Tag Archives: McLaren

Jenson Button wins Formula 1 Championship & Lewis Hamilton races to 3rd in Brazil

I’ve been quite critical of Jenson Button over this season, as have a lot of others. As a Lewis Hamilton fan it was hard to watch Jenson race to victory after victory at the start of the season while Lewis struggled to get into the second part of qualifying with his underperforming McLaren MP4-24.

Button has the advantage of driving a car that had a lot of money and time pumped into it by virtue of Honda forgoing success in the 2008 season to concentrate on the 2009 season. Of course that didn’t quite go to plan when late last year Honda announced they wouldn’t be taking part in the 2009 season – at this point Jenson Button, and team mate Rubens Barrichello, were without a ride for the 2009 season. The rest of the Brawn GP story, as they say, is history and perhaps both drivers were deserving of such a superior car for sticking with the team.

There’s no doubting that for the first 7 races the Brawn GP were far superior to any others on the grid, with the Red Bulls being the closest in terms of performance. Even though the likes of McLaren and Ferrari have turned up year after with superior cars, this felt different, and I almost resented the Brawn’s performance and Jenson’s success. As the season progressed and other cars got better, specifically the McLaren, the playing field evened out. The only problem, if you can call it that, is that Button had built up such a lead that only his team mate had any chance of catching him, with an outside chance going to either Sebastian Vettel or Mark Weber at Red Bull. This meant that even though Button was under-performing he was still going to be the champion and for me that spoiled the season a little bit.

Moving on to the Brazilian Grand Prix and I was firmly behind Barrichello and wanted him to take both the victory at Interlagos and then the Championship from Button at the very first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix two weeks later. As Vettel had qualified 14th there was no chance he was going to challenge Jenson. Hamilton qualified in 17th which was pretty poor but as always I’d be behind in, hoping he’d be able get past a few people and get some points, maybe even enough to match or get past Kimi Raikkonen on the leader board.

What I witnessed on Sunday was Button having the race of his life and putting on a performance worthy of a champion. With his lead having been eroded over the weeks and there being a strong chance of Barrichello winning after starting from pole position, Button was obviously fighting for his championship and for the first time this season felt very much under pressure. I just wish he’d raced like that for the previous 8 races rather than relying on his cushion of points amassed earlier in the season. Because of his fantastic performance I was pleased for him when he became champion, though at the same time extremely gutted for Barrichello who once again had no luck during his home race.

Congratulations Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula 1 Drivers World Champion, and to Brawn GP, the 2009 Formula 1 Constructors Champions.

2009 World Champion (Photo Credit: ANTONIO SCORZA/AFP/Getty Images)

2009 World Champion (Photo Credit ANTONIO SCORZA/AFP/Getty Images)

After qualifying in 17th, Hamilton also had an amazing race and thanks to a great tactical decision of pitting and changing tyres while the safety car was out early in the race, along with some great driving, he managed to overtake Barrichello with a few laps left and come home in 3rd, another podium finish. Importantly, this meant he overtook Raikkonen and has a 1 point lead going into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – hopefully he can keep the 5th place while helping McLaren remain in 3rd in the Constructors Championship.

Lewis leads the way (Photo Credit: Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images)

Lewis leads the way (Photo Copyright: Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images)

While there a few lesser places still to be decided, like Vettel and Barrichello’s fight for second place, we go into the first ever Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with both the Drivers and Constructors Champions already crowned. Still, next season should be fantastic, as long as the FIA don’t throw too many spanners into the works!

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Filed under Barichello, Brawn GP, Button, Ferrari, FIA, Formula 1, Hamilton, McLaren, Raikkonen, Vettel

Lewis Hamilton wins Hungarian Grand Prix!

That’s a headline I, and many others, probably didn’t think they’d be writing a few days ago. However, it became clear in practice and then qualifying that the McLaren’s were much improved with Hamilton and Kovalainen qualifying in 4th and 6th respectively. With KERS on their side, there was the potential for both McLaren drivers to get a very good start in Hungary and possibly get a first McLaren podium of the 2009 season.

What actually happened was beyond anyone’s expectations. Lewis did have a good start going up to 3rd, but Sebastian Vettel didn’t start so well which hampered Hamilton’s progress a bit. Undeterred, Hamilton pressed on and attacked and overtook Mark Weber at the first opportunity, on a track which is notoriously difficult to overtake on! When Fernando Alonso pitted after just 11 laps Lewis Hamilton found himself at the front of the pack and leading the race – something he hadn’t done thus far in the 2009 season.

From then on we witnessed a flawless drive form the 2008 World Champion as he came home to take victory and the full 10 points. This was a day of firsts:

McLaren’s first podium of 2009
McLaren’s first victory of 2009
Hamilton’s first podium of 2009
Hamilton’s first victory of 2009
Formula 1’s first KERS victory

Hamilton Wins! (Photo copyright Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Hamilton Wins! (Photo copyright Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Heikki Kovalainen came in 5th making it a very good day for McLaren. Going forward, as a McLaren fan, I can only hope that this form is here to stay. I am under no illusion that Hamilton or Kovalainen will be challenging for the Driver’s Championship, but they can grab some good points, have some good races, and finish 2009 on a comparable high when looking at the first 9 races of the season. It also gives renewed optimism for the 2010 season where McLaren will hopefully be back where they belong – at the top!

