Motorsport Week - Formula 1 News Catch up on all F1 news, here at Motorsport Week RSS Feed! Technical: A look at Force India's Bahrain bargeboardsSun, 23 Apr 2017 00:38:12 GMT<p>Force India brought a host of new parts to Bahrain which are aimed at reducing the VJM10&rsquo;s weight and bolstering its aerodynamic performance.&nbsp;</p> <p>The team have a solid reputation for rapidly improving their car during the mid-season before their budget eventually runs dry towards the end of the year, so seeing developments from them at this stage is encouraging for what should be a great fight with Williams and Renault.</p> <p>Having identified that the bargeboard region has a lot of potential in 2017, the team have wasted no time in optimising their existing concept by adding a series of serrations to both the primary bargeboard [highlighted yellow below] and also the triangular section of floor behind [see arrows below].&nbsp;</p> <p>Ten (yes, 10) aerofoil elements are staggered along the top of the main bargeboard, allowing the air to filter between both sides of the vane and entwine to form a spiralling torrent of airflow.&nbsp;</p> <p>The board&rsquo;s trailing edge sits on the axe head part of the floor and is set quite far forward from the sidepod, which means the air has to be worked with in a much&nbsp;shorter space.&nbsp;</p> <p>Introducing more slots helps turn the airflow around the sidepod more sharply as the low pressure region behind the board is less likely to separate.&nbsp;Although holes are allowed in the floor ahead of the sidepod this year, Force India have opted to serrate the periphery of the exposed triangular section. The lipped surface around each serration encourages the air to dive underneath the car and mingle with the high velocity stream. This area of the floor is critical to the car&rsquo;s centre of pressure as there is a concentration of lowpressure that must be managed carefully. The floor serrations and indeed the revised bargeboards will help reduce disturbances across a wide flow speed range.</p> <p><img alt="" height="800" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Features/vjm10-barge.jpg" width="800" /></p> makes safety changes to accommodate faster 2017 carsSat, 22 Apr 2017 03:11:54 GMT<p>The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has confirmed it will make a host of safety changes to accommodate the new faster 2017 cars for this year&#39;s Canadian Grand Prix in June.</p> <p>Whilst almost all the circuits on the calendar have been told to make some minor modifications, the&nbsp;Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has been singled out as one of the most heavily revised due to its high-speed nature and the proximity of the walls and barriers.</p> <p>More than 5,000 tyres will be replaced with TechPro barriers around the circuit, most notably at Turns 1 and 2, as well as the hairpin.</p> <p>Turn 5 will see &#39;Safer Barrier&#39; technology, currently used in NASCAR, replacing the metal barrier that currently lines the circuit.</p> <p>Whilst there will be no changes to the circuit, gravel traps at Turns 8 and 9 will be replaced with ashpalt to &quot;give the drivers a better opportunity to get back on track and continue the race,&quot; a circuit spokesperson confirmed to&nbsp;<em>Motorsport Week.</em></p> <p>Turns 13 and 14, an area more widely known as the &#39;Wall of Champions&#39;, will also see changes, with the angle modified and the indentation removed. Circuit organisers promise it will have &quot;little to no effect&quot; on how the drivers take the corner.</p> Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen meet the fans in BahrainFri, 21 Apr 2017 16:11:32 GMT<p>Watch Red Bull Racing drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen meet fans and supporters ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> Kvyat eyes ‘perfect weekend’ for home F1 eventFri, 21 Apr 2017 14:01:44 GMT<p>Toro Rosso racer Daniil Kvyat says he hopes to achieve the &ldquo;perfect weekend&rdquo; at his home event in Russia next weekend.</p> <p>Kvyat, the only Russian driver on the grid, has a mixed record at Sochi, qualifying fifth in 2014, before racing to the same position 12 months later, having graduated to the senior Red Bull team.</p> <p>However, Kvyat twice hit Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap last year and drew widespread criticism, after which he was demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is always a special weekend for me as it&rsquo;s my home race,&rdquo; said Kvyat.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had very good qualifying [sessions] there but I&rsquo;ve never actually been able to put the perfect race together in Russia, so I&rsquo;d like to achieve it this year.</p> <p>&ldquo;In 2014 I qualified in P5, which was my best qualifying result with Toro Rosso. It was quite a nice moment and I have very good memories from that day.</p> <p>&ldquo;The race wasn&rsquo;t great but then the following year the situation was the opposite, with not the strongest of qualifying [sessions] but with a decent race.</p> <p>&ldquo;This time I&rsquo;m looking to be strong on both Saturday and Sunday!&rdquo;</p> <p>Kvyat says he has been able to note the growing interest towards Formula 1 in Russia, ahead of the fourth event at the former Winter Olympics venue.</p> <p>&ldquo;Since the first Russian GP back in 2014, Formula 1 in Russia has definitely grown a lot,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;To have our own race was a big step for the country and more and more fans attend every year, so you can see that the interest in the sport is much bigger.&rdquo;</p> <p>Kvyat occupies 14th place in the standings, having taken his sole points of 2017 at the season-opening race in Australia, where he finished ninth.</p> Renault shows off 2027 F1 concept carThu, 20 Apr 2017 10:29:45 GMT<p>Renault has unveiled a 2027 Formula 1 concept car, named the RS2027 Vision. Featuring four-wheel-drive, LED wheels to display information, a see-through cockpit and strikingly sleek aero, it is vastly different to the F1 cars we see today.</p> Boullier: McLaren boosted by positive test runningThu, 20 Apr 2017 10:23:44 GMT<p>McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says the team&rsquo;s trouble-free final day of the Bahrain in-season test has come &ldquo;at the right time,&quot; after a difficult start to 2017 for the outfit.</p> <p>After a disrupted first day of running in Bahrain, when Oliver Turvey managed just 17 laps in the MCL32, Stoffel Vandoorne added 81 laps to McLaren&rsquo;s tally on day two, labelling it as the &quot;<a href="">first day without big problems</a>.&quot;</p> <p>McLaren did not experience any reliability issues during Wednesday&rsquo;s final day of the Bahrain test, allowing the team to &ldquo;push&rdquo; more with settings and ideas.</p> <p>A series of MGU-H problems with the Honda power unit plagued the team across the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, while Turvey&#39;s running was <a href="">limited due to a water leak in the ERS system</a>, which required a power unit change.</p> <p>Boullier says the positive track time on Wednesday has helped to boost the team and given them plenty of useful data.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything has worked perfectly in terms of reliability, and we were even able to push a little bit in terms of settings,&rdquo; he said after day two of the test.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve managed a &lsquo;proper&rsquo; test day, and really made the most of every opportunity out on track.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything we&rsquo;ve planned, we&rsquo;ve tested, and we&rsquo;ve done back-to-back runs, so I&rsquo;m really happy with the work we&rsquo;ve completed.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s complicated to understand the issues we&rsquo;ve had over the past few days, since we&rsquo;ve managed to run without any problems [on Wednesday], but Honda are working hard to understand where the weaknesses lie.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been able to run with a more aggressive set-up, gathered a lot of information and tested a lot of solutions, so in terms of both data and results it&rsquo;s, been a very positive day of testing.</p> <p>&ldquo;Oliver and Stoffel, too, have both done a sterling job, and, for Stoffel in particular, the mileage we&rsquo;ve been able to cover after difficult back-to-back race weekends for him has been priceless.</p> <p>&ldquo;Being able to do a good amount of running on the final day has come at the right time. Now, we&rsquo;ll head back to the factory with even more motivation to keep pushing forward.&rdquo;</p> <p>McLaren has yet to score a point this season, with Vandoorne logging the MCL32&#39;s only race finish in Australia.</p> Bull set for 'revamped' chassis in SpainThu, 20 Apr 2017 10:15:52 GMT<p>Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko says the team expects to make a &ldquo;significant step&rdquo; forward when Formula 1 returns to Europe for next month&rsquo;s Spanish Grand Prix, with a &quot;revamped&quot; chassis set to be introduced.</p> <p>Red Bull has emerged as the third-best team so far in 2017, behind pacesetters Mercedes and Ferrari but comfortably clear of the midfield pack.</p> <p>The outfit has so far struggled to fully exploit its RB13, while power unit supplier Renault has also encountered a handful of issues, most notably running its 2016-spec MGU-K.</p> <p>Marko has conceded that Red Bull&#39;s chassis has not been as strong as anticipated, but insists gains will arrive in the coming weeks.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have two problems: Renault had some reliability issues, which have slowed them down in the development; and we didn&rsquo;t deliver the chassis that we should have done,&rdquo; Marko told the official F1 website.</p> <p>&ldquo;But we are working day and night to pick up our shortcomings. We are pretty optimistic that we will make a significant step forward in Barcelona where a big change of parts is coming.</p> <p>&ldquo;The chassis will be &lsquo;revamped&rsquo; in Barcelona and Renault is planning something for Montr&eacute;al.&rdquo;</p> <p>Marko emphasised that Red Bull is already on the right trajectory, citing its improvement across the opening three rounds of the campaign.</p> <p>&ldquo;Let me get our pace history straight: in Australia we were 1.8 seconds behind, in China it was 1.3 seconds and in Bahrain something in the range of nine-tenth,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;So we are improving and step by step closing the gap &ndash; but it is, of course, not enough.</p> <p>&ldquo;Looking at qualifying where the cars show their sheer speed, we know that Mercedes has a qualification mode &ndash; and to a certain extent also Ferrari &ndash; and that helps them a lot.</p> <p>&ldquo;By constantly closing the gap to them I would say that the direction we are moving in is promising.</p> <p>&ldquo;As you don&rsquo;t get any points in qualifying, it is good news that in the race we are usually stronger if problems don&rsquo;t stop us like on Sunday when Max [Verstappen] suffered a brake issue.&rdquo;</p> <p>Red Bull is 55 points adrift of leaders Ferrari in the Constructors&#39; championship.</p> Bottas 'learned a few tricks' at Formula 1 testWed, 19 Apr 2017 19:23:01 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas says he &ldquo;learned a few tricks&rdquo; as the team attempted to get on top of its long-run pace during in-season testing in Bahrain.</p> <p>Mercedes has topped all three qualifying sessions in 2017, with Bottas claiming his maiden pole at Sakhir last weekend, but has taken only one win, with Sebastian Vettel displaying superior tyre usage in Australia and Bahrain to triumph.</p> <p>Bottas struggled with rear tyre life during the race, slipping to third, and admitted afterwards that he and Mercedes had to investigate the cause.</p> <p>Lewis Hamilton expressed confidence that Mercedes had made gains during Tuesday&rsquo;s running and Bottas echoed his team-mate&rsquo;s sentiments.</p> <p>The Finn completed 143 laps in the W08, despite stopping on track due to a mechanical issue with the steering wheel, and <a href="">finished at the top of the timesheets</a>, posting a lap of 1:31.280</p> <p>&ldquo;We got so much running done,&rdquo; said Bottas.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were focusing all day on the long-run pace, which was a bit of a problem for us on Sunday compared to Ferrari.</p> <p>&ldquo;We did some interesting tests to try and improve both the tyre life and the race pace.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have definitely got plenty to analyse; I think I learned a few tricks today as well.&rdquo;</p> Vandoorne upbeat after 'first day without big problems' in 2017Wed, 19 Apr 2017 16:48:50 GMT<p>Stoffel Vandoorne has labelled McLaren-Honda&rsquo;s running during testing as &ldquo;probably its best day&rdquo; of the 2017 season after a productive stint in the MCL32 in Bahrain.</p> <p>McLaren has endured a troublesome campaign, amid a lack of reliability and performance, with Vandoorne unable to start last Sunday&rsquo;s race, compounding a weekend blighted by MGU-H issues.</p> <p>Test and development driver Oliver Turvey was <a href="">limited to just 17 laps on Tuesday</a> but Vandoorne amassed 81 laps on Wednesday, as McLaren-Honda sought to make progress.</p> <p>Honda Principal Engineer Satoshi Nakamara revealed that Wednesday&rsquo;s running had resulted in progress with the set-up of the power unit, allowing better driveability and a reduction of the vibrations which have so far compromised its season.</p> <p>Vandoorne welcomed the progress and has now challenged the partnership to ensure that it can learn from its positive day.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today has probably been our best day this season so far,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the first time that we&rsquo;ve had a day without any big problems, where we could actually get on with our programme.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we completed everything we wanted to do today, and we went through a lot of set-up stuff that we didn&rsquo;t manage to do in Barcelona.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Today was really good, but we need every day to be this good, and there are no guarantees that it will be like this next time.</p> <p>&ldquo;We need to learn very carefully from what we&rsquo;ve done today, and hopefully carry that forward to the next event and see some improvements.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been very good for both me and the team to be able to try a number of different directions with the set-up.</p> <p>&ldquo;There were some new bits on the car &ndash; quite fundamental things &ndash; that we wanted to try out, and learn about, so it&rsquo;s been really useful to see where the performance comes from, and very productive.&rdquo;</p> Vettel: 'Electrical blackout' in garage hindered Ferrari at F1 testWed, 19 Apr 2017 16:30:59 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel has revealed that a loss of power to Ferrari&rsquo;s garage compromised the team&rsquo;s run plan during in-season testing in Bahrain on Wednesday.</p> <p>Vettel, having conducted tyre testing in association with Pirelli on Tuesday, carried out Ferrari&rsquo;s normal development programme at Sakhir, but was hindered with technical glitches in the morning.</p> <p>Vettel returned to action in the afternoon, but was restricted by an &ldquo;electrical blackout&rdquo; to Ferrari&rsquo;s garage at Sakhir, as he amassed only 67 laps compared to the 143 completed by Valtteri Bottas.</p> <p>Vettel eventually wound up second to Mercedes rival Bottas, setting a best time of 1:31.574 on the Soft tyres.</p> <p>&ldquo;It would be nice to have done even more,&rdquo; Vettel said of his time in the SF70-H.</p> <p>&ldquo;But today we had a few little problems in the morning, which is normal for testing.</p> <p>&ldquo;Then, in the afternoon, we lost some time when there was an electrical blackout in our garage</p> <p>&ldquo;In any case, driving this car is always a pleasure; the times don&rsquo;t mean much, given we don&rsquo;t know what programmes the others are running.&rdquo;</p> <p>Vettel currently leads the Drivers&rsquo; standings, having taken victory in Australia and Bahrain, opening a seven-point lead over Mercedes&rsquo; Lewis Hamilton.</p> Bottas heads second day of Bahrain F1 testWed, 19 Apr 2017 15:15:22 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas clocked the quickest time during the concluding day of running at the opening in-season test in Bahrain.</p> <p>Bottas, who claimed pole position for last weekend&rsquo;s race before slipping to third, kept Mercedes on top, despite a brief stoppage on-track, caused by a mechanical issue with the steering wheel.</p> <p>Bottas, running without a T-wing on the W08, set a best of 1:31.280, having also recorded the most laps (143).</p> <p>Sebastian Vettel&rsquo;s running was limited during the morning amid suspected technical issues but he enjoyed a productive afternoon, winding up second, 0.294s behind Bottas, completing 64 laps.</p> <p>Toro Rosso split its efforts between Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat, with the Spaniard piloting the STR12 in the afternoon, finishing in third position.</p> <p>After Tuesday&rsquo;s restricted running, due to a lengthy power unit change, McLaren-Honda&rsquo;s fortunes improved, with Stoffel Vandoorne completing 81 laps in the MCL32, placing fourth.</p> <p>Kevin Magnussen was fifth for Haas, in front of Force India&rsquo;s Esteban Ocon and the aforementioned Kvyat.</p> <p>Williams simulator driver Gary Paffett participated in an official F1 test session for the first time since mid-2013, when he competed with McLaren, and amassed 126 laps en route to eighth spot, as the last driver to finish within a second of Bottas.</p> <p>Sergey Sirotkin (Renault) and Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) both received their first runs in 2017 machinery to place ninth and 10th, while Sauber&rsquo;s Pascal Wehrlein continued to get up to speed in the C36-Ferrari, completing 91 laps, his best effort 3.1s behind Bottas&#39; quickest time.</p> <p>Sergio P&eacute;rez completed the afternoon session for Force India, taking over from team-mate Ocon, and finished at the foot of the standings.</p> Marchionne: Bahrain F1 win proves Ferrari’s season-long threatWed, 19 Apr 2017 12:06:21 GMT<p>Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne says Sebastian Vettel&rsquo;s triumph at the Bahrain Grand Prix is proof of the team&rsquo;s competitiveness in Formula 1 this season.</p> <p>Vettel passed Lewis Hamilton at the start before overhauling pole sitter Valtteri Bottas through the first pit stop phase, before going on to register victory, his second of the campaign, having opened the season on top in Australia.</p> <p>Vettel&rsquo;s win lifted Ferrari back into the lead of the Constructors&rsquo; Championship, three points clear of Mercedes, and Marchionne believes its Bahrain performance demonstrates it will be a year-long threat.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is, of course, hugely satisfying to be back on the top step of the podium with Seb,&rdquo; Marchionne said.</p> <p>&ldquo;More importantly, however, we are now completely confident that our victory in Melbourne wasn&rsquo;t just a one-off and that we will be at the forefront of this World Championship until the last [round].</p> <p>&ldquo;We finally have a competitive car to count on and it is important to recognise the speed with which we implemented the developments demanded for each new race.</p> <p>&ldquo;All this is the fruit of superb work at the track and in Maranello, so my compliments not just to Seb for his achievements in Bahrain, but also to the whole team.&rdquo;</p> <p>Marchionne nonetheless cautioned that Ferrari cannot get carried away with its success, after winning two of the opening three rounds for the first time since 2008.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are well aware we have a long road ahead and know that if we want to get to the most important finish-line of all, we cannot stint on our commitment and focus for a second,&rdquo; he commented.</p> Stroll: Useful to 'experiment' during F1 test runsWed, 19 Apr 2017 10:20:43 GMT<p>Williams rookie Lance Stroll says any additional track time in Formula 1 is useful, allowing him to &lsquo;experiment&rsquo; with different aspects of the sport.</p> <p>Stroll graduated to Formula 1 as the reigning European Formula 3 Champion, but the 18-year-old has endured a difficult start to his career in the championship.</p> <p>Stroll suffered a brake failure in Australia and was pitched into the gravel on the opening lap in damp conditions in China, following contact with Force India rival Sergio P&eacute;rez.</p> <p>The Canadian failed to finish again in Bahrain, after being hit by Carlos Sainz Jr. following the first round of stops, meaning he has completed just 52 of the 170 racing laps in 2017, the fewest of any driver this season.</p> <p>Williams handed track time to Stroll during in-season testing in Bahrain and the youngster explained how additional experience aids his cause.</p> <p>&ldquo;I used multiple sets of tyres trying different little things, nothing special, just tweaking bits and more driving for myself, which is always good,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;I need to try small changes to see how the car feels. It really is about the simple stuff.</p> <p>&ldquo;For me all the seat time I can get is good, as there is always something I can gain from being in the car. When we are not limited on what we can do, it is just good to experiment.</p> <p>&ldquo;That is something Williams knows I have to do and also I know that myself.</p> <p>&ldquo;For sure I am out there competing and trying my best, but it is also about understanding and learning before I can reach the maximum of my capability as a racing driver.&rdquo;</p> <p>Williams simulator driver Gary Paffett is in action in the FW40 at Sakhir today (Wednesday).</p> releases vision for 2027 F1 packageWed, 19 Apr 2017 06:43:15 GMT<p>Formula 1 manufacturer Renault has revealed its vision for the sport in 2027, which includes a revised package, altered regulations, and a tweaked race format.</p> <p>To mark Renault&rsquo;s 40 years in Formula 1, the manufacturer has outlined its idea of what the sport&rsquo;s cars may look like in 10 years&#39; time, with its concept 1340bhp closed-cockpit machine launched at the Auto Shanghai show.</p> <p>The &lsquo;RS.2027 Vision&rsquo; features a &lsquo;more human-centric championship, with drivers at the heart of the sport, as illustrated by a transparent cockpit and a transparent helmet&rsquo;, in order for fans to see the driver&rsquo;s face and expressions.</p> <p>The concept car would provide &lsquo;a more spectacular show, with active LED lighting incorporated into the wheels, and moving aerodynamic parts such as the car&rsquo;s active wings.&#39;</p> <p>Fans would be able to view telemetry, via the Internet, while safety would be enhanced &lsquo;thanks to an autonomous mode that can be activated in the case of an accident, along with an ultra-resistant polycarbonate cockpit canopy to protect against impact.&rsquo;</p> <p>Safety would also be improved courtesy of vehicle-to-vehicle communication, enabling each driver to know where another cars is on-track, or while in the pit lane.</p> <p>Technological advancements would create &lsquo;an even more environmentally-respectful form of Formula 1, with the fuel tank capacity halved in the space of 10 years, plus a full-electric mode for use along the pit lane.&rsquo;</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Formula1/C9wFx4SXkAAhkwT%20(Custom).jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>A side view of the Renault RS.2027</figcaption> </figure> <p>The RS.2027 Vision would be four-wheel drive, featuring two Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems, one front and rear, generating 500kW, compared to 120kW in 2027.</p> <p>The total amount of power would be 1 megawatt, with the weight limited to 600kg, and a fuel tank restricted to 60kg.