FORMULA 1

GRAND PRIX DE CANADA PREVIEW FROM PASTOR MALDONADO:

 

Do you like the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?

It’s amazing and I always enjoy being there. Canada is a great race not only because of the track but because of the people who come to support it. There is a great atmosphere all weekend and the city is quite close to the circuit which means there is a great vibe all round. There is also a lot of history to the Grand Prix and it has been around for a while – it is one of the great GPs during the season.

What do you need for a fast lap around the track?

You need a good race car to have confidence to push and that is something we have with the E23. You use the kerbs quite a lot, so you need to be able to ride the bumps well and you need good turn-in for the chicanes. Also, like Monaco, you need to stay away from the walls. You should get close, but making contact is too close!

How variable can the weather be in Canada?

It’s an interesting part of the race as you never know what the weather can be like in Montréal. I’ve been there when it’s been pretty hot, but I’ve also been there when it’s cold and when it’s very wet. Any of these conditions can make things interesting especially as the track isn’t used much so you don’t know how it might react.

Monaco was rather a short race for you; how frustrating was that?

Of course it was frustrating, but that’s the way that racing goes sometimes. There were lots of positives; we qualified well and the car felt good on the track. Unfortunately there was an issue with a part and the only alternative was to retire the car. That’s racing sometimes.

Do you think Montréal could be the venue to get your championship charge on course?

I’ve approaching every race wanting to finish in the points. The circuit in Canada has its own challenges but there’s nothing to say we shouldn’t be fast there. This year’s car has felt good so I’ll be pushing for points in the race. At most of the races this year we’ve looked strong all through the weekend and it’s been the final piece of crossing the finish line in the points which has been out of reach. That’s what we want this weekend.

How competitive has the racing been this season?

It’s been interesting where we are and there is still a lot of potential for us to do well this season. We’ve seen that the Mercedes is consistently the fastest car, but they are not unbeatable. Behind them there’s a great battle. We seem to have a car that is in the top ten on qualifying pace and quicker than some of its nearest rivals when it comes to the race pace. At somewhere like Monaco it’s difficult to take advantage of superior race pace, but at more open circuits we’re well placed.

How has the E23 evolved so far?

We’ve had upgrades and we have a good understanding of how to get the car to work how we want it. It’s much more predictable and delivers more than last year’s car. You can see that the lessons learnt in 2014 have been applied. I’m looking forward to some good weekends where we can deliver what we’re capable of.

What’s your focus mid-season?

Over the year your focus doesn’t change much and it’s pretty simple; you want to do the very best you can at every race. You turn up at the track, work with the engineers, get in the car then drive the best you can.

WTCC

FOUR CITROËNS IN IT TO WIN IT!

MOSCOW RACEWAY (05-07 JUNE 2015) – PREVIEW

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 - NURBURGRING - NORDSCHLEIFE - GERMANY WTCC-14/05/2015 TO 16/05/2015 - PHOTO : @World <p– After an out-of-the-ordinary experience at the Nürburgring, the FIA WTCC returns to a more conventional setting for its next meeting at Moscow Raceway.

– With four race wins in as many meetings, José María López has a solid lead in the Drivers’ World Championship.

– Neck and neck behind him, Sébastien Loeb and Yvan Muller will be looking to close the gap on their teammate.

– Having won here last year, Ma Qing Hua will be hoping to use that experience to get himself back on the podium.

Before rounding off the European season with trips to Slovakia, France and Portugal, the FIA World Touring Car Championship is heading east to Russia, the world’s largest country, for its fifth meeting of the year. The competition is making its third visit to Moscow Raceway, a circuit opened in 2012 and designed by famous architect Hermann Tilke.

Last year, the Russian weekend proved a fruitful one for the Citroën Total team. José María López was victorious in Race 1, with Sébastien Loeb picking up third spot. History was then made in Race 2, as Ma Qing Hua became the first Chinese driver to win an FIA World Championship race! In his very first weekend in a Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, Qing Hua succeeded in holding off a resurgent Yvan Muller over the last few laps. So all four Citroën drivers have already enjoyed podium success at Moscow Raceway, and all four will be aiming to repeat the experience in 2015!

BUSY SCHEDULES

With no test sessions to occupy them since the Nürburgring, each Citroën driver has done his own thing over recent weeks. While Ma Qing Hua headed for Shanghai to catch up with his friends and savour his beloved Chinese cuisine, Yvan Muller prepared for his participation in the Rallye du Chablais in a DS 3 R5. Last week, José María López was to be found in the paddock at the Monaco GP as a consultant for FOX Sports. And after a few days’ rest with his family, Sébastien Loeb will be in Haguenau on Saturday 30 May for the official opening of the sports complex that bears his name!

