Shanghai Showdown

18 Apr

It’s Friday and Bahrain Practice is currently going on in the background, so what better time to give everyone my ratings from China? (I can’t help the fact I was too lazy to do it any earlier, plus i’ve had revision to do too). Seeing as i’m already behind, I’ll get straight to the ratings.

Mercedes: 9/10

It was pretty easy for Mercedes from start to finish, nothing too spectacular but at least we got to see the team argue with each other internally, which is always nice.

Lewis Hamilton: Finishing Position: 1st
Rating: 9/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded the bonus point for spraying the podium girl with champagne and not giving a damn what anybody thinks, it was as straightforward a race as he could have hoped for position-wise, although he still had to fight against a rather unhappy Nico Rosberg via team radio.

Nico Rosberg: Finishing Position: 2nd
Rating: 7/10

Drove a solid race in 2nd place, comfortably ahead of Ferrari in the end, but allowed Lewis to wind him up enough to have a mental breakdown in the post-race press conference and show the cracks are beginning to appear….

Ferrari: 8/10

Still had the pace, but just not enough of it to challenge the Mercedes during the race. Still, the weekend was solid enough and they racked up their 3rd podium of the season already. Even Kimi looked cool as during the weekend.

Sebastian Vettel: Finishing Position: 3rd
Rating: 8/10

3rd podium of the season and 2nd 3rd place, Seb drove as well as he possibly could, but in the end, Hamilton didn’t drive slow enough for him to be able to catch Rosberg. Maybe next time.

Kimi Räikkönen: Finishing Position: 4th. Again.
Rating: 8/10

Finally a race where the Iceman didn’t run into problems during the race, and more than proved he can still keep up with the rest of them- now all he has to do is get one over his teammate.

Williams: 7/10

It was a lonely race for Williams- they were too slow to catch the Ferrari, but too fast for the rest of the field. This meant that they spent the entire race in a world of their own, but it was more solid points.

Felipe Massa: Finishing Position: 5th
Rating: 8/10

A good race for Felipe who managed to get one over on his teammate, as the eternal battle for best driver within Williams well in full swing. No major mistakes either which is a bonus.

Valtttttttttttteri Botttttttttttas: Finishing Position: 6th
Rating: 7/10

Solid if unspectacular drive from Valtteri, but the fact he finished behind his teammate is something he’s going to need to try and reverse next time round in Bahrain…. But all in all nothing much to report. Onwards!

Lotus: 9.5 +1 Bonus Point

Lotus finally scored their first points of the season and hence a bonus point in the ratings. All in all Lotus looked very much better than they have in the previous races and would have scored more points had Maldonado not been so incompetent and/or Maldonado like.

Romain Grosjean: Finishing Position: 7th
Rating: 10 +1 Bonus Points

Romain has points! And not just points, but an amazing 6 of them. For a Lotus that started the season poorly despite promise, this was a very good drive indeed to place so highly without mistake. And for that, he not only gets a 10 but also a bonus point too.

Pastor Maldonado: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 5/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded a bonus point for getting ‘Maldonadoed’ by Jenson Button (Oh the irony), it really was a race that promised so much yet delivered so little for Pastor. Running early on in the points, mistakes dropped him well down the order before he was forcibly retired.

Sauber: 8/10

Solid work once again from Sauber, who gain even more points to make last season look like a freak nightmare (5 more of them to be precise). Though, with that said, they still can’t seriously challenge the big guns, so there’s work to do yet.

Felipe Nasr: Finishing Position: 8th
Rating: 8/10 

More points on the board for rookie Nasr, who has so far shown an assured hand a enough speed to eclipse his more experienced teammate, and at the moment shows no intention to slow down one bit.

Marcus ‘IKEA Mascot’ Ericsson: Finishing Position: 10th
Rating: 7/10

Pros: Scored a point. Managed to keep it on the track all race. Swedish.
Cons: Only scored a point. Outdone by teammate. Again.

Red Bull: 5/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded a bonus point as an incentive to stop crying about being awful and to just get on with the racing. They might actually perform better that way.

Daniel Ricciardo: Finishing Position: 9th
Rating: 7/10

Having had the world’s worst start I think i’ve seen since Heikki Kovalainen got his hands on the Lotus a few years ago, it was an impressive enough recovery drive to score some points for the ailing Renault Rocket

Dani Kvyat: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 5.5/10

After not qualifying very well, then not starting very well, then not particularly driving too well, his car finally gave up and decided to go for a quality mojito and some ice cream. Not sure I can blame it really.

Force India: 5/10

Force India are in trouble, and China did nothing to help them perform better. With Sergio Perez out of the points and Nico H not even managing to finish the race (Through no fault of his own), FI need to find something and find it quickly, especially if McLaren finally enter the fold…

Sergio Perez: Finishing Position: 11th
Rating: 6/10

There’s not much Checo can do at the moment with the car he has been given. It was an average race, but not one that is ever going to live on in his memory, and not one that was ever going to seriously challenge anyone.

Nico Hulkenberg: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 6/10 +1 Bonus Point

I feel really sorry for Nico, he has the talent and speed, but not the car. Infact, he’s never really had the car in his entire career. And just to make things worse, this car didn’t even want to work for him. And so, because I feel so sorry for him, i’m going to give him a bonus point.

McHonda: 7/10

McLaren are getting there. Slowly, but they are getting there- qualifying was good, despite being eliminated they weren’t far behind the midfield and both cars finished. Bingo!