</p> <p>A tweaked version of Formula E&#39;s &#39;FanBoost&#39; would be implemented, with a digital display in the centre of the steering wheel informing the driver of his &lsquo;fan ranking&rsquo; position, determined by spectators&rsquo; interaction on social media, rewarding the most deserving driver with an additional boost of power in the last laps.</p> <p>&ldquo;One role of Renault Sport Racing is to anticipate the future of Formula 1 so that it draws a maximum number of fans in an environment consistent with Groupe Renault&rsquo;s objectives,&rdquo; said Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul.</p> <p>&ldquo;We look forward to generating inspired conversations with the racing community, fans and enthusiasts through this concept that highlights our ideas and desires.&rdquo;</p> <p>Renault has added that its vision for the future would include a cost cap, believing it &#39;can attract more manufacturers and teams for a long-term commitment&#39;, while the financially-level playing field would allow teams &#39;an equal opportunity to compete.&#39;</p> <p>The manufacturer&#39;s 2027 vision proposes that development work would be restricted to just the remodelling of front and rear wings, engine cover, floor and diffuser, limited to three configuration changes per season.</p> <p>Renault has additionally suggested a change to the race format, proposing that &lsquo;Sunday&rsquo;s centrepiece-race is shortened (250 kilometres instead of approximately 300 today) and divided into two parts: a long race and a second, shorter sprint known as the &lsquo;Final Sprint.&rsquo;</p> <p>&lsquo;A Rookie Night Race, featuring the teams&rsquo; reserve drivers and the drivers who are in their F1 rookie year, is organised on the Friday evening of race week, ahead of Saturday&rsquo;s official practice.&rsquo;</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Formula1/C9wIDcrWAAAmyJi%20(Custom).jpg" width="800" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Giovinazzi revels in ‘dream’ Ferrari F1 test outing in BahrainTue, 18 Apr 2017 19:29:10 GMT<p>Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi labelled his test outing in the SF70-H in Bahrain as a &ldquo;dream,&rdquo; as he completed a day&rsquo;s worth of post-race running.</p> <p>Giovinazzi, 23, made his Formula 1 debut in Australia as a late replacement for Pascal Wehrlein, who withdrew due to a lack of fitness, caused by the back injury he sustained at the Race of Champions.</p> <p>Giovinazzi went on to finish in 12<sup>th</sup> position and retained the Sauber seat for China, though crashed out heavily in both qualifying and the race, before Wehrlein returned for the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Italian, whose previously sampled Ferrari&rsquo;s 2015 car during a private run at Fiorano earlier this year, <a href="">finished second to Lewis Hamilton</a> at Sakhir on Tuesday, completing 93 laps.</p> <p>&ldquo;I enjoyed every single lap,&rdquo; said Giovinazzi, whose best time of 1:31.984 came on the Super Soft tyres.</p> <p>&ldquo;To drive the car that won the last race and is leading the world championship, working with the Ferrari engineers and mechanics, is not just a great feeling, it&rsquo;s a dream I&rsquo;ve had since I was little and racing in karts. And today it came true.&rdquo;</p> <p>Giovinazzi was joined on circuit by Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, though the championship leader was conducting tyre testing in association with sole supplier Pirelli.</p> <p>Vettel will take over from Giovinazzi for Wednesday&rsquo;s running to conduct Ferrari&rsquo;s programme. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Hamilton upbeat after long-run tyre workTue, 18 Apr 2017 19:15:23 GMT<p>Lewis Hamilton is confident that Mercedes has made gains with its tyre performance across long runs following the opening day of the first in-season test in Bahrain.</p> <p>Mercedes has lagged behind Ferrari in tyre wear across the opening phase of the season, with Hamilton missing out on victory to Sebastian Vettel in Australia after struggling on the Super Soft tyres.</p> <p>Vettel triumphed again in Bahrain, with pole sitter Valtteri Bottas admitting to being rear-limited, suffering from oversteer, as he dropped to third position, behind Hamilton.</p> <p>Hamilton <a href="">clocked the quickest lap at Sakhir on Tuesday</a>, but was more encouraged by the focus on long-run tyre performance of the W08.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today was tricky with it being so hot and very gusty but we still managed to get through plenty of work,&rdquo; said Hamilton, having completed 97 laps.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our focus was on advancing our understanding of the tyres and also the rear of the car so that we can improve our long runs &ndash; particularly during the race and on the Super Soft compound.</p> <p>&ldquo;We came here with a specific goal, so it was positive to get on top of that with the team.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hamilton is nonetheless optimistic that tyre wear will be less of a factor at the next round of the season in Russia.</p> <p>&ldquo;Sochi is a smoother track and less abrasive on the tyres, so they can go quite a long way,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;Hopefully we can rely on the pace of our car there rather than our use of the tyres.&rdquo;</p> <p>Bottas will pilot the W08 during Wednesday&rsquo;s second day of running at Sakhir.</p> suspects Bahrain test and race issues relatedTue, 18 Apr 2017 18:50:48 GMT<p>McLaren-Honda says it suspects the water leak which hindered running on the opening day of the first in-season test in Bahrain is linked to the issues which it encountered across the course of the Grand Prix weekend.</p> <p>Test and development driver Oliver Turvey completed only a couple of installation laps before <a href="">a water leak from the ERS was detected</a>, meaning the team had to undertake a power unit change, severely limiting its running.</p> <p>Turvey returned to action during the final hour of the day but finished at the foot of the standings, having completed the least mileage.</p> <p>&ldquo;After Oliver completed his installation run this morning, we discovered a water leak in the ERS which required a full power unit change,&quot; explained McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier.</p> <p>&quot;We suspect the issue is related to those we encountered over the race weekend in Bahrain, but the circumstances were slightly different, so until the Honda engineers have done a full investigation we cannot be sure.&quot;</p> <p>Honda Principal Engineer Satoshi Nakamura added: &quot;We had hoped to work on improving our reliability following the issues we had during the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>&quot;However, we still have one more day to go tomorrow. We will be aiming to complete as many laps as possible in order to proceed with our development in both reliability and performance.&quot;</p> <p>Stoffel Vandoorne is scheduled to drive the MCL32 during Wednesday&#39;s running.</p> Gelael hails 'amazing' F1 test debut with Toro RossoTue, 18 Apr 2017 17:11:34 GMT<p>Indonesian racer Sean Gelael described an &quot;amazing feeling&quot; as he drove a Formula 1 car for the first time in his career during the <a href="">opening day of in-season testing</a> in Bahrain on Tuesday.</p> <p>Formula 2 driver Gelael linked up with Toro Rosso and bounced back from two early stoppages to record a time of 1:33.885, putting him eighth on the leaderboard, as he completed 78 laps of the Sakhir Circuit.</p> <p>Gelael, who is poised to return to the cockpit of the STR12 for the next in-season test in Hungary, revelled in his first day of Formula 1 action.</p> <p>&quot;Today is a day I will never forget &ndash; to finally drive a Formula 1 car is something every driver dreams of, and to do it with Toro Rosso makes it even more special,&quot; said Gelael.</p> <p>&quot;What an amazing feeling! This year&rsquo;s car is a beast, it&rsquo;s so quick! I settled in nicely throughout the day and we definitely made progress.</p> <p>&quot;I was able to complete plenty of laps and get used to the car quickly. The power and overall grip is amazing and, compared to the Formula 2 car I drive, the grip under braking and the kerb riding are two of the biggest differences I felt.</p> <p>&quot;Honestly, it&rsquo;s really fun to drive and I&rsquo;d like to thank everyone who made this possible! I now can&rsquo;t wait to drive the STR12 again in a few months&rsquo; time at the test in Hungary.&quot;</p> <p>Regular racers Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr. will share driving duties on Wednesday.</p> Ericsson encouraged by Sauber tyre progress at testTue, 18 Apr 2017 16:39:51 GMT<p>Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson says the team has made &ldquo;really good progress&rdquo; in understanding how to get Pirelli&rsquo;s tyres to operate within the right window, following a day of testing in Bahrain.</p> <p>Formula 1 teams reconvened at the Sakhir Circuit for the <a href="">opening day of in-season testing</a> and Ericsson was tasked with conducting duties in the C36-Ferrari.</p> <p>Ericsson, yet to score a point this season, finished only 11<sup>th</sup> quickest, but completed the most laps across the nine hours of running, logging 106 laps, and was encouraged by the work undertaken.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a very good test day, we completed our programme and I did the most laps of everyone,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were able to run through a lot of different set-ups and we worked quite hard on the tyres to get them to work as we want in the right window.</p> <p>&ldquo;So I think we made some really good progress there, which is very promising for the next couple of races.</p> <p>&ldquo;Also on the set-up side we have been scanning through some different settings, which we haven&rsquo;t had the chance to do so far this season.</p> <p>&ldquo;On that side too we found interesting data for improving the performance.&rdquo;</p> <p>Pascal Wehrlein will return to the cockpit on Wednesday, providing the German with more track time, having missed races in Australia and China as he recovered from injury-induced fitness problems.</p> Hamilton heads first F1 test day in BahrainTue, 18 Apr 2017 15:27:01 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clocked the quickest time during the opening day of the first in-season test in Bahrain on Tuesday.</p> <p>Hamilton recovered from an early stoppage in the W08 to post a time of 1:31.358 on the Soft tyre, finishing 0.626s clear of Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi, completing 97 laps.</p> <p>Hamilton&#39;s benchmark time was 2.5s slower than the lap recorded by Valtteri Bottas last Saturday to claim pole position.</p> <p>Giovinazzi, who substituted for Sauber&rsquo;s Pascal Wehrlein in Australia and China, logged 93 laps as he sampled the SF70-H for the first time.</p> <p>Daniel Ricciardo&rsquo;s running for Red Bull came to a premature end when he stopped at Turn 1 during the afternoon due to a power unit issue, limiting him to 45 laps, while Romain Grosjean went fourth for Haas.</p> <p>Williams split its running between Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, who placed fifth and seventh respectively, sandwiching Renault&rsquo;s Nico H&uuml;lkenberg.</p> <p>Formula 2 racer Sean Gelael stepped into Formula 1 machinery for the first time with Toro Rosso and recovered from two early stoppages to place eighth, 2.5s off the pace, completing 78 laps, the first of three planned runs this season.</p> <p>Ferrari&rsquo;s Sebastian Vettel, conducting tyre testing with Pirelli, will continue running until 21:00 local time after losing track time earlier in the day with a reliability issue, but finished the group session ninth on the leaderboard.</p> <p>Force India development driver Alfonso Celis Jr. returned to action in the VJM10, having previously sampled the car pre-season, and placed 10th, as Sauber&rsquo;s Marcus Ericsson logged the most laps, 106, to finish 11th.</p> <p>The beleaguered McLaren-Honda outfit <a href="">endured another challenging day</a>, with Oliver Turvey stranded in the garage for much of the day after a water leak from the ERS was detected.</p> <p>McLaren had to conduct a power unit change, meaning Turvey only re-appeared during the final hour, and finished at the foot of the times, 3.6s off the pace, having completed the fewest laps (16).</p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong>Pos.</strong></td> <td><strong>Driver</strong></td> <td><strong>Team</strong></td> <td><strong>Time</strong></td> <td><strong>Gap</strong></td> <td><strong>Laps</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>1</td> <td>Lewis Hamilton</td> <td>Mercedes</td> <td>1:31.358</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>97</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2</td> <td>Antonio Giovinazzi</td> <td>Ferrari</td> <td>1:31.984</td> <td>0.626</td> <td>93</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3</td> <td>Daniel Ricciardo</td> <td>Red Bul</td> <td>1:32.349</td> <td>0.991</td> <td>45</td> </tr> <tr> <td>4</td> <td>Romain Grosjean</td> <td>Haas</td> <td>1:33.452</td> <td>1.094</td> <td>87</td> </tr> <tr> <td>5</td> <td>Felipe Massa</td> <td>Williams</td> <td>1:32.509</td> <td>1.151</td> <td>56</td> </tr> <tr> <td>6</td> <td>Nico Hulkenberg</td> <td>Renault</td> <td>1:33.624</td> <td>2.266</td> <td>74</td> </tr> <tr> <td>7</td> <td>Lance Stroll</td> <td>Williams</td> <td>1:33.729</td> <td>2.371</td> <td>35</td> </tr> <tr> <td>8</td> <td>Sean Gelael</td> <td>Toro Rosso</td> <td>1:33.885</td> <td>2.527</td> <td>78</td> </tr> <tr> <td>9</td> <td>Sebastian Vettel</td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Ferrari</span></td> <td>1:33.894</td> <td>2.536</td> <td>89</td> </tr> <tr> <td>10</td> <td>Alfonso Celis Jr</td> <td>Force India</td> <td>1:33.939</td> <td>2.581</td> <td>70</td> </tr> <tr> <td>11</td> <td>Marcus Ericsson</td> <td>Sauber</td> <td>1:34.550</td> <td>3.192</td> <td>106</td> </tr> <tr> <td>12</td> <td>Oliver Turvey</td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="mclaren">McLaren</span></td> <td>1:35.011</td> <td>3.653</td> <td>17</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> hit by more problems during testingTue, 18 Apr 2017 11:43:18 GMT<p>McLaren-Honda has been dealt another setback during the opening day of the first in-season test after yet more reliability problems with its power unit.</p> <p>Formula 1 teams have stayed on in Bahrain for two days of in-season testing, running from 09:00 to 18:00 local time, with Honda intending to use the track time to trial updated parts.</p> <p>However, McLaren test and development driver Oliver Turvey has so far completed only two installation laps in the MCL32.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have detected a water leak from the ERS just after installation and it&rsquo;s under investigation,&rdquo; confirmed a Honda spokesperson.</p> <p>&ldquo;In the interest of time, we decided to change the power unit. Currently we are working to replace it.&rdquo;</p> <p>McLaren has endured a dismal start to the 2017 season, amid a lack of reliability and performance, leaving it at the foot of the standings.</p> <p>Stoffel Vandoorne registered its only finish so far in Australia, as the last classified runner, but was unable to even start in Bahrain, due to a water pressure issue.</p> <p>Fernando Alonso retired from the race late on with an undiagnosed issue, a day after McLaren was forced to undertake a power unit change post-qualifying.</p> <p>McLaren suffered four MGU-H failures across the course of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, with Honda still investigating the cause of the problems.</p> <p>Vandoorne is set to take over testing duties from Turvey for Wednesday&rsquo;s running.</p> India co-owner Vijay Mallya arrested in UKTue, 18 Apr 2017 10:52:06 GMT<p>Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya has been arrested in the United Kingdom by Scotland Yard and faces potential extradition to India, in order to face charges of fraud.</p> <p>India handed over a formal extradition request to the United Kingdom, where Mallya has been residing, in February, relating to the demise of Kingfisher Airlines.</p> <p>&ldquo;Officers from the Metropolitan Police&#39;s Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday 18 April arrested a man on an extraction warrant,&rdquo; read a statement issued by the Metropolitan Police.</p> <p>&ldquo;Vijay Mallya, 61 (18/12/1955), was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud.</p> <p>&ldquo;He was arrested after attending a central London police station, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates&#39; Court later today, 18 April.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mallya acquired Spyker in 2007 and rebranded it as Force India the following year, since when it has emerged as a midfield outfit, currently occupying fourth in the standings.</p> Verstappen apologises for 'offensive remark' after Felipe Massa warningTue, 18 Apr 2017 03:07:02 GMT<p>Max Verstappen has apologised for a remark he made about Brazilians during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, after his comment didn&#39;t go down well with fans and some drivers.</p> <p>The Red Bull driver felt Felipe Massa had ruined his qualifying lap by overtaking him during their out-laps. After the session, he was asked about it and replied: &quot;Well, he&#39;s a Brazilian - so there&#39;s not much to discuss.&quot;</p> <p>Brazilian fans reacted strongly to the remark, whilst Massa warned the Dutchman face-to-face before the Bahrain race&nbsp;that he should choose his words wisely.</p> <p>&quot;I told him earlier today, &#39;Be careful with your words because you will have a Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of year and you will have to race there. So be careful what you say&#39;,&quot; he told the&nbsp;<em>UOL Esporte</em> radio station.</p> <p>&quot;Without a doubt, it was not right to speak about Brazilians without even knowing what he was talking about.&quot;</p> <p>Verstapped moved to diffuse the situation on Monday, posting on his personal Facebook page: &quot;I feel like I need to clarify my remarks that were made after this weekend&#39;s qualifying session.</p> <p>&quot;Being a passionate racer, I was very disappointed with my last stint and gave an emotional reaction that was taken out of context.</p> <p>&quot;By no means did I mean to insult the Brazilian people who I greatly respect and are always very nice to me when I visit the country.</p> <p>&quot;One of the highlights of my career was last year&#39;s Brazilian GP and it was extra special to do this in the country that brought us legendary drivers such as Senna, Fittipaldi and Piquet.</p> <p>&quot;I would like to apologise to any Brazilians that feel offended and look forward to racing in your country again.&quot;</p> teams poised for first in-season test in BahrainMon, 17 Apr 2017 15:24:08 GMT<p>Formula 1 teams have stayed on at the Bahrain International Circuit for the first in-season test, which takes place this Tuesday and Wednesday.</p> <p>The two days of action, in which each team is permitted to field one car, will enable squads to address any issues from the opening three rounds, and undertake crucial development work, ahead of a busy phase of the season.</p> <p>With 50 per cent of in-season test time required to be handed over to young drivers, classified as those who have competed in two or fewer Grands Prix, several teams will be running unfamiliar faces.</p> <p>Pierre Gasly will be in action for Red Bull, Oliver Turvey will link up with McLaren, Renault test driver Sergey Sirotkin receives a run with the manufacturer, while Formula 2 racer Sean Gelael will make his Formula 1 bow with Toro Rosso.</p> <p>Alfonso Celis Jr. (Force India) and Gary Paffett (Williams) will also conduct testing duties with their respective teams.</p> <p>Mercedes, Haas and Sauber, meanwhile, will dedicate the entirety of their track time to regular racers, meaning they must field a young driver on both days of running at the next test, which takes place at the Hungaroring in August.</p> <p>One day of Ferrari&#39;s running will be conducted in association with Pirelli as part of Formula 1&#39;s tyre testing programme; Antonio Giovinazzi, who raced for Sauber in Australia and China, is set to sample the SF70-H for the first time.</p> pace 'exposed' Renault’s flaws - Nico HulkenbergMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:31:56 GMT<p>Nico Hulkenberg says he &ldquo;wrestled&rdquo; his way to ninth place in Bahrain, but reckons the car&rsquo;s race pace &ldquo;exposed&rdquo; the areas Renault needs to improve.</p> <p>The German driver lined up seventh on the grid after an impressive qualifying performance but was unable to hold onto the position.</p> <p>Hulkenberg was pleased to score Renault&rsquo;s first points of the year with ninth, but admitted the 57-lap race highlighted the areas where the manufacturer needs to improve.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s good to have the first points of the season on the board and I think I had a good race given the pace of the car,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;I really wrestled with it a lot and two points were the best we could do on the strategy we ran.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are a lot better in qualifying, but over the 57 laps of the race we exposed some of the areas where we need to improve.</p> <p>&ldquo;Fortunately, I am testing here on Tuesday, so we have a great opportunity to make progress.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have some updates for evaluation when I&rsquo;m in the car, which will hopefully improve our race pace by a big chunk for Sochi.&rdquo;</p> <p>Team-mate Jolyon Palmer trailed home in 13th position in the sister RS.17.</p> pressure issue to blame for Stoffel Vandoorne's DNSMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:29:21 GMT<p>McLaren has confirmed that a water pressure problem was to blame for Stoffel Vandoorne failing to start the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Belgian driver had qualified in 17th place and was gearing up for the race on the grid when an issue was discovered on his car.</p> <p>It was pushed back to the pits, with McLaren announcing shortly after that Vandoorne would not be making the race start.</p> <p>He was disappointed and frustrated with the problems, particularly after a stressful Friday of practice where his car suffered two MGU-H failures.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a real shame that we weren&rsquo;t even able to start the race,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The team discovered a water-pressure issue on the way to the grid.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s disappointing, obviously, that we come all the way here and can&rsquo;t even start the race. We knew from the beginning of the season that the situation we were in was going to be difficult.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll get on top of these issues, and I&rsquo;m confident that I can do a good job when everything comes together.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re going through a hard time &ndash; it&rsquo;s not fun for us to go through this &ndash; but this is what it is at the moment, and shows that.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s frustrating when you do all the preparation work, put in so much effort, we drivers train a lot, and then not being able to start is a shame.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been an extremely difficult weekend for me, having two failures on Friday in FP1 and FP2, and now in the race: it&rsquo;s obviously very disappointing.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I&rsquo;ll keep my head down, I&rsquo;ll work hard with the team, and I&rsquo;m sure there will be some improvements at some point.</p> <p>&ldquo;When they will be, it&rsquo;s difficult to say, but I&rsquo;m confident that they&rsquo;ll come. We&rsquo;ve lost quite a bit of mileage so it&rsquo;s definitely not an ideal situation, and we need to make a good step forward soon.&rdquo;</p> Perez hails 'amazing recovery' in BahrainMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:26:33 GMT<p>Sergio Perez has described his Bahrain Grand Prix as an &ldquo;amazing recovery&rdquo; after leaping from 18th on the grid to seventh place.