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Archive for September, 2008

Double world champion, Fernando Alonso, has returned to the top spot of podium with Renault at Formula One’s first ever night race in Singapore. His strategy put him to the front of the field after the race order was completely shaken up due to his teammate crashing and bringing out a saftey car, which led to Ferrari making a terrible mistake that almost certainly lost them the race.

The race started mostly cleanly, with pole sitter Felipe Massa pulling away in first and his Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, in third and catching up to Lewis Hamilton, looking likely to pass him at the first round of pit stops. That first round came early, though, after Nelson Piquet Jr crashed into a barrier, bringing¬† out the safety car just as the race was settling down. Robert Kubica and Nico Rosberg were both forced to pit for fuel before the pit lane re-opened and were given 10 second stop-go penalties. Both Ferrari’s came into pit once the pit lane did open, taking advantage of the safety car period. Race leader Massa was given the green light to leave his pit box but the fuel hose was still attached and he drove off with it stuck in his car before stopping at the end of the pit lane with the race now lost. Raikkonen was queuing behind him and his hopes of big points were also gone. Ferrari managed to get Massa going again but he rejoined in last place.

Hamilton had a clean pit stop but was now behind Fernando Alonso, David Coulthard and Mark Webber who had all timed their pit stops perfectly, just before the safety car was released. They were now the top three runners. Jarno Trulli was also in front of him, on a one stopping strategy. Somehow Rosberg managed to come out of his stop-go penalty in second, and Alonso started to pull away from the rest of the pack. Trulli made his stop and fell back whilst Webber retired and Hamilton was now lining up to pass Coulthard for a podium position, which he pulled off. Meanwhile, Raikkonen’s recovery drive had put him in fifth. The safety car came out once again for a stricken Giancarlo Fisichella and Alonso’s 15 second lead was gone. Little changed at the front with the restart, however. A few laps later, Raikkonen made a small mistake at turn 10 that forced him into the barriers for yet another race without points. Alonso fronted the race order ahead of Rosberg, Hamilton, Timo Glock, Sebastian Vettel, Nick Heidfeld, Coulthard and Kazuki Nakajima with Honda’s Jenson Button narrowly missing out on a point.

Lewis Hamilton has increased his championship lead by seven points after Felipe Massa’s disaster pit stop, whilst Kimi Raikkonen falls back into the reach of Nick Heidfeld, now just one point behind the Finn in fifth. McLaren now take the lead in the constructors’ championship after Ferrari’s zero points race and Renault overhaul Toyota for fourth after the former world champions first win since 2006.

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Nick Heidfeld will be penalised three grid positions for the Singapore Grand Prix after being deemed to have impeded Honda driver, Rubens Barrichello, while he was on a flying lap. The incident occurred during the first qualifying session when Barrichello was held up by the BMW who was entering the pit lane at the part of the entry on the racing line. The stewards decided he should have done more to get out of Barrichello’s way.

After being held up, Barrichello abandoned his lap and entered the pits. He has also be punished and given a 10,000 euro fine for not using the deceleration zone properly during his pit entry. Heidfeld will now start from ninth after qualifying sixth, whilst Barrichello will stay in eighteenth.

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Ferrari’s Felipe Massa has taken pole position for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix by a huge margin in Qualifying at the Marina Bay street circuit. His time of 1:44.801 was a full six tenths of a second faster than McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who will line up on the front row with him.

Hamilton was lucky to get through to the third session of qualifying, after abandoning two vital laps in Q2 and scraping through in tenth. Third place for the race start goes to Kimi Raikkonen, who appears to have found some pace again, despite now being 21 points behind the championship leader. Robert Kubica lines up in fourth ahead of Heikki Kovalainen, Nick Heidfeld, Sebastian Vettel, Timo Glock and Nico Rosberg. Kazuki Nakajima made it into Q3 for the first time in his career. Jarno Trulli was off the pace in qualifying and will start from eleventh, just in front of Honda’s Jenson Button who was punching above his weight to achieve twelfth. Red Bull were hoping for more than only thirteenth and fourteenth. The biggest disappointment came from Fernando Alonso, who was one of the favourites for pole position after his stunning pace in practice, but suffered a fuel supply problem that forced him to retire from Q2.

