Tag: Felipe Massa

F1: Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton on pole in Australia ahead of Nico Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton took a stunning pole position for Mercedes at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as McLaren-Honda qualified last.

The world champion beat team-mate Nico Rosberg by more than half a second as Mercedes utterly dominated.

Williams’s Felipe Massa beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to third.

Meanwhile, McLaren produced their worst performance for six years as their big-budget new engine partnership with Honda got off to a terrible start.

Hamilton’s brilliant lap was 0.594 seconds quicker than Rosberg and a massive 1.391secs clear of Massa as Mercedes confirmed pre-season impressions that they will be virtually unbeatable again this season

“It has been a great start to the weekend,” Hamilton said. “It doesn’t feel that long since the last race. It has been a big rush and huge effort form the factory to get us here with this performance.

“It is so much fun in qualifying and I am just massively grateful for all the hard work.”

Rosberg said: “Lewis was on impressive form today. He did an awesome job and nailed the time. For me, the speed was there; I just didn’t get it together.”

Williams won a tight battle with Ferrari, with just 0.072secs separating Massa in third from Kimi Raikkonen in fifth, with Sebastian Vettel in between in fourth place.

But for all the talk of a Ferrari revival, the Italian team were 1.43secs slower than Hamilton – only 0.2secs closer than they had been last year, when their former driver Fernando Alonso qualified fifth.

Following his move to McLaren, Alonso is missing this race to recover from concussion suffered in an accident in pre-season testing.

But even he would have been able to do nothing about McLaren’s poor performance – their faster driver Jenson Button in 16th place was 1.5secs off getting out of the first knock-out phase of qualifying and an effective four seconds slower than Mercedes once the effect of tyres was taken into account.

Button, who beat team-mate Kevin Magnussen by 0.6secs, remained upbeat about the potential of the new partnership with Honda.

“We know we can make big strides with this car,” Button said. “When you have a car that feels good underneath you can add downforce to it and that is what we need to do.

“That’s not saying downforce is a problem. The car is completely new, and obviously the power unit.

“I feel we can make big strides forward and that’s the exciting thing for me. It’s going to be a hard new few months but it’s worth it. Who knows where we will end up?”

Another team to struggle were former world champions Red Bull, for whom Daniel Ricciardo could manage only seventh fastest, behind Williams’s Valtteri Bottas.

Red Bull bosses are furious with engine partner Renault, who have failed to deliver any performance improvements over the winter while the engine is harder to drive than it was last year.

Spaniard Carlos Sainz impressed on his debut with Toro Rosso with eighth place, outdoing team-mate Max Verstappen, who qualified 12th on the occasion of setting a new record for the youngest driver to compete in F1 at 17.

The Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado completed the top 10, as Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, another rookie, was a strong 11th.

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Barcelona Test 2, Day 3: Lewis Hamilton top for Mercedes

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the pace on the penultimate day of pre-season Formula 1 testing.

The world champion underlined the impression that Mercedes have a clear advantage by beating Williams’s Felipe Massa despite using slower tyres.

Hamilton was 0.24secs faster than Massa, who edged Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by 0.014secs, using a tyre which is some 0.5-0.8secs slower a lap.

McLaren-Honda again had their running curtailed by a reliability problem.

Hamilton, who will not drive the car again until the first race of the season, said: “It wasn’t a spectacular day. The track seemed to have lost some grip to the last two days so it wasn’t the best in terms of feeling but we got some running done and I feel good in the car.”

Reserve driver Kevin Magnussen, standing for Fernando Alonso as the Spaniard recovers from concussion sustained in a crash last Sunday, managed only 38 laps before an oil leak in the engine ended the team’s day shortly after lunch.

The Dane was eighth fastest, 2.203secs off the pace, after a run on the soft tyre.

But despite the setback, Magnussen sounded optimistic about the team’s chances afterwards.

“Great to be back in the car today,” he said on Twitter.  “The McLaren-Honda feels great! Plenty more to come from this one.”

Racing director Eric Boullier said: “We won’t be as ready for the Melbourne as we would like, but we will do our best.”

