Tag: Valtteri Bottas

F1: Barcelona Test 2, Final Day: Valtteri Bottas fastest for Williams

Williams driver Valtteri Bottas set the pace, as Mercedes emerged from the final day of pre-season testing as strong world title favourites.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was sixth, but the team have done enough over the winter to prove they are still well ahead of the rest of the field.

Bottas was 0.406 seconds quicker than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, both using the fastest tyres, the super-soft.

McLaren had another troubled day, Jenson Button managing only 30 laps.

The team, starting a new engine partnership with Honda, have done less pre-season mileage than any team other than Force India, whose car appeared for the first time only on Friday.

Button was consigned to the garage for the morning session after the team discovered a problem that required the engine to be removed.

The team then had a stuttering afternoon, at the end of which Button was eighth fastest, 2.264secs off the pace.

“I am pleased with the winter,” said Rosberg. “We have done a good job with the development of the car. That’s not to say the others aren’t also quick but I am optimistic for the first couple of races because we have a good car.

“I am comfortable, setting the best time of the whole winter testing two days ago.”

Sauber’s Felipe Nasr was third quickest ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and Force India’s Sergio Perez.

Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado had a light crash at Turn Four just after lunch and was slowest of all.

Lotus said the crash was caused by a “braking-related issue” which meant Maldonado could not slow sufficiently for the corner.

The season starts with the Australian Grand Prix on 13-15 March 2015.

Final pre-season test.
1. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams-Mercedes 1:23.063
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:23.469
3. Felipe Nasr (Bra) Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.023
4. Max Verstappen (Ned) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:24.527
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 1:24.638
6. Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India-Mercedes 1:25.113
7. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1:25.186
8. Jenson Button (GB) McLaren-Honda 1:25.994
9. Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Lotus-Mercedes 1:28.272

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Barcelona Test Day 4: Grosjean fastest as Mercedes starts to show potential

Romain Grosjean made it three out of four for Lotus at this week’s pre-season test in Barcelona as he topped an eventful day marked by Fernando Alonso’s unusual crash in the McLaren.

Half an hour before lunch, Alonso went off the circuit at the exit of Turn 3 and came to a stop on the run down to Turn 4. A lengthy delay followed and after being taken by ambulance to the medical centre a conscious Alonso was airlifted to hospital for precautionary checks. CT scans in the afternoon confirmed the Spaniard was uninjured, although he will be kept in hospital overnight.

Alonso completed just 19 laps before his accident and McLaren was not able to get the car back out on track in the afternoon when Jenson Button was scheduled to drive. It means McLaren finishes the second pre-season test with just 129 laps to show for its week in Barcelona and just one week of testing left to rectify its problems before the first race in Australia.

day4-alonso-crashes-out

Alonso’s accident was just one incident in an eventful final day at the Circuit de Catalunya, which saw four further red flags in the afternoon. First Nico Hulkenberg stopped on track under a cloud of smoke from his 2014 Force India. Carlos Sainz then spun off at Turn 4, snapping the Toro Rosso’s front wing on impact with the wall. The accident was heavy enough for him to have to pay a brief but routine trip to the medical centre for checks. Valtteri Bottas stopped in the same spot a few moments after the green flags came out and with ten minutes to go there was another red flag when Felipe Nasr pulled up with a problem with his Sauber.

Grosjean’s headline time of 1:24.067 was set on the super-soft tyre, and marked a day with 111 laps and a race simulation for Lotus. Mercedes added to its sizeable winter mileage count with 131 laps for Nico Rosberg as it continues to look for a step forward in reliability this season. In the final hour Rosberg put in an impressive 1:24.321, set on the medium tyre and just 0.254s off Grosjean’s time. The lap was roughly a second faster than Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time on medium tyres at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, but unlike Hamilton’s was set on used tyres and most likely with a heavier fuel load.

After focusing on pit stops and race starts on Saturday, Williams spent the day focused on longer runs. Valtteri Bottas started a race simulation after lunch but it was interrupted by a visit to the Williams garage and Hulkenberg’s stoppage. He then continued the long run before stopping at Turn 4 himself, though it did not end his day. It was obvious Williams was not chasing times and his race simulation and 129 laps was an impressive way to round off the second test.

Sebastian Vettel’s second day this week in the Ferrari garnered a solid 76-lap haul, though his day was punctuated by several long spells in the garage. Ferrari still has plenty of reasons to be optimistic after eight solid days of testing so far. Felipe Nasr’s day was blighted by an early pit-lane stoppage which kept him in the garage for an extended period before lunch, though he did recover to record 73 laps. Sainz’s spin ended his day after 88 laps, while Hulkenberg finished his first F1 run of the year with 36 laps. Force India hopes to arrive at the third test with this season’s challenger but will have gained valuable 2015 tyre data from this week’s test.