Nelson Piquet Jr failed to get past Q1 and will start behind his teammate, whilst Sebastien Bourdais severely dropped off the pace and qualified seventeenth. Rubens Barrichello will start ahead of the Force Inidas, with Adrian Sutil being over a second slower whilst Giancarlo Fisichella failed to set a time after hitting the barriers.

The championship battle is well and truly on, with the top six in the standings starting from the top six spots one the grid. With overtaking a difficulty, how much advance does Massa have in a race that promises to be incident-packed?

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Fernando Alonso has once again set the fastest lap in the final hour-long practice session ahead of Qualifying for this weekends Singapore Grand Prix. He came out towards the closing laps of the session and flew past the opposition, setting a 1:44.506 to become the first man into the 1:44s. He beat McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton to the top spot by a massive six tenths of a second.

Felipe Massa was right behind in third setting 1:45.246 and Renault’s strength this weekend was proved by Nelson Piquet completing the session in fourth. Nico Rosberg just managed to take fifth spot off Honda’s Jenson Button, who is also looking very strong going into Qualifying after popping up into second during the session. He set a 1:45.409. Robert Kubica, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdias completed the top ten. Nick Heidfeld sat in eleventh, whilst Heikki Kovalainen struggled even more, finishing in thirteenth. Rubens Barrichello finished ahead of both Toyotas, whilst Kimi Raikkonen ended up in seventeenth and facing the barriers after setting just one lap time. David Coulthard had limited running after a gearbox problem at the start of the session, which meant he could only beat the Force Indias.

All eyes are on what promises to be an exciting hour of qualifying, after Singapore has provided three action-packed practice sessions.

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Fernando Alonso has gone fastest for Renault in the second Friday practice session at Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore. His best time of 1:45.654, which was set in the last few seconds of the session, beat McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton who was just 0.09 seconds behind and otherwise would have gone fastest for the second session in a row.

Felipe Massa and Ferrari sat in third with a time of 1:45.793, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen, Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica. The sister Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen only managed seventh, just 0.3 seconds ahead of Honda’s Jenson Button, who continued to punch above his weight and set a 1:46.901. Kazuki Nakajima and and Timo Glock completed the top ten. Red Bull’s Mark Webber has limited running after crashing his car into the wall during the earlier practice session, but slotted in eleventh, in front of Nelson Piquet Jr, Sebastian Vettel, Sebastien Bourdais and his teammate, David Coulthard. Nick Heidfeld struggled with his BMW in sixteenth with Rubens Barrichello, Jarno Trulli and the Force Indias sitting at the bottom.

Practice continues into Saturday with a final session before the drivers prepare for the first ever night-time F1 qualifying.

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Toyota’s Jarno Trulli has been reprimanded and fined 10,000 euros after driving the wrong way round the Marina Bay circuit. The incident occurred during the first of two Friday practice sessions at Singapore, when the Italian spun coming out of the last corner. Instead of continuing down the main strait, he decided to come back the way he came and cut across the white line, also against the rules, so he could enter the pits.

The Stewards came to the conclusion that he had broken Article 30.2 of the 2008 F1 Regulations stating “drivers are strictly forbidden to drive their car in the opposite direction to the race unless this is absolutely necessary in order to move the car from a dangerous position.” He also crossed the white line separting the racing track and pit lane entrance, which is strictly forbidden under the sporting regulations.

Trulli will face no further punishment.

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Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time at the first ever Formula One practice session held at night, ahead of this weekends inaugural Singapore Grand Prix. His best time of 1:45.518 put his just 0.08 seconds ahead of his main championship rival, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.

His teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was a further four tenths of a second behind, slotting in third in front of Heikki Kovalainen in the sister McLaren setting a 1:46.463. Robert Kubica kept the pace for BMW, putting himself just behind the Ferraris and McLarens, setting a 1:46.618. Nico Rosberg placed Williams high up, beating Renault’s Fernando Alonso who completed the session in seventh with his teammate, Nelson Piquet Jr, in 9th and BMW’s Nick Heidfeld in-between the Renaults. Jenson Button landed his Honda in tenth with a 1:47.277, a full 0.3 seconds faster than Italian Grand Prix winner, Sebastian Vettel. The Toyotas struggled in 13th and 19th whilst Mark Webber became the first driver to crash an F1 car at the new circuit, and finished the session at the bottom.

Singapore appears to have lived up to the hype, with an incredible city backdrop. It was a close battle in the first practice session, but who will come out on top in FP2?

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