Red Bull drivers ready for close weekend


Red Bull Racing drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are both anticipating a very close weekend in Bahrain following the two practice sessions on Friday.

Vettel finished 4th in FP1 and 3rd in FP2, whilst Webber ended up P7 and P2 respectively in the sessions. With Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes all in close company, both drivers are anticipating a close fight for the win this weekend.

The entire Chinese Grand Prix weekend was a nightmare for Webber, and he admitted that things still weren’t going exactly to plan in Bahrain.

“I would have liked to have got some more running in P2, but I still think we learned what we expected today,” Webber explained in a team statement. “We still have areas to improve on the car.

“Lotus and Ferrari look strong and Mercedes is there too.”

World champion Vettel concurred with Webber, labelling Ferrari and Lotus as being Red Bull’s closest challengers. Ferrari was particularly strong in Free Practice 1, finishing 1st and 2nd.

“It’s pretty close. If you look at the opposition then Ferrari and Lotus were strong today and I think it will be close in qualifying. It’s important to work with the tires around the track.”

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the German driver.

“I wasn’t so happy with my short runs today – but that’s why we have the Friday practice sessions I guess; I was happier with the longer runs. The tires still seem to be the dominating factor.

“The car seems quick, so we have to make sure we use that and then we should be on the right page.”

Red Bull appear to be in a good position for this weekend, and a good team result is crucial off the back of their underwhelming performance in China. Vettel will be keen on repeating his win at last year’s Bahrain GP, whilst Webber is in serious need of some luck in order to return to winning ways.

MORE: Watch qualifying and the Bahrain Grand Prix online or on your phone or tablet

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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