2012 Qualifying & Race Reports: Rounds 7-13

Choose a Race Report Below
Round 7: Canada - Montréal
Round 8: Europe - Valencia
Round 9: Great Britain - Silverstone
Round 10: Germany - Hockenheim
Round 11: Hungary - Budapest
Round 12: Belgium - Spa-Francorchamps
Round 13: Italy - Monza

Round 7: Canada - Montreal

Quick Preview

This year, Pirelli brought the Soft (Prime) and Super Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 70 lap race and the race start time is 1900 local time, Jenson Button in his McLaren was last years winner beating Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull.

Qualifying

So, here we are in Canada, after Hamilton dominated the first two practice sessions finishing 1st in both sessions and 3rd in the final session, he was looking favourite to take Pole this weekend. Button was struggling with problems and wasn't in contention of getting Pole this weekend. Again, as normal, in the 20 minutes of Q1 all the regular teams were knocked out. On to Q2 then. Räikkönen and Perez were the notable drivers that didn't post a quick enough to get through to Q3. So, 10 minutes to decide who was to gain Pole. Somewhere, Vettel found the pace and managed to put in a very fast time of 1:13.784 to put him in Pole, Hamilton set a lap time of 1:14.087, 0.3 slower than Vettel. Next was Alonso who put in a good time of 1:14.151. Webber managed to qualify 4th. Again, Button didn't have a good session and starts 10th on the grid.

Race

So, here we are in Canada. We have Vettel on Pole with Hamilton second on the grid. Lights out in Canada! Vettel and Hamilton both made decent starts. The top nine cars were on the Super-Soft's while Button who starts in 10th place starts on the Soft's. Alonso took the lead for a while as he ran a few laps longer on his tyres, Hamilton pitted and had a minor problem as the anti-stall kicked in whilst exiting the pit box. Alonso and Vettel pitted a while after Hamilton. Hamilton was the race leader in the middle of the race eventually building a four second lead over Alonso.

Hamilton, again, came in to the pits for his final stop on lap 50 and came out in 3rd. His newer tyres resulted in catching his rivals very quickly. He passed Vettel on lap 62 and Alonso on lap 64, there was nothing they could do but let Hamilton, with his fresher tyres breeze past. Vettel pitted for a 2nd time which was surprising but Alonso carried on with his set of tyres and continued on his one stop strategy which was a mistake. Drivers behind him closed the gap very quickly. Grosjean and Perez were the two drivers that caught Alonso. Hamilton had won his first race of the season, with Grosjean and Perez 2nd and 3rd respectively. So, we have seven different winners from the first seven races this season. Valencia is next in a couple of weeks time.

Round 8: Europe - Valencia

Quick Preview

This year, Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 57 lap race and the race start time is 1300 local time, Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull was last years winner beating Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari.

Qualifying

So, here we are in Valencia. The track temperature reaching around 40° this weekend. So tyres, again, are going to play a big part. On to Q1 then. We had the usual teams that didn't make it into Q2, however, Kovalainen did which meant one driver who isn't normally knocked out so early on didn't post a quick enough time. That person was Webber. He only managed a time of 1:40.395. Maldonado was quickest in Q1 posting a time of 1:38.825. Q2 now. The shock here was that the two Ferrari drivers didn't make it into Q3. Schumacher was also not quick enough. Vettel and Hamilton were the drivers to beat going into the final session. Hamilton set a time of 1:38.410, that was a very quick time until Vettel finished his hot lap, Vettel managed to put in a time of 1:38.086 which did in fact put him on Pole. Hamilton starts 2nd on the grid with Maldonado in 3rd and Grosjean in 4th.

Race

So, we have a repeat of the last race as we have Vettel on Pole with Hamilton behind him. Lights out in Valencia! Good starts from the front two, no major crashes going into the first corner. After a few laps Vettel had a decent lead and was starting to control the race. With 26 laps to go, the Safety Car came out due to debris on the track, well, weren't we all in for a awesome finale. We saw Vettel driving very slowly on the track, he retired from the race due to a alternator problem. Then, with 16 laps to go, Grosjean had the same problem and he retired too. Hamilton was looking to finish 3rd with Alonso now in the lead with Räikkönen behind him.

