Team-by-team look at the 2013 Indian Grand Prix

Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel took their fourth consecutive drivers and constructors titles in India as the German produced a flawless race. Vettel also remains the only driver to have ever won the Indian Grand Prix. Elsewhere there was disappointment for Webber and Alonso who both had days to forget. There were impressive performances from Grosjean and Perez and Force India secured a double points finish in front of a home crowd.

Red Bull
IMG_2875Sebastian Vettel became a four time world champion as he finished on the top spot of the podium for the tenth time this season. People were expecting the race to be tough for Vettel, who was starting on the soft tyre, as many thought the medium compound tyre was the tyre to start on. The German pitted on lap two to dispose of his soft tyres and then made his way to the field. His teammate Mark Webber had started on the medium tyre and as predicted found himself in the lead once all those who were on soft tyres had pitted despite losing out two places at the start. After both drivers had done their stints on the soft tyres and now with both on the same medium tyre Vettel was ahead and from there on the win and title never looked in doubt. Webber was forced to retire from second with an alternator issue. Vettel’s win ensured his fourth drivers title and Red Bull’s fourth constructors title. The German celebrated his championship with some donuts on the track and was later reprimanded and Red Bull fined €25,000.

Mercedes
It was a good day at the office for Mercedes. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were both overtaken by Felipe Massa at the start and then battled it out between them. Rosberg made his way through the field overtaking a fading Kimi Raikkonen in the closing laps to secure second place. Lewis Hamilton lost out behind Valtteri Bottas whilst his teammate got passed after the first round of pitstops. Hamilton couldn’t manage to hold off Sergio Perez in the closing laps he finished sixth behind the Mexican and Massa who had leap-frogged him at the start.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean continued an impressive turn of form taking another third place finish. The podium finish had looked unlikely after his 17th place qualifying on Saturday but he managed 13 laps on the soft tyres he started on before switching to the medium tyres. He made his way through the field before fading teammate Kimi Raikkonen was told to get out of his way to allow the team to hold onto third place. Grojean demonstrated how to completed a one stop race in India. Raikkonen had also attempted to do a one stop but his medium tyres gave out with just laps left – he was passed by Rosberg and then Grosjean and Massa before pitting on the last lap. He did however set the fastest lap of the race on a new set of tyres.

Ferrari
Felipe Massa was the best of the Ferrari finishers in a day which went terribly wrong for Fernando Alonso. The Brazilian leap-fogged both Mercedes at the start and led them through the first stint. Massa was up to second on the first lap and led the race for a few laps after Vettel pitted. Massa was catching Grosjean and Raikkonen in the closing laps but only made up one more place to finish the day in fourth. Alonso’s day went wrong from the first corner. He was the only man who could stop Vettel from taking the title but after Raikkonen and Webber clashed at the start Alonso had nowhere to go and hit the Red Bull. He had to pit for a new front wing on the second lap. The Spaniard didn’t manage to recover and ended the day in 11th outside the points.

McLaren
Sergio Perez produced one of the performances of the day. Starting on the medium tyre he kept himself in contention of the top ten and as those on soft tyres around him pitted he made his way up the grid. Perez stayed in third completing a long stint on the medium tyres before pitting for softs. After returning to the medium tyres Perez pushed Hamilton for sixth place and eventually passed him to take fifth for McLaren and ten well deserved points. Things started badly for Jenson Button who missed out at the start and never really managed to recover from there. At one point he was stuck in 17th place over 50 seconds adrift of the lead. He ended the day in 14th.

Force India
Force India took a double points finish for the first time since the British Grand Prix. The team were looking for a good result at their home grand prix and will be delighted with eighth and ninth after struggling over the last few races. Paul di Resta was eighth and Adrian Sutil ninth. The German had spent a long time up front in the race after gambling on a one stop strategy. He managed 41 laps on the medium tyre and managed to make the soft tyres last for just under 20 laps at the end. Pirelli has suggested a 35 laps life for the mediums.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo held onto the tenth place and final point after a long first stint on the medium tyres. For a large proportion of the race he had been in third place before pitting on lap 33. He was behind the Sutil train after the final pitstops but held off Fernando Alosno for the final point. The Australian had benefited from Nico Hulkenberg being forced to retire his Sauber which was running in seventh. Jean-Eric Vergne could only manage 13th in the other Toro Rosso but had a few interesting battles with Alonso and Button.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado took 12th for Williams on what was a better day for them. The team had been fined after FP2 due to a lose wheel nut but there were no such problems on race day. His teammate Valtteri Bottas had run in the top ten after a long first stint on the medium tyres but after his pitstop he fell back and could only manage 16th.

Sauber
It was a day to forget for Sauber as a string of point scoring finishes came to an end. A strong running Nico Hulkenberg had looked on course for another points finish in seventh but suffered a brake problem on his C32 which forced him to pit. The team sent him out again but he retired one lap later as the car was not driveable. Esteban Gutierrez had been in 11th but fell to 16th after a late pitstop. He had also been hit with a drive through penalty for a jump start and could have potentially been a points scorer if it hadn’t been for that.

