Category Archives: Malaysian

McLaren in Malaysia in Pictures (2010)

Jenson Button walks the circuit with the McLaren mechanics
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Lewis Hamilton being interviewed in the paddock
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Jenson & Lewis talk tactics over a glass of orange juice
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Jenson Button during free practice
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Lewis Hamilton during free practice
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Lewis Hamilton during qualifying
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Lewis Hamilton leaves a trail of cars he’s overtaken
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A mad rush into turn 1
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A bird’s eye view of Lewis Hamilton in the pits
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Hamilton and Button jostling for position after Hamilton’s pit stop
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Filed under In Pictures, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Malaysian

The Hamilton Highlight Reel Continues in Malaysia

We all expected rain, there was none. Most expected the Red Bulls to break down, they didn’t. Just what can you rely on in Formula 1 these days? The answer to that question is Lewis Hamilton. Yesterday’s race in Sepang was just another example of superb driving and passionate racing from the 2008 World Champion. In the first lap alone Hamilton made up 8 places from the 20th place he started, to 12th.

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Aside from the tussle between Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, the cameras were rightly on Hamilton for the majority of the race, despite the runaway success of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Weber at the front. For those bemoaning this season for it’s lack of overtaking, Hamilton was there to give a master class, as he passed one driver after another. It was with ease that he did this until he came upon the Renault of Vitaly Petrov, who proved to be a more troublesome rival than Hamilton’s previous victims.

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When Hamilton finally got past Petrov he was accused of excessive weaving, something which the stewards saw fit to warn him about but not take the matter any further. Of course this has angered some people, forgetting how Hamilton has been on the very harsh end of some decisions in recent years, not forgetting McLaren’s £100,000,000 fine for the whole Ferrari ‘spy-gate’ situation while Renault get told not to do it again after fixing a race by having one of their drivers crash his car on purpose! I think it’s about time someone in a McLaren car got let off lightly.

It was a magnificent drive by Lewis Hamilton, who ended up finishing 6th, and would have progressed even further had his good friend Adrian Sutil proven to be the one car he couldn’t get past. With an equally good Mercedes engine in his Force India car, Sutil defended excellently against the rampaging Hamilton.
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While not being able to match Lewis Hamilton’s success, Jenson Button did well to improve from his 17th place qualifying position on the grid to 8th place in the race. He went up the outside at the start of the race and Lewis went up the inside, and whether it be luck, judgement or both, it was the inside line that gave Lewis the advantage. For the second race in a row Jenson Button made a decision to come in for a tyre change early and this looked like it may be fortuitous and see him ahead of the Ferraris and Lewis Hamilton after their pit stops. It did get him past Alonso and Massa but not Hamilton, though only by a whisker as the two were side by side when Hamilton rejoined the race track. Button ended up being overtaken by Massa and looked like he would fall victim to Alonso too but the Spaniards car disagreed and came to a smoke engulfed halt at track side.

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After what appeared to be a disastrous Saturday’s qualifying, McLaren came back fighting and made sure they stayed well in the title race. I personally found the race very entertaining and particularly exciting it times. being a McLaren fan has had its advantages this season as the lion’s share of the action and intrigue has surrounded Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. With The Red Bull failures in Bahrain and Australia, Mercedes (Michael Schumacher) and Ferrari’s break down in Malaysia, McLaren can hold there heads up high as the kost reliable of the 4 front running teams, something which will serve them very well over the course of a season.

Before I go, just let me remind you of the predictions I made for the Malaysian Grand Prix:

1st – Vettel – Correct
2nd – Weber – Correct
3rd Rosberg – Correct
6th Hamilton – Correct
9th Button – Incorrect, but only one place out!

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Filed under Adrian Sutil, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Force India, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Malaysian, McLaren, Red Bull, Vitaly Petrov

Race Prediction: Malaysian Grand Prix 2010

1st Sebastian Vettel
2nd Mark Weber
3rd Nico Rosberg

6th Lewis Hamilton

9th Jenson Button

I believe it will be 3rd time lucky for the Red Bulls, with Sebastian Vettel taking the victory. Determined to make amends for last week, Lewis Hamilton will have a storming race to make 6th, while Jenson Button, who is not so comfortable in his car this week, will make up 8 places to 9th place.

Agree or disagree? Leave a comment with your prediction!

