This is just a quick post to apologise for being MIA this weekend! I didn't do a race preview, practice review or Qualifying review and for that, I am sorry! I have been very busy this week because I am going to university in exactly one week's time so I've had to get myself prepared for that. I wanted to keep up with the blog despite this but just haven't found the time to dedicate myself to writing a good post worthy of your readership. I really do mean that.

I even missed Qualifying today and had to shut myself off from the world to avoid finding out the result. I watched the BBC highlights and was blown away by what a good session it was. A McLaren 1-2, Vettel 5th despite Red Bull's problems that left Webber 11th and Massa 3rd; ahead of Alonso who was a contender for pole! The race in Monza will, as always, be spectacular and I can't wait to sit, watch and enjoy! I will definitely try and do a race review so I'll see you tomorrow!

Aqsa, @aqsasformula



Well I have fewer drivers to choose from for this feature so that should make my life slightly easier; thanks Romain! (Too soon to joke about it?)

3. Nico Hulkenberg

The Force India driver came fourth in Spa; a career best finish. Fourth! In a Force India! At Spa! I'm sure he feels great after that driver. He may not have won or got on to the podium but he was in a car that has been poor so far this season and although many contenders for that fourth spot were eliminated at the start of the race, Nico still beat a Red Bull, a Ferrari, both Mercedes and a Williams so he can definitely consider this as an achievement.

2. Jenson Button

Jenson won the race in a dominant fashion after dominating Qualifying the day before. He drove a great race but I've put him in second because he didn't exactly have too much to do during it as he'd done all the hard work the day before.

1. Sebastian Vettel

Vettel had a poor awful Saturday in Spa after he failed to make it through to Q3 but gained some solace from the fact that Spa is a track where you can overtake and gain positions. But with his main title rivals all ahead of him, things weren't looking overly promising. He started the race from 10th, due to a 5 place grid penalty for Mark Webber as he had to have a gearbox change, but slipped to 12th as he tried to avoid getting caught up in the T1 accident. He then fought his way through the pack, making some amazing overtakes in the process. This combined with a one-stop strategy allowed Vettel to come home in a very comfortable second position and one that he admitted "felt like a race win".

Aqsa, @aqsasformula

(Image 1, 2, 3)


It would be very easy for me to pick the image(s) I used here as my picks for this feature as well but that'd be too easy. So instead of saying that the crash at the start of the race in Spa sums up the race for me, I've chosen this;

Spa marked the comeback of Jenson Button. His dominant performance in Qualifying on Saturday carried through to the race and there was just no catching him. He'll be hoping that this form is here to stay, unlike after Australia when it disappeared suddenly after such a strong start. It was a very deserved win for the Brit and the perfect way to kick off his title resurgence; Jenson still believes he can win the title and if he continues to have races like he did last weekend then it is very possible!

Of course, Vettel and Kimi also did well to get the two remaining podium spots and, as they are two of the title contenders, this picture shows that this race could potentially have large repercussions for the title but we'll have to wait until Brazil before we can make that judgement!

Aqsa, @aqsasformula


I don't even need to think about this! And I don't even need to elaborate on it very much as I wrote quite a lengthy paragraph on it in my race review. In fact, I bet you already know what it is...

They say a picture speaks a thousand words so I'll let the two above do all the talking. I think you know why this was the moment of the Grand Prix.

Aqsa, @aqsasformula



Well, F1 certainly came back from the summer break with a bang! Yesterday's Grand Prix in Spa was an absolute pleasure to watch and left me feeling almost every single emotion it is possible to feel at some point during the race; shock, fear, relief, frustration, confusion, worry, happiness, joy and the list goes on... I'm also pretty sure that my heart rate was taken to levels it had never seen before and I have the likes of Vettel, Webber, Raikkonen and Schumacher to thank for that! More on that later...

