Login

BECOME A MEMBER

Why? The database includes over four and a half thousand files.

They include all the races including national and non-championship, test sessions where known, drivers and constructors histories and general statistics.

So you don't have to download each of these files individually, all the F1 files are grouped in easy to download ZIP files.

For just $40 (Australian) for the first year via good old PayPal and $20 per annum if you renew, it will save you a whole lot of time to access this information.

Once you have processed your membership a new SUB-MENU will appear in the "The Database" tab named Paid Content which you can then raid to your hearts delight.

All content is updated as and when new information becomes available.

JOIN NOW!

F1 Ð TWO BY TWO

  Now before you all start thinking I’m some sort of religious nut let me assure you that I am a firm believer in the survival of the fittest and that the Darwin awards are proof positive of the non-existence of gods. Especially ones that bless America. But recently it has become just too easy to rely on these mythical references when it comes to Grand Prix racing. And on a weekend when Thor was out in all his splendour and it was more in keeping that Noah’s Ark should be about than Formula One cars the winners are now lining up two by two. “Hey Lord, we’ve got some green alligators, some long necked geese….” Two King Fernandos and two Mark Webbers – a unicorn anyone??? 

 

{mosimage}

 

  After two days, or should I say two months, of torrential rain King Fernando broke out the floaties and water wings to capture Ferrari’s first pole position since Methuselah was a small child (see – another one, I just can’t help it at the moment, I must visit my exorcist) or at least since 2010 anyway, and for most of the weekend it appeared that he was going to break the mould and make a break at the front of the championship that would be very difficult for anyone to peg back. (Gasp – long sentence – breath in…) But once he was on the softer tyres and Mark was on the harder for the final stint the game changed dramatically.

 

  The softer compound tyres were only good for about 11 laps, 13-14 if you were really easy on them and King Fernando pitted for the final time to take these on with 15 laps to run. In a way he was forced to pit then to cover off the Red Rags who had just made their final stops and put on the harder tyres that got quicker as they aged.

 

 

{mosimage}

    This meant of course that by lap 45 the Ferrari’s tyres were on their last legs while Webber was closing rapidly. After a few laps right up the red car’s smelly end Webber finally just drove around the outside of King Fernando at Brooklands. That the Red Rag is anything up to 10 kms slower in a straight line than the Ferrari shows just how much more grip Webber had at that moment than Alonso. The championship leader grimly tried to fight back but with just five laps left the race for the win was over. In the end King Fernando was closer to the ever closing Herr Vettel than Webber and would have been demoted to third place had the race run another lap or two.

   Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari had his best race in many a day after qualifying fifth. He jumped Seb on lap one and held him at bay until just before the first round of tyre stops. He hung on to the battle for the final podium spot until the final stint but still finished in fourth place, under ten seconds behind the winner. Red Bull-Ferrari, Red Bull-Ferrari – see more two by two stuff. And guess what? The next two cars were the Lotus’s. Kimi ended up just eight tenths behind Felipe at the flag but probably had the pace to be on the podium again had his race been a bit smoother. As it was the Iceman at least captured the fastest lap for his pains. On outright pace Grosjean should perhaps have won as after a horrible first lap and a very early pit stop he was 22nd and dead last by lap three. His second stint lasted 24 laps and his final one was 26 laps and he was still closing on Kimi at the end. 

    The rest of the field performed at about their normal level with a few exceptions. Team Brittania were just bloody awful. The McLarens would just not cooperate at all and after qualifying 8th and 16th The Hoon and Jenson could finish no better than 8th and 10th for a meagre hall of points. Performing in the other direction was young Daniel Ricciardo who, in what is easily the worst of the “established” cars, the Toro Rosso, was in excellent form in the wetter parts of the event. In Friday’s first practice he was a stunning second fastest and backed that up with a top ten quallie one time. He was easily in the top ten in Q2 when the red flag was thrown but of course, when the session restarted in much drier conditions he had no hope of maintaining that place and dropped to 14th, but still over half a second up on his team-mate. The race was dry so naturally both Toro Rossos fell back to their normal place ahead of the “newer” teams at the tail of the field.

