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What about this for the new Ferrari car.
More radical with that big square hole in the front than
Michael Schumacher's Benetton car with the nose supported on struts.
This was later copied by all the other teams.
Wonder if this will be copied by the other teams.
It's February 2012 in Modena and the launch was delayed for the snow.

Fernondo Alonso and Felipe Massa with the Ferrari F2012

Brazil race (Sao Paulo)
Brazil (Sao Paulo) Button wins the race, Vettel the title
Sunday 25th November 2012

Sebastian Vettel wrapped up his third successive Drivers' Championship with a sixth place in Sunday's tumultous Brazilian GP, a race won by Jenson Button.

In a grand prix that lived up to its billing as the season finale, the race lead was held by three different drivers, one of which was Force India's Nico Hulkenberg. He and Jenson Button made the best of the mixed conditions, until a Safety Car on Lap 23 brought them back in range of the field.

Lewis Hamilton exited the race after Hulkenberg crashed into him, leaving the Ferraris in second and third behind Button. However the biggest drama came on Lap 1 when Sebastian Vettel survived a double hit by the Williams of Brono Senna and was spun to the back of the field. The Red Bull endured an afternoon of nerve-wracking moments until Vettel finally brough the car home in sixth place.

Race Report Prior to the cars forming up on the grid, Michael Schumacher made a lap of the track with a Thank-You banner attached to his Mercedes as he retired from F1 for the second (and final) time. It had been dry in the morning but in the last few minutes before the grid cleared the rain started to spit down. The ambient temperature was just 19C and the track at 21C.

Seven rows of grid: 1.Hamilton, 2.Button, 3.Webber, 4.Vettel, 5.Massa, 6.Hulkenberg, 7.Alonso, 8.Raikkonen, 9.Rosberg, 10.DiResta, 11.Senna, 12.Perez, 13.Schumacher, 14.Kobayashi

As the red lights went out the Mclarens were away fairly well, but it was the Ferraris who were really on the move, Massa came round the outside of both Red Bulls and swept past Jenson Button into P2.

Behind him Fernando Alonso got past the slow-starting Nico Hulkenberg and came round the outside of Mark Webber. Webber had already ruined Vettel's start by crowding him to the inside but managed to get back in front of Alonso through Turn 2.

Vettel being blocked by his team-mate slowed him through Turns 1 and 2 and allowed Hulkenberg though into P6 as they all piled down the hill into the tricky Lake Descent turn. Bruno Senna was behind Kimi Raikkonen and Paul Di Resta but still launched himself up the inside of Di Resta and struck Vettel who was ahead of them all. Raikkonen left the track and ran wide and Senna's Williams had two hits on the Red Bull and spun it round.

Sergio Perez tried to take avoiding action but was collected by the Williams and both were out on the spot. Vettel meanwhile was in the middle of the track and allowed his car to roll down hill, all the time keeping his car straight so the field could pass either side. He resumed plain last.

Button overtook Massa on the slippery opening lap and as the cars crossed the line the order was: 1.Hamilton, 2.Button, 3.Massa, 4.Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Heidfeld, 7.DiResta, 8.Raikkonen, 9.Maldonado, 10. Kobayashi, 11.Rosberg, 12.Ricciardo.

Felipe Massa slowed at the end of Lap 1 which allowed Webber to draw alongside on the outside of the Ferrari and Alonso through on the inside, Fernando moving from P5 to P3 in one move. Massa managed to hang onto P4, though not for long.

The man making the most of the slippery conditions was Nico Hulkenberg who was past Webber on Lap 3 and up into P4. The positions at the front were now: 1.Hamilton, 2.Button, 3.Alonso, 4.Hulkenberg, 5.Webber, 6.Massa, 7.DiResta, 8.Raikkonen

Alonso was trying very hard and on Lap 5 ran wide at Turn 1 allowing Hulkenberg up to P3, but he managed to scramble across the run-off to keep ahead of Webber and Massa. Romain Grosjean went careering off into the barriers on Lap 6

By Lap 7 the two Mclarens were getting very racy with Jenson Button excelling in mixed conditions and challenging Hamilton for the lead. The slight drizzle had continued and lap times weren't improving, but the two McLarens and the Force India were pulling away from the Ferrari of Alonso.

Mark Webber was hit by Kobayashi and spun on Lap 7 and with all the chaos of cars running wide Sebastian Vettel was up to P8 on Lap 7 and an amazing P6 by Lap 8.

A lap later and Jenson Button, who'd been pressuring Hamilton into Turn 1, was through into the lead. By Lap 9 he was 1.6 seconds clear of Hamilton. With the rain getting worse drivers started to head for pitlane for intermediate tyres. Kimi Raikkonen had already been in for intermediate tyres at the end of Lap 5 and wasn't going quicker than the leaders but the lap time was only two seconds behind.

On Lap 9 Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber pitted for inters and on Lap 10 Hamilton and Alonso were in for them, too. The whole field would eventually come in for inters except the two out front. What was more interesting was that Button and Hulkenberg were still going quicker than the rest of the field on slicks and a dry line started to emerge.

As it got drier, so Hulkenberg edged closer to Button and was alongside him on Lap 17 and through into the lead on Lap 18. At this stage drivers realised that inters weren't the tyre to be on and came back into the pitlane for slicks. This meant that on Lap 20, Hulkenberg and Button (neither of whom had pitted) had a massive 45 second lead and everyone else had pitted at least twice.

Positions on Lap 21: 1.Hulkenberg, 2. Button, 3.Hamilton, 4.Alonso, 5.Vettel, 6.Kobayashi, 7.Webber, 8.Di Resta, 9.Ricciardo, 10.Vergne, 11.Raikkonen, 12.Massa

Vettel was almost the slowest down the main straight and while Adrian Newey looked at photos of Vettel's broken floor from his position on the pitwall, the team tried to keep in radio contact with their driver - which was proving to be intermittant. He had Alonso in sight just in front of him on the road who was a massive 65 seconds behind the leader.

Following midfield clashes some parts of wings and broken carbon fibre were littering the track and Alonso made sure he was on team radio complaining there was "too much debis on the track." The following lap (lap 23) the Safety Car was dispatched, though more in response to Nico Rosberg picking up a puncture from running over it than suggestions from the Ferrari driver.

Hulkenberg and Button immediately pitted for tyres and it took a long time for the field to close up and then the lapped cars (of which there were many) to unlap themselves. Finally it came in at the end of Lap 29 and Hulkenberg made a good getaway.

Webber looked to be causing more problems for Vettel by overtaking him on the restart and while the Aussie went round the outside into Turn 1 - and ran wide onto the run-off - Kamui Kobayashi passed Vettel on the inside. With the pack bunched up Webber lost a shedload of places.

Hamilton, who had been half a lap behind Button, then overtook his team-mate on Lap 31. Kobayashi, who was very fast down the pit straight passed Alonso for P4 and the following lap Alonso was back past him again to return the status quo.

Positions on Lap 33: 1.Hulkenberg, 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Alonso, 5.Kobayashi, 6.Vettel, 7.Massa 8.Ricciardo, 9.DiResta 10.Schumacher, 11.Webber, 12.Raikkonen

Rather than risk anything, Vettel let Massa pass him on Lap 34 as the race settled down for a rare moment. The battle between the new teams was hotting up with Caterham's Vitaly Petrov into P13 and Marussia's Charles Pic (who would be at Caterham in 2013) behind in P14. Massa overtook Kamui Kobayashi in a brave move around the outside into Turn 4 Lake Descent, on Lap 36 and the Ferraris were now running 4th and 5th.

Hamilton began to catch Hulkenberg with Button a couple of seconds back. The Force India driver was complaining of slight gearbox issues as the McLaren closed to 1.2 seconds on Lap 45.

Vettel had been dropping off Kobayashi very quickly all of a sudden - on Lap 50 the gap moved out by a second to 2.5 seconds, and then a lap later it was 3.7 seconds. So the Red Bull came in at the end of Lap 52 for more medium tyres.

This was happening as the track was getting slippier and on Lap 53 Alonso lost two seconds on the cars in front in Sector 2 alone. Kimi Raikkonen ran wide off track and headed for what he thought was a route back onto the track but in fact it was the old circuit and he suddenly had to spin the car round and go back the way he had come. Rallycrossing across the grass to get back on the circuit.

On Lap 54 Hamilton tried to make a move around the outside of Hulkenberg going into Turn 1. Hamilton was in front when Hulkenberg lost control of his car, his rear wheel spinning into Lewis's left front and breaking the suspension.

Hamilton was out on the spot and Hulkenberg would get a drive-through penalty for his lack of care. Jenson Button was now through into the lead but Hulkenberg continued in P2. Then to add to the drama, the rain began to get even worse.

So Vettel had to take on inters having just stopped for slicks, but more surprising, Fernando Alonso was due to come in for inters at the end of Lap 56 but kept on going, thus losing out on a whole chunk of time and allowing Felipe Massa past him. Button and Hulkenberg pitted for inters, Hulkenberg served his drive-through penalty which all shook out to.

Positions on Lap 59: 1>Button, 2.Massa, 3.Alonso, 4.Hulkenberg, 5.Webber, 6.Schumacher, 7.Vettel, 8.Kobayashi, 9.Vergne, 10.DiResta.

The intensity of the rain grew and lap times slowed and there were thoughts that the full wet tyre might soon be needed. Button's engineer asked him repeatedly if he was "happy on that tyre" (the inter). But the moment for full wets didn't arrive. Massa duly let Alonso catch him and pass him. Mark Webber passed Hulkenberg for P4 and Michael Schumacher moved over to let his fellow countryman past from P7 into P6.

Thus in the final six laps Alonso, twenty seconds in arrears, had to rely on Button falling off the road or encountering mechanical problems to win the championship. As it was, we didn't get to Lap 71 before the race was over. There was water coming off the hill down the start/finish straight which Paul DiResta's Force India hit, snapping the car into the barrier. Button had also encountered it and had held a snap slide from the MP4-27. With a broken car on the straight there was no option to bring out the Safety Car and the field cruised to the flag with Button winning the opening and closing GPs of the season.

Thus Sebastian Vettel became the youngest triple World Champion and Ferrari hearts were broken yet again. Alonso finished second ahead of Massa, Webber, Hulkenberg, Vettel, Schumacher, Vergne, Kobayashi and Raikkonen.

Vitaly Petrov passed Charles Pic on Lap 66 to take the all-important 12th place, which became 11th at the flag with the removal of DiResta. Yet again the Brazilian Grand Prix had served up an epic drama and one which looked to have an unfortunate ending for Red Bull on Lap 1.


01. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h45:22.656
02. Alonso Ferrari + 2.754
03. Massa Ferrari + 3.615
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 4.936
05. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 5.708
06. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 9.453
07. Schumacher Mercedes + 11.900
08. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 28.600
09. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 31.200
10. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
11. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
12. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
14. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
15. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
16. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
18. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
19. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 3 laps
Did Not Finish
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 55
Grosjean Lotus-Renault 6
Maldonado Williams-Renault 2
Senna Williams-Renault 1
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1

Brazil Sao Paulo

Drivers' Standings after the Brazil GP on Sunday 25th. November 2012 (final)

PositionDriverCountry TeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelGerRed Bull-Renault281
2Fernando AlonsoSpaFerrari278
3Kimi RaikonnenFinLotus Renault207
4Lewis HamiltonGBMcLaren-Mercedes190
5Jenson ButtonGBMcLaren-Mercedes188
6Mark WebberAusRed Bull-Renault179
7Felipe MassaBrzFerrari122
8Romain GrosjeanBrzLotus Renault96
9Nico RosbergGerMercedes GP93
10Sergio PerezMexSauber66
11Nico HulkenbergGerForce India Mercedes63
12Kamui KobayashiJpnSauber60
13Michael SchumacherGerMercedes GP49
14Paul di RestaItaForce India-Mercedes46
15Pastor MaldonadoVenWilliams-Renault45
16Bruno SennaBrzWilliams-Renault31
17Jean-Eric VergneFraTorro Rosso-Ferrari16
18Daniel RicciardoFraTorro Rosso-Ferrari10
19Vitaly PetrovRusCaterham-Renault0
20Timo GlockGerMarussia-Cosworth0
21Charles PicFraMarussia-Cosworth0
22Heikki KovalainenFinCaterham-Renault0
23Jerome d'AmbrosioBelLotus-Renault0
24Narain KarthikeyanIndHRT-Cosworth0
25Pedro de la RosaSpaHRT-Cosworth0

The 2012 formula one grand prix season

DateGrand PrixCircuit
March 18th.Australia Melbourne
March 25th. MalaysiaSepang
April 15th. ChinaShanghai
April 22nd. BahrainSakhir
May 13th. SpainCatalunya
May 27th. MonacoMonte Carlo
June 10th. CanadaMontreal
June 24th. Europe Valencia
July 8th. Great Britain Silverstone
July 22nd. Germany Hockenheim
July 29th. Hungary Hungaroring
September 2nd. Belgium Spa-Francorchamps
September 9th. Italy Monza
September 23rd. SingaporeSingapore
October 7th. Japan Suzuka
October 14th. KoreaYeongam
October 28th. IndiaNoida
November 4th. Abu Dhabi Yas Marina
November 18th. United States Austin
November 25th. Brazil Sao Paulo

Drivers and teams for the 2012 formula one grand prix season

Team Engine Driver Driver Test Driver Test Driver Test Driver
Red Bull Racing Renault Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber Sebastien Buemi
McLaren Mercedes Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton Gary Paffett Oliver Turvey
Ferrari Ferrari Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa Giancarlo Fisichella Marc Gene Davide Rigon
Mercedes Mercedes Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg Sam Bird
Lotus F1 team Renault Kimi Raikonnen Romain Grosjean Jerome d'Ambrosio
Force India Mercedes Paul di Resta Nico Hulkenberg Jules Bianchi Gary Parffett
Sauber Ferrari Kamui Kobayashi Sergio Perez Esteban Gutierrez
Toro Rosso Ferrari Daniel Ricciardo Jean-Eric Vergne Sebastien Buemi
Williams Cosworth Pastor Maldonado Bruno Senna Valtteri Bottas Susie Wolff
Caterham F1 team Renault Heikki Kovalainen Jarno Trulli Giedo van der Garde Alexander Rossi
Hispania Racing Cosworth Pedro de la Rosa Narain Karthikevan Dani Clos Vitantonio Luizzi
Marussia F1 team Cosworth Timo Glock Charles Pic Maria de Villota

There are now 2 lady test drivers - Maria de Villota for Marussia and Susie Wolff for Williams.

Include file updated December 2nd. 2012

US race (Austin Texas)
US (Austin Texas) Hamilton Triumphs In America
Sunday 18th November 2012

Lewis Hamilton said he wanted the US GP win and thanks to the timely intervention of Narain Karthikeyan, that's what he got.....

Starting from pole position Sebastian Vettel led into Turn 1, as none of the front seven rows of drivers starting on the dirty side of the grid made up a place. Hamilton lost out to Webber but was soon past him and hounding Vettel.

Ultimately he couldn't find a way through and looked to finish in a frustrated second place until Vettel came across an HRT just where he didn't want to.

Fernando Alonso fiished a distant third, followed home by a euphoric Felipe Massa, who'd been demoted five places down the grid to allow Alonso a start from the clean side,

Race Report As we suggested immediately after qualifying yesterday, Ferrari took the option of changing the gearbox on Felipe Massa's F2012, thus demoting him five places down the grid and promoting Alonso to 7th and the cleaner side of the grid. The Ferrari team confirmed this on Sunday to minimise the political fall-out and stop Red Bull from doing the same with Mark Webber. Romain Grosjean was already carrying a penalty from FP3, so both demotions created a new grid:

Seven rows of grid: 1. Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Raikkonen, 5.Schumacher, 6.Hulkenberg, 7.Alonso, 8.Grosjean, 9.Maldonado, 10.Senna, 11.Massa, 12.Button, 13.Paul di Resta, 14.Jean-Eric vergne

As the cars lined up for the start under the bright Texan sun and in front of an almost sell-out 125,000 audience we had an ambient temperature of 24C and the track at 31C. Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg had chosen hard tyres, the rest of the field were on mediums.

There had been carnage predicted for the first 50mph turn, but as the cars roared up the hill into Turn 1 there was nothing serious to report. Vettel got away smoothly, Hamilton less so and Mark Webber overtook him round the outside. Lewis Hamilton wasn't going to rest easy in P3 and harried Webber where he could for the rest of the lap. Away from the line, a massive gap appeared in front of Championship contender Fernando Alonso which he gratefully drove into, straight up into P4.

Raikkonen and Hulkenberg tussled on the opening lap, Kimi being pushed wide by the Force India driver, while there was an intra-team battle between the two Williams drivers. Sergio Perez got a great start and was up to P11, while Jenson Button (starting from the dirty side) lost places.

Positions on Lap 1: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Hamilton, 4.Alonso, 5.Schumacher, 6.Hulkenberg, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Grosjean, 9.DiResta, 10.Massa, 11.Perez, 12.Senna, 13.Maldonado, 14.Rosberg, 15.Button

No driver on the dirty side of the grid in the front seven rows made up a place, two (Hulkenberg and Grosjean) hung onto theirs. Everyone else went backwards.

On Lap 2 Michael Schumacher started his steady move back through the field getting overtaken by Nico Hulkenberg at the start of the lap, then Kimi Raikkonen later on. Schumi fought back and as he and Raikkonen battled it out, they were both passed by Grosjean.

On Lap 3 Lewis Hamilton got a pass made on Mark Webber into Turn 12, but overran the exit and went onto the dusty tarmac and handed the place back to the Red Bull. He got it right a lap later.

Button, after a dreadful start, where he chose to follow a Williams through Turn 1 and then got passed by cars either side as the Williams crawled through, was making inroads and passed Maldonado on Lap 6. Nico Hulkenberg was resisting a charge from Romain Grosjean who spun his car off the track at Turn 19 and flat-spotted his tyres - he dropped places and would have to come in for tyres early.

Massa was past Schumacher on Lap 7 as his tyres began to fade quite badly. The positons on Lap 8 were: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Alonso, 5.Hulkenberg, 6.Raikkonen, 7.DiResta, 8.Massa, 9.Perez, 10.Senna, 11.Schumacher, 12.Button

Although Vettel was setting a lot of fastest laps he wasn't able to shake off Hamilton who set his own on Lap 9 to reduce the gap to 1.6 seconds.

On Lap 10 Michael Schumacher indulged in a typical piece of beligerence when he pushed Jenson button all the way over to the left, past the pitlane exit line in a vain bid to stop him going up the inside into Turn 1. Button got the pass made with a slight nudge of contact between the two drivers at the apex.

On Lap 13, Kimi Raikkonen came up behind 5th place Hulkenberg and tried to attack round the outside of Turn 1. The Lotus ran wide before cutting back on the inside to run side by side with Hulkenberg through Turn 2, before the Force India driver had to cede the place in Turn 3. Classic stuff.

Hamilton closed right up on Vettel and on Lap 15 was inside the DRS zone for the first time, but couldn't get close enough to pass. Meanwhile Jean-Eric Vergne was having fun with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher (who'd dropped back to P14) and his suspension failed just after he'd supposedly hit a kerb too hard. He was the first retirement of the race.

Felipe Massa was having a stellar race and looked faster than Alonso. On Lap 15 he was past Hulkenberg and up into P6. Vettel's lead over Hamilton was just 0.9. But just as it had closed up, so it began to go out again - 0.9 became 1.0, became 1.4, became 2.5 on lap 18 and then 3.2 on Lap 19.

That was the good news for Red Bull. The bad news was that Mark Webber suddenly put in a 1:46 lap on Lap 16 (compared to the following Fernando Alonso's 1:44) and after that reported that his KERS had failed. He then toured to a stop and exited the race, as the second retirement, with alternator failure.

Hamilton was under no threat from anyone behind so came in for his one and only pit-stop at the end of Lap 20 and was stationary just 2.4 seconds, Alonso come in at the same time and had a right rear wheel which was slow to come off. That might have left the door open to the pursuing Raikkonen who was lapping faster on old tyres than Alonso could manage on his new hard tyres which were slow to warm up.

That wasn't the case for the yet-to-stop Jenson Button who had his tyres right up to temperature and who almost dived through past Alonso on Lap 23, and swept past him using the DRS on Lap 24.

Hamilton came up behind the yet-to-stop Kimi Raikkonen and when the Brit passed him on Lap 24, Raikkonen dived into the pitlane for more tyres. He would have exited the pitlane in front of Alonso, but a delay in the pitbox (for no immediately apparent reason) sent him out side by side with Alonso into Turn 1 and the Ferrari easily got through. Raikkonen was then taken by the yet-to-stop Daniel Ricciardo.

At the front, Hamilton was closing on Vettel who had pitted on Lap 22. On Lap 25 the gap was 2.0; on Lap 26, 1.8; on Lap 27, 1.5 seconds.

Positions on Lap 28:1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Button (not stopped) , 4.Alonso, 5.Ricciardo (not stopped) 6.Raikkonen, 7.Massa, 8.Rosberg (not stopped), 9.Grosjean, 10.Hulkenberg, 11.Senna, 12.DiResta

From Lap 28 Vettel put the hammer down and the gap to Hamilton went out to 2.5 again. But on Lap 31 the tide turned yet again as Hamilton put in more fastest laps with the gap coming down to 2.1, then 1.6, then 1.2, then 0.6 on Lap 34.

Button pitted for his one stop on Lap 35 and exited just behind Romain Grosjean in P7. Within four laps he had made the most artful of passing moves inside the Frenchman at Turn 16, something few other drivers could manage.

All eyes were on the battle at the front as Vettel worked out how best to use his KERS and fuel mixes to keep ahead of Hamilton. The gap was 1.1 on Lap 36, 1.0 on Lap 37, 0.9 on Lap 38. Vettel looked to have the measure of the McLaren driver until on Lap 42 when he encountered Narain Karthikeyan's HRT in the fast complex of corners from Turn 3.

Because of Vettel's delay, Hamilton was much closer through that section than he had been before and Lewis was able to use the DRS to maximum effect on the next straight into Turn 12. Vettel would go on to keep the McLaren inside 1.5 seconds all the way to the flag and set the Fastest Lap on the final lap. As ever.

Massa had got past Raikkonen for P4 on Lap 40 with a move similar to Raikkonen's on Hulkenberg coming through Turn 2, but Massa's pass this time was assisted by Raikkonen running wide at the exit. Jenson Button struggled to get the same speed under DRS as Hamilton did on the back straight, but made a great pass on Raikkonen round the outside of Turn 12 on Lap 45. It was the perfect demonstration of fair overtaking between two great drivers.

Positions on Lap 48:1.Hamilton 2.Vettel, 3.Alonso, 4.Massa, 5.Button, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Grosjean, 8.Hulkenberg, 9.Senna, 10. Maldonado, 11.Perez, 12.Ricciardo.

In the closing laps Vettel could do nothing about the McLaren's pace in front. Alonso was well over half a minute back in P3 and Massa wasn't going to challenge him in P4. Button looked as though he might have the legs of Massa in P5 but he wasn't able to deploy full KERS and his charge halted.

Bruno Senna tried very hard to find a way past Nico Hulkenberg's Force India for P8 and Pastor Maldonado - who was sat behind Senna - got impatient with his team-mate's lack of progress and came past with a wheel-barging move into Turn 1 to demote his team-mate to P10. He couldn't get past Hulkenberg either.

Lewis Hamilton crossed the line for his second successive USGP win, his first being at Indy in 2007, the last time the race was run. Vettel was close over the line and applauded his rival's drive. The Ferraris finished in third and fourth with Button in fifth wishing his throttle hadn't gone missing in Q2 on Saturday. Raikkonen headed home Grosjean who'd made his tyres last from Lap 9 to lap 56.

It had been an epic inaugural race from the Circuit of the Americas and one that reversed any good fortune Vettel might have had in Abu Dhabi. Alonso was a long way off his rival at the finish line in a race where Massa was clearly the fastest Ferrari driver. With Alonso still 13 points adrift, the Ferrari team will now be hoping for rain at Interlagos and the long-range weather forecast for Sao Paulo next weekend has thunderstorms on both Saturday and Sunday...

Frank Hopkinson

01. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h35:55.269
02. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 0.600
03. Alonso Ferrari + 39.200
04. Massa Ferrari + 46.000
05. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 56.400
06. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 1:04.400
07. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 1:10.300
08. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 1:13.700
09. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1:14.500
10. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:15.100
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:24.300
12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:24.800
13. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:25.500
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
15. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
16. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
17. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
19. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
22. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Webber Red Bull-Renault 17
Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 15

Austin Texas

Abu Dhabi race (Yas Marina)
Abu Dhabi race (Yas Marina) Raikkonen Wins In Abu Dhabi
Sunday 4th November 2012

Kimi Raikkonen claimed the first win of his comeback as he took the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi ahead of Championship rivals Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

It was a grand prix packed with incident and accident as Lewis Hamilton took the lead from pole position ahead of Raikkonen and Pastor Maldonado. Sebastian Vettel opted to start the race from the pitane and made steady progress through the field despite an opening lap incident with Bruno Senna that almost broke his front wing.

Nico Rosberg used Narain Karthikeayn's HRT as a launchpad into the barriers which brought out the Safety Car on Lap 9. Both drivers safe despite the ferocity of the accident.

A charging Fernando Alonso had forced a way past Mark Webber into P4 on the opening lap, before runaway leader Lewis Hamilton retired on Lap 20, gifting Raikkonen the lead and allowing Alonso into the podium places. Vettel closed throughout the race as many drivers were involved in contact around the tricky turn 11/12 chicane.