Marussia
Max Chilton completed a long stint on the medium tyres to finish ahead of his teammate Jules Bianchi in 17th. Chilton had earlier contributed to rival Giedo van der Garde’s retirement after a clash on the first lap. Both Marussias finished on a day where their rivals suffered a double retirement.

Caterham
There was a double retirement for Caterham making it a disappointing day for them. Giedo van der Garde retired in the pits after a first lap incident with Marussia rival Max Chilton. Charles Pic was forced to retire after a serious technical problem on his car.

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Team-by-team look at the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton took a emphatic win – his first for Mercedes – as he held off both Raikkonen and Vettel. Impressive strategy helped him to the win whilst Grosjean’s hopes of converting his qualifying into a win for Lotus ended in multiple stewards inquiries. There were plenty of stories up and down the field as Ferrari struggled to keep up with their Red Bull rivals as Williams took their first point since the US Grand Prix in 2012.

Mercedes
IMG_2955Lewis Hamilton took his first ever win for Mercedes at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He kept his cool alongside a clever strategy to convert the pole into a win. Hamilton kept hold of first position as the lights went out with all the drama happening behind him. Sebastian Vettel initially closed on Hamilton but the Mercedes was not struggling with high tyre degradation. Hamilton was the first of the front runners to pit coming out behind Jenson Button. He quickly regained second but Vettel was caught behind and Hamilton extended his gap to the championship leader. As the race went on it was clear Mercedes had a real chance of the win and Hamilton did not disappoint. The long wait for his first Mercedes win was finally over. Conversely Nico Rosberg lost out in the race. He struggled from the start losing time after a clash with Massa. His afternoon ended in smoke and fire with an engine failure just a few laps from the finish.

Lotus
Lotus will have mixed feelings after Sunday’s race. Romain Grosjean had avoided a penalty post qualifying to start third and had looked set to challenge for the win. He started well despite being squeezed by Vettel on the opening lap. His strong pace kept him in the running and he made an impressive pass on Massa. He later made a pass on Button whilst following Vettel and clipped the McLaren. He was also given a drive-through penalty for passing Massa whilst all four wheels were off the track. At the end of the race he received a 20 second penalty for the Button clash but it did not change his finish of sixth place. Kimi Raikkonen took another podium with a strong second place. He had come under pressure from Vettel in the closing laps but withstood and went on to claim another 20 points. A good points haul for the team but there will be questions over whether the stewards were fair with Grosjean and a sense of what could have been.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel took third place ahead of his teammate Mark Webber in fourth. Vettel’s podium came after a number of close battles throughout the race. The German squeezed out Grosjean at the start to hold onto second place before challenging Hamilton in the early laps. After the first round of pit stops he was caught behind Button who was on the medium tyre. Hamilton had passed Button and pulled away to help him towards the win. Vettel then struggled to pass Raikkonen in the closing laps. Vettel still leads the drivers championship. Webber had a disaster of a day on Saturday to only qualify tenth. He made steady progress through the race to recover to an impressive fourth.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso hung on to fifth place after a tough race in a less than competitive Ferrari. Grosjean had been chasing him in the closing laps but he kept hold of IMG_3575the position to take home the ten points. Alonso’s race was rather anonymous much the same as teammate Massa. The Brazilian finished eighth behind Button’s McLaren. He had been passed by Grosjean in turn four but the Frenchman was later given a drive through penalty for going over the white lines. Massa had also avoided a close call with Rosberg in the early laps suffering minor damage to his front wing. Much of the talk after the race was surrounding rumours Alonso’s management had held talks with Red Bull about a possible move in 2014. Alonso and Ferrari dismissed the claims but Red Bull did little to calm the storm.

McLaren
Jenson Button had a good race to finish seventh after some battles throughout the race. His decision to start on the mediums kept him among the front runners early in the race. Hamilton and Vettel both came out behind him after the first stops. His fellow Brit passed him easily but he managed to keep Vettel behind for a number of laps. It did not help his race overall but gave McLaren some much needed airtime. A clash with Grosjean saw the Frenchman given a post race 20 second penalty but it did not affect the race result. Sergio Perez had a uneventful race to take ninth place.

Williams
Williams took their first point in the 2013 season with Pastor Maldonado finishing tenth place. This was Williams first point since the 2012 United States Grand Prix. IMG_3024The Venezuelan had run in the top ten at different points in the race but benefitted from Rosberg’s late retirement and penalties for other drivers. Valtteri Bottas’ race ended early with a hydraluic problem. A good weekend for Williams with the change in tyre compounds looking to have benefitted the team.

