Tag Archives: Kamui Kobayashi

24h of Le Mans 2013 Review

The 90th anniversary of the 24h of Le Mans was overshadowed by the death of the danish sportscar driver Allan Simonsen.

It was raining and he led in the GTE Am class, going into the 2nd lap of the race. Then he turned into the Tetre Rouge corner.

He came out wide onto the run-off area and lost control of his Aston Martin Vantage V8.

He then made a big impact against the armcor barrier on the drivers side.

Allan was still responsive after the crash and then he was taken to the Medical Center, where he succumbed his injuries.

The death of Allan was officialy announced from the ACO on 18:00 o’clock/6 pm (GMT+1) during the race.

The family of Allan wanted Aston Martin Racing and Prodrive to continue the race.

It was the first death during the race of the 24h of Le Mans since 1986, were Jo Gartner died in a Porsche 962LM Group C and the first death in the 24h of Le Mans since 1997, were Sebastian Enjolras died in a Welter LMP in pre-Qualifying .

Allan Simonsen was one of the most experienced sports car drivers out there and he also drove in the Australian V8 Supercars Series for Kelly Racing.

It was he’s 7th 24h of Le Mans, he will be truly missed.  He was only 34 years old.

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R.I.P. Allan Simonsen.

Official Statement from the ACO:

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest, which organizes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, released the following statement:

The driver was immediately attended on the scene by the doctors from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s Medical Service.

In a serious condition, Allan Simonsen was transferred immediately to the Circuit Medical Centre where he died soon after due to his injuries.

Allan Simonsen’s family has been informed immediately by David Richards, Principal of the Aston Martin Racing team.

Allan Simonsen, an experienced driver aged 34, had taken part in seven 24 Heures du Mans.

His team mates in the No.95 car were his fellow countrymen, Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen.

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest wishes to express its great sadness following this incident, and extends its deepest condolences to the family and those close to Allan Simonsen.

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest will make no further statement while the exact reasons for the accident are still being wholly determined.

LMP1: Audi vs Toyota and Rebellion with bad luck

Le-Mans-2013-Tom-Kristensen-Audi-R18-E-Tron-Quattro-Nr2-Sieg-Zielflagge (1)

Audi were the favourites for the race and nobody expected Toyota to challenge them.

But we were surprised. Toyota already showed their pace at the first lap, were Lapierre went from 4th to 2nd and nearly overtaking the #1 Audi for the lead of the race, until the Safety Car came out.

After the SC, Lapierre couldn’t drive the pace of the #1 Audi with Andre Lotterer anymore and had to settle for 2nd.

Then Lapierre swapped positions with his teammate Davidson on the 3rd hour and then both stayed on 2nd and 3rd positon until the last hour of the race.

Meanwhile the No.1 Audi with Lotterer/Treyuler/Fässler had no problems and it looked like they would run away with the win, but in the evening time the No.1 Audi had to come into the garage for a alternator change.

It costed them over 40 minutes to change it and of course it costed them the race win.

The No.3 Audi R18 with Jarvis/Di Grassi/Gene had also problems at the same time.

The car had contact with a the Labre Competition Corvette from the GTE-Am class and had a right rear tire puncture. They lost nearly 10 minutes at the pitstop.

But after that the #3 car had a awesome battle with the #7 Toyota from Lapierre/Nakajima/Wurz for 3rd position.

But  the #7 eventually got 3rd position.

The No.2 Audi with McNish/Kristensen/Duval then grabbed the lead from the No.1 Audi and stayed there until the end.

They had a lead over 2 laps of the 2nd placed Toyota TS030 from Davidson/Sarrazin/Buemi.

The #7 Toyota was 3rd but lost the position when Lapierre crashed his car at the Porsche corners in rainy conditions and it was only 1 hour to go.

Lapierre brought his damaged car back to the garage and after half an hour the car was repaired, what was a great effort by Toyota Racing.

The #7 Toyota finished 4th behind the #3 Audi.

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The #13 Rebellion Lotus Lola was on a incredible 5th position with Belicchi/Beche/Cheng. But Andrea Belicchi crahsed the car after the SC period hard into the barriers.

Belicchi was taken to the hospital were he broke two rips. Also the #12 Rebellion was in trouble with Jani/Prost/Heidfeld.

The car had mechanical misfortunes and finished 8th in class. Surprisingly then the Strakka HPD from Levenths/Kane/Watts won the LMP1 Privatiers battle, what wasn’t really a battle.