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Filed under Malaysian, Race Predictions

Qualifying: Malaysia 2010 – McLaren Gamble and Lose

There isn’t a great deal to write in this blog, it was wet in Malaysia and instead of getting a lap in early to ensure going through to Q2, McLaren left things rather late and the result of that was Lewis Hamilton qualifying on 20th place for tomorrow’s race. Jenson Button had mixed luck in that his fastest time was good enough for 17th place, just one place above the drop zone. However, he then slipped off the track and couldn’t move his car, this meant he could take no further part in qualifying.

Jenson Button in Malaysia, when it was actually dry!

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

So, after the awesome performance of the McLarens in the three sessions (Lewis 1st, 1st, 2nd and Jenson
3rd, 4th, 7th), they start tomorrow’s race in 17th and 20th. The only saving grace is that the Ferraris played the same waiting game, and also lost out. Fernando Alonso starts in 19th place and Felipe Massa starts in 21st place, with Lewis Hamilton in the middle.

Lewis Hamilton on the wet track in Sepang

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

If Lewis doesn’t have a good race tomorrow, and make up a lot of places, then starting in 2nd place, it’s likely that Nico Rosberg will overtake him in the Drivers’ Championship, and he could very well overtake Jenson too. With Mark Weber in pole position and Sebastian Vettel in 3rd it’ll be interesting to see if they score well tomorrow rather than succumb to mechanical failure and mistakes as has dogged them in the previous 2 races of the 2010 season.

You’ll remember that last year the rain was so bad that the race never got to a natural finish and drivers were awarded half points due to the short length of the race. This is all because Bernie Ecclestone wants a later start time so as to be more amenable for European viewers – thanks, but given the immense rains that we know will fall, and have done already, would it not be wiser to start the race earlier?

Jenson Button, close up!

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

That said, with the likes of Hamilton, Button, Alonso and Massa looking to battle the way through to the front, we could be in for a tremendous race…as long as we don’t just see a procession behind the safety car followed by an early finish, again.

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Filed under Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Malaysian, Mark Weber, McLaren, Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel

FIA Hearing Result: McLaren given 3 race suspended ban

There are more details to follow, but @f1scoop lived up to its name by being the first on Twitter to announce that McLaren’s punishment is a 3 race suspended ban. After clarification from @F1_Girl, I understand this to mean that the ban is looming, and can be handed to McLaren by the FIA the next time they mess up.

I’m relieved that there is no ban in place now and have to hope that McLaren can stay squeaky clean for the rest of the season. I would assume that the ban is valid for the rest of the season only, and will not roll over to the 2010 season.

When the details are revealed I’ll also be interested to see if the ban applies to both Hamilton and Kovalainen, or just Hamilton as he was the only driver involved in the incident.

UPDATE: Here is the press release from the FIA / WMSC Statement:

At an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council held in Paris on 29 April 2009, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes admitted five charges of breaching article 151c of the International Sporting Code relating to events at the Australian and Malaysian Grand Prix.

The following decision was taken:

“Having regard to the open and honest way in which McLaren Team Principal, Mr Martin Whitmarsh, addressed the WMSC and the change in culture which he made clear has taken place in his organisation, the WMSC decided to suspend the application of the penalty it deems appropriate.

“That penalty is a suspension of the team from three races of the FIA Formula One World Championship. This will only be applied if further facts emerge regarding the case or if, in the next 12 months, there is a further breach by the team of article 151c of the International Sporting Code.”

The full reasons for this decision will be issued shortly.

It would seem that the suspension will be for the whole team if it gets applied, which is especially harsh for Kovalainen who was not directly involved.

The ban will come into effect if there is any further breach of article 151c by McLaren. The aforementioned article states: This article covers “any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally”.

The ban could also come in at any time in the next 12 months if McLaren are found in breach of article 151c, so that will include the first 4 races of the 2010 races as well as the remainder of the 2009 season.

I’m sure there are some that will say McLaren have been let off lightly – I’m just happy that Hamilton and Kovalainen will be able to continue racing and will keep the points they have won so far.

Let us now go forward, put this to the back of our memories and concentrate on a very exciting Formula 1 season.

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Filed under Chinese, Constructors, Drivers, Grand Prix, Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Lewis Hamilton, Malaysian, McLaren

McLaren grab 7 points at the Chinese Grand Prix

Just to continue the wet theme of Formula One races in 2009, the Chinese Grand Prix started behind the safety car in Shanghai, something that all but ruined Alonso’s hard work in qualifying second with such a small fuel load.

