HAMILTON ON POLE

The McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton has said that he is extremely delighted to be on the pole position for the final race of his McLaren career.

The British driver will be starting from the pole position for the final race of the season – the Brazilian Grand Prix. It will also be the last race for McLaren before he moves to Mercedes for the next season. Hamilton said the prior to the qualifying sessions that it will be an extremely emotional race. He will be starting from the pole position, while his teammate Jenson Button made it to the second position to lock the front row for McLaren.

Hamilton has been ahead of their rivals from Red Bull and Ferrari throughout the practice sessions, and he carried his good form into the qualifying sessions as well. Hamilton won his first world championship title at this circuit back in 2008. He has said that it holds special feelings for him as a result of it. He is also extremely emotional during this race because it is the home circuit of his childhood hero Ayrton Senna. Hamilton has also said that he would like to win at this circuit for the first time because it is such a special place.

“It is an incredible feeling. I remember coming through the last corner and being two tenths up and it was going 2.8, 2.9, 3.0, just moving up and when I came across the line it was 0.35 so I was so happy with it. It is so exciting when you come across the line and get pole. Brazil is such a special historic track but this is one I haven’t won at,” said Hamilton. Hamilton will be looking to take advantage of the best starting position on offer in this race.

TIME TO MOVE ON

The Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has said that it is about time the critics moved on focusing on the first lap incidents of the Lotus driver Romain Grosjean and allowed him to race properly.

The 26-year-old Romain Grosjean has been subject to intense criticism over the last few weeks for the number of first lap incidents he has had during the season. It even led to the Red Bull driver Mark Webber recently suggesting that he is a first lap nutcase. This has led to speculation that he will not be allowed to drive for any team in the forthcoming F1 season.

However, the Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has dismissed suggestions that the team is looking for a replacement for the Russian driver. He has backed the 26-year-old to become one of the best drivers in Formula One. He has said that the quality within the 26-year-old is not doubtable, and is confident that he will improve with experience under his belt. Romain Grosjean has managed to cause seven first lap incidents in his first full season in the Formula One sport. He was recently involved in a clash with Mark Webber at the recent Japanese Grand Prix.

“It’s definitely time for us to draw the line and move on, but more importantly it’s also time for Romain to put it in the past for himself. Despite a lot of pressure, he drove a good clean race in Korea and I fully believe he now understands what he needs to do to avoid these things in the future. Romain’s target for the rest of the season is clear – to build on the platform he created in the last race and help the team push for maximum points in the last four races,” Boullier said after the Korean Grand Prix.

BRUNDLE UNSURE ON ALONSO

F1 commentator Martin Brundle has said that he is not sure whether the Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso will be able to win the Drivers’ Championship at the end of this season. Fernando Alonso currently has a 40 point advantage over the Red bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

However, with 9 races still remaining in the calendar, Martin Brundle believes that anything can happen in the second half of the season. The second half of the F1 calendar will be resuming with the Belgian Grand Prix in the first week of September.

Speaking ahead of the race, Martin Brundle has said that he is much looking forward to the second half of the season and hopes that it is as exciting as the first half. Ferrari certainly do not have the fastest car on the paddock. This means that they are unlikely to win both the championships according to the commentator Martin Brundle. Even the Italian team themselves have admitted that they have to work a lot harder in order to make the current car competitive with the likes of McLaren and Red bull. He has said that Alonso will certainly require help from other areas in order to maintain the advantage in the title race.

“I think Alonso’s going to have to rely on Red Bull and McLaren and Lotus taking points off each other and he needs [Felipe] Massa to get in and help him by taking points off his main rivals. I think Alonso’s obviously got a big head start points wise but I don’t think it’s a dead cert by any means. Well he’s 40 points in the lead which is a race victory, so he can afford to have one non-finish and still be in the lead,” said Martin Brundle in an interview given to the Sky Sports.

Alonso has Potentially Title Winning Lead

McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button believes that Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso has potentially a Championship winning lead at the top of the table.

Button believes that Alonso has performed absolutely brilliantly throughout the season and his lead over his immediate rivals could turn out to be huge in the greater context of things. Alonso currently leads the table in the Drivers’ Championship with 164 points, a massive 40 points ahead of Mark Webber and 42 points of Sebastian Vettel, the reigning world champion.

Button’s team mate at McLaren Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton is 47 points off the pace and Button himself is a further 41 points behind Hamilton. Fernando Alonso, who has been a double world champion before in his career is the only driver in this season’s Formula 1 to register three wins and has been lauded as the best driver in the circuit by miles, in spite of not having the fastest car. This season’s Formula 1 saw seven different drivers take wins in the first seven races of the season.

As a result, the achievements of Alonso are all the more significant. Furthermore, the Ferrari car that he is driving this season has been blasted by former drivers for being too slow when put up against the likes of Red Bull Racing or McLaren Mercedes’ cars and as a result Button has also heaped praise on the former McLaren driver.

The Briton believes that it is extremely hard for the other drivers vying for the Championship to overtake the Spaniard but he did mention that each and every driver is trying to give their absolute best in order to cut down the massive lead Fernando Alonso has built at the top. Button also added that as a racing fan, he wouldn’t mind seeing Alonso crowned the champion at the end of the season.

Fernando Alonso Will Decide

Stefano Domenicali, the team principal of the Formula 1 team Ferrari believes that former world champion and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso and the reigning champion Sebastian Vettel could work well together as a team, sparking rumors that a pre-contract agreement has already been signed between Vettel and Ferrari for the two time reigning Formula 1 Drivers’ Champion to take the Ferrari hot seat in place of Felipe Massa at the start of the 2014 season.