</p> <p>The Mexican driver enjoyed a strong first lap to move up to 13th, before making steady progress up the order and through the safety car phase.</p> <p>&ldquo;To finish seventh after starting from P18 is an amazing recovery and we can be very happy,&rdquo; Perez explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s also our thirteenth consecutive race in the points, which is an incredible achievement. The first lap was very important for my race because I made up five places and was up in P13 by the end of lap one.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had great tyre life in the first stint; we stayed out as long as we could and the safety car played into our hands just when I needed to make a pitstop.</p> <p>&ldquo;So, I think we made the most of every opportunity. We showed, once again, that we never give up on Sundays and we can come back strong after a difficult qualifying.&rdquo;</p> <p>Esteban Ocon finished 10th, with both Force Indias in the points: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s good to get another point, but the timing of the safety car didn&rsquo;t help me and probably cost me three positions.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a shame because the team did everything right, but the safety car came out just after I had made my first pitstop. So, the luck was not on my side.</p> <p>&ldquo;Apart from that, it was a really fun race and I had to fight really hard. We showed again that our car is strong in race conditions.</p> <p>&ldquo;My target coming into the season was to score points in every race so I&rsquo;m pleased to have scored in all three so far, but I know we had the potential to score even more points.&rdquo;</p> Wolff: Generator failure caused early struggles for Valtteri BottasMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:17:32 GMT<p>Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has revealed that a generator failure on the grid was the cause of the early struggles Valtteri Bottas experienced at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Finnish driver started on pole position but was unable to open up a gap due to his tyre pressures being too high in the opening stint.</p> <p>He lost the lead to Sebastian Vettel through the first pitstop phase and Bottas later slipped behind his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was on an alternative strategy.</p> <p>Hamilton eventually finished second, ahead of Bottas, but a five-second time penalty for holding up Daniel Ricciardo at the pit entry prevented him from properly challenging Vettel.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was another reminder that we need to get everything right in order to deliver,&rdquo; said Mercedes motorsport boss, Wolff.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ultimately, this was a day of marginal losses which cost us the win - however, as we saw particularly with Lewis, the pace was there in the car at the times when we were able to extract it.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our first loss came on the grid when a generator failure left Valtteri with too high starting pressures; that limited his pace in the opening stint, meaning we could not open a gap to the field and, with Lewis running behind Vettel, our strategic choices were pretty limited.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were on the back foot and then Ferrari played the undercut perfectly to come out ahead. We got lucky with the safety car which gave us an opportunity to recover but a problem with the wheel guns meant we lost time and positions with both cars.</p> <p>&ldquo;With the cars running different tyre compounds, we had to make the tough unpopular call for Valtteri to let Lewis pass; it&#39;s not something we like to do but, when the moment comes that the race win is in danger, we will always do what we need to in order to get it.</p> <p>&ldquo;After that, we offset Lewis&#39; strategy as much as possible to give him the chance of closing down Sebastian in the final laps, but after he had served the five-second penalty, it left him with too much to do.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mercedes slipped to second in the Constructors&#39; championship, three points behind Ferrari.</p> Ricciardo 'genuinely thought' Red Bull had chance to winMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:06:25 GMT<p>Daniel Ricciardo says he &ldquo;genuinely thought&rdquo; Red Bull was in with a chance of victory in the early stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix, before slipping back later in the race.</p> <p>The Australian fell to fifth behind his team-mate Max Verstappen on the opening lap, but moved up to third through the pit stops, behind only Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.</p> <p>However, Ricciardo lost positions at the restart to Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, before eventually getting back ahead of the Brazilian to take fifth.</p> <p>&ldquo;For me it was a race of two halves really,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;At the beginning of the race I genuinely thought we had a chance to win.</p> <p>&ldquo;That stint was looking very competitive and I could see Valtteri was struggling. I was at the tail end of the front pack and I could see everyone else in front of me.</p> <p>&ldquo;They were sliding and looked like they were struggling more. It was quite easy for me to stay there and I was looking after my tyres, so at that point I was thinking it could be on, not only for a podium but for a win.</p> <p>&ldquo;The safety car worked for me in that we jumped up to third but it wasn&rsquo;t so good for our tyres and that&rsquo;s where we lost a lot of ground.</p> <p>&ldquo;Even once we settled into a pace and the chaos settled we fell back and I was struggling with grip at the front and rear. We never really got that tyre working for us.&rdquo;</p> Verstappen disappointed by 'unfortunate' brake failureMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:03:32 GMT<p>Max Verstappen has shared his disappointment after an &ldquo;unfortunate&rdquo; rear brake failure during the Bahrain Grand Prix, which pitched him out of the race during the early stages.</p> <p>The Dutch driver started from sixth place but battled up to fourth on the opening lap, keeping in touch with the leading three drivers, before electing to make his pit stop comparatively early.</p> <p>However, just after emerging from the pits, he went straight on at Turn 4 due to a rear brake failure and nosed the barriers, retiring from the race.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I had a good start, Kimi [Raikkonen] struggled a bit off the line so I passed him straight away and then I went round the outside at Turn 1 and overtook Daniel [Ricciardo], which put me in a good position,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;After that I could keep up with the leaders, the car was performing really well on the tyres and the pace was good.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we made the right call with the pit stop to try and undercut the two Mercedes but then the rear brakes failed on lap 12 and it was race over.</p> <p>&ldquo;These things are all a part of racing and there are definitely positives to take away. The car was working a lot better here than the previous two races so it&rsquo;s just an unfortunate ending as we could have scored some really good points.&rdquo;</p> <p>Verstappen slipped from third to fifth in the standings as a result of his retirement.</p> Stroll slams 'ridiculous' Carlos Sainz Jr after Bahrain crashMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:01:41 GMT<p>Williams driver Lance Stroll has branded Carlos Sainz Jr. &quot;ridiculous&quot; after he &ldquo;drove into my side&rdquo; during the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>In the early stages of the race, Sainz exited the pitlane and emerged just behind Stroll going into the first corner.</p> <p>He remained on the inside line and braked late, with Stroll taking the racing line; the two cars collided, with both retiring on the spot.</p> <p>Toro Rosso&rsquo;s Sainz was given a <a href="">three-place grid penalty</a> for Russia and two penalty points for the incident, with stewards deeming he was predominantly to blame.</p> <p>&ldquo;I saw Sainz coming out of the pitlane, I was 50 or 60 metres in front of him in the braking zone, and was already turning in and he drove into my side,&rdquo; Stroll said.</p> <p>&ldquo;There is not much else to say, as I have just seen the video and it was ridiculous. I think the race wasn&rsquo;t going badly [up to that point].</p> <p>&ldquo;I am just disappointed and hope my luck turns round sometime soon. I can be frustrated, but it won&rsquo;t get me anywhere.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sainz added: &ldquo;It definitely hasn&rsquo;t been a good weekend for us. Unfortunately, all of a sudden after the pitstop I was involved in an incident with Lance and that was the end of my race.</p> <p>&ldquo;The weekend ends with a DNF, but weekends like this one always happen at some point throughout the year in F1, this is racing.&rdquo;</p> Technical: Williams FW40 - Front-wingMon, 17 Apr 2017 04:49:17 GMT<p><strong>Unlike many of its rivals, the Williams FW40 is very much a natural evolution of its predecessor despite the exten- sive rule changes for 2017. Whereas other teams have explored new concepts in a bid to increase downforce levels, Williams have been happy to stick to what they know and expand upon their existing designs.</strong></p> <p>It is easy to forget that the Grove-based squad operate on a fraction of the budget that the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull do, so venturing down new design avenues is not in their best interests.</p> <p>To some extent their conservative approach has worked as although they find themselves lagging significantly behind the big three teams they are still ahead of their biggest competitor in Force India at the moment.</p> <p>Their front-wing concept is one area in particular that has seen little change over the winter period aside from the extra width and delta-shape as per the regulations, but this has been true for many teams up and down the grid (including Mercedes). However, the aerodynamics department are quickly discovering more and more about the airflow structures associated with the new tyres and constant tweaks are&nbsp;therefore being made to the front-wing and the floor area near the rear-tyre to control this flow, even during the early stages of the season.</p> <p>In Melbourne Williams intro- duced two canards (highlighted in yellow) on the front-wing endplate, which were reorientated slightly for China. These are installed to guide air along the inside face of the endplate and to control the path of the flow leaving the cascade winglet, displacing their trajectory towards the front tyre.</p> <p>The idea is the same for the small turning vane (highlighted in red) introduced in Shanghai midway up the wing &ndash; the pressure gradient induced between the two sides generates a tiny vortex that steers the surrounding airflow to a more desirable location downstream. Micromanaging the airflow in this manner is extremely delicate work and requires an immense amount of computational resources and extensive wind tunnel testing to link the aero-structures together.</p> <p>So although these updates look outwardly insignificant, their wider effects on the rest of the car help unlock a great deal of laptime.</p> 211 of Motorsport Monday is out now - Advantage VettelMon, 17 Apr 2017 04:39:18 GMT<p><strong>Issue 211&nbsp;of our free weekly magazine, Motorsport Monday, is online now and packed full of great content&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">click here</a>, or the&nbsp;link below to start reading.</strong></p> <p>Just like Lewis Hamilton did last weekend in China, so Sebastian Vettel did the same this past weekend in the desert heat that invaded the Sahkir International circuit in Bahrain.&nbsp;And while the German was never in the hunt for pole position, its was his race pace that impressed everyone. Joe Saward and Phil Horton report from Bahrain.</p> <p>Meanwhile Daniel Lloyd was in cold, windy and grey Silverstone for the start of the FIA World Endurance Championship. While Toyota walked all over the opposition during qualifying, they did not have it all their own way in the race.&nbsp;</p> <p>On top of these main reports, we have a full run down on the first races of the FIA&#39;s new incarnation of Formula 2 also from Bahrain plus the usual news, views and opinions from the rest of our award winning team. Enjoy your Easter bumper issue!</p> <p><strong><a href=""><img alt="" height="127" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Magazine/click-to-read.png" width="800" /></a></strong></p> Alonso 'frustrated' by 'amazing' performance deficitSun, 16 Apr 2017 19:45:29 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso has vented his frustration at the McLaren MCL32&#39;s &ldquo;amazing&rdquo; power and performance deficit compared to its rivals.</p> <p>The Spaniard struggled throughout the Bahrain Grand Prix to keep drivers behind and spent most of the race fighting just outside the points.</p> <p>He slipped back slightly in the closing stages before slowing with an engine problem, retiring in the pits with just a few laps remaining.</p> <p>Alonso regularly expressed his annoyance at his McLaren MCL32&rsquo;s lack of top speed, at one point saying: &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve never raced with less power in my life&rdquo;.</p> <p>McLaren seemingly lost some of the race pace it had at the first two races, while Stoffel Vandoorne was unable to make the start due to a water pressure issue.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a frustrating race,&rdquo; Alonso said. &ldquo;The deficit in power and performance we had on the straights today was amazing.</p> <p>&ldquo;Sometimes I looked in the mirrors at the beginning of the straights and saw the other cars 300, 400 metres behind, then the next thing I see when I come on the brakes is that car alongside me.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were running close to the points but that&rsquo;s not enough. Today we never had the pace we had in Australia and China, and, in the end, we had a problem and we decided to retire the car.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s frustrating. When the red lights go off you&rsquo;re motivated and you start fighting, but you&rsquo;re so behind on the straights that there&rsquo;s no way you can defend your position.</p> <p>&ldquo;You fight in a fair way with everyone, but you don&rsquo;t enjoy the battle. Everyone in the team has been working very hard over this weekend, day and night, but we&rsquo;ll keep working hard, and we hope to improve in due course.&rdquo;</p> Splitting Mercedes drivers at the start 'crucial' for victory chargeSun, 16 Apr 2017 19:31:00 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel says splitting Mercedes pair Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap was &ldquo;crucial&rdquo; for his victory prospects at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Vettel passed Hamilton around the outside of Turn 1 to move into second position and remained within reach of leader Bottas, who was struggling after a technical glitch left him running with too high tyre pressures.</p> <p>Vettel adopted the undercut, and benefited from a Safety Car period shortly after, to move into the lead, and he pulled away from the Mercedes pair to register his second win of the season.</p> <p>&ldquo;The start, obviously it was crucial for us to get between [the Mercedes drivers], to not allow them to get in their rhythm, pull away, do their thing,&rdquo; Vettel said.</p> <p>&ldquo;So, it upset them a bit. I think we all had more or less the same start. Mine initially was maybe a tiny bit better than Lewis, which put me just about side-by-side.</p> <p>&ldquo;But their car is really long so it&rsquo;s a long way to get side-by-side &ndash; but then I think I benefitted from the act I had a clear track ahead, Lewis was a bit stuck with Valtteri and it&rsquo;s a bit of a tricky one to judge, so I could just take lots of risk under braking and get the move done.</p> <p>&ldquo;Then, the final stint, obviously we had quite a decent gap plus the safety margin of Lewis&rsquo; penalty &ndash; which I wasn&rsquo;t sure why but it didn&rsquo;t matter at that point &ndash; and I just tried to control the gap to Valtteri, maybe pulling away a little bit and at that point just controlling the gap.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I faced the traffic I lost a lot of time but then obviously he [Hamilton] had to face traffic as well. In the end it was safe enough.</p> <p>&ldquo;At the beginning of the stint I really didn&rsquo;t push at all, just took it easy and responded to what those two guys were doing, which obviously helped me at the end because I had a lot of tyres left.&rdquo;</p> Hamilton takes blame for pit lane ‘misjudgement’Sun, 16 Apr 2017 19:14:09 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has offered his apologies after he was handed a five-second time penalty for driving unnecessarily slowly in the pit lane during the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Hamilton had dropped to third position during the opening stint at Sakhir and a Safety Car period meant Mercedes had to service Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton on the same lap.</p> <p>Hamilton drove slowly exiting the final corner, backing up Daniel Ricciardo, and while this was legal on-track, the Briton was sanctioned for driving slowly once he entered the pit lane.</p> <p>Stewards handed Hamilton a five-second time penalty, which he served at his next stop, and he eventually recovered to second, via two team-assisted moves on Bottas.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s been a challenging weekend,&rdquo; said Hamilton, who slipped seven points behind Sebastian Vettel in the standings.</p> <p>&ldquo;The start of the race was OK but Sebastian was in my blind spot so I didn&#39;t know where he was and I lost a position there.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was really hard to follow but we generally had similar pace. Under the Safety Car, I just misjudged it myself the situation; that was my fault, so my apologies to the team.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had good pace in the second and final stints and we honestly thought we could catch Sebastian.</p> <p>&ldquo;But the five-second penalty made that twice as hard. I believe it was the right choice to go with the Soft in the final stint. I think that was the best call as I still had a long way to go.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our guys have been making good calls all year so far. I tried my best to recover from the mistake but it wasn&#39;t quite enough. We still come away with good points.&rdquo;</p> Bottas frustrated by sub-par race pace in BahrainSun, 16 Apr 2017 19:07:45 GMT<p>Valtteri Bottas was left disappointed as he slipped back from pole position to third place at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Bottas started from pole for the first time in his Formula 1 career at the start, but was pressured by Sebastian Vettel throughout the opening stint, with the Finn at the head of a closely-contested five-car train.</p> <p>Vettel used the undercut, and benefited from a Safety Car period, to move into the lead, while Bottas was twice instructed to let team-mate Lewis Hamilton through, with the Briton on an alternative strategy.</p> <p>Bottas eventually trailed home in third position, dropping away from Vettel and Hamilton during the final stint.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was not a good day; we had an issue with the tyre pressures at the start,&rdquo; said Bottas.</p> <p>&ldquo;I could really feel it in the first stint and was sliding around as early as lap two. The pace wasn&#39;t good and Sebastian put us under real pressure.</p> <p>&ldquo;I tried to extend the first stint but I couldn&#39;t keep up with the pace. The second stint was better but I was still struggling with oversteer and then I couldn&#39;t get the rear-end to work in the last stint.</p> <p>&ldquo;Under the Safety Car at the first stop there was a problem and we lost some time in the stop; maybe otherwise I would have just been in front but I know that the team will investigate the issue.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had some good racing with Sebastian after the restart but unfortunately it was just for a short moment.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;ve not had the race results that I&#39;d been hoping for so far, but will be targeting a strong weekend in Sochi.&rdquo;</p> Sainz Jr handed grid penalty for Lance Stroll collisionSun, 16 Apr 2017 18:20:09 GMT<p>Carlos Sainz Jr. has been given a three-place grid penalty for colliding with Lance Stroll during the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Spaniard was also awarded two penalty points on his license for the incident, bringing his 12-month total up to seven.</p> <p>Sainz emerged from the pitlane and went up the inside of Stroll into Turn 1, but the Williams took to the apex and the two cars clashed.</p> <p>It put both drivers out of the race on the spot and the safety car was deployed as a result.</p> <p>The stewards investigated the collision after the race and deemed Sainz was at fault for the contact.</p> <p>A statement from the stewards said:</p> <p>&ldquo;The stewards heard from Carlos Sainz, the driver of car No.55, Lance Stroll, the driver of car No.18 and the team representatives, reviewed the video evidence which showed that car No.18 was on the normal racing line, car No. 55 left the pit lane and made a very optimistic attempt to pass car No.18 into the corner.</p> <p>&ldquo;The stewards decided that the driver of car No.55 was predominately to blame for causing the collision in violation of Article 27.4 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.&rdquo;</p> <p>He will drop three places on the grid for the next event, the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.</p> Vettel voted Bahrain GP Driver of the DaySun, 16 Apr 2017 18:07:53 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel has been voted Driver of the Day after taking a clear victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Ferrari racer lined up third on the grid but moved up to second place on the opening lap, before an early pitstop promoted him to the lead after an early safety car.</p> <p>He was able to extend a comfortable advantage through the second stint and next pitstop phase, although Lewis Hamilton closed in on him in the final laps.</p> <p>Vettel crossed the line 6.6 seconds clear of Hamilton to pick up his second win of the season and third in Bahrain.</p> <p>Fans were able to vote for their Driver of the Day from the halfway point, with Vettel being named the winner shortly after the chequered flag.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Race win 🏆<br /> <br /> Your <a href="">#F1DriverOfTheDay</a> 💪<br /> <br /> Not a bad day&#39;s work for Sebastian Vettel 🙌<a href="">#BahrainGP</a> 🇧🇭 <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Formula 1 (@F1) <a href="">April 16, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>It&rsquo;s his second time of the season winning the Driver of the Day vote, having also picked up the award after his triumph at the opening round in Australia.</p> <p><strong>DRIVER OF THE DAY:</strong></p> <p>Australia - Vettel<br /> China &ndash; Verstappen<br /> Bahrain &ndash; Vettel</p> Vettel victorious, Lewis Hamilton second in BahrainSun, 16 Apr 2017 16:48:19 GMT<p>Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel secured his second victory of the 2017 Formula 1 season, beating Mercedes racer Lewis Hamilton during a tense strategic scrap at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Vettel moved up to second place at the start, passing Hamilton around the outside of Turn 1, with polesitter Valtteri Bottas holding onto the lead in the early stages.</p> <p>Ferrari opted to pit Vettel before his rivals and it proved to be well-timed, taking place just prior to the safety car being deployed to clear Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz&rsquo;s damaged cars after they clashed at Turn 1.