Race Report With Vettel being sent to the back of the grid following the Red Bull's fuel discrepancy on Saturday, the team elected to start Sebastian from the pitlane, allowing them to work on the car and lengthen the top gear so he could overtake on the long straights.

The ambient temperature was 30C and the track at 33C with the sun setting over Yas Island

Seven rows of grid: 1.Hamilton, 2.Webber, 3.Maldonado, 4.Raikkonen, 5.Button, 6.Alonso, 7.Rosberg, 8.Massa, 9.Grosjean, 10.Hulkenberg, 11.Perez, 12.DiResta, 13.Scchumacher, 14.Senna

As the red lights went out Hamilton got a great start and Webber (free of any pressure from Vettel) had an appalling start - P4 Kimi Raikkonen drove straight round him. The Finn was immediately up into P2 with Maldonado getting away error -ree to take P3.

Webber now had to go defensive against Jenson Button and as the Red Bull pushed the McLaren across the track, this allowed Alonso to take advantage of Button and pass him for P5.

Massa had a go at Button too, but he was able to hang onto P6. With the front three scampering away, the main battle was between Fernando Alonso P5 and Mark Webber P4. Without the advantage of DRS Alonso used the F2012's top end speed and put in a breathtaking move into Turn 11 to take fourth place.

Further back there had been contact in Turn 1 - with four cars - including two Force Indias side by side trying to get the turn-in. Di Resta bumped tyres with Hulkenberg who pushed across into Senna and hit the Williams hard spinning it round, but terminally damaging Nico's front right wheel. Senna was able to continue.

Romain Grosjean had more contact on the opening lap, this time with Nico Rosberg, and both had to return to the pits on the opening lap. Replays showed that Grosjean tried to get up the inside of Rosberg into Turn 8 but they made contact on the exit, giving him a puncture and deranging Rosberg's front wing. DiResta also had to come back in with a puncture. At the end of the lap Sebastian Vettel was up to 20th.

Positions on Lap 1: 1.Hamilton, 2.Raikkonen, 3.Maldonado, 4.Alonso, 5.Webber, 6.Button, 7.Massa, 8. Kobayashi, 9.Perez, 10.Schumacher, 11.Ricciardo, 12.Vergne

Replays showed that Sebastian Vettel damaged his front wing on the opening lap trying to make a tentative move on the recovering Bruno Senna as Senna tried to get past an HRT. Vettel's fault.

The Red Bull team frantically calculated whether to bring Vettel in for a new nose, but such was the pace of the World Champion that he could continue - on Lap 2 he was 18th, on Lap 3 he was 16th, by Lap 4 he was 14th.

At the front Lewis Hamilton was able to stretch out a lead from Raikkonen and Maldonado too was able to get out of DRS range of Alonso. By Lap 8 Mark Webber was in DRS range of Alonso and things were shaping up nicely - then we had the Safety Car.

Nico Rosberg, recovering from his early pit-stop came across Narain Karthikeyan's HRT just as it had a hydraulic failure of the steering and slowed. The Mercedes was caught unawares and launched right over the top of the HRT and slammed into the barriers on the run-off. It was an instant Safety Car, but it was such an early one that drivers didn't choose to stop straight away.

As the cars circulated around behind the Safety Car, Sebastian Vettel was line astern of Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo who was stopping and warming his brakes in what Vettel thought to be a haphazard way. To take avoiding action Vettel went off track and obliterated a DRS marker board. This was enough to finish off his ailing front wing and he had to head for the pits on Lap 13 (still behind the Safety Car).

The Safety car came in at the end of lap 14 and the positions were: 1.Hamilton, 2.Raikkonen, 3.Maldonado, 4.Alonso, 5.Webber, 6.Button, 7.Massa, 8.Perez, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Schumacher, 11.Ricciardo, 12.Kovalainen, 13.Senna, 14.Vergne

Hamilton had no problem on the restart but Fernando Alonso's tyres were cold and he had an oversteery moment that immediately lost him contact with Maldonado in P3 and put him under pressur from Webber.

Vettel had to repass cars all over again and on Lap 16 he muscled his way past Pic and Grosjean. Vettel wandered over the white line in the move and was told byhis team to hand the place back to Grosjean before overtaking him again. By Lap 20 he was back up to P14. On that same lap Lewis Hamilton suddenly moved over to the side of the road with no power, his Mercedes fuel pump having failed.

This left Raikkonen in the lead with a 5.4 gap over (what was now) Alonso. The Lotus driver was able to move that gap out as well - but instead of Maldonado behind it was a Ferrari in P2 after taking the Venezuelan driver on the second part of the back straight. Maldonado's tyres were going away, but while Alonso could get straight past, Pastor was able to keep in front of the closely following Webber and Alonso.

Seeing Alonso disappear down the road was frustrating for Webber and on Lap 23 he tried round the outside of Maldonado into Turn 11, but left little room for Maldonado who clonked into his tyres and turned the Red Bull round. No damage to Maldonado who continued but Webber was now down to P7 and Button up into P3. (The stewards said racing incident)

On Lap 24 a combative Perez - who'd been delayed at the start - got ahead of Massa and the positions were: 1.Raikkonen, 2.Alonso, 3.Button, 4.Maldonado, 5.Perez, 6.Massa, 7.Webber, 8.Vettel, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Schumacher. Vettel was up to P8 with his team-mate in front of him.

Webber was now out of position and keen to get past Massa. He tried to do to Massa what he had done to Maldonado - go round the outside of a rival at Turn 11. Again it ended with a bump, though this time Webber was much further in front and Massa slammed into the red Bull pushing it over the kerbs and making it cut the corner.

As Massa followed on round the corner he spun his car in a cloud of tyre smoke and had to pit for tyres immediately. (The stewards said racing incident)

By Lap 27 Kimi had a 7.7 second lead over Alonso and was 0.4 seconds a lap quicker. Vettel had cleared Massa and Webber during their contretemps and was putting in fast laps, with the Fastest Lap of 1:47.053 on Lap 27. Alonso pitted on Lap 28 and in doing so allowed Vettel in front of him. Technically now, thy were both on the same tyres and could continue to the flag like this.

Button and Maldonado pitted on Lap 30, Perez (who had passed Maldonado on Lap 30) and Webber on Lap 31 and Raikkonen at the end of Lap 32. With Vettel staying out he was now into P2 and only the Lotus driver was in front of him, although it was a Lotus driver with much newer tyres and going away.

Positions on Lap 34: 1.Raikkonen, 2.Vettel, 3.Alonso, 4.Button, 5.Grosjean, 6.DiResta, 7.Perez, 8,Webber, 9.Maldonado, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Schumacher, 12.Massa.

The gap from Raikkonen went out fro, 2.7 to 3.6 to 4.1 seconds, whereas the gap from Vettel to Alonso came down from 5.8 to 5.5 to 5.0 to 4.7 seconds on Lap 36 and so Red Bull played the percentage game and brought Vettel in at the end of Lap 37 for more tyres. This allowed him to come in and exit into the big gap between Button and Grosjean, still in P4 with a set of fresh tyres.

Grosjean was holding up DiResta and Perez, Webber and Maldonado. On Lap 39 Paul DiResta made a good pass on Grosjean into Turn 11, but Perez - on fresher tyres - wanted to use the opportunity to get past both Grosjean and DiResta at the same time. It looked very optimistic and DiResta allowed Sergio room on the outside of Turn 11 before he got shunted over the kerbing at Turn 12 by Perez who didn't return the favour, now on the inside for Turn 12. (Perez got a 10-second stop and go penalty)

DiResta ran over the run-off beyond the chicane but was clear of Perez who ran onto the run-off on the opposite side of the track. DiResta made it to Turn 13 first but as Perez turned in behind the Force India he found Grosjean on his inside and the pair touched, this pushed Grosjean into Mark Webber who was trying to avoid trouble but hit the Lotus heavily. Both were out on the spot while Perez was able to limp back to the pits.

Maldonado avoided them all.

There were too many stopped cars and debris on track again and so the second Safety Car of the afternoon was dispatched. Schumi collected a puncture and having been as high as 7th was about to drop back down the order.

Positions behind the second Safety Car: 1.Raikkonen, 2.Alonso, 3.Button, 4.Vettel, 5.Maldonado, 6.Kobayashi, 7.Massa, 8.Senna, 9.Vergne, 10.DiResta, 11.Ricciardo, 12.Kovalainen

The Safety Car came in at the end of Lap 42 and Raikkonen was easily able to open a gap to Alonso, 1.9 seconds on the opening lap alone. By Lap 44 Raikkonen had a 2.5 gap and by lap 45 it was 3.1 seconds. Then the pendulum began to swing the other way. Alonso speeded up, opened a gap to Button, who had Vettel right on his tail. Alonso put in four Fastest Laps between Laps 47 and 50, closing the gap to Raikkonen to 2.0 seconds. A lap later it was just 1.7 and on Lap 52 of 55 it was a mere 1.4 seconds, on Lap 53 1.0 seconds.

At the same time Vettel, who was constantly in DRS range of Button was trying to work out a strategy to get past the Brit using a combination of KERS and DRS. On lap 52 he finally did it going round the outside of Button intoTurn 11 showing what was possible when two drivers took it sensibly.

He then put in the fastest lap in a vain attempt to get close to Alonso who was tantalisingly close to Raikkonen at the line, but still back in P2. So Lotus, or as they now want to be called 'The Enstone Team', had won a race as they always threatened to do all season. It had been a gift from McLaren, but one that Raikkonen had needed to work for in the final stint, frequently asking his engineer not to radio him with messages.

Alonso thought it was still a positive outcome despite Vettel finishing third. Button was sanguine in fourth, Maldonado disappointed to have lost his KERS after the first Safety Car in fifth, with an incident-free Kobayashi in sixth, Massa in seventh and battle-scarred Senna in 8th and three-pit-stopping DiResta in 9th with Ricciardo 10th.

It had been a race filled with incident and accident for which nobody could have predicted the result.

Frank Hopkinson

01. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1h45:58.667
02. Alonso Ferrari + 0.852
03. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 4.163
04. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 7.787
05. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 13.007
06. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 20.076
07. Massa Ferrari + 22.896
08. Senna Williams-Renault + 23.542
09. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 24.160
10. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 27.400
11. Schumacher Mercedes + 28.000
12. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 34.900
13. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 47.700
14. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 56.400
15. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 56.700
16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1:04.500
17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1:11.5
Did Not Finish
Pic Marussia-Cosworth 42
Grosjean Lotus-Renault 38
Webber Red Bull-Renault 38
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 20
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 8
Rosberg Mercedes 8
Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1

Yas Marina

India race (Noida)

India (Noida) Dominant Vettel Cruises To Indian Win
Sunday 28th October 2012

Sebastian Vettel took another step towards a third World title with an emphatic victory in India while Fernando Alonso did all he could to stay in the hunt, finishing second.

Starting from pole position - and with a six-point advantage in the Drivers' Championship - Vettel was the favourite for the victory at the Buddh International circuit despite Red Bull's rivals insisting they had the race pace to challenge. They didn't.

Vettel stormed into the lead, building up a gap over his team-mate Mark Webber who proved to be the perfect buffer to Alonso and only succumbed when his KERS started overheating.

Race Report The sun was trying to penetrate through the haze at the Buddh International Circuit for the Indian GP with the ambient temperature at 30C and the track at 36C. There were predictions that it would be a one-stop race and four drivers - Grosjean, Schumacher, Kobayashi and Ricciardo decided to start on the Hard tyre, the alternative tyre being the Soft.

Seven Rows of grid: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Hamilton, 4.Button, 5.Alonso, 6.Massa, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Perez, 9.Maldonado, 10.Rosberg, 11.Grosjean, 12.Hulkenberg, 13.Senna, 14.Schumacher

As the lights went out both Red Bulls, starting from the front row, got good get-aways. Vettel was first into Turn 1 but Webber was half a car-length on the inside but decided to drop back and falll in line rather than create a problem by challenging.

Behind, there was an intense fight over the opening corners between Button, Hamilton and Alonso (they were three abreast at one stage). The Ferrari driver, with a typical aggressive opening lap, managed to get ahead of both McLarens - who were involved in their own intra-team battle and did very well not to touch - but Alonso was repassed by Button before the end of the lap. Hamilton was the driver losing out, dropping from third on the grid to fifth.

Behind them, Pastor Maldonado ran wide and Jean Eric Vergne (returning the favour from Singapore) hit his front-wing endplate against Michael Schumacher's right rear tyre, damaging his wing and giving Schumacher a puncture and a long, slow return to the pits. Vergne came in for a new wing.

Positions on Lap 1: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Button, 4.Alonso, 5.Hamilton, 6.Massa, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Perez, 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Rosberg, 11.maldonado, 12.Grosjean, 13.Senna 14.DiResta

Vettel put in his usual early race charge to get himself clear of the DRS zone, and Mark Webber was soon out of reach of Button. However the McLaren driver had Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa all lining up behind him. With two DRS zones, drivers were able to close up on the pit straight and make the pass on the long back straight.

On Lap 4 Alonso was easily up into P3 past Button and put enough daylight in between himself and the Brit for Jenson not to be able to return the favour. On Lap 6 it was Hamilton who cruised past to take Jenson's P4. Although Button tried to defend against both moves, he had to settle for a long race in P5. Felipe Massa could get close to him, could stay close, but couldn't get past.

The same for Raikkonen. Excepting the short relief of the pit-stops, the Finn spent all race staring at the rear wing of the F2012, less than a second behind but unable to find a way past.

Now in clear air, Alonso was able to put in quicker lap times and he was faster than Vettel for the first time on Lap 6. That didn't last long. Vettel gradually opened the gap to Webber and Webber gradually pulled away from Alonso. By Lap 7, the front three of Vettel, Webber and Alonso were running significantly faster than the rest of the field. Then there was the gaggle of Hamilton, Button, Massa and Raikkonen, who in turn opened up a gap to Perez in P8 and Hulkenberg in P9.

By Lap 9 Vettel was 3.0 seconds clear of Webber and Mark was 4.2 clear of Alonso. On Lap 13 those same intervals were 3.6 seconds and 4.6 seconds. There was little on-track overtaking but Nico Hulkenberg had closed up on Sergio Perez and the Sauber driver had to defend from the Force India on Lap 13. A lap later and Hulkenberg was that much closer as Perez's tyres started to fade. The German made an easy pass using DRS and at the end of the lap Perez was in for new tyres.

Jenson Button took a long time to get himself DRS clearance from Felipe Massa but by Lap 14 the gap went out to 1.2 seconds, and that was that for the afternoon. Romain Grosjean had enjoyed a trouble free start and was able to get past Maldonado on Lap 16, a move that was taken advantage of by team-mate Bruno Senna, Maldonado losing two places on one lap.

Although Grosjean was using the more durable Hard tyre, there was little drop-off from the frontrunners on Softs. Only Sergio Perez had been in (for another set of Softs) and on Lap 20 he went to pass Daniel Ricciardo, brushed his rear tyre against the front wing endplate of the Toro Rosso and collected a puncture that would send him into retirement.

Positions on Lap 21: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Hamilton, 5.Button, 6.Massa, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Hulkenberg, 9.Rosberg, 10.Grosjean, 11.Senna, 12.Maldonado, 13.DiResta

The gap between Webber and Alonso had been around the four second mark for many laps but on Lap 21 the Australian lost 0.6, on Lap 22 he lost 1.0, and by Lap 23 the gap to Alonso had shrunk to 1.8 seconds - with some concerted attention Webber then brought that up to 1.9 and by Lap 28 had moved it out to 2.3 seconds again. All the while Vettel kept up his remorseless pace pulling out a 10.6 second advantage over Webber. Further back Lewis Hamilton was 9.0 seconds behind Alonso and seemingly a long way out of contention.

It was Jenson Button who was the first of the front runners to come in for more tyres at the end of Lap 25, Raikkonen pitted on Lap 27 and the expectation was that the Lotus would put the hammer down and get past Felipe Massa in the pit-stops. Massa came in a lap later and Raikkonen was able to pass him as he came out of the pits. That meant Massa could use his DRS on the following back straight and he ploughed right back past the Lotus again, to restore Kimi's view to something familiar.

Alonso's tyres dropped off in a hurry at the end of the stint and he was suddenly 4.2 behind Webber when he came in for his only pit-stop at the end of Lap 29. At the same time Webber's tyres went west and he was in for tyres at the end of Lap 30, even though it looked like he had been destined for a far earlier stop.

Hamilton waited till the end of Lap 32 and Vettel lasted out till Lap 33 before taking on the Hard tyre for the remaining 27 laps. Hamilton's pit stop had been a novelty in that he had taken on five wheels, four tyres and a steering wheel. The smoothness of the Mclaren operation was such that he was in and out, complete with new steering wheel in 3.3 seconds. The highlight of a less than sparkling race.

Kobayashi, having taken out two cars in the previous race in Korea, managed to tag Pastor Maldonado as he went to pass him on Lap 31, sending the Williams spinning off track - yet another (third) victim of a puncture caused by a wing endplate. They had already enjoyed a racy moment when Maldonado exited the pitlane to find Bruno Senna and Kobayashi competeing for the same bit of track - that caused Senna to put his Williams sideways.

After the pit-stops Alonso was putting a lot of pressure on Mark Webber who had to get himself clear of DRS range. By Lap 36 he had managed to pull the gap out to 1.4 seconds. Romain Grosjean managed to resist pressure from Jenson Button right up to his only pit-stop on Lap 36

A lap later and Webber was under more pressure as a lock-up allowed Alonso to close to 0.9. He responded by putting in the fastest lap of the race on Lap 38 with a 1:30.116. However behind them both, the McLarens had come alive on the hard tyre and were both closing. Hamilton re-set the fastest lap at 1:29.639 and was now just 7.0 behind Alonso.

While Vettel sailed on with a solid ten-second lead, Webber edged the gap out to 2.2 seconds on Lap 42 and then it came back down to 1.7 on Lap 45, 1.0 on Lap 46 and 0.9 on Lap 47.

The DRS had been disabled while Pedro de la Rosa's brake-failed HRT was removed at the end of the back straight, but when it was re-enabled Alonso was easily past Webber on the straight. The reason, in part, was due to an overheating KERS that wouldn't work when it was hot and didn't allow the Red Bull to fight back.

Webber's car was now a target for Lewis Hamilton and while he and Button set about putting in fastest laps, it looked like Webber would only be vulnerable to Hamilton. However despite closing the gap to 1.5 seconds on Lap 53 (of 60 laps), Hamilton's charge stopped. The gap went: 1.5, 1.7, 1.6, 1.5, 1.4, 1.2, 1.0. Lewis's only chance to get in range came on Lap 59 when he locked his brakes at a crucial moment and couldn't get the momentum he needed down the long back straight.

There was more drama at the front from Lap 53 as it looked like a front floor stay on Vettel's Red Bull had come adrift and the front wing was juddering and the front bib and 'tea tray' were sending sparks out as the car ran very low, hitting the track - the problem on just one side of the car.

Despite the outward manifestation of a problem. Vettel's lap times were holding up and he maintained his gap to the flag. On the final lap he set about the Fastest Lap, and made it with a 1:28.723, was then beaten to it by Alonso who put in a 1:28.630 and they were both beaten by Button who scorched in with a 1:28.203, - too little too late.

So Vettel won from Alonso and Webber, though there will be a certain anxiety to see how much of the plank has worn away on Vettel's car. Ferrari would certainly not shy away from a protest in these circumstances. Hamilton was just 0.6 back in P4, Button P5, Massa a long way back in P6 and Raikkonen right behind him in P7. Hulkenberg held on to P8 while Grosjean's late race sprint on Soft tyres only took him to P9 ahead of Senna P10. Both Sauber and Mercedes had miserable days of it.

It wasn't the most gripping wheel-to-wheel action, but it had tension right to the close. The mathematics of the drivers' championship will now dictate that Webber, Hamilton and Raikkonen put their calculators away for another year.

Frank Hopkinson

01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h31:10.744
02. Alonso Ferrari + 9.437
03. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 13.217
04. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 13.909
05. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 26.266
06. Massa Ferrari + 44.600
07. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 45.200
08. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 54.900
09. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 56.100
10. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:14.900
11. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:21.600
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:22.800
13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:26.000
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:26.400
15. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1 lap
17. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
22. Schumacher Mercedes + 5 laps
Did Not Finish
De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 41
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 21


Korea race
Korea GP Vettel Takes The Win, Title Lead
Sunday 14th October 2012

Sebastian Vettel claimed yet another dominant victory in Korea and by doing so took the lead in the Drivers' Championship.

Vettel clinched his third successive victory - and fourth of the season - in dominant fashion in Korea on Sunday where no-one, not even his own team-mate, could compete with him.

The 25 points put the German at the top of the Drivers' standings where he now leads Fernando Alonso by six points as the Ferrrai driver could only manage third. Fourth place went to Felipe Massa despite the Brazilian making it clear in the latter stages that he was quicker than his Spanish team-mate.

It was a miserable race for the McLaren team with Jenson Button being taken out at Turn 3 by Kamui Kobayashi and Lewis Hamilton suffering a suspected suspension element failure that dropped fim from fourth place to tenth at the flag.

Race Report It was hazy low sun over the Yeongam circuit, with no chance of rain, as the drivers came round on the parade lap with the ambient temperature at 21C and the track at 24C.

Seven rows of grid:
1.Webber, 2.Vettel, 3.Hamilton, 4.Alonso, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Massa, 7.Grosjean, 8.Hulkenberg, 9.Rosberg, 10.Schumacher, 11.Button, 12.Perez, 13.Kobayashi, 14.DiResta

As the lights went out Mark Webber got more wheel spin on pole than team-mate Vettel in P2 and despite there only being 200 metres to the first turn Vettel managed to get the inside line and lead through Turn 1.

Behind them, Lewis Hamilton got an even better start than the pair of Red Bulls and looked to head between the two just as the gap closed. Fernando Alonso starting from P4 went outside and then switched to the inside of Hamilton between Turns 1 and 2 and was able to use that edge all the way up the straight to Turn 3, a great bit of car positioning.

Vettel was ahead of Webber all the way up the long straight but could hear his engine to his left. As they hit the braking zone for Turn 3 Mark Webber was alongside him but out of position on the outside so Vettel moved across and took the place and had saved enough KERS to keep ahead for Turn 4.

Turn 3 was an almighty sort-out but showed the skill of the front six drivers - Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Massa - as they entered the braking zone sometimes three abreast.

Further back, the manouvering wasn't so skilful. Jenson Button had already avoided a tap from Sergio Perez who tried to take Turn 1 at an impossibly tight angle and almost hit his 2013 team-mate. Then on the long drag down to Turn 3 Button was sizing up outbraking Nico Rosberg who was alongside him when Kamui Kobayashi lost control and hit both Rosberg and Button hard.

Rosberg was able to continue for a lap but Button's right front wheel was now deranged at an angle and he couldn't continue. Kobayashi's front wing was damaged but he could continue back to the pits. Grosjean managed to stay clear of everyone.

Raikkonen wanted to get past Lewis Hamilton into Turn 4 and Lewis pushed him out wide losing the Lotus momentum, so much so that Felipe Massa was able to get past the Finn into P5 at Turn 5. Raikkonen tried to hold the line into the following corner but the Ferrari was already through.

Positions at the end of Lap 1: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Hamilton, 5.Massa, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Hulkenberg, 8.Grosjean, 9.Perez, 10.Schumacher, 11.DiResta, 12.Senna, 13.Maldonado, 14.Rosberg

There was little movement in the early stages when the cars were close, because the DRS zone was neutralised by waved yellow flags as Nico Rosberg's car - which had stopped on the long back straight on Lap 2 - was craned away slowly. By Lap 8 Kobayashi had been given a predictable drive-through penalty, although he was already in last place.

When the DRS was finally enabled on Lap 9 Kimi was suddenly 0.4 quicker in S1. At the front the Red Bulls weren't running away with the race, but they were edging clear. On Lap 10 Mark Webber put in the fastest lap and a lap later it was Sebastian Vettel's turn.

Lewis Hamilton had managed to stay clear of Felipe Massa despite the Ferrari driver edging into the DRS zone and on Lap 13 he was first to dive into the pitlane for a scheduled pit-stop, followed in by Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Schumacher.

A lap later and it was Mark Webber, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen in for untroubled stops, and then on Lap 15 it was Vettel and Alonso. There were no passes for position as a result of the stops although Alonso exited the pitlane alongside the yet-to-stop Sergio Perez and both raced up to Turn 3 side by side. Alonso managed to outbrake the Sauber and the following Lewis Hamilton got past Perez soon after.

Sergio Perez might have had thoughts about making his soft tyres last a lot longer but by Lap 18 he was losing a lot of time. On that lap he dropped 1.5 seconds in Sector 2 alone and was straight into the pits. The many predictions that some teams might be one-stopping were very soon put to rest.

Positions at the end of Lap 20: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Hamilton, 5.Massa, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Hulkenberg, 8.Grosjean, 9.Maldonado (not stopped) 10.Schumacher, 11.Ricciardo, 12.DiResta, 13.Perez

On Lap 20 Lewis Hamilton suddenly looked to be struggling. He had closed up on Alonso after the first stops but then the gap started to go out and he was a second a lap slower than the cars around him. After the race it was diagnosed that it was a possible rear anti-roll bar failure.