  So which of the remaining five will join the dual winners in Hockenhiem? With the long quick back section I don’t think the Red Rags will be in with a shot so that probably counts out Seb. Maldonado maybe? But Team Willies form had been patchy since Spain. Button and the Hoon will be trying their damnedest to get back to the front but that back bit could suit the Silver Arrows so Nico could be worth putting some cash on. Or a Lotus. Or Schumacher. Or Massa. Or a Sauber. Or………..and that’s what I love about this season. Your uneducated guess is as good as my uneducated guess.

 For full results go to;

 http://www.mmmsport.com.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=148&dir=ASC&order=name&limit=5&limitstart=10 

Sam Snape

 13/07/2012 

F1 Ð THE SEVENTH WON OF THE SEVENTH ONEÉ..

  Yes I know, a slightly dodgy religious reference there but what the hell. Or more to the point, when the hell will this run of different winners end? Seven races, seven different winners, will Valencia give us eight from eight or will one of the magnificent seven finally double up? Of the magnificent seven, only Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa have won at Valencia before (Rubens is no longer about) so unless one of these two wins we will be seeing another first. But that’s all in the future, last time out it was the Hoon who was in a determined mood and sliced through the field to become the seventh one…

 {mosimage}

 

  And once again it was all about the black stuff at each corner of the cars, how you managed them and how many times, and when, you changed them. For the Hoon, and for victory, it was two stops. The first, relatively early was on lap 17 and that stop was mostly to cover off the Red Rags who were running first and fourth at that point. Vettel came in from the lead on lap 16 and Webber pitted just behind the Hoon. That left the unlikely King Fernando in the lead until he pitted on lap 19 and then Grosjean held top spot for a lap before he pitted as well. Paul di Resta had been running a promising fifth early but a disastrous early pit stop on lap 13 saw his re-emerge down in fifteenth place, a position he was never to recover from. Also pitting on that lap was Schumacher’s Mercedes and he came out behind the Force India and was promptly passed by the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen. A DRS wing failure was to put him out of the race but he was never going to bother the scorers on a day when his team mate was always in the top ten. 

 

  While all this was going on Sergio Perez was skulking around in the Sauber, making his way up into the points on the harder tyres with an eye on the long game. So everything now revolved around who was going to stop again and who was going to gamble on getting to the end. Webber and the Hoon were always going to two stop and both did slightly after two thirds of the race was run. The difference here was that the Hoon stopped from the lead while Webber had been stuck behind the one-stopping Raikkonen and Perez for almost twenty laps so when he came out he was down in eighth place with no hope of redemption. Red Bull had buggered their strategy once again. With their lack of straight line speed it was painfully obvious that they needed to bring Mark in earlier than planned and put him in some clear air but they left him trundling about behind the Sauber while those behind, Rosberg, Grosjean and Massa, closed in. Rosberg pitted as soon as he joined the back of the queue on lap 38 and was therefore easily ahead of Webber once Mark had pitted. As were Grosjean and Massa and amazingly enough, Grosjean was not going to pit again. The only guy who could make a long second stint work was the ever improving Lotus driver.

 

 

{mosimage} 

 

  Romain had stopped just one lap later than King Fernando and five laps later than Vettel but as the Ferrari and Red Rag tyre’s grip “fell off the cliff” the Lotus was still setting front running times and easily breezed past both in the final ten laps to finish a superb second. Again Red Bull blew their chances by leaving Vettel out too long. They must have been hoping for enough tyre life to one stop, but as the first stopper, back on lap 16, that was always unrealistic and when he finally came in, after having lost three places in two laps, his podium chances were as buggered as Mark’s. King Fernando and Ferrari played out the gamble and that worked even less well. Between lap 63 and the end on lap 70 he dropped from the lead to fifth place and almost lost that to the fast closing Rosberg as well. So who ended up in third? The skulker did. The very late one-stopping Sergio Perez who was by now on the softer tyres, which, now that the track had rubbered up, were not just faster, but just as durable, stormed through for his second podium finish this year.

 

 

{mosimage} 

   All this meant that the Hoon, who had stopped for the second time on lap 50, had no real opposition on his way to becoming the years seventh winner. On fresh tyres he made up the twenty second deficit at over two seconds a lap and then passed, first Vettel, and then King Fernando, within another three laps to regain the lead. This was the Hoon at his feisty, aggressive best and a thoroughly deserved win.