Fernando Alonso: Finishing Position: 12th
Rating: 7/10

Solid drive from Fernando after only managing to qualify behind his teammate (It was hella close though). Managed to stay out of the wars and place a decent 12th. Couple more and points aren’t impossible.

Pastor Mal- Uh, I mean Jenson Button: Finishing Position: 14th
Rating: 6/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded a bonus point for doing his best impression of Pastor Maldonado, on Pastor Maldonado, it was still a solid race for JB who actually finished 13th before penalty, and kept pace with Fernando for the entire race.

Toro Rosso: 6/10

Toro Rosso have had better days, but equally they’ve had worse, especially in previous years, so it’s not all bad. Yeah, they didn’t score any points, but they still look like they have the potential

Carlos Sainz Jr: Finishing Position: 13th
Rating: 6/10

An unlucky 13th that he actually inherited from Jenson Button, it wasn’t really a race CSJ is going to remember for being good, but maybe for being bad. It was hardly his day, was it?

Maxx Verstappen: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 6.5/10

Another race where Max has driven perfectly well, but unreliability has hit him hard. Even managed to mix it with Red Bull for half the race but at the end of the day it’s another pointless race

Manor-Marussia: 6/10

A solid day for Marussia, with both cars reaching the finish line for the first time, and the speed has increased, albeit slightly, which all bodes well for the future.

Will Stevens: Finishing Position: 15th
Rating: 6.5/10

A solid race for Will and a decent weekend overall, showing that he still very much has a handle over his teammate and looks good for the future, especially if Manor improve.

Roberto Merhi: Finishing Position: 16th

Again, a solid race, but Roberto just doesn’t seem to have any response to his teammates superiority. However, we’re only a couple of races in and there’s a long way to go yet….

UPDATE: I actually wrote this on Friday but then completely forgot to publish it. Please forgive my incompetence.

In a Veil of Red

30 Mar

You know what’s the best part of doing these articles? The title. The title is the centrepiece, the thing that everybody sees first and the thing that gives a (not so) subtle hint as to what the article is about. And you can choose any title you want. Anything.

Right, so now i’ve stopped fantasizing over my title (Which sounds like its come from a bad crime novel), we can get on with the main event- Malaysian GP ratings! And, unlike Melbourne, what a race we had this time around. From the shock of seeing Mercedes knocked from their perch, to having Manor run and seeing an impossible number of midfield battles, this race was really something else. Although, both McLarens did retire- that was as predictable as the lightning storm during qualifying….

Ferrari: 10/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded the bonus point for winning and not being Mercedes, it was a flawless race from an incredibly resurgent Ferrari- everything they did went to plan, even when the elements and Felipe Nasr’s front wing tried to make sure it didn’t. Props to them for bringing Kimi home in 2nd despite the fact he spent an entire lap with 3 wheels.

Sebastian Vettel: Finishing Position: 1st
Rating: 10/10 +2 Bonus Points

I’m not really keeping score yet, but Vettel now has 3 bonus points from 2 races. This weekend, he scored the first for being insanely quick and pulling moves on both Mercedes’, and the 2nd for his rather hilarious ‘blue flag’ song down the radio. But, all in all, it was a stunning performance- Seb is back, and better than before.

Kimi Räikkönen: Finishing Position: 4th
Rating: 10/10

The Iceman strikes again- if Melbourne didn’t show that he was getting back to his best (Albeit without any points), then Malaysia well and truly proved it. Starting 11th due to the rain, he spent an entire lap with just 3 working wheels after Felipe Nasr broke off his wing in Kimi’s tyre, and he still managed to finish 4th! Imagine what he could do if he had luck.

Mercedes: 6/10

Possibly a weekend Mercedes would want to forget, making strategy errors left right and centre that cost the team any chance of beating Ferrari to victory. Then again, even if they had done it right, they still might not have won.

Lewis Hamilton: Finishing Position: 2nd
Rating: 8/10

It was hardly a bad drive from Lewis, but certainly not one of his best. Also, the race really could have done without him having a meltdown over the radio for being talked to through corners, and maybe just less of him complaining altogether. Still, he leads the championship…..

Nico Rosberg: Finishing Position: 3rd
Rating: 7.5/10

Again, not Nico’s greatest race, and he needs to pull himself together if he wants to look like a challenger, having been lost in Hamilton’s shadow for the first couple of races. This time he could only manage 3rd, but in fairness it hadn’t looked like his weekend after he could only put it 3rd on the grid in qualifying anyway.

Williams: 8/10

Williams have always struggled in the rain, and it looked like it could disadvantage them once again after the Saturday downpour left them only locking out the 4th row of the grid. However, on race day the team put in a good performance to see them take some impressive points, but there’s still room to improve.

Valtteri Bottas: Finishing Position: 5th
Rating: 8.5/10

It was good to see Valtteri back in the car after having to miss out in Australia, and despite having a sketchy start to the race he managed to fight his way back to an impressive 5th place, ahead of his teammate and scoring his first points of the season.

Felipe Massa: Finishing Position: 6th
Rating: 8/10

Another Solid race for Felipe, who’s really showing what he’s capable of doing, despite not having the greatest car n the grid. Now that he seems to be having more luck than last season, he’s racking up points, but he would probably have like to have beaten his teammate…

Toro Rosso: 9/10

It would seem Toro Rosso are benefiting from Red Bull’s fallout with Renault, as they’ve managed to leapfrog them in terms of on track performance, in Malaysia at least anyway, and in a sense they’ve now become a showcase for two of the most talented young drivers on the grid.

