ferrari of Sebastien Vettel. Hamilton now has 137 points without even trying, followed by Bottas with 120 points. The nearest pursuer is Vettel, who’s 36 points behind the 2nd  Mercedes. Verstappen could have finished second, but due to an infringement and a 5-second penalty, he was demoted to fourth. As for viewership, you actually don’t have to bother watching the race these days…

Here’s the selected  top ten drivers’ take on the Monaco GP

Hamilton:  It was one of the hardest races of my career, it was so intense. With 20 laps left I thought there was no way I was going to make it to the end. I thought I was going to crash, I was battling so much with the car. There was absolutely nothing left in the tyres and it was so tough to keep the car on the track.

Verstappen:  I gave it my all! I think we were very competitive and I enjoyed putting the pressure on and trying to go for the win. You know when you’re up against Lewis it’s going to be very hard but I kept pushing him and I tried to force him into a mistake. I made him use his tyres a bit more than he wanted which meant I could attack. At one point I could see his tyres really dropping off and there were a few corners on the track where he was really slow which meant I could line up a move, but we just couldn’t get close enough. With a few laps to go, I thought I’m going to try it now and see what happens. We touched but luckily nothing came of it. The penalty from the pit stop is unfortunate, but I don’t think the Team did anything wrong and it is impossible to see in that tight pit lane.

Sainz:   P6 today is a very good result and my third points finish in a row. An amazing first lap after passing both Toro Rossos around the outside at Turn Three. Definitely one of my best overtakes! After that, a good pit call to stay out under the Safety Car and some solid laps to earn P6.

Kvyat: We can be satisfied with the amount of points we brought home today and with how we managed the race – the teamwork was fantastic, the support I got from everyone was great! P7 is a great result in Monaco. We have been working hard over the past few weeks to see where we need to improve and what I need to go faster, and we found it.

Ricciardo: We definitely could have done better and got a great result as we had all the cards in our hand. Although we missed some points, the car was very good even though we couldn’t always use the speed we had. We’ll look at what happened and address it for future races.

The season now moves to Canada in a fortnight’s time for the seventh round of the season.

Formula 1 Monaco GP results

1 LewisHamilton MERCEDES 1:43:28.437 25
2 SebastianVettel FERRARI +2.602s 18
3 ValtteriBottas MERCEDES +3.162s 15
4 MaxVerstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA +5.537s 12
5 PierreGasly RED BULL RACING HONDA +9.946s 11
6 CarlosSainz MCLAREN RENAULT +53.454s 8
7 DaniilKvyat SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA +54.574s 6
8 AlexanderAlbon SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA +55.200s 4
9 DanielRicciardo RENAULT +60.894s 2
10 RomainGrosjean HAAS FERRARI +61.034s

Drivers standings

2     Valtteri Bottas          MERCEDES    120

1     Lewis Hamilton           MERCEDES    137

3     Sebastian Vettel  FERRARI        82

4     Max Verstappen  RED BULL    78

5     Charles Leclerc     FERRARI 57

6     Pierre Gasly  RED BULL    32

7     Carlos Sainz  MCLAREN RENAULT       18

8     Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 14

9     Sergio Perez        RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES      13

10   Kimi Räikkönen      ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI  13

F1 Bahrain GP: Hamilton scores first win of season in a Mercedes 1-2 finish

Reigning Champion Lewis Hamilton scored his first win at the Bahrain Grand Prix in Manama, Round 2 of the Formula 1 World Championships. Ir was Hamilton’s third win at the desert track. Team mate Valtteri Bottas came home second, and together with Hamilton, claimed Mercedes’ 1000th point in F1.  With second place, Bottas continues to lead the drivers standings with 44 points, just a point up on Hamilton.

Ferrari’s rookie Charles LeClerc who took his very pole on Saturday controlled the race from the start, but an engine issue would force a more careful drive and nearly cost him a podium spot. He would finish behind the Mercedes cars.

In the Constructors, no one could touch Mercedes with 87 points. Ferrari is closest with 48 points.

