Tag Archives: Renault

German Grand Prix Analysis

We’ve just passed the halfway point of the 2011 F1 season, with Lewis Hamilton being the latest driver to stand on the top step at the German Grand Prix. So far this season we’ve seen domination of the field both in qualifying and often in race pace as well by the Red Bull Racing RB7. Sebastian Vettel in particular has had a commanding run, winning 6 out of 10 races so far. However, there has been a recent shift in momentum between the constructors.

Vettel will most likely come out on top this season

Sebastian Vettel is still miles ahead of the competition, with the closest competitor being his own team mate -Mark Webber. This is a comfortable position to be in, especially when drivers like Webber, Hamilton, and Alonso are very evenly matched at the moment. We’ve seen three different race winners aside from Vettel, which means that no one is consistently winning like Vettel does, allowing the Red Bull racer to widen the gap. When Alonso won at Silverstone, the gap still widened because Sebastian Vettel beat Webber who was his closest team mate. It seems that no matter what the result is, his advantage increases. The only times that his lead has decreased was in China when Hamilton won, and in Germany when Hamilton won again. That said, Sebastian seems to have trouble when racing wheel to wheel. Many have said he is unable to overtake, and is only a great driver when out in front. There is some evidence to show; Button forced a mistake from Vettel in Canada, Vettel made many errors while running in 5th position in Germany. I’m not entirely sure I believe it, but it could be true. With an increase in pace from Ferrari recently, we may be able to evaluate how he drives wheel to wheel more certainly.

A rare error from Vettel gives Button a victory

Webber is also looking reasonably strong. He secured pole position in the past two grand prix, but was unable to convert them into victories, securing third in both Britain and Germany. His starts this year haven’t been brilliant; he has lost positions at the start more than he has gained. His race pace, however, has been quite good. He must be pleased with the fact that he is matching his team mate in both qualifying and race pace, especially in Germany when Vettel finished behind Webber for the first time this season. It is almost certain according to both Webber and team boss Christian Horner that Webber will be racing for Red Bull in 2012. Hopefully he will be able to put up more of a fight next season.

Webber has shown impressive pace recently

Ferrari have had a great run in the past few Grand Prix. They have scored more points than any other team in the past two races, and Fernando Alonso has scored more points than any other driver in the last three. Fernando Alonso is still in the title race, but he says he will “need the help of McLaren” to try to tame the Red Bull team. The chances of Ferrari winning either the driver’s or constructor’s championship is quite slim. If I were at Ferrari, I would accept the fact that Red Bull have the best car this year, and start work on the 2012 machine, which Ferrari have promised will be “aggressive.” Time will tell.

Great victory from Alonso in Silverstone

McLaren have also had spots of success; Hamilton won the third race in China, Button in Canada, and Hamilton again in Germany. They have the most wins after Red Bull, but it seems that they cannot convert great performances into great team results. Although they had victories in Germany and Canada, in both races only one of their cars crossed the line. A team like McLaren cannot afford to be only “running” one car, because they have two great drivers both capable of podium positions and victories. Button claimed he is “not fighting” for the championship anymore, and will just “do the best he can” at each upcoming venue. If McLaren doesn’t raise their consistency, Hamilton could be the next to follow Button’s path.

An error from Mclaren means Button leaves the pits with an insecure wheel

Renault have had problems recently. Their season should have been great, and has gone downhill since the start. Ace driver Kubica suffered a horrible rally crash before the season, and was lucky to escape with his life. Whether he’ll be back in 2012 or not is not clear, let alone returning to his previous performance levels. With Petrov and Heidfeld scoring podiums in the first two races, one could imagine that Kubica could have been much stronger. Renault have not had great results since those two podiums; the most points they’ve scored in a race since the first two was ten points in Canada and Turkey. If they want to have any chance at beating Mercedes this year, they have to step up their game, bring both cars across the line, and increase their qualifying performance.