Boullier added that “reliability is still a concern” and he said he expected the team to take until the fifth race of the season in Spain in May “to be more competitive”.

Final pre-season test. Day three, Circuit de Catalunya
1 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:23.022
2 Felipe Massa (Brz) Williams-Mercedes 1:23.262
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:23.276
4 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:24.191
5 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus-Mercedes 1:24.200
6 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.477
7 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India-Mercedes 1:24.939
8 Kevin Magnussen (Den) McLaren-Honda 1:25.225
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 1:25.742

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Barcelona Test Day 3: Maldonado top again, McLaren hits more trouble

Pastor Maldonado topped another session in Barcelona as McLaren was hampered once again by an MGU-K problem which has limited its running all week.

McLaren hoped it had fixed the faulty seal which had ended its running early on Thursday and limited Fernando Alonso on Friday, but an early stoppage for Button suggested all was not well in the morning. The team confirmed in the late afternoon a recurring issue with the MGU-K seal had been discovered again. The issue means McLaren has completed 109 laps in three days in Barcelona but says a re-engineered seal is scheduled to arrive in time for tomorrow’s final day, when Alonso returns to the cockpit.

day3-mclaren-problems

Maldonado, who finished first on Thursday, topped the session with a 1:24.328, a time set on the super soft tyre. He also broke a century of laps as Lotus once again showed it is adapting well to life with Mercedes power. The factory Mercedes also broke that milestone, with Hamilton driving despite still feeling the effects of the illness which saw him end testing early on Thursday. The world champion completed 101 laps and will hand the car back to Nico Rosberg tomorrow. Max Verstappen finished the day second on the timing screens and leading the lap count with 129, but his day ended in frustrating fashion when he pulled over at the end of the pit exit, bringing out the day’s final red flag.

Ferrari found itself lower on the timesheets than the Tifosi have become accustomed to this winter but headline times are still of limited significance. Sebastian Vettel did not have an ideal start, sliding off just four corners into his first lap due to cold tyres. But the four-time world champion sustained no damage to his car and went on to finish the day with 105 laps, which included an impressive stint on the medium tyre where he lapped consistently in the high 1:28 mark, though fuel loads are unknown.

Daniil Kvyat started a disrupted full race simulation in the afternoon, which included a surprisingly short stint on the soft tyre and a lengthy stoppage at mid-distance. However, the Russian finished the day with 111 laps to his name. Sauber had a gearbox issue in the morning and Marcus Ericsson did not leave the garage until the final minutes before lunch. In the afternoon he saw much more of the track and finished with a tally of 53 laps. Pascal Wehrlein continued to gain F1 experience with 81 laps for Force India, who will hand Nico Hulkenberg the reigns tomorrow. Williams switched its drivers at midday, with Felipe Massa finishing with 55 laps and Valtteri Bottas spending the afternoon focused on pit stops and did not set an official time until four minutes from the end of the session.

Final times:
1. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus – 1:24.348 – 104 laps
2. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso – 1:24.739 – 129 laps
3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:26.076 – 101 laps
4. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 126.340 – 53 laps
5. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:26.407 – 105 laps
6. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull – 1:26.589 – 111 laps
7. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:26.912 – 55 laps
8. Pascal Wehrlein – Force India – 1:27.699 – 81 laps
9. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:27.556 – 48 laps
10. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:29.151 – 24 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Barcelona Test: Day 2: Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo edges Kimi Raikkonen

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo narrowly outpaced Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Williams’ Felipe Massa on the second day of the second pre-season test.

The three were separated by less than 0.1 seconds at the halfway point of Formula 1’s preparations for the new season.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg of world champions Mercedes finished fifth and sixth fastest.

It was a better day for struggling McLaren-Honda, who ran problem-free.

Fernando Alonso set the sixth-fastest time despite a cobbled-together fix for an engine problem that had ended team-mate Jenson Button’s efforts on Thursday after just 21 laps.

Alonso completed more than 50 laps – by far the team’s biggest single-day mileage of the winter – and set relatively competitive lap times, despite the engine being down on power and carrying a known problem.