Maldonado was catching Hamilton very fast. Hamilton was on old tyres, then on the straight, Maldonado went for the overtake and Hamilton defended his position but Maldonado went off track, rejoined and t-boned Hamilton into the wall. Whilst this was happening, Alonso was the first person this season to win two races this season. An awesome drive from him considering he started in 11th place. OK, we had a Safety Car and Vettel retired but Alonso drove very well. Räikkönen finished 2nd with Schumacher getting his first podium since his return. After the race, Hamilton refused to comment on the incident and the stewards decided to give Maldonado a 20 second penalty which drops him from 10th to 12th, therefore, out of the points.

Round 9: Great Britain - Silverstone

Quick Preview

This year, Pirelli brought the Hard (Prime) and Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 52 lap race and the race start time is 1300 local time, Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari was last years winner beating Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull.

Qualifying

So, we are back home here in the UK! Firstly, let me tell you I was there! It was a fantastic day! So, what do you think the weather was like? You're right, it poured down. Many drivers were very cautious and some couldn't get in a fast lap at all. In Q1, the normal teams at the back were out but there was one person that stood out, Button. He was out.

On to Q2 then. We had a few cars run but then the rain got so bad that the session was Red Flagged for 90 minutes. When the session resumed the track had actually dried out a little and for the first time the drivers could actually push the cars for a quick lap. It was a interesting session. Rosberg in the Mercedes was out as well as both of the Sauber's. Hamilton looked very quick here.

On to the Q3 then, Grosjean didn't set a time and Hamilton set a time of 1:53.543 which was only good enough for 8th place on the grid. Next was Vettel, he posted a time of 1:52.199 which put him 4th on the grid. Schumacher was 3rd but then Alonso crossed the line and put in a time of 1:51.746 which did indeed put him on Pole for the British Grand Prix. Webber was 2nd on the grid. Hamilton said that he just couldn't get any heat into the Intermediate tyres.

Race

So, here we are in the UK. Alonso on the front with Webber along side him. Lights out in Silverstone! Alonso got a good start but Webber got an even better one and Alonso had to move in front to block him into the first corner. Di Resta got a puncture on the first lap and retired. A bad day for him. Hamilton didn't have a good race, his pit crew might of put in a 2.6 second pit stop but Hamilton who started 8th finished 8th after Schumacher made a pass on him with a few laps to go due to his fresher tyres. Webber was on a better strategy than Alonso who he was fighting with the whole race and with just four laps to go Webber overtook Alonso into Brooklands and took the checkered flag at Silverstone. A bad day for McLaren then, at the start of the season they had the best car on the grid. At Silverstone the car was 1.5 seconds off the quickest lap time which was set by Räikkönen.

Round 10: Germany - Hockenheim

Quick Preview

This year, Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 67 lap race and the race start time is 1300 local time, Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren was last years winner beating Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari.

Qualifying

So, here we are in Germany. It's Hamilton's 100th race this weekend! In the practice sessions the McLaren's looked very quick, however, during qualifying it rained hard. In Q1 we had no real drama (apart from the rain which made the track 'too wet' to drive on according to Alonso). In Q2, we saw the effects that the rain had done to the track as cars were well off the pace. Massa didn't set a quick enough time to get into Q3, nor did Rosberg or Grosjean. On to Q3 then, the track had dried out a little but the full wet tyres were still needed, Hamilton set a time of 1:44.186 which put him 8th on the grid behind Button. Hulkenburg posted a fantastic time of 1:43.501 which put him 4th on the grid. Alonso pitted and put a brand new set of full wets on and set a time of 1:40.621 which put him on Pole for the German Grand Prix. Vettel was 2nd with his team-mate Webber behind him. After the session Hamilton said he just couldn't get the tyres to work but was hoping the upgrades to the car would show in the race.