    So will we have a dual winner at Valencia or The Potent Eight? Well you would think that we are running out of realistic possible new winners but are we?. It is a track that Felipe Massa has won at before so despite his poor form since his injury he may rise to the occasion. Either Lotus driver, Kimi Raikkonen or Romain Grosjean, are possibilities, as are the team-mates to winners Rosberg and Maldonado, ie Schumacher and Senna. Or the skulker himself. After all, Perez damned near won in Malaysia so there is no reason he, or even possibly Kamikaze Kobayashi won’t win before this amazing season is out.

   One way or another, we have no way of knowing what the next race will throw up and that makes each race even more exciting. Thanks be praised to Pirelli for making it so…

 For full results go to;

 http://www.mmmsport.com.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=148&dir=ASC&order=name&limit=5&limitstart=10 

Sam Snape 

13/06/2012 

 

F1 Ð JUST LIKE THE GOOD OLD DAYS Ð PART 2

  And now it’s six from six as Mark Webber has joined the seasons growing list of winners after taking out the Monaco Grand Prix for the second time in three years. For the first time though, one team, Red Bull, has taken a second victory and we don’t have a new championship leader as King Fernando dragged the unwieldy Ferrari into places it should never have been and now sits on top of the pile. The ghosts and memories of seasons past continue to grow ever sharper this year. Just a few weeks ago we were celebrating (if that’s the right word) the tragically shortened life of the majestic Gilles Villeneuve who died some thirty years ago at Zolder while just one year earlier, at Jarama in 1981, we witnessed what was probably his greatest triumph, leading home a queue of five cars which were separated by just over a second.

 

  {mosimage}

 

 

   Based on Red Bulls practice times Webber should never been in a position to win in the principality but a stonking effort in Q3 gave him the second best time of the session which, of course, became pole after Schumacher’s richly deserved five place penalty came into effect. Webber got his best start in years and led the charge through St Devote while Grosjean got it all very wrong and ruining his part of his team’s 500th Grand Prix. Not the 500th Grand Prix for Lotus, you understand, but the 500th Grand Prix for the team formally known as Renault, which was the team formally known as Benetton, which was the team formally known as Toleman, which, although failing to qualify at that race at Jarama, had it’s first Grand Prix start in 1981, at Monza. Racing against Lotus. Confused? Go to the back of the queue.

   Webber was not in the fastest car on the day, that particular pleasure fell to Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes, but as often happens at Monaco, the faster car could not over-take the leader. Mark led all but 17 laps which were shared between the two Ferraris that stopped for tyres on the two laps following Webber, and Vettel who was on a different tyre strategy to make up for his poor qualifying position. In the 15 laps that Seb led he almost brought himself back into contention for victory as his harder tyres were still giving good grip while the others, on new harder tyres were struggling to get them up to the necessary temperatures. He emerged from his stop in the middle of the scrap between King Fernando and The Hoon and held on to fourth place, which was a fine recovery from his ninth place on the grid, which would have been tenth had it not been for Maldonado’s penalties. After all the maturity shown by Pastor at Catalunya he suffered multiple brain explosions at Monaco and so after clouting Perez in practice and then needing a gearbox change after smacking the barriers a lap later the Williams did not start in ninth place but right at the back of the field. He completed a wonderful weekend by then ploughing up the back of  Pedro de la Rosa’s HRT and not completing a single racing lap.

   When Webber regained the lead after Seb pitted he grimly defended his lead, not in any harsh or unfair manner, but going just fast enough to stay ahead, and just slow enough to not bugger his tyres. It was a superbly judged drive and produced a gaggle of cars all squabbling over the leading positions. At the flag the top four were covered by just 1.343 seconds and The Hoon was just another 2.8 seconds adrift as his tyres gave up towards the end. Felipe Massa had his first moderately competent weekend of the season and finished sixth, just six seconds down ahead of the two Force Indias, (di Resta and Hulkenberg), Raikkonen and Senna who rounded out the point scorers. 

