After yesterday's qualifying
, the provisional grid was: FM, LH, RK, KR, HK, SV, JT, NH, NR, SB; KN, FA, TG, MW, NP; JB, DC, GF, RB, AS. The question I posed at the end of qualifying was "will TG be penalised for the NH incident in Q1?" Well, it appears not, so the grid is unchaged.
Although the general Valencia forecast
is for light showers, the teams' forecasts expect it won't rain until after the race. Current conditions: air temperature 29°C, track 44°C, wind 2.3m/s, humidity 66%
Can LH pass FM off the line, paying him back for Hungary
FIA timing sheet clears and we're 5mins away from the start of the race.
RB and AS are still in the pits so they'll start from the pit lane, at the back of the pack.
FM leads everyone away on the formation lap; looks like most are on the prime (soft) tyre - only NR is on the option (super soft) compound
RB waits at the pit lane exit, with AS behind him
Long wait for GF to bring up the rear of the grid01/57
: Poor start for LH - has to hold off RK
FA dropping down the table - problem for the Renault?
02: FM, LH, RK, HK, KR, SV, JT, NR, NH
KN pits - replay shows he ran into the back of FA
FA pits without a rear wing - he's pushed into the garage and told to stay in the car - looks like they'll try to change it and get him back out, even though he'll be a long way down
Replay also shows DC got tapped and spun, which is why he dropped to last place
03: Fastest lap: FM 1:40.934
LH f/lap 1:40.877
04: FM f/lap 1:40.256 - leads LH by 1.8secs
FA is out of the car - the first retirement
05/57: FM f/lap 1:40.170
FM, LH, RK, HK, KR, SV, JT, NR, NH; retirement: FA
DC takes P16 from NP
06: FM f/lap 1:40.160
The field is pretty spread out - gap from P1 (FM) to P10 (TG) is 19.7 seconds
AS on pit-car pleading for the team to tell GF to let him pass
07: FM f/lap 1:40.091 - leads over LH now 2.9s
08: LH f/lap 1:40.090
DC has a go at passing AS but gets it wrong - there's contact and some damage to the Red Bull - DC spins but rejoins
09: FM f/lap 1:39.633
Slow lap from RK (1:43.138) - he's fallen back into the clutches of HK
Is there something broken on RK's nose cone?
10/57: FM f/lap 1:39.466
FM, LH, RK, HK, KR, SV, JT, NR; retirement: FA
11: RK has picked up his speed again - on board camera shows something flapping around the left side pod
Replay shows SB has some damage to the front bridge wing
RB runs wide and off but finds the track again - that lets DC take P17
12: FM f/lap 1:39.285 - his lead has grown to 4.2s
13: AS is ahead of GF - did he pass or did the Force India team arrange the swap?
RK has pulled away from HK - now has a 2.2s gap to the McLaren
14: FM f/lap 1:39.167
Will FM stop for fuel earlier than LH?
15/57: FM, LH, RK, HK, KR, SV, JT, NR; retirement: FA
FM f/lap 1:39.024
DC pits from P17
16: FM pits - 9.1s stop - that's a lot of fuel - another set of the prime tyres - rejoins right in front of teammate KR
Will Ferrari put the lighter KR ahead or are they fixed on supporting FM?
17: LH f/lap 1:38.884 - hopefully he can stay out for a couple more laps
18: LH pits - prime tyres - 8.9s stop - rejoins behind KR
SV pits from P6
19: RK pits from P1 - the mechanics pull something from the side pod
KR pits - that's good news for LH
20/57: JT pits from P4 - lots of dust thrown up as he leaves the box - he's passed SV thanks to their pit strategy
21: HK pits from P1 - rejoins a couple of feet ahead of NH - HK holds him off
22: FM's lead over LH now 3.5s; gap to RK (P3) 13.0s
23: NH pits - couple of turns of front wing applied
TG the only of the front runners yet to stop
25/57: FM, LH, RK, HK, TG*, KR, JT, SV; retirement: FA
*TG hasn't pitted - is he on a 1-stop strategy?