Max Verstappen: Finishing Position: 7th
Rating: 9/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded a bonus point for being 17 and ridiculously quick, Max drove a storming race to not just beat both Red Bulls, but also his teammate. From qualifying to the race he hardly put a foot wrong, and this time he had rewards to show for his efforts, and in turn became the youngest driver ever to score points.

Carlos Sainz Jr: Finishing Position: 8th
Rating: 7.5/10

It was a solid if unspectacular drive from CSJ, making up for his less than fantastic grid position of 15th and scoring points for the 2nd race in a row. He was, however, eclipsed by his record breaking teammate, and now the inter-team fight is really going to heat up as CSJ tries to stamp his authority on his drive.

Red Bull: 5/10

It’s a weekend to forget for Red Bull, who, after their very public wrestling match with engine supplier Renault, somehow managed to perform worse than their junior team Toro Rosso, which I haven’t seen since Honda managed to do the impossible and finish behind Super Aguri, and never looked like challenging. At least Dani Kvyat managed to entertain people by being punted into a spin.

Daniil Kvyat: Finishing Position: 9th
Rating: 6/10

Average. I think that’s best word to use here. Average.

In fairness, it isn’t all Dani’s fault, considering the Red Bull is pretty dreadful, but he still had a race he’ll probably not remember as one of his best, probably best summed up when he got catapulted into the air by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.

Daniel Ricciardo: Finishing Position: 10th
Rating: 5/10

If Dani Kvyat was average, then Daniel Riccardo was somewhere below that threshold. Despite starting 4th and ahead of his teammate, he drove an uninspired race in an uninspiring car and still managed to finish behind his teammate despite having 100% less accidents.

Next time Dan, next time.

Lotus: 6/10

Lotus promised so much, but unfortunately didn’t quite deliver. There car certainly looks a lot better than last season, but the end product just isn’t quite there, even if it wasn’t entirely their fault they didn’t score points. Maybe a little luck and some more speed, and they’ll be there in China.

Romain Grosjean: Finishing Position: 11th
Rating: 7/10 +1 Bonus Point

Ah Romain, so close and yet so far. Despite managing to qualify 8th he got demoted to 10th and the ball starting rolling in the wrong direction from that point onwards. Despite trying everything to get in and around the points, his race was over when Sergio Perez spun him half way across Malaysia, ending in Romain executing the save of the season worthy of the 4th bonus point.

Pastor ‘8 Points on my License’ Maldonado: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 6.5/10

Wouldn’t really be Pastor if he didn’t manage to do something wrong. This week’s edition saw him exceed the speed limit under the safety car and earn himself a 10-second stop-go penalty and 3 points on his license, meaning he now has a grand total of 8.

Not that it really matters, he retired anyway.

Force India: 4/10 +1 Bonus Point

Somehow managing to have both drivers gain penalties during the race, a novel feat that earns them the 2nd constructor bonus point, Force India were pretty shocking at the Malaysian GP, even worse then Red Bull. It says a lot when even McLaren can drive as fast as you can for half the race.

Sergio Perez: Finishing Position: 13th
Rating: 5/10

A mixed race for Checo, who managed to go slow enough to resume his never ending battle with Jenson Button, but fast enough that he managed to finish in a higher position than his teammate, and he still had time to punt Romain Grosjean into Singapore.

Nico Hülkenberg: Finishing Position: 14th
Rating: 4/10

Despite spending a lot of time fighting cars such as Red Bulls and Toro Rossos, Nico didn’t really inspire any great confidence in the lacklustre Force India. Even though the car isn’t great, you would still hope to have seen him pull it higher than 14th and try to kickstart their season.

Sauber: 6/10

Not the greatest race ever, with Felipe Nasr’s 16th place qualifying showing Australia may not have been truly indicative of their real pace. Indeed, they remained largely anonymous throughout the race, though having one driver ditch his car after 3 laps doesn’t help.

Felipe Nasr: Finishing Position: 12th
Rating: 6/10

Considering he started near the back of the field, 12th isn’t the worst finishing position for Felipe Nasr, but at the same time it’s hardly the greatest, especially given the expectation on him after finishing 5th on his debut. There are still plenty of races left though, there’s no need to panic just yet. (Well, maybe).

Marcus Ericsson, 2014 Edition: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 3/10

It all went so well for Marcus in Australia, scoring his first points, and it looked like it could stay good in Malaysia, qualifying inside the top 10…

Ditching it in the gravel after 3 laps though really didn’t help. *Slow Clap*

McHonda: 6/10

It was an improvement from McLaren certainly, considering how off the pace they were in Aus they put in a much better performance in Malaysia, spending the majority of their race battling with the midfield- at points, they were faster than Force India, and as fast as Sauber, Lotus and even Red Bull.

But then both cars packed up. Oh well.

Fernando Alonso: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 8/10

Back from the 1990’s, Nando put as much as possible into the McHonda, but a mistake on his fast lap meant he qualified behind Jenson, Despite this setback, he ploughed through the field, taking advantage of the safety car to get all the way into 8th place, and even manage to hold off the cars behind him. Unfortunately his ERS then decided it wanted a holiday, but the talent is certainly still there.