Mercedes cars didn’t have the best of starts as they started from row 2. The front group were the Ferraris,  Mercedes and a Red Bull. Vettel led from Bottas and LeClerc at  the start. It was a Ferrari 1 – 2 moments later as LeClerc jumped ahead  After the stop, Mercedes cars took the top spot from the Ferraris and never looked back.

Bad news came when LeClerc’s car had an engine fault and couldn’t go max speed on the straights, during the most critical stage of the race. He struggled to keep the car in place but drifted further and further away from the Mercedes cars. Verstappen closed in for the bite in the last laps, but a safety car period due to the stranded Renaults at the end of the race saved LeClerc’s podium spot as Verstappen had clamped him down for the third spot. Vettel, too, had a disappointing race after losing positions and ended up fifth.

Lando Norris took sixth from Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen  The second Red  Bull of Pierre Gasly was eighth, followed by Alexander Albon, ninth, and Sergio Perez, tenth.

F1 Bahrrain Grand Prix results

1     Lewis Hamilton    MERCEDES       1:34:21.295  

2     Valtteri Bottas      MERCEDES        +2.980s 

3     Charles Leclerc    FERRARI       +6.131s 

4     Max Verstappen   RED BULL        +6.408s 

5     Sebastian Vettel   FERRARI       +36.068s      

6     Lando Norris MCLAREN       +45.754s      

7     Kimi Räikkönen    ALFA ROMEO        +47.470s      

8     Pierre Gasly  RED BULL       +58.094s      

9     Alexander Albon  TORO ROSSO +62.697s      

10   Sergio Perez BWT      +63.696s

Drivers standings

1     Valtteri Bottas      FIN       MERCEDES 44

2     Lewis Hamilton    GBR       MERCEDES 43

3     Max Verstappen   NED       RED BULL RACING     27

4     Charles Leclerc    MON       FERRARI      26

5     Sebastian Vettel   GER       FERRARI      22

6     Kimi Räikkönen    FIN ALFA ROMEO 10

7     Lando Norris GBR       MCLAREN RENAULT 8

8     Kevin Magnussen DEN       HAAS FERRARI      8

9     Nico Hulkenberg  GER       RENAULT     6

10   Pierre Gasly  FRA       RED BULL RACING     4

F1 Australian GP: Bottas and Mercedes dominate season-opener

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton captured the season-epener in Melbourne. The Mercedes drivers dominated the race from their usual rivals, the Red Bulls and Ferraris. Best finisher for Red Bull was Max Verstappen, while Ferrari’s top driver was Sebastien Vettel, who was fourth. Vettel’s team mate and Ferrari rookie Charles Le Clerc took fifth spot, ahead of  Hass’ Kevvin Magnussen. The top six drivers finished with a lap advantage to the drivers in positions 7th through 10th. The results proved that the top-tiered guys are far faster than the mid-tiered and bottom-rung teams.

For Bottas, it was only his fourth F1 win, and the 1-2 finish meant a 45th time for the Silver Arrows in F1. Mercedes top the Constructors with 44 points from Ferrari (22).

Bottas led the pack from the starting grid, followed by Hamilton and LeClerc, who overtook the Red Bull of Verstappen. Verstappen had Vettel all over his rear view mirrors, but managed to hold his position. Behind them, Daniel Ricciardo lost his car’s front wing as he tried a move on the grass. He had to pit for a new nose. Verstappen sneaked past LeClerc on lap 3, who ran wide in a tussle with Vettel.

Up front, Bottas had a 2.0 seconds lead and stretched the lead by another second on lap 10. A couple of laps later, a McLaren was out of the race; when the Carlos Sainz’ car went up in flames on track.

The first round of stops was scheduled on lap 15, with the race leaders stopping a lap later starting with Hamilton.  The reigning champion retook the track, ahead of Vettel. They were fourth and fifth.

Bottas was in a clear lead as he worked a  fastest lap to extend lead from Verstappen and LeClerc. Meantime, Vetstappen was trying to extend the gap time from his chasers, namely Hamilton and Vettel.  

Before half-distance of the race, Bottas made his tyre swap; a one and only stop. He rejoined second behind the Red Bull. Who’d to pit again. On lap 26 of 58, Verstappen made his stop and the lead went back to Bottas. At that point, Hamilton  was complaining about his depleting tyres, which could force an unnecessary stop. But, it didn’t take a turn for the worse.