The action from the race started before the lights had even gone out; yes, Pastor Maldonado that is directed to you! The ever controversial Venezuelan driver made a jump start at the beginning of the Grand Prix when he launched out of his grid spot a significant amount of time faster than anyone else. Race director Charlie Whiting's reaction said it all as he was seen shaking his head at Maldonado. As if that wasn't enough action for the beginning of a race, about 5 seconds later we would all have forgotten about what Maldonado had done and those of us that are too young to remember watching the start of Spa 1998 live were given the start of Spa 2012 to have with us forever. I'm sure you have all seen what happened by now so I won't describe the events as they happened but the fact that Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton; both of whom would have been very competitive in the race, were taken out is clearly something that will have significant title repercussions and we may look back on this race after Brazil as a real game-changer! 

As a result of these starting incidents the stewards were very busy after the race. Maldonado was given 2 5-place grid penalties, one for the jump start and one for colliding with Timo Glock after the T1 incident, and Grosjean was handed a one race ban; the first time we have seen this punishment for 18 years! That in itself shows the severity of the incident but, whilst I do think this is the appropriate punishment, the inconsistency constantly shown by the FIA when dealing with accidents is becoming more than slightly annoying! Is it too much to ask for everything to be dealt with appropriately and a clear rule book that gives clear punishments? You could say that the FIA are very consistent at being inconsistent...

Here is what Romain Grosjean had to say on his punishment and the incident;

“When your life is all about racing, not being allowed to attend an event is probably one of the worst experiences you can go through. That said, I do respect the verdict of the Stewards. I got a good start… and was heading into the first corner when the rear of my car made contact with the front of Lewis [Hamilton]’s. I honestly thought I was ahead of him and there was enough room for both cars; I didn’t deliberately try to squeeze him or anything like that. This first corner situation obviously isn’t what anyone would want to happen and thankfully no-one was hurt in the incident. I wish to apologise to the drivers who were involved and to their fans. I can only say that today is part of a process that will make me a better driver."

I completely commend Grosjean for accepting blame and apologising for what he caused. Many have said the incident was caused because of his immaturity as a driver but I think this shows that he is not immature and is looking at this as an experience that will make him a better driver. We can now ask of nothing more from him and hope that he can avoid incidents like this in the future; beginning with his next race in Singapore! 

Spa is famous for always allowing plenty of overtakes and boy did it deliver yesterday! Of course, the standout overtake from the Grand Prix was Kimi's overtake on Michael Schumacher up Eau Rouge. Oh that certainly got my heart rate rising and I can imagine Kimi would have had a little smile on his face as he carried all that speed out of the legendary corner and saw the German firmly behind him after the two had been battling it out for third place. 

Sebastian Vettel was also busy with overtaking yesterday and any critics of the reigning world champion's driving skills in traffic were firmly proved wrong as he went from 10th on the grid (to 12th after the accident at the start) to 2nd and picked up 18 points. One of the people Vettel had to overtake on his drive to 2nd was teammate Mark Webber. He overtook him, and many others, on the 'bus stop' chicane and both drivers showed the level of respect between them as a potentially race-ending overtake was completed smoothly and cleanly. Although, I did have to hold my breath as the two went into the chicane side by side. Vettel's 2nd place and Alonso's elimination from the race means that Vettel is now 24 points off the the championship lead.

There was also a lot of confusion at one point as Sebastian and Schumacher were involved in a bit of battle and as Vettel tried to overtake him at his favourite spot (the chicane) but Michael was planning on going into the pits. The layout of the circuit meant that Schumacher almost drove across the front of the Red Bull but luckily no damage was done! The incident was put under investigation by the stewards but no penalties were awarded. When asked about the incident afterwards Sebastian said this about Michael; "he is a wily fox and doesn’t give you a lot of space" but added that "that is the fun in fighting with him."

Nico Hulkenberg had a really great race at Spa and he achieved a career best finish of 4th! He lost out on the podium spot to Kimi Raikkonen but fourth is still an achievement in a Force India car. Naturally, Hulkenberg's fortune was partly thanks to many main contenders being eliminated from the race before it had really began but he still finished ahead of a Ferrari (Massa brought the only Ferrari in the race home in 5th) and the 6th-placed Red Bull of Mark Webber. Toro Rosso were also finally back in the points and Di Resta had to fight hard to take away 10th place and 1 point!