Jenson Button: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 7/10

It was much the same for Jenson, battling through the midfield after a disappointing qualifying. There’s no doubt the car is improving, and he managed to make it up into the points for a good few laps, even declaring his delight over the radio that they were able to race people. At the end of the day though, his Turbo still packed up and he finished with nothing. Again.

Manor-Marussia: 7/10

They’re up and running! Finally the cars have been delivered with working data packs, and we got to see them in all sessions over the weekend. Mind you though, it was only really one of them in each session most of the time….

Roberto Merhi: Finishing Position: 15th
Rating: 7/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded the final bonus point for doing something McLaren couldn’t- finish the race- it was a solid debut from Roberto Merhi. Despite the fact he didn’t quite make 107%, he was still allowed to race, and didn’t make many mistakes along the way (In the race at least, not so much practice where he decided to practice 180 spins).

He did finish 3 laps down, but details.

Will Stevens, The Most Unfortunate Man in Formula 1: Finishing Position: DNQ
Rating: 6/10

Oh Will, it was all looking so good. The cars were up and running, practice had gone so well and he’d even managed to break into the 107% barrier (105.5%ish i think it was int he end). I’m under no doubt that he could have given Roberto one hell of a race had he been able to. In the end, he didn’t even get the opportunity to qualify.

Well, that is that then for this week. It’s nice to see my demands from the end of my Aus GP ratings were answered, and here’s to hoping that the same can continue in the Chinese Grand Prix.

To the future.

Friday Roundup: Adrian Sutil might still have a job after all, Lewis Hamilton’s car hates him (Along with the FIA) and Adrian Newey is allegedly human

27 Mar

It’s Friday, it’s Malaysian GP Weekend, and I was supposed to write this article this afternoon whilst enjoying my 3 hour break from lectures with my good friends Toni and Nathan. Unfortunately, I got a little sidetracked, and so i’m having to bring this to you in the evening.

But it could be worse, I could not have written this at all (Which may have actually been the better idea), seeing as i’m supposed to be packing for going home tomorrow. Oh well.

So to the first part of the roundup- I actually flipped a coin to decide which topic went first, which is an interesting concept considering there are 3 topics- Adrian Sutil might actually still have a job. For a long period of time, nobody actually knew if he had a deal in place with serial contractors Sauber for this season or not, or if he did what he was going to do etc, not that anybody really cared seeing as Giedo Van Der Garde was hogging all the headlines by actually taking IKEA-lite to court.

However, he now definitely does have a job, as Reserve driver for Williams incase Valtteri Bottas gets a bad back again or Felipe Massa has a mental breakdown from people confusing him for Felipe Nasr. Hardly a top job, but certainly better than currently driving for McLaren…. (Sorry Ron, love you really).

The second of these, which maybe should have gone first as it’s relevant to now, is that, despite being the current Gods of Formula 1, Mercedes’ car doesn’t particularly like working for Lewis Hamilton, doing everything in its power to ruin his weekend by breaking down and meaning he missed all of FP1. Not to worry though, he came back and topped FP2 as his way of telling his car to get bent.

And it’s not only the car against Lewis. He’s brought with him an incredible helmet design for the Malaysian fans, but the FIA  in all of their wisdom decided that they wanted to ban people changing helmets because nobody could recognise them. Well, I don’t know about you, but i’ve never used helmets to determine who’s driving, always the airbox. If you know who’s first driver, it’s easy. And that helmet design was really good too.

And to end, a more underlying tone for this weekend is the intra-team/company war between Red Bull and Renault. Red Bull are pissed that Renault have such a terrible engine, so Renault retaliated by publicly calling Adrian Newey a liar and telling Red Bull that their cars are crap. All in all, both parties now hate each other, so what better idea than to seat Christian Horner (Red Bull) and Cyril Abiteboul (Renault) next to each other in the press conference. What could possibly go wrong?

I do think it’s funny Cyril calling Adrian Newey a liar, because, if anything, it just helps confirm that he might actually be a very talented human and not just an incredibly intelligent robot send from the future. Well, that’s if he did lie of course.

And, for a nicer note, it’s really good to see Manor-Marussia back on the grid and racing.

Also, to Toni and Nathan, what we did today was in equal parts one of the funniest things i’ve ever done and also one of the most disturbing.

Until Sunday, I guess. Näkemiin!

Film Elements!

15 Mar

I’m back!

Yes, Tom, Chris’s often absent co-writer, to bring a new touch to the blog. As a film maker, and also due to my inability to watch all the F1 races live anymore, I am going to be writing some pieces on film. This will often take the form of reviews, however, it may also follow me as I make my films, with Chris joining in, as he is my right-hand man!

With the reviews it will be any kind of film- new, old, British, American, World-Cinema, live action, animation- ANYTHING!

I will also take suggestions- so if you have a review request, send me a tweet (@TomJiSung) and I will try and get around to it! I will do my first review very soon!

Until then!

Melbourne’s Eleven

15 Mar

F1 is back, ready to rock and roll in Australia and set the world alight once more. The pinnacle of motorsport returning with some old faces, and plenty of new ones too. Unfortunately, there’s just one problem…

Only 15 cars lined up on the grid.

Neither Manor cars even made qualifying, whilst Flying Finn Valtteri Bottas managed to damage his back.That left 17 supposedly lining up, but before even the warm up lap had begun, Kevin Magnussen’s car exploded into an amazing cloud of smoke and Daniil Kvyat’s gearbox decided it wanted a holiday.