After his race-start incident, Ricciardo would have to retire from his home race from a damaged part on his RS19.  Back at the front, the two Mercedes led Vettel, Verstappen and LeClerc. Verstappen quickly beat Vettel for third on an outside move  at turn 3. He was only 2-sec from Hamilton. In the ensuing laps, Verstappen tried to chase down the defending champion but Hamilton held firm.

In the closing laps, Bottas was sailing home for the win at the season-opener. Hamilton had to watch out for the flying Dutchman, who’s just 1.5s behind. Fourth and fifth were the Ferraris, as LeClerc closed tha gap to Vettel from 12s to 4s. Verstappen chased down the Mercedes hard, until he ran on to the grass and basically conceded second to Hamilton,

In the final five laps, LeClerc was within 2s from his team mate. The Ferraris were a full stop away from the Haas of Magnussen. A fastest lap for Bottas on the final lap ensured the win and a bonus point. Hamilton held off a hard charging Verstappen. The Ferraris settled with Vettel’s fourth and LeClerc’s fifth. Aside from Magnussen, the rest of the field were a lap behind.

Bottas commented in post-race, “We could not have asked for a better start to the season – getting maximum points for the team is a perfect result and we couldn’t be happier. The key was the start; I think Lewis may have had a bit of wheel spin, so I was able to take the lead. My race pace was really strong, I could pull away and build a gap. In the end, I managed to get the fastest lap as well, which of course means an extra point this season, so I went for it. It can be a little risky with worn tyres, but I had it all under control.”

F1 Australian Grand Prix results

1     Valtteri Bottas      MERCEDES        1:25:27.325  

2     Lewis Hamilton    MERCEDES        +20.886s      

3     Max Verstappen   RED BULL RACING +22.520s      

4     Sebastian Vettel   FERRARI             +57.109s      

5     Charles Leclerc    FERRARI             +58.230s      

6     Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI             +87.156s      

7     Nico Hulkenberg  RENAULT            +1 lap   

8     Kimi Räikkönen    ALFA ROMEO RACING       +1 lap   

9     Lance Stroll   RACING POINT BWT      +1 lap   

10   Daniil Kvyat   TORO ROSSO +1 lap

Drivers standings

1     Valtteri BOTTAS  MERCEDES       26

2     Lewis HAMILTON       MERCEDES 18

3     Max VERSTAPPEN    RED BULL RACING     15

4     Sebastian VETTEL     FERRARI       12

5     Charles LECLERC      FERRARI       10

6     Kevin MAGNUSSEN   HAAS     8

7     Nico HULKENBERG   RENAULT       6

8     Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN       ALFA ROMEO 4

9     Lance STROLL    RACING POINT   2

10   Daniil KVYAT       TORO ROSSO       1

Renault F1 confirms Driver line-up

               
Ahead of the 2019 F1 Season, Renault F1 Team has confirmed its full driver line-up. Ex-Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo , Nico Hulkenberg, Jack Aitken (test and reserve), Sergey Sirotkin (Test and reserve) and Guanyu Zhou (Driver development) form the line-up for the team.

Ricciardo is familiar with Renault as he had previously raced with Red Bull, fitted with a Renault engine. The Australian debut in F1 with Red Bull in 2009, testing for Red Bull.  He then moved up to a full seat with Toro Rosso in 2011 and performed admirably.He next raced for HRT for a stint before going back to Toro Rosso for two seasons in 2012/13, After a successful stint at STR, he graduated to a full seat at Red Bull in 2014 where he would remain until the 2018 season. Up to this point, Ricciardo has 7 race wins under his belt, with 3 pole positions and 13 fastest laps in nine seasons in F1.

After a successful stint at STR, he graduated to a full seat at Red Bull in 2014m where he would remain until the 2018 season. Up to this point, Ricciardo has 7 race wins under his belt, with 3 pole positions and 13 fastest laps in nine seasons in F1.