Day 4 Times:
1. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:24.067 111 laps
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.321 131 laps
3. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:24.941 104 laps
4. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:24.956 73 laps
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:25.345 129 laps
6. Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:25.605 88 laps
7. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.312 76 laps
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:26.591 36 laps
9. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:27.956 20 laps

Read more at ESPN

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: Jerez Test Day 2: Vettel top again as McLaren struggles continue

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel topped the times for the second day in a row at the opening test of the season in Jerez as McLaren again struggled and world champion Lewis Hamilton had his 2015 debut cut short by a water leak.

Vettel improved on his Sunday time with a 1:20.984 before rain in the final hour ruled out any further quick laps. The Ferrari completed a total of 78 laps – another improvement on Sunday – and was lapping in the 1:23s on longer runs. His time was 0.883s clear of his nearest competitor Felipe Nasr, who continued Sauber’s solid start to testing with 87 laps. Rookies Nasr and Max Verstappen in the Toro Rosso went out to get some wet weather experience in the final hour and were joined by some of their rivals as the rain eased ahead of the chequered flag.

Mercedes had already called an early end to Hamilton’s day after a technical problem resulted in a water leak on the W06. Initially the team had hoped to get him back out on track quickly, but the problem proved harder to resolve than it had hoped. Nevertheless, Hamilton still registered 91 laps in total – shy of team-mate Nico Rosberg’s mammoth 157 on Sunday, but still more than any other team managed on Monday.

Red Bull also hit trouble, limiting the RB11’s mileage for the second day in a row. On Sunday the team had power unit related problems but on Monday it was down to driver error. On his debut with the team, Daniil Kvyat made a mistake on a cold track and nudged the barriers – skewing and damaging the front wing.

day2-kvyat

With the pre-season just over a day old, Red Bull did not have a replacement at the track and had to remove the wing completely to allow him to continue to run. In total he notched up 18 laps, but was limited to practice starts at the end of the pit lane and therefore did not set a lap time. The team is having a replacement wing flown in to allow it to resume a proper test programme tomorrow.

Once again the McLaren-Honda was a rare sight on track and Jenson Button could only add six laps to match Fernando Alonso’s tally from day one. The team is struggling to get the new power unit communicating with the other systems on the car and the result was a lap 33 seconds off the pace. In its current state the Honda’s exhaust note is noticeably louder and throatier than its rivals, but it has yet to run smoothly or at high revs to make a fair comparison. McLaren hoped to get the car on track soon after lunch for more mileage, but despite several fire-ups it only emerged from behind the screens covering the garage door in the last 20 minutes of the day to add one extra lap to the morning’s five.

After receiving delivery of its car yesterday from the factory and building it overnight, Lotus made its 2015 debut in the second hour of running with Pastor Maldonado at the wheel. He went on to complete 41 laps but caused a red flag towards the end of the session. Lotus later confirmed the E23 had been curtailed by a drivetrain issue. Williams had a solid if unspectacular day as Valtteri Bottas set a best time of 1:22.319 and completed 61 laps while Verstappen managed 73 in the Toro Rosso and a best time of 1:24.167.

 

 

Jerez Test Day 2
1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:20.984 87 laps
2. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:21.867 87 laps
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:22.319 61 laps
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.490 91 laps
5. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:24.490 73 laps 
6. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:25.802 41 laps 
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1:54.655 6 laps 
8. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull No time 18 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Jerez Test Day 1: Vettel top as McLaren hits early trouble

Sebastian Vettel ended his first day behind the wheel of the SF15-T at the top of the timesheets in Jerez, while in contrast the man he replaced at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, managed just six laps at his new team McLaren.

Vettel finished half a second quicker than Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg in third, an encouraging start for Ferrari despite headline times being of limited significance in testing. Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber slotted into second after a late run on the soft tyre, ahead of Rosberg, who managed to accumulate a mammoth 157 laps – over two race distances of the Jerez circuit and more than double managed by anyone else.

Rosberg had been top mid-way through the opening day of testing but Mercedes were able to focus on long runs in the afternoon and he dropped below Vettel and Ericsson in the final few hours of the day. The German’s lap haulage is made all the more impressive by comparison to his rivals; Ericsson and Valtteri Bottas were the next closest with 73 each. He was beaten to the top of the chart by the 1:22.620 set by Vettel, who recovered from a slow start to record 60 laps of his own in the SF15-T.

Alonso managed just six laps before lunch and McLaren soon reported a “niggly” problem was keeping the Spaniard in the garage. With just half an hour left in the session the team fired up its engine again but the MP4-30 did not emerge before the end of the first day.

day1-alonso

Daniel Ricciardo only added 13 laps to his morning total of 22 in the striking black and white testing livery revealed by Red Bull on Sunday morning. The team struggled with two issues, the first a battery issue which caused a rear brake failure through the MGU-K and another “engine-related” issue later on. However, Red Bull has already improved on last year’s Jerez test where it completed just 22 laps in four days.