  The parallels with Jarama in 1981 are numerous. The guy who won was not in the fastest car but drove beautifully to hold off a baying pack. The guy in the fastest car on the day came second. The Ferrari was, in the words of Gilles Villeneuve, a big red Cadillac and should have been nowhere near the podium but for a genius driver defying the odds. And in Gilles case, defying his supposed reputation. Many saw Gilles as a driver with just one speed, flat out. And yes that was how he often drove, but on many an occasion, he did so with a mechanical sympathy that belied that reputation. Through most of 1980 for example, in an utterly crap Ferrari 312T5, he was able to make his tyres last much longer than his reigning World Champion team mate while being well in front of him in the race. At Monaco, just two weeks earlier, he had let Alan Jones’s Williams past early in the race so as to preserve his tyres life, which meant that when Jones hit fuel feed problems late in the race, Gilles was there to take a most unlikely win.

 

 

{mosimage}

    At Jarama Gilles qualified only seventh but a storming start saw him up to third by the end of lap one, and second on lap two. When Jones ran off on lap 14 Villeneuve was into a lead that he would defend for the next 67 laps. Gilles had just one card up his sleave and he made the most of it. The Ferrari 126CK may have handled like a bucket of shit but the V6 turbo engine had plenty of grunt. So Villeneuve drove as slowly as possible through the twisty parts of the track, holding the following pack up, and then would plant it on the straight. This continued for lap after lap with, at first the Williams of Carlos Reutemann crawling all over the back of the Ferrari and then the Ligier-Matra of Jaques Laffite taking up the challenge. On numerous occasions both Reutemann and Laffite got alongside Gilles but always on the outside of a turn. Villeneuve always gave his opponents enough room to make the turn but never enough to make it past and would again pull out a gap down the main straight. 

  At the end he won by just 0.22 seconds from Laffite with John Watson’s McLaren another three tenths back. Reutemann was fourth, 1.01 seconds down with Elio de Angelis in the Lotus right up his duff just 1.24 seconds adrift of the winner in fifth place. The closest fifth place in history, barring races finishing under yellow flags. Webber’s drive was similar. To maintain his tyres life he drove slowly around the bulk of the lap but always managed to pull a small gap coming out of the final corner so that he was safe going through St Devote and up the hill to Massenet. By the time Rosberg could get back onto Mark’s tail it was too late to make a realistic attempt at the only other possible passing point on the shore-front chicane and Webber would be safe for another lap.

 

 

{mosimage}

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Webber is as gifted as Villeneuve was or the Red Bull is as bad as that Ferrari was, but this drive was very similar, and right out of the top drawer.

 For full results go to;

 http://www.mmmsport.com.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=148&dir=ASC&order=name&limit=5&limitstart=5 

Sam Snape 

29/05/2012 

F1 Ð JUST LIKE THE GOOD OLD DAYS

  For the record, as most of you will know, Pastor Maldonado won the Spanish Grand Prix for Williams Grand Prix Engineering, heading home King Fernando’s Ferrari and Raikkonen in the Lotus. Some will know that this was the first win for Williams since Juan Pablo Montoya won the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix. Some, possibly fewer, will know that the last time five different drivers from five different teams won the first five races of a season was some twenty nine years ago in 1983. Coincidentally enough, the fifth winner that year was also sitting in a Williams as Keke Rosberg won at Monaco.

 {mosimage}

 

  Two of the other winning teams back in ’83 were also Ferrari (Patrick Tambay – San Marino GP) and McLaren (John Watson – Long Beach GP) just as King Fernando and young Master Button have emulated this season. One of those five races was also won by a “factory” team (Alain Prost for Renault – French GP) – see Nico Rosberg – while the final one was won by a factory supported former world champion (Nelson Piquet for Brabham-BMW – Brazilian GP), Sebastian Vettel anyone?? Oh, and of course, one of those races was won by a Rosberg….

 

 

{mosimage} 

   What makes this current season even more mixed up is that the have also been five different drivers and teams taking second place in each of the five races so far and only now have we had someone leading the title chase that has already led it this year. Well actually, make that two drivers leading the title chase that have led it before as both Sebastian Vettel and King Fernando sit at the top of the table with 61 points. In 1983 at this point there were just four drivers within one wins worth of points from the championship lead, this year that number is seven.