Sauber
A drive through penalty ended Sauber’s chances of scoring at a third consecutive race. Nico Hulkenberg had been on course to secure a single point for the third race in a row having qualified 12th. The German just held onto 11th from then two fast catching Toro Rosso’s. He had a drive through penalty after speeding in the pit lane due to a shift down problem. Esteban Gutierrez didn’t make it to the end of the race having to retire due to a gearbox problem.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo failed to convert his impressive qualifying form into a strong race performance as he only finished 13th. He was once again beaten by his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne with the Frenchman passing the Australian with just four laps to run. The car lacked pace but some will be left wondering why Vergne is being disregarded in the Red Bull race despite comfortably being ahead of Ricciardo on a number of occasions.

Caterham
Caterham are now comfortably leading the Marussia’s in race conditions. Giedo van der Garde led teammate Charles Pic for the whole race. A strong performance from both drivers will help to put their minds at rest amid rumours one of them may lose out to another driver in 2014.

Marussia
Marussia suffered from a disappointing lack of pace. The team had worked to close the gap to Caterham in practice and qualifying but it was not enough to beat them on Sunday. Jules Bianchi once again led home teammate Max Chilton.

Force India
Force India’s season seems to have stalled as once again the team faced a hard weekend. Things had looked slightly better than Germany with Sutil qualifying 11th but he lost out at the start and later retired from his 100th race with a hydraulic leak. Paul di Resta only started 18th after a poor qualifying but made up a number of places on lap one. He later struggled outside the points before retiring with three laps to run.

Five things to watch out for at this weekend’s German Grand Prix

Before racing begins in Germany we take a look at five of the things you should be watching out for. From the trouble with Pirelli tyres to Mark Webber’s replacement these are the five key stories to look out for this weekend.

1. Pirelli tyre failures

The furore around Mercedes and Pirelli’s tyre test was forgotten amid multiple tyre failures at the British Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton, Jean-Eric Vergne, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez were among the drivers to suffer a left rear tyre failure. Drivers and teams alike have branded the tyre failures dangerous and Pirelli will be changing its tyres for this weekend. The FIA have allowed Pirelli to make the changes without the agreement of the teams. It will see Kevlar belts used for the first time this season in place of the current steel ones. Only the rear tyres will be changed. Whether or not this will affect performance only time will tell but either way Pirelli look set to continue to face criticism.

2. Driver boycott

Drivers have threatened to pull out of this weekend’s grand prix should the tyre failures seen in Britain reoccur this weekend. Although Pirelli have acted to make changes to ensure the tyre failures do not happen again the drivers are not prepared to put themselves at risk. Following a meeting of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) on Thursday evening a statement was published saying “the drivers have decided that, if similar problems should manifest themselves during the German GP, we shall immediately withdraw from the event, as this avoidable problem with the tyres endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans”. 19 of the 22 drivers are members of the GPDA.

3. Young Driver Test

At the Young Driver Test at Silverstone later this month teams will be allowed to run their race drivers to allow them to test the Pirelli tyres. This follows the six tyre failures at the British Grand Prix. The test has been extended from three days to four. FIA president Jean Todt said race drivers could take part in the test as long as it was proved it was for tyre testing purposes. Mercedes are still banned from the test following their illegal tyre test with Pirelli in Barcelona. Whilst the teams and Pirelli seek a solution to this the young drivers set to test F1 cars will suffer losing out on their chance to demonstrate their potential.

4. Mark Webber’s replacement

Rumours over who will replace Mark Webber at Red Bull in 2014 continue to grow. Whilst Kimi Raikkonen is still thought to be number one in line Daniel Ricciardo’s impressive performance at Silverstone will only go to help his chances. Jean Eric Vergne is also on the list with his Toro Rosso links but a tyre failure resulted in a disappointing result last weekend. Another name has been added to the list after Jenson Button was mentioned. Button has remained coy over the rumours suggesting he wasn’t actively looking to leave McLaren. Red Bull are unlikely to make any decision this weekend.

5. Brawn to stay at Mercedes in 2014

Ross Brawn has suggested he doesn’t have any plans to step down as team principal of Mercedes is 2014. The arrival of Paddy Lowe at the team was expected to signal the winding down of Brawn’s career. Lowe is thought to be Brawn’s replacement in the long term after his move from McLaren. Brawn told the BBC the team looked in good shape for next season and he didn’t want to miss the fun.

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Team-by-team look at the 2013 British Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg took victory in a chaotic British Grand Prix which saw two safety cars and multiple tyre failures. His victory was under threat after a post race trip to the stewards for speeding under yellow flags late in the race but he escaped with a reprimand. Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso stormed through the field late on to take podium places whilst championship leader Sebastian Vettel’s race ends 11 laps from the finish with a technical problem after leading much of the race.

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton may have taken an emphatic pole position in front of a home crowd but it was teammate Nico Rosberg who finished first on Sunday. IMG_3572The German inherited the lead from Sebastian Vettel with just 11 laps to go. Rosberg was pushed late in the race by Mark Webber after the second safety car came in with eight laps left to run. Hamilton led the race early on but a tyre failure left him near the back of the field having to make his way back into the top ten. With just laps to go he made a number of overtakes to finish fourth. Rosberg faced losing his win after it was revealed he had been speeding under yellow flags he escaped with a reprimand to keep his second win of the season.