Williams and Valtteri Bottas managed just five laps in the morning but enjoyed a more successful afternoon. Though only finishing fifth on the timing screens, Bottas completed a flurry of runs in the final few hours and managed to extend his and the team’s mileage significantly.

Ericsson’s name sticks out at the top end of the timing screen but is proof headline times are of limited significance, with a late soft tyre run putting him in between Vettel and Rosberg. The Swede had triggered the first red flag of the 2015 season in the morning when he spun his Sauber on track. Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr caused a second in the afternoon after stopping in the middle sector, ending a day which saw him record his first 46 laps with the STR10.

Only seven teams completed a timed lap in Jerez as Lotus failed to arrive in time for the first day. It was due to arrive on Sunday afternoon so should participate in the second day of testing, while Force India is missing the entire Jerez test in order to maximise development time before the Barcelona double header at the end of the month.

Day 1 Times:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:22.620 60 laps 
2 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.777 73 laps 
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:23.106 157 laps 
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.338 35 laps 
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.906 73 laps 
6 Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:25.327 46 laps 
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:40.738 6 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: 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 to Abu Dhabi pole

Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position at the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Rosberg was 0.386 seconds faster than his Mercedes team-mate as Hamilton managed to secure second place despite an error-strewn session.

Hamilton is 17 points ahead of Rosberg and needs only to finish second to the German in the race to secure the title.

The Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were third and fourth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Lewis Hamilton wins Russian GP ahead of Nico Rosberg

There was plenty of exultation, of course, in the Mercedes garage after they won the constructors’ championship for the first time.

They went into the race needing 25 points to make sure of the team title and scored a maximum 43. They also took another hefty stride towards the individual prize.

Hamilton became one of only four drivers to win nine races in a season. For the second time in a year he has also won four races in succession, equalling the achievement of Michael Schumacher in 2004. His 31st victory pulled him level with Nigel Mansell as Britain’s most successful F1 driver. He is going from strength to stranglehold in this world championship and if he does not win the thing it will be a travesty.

Hamilton has won five more races than his sole rival, his team-mate Nico Rosberg, but leads by only 17 points with that ridiculous and possibly championship-spoiling, double-points season-ender in Abu Dhabi next month.

Rosberg, though, provided the outstanding drive here. He drove 52 laps on the same set of medium tyres to take second place,more than 13sec behind Hamilton.

Hamilton, starting from his seventh pole of the season, defended his advantage by cutting across Rosberg, but the German drew level and then moved slightly ahead of his great rival. But as he did so he locked up and flat-spotted his tyres, forcing him to pit for fresh rubber on only the second lap.

When he asked about strategy he was told he would probably have to finish the race without making another stop. He not only finished it but made up 21 places, getting annoyed on separate occasions near the end, when he was expected to come in for another change. It was an astonishing performance in view of the fact that some drivers had to make two stops and others struggled to get to halfway without coming in for a change.

Rosberg, who appears to have been in decline during Hamilton’s recent onslaught, was phlegmatic enough after his costly error. “It was just a mistake on my side,” he said.

“I just braked too late, that was it. It was very unnecessary. It was my corner and I am very disappointed with that. After that my tyres were square so I couldn’t see where I was going and had to pit.

“I thought that was the end of the day, so partly I’m happy to have managed to get back all the way to second. In hindsight, I could have pushed more during the race. It’s always easy to know more afterwards. In the end my tyres were fine. It is a pity. I just messed up. Very simple explanation – I braked too late and too hard.”

It was also a good afternoon for Valtteri Bottas, in his Williams, who took his fifth podium position of the season to go fourth in the title race behind Daniel Ricciardo.

Bottas said: “The beginning seemed to be very good and I was not far off from Lewis and everything was going to plan. The tyres were feeling good and suddenly the rear tyres started to go, started to lose pace and I was struggling more and more and Lewis was getting far away.

“Then we stopped for the prime [medium tyre] and it took just a really long time to get it to work. It was weird.”

But the Williams performance chief, Rob Smedley, said: “Valtteri’s always very good at being self-critical and trying to look inward, which is a hugely commendable attribute that he has as a racing driver, but I think the reality is he was beaten by a much, much quicker car.”

Jenson Button was fourth, one place ahead of his team-mate Kevin Magnussen, as McLaren continued their impressive weekend in Russia, positively effulgent by their recent modest standards.

Button was cautious about describing McLaren’s result as a turning point. “Some of it is the circuit, but also I think we have improved the set-up of the car and we have found some other things that work for us,” he said.

“We’ll see when we get to Austin [on 2 November]. I look forward to seeing where we stand. The Tarmac is very similar to here, just a lot more traction zones. To finish fourth is the best result we’ve had in a little while, but you still want more. You are disappointed because you want to be on the podium.”

Read more on The Guardian