After all the excitement, I almost forgot to mention that Jenson Button won the race and proves he is officially back! The Brit showed that his form from Australia earlier this year has returned and he showed what he can do when he has a car he is comfortable with and has the right balance (he really overuses that word). Now that Button is back at the top we can expect him to be much more involved in battles for race wins, not that there was much of a battle for the win in Spa, and that just adds to the excitement of this season.

That race was incredible, amazing, magnificent and I just loved watching it! In fact, I'm just about to watch it for the fourth time, yes I really loved it! And it has certainly whet my appetite for the next 8 races that are all going to come by so fast; starting with Monza is only a few days time. *does celebratory dance*



F1 gave us a stunning start to the 2012 season with so much unpredictability and varied results. We all then, rather foolishly, thought consistency would return and the front-runners would cement their place at the top. Then Qualifying for Spa happened...

The top three from today's session are; Jenson Button, Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado; very unexpected indeed! Jenson Button had absolutely blistering speed throughout the session and set three times that would have been good enough for pole; one in Q2 and two in Q3! This means that Jenson won his first ever pole for McLaren since he joined the team in 2010 and it is his first pole since Monaco 2009. He has struggled ever since the season opener in Australia and he he has definitely started the second part in a great fashion! The amazing pace he showed means that he should also be set up well for the race, particularly the start when he has to just pull out of the DRS zone. He will now be hoping that this form can continue once we have left Spa and his fate after Australia is not repeated.

Completing the front row is Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi; a surprise result but not so much when you consider how fast Sauber have been all weekend! Even though practice yesterday was a washout and we never got to learn much, Sauber did still look strong and that continued in the dry in FP3 this morning. This marks Sauber's best ever Qualifying result and their first ever front row start! The team's hard work is clearly paying off and their great 2012 season is only getting better. Could they take yet another podium tomorrow? I see no reason why not!

Maldonado also had a strong session, indicated by his third place starting position compared to teammate Bruno Senna's 17th place start. We have seen strong Qualifying displays from Maldonado on several occasions now but it is his failure to convert those good starts into points that seems to be the problem at the moment. He will need to have a clean race from start to finish if he is to silence a few of his critics and prove his win in Barcelona wasn't just a 'fluke'. Overtaking is very possible in Spa so there is a chance he may get involved in an 'incident' or two. Let's hope that won't be the case...

UPDATE: Maldonado has a three place grid penalty for blocking Nico Hulkenberg during Qualifying meaning he starts the race from sixth; right in front of Lewis Hamilton.

The biggest surprise of the day, for me anyway, came from Sebastian Vettel. The German failed to make it through to Q3 by one-hundredth of a second! I'm sure the small margin would have made it much more painful. He said that there were no mistakes in his lap meaning that the car just did not have the pace required around this Spa circuit. His teammate Mark Webber, who qualified seventh but slips down 5 places for a gearbox change penalty, shared these sentiments. Their comments were slightly odd as there had been a lot of talk about Red Bull sacrificing downforce for straight-line speed for this race at Spa; something that suits sectors 1 and 3 of the circuit much more. Their race pace may be better than their pace over a single lap and Sebastian will be able to start the race on the tyre of his choice meaning the team will be able to dictate their own strategy so Red Bull's weekend isn't over yet! We still have to see what the team can do and whether they can optimise their own performance to retain a comfortable championship lead.

Lewis Hamilton also had a Qualifying to forget by his standards as he qualified in eighth place. He had gone for a different setup to pole sitter Button as he opted for higher downforce to benefit him in sector 2 of the circuit but he said the reason for the substantial difference was that he was running an older wing specification. He had tried the newer version but decided to change back to the version he was more comfortable with; something he may now regret!