Hamilton wasn't able to resist Felipe Massa for very long and was soon under pressure from a very patient Kimi Raikkonen, who clearly couldn't hang on to the pace of the two Ferraris in front of Hamilton. On Lap 23 Hamilton was able to push Kimi wide around the outside of Turn 3 after the DRS zone. On Lap 24 Kimi got past Lewis into Turn 3 and then Lewis fought back with a KERS boost up the inside taking the place back into Turn 4. The battle was only settled when Lewis headed into the pits on Lap 26 for more tyres.

In front of him things weren't looking good for Mark Webber in the second stint, something not really picked up by the TV feed. Webber was significantly slower than Vettel, Alonso and Massa. On Lap 23 these three did 36.3 in the first sector while Mark could only manage a 36.7. The gap from Webber to Alonso came down from 3.0 on lap 20, to 2.6, to 2.3, to 1.6, and then 1.3 on Lap 24.

Alonso hovered just out of DRS range while the TV cameras focused on the likely sparks between Raikkonen and Hamilton. Then on lap 26 Mark started to show a bigger advantage in the second sector and the gap started to go out to 1.8 and then 2.2 and then 2.3 and the crisis seemed to have passed. By Lap 28 Mark was putting in the fastest lap of the race but by that stage Vettel was nine seconds up the road.

Nico Hulkenberg was enjoying a race-long battle with Romain Grosjean and the Lotus driver was having difficulty trying to find a way past into Turn 3. On Laps 29 and 30 it was close, but Hulkenberg had the craft to elude him and use his KERS to keep ahead despite the DRS favouring the car behind.

Massa was right up there in touch with Alonso all of the race and just 12 seconds covered the front four on Lap 31 while there was another 11 seconds back to Raikkonen and 17.5 back to the Hulkenberg vs Grosjean battle. Hamilton, having stopped much earlier than the others, had yet to take places back.

Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg then pitted for the second time on Lap 32, Alonso on Lap 34, Massa, Vettel and Raikkonen on Lap 35. On new tyres Grosjean finally got past Hulkenberg but was under pressure, as evidenced by a rallycross moment where he crossed the grass and went straight on in the final kink on Lap 34.

Positions at the end of Lap 36: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Massa, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Hamilton, 7.Vergne (one stop), 8.Grosjean, 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Ricciardo, 11.Schumacher, 12.DiResta, 13.Perez

On Lap 37 Vettel had a lead of 6.8 seconds from Mark Webber who was 4.5 ahead of Fernando Alonso, who was only 1.4 seconds in front of Felipe Massa. At this stage of the race Massa's Ferrari looked so quick that it was capable of catching the second Red Bull - on Lap 37 Massa put in a 1:42.689 to Alonso's 1:44.192.

Felipe Massa duly got the warning call from engineer Rob Smedley "Felipe, you're bit too close to Fernando, back off to a couple of seconds."

Hamilton still held on to sixth place but in some cases was two seconds a lap slower than Grosjean. The McLaren looked like a sitting target but when Grosjean tried a move round the outside at Turn 3 on Lap 40, Hamilton ran him off the track. The Lotus driver couldn't make the overtaking move stick as it had been off-track (like Vettel in Germany) and as they both shaped up for Turn 4 Nico Hulkenberg drove around the outside of them both, Hamilton pushed him onto the kerbs, but there was too much of the Force India to push him all the way and then Hulkenberg had the line for Turn 5. The move of the race.

Now fully engaged in proceedings again Lewis put in a personal best lap time before pitting for his third set of tyres on Lap 42. He set off after Jean-Eric Vergne on a set of supersoft tyres but such was the straightline speed advantage of the Toro Rosso that even with DRS Lewis couldn't get close enough going into Turn 3. Vergne caught and passed the struggling Daniel Ricciardo, but just as Hamilton looked to take advantage in the final few laps he hooked up a piece of torn Astroturf to the sidepod and trailed it around to the flag.

The front seven positions didn't change between Lap 41 to the flag on Lap 55. Despite being asked to back off, Felipe Massa was only 1.2 behind Alonso on lap 42. Massa was heard to be asking about Mark Webber's lap times but was obliged to drop back. (Last year he finished in front of Alonso)

The final ten laps of the race was filled with worries over the state of the tyres and in particular Sebastian Vettel's tendency to go for fastest lap at the close. His team thought that the tyre taking the most load, the right front, might go at any second and his engineer, Rocky, told him this repeatedly. "Sebastian, I'm sorry to be on your case but you will not know till it's too late!"

As it was, the man who had stopped for tyres earlier, Mark Webber, rained on Seb's parade by putting in the fastest lap on the penultimate lap, a 1:42.037 to edge the gap out to Alonso to 6.6 seconds. Seb countered with a personal best on his final lap but it was a long way off fastest. The new World Championship leader told Adrian Newy afterwards that if he backed off and let the tyres go cold he got problems as well.

Vettel came across the line for his third win of the 2012 season in a row, having led all three Korean grands prix from 2010 to 2012 with the exception of 12 laps (when he retired in 2010). Mark Webber took second with Alonso third and Massa an easy fourth, a country mile clear of Raikkonen in fifth, Hulkenberg in sixth and an intact Grosjean in seventh.

Lewis Hamilton, complete with Astroturf, couldn't catch Vergne in eighth or Ricciardo in ninth but managed to fend off Perez to hold onto 10th. Probably not the result he was expecting when he was sat on the grid and a lot of hard work with a "nervous" car that looked a problem to drive.

Although the momentum is with the Red Bull team and Vettel, the race pace of the revised Ferrari F2012 showed that they are not far away and Felipe Massa will certainly be wearing red in 2013. The same might not be said of Kamui Kobayashi.


01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h36:28.651
02. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 8.200
03. Alonso Ferrari + 13.900
04. Massa Ferrari + 20.100
05. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 36.700
06. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 45.300
07. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 54.800
08. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:09.500
09. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:11.700
10. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 1:19.600
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:20.000
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:24.400
13. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:29.200
14. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1:34.900
15. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:36.900
16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 lap2
20. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 17
Rosberg Mercedes 2
Button McLaren-Mercedes 1


Japan race (Suzuka)
Japan (Suzuka) Vettel Wins As Alonso Retires
Sunday 7th October 2012

Sebastian Vettel took a massive step towards a third World title as he clinched a dominant victory in Japan while Fernando Alonso retired.

Arriving in Japan, Alonso held a 29-point advantage over the Red Bull racer, however, by the end of lap one it was down to just four points.

The Ferrari driver failed to make it around the first corner as his rear tyre was clipped by Kimi Raikkonen, causing a puncture and an off that left Alonso beached in the gravel.

Vettel came home in front of Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi who held off a late race charge from Jenson Button to get his first podium at his home grand prix - and send the crowd wild.

Race Report The sun was shining down on Suzuka with an ambient temperature of 23C and the track at 32C.

Seven rows of grid:1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Kobayashi, 4.Grosjean, 5.Perez, 6.Alonso, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Button, 9.Hamilton, 10.Massa, 11.DiResta, 12.Maldonado, 13.Rosberg, 14.Ricciardo

Start:As the lights went out it was a chaotic start at an old-fashioned track that is narrower than most. Vettel got a clean getaway, but behind him Romain Grosjean made contact with Webber into Turn 2, punting the Red Bull to the inside of the track before the Esses. Grosjean damaged his front wing and had to come in for a new one.

Further back down the grid the hapless Bruno Senna made another first lap contact, this time with Nico Rosberg sending the Mercedes driver out of the race and damaging Senna's front wing and obliging him to go back to the pits for a new one.

However the major loss on the first lap was championship leader Fernando Alonso who was tapped from behind by Kimi Raikkonen who he'd squeezed across the track, the Lotus losing a chunk of its front wing, but enough to deflate Alonso's rear tyre and spin him into retirement, beached in the gravel.

The Safety Car was dispatched so that Alonso's car could be recovered and as they lined up behind the order was: 1.Vettel, 2.Kobayashi, 3.Button, 4.Massa, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Perez, 7.Hamilton, 8.Hulkenberg, 9.Maldonado, 10.Ricciardo, 11.Glock, 12.Kovalainen, 13.Verne, 14.DiResta, 15.Schumacher

The stewards immediately put the Webber/Grosjean incident under investigation while Grosjean, Senna and Webber tried to race round to make the most of the temporary delay. On Lap 12 the stewards would get round to investigating the Senna/Rosberg incident. Both Grosjean and Senna took penalties as a result.

Button (P9) and Massa (P10) had profited enormously from having P2, P4, P6 and P7 get embroiled in first corner accidents and were up to third and fourth. We were racing again from Lap 3 and Sergio Perez was keen to get past Kimi Raikkonen - trying to overtake the Lotus in a wheel-to-wheel move around the outside of Turn 1. It didn't work, forced Perez out wide and he lost a place to Hamilton as a result.

Perez was then all over the back of Lewis Hamilton who looked to be struggling in the early phase of the race. On Lap 6 the Sauber driver was able to take advantage of Hamilton's lack of attention, running up the inside into the hairpin in a move reminiscent of Kamui Kobayashi's debut Japanese GP.

At the front, Sebastian Vettel was pulling away and by Lap 10 had opened up a 6.2 second gap to Kobayashi in second place. Button was two seconds down on the Japanese driver with Massa right behind him. Perez was able to close up the gap to Raikkonen who looked to be losing the rear tyres of the Lotus.

Although Button's times didn't appear to be dropping off, he was in for tyres at the end of Lap 13, along with Hulkenberg and Raikkonen. The Finn exited behind a battle between Jean-Eric Vergne and Heikki Kovalainen and spent a lap behind that battle. With Perez still on track and putting the hammer down, it looked like a formality that Perez would pick up Raikkonen's place.

Kimi battled his way past Vergne, using the DRS zone to pass the Toro Rosso on Lap 15 and on the same lap he was past Kovalainen at Spoon, just as Perez was pitting. The Sauber must have lost time somewhere on track or in the pits because Perez emerged from the pits not only behind Raikkonen, but when Hamilton stopped on Lap 17, the Mexican found himself back behind the McLaren again.

Perez was not the only one delayed; with Kobayashi able to keep his place in front of Button through the first pit-stops, they both found themselves behind the sluggish Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo. This was a gift to Felipe Massa who came in with Vettel at the end of Lap 18 and exited firmly in second place, leapfrogging the pair of them and having fresher tyres to boot.

Positions on Lap 18:1.Vettel, 2.Massa, 3.Kobayashi, 4.Button, 5.Ricciardo(not stopped), 6.Raikkonen, 7.Hamilton, 8.Perez, 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Kovalainen (not stopped), 11.Vergne (not stopped)

Jenson Button was reporting problems with his gearbox which was dropping into neutral and the team were trying to find solutions for him on the fly. Future team-mate Perez was stuck behind Hamilton again, but Lewis wasn't going to be overtaken up the inside into the hairpin again and when Perez made a move there on Lap 20 he put a wheel on the grass and the Sauber went spinning off into the gravel and out.

Soon after his pit-stop Felipe Massa put in successive fastest laps of the race and on Lap 21 Vettel's lead dipped under ten seconds. To show he was in absolute command Vettel responded on Lap 22 with his own fastest lap which included two purple sectors.

Team-mate Mark Webber had made it up to ninth place by Lap 21 but he was out of sequence with the other cars having pitted so early, and on Lap 26 he was back into the pits again, all set for a late race charge.

Around Laps 29 and 30 both McLarens started to make progress on the cars in front, Button began to catch Kobayashi - who he'd dropped back from - and Hamilton closed the gap on Raikkonen from 2.7 to 2.4 to 1.9 - then on lap 30 Lewis was 0.7 quicker than Raikkonen in Sector 1 alone and Raikkonen had to make a dash for the pits.

Hamilton pitted just a lap later and exited the pitlane alongside Raikkonen. The pair toughed it out through Turn 1 but Hamilton had the inside line and it was a credit to their car control skills that both could get through without touching. Kobayashi had pitted at the same time and such was his haste to get out of the pitlane that he almost took a jack with him.

Kobayashi had to put in a fast outlap and get up to speed quickly to stay ahead of Button who waited four laps before pitting. When he did, he had a problem with his right rear tyre, but such was Kobayashi's pace in the intervening four laps that it made no difference and Button resumed over four seconds in arrears.

Positions on Lap 36:1.Vettel, (one stop) 2.Massa (one stop), 3.Kobayashi, 4.Button, 5.Hamilton, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Hulkenberg, 8.Maldonado, 9.Schumacher (one stop), 10.Webber, 11.Ricciardo, 12.Vergne.

Michael stopped for the final time on Lap 37, along with Felipe Massa, while Vettel pitted on lap 38. By now he had an 18 second lead over Massa and could play around scaring his race engineer by going for an occasional fastest lap - which he did on lap 39.

Raikkonen faded away from Hamilton and Hulkenberg couldn't close the gap to the Finn. The only big question now was could Kamui Kobayashi hold off a determined charge from Jenson Button in the remaining laps to the flag? Kamui's advantage fell from 3.9 to 3.5 to 3.0 to 2.7 to 2.2 to just 1.8 on Lap 44 (of 53). Progress beyond that was slow for Button as he encountered the turbulent air off the Sauber's rear wing. Kobayshi put in personal best after personal best in his fight to stay ahead.

Most important of all Button couldn't get into the DRS zone and he wasn't helped when Kovalainen's Caterham delayed him on a lap where he looked to move into it. So the gap then levelled out: 1.7 to 1.5 to 1.8 to 1.8 to 1.6 to 1.2 to 1.1 to 1.0. On the last lap Button made significant gains and was right behind Kamui coming into the hairpin for the final time, but the Japanese driver hung on to finish just 0.5 ahead - sending the crowd wild.

Vettel, in his usual style, had done some more fast-lap-scaring with an almighty 1:35.775 on the penultimate tour (the previous Vettel fastest lap on Lap 46 had been a 1:36.466!) but cruised to the flag ahead of Massa, Kobayashi, Button, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado scoring his first points since Barcelona in P8. Mark Webber had hauled himself up into P9 and had both the Williams and the Force India in his sights when he ran out of laps.

It was an emphatic win for Vettel on a day when nobody was going to catch the Red Bull. Now just four points behind Alonso, Vettel knows that all he has to do to make it World Championship No.3 is stay in front of his main rival on track. With the Red Bull looking significantly faster than the Ferrari the betting is only going to go in one direction.

However it was just as significant a drive for Massa, his first podium since Korea in 2010, and a seat-for-2013-saving drive. Kobayashi's third place equalled the best result for a Japanese driver in Japan and will have gone a long way in convincing the Sauber team to keep him on for 2013.


01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h28:56.242
02. Massa Ferrari + 20.639
03. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 24.538
04. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 25.098
05. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 46.490
06. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 50.424
07. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 51.159
08. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 52.364
09. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 54.675
10. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:06.919
11. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:07.769
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:23.400
13. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:28.600
14. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:28.700
15. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
16. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
19. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
Did Not Finish
Pic Marussia-Cosworth 39
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 34
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 19
Alonso Ferrari 1
Rosberg Mercedes 1


Singapore GP
Singapore GP: Vettel Wins, Hamilton Retires
Sunday 23rd September 2012

Sebastian Vettel was handed the win in a Singapore GP that was stopped after two hours and two Safety Cars.

Leading from pole position, Hamilton held a steady 1.5 to 2 second advantage over Vettel through the first round of pit-stops. But on Lap 23 his car came to a halt with gearbox failure. Vettel eventually came home ahead of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso in a race that was spiced up by two Safety Cars.

Michael Schumacher was handed another grid penalty after missing his braking point at Turn 14 and crashing into the back of Jean-Eric Verne's Toro Rosso. The high casualty rate contributed to the Marussia team' best ever race finish.

Race Report Despite predictions that we might get rain for race Sunday it was dry but punishingly humid at Marina Bay as the drivers lined up for the fifth Singapore Grand Prix.

Seven places of grid: 1.Hamilton, 2.Maldonado, 3.Vettel, 4.Button, 5.Alonso, 6.DiResta, 7.Webber, 8.Grosjean, 9.Schumacher, 10.Rosberrg, 11.Hulkenberg, 12.Rosberg, 13.Massa, 14.Perez

Ross Brawn had asked his Mercedes drivers not to put in a competitive time on Saturday in Q3 to give them the option of starting the race on Soft tyres. "I think tyres are going to be thebig issue this evening," he said on the grid, "nobody really has a handle on how they're going to perform. I think it's going to be a reactive race."

As the tyre warmers came off it turned out they too had opted for the red-walled SuperSoft tyres. Of the front runners Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi had chosen the Soft tyres.

As the red lights went out Hamilton got a good start, Maldonado followed him into Turn 1, with Vettel behind and Button in close attendance. It was Fernando Alonso who got a poor start and was bogged down and as he veered to his left he found three more cars on the inside - a Lotus, a Red Bull and a Mercedes. Thankfully there was no contact.

As the cars went through Turn 1 all hell broke loose behind the front four with cars taking to the inside and outside of the kerbs to avoid collisions, with Senna, Ricciardo, Rosberg and Webber all off the circuit on the outside.

A cautious Pastor Maldonado ran wide inTurn 1 and was overtaken on the inside by Sebastian Vettel going through Turn 3 and Jenson Button took advantage, too, demoting the Williams driver to P4. Fernando Alonso had been overtaken by Paul DiResta off the line but managed to get back in front of the Scotsman by Turn 5.

Despite all the car moves on the opening lap the only two casualties were Vitaly Petrov who had contact with Caterham team-mate Kovalainen, losing a front wing, and Felipe Massa who had a puncture on his Ferrari and set off dead last.

Positions on the opening lap: 1.Hamilton, 2.Vettel, 3.Button, 4.Maldonado, 5.Alonso, 6.DiResta, 7.Webber, 8.Grosjean, 9.Rosberg, 10.Schumacher, 11.Raikkonen, 12.Hulkenberg, 13.Perez, 14.Ricciardo

As the opening laps played out there was little movement at the front with Lewis Hamilton edging out a gap of 1.7 seconds to P2 man Vettel. They were building a four-second gap to Button who had a bigger margin on Maldonado, who was pulling clear of Fernando Alonso in P5.

By Lap 7 Nico Rosberg had picked up a train of cars with Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez all less than a second back.

On Lap 8 Mark Webber decided to pit for Soft tyres. It seemed an unnaturally early stop because his lap times weren't really falling off. His stop put him back with the new teams and he immediately had to go off line onto the marbles to overtake a Marussia. Team-mate Sebastian Vettel suddenly dropped half a second in the middle sector of Lap 10 and also came in for tyres. He exited in P12 and set about overtaking Perez on Lap 11 and Hulkenberg and Raikkonen on Lap 12.

With Vettel in for tyres, the frontrunners all started to pit - Alonso and Schumacher pitted on Lap 11, Hamilton and DiResta on Lap 12 and then Maldonado and Raikkonen on Lap 13, with Button and Grosjean coming in 1on Lap 14.

It was crucial for the early stoppers to get past the late stoppers as quickly as they could and just as Vettel had forced his way past Saubers and Force Indias, Alonso outmuscled Sergio Perez for P6 on Lap 15 and then Hulkenberg on Lap 17.

Positions on Lap 16: 1.Hamilton, 2.Vettel, 3.Button, 4.Maldonado, 5.Hulkenberg (not stopped), 6.Alonso, 7.Perez (not stopped), 8.DiResta, 9.Webber, 10.Rosberg, 11.Grosjean, 12.Schumacher, 13.Raikkonen, 14.Senna

At the start of the second stint there was 15 seconds between Hamilton and Alonso in P5, but during the stint Alonso closed that deficit to just eight seconds. On Lap 20, Alonso was 0.9 seconds quicker than Vettel and 0.7 quicker than Hamilton in the middle sector alone and it looked as though the Ferrari driver was taking life out of his tyres intent on using a three-stop strategy, while Vettel, Button and Hamilton would paces themselves for two.

Hamilton's gap to Vettel was between one and two seconds for nine successive laps with Maldonado and Alonso closing in on the front three. When Hamilton coasted to a stop on Lap 23 it became clear his lack of speed wasn't tyre management, it was a faulty gearbox.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh revealed after the race that friction material had been falling off the differential and in earlier laps there had been a loss of synchronization between shifts, thus it was less tyre management slowing Hamilton down but the lack of the right gears at the right time.

His failure elevated Vettel into the lead.

Positions on Lap 27: 1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Maldonado, 4.Alonso, 5.DiResta, 6.Webber, 7.Rosberg, 8.Grosjean, 9.Schumacher, 10.Raikkonen, 11.Hulkenberg, 12.Ricciardo, 13.Perez

Earliest stopper Mark Webber set off another round of pit-stops by coming in on Lap 28 for a set of SuperSoft tyres indicating that he would be making another stop before the end of the race as they weren't going to last him for over half the race distance despite fuel loads coming down.

A lap later and both Maldonado and Alonso came in together. Maldonado receiving SuperSofts and Alonso getting another set of Softs. They came out of the pitlane together and joined the Grosjean versus Rosberg battle. Even though Maldonado had the faster tyre and a fresher set, he couldn't find a way past Grosjean and this in turn led to pressure on the Venezuelan from Alonso behind him.

Maldonado set about blocking Alonso in successive corners on successive laps and seemed to have lost speed on the SuperSoft tyre. Alonso, on the supposedly slower tyre, made it look like it would only be a matter of time till he was through. Thus when Narain Karthikeyan's HRT wandered into the wall at Turn 18 to bring out the Safety Car Maldonado went straight back into the pits for another set of tyres. He was then informed that he had a hydraulics problem and would have to retire the car.

The Safety Car was despatched on Lap 33 and immediately Vettel, Button, DiResta, Rosberg, Grosjean, Schumacher and Maldonado came in for more tyres. As they lined up behind the Safety car the positions were now: 1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Alonso, 4.DiResta,5.Hulkenberg (one stop), 6.Webber (one stop), 7.Perez (one stop), 8.Rosberg, 9.Grosjean, 10.Maldonado, 11.Vergne, Schumacher.

The cars circulated for much longer than it took to get rid of Karthikeyan's car because it took an age for the backmarkers to unlap themselves. Finally it came in at the end of Lap 38 and Jenson Button was fooled by pace-setter Vettel's sudden braking and almost hit him up the rear as the Red Bull warmed his brakes for the re-start.

Fernando Alonso was caught out at the re-start when Vettel took off because he was re-setting controls on his steering wheel and wasn't able to take advantage, leaving Button to escape challenge-free. Mark Webber managed to scramble past Nico Hulkenberg in a side-by-side overtaking move that lasted three corners. Behind him, Sergio Perez lost a place to the better-tyred Romain Grosjean.

Then at Turn 14 we had another unfortunate Schumacher braking incident. Similar to Schumacher's rear-ending of Bruno Senna in Barcelona, the seven-times World Champion locked up and went steaming into the back of Jean-Eric Verne's Toro Rosso. JEV had been challenging Perez for P9 and the two had been running side by side into the corner when the following Schumacher locked his brakes and went clattering into the back of the No.17 car. Both out on the spot.

We immediately had another Safety Car and it was apparent that the race couldn't run its 61-lap length and that the two-hour rule would apply. Those cars who hadn't pitted under the first SC now pitted in a gaggle under the second. In came Webber, Hulkenberg and Perez.

At the end of lap 42 the Safety Car returned to the pits again with the order now: 1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Alonso, 4.DiResta, 5.Rosberg, 6.Grosjean, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Ricciardo, 9.Senna, 10.Massa, 11.Kovalainen, 12.Kobayashi, 13.Glock, 14.Pic

On the restart it was Felipe Massa - whose race had been transformed by the two Safety Cars - now attacking Bruno Senna for P9. Massa had the faster tyre and Senna had to defend through a succession of corners. As they ran out of Turn 11/12 towards 13, Senna moved to the outside and found the Ferrari between himself and the barrier. Luckily Massa had the momentum, and despite a whack on the barrier and a lary moment when he almost lost control of the F2012 he squeezed through to take the place into Turn 13 (and no third Safety Car).

Felipe Massa passed Daniel Ricciardo for P8 on Lap 46 and set off after the Lotuses - Romain Grosjean was about to let team-mate Kimi Raikkonen through into P6 after team orders were invoked.

For a short time it looked as though Jenson Button might try a late race sprint to take the race after he put in a Fastest Lap of 1:52.625 on Lap 47 and reduced Vettel's lead to 1.5 seconds. That was as close as it was going to get and the gap then moved out to 1.7, 1.8 and then 2.5 seconds on Lap 50 and Vettel was gone.

Alonso was edging closer to Button, but no threat, while Paul DiResta was falling away from Alonso in P4, with Rosberg, Raikkonen, Grosjean and Massa holding station where they were and making no sudden moves in their exhausted late-race state.

All the action was happening further back with the late race tyre stoppers - Webber, Hulkenberg and Perez coming back through the field and encountering Kamui Kobayashi in P11. The order being: Kobayashi, Webber, Hulkenberg, Perez.

Perez tried to squeeze up the inside of Nico Hulkenberg and the Force India closed the door on the apex of the corner and the pair made contact. Further ahead, Mark Webber looked to have almost left the track as he went out wide to overtake Kamui Kobayashi. Kobayashi lost momentum and then Hulkenberg piled through clipping large parts of Kobayashi's front wing off and sending him back to the pits for a new one.

Bruno Senna had spent the weekend clipping barriers but when he hit them on Lap 50 he looked to have got away with it and continued in P10. Earlier in the race Timo Glock had done the same thing under the underpass at Turn 18.