</p> <p>Bottas dived into the pits, with Hamilton backing up Daniel Riccardo so he could also stop for fresh tyres, giving Vettel the lead when the race restarted.</p> <p>From there, Vettel was able to establish a comfortable advantage, with Bottas struggling and eventually falling behind Hamilton before an early second stop.</p> <p>Vettel pitted a few laps later, with Hamilton going longer on his middle stint and having to serve a five-second time penalty for backing up Ricciardo at his first stop.</p> <p>This allowed Vettel to extend his lead further through the second pitstop phase, with Bottas briefly moving up to second before being displaced by a charging Hamilton.</p> <p>Vettel crossed the line to take his second win of the season and third win in Bahrain, with Hamilton second and Bottas in third.</p> <p>Kimi Raikkonen came home close behind in fourth, with Ricciardo fifth in the sole Red Bull to finish &ndash; Max Verstappen having crashed out with brake failure just before the safety car period for the Stroll/Sainz clasg.</p> <p>Felipe Massa ran as high as fourth but slipped to sixth as the race progressed, with Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon completing the top 10.</p> <p>Pascal Wehrlein, Daniil Kvyat and Jolyon Palmer were next up as Fernando Alonso battled towards the lower end of the midfield but pulled into the garage late on with a power unit issue. Marcus Ericsson, Sainz, Stroll and Verstappen also failed to finish.</p> <p>Kevin Magnussen retired early on for Haas with an issue, pulling off track at Turn 8. Meanwhile, the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne failed to make the race start due to a power unit problem.</p> Alonso fears tough race after power unit changeSat, 15 Apr 2017 18:29:52 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso says he is braced for a tougher-than-expected Bahrain Grand Prix after McLaren was forced to change the power unit in his MCL32 following another reliability issue during qualifying.</p> <p>Alonso suffered an MGU-H failure during Q2 and he was unable to complete a flying lap, leaving him down in 15th position.</p> <p>Honda is still investigating the cause of the failure, with the manufacturer also evaluating whether it was related to the MGU-H issue which halted Stoffel Vandoorne during practice.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think until the last corner [my lap] was half a second better than my Q1 time, then I went on the throttle and there was an issue in the power unit,&rdquo; said Alonso.</p> <p>&ldquo;That hurt, because we had a chance of being a couple of places up, and tomorrow we&rsquo;ll have to fit a new power unit, which won&rsquo;t have the perfect settings or calibration.</p> <p>&ldquo;The first lap the engine gets will be the formation lap, so it won&rsquo;t get any warm-up, we won&rsquo;t get any laps to tune it, and we&rsquo;ll probably therefore have an even tougher race than we&rsquo;d expected.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The guys in the garage work day and night to prepare the car, there are parts we keep changing, we keep testing the updates, there&rsquo;s hard work behind every weekend, but we don&rsquo;t have a competitive power unit to fight at the front.&rdquo;</p> <p>Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was eliminated in Q1 and will start from 17th place on the grid.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything was more or less OK with my laps,&rdquo; said the Belgian youngster.</p> <p>&ldquo;I struggled a little bit with the brakes on the second run and had a couple of lock-ups, so I was lacking a little bit of confidence.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I think the lap was more or less the maximum possible &ndash; I don&rsquo;t think there was much more left in the car.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our results are more or less the same as they have been during the past couple of races, so I don&rsquo;t think we expected anything different here this weekend.&rdquo;</p> Ricciardo 'surprised' to split Ferrari duoSat, 15 Apr 2017 18:01:58 GMT<p>Red Bull&#39;s Daniel Ricciardo says he was &ldquo;surprised&rdquo; to split the Ferrari drivers during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Red Bull RB13 has been firmly the third-quickest car on this year&rsquo;s grid, lagging behind rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, across the opening two rounds of the season.</p> <p>The team was a little off the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari during Friday practice in Bahrain, but Max Verstappen was fastest in FP3.</p> <p>Ricciardo thought a spot on the second row of the grid could have been possible in qualifying, but only if everything went smoothly.</p> <p>He ended up splitting the Ferrari drivers in Q3 to secure fourth on the grid, a better result than he expected.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a good and positive day today,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t expect much to change from China to here but now we&rsquo;re a lot closer to pole than we were a week ago so we&rsquo;ll take that.</p> <p>&ldquo;To be on the second row and to get ahead of a Ferrari is a good surprise. We kind of thought if we put everything together then there might be a chance of a second row and we got it.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re learning and are getting a bit more out of the car as well which is great to see. If tomorrow Mercedes and Ferrari run into some tyre degradation maybe we can have a bit of a go.</p> <p>&ldquo;But the aim now is to try and maintain this gap in the race and stay within half a second or second each lap and to replicate our pace during qualifying in the long runs.&rdquo;</p> Bottas thrilled by maiden Formula 1 pole positionSat, 15 Apr 2017 17:34:34 GMT<p>Valtteri Bottas expressed delight as he claimed pole position for the first time in his Formula 1 career at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Bottas, having qualified third for the opening two rounds of the season, embarked on a head-to-head duel with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Q3 at Sakhir.</p> <p>Hamilton led the way after the first runs but Bottas fought back, edging 0.023s clear of the Briton&rsquo;s benchmark lap, and was assured of pole position when Hamilton failed to improve.</p> <p>&ldquo;Obviously I&rsquo;m really happy, it&rsquo;s my first pole in my career, my fifth season now in Formula 1 so it took a few races but we got it, and hopefully it&rsquo;s the first of many,&rdquo; said Bottas.</p> <p>&ldquo;I just wanted to say a big thanks to the team giving me this car to drive it on pole and we&rsquo;re both starting in the front row.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve made a really good job this weekend to focus on the evening conditions and to get a lot of lap time out of this car in slightly cooler conditions.</p> <p>&ldquo;Hopefully that&rsquo;s going to help us tomorrow as well so I&rsquo;m grateful to the team.</p> <p>A magnanimous Hamilton heaped praise on Bottas and conceded that he lacked pace through the first sector.</p> <p>&ldquo;A big congratulations to Valtteri, he&rsquo;s been working so hard, he&rsquo;s gelled so well with the team, today he was just quicker, did the better job, so hats off to him,&rdquo; said Hamilton.</p> <p>&ldquo;My first lap felt great, I looked up [at the timing screens] and the time was so close I thought &lsquo;wow that was a great lap, he [Bottas] did a great job&rsquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was losing quite a bit of time through first sector, generally it&rsquo;s my weaker point, actually unusual, as usually it&rsquo;s a stronger point for me.</p> <p>&ldquo;Valtteri found some great pace through first sector, my second and third sector ended up being quite good, overall a little bit down.</p> <p>&ldquo;But it was a great battle, that&rsquo;s how close qualifying should always be, it forces us to be on the limit, I&rsquo;m generally happy with the job I did and great for the team to be 1-2.&rdquo;</p> Vettel: Gap to Mercedes bigger than expectedSat, 15 Apr 2017 17:26:12 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel has admitted the gap to the two Mercedes drivers in Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying was larger than he expected.</p> <p>Valtteri Bottas took pole position at the Bahrain International Circuit, finishing qualifying just 0.023 seconds ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.</p> <p>Vettel was a slightly distant third, just under half a second behind the Mercedes front row lockout and a few tenths clear of Daniel Ricciardo&rsquo;s Red Bull in fourth.</p> <p>The four-time champion and Australian GP race winner was pleased with his performance and laps in Q3, but was disappointed with the gap to the frontrunners.</p> <p>&ldquo;Overall I was very happy with how qualifying went, with how the car felt,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We had some issues yesterday, nothing wrong but we tweaked the balance for today in the right direction.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was happy with how it turned out, Q2 I thought &lsquo;OK this will be tight&rsquo;, happy to go into Q3. I was happy with my first lap, crossed the line, looked up and saw both of them were ahead.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I got the time I was a bit down, four tenths was a lot more than I expected given how good the lap felt.</p> <p>&ldquo;On the last run, I tried probably too hard everywhere, we had nothing to lose. I tried a bit harder but didn&#39;t work, was slightly slower.</p> <p>&ldquo;Being a tenth quick [wouldn&#39;t be] good enough but I tried. Hopefully we can do a bit more tomorrow.&rdquo;</p> Bottas beats Lewis Hamilton to pole position in BahrainSat, 15 Apr 2017 16:14:48 GMT<p>Valtteri Bottas will start the Bahrain Grand Prix from pole position after setting the pace in qualifying for the first time in his Formula 1 career.</p> <p>The Finnish driver looked close to Lewis Hamilton in the first two segments of qualifying but trailed his Mercedes team-mate.</p> <p>Bottas held onto second place after the opening runs of Q3, but put in a 1:28.769 to take provisional pole. Hamilton suffered a poor final part of the lap and couldn&rsquo;t beat him.</p> <p>So, Bottas clinched his first pole position and put in the quickest ever lap of the Bahrain International Circuit, with Hamilton locking out the front row.</p> <p>Sebastian Vettel was a slightly distant third, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.</p> <p>Both Renault cars made it through to Q3, with Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer seventh and 10th, separated by Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean.</p> <p>Daniil Kvyat ran wide on his last Q2 lap and was the first to be eliminated in 11th, with Lance Stroll 12th for Williams, ahead of the returning Pascal Wehrlein.</p> <p>Esteban Ocon could only manage 14th, with Fernando Alonso failing to set a time after a power unit problem.</p> <p>Carlos Sainz Jr. stopped on track in Q1 and was the first to be eliminated, with Stoffel Vandoorne also dropping out.</p> <p>Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen were 18th and 20th after being held up by the yellow flags for Sainz&rsquo;s stranded Toro Rosso, separated by Marcus Ericsson.</p> confirms 2017 F1 tyre testing programmeSat, 15 Apr 2017 14:57:28 GMT<p>Pirelli has confirmed its tyre testing schedule for the 2017 campaign, with all 10 teams set to be in action across eight different venues this year.</p> <p>Pirelli is permitted to undertake 25 private test days in order to carry out development of its tyres, and this year all Formula 1 teams will be involved in the running.</p> <p>Last season, only Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull participated, supplying modified 2015 machinery, as Pirelli prepared to introduce its wider tyres.</p> <p>As was the case last year, drivers and teams will not be aware of the compounds in use, with all data to be shared across the paddock.</p> <p><strong>Pirelli&#39;s 2017 tyre testing calendar:</strong></p> <p>April 18: Sakhir, Ferrari</p> <p>May 16/17: Barcelona, Renault and Toro Rosso</p> <p>May 31/June 1: Paul Ricard, Red Bull*</p> <p>June 29/30: Paul Ricard, Red Bull</p> <p>July 18/19: Silverstone, Williams and Haas</p> <p>July 19/20: Magny Cours, McLaren*</p> <p>August 1 or 2: Budapest, Mercedes</p> <p>August 3/4: Barcelona, Ferrari</p> <p>September 7/8: Paul Ricard, Mercedes</p> <p>October 31/November 1: Mexico City, Sauber and Force India</p> <p>November 14/15: Interlagos, McLaren</p> <p>* Wet tyre testing</p> Verstappen leads Bahrain final practice sessionSat, 15 Apr 2017 13:06:51 GMT<p>Red Bull&rsquo;s Max Verstappen finished quickest during the final practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix, as three different teams filled the leading three positions.</p> <p>Verstappen registered a time of 1:32.194 during the final few minutes of the session to wind up 0.110s clear of Mercedes&rsquo; Lewis Hamilton, with Ferrari&rsquo;s Sebastian Vettel third.</p> <p>Vettel, who was over half a second adrift of Verstappen, edged Valtteri Bottas by just 0.004s, with Ferrari team-mate Kimi R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen only 0.031s further back.</p> <p>Felipe Massa bagged sixth spot for Williams, moving 0.008s clear of Red Bull&rsquo;s Daniel Ricciardo, as Nico H&uuml;lkenberg placed Renault firmly inside the top 10, the last of the drivers to set a time in the 1:32s.</p> <p>Carlos Sainz Jr. completed the most laps as he attempted to make up ground lost with his FP2 stoppage and clocked the ninth best time, leaving Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat to round out the top 10.</p> <p>Sergio P&eacute;rez took 11<sup>th</sup>, ahead of Fernando Alonso, while Sauber returnee Pascal Wehrlein hauled himself up to 13<sup>th</sup> spot with a late lap.</p> <p>The only incident of note came when Haas&rsquo; Romain Grosjean lost control of his VF-17 exiting Turn 4 and spun into the barriers on the inside of the corner.</p> <p>The session was briefly red-flagged, though Grosjean was able to recover to the pit lane, and re-appeared on-track during the final few minutes.</p> Vandoorne going into qualifying 'blind' after practice problemsFri, 14 Apr 2017 19:43:10 GMT<p>McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne says he heads into qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix &ldquo;a bit blind&rdquo; following a difficult day of practice.</p> <p>The Belgian racer suffered engine problems in both first and second practice on Friday, limiting his on-track running.</p> <p>During FP1, his floor was changed, before he lost more time due to a MGU-H issue and McLaren completed a full power unit change.</p> <p>A late start to FP2 saw him return to the track but mid-way through the session his car was hit by another MGU-H problem, with McLaren replacing that element for Saturday.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been another troublesome day for me, let&rsquo;s say,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;In FP1 we had some engine problems and again in FP2, so very limited running for me today.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a shame to miss that much track time, especially in FP2 when the conditions are very similar to qualifying and the race.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not been ideal, but hopefully tomorrow we&rsquo;ll have a smoother run and get on top of the issues.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re going a bit blind into qualifying tomorrow, but Fernando did a lot of running today which was positive.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll have to start with a bit of a base of information from Fernando&rsquo;s side of the garage, but I&rsquo;m sure it&rsquo;ll be useful for us as well.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our reliability issues have meant the start of the season hasn&rsquo;t been ideal, as there hasn&rsquo;t been a weekend yet where we haven&rsquo;t had any issues.&rdquo;</p> <p>Vandoorne finished as the slowest of the 20 drivers, almost three seconds off the pace.</p> Horner urges ban on T-wings after £50k damage to Max Verstappen's carFri, 14 Apr 2017 19:08:52 GMT<p>Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has renewed his call for a ban on T-wings after Max Verstappen&rsquo;s car sustained a suspected &pound;50,000 worth of damage during practice in Bahrain.</p> <p>The T-wing on Valtteri Bottas&rsquo; Mercedes fell off during the second practice session at Sakhir, the second time it has done so in as many races, and Verstappen struck the loose debris through Turns 12/13.</p> <p>Verstappen spent a chunk of the session stranded in the pit lane as Red Bull undertook repairs to his RB13 and Horner says the aero devices should be outlawed from the regulations.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today it probably did about &pound;50,000 worth of damage,&rdquo; Horner said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It should be banned under the grounds of safety and cost and not just because we don&rsquo;t have one.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s unfortunate, a bit of debris on the circuit [having] fallen off of Bottas&rsquo; car, Max was the unlucky victim who was the first car at speed to come across it.</p> <p>&ldquo;It did quite a lot of damage to the underside of the car, one of those things unfortunately.&rdquo;</p> <p>Verstappen, who finished the session down in eighth place, expressed surprise at how much damage his RB13 sustained after he struck the debris.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was unfortunate and to be honest I&rsquo;m surprised how much damage it actually did to the floor,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;The team did a great job to change it so quickly and check the car over before I went back out on track.&rdquo;</p> Wehrlein feeling 'comfortable' after F1 returnFri, 14 Apr 2017 18:43:41 GMT<p>Sauber&rsquo;s Pascal Wehrlein says he feels &ldquo;comfortable&rdquo; after he returned to Formula 1 action during practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.</p> <p>Wehrlein sustained a back injury in an accident at the Race of Champions and withdrew from the season-opening event in Australia after practice, citing a lack of fitness, caused by the change to his training regime.</p> <p>Wehrlein also sat out the Chinese Grand Prix as he regained his fitness levels, but returned to the cockpit of the C36-Ferrari at Sakhir on Friday.</p> <p>The Mercedes prot&eacute;g&eacute; finished the second practice session in 19<sup>th</sup> position, within two-tenths of a second of team-mate Marcus Ericsson, as he got back up to speed.</p> <p>&ldquo;First of all, I am happy to be back in the car,&rdquo; Wehrlein said after his absence.</p> <p>&ldquo;Speaking about the lap times, they are not really significant at this stage. Today&rsquo;s focus was on getting used to the car and collecting mileage in order to make up for lost time.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am feeling comfortable in the car and also the procedures with the team work well.</p> <p>&ldquo;We did make a step forward from the first to the second free practice session, so I am already looking forward to tomorrow.&rdquo;</p> failure scuppers Carlos Sainz Jr’s second sessionFri, 14 Apr 2017 18:28:59 GMT<p>Toro Rosso has confirmed that an exhaust failure was the cause of Carlos Sainz Jr.&rsquo;s stoppage, truncating his second practice session at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Sainz Jr. crawled to a halt along the back straight with smoke trailing from the rear of the STR12, while a flurry of smoke also arose from the cockpit, as the Spaniard came to a halt at Turn 11.</p> <p>Sainz Jr. was unable to take any further part in the session, meaning he amassed only five laps during the sole representative practice session, finishing down in 18<sup>th</sup> place.</p> <p>The youngster has admitted that the failure means he will head into Saturday&rsquo;s qualifying session &ldquo;blind&rdquo; due to the lack of track time.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s quite a frustrating start to the weekend here in Bahrain for me,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today&rsquo;s FP2 was very important and to only be able to do a couple of laps is quite unfortunate.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is a bit of a setback for the weekend, but we will try and analyse and pick-up as much information as possible from the others, cover this lack of data that we have right now, and try to recover it tomorrow.</p> <p>&ldquo;Unfortunately FP3 isn&rsquo;t a very representative session either, which means we will go blind into qualifying and the race, but this is the situation right now.&quot;</p> <p>Team-mate Daniil Kvyat had a more productive session and rounded out the top 10 in the sister STR12.</p> Hamilton: Ferrari quicker in race trim in BahrainFri, 14 Apr 2017 17:52:55 GMT<p>Mercedes&rsquo; Lewis Hamilton believes that rivals Ferrari has the quickest car in race specification, following Friday&rsquo;s pair of practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Mercedes and Ferrari have been closely matched across the opening two rounds of the season, with Sebastian Vettel triumphing in Australia before Hamilton hit back in China.</p> <p>Hamilton finished only fifth during the low-fuel runs in second practice at Sakhir, after a couple of compromised runs, as <a href="">Vettel led the way</a> during both the first session, held in hot temperatures, and Friday evening&#39;s twilight running.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was incredibly hot early on, with some of the very toughest conditions &ndash; both physically and in terms of working with the tyres,&rdquo; said Hamilton.</p> <p>&ldquo;We got through that and then it was much cooler in the afternoon, giving us a much better representation of what qualifying and the race will be like.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was able to get a much better understanding of where the car is in FP2. It was very close, with Ferrari fastest.</p> <p>&ldquo;In race trim they seem a couple of tenths quicker, so I&#39;m expecting a great battle tomorrow and then again on Sunday. We&#39;ll work as hard as we can to try to close that gap.&rdquo;</p> <p>Team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished just 0.041s behind Vettel to wind up second quickest overall.</p> <p>&ldquo;It seems like the same trend continues here with it being so close with Ferrari,&rdquo; said the Finn.</p> <p>&ldquo;But Red Bull are looking good too and the whole pack is pretty close, if you look at the top six particularly.</p> <p>&ldquo;It looks like every little thing that we are going to be fine tuning today with the setup and anything extra we can find is going to be crucial for qualifying and the race.&rdquo;</p> F1’s current driver line-up could be the best everFri, 14 Apr 2017 17:20:13 GMT<p><strong>Just as Harold Wilson said supposedly that a week is a long time in politics, an hour and a half on a Sunday it appears is a long time in F1.</strong></p> <p>For however long &ndash; almost to the point of not being able to remember anything else &ndash; the sport has been characterised by self-loathing and had proceeded through seemingly impenetrable murk. A sport rather writhing foetal in a therapist&rsquo;s chair; not sure what it wanted to be beyond being certain that it wanted to be something other than it currently is.</p> <p>Reflecting this state in some part, for this 2017 campaign we had a new formula introduced. And based on the opening round in Melbourne some things about it were an improvement too. The cars looked meaner, were quicker (albeit a few wondered the extent that this should have been a priority), and coincidentally we appeared for the first time since 2012 to have a genuine multi-car fight for the drivers&rsquo; title. We know that, compared with an intra-team fight, such scraps have additional edge.</p> <p>Yet as if pressing a bubble under your wallpaper to find it pop up somewhere else, the new formula also contained new problems. Mainly that on Australia&rsquo;s basis it seemed that the new racing cars couldn&rsquo;t actually race each other. Nico Hulkenberg called it &ldquo;almost impossible&rdquo; to pass; Sergio Perez thought an advantage of two seconds a lap was required to make a place.