On Thursday, they will all converge on the Russian circuit to start busily preparing for the fifth round of the WTCC season. With three pole positions, four Race-1 victories and three Race-2 podium spots to his name, José María López has a near-perfect record so far. The Argentine driver’s consistency has enabled him to build a 50-point cushion between himself and his nearest rival. Barring a dramatic turn of events, the reigning World Champion should still find himself at the top of overall standings when he leaves Russia. But Pechito has not forgotten that this circuit saw the only DNF of his FIA WTCC career so far…

Lying second in the World Championship, a position he has occupied since the opening round, Sébastien Loeb has seen his advantage eroded over the last three meetings, with Yvan Muller now just one point behind him in third! With one win and four other podium finishes in eight races, Seb has clearly raised his game since last season. A little more success in qualifying is all he needs to challenge Pechito’s supremacy.

Little by little, Yvan Muller is making up for the ground he lost with his scoreless performance at Termas. But the World Champion does not want to settle for second. To rein in López, he will have to notch up pole positions, as he did in Hungary, and win races, as he did in Morocco and Germany! Yvan is a formidable competitor and will give no quarter…

Ma Qing Ha’s season has been one of highs and lows. So far, the Chinese driver has achieved just one podium finish (in Marrakech). But despite his relative inexperience, he will be aiming for nothing less than victory! Moscow is the first circuit this season that was part of his 2014 programme. He hopes to use that experience to snatch back fourth place in the Drivers’ World Championship from Tiago Monteiro.

José María López, Sébastien Loeb, Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Hua have all stacked up points for Citroën in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. The team has scored the maximum 95 points at three of the four meetings contested so far. This gives it a lead of 115 points, an advantage it will be seeking to build on in the meetings ahead!

 

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP

Felix Rosenqvist unbeatable at Monza

Season race: 12 of 33
Track: Monza
Winner: Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam)
Pole position: Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam)
Weather: overcast and warm

For Felix Rosenqvist, the journey to the Monza Formula 1 circuit paid off, because the Swede also won the third race of the weekend. In the twelfth race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, the Prema driver led from lights to flag to score his third victory of the season. Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam) and Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing) were classified in second and third place respectively. Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), the FIA Formula 3 European Championship points leader, Brandon Maïsano (Prema Powerteam) and Gustavo Menezes (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) finished in fourth to sixth place.

Starting from pole position, Felix Rosenqvist took the lead as the lights went out, but had to turn down an attack by Charles Leclerc on his way towards the first corner. Further down the field, Ryan Tveter (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) ran into the back of the car driven by Fabian Schiller (Team West-Tec F3) and got airborne. Because the American’s car stranded as a result, the race director sent the safety car out. Tveter was taken to hospital for a check-up. For Schiller, the race was over due to a damaged rear wing soon after that.

At the restart on lap five, Rosenqvist held on to his lead. Leclerc lost second place to Jake Dennis after a successful attack by the Brit and dropped back to third. Only three laps after the restart, Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) collided with Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) and retired. That prompted the second safety car intervention, followed by the race being red-flagged. With two cars having barrel-rolled in the second race already, without any injuries for the drivers involved, and medical care being required for Ryan Tveter after his accident in the opening stages of this race, race control intervened for safety reasons.

This early end didn’t affect Rosenqvist’s victory in any way. Dennis, Leclerc, Giovinazzi, Maïsano, Menezes, George Russell (Carlin), Santino Ferrucci (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) and Maximilian Günther (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) rounded out the top ten.

Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam): “My car was perfect throughout the weekend, which I was able to prove by three pole positions and three race wins. Unfortunately, we also got half the points in this race, too, because we didn’t get to complete 75 percent of the scheduled race distance.”

Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam): “My start was good and later on, I also managed to overtake Charles. With that, I was second, which is a good result.”

Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing): “I am happy to be back on the podium, even though third place is not what I had been dreaming of. In this race, I particularly was having problems on the straight. When Jake overtook me, I wanted to follow in his slipstream. Unfortunately, the race then was stopped early.”

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP

Two further pole positions for Swede Rosenqvist

Season race: 11 and 12 of 33
Track: Monza
Pole position race 2: Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam)
Pole position race 3: Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam)
Weather: sunny and warm

For Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam), the Monza weekend continues in a successful way: having already claimed pole position in first qualifying of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, he was also unbeatable in second qualifying. The 23-year-old Swede, who also came out on top in the ranking of the second-fastest laps, thus claimed his sixth and seventh best qualifying times of the current season. At the 5.793 kilometres long Grand Prix circuit, second place went to Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing). Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) and Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam) followed in third and fourth place. In the ranking of the second-fastest lap times, used to determine the starting grid positions for the third race of the weekend, pace-setter Rosenqvist was followed by Leclerc, Giovinazzi and Dennis.