Race

Lights out in Hockenheim! Alonso got a brilliant start and didn't have to defend into the first corner. Vettel followed behind him. Hamilton had a bad start and was down to 9th after the first few corners. Massa drove into the back of Senna into the first corner and took his front wing off which resulted in a lot of debris on the track. On the second lap Hamilton was unlucky as he got a puncture from the debris. He then had to drive a full lap around the track until he got his tyre changed in the pits. Hamilton said on the radio 'it's all over guys', but he did continue for a while until he did retire. A bad weekend for him then.

Up front, Alonso and Vettel were still putting in good lap times. Button eventually closed up to Vettel after a 2.4 second pit stop from McLaren. Towards the end of the race Vettel was on Button's tail and into the hairpin attempted a overtake, Vettel's car going completely off the track and he continued to keep the position. Button was on the radio to his crew. By then, Alonso was gone and he had won his 3rd race of the season. Vettel finished 2nd with Button in 3rd. However, after the race Vettel was given a 20 second penalty for the overtake on Button which demoted him to 5th. Button also stated after the race that 'no car is faster than his McLaren after his performance.

Round 11: Hungary - Budapest

Quick Preview

This year, Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 70 lap race and the race start time is 1300 local time, Jenson Button in his McLaren was last years winner beating Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull.

Qualifying

Here we are in Hungary, Hamilton looking very quick here as he was fastest in Practice 1 and 2 and 2nd fastest in Final Practice. The weather wasn't great over Friday but it got brighter for qualifying. So in Q1 no surprises happened. We will move on to Q2. Traffic was an issue at this track and by the end of Q2, Webber was knocked out. By the way, Hamilton, yet again, was fastest in Q1 and in Q2 he was just under half a second faster that Vettel who finished Q2 in 2nd. On to the top 10 shootout. Hamilton was by far the favourite to get Pole here and he did. He set a time of 1:20.953 which was 0.4's faster than Grosjean (who set a fantastic lap) in 2nd. Vettel was in 3rd followed by Button in 4th. Alonso, the current Championship leader could only manage 6th place with Massa behind him.

Race

Lights out in Budapest!! Hamilton got a brilliant start and didn't even have to move to defend into the first corner. Grosjean also got a good start and stayed in 2nd place. Grosjean stayed on Hamilton's tail for a while and was starting to catch until Hamilton came into the pits. It was a slow pit-stop from McLaren. It was over three seconds, last race they managed a time of 2.6 when Button pitted. Back to the race then. Alonso didn't have the pace this weekend and finished in 5th position.

Towards the end of the race Räikkönen was very close to Hamilton as he jumped Vettel in the pits and was slowly catching him. Both were on the Medium tyres. Vettel finished in 4th place and Grosjean, who drove a very good race grabbed the last podium spot. Across the line came Hamilton followed by Räikkönen. Hamilton closing the gap to the leader Alonso then as we go into the summer break. Although Hamilton dominated this weekend he wants McLaren to bring another package before the next race in Spa in just over a months time as all of the teams keep improving.

Round 12: Belgium - Francorchamps

Quick Preview

This year, Pirelli brought the Hard (Prime) and Medium (Option) tyres. It's a 44 lap race and the race start time is 1300 local time, Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull was last years winner beating his team-mate Mark Webber.

Qualifying

So, here we are in Belgium, Spa, where anything can happen for the start of the second half of the F1 season. In qualifying it was dry after a wash out in the practice sessions. In Q1, we had no major drivers out apart from Rosberg, On to Q2 then, with Button setting a very good time of 1:47.654 it would be difficult to see any other driver beat his Q2 time. Hamilton set a good enough time to get into Q3 whilst Vettel didn't, as well as Schumacher and Massa. Vettel was to start 11th on the grid with Schumacher starting in 13th with Massa behind him.