</p> <p>But round two in China gave us tentative hope that this will not in fact be so, thanks to a scintillating Sunday&rsquo;s action there. Indeed in the space of the single hour and a half mentioned, we, if anything leapt straight to the other extreme, to feeling that for the first time in however long we were content with the racing balance struck.</p> <p>Unlike the same race 12 months previously we didn&rsquo;t get a succession of cars sailing past each other in the DRS zone, but that was a lot of the point, as instead while the total number of passes was far fewer than then many of those we got this time were thrilling &ndash; slow crescendos to desperate, brave moves in contested braking zones, featuring the possibility of attack <em>and</em> defence. It was a stark reminder of how important that is. And that quality trumps quantity.</p> <blockquote> <p>Whatever else might have been wrong with F1 in recent times driver quality has emphatically not been one of them. On the contrary, you could make the case that in terms of driving talent and the depth of it the current sport is the best F1 has ever had.</p> </blockquote> <p>Yet there was something else going on too. Not merely that F1&rsquo;s racing was, perhaps, at last getting it right. Also that vital in it all was something that existed in F1 already; China&rsquo;s race provided merely circumstances in which it could be demonstrated.&nbsp;</p> <p>Yes &ndash; whatever else might have been wrong with F1 in recent times driver quality has emphatically not been one of them (ironic given one of the audible complaints in that period has been that the modern F1 pilot has it easy). Again on the contrary, you could make the case that in terms of driving talent and the depth of it the current sport is the best F1 has ever had.</p> <p>A bold claim of course, as this current era isn&rsquo;t short of competition from history. I was one fortunate enough to get their F1 initiation in the Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell era, and era which rightfully has gone into folklore and not least due to the sheer fortune of having three such high quality drivers around at the same time. Perhaps the broad driving talent of that era peaked in 1985 when to the above you could add Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg among many others.</p> <p>The sixties and seventies meanwhile are with good reason considered treasure troves of F1 driving talent. Take the 1967 season line-up and it reads a little like a who&rsquo;s-who: Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Denny Hulme, Chris Amon, Jochen Rindt, Pedro Rodr&iacute;guez, Dan Gurney&hellip;</p> <blockquote> <p>The 1967 season line-up reads a little like a who&rsquo;s-who: Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Denny Hulme, Chris Amon, Jochen Rindt, Pedro Rodr&iacute;guez, Dan Gurney&hellip;</p> </blockquote> <p>Similar goes for 1973: Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ronnie Peterson, Fran&ccedil;ois Cevert, Peter Revson, Hulme, Carlos Reutemann, Jacky Ickx, Carlos Pace, Clay Regazzoni, Jody Scheckter as well as a young pairing going by the names of Niki Lauda and James Hunt.</p> <p>The 1982 season started with quite the star cast too: Gilles Villeneuve, Didier Pironi, Prost, Piquet, Reutemann, Rosberg, Lauda, Jacques Laffite, Rene Arnoux, John Watson&hellip; &nbsp;It might have been even better as the great Alan Jones to most people&rsquo;s surprise had retired late the previous year. Sadly also, fate &ndash; some of it tragic &ndash; took some of those stars away before very long in that season.</p> <p>And harking back to these does not merely reflect nostalgia either (though I grant you there&rsquo;s some of it in there), as history tells us too that there is no guarantee of getting an all-star cast in an F1 era. The most top of mind evidence is the time of Michael Schumacher&rsquo;s pomp. Without taking anything away from the great man, loosely between Imola 1994 and Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso emerging in the early 2000s there simply were very few other drivers around close to Schumi&rsquo;s standards. He had one worthy adversary in Mika Hakkinen, but the rest &ndash; Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya, Rubens Barrichello&hellip; &ndash; each for their own reasons were from a distinct step below.</p> <blockquote> <p>What is <em>especially</em> impressive about now is the strength, and strength in depth, of the cast around the &#39;big three&#39; of Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso.</p> </blockquote> <p>But it&rsquo;s not the case now. We can start with modern F1&rsquo;s own long-established &lsquo;big three&rsquo; drivers &ndash; Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. All are multiple world champions, and while we can (and do) bicker about their respective merits their status as greats that would be considered as such in any era, as well as their place in the sport&rsquo;s historical pantheon, surely are beyond contention. They all did themselves full justice in Shanghai.</p> <p>Yes, you may be pointing out at this point, many F1 generations have had a &lsquo;big three&rsquo;. Senna-Prost-Mansell we&rsquo;ve mentioned. But what is <em>especially</em> impressive about now is the strength, and strength in depth, of the cast around them.</p> <p>We can start with Max Verstappen of course, who even at his tender age has long confirmed his status as a phenomenon. Just as in his <em>tour de force</em> Brazil&rsquo;s rain last year, we started the recent China race with towering expectations of Max which he then exceeded. We knew after his difficult Shanghai qualifying and his lowly P16 starting slot that he was likely to provide fireworks come Sunday. What we did not anticipate was that come the end of lap one he&rsquo;d be in <em>P7</em>&hellip; Then it seemed after another blink he was running second, and although later he had to cede to Vettel&rsquo;s recovering Ferrari Max still completed the podium.</p> <p>Then we have his team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who finished on Max&rsquo;s tail in China and &ndash; lest we forget &ndash; finished 2016 in first place of many people&rsquo;s top 10 drivers&rsquo; ratings (including that of your dear author). He is a driver with everything &ndash; speed, consistency, intelligence, charisma, a fine racer&rsquo;s instinct &ndash; and one who with this hardly has an off-day or error. When he binned it in Melbourne&rsquo;s qualifying you had to rub your eyes to make sure you weren&rsquo;t imaging things. No one doubts that with tools even nearly good enough he&rsquo;d win titles.</p> <blockquote> <p>Carlos Sainz over roughly the last 12 months has been demonstrating that he is a driver of the highest order;&nbsp;Romain Grosjean in late 2013&nbsp;almost alone took the fight to the then-imperious Red Bulls and fought at the front as if born to do it;&nbsp;Hulkenberg&rsquo;s talents also have been long-known.</p> </blockquote> <p>We can stay in the rather plentiful Red Bull camp for our next mention. Carlos Sainz, who over roughly the last 12 months has been stepping out of Verstappen&rsquo;s shadow to demonstrate that he is a driver of the highest order in his own right. Fast, consistent, intelligent and error-free &ndash; he put all that and more to fine use in China, all alone starting on slick tyres on a damp track then putting in a consistent and swift drive. He finished as best of the rest behind the top three teams, well clear of all others, and even clung onto those haughty cars ahead for longer than should have been possible.</p> <p>When can scan even further down the grid too. It&rsquo;s easily forgotten but think back to the late months of 2013, when Romain Grosjean almost alone took the fight to the then-imperious Red Bulls and fought at the front as if born to do it, time after time it seemed. Given the opportunity he&rsquo;d do the same again. Pirelli has data that indicates indeed that the Franco-Swiss is the fastest through corners of everyone.</p> <p>Hulkenberg&rsquo;s talents also have been long-known, and like Grosjean his shunning by the big teams has been long-lamented. Perez too has many advocates, certainly has improved vastly over time and is capable of fine results and, with increasing regularity, fine performances. His first two rounds&rsquo; efforts this year have been excellent.</p> <p>We also should mention the Finnish pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas. Now you may be guffawing given both have had iffy starts to the 2017 campaign, but stay with me. If nothing else they must have been doing something right to get their sought-after race seats in the first place. We know that Kimi has been, and still can be, devastating when all is right.</p> <p>While Bottas remains one who is fast &ndash; especially on a qualifying lap &ndash; consistent, imperturbable and possessed of a fantastic touch on the tyres. We can recall how much we rated him in his 2014 breakthrough and it&rsquo;s hard to believe he&rsquo;s lost all of his talents in the meantime. While without what he called his &ldquo;amateur&rdquo; mistake of spinning under the safety car in China his opening two rounds could have been filed firmly under &lsquo;absolutely fine&rsquo; at the very least.</p> <blockquote> <p>As an aside we can reflect that without his 2011 rally injury we likely would have had the excellent Robert Kubica in the thick of this as well. Many, soberly, rated Kubica the very best of the very best.</p> </blockquote> <p>And while with Max around it&rsquo;s easy to lose sight of this, in addition to him and Sainz we have a wider crop of young drivers with plenty of talent and potential &ndash; Esteban Ocon, Stoffel Vandoorne, Pascal Wehrlein (remember him?). Some still put Kevin Magnussen in this category too.</p> <p>As an aside we can reflect that without his 2011 rally injury we likely would have had the excellent Robert Kubica in the thick of this as well. Many, soberly, rated Kubica the very best of the very best. Even against some of the names mentioned.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s perhaps an even bigger pity that all of this coincides with an age that, conversely, has an extreme paucity of plumb drives in which these guys can do themselves justice. Perhaps that&rsquo;s the next one of F1&rsquo;s many problems to fix&hellip;</p> Vettel edges rivals in closely-contested Bahrain FP2 sessionFri, 14 Apr 2017 16:32:19 GMT<p>Ferrari&rsquo;s Sebastian Vettel maintained a slender advantage during a tightly-contested second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Vettel posted a time of 1:31.310 on Super Soft tyres in representative twilight conditions at Sakhir to finish just 0.041s faster than Mercedes rival Valtteri Bottas, with Red Bull&#39;s Daniel Ricciardo only 0.025s further back in third place.</p> <p>Despite winding up quickest, it wasn&rsquo;t the smoothest session for Vettel, as his SF70-H slowed in the final sector at the mid-point of running, and he had to coast back towards the pit lane.</p> <p>Vettel was pushed by marshals in order to make it back to the pit lane, where Ferrari addressed the suspected mechanical issue and soon returned him to the track.</p> <p>The joint-championship leader clocked the quickest overall lap despite failing to set the ultimate pace in any of the three sectors, with Lewis Hamilton, Kimi R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen and Bottas, whose T-wing detached from his W08, sharing quickest sector times.</p> <p>R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen took fourth with Hamilton fifth, the Briton botching his first two laps on Super Soft tyres, before setting his personal best time.</p> <p>Hamilton&rsquo;s second attempt on Super Softs had to be aborted when he encountered Renault&rsquo;s Nico H&uuml;lkenberg at Turn 10, with the Mercedes driver complaining about his rival&rsquo;s actions, as he took to the run-off.</p> <p>Stewards are to investigate the incident between Hamilton and H&uuml;lkenberg, who finished one place behind his rival in sixth spot.</p> <p>Felipe Massa was seventh for Williams, having recovered from the brake problem which ended his first session, as Red Bull&rsquo;s Max Verstappen collected eighth, spending a chunk of the session in the garage.</p> <p>Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished firmly in the midfield for Haas, split by Toro Rosso&rsquo;s Daniil Kvyat, while Esteban Ocon took 12th, ahead of Jolyon Palmer, Fernando Alonso and Sergio P&eacute;rez.</p> <p>Lance Stroll was a low-key 16th, ahead of Marcus Ericsson and Carlos Sainz Jr., who endured a truncated session after stopping at Turn 11 with smoke trailing from the STR12, his stricken machine briefly necessitating the use of the Virtual Safety Car.</p> <p>Pascal Wehrlein and Stoffel Vandoorne completed the order, with the Belgian only joining the action mid-session after McLaren was forced to change the power unit in his MCL32 following an MGU-H problem during the first session.</p> <p>Vandoorne appeared for only a handful of laps before returning to the pit lane with his best effort, on Soft tyres, 2.920s down on Vettel.</p> Vettel fastest during opening Bahrain F1 sessionFri, 14 Apr 2017 12:32:05 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel put Ferrari on top during the first practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix as team-mate Kimi R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen was stranded by an engine issue.</p> <p>In exceptionally hot weather at Sakhir, with air temperatures approaching 40&deg;c, Vettel clocked a 1:32.697 on Soft tyres, to finish four-tenths clear of Red Bull&rsquo;s Daniel Ricciardo.</p> <p>However, while Vettel finished quickest, R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen had to sit out the final 50 minutes of the session, losing substantial track time, after he slowed with smoke trailing from the rear of his SF70-H.</p> <p>R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen parked along the straight between Turns 13 and 14 and walked back to the paddock, with Ferrari later confirming that an overheating turbo was the reason for his stoppage.</p> <p>Max Verstappen finished third for Red Bull, 0.869s behind Vettel, as Mercedes opted not to set rapid times in the unrepresentative conditions.</p> <p>Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top 10, 1.939s off the pace, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas placed 14<sup>th</sup>, a few tenths further back.</p> <p>Sergio P&eacute;rez claimed fourth for Force India, in front of Williams pair Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, the Brazilian&rsquo;s session coming to a dramatic end when he suffered a brake failure at Turn 13.</p> <p>Massa was pitched into a spin but came to a safe halt in the run-off and was able to slowly recover to the pit lane.</p> <p>Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean and the aforementioned Hamilton completed the top 10.</p> <p>McLaren&#39;s Stoffel Vandoorne stopped on track exiting Turn 10 with 20 minutes remaining, amid a suspected loss of power, leaving him unable to complete the entire session.</p> <p>Pascal Wehrlein returned to Formula 1 action with Sauber and finished 18<sup>th</sup>, within a tenth of a second of team-mate Marcus Ericsson.</p> <!--?=practiceDriversTable(2,1,24)?--> Boullier hails Jenson Button’s Monaco F1 returnFri, 14 Apr 2017 10:14:31 GMT<p>McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier has hailed Jenson Button as a &ldquo;class act&rdquo; and believes the Briton will not have lost any of his form when he returns to Formula 1 in Monaco next month.</p> <p>McLaren confirmed on Friday that <a href="">Button will make a one-off comeback to participate in the Monaco Grand Prix</a>, due to Fernando Alonso&rsquo;s clashing Indianapolis 500 commitments.</p> <p>Button retired from Formula 1 at the end of 2016 but remained under contract at McLaren as an ambassador, and Boullier reckons his return is positive for all involved.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was truly delighted when Jenson accepted our suggestion that he race at Monaco instead of Fernando,&rdquo; said Boullier.</p> <p>&ldquo;I know I speak on behalf of everyone at McLaren-Honda, and all our sponsor-partners and fans too, when I say that it&rsquo;s great news for Jenson, for McLaren, for Honda, for our sponsor-partners, for Monaco, and for the sport of Formula 1.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Jenson is a class act. He&rsquo;s a superb driver &ndash; fast, smooth and precise &ndash; and he won&rsquo;t have lost any of his competitive edge over the past few months.</p> <p>&ldquo;After all, he&rsquo;s missed only a handful of Grands Prix since his last outing in Abu Dhabi in late November last year, and he&rsquo;s as fit as a fiddle.</p> <p>&ldquo;Also, he&rsquo;s always been good at Monaco. He&rsquo;ll do a great job for us, I&rsquo;m sure of that.&rdquo;</p> <p>Alonso will return to Formula 1 for the Canadian Grand Prix in June.</p> Button to replace Fernando Alonso for Monaco GPFri, 14 Apr 2017 09:01:32 GMT<p>Jenson Button will return to Formula 1 for next month&rsquo;s Monaco Grand Prix, as Fernando Alonso&rsquo;s one-off replacement, McLaren has confirmed.</p> <p>Alonso will compete at the Indianapolis 500 this year, with a one-car McLaren team, run by Andretti, and powered by Honda, meaning he has to skip the Monaco Grand Prix.</p> <p>McLaren confirmed on Friday that Button, who remains under contract as an ambassador, will come out of retirement to pilot the MCL32, alongside Stoffel Vandoorne, around the streets of the Principality. &nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m thrilled to be making a one-off return to Formula 1 racing, and I couldn&rsquo;t think of a better place to make that return than my adopted home Grand Prix: Monaco,&quot; said Button</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve won the race before, in 2009, and it&rsquo;s one of my all-time favourite racetracks. It&rsquo;s a tricky street circuit on which a good driver can really make a difference &ndash; and, although the McLaren-Honda MCL32 hasn&rsquo;t begun the season well, I think it may be more suited to Monaco than to the faster circuits that Fernando and Stoffel have raced it on so far this season.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;OK, I realise we won&rsquo;t have a realistic chance of repeating my 2009 victory, but I think we&rsquo;ll have an opportunity to score world championship points, which will be very valuable to the team in terms of constructors&rsquo; rankings.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;As for Fernando, I hope he not only fares well at Indy but enjoys it too. It&rsquo;ll be a great experience for him. He&rsquo;s an excellent driver, as we all know, and he&rsquo;s very experienced, so, although super-speedway driving techniques will be all-new to him, I expect him to get to grips with it all pretty quickly.</p> <p>&quot;And on Sunday evening, after the Monaco Grand Prix, I&rsquo;ll sit down and watch [Fernando] do his stuff on TV. I&rsquo;m looking forward to that too.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;But most of all I&rsquo;m looking forward to pitting myself against the unique racing challenge that is the Monaco Grand Prix. I&rsquo;ll drive the MCL32 around Monaco in the McLaren sim beforehand, and I reckon I&rsquo;ll be ready for the race after doing that.&quot;</p> <p>Alonso will return to Formula 1 for the Canadian Grand Prix to complete the remainder of the season.</p> <p>McLaren also confirmed that Vandoorne and Oliver Turvey will share duties during next week&#39;s in-season test in Bahrain.</p> Magnussen sure Haas F1 can maintain formThu, 13 Apr 2017 16:21:36 GMT<p>Kevin Magnussen is confident that Haas can maintain its current form, following an encouraging start to the 2017 Formula 1 campaign.</p> <p>Magnussen&rsquo;s team-mate, Romain Grosjean, qualified sixth in Australia and raced in seventh place before retiring, while Magnussen surged to eighth, scoring his first points for Haas, in China last weekend.</p> <p>Magnussen&rsquo;s result lifted Haas to seventh in the Constructors&rsquo; Championship and he is optimistic that the team can compete for points once more this weekend in Bahrain.</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t see any reason why it wouldn&rsquo;t be as good as China, or even Melbourne,&rdquo; he said of the upcoming event at Sakhir.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we have a good car that works well in most conditions and I think, as I said, there&rsquo;s no reason why we shouldn&rsquo;t be able to perform here.</p> <p>&ldquo;The midfield is very close and competitive, so getting points, you really need to be on top of everything.</p> <p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s our target: to be on top of everything and to try and score points again &ndash; but it&rsquo;s not easy.&rdquo;</p> <p>Magnussen also reckons Haas can perform strongly despite the small size of its team, compared to more esteemed rivals.</p> <p>&ldquo;In some situations, it&rsquo;s difficult when you&rsquo;re small,&rdquo; Magnussen said of Haas.</p> <p>&ldquo;For example, when we need to go into FP3 with no practice; when we miss Friday like we did in China, it&rsquo;s not easy because our preparation before the race weekend is not as strong as the big teams, of course.</p> <p>&ldquo;But, we react quickly and we take decisions well and, as I said, if everything goes well, I think we should be strong.&rdquo;</p> Esteban Ocon's guide to the Bahrain GP circuitThu, 13 Apr 2017 14:13:48 GMT<p>Force India driver Esteban Ocon gives us his guide to the Sakhir International Circuit, the home of this weekend&#39;s Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> plays down prospect of additional IndyCar appearancesThu, 13 Apr 2017 13:44:39 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso has insisted that his participation in the Indianapolis 500 will be a &ldquo;one-off&rdquo; and will not be enticed to compete in further events in the championship this year.</p> <p>Alonso will enter the prestigious race in a one-car McLaren team, run by Andretti Autosports and powered by Honda engines, meaning he will skip the clashing Monaco Grand Prix.</p> <p>Alonso will return to Formula 1 for the Canadian Grand Prix, but has dismissed the prospect of additional IndyCar races.</p> <p>&ldquo;No, I don&rsquo;t think so, I think it&rsquo;s one off,&rdquo; he told Motorsport Week when the prospect of additional IndyCar events was mooted.</p> <p>&ldquo;I will do the Indy 500, it&rsquo;s the race, the biggest race in the world, the fastest in the world, after that, especially after Indy and Canada, I will be two weeks in the living room watching TV and relaxing!&rdquo;</p> <p>Alonso also insisted that his participation in this year&rsquo;s Indianapolis 500 is not as a consequence of McLaren&rsquo;s lack of competitiveness in Formula 1.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s true that it&rsquo;s a good motivation, the possibility to win a big race, a big trophy like Indy 500 in the middle of the year,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is like winning a world championship in one weekend, so you have two possibilities in one year, so it is very attractive.</p> <p>&ldquo;But it&rsquo;s not that it came to our minds this year [because] we are struggling or [because] last year, the last two years we [have been] uncompetitive.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s something I keep repeating since 2014, when I was at Ferrari, I was talking about this possibility to [Marco] Mattiacci and people in Ferrari, even [suggesting] racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a 458.</p> <p>&ldquo;So you [could] compete in two different categories in the same year, it&rsquo;s nothing new because of the performance of this year.&rdquo;</p> Hamilton wants to try MotoGP, Daytona; hopes Jenson Button returnsThu, 13 Apr 2017 13:02:32 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says he would like to sample a MotoGP race, or the Daytona 500, off the back of Fernando Alonso&rsquo;s planned Indianapolis 500 entry next month.</p> <p>It was announced on Wednesday that Alonso will make his debut at the Indianapolis 500 with an Andretti-run McLaren team, powered by Honda engines.