2013 Qualifying & Race Reports: Rounds 13-19
Round 13: Singapore - Marina Bay
This year, Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and Super Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 61 lap race and the race start is 1300 local time. Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull was last years winner beating Jenson Button in his McLaren.
So we are here in Singapore, the only race that takes place at night. The race here can reach the race time limit of two hours so this is a race the drivers must train hard for. Vettel is on fine form at this moment in time and in the practice sessions he was very quick. In Q1, there was one driver that stood out, it was di Resta, he was out as his car wasn't fast enough. In Q2, things did get a little more exciting with some drivers switching onto the Super-Soft tyres. Räikkönen had back issues and did have an injection before qualifying but that didn't seem to help much as he didn't set a fast enough time to get into Q3, he will start the race in 13th. McLaren's Perez was also another driver who was out in Q2 while his team-mate Button got through into the final top 10 shootout.
In Q3, Vettel put in a fantastic lap, a 1:42.841 and came back into the pits after his in-lap, removed his steering wheel and got out of the car, he was confident that his time was good enough for Pole Position here. Rosberg set a time of 1:42.932 which put him 2nd on the grid while his team-mate, Hamilton could only set a time of 1:43.254 which only put him 5th on the grid. Grosjean put in a very good time of 1:43.058 which put him 3rd on the grid. Alonso ended up behind Massa in 7th place. Vettel's time was good enough for Pole Position and looked unbeatable around this track.
Lights out in Singapore!! Rosberg got a better start than Vettel and challenged into the first corner but ran wide and Vettel regained the lead. Alonso got another great start and was up to 3rd place after the first corner! By the end of lap 1, Vettel had a 1.9 second lead over Rosberg, Vettel looked unbeatable here. Hamilton had to give a place back after overtaking Massa off-track. By lap 6, Vettel already had a seven second lead over 2nd place, Rosberg. On lap 10, Räikkönen was the first to pit and put on another set of Super-Soft tyres. Vettel had a 36 second lead by lap 18 and came into the pits on the next lap and comfortably rejoined in the lead.
On lap 25, surprise, surprise, we had our first Safety Car of the race as Ricciardo ended up in the wall just before the track goes underneath the grandstand. This closed the pack up and we were underway by lap 31. Vettel nailed the restart and increased the gap to 3.2 seconds over Rosberg by the end of the lap. On lap 34, Grosjean was told he had to come into the pits because of an air consumption problem, and was also told it would take 40 seconds. On lap 37, Grosjean retired.
Towards the end of the race, Vettel was comfortably in front while there was a scrap forming behind him. Behind Gutierrez was Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton all of whom had newer tyres and easily made their way past Gutierrez. However, it was Vettel who won the Singapore Grand Prix after finishing 32.6 seconds in front of 2nd place, Alonso. Räikkönen came 3rd after a very good race starting from 13th as well as having that back issue. Webber, on the last lap lost power and didn't finish the race. Rosberg finished in 4th place with Hamilton behind him. Next up, Korea.
Round 14: Korea - Yeongam
This year, Pirelli brought the Soft (Prime) and Super Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 55 lap race and the race start is 0700 local time. Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull was last years winner beating his team-mate Mark Webber.
Here we are in Korea. In Q1, as usual, nothing really exciting happened. We had the two Williams, the two Caterhams and the two Marussia drivers out. Hamilton was fastest in P1 and P2 here and was hoping he could grab Pole today. Di Resta and Webber just made it through into Q2. Webber has a 10-grid penalty as a result of a third reprimand he received in Singapore after hitching a taxi ride from Alonso. He will start no higher that 11th this weekend. In Q2, it did get a little more exciting as the pack this weekend looked very open. In the middle of the pack, we had the McLaren drivers as well as the Sauber drivers battling it out to secure their place in Q3.
Vettel finished Q2 on top as Gutierrez continued to deliver as he set a good enough time to get into Q3. Both of the McLaren drivers, Button and Perez didn't get through to Q3. In Q3, Webber laid down the gauntlet as he set a time of 1:37.464, Hamilton managed 2nd on his first run. Rosberg crossed the line as he set a time of 1:37.679 and slotted into 5th place, his team-mate Hamilton put in a time of 1:37.420 on his final run which put him 2nd on the grid. But, surprise, surprise, it was Vettel who set a time of 1:37.202 which did put him on Pole for the Korean Grand Prix. Alonso managed 6th on the grid with Massa in 7th.