LMP2: OAK Racing dominance

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The Morgan Nissan from OAK Racing was the fastest car out on track.

The car is 8 kph faster on the straights than for example the Oreca 03 Nissan, because the car is/was actually a LMP1 car transformed into a P2 car.

So Baguette/Nicolet made a start/finish win nearly leading every single lap in this class.

Baguette spun under heavy rain in the 23rd hour but managed to bring the car back to the track safely to win the race.

3rd was the G-Drive Racing Oreca 03 Nissan from Conway/Martin/Rusinov ahead of the Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN Nissan from Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm.

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The two Lotus T128 Praga were 15 and 16th in class for a long time until they had both to retire because of mechanical issues in the morning of the race.

GTE-Pro and Am: Porsche vs Aston Martin, Corvette disappointment

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Porsche had a great lead battle with the race win favourites Aston Martin since lap 4 of the race.

After the #97 Aston Martin from Turner/Mücke/Dumbreck drove into the pits to switch from slick to rain tires, the #91 Porsche 911 RSR from Lieb/Lietz/Dumas drove away with the win in GTE-Pro.

They landed ahead of the #92 Porsche 911 RSR from Bernhard/Pilet/Bergmeister.

AF Corse couldn’t really catch up with the pace of the Aston’s and the Porsche’s and were the best of the rest with 4th and 5th.

Corvette was surprisingly slow, only 6th was the best postion. The SRT Viper GTS-R also disappointed with 8th and 9th in class.

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Porsche also won in GTE-Am with the  IMSA Matmut Perfomance Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 2012 spec from Narrac/Burnet/Vernay.

Dempsey DelPiero Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with Foster/Long/Dempsey lost the good looking 3rd positon to a AF Corse Ferrari, so they finished 4th.

It was a great 24h of Le Mans 2013, despite the death of Allan Simonsen.

The next race of the WEC is on the 1st September 2013 at the 6h of Sau Paulo in Brazil.

WEC drivers Prototype Champioship standings:

1 MCNISH A. GBR 25 0 18 0 50 1 94
1 DUVAL L. FRA 25 0 18 0 50 1 94
1 KRISTENSEN T. DNK 25 0 18 0 50 1 94
2 LOTTERER A. DEU 18 0 25 1 20 0 64
2 TRÉLUYER B. FRA 18 0 25 1 20 0 64
2 FÄSSLER M. CHE 18 0 25 1 20 0 64
3 DAVIDSON A. GBR 15 0 12 0 36 0 63
3 BUEMI S. CHE 15 0 12 0 36 0 63
3 SARRAZIN S. FRA 15 0 12 0 36 0 63
4 DI GRASSI L. BRA / 0 15 0 30 0 45
4 GENÉ M. ESP / 0 15 0 30 0 45
4 JARVIS O. GBR / 0 15 0 30 0 45
5 WURZ A. AUT 12 1 * 0 24 0 37
5 LAPIERRE N. FRA 12 1 * 0 24 0 37
6 NAKAJIMA K. JPN / 0 * 0 24 0 24
7 WATTS D. GBR * 0 6 0 16 0 22
7 KANE J. GBR * 0 6 0 16 0 22
7 LEVENTIS N. GBR * 0 6 0 16 0 22
8 JANI N. CHE 10 0 10 0 1 0 21
8 HEIDFELD N. DEU 10 0 10 0 1 0 21
8 PROST N. FRA 10 0 10 0 1 0 21
9 BELICCHI A. ITA 8 0 8 0 1 0 17
9 CHENG C. CHN 8 0 8 0 1 0 17
9 BECHE M. CHE 8 0 8 0 1 0 17
10 BRUNDLE A. GBR 4 1 2 0 8 0 15
10 HEINEMEIER HANSSON D. DNK 4 1 2 0 8 0 15
10 PLA O. FRA 4 1 2 0 8 0 15
11 BAGUETTE B. BEL 1 0 1 0 12 0 14
11 PLOWMAN M. GBR 1 0 1 0 12 0 14
11 GONZALEZ R. MEX 1 0 1 0 12 0 14
12 PEREZ COMPANC L. ARG 2 0 4 1 1 0 8
12 MINASSIAN N. FRA 2 0 4 1 1 0 8
12 KAFFER P. DEU 2 0 4 1 1 0 8
13 PIZZONIA A. BRA 6 0 * 0 / 0 6
13 WALKER J. GBR 6 0 * 0 / 0 6
13 GRAVES T. GBR 6 0 * 0 * 0 6
14 MARTIN J. AUS 0,5 0 0,5 0 4 0 5
14 CONWAY M. GBR 0,5 0 0,5 0 4 0 5
14 RUSINOV R. RUS 0,5 0 0,5 0 4 0 5
15 MARDENBOROUGH J. GBR / 0 / 0 2 0 2
15 ORDOÑEZ L. ESP / 0 / 0 2 0 2
15 KRUMM M. DEU / 0 / 0 2 0 2
16 KIMBER-SMITH T. GBR 0,5 0 / 0 1 0 1,5
17 ROSSI A. USA / 0 / 0 1 0 1
17 LUX E. USA / 0 / 0 1 0 1
17 NICOLET J. FRA 0,5 0 0,5 0 * 0 1
17 MERLIN J. FRA 0,5 0 0,5 0 * 0 1
18 IMPERATORI A. CHE 0,5 0 / 0 * 0 0,5
18 DYSON C. USA 0,5 0 / 0 / 0 0,5
18 KRAIHAMER D. AUT * 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 GIROIX F. FRA / 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 FATIEN F. CIV / 0 0,5 0 / 0 0,5
18 ROSSITER J. GBR / 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 CHAROUZ J. CZE * 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 KA TO J. CHN 0,5 0 / 0 / 0 0,5
18 IHARA K. JPN / 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 WEEDA K. USA * 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 HOWSON M. GBR 0,5 0 / 0 * 0 0,5
18 MARSAL M. USA 0,5 0 / 0 / 0 0,5
18 HOLZER T. DEU * 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 LIUZZI V. ITA * 0 0,5 0 / 0 0,5
19 HAMILTON A. GBR / 0 / 0 * 0 0
19 BOUCHUT C. FRA * 0 / 0 * 0 0
19 HAEZEBROUCK P. FRA / 0 / 0 * 0 0
19 MONDOLOT P. FRA / 0 / 0 * 0 0
19 NAKANO S. JPN / 0 / 0 * 0 0