The lap counter turned into a time-counter from Lap 55 when we had seven minutes of the two hours remaining. Mark Webber managed to take P10 off Bruno Senna on Lap 54 but could make no progress behind Daniel Ricciardo. On Lap 58 Timo Glock and Charles Pic were running in a heady 13th and 14th places for Marussia, and when Bruno Senna stopped suddenly they were in 12th and 13th with just a lap to go.

Sebastian Vettel duly took his third Singapore win ahead of Button and a Fernando Alonso who has made the complaint that the race is too long and should be Monaco distance. Paul DiResta came home with his best result in F1, a fourth place, while Rosberg had a largely unseen race for fifth and Kimi Raikkonen kept himself in contention for the drivers' title with sixth place.

The returning Grosjean was seventh ahead of a miraculous recovery from Massa in eighth, Ricciardo in ninth and Webber in 10th. Marussia team-mate Timo Glock's twelfth place meant that they were now ahead of Caterham in the constructors' title - perhaps the biggest surprise of all.


01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2h00:26.144
02. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 8.959
03. Alonso Ferrari + 15.227
04. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 19.063
05. Rosberg Mercedes + 34.759
06. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 35.700
07. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 36.600
08. Massa Ferrari + 42.800
09. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 45.800
10. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 47.100
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 50.600
12. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
14. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
15. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
16. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. Senna Williams-Renault + 2 laps
19. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 41
Schumacher Mercedes 41
Maldonado Williams-Renault 41
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 33
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 25


Italy race (Monza)
Italy (Monza) Hamilton Claims First Monza Win
Sunday 9th September 2012

Lewis Hamilton scored a comfortable first win in Monza coming home in front of an inspired Sergio Perez with Fernando Alonso finishing third..

Hamilton drove away from the field after resisting a challenge from Felipe Massa on the opening lap, but McLaren team-mate Jenson Button was later forced to retire from second place with a fuel pick-up problem.

That left the way clear for a late-stopping Sergio Perez to carve through the front-runners on a set of medium tyres and crush the hopes of the tifosi hoping to have both Ferraris on the podium.

Race Report

A sunny Sunday afternoon in Monza with bright sunshine and an ambient temperature of 27C with the track at 39C.

Seven rows of grid: 1. L. Hamilton, 2. J. Button, 3. F. Massa, 4. M. Schumacher 5. S. Vettel, 6. N. Rosberg, 7. K. Raikkonen, 8. K. Kobayashi, 9. P. di Resta, 10. F. Alonso, 11. M. Webber, 12. S. Perez, 13. B. Senna, 14. D. Ricciardo Toro Rosso

Start: As the lights went out the two McLarens got reasonable starts, but it was the Ferrari of Felipe Massa starting from P3 who was on the move. He got clear of Jenson Button to take P2 but in his ambition to pass Lewis Hamilton as well, allowed Button back up the inside. However Jenson's challenge didn't last long and Massa was clear in P2 after the Roggia (2nd) chicane.

Behind them everyone made it through the tricky Turn 1 unscathed, barring Timo Glock who lost part of his front wing. Fernando Alonso got a great start and was up from P10 to P8 and managed to get ahead of Kobayashi on the opening lap. Nico Rosberg had a dreadful start though, dropping from P6 to end the first lap back in 10th place.

Positions on Lap 11.Hamilton, 2.Massa, 3.Button, 4.Schumacher, 5.Vettel, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Alonso, 8.Kobayashi, 9.DiResta, 10.Rosberg

Into Lap 2 and the man in a hurry was Fernando Alonso. Even before the DRS was enabled he got past Raikkonen for P6, while Nico Rosberg was having more dramas/traumas. A failed overtaking move on Bruno Senna at Turn 1, with contact between the cars, dropped him even further back so that by Lap 5 he was in P13 having started from P6.

By the third lap Fernando Alonso was already looking at the fifth place of Sebastian Vettel who in turn was trailing the exhaust of Michael Schumacher. Right from the start it was clear that the Mercedes were going to stop twice - this was emphasised by Nico Rosberg's race engineer who admonished him. "We need to get past these cars - they're all one-stoppers..."

By Lap 4 Vettel had got himself past Michael Schumacher using the DRS. So the positions on Lap 5 were: 1.Hamilton, 2.Massa, 3.Button, 4.Vettel, 5.Schumacher, 6.Alonso, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Kobayashi, 9.DiResta, 10.Perez, 11.Senna, 12.Webber, 13.Rosberg, 14.Ricciardo.

Alonso had treated Michael Schumacher a little warily at first but on Lap 6 he was through. Out in front Lewis Hamilton was building a steady gap at about 0.2 to 0.3 a lap, with a series of fastest laps. Button wasn't close enough to Massa to use the DRS but Vettel was closing on Button.

On Lap 7 Sergio Perez showed what a great opening stint he was having by overtaking team-mate Kobayashi for P8. Further back, Bruno Senna was tussling with Paul DiResta and went off-track on the outside line into della Roggia chicane, nudged there by DiResta - when he regained the circuit he almost collided with Mark Webber. Both were dangerous moves that the stewards chose not to act upon.

By Lap 10 Hamilton had built a 3.4 second cushion to Massa and we had our first retirement. A failure on Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Ross sent him airborne over the bumps at the first chicane, the impact of the car landing hurting the Frenchman's back in the process.

Sergio Perez had started on the harder tyre and an indication of things to come was given on Lap 13 when the Sauber produced a purple (fastest) sector in S3. By Lap 14 Hamilton had built his lead over Massa to 4.7 seconds and Rosberg pitted for the first time. A lap later and Schumacher came in. The rest of the front half of the race looked like they were sticking to the strategy of one stop.

By Lap 18, though Massa's rear tyres looked like they were in trouble as Jenson Button - who'd been 1.5 to 2.1 seconds behind the Ferrari for most of the opening stint - was suddenly within 0.5. Button produced a sublime overtaking move on Lap 19 take Massa going into Turn 2, opting for the outside line into the chicane and making it work. Massa came in for tyres at the end of the lap.

It was revealed that Massa's engineers had lost their telemetry data from the car and so for the rest of the race Felipe would have to work out if tyres were overheating or the engine was losing power in the old fashioned way. His pit-stop kicked off a round of pit-stops including a controversial one where Alonso's Ferrari was released in front of Vettel's Red Bull as the two cars came in on the same lap.

Vettel managed to keep the place in front of Alonso, but there would be friction between the two to come. With Alonso and Vettel in on Lap 20, Webber and DiResta pitted on Lap 21. Out on track Daniel Ricciardo had yet to stop and was then hit by the train of Massa, Vettel and Alonso, losing three places in two corners.

Button pitted on Lap 22 and despite a sticking right front was able to rejoin still in front of Massa. When Hamilton came in a lap later the crew were able to turn him round in an impressive 2.7 seconds. Perez hadn't stopped and now led the race.

Positions on Lap 24: 1.Perez (not stopped), 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Massa, 5.Vettel, 6.Alonso, 7.Schumacher, 8.Hulkenberg (not stopped) 9.Raikkonen

Alonso had followed Vettel for quite some time now and on Lap 26 went to overtake the Red Bull Racing car and got pushed out wide onto the grass. He was not best pleased. It could have been a far more dangerous moment with someone less experienced, but Alonso kept control as the F2012 bounced and the red mist descended.

By Lap 29 he had closed and passed Vettel in a move again between the two chicanes and after that was done the stewards decided to announce they would investigate the Lap 26 move. Given that Alonso had done virtually the same thing the previous year on Vettel in exactly the same place, it would seem logical that the stewards would make enquiries afterwards. They didn't and by the time we got to Lap 35 Vettel had been given a drive-through penalty.

Sergio Perez had finally been overtaken by Hamilton and dived into the pits at the end of Lap 29 to take on some Medium tyres. Both Hamilton and Button had been swapping fastest lap times and on Lap 30 Hamilton had an advantage of 7.2 seconds over Button who was 4.1 clear of Massa who was 3.1 ahead of Alonso in P4. It all looked plain sailing for the Mclaren team with no more pit-stops and everyone around them on the same strategy. But on Lap 33 Jenson Button pulled his car of to the side of the road with a fuel pick-up problem, the second retirement of the race.

Vettel served his drive through and resumed behind Mark Webber. Meanwhile Perez and Raikkonen were involved in a duel which saw Perez in front and then Raikkonen take him back. Perez finally got past the Finn on Lap 37 and was on much fresher tyres. He then started an extraordinary march to the front. Perez put in the fastest lap of the race on Laps 37, 38, 39. Ferrari were beginning to get edgy - this looked like Canada all over again. Massa's race engineer Rob Smedley radioed through to him: "Think about how you're going to manage the tyres. Fernando is in third position." Which was obvious because Felipe still had a pitboard and could see Fernando in his mirrors. This was 'the call'.

On Lap 40 Massa duly moved over as instructed and let Alonso past.

Positions on Lap 40: 1. Hamilton, 2.Alonso, 3.Massa, 4.Perez, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Vettel, 7.Webber, 8.DiResta, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Schumacher, 11.Ricciardo, 12.Senna

Now Perez was catching both Ferrari drivers at over a second a lap. On Lap 40 Perez was 1.0 quicker than Massa in S2 alone. The gap to Perez was 4.2 seconds. On Lap 41 it was 2.5 and then 0.8 on Lap 42 and then Perez was past and gone.

He closed down Alonso in a similar way and overtook him on the run down to Ascari on Lap 46. Could he catch Hamilton? Only if Lewis had a problem - the gap on Lap 47 (of 53) was 10.5 seconds - too big.

Sebastian Vettel had recovered to P6 but then his car suddenly gave up on the start/finish straight as he went through his second alternator of the weekend. So, Button and Vettel were both out and then Mark Webber, whose tyres were degrading badly, lost control on the exit of the Ascari chicane, put in a slide of massive proportions but kept the Red Bull out of the barriers. However he had given himself such a front tyre flat spot, with the rubber down to the canvas, that vision was impossible due to excessive vibration. He retired the car.

Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg had demoted themselves down the order with their second pit-stops, but now they were both flying taking little time to pass the cars they caught. Schumacher was past DiResta on Lap 47 and on Lap 48 he was past Webber. Rosberg passed DiResta and then Mark Webber took himself out of the way on Lap 51.

Out in front Alonso and Massa both eased off as their tyres fell away badly and Hamilton upped his pace to stay clear of the charging Perez. At the flag Lewis was just 4.3 seconds clear, with Alonso now a massive 16.2 seconds behind the Sauber in third and Massa a further 9.2 seconds back in fourth. Raikkonen came across the line just in front of the fast finishing Michael Schumacher in fifth and sixth with Rosberg just 2.2 seconds back in seventh finishing the race with the fastest lap.

It had been a thrilling Italian Grand Prix with the podium drivers the same three drivers who had been taken out by Romian Grosjean at the start of the Belgian GP. What a difference seven days make.


01. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h19:41.221
02. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 4.356
03. Alonso Ferrari + 20.594
04. Massa Ferrari + 29.667
05. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 30.881
06. Schumacher Mercedes + 31.259
07. Rosberg Mercedes + 33.550
08. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 41.057
09. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 43.898
11. Senna Williams-Renault + 48.144
12. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 48.682
10. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 50.316
13. d'Ambrosio Lotus-Renault + 1:15.861
14. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
15. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
16. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
17. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 2 laps
21. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 3 laps
22. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 6 laps
Did Not Finish
Button McLaren-Mercedes 32
Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 8


Belgium race (Spa)
Belgium race (Spa) Button Evades Carnage To Win
Sunday 2nd September 2012

Jenson Button put his pole position to great use to stay ahead of the Lap one carnage and storm to his first Spa win ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

The 44-lap grand prix started with a bang as Romain Grosjean cut across the track and into Lewis Hamilton, catching the McLaren's front wheel and launching both cars over the leaders turning into La Source.

The ensuing accident involved Fernando Alonso - who had the Lotus chassis narrowly miss his head - and take out Sergio Perez's Sauber. Kamui Kobayashi, Pastor Maldonado (already under investigation for jumping the start) and Pedro de la Rosa all pitted for repairs as the Safety Car was brought out.

Race Report No sign of rain in the Ardennes on Sunday with blue skies and an ambient of 20C and the track at 33C. After qualifying third on the grid, Pastor Maldonado was demoted three places for blocking Nico Hulkenberg on Saturday.

Seven rows of grid: 1.Button, 2.Kobayashi, 3.Raikkonen, 4.Perez, 5.Alonso, 6.Maldonado, 7.Hamilton, 8.Grosjean, 9.DiResta, 10.Vettel, 11.Hulkenberg, 12.Webber, 13.Schumacher, 14.Massa

Start:There were already problems in store as Kamui Kobayashi, starting on the front row, had overheated his brakes which started smoking badly on the front row of the grid. As the lights went out there was already one driver on the move. Pastor Maldonado started his race quite a long way in front of everyone else and was already between the two cars in front before the red lights went out.

As everyone braked for La Source, Romain Grosjean came across the front of Lewis Hamilton and tried to squeeze him into the wall. Hamilton had nowhere to go and so the Lotus thumped straight into the McLaren sending them both out of control.

These two cars then cannoned forward over Alonso, Kobayashi and Perez. Fernando Alonso was very lucky to escape with no personal injury after Grosjean and Hamilton's cars were launched over and into the F2012. Hamilton, Grosjean, Perez and Alonso were out of the race on the spot - Maldonado, de la Rosa and Kobayashi had to return to the pits with damage.

Having started the race in P2 and P4, both Saubers were effectively out of the race in less than 200 metres.

The Safety Car had to be deployed. Alonso stayed in his car while the medics arrived. Hamilton immediately went across to Grosjean to ask him what he was doing as it became clear that it was yet another first lap incident caused by the Frenchman.

Positions behind the Safety Car1.Button, 2.Raikkonen, 3.Hulkenberg, 4.DiResta, 5.Schumacher, 6.Ricciardo, 7.Vergne, 8.Senna, 9.Webber, 10.Kovalainen, 11.Massa, 12.Vettel, 13.Rosberg.

The Safety Car was deployed for four lengthy laps while the large quantity of spare F1 parts were rounded up and the carbon fibre swept off the racing line. We were racing again on Lap 5 and immediately Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel were duelling with Kovalainen up the Kemmel straight.

Pastor Maldonado had yet to be penalised for his jumped start, but before the first re-started lap was complete he was parking his Williams-Renault minus its front wing.

Nico Hulkenberg was straight past Kimi Raikkonen for P2 on Lap 5, overtaking him into Les Combes. This highlighted a problem Raikkonen would have all afternoon. The Finn had a high downforce set-up and was particularly vulnerable in the DRS zone. At the end of the lap Jenson Button already had a 2.8 second lead and he was effectively gone for the afternoon. A lap later it was 3.6 seconds, and the lap after that 4.6 seconds.

Michael Schumacher had made up a lot of places through the carnage on the opening lap and on Lap 6 he was past Paul DiResta for P4. DiResta had lost his KERS and while team-mate Hulkenberg scorched away, the Scot had to look in his mirrors and defend from other cars the entire race.

The Force Indias and Toro Rossos had benefited from the first lap mess and both Vergne and Ricciardo were now behind DiResta and anxious to get past.

The man on the move was Sebastian Vettel who, despite the fun and games, had lost places from P10 on the grid. On Lap 7 he was past Felipe Massa into the Bus Stop chicane (his favourite overtaking spot of the day), two laps later he did the same thing to his team-mate Mark Webber.

Paul DiResta started off the pit-stops on Lap 10, just as Michael Schumacher was passing Kimi Raikkonen into Les Combes. Raikkonen and Mark Webber both then pitted at the end of Lap 11 indicating that they were both on two-stop strategies. Hulkenberg came in a lap later.

Schumacher, Vettel and Button would try and make one-stop strategies work.

On Lap 13 Vettel got past the yet-to-stop Bruno Senna into the Bus Stop chicane and then picked off Jean-Eric Vergne. Behind him, team-mate Mark Webber was making less rapid process.

Positions on Lap 171.Button (not stopped), 2.Schumacher (not stopped) 3. Vettel (not stopped) 4.Raikkonen, 5.Hulkenberg, 6.Webber, 7.Ricciardo, 8.Rosberg, 9.Massa, 10.DiResta, 11.Vergne, 12.Senna

At this stage Jenson Button had a 14.7 second lead and could start to manage the gap and take a good long look at his tyres. Vettel had closed right up on Michael Schumacher and was surprised to find his countryman defending on the outside in the Bus Stop chicane and then cutting in front of him to take a pit-stop. The stewards would look at the incident after the race (though no harm done)

With Schumacher stopped on Lap 19, Button then made his single stop a lap later - in just 2.6 seconds. Button had such a big advantage that he was able to pit for tyres and still exit in front of second place Vettel.

Once Vettel had finally pitted on Lap 21 the order was: 1.Button 2.Raikkonen, 3.Hulkenberg, 4.Webber, 5.Massa, 6.Vettel, 7.Ricciardo, 8.Schumacher, 9.Vergne, 10.DiResta, 11.Senna, 12.Kobayashi

On fresher tyres Vettel was easily past Massa and soon up with Webber at which point Hulkenberg, Webber and Massa all pitted together on Lap 27. With the Red Bull unable to close up and pass on the long Kemmel straight into Les Combes that was bad news for Webber.

Positions on Lap 29: 1.Button (one stop) 2.Vettel (one stop), 3.Schumacher (one stop). 4.Raikkonen, 5.Hulkenberg, 6.Webber, 7.Massa, 6.Vettel, 8.Vergne (one stop), 9.Senna, 10.Rosberg (one stop), 11.Ricciardo, 12.DiResta

Kimi Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Webber all found themselves hunched up behind the one-stopping Michael Schumacher on Lap 30. Schumacher's tyres were a lot older than the guys behind, but the first one up in the queue, Raikkonen, didn't have the gearing or the downforce to get past Schumacher on the Kemmel straight. When he made a pass round the outside of the Bus Stop on Lap 32, Michael was able to re-pass him into Les Combes the following lap with no great fuss.

Raikkonen sat back and worked out where he could make a pass and get far enough in front of Schumi before the DRS detection zone. On Lap 34 he decided to save up his KERS (which showed signs of overheating in the afternoon and had to be reduced to 90% at one stage) for the run down to Eau Rouge and passed Schumacher in exactly the same place that Webber had passed Alonso so dramatically last year.

Michael tried to get him back on the straight but couldn't and then came under pressure from Hulkenberg who had Webber behind and Massa behind him - all on fresher tyres. Realising that it was just a question of time before he was overtaken, the Mercedes team changed Schumi to a two-stop race and he fell back from P4 to P7. In the latter stages of the race he lost sixth gear but was still able to finish comfortably in front of the Toro Rossos.

Michael's slow pace had allowed Felipe Massa to catch up Mark Webber and with the Ferrari running lower downforce was able to cruise past the Red Bull the second that Schumacher was out of the way. Massa couldn't catch Hulkenberg and although Raikkonen had some power worries in the closing stages, he was able to hang onto the podium position in front of the Force India driver.

The two Toro Rossos had been lagging behind Bruno Senna after Vergne made his second stop but in the closing stages of the race Senna was forced to pit and give up a points position, thus Vergne and Ricciardo moved up from 9th and 10th to 8th and 9th allowing the KERS-less Di Resta back into the points again.

Jenson Button duly cruised to an emphatic victory in front of Vettel and Raikkonen on a day when driver safety had been brought sharply into focus. With seven first lap incidents for Grosjean in twelve races this year, fingers were being pointed at some kind of action to make sure the Lotus drivers doesn't ruin more teams' afternoons.


01 Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h29:08.530
02 Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 13.624
03 Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 25.334
04 Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 27.843
05 Massa Ferrari + 29.845
06 Webber Red Bull-Renault + 31.244
07 Schumacher Mercedes + 53.374
08 Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 58.865
09 Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:02.982
10 Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:03.783
11 Rosberg Mercedes + 1:05.111
12 Senna Williams-Renault + 1:11.529
13 Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:56.119
14 Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
15 Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
16 Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
17 Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18 De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
19 Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 30
20 Maldonado Williams-Renault + 5
21 Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1
22 Alonso Ferrari + 1
23 Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 1
24 Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 1


Hungary race (Hungararing)
Hungary race (Hungararing) Hamilton Triumphs In Budapest
Sunday 29th July 2012

Lewis Hamilton produced a tenacious victory in the Hungarian GP as the McLaren driver held off two separate attacks from the two Lotus drivers.

Romain Grosjean was held at bay in the opening two stints, while after some intra-team contact on Lap 46, it was Kimi Raikkonen who took over the challenge and tried and failed to overhaul the Brit in the final stint.

A frustrated Sebastian Vettel came home in fourth place after yelling at his engineer in a remarkable outburst to "do something!"

Race Report The forecast rain that might have mixed up the order failed to arrive at Budapest and it was an ambient of 31C and 46C as Lewis Hamilton led the cars off on two parade laps, the second necessary after Michael Schumacher's engine died on the grid. That reduced the racing laps from 70 to 69.

Seven rows of grid: 1.Hamilton, 2.Grosjean, 3.Vettel, 4.Button, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Alonso, 7.Massa, 8.Maldonado, 9.Senna, 10.Hulkenberg, 11.Webber, 12.DiResta,13.Rosberg, 14.Perez.

Start: As the lights went out Hamilton was able to pull clear of Grosjean who immediately came under pressure from Sebastian Vettel who tried to go round the outside of the Lotus driver at Turn 1. Jenson Button decided to take advantage and was past the World Champ after running side by side through Turns 2 and 3.

Mark Webber got an unusually good start and Felipe Massa got an unusually poor start while Pastor Maldonado also lost a handful of places. Further back the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi was squeezed to the outside by a Toro Rosso and ended up the the first lap in 19th place. No bodywork lost on the opening tour.

Positions at the end of lap 11.Hmailton, 2.Grosjean, 3.Button, 4.Vettel, 5.Alonso, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Webber, 8.Senna, 9.Massa, 10.Hulkenberg, 11.Rosberg, 12.Maldonado, 13.Perez, 14.DiResta

Yet again Kimi Raikkonen had lost places on the opening lap and it would cost him later on. Michael Schumacher - starting from the pitlane - decided to change strategy and came in early for a set of medium tyres. Speeding down the pitlane didn't help his strategy and so he was back soon for a drive-through.

At the front Lewis Hamilton established a gap of 2.1 seconds by Lap 2, but that gap didn't get bigger as Grosjean dogged his every move in the opening stint. By lap 9 it was exactly the same. In the opening laps of the race it became obvious that Button was dropping back from Grosjean, Vettel was pressing Button hard and in doing so was going clear of Alonso who had Raikkonen up his exhaust.

No overtaking was going on despite the DRS.

On Lap 15 Button pitted; Lap 16 Senna pitted; Lap 17 Vettel pitted and emerged behind Button while Alonso came in at the same time and emerged behind the yet-to-stop Perez. Hamilton came in on Lap 18, Grosjean on Lap 19 and Raikkonen and Mark Webber on Lap 20.

While Hamilton had taken on a set of medium tyres, Grosjean was on softs and was looking a whole lot quicker. Despite being hampered by a slow stop Grosjean was soon up with Hamilton again. Meanwhile Kimi Raikkonen had easily got past Alonso through the pit-stops. Alonso had been held up by Perez on fading tyres and all of a sudden the Sauber just faded out of the way of the Ferrari on its run down to Turn 4.

Positions at the end of Lap 22: 1.Hamilton, 2.Grosjean, 3.Button, 4.Vettel, 5. Raikkonen, 6.Alonso, 7.Webber, 8.Senna, 9.Massa, 10.Rosberg, 11.Hulkenberg 12.Maldonado, 13.Perez, 14.DiResta

Grosjean was lapping 0.7 quicker than Hamilton until he closed up, and then it was a question of following the McLaren round and getting frustrated. Vettel was in the same position stuck behind Button but he was getting more frustrated. He could also see Kimi Raikkonen approaching at speed in his mirrors.

Over race radio Vettel gave the astonishing command: "I can go much faster than him so do something!" and then "Try something, try something!" to which he got the sensible reply from his engineer Rocky: "There are cars behind, Sebastian, we can't just do anything."

Jenson Button pitted early for soft tyres on Lap 34 indicating that he would need to stop again before the end of the race and do a three-stopper, ending any outside chance he had of a podium finish. By this stage Grosjean was still 1.0 behind Hamilton but unable to do anything about it.

At least Button's pit-stop had released Vettel but Kimi Raikkonen behind was putting in a dazzling series of fastest laps, taking it down from 1:26.365 on Lap 36 to 1:25.728 on Lap 41. All done on worn tyres. While Grosjean's lap times had slowed behind Hamilton, Kimi had free air.

Grosjean pitted for the second time on Lap 39, allowing the nervous engineers of McLaren to bring Hamilton in a lap later. They had been fearful that Lewis's tyres wouldn't have lasted the distance in the middle stint and that he would have had to switch to 'Plan B' like Jenson and go for a three-stopper that would have handed the win to Lotus. Grosjean's early stop was thus a gift.

Grosjean emerged behind the yet-to-stop Fernando Alonso while Kimi was still putting the hammer down behind them both. Alonso finally got out of the way of Grosjean on Lap 43, but when Kimi came in for tyres on Lap 45 he emerged side by side with Grosjean going into Turn 1.

Kimi had the inside line for the corner and the two Lotus cars touched wheels sending Grosjean out wide. Raikkonen had jumped from net P4 to P2 in one mega middle stint.

Button meanwhile came in for a third pit-stop on Lap46 and because he had a problem on the left-front corner exited behind Alonso. He had been held up a long time behind Senna and now he would have to follow Alonso.