Lotus had been hot favourites for pole and many had predicted that Kimi Raikkonen could get the first pole position of his F1 comeback this weekend. Sadly, it was not to be for the team that has already made significant progress this season. Instead Kimi qualified in 4th and Romain in 9th. both drivers move up by 1 place thanks to Maldonado's and Webber's penalties respectively! The result may not be what the team expected but I think they're probably used to that considering the way this season has been going so far.

So tomorrow's race is shaped up to be a thrilling one! So much will happen, as it always does in Spa, in the 44 laps and you can expect plenty of overtaking and position swapping.

Predictions? I'll choose Jenson for the win but the other two podium spots will be fought for and what a pleasure that will be to watch!

Aqsa, @aqsasformula

(Image 1&2)



Today I went to check the Autosport website, as you do, and saw this article about Kimi Raikkonen. It quotes Raikkonen as saying he 'cannot afford to lose more ground' if he is to end the 2012 season as world champion. The reason why I'm mentioning this in a blog post is because I was almost amazed by Raikkonen believing that the world championship could still be his this year.

You all know that Fernando Alonso has enjoyed a terrific first half of the season and is therefore the current leader of the title battle. A lot of people are saying that the season is far from over and that Vettel, Webber, Hamilton and Raikkonen all have a chance at snatching the title from Alonso. I disagree...

I am one of those annoying people who starts thinking about the title and who will emerge victorious at the end of the season after approximately the third race of the season. I still enjoy every race as an individual and as they come but I do make rash assumptions about the title outcome. Last year we would have all been saying Vettel's won it, for obvious reasons, but this year provided a lot more surprises and unpredictability and there was a general consensus that the title fight would go down to the wire! We had seven different winners from the first seven races; a statistic I never get tired of hearing and one I loved watching break records as the races went on. I was enjoying not being able to tell who will win the championship and was enjoying it even more that my preferred driver, so to speak, was right in the mix (sorry Jenson fans)!

But then the European Grand Prix changed everything! I just felt absolutely certain from then on that Fernando Alonso would definitely take his third championship this year. I don't know exactly why I was so sure of the outcome considering so much has been changing this season and he hadn't accumulated a massive lead. Since then my theory had only been confirmed by the Spaniard as he went on to win in Germany as well as picking up strong points finishes elsewhere. From my perspective everything seems to be going right for Alonso so far. His car has good reliability and his talent as a driver able to outperform his machinery is certainly shining through. On top of this, his rivals just keep taking points off each other so no single driver is able to consistently cut down Alonso's lead.

Fernando's nearest challengers are the Red Bull boys; Mark and Sebastian! The latter is the driver we all think can realistically catch up to Alonso, despite Mark actually leading Sebastian in the standings. If neither of these two can win the title this year their inter-team battle is also an interesting one to keep an eye on. The fact that Webber and Vettel are closer to Alonso than Raikkonen means he has several drivers to beat before he can reach the number 1 spot.

Nevertheless, he has the 'spirit' of a racing driver and I'm sure all of the top 5 are thinking that the title can still be theirs. And that just means the racing will get that little bit more exciting! None of them will give up and with updates coming for cars, a bit of time away and a chance to refocus and realise what they are targeting will mean they are all heading to Spa and into part 2 of the season with only one goal in mind...

Oh and as for the other title, Red Bull have got that one!

I would personally love to be proven wrong and see a lot more chopping and changing at the top of the standings; much like what we saw only a few months ago. What do you think? Has Alonso already got his third WDC wrapped up or is there another driver who can take it from him?

Aqsa, @aqsasformula



I just want to start by saying that I got a little bit emotional (this is going to sound more dramatic than it really was) when I wrote this post title because over four months ago I wrote a post called 'China- only a week away' and it was my first F1-related post on my blog! I just found it really strange how fast time flies and that we are already almost going into the second part of the season and I have really loved blogging about F1 these past four months and look forward to continuing it. Now that the boring emotional bit is over (we all need an outlet sometimes) and done with we can get down to the good stuff...

The last three weeks have been fairly traumatic as F1 fans the world over have had nothing to do with their weekends and we've all been counting down the days until F1 returns to our lives. And the wait, my friends, is nearly over! In exactly one week's time FP1 and FP2 for the Belgian Grand Prix will already be over. No joke, my heart rate actually rose as I typed that! I know your's just did too.