WEC Teams GTE-Pro championship standings:

Porsche AG Team Manthey 74

Aston Martin Racing   71

AF Corse Ferrari        60

AF Corse Ferrari       56

Porsche AG Team Manthey 44

Aston Martin Racing  26

Full results (without retirements):

1. #2 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 * 348 laps (34 stops)

2. #8 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid LMP1 * 347 laps (30 stops)

3. #3 Gene/Di Grassi/Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 347 laps (30 stops)

4. #7 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid LMP1 * 341 laps (29 stops)

5. #1 Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 * 338 laps (32 stops)

6. #21 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka Racing HPD ARX-03c LMP1 * 332 laps (29 stops)

7. #35 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 * 329 laps (30 stops)

8. #24 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 * 328 laps (31 stops)

9. #26 Rusinov/Martin/Conway G-Drive Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 * 327 laps (32 stops)

10. #42 Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 327 laps (28 stops)

11. #49 Companc/Kaffer/Minassian Pecom Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 * 325 laps (29 stops)

12. #43 Gachnang/Mailleux/Lombard Morand Racing Morgan-Judd LMP2 320 laps (28 stops)

13. #48 Hartley/Patterson/Chandhock Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 319 laps (29 stops)

14. #38 Dolan/Turvey/Luhr Jota Sport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 319 laps (29 stops)

15. #36 Paniatici/Ragues/Gommendy Signatech Alpine Alpine-Nissan LMP2 317 laps (32 stops)

16. #92 Lieb/Lietz/Dumas Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR GTE-Pro * 315 laps (22 stops)

17. #91 Bernhard/Pilet/Bergmeister Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR GTE-Pro * 315 laps (24 stops)

18. #97 Turner/Mucke/Dumbreck Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Pro * 314 laps (24 stops)

19. #34 Frey/Niederhauser/Bleekemolen Race Performance Oreca 03-Judd LMP2 314 laps (32 stops)

20. #73 Garcia/Taylor/Magnussen Corvette Racing Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Pro 312 laps (23 stops)

21. #71 Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro * 311 laps (23 stops)

22. #51 Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro * 311 laps (23 stops)

23. #74 Gavin/Milner/Westbrook Corvette Racing Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Pro 309 laps (25 stops)

24. #41 Kimber-Smith/Lux/Rossi Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan LMP2 * 307 laps (31 stops)

25. #53 Farnbacher/Dalziel/Goossens SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R GTE-Pro 306 laps (28 stops)

26. #76 Narac/Bourret/Vernay IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am * 306 laps (23 stops)

