Nico Hulkenburg has finished the first day of the 4 day Bahrain test on top of the time sheets at the Sakhir circuit. His time of 1m36.880 was quicker than the fastest lap time at the Bahrain race last year, where teams had softer Pirelli tyres and larger 2.4 V8 engines. Fernando Alonso finished second, the Spaniard put his best time on the board later in the afternoon. He set a time of 1m37.879, just under a second slower than the Force India. Lewis Hamilton completed his day early and set a time of 1m.37.908 to finish third, the Brit had been fastest for most of the morning in the Mercedes. Next was Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren setting a time of 1m38.295. Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull finally managed some running and set a 1m40.224 to go fifth fastest before the German’s running was cut short mid afternoon, with what seems to be an overheating issue. Adrian Sutil’s Sauber finished in sixth with a time of 1m40.443. Next up was Robin Frijns in the Caterham with a time of 1m42.534. Daniil Kvyat followed up in his Toro Rosso with a time of 1m44.346 and the last person to set a laptime was Romain Grosjean in the new Lotus, with a time of 1m44.832, some 7.9 seconds off pacesetter Hulkenburg. Jules Bianchi’s Marussia and Felipe Massa’s Williams did not set a laptime.
Sebastian Vettel has added another trophy to his cabinet after winning the Overseas Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday night. The award is part of the BBC’s annual ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ ceremony.
The four-time Formula One world champion said: “The Sports Personality of the Year is something that is obviously special.
“It’s a very special award as I like to collect trophies. I think I have a special place to put this one. It’s been a special year.”
World Champion Sebastian Vettel is to become a father it was announced on Tuesday. His girlfriend Hanna Prater is expected to give birth in early 2014.
Vettel will be hoping that the new addition will not alter his imperious form on the track. Back in 2005, Fernando Alonso committed to a brave move around the outside of Michael Schumacher at the Suzuka Circuit’s 130R corner. After the race the Spaniard commented, “It’s at times like that when I remind myself that Michael has two children.”
Vettel’s rivals will surely be hoping that late-night wake up calls and restless nights will hamper the 26-year-old German out on the track.
A couple of videos have emerged of Sebastian Vettel entertaining the guests at the annual Autosport Awards on Sunday.
After receiving International Racing Driver of the Year, Vettel talks about the Hungarian GP and Helmut Marko’s reactions through the weekend:
In this video Vettel serenades the audience with his excellent impersonation of FIA President Jean Todt telling him off for doing doughnuts at the end of the races towards the end of the year:
The comical videos and excellent grasp of British humour will go a long way in helping the image of Sebastian who has come under criticism ever since his controversial overtake on team mate Mark Webber at the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this year.
You can watch a longer highlights version here:
The first practice session of the 2013 season ended with Sebastian Vettel on top.
The triple World Champion set a time of a 1m27.211 leading Massa, Alonso, Hamilton and Webber in the top 5.
The session started slowly with just the Marrusia and Toro Rosso cars running within the first half an hour.
The rest of the drivers then took to the circuit to begin their preparations for the weekend. There were minor errors from Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton, Pastor Maldonado, Jules Bianchi and Esteban Gutierrez who all ran wide off the circuit, whilst Guido van der Garde took to the grass at turn one. With just 2 minutes left of the session, Paul di Resta ran a tyre onto the dirt and slid of the circuit and into the gravel.
The big talking point was the degradation of the new Pirelli tyres after 10 laps, after which plenty of drivers gained significant oversteer, forcing errors into corners and at the exit.
The Bahrain Grand Prix was a record breaker. No fewer than four cars stopped on the in-lap as soon as they had passed the chequered flag.
Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa all pulled up after they finished the race, instead of making it back round to the pits. The standard procedure directly after crossing the finish line is to travel around slowly trying to conserve fuel (more fuel means added ballast) and add debris-such as discarded rubber to the tyres (more discarded rubber means added ballast), then make it to the pit lane and Parc Ferme, where the driver can get out and celebrate (if he deems it necessary) and then get weighed. The cars will then be scrutinised to make sure they have not been breaking the rules throughout the race.
Of late however, many teams have asked their drivers to pull up and stop on the side of the track immediately. The possible reason for this is for reliability purposes, but the most likely explanation is due to the fact a team is running low on fuel, and thus, will not have enough fuel/weight in the car to pass the scrutineering, if it completes the ‘slow down lap’.
There is no rule in the FIA’s Sporting or Technical Regualtions for this whole procedure, but perhaps it is time there was. It has now become clear that teams will start the race lower on fuel, to gain an advantage throughout the race and then recoup their loses by pulling over as soon as the race is done.
A similar incident happened in Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix in 2010. Lewis Hamilton took Pole Position and then stopped his car half way back round to the pits, to save fuel, which they needed for regulation checks. The FIA promptly decided that stopping on a Qualifying in-lap was illegal and it has now been outlawed.
Is it correct for one driver or one team to run the race lighter in the knowledge they can just pull off straight after the chequered flag, whilst everyone else abides by the sporting ethics of the regulations? Should the FIA go one step further and punish those for not making it one extra lap at the end of the race, whilst everyone else seems to manage?
F1 2012 is incredibly close and highly competitive. All the teams should be on a level playing field. It would not be correct to have a rule for one whilst the rest abide by the code.
Links of Interest
FIA Sporting and Technical Regulations: http://www.fia.com/sport/Regulations/f1regs.html