Interestingly there have 4 different winners in the last 4 races: Button in Turkey, Vettel in Great Britain, Weber in Germany and now Hamilton in Hungary. Hamilton is now on 19 points and is 8th, 51 points behind leader Button, and Kovalainen is in 12th place on 9 points. McLaren move up to 5th in the Constructor’s Championship with 28 points, with Brawn GP way ahead at the top with 114 points.

This was a great race to watch as McLaren fan after the frustrations of the season so far. Hamilton in particularly, while never grabbing many points, has always been an entertaining driver to watch – just look back his battles with the likes of Weber, Alonso and Raikkonen this season. It’s fantastic to see him not only trying, but succeeding again too.

Away from the race, my thoughts go out to Felipe Massa who has a horrific accident in qualifying yesterday and is currently in a serious but stable state in hospital. The latest I heard is that he is improving, which is great news and I, along with everyone I’m sure, wishes him a speedy a recovery and quick return to the sport he loves and is so very good at.

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Blog Consolidation with F1 & Comics

I have decided to stop writing 3 different blogs (McLaren Fan Blog, A Little Less Geek and The Beach Boys Discography Project) as I don’t have the time, or to be honest the motivation, to do so. I have decided to have one catch-all blog for me to write about any subject I so desire. I used to do this and have imported the posts from my old Blogger account, hereby known as Wax On, Wax Off Version 1.0.

Now, let’s kick things off with a bit about my favourite sport, Formula 1. As a McLaren this season is pretty demoralising so far, and that wasn’t made any better with today’s Turkish Grand Prix which saw Hamilton finish in 13th (up 3 places from qualification) and Kovalainen (same as qualification). Hamilton didn’t drive too badly and was fuelled very heavily making him very uncompetitive early on. The race was once again won by Jenson Button, though his Brawn GP team mate actually retired after an awful start and bad race – the first retirement of a Brawn GP car all season.

Button leads in the Turkish Grand Prix

Button leads in the Turkish Grand Prix

The McLaren team don’t seem to be getting things right this season and are making little to no improvement, in fact some might say they are actually getting worse! maybe they should take a leaf out of the book of the team formerly known as Honda (now Brawn GP if you didn’t know) and give up on this season and concentrate on development for next year’s car. The next race is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, a race Hamilton won last year, yet this year it looks like Britain could have another victor in the form of Jenson Button, who at this early stage of the season seems the only safe bet for 2009 World Champion.

Now if we can move on to another obsession of mine, comic books! In this last week I have read volumes 1-7 of the New Avengers series and volumes 1 & 2 of the Mighty Avengers in order to get completely up to date with the Avengers storylines before and past the Civil War story arc which I read in July 2007 and up to the Secret Invasion story arc.

Secret Invasion - who can you trust?

Secret Invasion - who can you trust?

I finished the main Secret Invasion trade paperback this morning and I really enjoyed it, and all the New and Mighty Avengers volumes that I read leading up to it. After being disappointed by The Ultimates 3 I took a break from Marvel, but this was a fantastic return to form. I have a few tie-ins to read and then it’s onto the post Secret Invasion New and Mighty Invasion volumes. Will Iron Man ever regain the trust of Captain America?

On the way are Buffy Season 8 Volume 4, The Boys volume 4 and Marvel 1985 – the latter being one I have wanted to read for some time now and have finally got round to ordering. Though i still have to wait until August, it’s encouraging to see volume 12 of Fables is now available to pre-order. This is possibly, depending when you ask me, my favourite comic book series of all time.

By the way, the URL of this blog is dlrp.wordpress.com – the dlrp stands for Disneyland Resort Paris which is our favourite place in the whole world. We went there on holiday 9 times between 2002 and 2007 but have not been back since our son Lucas was born on may 6th 2008. The plan is to go back again for his 2nd birthday in 2010.

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McLaren not looking good for 2009

I’m an unashamed Lewis Hamilton and McLaren fan, so it should come as no surprise that I’m extremely worried about the upcoming 2009 season after the testing that went on in Barcelona last week.

Will 2009 be a bad year for McLaren?

Will 2009 be a bad year for McLaren?