Light out in Korea!! Vettel got a great start and led into the first corner. Grosjean was battling with Hamilton and overtook him on the long straight. Maldonado meanwhile managed to climb up nine places up to 9th place. At the front, it looked like it wouldn't be as easy for Vettel this weekend as the gap from Grosjean was 2.7 seconds. On lap 10, Alonso and Hamilton pitted. On lap 12, Vettel pitted and Grosjean was even closer when Vettel came back on track. The top three by lap 16 were Vettel, Grosjean and Hamilton. By lap 25, Vettel had extended his lead over Grosjean to 4.8 seconds. On lap 27, Räikkönen pitted and put on a set of Super-Soft tyres.
On lap 28, Rosberg was catching Hamilton at an alarming rate and on the long straight Rosberg's front wing came loose started to drag on the floor, Rosberg pitted as a result. Hamilton's front-right tyre was knackered and on lap 30 he was on his team-radio saying "When are you going to call me in". Hamilton pitted next lap. On lap 31, Perez had a huge moment, his front-right fails and the whole tread ripped off. He managed to slow down and pitted. On lap 32, the Safety Car was deployed and Vettel and Grosjean both pitted. Down at turn one, Räikkönen overtook his team-mate and was now in 2nd place. On lap 37, Sutil hit Webber from behind and Webber's car caught fire, he was out.
On lap 38, on the long straight, a fire car had made it's way on to the track, this was unexpected, Charlie Whiting didn't give the go ahead for this, as a result, the Safety Car had to come out again. Towards the end of the race, Hülkenberg was in front of Hamilton and couldn't find a way past, the Sauber had great traction. Meanwhile, up front, it was Vettel who had won his fourth race in a row and won the Korean Grand Prix with Räikkönen finishing in 2nd place and Grosjean in 3rd. Hülkenberg drove a fantastic race and finished 4th with Hamilton in 5th place.
Round 15: Japan - Suzuka
This year, Pirelli brought the Hard (Prime) and Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 53 lap race and the race start is 0700 local time. Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull was last years winner beating Felipe Massa in his Ferrari.
Here we are in Japan, Suzuka. In Q1, as usual, nothing really exciting happened. Gutierrez set the first timed lap of 1:33.547 which was a couple of tenths quicker than he managed in the morning. As Gutierrez went back into the pits, a fire broke out towards the back of his car, the fire was safely extinguished. Alonso clocked in a 1:32.371 in his Ferrari which is impressive at this stage in qualifying. We had another fire, but this time, it was on-track and it was Jean-Eric Vergne's car. The session was red flagged, Vergne quickly and safely got out of his car.
In Q2, the three top teams (Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari) set fast enough time to safely get into the top 10 shootout but the Red Bull's, or should I say Vettel, was way ahead of the pack. In Q3, both of the Red Bull drivers went out early to set their laps but it was Webber who had set the faster time. Lotus and Mercedes looked fast here but the Red Bull's, simply, were faster. However, it was, for a change, the other Red Bull, Webber who set the fastest time here in Suzuka and will start in Pole for the Japanese Grand Prix with Vettel in 2nd and Hamilton in 3rd place.
Lights out in Japan! Grosjean got a lightning start and overtook both of the Red Bull's into the first corner, Grosjean led the race! However, it was the opposite for Hamilton, he got clipped by Vettel's front wing and got a puncture, he slowly made his way back to the pits for a change of tyres, however, more damage must have been done and on lap 9, Hamilton retired. Back to the race then, Vettel was on the radio after clipping Hamilton and was told to stay out, no major damage occurred. By lap 11, Grosjean led by 3 seconds over Webber. On lap 12, Webber pitted and on lap 13, Grosjean pitted and came out in front of Webber. On lap 14, Rosberg pitted and was released right into the path of Perez, it was very close between the two of them.
After around 12 laps, the order had changed. Grosjean still led the race and was being closed down by Vettel in 2nd with Webber in 3rd place. By lap 37, Vettel led the race from Webber and Grosjean. On lap 38, Vettel pitted from the led and came back out behind Grosjean. On lap 41, Vettel used DRS and passed Grosjean. Webber led the race but pitted on lap 42 and rejoined in 3rd place. Webber finally caught Grosjean on lap 52 down the pit straight. However, due to only stopping twice, it was Vettel who won the Japanese Grand Prix with Webber in 2nd and Grosjean in 3rd. Alonso finished in 4th which was enough to stop Vettel from winning the Championship in Japan.