Kubica should be on the podium in 2011, but suffered a heavy rally crash meaning he probably will not race this year

All in all, I think this is Red Bull’s year. Other teams have too much ground to cover to catch up to Red Bull. The chances of Red Bull winning both titles this year is very high, so one should not risk next year’s car in an attempt to catch up RBR this year -they will most likely fail. Ferrari have promised an “aggressive” car for 2012, they should get working on that and accept that Red Bull have it in the bag.

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German Grand Prix Results

What a fantastic way to kick off the second half of the 2011 F1 season. The German Grand Prix was a thrilling race with many battles, of which Lewis Hamilton eventually came out on top. After sub-par performances in Canada, Monaco, and Valencia, Hamilton must be absolutely stoked to be at the top step of the podium again. This is his 16th Grand Prix victory, bringing him back on page with Sebastian Vettel. He claimed after the race that his performance was “in his top 5” of his greatest races.

Hamilton enjoys the top step of the podium

Hamilton took Webber at the start of the race into the first corner. He then was being caught by Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. Mark was able to pass Hamilton through an undercut at the first round of pit stops. However, during the second round of pit stops, Webber lost out to both Hamilton and Alonso in another failed undercut. After the first round of pit stops, Hamilton was able to pass Alonso in the second corner which was deemed “essential,” because he was able to dictate the race pace from there, and eventually finish on top with Alonso and Webber trailing several seconds behind.

Podium at the Nurburgring

Vettel had a challenging day; he was blocked out and passed by Alonso at the start, and had a high-speed spin later in the race. He would eventually finish fourth after passing Massa in the pits. It was the first time he hasn’t been on the podium since Korea of the 2010 season. Massa backed off of Vettel toward the end of the race, but was still able to bring home 5th in his Ferrari.

Massa was not able to challenge Vettel for 4th

Adrian Sutil had a great drive to finish 6th in the race. He didn’t make any mistakes and was consistent throughout the whole race. He was the last car not to be overlapped by the front-runners.

Solid race from Sutil in his VJM04

Mercedes brought their cars home 7th and 8th, with Rosberg heading Schumacher. Rosberg was up into 5th at the start, but could not hold the position and eventually fell back to seventh. Schumacher had a solid race, climbing up a couple of positions to claim 8th place.

Rosberg Heads Schumacher in Germany

Kamui Kobayashi, as usual, put on an overtaking show. He started down in 17th position and was able to climb all the way to 9th. It was a spectacular performance; he never fails to entertain during a race. Rounding out the top ten was Vitaly Petrov, who also moved up a couple of notches.

Kobayashi puts on fireworks display at the Nurburgring

Next came Perez, Alguersauri, di Resta, Maldonado, Buemi, Kovalainen, Glock, d’Ambrosio, Ricciardo, and Chandok. Paul di Resta made a reasonable comeback after being spun on the first lap. It was Karun Chandok’s first race since he was taken out of the HRT race seat mid-season in 2010, and he said the German Grand Prix was a “learning experience” for him. He agreed that his performance was far from perfect, but he said he learned about the Pirelli tires, and Lotus was glad that he “brought home the second car.”

Chandok replaced Trulli at the German Grand Prix

Retirements included Barrichello, Heidfeld, Button, and Liuzzi. Heidfeld had quite a spectacular collision with Buemi, sending him a couple feet into the air. Buemi will suffer a 5 place grid penalty for the collision. Button has claimed that he is not fighting for the championship anymore after his two consecutive retirements, but he will “do the best he can in each race.” It is unfortunate that he has had such bad luck, especially when he was in a position to challenge for podium finishes.

Heidfeld gets airborne after hitting a Toro Rosso

The constructor’s championship remains the same. Mercedes seems to be pulling out a gap over Renault, and Red Bull are still far ahead of the competition. The way things are going currently, Ferrari should be able to pass McLaren before the end of the season. Ferrari have scored more points than any other team in the past two races.

The top 3 in the Constructer's Championship

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