Spa will be an exciting race for so many reasons that I think it will be easiest for me to just list them in a numbered-style...list! So here's why F1 will be coming back with a bang;

  1. The title battle is just heating up- No driver has yet conceded that the title race is over and all the frontrunners think they can pose a challenge to Fernando Alonso and stop him from running away with it. The drivers I am thinking of are, of course, Vettel, Webber, Hamilton and Raikkonen; Alonso's nearest opponents. You know that none of the above will settle for anything less than a win as the end of the season approaches meaning the outcome and the race will all be very thrilling indeed!
  2. Teams have been working hard over the summer- That seems more like I'm just stating a fact but because of all the upgrades team will bring and developments cars will have gone under we don't actually know who will be strong in Spa. There are no real favourites heading into this race because, not only is competition already so tight, we don't know who will have thought of a new genius idea to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.
  3. McLaren are back- McLaren and Lewis Hamilton headed into the summer break with a race win in Hungary and seemed to have put many of their earlier problems behind them. There is no better motivation than the taste of winning so McLaren will be hungry to repeat their Hungary success in Spa! Jenson Button also has a lot to prove and with a summer off and a chance to rest and relax I'm sure he'll be eager of getting back into a car and doing what he loves!
  4. The king of Spa is back- Kimi Raikkonen loves Spa and Spa loves Raikkonen so I'm sure the Finn has been looking forward to driving his Lotus around the infamous track. He has a car that I'm sure is capable of winning a race and with a string of second-placed finishes Kimi will be hoping he can win at Spa once again. 
  5. F1 is finally back- we've been so F1-starved that it could be the most boring race in the history of the sport and I would still love it! But we all know it won't be (see reasons above!) and I have personally never been so excited for an FP1 session. It's even worth me breaking my current ridiculous, summer sleeping pattern for; not that is dedication!



My long-awaited part II is finally here, hooray! I'll give you a moment to celebrate...

So this part will look at my 'zeroes' of the season; the drivers who have failed to impress me in the first part of the season and they will now be called up on it. (Refresh your memory of the 'heroes'!)

  • Jenson Button- I've had a little (it's not that little) say on Jenson's season so far which underlines the ups and downs of his 2012 season. It's been a strange one, I think it's fair to say, as it started with a win and has since slumped so much that his hopes of taking a second championship are over once again. I'm sure his season will improve when F1 returns after the summer break as he and his team make developments to the car but Jenson will probably be glad to see the back of 2012 after Brazil and hope for a much better 2013 season.
  • Michael Schumacher- yes, it is a bit strange to be including a seven time world champion on this list but it's no secret that Schumi hasn't had the best of comebacks and Kimi Raikkonen's comeback season is only highlighting this even more. Sure they both had different experiences when they were away from F1 and Schumacher is older than Kimi but not only do I believe that Schumacher's age shouldn't be a factor, after all he knows his body and fitness the best and he wouldn't still be in F1 if he didn't think he felt up to it, he's also the greatest F1 driver in history if we look at it in terms of number of titles won. Therefore, he has experience, knowledge and expertise in abundance and a truly lacklustre 2012 has naturally left people questioning whether he should even have a seat next year.
  • Felipe Massa- I really didn't want to include Massa in this list because I'm a quite a fan of the Brazilian  and I do think that some of the criticism aimed at him has been unfair. However, it cannot be denied that his performance in contrast to his teammate and current leader Alonso's performance has been poor. Of course his position in the Ferrari team is now under threat (that sounds overly dramatic, doesn't it?) but we don't know what will happen for Massa contract-wise and what Ferrari's long term plans are. If they want Vettel when his Red Bull contract is over it wouldn't make much sense to replace Massa for 2013 so we will just have to wait and see...
  • The Force India pair- I really didn't want to include Paul and Nico on this list because I think they are both having decent seasons for a midfield team but with their main rivals, mainly Perez and Maldonado, stepping up their games and taking wins and podiums in other midfield cars you can't help but think they and Force India have a lot of work to do! They have certainly slipped behind as a team and I think the drivers need to have more confidence and deliver better results in the second part of the season.
  • Jean-Eric Vergne- Jean-Eric is not having a great season but the fact that he is driving for the ruthless Toro Rosso team probably doesn't help. Last season I thought both Buemi and Alguersuari had seasons worthy of retaining their seats so it was a bit of a surprise to see them both dropped for 2012.  Toro Rosso are basically training talented, young drivers and giving them a chance to drive in F1 with the intention of one day promoting them to Red Bull to, presumably, partner Sebastian Vettel. However, this Young Driver Programme has had limited success because of the ruthless nature of it. I wouldn't be surprised to see Vergne dropped once this season is over even though I don't think he should be.