Red Bull

Mark Webber’s late charge was not enough for victory on Sunday as he finished second behind Rosberg.Webber’s start left much to be desired as he found himself fall from fourth to back within the midfield after a clash with Romain Grosjean. He benefitted from a number of tyre failures and his teammates retirement – the two safety cars also helped him. Following the second safety car Webber pounced on Daniel Ricciardo for fourth and then Adrian Sutil for third before overtaking Kimi Raikkonen for second. Sebastian Vettel had inherited the lead from Hamilton after his tyre failure but suffered a gearbox failure and he had to park his car on lap 44 bringing out the second safety car.

Ferrari
IMG_3577Fernando Alonso recovered from a disappointing qualifying to finish on the podium. The decision to pit for new tyres at the second safety car proved to be the right one and he stormed through the field in the closing laps to finish third. Alonso did much the same as Webber in the closing lap overtaking Ricciardo, Sutil and Raikkonen. The Spaniard finished just ahead of a recovering Hamilton. Felipe Massa got a brilliant start to make his way from starting 11th but a tyre failure left him way down the field. He coped well with the safety car and damage to his car after the tyre failure to finish the day in sixth.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen was denied a podium in the last few laps after failing to pit during the second safety car. On worn tyres he was a sitting target for Webber, Alonso and Hamilton and ended the day fifth. Romain Grosjean had been in the fight for points despite a first lap clash with Webber but was forced to retire on lap 51. Raikkonen sits in third in the drivers championship whilst the team are also third in the constructors with 124 points to Red Bull’s 171 and Ferrari’s 168.

Force India
Saturday may have ended in disappointment for Force India after Paul di Resta was disqualified after setting the fifth fastest time but Sunday was a much better story. His disqualification meant teammate Adrian Sutil started sixth and a good start saw him up to fourth by the first corner. The German managed to keep faster cars behind him and had looked on course for a surprise podium but the late safety car left him with older tyres than those behind him and he was passed by Webber, Alonso and Hamilton. He eventually finished seventh holding off Daniel Ricciardo. Di Resta made steady progress to reach the top ten finishing ninth.

Toro Rosso
IMG_3550Daniel Ricciardo may have qualified fifth after Di Resta’s disqualification but he struggled at the start falling backwards. He recovered to finish eighth after a battle with Sutil. He was passed by Webber, Alonso and Hamilton in the closing lap having been fourth with eight laps to go – but older tyres left him vulnerable to those behind. Jean-Eric Vergne was one of many drivers to suffer a tyre failure on lap 15 – this brought out the first safety car and track sweepers to clear away what was left behind. He retired on lap 35.

Sauber
Sauber’s pointless run came to an end in Silverstone after Nico Hulkenberg held on to finish tenth. The team have not scored since the Chinese Grand Prix back in March and this is only the third time they have scored all season. Hulkenberg diced with the Williams’ of Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas to take the final point. Esteban Gutierrez made a good start and finished the race in 14th. Both drivers suffered issues with their tyres.

Williams
Williams missed out on points at the race where they started the celebrations for their 600th Grand Prix. The team finished 11th and 12th with Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas fighting Nico Hulkenberg in the closing laps. The team continue to knock on the door of the points but have failed in their bid to secure a top ten finish.

McLaren
McLaren looked on course for a double points finish with both drivers running in the top ten at times. Jenson Button was in contention when the second safety car period ended but went from seventh to 13th as other drivers with fresher tyres made their way through the field. Sergio Perez had also been in contention for points but after a tyre failure the team decided to retire the car.

Caterham
Caterham are still behind Marussia in the standings but managed to finish ahead of them in Britain. Charles Pic finished 15th ahead of the two Marussia’s of Bianchi and Chilton. Giedo van der Garde’s problems started before the race when a gearbox issue caused a change and five place grid penalty. He started last and finished in 18th.

Marussia
Max Chilton experienced his first ever home grand prix but was unable to make much progress. He finished 17th behind the Caterham of Pic and his teammate Jules Bianchi. Bianchi was chasing Pic but was unable to catch and pass him.

Five things to watch out for at this weekend’s British Grand Prix

Before racing begins in Britain we take a look at five of the things you should be watching out for. From the protests surrounding Mercedes and Pirelli’s tyre test to the announcement Webber is leaving F1 these are the five key stories to look out for this weekend.

1. Tyre Test
Mercedes have been reprimanded and suspended from this year’s young driver test after an FIA tribunal found their tyre test with Pirelli breached F1 rules. The test held after the Spanish Grand Prix led to Red Bull and Ferrari lodging protests against the team. The matter was referred to the race stewards who in turn referred it to the FIA. The test using a 2013 car with 2013 drivers was essentially run by the team which led to the upset. Both Mercedes and Pirelli claim the FIA knew about the test and let it go ahead. The FIA found whilst Mercedes were in breach of the rules they had no intention of gaining any unfair sporting advantage. Red Bull and Ferrari have criticised the decision.

