2008 European GP Podium
Hamilton’s second place finish in Valencia combined with Raikkonen’s retirement means that Hamilton’s championship lead is now 2 points bigger than it was prior to the European GP. But whether he really extended his lead or not depends on whom he considers to be his main title competitor.
Realistically there are only 3 title contenders left – Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. Although McLaren will deny it anytime anyone asks, Hamilton is clear number 1 and can expect full support from the team and also from his team mate.
In Ferrari the situation is different. Both their drivers are still in the fight as was the case last year at McLaren all the way to the wire. We all remember who has won it at the end… Raikkonen may be going through a slump period but only a fool would write him off. His gap to Hamilton is still smaller than it was last year with 2 races to go. His problem this year however is, that his team mate, Felipe Massa is clearly outperforming him at the moment.
Felipe Massa, Valencia 2008
It was not the most exciting race of the season but still, it was a great weekend in Spain. I am really glad that it was this race that this year coincided with my annual summer trip to Europe. Spain is definitely a great place to enjoy Formula 1 weekend and the setting in Valencia is simply great. And perhaps next year the Formula 1 cars will also be able to show us the kind of racing GP2 offers .
Already on Friday it was becoming obvious that Ferrari will be the team to beat in Valencia. And at the end that also was the case. Felipe Massa claimed the pole and was well set for the victory. His first pit stop (a lap earlier than Hamilton) and the smiles on face of Martin Whitmarsh made the commentators on the track to hand the victory to Lewis Hamilton, but when Hamilton emerged from his own pit stop behind both Massa and Raikkonen, the speculations about possible superior McLaren tactics ended. From then it was pretty about Massa not making any errors and his car giving him no Hungary like shocks. The scare came during his second pit stop. His crew released him straight into the path of Adrian Sutil (who was a lap down). These two almost collided and the incident was under investigation. Massa himself blamed Sutil for it, not understanding why Sutil needed to rush ahead of Massa in the pitlane when he would still have to let him pass on the track. From the outside it looked more like an error of Massa’s crew. In GP2 race Karun Chandhok received drive through penalty for similar error, in F1 it was to be investigated after the race. It is hard to say what approach is better but … should not the officials apply the same penalties (or procedures) for the same violations (or incidents) ? I am not questioning the fact that Massa escaped without penalty (I do not think he deserved one) but the FIA’s inconsistency that naturally leads to debates about certain teams escaping lightly.
I apologize for delay with the results but now I am back from Valencia and so here they come, round 12 results:
18 – Ozzi, F1Wolf
17 – Klokan, Queen Bee
16 – zblkhwk, kotenok, Ram, nieuwe, Draconte
15 – deaddogsmoking
14 – Steve Robertson, Ben, blazena, Rob The Flying Dutchman
13 – stew, Kaylen
12 – mcw3
11 – igi
Looks like my “In Massa I trust” approach paid off this time .
There were 2 predictions (from Fish Eye and Brabhamburger) that came few minutes too late unfortunately …
Now let’s look how the results of the second third of the season look like. Here are our top 10 for races 7 to 12 (from Montreal to Valencia):
Felipa Massa wins 2008 European GP
It was nice hot and sunny Sunday here in Valencia. The F1 race unfortunately turned out to be a procession, at least at the front. If not for Ferrari mess ups there would hardly be any excitement. Felipe Massa pulled away after the start of the race and Lewis Hamilton (to the delight of local fans here) was no match for him. Massa had a bit of a scare after his second pit stops, but he managed to keep clear from Sutil and went on to win the race. Hamilton settled for second. Kubica’s 3rd place was never threatened by the other Ferrari and McLaren.
Kimi Raikkonen provided the excitement today. First he ran away with the refueling hose still attached to his car and ran over one of his crew members after his second pit stop. Then a while later his engine let go and the smoke covered the start finish line.
It was great day at the track with awesome free practice, great F1 qualifying and exciting GP2 race. Unfortunately the Holiday Inn hotel I am staying at forgot that this is 21st century and so, no internet connection. (Unless I consider getting one page open after an hour of trying as a working internet …)
Perhaps tomorrow it will work better and I will be able to post some of the pictures…
The home fans were left disapointed after Fernando Alonso failed to make it to Q3 but they (and me with them) still cheered Massa when he claimed the pole (as I predicted ). Not sure if it had anything to do with the fact that Massa pole meant Hamilton’s relegation to P2. Alonso however did not sound too disapointed on the radio – he expects some Safety Car action tomorrow and then anything can happen …
Kimi Raikkonen - Valencia
I have been on the road for few days but now I am settled down in Valencia and what is even better – online !
It is a beautiful set up over here. Nice (but hot) weather, the beach right next to the track, lots of bars and restaurants 2 minutes from the track entrance, vino, cerveza, tapas, perfect. And if what was happening today is to be any indication of what to expect this weekend, we may also have an exciting race.
This race preview will be different than usual. One reason is, 2008 European GP will be held on brand new track in Valencia. The second reason is, I am on sort of working holiday at the moment.
This Valencia track has no F1 history, but that is not the case of European GP. You can the check the European GP minihistory series of posts on this blog to refresh the memories of modern time European GP F1 races.
