Lewis Hamilton will start the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix from the pole position, well ahead of his main title fight rival Felipe Massa, who only managed P5. Kimi Raikkonen returned to the front row for the first time since French Grand Prix. It does look good for Hamilton with Heikki Kovalainen and Fernando Alonso also ahead of Felipe Massa on the grid.
It was good session for Toyota and Toro Rosso, both teams had 2 cars in Q3. Toro Rossos do seem to be a bit heavier than other cars in top ten. BMW Saubers struggled in Q1 with Kubica only just making it to Q2 and Heidfeld eliminated. Kubica however pulled his act together and qualified solid 6th.
The last practice session happened on track still wet from earlier rain. Car started the session on extreme wets but moved on to intermediates later. No green tyres this time. Both Massa and Hamilton did rather well but did not get involved in the last minute quick times dash. The fastest lap went to Robert Kubica ahead of Timo Glock and Nelson Piquet. Not much pace on display from Kimi Raikkonen this time. The track was still quite wet at the end of the session so we may be up for at least damp qualifying … Bottom positions for Honda and Force India. Force India cars spent better part of the session in the garage with some technical issues.
Saturday Free Practice Times:
1. R. Kubica – BMW Sauber – 1:25.087
2. T. Glock – Toyota – 1:25.171
3. N. Piquet – Renault – 1:25.415
4. N. Heidfeld – BMW Sauber – 1:25.474
5. K. Nakajima – Williams – 1:25.056
6. D. Coulthard – Red Bull – 1:25.614
7. F. Massa – Ferrari – 1:25.709
8. M. Webber – Red Bull – 1:25.785
It looks like back to business as usual in Japan so far. McLarens and Ferraris easily occupied the top 4 spots on the timesheets in Practice 1. Renaults seem to continue their climb, speed of Toro Rossos is no longer a surprise … Looks like we will have close weekend at the top. Toyota hasnt’s impressed much yet on their own track. Red Bull same as last year added 7 Eleven logo on their cars for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Friday Practice 1 Times:
1. L. Hamilton – McLaren – 1:18.910
2. F. Massa – Ferrari – 1:19.063
3. H. Kovalainen – McLaren – 1:19.279
4. K. Räikkönen – Ferrari – 1:19.399
5. F. Alonso – Renault – 1:19.473
6. N. Piquet – Renault – 1:19.743
7. S. Vettel – Toro Rosso – 1:20.121
8. R. Kubica – BMW Sauber – 1:20.160
After the amazing Singapore GP experience it is time to move to Japan and for second year in a row to Fuji Speedway. Although this will be the second GP on the revamped Fuji track it still remains sort of an uknown quantity. Torrential rains turned the 2007 Japanese GP into a speedboat race and so we are yet to see how the Formula 1 car racing here looks.
The 2007 race was a bizzare spectacle. The race had to be started behind the safety car and continued in that fashion for 18 laps. Ferraris messed up the tyres and had to pit following the orders from FIA (hey, there really are times FIA rules against Marenello). At that point it looked like that blunder handed the 2007 title to Lewis Hamilton (before he handed it to Kimi).
What ads to the mystery of this sudden decision is the fact that even the organizers of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal had no idea their race is in any sort of danger. The race was included in the provisional 2009 F1 calendar and unlike last year here was no “to be confirmed” tag attached to it. The official Candaian GP website at this moment bears no signs of any doubt about 2009 race. They are thanking fans for making 2008 race a success and even have a section devoted to 2009 ticket sales. The stunned organizers issued a press release yesterday:
FIA today announced the 2009 Formula 1 calendar. Compared with the provisional calendar published a while ago there is one big change – the Canadian GP in Montreal is missing for the first time since 1987. There was no reason given (at least for now). This means that after inclusion of Abu Dhabi the 2009 Formula 1 calendar will have 18 races, same as this year. This also means there will be no Formula 1 races in North America next year. What will remain after dropping Canada is the summer break.
When my lense went on strike after about 5 minutes of Singapore F1 GP Friday practice session I thought that this time there will be no pictures at all. Fortunately I realized that besides auto there is also a manual mode. It took me a while to find the suitable set up but few minutes later I was ready to shoot again. Here are 2 slideshows with pictures from Singapore. You can see the original photos on the Singapore GP pictures page, on Flickr and at F1Wolf Club – Part 1 and Part 2.
I decided to go to the Singapore GP the moment it was announced just over a year ago. I was so excited about the race that I even travelled down to Singapore last December to walk to the Formula 1 track to be. After that visit there was no way back, the 2008 Singapore GP was a go, for me and for a bunch of friends. It got a bit tense first when the ticketing system failed, then again when the F1 time hotel prices were published. But we overcame all these issues and we were all set. So, how did it go ?
Jean Eric VERGNE
2014 F1 Calendar
14-16 March - Australia
28-30 March - Malaysia
4-6 April - Bahrain
18-20 April - China
9-11 May - Spain
22-25 May - Monaco
6-8 June - Canada
20-22 June - Austria
4-6 July - Great Britain
18-20 July - Germany
25-27 July - Hungary
22-24 August - Belgium
5-7 September - Italy
19-21 September - Singapore
3-5 October - Japan
10-12 October - Russia
31 October-2 November - USA
7-9 November - Brazil
21-23 November - Abu Dhabi