   The sixth race of 1983 was the Belgian Grand Prix, returning for the first time in thirteen years to the beautiful Spa Francorchamps. It was won by Alain Prost in the Renault breaking the run of different winners but had it not been for the hideous reliability of the Alfa Romeos of the time, then Andrea de Cesaris may well have made it six from six. There were two starts that day, due to a first lap pile up and Andrea made stunning starts to lead both versions and looked imperious until his V8 turbo started loosing grunt on lap 18. By lap 25 the smoking Alfa sat by the side of the track and the seasons run was at an end.

   Had Andrea won however, the run of different winners would have extended to eight as Michele Alboreto (Tyrrell) won the next race at Detroit and Rene Arnoux won in Canada for Ferrari before Prost took his third win in Britain. This kicked off a tit-for-tat run of wins as Arnoux won in Germany, Prost In Austria and Arnoux again in Holland. So Prost had four wins and Arnoux three, anyone else had no more than one so one would have thought that the title was to be decided between these two Frenchmen. But both Renault and Ferrari had dropped off their development programme while one other team was just ramping theirs up – massively. And some would say dubiously.

    In those, more innocent days, teams used fuel supplied by fuel companies. There may have been some reasonably exotic blends but nothing too extraordinary. That was until one German engineer discovered the mixture that had been only previously used by Werner von Braun in powering the V2 rockets of World War Two. Raymond Roche used a version of this mix to give the four cylinder BMW turbo engine an advantage that was beyond the other manufacturers to combat. Wins followed for Brabham-BMW in the final three Grand Prix as Nelson Piquet won at both Monza and Brands Hatch and Riccardo Patrese took out the season finale at Kyalami. Piquet pipped Prost for the title by just two points after an exciting season. Eight drivers from six teams had won races in the fifteen race series.

   If that sounds good these days, it was nothing out of the ordinary in the early Eighties. In 1982, in sixteen races, eleven drivers from seven teams won races with the World Champion – Keke Rosberg – winning just one race, the Swiss Grand Prix at Dijon-Prenois. No driver won more than twice. 1981 had seven different drivers from six different teams winning races.  

  So 2012 is just like those good old days where you had absolutely no idea, heading into a Grand Prix weekend who would come out on top. It is possibly more likely, than 1983, that we will get six different winners from the first six races of this year as the team that most expected to possibly win in Spain, finished only third. It appears only a matter of time before Lotus returns to the top of the podium with both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in superb form in a car that is as good as any in race trim.

 

 

{mosimage}

    The outstanding job Pirelli are doing in making their tyres hard to fathom for the teams is making for great, unpredictable racing, despite the moaning of some “Nigels” in the paddock. Most notable is the continually underperforming Herr Schumacher who must have just won the “Hypocritical Fuckwit of the Year” award with his whining about Bruno Senna “swerving” in the braking zone in Spain. Even if Bruno did swerve, Schumacher has no right to whinge. Just ask Rubens, or Felipe, or Ralf, or Mika, or Jacques. or Damon, etc etc etc. Fortunately the stewards saw the accident for what it was, a German balls-up, and have smacked Schumacher with a five spot penalty at Monaco.

     About time too.

  For full results go to;

 http://www.mmmsport.com.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=148&dir=ASC&order=name&limit=5&limitstart=5 

Sam Snape

 16/05/2012 

F1 Ð AND THE MAGIC NUMBER IS 4

  Four races, four different winning drivers and cars, four different championship leaders, four different drivers and cars finishing second, four fourths in a row for Mark Webber and about four gazillion races since two Lotus’s finished on the podium in a Grand Prix. It may not seem like it just yet but are the stars aligning behind the Hoon in car 4? For the record, Sebastian Vettel left Bahrain as the fourth different winner and championship leader although he damned near didn’t. Kimi Raikkonen came within inches of pinching that victory in his John Playe…..errr….sorry, Lotus.

 {mosimage}

 

  The Red Rags seem finally to have come to terms with their underperforming steed in qualifying, out-doing McLaren and Mercedes for the first time this year. Seb grabbed pole by just under a tenth from the Hoon with Webber another tenth back in third. Button was fourth with Chinese pole-man Rosberg next up, just beating out the surprising Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso. Just over half a second covered this top six in qualifying. Neither of the Lotus’s gave any indication of the pace that was to come while the Ferraris where, as usual, crap. Astonishingly, considering the one lap pace of the Mercedes so far, one M.Schumacher didn’t even get out of Q3, being knocked out by Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotu….err…sorry, Caterham.