However, the camps of both Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel denied these links and claimed that no such agreement was in place. Stefano Domenicali had stated that both the drivers are extremely intelligent and that they wouldn’t have any problems in co-existing as part of the same team. His comments came in the light of the feud between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at McLaren Mercedes when the Spaniard had claimed that the team was prioritizing the young Briton over him.

Alonso, however, claimed in a recent media conference that there would be no problems for him in burying the hatchet with Hamilton if he joins him at Ferrari and they would find ways of co-existing.

But Alonso did mention that whoever Ferrari wants to hire as its second driver, he would have a say in it. Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone also suggested that even if a pre-contract agreement had been signed, it wouldn’t be a problem, going on to add that every driver wants to drive for Ferrari at least once in his career.

The German magazine Sport Bild has recently interviewed the Formula 1 boss and the Ferrari team principal and the Italian team printed excerpts from that interview on their website. Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are regarded as three of the best drivers in the sport and it is only fair that there is talk of them joining the best team in the sport.

BUTTON CONFIDENT ON FUTURE

Jenson Button remains in a confident mood after his success in Australia, and thinks that McLaren should be able to deal with the extremely different Malaysian conditions without too much trouble.

The new McLaren MP4-27 looked fantastic in the relatively cool conditions in Melbourne, but the tropical heat and long sweeping corners of the Sepang circuit in Kuala Lumpur will test another set of the car’s capabilities. “Within the team we’ve talked about Malaysia, and obviously it’s a very different place than Melbourne,” said Button.

“We’ve got a very good understanding of the car, and there’s still more to come, but we’ve only driven it in cool conditions.”

The McLaren F1 team have had an uncharacteristically good start to the season. For the past couple of years they have had difficulty in getting the car to perform in the first few races, and they are better known for their strong research and improvements to the car during the course of the season. With Hamilton taking pole and both their drivers finishing on the podium, McLaren must be delighted with their success over the winter period, and if they can continue this form during the Malaysian Grand Prix Red Bull Racing will be facing a formidable challenge.

On the other hand it would be foolish to underestimate Red Bull, who have been overlooked somewhat after taking 2nd and 4th down under. Button thinks that Malaysia might witness the resurgence of a few teams who hadn’t quite got their setups sorted in Australia, and the British driver believes that Red Bull could well show some dramatic improvements.

“There are a few cars that maybe didn’t get the best out of what they had at the weekend,” said Button. “I’m sure Red Bull are going to be massively quick this race. I don’t think qualifying went very well for them, and Seb put his car in the gravel in practice. But they were quick in the race, so they’re going to be there.”

GROSJEAN LEADS DAY ONE

In the Formula One preseason testing, Romain Grosjean ended at the top of the time-table.

After receiving the honors as the 9th different driver to set the pace on the track so far, the French driver turned to be the first to led that group for the 2nd time at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

After being pushed to abandon the second test last week only after few laps on the 1st day because of a mechanical defect, these past 2 days have worked as a welcome tonic.
Even though the testing times are quite tough to read, at least Lotus is revealing that they will surely be the team to keep an eye on as the season opener race starts in Australia on almost two weeks time. Romain’s best lap of his 2 days came 4 minutes before the end of an extensive session which had to be held up by 30 minutes in the morning because of fog.

With soft Pirelli tyres, Romain clocked a time of 1 minute 22.614 seconds to force out Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso from top most position just when it looked as if his compatriot would make it ten different race drivers out in front across ten days so far.

However that remains 0.3 seconds slow compared to the best lap in Barcelona last week registered by Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber with set of super soft tyres. Vergne managed thirty-one laps because his engine getting fire just before lunch, leading in him running out to fix a flying lap during afternoon and ending just behind Grosjean. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull’s double world champion, was 3rd, followed by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Argentina return to F1

Argentina are aiming to return to the Formula 1 scene by 2014, if work continues as planned on the new circuit in Zarate, around 100km away from the capital, Buenos Aires. Since 1998, when Michael Schumacher won the grand prix at the Autodromo Oscar Alfredo Galvez, Argentina has missed out on the opportunity to host a race, and they are eager to join Brazil as the only other South American country to get a place on the calendar.

Last Friday a ceremony was held to celebrate the start of the work on the Velociudad Speedcity circuit. The circuit is being built by the design company Populous, who recently supervised the redesign of the Silverstone circuit, and who are also working on a Mumbai circuit. Associate director of Populous John Rhodes believes that once work is complete, the track should be up to the challenge of hosting an F1 event, and at that point it must attract the attention of the FIA organisers.

“The plan is for a circuit capable of delivering a Formula 1 event,” said Rhodes. “Once the facility is there, then it’s down to a promoter.” The construction will happen in two distinct stages, firstly a slightly shorter track for hosting MotoGP events, and then an extra section will be completed to lengthen the track so it is ideal for F1, as Rhodes explains.

“The issue is to have a high performance circuit capable of holding a MotoGP then add the necessary requirements for a Formula 1 race,” he said. “The main 4.7 km circuit will be good for F1 and endurance races like Le Mans, it’s a good, sensible length.”

The success of the newly added Indian grand prix will be a big boost to other developing countries with F1 aspirations. The Buddh International circuit hosted its first race this year in October, and Formula 1 received a rapturous welcome. The race went smoothly, with the inaugural win being claimed by Sebastian Vettel, and was a clear message to the FIA that there are many new cultures to explore and open up by granting them an F1 grand prix.