2.Webber
It was announced on Thursday morning that Mark Webber would be leaving F1 at the end of 2013. With 12 races still left to run this season his decision has come very early in the year. However after Malaysia’s team orders furore some would say it is not surprising. The Australian will leave Red Bull to race Porsche’s new sportscar programme in the World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours. Webber made his debut in F1 in 2002 and has raced with Red Bull since 2007 but Malaysia he undoubtedly felt the team were not supporting him – and what point is there staying at a team where you will always be overlooked even when in the stronger position.

3. Webber’s replacement
The announcement will heighten rumours over who will replace the 36-year-old with Kimi Raikkonen, Jean Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo thought to be in the frame. Rumours surrounding a potential move for Raikkonen to the team have been doing the rounds for weeks but he has said the announcement has not chanced his position. However the Finn is yet to sign a contract for 2014. Whilst Ricciardo and Vergne are Toro Rosso drivers and essentially have a shoe in there performances are not in the league of Raikkonen. They will hope to use the coming races to show they deserve a promotion.

4. Williams
Williams will be celebrating their 600th Grand Prix starts at Silverstone this weekend. Although Germany will officially be their 600th Grand Prix start the team have decided to celebrate the achievement at their home Grand Prix. The British Grand Prix holds good memories for the team as they took their first ever win there in 1979 and their 100th win in 1997. The number 600 will be displayed on the sidepods of the FW35 and the livery will have the names of all 691 Williams employees as a tribute to their continued hard work.

5. Paddy Lowe and Mercedes
Paddy Lowe will attend his first Grand Prix in his new role with Mercedes. The former McLaren director had not been to a Grand Prix since late last year following his decision to leave the team for Mercedes. A deal was agreed with Mercedes to release him from his contract and he joined Mercedes as executive director (technical) on June 3. Lowe is eventually expected to run the team in the team principal role when Ross Brawn decides to retire.

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Five things to watch out for at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix

Before racing begins in Canada we take a look at five of the things you should be watching out for. From the protests surrounding Mercedes and Pirelli’s tyre test to the impressive form of Force India these are the five key stories to look out for this weekend:

1.Tyres tests
Tyres once again were a major talking point last time out in Monaco after it was revealed Mercedes and Pirelli carried out a tyre test using their 2013 car. The test held after the Spanish Grand Prix led to Red Bull and Ferrari lodging protests against this. The matter was referred to the race stewards who in turn referred it to the FIA. The test using a 2013 car with 2013 drivers was essentially run by the team which led to the upset. Both Mercedes and Pirelli claim the FIA knew about the test and let it go ahead, however the FIA isn’t so sure. To add to the drama Ferrari will now also be investigated after it conducted a test with Pirelli using a 2011 car. Using a 2011 car is normally thought to be within the rules and regulations but the Italian team will still be investigated. It had been suggested a outcome could be decided by Canada but this looks unlikely – the issues looks set to run and run and who knows who may be next to admit to a tyre test.

2. Sergio Perez
Heading to Bahrain Sergio Perez was being told to ‘toughen up’ by his team but just four races later his new feisty attitude is upsetting his teammate and other drivers. Jenson Button has been unhappy on numerous occasions with Perez’s overtaking with the pair having some near misses. In Monaco the Mexican may have been able to get past Button but it did not end well when a misjudged overtaking attempt on Kimi Raikkonen left Raikkonen with a puncture and having to pit and Perez out of the race. Both blamed each other for the incident with Raikkonen saying Perez should be “punched in the face”. The Mexican needs to find a balance between the aggression he has been showing over the last few races and the control he showed in the early part of the championship. If he can find the perfect balance he has a chance of doing well in Canada.

3. Force India
Force India are having a truly impressive start to a season. They have 44 points from six races and have only failed to score on one occasion in Malaysia due to a wheel nut problem. In Monaco they appeared to be single handedly trying to dismiss the claim you cannot overtake on the streets of Monte Carlo with some impressive moves by both their drivers. Adrian Sutil achieved the teams best ever performance in Monaco with a fifth place – ending his bad luck of recent races – whilst Paul di Resta scored points for the fifth time this season. Historically the team has never done well in Canada having only scored three points there in 2010. This year the car is much better and they have their best chance of scoring some good points and extending their lead over the other midfield teams in the constructors championship.

4. Romain Grosjean
Monaco signalled a return of Romain Grosjean of 2012. His less than impressive drive saw him crashing into the back of the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo ending the Australian’s race. The incident also brought out the safety car. Grosjean seemed to show he hasn’t quite learnt the lesson about controlling his race and after an investigation by the stewards he was given a 10 place grid penalty for Canada. Monaco saw Grosjean have four accidents in just three days – all of which were his own fault. The team repaired the car each time only for Grosjean to go out and reck the car again. Whilst it wasn’t in the same league as Spa last year where he potentially changed the face of the championship he denied Ricciardo the chance of points. Will he have learnt his lesson in Canada or will it be a case of de ja vu?