Positions on Lap 46: 1.Hamilton, 2.Raikkonen, 3.Grosjean, 4.Vettel, 5.Webber, 6.Alonso, 7.Button, 8.Senna, 9.Massa, 10.Rosberg, 11.Perez, 12.Hulkenberg.

On Lap 47 Lewis had a lead of 3.5 seconds over Raikkonen but that would vanish as Kimi closed to 0.9 by Lap 53.

Pastor Maldonado tried to get past Paul DiResta on Lap 48 and lost control of his Williams (again) and gave the Force India a nudge with his front tyres into DiResta's sidepod. The stewards decided to investigate the move and rewarded Maldonado with a drive-through penalty.

Kimi's KERS had been working off and on through the race and was occasionally being set to 40Kilowatts to give him some boost through the lap. Hamilton was typically faster in the last sector of the lap giving him a good lead-out onto the start-finish straight. He needed to manage his tyres till the end of the race and hope he could stop them from falling off the cliff.

The Red Bulls obviously believed that theirs were likely to because they brought Sebastian Vettel in for an extra set on Lap 58 (of 69) and Mark Webber on Lap 55. Because there was now an enormous gap between himself in 4th and Alonso in 5th Vettel didn't lose a place (though it was very close into Turn 1) but the stop dropped Webber from 5th to 8th.

Vettel, now in clear air, produced a series of spectacular fastest laps in his pursuit of Grosjean (the best a 1:24.136) - often at two seconds a lap quicker and by the line was just 1.0 seconds shy of the Frenchman. Grosjean dropped off the Raikkonen vs Hamilton battle quite considerably, but Kimi could not find a way past Lewis because he couldn't get anywhere near him on the straight.

So it was Hamilton's 19th win, his third Hungarian GP victory, followed home by the two Lotus drivers, one of whom would be keen to discuss Lap 46. Vettel was 4th, Alonso 5th, Button 6th, Senna 7th and Webber 8th with Massa and Rosberg making up the final points places.

Despite predictions, it had been a Hungarian GP in the mould of previous Hungarian GPs, a lot of following and not much overtaking, but one in which we got a very revealing insight into the mindset of the current World Champion.


01. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h41:05.503
02. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 1.032
03. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 10.518
04. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 11.614
05. Alonso Ferrari + 26.653
06. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 30.243
07. Senna Williams-Renault + 33.899
08. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 34.458
09. Massa Ferrari + 38.300
10. Rosberg Mercedes + 51.200
11. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 57.200
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:02.800
13. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1:03.6
14. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:04.4
15. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 2 laps
19. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 2 laps
20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 3 laps
22. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
Did not finish
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 63
Schumacher Mercedes 61


Germany race (Hockenheim)
Fernando Alonso
Hockenheim circuit
German GP (Hockenheim) Alonso Wins Three-Way Thriller
Sunday 22nd July 2012

Fernando Alonso withstood intense pressure from Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button to take his third win of the season in Germany.

But it was red faces for the Red Bull team after the race. Having described Lewis Hamilton as "stupid" for holding him up during the grand prix, Vettel was handed a 20-second post-race penalty for an illegal pass on Jenson Button and he converted a certain 3rd place to 5th position. Raikkonen moved up to take his place.

Race Report There was no sign of Saturday's rain as the cars lined up on the grid at Hockenheim with a number of penalties applied to the qualifying order from Saturday. The ambient temperature at the start was 21C with the track at 33C. This would rise as high as 36C by the middle of the race but fall to 30C by the end.

Seven Rows of Grid 1.Alonso, 2.Vettel, 3.Schumacher, 4.Hulkenberg, 5.Maldonado, 6.Button, 7.Hamilton, 8.Webber, 9.DiResta, 10.Raikkonen, 11.Ricciardo, 12.Kobayashi, 13.Massa, 14.Senna

StartIt was a frantic opening lap at Hockenheim, as the red lights went out Alonso was smoothly away, but Michael Schumacher was keen to challenge Sebastian Vettel for P2 through the opening turns. Lewis Hamilton got a lot of wheelspin away from the line and was as low as 10th at one stage.

Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna were both involved in accidents that necessitated a trip back to the pits while Felipe Massa spread a lot carbon fibre on the circuit by running into the back of Daniel Ricciardo and losing his front wing, though Ricciardo had no major problems as a result.

Positions at the end of Lap One 1.Alonso, 2.Vettel, 3.Schumacher, 4.Hulkenberg, 5.Button, 6.Maldonado, 7.Webber, 8.Hamilton, 9.Raikkonen, 10.DiResta, 11.Ricciardo, 12.Kobayashi, 13.Vergne, 14.Perez

Hamilton's place in the top ten didn't last long as he developed a left rear puncture on Lap 3. Worse than that, he got it at the beginning of the lap necessitating a very slow return to the pits and rejoining in P.24. Lewis seemed keen to retire the car soon after, but the fact that he could put in personal best lap times indicated that the car was sound and McLaren were obviously keen to gather data on the upgrades.

Sebastian Vettel made sure Fernando Alonso didn't bolt away at the front, but Michael Schumacher was dropping off the duo and by Lap 5 had lost 3.5 seconds to Vettel. Jenson Button showed that the McLaren upgrades had transformed his car and was past Nico Hulkenberg at the hairpin on Lap 8 and ahead of Schumacher and into third place on Lap 11.

Stars of the race were the two Sauber drivers, today both operating on two-stop strategies but stopping quite a long way apart. Perez (starting from P.17) was already into P9 and passing Paul Di Resta on Lap 9. Di Resta pitted first of anyone at the end of Lap 10 and started off a steady round of pit-stops for all but the very front runners.

The front three were all keeping an eye on each other to see when to stop and their lap times were similar. On Lap 16 the positions were: 1.Alonso 2.Vettel, 3.Button, 4.Perez, 5.Kobayashi, 6.Ricciardo - (all not stopped) 7.Schumacher, 8.Raikkonen, 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Maldonado, 11.Webber, 12.DiResta, 13.Rosberg.

Alonso was the first to blink, swapping his softs for a set off medium tyres at the end of Lap 18, Button came in on Lap 19 and Vettel in on Lap 20. For a few laps they had Kamui Kobayashi sandwiched between Vettel and Button, but the Japanese finally came in at the end of Lap 22, five laps after his team-mate.

Further back, Kimi Raikkonen (one of the earliest stoppers) made his way past Michael Schumacher on Lap 21 to take fifth place. That became fourth once Kobayashi had stopped.

Positions after everyone had stopped once on Lap 23: 1.Alonso, 2.Vettel, 3.Button, 4.Raikkonen, 5.Schumacher, 6.Hulkenberg, 7.Perez, 8.Webber, 9.DiResta, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Maldonado, 12.Rosberg.

At this point of the race both Saubers were locked in battle with Force Indias, but whereas Nico Hulkenberg was able to keep the ever-attentive Perez at bay, Kobayashi got past Paul DiResta on Lap 25 with an overtaking move - like so many at Hockenheim - that took more than one corner to play out.

At the front, Vettel started to chip away at Alonso's advantage. On Lap 23 the gap had been 2.1 seconds, on Lap 25 it was 1.6, on Lap 26 it was 1.3 and on Lap 27 it was 1.0. By Lap 30 it was 0.6. Meanwhile Jenson Button was reducing his own deficit to Vettel, resetting Fastest Lap to 1:20.727 in the process.

Alonso was keeping ahead of Vettel by reserving all his KERS energy for the speed onto the long straight and the defence into the following hairpin. The chase of Alonso was broken first by a Marussia getting very slightly in the way and then Lewis Hamilton re-emerging from the pits just behind Vettel on Lap 33 and just in front of Button.

Given that he had some speedy machinery and brand new tyres, Lewis decided to have some fun and unlap himself. Vettel and Alonso's tyres were 13 and 15 laps older, but despite this inequality Vettel decided that he wanted to defend the position from a car that was clearly quicker but no threat. Lewis was not to be denied and duly made the pass on Vettel on Lap34, producing a Fastest Lap of 1:20.091 as he did so.

Soon afterwards Vettel was onto his race engineer, but the problem was not with Lewis Hamilton, who he later labelled "stupid" for the move, the anxiety was about his KERS which was malfunctioning. He was advised to re-start the system and not to use the high energy discharge.

Jenson Button dived down the pitlane for his second stop at the end of Lap 40 (as Alonso's engineer had predicted he might) in a bid to gain the undercut. The McLaren pitcrew turned round the MP4-27 in what the team are saying is a World Record time of 2.31 seconds. That combined with a fast outlap put him in a great position, because after Vettel and Alonso stopped a lap later (all taking on medium tyres), Button had got in front of Vettel.

It was still very tight, though. Alonso led Button by 1.2 seconds and Button was 1.3 seconds in front of Vettel. Despite Red Bull telling Vettel that Button had a flatspot on his front right tyre the Brit was able to close up on Alonso - close up but not pass. On Lap 44 Jenson was just 0.8 behind Alonso.

Positions on Lap 44: 1.Alonso, 2.Button, 3.Vettel, 4.Raikkonen, 5.Schumacher (five World Champions in the top five), 6.Hulkenberg, 7.Kobayashi, 8.Perez, 9.Rosberg, 10.Webber, 11.Di resta, 12.Massa.

Vettel at one stage dropped to 2.6 seconds behind Button and ran wide in successive corners indicating that he might have been adjusting his KERS. Because after Lap 53 he began to home in on the back of Jenson, reducing the gap to 1.1 seconds by Lap 61.

Though the McLaren team thought that Alonso's tyres might go off in the last three laps it was Button who began to fade off the back of Alonso. Having been 0.6 behind on Lap 57, the gap got wider and wider; 1.5 seconds on Lap 62, 3.3 seconds by Lap 65 as Vettel sought an opportunity to grab second place at the death.

Unlike the two-stopping Saubers, Webber and Raikkonen; the German contingent of Hulkenberg, Schumacher and Rosberg all had to stop for a third time dropping them down the order late on. Schumacher was about to be caught by Kobayashi, but after his stop dropped down to seventh place behind Kobayashi and Perez. Similarly Hulkenberg dropped back behind both Saubers and Mark Webber when he came in for the final time.

In the last few laps Michael Schumacher just failed to catch backl up and get close enough to Perez to make a move. Unlike Sebastian Vettel who caught Jenson Button and attacked him round the outside into the hairpin. Vettel ran wide and off-track while snatching P2 from Button on the penultimate lap. It was a controversial pass because Vettel hadn't done it on the track.

Subsequently he was handed the time equivalent of a stop-go penalty - twenty seconds - which dropped him from second to fifth. Had he just given the place back he would have kept the podium position. As they crossed the line, it was Alonso, from Vettel from Button. Kimi Raikkonen was a distant P4 followed by the Saubers of Kobayashi and Perez in fifth and sixh, Schumacher in seventh, Webber in eighth, Hulkenberg in ninth and Rosberg in tenth. Lewis Hamilton had been the only retiree on Lap 58 with a broken differential and it had been a fruitless srace for Felipe massa in P13.

Alonso may not have won at Silverstone, but he had the satisfaction of being slower than the two following cars yet still winning. In 2012 he hasn't put a foot wrong.


01. Alonso Ferrari 1h31:05.862
02. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 3.732
03. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 6.949
04. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 16.409
05. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 21.925
06. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 27.896
07. Schumacher Mercedes + 28.960
08. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 46.900
09. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 48.100
10. Rosberg Mercedes + 48.800
11. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 59.200
12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:11.400
13. Massa Ferrari + 1:16.800
14. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:16.900
15. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1 lap
16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. Senna Williams-Renault + 1 lap
18. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
19. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 2 laps
20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
22. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 3 laps
23. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
Did Not Finish
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 58


British GP (Silverstone)
Please drive carefully
British (Silverstone)Race: Webber Beats Alonso To British Win
Sunday 8th July 2012

Mark Webber beat Fernando Alonso to the British GP victory in what proved to be a thrilling eight laps of the grand prix.

Starting second behind the Ferrari driver, Webber spent much of the grand prix dogging Alonso's footsteps.However, when the Spaniard pitted for the final time he needed to use the soft tyres whereas Webber, despite stopping five laps earlier, took the more durable hard tyre that gave him the edge in their battle to the line.

Sebastian Vettel claimed the final podium position ahead of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. The talking point of the race was the Lap 12 clash between Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez which eliminated the Sauber driver who described Maldonado afterwards as a "very dangerous driver"

Race Report Remarkably the sun was shining brightly down on the mud at Silverstone as the cars lined up fro the grid. One car that wouldn't be lining up was the Caterham of Vitaly Petrov who suffered an engine failure on the way to the grid. The ambient temperature was 19C with the track at 31C. Mercedes reported to Michael Schumacher that they expected a dry race. They were right.

Grid: 1.Alonso, 2.Webber, 3.Schumacher, 4.Vettel, 5.Massa, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Maldonado, 8.Hamilton, 9.Grosjean, 10.DiResta, 11.Rosberg, 12.Ricciardo, 13.Senna, 14.Hulkenberg, 15.Perez, 16.Button, 17.Kobayashi, 18.Petrov, 19.Kovalainen, 20.Glock, la Rosa, 22.Karthikeayn, 23.Vergne, 24.Pic

(Hulkenberg had been demoted by a five-place gearbox penalty, Kobayashi had a five-place Valencia penalty and Vergne a 10-place Valencia penalty.)

At the start polesitter Fernando Alonso swerved straight in front of Mark Webber and Webber went the other way as they swapped sides into Turn 1. Behind there was a frantic scramble with many cars touching on the opening lap. Massa and Vettel made contact, with Sebastian's front wing seeming to hit the back of the Ferrari. Later on in the lap Kimi tried to get up the inside of Vettel and they banged tyres.

The two Force Indias were duelling on the inside of Romain Grosjean when he tried a move around the outside of Lewis Hamilton at The Loop - that wasn't going to work. He dropped back but his front wing was driven over by Paul DiResta's right rear tyre puncturing the Force India. As DiResta trailed back to the pits he damaged his suspension and though the car was sent out again, he soon came back in, his race over. Raikkonen tried his luck with Vettel and went over the kerbs, lost speed and got overtaken by Maldonado.

Positions at the end of Lap 1: 1.Alonso, 2.Webber, 3.Schumacher, 4.Massa, 5.Vettel, 6.Maldonado, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Senna, 9.Hamilton, 10.Hulkenberg, 11.Grosjean, 12.Button, 13.Perez

After the Lotus team assessed the damage to Grosjean's car in the opening two laps they decided they'd have to pull him in for a new nose. From a position at the back of the field he then drove a stellar race.

Michael Schumacher started to collect a train of cars as Felipe Massa failed to find a way past the Mercedes driver. That meant by Lap 4 there was still only 10 seconds between the top 12 cars.

The stalemate was broken by Sebastian Vettel who was the first to come in for tyres at the end of Lap 10., followed a lap later by Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado.

Massa finally found a way past Michael Schumacher on Lap 12 just as Sergio Perez got his DRS working to launch the Sauber round the outside of Pastor Maldonado into Brooklands. Maldonado left his braking very late and although it's a wide corner he didn't trouble the apex, continuing on and clattering into the side of Perez causing a synchronised spin from both cars.

Maldonado lost his front wing and a frustrated Perez was out of the race (the last retirement of the race as it turned out). Perez had some angry words for Maldonado afterwards calling him a dangerous driver and maintaining that he had no respect for other drivers.

Vettel's stop on Lap 10 had started a cascade of other pit-stops and the last of the front-runners to come in was Fernando Alonso on Lap 15.

Positions at the end of Lap 17: 1.Hamilton (not stopped), 2.Alonso, 3.Webber, 4.Vettel, 5.Massa, 6.Schumacher, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Grosjean, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Hulkenberg, 11.Senna, 12.Rosberg, 13.Button

Hamilton, like Alonso had started on the hard tyres and continued on at the front. McLaren left him out and he was soon caught by Alonso after his pit-stop. On Lap 19 there was a grandstanding battle as Alonso passed Hamilton just at the start of the DRS zone. Then Lewis came back past him on the Wellington Straight before Hamilton got his braking wrong and was repassed. It was entertaining stuff, but all it did was allow Mark Webber to close on Alonso and it lost Hamilton time.

When Hamilton pitted at the end of Lap 21 he exited behind the Raikkonen/Schumacher battle for 5th and 6th. On lap 24 both Raikkonen and Hamilton got past Schumacher. During the middle phase of the race between the first and second tyre stints the race settled down. Although Lewis looked to be pressing Raikkonen at first, Kimi soon opened the gap and went away.

Behind him, it was the remarkable Romain Grosjean who was making up time after his second tyre stop. Despite the early stop for a new nose he was right back in it. In fact Grosjean's pace caused McLaren to bring Lewis Hamilton in after only eight laps (on lap 28) on the soft tyre to keep track position. He resumed on the hard.

Hamilton emerged behind Nico Rosberg and Lewis made a pass on Rosberg going into Copse, one of three he would make there in the afternoon. However Grosjean was able to use Rosberg's loss of momentum and follow Hamilton through before they'd even got to Becketts. Grosjean would cruise past Hamilton easily on Lap 35.

Alonso's gap to Webber was 5.5 seconds on Lap 32 and on Lap 33 Mark pitted for the final time for more hard tyres.

On Lap 37 Alonso pitted for his last set of tyre which would have to be softs. At the same time Kobayashi came in and overshot his pitbox by a long way, knocking three mechanics into the air as he did so. The crew picked themselves up, wheeled him back and got him out again but he lost a lot of time.

At this stage of the race it was both the Lotus cars who were coming good with Raikkonen, Grosjean and also Felipe Massa's Ferrari putting in several fastest laps of the race.

Positions at the end of Lap 38: 1.Alonso, 2.Webber, 3.Vettel, 4.Massa, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Grosjean, 7.Hamilton, 8.Schumacher 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Senna, 11.Button, 12.Kobayashi

Alonso's lead over Webber was 3.9 seconds while Hamilton was easily being caught by Schumacher and further back, Hulkenberg had Senna and Button in close attendance. Raikkonen was catching Massa and Grosjean was catching Raikkonen, but the difference in lap time between these three was small.

At the front, Alonso was finding it hard going on the soft tyre and the gap to Webber came down to 3.3 seconds on Lap 42, then 2.2, then 1.3 on Lap 44 before the TV cameras took any notice of it. By Lap 45 the gap was just 0.5 seconds.

After shadowing him for a couple of laps, Mark failed to be close enough going through the DRS zone on Lap 47 a mistake he didn't make on lap 48 cruising round the outside of the Ferrari going into Brooklands and just about holding on under braking. Unlike with Maldonado and Perez, Alonso gave him room and the pass was made without tears.

Alonso's tyres, though fading, were not in such disrepair that third place Vettel was going to be a threat. Behind them fifth place Kimi Raikkonen was hoping to get into the DRS zone behind Massa, but he ran wide and blew his chances of overtaking him in the last two laps of the race.

The final battle of the race was between Nico Hulkenberg, Bruno Senna and Jenson Button in 9th, 10th and 11th. On Lap 51 (of 52) Bruno Senna finally used the DRS to get past Hulkenberg through the Brooklands/Luffield complex. Hulkenberg tried to come back up the inside down the old start/finish straight into Copse, had to back out, missed his braking, ran wide over the kerbs and let Button and Kobayashi through as well.

Mark Webber duly became the second driver of 2012 to get two wins, with Alonso happy in second and Vettel's third place making it only the first double podium of the year for Red Bull. Massa had his best race result of his season in P4, Raikkonen was disappointed in P5 whiile Romain Grosjean was delighted to get P6 ahead of Schumacher in P7 and Hamilton in P8. Senna picked up the points for P9 and Jenson Button got the consolation prize of a single point with P10 in a race that he said he enjoyed.

The much-anticipated rain came long after the podium ceremony was over, but the fight between Webber, Vettel and Alonso (also last year's British GP podium trio) is only just starting.


01. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h25:11.288
02. Alonso Ferrari + 3.060
03. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 4.836
04. Massa Ferrari + 9.519
05. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 10.314
06. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 17.101
07. Schumacher Mercedes + 29.153
08. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 36.400
09. Senna Williams-Renault + 43.300
10. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 44.400
11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 45.300
12. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 47.800
13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 51.241
14. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 53.513
15. Rosberg Mercedes + 57.300
16. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 14
Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 3
Petrov Caterham-Renault 1


Europe race (Valencia)

Europe (Valencia) GP:
Sunday 24th June 2012

Fernando Alonso became the first repeat winner of the season when he clinched the European GP victory in the most exciting race ever seen in Valencia.

Sebastian Vettel had been on course for a comfortable victory on a hot sunny day at Valencia, 20 seconds ahead of Romain Grosjean when the Safety Car came out and changed the entire complexion of the race.

Running behind the Safety Car led to alternator failures for both Vettel and Grosjean allowing Alonso to take the win after he had fought his way through from P11 with a series of virtuoso overtaking moves. In the latter stages of the race Pastor Maldonado threw away a certain podium position by driving into the side of Lewis Hamilton, handing the place to a very surprised Michael Schumacher

Race Report
The sun was shining down on Valencia with the ambient temperature rising to 27C just before the start and the track at 44C.

Six rows of Grid
1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Maldonado, 4.Grosjean, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Rosberg, 7.Kobayashi, 8.Hulkenberg, 9.Button, 10.DiResta, 11.Alonso, 12.Schumacher

As the lights went out Vettel got a great start and led Hamilton into Turn 1. Hamilton had to defend against Maldonado but kept the position. Kimi Raikkonen started much better than Romain Grosjean and looked to be squeezing past Maldonado when the Venezuelan moved across and Kimi had to lift off.

This allowed Grosjean back in front of Raikkonen, plus Kobayashi and instead of ending the first lap in P3 he was back in P6. The two Ferraris both got great starts with Alonso choosing the right line at every opportunity. Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg both lost out and went backwards.

Positions at the end of Lap 1:
1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Grosjean, 4.Kobayashi, 5.Maldonado, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Hulkenberg, 8.Alonso, 9.DiResta, 10.Massa, 11.Rosberg, 12.Schumacher, 13.Button, 14.Senna, 15.Perez

Maldonado was using a lot of the track to keep Raikkonen behind him and pushed Raikkonen over the kerbs as they ran alongside through the 18/19/20 sequence of corners. He kept the place.

At the front, Sebastian Vettel set off at a gallop and by Lap 2 he had a four second lead over Hamilton. By Lap 4 it was 6.8 seconds. Although Romain Grosjean was first in line behind Lewis Hamilton in what was quite a large queue of cars, nobody was making any moves forward. On Lap 6 Jenson Button was able to find a way past Michael Schumacher for P12.

Felipe Massa was anxious to get past Paul DiResta who was driving conservatively, but couldn't find a way past the Scot. Mark Webber had got ahead of Heikki Kovalainen at the start but was still stuck back in P17.

By Lap 8 Vettel's gap was 9.6 seconds and Romain Grosjean was right on Lewis Hamilton's gearbox. On Lap 10 Romain launched an overtaking move around the outside of Hamilton running down to Turn 12 and made it stick. Hamilton was very fair and didn't fight the place too hard.

Kimi Raikkonen was also moving forward passing Maldonado on the outside of Turn 13 with a remarkable overtaking move on lap 13.

Jenson Button had started the first round of pit-stops on Lap 10 and Sebastian Vettel was the last of the front-runners (along with Romain Grosjean) on Lap 16.

Positions at the end of Lap 16: 1.Vettel, 2.Grosjean, 3.DiResta (not stopped), 4.Rosberg (not stopped), 5.Hamilton, 6.Schumacher (not stopped), 7.Senna (not stopped), 8.Webber (not stopped), 9.Fernando Alonso, 10.Raikkonen, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Maldonado, 13.Massa

On Lap 18 Fernando Alonso made another carefully executed passing manoeuvre, this time on Mark Webber into Turn 2 (for position as Webber had yet to stop) he got a slight flat spot on his tyres but carried on regardless.

Webber was in the mix of a fabulous assortment of cars that were yet to stop and those who had stopped. At the end of Lap 19 Michael Schumacher was at the front of a queue of lots of faster cars who wanted to get past him. Alonso managed to clear the traffic jam and get off after Lewis Hamilton.

Kobayashi closed on Senna and the Japanese driver tried to squeeze his car into a non-existent gap by the barrier and pushed Senna into a spin, damaging his front wing in the process. Senna's Williams lost the back end but incredibly managed to keep going, losing a few places in the process. Incredibly the stewards investigated the clash and decided that Bruno Senna was at fault.

Positions at the end of Lap 21:
1.Vettel, 2.Grosjean, 3.Hamilton, 4.DiResta(not stopped) 5.Fernando Alonso, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Maldonado, 8.Massa, 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Button, 11.Perez, 12.Rosberg

As the next laps began to unfold Fernando Alonso started to close in on Lewis Hamilton and in turn Kimi Raikkonen closed on Alonso. On Lap 27 Lewis put in a 1:46.2, while Fernando was able to do a 1:45.17

The race changed significantly on Lap 27 when John-Eric Vergne went to pass around the outside of Heikki Kovalainen's Caterham into Turn 12. The Toro Rosso looked like making the pass but as he came through Jean-Eric swerved right and hit the rival car puncturing tyres on both cars and damaging the suspension of the Caterham which started producing sparks from the rear. There was so much debris that the Safety Car was dispatched on Lap 29.

Cars immediately dived into the pitlane to change tyres and Hamilton and Alonso came in at the same time. Yet again it was another McLaren pitstop disaster with the front jack failing and dropping Hamilton's car off the tyres. They eventually got the new Pirellis on but Alonso was out past him. Raikkonen too.