</p> <p>Alonso will miss the corresponding Monaco Grand Prix as a result and triple F1 champion Hamilton says he would like to dabble in other forms of motorsport, if given the opportunity.</p> <p>&ldquo;I wouldn&rsquo;t miss out on any of the races in Formula 1, I&rsquo;d definitely continue to do all the races,&rdquo; Hamilton said when asked by Motorsport Week.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I&rsquo;d like to do MotoGP, I would like to ride a MotoGP bike, and probably a NASCAR race like the Daytona 500 maybe.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hamilton added that he hopes former team-mate Jenson Button will return for the Monaco Grand Prix in place of Indianapolis-bound Alonso.</p> <p>Button, who stepped back from a race seat at the end of 2016, remains under contract as part of an &lsquo;innovative three-driver strategy&rsquo; announced by McLaren last year, but a decision on Alonso&rsquo;s substitute has not yet been made.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s pretty cool he&rsquo;s [Alonso] doing it, I hope Jenson comes back, I think it&rsquo;d be great for the sport to have Jenson back in,&quot; Hamilton said of Button.</p> <p>&ldquo;I like Jenson and I think he&rsquo;s still one of the best drivers, his calibre is still higher than any other driver able to take that spot for sure.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hamilton raced alongside Button at McLaren between 2010 and 2012, prior to the younger Briton&#39;s switch to Mercedes.</p> Wehrlein hits back at critics over F1 absenceThu, 13 Apr 2017 12:28:54 GMT<p>Sauber&#39;s Pascal Wehrlein has hit back at critics who have suggested that the youngster should have attempted to race in Australia and China.</p> <p>Wehrlein sustained a back injury at the Race of Champions in January, which impacted on his training regime, and while he returned for the second pre-season test, he withdrew from the Australian Grand Prix after Friday&#39;s practice sessions, citing a lack of fitness.</p> <p>Wehrlein missed the Chinese Grand Prix but has returned for this weekend&#39;s third round of the season in Bahrain, and has responded to comments from some quarters that he should have attempted to compete.</p> <p>&quot;I don&#39;t care too much what the others said, because they didn&#39;t know my situation,&quot; Wehrlein is quoted by <em></em>.</p> <p>&quot;And they were commenting on my situation. I think for me it was the right decision, and it was felt together with Monisha [Kaltenborn] and with Toto [Wolff]. What the others drivers think, it&#39;s their opinion.</p> <p>&quot;If you don&#39;t know which injury someone had, you shouldn&#39;t criticise him. It&#39;s quite simple, you know.</p> <p>&quot;The injury wasn&#39;t something too serious, because I&#39;m fine now, but if it was just some muscle pain, or anything else, do you think that Sauber or Mercedes would accept for me to not drive? Some negative comments I heard. I don&#39;t mind too much.</p> <p>Wehrlein added that he is sure he will be able to complete the entirety of the race weekend at Sakhir.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s my first race this year, and normally the more races you do, the easier it gets,&quot; he commented.</p> <p>&quot;But otherwise I think I will be fine in the car. [I have] no pain, that&#39;s the most important thing. The track is also quite flat, not many bumps. It&#39;s just a bit hot, but otherwise it&#39;s OK.&quot;</p> Brown: Initial idea of Fernando Alonso racing Indy 500 was a jokeThu, 13 Apr 2017 10:54:48 GMT<p>McLaren&rsquo;s executive director Zak Brown has admitted the initial idea of Fernando Alonso racing the Indianapolis 500 was suggested as a joke.</p> <p>The two-time Formula 1 champion will miss the Monaco Grand Prix to race in the Indy 500, with McLaren fielding a car, which will be run by Andretti Autosports and powered by a Honda engine.</p> <p>Alonso&rsquo;s one-off IndyCar deal was completed quickly but Brown has now revealed the first mention of the Indy 500 was suggested as a joke.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is one of those where one of your jokes has some truth in it,&rdquo; he said at a press conference. &ldquo;I said to Fernando pre-Australia: &#39;Hey one of these days we should do Indy together.&#39;</p> <p>&ldquo;He joked back and I thought I had thrown the bait in the water and would leave it at that. But when Fernando and I were with Eric [Boullier] and Honda in Australia, it came up in conversation.</p> <p>&ldquo;Fernando brought it up and said: &#39;Honda had an unbelievably great history at the Speedway and I have a dream to win the Triple Crown. I wanted to do Le Mans in the past and would love to do Indy with you.&#39;&rdquo;</p> <p>Alonso thought the plan would be to race the 2018 Indy 500, thinking this year&rsquo;s event was too close, having thought about the idea across the course of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.</p> <p>&ldquo;We talked a bit more serious about this, and we decided if this is going to happen it had to be made by tomorrow [Saturday], the decision,&quot; Alonso said.</p> <p>&ldquo;I said &#39;I will sleep tonight&#39; on Friday and on Saturday I would make a decision. On Saturday I arrived at the circuit and said, &#39;Yes this is a good decision for everyone: a win, win for myself, for F1, the fans, everyone&#39;.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was not completely sure on Saturday in China if it was still possible to make it so quick, but we had a huge help from Indy, from the Speedway, from the promoter and together with Zak&#39;s contacts and Andretti Autosport. They helped everything become real in two days.&rdquo;</p> Wolff expects 'ping-pong battle' with Ferrari in 2017Thu, 13 Apr 2017 09:43:04 GMT<p>Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says he is expecting the team to have a &ldquo;ping-pong battle&rdquo; with Ferrari throughout the 2017 Formula 1 season.</p> <p>Ferrari&rsquo;s Sebastian Vettel secured victory in Australia, but Mercedes bounced back in China with Lewis Hamilton taking the win.</p> <p>The Mercedes W08 and Ferrari SF70H have looked closely matched on track so far and Wolff is anticipating an intense battle this year.</p> <p>Vettel and Hamilton head into this weekend&rsquo;s Bahrain Grand Prix level on points in the drivers&rsquo; standings.</p> <p>&ldquo;China was a great way to hit back in the battle with Ferrari,&rdquo; Wolff said. &ldquo;We are very close on pace and I expect a bit of a ping-pong battle through the season, depending on the track.</p> <p>&ldquo;That&#39;s exciting for everyone.</p> <p>&nbsp;&ldquo;What we have in 2017 is the perfect situation for the fans and also for us as a team. We are all racers and we are all properly excited for this fight.</p> <p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Two races into the season and now it is 1:1 between Mercedes and Ferrari. And after racing on a very different circuit, in very different conditions, it&#39;s clear that we are very closely matched - and that small margins will make the difference.</p> <p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Our one point lead in the constructors&#39; championship is anything but a comfortable margin.</p> <p>&ldquo;We need to - and we will - keep working with everything we have got to develop our car, correct our errors and continue improving.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our mindset is that of the underdog - not the champion. And the fight has just begun.&rdquo;</p> Rowland signs as development driver at Renault F1Thu, 13 Apr 2017 09:23:25 GMT<p>Formula 2 racer Oliver Rowland has been announced as the Renault Formula 1 team&rsquo;s development driver for the 2017 season.</p> <p>Rowland joined the revived Renault Sport Academy at the start of last year and spent time doing simulator work with the team.</p> <p>The British driver will race in the newly rebranded F2 series this year for the DAMS team, with the season getting underway this weekend in Bahrain.</p> <p>Having won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship in 2015, he made the step up to GP2 &ndash; now F2 &ndash; full-time in 2016 with MP Motorsport, ending the year ninth in the standings, with four podiums.</p> <p>Rowland will complete a simulator programme and on-track running with Renault as part of his development role, but his F1 running has not yet been confirmed.</p> <p>&ldquo;My aim has always been to get a role in Formula 1 so it&rsquo;s great to see all my hard work pay off,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;The Renault Sport Academy was the perfect training ground and the role of development driver is another great step after being within the Renault family for so many years with Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5 and then the Academy too.</p> <p>&ldquo;I learnt a lot last year including working at Enstone in the simulator, so I feel well prepared for this role.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m proud to be part of the team and I&rsquo;ll be working hard to do everything I can to assist the team in their development of the RS17.&rdquo;</p> <p>Renault also has Sergey Sirotkin, third in last year&#39;s GP2 standings, on its books as test driver.</p> Brown expects Fernando Alonso to be competitive at Indianapolis 500Wed, 12 Apr 2017 11:41:10 GMT<p>McLaren chief Zak Brown says he expects Fernando Alonso to &quot;be in the mix&quot; when the Spaniard makes his debut at the Indianapolis 500 next month.</p> <p>McLaren announced on Wednesday that it will field a one-car team for Alonso at the event, which will be run by Andretti Autosport and supplied by Honda engines.</p> <p>Alonso has never competed on a super-speedway oval but Brown cited Alexander Rossi&#39;s rookie triumph with Andretti in 2016 as just cause for optimism.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m particularly delighted to have been able to bring McLaren back to Indianapolis in my very first year as McLaren&rsquo;s Executive Director,&quot; said Brown.</p> <p>&quot;Michael [Andretti] is an old friend of mine, and a man I respect enormously, and his Andretti Autosport organisation is one of the best in the business.</p> <p>&quot;Michael is a winner &ndash; indeed his team won the Indy 500 last year with Alexander Rossi, who will be one of Fernando&rsquo;s team-mates at Indy next month &ndash; and I couldn&rsquo;t be happier that Fernando will be making his IndyCar debut in one of Michael&rsquo;s cars.</p> <p>&ldquo;Equally, this project wouldn&rsquo;t have been possible without Honda&rsquo;s support and encouragement.</p> <p>&quot;And our car &ndash; the McLaren-Honda-Andretti &ndash; will be decked out in the papaya orange livery made famous by our founder Bruce McLaren, and in which Johnny Rutherford drove McLaren IndyCars to Indy 500 victory in both 1974 and 1976.</p> <p>&ldquo;Could Fernando win this year&rsquo;s Indy 500? Well, I wouldn&rsquo;t be so silly as to make any such rash prediction, but I expect him to be in the mix. Put it this way: the team he&rsquo;ll be racing for won the race last year, using the same Honda engine, and he&rsquo;s the best racing driver in the world.</p> <p>&quot;That&rsquo;s quite a compelling combination. So, yes, as I say, he&rsquo;ll be in the mix.</p> <p>&quot;OK, equally, he&rsquo;ll have his work cut out to acclimatise to running at super-speedway velocities, but ultimately it&rsquo;s quality that counts in all forms of motorsport, and Fernando is very definitely quality. He&rsquo;s ballsy and brave too.&quot;</p> Alonso to miss Monaco GP, will race Indy 500Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:23:02 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso will miss the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix to compete in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>McLaren will enter a single car in the famous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, powered by Honda and run by the Andretti Autosport team.</p> <p>It will be Alonso&rsquo;s first Indy 500, but the race takes place on the same weekend as the Monaco Grand Prix.</p> <p>McLaren has confirmed it will be Alonso&rsquo;s only IndyCar race this year, and will announce who will take his F1 seat for Monaco in due course; the team still has Jenson Button, who bowed out of the sport last season, under contract as an ambassador.</p> <p>Andretti claimed victory at last year&#39;s Indy 500 with rookie Alexander Rossi, following the American&#39;s brief stint in F1 with Manor Marussia.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m immensely excited that I&rsquo;ll be racing in this year&rsquo;s Indy 500, with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport,&rdquo; Alonso said.</p> <p>&ldquo;The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivalled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix, and it&rsquo;s of course a regret of mine that I won&rsquo;t be able to race at Monaco this year.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve never raced an IndyCar car before, and neither have I ever driven on a super-speedway, but I&rsquo;m confident that I&rsquo;ll get to grips with it fast.</p> <p>&ldquo;I realise I&rsquo;ll be on a steep learning curve, but I&rsquo;ll be flying to Indianapolis from Barcelona immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix, practising our McLaren-Honda-Andretti car at Indy from May 15th onwards.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve won the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and it&rsquo;s one of my ambitions to win the Triple Crown [the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours], which has been achieved by only one driver in the history of motorsport: Graham Hill.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a tough challenge, but I&rsquo;m up for it. I don&rsquo;t know when I&rsquo;m going to race at Le Mans, but one day I intend to. I&rsquo;m only 35: I&rsquo;ve got plenty of time for that.&rdquo;</p> <p>Alonso will be Andretti&#39;s sixth entry at this year&#39;s Indianapolis 500, with the team also fielding Ryan Hunter-Reay, Takuma Sato, Marco Andretti, Rossi, and Jack Harvey.</p>'s return to Formula 1 calendar 'agreed in principle'Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:09:29 GMT<p>Turkey&#39;s Istanbul Park could return to the Formula 1 calendar as soon as next year after new Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey met with the country&#39;s president to discuss the matter.</p> <p>Turkey last hosted a race in 2011 before a financial dispute saw the contract cancelled. However a potential deal to revive the race was discussed on Tuesday between Carey and president&nbsp;Recep Tayyip Erdogan.</p> <p>Also present at the meeting were&nbsp;track operator Vural Ak, Turkey&#39;s motorsport governing&nbsp;body chief Serkan Yazici, and minister of youth and sports Akif Cagatay Kilic.</p> <p>Although no deal was signed during the discussion, it&#39;s reported a return to Istanbul Park was &quot;agreed in principle&quot; according to Ak.</p> <p>&quot;We had a meeting in Ankara earlier today with the President and Chase Carey from Liberty Media, whom I previously invited to Turkey personally before,&quot;&nbsp;he added.</p> <p>&ldquo;All I can say at this point is that the meetings went really well and we agreed in principle [a return]. Although the contract hasn&#39;t been signed yet.&quot;</p> <p>Should Turkey rejoin the calendar next yearm, it would see a record-breaking 22-events, despite the loss of Malaysia, with the addition of France and Germany confirmed.</p> Wehrlein to make F1 return in BahrainTue, 11 Apr 2017 15:10:35 GMT<p>Sauber has announced that Pascal Wehrlein will return to Formula 1 action at the third round of the season in Bahrain this weekend.</p> <p>Wehrlein sustained a back injury at the Race of Champions in January and he was ruled out of the first pre-season test in Spain, but was given the green light to drive during the second test.</p> <p>The Mercedes-backed youngster completed Friday&#39;s practice sessions in Australia, but withdrew amid fitness concerns, with his training regime having been hit by the effects of his injury, and was replaced by Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi.</p> <p>Giovinazzi retained the Sauber drive in China as Wehrlein improved his fitness levels, but Sauber has now confirmed that the German will pilot the C36-Ferrari at Sakhir this weekend, alongside Marcus Ericsson.</p> <p>Wehrlein moved across to Sauber for 2017, having completed his rookie year with the now-defunct Manor team last season.</p> <p>Giovinazzi, who finished 12th in Australia but crashed out heavily in damp conditions in China, will return to his role as Ferrari&#39;s reserve driver.</p> Vandoorne hopes prior Bahrain experience aids progressTue, 11 Apr 2017 10:38:21 GMT<p>McLaren-Honda driver Stoffel Vandoorne is hopeful that his experience at the Sakhir Circuit will be beneficial in Bahrain this weekend, though remains wary of the progress still required by the team.</p> <p>Vandoorne entered the opening two rounds in Australia and China without prior track experience at the venues, though the 25-year-old has raced in Bahrain in both GP2 and Formula 1.</p> <p>Vandoorne won three races from six starts at Sakhir in GP2, and added a further two podium finishes, while last year he made his Formula 1 debut for McLaren, in place of Fernando Alonso, after the Spaniard&rsquo;s high-speed crash in Australia.</p> <p>Vandoorne out-qualified then team-mate Jenson Button and went on to score a point by finishing in 10<sup>th</sup> position.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have lots of good memories from the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend in 2016,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re a year on now, I&rsquo;m a full-time McLaren-Honda driver, and I&rsquo;ve already gained a lot more experience in the past 12 months, so of course my aim is to work hard and improve every time I arrive at a grand prix.</p> <p>&ldquo;The most important thing for me is mileage, and the weather will surely be better in Bahrain than it was in Shanghai, so I&rsquo;m hoping to do as many laps as possible over the weekend.</p> <p>&ldquo;It helps that I know this track well and I won there twice in 2015 in GP2, so I&rsquo;m already comfortable with the layout and therefore it&rsquo;s a case of building on what I already know.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We were always expecting a difficult weekend in China, and I don&rsquo;t know if it will get a lot better in Bahrain &ndash; it&rsquo;s only one week later and there&rsquo;s obviously a limit to how many changes we can apply in that time, but we&rsquo;ll do our best as usual.</p> <p>&ldquo;The car is definitely improving and both Fernando and I feel confident and competitive, especially in the corners, so we&rsquo;ll have to wait and see what&rsquo;s possible at this track.&rdquo;</p> Raikkonen admits Chinese GP result 'far from ideal'Mon, 10 Apr 2017 10:04:51 GMT<p>Kimi R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen says a distant fifth place at the Chinese Grand Prix was a &ldquo;far from ideal&rdquo; result after struggling with the front end of his Ferrari SF70H.</p> <p>The Finnish driver started the race from fourth on the grid in damp conditions but lost a place to Red Bull rival Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap, before making ground through the pit stop phase, as drivers switched to slick tyres.</p> <p>However, R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen slipped behind Max Verstappen and his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel as the race progressed, and was unable to overhaul Ricciardo, a feat Vettel managed within a handful of laps.</p> <p>Alongside his front end struggles, R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen also admitted Ferrari should have serviced him sooner during the second pit stop phase, having kept him out for longer than his rivals.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was not a very strong race, the car felt good with fresh tyres, but we seemed to lose the front very quickly and I was struggling,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;In a place like this that&rsquo;s very tricky and gives a lot of lap time away.</p> <p>&ldquo;I feel that, even with that, we should have had a better result: maybe we could have changed the tyres a bit earlier.</p> <p>&ldquo;But it&rsquo;s always easy to speak after the race, now we have look at the data and understand.</p> <p>&ldquo;This result is far from ideal but this is what we have got, hopefully next week we can make things better.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has now said the team <a href="">needs to sit down with the 2007 F1 world champion</a> and find out why his form has dropped.</p> Verstappen 'never expected' podium from 16th on gridMon, 10 Apr 2017 09:54:05 GMT<p>Red Bull driver Max Verstappen says he never expected to finish on the podium at the Chinese Grand Prix, having started from 16th place on the grid.</p> <p>Verstappen enjoyed a storming start in damp conditions and was seventh before the end of the first lap, before making quick progress up the order, as drivers switched to slick tyres.</p> <p>He made his way up to second place shortly after the race restart, via moves Ferrari&#39;s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, but later lost a place to Sebastian Vettel after a lock-up into the hairpin.</p> <p>Verstappen came under intense pressure from his Ricciardo across the closing laps but managed to hold him off to take third.</p> <p>&ldquo;No, of course not, I didn&rsquo;t expect that at all,&rdquo; he said when asked if he thought a podium was possible. &ldquo;If we could score some nice points that would be positive but then the first lap was very challenging.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think I passed nine cars. So that&rsquo;s not too bad. From there on I think we made the right call with the change of tyres to slicks. It&rsquo;s a bit of a gamble but it worked out.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was a bit cautious to not go too early and it paid off. Then I was in a good position afterwards. I managed to get past Daniel in Turn 6 and then I was building a gap.</p> <p>&ldquo;But then straight away I felt the balance of the car was a bit limited to the front so I was destroying the left front and I couldn&rsquo;t get the car to turn.</p> <p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s what basically happened when Sebastian was behind me, just under braking, very difficult, locked up and went wide. Then had quite a big flat-spot. Tried to continue for one lap but then I decided to box.</p> <p>&ldquo;I knew the last stint would be very hard with which lap I stopped, but I managed to stay in third and that&rsquo;s, of course, very positive, especially after starting 16th. It was a great and entertaining race, I think.&rdquo;</p> <p>Verstappen&#39;s podium elevated him to third place in the Drivers&#39; championship.</p> Bottas explains his 2017 Mercedes F1 steering wheelMon, 10 Apr 2017 09:51:44 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas talks us through his Formula 1 steering wheel for the 2017 season, while in the garage at the Shanghai International Circuit.</p> Hamilton wants Red Bull to join title fight for excitement boostMon, 10 Apr 2017 09:44:27 GMT<p>Lewis Hamilton says he hopes Red Bull can join the lead battle with Mercedes and Ferrari in the 2017 Formula 1 season.</p> <p>The British driver took victory at the Chinese Grand Prix, drawing level on points in the drivers&rsquo; standings with Australian Grand Prix&nbsp;race winner Sebastian Vettel.</p> <p>Mercedes and Ferrari looked evenly matched in Shanghai, with Red Bull a little way further back &ndash; despite Max Verstappen charging to third place from 16th on the grid.</p> <p>Hamilton is hopeful Red Bull can join Mercedes and Ferrari at the front of the field and form a three-way battle for the championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s good to have a younger person around and yeah, Max has obviously done a fantastic job since he&rsquo;s been in the sport,&rdquo; he said when asked about Verstappen.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think he&rsquo;s been a real breath of fresh air for everyone so obviously he&rsquo;s got a great following and he&rsquo;s definitely been in some great situations in some races.