During the race a further 4 cars- Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado, Max Verstappen and Kimi Räikkönen- all retired to leave just 11 cars to finish, headed by race winner and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

However, all drivers need still be given equal treatment, and so all 20 will be subject to my very own race ratings! And, this year, along with the ratings, i’m introducing bonus points. Each race, 5 bonus points are on offer between the drivers for act of extraordinance (And they don’t even have to be good), with 2 points available between the teams.

So, let the games begin.

Mercedes: 10/10

A pretty flawless performance by the current Constructors champions, with both drivers finishing 1-2 and well ahead of the competition. Another year of dominance perhaps?

Lewis Hamilton: Finishing Position: 1st
Rating: 10/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded the first of the 5 bonus points for totally dominating the race from start to finish, it was exactly the type of performance you would have expected from the reigning World Champion as he looks to defend his crown.

Nico Rosberg: Finishing Position: 2nd
Rating: 8/10

Nico lead a pretty flawless race himself, but simply could not keep up with Hamilton in the long run. If Rosberg wants to take this year by storm then he’s going to need to get himself back on the top step of the podium

Ferrari: 7.5/10

Racking up their first podium of the season in the first race shows a remarkable improvement from last year, and their rating would be much higher to reflect how well they’ve done…

But then they decided they’d forget to put Kimi’s wheel on properly. *Slow Clap*

Sebatian Vettel: Finishing Position: 3rd
Rating: 9/10 +1 Bonus Point

I’m starting to like Seb. Putting him in a Ferrari, it just feels right, and he had such a great first race to show for it. Of course, he wasn’t going to get near the Mercedes, but he was the best of the rest and that’s really something.

Then he decided to start speaking Italian over the radio so I had to give him a bonus point.

Kimi Räikkönen: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 7/10 +1 Bonus Point

Kimi Räikkönen looks like a changed man- he actually looks like he can work with this Ferrari and show his speed. He wasn’t doing half bad in the race either- not fantastic, but decent. Aaaand then his wheel fell off. Literally.

I guess sometimes F1 isn’t fair but he at least deserves a bonus point for having an incompetent pit crew.

Williams: 8/10

Williams are back this season, continuing the form of thee last one, and that can only bode well for them. Their race was solid, even of they could only run one car- imagine how they could have done with Bottas fit and ready. All in all though, it’s a good start to what could be a great season

Felipe Massa: Finishing Position: 4th
Rating: 8/10

Felipe drove a solid race, and was fortunate enough not to endure the poor luck he’s had in the past, with 4th a good finishing result. Could potentially have challenged Vettel if he hadn’t spend so long fighting those around him, but all in all it was a result he should be happy with.

Valtteri Bottas: Finishing Position: DNS
Rating: 7/10

Obviously, after not taking part in the race, this rating is based off the Friday and Saturday sessions, where he looked good and performed well, 3rd in Practice 1 on the Friday. Taking into account his injury, 6th on the grid was a feat in itself. Who knows how high he could have got if he was fully fit.

Red Bull: 7/10

Red Bull have problems, but most of them aren’t faults of their own. Most of them belong to Renault, but Red Bull are their major team and so the package comes as one. Yet, despite losing Dani Kvyat before the start, Daniel Ricciardo battled hard for points. Top stuff.

Daniel Ricciardo: Finishing Position: 6th
Rating: 7.5/10

Daniel did what he could with the car, battling with Felipe Massa and co to try and force his way into the high points. Largely, it was a success, finishing 6th and collecting 8 points, but finishing behind the Ikeamobile of Felipe Nasr is just a little bit embarassing (Props to Nasr though).

Dani Kvyat: Finishing Position: DNS
Rating: 2/10

Qualifying 13th is surprisingly unsurprising for Daniil Kvyat, who didn’t look like someone who had any confidence in the car that he was driving. Even if his gearbox hadn’t failed before he made the grid, it would be hard to see him challenging the top 6 in any capacity. He needs to get his head around the Red Bull if he’s going to score points any time soon.

Sauber: 10/10 +1 Bonus Point

I didn’t have much faith in Sauber before the start of this race, especially with Ericsson down in 18th on the grid and the car looking like IKEA on wheels (That had been designed by a 5 year old on steroids). But, what a performance they put in. It was incredible- not only did they have reliability, they had the performance. And to symbolise me eating my words (For this race at least), i’m giving them the first Constructor bonus point.

Felipe NASA: Finishing Position: 5th
Rating: 10/10

Well, that’s certainly one way to introduce yourself on the world stage- 5th place in the opening rounds, beating a Red Bull and generally driving fantastically. Infact, he made it look effortless, and didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend. Bravo my man, and onto Malaysia!;

Marcus Ericsson: Finishing Position: 8th
Rating: 8.5/10

So I may have, on occasion, been a little harsh to Marcus, but most of time he’s warranted it. However, this race may just prove a turning point in his career, as he now has his first points! A solid and well worked drive where he managed to mix it with the big boys.

However, he still finished 3 places behind his teammate, so it’s not all roses just yet…

Toro Rosso: 7/10

Toro Rosso- solid, yet unspectacular. Pretty much how it’s been for most of the seasons they’ve been in F1, but they showed promise in Melbourne and look good. Carlos Sainz Jr managed to score points and Max Verstappen looked decent in his first ever race, only to be taken down by a technical issue.