Hülkenberg is now a veteran at Renault, after two full seasons with the team, The German started his F1 career with Williams in 2010 where he showed very promising performances. His impressive debut season convinced Force India to sign him up for the 2011 season, where he spent two seasons. He then shifted to Sauber for a season, before returning to Force India for the 2014 season and two more seasons. By 2017, he moved up to Renault and became the team’s lead driver. He will take on his third full season at Renault in the 2019 season. Hulkenberg has a pole position and two fastest laps in his

Renault’s test and reserve drivers Sirotkin and Aitken are two promising rookies to join the team’s program. Sirotkin is well accustomed to modern Formula 1 machinery. After spells as Renault Test Driver in 2016 and Third & Reserve Driver in 2017, the Russian graduated to a full-time F1 race seat in 2018 with Williams. Besides racing with Renault, the Russian will race with SMP Racing in the WEC (World Endurance Championship).

Aitken graduated from the Renault Sport Academy in 2019 after a three-year tenure, during which time he competed in the GP3 Series and Formula 2 Championship. He took one race win last year as a rookie in the Formula 1 support series, to which he will be returning this year with the Campos Racing team as part of his development program.

Sirotkin said, “We are well acquainted with the team, I spenttthe whole of 2017 in their factory and in the garage. It will be interesting to learn how far Renault has advanced in the development of the car over the past year; last season we were rivals and I could not see the work from the inside.”

“It’s a great feeling to continue with Renault F1 Team and I’m grateful for this opportunity. I’ve been part of the team since 2016, so to remain for a fourth season is a privilege and I’m determined to repay Renault’s faith in me. I drove the Formula 1 car a couple of times last year and I can’t wait to sample the Renault R.S.19 this season in the rookie tests and give my best to develop the package in any way I can. Last year was a lot about learning, but I feel ready this season to do the job and get the results I’m aiming for as I continue my development pathway within Renault,” Aitken added.

Hulkenberg leads Renault charge in last day of First Formula 1 Pre-season Test

The first Formula One pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona is done and dusted as teams took the opportunity to perform first runs of their 2019 challengers. Although the first testing usually meant more of a shakedown rather than actual testing, it still offered teams plenty of data to work with to fine-tune the cars before the upcoming test, prior to the start of the season,

After four days of vigorous testing, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg topped the time sheets from Toro Rosso’s rookie driver Alexander Albon. Hulkenberg’s team mate and ex-Red Bull driver Daniel RIcciardo was third overall, ahead of the Mercedes duo of Valtteri  Bottas and Reigning F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton.

The R.S. 19s driven by Ricciardo and Hulkenberg were the fastest cars as Hulkenberg made his mark with a lap of 1:17.393.  Renault might be the dark horse this season, challenging the Mercedes and Ferraris for championship bragging rights. 

Toro Rosso’s rookie, Albon, completed the session in second, and prior t that he had topped the sheets in the first half. “The team made me feel comfortable after that and we were able to get on with the programme. I think everything is going to plan quite well, we’ve hit our mileage target which is important for the guys back at the factory, and of course at the same time, I’m still learning the car. The grip is so high that it took a while for my head to adjust to it, it’s been a big learning curve! I’m still not fully in the rhythm yet but I think after next week I’ll be there and ready to race.”  

Hamilton and Bottas covered 116 laps, with Hamilton’s best lap at 1:17.977 and Bottas at 1:17.857. Hamilton isn’t too concerned about not topping the time sheets. “The reliability has been really solid which is a great showing of all the hard work that everyone in the factory has done. But we have to keep on pushing, the competition looks very strong.”

Charles Leclerc, Lance Norris, Antonio Giovinazzi and the Haas’ of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen completed the top ten of the first pre-season classification. Alfa Romeo’s rookie driver Giovinazzi built on the progress made over the past three days together with teammate Kimi Räikkönen,

Most teams focused on aerodynamic testing and set-up work for both short- and long-runs throughout the 4-day testing.

2019 Formula One Pre-season test

1. Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 Team 1:17.393
2. Alexander Albon Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 1:17.637
3. Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team 1:17.785
4. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 1:17.857
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 1:17.977
6. Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow 1:18.046
7. Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team 1:18.431
8. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1:18.511
9. Romain Grosjean Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 1:18.563
10. Kevin Magnussen Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 1:18.720