Honda had warned on Thursday that the temporary fix they had put in place on the energy recovery system could well fail again on Friday. A permanent redesign of the faulty part will be ready for Saturday, when Button is back in the car.

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said: “It is good to finally put some laps and get the programme running. We did more than expected today and caught up on the programme.”

He added that the team were going through data-analysis programmes, including checking how the car behaved and reacting to set-up changes, and it was “so far so good”.

Ricciardo’s pace-setting time was the fastest of the winter at this track, beating that set by Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado on Thursday by nearly half a second.

The Australian was 0.01s quicker than Raikkonen, with Massa a further 0.088s adrift. All were running on the ‘soft’ tyre at the time, as was Alonso on his best lap.

Hamilton completed a race simulation run in the afternoon at the same time as Ricciardo and set his fastest lap – only 0.349s off the Red Bull – on the medium tyre, which is said to be about 1.2 seconds a lap slower than the soft.

Both times were set on similar-length short runs, which suggests the Mercedes continues to have a significant advantage over the rest of the field – as most F1 insiders believed already to be the case.

Rosberg’s best time – 0.982s behind Ricciardo – was also set on the medium tyre.

The German stopped running at lunch time to rest a neck injury and handed over to Hamilton, who had only partially recovered from a fever that curtailed his running on Thursday.

All the teams confirmed as participants in this year’s championship are at the test, where Britain’s Jolyon Palmer was getting his first taste of the new Lotus.

The GP2 champion, the team’s reserve driver, was seventh fastest.

Pre-season testing times are unreliable indicators of true competitiveness as the teams do not publish the fuel loads they are using, which have a dramatic effect on lap time.

Day Two Times:

1 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 1:24.574
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:24.584
3 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams-Mercedes 1:24.672
4 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India-Mercedes 1:24.702*
5 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:24.932
6 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1:25.556
7 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren-Honda 1:25.961
8 Jolyon Palmer (GB) Lotus-Mercedes 1:26.280
9 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.344
10 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:28.945
* 2014 car

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Jerez Test Day 4: Raikkonen top, but slow progress for McLaren

Kimi Raikkonen put Ferrari at the top of the Jerez timesheets for the third day in four as the first week of pre-season testing came to a close on Wednesday.

Raikkonen used soft tyres on a dry track to set the fastest time of the test under sunny skies, beating the time set by team-mate Sebastian Vettel on Monday by over a tenth of a second. Ferrari also completed more than a century of laps in a day for the first time this week with a total of the Finn’s 105.

There was more slow progress for both McLaren and Red Bull as the two former championship-winning teams struggled again for mileage. From its starting point on Sunday and Monday, McLaren has made progress, but a total of 79 laps over the course of the week is a long way off its pre-test target. Positives came from multiple-lap runs without major issues such as overheating, but smaller reliability problems kept it from running throughout the day.

The first run went all of two feet onto the pit apron before the car was rolled back and there was a similar issue as Jenson Button tried to take to the track and stopped in the pit lane on one of his afternoon runs. The team finally called it a day just over an hour before the end of the session when a fuel pump problem could not be fixed. Nevertheless, the team is confident it can be competitive when it is able to turn its power unit up to full power and chase lap times.

day4-button-issues

Red Bull had another slow start to the day as an ERS problem on its Renault power unit forced Daniil Kvyat to park the RB11 on the side of the track. After engine issues on day one, a broken front wing on day two and a full power unit change on day three, the team has only completed 164 laps, which means only McLaren has completed fewer over the course of the four days.

Defending champions Mercedes once again topped the lap count with 117 for Lewis Hamilton despite a half spin in the morning at the chicane. The total for the week comes to 517, a remarkable feat for any team on the first week of running with a new car. Although Mercedes is only interested in mileage this week, Hamilton set the third fastest time with a 1:22.172, which was 1.331s off Raikkonen and 0.153s off Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber. Ericsson’s time meant the two Ferrari-powered cars topped all four of this week’s sessions.

Elsewhere, Max Verstappen added another 97 laps to his tally for the week in the Toro Rosso and Felipe Massa completed 73 laps for Williams. Romain Grosjean took to the track for the first time this year and was impressed with his new Mercedes-powered Lotus. However, a power unit-related problem brought his day to an early end after 53 laps.