Carlos Sainz Jr: Finishing Position: 9th
Rating: 8/10

It’s never easy being a rookie in F1, especially being thrown into the deep end with Red Bull’s sister team, but Carlos Sainz Jr (CSJ) handled the occasion well. He looked fast and aggressive, but also controlled and relaxed, and managed to grab a couple of points despite having issues. In addition to that, he didn’t have a half bad qualifying either.

Max Verstappen: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 8/10

The expectation that rested on Max Verstappen, entering F1 at just 17 years of age, was immense, but he showed that he can handle the pressure fantastically and even drive a half decent race too. Despite having a mechanical problem, the future looks bright for young Max.

Force India: 5/10

Despite getting both cars in the points, it was hardly Force India’s finest hour. Infact, if the whole grid had run, I very much doubt they would have scored many, if any, points at all. They need to get themselves together quickly for Malaysia, and try to push further up.

Nico Hülkenberg: Finishing Position: 7th
Rating: 7/10

Not particularly much to report from Nico Hülkenberg, but he ran a good race in a less competitive Force India. Whilst most of his position gains were due to other’s problems, he managed to keep himself out of trouble and score some good points of his own.

Checo Perez: Finishing Position: 10th
Rating: 5/10

Whilst Nico Hulkenberg managed to stay out of trouble and score good points, Sergio Perez spent most of his race trying to get past the underpowered Honda of Jenson Button, and most of the time he didn’t even have much luck. Out of 11 finishing cars, he almost didn’t score any points.

McHonda: -3/10 +1 Bonus Point

Oh it really hasn’t been a great weekend for McLaren has it? Slower than HRT in their prime and sporting less power than North Korea’s opposition party, they only managed to get one car to the starting grid- and the one car they did, started and finished last.

But the point here is that one car did finish, and nobody expected that. BONUS POINT FOR YOU!

Jenson Button: Finishing Position: 11th
Rating: 10/10 +1 Bonus Point

The fact JB finished this race is in itself worthy of a knighthood, but unfortunately i’m not in a position to give them so i’ll just give him a bonus point. Even though he was massively down on power, he managed to have a fantastic battle with Sergio Perez, and even managed to hold him off for a while!  Top stuff from JB.

Kevin Magnussen: Finishing Position: DNS
Rating: 6/10 +1 Bonus Point

I couldn’t really give Kevin anything more than 6, but equally I couldn’t give him anything less. We don’t know how he’d have done in the race, but considering the guy had just one day of testing before this weekend we can’t have been surprised to see JB outqualify him.

Besides, at least he provided some entertainment with an incredible engine failure. That is worthy of the final bonus point.

Lotus: 3/10

Things looked so promising for Lotus, with both cars managing to qualify inside the top 10, but then everything went wrong inside the first 30 seconds of the race- Romain Grosjean’s car refused to work and Pastor Maldonado had a trip into the barrier. And that was that.

Romain Grosjean: Finsihing Position: DNF
Rating: 6.5/10

Considering he didn’t get far, a default 6/10 would seem fair, but he gets an extra 0.5 for putting the car in the top 10 ahead of his teammate. I think he deserves that.

Pastor Maldonado: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 6/10

Pretty much reads the same as RoGro, except Pastor didn’t qualify ahead of his teammate (Naturally). At least this time the crash wasn’t his fault…

Manor: 0/10

I feel for Manor- after everything, the cars still couldn’t run. But at least they made it to Australia, which shows potential- it’s not over yet.

Will Stevens: Finishing Position: DNQ
Rating: 6/10

6 is the standard rating that all the ratings are based off of, and considering he didn’t do anything all weekend, there’s no reason for that to change.

Roberto Merhi: Finishing Position: DNQ
Rating: 6/10

See Will Stevens

So that is it, the first set of ratings of the season. Now we move onto Monsoon city (Malaysia), where we can only hope that more cars start the race, and less of the end up retiring.

Until next time…

The World’s Most Incredible 2015 F1 Season Predictions

14 Mar

With Melboure Qualifying haveing come and gone, we have some indication of how the order of the year’s F1 season may pan out- but, as is always the case with me, I have my own predictions. After all, the season is 20 races(ish) long, and a lot can happen between now and the end of the year.

Although with that said, last year I only managed to get an amazing 2 predictions right. One of them was Max Chilton and the other was Esteban Gutierrez, so that can tell you all you need to know about my fortune telling skills.

So, shall we get to it?

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Predicted Constructor Finish: 1st

Mercedes

Mercedes were totally dominant last season, and this season shows no signs of being any different. After a solid pre-season where they completed a ridiculous number of laps, the form seems to have continued with the team obliterating everyone during the first couple of days of the Australian GP. Whether anyone can catch them is one thing, but even if somebody does, they could be well out of sight by then.

Nico Rosberg
Predicted Finish: 1st

I backed Nico last year to be World Champion, and this year is no different, despite finishing runner up in 2014. With another dominant car, it’ll most likely be between the two Mercedes drivers for the title once again- last year the title largely came down to luck, with Nico being on the wrong end of it in the Abu Dhabi finale. Now he’s back and as motivated as ever, this could well be his year.

Lewis Hamilton
Predicted Finish: 2nd

Realistically, it could well be either of the Mercedes drivers who take the World Championship, they’re both so evenly matched- but, i’m here to make predictions so i’m going to have to make one. My head says Lewis to retain the crown, but my heart is with Nico as it was last year, and i’m going to go with my heart on this one, as I did last year. Sorry Lewis.