As the cars lined up behind the Safety Car the positions were:
1.Vettel, 2.Grosjean, 3.Alonso, 4.Ricciardo (one stop), 5.Raikkonen, 6.Hamilton, 7.Rosberg (one stop), 8.Schumacher (one stop) , 9.Webber (one stop), 10.Maldonado, 11.Hulkenberg, 12.DiResta (one stop), 13.Kobayashi, 14.Massa, 15.Button

The Safety Car came in at the end of lap 33 and Vettel wasn't able to build his usual gap, in fact he almost caught the Safety Car up by the final turn. As they started off down the pit straight Fernando Alonso was very close to Grosjean who protected the inside line. That opened the door for Alonso who had already overtaken Mark Webber at Turn 2 around the outside. Despite this, the two cars touched mid-corner but both continued. Further back Kamui Kobaysahi drove his car into the side of Felipe Massa (this time earning him a penalty), while Hamilton was able to get a place back off Raikkonen.

Then the race changed again as Sebastian Vettel slowed to a stop with a failed alternator handing Fernando Alonso the lead. Seven laps later and Romain Grosjean was parking his Lotus with exactly the same problem. Both likely a victim of the Safety Car running.

While all this was happening Pastor Maldonado got past Mark Webber into the final turn, forced him wide and onto the run-off and as the Red Bull regained the track he was overtaken by both Force Indias and lost three places in one turn. Sergio Perez got past Jenson Button into the final turn to take P7 for what seemed like another late race charge.

Positions at the end of Lap 41:
1.Fernando Alonso, 2.Hamilton, 3.Raikkonen, 4.Maldonado, 5.Hulkenberg, 6.DiResta, 7.Perez, 8.Button, 9.Rosberg, 10.Petrov, 11.Schumacher, 12.Webber

Petrov had made three pitstops and was up to P10 but was being chased down by the late stopping Schumacher and Webber.

All eyes switched to the front to see if Hamilton and Raikkonen could catch Alonso, but the Ferrari driver seemed up to the task and managed to keep a four-second gap through to the closing stages. Sergio Perez managed to get as high up as P6 by overtaking DiResta, but then started dropping back. Button fell into the clutches of Schumacher and Webber on Lap 49 but was able to pass Perez before the end of the race.

Nicco Rosberg had stopped late for tyres, too and was tearing up the ground in his race to the front setting fastest laps in his pursuit of Button. He managed to overtake both Jenson and the one-stopping Paul DiResta to take P6 before the flag.

On Lap 52 Schumacher and Webber were 7th and 8th and closing in on Perez. In the final few laps of the race they overhauled DiResta, Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and then both Maldonado and Hamilton took themselves out of the equation.

Raikkonen finally made an overtaking move on Hamilton on Lap 55 but was too far back now from Alonso. Maldonado in P4 now put Hamilton under pressure. He tried round the outside of Turn 12 but Hamilton moved over to the edge of the track very much as the Venezuelan had done to Raikkonen earlier in the race.

Maldonado ran alongside Hamilton off the track, then rejoined and T-boned the side of the McLaren. It was an act of monumental stupidity from the Venezuelan driver who lost most of his front wing in the process. Had he waited, he could have passed him in any number of corners before the end.

As it was Hamilton's McLaren was slammed into the barriers and retirement and Maldonado limped home to P10 throwing away an almost certain podium place.

Although he didn't know it at the time, this put Michael Schumacher into P3 and Mark Webber an incredible P4.

An emotional Fernando Alonso duly came home to win an epic grand prix, one of the finest crafted races of his career, but as he admitted afterwards one which involved a fair degree of luck for getting away with contact with Grosjean and Vettel's unusual failure. Whatever, a podium place from 11th on the grid would have been a fantastic result. The Ferrari driver stopped his car on track without making it back to parc ferme.

Raikkonen came home in P2 with Schumacher in P3 (the result slightly under a cloud for the use of the DRS through a yellow flag zone). Schumacher himself was ectsatic. Webber was P4, Hulkenberg took his best result in P5 with a resurgent Nico Rosberg P6. Paul DiResta was hanging on with tyres that were down to the canvas in P7, Jenson Button in P8, Perez in P9 and Maldonado still circulating in P10.

It was easily the best Valencia Grand Prix of all time with an emotional Fernando Alonso in tears on the podium. Not only had he won, his closest rivals hadn't even scored points. The stewards would have to work long and hard to clear up the pieces afterwards.


01. Alonso Ferrari 1h44:16.449
02. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 6.421
03. Schumacher Mercedes + 12.639
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 13.628
05. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 19.993
06. Rosberg Mercedes + 21.176
07. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 22.886
08. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 24.653
09. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 27.777
10. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 34.630
11. Senna Williams-Renault + 35.900
12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 37.000
13. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1:15.871
14. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1:34.654
15. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1:36.565
16. Massa Ferrari + 1 lap
17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Grosjean Lotus-Renault 41
Vettel Red Bull-Renault 34
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 34
Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 27
Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1

canada race

Canada GP: Lewis Hamilton wins
Sunday 10th June 2012

Lewis Hamilton put in a Mclaren masterclass to catch and overhaul two World Champs on the way to his third Canadian GP victory.

In a race that was determined more by strategy than on-track action, Sebastian Vettel lead from the start before dropping to third behind both Hamilton and Alonso after the first round of pit-stops.

However the decisive phase was from Lap 50 to the flag at Lap 70 when Hamilton came in for a second pit-stop while both Ferrari and Red Bull opted to stay out and try and make their tyres last till the end of the race. It cost them both podiums as Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez sped past them in the closing stages with a late stop from Vettel salvaging fourth place and Alonso hanging onto fifth.

It was another dismal race for Jenson Button who simply couldn't get his car to work and Felipe Massa who spun down the order from 5th to 12th early on.

Race Report
Summer had definitely arrived in Quebec with the sun beating down on the Isle Notre Dame circuit with an ambient temperature of 27C making the track a Bahrain-like 45C

Six Rows of Grid
1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Alonso, 4.Webber, 5.Rosberg, 6.Massa, 7.Grosjean, 8.DiResta, 9.Schumacher, 10.Button, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Raikkonen.

Considering there have been some chaotic starts at the start in Montreal in the past, when the red lights went out it was a very orderly queue through Turns 1 and 2 with no dramatic moves forward or backward and no carbon fibre strewn across the track.

Paul Di Resta managed to make a place on the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, the French driver wanting more than any other to have a clean getaway having had incidents at the start of the last two grands prix. Mark Webber came under pressure from Nico Rosberg for P4 and they ran side by side with a bit of wheel touching, but both came through it unscathed with the Red Bull car maintaining its position.

Sebastian Vettel held the lead comfortably and set off to establish an early gap and finished the opening tour 1.1 seconds ahead.

Position at the end of Lap 1:
1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Alonson, 4.Webber, 5.Rosberg, 6.Massa, 7.DiResta, 8.Grosjean, 9.Schumacher, 10.Button, 11.Raikkonen, 12.Kobayashi, 13.Perez

By the end of the opening lap Felipe Massa was already putting pressure on Nico Rosberg for P5 with the Mercedes driving defensively. He followed closely on Lap 2 and by the time DRS was enabled on Lap 3 was able to make an easy pass on the back straight.

Jenson Button had started the race on the Soft tyre, unlike the front-runners who were on the SuperSofts. He now came under pressure from Kimi Raikkonen who had elected to use Softs and was using them better. However it would still take him till Lap 15 to get past the struggling Brit despite getting into the DRS zone.

Paul DiResta took a place off Nico Rosberg on Lap 3 pushing him down to P7. Up at the front Vettel was having trouble building a substantial lead. By Lap 4 it was 1.9 and a lap later it was only 1.8 as he and Lewis Hamilton traded fastest laps. Fernando Alonso in P3 wasn't letting them get away but they were edging a small gap to Mark Webber.

Felipe Massa's race took a disastrous turn at the beginning of Lap 6 when he spun his Ferrari F2012 across the grass at Turn 1 and fell from P5 to P12, taking some life out of the tyres as he did so. In the opening phase of the race it looked like most drivers (apart from Massa) wanted to see how "the deg" tyre degradation was working out and not push too hard.

The gap between Vettel and Hamilton on Lap 10 was just 1.5 seconds, with Alonso 1.3 behind Hamilton and Webber a further four seconds back. It was on this lap that all of the top 16 cars recorded a 1:20s lap of some description.

Michael Schumacher and Paul DiResta were the first drivers in the top ten to pit for tyres, on Lap 14, while sensing that the action might be about to kick off at the front, Hamilton set two fastest sectors and Alonso put in a Personal Best time to close the gaps to 1.2 and 1.7 respectively. On Lap 15 Vettel's lead was down to just 0.7 seconds and at the end of Lap 16 he pitted for a set of Softs his tyres fading fast. Hamilton came in a lap later and managed to jump the World Champion in the process, however Fernando Alonso sprinted for another two laps and managed to exit in front of them both at the start of Lap 20.

Unfortunately for Fernando, Hamilton's tyres were switched on and Lewis was right on his exhaust going through the DRS detection zone. Alonso tried to resist going down the long back straight but Hamilton was through into the lead with Vettel lurking just behind

Positions on Lap 20
1.Grosjean (not stopped), 2.Hamilton, 3.Alonso, 4.Vettel, 5.Raikkonen (not stopped), 6.Kobayashi (not stopped), 7.Perez (not stopped), 8.Hulkenberg (not stopped), 9.Webber, 10. Rosberg, 11.Maldonado (not stopped), 12.Massa.

Button, despite running the supposedly more durable Soft tyre had already pitted on Lap 15 and was doing no better on SuperSofts, his race having turned into a 70-lap set-up test.Grosjean pitted from the lead on Lap 21 and Hamilton set out to open a gap to Alonso behind him with fastest laps on Lap 22 and 23 and then again on Lap 26 and 27. By this stage the lead over Alonso was up to 3.1 seconds. Alonso wouldn't be shaken off and was putting in Personal Best times in response, with Vettel less than two seconds further back.

Both Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez had yet to stop and whereas the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi had gone in for tyres on Lap 24, Perez was making his Softs last - even better, he was closing in on Raikkonen in front. Both were almost matching the laptimes of the leading three cars.

Positions on Lap 30
1.Hamilton, 2.Alonso, 3.Vettel, 4.Raikkonen (not stopped), 5.Perez (not stopped), 6.Webber, 7. Rosberg, 8.Grosjean, 9.Massa, 10.DiResta, 11.Kobayashi 12.Schumacher

Hamilton edged out the gap to Alonso to 4 seconds by Lap 35 and while Nico Rosberg dived down pitlane for his third set of tyres at the end of Lap 39, Kimi Raikkonen had set a Personal Best on his original set on Lap 38! He finally pitted on Lap 40 and exited in P8.

Raikkonen came out in front of Rosberg who used his warmed up tyres and the DRS (as Hamilton had done with Alonso) to take back P8. Sergio Perez finally made his single stop for Sauber a lap later and came out just in front of the Rosberg and Raikkonen battle. Rosberg held his line round the inside of Turn 2 as the pitlane fed Perez back in and the Mexican had to settle in behind Rosberg.

While this was happening, Mark Webber got his braking all wrong into Turn 3/4 skipping across the grass and allowing Romain Grosjean to close up and put the Red Bull under pressure.

Positions on Lap 44
1.Hamilton, 2.Alonso, 3.Vettel, 4.Webber, 5.Grosjean, 6.Massa, 7.Rosberg, 8.Perez, 9.Raikkonen 10.Kobayashi, 11.DiResta. 12.Ricciardo

Michael Schumacher had had more than his fair share of technical problems in 2012 and on Lap 45 it became evident that his DRS had jammed open. He was already out of the points but had no other choice than to retire the car for another DNF.

There were a lot of marbles developing off the racing line now making overtaking more hazardous and with relative stasis at the front eyes turned to Sergio Perez who was catching Nico Rosberg (himself no slouch putting in fastest laps on Lap 40 and 49).

Leader Lewis Hamilton radioed back that his tyres were beginning to go on Lap 47 and his lead over Alonso came down to 2.6 seconds on Lap 49. At the end of Lap 50 Lewis was in for his second stop of the afternoon and rejoined in third place. The McLaren pitcrew work again looked less than 100% despite their new swivel jack and Lewis almost got caught out by the anti-stall kicking in again. Surely now Alonso and Vettel would sprint using the remaining life in their tyres and try and get in front...?

Lewis's first lap out of the pits was only a 1:20 and he looked vulnerable as Alonso and Vettel put in 1:18s. But then on Lap 52 he put in a Fastest Lap 1:17.244, followed by a 1:17.135 and Alonso didn't have enough time to get in and out of the pits and stay in front. His only hope now was hanging on in front.

Positions on Lap 54
1.Alonso, 2.Vettel, 3.Hamilton (two stops), 4.Grosjean, 5.Massa, 6.Rosberg (two stops), 7.Perez, 8.Webber (two stops), 9.Raikkonen 10.Kobayashi

Hamilton was now going consistently over a second a lap quicker than the two cars in front and with 15 laps to the flag and a compliant DRS the win looked on. What also looked apparent was that Grosjean could match Hamilton's pace and if either Vettel or Alonso stopped now, they would drop behind the Lotus driver.

Sergio Perez was fast, too - and whereas the one-stopping Raikkonen had come up against an impassable Mark Webber which halted his progress, Perez was right up behind Rosberg who was pressuring Massa. On Lap 57 Rosberg failed to make an overtaking move on Massa stick, cut the final chicane and had to hand the place back. The complication was that Sergio was right behind and so he handed over two places.

A lap later and Perez was past Massa, then Rosberg and when he came under pressure from Mark Webber at the Casino hairpin decided he had to come in for tyres. It saved his tenth place.

Hamilton continued his inexorable pursuit of Vettel and Alonso. By Lap 60 Alonso was just 4.3 seconds in front of the third place man. Lewis cruised past Vettel on Lap 62. At this stage Vettel and Alonso were doing 1:19s while behind them everyone from P4 to P12 was doing 1:17s.

Vettel saw the writing on the wall and pitted straight afterwards. Alonso continued. Hamilton overtook him on Lap 64, Grosjean passed him on Lap 66. By Lap 67 Fernando was losing 1.3 seconds per sector and the pursuing Vettel in 5th place was four seconds a lap quicker. In fact Vettel produced sparks from his front right wheel after contact with the Champions Wall. He still set the Fastest Lap despite it.

Perez passed the ailing Ferrari driver on Lap 68 and Vettel caught him at the Casino Hairpin on Lap 69 of 70. Another lap and the closing Rosberg, Webber and Raikkonen would have relegated him even further.

As it was Lewis Hamilton crossed the line to become the seventh winner in seven races and take the lead in the drivers' title race. Romain Grosjean came home just 2.5 seconds back in P2 with Perez clinching P3 from fifteenth on the grid. Vettel claimed Fastest Lap of the race in P4 with Alonso clinging onto P5, Rosberg P6, Webber P7, Raikkonen P8, Kobayashi P9 and Massa in P10.

It had been another Canadian GP of late-race drama and a reversal of fortunes for the McLaren drivers from 2011. With Lotus and Sauber performing well in the heat, there's no reason why it can't be eight winners from eight races in Valencia.


01. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h32:29.586
02. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 2.513
03. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 5.260
04. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 7.295
05. Alonso Ferrari + 13.411
06. Rosberg Mercedes + 13.842
07. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 15.085
08. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 15.567
09. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 24.432
10. Massa Ferrari + 25.272
11. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 37.693
12. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 46.236
13. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 47.052
14. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:04.475
15. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1 lap
17. Senna Williams-Renault + 1 lap
18. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
19. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
Did not Finish
Glock Marussia-Cosworth 57
Schumacher Mercedes 34
De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 25
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 23

Monaco race

tabac hairpin
Monaco GP:
Sunday 27th May 2012

Mark Webber claimed the victory at a processional Monaco GP ahead of Nico Rosberg, crowning him the sixth different winner of this season.

It was yet another race dominated by tyre management where rain threatened to give an ordinary race an extraordinary twist. Sadly it only started bucketing down after the cars had crossed the line.

Mark Webber came home in front of Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso with Sebastian Vettel taking advatnage of a first corner accident, caused by Romain Grosjean, to jump from P9 to P6 on the opening lap, and using tyre strategy to claim P4 by the flag. Lewis Hamilton finished fifth followed him by a reinvigorated Felipe Massa.

Race Report
It was pale sunshine on the grid at Monaco with some rain forecast for later in the afternoon and with an ambient temperature of 22C and the track at 36C.

Six Rows of Grid
1. Mark Webber, 2.Nico Rosberg, 3.Lewis Hamilton, 4.Romain Grosjean, 5.Fernando Alonso, 6.Michael Schumacher 7.Felipe Massa, 8.Kimi Raikkonen, 9.Sebastian Vettel, 10.Nico Hulkenberg 11.Kamui Kobayashi, 12.Jenson Button

As the lights went out Mark Webber got a brilliant getaway and was easily into Ste Devote in front of Nico Rosberg with Hamilton slow away but still holding onto third place. Behind, it got messy.

Romain Grosjean was slow away and tried to get past Fernando Alonso hooking his front tyre inside the rear tyre of the Ferrari as he squeezed across to the inside. Realising that this wasn't going to work, he then moved to the outside again and found Michael Schumacher's Mercedes there - bounced into it and spun around facing the rest of the field, his tyre deranged and his front wing smashed.

Miraculously almost all the rest of the field managed to miss him as they streamed either side going through St.Devote. Vettel, Hulkenberg and Ricciardo managed to use the escape road - Vettel took a place off Raikkonen thanks to it. (The stewards took a look at it but it was either that or have an accident).

Kamui Kobayashi tried to take avoiding action, clipped the back of the Lotus leaping the Sauber into the air and clunking Jenson Button in the process. His race would only last five laps. Button had looked to make up some places at the start but instead now found himself stuck behind the Caterham of Kovalainen thanks to the bump from Kobayashi.

Right at the back of the grid Pastor Maldonado, relegated by a 10-place penalty from FP3 and a 5-place gearbox change penalty increased his frustration by misjudging his braking and thumping straight into the back of Pedro de la Rosa's HRT at Ste Devote removing the Spaniard's rear wing.

Positions at the end of Lap One
1.Webber, 2.Rosberg, 3.Hamilton 4.Alonso, 5.Massa, 6.Vettel, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Schumacher, 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Senna, 11.DiResta, 12.Ricciardo

A Safety Car was deployed to pick up the debris of the Maldonado impact with de la Rosa, and it closed the field up until the end of Lap3 when it dived into the pits

The Lap one order would remain the same for many laps to come but in the early stages Felipa Massa was tight on the gearbox of Fernando Alonso and looked quicker than his team-mate.

By Lap 13 the biggest gap was that between Lewis Hamilton in P3 and Alonso in P4 - three seconds. That gap would go out to as much as 4.2 seconds by Lap 17. It became clear that Alonso was biding his time because Fernando suddenly put the hammer down and started recovering 0.6 seconds a lap. It came down from 4.2 to 3.6 to 2.9 and by Lap 21 it was only 1.1 to Hamilton.

By Lap 21 the biggest gap on track was between Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel. Vettel had started the race on soft tyres and was clearly going to go longer than the five cars in front of him. The top five were all in touch, with only nine seconds between P1 Webber and P5 Massa on Lap 24.

Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus started to fall off the back of Vettel on Lap 21 and by Lap 22 it was clear that his tyres were going off quite quickly. Not off the cliff, but over a second a lap slower than the cars in front and behind.

As early as Lap 12 race engineers were predicting rain by about Lap 27 and so Kimi was hanging on to make sure he didn't pit for tyres and suddenly find it start raining. On Lap 25 Mercedes engineers were predicting that there might be "possible light rain in four minutes." Raikkonen stayed out.

On Lap 26 Michael Schumacher, who'd caught Raikkonen, had a look at overtaking in the run down to the Turn 14 chicane - he locked his brakes once he realised it was not going to come off. Behind him there was a train of Hulkenberg, Senna, DiResta and Ricciardo.

On Lap 28 Nico Rosberg was the first front runner to stop for tyres and he managed to exit the pits into the big gap that Raikkonen had created.

Rosberg's stop kicked off a round of pit-stops and on Lap 29 Webber, Hamilton Raikkonen and Hulkenberg came in for tyres too. This was the signal for Fernando Alonso to sprint and use up the remaining life in his Pirelli options. He'd closed to just fractions behind Hamilton before Hamilton's stop and managed to jump him in the pit-stops.

Alonso's later stop also meant that Felipe Massa had to circulate one lap longer and he was unable to get the jump on Hamilton and temporarily fell behind the yet-to-stop Michael Schumacher.

Positions at the end of Lap 32
1.Vettel (not stopped) 2.Webber, 3.Rosberg, 4.Alonso, 5.Hamilton 6.Schumacher (not stopped) 7.Massa, 8.DiResta (not stopped) 9.Ricciardo (not stopped), 10.Button (not stopped).

Out in front now, Sebastian Vettel was making his harder tyres last and despite the fact that Mark Webber had newer prime tyres, Vettel was able to push harder (knowing he had to come in shortly|) and started to build the gap out from 13.0 seconds on Lap 33 to 16.2 seconds on Lap 37. By Lap 43 it was 17.4 seconds.

There had been small drops of rain falling round the circuit from Lap 37, but nothing too much to disturb the lap times. This would gradually increase in intensity through the afternoon.

On Lap 45, Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso started to run quicker than Vettel and so he came in for his pit-stop a lap later. He exited just behind Alonso and just in front of Hamilton to take P4. In fact had Lewis been 20 metres further down the road he would have relegated Sebastian to P5. The cars exited St.Devote almost side by side with Vettel emerging from the pitlane exit and just in front of Hamilton going up the hill to Rivage.

Positions at the end of Lap 51
1.Webber, 2.Rosberg, 3.Alonso, 4.Vettel, 5.Hamilton 6.Massa, 7.Schumacher, 8.Vergne, 9.DiResta, 9.Ricciardo 10.Hulkenberg, 11.Raikkonen, 12.Senna.

The cars at the front were still very tight together as Mark Webber managed his tyre wear. On Lap 55 the gap from Webber to Felipe Massa in P6 was 7.2 seconds. Unbelievably as the race went on it would get closer still.

On Lap 60 Michael Schumacher reported something wrong with his Mercedes W03, something that would turn out to be a fuel flow issue. He was being chased by Jean-Eric Vergne who had stopped as early as Lap 17 for new tyres. On Lap 62 Vergne was through to P7 and two laps later the Force Indias were past Schumacher as well - who then retired to the pits and a DNF.

DiResta had started on the yellow-walled prime tyre and had overtaken team-mate Hulkenberg in the pit-stops. Nico starting on the red-walled option tyre but had got stuck for a long time in the Raikkonen train. Raikkonen's only stop had put him back in the pack (P14 on Lap 32) and he didn't seem to have much motivation to fight after that. Both Force Indias took advantage of Jean-Eric Vergne's late race tyre stop. With his lap times falling off Vergne had to pit again and Toro Rosso took the gamble that the rain would get harder and sent him out on Inters. It eased off, though and he was left stranded in P12.

By Lap 64 of 78 harder drops of rain started to fall and being first on the road meant Mark Webber had to be very careful, the gap to Rosberg behind narrowed to 0.9, the closest it had been in the race.

Jenson Button had been following Heikki Kovalainen for most of the race and although he'd been running as high as P8, his pit-stop put him right back behind Kovalainen again. He had a hairy moment trying to overtake him going down to the tunnel chicane where he almost got squeezed into the barrier by the Finn, and later would spin his car at the exit of the Swimming Pool trying a manoeuvre that looked unlikely to come off. It was then the turn of Perez to have a bash alongside Kovalainen into Ste Devote - which didn't come off and loosened the nose of the Caterham, which pitted from P12 for a new nose and rejoined in P13.

At the front it was tightening again with just 5.7 seconds between first and sixth on Lap 67 and a mere 4.2 seconds on Lap 74. The cars were running nose to tail - at their slowest putting in 1:26 laps - then as the light rain faded, 1:24s, then 1:22s and back to 1:20s. All the time Mark Webber kept his focus while all drivers kept a close eye on their mirrors. Any mistake or false move by one of the top three cars could lose them three or four places and so they kept in line to the flag.

Once over the finish line and with the ceremonies complete the skies opened, which would really have given us a spectacular finish to the race. As it was it was nerve-wrackingly processional. Red Bull won their third Monaco GP in a row with the drivers' title closer than ever.

Webber, Rosberg, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Massa - had been the position for the last 32 laps of the race. Paul Di Resta took home 7th with Hulkenberg 8th, Raikkonen 9th and Bruno Senna in 10th.

Sergio Perez had an action packed race of missing chicanes, bumping Caterhams, impeding Raikkonen on his pit-stop and getting a drive-through for his troubles, yet still coming home in P11. The race wasn't quite so exciting.


1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h46:06.557
2. Rosberg Mercedes + 0.643
3. Alonso Ferrari + 0.947
4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 1.343
5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 4.101
6. Massa Ferrari + 6.195
7. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 41.500
8. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 42.500
9. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 44.000
10. Senna Williams-Renault + 44.500
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
13. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
14. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
15. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps

Did Not Finish
Button McLaren-Mercedes 71
Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 66
Pic Marussia-Cosworth 65
Schumacher Mercedes 64
Petrov Caterham-Renault 16
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 6
De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1
Maldonado Williams-Renault 1
Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1

Spanish race

williams on fire
Spanish GP: Pastor Maldonado wins
Sunday 13th May 2012

Pastor Maldonado pulled off the shock of the season when he claimed an assured victory at the Spanish GP on Sunday.