</p> <p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s really maximised above and beyond in those, which is why he gets driver of the day.&rdquo;</p> <p>He added: &ldquo;Honestly, I hope that Red Bull can improve through the season because I think a third element in the fight, I think would be even more exciting.&rdquo;</p> <p>Verstappen admitted Red Bull are a little lonely in third place, with the two rivals too far ahead and the rest of the back some distance off behind.</p> <p>&ldquo;On true pace, both Ferrari and Mercedes should be ahead with both of their drivers so we still need to work very hard to catch up,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think at the moment we&rsquo;re a bit in a lonely competition because in front of us they are too quick and behind us they are too slow.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are working really hard and trying to close the gap but it&rsquo;s not that easy. But we&rsquo;ll keep pushing hard.&rdquo;</p> Grosjean frustrated by lost time early in Chinese GPMon, 10 Apr 2017 09:33:52 GMT<p>Haas driver Romain Grosjean says he left frustrated by the Sauber drivers after losing time during the early stages of the Chinese Grand Prix.</p> <p>He described his grid penalty for failing to slow for Antonio Giovinazzi&rsquo;s crashed car in Q1 a &ldquo;joke&rdquo; and he lost ground after the Italian&rsquo;s accident in the opening laps of the race.</p> <p>Grosjean said he then lost further time behind Marcus Ericsson on the safety car restart, with the Swede leaving too big a gap between his Sauber and the car ahead.</p> <p>&ldquo;Yesterday [Saturday] was a bit of a joke and in the race the same guy crashed in front of me on the straight line, so I had to stop,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;I lost a lot of time.</p> <p>&ldquo;Then Ericsson at the restart left miles ahead of the car in front of me. I don&rsquo;t know what he was doing, so I was already on the back foot.</p> <p>&ldquo;[Esteban] Ocon pushed me on the first lap. I lost half of the right-hand side of the car. From there I just pushed as hard as I could.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had some good lap times. We were doing a decent job, but it was already too late. It was not easy on strategy. The guys did the best job they could.&rdquo;</p> <p>Grosjean finished 11th, while team-mate Kevin Magnussen delighted in eighth place, the first ever points for his side of the Haas garage.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a good race,&quot; said Magnussen. &quot;I had fun out there and I had a good car all the way through the race.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was able to look after the front tyres, which I think was key, along with working with the team to get the car in the right window. The race was really well managed from the team.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s so much more fun when you&rsquo;re fighting in the points. I&rsquo;m happy for the team and we&rsquo;re looking forward to the coming races.&quot;</p> <p>Haas moved up to seventh in the standings as a result of Magnussen&#39;s points.</p> Stroll: 'The corner was mine' in Sergio Perez clashMon, 10 Apr 2017 09:31:22 GMT<p>Williams rookie Lance Stroll believes he had the advantage at Turn 10 during his first-lap clash with Force India&#39;s Sergio P&eacute;rez that took him out of the Chinese Grand Prix.</p> <p>Stroll, having qualified in 10th place, battled with the slow-starting P&eacute;rez around the opening lap, though their lines converged through the left-hander at Turn 10.</p> <p>Stroll&rsquo;s Williams was pitched off track and into the gravel with terminal damage, marking his second straight retirement, while P&eacute;rez was able to continue and finished the race in ninth place at the Shanghai International Circuit.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was hit from the rear at Turn 10 and that was the end of my race,&rdquo; Stroll explained. &ldquo;I was in front, knew the corner was mine and had to turn in eventually.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was just unfortunate as that was my race over. I got hit and then the car was broken, most likely with a puncture and damaged suspension.</p> <p>&ldquo;While it was difficult, we have some positives to take out of the weekend, as the qualifying was good even if the race was not what we wanted.&rdquo;</p> <p>P&eacute;rez added his thoughts on the clash: &ldquo;It feels great to come away from an entertaining race with some more points. The start of the race was not easy because I made a very poor start and lost five or six places before turn one.</p> <p>&ldquo;As soon as I dropped the clutch, I went into wheel spin. I recovered some places during lap one, but then there was contact with Stroll in Turn 10, which gave me a puncture. I don&rsquo;t think he saw me on the inside because he didn&rsquo;t give me any space.&rdquo;</p> Hulkenberg picks up four penalty points in ChinaMon, 10 Apr 2017 09:26:04 GMT<p>Renault driver Nico H&uuml;lkenberg picked up four penalty points during the course of Sunday&rsquo;s Chinese Grand Prix.</p> <p>The German racer was penalised for passing under the virtual safety car and the following safety car phase, caused by incidents for Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi respectively.</p> <p>H&uuml;lkenberg was also given five and 10-second time penalties for the incidents; he was deemed to have overtaken Haas&#39; Romain Grosjean during the VSC and Sauber&#39;s Marcus Ericsson behind the safety car.</p> <p>H&uuml;lkenberg started from an encouraging seventh, securing Renault&#39;s first Q3 slot since it operated as Lotus in 2015, but his race quickly unravelled and he ended up finishing in 12th place.</p> <p>With his penalty points from China, H&uuml;lkenberg&rsquo;s 12-month tally moves up to six, although two of those will be removed from his license next week.</p> <p>Force India&#39;s Sergio P&eacute;rez and Red Bull&#39;s Daniel Ricciardo were also punished as they both failed to attend the national anthem at the required time on the grid.</p> <p>They were each given a reprimand; it is P&eacute;rez&rsquo;s second reprimand of the current 2017 F1 season and Ricciardo&rsquo;s first.</p> <p>Drivers will receive a 10-place grid penalty for the current or next event if they collect three reprimands during the course of a season.</p> The best photos from the 2017 Chinese GPSun, 09 Apr 2017 23:53:05 GMT<p>Check out the very best images from the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix, from the Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai.</p> <p>If you&#39;re not redirected automatically, please <a href="">click here</a>.</p> 210 of Motorsport Monday is out now - Hamilton draws level in ChinaSun, 09 Apr 2017 23:40:00 GMT<p><strong>Issue 210&nbsp;of our free weekly magazine, Motorsport Monday, is online now and packed full of great content&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">click here</a>, or the&nbsp;link below to start reading.</strong></p> <p>Lewis Hamilton was on fire&nbsp;on Sunday&nbsp;at the Shanghai International Circuit where he completed another Grand Slam weekend, taking pole position please leading the race from light to flag. Read Joe Sward and Phil Horton&#39;s reports on how he did it.</p> <p>Meanwhile Jerry Williams was on an island in the Mediterranean; Corsica to be precise. Read his report on how Thierry Neuville became the fourth different winner in the first four 2017 WRC events.&nbsp;But it&nbsp;wasn&#39;t an ideal weekend for most of the other championship contenders however!</p> <p>And this week we spoil you for action from the USA with a choice of Daniel Lloyd&#39;s IMSA WeatherTech report from Long Beach on just how the Taylor brothers&nbsp;completed a hat trick two different ways. Also from Long Beach, our new IndyCar reporter Andy Young tells&nbsp;readers just how close it was when the Hinch took his first win in nearly two years in Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix. Lots of action, enjoy!</p> <p><strong><a href=""><img alt="" height="127" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Magazine/click-to-read.png" width="800" /></a></strong></p> president says Kimi Raikkonen's form needs to be discussedSun, 09 Apr 2017 17:28:11 GMT<p>Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says the team must sit down with driver Kimi R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen and find out why his form is lacking, after the Finn was once again comprehensively outpaced by team-mate Sebastian Vettel.</p> <p>In Australia&nbsp;R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen qualified four-tenths off Vettel&#39;s time and finished fourth whilst the German won the race. In China, R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen was only two-tenths adrift, but struggled ito fifth in the race, amid complaints over engine settings and being kept out on used tyres.</p> <p>Vettel, meanwhile, recovered from sixth spot to finish second, passing his team-mate at Turn 6.</p> <p>When asked about&nbsp;R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen&#39;s pace during the middle part of the race when Vettel was being held up, Marchionne said: &quot;I talked about this with Maurizio [Arrivabene, team principal].</p> <p>&quot;Maybe they should sit around a table and he should talk to him,&quot; the Ferrari president told media in Shanghai.</p> <p>&quot;Today he seemed to be busy with other stuff. Vettel was more aggressive.&quot;</p> <p>Marchionne insists the team chose the right strategy of pitting Vettel early and says an badly timed Safety Car was the reason they were unable to challenge Lewis Hamilton for the win.</p> <p>&quot;I can confirm that our choice to change the tyres of Vettel was correct,&quot; he added. &quot;Without the safety car the story of the race would have been different.</p> <p>&quot;It was a nice race, we [finished] second, we are second in the constructors&#39; championship by one point and Seb has the same points as Hamilton. That&#39;s not bad after two races.&quot;</p> Vettel admits safety car timing 'unfortunate' in ChinaSun, 09 Apr 2017 11:01:40 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel says the timing of the safety car phase during the Chinese Grand Prix was &ldquo;unfortunate&quot;, after finishing in second place.</p> <p>Vettel lined up on the front row alongside polesitter Lewis Hamilton and held his position early on, but pitted under the early virtual safety car, as he sought to gain an advantage.</p> <p>When the cars got back to full speed, the safety car was soon deployed to clear Antonio Giovinazzi&rsquo;s crashed Sauber, with the neutralisation allowing Vettel&#39;s rivals to make their pit stops and minimise the time loss.</p> <p>Vettel, who dropped to sixth, was able to recover to sixth position, via moves on Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo, and also profited when Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas made errors.</p> <p>&ldquo;My start was OK but then I realised that the intermediates had quite a lot of degradation,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It was very dry in some parts of the track so I knew they would not last.</p> <p>&ldquo;With the virtual safety car you save a bit of time in the pitstop. And then we were a bit unfortunate maybe with the safety car.</p> <p>&ldquo;It came just when I was about to start to feel that the dry tyre was a lot quicker, so I couldn&rsquo;t use the momentum, the advantage and I lost a lot of positions.</p> <p>&ldquo;But then I had a very exciting race; I really enjoyed it. I tried to chase Lewis down as much as possible but I had the feeling that every time I put a lap in he was able to respond.</p> <p>&ldquo;So, I think we were a good match. It could have been a different race but a good recovery.&rdquo;</p> <p>He enjoyed a close battle with Ricciardo on track, which featured a great pass from Vettel around the outside at Turn 6. Commenting on that, he added:</p> <p>&ldquo;I was stuck in the train and I was getting a bit annoyed, I wanted to get by and I had the feeling that I could go a lot faster in these conditions.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I was behind Daniel I saw him blocking down the inside because I had a good run out of Turn 4. I said &lsquo;OK, you have to try it around the outside, brake really late and hard&rsquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;Fortunately, he didn&rsquo;t lock up. I had him in the mirror, checking, otherwise I have to open immediately before he would make contact.</p> <p>&ldquo;Then on the exit I was a bit compromised, a bit in the dirt, getting a bit of wheel spin, but then I got a bit my elbows out. Yeah, he really squeezed me, but it was good fun and I had the inside for the next corner.&rdquo;</p> Bottas 'very disappointed' after costly spinSun, 09 Apr 2017 10:39:37 GMT<p>Valtteri Bottas has owned up to his spin under the safety car during the Chinese Grand Prix, saying he is &ldquo;very disappointed&rdquo; with his race.</p> <p>The Finn started third and held position early on, before losing a few spots in the early pitstops during the safety car.</p> <p>In cool conditions, Bottas tried to heat his tyres up under safety car conditions but spun and dropped to 12<sup>th</sup>. The new Mercedes driver says it was all his fault and cost him a lot of points.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m very disappointed with today,&rdquo; he admitted. &ldquo;I made a good start but it didn&#39;t go so well from there.</p> <p>&ldquo;Yes, we lost some time in the pit stop but it was nothing compared to what we lost with my mistake.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was trying everything I could to get temperature in the tyres behind the safety car but went too aggressive and lost control of the car.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was entirely my fault. I&#39;m really sorry for the team and the points we lost today. It took few laps to get the tyres working after the spin but in the end my pace was okay.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we made the right choice sticking with the Soft tyre for the second stint. The car was good today - a winning car, obviously.</p> <p>&ldquo;But the laps were running out as I was getting closer to the cars in front and I couldn&#39;t recover enough of the time I lost.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m leaving for Bahrain tonight and I&#39;m glad the next race comes soon. Once you&#39;ve done a mistake it&#39;s done, so you try to forget it and do everything you can to make up for it next time.&rdquo;</p> Alonso: McLaren paying 'big price' for winter troublesSun, 09 Apr 2017 10:29:31 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso says McLaren is paying a &ldquo;big price&rdquo; for its lack of winter running after a &ldquo;painful&rdquo; retirement from the Chinese Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Spaniard enjoyed a strong start in changeable conditions, moving up to sixth place, before holding seventh for some time, having started from 13th on the grid.</p> <p>Despite Honda&rsquo;s power unit lacking straightline speed, Alonso was able to have some close battles on track before a driveshaft issue caused him to retire.</p> <p>&ldquo;We started from P13 in very tricky conditions, and after a few laps we were running in sixth position,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;That was a big surprise and was thanks to an amazing couple of laps.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was hoping those tricky conditions would continue as other cars were spinning off here and there, and, as we said yesterday, we maximised our opportunities as we were overtaking &lsquo;for free&rsquo; at some moments.</p> <p>&ldquo;But then, when the track started drying out, we started to lose a little bit of ground even though we were still able to hold onto P7 for some time.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today we proved once more how hungry we are to get a good result, but unfortunately we&rsquo;re still not strong enough to finish the races.</p> <p>&ldquo;The lack of winter testing means we&rsquo;re paying a big price now, but hopefully we can improve quickly.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a shame that neither Stoffel [Vandoorne] or I could not get to the end today, and especially painful because I was in the points, but all we can do is learn our lessons and be a little bit better in Bahrain, even though the forecast is of course for no rain.&rdquo;</p> <p>Vandoorne failed to finish after retiring earlier in the race with a fuel problem.</p> Wolff: Valtteri Bottas threw chance of victory away in ChinaSun, 09 Apr 2017 09:40:37 GMT<p>Valtteri Bottas &quot;threw away&quot; any chance of winning the Chinese Grand Prix with his mistake behind the Safety Car, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said after the race.</p> <p>Bottas was fifth when the&nbsp;Safety Car came out for Antonio Giovinazzi&#39;s early crash, having stopped for slick tyres, but spun as he attempted to get some heat into his tyres, dropping him down to 12th.</p> <p>That was the moment a shot at victory was lost according to Wolff, who admitted mistakes like that happen to everyone and he should &quot;forget it&quot;.</p> <p>&quot;He threw it away behind the safety car,&quot; Wolff told&nbsp;<em>Sky Sports</em>. &quot;It happens to the best, it was very slippery out there and he lost it&nbsp;and that&#39;s when the race was gone.</p> <p>&quot;He just needs to recover from that now. Analyse it and forget it,&quot; added Wolff. &quot;It&rsquo;s the second race into the season, there are 18 more left.&quot;</p> <p>He eventually finished sixth, almost 50 seconds adrift of winner and team-mate Lewis Hamilton.</p> <p>Wolff reckons Bottas&#39; pace showed he would have been capable of a podium at worst had he not spun.</p> <p>&quot;You could see during the race that he had the pace,&quot; he explained. &quot;He was doing Lewis&#39;&nbsp;laptimes at various stages in the race, but once you&rsquo;re losing so many positions and you&rsquo;re not in the leading pack anymore, and you have to recover mentally, that is very difficult.&quot;</p> Sainz elated that slick tyre gamble paid off after early troublesSun, 09 Apr 2017 09:29:28 GMT<p>Toro Rosso&#39;s Carlos Sainz says his&nbsp;team thought he was &quot;a bit crazy&quot; to start the Chinese Grand Prix on slick tyres, when everyone else chose to start on the intermediate tyre due to the damp track conditions.</p> <p>The Spaniard was however elated to <a href="">finish seventh</a> behind only the top three teams of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, despite going off twice at the start of the race.</p> <p>Sainz found himself dead last after first going off at Turn 1, before spinning at Turn 2. However as the track dried quickly and the pack poured into the pits for the&nbsp;switch from intermediate tyres to slicks, Sainz found himself in the top ten.</p> <p>&quot;You should have seen the faces of my engineers, they looked at me like I was a bit crazy! I couldn&rsquo;t believe it when I saw everyone else was on the intermediates,&quot; he said after the race.</p> <p>&ldquo;The risk paid off. You tell yourself it has to be the right decision, and suddenly when everyone pitted for [slicks] and knowing how wet it was in the first four corners and dry from then on, then I said &lsquo;OK, now I&rsquo;m the clever one now and not so stupid anymore!&rsquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;It paid off, and sometimes when you&rsquo;re in the midfield it&rsquo;s worth taking these risks.&quot;</p> <p>Sainz was also encouraged by the pace of his Toro Rosso, finishing 24 seconds adrift of Mercedes&#39; Valtteri Bottas.</p> <p>&quot;After the safety car I saw myself catching&nbsp;Ferraris,&nbsp;Red Bulls&nbsp;and Mercedes in front in the damp conditions &ndash; and I got super excited.</p> <p>&quot;Yesterday they were 2 seconds&nbsp;faster than me, and today I&rsquo;m catching them. It was incredible and I felt super-comfortable with the car. You cannot imagine how happy the team is.&quot;</p> Hamilton hails 'real racing' as he predicts close championship battleSun, 09 Apr 2017 08:43:50 GMT<p>Lewis Hamilton has hailed the opening races of the season for producing &quot;real racing&quot; after he was able to push for the entire grand prix to win ahead of Ferrari&#39;s Sebastian Vettel, as the pair now tie on points in the lead of the championship&nbsp;after two races.</p> <p>Although the Mercedes driver controlled the race from start to finish to claim his first win of the season, he believes the result would have been much closer between him and Vettel had the Safety Car not come out.</p> <p>&quot;It was incredible,&quot; Hamilton said after the race.&nbsp;&quot;Today was very, very tough for us all, difficult [conditions].</p> <p>&quot;Great job by Sebastian and this young dude here [Verstappen].</p> <p>&quot;This racing is&nbsp;so real, it&rsquo;s so exciting for me personally.&nbsp;I don&rsquo;t know how it is for everyone else but I hope they&rsquo;re enjoying it.</p> <p>&quot;We were matching times [at the front]&nbsp;so if there wasn&rsquo;t safety cars&nbsp;and stuff it would have&nbsp;been a lot closer.&quot;</p> <p>Hamilton is therefore predicting one of the closest championship battles he&#39;s been involved in.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s going to be one of the closest ones [championships], if not the closest I&rsquo;ve personally ever experienced. Looking forward to this fight, not only with Sebastian&nbsp;but the other guys.&quot;</p> <p>The three-time champion hailed the new generation of cars and tyres which now allow drivers to push flat-out for the entire race at much higher speeds than before.</p> <p>&quot;Ferrari has done a fantastic job, it&rsquo;s great that we&rsquo;re both pushing those last 20 laps, really exchanging times.&nbsp;I kept having to be fed what times he was doing so I could try and match it, he was closing the gap a little bit but I managed to stay ahead.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s that close a battle, the cars look better and they&rsquo;re nicer to drive, they&rsquo;re fantasic, not the easiest to drive, but this guy [Verstappen]&nbsp;seems to find it possible, particularly when&nbsp;it&rsquo;s wet, so we have to watch the video and see what he&rsquo;s doing.&quot;</p> Verstappen named Driver of the Day for Chinese GPSun, 09 Apr 2017 08:14:12 GMT<p>Red Bull&rsquo;s Max Verstappen has been named Driver of the Day by fans for the Chinese Grand Prix after coming from 16th to third.</p> <p>The Dutchman suffered a tough qualifying with a misfiring engine and dropped out in Q1, eventually starting 16th due to numerous drivers getting grid penalties.</p> <p>In slippery conditions, Verstappen made up a lot of ground early on, placing seventh after the opening lap of the race.</p> <p>He then rallied to move up the order, battling with the Ferraris and his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.</p> <p>Having held off Sebastian Vettel for a little while, a lock-up let the Ferrari through and sparked an earlier second stop for Verstappen.</p> <p>However, he bounced back to finish third, just holding off Ricciardo at the chequered flag to claim the final podium spot.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s his first time this season winning Driver of the Day, which is voted for by the fans from mid-way through the race.</p> <p>Vettel won the award for the season-opener in Australia.</p> <p><strong>DRIVER OF THE DAY:</strong></p> <p>Australia - Vettel<br /> China - Verstappen</p> Hamilton dominates Chinese GP to draw level on points with Sebastian VettelSun, 09 Apr 2017 07:46:04 GMT<p>Lewis Hamilton sailed to his first win of the 2017 season as he dominated a thrilling&nbsp;Chinese Grand Prix for Mercedes, finishing ahead of Melbourne winner Sebastian Vettel to tie on points in the championship.</p> <p>The victory is the Briton&#39;s&nbsp;fifth win at the Shanghai venue, adding to his wins in 2008,&nbsp;2011,&nbsp;2014 and&nbsp;2015.</p> <p>Vettel was a distant second, eight seconds back, though the Ferrari driver had to work his way through the field &ndash;making some impressive overtakes in the&nbsp;process - after making an early stop which dropped him down the order in the opening laps.