So that's my list, I hope it was worth the wait! It was fairly hard to compile because 2012 has been a topsy-turvy season and I haven't actually been all that disappointed with many drivers, with the exception of Jenson! However, the ones I have listed are the drivers that I think have the most work to do when F1 heads to Spa; which is now fast approaching!



I've reviewed the races of this season as they've gone by but also with some reflection on which race has been my favourite of the season so far. Now it's time to look at the men in the cockpits; the people responsible for delivering such exciting racing and review who has been a 'hero' and who has been below par. (Also, I realise calling them 'zeroes' is harsh but I had to include it for rhyming purposes.)


  • Fernando Alonso- I had to start this list with the man currently at the top of the standings for the Drivers' Championship. At the beginning of the season many doubted whether Alonso will be able to win his third world championship in the car Ferrari had given him but it's fair to say that Alonso and the team have stepped up their game as the season has progressed. Ferrari brought updates to Mugello and improved their package but Alonso has been in another league in terms of driving and out-performing his machinery. Should he win his third title this year, which I definitely think he will, it will be extremely deserved and I don't think anyone, whether you are a fan or not, can begrudge him of that considering his performance so far this year.
  • Kimi Raikkonen- I think it is fair to call Kimi the 'comeback king' of F1 because he has settled in to his team and racing in Formula 1 with relative ease and has been able to deliver multiple podiums and strong points finishes. The only thing making his comeback less than perfect is his failure to win a race but I have no doubt that the Finn will be able to tick that off his list before the end of the season. 
  • Mark Webber- It's no secret that Webber had a difficult 2011 season when his teammate ran away with the title and he was left without a win until the very last race in Brazil but he has come back from that like a true professional and has silenced any critics who have ever said he doesn't deserve the second Red Bull seat. He currently has more wins than his German colleague and is even leading Vettel in the championship. The team clearly think that Mark is a good racer and deserves to keep his seat as they have extended his contract for 2013 as well. 
  • Bruno Senna- I can only begin to imagine the pressure Senna would have been under at the beginning of this season by joining the Williams team that his uncle is so famously associated with. This combined with him losing his seat at Renault/Lotus would have amounted to a difficult start but I have personally been impressed with Senna's season so far. He may not have a race win like teammate Pastor Maldonado but he has been fairly consistent and I don't see why he should be worried about losing his seat.
  • Charles Pic- the young Frenchman is in his rookie F1 season and that is never going to be easy but I've been impressed with the way Pic has just gotten his head down and concentrated on his own driving. You're never going to be delivering great results in a Marussia car but that doesn't mean Pic's season isn't worth mentioning. He is consistent, F1's key word this season, and gaining invaluable experience in F1. I'm sure outscoring his experienced teammate Timo Glock doesn't feel too bad either.
So there you have my stand-out drivers from the first half of the 2012 season. There have obviously been other drivers who have had/ are having good, strong seasons but it is hard to make my exclusive list so they'll just have to try harder when the season continues in Spa. Harsh I know...

Stay tuned for Part II of my 'Heroes and Zeroes' post when I'll address which drivers haven't been impressing me so far this season and need to up their game. Spoiler Alert: Jenson Button will feature!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...