Alonso for the title?
Fernando Alonso has a bigger gap to the lead of the championship than he did this time last year, but tonight he will be far more confident of his chances of securing a third title than he was 12 months ago. For the first time since the British Grand Prix in 2011 – an anomaly of a race in an otherwise Red Bull-dominated year – a Ferrari won by more than ten seconds and the F138 truly looked like the class of the field. In qualifying Alonso was still short of Lewis Hamilton‘s pace, but on the medium tyres over long stints nobody else came close. It’s clear that Alonso has a car to fight for the championship, but we shouldn’t get too carried away just yet as tyre and circuit characteristics are having a major influence on performance this year. Bahrain will be a completely different prospect with the soft and hard compound tyres and much higher track temperatures. If he can win again in Sakhir then he will start to emerge as the championship favourite, but right now that’s still a pretty big if. (more…)
Alonso for the title?
Formula One is bracing for the return to Bahrain this weekend amid fresh protests about the staging of a grand prix in a country still riven by sectarian and political divisions. While the level of unease about the event taking place is not on a scale of recent years, it is still likely to take place against a background of security concerns.
The protests prompted the cancellation of the 2011 race and vast security measures to allow the 2012 event to proceed, but thousands still demonstrated on Friday against the race. Organisers of the protests said more demonstrations were planned.
The FIA and FOM, which runs the commercial side of the sport, have been largely silent on the political protests in the lead-up to the event. (more…)
Webber had led the early stages of the race and was still leading when the cars emerged from their final stops. With concerns over tyre wear Red Bull then told both drivers to hold position to the end of the grand prix, but Vettel ignored the message and an intense battle ensued before Vettel came out on top to win by 4.2s.
Lewis Hamilton finished third ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg after a slightly more placid battle for the final podium spot, but earlier in the race his attack on the Red Bulls was curbed by needing to save fuel. Rosberg was continually told not to attack Hamilton towards the end of the race as Mercedes looked to secure a solid points haul and he reluctantly complied. (more…)
Fernando Alonso believes he could have fought for victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix had it not been for the wing damage that forced him out.
The team left Alonso out, waiting for the chance to change to dry tyres, but the wing failed completely at the start of lap two, putting the Spaniard out.
“Today we had a good car and I don’t think we were too far from Red Bull pace in the race,” said Alonso when asked by AUTOSPORT how competitive his race could have been. (more…)
Lewis Hamilton said his team-mate Nico Rosberg should have been third in the Malaysian Grand Prix after finishing ahead of his team-mate.
Rosberg was heard complaining over the radio that he could go much quicker than Hamilton and should be allowed through in the closing stages of the race but his request was denied by team principal Ross Brawn. Hamilton admitted that his pace was slowed by a need to save fuel and that Rosberg was the quicker of the two on outright race pace.
“The team did a fantastic job and it’s great to be [on the podium] for them,” Hamilton said. “If I’m honest I really feel that Nico should be standing here, he generally had better pace than me throughout the race but he’s a great team-mate and he did a fantastic job today. On our side I was fuel saving for a long, long time so unable to keep the pace of the guys at the front but nonetheless we brought it home, the guys did a great job and I’m proud to be up here for them.” (more…)
The majority of Friday’s running took place on a wet track, with only a small window in the morning allowing for slicks before the circuit required full wets later in the afternoon. Grosjean said the conditions gave him a chance to work on any issues the team had experienced when it rained last year and that it was now in a better position as a result. (more…)