Jerez Test Day 4 Times:
1. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20.841 105 laps 
2. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.019 111 laps 
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.172 116 laps 
4. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:22.553 97 laps
5. Felipe Massa Williams 1:23.116 73 laps 
6. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:23.802 53 laps 
7. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:23.975 63 laps 
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.980 35 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Jerez Test Day 3: Nasr quickest as McLaren-Honda makes limited progress

The third day of pre-season testing in Jerez saw Sauber’s Felipe Nasr at the top of the timesheets, while McLaren made limited progress with its new Honda-powered MP4-30 and Red Bull were delayed by a lengthily Renault engine change.

Of more significance to Sauber will be the 108 laps completed by Nasr as his lap time was still 0.5s shy of the benchmark set by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on Monday. However, the quick lap will go some way to boosting his confidence after spinning into the gravel early in the session. The track was damp at the start of the morning but slowly dried under overcast skies to allow slick running for the majority of the day. Nasr’s nearest competitor was Kimi Raikkonen, who got his first taste of the Ferrari SF15-T. After two days of improvement with Vettel at the wheel, the Ferrari lap count increased again to 92 despite a slow start.

With the Mercedes W06’s Monday water leak fixed, Nico Rosberg added another 151 to his count on Tuesday to bring his combined total to 308 over two days in the car this week. The day was not quite faultless as the engine shutdown during one of his runs around lunch, but it did not keep the car in the pits for long. For what it’s worth, he set the third fastest time, 0.232s off Nasr’s time.

day3-rosberg-issues

McLaren had a productive morning, with Fernando Alonso matching the lap count of the previous two days in the first two hours, eventually finishing the day on 31. However, a loss of cooling water pressure that required a lengthily investigation of the Honda power unit and ended the day early.

Following two unproductive days with engine issues and a broken wing on Monday, Red Bull had another frustrating session when, after five laps, it had to change the Renault power unit in the RB11. The car made it back on track to notch up 48 laps in total, and although it is an improvement on last year, the team will be hoping for plenty of problem-free laps with Daniil Kvyat at the wheel on Wednesday.

Felipe Massa got his first taste of F1 2015 with Williams as the team completed another solid day with 71 laps. Carlos Sainz had a very productive day in the Renault-powered Toro Rosso with 136 laps, the second most after Rosberg. Pastor Maldonado was back in the Lotus and notched up 96 laps before stopping on track on the final run of the day.

Day Three Times:
1. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:21.545 108 laps 
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:21.750 92 laps 
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.982 151 laps 
4. Felipe Massa Williams 1:22.276 71 laps 
5. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:22.713 96 laps
6. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:23.187 136 laps 
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.901 48 laps 
8. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:35.553 32 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Williams takes covers off FW37

Williams has officially unveiled the FW37 in the pit lane on the morning of the first Jerez test.

The FW37 was the first 2015 car to be revealed when Williams released rendered images earlier this month but Sunday morning was the first time it was seen in the flesh. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa took the wraps off the car, with the former set to conduct the first test at the Spanish circuit.

Of interest is the nose, which technical chief Pat Symonds admitted had a big impact on Williams’ development, and stands out as one of the most unique interpretations of the new regulations.

Read more at ESPN

F1: Williams recruits Button’s engineer to work with Massa

Williams has poached Jenson Button’s old race engineer from McLaren to work with Felipe Massa this season.

Dave Robson was Button’s engineer from 2010 to midway through last year, but has now joined Williams to work under head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley. Robson’s appointment has kicked off a reshuffle in the Williams engineering department with Andrew Murdoch, Massa’s old engineer, being promoted to senior performance engineer, a largely factory-based role but one that will also see him work with Valtteri Bottas at the track.

Jonathan Eddolls remains as Bottas’ race engineer while Carl Gaden has been promoted from chief mechnanic – a role he has held for 22 years – to senior car systems engineer. Mark Pattinson, previously No.1 mechanic to Massa, will take over the role of chief mechanic.