On to the final shootout. With a long lap, drivers needed to get out early to set a flying lap as well as trying to avoid traffic. Hamilton only set a time of 1:48.394 which put him 8th on the grid. This was because, this weekend, Hamilton had a older rear wing on and stated that it wasn't as good as Button's who did get Pole position as he set a time of 1:47.573 which was 0.3 quicker than Kobayashi's time as he set a fantastic time in his Sauber of 1:47.871. Maldonado started 3rd with Räikkönen in 4th and Championship leader Alonso starting 5th.

Race

Lights out in Belgium! Button got away cleanly but we saw Hamilton driving on the right-hand side near the grass as Grosjean hit Hamilton and caused a massive crash into La Source which resulted in Hamilton, Alonso and Grosjean out of the race with Kobayashi getting mixed up in the incident too. Button was flying. He, as well as Vettel were on one-stop strategies. Vettel who started in 11th place put in a very good performance and finished in 2nd place whilst Button had finished in 1st place 13.6 seconds earlier. He dominated the race as the pit crew of McLaren put in a fantastic pit stop of 2.6 seconds which equals the pit stop record.

Räikkönen had a decent race and finished in 3rd place. Hamilton didn't speak until after the race had finished and when he was asked about the incident he replied "I really don't want to talk about the start. People can see what happened". A mixed weekend for McLaren then, Button wins and Hamilton crashed out. The FIA decided to give Grosjean a one race ban and a £40,000 fine for causing the incident at the start. All the drivers involved in the crash were all OK, Alonso suffered from a little back pain but if you saw what happened I'm not surprised.

Round 13: Italy - Monza

Quick Preview

This year, Pirelli brought the Hard (Prime) and Medium (Option) tyres. It's a 53 lap race and the race start time is 1300 local time, Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull was last years winner beating Jenson Button in his McLaren.

Qualifying

So, we are back in Italy. A high-speed, low downforce and historic track. In Q1, nothing exciting happened at all! All the major championship contenders got through to Q2. One person that did stand out however was Nico Hulkenburg. He had a problem with the car and didn't set a time at all. In Q2, Webber struggled to set a good enough time and was out of qualifying. Hamilton and Vettel set a fast enough time. Alonso just crept through as he was 10th in Q2.

Q3 then. Both of the McLaren's were looking very fast here weekend and the Red Bull's looked like they didn't have the one lap pace to set a good enough time for Pole. They didn't. Lewis Hamilton set a brilliant time of 1:24.010 and that did put him on Pole position for the Italian Grand Prix with his team-mate, Button behind him. Alonso had a problem with the car and could only manage 10th place on the grid. Massa put in a brilliant performance and started 3rd on the grid. After qualifying, Hamilton was surprised that his time was good enough for Pole. Vettel starts 6th with his team-mate starting 11th. Paul di Resta also put in a brilliant lap and he started 4th on the grid.

Race

Lights out in Monza!! Hamilton got a very good start whilst his team-mate Button didn't and this allowed Massa to pip him into the first corner. Hamilton was away! However, Alonso had a very good first lap and made up some places from 10th on the grid. Most teams here were on a one-stop strategy and that's exactly what Hamilton was on. His pit crew put in, once again, a very good pit stop which was clocked in at 2.7 seconds. We saw Vettel and Alonso fighting on the 3rd corner, it looked like Vettel pushed Alonso on to the grass, a scary moment for Alonso at 200mph. Vettel got a drive-through penalty for that manoeuvre.

Whilst, at the front Hamilton was cruising, the same couldn't be said for his team-mate, Button, he was out of the race due to a fuel problem. Then Vettel was out of the race too, he had a alternator problem (the same problem that cost him a sure victory at Valencia). Vettel's team-mate Webber had a scary moment at Ascari, he span his car and picked up massive flat spots on his tyres and he decided to come into the pits before he damaged his car even more. Perez was also on a one stop, he passed Alonso and was now in 2nd place catching Hamilton. It was too late though, Hamilton won his 3rd race this season and jumped from 5th to 2nd in the Drivers' Championship. He had also closed the gap to Alonso by 10 points as Alonso finished 3rd. A great race from Perez too though. Singapore, the night race, is next!!