27. #55 Perazzini/Case/O’Young AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am 305 laps (24 stops)

28. #61 Gerber/Griffin/Cioci AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am * 305 laps (23 stops)

29. #77 Dempsey/Foster/Long Dempsey Del Piero-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 305 laps (24 stops)

30. #50 Bornhauser/Canal/Taylor Larbre Competition Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Am * 302 laps (25 stops)

31. #96 Goethe/Hall/Campbell-Walter Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Am * 301 laps (26 stops)

32. #93 Bomarito/Kendall/Wittmer SRT Motorsport Viper GTS-R GTE-Pro 301 laps (26 stops)

33. #40 Downs/Dagonneau/Younessi Boutsen Ginion Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 300 laps (29 stops)

34. #67 Gibon/Milesi/Henzler IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 300 laps (22 stops)

35. #66 Bertolini/Alfaisal/Qubaisi JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro 300 laps (26 stops)

36. #88 Ried/Roda/Ruberti Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am * 300 laps (23 stops)

37. #75 Collard/Crubile/Perrodo Prospeed Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am * 298 laps (23 stops)

38. #81 Pottolicchio/Aguas/Bright 8 Star Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am * 294 laps (25 stops)

39. #39 Porta/Raffin/Brandela DKR Engineering Lola B11/40-Judd LMP2 280 laps (31 stops)

40. #12 Prost/Jani/Heidfeld Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60-Toyota LMP1 * 275 laps (26 stops)

Kamui Kobayashi gives up on 2013 F1 race seat

Kamui Kobayashi has written a letter to his fans explaining that he will not be able to secure a competitive race seat for the 2013 campaign, leaving the Japanese driver to focus on a 2014 return. After being dropped by Sauber, the 26-year-old managed to raise more than 6 million pounds, but it is not enough to remain in Formula 1.

Kobayashi’s full letter reads:

‘To All the fans,

 

Thank you for the big support. I am very appreciative that many of you have donated and (are) trying to make (a) donation.

I must mention this, that since the donations started, it has become quite big news in Japan. And because of your big support, it gave huge influences to some Japanese companies and I started receiving good support from them.

And I was in the position to bring a budget of 8 million Euro at least. If you could imagine the time I had, it was (an) overwhelming reaction and it shows there still is a great potential from Japanese companies.

 

Unfortunately, the time was still short and I am not able to secure the seat with (a) competitive F1 team for 2013. I have to admit that it is very sad and (I) feel sorry for (the) fans and Japanese companies who supported me. But I am still confident to make it happen in 2014.

I would like to stop the donations for now and while I will save all the money for 2014, I (will) start to look (at) what is the best option for 2013 and also 2014. My main priority is to secure the competitive F1 seat in 2014.

I have no interests to race (in) any other categories.

I will make an announcement as soon as I make a decision for 2013.

So, please wait and (I’m) really looking forward (to) your support for (the) coming year.

All the best,

KAMUI KOBAYASHI

 

In 2013, Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez will form the driver line-up at Kobayashi’s former team, while 2012 team-mate Sergio Pérez moves to McLaren.

 

Source: GPupdate.net

Official: Hülkenberg to Sauber

Nico Hülkenberg will drive for Sauber in 2013.  But Sauber didin’t tell who he’s teammate will be, will it be Kamikaze (Kobayashi) or another Mexican like Esteban Gutierrez. Drivers like Alguersuari, Kovalainen, or Sutil still have chances to be the Number 2 in the team.
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Hülkenberg’s joining to Sauber was absolutley right. He had to make a step forward in his career and we don’t know if the Sahara Force India team is financially alright. So Hülkenberg could stay for Sauber many years, if Telmex stays as sponsor.

Hülkenberg was from 2008-2009 testdriver by Williams, in 2009 he was GP2 champion. Hülkenberg was driving for Williams in 2010, he’s highlight in that year was he’s pole in Sao Paulo under rainy conditions. The Netherlands Robert Frijns has good chances to be testdriver by Sauber for the next season. He won three championships in three years (!), Formula BMW Eurocup 2010, Formula Renault 2.0 and the Formula Renault 3.5 Series this year.

Korean GP: Vettel grabs commanding win, moves into championship lead

Sebastian Vettel swept into the Formula 1 world championship lead by delivering a dominant victory in the Korean Grand Prix. 

Vettel’s third consecutive race win came at the head of a Red Bull one-two, with team Mark Webber in second.