Track technical info (ING Renault data):
Situated in the marina area of Valencia, this brand new street course promises to be one of the most exciting additions to the Formula 1 calendar in recent years. Hemmed in by concrete walls (hm, I smell safety car here ), the 25-turn circuit combines a mix of high and low-speed sections and is wide enough in places to offer genuine overtaking opportunities. Good straight-line speed and stability under braking are therefore paramount, as is good mechanical grip through the mix of low and medium-speed corners.
The track layout means that the teams will run with relatively low levels of downforce, similar to those used in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. This is possible as there are no high-speed corners and good straight-line speed is important down the long back straight. However, it won’t be until free practice begins on Friday that the teams will be able to finalise aero levels, which can depend on the grip offered by the tarmac.
The circuit is expected to be particularly demanding on the brakes and on a par with somewhere like Bahrain. There are frequent large stops from over 300kph, such as turns 12 and 17, leading into tight second gear corners which will put high energy through the braking systems. Brake cooling will also need special attention with teams likely to use reasonably large cooling ducts.
Formula 1 summer break is almost over and European GP is around the corner. We have last 7 races to go. If you wonder why I am posting this post earlier than usual, the reason is simple – I am travelling and I have no idea when I will be online again
As I promised 3 weeks ago, here is the extra motivation to play even for those who missed out few rounds or joined later. There will be one more bottle of MUMM to be won at the end of the season. And it will go to a person with the highest average score per round. However to be eligible for this prize you must take part in at least 12 rounds of the game. At the end of the season I will take the best 12 scores of each player and do the average. The highest number gets one MUMM. So keep on playing !
Also, European GP is the race number 12, that makes it the last race of the second third of the season. The winner of the second third (top score between races 7 and 12) will get a prize. What it will be I do not know yet, but something that I will get in Valencia coming weekend.
The results of round 12 will be posted later that usual, I expect perhaps next Tuesday or Wednesday. I will in Valencia for the whole race weekend, the results will have to wait till I return back :-).
And watch out – to keep more people still in the game there will be a chance to win 1 MUMM bottle for almost anybody who is now in the game. How ? That I will announce ahead of European GP. For now, keep on playing, do not miss out !
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 10 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 !
2006 European GP
This is the final part 7 of the European Grand Prix mini history series – years 2006 – 2007.
The 2006 season was all about the title fight between Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher and the European GP was not too different. This was by no means a classic and in line with the usual practice the race win was decided in the pitlane. Fernando Alonso claimed the pole position ahead of Ferrari duo Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa. Alonso had better start and kept the lead. Behind them a little Liuzzi (Toro Rosso), Ralf (Toyota) and Coulthard (Red Bull) get together resulted in Safety Car. After the restart Alonso and Schumacher pulled away and from then on it was all between these two. Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) lead the race too for a while during the pit stop times but that was about it. After the first round of pit stops Alonso still had the lead. Then Alonso made his second stop on lap 38, Schumacher stayed out until lap 41. Those few flat out laps made all the difference and Schumacher rejoined the race in the lead. He went on to win what was to be his last F1 race at Nurburgring. Alonso finished second, Massa third, Raikkonen 4th.
Alonso and Sato, 2004 European GP
This is part 6 of the European Grand Prix mini history series – years 2004 – 2005.
Season 2004 saw some changes in the order. Williams begun their decline, McLaren suffered from reliability issues (especially in the early stages of the season). Their places were taken by BAR Honda and Renault. And Ferraris were running away with the championship from the very beginning. European GP was the race number 7 of the season. Michael Schumacher won the first 5 and was ready to get back to winning ways after crashing out of Monaco race. Schumacher claimed the pole position after running light in qualifying, quick Takuma Sato lined up next to him in P2. Jarno Trulli (Renault, the winner in Monaco) and Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) occupied the second row. At the start Schumacher pulled away with the help of Kimi Raikkonen who jumped ahead of Sato (BAR Honda) and Trulli and held them back. Also at the start, Williams team mates Montoya and Ralf Schumacher touched their wheels and Ralf was out.
2003 European GP Podium
This is part 5 of the European Grand Prix mini history series – years 2001 – 2003.
The 2001 European GP is best remembered for Schumi vs Schumi at the race start. The big brother Michael grabbed the pole from his little brother Ralf , Juan Pablo Montoya was on P3. At the race start Michael felt aseep a tiny bit and to defend his lead Michael Schumacher pushed his brother way too close to the wall. Ralf had only 2 options – either to hit the wall or lift his foot off the throttle. He chose the throttle action and as a result Michael Schumacher kept his lead, Ralf stayed in second. Ferrari’s Bridgestones worked better early on and Michael pulled away. Soon however the advantage turned to Michelins. Ralf was pushing his brother hard and Montoya was closing on both of them.
Ralf Schumacher European GP 1999
This is part 4 of the European Grand Prix mini history series – years 1999 and 2000.
After one year break European GP returned to calendar in 1999. It was back to Nurburgring and the European GP would stay at this circuit for nine years, till 2007, more as a second German GP thanks to increased interest in F1 in Germany during Schumacher’s era. In 1999 the European GP was the last European race of the calendar. With three races to go Mika Hakkinen (McLaren), Eddie Irvine (Ferrari), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan) and David Coulthard (McLaren) still had a shot at the title. Michael Schumacher was missing, nursing his broken leg.