5. Williams and Mercedes power
After a dismal start to 2013 Williams have announced they will move to Mercedes power in 2014 when the new V6 turbo engines are introduced. The deal is understood to be long term and will see Williams supplied with Mercedes engines and Energy Recovery Systems. Williams have used Renault engines for the last two seasons but haven’t really seen any improvement in fortunes. This season they have had two best place finishes of 11th out of six races. They have no points compared with the 44 they had at this point last season. The move will hopefully produce results next season but until then the once illustrious team need to sort out their difficulties in 2013.

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Team-by-team look at the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg took an emphatic win in Monaco 30 years after his father did the same around the streets of Monte Carlo. There were also some stand out performances from Force India and Toro Rosso as the teams prove you can overtake in Monaco. Controversy continues to reign after Mercedes undertake a three day test with Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix which could have major consequences for the team.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg took a dominant lights to flag victory for Mercedes in Monaco 30 years since his father won around the street circuit. This was Mercedes first win of the season after the team have taken four poles. The German managed to withstand pressure from his teammate early in the race and then from the Red Bull’s of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. When the team decided to pit both cars Hamilton lost out and fell to fourth where he stayed for the remainder of the race. However despite the good haul of points a shadow is hanging over the team surrounding its three-day Pirelli tyre test after the Spanish Grand Prix. The stewards of the race considered the position after Red Bull and Ferrari lodged protests and the matter has now been referred to the FIA.

Red Bull
Red Bull achieved a double podium in Monaco taking second and third. Both Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber challenged both Mercedes drivers – continuing to push them. Both benefited from Mercedes pitting their drivers at the same time and also from the two crashes from Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado. The team will be happy with the haul of 33 points which extends their lead in the constructors championship. Vettel benefitted from difficult races for Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso to extend his lead in the drivers championship.

Force India
Force India appeared to be single handedly trying to dismiss the claim you cannot overtake in Monaco with some impressive moves by both their drivers. Adrian Sutil achieved the teams best ever performance in Monaco with a fifth place – ending his bad luck of recent races. The German made two stunning overtakes at Loews, passing Jenson Button first and then later Alonso. Meanwhile his teammate Paul di Resta came from 17th on the gird to finish ninth and score two points. Di Resta also produced some impressive overtaking moves as he made his way through the field including a move at Ste Devote. Overall a good weekend for the team with 12 more points to add to their total.

McLaren
McLaren looked on course for a double points finish with both drivers running in the top ten. The pair were again dicing with each other throughout the race with Sergio Perez taking some gambles to pass his teammate. In the end it didn’t end well for the Mexican who attempted to overtake Raikkonen with the pair touching as they both took the same line. Raikkonen had to pit with a puncture and Perez didn’t make it much further having to retire with left-front suspension failure. Button managed to pass Alonso after the Perez-Raikkonen incident before he followed Sutil home for sixth. The team are beginning to achieve better results but they are still a long way from where they were last year.

Ferrari
A disappointing day for Ferrari. Felipe Massa’s race ended early after a near identical crash to the one he was involved in during free practice on Saturday. The Brazilian driver was kept at the side of the track to recover before being taken to hospital for checks. He was understood to have some pain in his neck. Unlike Saturdays incident this crash was due to a car problem rather than driver error. His teammate Alonso finished seventh after succumbing to overtaking moves by both Sutil and Button. As a result the team and Alonso have moved further away from Red Bull who lead both championships.

Toro Rosso
A mixed day for Toro Rosso. Jean-Eric Vergne took a well deserved eighth place as he chased Alonso to the line. The Frenchman took his first points of the season after reaching Q3 in qualifying for the first time. Daniel Ricciardo’s race ended prematurely after Romain Grosjean crashed into the back on him as they exited the tunnel. The resulting debris brought out the safety car to clear away the offending items. The incident was under investigation by the stewards who gave Grosjean a ten place grid penalty for next time out in Canada as a result.

Lotus
A disappointing day for the Lotus team. Kimi Raikkonen was the victim of a failed Sergio Perez overtake which left the Finn with a puncture. He had to pit with just a few laps left in the race leaving him outside the points and looking likely to end his point scoring run. However a number of overtakes in the closing laps lifted him back into points and he finished tenth. Romain Grosjean seemed to show he hasn’t quite learnt the lesson about controlling his race as he crashed into the back of Daniel Ricciardo causing a safety car. The incident was under investigation by the stewards who gave Grosjean a ten place grid penalty for next tim out in Canada as a result.

Sauber
Sauber failed to make Q3 yesterday qualifying 11th and this is where they finished on Sunday. Nico Hulkenberg had looked on course to take the final point as he maintained tenth position but a late overtake by Raikkonen left him outside the points. Teammate Esteban Gutierrez finished 13th but had been on course for 12th before Raikkonen’s charge through the field.