LH falling further back from FM
26: FM's lead 5.5s
27: Looks like 1-stop strategies for TG, MW, JB, GF, NP and RB
Replay shows NP has broken part of the Renault's bridge wing
28: FM continues to open the gap to LH - it's now 6.5s
29: MW pits from P10, followed by GF
Replay shows MW over-run his pit box - quite a smack for the front jack man
30/57: FM, LH, RK, HK, TG, KR, JT, SV; retirement: FA
JB pits from P11
31: FM now has a huge 8.4s lead over LH, who in turn has a comfortable 16.1s gap to RK
TG pits from P5 - 10.8s stop, swaps to the super-soft (option) tyre - rejoins behind NR
31: RB and KN pit from the tail end of the field
33: DC pits
NP the only one yet to stop
34: FM posts fastest Sector 1 time
NP pits from P11
35/57: FM f/lap 1:38.840 - 2nd pit stop coming soon
36: FM f/lap 1:38.757 - now a 9.6s lead - he must be hoping the engine doesn't let go like it did at the previous race
37: FM f/lap 1:38.708 - another 0.6s makes it a 10.2s lead - LH must be hoping the Ferrari pits soon
38: FM pits - 8.5s stop - super soft tyres - he's released as AS passes, almost contact - very dangerous decision by Ferrari
39: "Incident involving car 2 under investigation - unsafe release from pit stop" - will the stewards make the right decision? As ITV-F1 point out, there can't be any defence or saying "who, me?"
40/57: LH pits - 7.1s stop - cleanly done - rejoins ahead of RK
SV pits too - rejoins ahead of TG
41: RK pits from P3 - 7.4s - super-softs - rejoins ahead of SV
42: JT pits from P5 - 6.7s stop - lots of dust kicked up as he struggles for grip leaving the box
43: AS puts the Force India into the tyre wall
ITV-F1 say the investigation re: FM's pit exit will be decided after the race ... presumably so they can add just enough of a time penalty to ensure he still wins :(
44: HK and KR pit together - KR pulls away with the fuel hose still attached! Takes out a mechanic! Struggle to remove the fuel nozzle but KR finally gets away
45/57: ITV-F1 commentator was at the Ferrari garage - saw the refuelling mechanic hit the "go" button as he started to remove the nozzle, which gave KR the green light to pull away
Mechanic is put on a stretcher and taken away - he was down for a long time! Hope he's OK
46: Meanwhile, back on the track... FM's gap 7.5s to LH; RK almost 25secs behind LH
47: KR is slow out of the last corner - the engine lets go - he dives across the racing line (d'oh!) and parks at the pit lane exit
What's the chance the FIA stewards will penalise Ferrari (for FM's dangerous pit exit) and let McLaren lead the constructors' championship?
48: ITV-F1 describe it as "an unusual decision" ... yeah, that's an understatement :(
49: FM still has a 7.6s lead over LH
ITV-F1 report from the Ferrari garage: "he shouldn't be too bad"; he's in the medical centre; also asked about FM's "investigation" and the Ferrari guy says he didn't think it was dangerous ... but then he would say that, wouldn't he
50/57: FM, LH, RK, HK, JT, SV, TG, NR; retirements: KR, AS, FA
51: ITV-F1 corner KR but he won't talk to them
Closest battles: SB 1.8s behind NH (P9); KN 0.8s off RB (P15) - other than that, it's very spread out
53: KN has taken P15 from RB - not a good weekend for Rubino
Meanwhile SB has fallen back from N
55/57: FM, LH, RK, HK, JT, SV, TG, NR; retirements: KR, AS, FA
56: Looks like the FIA have ensured Ferrari win the race - I don't understand how the teams can tolerate the blatant favouritism and corruption within the organising body :(
Final lap: I hope FM understands this is a hollow victory - he drove well but the stewards have failed to do their job
FM takes the chequered flag - whatever
LH 5.6s behind in P2, so it'll be a 5sec penalty for FM if there's any penalty at all :(
P3=RK, 4=HK, 5=JT, 6=SV, 7=TG, 8=NR Provisional results:
FM, LH, RK, HK, JT, SV, TG, NR; NH, SB, NP, MW (+1 lap), JB, GF, KN, RB, DC; KR (DNF), AS (DNF), FA (DNF)
Will the stewards "inquiry" make any difference? I'm not holding my breath :(
Ewwww - ugliest trophy ever!Interviews:
FM: "we did a fantastic job"; "nothing more we can ask for"; "I've been doing great starts this season"; "I did a great start"; "first stint very good"; second stint - we won the race there"; "car was even better on the soft tyres"; blames AS for not giving way at the pit exit! Incredible! "I was the leader"
LH: "can't complain with 2nd place"; "had a few problems"; "a solid weekend for us"; "nowhere near as quick as [FM]"
RK: "saw plastic bag fly in - couldn't avoid it [...] couldn't steer for 2 corners"
Next race: Belgium (Spa Francorchamps) in 2 weeks (Sep 5-7).