   The first three got away reasonably well and held position while the second three had shockers. Button only lost a couple of spots to Grosjean and King Fernando, who has just about become this generation’s Gilles Villeneuve when it comes to demon starts, while Rosberg dropped to ninth on the first lap and had to henceforth take on the role of bar-room brawler in his slow climb back to fifth at the flag. To say that neither the Hoon nor King Fernando were overly impressed with Nico’s defensive tactics or the thought processes of the stewards is putting it mildly. One can only say that Nico seems to have learnt from his team-mate and seems to be being punished in just the same manner. Perhaps they thought it was Michael…..

   Young Dan buggered it up totally from his superb grid slot and after having his snout damaged ended the first lap down in sixteenth place and from there he would not recover. Still, he’s young and will learn how not to hit other cars on the opening lap. And when he does, good things will follow. Now speaking of good things, the Lotus in race trim certainly seems to fit the bill. Starting seventh (Grosjean) and eleventh (Kimi) they were fourth and seventh after the first lap and had both overtaken Webber and the Hoon and risen to second when they pitted. As the field settled down from the first series of tyre stops the Lotus twins emerged comfortably in second and third and were never pressured for the podium again. Indeed as the race progressed it became clear that they were the fastest things out there and Kimi steadily hauled in the Red Rag of Vettel. Kimi had one go at the lead, which was strongly defended, before he very slowly dropped back, having used the best of his tyres. Romain Grosjean in the other Lotus backed up his first points finish of a week ago with his first podium which included his first lap in the lead of a Grand Prix. 

  All in all a fine weekend for Lotus. It has been thirty three years since two Lotus’s were on a Grand Prix podium and whether or not you think the current Lotus has anything at all to do with Colin Chapman’s squad, it was still nice to see. Back then, at Jarama for the 1979 Spanish Grand Prix, Carlos Reutemann and Mario Andretti finished on the lower steps behind race winner Patrick Depailler in the erratically super-fast Ligier JS11. Carlos was still running the previous years 79 while Mario was giving the Lotus 80 it’s debut. The 79, which had dominated in 1978 was no longer a real front-runner and the 80 was supposed to take ground effects to a whole new level. Initially designed with no wings at all, the 80 was one big inverted wing with sliding skirts being used along the sides of the nose-cone as well as from the front of the side pods all the way to the very rear of the car. By the time the car arrived at Jarama it had sprouted wings and its podium scoring debut was promising.

 

 

{mosimage}

    The Lotus 80 was not to bother the scorers again though as several problems could not be overcome. The sliding skirts that were curved so that they were inboard of the rear wheels continually got stuck causing loss of down-force and when they were working, the chassis was not stiff enough to cope with the down-force generated and would flex. Not what you want in a Grand Prix car. The 80 only appeared in two further races, at Monaco and Dijon while being Mario’s spare car at Zolder and Silverstone before being cast aside for the aging 79. There arern’t many cars that spring to mind that have had such a promising debut, followed by such a short and unsuccessful racing life. In its Martini and Essex colours though, the Lotus 80 did give us one of the most striking, and I think, beautiful liveries seen, even to this day.

   Pity today’s cars are SO BLOODY UGLY!!! 

Sam Snape 

25/04/2012 

For full results go to; 

http://www.mmmsport.com.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=148&dir=ASC&order=name&limit=5&limitstart=5

F1 - KING FERNANDO - WET WEATHER WIZARD

  King Fernando’s description “the most beautiful” applied only to his miraculous win in the Malaysian Grand Prix, certainly not to his Ferrari or its handling. Regarding the latter he would have been justified in quoting Keke Rosberg after his 1984 Dallas GP win in the evil Williams FW09 Honda. As the track fell apart and great drivers in good cars came unstuck due to the abnormally bad grip conditions Keke sailed through to an unlikely victory and said that the crumbling track “made no difference to me, my car always handles like shit.” Then again, he is driving for Ferrari and the last bloke to get away with lambasting a prancing horse was the sublime Gilles Villeneuve who described the 1981 126CK as being like “a big red Cadillac.” When Alain Prost tried to suggest something similar a decade later, he was summarily sacked. “Merde”