Round 16: India - Greater Noida
This year, Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 60 lap race and the race start is 0930 local time. Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull was last years winner beating Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari.
Here we are in India, on the Friday, there were protests to cancel the race due to taxes but the hearing was delayed until next week. Vettel is in the form of his life and looked very quick in all practice sessions, it would take someone special to beat him here this weekend. In Q1, normally nothing exciting happens but this time we had a little bit of drama towards the end of Q1. The star of Japan, Grosjean, was out of Q1, his team made a big mistake here. Button was fastest at the end of Q1. In Q2, Räikkönen and Alonso and Massa went out early to set their timed laps. Webber set a time of 1:25.097 which was quicker than last years Pole but then Vettel crossed the line and went half a second quicker than Webber. Out of Q2 were Ricciardo, Di Resta, Sutil, Vergne, Bottas and Gutierrez.
So, Q3 next where the top 10 drivers fight it out for Pole. Vettel went out on the soft tyre while his team-mate Webber went out on the medium tyre. Alonso clocked in a 1:25.826 which put him quickest. Meanwhile, Vettel set a time of 1:24.119 which was 1.7 seconds quicker than the previous best. Rosberg managed to put his card 2nd on the grid with his team-mate Hamilton in 3rd place, Webber starts in 4th. Alonso, in the end, only managed 8th on the grid. However, you've guessed it, Vettel is the Pole for the Indian Grand Prix.
Lights out in India! Vettel got a great start and led into the first corner with Rosberg and Hamilton closely behind him. Webber didn't get such a great start and fell back into the pack. Shortly after the first corner, Alonso clipped Webber's rear tyre and as a result Alonso's front wing needed to be replaced. Down the long straight here in India, Massa overtook both of the Mercedes drivers. Meanwhile, at the front, Vettel, surprisingly pitted on lap two which meant Massa led the race! Alonso also pitted for new tyres and a new front wing, the long pit stop put him in 20th place. On lap nine, Massa and Hamilton both pitted which meant Webber led the race. On lap 11, Vettel passed Grosjean for 4th place and was now only 14.5 seconds behind Webber who still led the race.
Grosjean managed an impressive 14 laps on the soft tyre and did eventually pit on lap 14. By lap 19, Hamilton finally made his way past Bottas after having a few issues trying to pass him as the Williams were fast in a straight line here, Hamilton was up to 8th place. On lap 29, Webber pitted and put the soft tyres on, expect this to be a very short stint, this meant, Vettel led the race once again. On lap 32, Vettel pitted and came out behind Webber who led the race but he has to stop again. On lap 33, Webber did pit and came out in 3rd place. On lap 40, poor Webber who seems to have no luck with his car when comparing it to Vettel's was out of the Grand Prix due to an alternator problem.
However, it was Vettel who, in the end, won comfortably won here in India and also take his 4th consecutive world title. Rosberg finished in 2nd place with Grosjean putting in a very good race as he grabbed the last spot on the podium after starting way back in 17th place. Alonso could only manage 11th place. Red Bull also won the Constructors' title here in India. Mercedes have overtook Ferrari and hope they can finish 2nd in the Constructors'.
Round 17: Abu Dhabi - Yas Marina
This year, Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 55 lap race and the race start is 1300 local time. Kimi Räikkönen in his Lotus-Renault was last years winner beating Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari.
Both title's may have been decided but at this current time there are only four points between Mercedes and Ferrari in the Constructors' standings. In Q1, nothing happened so we will move onto Q2. While the sun set in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg set a time of 1:40473 which was half a second quicker than Räikkönen at this point. Hamilton was only 0.004 slower than his-team mate, Rosberg. However, towards the end of Q2, Alonso was sitting in 10th place with many cars still to set a lap. His team-mate, Massa managed to put himself in 10th which resulted in Alonso in the bottom six. Alonso was out of qualifying along with Button.
In Q3, the Red Bull's were again, in a league of their own, it was just a matter of what driver would get Pole, Vettel or Webber. Vettel laid the marker of a 1:40.091, Rosberg set a time that was 0.328 seconds off the pace. Hamilton had set a lap already and was in 3rd place. Towards the end of Q3, Webber was setting fastest sector times and as a result managed to grab Pole Position here in Abu Dhabi with Vettel in 2nd place. Hamilton was on a flyer but we saw him on the side of the track, he will start in 4th after Rosberg set a time that put him 3rd on the grid. Räikkönen would start in 5th but after qualifying got disqualified as his car failed a car floor deflection test. He will start from the back of the grid.