“Off the back of a great 2014 campaign Williams is determined to continue this positive momentum into the new season, and these recent changes show our commitment to that goal,” chief technical officer Pat Symonds said. “We are proud to be able to promote our existing talent to help strengthen every area within our engineering team and we will continue to invest in new talent where necessary to ensure we have the support and resources to achieve our on-track ambitions throughout 2015 and beyond. Our engineering team for the coming season is looking strong and I’m excited to get the new season underway.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Hamilton secures second title with Abu Dhabi victory

Lewis Hamilton finally fulfilled his six-year dream of a second world title by winning the 2014 championship with victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Rival Nico Rosberg saw his hopes slip away with car trouble that eventually dropped him to 14th and out of contention. Hamilton has been waiting for a second world title since he won in dramatic fashion in 2008, but managed to settle his nerves early in the race on Sunday by taking advantage of Rosberg’s poor start and assuming the lead into Turn 1. A problem with Rosberg’s Energy Recovery System (ERS) started to emerge around lap 23, reducing power as well as causing problems under braking. He managed to finish the race, but his hopes of a world title will have to wait at least another year at least. The issue saw Rosberg haemorrhage positions throughout the second half of the race as he tried but failed to hang on to a fifth-place finish – his only chance of taking the title if Hamilton retired. Hamilton reacted by turning down his power settings and nursing his car home, which allowed Felipe Massa in second to close in during the final stint of the race and finish just 2.5s off the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas took the final place on the podium to round off a resurgent season for Williams and ensure it took third place in the constructors’ championship. Rosberg’s dream started to fade as soon as the lights went out at the start and Hamilton bolted past him to comfortably take the lead into the first corner. He ran a close second to his team-mate for the first half of the race, but a mistake under braking for Turn 17 was the first sign that something had gone awry. Two laps later his team informed him of his ERS issue, which not only reduced power by roughly 160bhp but also made the car unpredictable under braking. By lap 27 he had lost second place to Massa and continued to drop down the order until the chequered flag. Mercedes attempted to retire his car, but Rosberg said he wanted to remain on track until the very end of the race. It hardly seemed like a fitting end to the year-long battle between the two Mercedes drivers, but Hamilton’s 11th victory in 19 races leaves little doubt that 2014 has a very deserving champion. Outside the top three, Daniel Ricciardo pulled off a hugely impressive race from a pit lane start to fourth place at the finish. Both Red Bulls had to start from the pits after qualifying with an illegal front wing, but Ricciardo made up for Saturday’s disappointment in style. McLaren’s Jenson Button took fifth in what may be his final race in Formula One ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who, like Ricciardo, used an alternative strategy to finish sixth for Force India ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez. Summing up his final season for Red Bull before moving to Ferrari, ex-champion Sebastian Vettel could not match team-mate Ricciardo and finished eighth behind Perez. Fernando Alonso took ninth in his final race for Ferrari after his pace dropped off towards the end of the race. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished two seconds off Alonso to take the final point on offer and wave goodbye to a forgettable year with Ferrari. But Hamilton was the star on Sunday night as he held on to achieve his stated aim of securing the title with victory under the lights in Abu Dhabi. As the post-race fireworks made way for the British national anthem on the podium, he was clearly holding back tears of emotion in front of a pit lane packed with his team and supporters below. Read more at ESPN

F1: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi final practice

Nico Rosberg wrested back the psychological advantage at the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with fastest time in final practice.

Rosberg beat Mercedes team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton by 0.369 seconds after losing out in both sessions on Friday.

Hamilton made mistakes in the final sector, where he had been strongest on Friday, on both his fastest laps.

Hamilton needs to finish second even if Rosberg wins to clinch his the title.

A lap Hamilton was on at the end of the session, which he did not complete because he was out of time, suggested that Hamilton could have matched Rosberg’s pace had he managed to put a good lap together.

But Rosberg will head into qualifying boosted by the knowledge that he was faster than Hamilton on both the super-soft tyres on which the grid positions will be decided and the soft tyres on which most of the race will be run.

Read more at BBC Sport