Williams
Valtteri Bottas was once again knocking on the door of the points but couldn’t convert this after finishing 12th. The Finn was chasing Hulkenberg to the line but once again the team are left pointless. Pastor Maldonado was the victim of a collision with Max Chilton. The Marussia rookie moved back over across the Williams after not seeing the car and the two cars made contact. The Williams was launched in the air before a head on crash with the wall. The red flag was brought out as a result to clear up the debris. Maldonado was unharmed and Chilton was given a drive through penalty as a result.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi’s race ended early after a brake issues forced him to retire on lap 58. Teammate Max Chilton was involved in an accident with the Williams of Maldonado causing the car to be launched into the air. The rookie driver moved back over across the Williams after not seeing the car and the two cars made contact. The red flag was brought out as a result to clear up the debris. Maldonado was unharmed and Chilton was given a drive through penalty as a result.

Caterham
Only one Caterham made it to the end of the race with Giedo van der Garde finishing 15th. He was involved in a clash with Maldonado early in the race, forcing them both to pit after they suffered damage to their front wings. Both were able to continue. Charles Pic failed to make it past lap seven retiring with a gearbox issue.

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Monaco Grand Prix 2013: Rosberg dominates the streets of Monte Carlo on Thursday

Nico Rosberg and Mercedes dominated free practice on Thursday at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The German driver led his teammate Lewis Hamilton in the second session after setting the fastest time in both the morning and afternoon. Fernando Alonso set the third fastest time in the Ferrari whilst his teammate Felipe Massa was fourth.

Mark Webber set the fifth fastest time in the first of the Red Bulls whilst the Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were sixth and seventh. Grosjean later clattered the wall in his E21 damaging the left side and front suspension bringing out the red flag. Officials took the opportunity to assess damage to the kerb at Turn 13.

Jenson Button set the eighth fastest time for McLaren just over a second off the pace. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was ninth fastest with his car undergoing work during the session.

The Force Indias were once again evenly matched with Paul di Resta narrowly outrunning Adrian Sutil for 11th. The German hit the wall during the first session but managed to make it back to the pits for checks to be carried out on his car. Sergio Perez was 12th in the second McLaren.

Nico Hulkenberg was 13th for Sauber whilst his teammate was 15th. Hulkenberg was party to a near miss after Alonso took action to avoid the slow moving Sauber late during the second session. The two Saubers were split by the Williams of Pastor Maldonado in 14th.

Toro Rosso had a disappointing afternoon with Daniel Ricciardo in 16th and teammate Jean-Eric Vergne setting the 17th fastest time. Behind them Valtteri Bottas was 18th for Williams.

At the back Marussia led the Caterhams with Jules Bianchi 19th, Charles Pic 20th, Max Chilton 21st and Giedo van der Garde 22nd.

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Spanish Grand Prix 2013: Rosberg secures pole for Mercedes

Mercedes secured a one-two on the grid for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix with Nico Rosberg beating Lewis Hamilton to pole.

Mercedes had dominated both Q1 and Q2- but Hamilton had lead Rosberg in both. The pair beat the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel who finished the session in 3rd but will be their closest competition for Sunday.

Kimi Raikkonen will start fourth for Lotus whilst behind him Fernando Alonso is 5th and his teammate Felipe Massa will start 6th. Romain Grosjean set the seventh fastest time whilst Mark Webber disappointed in the second Red Bull only managing the eighth fastest time.

McLaren struggled in qualifying but Sergio Perez managed to set the ninth fastest time after only just making Q3. Teammate Jenson Button had a much worse day and will start tomorrow’s race from 14th.

Force India’s Paul di Resta will start 10th after a close fight in Q2 with the Toro Rosso’s and teammate Adrian Sutil. They line up behind him with Daniel Ricciardo 11th, Jean-Eric Vergne 12th and Sutil 13th.

Behind them there was disappointment for Sauber with Nico Hulkenberg starting 15th ahead of teammate Esteban Gutierrez in 16th. There was equal disappointment for Williams- last years winners in Spain- with both drivers failing to make Q2. Valtteri Bottas will start 17th ahead of Pastor Maldonado in 18th.

Giedo van der Garde impressed beating both his teammate and the two Marussias. He set the 19th fastest time for Caterham with Marussia’s Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton behind him. Van der Garde’s teammate Charles Pic will start last in 22nd place.
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Team-by-team look at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix may have been won by Sebastian Vettel but the main talking point of the race was the use of team orders in the final few laps from both Red Bull and Mercedes. The decisions from both teams led to an awkward podium and could prove to have ramifications for harmony within both teams. I take a look at the wider picture and see where each team stands after round two.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel may have won the race but the majority of F1 fans felt he had taken the victory from teammate Mark Webber. This race has certainly shown Vettel in a different light- and it’s not a positive one. Vettel appeared to show arrogance at points in the race telling the team over the radio: “Mark is too slow, get him out of the way. He is too slow”. He continued to race Webber closing in on him despite both being told to turn down their engines and hold station after the final round of pit stops. Vettel continued to ignore team orders pushing Webber for the lead and eventually passing him. His blatant decision to ignore the team orders didn’t go down well with either Webber or Christian Horner. What should have been a positive result for Red Bull has turned into a rift between their drivers that doesn’t show any signs of healing soon.

