7th of the season and 13th career F1 pole position for Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton will start the Chinese GP from pole position for the second year in a row. But it is a hostile territory around him, Kimi Raikkonen next to him, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso right behind. Robert Kubica, the 3rd driver still in the title hunt, struggled with his car and missed out on Q3. He will start from P11 after Mark Webber (qualified 6th) will be demoted 10 places following his engine blow up in Saturday morning practice. Toro Rosso has again both cars in top 10.
Update: Nick Heidfeld was handed 3 place grid penalty for his role in the incident involving also David Coulthard.
It is time for Chinese GP in Shanghai. Only 3 drivers are left in the title fight and one of them can with a bit of luck claim the title this weekend. The situation in our Prediction Game is much more open. This is round 17.
So place your predictions as usual in the comments below this post:
– Top eight finishers in the race
– Pole position
– Fastest lap
The summary of the rules and current standings – click here
Round 16 results – click here.
Do not forget – the predictions must be placed before the qualifying starts. Better do not leave it to the very last moment ! And remeber the race is in China, the qualifying starts at 2pm local time on Saturday, race at 3pm local time on Sunday.
Welcome to the Live Blog coverage of 2008 Chinese F1 GP. Join the debate below !
Tis Live Blog has now ended, you can replay it inside this post:
Nick Heidfeld was the quickest driver in the morning practice, Kubica 3d, that BMW looks fast. Hamilton split the 2 BMWs with 2nd fastest time. Both Ferraris were rather low in this session as was Fernando Alonso. We will see in 2 hours whether these were cases of sandbagging or problems with the pace.
Lewis Hamilton in this practice ran wide at the pitlane entry, 2007 Shanghai deja vu . Mark Webber’s engine blew up and he already used up his joker it looks like 10 place penalty for the Red Bull driver.
Saturday Practice Times:
Welcome to the Live Blog coverage of Chinese F1 GP – Saturday Practice. Join te debate below !
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Fisichella and Sutil, team mates for one more year
Force India announced their drivers line up will remain unchanged for 2009 season. That means both Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil will keep their jobs for one more year. None of the drivers scored single point this year, Sutil however came very close to finishing 4th in Monaco (before getting hit by the Raikkonen missile).
No one has been dropped so far this season, no one has been dropped for the next, except Coulthard who dropped himself . The only remaining seats to be confirmed are in Renault, Honda and Toro Rosso, with Toro Rosso having a vacancy and all this three teams having some serious candidates for the chop on their current roster.
The standard engine supply idea did not get much support from the car manufacturers involved in Formula 1. Several of them even suggested that such a rule may result in some manufacturers leaving the sport. Loosing manufacturers would almost automaticaly mean loosing teams – the very development the cost cutting is supposed to prevent from happening.
Mosley however does not seem to care what the manufacturers think. He dropped a bombshell today with the announcement that the FIA is to open the tender process for a standard engine in Formula 1 from 2010.
“The FIA will today open the tender process for the appointment of a third party supplier of engines and transmission systems to be used by competitors in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship. The tender summary and requirements will be published on the FIA website shortly.”
To whom are FIA and Mosley especially actually willing to listen ?
FIA announced further details on standardised engine idea:
Looked like exciting morning in Shanghai with quite some action on the track. Hamilton practiced some overtaking manuevres on Massa, Nelson Piquet jr tried to do “Hamilton” at the pit lane entry gravel trap while Bouradais explored the gravel at different part of the track. The top four places were occupied by McLarens and Ferraris with Hamilton setting the fastest time of the session ahead of Massa. Kubica and Alonso were best of the rest.
Friday Practice 1 Times:
Magny Cours 2008
The decision of the Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile (FFSA) to cancel the 2009 French Grand Prix came as a surprise. At the same time however it was probably only a matter of time before someone came out cancelling a race. Rumours about some race organizers looking for a way out of 2009 calendar surfaced around the same time the Canadian GP was dropped. French GP did not feature on F1 calendar only 1 time, back in 1955, following the Le Mans events. There are several French regions and venues interested in staging the Formula 1 race (Disneyland being the front runner) but it looks dead certain now that there will be no Formula 1 race in France next year. What looked like 19 races season only 2 weeks ago is turning into 17 races one. Will FIA and FOM keep it at 17 or will they add another race in place of the French GP ?
Shanghai F1 Track - Ultramodern but where are the crowds ?
The 2008 Formula 1 season is reaching its climax. It is time for the Chinese Grand Prix. The last 2 Shanghai races were affected by rain. Both started wet but later turned dry. Ferrari mastered these conditions best taking advantage of bad tyre calls by the main competitors. In 2006 the looser was Fernando Alonso (although he still finihed and podium and later went on to win the championship), the winner Michael Schumacher. In 2007 it was Lewis Hamilton who suffered on the drying track and after delaying his pit stop for at lest a lap too long he beached the car in gravel at the pit lane entry. He could have claimed the title in Shanghai. Instead he started his great title giveaway. Again there was a Ferrari car to take the advantage, Kimi Raikkonen’s win in Shanghai set up that exciting grand finale in Brazil … Ferrari also won the inaugural Chinese GP in 2004 when Rubens Barrichello dominated the weekend. While we are talking about Ferrari, Schumacher and Barrichello – both these drivers scored their final F1 wins on this track (although Barrichello may still in theory win some F1 race). The only non Ferrari win in Shanghai so far was Fernando Alonso with Renault in 2005.
Here is the video preview of the 5th Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix race:
Find more videos like this on F1Wolf Club
This edit includes:
– the venue
– the people
– the previous winner
– the 2008 title contenders
– track preview
– feature on overtaking with Nico Rosberg
If for any reason the above video does not load fast enough you can watch it also on Facebook, at F1Wolf Club, on Dailymotion, on Vimeo or YouTube.
As expected there have been voices slamming the Fuji race stewards for their decisions on the three racing incidents. But while many fans felt that Lewis Hamilton should not have been penalized for his first corner actions I have difficulty finding a single driver (of course with an expemtion of the ever loyal Heikki Kovalainen) coming out in Hamilton’s defence. This is the situation not too different from what happened few weeks back after Belgian GP. Hamilton was stripped off his win but there were barely any drivers coming out in his support. If a driver is indeed unfairly treated I would expect the others to rally behind him, at least some of them.
The number of drivers which do have a problem with Hamilton however keeps rising and he seems to be perfecting his art of adding more on the list after every race. Webber, Glock and Kubica have been very vocal in their criticism of Hamilton’s aggressive driving. Hamilton however does not care what others think. Alonso does not like him probably since he first met him in McLaren and is even ready to help Massa to win the title. Hamilton’s driving in Japan and ignoring of blue flags (and holding Jarno Trulli back for 2 laps) is to be a topic of drivers’ meeting in Shanghai this weekend. And now he alleges Felipe Massa, a driver with whom he seemed to have quite friendly relationship, of deliberatelly hitting him on that lap 2 in Japan …
What is it about Lewis Hamilton ? Does he have some special gift to alienate people ?