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 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.

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.

Australian Grand Prix 2013: Qualifying postponed until Sunday morning

The final two stages of qualifying for the 2013 Australian Grand Prix have been delayed until Sunday following heavy rain at the Albert Park street circuit.

Q1 had taken place despite a delayed start but as daylight faded and the rain continued to fall the race stewards decided to postpone Q2 and Q3 until Sunday morning.

The session will resume at 11am local time and 12pm UK time. The race begins at 5pm local time and 6am UK time.

Q1 was delayed for 10 minutes at the start of the session after a downpour before drivers ventured onto the track.

Nico Rosberg set the pace topping the timesheets early on in the session and finished Q1 with the fastest time.

A number of drivers struggled with the conditions including Felipe Massa, who spun losing his front wing, Mark Webber and Paul di Resta, who both had off track moments.

Both Caterhams had off track excursions along with rookie Esteban Gutierrez and Pastor Maldonado.

Maldonado was the first driver to exit Q1 setting the 17th fastest time, followed by Gutierrez. Jules Bianchi set the 19th fastest time for Marussia with teammate Max Chilton 20th.

The Caterhams of Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic will start tomorrows Grand Prix from 21st and 22nd respectively.

The return of rain before Q2 saw another 10 minute delay and the start time continued to be delayed until the FIA decided to postpone Q2 and Q3 until Sunday.

2013 Team Preview: Mercedes

Drivers: Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg

2012 Constructors position: 5th
2012 Drives position: Rosberg 9th, Hamilton 4th (driving for McLaren)

Mercedes started 2012 well securing their first ever win since being renamed from Brawn GP. Their win in China was also Nico Rosberg’s maiden win and seemed to suggest that the team had finally produced a car that was capable of keeping up with the big boys of Red Bull and Ferrari. The first part of the season remained average despite Michael Schumacher taking a podium at Monaco and after the summer break Mercedes struggled to replicate their early season form. After such promise they failed to score at the last six races of the season and were one of the most disappointing teams of the 2012 season.

Ros Mercedes

Whilst Rosberg stays with the team for 2013 Schumacher retired at the end of 2012 and was replaced by Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg may have had the measure against Schumacher during their time together at Mercedes but he faces a more difficult teammate challenge in the form of Hamilton. The former McLaren driver will most likely outscore Rosberg but a win or multiple wins for the team are possible but not guaranteed. Many have questioned the motives behind Hamilton’s move and suggest that it could be a mistake but only time will tell. It may be a change of scenery but it is yet to be seen if it was the right decision.

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Despite some teething problems during the first of the pre-season tests in the last test in Barcelona the Mercedes looked good over one lap and showed promise in the long runs. The 2013 car could surprise this season but it should be remembered that in 2012 the car also showed promise early in the season only to fade away.

Predicted 2013 Constructors position: 4th

Barcelona testing: Rosberg keeps Mercedes ahead on day four of the final test

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time on the fourth and final day of the last pre-season test in Barcelona.

The Mercedes driver set a faster time that teammate Lewis Hamilton had on day three and managed to complete 131 laps.

Fernando Alonso was second fastest for Ferrari after setting a time on a soft set of tyres and was another driver to break into triple figures for laps completed after managing 120.

The team had been running a new exhaust for the first time today after bringing updates prior to Melbourne.

The McLaren of Jenson Button was third fastest on the last day after completing 122 laps. The car looks much more competitive than it did at the last pre-season test last week.

Nico Hulkenberg set the fourth fastest time for Sauber in the morning session and focused on a race simulation in the afternoon. He managed 118 laps for the team and showed reasonable pace.

Kimi Raikkonen was back in the car today after illness yesterday but his morning running was limited after a gearbox problem meant the unit having to be replaced. His fastest time was still enough for fifth on the timesheets but he only completed 50 laps.

Paul di Resta set the sixth fastest time for Force India, only marginally slower than Raikkonen’s time. He like many others focused on long runs in the afternoon amassing 112 laps.

Williams once again split their running between both Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas with Maldonado setting the seventh fastest time and Bottas the ninth fastest time. Together they completed 73 laps.

Sebastian Vettel set the eighth fastest time for Red Bull and also broke into triple figures with 100 laps completed. Behind him Charles Pic was 10th in the Caterham on a more positive day of running for them.

Marussia split their running between both drivers with Jules Bianchi setting the 11th fastest time and 62 laps whilst Max Chilton set the 13th fastest time and managed 49 laps but was almost a second slower than his new teammate.

Daniel Ricciardo set the 12th fastest time for Toro Rosso and completed 91 laps after focusing on longer runs in the afternoon session.

The final day of testing marks two weeks until the first race of the season in Melbourne.

The final test has seen a pecking order begin to emerge and I will be taking a further look at where each of the teams are in my team-by-team analysis next week.

Starting from next week I will also be providing 2013 previews for each team looking back at 2012, their driver line-ups for 2013 and what pre-season testing has suggested.

Barcelona testing: Rosberg top of the timesheets on day one

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time on the first day of the second pre-season test in Barcelona.

Rosberg set his fastest time in the Mercedes on the medium tyre during the final part of the day after spending much of the morning dealing with gearbox issues.

Closely behind Rosberg was Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus setting the second fastest time after 44 laps of running.

Fernando Alonso’s first taste of the F138 saw him set the third fastest time on the medium tyre. He managed 110 laps on Tuesday, the most of any driver.

Rosberg set the fastest time on the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona

Rosberg set the fastest time on a medium set of tyres on the first day of the second pre-season test in Barcelona

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel set the fourth fastest time after having been the first driver to break into the 1m22s.

The first outing of the new Williams FW35 saw Pastor Maldonado set the fifth fastest time, completing 86 laps. His fastest time came on a soft set of tyres.

Behind hime Daniel Ricciardo set the sixth fastest time in the Toro Rosso, showing that the STR8 could be one of the strong challengers in the midfield.

McLaren’s Sergio Perez could only manage to set the seventh fastest time ahead of Force India’s Paul di Resta in eighth.

Esteban Gutierrez set the ninth fastest time in the Sauber after causing the first red flag of the day after running low on fuel.

Max Chilton set the 10th fastest time for Marussia whilst Charles Pic set the 11th fastest time for Caterham.

Whilst testing times should not be taken as a true gauge of the cars relative performance, the start of the second pre-season test should help to establish a potential running order for Australia.

Pre-season testing continues in Barcelona tomorrow where Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas will take over the driving from their respective teammates.

For timings and tyre choice see http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/105621