Both Hamilton and Kovalainen were fuelled very heavy, and in fact were the last 2 people to pit, Hamilton being the last of the field to pit. Once again, Hamilton was involved in the most exciting racing aspect of the Grand Prix in his to and fro battle with Kimi Raikkonen – a battle eventually won by Hamilton.

One cause for celebration is Kovalainen’s completion of not only the first complete lap, but the whole race! In fact he even went one better than Hamilton, coming in 5th and collecting his first 4 points of the 2009 campaign. Hamilton came in 6th and at one point the places were reversed but Hamilton had trouble staying on the track and lost position several times throughout the race.

Whilst vast improvements are being made, it was clear when Hamilton was in P4 and still to pit, and thus on a very light fuel load, yet not making any ground on the top 3 cars of Button, Weber and Vettel. It is encouraging though, that a McLaren team that struggled to make any kind of impression in qualifying in the first 2 races of the season, came in 5th and 6th, taking both Hamilton and Kovalainen to 10th and 9th in the Driver’s Championship and McLaren up to 4th in the Constructor’s Championship.

Red Bull took the first 2 spots on the podium, with Vettel taking the win and Weber coming in second. Jenson Button continued to dominate the Driver’s Championship coming in 3rd, and his 3rd consecutive podium of the season so far.

This weekend coming we have the Bahrain Grand Prix and I look forward to seeing if McLaren can make any more improvements, or at least hold on to the advancements made so far.

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Filed under Constructors, Drivers, Fernando Alonso, Grand Prix, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Malaysian, Mark Weber, McLaren, Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel

Don’t ban McLaren – let them race

So unless you have been living under a rock you’ll know that McLaren will be having a meeting with the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on April 29th to discuss the incident with Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix (details at blog post from April 3rd).

I think we’ll all agree it was very foolish and regretable, of both Lewis and Dave Ryan. Lewis found himself disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix which meant he lost points in the Driver’s Championship and McLaren lost points in the Constructor’s Championship. Since then Lewis has been villified by everyone from the newspapers to the BBC, while McLaren have received their share of bad press too.

I am really hoping that at that meeting in Paris with the FIA WMSC, McLaren don’t get banned from any more races, as the papers seem to be suggesting today and as Bernie Ecclesten said could happen in today’s Daily Express:

There are many options open if the charge sticks and it would be a terrible thing if any team were banned from races. But it could happen. It is not so long ago that McLaren were in front of the Council and it is never good for anyone if you are back in court quickly for something similar.

Source: Express.co.uk

Of course as a McLaren fan isn’t that bound to be my reaction? Maybe, but from a racing point of view I think the McLaren driver’s are an exciting and intriguing part of the 2009 season.

When Lewis started in Formula 1 in 2007 his first race was in a very good McLaren car, which combined with his driving skill led him to 2nd in the Driver’s Championship in his rookie year, something he improved upon last year by becoming World Champion. This season Lewis is driving a MP4-24 which is lacking in performance compared to the likes of Brawn GP, Red Bull, Ferrari, Toyota and Williams.

Now we have an opportunity to see Lewis having to depend more than ever on his driving skills, something that I am very much looking forward to seeing and so far I think, on the track, he’s proving all those wrong who said he was only ever as good as his great car. In both Australia and Malaysia Lewis had to battle through the pack from underibale grid placings and in doing so showed his mettle and proved those naysayers wrong. His duel with Mark Weber at the Malaysian Grand Prix was the racing highlight of the year so far, without a shadow of a doubt, and I look forward to many more exciting exchanges in the future races.

Heikki Kovalainen is the personification of unfulfilled potential and has been unlucky to not complete a whole lap yet this season. Without the huge weight of expectation from driving one of the best cars in Formula 1, 2009 could be his year to break out and show everyone, like Lewis, that he posseses the driving skills to go up against and beat the best in the world. I don’t even know if a ban would affect him or just Lewis, but I only hope Heikki gets his chance to shine this season.

Both Lewis and McLaren have been punished for their actions, maybe some believe it’s not enough and that’s their perogative. I just really hope April 29th will draw a line under this whole matter and that Lewis and Heikki will be allowed to continue racing in what looks like it could be the best season we as Formula 1 fans will have witnessed in years. For the sake of great racing, don’t ban McLaren from any more races.

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Filed under Australian, Constructors, Drivers, Grand Prix, Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton, Malaysian, McLaren