The Venezuelen started from pole position after Lewis Hamilton was excluded from qualifying and had a solid start, slotting into second place behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. The Williams and the Ferrari were involved in a race-long duel at the front shadowed by the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and further back by Romain Grosjean who hit two cars on his way to P4. He was followed home by Kamui Kobayashi in P5 and Sebastian Vettel in P6.

Both Mclarens and Red Bulls had mediocre races, but nothing to compare with that of Michael Schumacher who misjudged his braking and slammed into the back of Bruno Senna's Williams eliminating both cars on Lap 13.

Race Report
It was a pale sun shining down on Barcelona but no rain as had been forecast earlier in the week with an ambient temperature of 22C and the track at 33C. There was a great deal of surprise that the stewards had relegated polesitter Lewis Hamilton to the back of the grid after being underfuelled for his final run in Q3.

1. Pastor Maldonado, 2.Fernando Alonso Ferrari, 3.Romain Grosjean, 4. Kimi Raikkonen, 5.Sergio Perez, 6.Nico Rosberg, 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull, 8.Michael Schumacher, 9. Kamui Kobayashi, 10 Jenson Button, 11.Mark Webber, 12. Paul di Resta, 13.Nico Hulkenberg, 14.Jean-Eric Vergne, 15.Daniel Ricciardo, 16.Felipe Massa,17.Bruno Senna, 18.Vitaly Petrov, 19.Heikki Kovalainen, 20.Charles Pic, 21.Timo Glock, 22.Pedro de la Rosa, 23.Narain Karthikeyan, 24.Lewis Hamilton

Elevated to pole after Lewis Hamilton's summary demotion to the back of the grid Pastor Maldonado got a great getaway and moved across the racing line to block Fernando Alonso. Having snatched the lead from P4 last year, snatching it from P2 this year was fairly easy. Maldonado braved it out as long as he could, but Alonso had the inside line and the lead into Turn 1 was his.

Further back Romain Grosjean got jumped by Kimi Raikkonen and tagged a fast-starting Sergio Perez going out of Turn 1, pushing Perez off track. Perez got a puncture and had to pit at the end of the lap - although not before he rejoined the track in a dangerous way, something missed by the stewards.

Positions at the end of Lap One
1.Alonso, 2.Maldonado, 3.Raikkonen, 4.Rosberg, 5.Grosjean, 6.Schumacher, 7.Vettel, 8.Button, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Vergne, 11.Massa, 12.Webber, 13.DiResta

Felipe Massa had got an excellent start but was immediately under pressure from Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton was up to P17 by Lap 3 having had a very cautious opening lap in which he overtook the Marussias and then lost places to them again. By Lap 9 he was up to P13.

The Red Bulls had average starts and on Lap 7 Mark Webber was in for harder tyres, followed a lap later by Sebastian Vettel.

At the front Fernando Alonso wasn't sprinting away from Pastor Maldonado, though both were edging out a gap to Raikkonen, who in turn was getting a significant edge on Grosjean. Despite the second Lotus losing part of his front wing with his bump on Perez he was continuing at speed.

On Lap 10 Alonso and Grosjean pitted for the first time, followed a lap later by Maldonado and Raikkonen. Grosjean's pit-stop had put him behind the yet-to-stop Bruno Senna and the Lotus driver wanted to get past him in a hurry. He barged into Senna on the inside of Turn 1 and lost more bodywork. Despite the collision there was no investigation - Grosjean's second contact in the race.

Senna was already losing time on worn tyres, but they weren't bad enough to allow the following Michael Schumacher to take advantage, after a lap behind the Williams he was able to use the DRS down the main straight and close up rapidly on Senna into Turn 1. Although the Brazilian moved his car slightly in the braking zone it looked very much like Schumacher wasn't expecting him to brake so early and piled into the back, taking both cars out of the race. The stewards decided they would rule on that clash after the race.

The accident put a great deal of debris on the racing line and although in other situations Race Director Charlie Whiting has brought out the Safety Car, in this situation he chose to cover the hazard with double waved yellows - although both Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel would pick up drive-through penalties for not slowing down enough going past them.

Lewis Hamilton was in for tyres as late as Lap 15 and again he had a slight problem with his left-rear (the problem corner in Bahrain) after the used tyre wasn't cleared away following the stop. This time the delay was fractional.

Alonso's gap to Maldonado was 3.4 seconds on Lap 12, but the Venezuelan was chipping away at his lap times and the gap started to come down.

Positions at the end of Lap 18
1.Alonso, 2.Maldonado, 3.Raikkonen, 4.Grosjean, 5.Rosberg, 6.Vettel, 7.Button, 8.Kobayashi, 9.DiResta, 10.Vergne, 11.Massa, 12.Hamilton.

Having closed the gap, Maldonado pitted on Lap 25. Ferrari's usual practice is to cover off pit-stops but they left Fernando Alonso out two laps longer and in that time Maldonado made up the deficit to Alonso - including the Fastest lap of 1:27.906 and when the Ferrari emerged from pitlane it was back in P2. By Lap 30 Maldonado had a 7-second lead

Nico Rosberg had lost a place to Grosjean early on and looked to be under pressure from Jenson Button, who had Kamui Kobayashi on his gearbox. But as Button's challenge (and tyres) faded, Kobayashi took advantage and elbowed him out of the way going into Turn 10 on Lap 34. Kamui tried and failed to make the same move on Nico Rosberg.

Positions at the end of Lap 37
1.Maldonado, 2.Alonso, 3.Raikkonen, 4.Grosjean, 5.Rosberg, 6.Kobayashi, 7.Button, 8.Vettel, 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Webber, 11.Vergne, 12.Ricciardo, 13.Hamilton

Vettel had dropped behind Button and Kobayashi following his drive-through penalty. On Lap 38 he was able to get past Button again; although catching Kobayashi would ultimately prove beyond him

However most of the attention was at the front of the race. Having enjoyed a seven-second lead all of a sudden Maldonado was suffering from being the lead car and the first to hit backmarkers and the gap started to come down.

Williams gave him a cautious final pit-stop on Lap 42 and two laps later Alonso was in for the final time - both cars needing to run through till Lap 66 on these tyres, because any further stops would hand the race to the Lotus of Raikkonen.

In between the stops Sebastian Vettel had stopped for tyres and a new nose. Mark Webber had done the same earlier and although the team wouldn't confirm it, it was thought that both RBRs broke them by running too much on the high kerbs.

At this stage of the race it was a straight duel between Maldonado and Alonso. Raikkonen had yet to stop and was caught by the duo, with Maldonado passing on Lap 47 and Alonso passing the Finn on Lap 48, after which Kimi immediately pitted.

Hopes were high in the Spanish grandstands as Alonso closed the gap very quickly to Maldonado in the final stint and was into the DRS zone by Lap 51. Behind them Kimi and then Romain Grosjean were trading fastest sectors in their late-race pursuit. The small gap between the Williams and the Ferrari ebbed and flowed. By Lap 54 Pastor had eked out a 1.2 second gap, but when the Williams was slowed by a lapped Toro Rosso Fernando was suddenly back in the DRS zone again.

Through Laps 56, 57 and 58 the Williams looked to be deploying its KERS out of the final corner to get a big enough lead going into the DRS zone of the main straight. By Lap 59 there was a slight gap as Alonso's tyres began to go away. This would grow bigger and bigger until Raikkonen started looming large in Alonso's mirrors in the final two laps.

Behind these three Grosjean was in a lonely P4 but Kamui Kobayashi renewed his attentions on Nico Rosberg and passed him with a friendly nudge into Turn 10 to take P5 on Lap 61. Two laps earlier the newly-nosed Sebastian Vettel had put a clean move on Jenson Button into Turn 10 and by the end of the race was able to go round the outside of Lewis Hamilton into Turn 1 for P7. He wasn't finished though.

Nico Rosberg's tyres were now failing fast and such was the difference in speed that Vettel passed him on the inside going up into Turn 9 - never a passing place at Barcelona. Rosberg was able to hang onto P7 despite coming under pressure from Hamilton on the final lap. Similarly, Fernando Alonso was agonisingly in sight of Kimi Raikkonen at the chequered flag, but Kimi needed an extra 67th lap to do anything.

However all the attention went to Pastor Maldonado winning a race for the 70-years-of-age celebrant Sir Frank Williams. There couldn't have been two more popular winners in the paddock. The team's last victory had been in 2004 with Juan-Pablo Montoya in Brazil and in one race they had scored more points than the whole of last season.

An explosion, thought to be a discharged KERS device on Bruno Senna's car put a slight dampener on the celebrations, but it was now five different race winners in the five grands prix of 2012. F1 had cause to celebrate.


01 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:29.735
02 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:29.598 3.100
03 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:27.943 3.800
04 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:27.852 14.700
05 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:30.126 64.600
06 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:28.468 67.500
07 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:32.740 77.900
08 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:32.438 78.100
09 Jenson Button McLaren 1:32.052 85.200
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:31.606 1 lap
11 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:31.322 1 lap
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:32.114 1 lap
13 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:30.172 1 lap
14 Paul di Resta Force India 1:31.291 1 lap
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:31.233 1 lap
16 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:31.352 1 lap
17 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:31.618 1 lap
18 Timo Glock Marussia 1:31.070 2 lap
19 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:31.887 3 lap
R Sergio Perez Sauber RETIRED 29 laps 3
R Charles Pic Marussia RETIRED 31 lap
R Narain Karthikeyan HRT RETIRED 44 laps
R Bruno Senna Williams RETIRED 54 laps
R Michael Schumacher Mercedes RETIRED 54 laps

Bahrain race

force india
Bahrain GP: Vettel Reigns Supreme In Bahrain
Sunday 22nd April 2012

Sebastian Vettel won a disruption-free race in Bahrain holding off a determined charge from Kimi Raikkonen

It was an impressive afternoon for the Lotus team with Raikkonen securing his best finish since returning to F1 and his team-mate Romain Grosjean making it onto the podium for the first time in his career. Grosjean was also the first Frenchman on the podium in more than a decade.

Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, who was driving by himself most of the afternoon, finished P4 while Chinese Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg had to settle for a contentious P5 - having run both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso off the road.

Race Report
It was curious weather pattern that descended on the Sakhir Circuit in advance of the race, with spots of rain threatening. Any rain was likely to have burnt straight off the track with the ambient temperature of 27C and the track at 32C. After the cars came round on the parade lap Bruno Senna was slightly out of position on his grid slot.

1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Button, 5.Rosberg, 6.Ricciardo, 7.Grosjean, 8.Perez, 9.Alonso, 10.DiResta, 11.Raikkonen, 12.Kobayashi, 13.Hulkenberg, 14.Massa, 15.Senna, 16.Kovalainen, 17.Vergne, 18.Petrov, 19.Pic, la Rosa, 21.Maldonado, 22.Schumacher (gearbox change after Qualifying), 23.Glock, 24.Karthikeyan

Sebastian Vettel got a great get-away and put in one of his typical scorching first laps. Lewis Hamilton eased into P2 with Mark Webber behind, but it was Jenson Button behind them who got squeezed out by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. Grosjean wasn't going to settle for P4 and challenged Mark wbber for P3 later in the lap.

Fernando Alonso (from P8) took advantage of Button's lack of momentum to get past the McLaren while Kimi Raikkonen got a flyer from P11 competing hard with Rosberg on the opening lap. Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo, who had qualified brilliantly on Saturday, had a shocker of a start and ended the opening lap in P16 from P6 on the grid. Force India's Paul DiResta also dropped back.

Positions at the end of Lap One
1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Grosjean, 5.Alonso, 6.Button, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Massa, 9.Rosberg, 10.Perez, 11.Senna, 12.DiResta, 13.Kobayashi, 14.Vergne.

Michael Schumacher finished the opening lap in P18 while Heikki Kovalainen had to return to the pits after a puncture from contact with Ricciardo.

Sebastian Vettel's lead on the opening lap was 2.2 seconds as the order began to shuffle in the first stint. Massa got past Raikkonen for P7 on Lap 3 and then Romain Grosjean took Webber for P3 a lap later. Kimi didn't stay behind Felipe for very long and on lap 5 he got a better exit from Turn 4 and was back past Massa.

Both McLarens looked vulnerable with Vettel stretching out his lead to 4.6 seconds by Lap 5 and Grosjean homing in on Hamilton, whose rear tyres looked to be going away after just 6 laps. Grosjean dived down the inside into Turn 1 on Lap 6 to take P2. On the same lap, Jenson Button lost his P6 to Kimi Raikkonen.

At the end of Lap 7, Button, Massa and Rosberg pitted, and on Lap 8 Hamilton, Webber and Alonso stopped for tyres. It was another disastrous stop for the McLaren team with the left-rear tyre again proving to be problematic. In China Button had lost the chance of a win because of it, and in Bahrain Hamilton dropped behind both Webber and Alonso thanks to it.

To make matters worse as Hamilton exited the pitlane he got embroiled in an incident with Rosberg, the Mercedes driver pushing his friend (former friend) off the circuit in defending his place. It looked very dangerous but Hamilton managed to keep going and actually got the place in front of Rosberg who moaned down team radio that Hamilton had overtaken him off the track. To which the McLaren team would have said - where was Lewis supposed to go.

Vettel and Grosjean pitted at the end of Lap 11 while on Lap 12 Jenson Button made a brave overtaking move on Fernando Alonso through Turns 5,6,7 to take P7. Ahead of them both Paul Di Resta actually led the race not having stopped yet.

Positions on Lap 12:
1.DiResta (not stopped), 2.Vettel, 3.Grosjean, 4.Kobayashi (not stopped) 5.Webber, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Button, 8.Alonso, 9.Hamilton, 10.Rosberg, 11.Massa, 12.Perez 13.Maldonado, 14.Schumacher

Raikkonen had got himself ahead of Jenson Button in the pitstops and on Lap 13 was past Webber for P5 (net P3), he put in the fastest laps on Lap 14 and 15 in pursuit of his team-mate, meanwhile both Kobayashi and di Resta stopped on the same lap. When di Resta emerged from the pits he had to contend with a Maldonado who he claimed was "weaving all over the place". The most animated he has ever appeared in his F1 career.

Lewis Hamilton was informed by team radio that it was time to go to "Plan B" on Lap 16 whatever that was. Vettel, Grosjean and Raikkonen were the only drivers in the 1:39s at this stage and were dropping Webber to make it a three-way race at the front.

Gradually Raikkonen hauled his team-mate in, while Vettel continued to enjoy a 5.4 second gap at the front.

On Lap 22 Button pitted early again and was followed in by Massa and Rosberg. On Lap 23 Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Maldonado and Schumacher all pitted. The McLaren pitcrew were having a dire afternoon and yet again the left rear of Hamilton's car proved problematic and as a result the Brit lost more places.

Rosberg had got ahead of Alonso by stopping a lap earlier and now came under serious pressure from the Ferrari man. The stewards had already said that they would investigate the incident between Hamilton and Rosberg after the race, but the same incident was played out again on Lap 25, although this time between Alonso and Rosberg. Again Rosberg pushed his opponent onto the sand in what looked a patently dangerous defence of his place.

This time Rosberg kept the position as Alonso complained loudly over team radio

Positions on Lap 26:
1.Vettel, 2. Raikkonen, 3.Grosjean, 4.DiResta (one stop) 5.Webber, 6.Kobayashi (one stop), 7. Button, 8.Rosberg, 9.Alonso, 10.Massa, 11.Hamilton, 12.Perez

At this stage of the race Raikkonen had closed the gap to Vettel down to 2.2 seconds and he would gradually reduce this down to 1.4 seconds on Lap 31 and 0.7 by Lap 34.

Kobayashi disappeared from the order for his second stop on Lap 31 and Paul Di Resta on lap 34 as all eyes were on the front of the race with Raikkonen reducing the gap to Vettel to 0.6 seconds on Lap 35 and having to defend against Raikkonen on Lap 36.

Although Lewis Hamilton was stuck behind Felipe Massa, both he and Jenson Button's tyres were going off again and they had to stop on Laps 37 and 38 respectively. Button would lose a place to Rosberg following his stop. At the front, the drama was reduced by Vettel and Raikkonen coming in together on Lap 40. Red Bull Racing won the battle of the speedy pit-stops and Vettel exited with a bigger advantage.

Positions on Lap 41:
1.Vettel, 2.Raikkonen, 3.Grosjean, 4.Webber 5.DiResta 5.Webber, 6.Rosberg, 7.Button, 8.Alonso, 9.Kobayashi 10.Hamilton, 11.Massa, 12.Schumacher

Despite Kimi's engineer telling him that the Red Bull had "worse deg than us" (degradation) on Lap 45 he had a 3.4 gap over the Finn - this went down to 2.8 seconds on Lap 49 but was up to 3.4 seconds on Lap 50.

Paul DiResta was sitting in a brilliant P5 position for Force India but his tyres were a lot older than the chasing NicoRosberg and Jenson Button. He managed to resist Rosberg using double KERS on the start/finish straight but on Lap 52 Rosberg took P5 into Turn 1. Jenson Button was just closing in on the Scot a few laps later when the Mclaren picked up a left rear puncture and fell from P7 to P13. Although he had new tyres when Button resumed the track his engineer asked him to switch modes on his steering wheel and a lap later his car was heading back down the pitlane and into retirement.

Now DiResta came under attack from Fernando Alonso who managed to hold him off on the final lap.

Ahead of them there were no changes in the closing stages with Sebastian Vettel becoming the fourth GP winner in four races in 2012, coming home 3.3 seconds in front of Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean clinching his first ever podium. Mark Webber was in his familiar P4 position in front of the contentious drive from Rosberg and the just-about-holding-on DiResta in P6.

Before the race Alonso had thought that sixth place might be possible but the Spaniard managed seventh ahead of Hamilton in P8, Massa in P9 and Michael Schumacher who struggled through from P22 on the grid to score the final World Championship point. Kobayashi was forced into a late race third stop and lost the point he looked destined to pick up.

It had been an interruption free race where Lotus asserted their claim to be World Championship contenders, but where the reigning World Champion had shown how determined he is to make it three in a row.


Full results
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h35:10.990
2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 3.300
3. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 10.100
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 38.700
5. Rosberg Mercedes + 55.400
6. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 57.500
7. Alonso Ferrari + 57.800
8. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 58.900
9. Massa Ferrari + 1:04.900
10. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:11.400
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:12.700
12. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 1:16.500
13. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:30.300
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:33.700
15. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1 lap
19. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
20. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
22. Senna Williams-Renault + 3 laps

Did not finish
Bruno Senna Williams-Renault Lap 54
Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault Lap 25
Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth Lap 24

China race

Chinese GP: Rosberg Claims Maiden Win
Sunday 15th April 2012

Nico Rosberg kept it neat and tidy and avoided all pit stop woes as he raced to his maiden Formula One victory in the Chinese GP.

Starting from pole position, Rosberg pulled away from the chasing pack - led by his team-mate Michael Schumacher - and only relinquished the lead in the pit stops.

Despite concerns about Mercedes' tyre wear, Rosberg needed just two stops to win his first grand prix by 20.6s over Jenson Button, who fought his way back from a pit stop error. Button's McLaren mechanics struggled to attach his left rear in his final stop, costing the Brit dearly as he dropped well down the order.

Lewis Hamilton finished third ahead of the Red Bulls in a race that exploded into life in the last 11 laps.

Race Report
A typical Shanghai haze hung over the Shang circuit before the race start with temperatures at 22C ambient and 24C on the track. "Warm enough" said Jenson Button before the start, mindful that he'd had trouble getting his front tyres to work when it had been cooler. Jean-Eric Vergne had changed the bodywork of his Toro Rosso and so would start from the pitlane.

1.Rosberg, 2.Schumacher, 3.Kobayashi, 4.Raikkonen, 5.Button, 6.Webber, 7.Hamilton, 8.Perez, 9.Alonso, 10.Grosjean 11.Vettel, 12.Massa, 13.Maldonado 14.Senna, 15.Di Resta, 16.Hulkenberg, 17.Ricciardo, 18.Vergne, 19.Kovalainen 20.Petrov, 21.Glock, 22.Pic, la Rosa, 24.Karthikeayn

Nico Rosberg got an amazing start from P1 and sprinted into Turn 1 unchallenged. Behind him, Michael Schumacher was able to keep P2 without much trouble. It was the second row of Kobayashi and Raikkonen coming under pressure from the two fast-starting McLarens who suffered. Button worked his way past Raikkonen into P3 and Hamilton went wheel to wheel with Kobayashi who lost momentum and the place to both Hamilton and his team-mate Perez.

Further back Mark Webber got another bad start and lost places, but not as bad as team-mate Sebastian Vettel who was very slow away. "Normally I'm quick, but today I was very late" admitted Sebastian after the race. As a result he got stuck behind the Williams and even found himself duelling with one of the Caterhams.

Bruno Senna missed his braking into Turn 1 and lost parts of his front wing on the back of Felipe Massa's Ferrari (but didn't need it replaced), elsewhere there was contact in front as carbon fibre flew past Senna's onboard camera.

On the opening lap Mark Webber managed to get past Alonso and then Alonso retook him at the end of the lap.

Positions at the end of Lap One
1.Rosberg, 2.Schumacher, 3.Button 4.Raikkonen, 5. Hamilton, 6.Perez, 7.Kobayashi, 8.Alonso, 9.Webber, 10.Massa, 11.Grosjean, 12.Senna, 13.Di Resta, 14.Vettel

After the opening flurry of activity things settled down. Jenson Button had Kimi Raikkonen in the DRS tow and behind Kimi, Lewis Hamilton had Sergio Perez in the tow, but nobody was making a move. Everyone was wary of pushing too early in a race where tyre management would be critical.

Mark Webber pitted for new tyres at the end of Lap 6 and rejoined the race in P20. At the front, Nico Rosberg was steadily going away from Michael Schumacher and by Lap 7 had a 3.5 second gap. Michael Schumacher now had a train of Button, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Perez and Kobayashi.

This all changed on Lap 9 when other teams started to pit (with Mark Webber quickly reducing the fastest lap behind them all). Kobayashi and Vettel came in on Lap 9; Raikkonen and Hamilton on Lap 10; Button on Lap 11; and Schumacher, Alonso and Senna on Lap 12.

Hamilton and Raikkonen exited the pitlane side by side, the Lotus being released straight into the path of the Mclaren and running side by side down the pitlane till Kimi ran out of room at the end. They rejoined the track right by Mark Webber and though Lewis Hamilton was able to get past the Red Bull, Kimi could not, trying very hard at Turn 6 where Mark closed the door on an outside move from the Finn.

Rosberg was able to keep his pace the longest and while he was pitting on Lap 13 eyes turned to Michael Schumacher who'd just lost a place to Jenson Button in the pitstops. There had been consternation in the Mercedes pit directly after Schumi had been released from his pitbox and later in the lap he had to park the car with a loose wheel. (The FIA would investigate for an unsafe release).

With Rosberg pitting, this left Sergio Perez in the lead from Felipe Massa who'd started on the harder tyre.

Positions on Lap 14: 1.Perez (not stopped), 2.Massa (not stopped), 3.Rosberg, 4.Button, 5.Hamilton, 6.Webber, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Alonso, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Grosjean, 11.Vettel, 12.Senna, 13.Ricciardo, 14.DiResta.

When Perez finally pitted on Lap 16 he exited just in front of Sebastian Vettel in P10, while Massa would fall to P14 when he came in at the end of Lap 18.

On Lap 19 Rosberg led from Button and all the pre-race predictions, that the Mercedes would eat up its tyres were not coming true. The reverse was the case with the W03 able to run longest on the soft compound Option.

The gaps on Lap 20 were: Rosberg 4.7 to Button 2.1 to Hamilton 3.4 to Webber 0.6 to Raikkonen 0.5 to Alonso. But just as we got a settled running order established Mark Webber kicked off the second round of pit-stops by coming in at the end of Lap 21. With the Aussie just three seconds behind the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, the team reacted by bringing Lewis in for his second stop - and a lap after that Jenson Button.

Button was released behind Vettel and Perez, but Hamilton was re-inserted behind Felipe Massa, and because Massa had relatively new rubber, proved difficult to overtake. Hamilton finally took him with a hestitant pass at Turn 6 on Lap 26 and a lap later Webber was past as well at the same turn

Meanwhile Button using his DRS and younger tyres was able to get past Perez and then Vettel and by Lap 31 it was looking promising for the Brit. He was putting in 1:41s while Rosberg ahead could only manage 1.43s. On Lap 32 Button showed his intent by putting in the fastest lap of the race so far with a 1:40.908

Positions on Lap 33: 1.Rosberg (one stop), 2.Button, 3.Perez (one stop) 4.Hamilton, 5.Webber, 6.Alonso, 7.Massa (one stop), 8.Raikkonen 9.Kobayashi, 10.Maldonado, 11.Vettel, 12.Grosjean

Now Hamilton found himself stuck behind Sergio Perez, the Sauber having great top speed down the long back straight and enabling him to defend in the one place Hamilton would hope to get past using DRS. Perez locked his front tyres on several occasions and the delay allowed Mark Webber to close up and even try an unlikely move round the outside of Lewis Hamilton into Turn 6 on Lap 34. Raikkonen had failed to get past Webber there and Webber failed to make it stick as well.

Webber pitted for tyres, Hamilton soldiered on behind Perez and Alonso took advantage by closing right up to the back of Lewis Hamilton until Perez finally pitted on Lap 35 (to rejoin in P13). This finally allowed the McLaren to charge off in pursuit of his team-mate.