Polesitter Webber had immediately lost the lead to Vettel off the line, and after fending off the Australian’s attempted retaliation at Turn 3, Vettel was free to pull away. His lead got up to around 10 seconds before he focused on nursing his tyres to the flag.

Fernando Alonso muscled his way up to third in a busy first lap, but had no answer to the Red Bulls’ pace.

The erstwhile points leader kept Webber vaguely in sight as he completed the podium.

McLaren had a disastrous day. Jenson Button was taken out on lap one when Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi hit both Button and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg at Turn 3.

Lewis Hamilton ran fourth behind Alonso in the first stint before losing pace on his second set of tyres. He was overtaken by both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen before switching to a three-stop strategy.

That left Hamilton back in 10th, his efforts to recover positions stymied when he picked up a large piece of astroturf in the final laps.

Having dispatched Hamilton, Massa closed in on Ferrari team-mate Alonso. He received a radio message requesting that he hold formation, and duly finished fourth, ahead of Raikkonen’s Lotus.

Nico Hulkenberg drove an excellent race to sixth for Force India, delivering one of the most exciting moments of a largely tedious race when he passed both Romain Grosjean and Hamilton in one sweep as the Lotus and McLaren diced. Grosjean took seventh.

Toro Rosso had a superb afternoon. Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo came through from their lowly grid positions to eighth and ninth, swapping places late on as Ricciardo’s tyres faded. Hamilton’s astroturf drama meant the McLaren fell back after putting the STR duo under heavy pressure.

Mercedes’ race was as disappointing as McLaren’s. Following Rosberg’s early exit, Michael Schumacher lacked pace throughout and was eventually pushed back to 13th behind Sergio Perez and Paul di Resta.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS

The Korean Grand Prix
Korean International Circuit, Korea;
55 laps; 308.630km;
Weather: Clear.

Classified:

Pos Driver Team Time
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h36:28.651
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 8.200
3. Alonso Ferrari + 13.900
4. Massa Ferrari + 20.100
5. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 36.700
6. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 45.300
7. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 54.800
8. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:09.500
9. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:11.700
10. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 1:19.600
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:20.000
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:24.400
13. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:29.200
14. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1:34.900
15. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:36.900
16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 lap2
20. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps

Fastest lap: Webber, 1:42.037

Not classified/retirements:

Driver Team On lap
De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 17
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 17
Rosberg Mercedes 2
Button McLaren-Mercedes 1

World Championship standings, round 16:

Drivers: Constructors:
1. Vettel 215 1. Red Bull-Renault 367
2. Alonso 209 2. Ferrari 290
3. Raikkonen 167 3. McLaren-Mercedes 284
4. Hamilton 153 4. Lotus-Renault 255
5. Webber 152 5. Mercedes 136
6. Button 131 6. Sauber-Ferrari 116
7. Rosberg 93 7. Force India-Mercedes 89
8. Grosjean 88 8. Williams-Renault 58
9. Massa 81 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 21
10. Perez 66
11. Kobayashi 50
12. Hulkenberg 45
13. Di Resta 44
14. Schumacher 43
15. Maldonado 33
16. Senna 25
17. Vergne 12
18. Ricciardo 9

All timing unofficial

 

Source: Autosport F1

Sebastian Vettel dominates at Suzuka as Alonso retires

 

 

Sebastian Vettel dominated the Japanese Grand Prix from start to finish as he closed down the gap to Alonso in the drivers championship to mere 4 points as the latter retired from the race on the very first lap.

On the very first turn, Alonso and Raikkonen made contact as the former ran off the track and spun into retirement. That wasn’t all as Grosjean ran into Mark Webber’s Red Bull on the very next turn and Senna putting Rosberg out of the race. Alonso along with Rosberg retired from the race while the rest continued. This brought out the Safety Car as the action stopped for next few laps. A few laps later Stewards handed a stop-go penalty to Grosjean and a drive-through to Senna.

The action resumed on lap, with Vettel leading the race from Kobayshi, Button and Massa. Raikkonen was running in 5th place ahead of Segio Perez, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg. Many of these drivers benefited from the first lap accident.

The first round of pit stop started on lap 13 with multiple drivers including Button and Raikkonen making their stops. Race leader Sebastian Vettel increased his lead and only made his stop on lap 17. While Kobayashi and Button lost his time behind traffic, Massa made a late stop to jump both of them as he moved into 2nd place.

On lap 19, Perez ran wide and out of the race after a unsuccessful move to regain his place over Hamilton.