Williams Martini Racing
Predicted Constructor Finish: 2nd

Williams

After such a fantastic season last year for Williams, this season looks like it could be even better. The team has gone on leaps and bounds since the dark years, and now look a force to contend with, with some fantastic drivers to go with it. They could certainly be one to look out for this season if Mercedes slip up.

Valtteri Bottas #BO77AS
Predicted Finnish: 3rd

What a breakthrough season Valtteri Bottas had last year. After only just managing to outscore the bulldozer (Pastor Maldonado) in 2013, the jury was still out, but last season he put all the doubters in their place. Now, with the car looking just as good if not better than last season, it’s the perfect opportunity for the Flying Finn to rack up the podiums, and maybe even grab his first race win.

Felipe Massa
Predicted Finish: 6th

Felipe had such bad luck last year, his final position of 7th didn’t tell the entire story. However, with the re-emergence of Ferrari to content with, along with an exceptionally fast teammate, it’s going to be an extremely tight battle to see who can get into the top end of the table. Expect Felipe to be there or there about, and maybe he might get some good luck this time…

Scuderia Ferrari
Predicted Constructor Finish: 3rd

Ferrari

Ferrari looked down and out last season, with their team structure crumbling and results not going their way, but this season seems very different. The car looks good, and with Sebastian Vettel onboard to partner Kimi Raikkonen, the team has a perfect mix of speed and experience. The drivers look confident and the team looks confident. This could be a good season- expect podiums, and don’t completely write off the chance of a race win.

Sebastian Vettel
Predicted Finish: 5th

Seb made a bold move last year, leaving the team that brought him into 3 World Championships in favour of a move to Italy and Ferrari. At the moment, it looks like a move that could just pay off. Whilst Ferrari are back on the up, Red Bull are having many problems. Whilst I don’t expect Seb to set the world alight at Ferrari this season, I certainly expect him to show exactly why they signed him.

Kimi Räikkönen #ICEMAN
Predicted Finnish: 7th

It really didn’t work out for the Iceman last year. And when I say didn’t work out, I meant it was disastrous. Whilst the Ferrari was not great, he still could only manage 12th, behind both Force Indias and McLarens, whilst his teammate was in 6th fighting Red Bulls. This year though, the car looks like it suits him a lot more, and that’s going to help propel him up the standings.

Infinity Red Bull Racing
Predicted Constructor Finish: 4th

CamoBull

I can’t be the only one that misses the CamoBull, can I? I thought it was a really elegant design but this is Red Bull, and they do have a branded colour scheme to stick to. Another thing they have to stick to is the use of Renault engines, which may be one of their main hindrances this season, especially considering Daniel Ricciardo spent the whole of Aussie FP2 without an engine. That may not be their only problem though…

There’s also Daniil Kvyat.

Daniel ‘Honey Badger’ Ricciardo
Predicted Finish: 4th

Red Bull started off last season without the greatest car in the world, but still Daniel Ricciardo managed to tame it, and outdo his 3 time world champion teammate into 3rd place in the standings. This year is no different- the Red Bull does not look fantastic, but does have enough potential that, over the course of the season, Dan can rack up the points and smash his way into the top 5.

Daniil Kvyat
Predicted Finish: 11th

Daniil Kvyat scored 8 points last year. To give you a comparison, Romain Grosjean also scored 8 points last year. The difference is, Romain was driving a car that performed worse than Justin Beiber on LSD- Daniil Kvyat was not. Indeed, Kvyat’s teammate at the time, Jean Eric Vergne, managed to score almost 3 times as many points as he did. So forgive me if i’m not confident Kvyat can break into the top 10.

McLaren Honda #McHonda
Predicted Constructor Finish: 5th

McHonda

Oh I am taking a risk with this one. A big, big risk. After Qualifying in Melbourne, McLaren sit dead last and, tyres taken into account, almost 4 seconds off the pace. It looks hopeless, but it should be taken into account that Honda is down 250bhp to improve reliability- once the power is back, the team should be on the up, especially with the aggressive upgrade system. But for now, they’re just a little doomed…

Honda, The Power of Nightmares

Fernando Alonso, 1995 Edition
Predicted Finish: 8th

Despite living in 1995 (Which is before I was born… Creepy), Nando is still very much a McHonda driver, and probably one of the best drivers on the grid, if not the best. Time and time again he’s been able to pull a failing Ferrari near the front of the grid, so I have no doubt he’ll do the same once Honda fix out their problems.

Jenson Button
Predicted Finish: Somewhere hopefully not last (Like 10th. Let’s go with that)

The most experienced man on the grid returns in a situation that bears a striking resemblance to one he’s been in before. In 2008, driving for the works Honda team, Button found himself rooted to the back of the grid in a car with more problems that Rolf Harris in a Primary school. In that season he finished 18th.

Oh.

Kevin Magnussen
Predicted Finish: 21st

I like Kevin, but the likelihood is that he’s only going to be doing 1 race, and the car is so bad I’d be surprised if he finishes. So, er, yeah.

Lotus F1 Team
Predicted Constructor Finish: 6th

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 2 - Jerez, Spain

Lotus had a poor season last year, scoring just 10 points all season, but this year already looks an improvement. With both cars inside the top 10 during qualifying, the future looks brighter for Lotus. They need to rack up the points though, especially if Red Bull and McLaren get their acts together.