The following is a list of best lap times from the 4 day testing session on Barcelona last week, courtesy of F1 Fanatic:

1 Rubens Barrichello Brawn GP BGP001 1′18.926 (221 laps)
2 Jenson Button Brawn GP BGP001 1′19.’127 (212)
3 Nico Rosberg Williams FW31 1′19.774 (209)
4 Timo Glock Toyota TF109 1′20.091 (260)
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari F60 1′20.168 (201)
6 Robert Kubica BMW F1.09 1′20.217 (248)
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari F60 1′20.314 (136)
8 Nick Heidfeld BMW F1.09 1′20.338 (223)
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB5 1′20.576 (185)
10 Fernando Alonso Renault R29 1′20.664 (272)
11 Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-24 1′20.869 (156)
12 Kazuki Nakajima Williams FW31 1′20.907 (177)
13 Jarno Trulli Toyota TF109 1′20.937 (242)
14 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso STR4 1′21.013 (213)
15 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India VJM02 1′21.045 (238)
16 Mark Webber Red Bull RB5 1′21.347 (183)
17 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso STR4 1′21.629 (127)
18 Nelson Piquet Jnr Renault R29 1′21.662 (126)
19 Adrian Sutil Force India VJM02 1′21.834 (211)
20 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren MP4-24 1′21.991 (178)

Highlighted in bold are the times of the two McLaren drivers which are terrible. Who’d have thought that World Champion Lewis Hamilton would be only the 11th fastest of the 20 drivers, with Ferrari, BMW and Brawn GP having both their drivers faster than him. There were rumours that McLaren were sandbagging after previous poor testing times but they have since come out and admitted that they are having problems – no, really?

The other big story of testing is the superb performance of the Brawn GP cars, driven by Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button. Last year this was Team Honda and they went into the 2008 season waving the white flag, reasoning that they were working towards the 2009 season. The worldwide recession hit and Honda close to get out of Formula 1, so in stepped Ross Brawn, into what looks like a title contending Grand Prix team. For years people have been saying that Jenson Button is a great driver being kept down by poor cars, well, if testing is anything to go by then this could be his year to hopefully prove those people right.

In closing, McLaren are a huge team and there are still 2 weeks until the first race of the season in Australia. I am hoping that they will get their problems sorted and will be the force they can and should be. No matter what happens, this year more than ever, Lewis Hamilton is going to have to prove all his doubters wrong and show them he is a great driver and his success doesn’t come solely from behind the wheel of a great car.

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Alonso Stays At Renault

Amongst speculation that he may go elsewhere, 2 time former World Champion Fernando Alonso has signed with Renault for another 2 years. Given the progress Renault made in the 2nd half of the season and the fact that all the competitive teams have their drivers signed up for the 2009 season, this announcement comes as no surprise. What may surprise some is that he has signed for 2 years. Neither Kimi Raikkonen or Felipe Masa is contracted for the 2010 season and Ferrari is the team Alonso has been linked with on numerous occasions.

Also not going to Ferrari is 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton. Though his short term future is set with McLaren, through to the end of the 2012 season, Edie Ervine said earlier this week that Hamilton must drive for Ferrari at some point in his career. Hamilton yesterday confirmed what he has always said, that he wants to stay at McLaren and has no plans to ever drive for Ferrari.

Returning to Team Renault, it was announced yesterday that Nelson Piquet would be returning as Alonso’s team mate in 2009. Having a somewhat troubled season, the rookie improved in the 2nd half of the season, much like his esteemed team mate, and obviously did enough to secure his drive for 2009.

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Lewis Hamilton – World Champion

He had to finish 5th, he qualified 4th, he finished 5th…just!

What a way to end a Grand Prix season – the title was Hamilton’s and then it seemed to slip away as Vettel passed him and Glock didn’t pit – had it all gone wrong, again? As Hamilton’s many fans watched on in dismay the impossible (or not as it would seem) happened as Hamilton passed a very slow Glock to come in 5th and claim the World Championship. Ahead of him, and almost an afterthought, Masa finished his season with the victory in Sao Paulo and 2nd place in the Driver’s Championship.

Hamilton deserved to win, Massa deserved to win – we are guaranteed one heck of a season in 2009, especially with the improvements Renault have made and Alonso behind the wheel of that much improved car.

Congratulations Lewis Hamilton, 2008 Formula 1 World Champion, the youngest ever.

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Pole Position, but the enemy is close.

After a mistake in his penultimate lap of Q3 it looked like Hamilton could have some chasing to do at the start of the Chinese Grand Prix tomorrow, but a lightning quick last lap saw him streak to his 7th pole position of the season, more than 3 tenths of a second ahead of closest rival Kimi Raikkonen.

However, things are not as rosy as they seem; Hamilton shares the front row of the grid with 2007 Champion and team-mate of Felipe Masa, Kimi Raikkonen. Sitting in the second row of the grid are Hamilton’s current Championship challenger and Raikkonen’s Ferrari team-mate, Felipe Masa as well as Hamilton’s ex-team-mate Fernando Alonso. Alonso said this week that he will try to help Masa win the Championship. In 5th place, and lining up in the 3rd row on the grid, is Hamilton’s team-mate at McLaren and nearest ally, Heikki Kovalainen.

If Hamilton doesn’t get a good start tomorrow he could be in for the fight of his life and it’ll be time to truly test his mettle and rise to meet the expectations of his many fans, and shut the critics up. Hamilton can seek solace in the fact that Robert Kubica, who is currently 3rd in the Championship and statistically the only driver other than Masa who can beat Hamilton for the Championship, qualified in a lowly 11th place.

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