 {mosimage}

 

  Yet again Alonso was faultless, getting the maximum speed out of the Ferrari which is probably only the fifth or sixth best car in the field. His timing for his tyre stops was perfect and in the final stint on slicks his performance under immense pressure from the startling Sergio’s Sauber was evidence, if any were needed, as to why many consider him to be the most complete Grand Prix driver of this generation. Given that he started in eighth only because of a gearbox change penalty to Raikkonen in the Lotus and he was over 1.3 seconds off the pace in qualifying this was, simply put, an absolutely stunning drive that will probably be the standout of the year. If anyone betters it, then they deserve to be world champion. 

 

  If it wasn’t for a momentary lapse with just a few laps to go, that performance may have gone to Sergio Perez in the Sauber. Starting ninth, Sergio pitted early for full wets and after the deluge hit and the rest of the field changed tyres the Sauber was sitting third behind the two McLarens. This was followed by fifty-one exciting minutes of watching the world’s best drivers in the most technologically advanced cars sitting under tents on the main straight. Finally the race restarted behind the safety car but once it pulled off the rest of the pack pitted and Perez spent two glorious laps leading a Grand Prix. It was generally thought the Sauber team had cocked it up at this point but to the surprise of all Sergio rejoined behind only King Fernando with the McLarens and Red Bulls dropping slowly away.

 

 

{mosimage}

  

  Sergio closed and closed on his prey until the Ferrari stopped for slicks on lap 39 and the Sauber led another two laps. Again his pit stop sequence was slower that that of the King but yet again he set about closing down the gap, often at over a second a lap. With a handful of laps to go the gap was down to under a second and then the game changed. A radio message came out telling Sergio to be careful as “we need these points”. A worse bit of timing cannot be imagined. Nor can anything less likely to break the intense focus of a young man gunning for his first win. Needless to say, that aforementioned lapse came just a lap later, Sergio ran wide and it was game over. Even so Perez was just 2.263 seconds adrift at the flag and a dozen or so seconds ahead of the battle for third place.

 

 

{mosimage}

    For the second week in succession it was Hamilton and Webber brawling over the final podium spot, and just like last week it was the Hoon that held out. Despite the McLaren not showing the same superiority in the wet conditions as it has so far in qualifying. Lewis was much happier with this third place than in Australia. Mostly because Jenson the Lion tamer was back in 14th place. Jenson was the first guy to change off the wets after the pace car and would have probably been fighting with his team-mate had he not ignored the fact that Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT was, not only up in tenth place, but in the bit of track that Jenson turned in to. The result was Button rejoining again down in 21st place and no hope of points.

   Oddly enough, on lap 46 Sebastian Vettel tried a similar manoeuvre while lapping the Indian and put himself out of fourth place with a punctured left rear. On neither occasion was Narain at fault despite the dubious 20 second penalty handed to him, and Seb did his reputation no favours with his petulant outburst after the race. He is a nice enough kid when all is going well, but he needs to remember that when he fucks up, he really should just keep his mouth well and truly shut. Remember Turkey 2010 anyone?

   Over at Lotus, Kimi Raikkonen again showed that the car is only just off podium pace with a fine drive to fifth place. He would have started fifth but for that gearbox change that dropped him back to tenth on the grid. Grosjean again failed to finish but this time he had no assistance when he speared off when the heavens opened. He is quick though so when he has some luck you can expect the points to flow. Mercedes repeated their Australian performance, great in qualifying but very hungry on the tyres in the race. Third and seventh on the grid became tenth and twelfth in the race.

   At Team Willy Pastor Maldonado again lost out on a point scoring result on the last lap. Unlike Grosjean though, this time it was not Pastor’s fault as his Renault engine did it’s best Puff the Magic Dragon impersonation. Bruno Senna put a smile on the teams faces though with an excellent sixth place, scoring more points in one hit than they scored all last year. Of the others Vergne showed good pace again and claimed eighth place while the Force India’s again picked up the crumbs as others faltered.

  For full results go to;

 http://www.mmmsport.com.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=148&Itemid=38 

Sam Snape 

29/03/2012