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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Raikkonen leads home Ferrari clean sweep - French GP - Qualifying

Ferrari utterly dominated qualifying for Sunday’s 70-lap French Grand Prix with Kimi Raikkonen taking the pole position from team-mate Felipe Massa and in doing so recorded a historic 200th pole for the Italian champions.

While Raikkonen celebrates the pole, Massa will be disappointed to lose out on the top position by just five-hundredths of a second, especially as the Brazilian topped the timesheets in both Q1 and Q2. His final run in Q3 saw two minor errors and the time was lost.

McLaren Mercedes had no answer to the pace of Ferrari with Lewis Hamilton making gains on his final run to set the third fastest time. However, with his ten position penalty applied due to his Montreal misdemeanour, Hamilton lines up a distant 13th on the grid.

Fernando Alonso shined once again in qualifying trim in the Renault and will start the race from third position on the grid and with Hamilton taking his penalty, has a realistic chance at a podium position on home soil for Renault.

Jarno Trulli suffered a spin on his penultimate qualifying lap but got the job done as usual for Toyota and starts an impressive fourth position on a weekend the Toyota team mourn the passing of former Team Principal Ove Andersson. Timo Glock starts ninth in the second TF108.

Heikki Kovalainen was unable to challenge the front-runners again in his McLaren and lines up fifth* on the grid ahead of Canadian Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica.

BMW Sauber really struggled in qualifying trim and a third row start will be seen as a good result for Kubica. Team-mate Nick Heidfeld was just six-hundredths of a second slower than Kubica in Q2 but did not make it into the top ten and starts a disappointed 11th.

The Red Bull Renault duo of Mark Webber and David Coulthard have been closely matched all weekend long at Magny Cours. Qualifying was no exception as they line up in seventh and eighth positions respectively.

With Glock starting ninth in the second Toyota, Nelson Piquet is promoted into tenth position courtesy of Hamilton’s grid position penalty. The Brazilian topped the morning practice session in his Renault but just missed out on making it into Q3 this afternoon. Still, it was a much better performance from the Renault rookie.

Sebastian Vettel had been firmly in the top ten throughout practice in his Toro Rosso Ferrari and will therefore be slightly disappointed to line up 12th ahead of the demoted Hamilton. Sebastien Bourdais proved much closer to Vettel in qualifying trim and starts 14th.

Qualifying would prove a major disappointment for the Williams Toyota team. Nico Rosberg set the 15th best time having only just escaped elimination in Q1 but his grid position penalty for his Montreal pit lane infringement drops him to the back of the field. Kazuki Nakajima therefore inherits 15th position on the grid after a poor run and traffic on his final qualifying laps of the day.

Honda has shown little pace all weekend and it is therefore no surprise to see Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello starting 16th and 17th respectively ahead of Force India Ferrari duo Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil.

Weather aside, Ferrari look set to run away with the French Grand Prix.

* It was later announced that Heikki Kovalainen would be demoted five positions on the grid for blocking in qualifying.

© CAPSIS International

Friday, June 20, 2008

Massa on top free practice 1 French GP.

The 90 minutes of running this morning at Magny Cours saw Felipe Massa dominate the session for Ferrari, lapping the 4.411km circuit a cool seven-tenths of a second clear of his nearest rival.

Sunny skies greeted the 20 runners for the start of the 90 minute free practice session and while Ferrari sat out the opening 30 minutes of running, Massa vaulted to the top of the timesheets on his first stint on the harder medium compound Bridgestone tyre and would improve throughout the session as the clouds moved in. The Brazilian eventually set a best time of 1:15.306s.

Lewis Hamilton set the second fastest time in his McLaren Mercedes with a best lap of 1:16.002s. Both Hamilton and team-mate Heikki Kovalainen struggled for grip throughout the session with Hamilton frequently locking his front left wheel under braking. However, Hamilton remained on the worn set of tyres and was unable to respond to Massa’s gains.

Kovalainen set the third fastest time and survived a lurid trip into the gravel after losing the rear end of his MP4-23 in the ultra-fast Estoril right hander. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest in the second Ferrari, just under eight-tenths off the flying Massa.

Canadian Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica was in his customary fifth position in the leading BMW Sauber with team-mate Nick Heidfeld ninth fastest. Fernando Alonso was comfortably sixth fastest but was forced to pull off in the final minutes of the session as his Renault V8 failed in dramatic fashion.

However, being free practice, there will be no grid position penalty for the former champion.

Jarno Trulli was firmly in the top ten in his Toyota and despite a spin exiting the Adelaide hairpin late in the session, managed the seventh fastest time just ahead of the impressive Sebastian Vettel in the leading Toro Rosso Ferrari. With Heidfeld ninth, Timo Glock rounded out the top ten in the second Toyota.

Nelson Piquet set the 11th best time in the second Renault seventh-tenths of a second behind team-mate Alonso while the Red Bull Renault duo of David Coulthard and Mark Webber proved closely matched in 12th and 13th.

It was not a particularly encouraging start to the weekend at Williams Toyota with Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima 14th and 17th. Rubens Barrichello led the way again at Honda with the 15th best time ahead of Sebastien Bourdais in the second Toro Rosso, Nakajima and Jenson Button in the second Honda.

Giancarlo Fisichella was 19th in his Force India Ferrari while team-mate Adrian Sutil was forced to miss the final third of the session for an as yet unknown reason. Sutil was 20th and slowest.

© CAPSIS International

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ferrari Mugs

I'm ferrari fan. I use this mug when watching F1 GP, make a coffee or tea.
Go Kimi...
Go Massa...
Go Ferrari...

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