Romain Grosjean
Predicted Finish: 9th

Having to put up with a poor performing car last year, RoGro is back with a vengeance an ready to deal some damage. If the Lotus can keep up its early top 10 running pace, then we could well see him in the points on a regular occasion. They may not be high points, but they’ll be points nonetheless.

Pastor Maldonado
Predicted Finish: 13th

Unlucky 13 for Maldonado? He seems to like that number regardless. With a better performing Lotus, its his chance to prove the doubters wrong and shake off his ‘Crashtor’ image. That said, something tells me he won’t have much on Romain Grosjean. Not this season.

Sahara Force India F1 Team
Predicted Constructor Finish: 7th

SFI

Force India seem to follow a pattern every season- start off great, then slowly fade away over the course of the season and finish somewhere in the middle of the pack. This season, however, they don’t actually seem to have started that great- now they’ve got to hope their usual pattern doesn’t hold.

Nico Hülkenberg
Predicted Finish: 12th

Nico is a good driver, we all know that. Even last season, where his form was a little up and down, he still managed to put in some decent shifts. This season. however, he’s stuck with a car that doesn’t look fantastic. I still expect him to grab some points, and outdo Checo, but I don’t expect him to set the world alight.

Checo Perez
Predicted Finish: 15th

This rolls pretty much the same as Nico H, but I don’t rate Perez as highly. On his day he can be really good, but his days seem to be few and far between. He’s just got to hope FI can keep up a fast enough car that he can perform on when he is on it.

Scuderia Toro Rosso
Predicted Constructors Finish: 8th

Toro Rosso

The mighty Red Bull understudy! Infact, they’ve looked so good so far that Carlos Sainz Jr managed to outqualify a parent Red Bull (OK it was Kvat, but the point still stands). Unfortunately, Toro Rosso started last season well, and then tailed off massively, and I can see the same happening again. They just don’t have the resources to keep up, but i’m all up for them to prove me wrong.

Max Verstappen #MAXPOWER
Predicted Finish: 14th

Oh I am taking a risk with this one. The wonderkid, Max Verstappen, finally taking his first steps into the world of F1. Even though he’s just 17, he’s showing great potential and seems completely unfazed by the tasks ahead of him. Yes, CSJ outqualified him in Australia, but I feel that, once Max gets to grips with the car, then we’ll really get to see what he’s made of.

Carlos Sainz Jr
Predicted Finish: 17th

I have to say, trying to predict where CSJ is going to finish was one of the hardest parts of doing this. I really, really can’t judge whether he’s going to be really good or not. His Australia qualifying was spectacular, but then Daniil Kvyat started last season on fire and ended up never finishing higher than 9th.

Sorry Carlos

Sauber F1 Team
Predicted Constructor Finish: 9th

Ikea

Sauber’s season started off somewhere south of awful when they decided to brand their car with the colours of IKEA, and it hasn’t really got any better since then. A legal wrangle with Giedo Van Der Garde over the fact Monisha Kaltenborn is more incompetent than Homer Simpson has overshadowed what is potentially a half decent Sauber car. I say ‘half decent’, because Marcus Ericsson still couldn’t get himself out of Q1.

Felipe Nasr
Predicted Finish: 16th

Nasr was always thought of as a pay driver, considering his massive Brazilian sponsorship from Banco Do Brasil, but Nasr looks like he has genuine talent. If he can take the Sauber and somehow get it into the points, then that’ll vindicate the decision to give him a race seat.

Marcus Ericsson
Predicted Finish: 18th

Ericsson was signed by Sauber a while ago, but only time can tell whether it was a good move for the Swiss team, or the Swedish driver, especially if Sauber struggle. Last season, in a poor Caterham, Ericsson was soundly outdone for most of the season by Kamui Kobayashi- he needs to bring his late season form to Australia if he wants to move off the back.

Manor Marussia F1 Team
Predicted Finish: 10th

Manor

I’m afraid somebody has to be last. Manor, having been saved from certain doom at the last minute, go into the season with a 2015 spec 2014 car, and unfortunately that may hinder any chance they have of immediately making inroads. However, this is a team of fighters, and if there is an opportunity, they will take it- make no mistake of that.

Will Stevens
Predicted Finish: 19th

Literally, trying to decide who finishes higher between Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi was a gut decision, and in the end it went to Stevens on account of the fact he has already had a race in an F1 car, and fairly recently too.

Roberto Merhi
Predicted Finish: 20th

As for Roberto, he has FP1 experience so he’s not a complete rookie, but he has no race exposure. Either way, whatever happens, I wish the both of them the best of luck.

AND SO THAT IS IT! There are my predictions for the 2015 F1 season. Now lets see if I can actually get more than 2 people in the correct positions……

A Day of Transition

20 Feb

So, after much careful decision, I decided to change the background and the theme of the blog.

Because, let’s face it, the previous background was awful. It shouldn’t surprise you to know I was hopeless at art.

The blog even has a new tagline, though that arose more from the fact that I don’t have a clue how to properly customise the blog and accidentally made everything black.

The background is black. The Title is black. The page link is black. EVERYTHING IS BLACK. And I have absolutely no idea what i’m doing or how to get around this at all, because I hate technology and technology hates me.

So ‘this blog just got a hell of a lot darker’, but it was completely unintentional.

Send help. Please.