</p> <p>Max Verstappen completed the podium for Red Bull, despite starting the race way down in 16th after making up nine places on the opening lap. He narrowly beat team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, fourth, less than a second adrift.</p> <p>Fifth went to Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen for Haas. Force India&#39;s Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon completed the top 10.</p> <p>The race started in damp but drying&nbsp;conditions, prompting talks of slick tyres for the start. However it was only Toro Rosso&#39;s Sainz who was brave enough as the other 19 cars started on the intermediate tyres.</p> <p>It didn&#39;t work out well for the Spaniard as he quickly dropped down the order as he lacked grip at the race start, before a spin shortly after dropped him to 19th, with only Renault&#39;s Jolyon Palmer behind, after the Briton chose to pit at the end of the formation lap.</p> <p>Meanwhile Red Bull&#39;s Verstappen surged from 16th to seventh on the opening lap, before making up further places.</p> <p>The first retiree was Williams&#39; Lance Stroll; the rookie driver ended up in the gravel after Sergio Perez made contact with the rear of the FW40 at Turn 9, in what was deemed a racing incident by the stewards.</p> <p>That brought out the Virtual Safety Car (VSC), leading to a flurry of stops up and down the grid. The most notable being Vettel from second place, whilst race leader Hamilton chose to remain out.</p> <p>As soon as the VSC ended, a full-blown Safety Car was called on Lap 4 as Sauber stand-in Antonio Giovinazzi suffered a heavy crash on the start/finish straight after hitting a patch of water, pitching him into the barrier at speed.</p> <p>That gave the leaders, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas the perfect opportunity to get rid of their intermediate tyres and stop for new softs.</p> <p>Valtteri Bottas spun during the SC period as he attempted to get some warmth in his cold slicks, dropping him from fifth to P12, forcing him to fight his way back through the field for the remainder of the race to eventually finish sixth.</p> <p>Verstappen continued his march, passing Raikkonen to take third before then passing team-mate Ricciardo to slot into second position, meanwhile Vettel forced his way past Raikkonen and Ricciardo, the latter via a brilliant wheel-banging move, a few laps later to chase down the Dutch youngster.</p> <p>A rare mistake from Verstappen allowed Vettel past at the hairpin to take second place where he would go on to finish despite a second round of stops for all frontrunners.</p> <p>Verstappen was chased to the finish by team-mate Ricciardo, who attempted a move on the final lap, but their positions were maintained.</p> <p>A number of cars retired including Stroll and Giovinazzi. McLaren suffered a double DNF with Stoffel Vandoorne dropping out with a fuel issue, whilst Fernando Alonso stopped whilst running eighth.</p> <p>Toro Rosso&#39;s Daniil Kvyat also pulled off the circuit with an unspecified problem.</p> Giovinazzi picks up gearbox change grid penaltySun, 09 Apr 2017 05:32:12 GMT<p>Sauber driver Antonio Giovinazzi has been handed a five-place grid penalty for the Chinese Grand Prix after a gearbox change.</p> <p>Giovinazzi, who is replacing Pascal Wehrlein in Shanghai, crashed out of qualifying in the final moments of Q1 at the last corner.</p> <p>He made it through to Q2 but was unable to take part and finished the session in 15th, but Sauber was forced to change his gearbox change.</p> <p>The Italian drops to 18th on the grid, promoting Stoffel Vandoorne, Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon up a place.</p> <p>Jolyon Palmer and Romain Grosjean picked up grid penalties for failing to slow for Giovinazzi&rsquo;s crash and start behind him on the back row.</p> <p>Lewis Hamilton starts in first place for the race at the Shanghai International Circuit after securing his sixth consecutive pole position.</p> law for grand prix races on English roads gets go-aheadSat, 08 Apr 2017 17:35:31 GMT<p>Motor-racing on the streets of English cities will move a step closer to reality on Monday when a new law is implemented, allowing motorsport promoters to apply for a license to host a race on public roads.</p> <p>Until now, the law has banned such events from taking place, but that is set to change next week when the ban is lifted, in a move the government has said could&nbsp;provide a &quot;real boost&quot; to tourism in the country.</p> <p>It&#39;s not uncommon for street races to take place in other countries, with Formula 1 hosting races on closed public roads in a number of cities including Monaco, Azerbaijan and Singapore. Formula E meanwhile is built around the idea of city-centre races.</p> <p>&quot;This could be a real boost for the economies of an area,&quot; transport minister Andrew Jones is quoted as saying by the&nbsp;<em>BBC.</em></p> <p>&quot;The examples would be in cycling. We had the Tour de France here, we had a Grand Depart in Yorkshire a couple of years ago and roads were closed as part of that event and thousands of people came to watch it.</p> <p>&quot;It had a huge impact, not just for boosting cycling in the UK, but for boosting tourism wherever it went.&quot;</p> <p>Whilst an F1 race in London is a dream held by many, and could theoretically happen under the new law,&nbsp;it would still face fierce opposition. Formula E however could get the go-ahead after it dropped London from its calendar this year.</p> <p>&quot;In considering whether to support a Grand Prix in London, the mayor would need to see what the impacts are on air pollution,&quot; a&nbsp;spokesman for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on the matter, adding that talks over Formula E were ongoing.</p> caused Q1 exit for Max Verstappen in ChinaSat, 08 Apr 2017 10:59:26 GMT<p>Red Bull driver Max Verstappen says a misfiring engine caused his exit from Chinese Grand Prix qualifying in the first session.</p> <p>Verstappen&rsquo;s RB13 picked up the engine issue during the opening segment of qualifying, and a call to weighbridge also interfered with his Q1 running.</p> <p>Verstappen attempted to put a lap together but it was not good enough to move him out of the drop zone and he finished 19th, quicker only than former F3 rival Esteban Ocon.</p> <p>The Dutchman will nonetheless move up two places on the grid following penalties for Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is going to be tough but I think there is rain on the way,&rdquo; said Verstappen. &ldquo;There was something misfiring in the engine which meant we were down on power, I tried to do a lap that could at least get me through to Q2 but the issue just wouldn&rsquo;t let me.</p> <p>&ldquo;The guys will investigate this evening and I&rsquo;m confident they can resolve it for the race. It is of course very unfortunate but these things happen and we need to move on.</p> <p>&ldquo;A bit of rain tomorrow will definitely help us but I think even in the wet it will be tough to challenge Ferrari and Mercedes. We need to concentrate on what we have and do the best we can.&rdquo;</p> <p>Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo made it through to Q3 and was fifth quickest, but finished almost nine-tenths of a second down on nearest rival Kimi Raikkonen.</p> <p>&ldquo;Personally, I&rsquo;m happy with what I was able to get out of the car this afternoon but obviously as a team and as a driver we want more,&quot; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;I felt like up until today we still probably hadn&rsquo;t got the most out of the setup but in qualifying I felt pretty comfortable with the car. I could lean on it more or less as much as I wanted but we are still missing some performance compared to Mercedes and Ferrari.</p> <p>&ldquo;You won&rsquo;t see me looking disappointed if it rains tomorrow as the wet conditions always create more opportunities and it will be up to me to maximise those if it happens.</p> <p>&ldquo;We hope to have a good car in the wet; downforce plays a huge role in those conditions so we will have to wait and see. Whatever happens it will certainly be an exciting race for the spectators and we will do all we can to be on the podium.&rdquo;</p> Vettel admits he 'chickened' out at final cornerSat, 08 Apr 2017 10:37:19 GMT<p>Ferrari&#39;s Sebastian Vettel says he &ldquo;chickened&rdquo; out on the brakes at the last corner during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, as he battled for pole position against Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton.</p> <p>The Ferrari driver missed out on pole position at the Shanghai International Circuit by less than two tenths of a second, but secured a spot on the front row.</p> <p>However, Valtteri Bottas was just 0.001 seconds behind in third, with Ferrari and Mercedes proving to be closely matched once again.</p> <p>Vettel was happy with second on the grid but admitted he braked too early at the final corner, losing some time on his last lap.</p> <p>&ldquo;We see tomorrow how important it was,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;Obviously, it was a nice session, I enjoyed a lot.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think I would have enjoyed it more if it&rsquo;d been quicker at the end. The last corner, maybe I lost a bit and chickened onto the brakes too soon.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was very close with Valtteri [Bottas], so a good job we just got enough margin to make it to the front row.&rdquo;</p> <p>Looking ahead to the Chinese GP, Vettel has confidence in the race pace of the SF70H: &ldquo;I think our car is strong no matter what, it obviously depends what these guys [Mercedes] are doing.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we can still improve, so let&rsquo;s see what the race will be like, conditions I think will be quite different.&rdquo;</p> Grosjean, Jolyon Palmer hit with grid penalties in ChinaSat, 08 Apr 2017 10:27:37 GMT<p>Romainb Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer have both been handed five-place grid penalties for the Chinese Grand Prix, after race stewards deemed they failed to slow sufficiently for double waved yellow flags.</p> <p>The pair were on flying laps when they came around the final corner to find Antonio Giovinazzi&#39;s Sauber in the middle of the track after the Italian spun and hit the wall. Yellow flags were shown at the time, forcing both to back off.</p> <p>However the FIA stated that both Grosjean and Palmer&nbsp;&quot;attempted to set a meaningful laptime after passing through a double waved yellow marshalling sector&quot; during Q1.</p> <p>Although both claimed to have backed off significantly, the stewards disagreed, adding that the Haas and Renault drivers &quot;made no attempt to significantly reduce his speed in the area of a double waved-yellow flag.&quot;</p> <p>Grosjean qualified 17th and will therefore start from 19th. Palmer qualified 18th and will therefore start last, promoting both Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon.</p> <p>Both drivers were also given three penalty points, brings&nbsp;Palmer&#39;s 12-month tally to seven and Grosjean&#39;s to three.</p> Hamilton revels in Chinese GP pole, Ferrari fightSat, 08 Apr 2017 10:23:14 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton expressed his delight after he claimed the 63<sup>rd</sup> pole position of his Formula 1 career during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.</p> <p>Hamilton was only fourth during the sole dry practice session on Saturday morning but propelled himself to the front in Q3, claiming provisional pole, despite a wayward moment through Turn 11.</p> <p>Hamilton improved on his second Q3 run to log a time of 1:31.678 &ndash; the fastest ever lap of the Shanghai circuit &ndash; as he finished 0.186s clear of Ferrari&rsquo;s Sebastian Vettel.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been an interesting weekend so far without testing yesterday,&rdquo; he said, referring to the severely limited Friday running, caused by low-lying cloud restricting the movement of the medical helicopter.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today was a real challenge I think for all of us, in the sense that we had to compile a lot of yesterday&rsquo;s testing into this morning and hope we&rsquo;ve hit the nail on the head with the balance of the car.</p> <p>&ldquo;The Ferrari looked so fast through practice this morning and each qualifying session, we knew it&rsquo;d be close and it meant we&rsquo;d have to pull out all stops and have a very, very perfect lap.</p> <p>&ldquo;I managed to just chip away at it session to session, there were no major issues, my last lap was the best lap, which is always the plan.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hamilton also revelled in the possibility of another scrap with Ferrari rival Vettel, who edged Hamilton during the season-opening Grand Prix in Australia.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m very happy, super grateful for the huge effort the team has put in to keep us in the fight,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s more exciting than ever for me, we&rsquo;re really fighting these guys, it&rsquo;s amazing.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s what racing&rsquo;s all about and it really pushes you to have to push and raise the bar every time you go out [on track], which I love.&rdquo;</p> Grosjean blames 'hard luck' for Q1 exit, believes Q3 possibleSat, 08 Apr 2017 10:12:36 GMT<p>Romain Grosjean believes Haas was capable of chasing a top-10 position on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix, had it not been for &quot;hard luck,&quot; amid his own spin and Antonio Giovinazzi&#39;s crash.</p> <p>The Haas driver was on a quick lap before he spun exiting the final corner, forcing him to run a second time. However, that lap was also compromised, for Giovinazzi crashed at the same spot, leaving Grosjean down in 17th place on the grid.</p> <p>Stewards later deemed that Grosjean, along with Renault&#39;s Jolyon Palmer, had not sufficiently slowed for Giovinazzi&#39;s crash, demoting him to 19th position.</p> <p>&quot;The first lap was looking good in qualifying, then I spun on the last corner for some unexpected reason,&quot; commented&nbsp;the Frenchman. &quot;We need to look if I went a bit too hard on throttle on the exit.</p> <p>&quot;The second lap was actually really good. I was aiming for P10, but Giovinazzi crashed at the last corner and I couldn&rsquo;t complete my lap. It&rsquo;s just hard luck.&quot;</p> <p>Grosjean reckons the car was capable of reaching Q3, following some set-up&nbsp;changes during the morning after he felt uncomfortable in FP3.</p> <p>&quot;I wasn&rsquo;t so happy with the car this morning in FP3. We struggled a little bit, but we made some gains with changes over lunch. As I said, the car was going to be P10, so we weren&rsquo;t far off chasing Q3. It was looking all good, but then I couldn&rsquo;t do the lap.</p> <p>&quot;Tomorrow&rsquo;s&nbsp;going to be a long race. We know the tyre degradation will be a huge thing here in the rain, and it should rain. It&rsquo;s a white piece of paper to start.&quot;</p> <p>Meanwhile team-mate Kevin Magnussen was 12th quickest and content with his lap, although unhappy to have&nbsp;missed out on a shot at Q3 by less than a tenth.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m fairly happy. We were about half-a-tenth from Q3 and that&rsquo;s the best qualifying I&rsquo;ve had for a while,&quot; he said.&nbsp;&quot;I can&rsquo;t be unhappy with that. It&rsquo;s obviously a little bit annoying not to get through when the margin is so small, but the lap wasn&rsquo;t bad, so it is what it is.</p> <p>&quot;I think the car is competitive, especially in race conditions. It&rsquo;s a good car. If it&rsquo;s raining, we have no idea how it&rsquo;s going to be. We&rsquo;ll see how it goes.&quot;</p> Giovinazzi apologetic after heavy Q1 crashSat, 08 Apr 2017 10:02:28 GMT<p>Antonio Giovinazzi apologised to his Sauber team after he suffered a heavy crash during the closing stages of Q1 at the Chinese Grand Prix.</p> <p>Giovinazzi, chasing a slot in the second knockout phase of qualifying, lost control of his C36-Ferrari exiting the final corner and speared into the barriers on the outside of the corner.</p> <p>Giovinazzi ultimately made it through to Q2 courtesy of his earlier lap, with the consequent yellow flags for his wreckage denying his rivals the chance to improve, but was unable to partake in the session.</p> <p>The Italian, substituting for the unfit Pascal Wehrlein once more, is set to start from 15<sup>th</sup> place on the grid.</p> <p>&ldquo;For me it was a disappointing ending to qualifying,&rdquo; said Giovinazzi.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was all good until the last corner of my final lap. I was already in Q2 and improving my lap time, but I pushed a bit too much.</p> <p>&ldquo;I touched the grass in the exit of the last corner and then lost the rear of the car.</p> <p>&ldquo;I apologise to the team for what happened; tomorrow I will do my best to put in a good performance.&rdquo;</p> <p>Giovinazzi&rsquo;s team-mate, Marcus Ericsson, will start one place higher in 14<sup>th</sup> position.</p> Alonso says qualifying lap was 'one of the best' of his lifeSat, 08 Apr 2017 09:01:47 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso hailed his Chinese Grand Prix qualifying lap as &quot;one of the best&quot; he&#39;s ever done in his career, after securing P13 on the grid, having been only 17th quickest in practice on Saturday morning.</p> <p>The McLaren driver finished inside the top 10 during Q1, in which several midfield rivals were hampered by Antonio Giovinazzi&#39;s late crash, which brought out the yellows, and ultimately classified 13th during the second knockout phase.</p> <p>&quot;Like in Australia, it was one of the best laps I&#39;ve done in my life,&quot; said the Spaniard. &quot;In Australia and here. I feel good with the car, I feel capable of pushing to the limit.</p> <p>&quot;The predictions [for qualifying] were more pessimistic, especially after we couldn&#39;t run yesterday. In the end, 13th is the divine present.</p> <p>&quot;This morning we tried a few new pieces and everything worked as expected, but we were 17th and 19th with all the power available, and we faced qualifying thinking of fighting Sauber for the final places.&quot;</p> <p>Heading into Sunday&#39;s race, Alonso is wary of the threat those around him pose, particuarly along the lengthy back straight, which is set to expose McLaren and Honda&#39;s lack of straight-line speed.</p> <p>But Alonso is hopeful the weather, with rain forecast, can provide a helping hand.</p> <p>&quot;In the dry, as soon as we reach the back straight, if we are starting 13th, we&#39;ll end up 15th or 16th. In the wet we&#39;d still be 15th or 16th at the end of the straight, but we&#39;ll try to take some more risks in the corners.&quot;</p> Hamilton snatches Chinese GP pole position, Sebastian Vettel secondSat, 08 Apr 2017 08:17:58 GMT<p>Lewis Hamilton will start the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix on pole position after beating Ferrari&rsquo;s Sebastian Vettel during qualifying at the Shanghai International Circuit.</p> <p>The Mercedes racer held provisional pole after the opening runs in Q3, before he improved with a 1:31.678 on his final attempt to secure first on the grid, ahead of Vettel.</p> <p>It&#39;s was Hamilton&#39;s sixth consecutive pole position, and his sixth at Shanghai, with his pole effort the quickest ever lap at the venue.</p> <p>Vettel, who led the way during the final practice session, missed out by under two tenths of a second, while Valtteri Bottas was just 0.001 seconds behind the Ferrari driver in third.</p> <p>Kimi Raikkonen was a slightly distant fourth, having been quickest in Q2 &ndash; to match the top four in Australia &ndash;&nbsp;with Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa next up for Red Bull and Williams respectively.</p> <p>Nico Hulkenberg ended Renault&#39;s lengthy Q3 drought and qualified seventh, completing his sole lap early in the session, ahead of Force India&#39;s Sergio Perez, Toro Rosso racer Daniil Kvyat and Williams rookie Lance Stroll.</p> <p>Carlos Sainz Jr. narrowly missed out on a spot in Q3 and had to settle for 11th, with Kevin Magnussen improving with his last lap but only managing 12th.</p> <p>Fernando Alonso failed to improve on his second run for McLaren and ended Q2 in 13th, ahead of Sauber&rsquo;s Marcus Ericsson.</p> <p>Ericsson&#39;s team-mate, Antonio Giovinazzi, did not complete Q2 and was 15th after crashing his Sauber heavily at the final corner on his last lap of Q1. The start of Q2 was delayed while barriers were repaired.</p> <p>Giovinazzi&rsquo;s late accident meant several drivers were not able to improve on their final laps in Q1. Stoffel Vandoorne was the first driver eliminated in Q1, ahead of Haas driver Romain Grosjean.</p> <p>Jolyon Palmer was 18th quickest while Max Verstappen reported an engine problem in Q1 and had a weighbridge call, delaying his first lap and he struggled to 19th, amid a lack of straight line speed, only ahead of Esteban Ocon.</p> arranges police hospital escort to avoid race cancellationSat, 08 Apr 2017 07:51:13 GMT<p>The FIA has reportedly arranged a police escort from the circuit to a local hospital&nbsp;for Sunday&#39;s race, to ensure the race isn&#39;t cancelled should Friday&#39;s weather conditions be&nbsp;repeated.</p> <p>First practice on Friday was twice red-flagged as the medical helicopter was unable to land at the nearest hospital with the required&nbsp;neurological equipment, whilst second practice was abandoned altogether.</p> <p>Although a road transfer is allowed in such conditions,&nbsp;the FIA regulations stipulate a maximum journey time of 20 minutes. With the hospital located 38km away, that isn&#39;t possible.</p> <p>The FIA has therefore agreed with the local authority that a hospital closer to the circuit will be used, with a police escort to ensure it can be reached in a suitable time.</p> <p><em>Sky Sports&nbsp;</em>reports&nbsp;neurological equipment has been moved from the hospital located further away, to the local hospital, which should allow the race to go ahead if the medical helicopter is unable to fly.</p> <p>Wet weather is expected on Sunday, prompting calls&nbsp;for the race to take place on Saturday evening when weather is forecast to be clear. However those calls were rejected, with hopes that higher winds on Sunday will clear any cloud.</p> Vettel heads Ferrari 1-2 in China F1 FP3Sat, 08 Apr 2017 05:07:17 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel led a 1-2 for Ferrari during the final practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix, held in dry conditions at the Shanghai International Circuit.</p> <p>Low-lying cloud on Friday led to only 15 minutes of running across the two sessions, with the medical helicopter unable to land at the designated hospital.</p> <p>The truncated Friday running placed a greater importance on Saturday&rsquo;s one-hour session and it was Vettel who wound up quickest, with a time of 1:33.336.</p> <p>Vettel&rsquo;s lap, set midway through the session, was 0.053s faster than team-mate Kimi R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen, as the leading group all registered their best times on the Super Soft compound.</p> <p>Mercedes lagged behind Ferrari, with both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton completing two runs on the Super Soft tyres late on that hauled the pair up the order.</p> <p>Bottas finished 0.371s behind Vettel, having run without the upper element of his T-wing after it broke off during the early stages, while Hamilton locked up into the hairpin on his quickest effort, losing a heap of time, and took fourth.</p> <p>Felipe Massa finished an encouraging fifth for Williams, 1.437s behind Vettel, with Red Bull&rsquo;s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo sixth and seventh.</p> <p>Lance Stroll took eighth position, leaving Renault&rsquo;s Jolyon Palmer, who earlier spun through Turn 11, and Toro Rosso&rsquo;s Carlos Sainz Jr. to round out the top 10.</p> <p>Other than Palmer, Sauber&#39;s Marcus Ericsson was the only driver to spin, having rotated his C36-Ferrari at Turn 8, while Daniil Kvyat was the sole driver to record his best time on the Soft compound, rather than the Super Soft.</p>