Come rain or shine, Mercedes remains the team to beat in 2014 after Lewis Hamilton scored his 34th career pole position yesterday in a wet qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The British driver managed to tame the tricky conditions brilliantly on Saturday to finish six-tenths of a second clear of nearest rival Daniel Ricciardo. With this result, Hamilton broke the record for pole positions by a British driver in Formula 1, moving clear of two-time world champion Jim Clark and into fourth place on the all-time list.
However, it was not all good news for Mercedes as Nico Rosberg made two uncharacteristic errors in Q3 to cost himself a shot at making the front row. The German driver was forced to settle for fourth place on the grid, and he was far from pleased on Saturday afternoon. The Silver Arrows were split by both Red Bulls as Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel qualified second and third respectively.
Fernando Alonso will line up behind Rosberg on the grid alongside former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa. Williams has finally found the solution to its wet weather woes, with Valtteri Bottas also making the top ten. The Finn will start behind Massa in seventh.
The big casualties of Q2 were Kimi Raikkonen (11th), Jenson Button (12th) and Kevin Magnussen (15th), whilst Bahrain podium finisher Sergio Perez could only finish in 16th. It was clear that the wet conditions shook up the pecking order and gave more than a few drivers a headache.
FROM THE STEWARDS’ OFFICE
- Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado was due to serve a five place grid penalty after flipping Esteban Gutierrez during the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago. However, he failed to set a time in qualifying due to an engine problem suffered during FP3 on Saturday morning.
- Therefore, the stewards had to grant permission to Maldonado to race as he technically failed to make the 107% time required to qualify. However, he did complete a lap that was well within this time during first practice on Friday. He will therefore be allowed to start the race from last position.
2014 CHINESE GRAND PRIX STARTING GRID
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
6. Felipe Massa Williams
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus
11. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
12. Jenson Button McLaren
13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
14. Adrian Sutil Sauber
15. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
16. Sergio Perez Force India
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
18. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia
20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham
21. Max Chilton Marussia
22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
You can watch the Chinese Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2:30am ET.
MILAN (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Italian Grand Prix in Monza can find the needed cash to stay on the calendar.
Ecclestone tells the Gazzetta dello Sport, “We will find the right solution – I no longer have doubts – to provide a future for the Italian GP.”
No circuit has hosted more F1 racing than Monza, but officials at the track outside Milan have had trouble producing the estimated 25 million euros ($26.6 million) per year that Ecclestone seeks to keep the race in place after the current contract expires next year.
Ecclstone says, “Things have been cleared up and there is only one go between, (Angelo) Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club.”
The Italian GP next year is scheduled for Sept. 4.
Plans to introduce a new alternative, cheaper engine into Formula 1 for 2017 – hypothetically a 2.2-liter V6 similar to what is seen in IndyCar – will at least temporarily go on the backburner.
The F1 Commission has rejected the so called “alternative engine solution,” where several companies submitted proposals to be that alternative supplier.
“The F1 Commission voted not to pursue this option at this stage — however, it may be reassessed after the Power Unit manufacturers have presented their proposal to the Strategy Group,” the FIA said on Wednesday.
“The parties involved have agreed on a course to address several key areas relating to Power Unit supply in Formula One,” the statement added.
Meanwhile the statement outlined four things the current manufacturers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda – would be tasked with improving on the current 1.6-liter formula:
- a guarantee of supply to teams
- the need to reduce the engines’ cost
- simplification of the specification
- “improved noise”
Further meetings between the manufacturers and the governing body are scheduled, including one this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.
As F1 heads into the final weekend of the season, political/paddock items such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s respective power unit futures, whether Renault’s takeover of Lotus will finally become official and what will happen with Manor’s team leadership stake – this marks Graeme Lowdon and John Booth’s final weekends although ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan has been hired as the team’s new racing director – are among the talking points.
You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Dominant GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne had his first go in a Super Formula car at Suzuka on Wednesday, but the engine woes that have hampered his Formula 1 team’s efforts (McLaren) all season appear to be equal opportunity woes.
Vandoorne only completed a limited day of running due to technical issues; naturally, and in an unfortunate coincidence, the Super Formula cars also have Honda power.
The Belgian is now en route from Japan to Abu Dhabi, where this weekend’s final round of the GP2 season will be held alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Wandsworth Council’s Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted seven to four late Tuesday night, in favor of retaining the FIA Formula E event in Battersea Park.
This will see the London ePrix – the season finale for the electric open-wheel championship – continue at the site for at least the next two seasons.
The 2016 race will run July 2-3, to avoid a direct head-to-head clash with the British Grand Prix a week later in Silverstone.
Battersea Park’s race faced local opposition in recent weeks, which put the race under threat.