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton may have taken his first podium for Mercedes but there was a similar feeling between the drivers as at Red Bull. Hamilton had benefitted from Rosberg being told to hold station despite him having the pace to pass Hamilton. Speaking on the podium Hamilton admitted Rosberg should have secured third place since he had the better pace during the race. Despite appearing angry following the team decision Rosberg said he knew if he had been ahead the situation would have been the same. There was also a moment early in the race when Hamilton attempted to pit at his former team McLaren’s pit box, he apologised to the team for the mistake. Despite the issues surrounding the team orders it was a good result overall for the team who are fourth in the constructors championship just three points behind Ferrari.

Ferrari
Felipe Massa took fifth for Ferrari despite having start on the front row. Massa lacked the pace of the leaders but fifth was well deserved after a battle with the Lotus’ of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen. The race was a disaster for Fernando Alonso on his 200th Grand Prix appearance when his damaged front wing collapsed underneath his car. Alonso had run into the back of Vettel on lap one and then gambled his damaged wing could last until his first pit stop. Massa now leads Alonso in the driver’s championship by four points and the team have slipped to third in the constructors championship. Malaysia will appear like a missed opportunity for the team.

Lotus
Malaysia proved to be a disappointing weekend for Lotus despite a double points finish. The team took sixth and seventh position with Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen but the car showed none of the tyre preservation it had in Melbourne. Both drivers had a battle with Felipe Massa throughout the race. Raikkonen also battled with Nico Hulkenberg, with the Finn becoming frustrated with the German’s defending. He eventually passed the Sauber driver and both drivers finished the race with just three pitstops compared to their rivals four. Raikkonen is now second in the driver’s championship and the team are also second in the constructors.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg recovered from the disappointment of not starting the Australian Grand Prix with a points finish in Malaysia. The German battled with Kimi Raikkonen before finishing the race in eighth and securing Sauber’s first points of the season. The race was also positive for Hulkenberg’s teammate Esteban Gutierrez who finished 12th after having earlier ran in the points. Although the team may have benefitted from some of the misfortune of other teams, the pace they showed today seems to suggest they will be in contention for points throughout the season.

McLaren
A mixed day for McLaren with only Sergio Perez finishing in the points. Perez took two points for McLaren after a ninth place finish taking their constructors total to just four points from two races. Jenson Button’s race had started off well with him holding fifth for much of the early stages and then leading at the third round of pitstops. However a botched pitstop saw his right front wheel not secured properly and despite recovering to 12th he later retired with mechanical problems. McLaren were not expecting things to be much better in Malaysia but they have missed an opportunity for a reasonable result and those 10 points that Button could have finished with will be sorely missed.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne secured tenth place and Toro Rosso’s first points of the season in Malaysia. Despite a pitstop incident in which Vergne and Caterham driver Charles Pic tangled his tenth place was not affected. Vergne had been released from his stop as Pic turned into his pitbox in front of him, the impact breaking the front wing on both cars. Vergne kept going and the team were consequently fined $10,000. Daniel Ricciardo failed to make the finish retiring on lap 51 with exhaust issues. Overall an average weekend and a well deserved point for the team.

Williams
Valtteri Bottas finished 11th for Williams after starting the race from 18th. Despite a commendable drive it was not enough to secure points and Williams remain in ninth in the constructors title with no points. Pastor Maldonado failed to finish a second race in a row after an off track adventure broke his front wing and he later stopped on track. Bottas‘ performance will be encouraging for the team but Maldonado will need to improve his consistency.

Marussia
Sunday was a good day for rookie Jules Bianchi who finished the race in 13th place beating Caterham rivals Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde and also his teammate Max Chilton. British driver Chilton was the final finisher of the race and it is the second time he has been beaten by his fellow rookie teammate this season.

Caterham
Caterham failed to match backmarker rivals Marussia with both Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde being beaten by Jules Bianchi. Pic picked up a damaged front wing after a collision with Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne. Toro Rosso were later fined $10,000 for the incident.

Force India
Sunday was a disastrous day for Force India’s pit crew. Issues at Adrian Sutil’s pitstop delayed both him and teammate Paul di Resta who had pitted behind him to replace his intermediates. Both drivers fought back but when Di Resta pitted issues with wheel nuts prolonged his pitstop and he was left at the back of the field. The drama continued with Sutil who faced a similar problem and found himself at the back of the pack. Both drivers later retired which the team were disappointed about considering the pace the car had shown over the race weekend.