Mark Webber's interesting afternoon got even more spectacular when he launched his Red Bull RB8 off the kerbs at Turn 13 and the car was temporarily airborne. Webber survived the moment and carried on regardless. He was anxious to keep in touch with the Hamilton vs Alonso battle, having stopped earlier than the pair of them. They both duly stopped on Lap 38 and McLaren showed that they are up with the speed of the Ferrari pitstops by keeping Hamilton in front. They were both able to keep their position in front of Perez.

A lap later and Jenson Button came in for a stop that would rob him of any chance of victory. With Rosberg stopping on Lap 34 (for his second of what would be two stops) Button was now in front on the road. But problems with the left rear tyre delayed Jenson a precious extra six seconds and instead of leaving the pits behind Rosberg and in clear air, he was stuck behind Vettel who was stuck behind Raikkonen. They were both going to run out of tyres sooner or later, but JB was held.

Positions on Lap 42: 1.Rosberg 2.Raikkonen, 3.Vettel, 4.Button (3 stops), 5.Grosjean, 6.Webber (3 stops), 7.Senna 8.Hamilton (3 stops), 9.Maldonado, 10.Alonso (3 stops). 11.Perez

On Lap 43 Fernando Alonso shaped up to overtake Pastor Maldonado, ran wide onto the marbles and off the track losing a place to Perez in the process. At this stage, the circuit looked to have an avenue of the racing line surrounded by tyre marbles and any driver venturing off them had to be pretty certain it was worth the excursion.

By this point in the race Rosberg had a 23 second cushion to Kimi Raikkonen who was holding up a train of cars from his position on ailing tyres in P2. Such was the fear of the marbles that he had gathered seven cars behind all keen not to get it wrong and lose loads of places to the cars behind.

On lap 45 it all kicked off with Grosjean running wide and losing places. As he fought to regain his position he ran side by side with the Williams of Maldonado through Turn 12 and 13 and there was contact between the cars. Grosjean managed to keep in front down the back straight as Maldonado tried to get past the Lotus and Perez - using the Sauber's great top speed - tried to get past the Williams. Maldonado managed to outbreak both Perez and Grosjean, take the inside line at the hairpin and seemingly make the overtake on Grosjean. Grosjean used the wide line around the turn to cut back inside and re-take Maldonado before the final turn. It was great driving.

A lap later and Alonso was past Perez and on Lap 47 Raikkonen led an incredible train of 12 cars. Positions on Lap 47: 1.Rosberg 2.Raikkonen, 3.Vettel, 4.Button, 5.Webber, 6.Hamilton 7.Senna 8.Grosjean 9.Maldonado, 10.Alonso 11.Perez, 12.Kobayashi, 13.DiResta. - and there was 10 seconds between Kimi Raikkonen in second and Paul DiResta in thirteenth!

Lap 48 saw the most dramatic change of fortunes with Kimi Raikkonen finally overtaken by Vettel and being caught up in successive overtakes as he dropped from 2nd place to finish the lap behind Vettel, Button,Hamilton and Webber. As the chequered flag approached drivers decided to make their moves and Laps 48 to 51 saw the order thoroughly shaken up. Hamilton got by Webber when he went off-track in his attempts to get past Raikkonen too quickly.

Kimi's tyres had fallen off the cliff and he ended up in P12 at the end of Lap 49 - mugged by everyone. Button passed Vettel going into the hairpin and then Hamilton began to shadow Vettel with Webber right in his mirrors.

Further back Sergio Perez even forced his own team-mate onto the grass going into the braking zone of the hairpin, but Kobayashi managed to keep control of his car and got the car braked to make the overtaking move. Perez then fell back and on Lap 54 the timing screens showed that Maldonado, Alonso and Kobayashi crossed the line together - separated by 0.00 of a second and going into Turn 1 three abreast. Maldonado held out from Alonso and Kobayashi.

A lap later and Hamilton outbraked Vettel into the hairpin and the World Champ almost got him back going into the final corner - causing Hamilton to do some creative car positioning on the following straight. Mark Webber tried to come past, too, but was able to pass his team-mate on the penultimate lap as Vettel's tyres gave up. (A geat move round the utside of the hairpin)

Up ahead of this mayhem Nico Rosberg had a serene 20-second advantage and was able to bring the car home for an un-pressured debut win. Button was second but thought he could have made the winner work a lot harder. Hamilton finished third in front of Webber, Vettel in fifth, an excellent sixth place from a recovering Grosjean. Bruno Senna had far less dramas than his team-mate to take seventh place whereas the onboard camera of Maldonado saw a tremendous amount of action.

It had been a spectacular grand prix and unlike most, had exploded into life in the last 10 laps. Mercedes were unused to the idea of celebrating or finding their way to the podium, but given that Rosberg has proved that he can keep his Pirellis intact - it won't be his last visit this season.


1. Rosberg Mercedes 1h36:26.929
2. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 20.6
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 26.0
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 27.9
5. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 30.4
6. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 31.4
7. Senna Williams-Renault + 34.5
8. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 35.6
9. Alonso Ferrari + 37.2
10. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 38.7
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 41.0
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 42.2
13. Massa Ferrari + 42.7
14. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 50.5
15. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 51.2
16. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 51.7
17. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:03.1
18. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
19. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
21. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
22. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
23. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 3 laps

Malaysia race

Malaysia GP: Alonso Wins, Perez Steals The Show
Sunday 25th March 2012

Fernando Alonso put Ferrari's woes to one side to win the Malaysian GP, but the day belonged to Sergio Perez who finished P2.

After all their pre-season problems and struggles in qualifying, it was a jubilant moment for the Italian outfit as Alonso came from P8 on the grid to win the rain-affected race at the Sepang International Circuit.

The plaudits, though, will go to Sergio 'Checo' Perez and Sauber as the Mexican put in the drive of his life to claim his first podium finish. Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton finished a distant P3 and he was followed across the finish line by Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen.

Spots of rain started to fall with twenty minutes to go before the start. Ten minutes before the start Lotus boss Eric Boullier was predicting that it would be delayed because of the increasing intensity of what was now light rain. However at the top of the hour the cars went off on their parade lap with everyone on Inters except HRT who had opted for the full wets. Only Karthikeyan got away, though and de la Rosa had to start from the pitlane.

1.Hamilton, 2.Button, 3.Schumacher, 4.Webber, 5.Vettel, 6.Grosjean, 7.Rosberg, 8.Alonso, 9.Perez, 10.Raikkonen, 11.Maldonado, 12.Massa, 13.Senna, 14.Di Resta, 15.Ricciardo, 16.Hulkenberg, 17.Kobayashi, 18.Vergne, 19.Petrov, 20.Glock, 21.Pic, la Rosa, 23.Karthikeayn, 24.Kovalainen

As the lights went out the two McLarens got away with well, but with no repeat of Jenson Button's heroics from Melbourne, Lewis Hamilton claiming the line for Turn 1. Behind them, Michael Schumacher got bogged down at the start and was uncharacteristically slow away. Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber moved alongside the German going into Turn 1.

Grosjean got ahead, but was on the edge of control. Webber got past him into Turn 4, while Schumacher was pushed into a spin by Grosjean who lost the rear end of the car at the exit of the corner. Schumi fell a long way back and Grosjean dropped down the order. At this point in the race there was very heavy rain in Sector 1 but little round the rest of the track, even so Sergio Perez decided it would be a good move to duck into the pitlane and change to full wets at the end of Lap 1.

Positions at the end of Lap 1
1.Hamilton, 2.Button, 3.Webber, 4.Vettel, 5.Alonso, 6.Rosberg, 7.Maldonado, 8.Raikkonen, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Massa, 11.Perez (in pitlane), 12.Di Resta, 13.Hulkenberg

On Lap 2, Di Resta and Bruno Senna came in for full wets, on Lap 3 Massa pitted from P10 and on Lap 4 Jenson Button led in Alonso, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Petrov. As the rain grew in intensity it became inevitable that everyone should move onto wets. Grosjean had spun off when his Lotus aquaplaned off the track. In came Hamilton, Webber, Vettel, Maldonado, Raikkonen, Kobayashi and Schumacher.

Button had gained time during his one lap advantage on the full wets but he still came round just behind Hamilton as he emerged from the pits.

The rain was getting heavier lap by lap with aquaplaning at Turn 5 and Jenson Button reporting: "the last sector is like a lake" referring to the standing water at Turn 12. Perez was taking full advantage of having changed to wets early and was up to an incredible P3, while Narain Karthikeyan who had started on wets was in P10 for HRT.

Around the circuit there was thunder and lightning and a power cut that dimmed the lights. On Lap 7 timing screens said the race had been red-flagged, but that was amended straight away to a Safety Car. As the SC collected everyone behind it for a lap the rain intensified, another Red Flag message came up, backed up by written confirmation from Race Control that this was a real Red Flag.

Positions behind the Safety Car
1.Hamilton, 2.Button, 3.Perez, 4.Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Vettel, 7.Vergne, 8.Massa, 9.Rosberg, 10.Karthikeyan, 11.Hulkenberg, 12.DiResta 13.Raikkonen, 14.Maldonado, 15.Schumacher, 16.Kobayashi

The cars formed up on the grid and drivers got out and prepared for the wait Finally at 1704 local time Race Director Charlie Whiting deemed the rain light enough to have a restart behind the Safey Car at 1714.

Because all tyres had to be wets behind a Safety Car start, Jean-Eric Vergne who had not changed from his Inters, got a free set of Wets without having to drop time for a pit-stop. The cars cruised behind the Safety Car for Laps 10, 11,12 and it came in at the end of Lap 13. Lewis Hamilton stacked the cars up on the back straight before the line. At this stage many were predicting a quick change onto Inters as the circuit rapidly dried out. Button didn't even wait for the restart and was in for Inters along with many of the midfield - no-one else from the frontrunners.

It proved to be the wise choice because his first middle sector on the Inters was faster than anyone and at the end of the lap everyone else dived into the pitlane. Already on Lap 14 Alonso had got past Mark Webber, to take P3.

In the pitlane Hamilton was delayed because he couldn't be released into the path of the incoming Felipe Massa and so when Lewis Hamilton got back on track he was now behind Alonso, but still in front of Jenson Button. But only by a few car lengths. Leading now was Sergio Perez with Sebastian Vettel, who were the only ones not to change to Inters and they would follow suit a lap later.

Button then made the mistake that would effectively end his race, sliding into the HRT of Kathikeyan who was ahead of him on track position (having not stopped for a change of tyres) and deranging his front wing. The pit-stop made with the cars still relatively bunched up cast him back to P.21. Although he found speed at first he reported that: "the front tyre is shuddering the whole time." And had to change the set again.

Alonso had made it in and out of the pit very quickly, so when Perez stopped for tyres he emerged only just in front of the Ferrari driver who nipped past him in a masterly overtaking move through Turns 1 and 2 to take the lead.

Positions on Lap 16:
1.Alonso, 2.Perez, 3.Hamilton, 4.Rosberg, 5.Vettel, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Webber, 8.Massa, 9.DiResta, 10.Vergne, 11.Hulkenberg, 12. Kobayashi, 13.Schumacher

Hamilton was suffering similar problems to Button and while the McLarens had been the fastest of anyone through the middle sector in the dry, now Hamilton was losing time to both the Sauber and Ferrari in front of him. Fernando was edging out a gap to Sergio 'Checo' Perez, but the gap to Hamilton was greater. Behind the Brit, Nico Rosberg had gained places by staying out on the full wets and was delaying Sebastian Vettel. On Lap 21 Rosberg was a whole 1.1 seconds slower that Hamilton in the middle sector alone.

By Lap 23 Vettel had found a way past with grip on the outside of Turn 1 and soon a flood of cars behind Rosberg were finding their way past. He finally pitted for Inters at the end of Lap 27 and resumed back down in P16.

At the front, Alonso was making Italy (and Spain) proud again with a series of Fastest Laps on Lap 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26. By the time we got to Lap 30 he had stretched out the gap to Perez to 7.7 seconds, while Perez had 7.7 seconds on Hamilton and Lewis has put 8.4 seconds between himself and fourth place Vettel. Raikkonen was a further 7.3 back in fifth, closely followed by Mark Webber who was within a second of the Finn.

The quick lap times continued with Alonso setting more Fastest Laps on Laps 30, 31 and 32. But just as the timing screen went purple to show the latest time for Alonso, so it was being superceded by Perez a few seconds later. Perez was then fastest on Laps 31, 32 and 33. The gap came down to 5.7 seconds.

Although there were reports that there was a rain shower coming or rain near the circuit and even a few drops of rain actually falling, a dry line was being established and the fastest time falling almost every lap. Pirelli's Paul Hembery suggested that the move to dry tyres would be at a lap time of around 1:52s.

On Lap 36 Perez put in a fastest 1:54.738 to close the gap to 3.9 seconds, a lap later Alonso put in a 1:54.7 and Perez aced it with a 1:54 dead closing the gap to 3.2. With 20 laps to go an upset looked on the cards.

Daniel Ricciardo was the first onto slick on Lap 38 and by lap 39 Perez had got the gap to Alonso down to just 1.3 seconds. Ricciardo was soon the fastest man on the circuit and at the end of Lap 39 Mark Webber and the midfield cars pitted.

Alonso, Vettel and Raikkonen pitted a lap later, but crucially Sauber and McLaren left Perez and Hamilton out on the track. When they rejoined they had both lost time - Vettel was much closer to Hamilton and Perez had lost four seconds to Alonso and was now 5.7 back. Yet again he started to haul in the gap with some fast laps and by Lap 46 he was just 2.3 behind with ten laps to go.

Vettel was also closing on Hamilton but on Lap 47 shredded his left rear tyre against the front wing of an HRT and limped back to the pits scattering debris along the back straight as he went.

Positions on Lap 50
1.Alonso, 2.Perez, 3.Hamilton, 4.Webber, 5.Raikkonen 6.Senna, 7.DiResta, 8.Vergne 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Maldonado, 11.Schumacher, 12.Vettel

By Lap 50 'Checo' was sitting on Alonso's gearbox in a much faster car and looking for a way past. Right at this time his engineer came on the radio with what could be considered a contentious/conservative call: "Checo be careful, we need this position, be careful."

Straight away, Perez went off track at Turn 14 and lost five seconds, handing the race to Alonso. Although the Mexican closed the gap in the six laps to the flag he'd given himself too big a gap - he was in no danger from the following McLaren.

Maldonado's engine started to smoke on Lap 54 and he gave up the final points position to Schumacher as he retired the car. This gave rise to a comedy exchange on the radio to Sebastian Vettel from his engineer. At one moment it was "retire the car, retire the car" then it was "stay out, stay out", then it was "stop the car, stop the car". Some thought that it might be a tactical retirement to get a new gearbox but Vettel's car still came up on the timing screens as P11 at the chequered flag - 75.5 seconds down on the jubilant winner Fernando Alonso.

Second was the hugely impressive Sergio Perez who may well have booked his place in the No.2 Ferrari in 2013, followed by Lewis Hamilton, a resurgent Mark Webber and an equally impressive Kimi Raikkonen who had managed his wet tyres far better than Rosberg had to bring the car home in 5th and claim fastest lap on Lap 53 - a 1:40.722

Bruno Senna made up for the Williams heartbreak from Melbourne to finish 6th ahead of Di Resta in 7th, Vergne in 8th (this time not mugged on the last lap), Hulkenberg in 9th and Schumacher in 10th. Jenson Button finished 79 seconds off the leader - his two extra pit-stops giving him five trips down pitlane as opposed to the winner's three.

Ferrari will be under no illusion that their season is suddenly back on course, but Alonso's win will be an inspiration to make rapid progress. And right now everyone will want to know the exact details of Sergio Perez's contract.


01. Alonso Ferrari 2h44:51.812
02. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 2.263
03. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 14.591
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 17.688
05. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 29.456
06. Senna Williams-Renault + 37.667
07. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 44.412
08. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 46.985
09. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 47.892
10. Schumacher Mercedes + 49.996
11. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 1:15.527
12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:16.800
13. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:18.500
14. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1:19.700
15. Massa Ferrari + 1:39.300
16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
19. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 2 laps
20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
22. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 47
Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4

Australia race

Australia GP: Button Claims Aussie Honours
Sunday 18th March 2012

Jenson Button beat team-mate and pole sitter Lewis Hamilton into the first corner and never looked back as he won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The 2009 World Champion was in complete control of the race as he claimed the early-season honours ahead of the Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton. Vettel scrapped his way through the field from P6 on the grid but was handedsome good fortune when a Safety Car gifted him second place ahead of Hamilton.

The success stories of qualifying on Saturday, Romain Grosjean and Michael Schumacher, both had races to forget as they both retired early.

It was a sunny Albert Park that greeted the cars with an ambient temperature of 22C and the track at 28C. As the tyre choices were revealed on the parade lap, only Perez, Vergne and Petrov were going for the medium Prime tyre. Perez had taken a 5-place grid penalty for changing a gearbox and was starting from the back. Both HRTS were missing after failing to achieve 107% of the qualifying time on Saturday.

When the red lights went out Jenson Button got a great start from P2 on the grid and was able to take the inside line into Turn 1 and edge ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the lead. Further back, the two Mercedes both had great starts with Michael Schumacher up to third place and Nico Rosberg coming through from seventh on the grid to take fourth.

Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber had poor starts and lost places. Webber was sandwiched between Vergne on the outside and Hulkenberg on the inside and radioed back that he thought he had damage after they both tried to get onto his piece of tarmac at Turn 1.

Home boy Daniel Ricciardo and Bruno Senna had a coming together and both had to limp back to the pits at the end of the opening lap. However making up for their dismal qualifying on Saturday, the Ferraris launched themselves forward, Fernando claimed P8 from twelfth on the grid and Felipe Massa had an even more impressive charge to P10 from sixteenth on the grid.

Nico Hulkenberg's ill-advised contact with Webber on the opening lap put him out of the race.

Positions at the end of Lap 1 1.Button, 2.Hamilton, 3.Schumacher, 4.Rosberg, 5.Vettel, 6.Grosjean, 7.Maldonado, 8.Alonso, 9.Webber, 10.Massa, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Perez, 13.Glock, 14.Raikkonen

The jostling for positions that so often ends on Lap 1 continued right through Lap 2 in Australia. Sebastian Vettel hammered another nail into the theory that he can't overtake by getting past Nico Rosberg's Mercedes for P4, while a feisty move from Pastor Maldonado saw Romain Grosjean punted off into the gravel after inexpertly trying to defend his place. From P3 on the grid, a poor start and race exit on Lap 2 was not the start Lotus would have wanted for Grosjean but Raikkonen was still running and was up to P12 by Lap 2.

At the front, Jenson Button set a series of successive fastest laps to establish a clear gap to Hamilton. By Lap 5 he had a 3.1 second advantage. Lap 6 was the first time that he didn't set the timing screens to purple (fastest). It was all very reminiscent of Vettel in 2011.

Pastor Maldonado's adventures were continuing as he went off track on Lap 4 allowing Alonso up to P6 and Massa up to P8. He wasn't the only one. Sebastian Vettel misjudged his braking into Turn 1 on Lap 6 allowing Nico Rosberg to close up again. The two ran side by side with Alonso in close attendance to see if he could capitalise. In the end Vettel hung on to keep his place.

Having qualified well, the much anticipated fall-off in Mercedes lap times, caused by tyre wear, was being realised. Michael had dropped 6.5 seconds behind Hamilton by Lap 7 and Nico Rosberg was coming under pressure from Fernando Alonso for his P5. They weren't the only ones. By Lap 9 Felipe Massa was reporting back that he had no grip in his rear tyres and he was holding up a gaggle of Perez, Kobayashi and Raikkonen..

Sebastian Vettel caught up with P3 Schumacher on Lap 10 and just as he was figuring a way to get past him, Michael obliged by pulling off the road and then limping back to the pits - seemingly a gearbox problem putting an end to his day's work.

At this stage, Lap 11, Button had a 3.3 second advantage over Hamilton who was ten seconds clear of Vettel.

On Lap 12 Massa started off the round of early pitstops for tyres, followed a lap later by Rosberg and on Lap 14 Fernando Alonso. It had been predicted that the stops would begin around Laps 16 to 18, so this was much earlier than expected.

By Lap 15, both McLarens were running laps in the 1:34s and Sebastian Vettel, now in P3, was catching them with 1:33s. Button pitted on Lap 16 and Vettel followed him in. Lewis Hamilton's one extra lap on the old tyres cost him dear - a disastrous 1:36.403. This meant that when the cars reassembled after the pit-stops his lead over Vettel had shrunk from 10 seconds to 2.8.

Positions on Lap 17: 1.Button, 2.Raikkonen (not stopped), 3.Perez (not stopped), 4.Hamilton, 5.Vettel, 6.Vergne (not stopped), 7.Alonso 8.Rosberg, 9.Webber, 10.Maldonado, 11.Massa, 12.Kobayashi

Hamilton struggled to get past the yet-to-stop Sergio Perez and lost more time to Vettel. By Lap 23 he was just 1.2 seconds in front of him and decided to put his foot down to open up the gap. Hamilton reduced the fatest lap to 1:31.7 on Lap 24 and 1:31.5 on Lap 26 and by Lap 30 he'd closed his deficit to Jenson to just 9.4 seconds but only opened a 2.5 second gap on Vettel.

Not far behind them Mark Webber was hard on the tail of Nico Rosberg and complaining that the German was "moving all over the place" and on Lap 31 the Mercedes driver had to take to the exit road on the inside of the fast chicane to maintain momentum and his position ahead of the Red Bull. Whether or not that was a fair defence of the place became a moot point when he pitted at the end of the lap.

Released from following Rosberg, Mark Webber started to move forward with a new sense of urgency and set the fastest lap of 1:31.098 on Lap 32, his target the P4 of Fernando Alonso. Before he could quite get there Alonso obliged by diving into the pits for more tyres, handing over the place.

At the end of Lap 36 both McLarens followed suit. At this stage Button had a 10.8 second lead over Hamilton and so the team were able to get both cars in and out on the same lap. They had lost a lot of time when the tyres started to go off after the first stint and were not going to risk waiting an extra lap for Hamilton again

Little did they know this was again the wrong thing to do as at that moment Vitaly Petrov's steering failed on the Caterham and he failed to find a safe place to park it, leaving it in an awkward position on the start/finish straight. The Safety Car was brought out and because Hamilton had to slow for the incident and Vettel was past it, Vettel got in and out of the pits and took his position. Many more cars took advantage of the opportunity to stop for tyres and the field compressed. Heading for the restart after Lap 41 the order was: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Hamilton, 4.Webber, 5.Maldonado, 6.Alonso, 7.Perez, 8.Rosberg, 9.Raikkonen, 10.Kobayashi, 11.DiResta, 12.Vergne

When the race was restarted on Lap 42 Jenson Button produced one of the restarts of his career crossing the line at the end of the lap with a massive 2.5 gap to Vettel. He then reeled off a succession of fastest laps on Laps 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47. Of the top four it looked like it would be Hamilton pressuring Vettel that might bring a result, but Vettel edged out a slight lead to take himself outside the DRS zone and then Hamilton came under pressure from Webber. In the closing stages of the race all four would put in fastest laps but the order wouldn't change and 2.9 seconds was the closest Vettel would ever get to Button.

Pastor Maldonado looked glued to the back of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari for the 17-lap sprint to the flag, while further back down the field there was an all-Brazilian clash between Bruno Senna's Williams and Felipe Massa's Ferrari at Turn 4, Massa pushing Senna out wide and the two making contact. The incident would be investigated by the stewards afterwards.

Nico Rosberg's tyres were fading again and he found himself under pressure from Kobayashi and Raikkonen who were continuing their ding-dong encounter from earlier. All of them were catching the one-stopping Sergio Perez who was hanging on to soft rubber that he had changed before half distance.

It all began to kick of on the final lap when Pastor Maldonado tried to cut too much kerb in a bid to mount an overtaking move on Alonso. His car lost control and span into the barriers - his precious P6 position for Williams up in smoke. Rosberg attempted to get past Perez and the two came together damaging Rosberg's car and putting him out of the points, while wounding Perez's chances.

Kobyashi gratefully swooped through to take P6, Raikkonen passed Perez in the penultimate corner to take P8, while not far behind Daniel Ricciardo got ahead of Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne for P9 and Paul DiResta edged the Frenchman out by 0.1 of a second for the final point as the cars crossed the line in a blanket finish.

The frantic midfield drama slightly deflected the attention from Jenson Button's highly impressive first win of the year and the Red Bull recovery to 2nd and 4th. Lewis Hamilton was a glum addition to the podium in P3 having hoped for so much more. A further seventeen seconds back, Fernando Alonso came home in P5 having saved a lot of the Scuderia's blushes.

It had been an epic first race to start the new season, but as many had predicted, the McLarens and the Red Bulls look to be the teams to beat - even if they don't have a fancy DRS-stalling device.

Frank Hopkinson

01. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h34:09.565
02. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 2.100
03. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 4.000
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 4.500
05. Alonso Ferrari + 21.500
06. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 36.700
07. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 38.000
08. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 39.400
09. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 39.500
10. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 39.700
11. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 39.800
12. Rosberg Mercedes + 57.600
13. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1 lap
14. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
15. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
16. Senna Williams-Renault + 4 laps
Did Not Finish
Massa Ferrari 47
Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 42
Petrov Caterham-Renault 37
Schumacher Mercedes 11
Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2
Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1
De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1

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This page was updated on January 30th. 2014.

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