Lights out in Abu Dhabi! Webber didn't get a great start, we are all used to that I guess. Vettel snatched the lead from Webber into the first corner. Rosberg also overtook Webber at the first corner, Webber then, already down to 3rd place after one corner. Räikkönen started from the back of the grid and didn't last long at all. He collided with a Caterham and broke his steering, he was out. By lap three, Vettel already had a 2.3 second lead over Rosberg, no surprise he's getting away at the front. On lap 8, Hamilton pitted from 5th place and came back out in 12th place. Webber and Grosjean both pitted on lap nine and rejoined comfortably in front of Hamilton. Rosberg pitted on lap 11 which resulted in Massa climbing up to 2nd place with Vettel 24 seconds ahead of him up the road.
By lap 23, Vettel still led the race with Webber, Rosberg and Grosjean behind him. On lap 31, Hamilton pitted after saying on his radio he had no grip, he came back out in 10th place, a massive 72 seconds behind the race leader, Vettel. On lap 38, Vettel pitted as his pit crew calmly put new tyres on as if it was a training session. By lap 40, Vettel led by 32 seconds over Webber, with Rosberg still in 3rd and Grosjean in 4th. However, you've guessed it, it was Vettel who won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Webber finishing 30 seconds down the road. Rosberg drove very well and finished in 3th place with Grosjean in 4th and Alonso in 5th. Hamilton finished in 7th place after having a difficult race, Mercedes did however, increase their lead over Ferrari in the Constructors' standings which is now their main target, to beat Ferrari.
Round 18: United States - Austin
This year, Pirelli brought the Hard (Prime) and Medium (Option) tyres. It's a 56 lap race and the race start is 1900 local time. Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren was last years winner beating Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull.
Here we are at the penultimate race here in Austin. It would be a question of what Red Bull driver would grab Pole Position here today. In Q1, we had the usual drivers out, Pic, Chilton, van der Garde and Bianchi. Sutil and Maldonado were the other two drivers who didn't set a fast enough time to get into Q2. Surprisingly, it was Bottas who finished at the top of the timing sheets in Q1. In Q2, Hamilton was the early pace-sitter as he set a time of 1:38.104. Both Red Bull drivers waited late until setting their laps, Vettel and Webber were 1st and 2nd respectively by the time Q2 had ended. Alonso finished in 3rd. We had a few shocks at the end of Q2 as Rosberg, Button and Massa didn't set fast enough times to get into the final top 10 shootout, this meant, the likes of Bottas and Gutierrez and Kovalainen had set fast enough times and were ready to battle it out in Q3.
Kovalainen will drive for Lotus for the remainder of the season as Räikkönen recovers from back surgery. In Q3, it was Webber who was on provisional Pole as he set a time of 1:36.699. Bottas managed 3rd, 1.1 seconds off the pace set by Webber. By the time the chequered flag came out, many drivers were still setting laps, Vettel crossed the line and managed to grab Pole here at Austin. Webber remained in 2nd place with Grosjean in 3rd place. Hamilton will start in 5th with Kovalainen starting the race in 8th place.
Lights out in Austin! Grosjean and Hamilton both got a great start and overtook Webber into the first corner, Webber's start, again, letting him down, he was down to 4th place. Meanwhile on the long straight, Sutil had a big moment and crashed his Force India and as a result, the Safety Car came out. On lap four, the Safety Car came back in and Vettel put the hammer down as he comfortably held his lead. By lap six, Vettel led Grosjean by 2.4 seconds. It looked like a one-stop would be the strategy here and a two-stop would be around 10 seconds longer.
Hamilton was struggling on his tyres and on lap 13, Webber overtook him down into the hairpin. Räikkönen's replacement for the last two races, Kovalainen, pitted on lap 18 from 12th place. By lap 21, Vettel led grosjean by 8.2 seconds with Webber a further six seconds behind. On lap 26, Hamilton pitted from 4th and rejoined the race back in 6th place. Mercedes were hoping to increase the gap over Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship. On lap 29, Webber pitted and his pit-crew only took 2.3 seconds to change four tyres, that's fantastic. Grosjean pitted on lap 30 and rejoined the race back in 2nd place but came out 10.7 seconds behind Vettel.