Before the race, it was expected that some drivers will go for a two stop strategy while some will opt for one requiring three stops. However, as the race unfolded, two stops became the default strategy with drivers making their second and final stop from lap 30. Raikkonen was the first to make his pitstop on lap 30 followed by Hamilton on lap 31. Massa and Vettel made their stops on lap 36 and 37 respectively. 

Hamilton banged wheels on first few turns of lap 31 and overtook the Finn thanks to a quick 2.5 second stop by McLaren.

Meanwhile, Vettel continued to increase the lead to Massa and rest of the field as he went on to win the race by a comfortable margin of 20 seconds. This is Vettel’s third victory at Suzuka in last four race and third victory of the season. Massa went on to finish in a excellent second place, his first podium since Korea 2010. A late charge by Button couldn’t prevent home hero Kobayashi from finishing on the podium as Japanese crowd gave a standing ovation to the Sauber driver. Kamui Kobayashi

Hamilton finished in 5th place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg. The latter made into the top 10 on the very first lap making the most of the first lap drama. Pastor Maldonado scored his first points since his victory at Spain with a 8th place finish. Mark Webber switched to hard tyres on the very first lap following the accident and then made only a single stop to finish in 9th place ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Schumacher made his way to 11th after starting the race from a lowly 21st place thanks to a 10 place grid penalty he incurred at the Singapore Grand Prix. Paul di Resta could finish only in 12th place ahead of Toro Rosso of Jean Eric Vergne.

Alonso’s first lap retirement has made the championship wide open with Vettel(190) now just four points behind the Spaniard(194). Raikkonen and Hamilton are 3rd and 4th in the standings with 157 and 152 points respectively.

Source: Rach F1

Q+A with Kobayashi and Pérez

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The FIA Formula One World Championship is taking its summer break now with four weekends free from racing, and the factories will shut down for two weeks. With 11 Grands Prix completed and a further nine to come, the Sauber F1 Team drivers left a few thoughts before they disappeared for their holidays.

Sergio Pérez is currently ninth in the drivers‘ championship (47 points), while Kamui Kobayashi ranks tenth (33 points). With 80 points to its tally the Sauber F1 Team is sixth in the constructors‘ championship.

How would you assess the season so far?

Kamui Kobayashi: “Overall we have done a good job and achieved great things. The team built a very good car with an excellent performance. Since the beginning of the season we have been competitive on most tracks, and this means we can be confident for the remainder of the season. The downside so far has been we definitely missed some opportunities for some more great results. Too often we didn’t manage the weekend perfectly. If we can improve there, a lot will be possible.”

Sergio Pérez: “I had some great moments in the first half of the season. There were the two podiums in Malaysia and Montreal, which, of course, made me very happy. Nevertheless it was also a period with ups and downs because we didn’t make the most of every situation.”

In which way have you personally improved in 2012 compared to last year?

Sergio: “Having a lot more experience now compared to my rookie season makes me much more confident in many respects. I think I am a lot better than I was when I entered Formula One. This goes especially for when it comes to making decisions with the team.”

Kamui: “I don’t think I have changed a lot personally, but I feel this year we work closer together with the engineers and on a higher level.”

What are your targets for the second half of the season?

Kamui: “On the one hand I want to get my first podium in Formula One, because this is definitely within reach with this car, while on the other we have to focus on our position in the constructors’ championship and score points on a regular basis.”

Sergio: “We need to be more efficient and I want to contribute to that. It is not that our performance was not consistent, but we didn’t always get the things right and also we have been unlucky sometimes. We have to get everything together and make the most out of what we have. The car is quick and for me my first victory would be a dream come true.”

What do you think about having so many different winners this season?

Sergio: “I think we are having a great season in Formula One this year. The teams are very close together, and this enables more teams and drivers than before to fight for a podium or even a win.”

Kamui: “I think the main reasons are the changes in the technical regulations with the banning of off-throttle blowing and the flexible front wings. This brought the teams much closer together. This year sometimes in qualifying there have been nearly ten cars within two tenths of a second. The smallest mistake makes a huge difference to the position you start from. The result of all this is there are many different winners, which is good for Formula One, good for the fans and good for us drivers.”

What are your plans for the summer break?

Kamui: “I haven’t decided yet as first of all I have some events and appointments to attend in Japan. After them I will have a look to find myself a warm place with a beach.”

Sergio: “For the first two weeks in August I will go with my family to a quiet place in the US. The other two weeks I will be using to prepare myself for the second half of the season because I want to come back strong.”

Courtesy: Sauber F1