On lap 45, Alonso overtook Hülkenberg for 5th place at the hairpin. Alonso's next target was Hamilton. Towards the end of the race Webber was closing down on Grosjean but in the end he couldn't find a way past. Up the road, it was Vettel who took the chequered flag here in Austin for his eighth race win in a row, he's the first driver to take eighth race wins in one F1 season. Grosjean finished in 2nd place with Webber in 3rd. Hamilton finished in 4th place and Mercedes also increased their lead over Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship. Next up, Brazil, the last race in the 2013 season.
Round 19: Brazil - Sao Paulo
This year, Pirelli brought the Hard (Prime) and Medium (Option) tyres. It's a 71 lap race and the race start is 1600 local time. Jenson Button in his McLaren was last years winner beating Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari.
So, the 2013 F1 season is nearly over. This weekend marks the end of Mark Webber's career in Formula 1 and Massa's last race for Ferrari as he joins Williams next season. So, qualifying. The weather can be very unpredictable here and that was the case this weekend. It was wet in all three practice sessions. Hopefully, things would be mixed up a little as a result of the weather. In Q1, most drivers were going for the intermediate tyres. Hamilton was the pace-setter, he set a time of 1:25.342, one second ahead of di Resta. Towards the end of Q1, the rain was getting heavier. The notable drivers out of Q1 were Maldonado and Gutierrez.
In Q2, both of the Mercedes drivers were at the end of the pit lane waiting for the green light to go out. Rosberg set a time of 1:26.626. The pack was all over the place as drivers were on different tyres. At the end of Q2, Grosjean had set the fastest time. Perez also had a big moment at the end of Q2 as he went on the white lines, which are very slippery and crashed, he was fine. By this point, the rain was very heavy and Q3 was delayed many times. After around 40 minutes, Q3 was moments away.
This time it was both of the Red Bull drivers that were at the end of the pit lane waiting for the green light to go out. After a lap on full-wets, many drivers were happy to switch to intermediate tyres. Grosjean was the first to set a time on the intermediate tyres, a 1:27.773 was the time that was set. Webber then went a tenth quicker than Grosjean but then Vettel crossed the line and was 1.1 seconds faster than Webber. It was Vettel who grabbed Pole here in Brazil, we were hoping for a different outcome but it wasn't to be. Rosberg will start 2nd, Alonso 3rd and Webber 4th. Hamilton will start in 5th.
Lights out in Brazil! Rosberg got a brilliant start and took the lead of the Grand Prix after overtaking Vettel into the first corner. Hamilton also had a great start and was up to 3rd place. Vettel came back almost straight away as he overtook Rosberg into the first corner on lap 2. There was a strong chance of some rain here, it would certainly make the race more interesting. On lap 3, Grosjean had an issue as smoke was pouring out of his car, he was out. By lap 5, Vettel had a five second lead over 2nd place. Rosberg was struggling with his rear tyres and on lap 11, his team-mate, Hamilton overtook him. On lap 23, Rosberg did pit and came back out in 7th place. Webber pitted on lap 24 and it took longer than usual and rejoined behind Alonso, he had to overtake him again.
As a result of Massa driving over the white lines near the pit entrance, Massa received a drive-through penalty. By lap 37, Vettel had a 11.9 second lead over Webber. On lap 47, Bottas and Hamilton had a coming together, as a result, Bottas was out of the Grand Prix and the stewards deemed that it was Hamilton's fault and he received a drive-through penalty. If things stayed like this, Webber would overtake Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship. On the next lap, Vettel pitted and again, Red Bull didn't put together a great stop as Vettel's tyres weren't ready, Webber also came into the pits and ended up waiting behind Vettel for a short amount of time. By the time both drivers were back out, the gap was down to 5.5 seconds between Vettel and Webber.
On lap 53, Hamilton took his drive-through and came back out in 12th place behind Kovalainen. Spots of rain were present but it wasn't enough to worry the drivers. However, surprise, surprise, it was Vettel who won here in Brazil, his 9th race win in a row. Webber came home in 2nd place as he marks in last race in Formula 1, Alonso finished in 3rd place. There you have it, the 2013 F1 season is over. In 2014, big changes are to be made and hopefully the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari will put up a very good fight with Red Bull. Time will tell. The first 2014 F1 winter test starts on the 28th of January in Jerez.