Starting grid race 2

There were plenty of changes out in front in the opening stages of qualifying, but towards the halfway point, Felix Rosenqvist (1:43.417 minutes) claimed the top spot. Later on, the Prema driver extended his lead more and more, only Charles Leclerc (1:43.577 minutes) came close to the Swede in the final stages. However, the 17-year-old Monegasque was unable to take first place away from the Swede, by six years his senior. There also was a battle for third place with Antionio Giovinazzi (1:43.707 minutes) and Jake Dennis (1:43.722 minutes). Eventually, the Italian just came out on top against the Brit. Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:43.812 minutes), Santino Ferrucci (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:43.968 minutes), Brandon Maïsano (Prema Powerteam, 1:44.003 minutes) and Matt Solomon (Double R Racing, 1:44.016 minutes) followed behind Dennis. 20-year-old Danish driver Jensen and 19-year-old Solomon from Hong Kong both scored their best qualifying results to date in their maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship season. Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam, 1:44.029 minutes) and Markus Pommer (Motopark, 1:44.057 minutes) completed the top ten.

Starting grid race 3

Felix Rosenqvist (1:43.447 minutes) was also unbeatable in the ranking of the second-fastest lap times. Leclerc (1:43.587 minutes), Giovinazzi (1:43.900 minutes) and Dennis (1:43.936 minutes) secured second to fourth place, just like they had done in the ranking of the fastest lap times. This time, Ferrucci (1:43.997 minutes) beat his team-mate Jensen (1:44.027 minutes) in the duel for fifth place. Maïsano (1:44.132 minutes) and Pommer (1:44.138 minutes) followed in seventh and eigth place from Gustavo Menezes (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:44.178 minutes) and Maximilian Günther (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:44.227 minutes).

Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam): “It was slightly more difficult than in the first qualifying, because I had plenty of championship contenders behind me and I didn’t want to ruin their laps. I was able to do one clear lap without slipstream and then one with slipstream. Both laps were nearly identical and I had to admit that I couldn’t go any faster. Nice that it was enough to claim both pole positions.”

F1Weekly podcast # 679

Clark and Nasir admit Lewis Hamilton got the Shaft at the Grand Prix de Monaco…We have another great Motorsports Mondial from the Guru and here are some words from LCH…

Lewis Hamilton: I can’t really express how I feel, so I won’t really attempt to. You rely on the team and I saw a screen and it looked like the team was out.

I thought the guys behind were pitting so when the team said stay out, I said these tires would drop in temps. I was concerned they were on options, so with that thinking, I came in with the full confidence that the others had done the same.

That, unfortunately, is how you lose a race in one pit stop. He came in just a bit too early, allowing Rosberg and Vettel to stay ahead of him until the end of the race.

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WRC

QUENTIN GILBERT’S EXPERIENCE SHOWS

134_GILBERT_PORTUGAL_2015Winner of the opening round in Monaco, Frenchman Quentin Gilbert added a second FIA Junior WRC win at Ra lly de Portugal. In only the second competitive rally of his fledgling career, Pierre-Louis Loubet claimed a brilliant runner-up spot, ahead of the Finn Henri Haapamaki.

Fifteen crews lined up at the start of the second round of the 2015 FIA Junior WRC. This year’s new-look Rally de Portugal provided the under-28 year-old drivers with an opportunity to rack up the miles on its very demanding stages.

After Thursday evening’s super-special stage was won by Osian Pryce, Friday’s itinerary took the crews from Porto towards the Spanish border to the north. Initially, Simone Tempestini coped best with the extremely rough roads to grab the lead.

He went quickest on the morning loop of stages and headed for the midday service with a lead of around twenty seconds over Osian Pryce. Daniel McKenna, Terry Folb, Ole Christian Veiby, Quentin Gilbert, Henri Haapamaki, Pierre-Louis Loubet and Jean-René Perry were already over a minute off the pace.

Conditions worsened for the second loop. Making the most of his experience to look after his DS 3 R3-MAX whilst remaining fast, Quentin Gilbert claimed two consecutive stage wins to go from sixth to first, ahead of Terry Folb and Ole Christian Veiby. Simone Tempestini (ripped off wheel), Osian Pryce (alternator) and Daniel McKenna (off) were all caught out by the incredible difficulties of the road surface.

When Terry Folb went off at the start of the long second day on SS8, Quentin Gilbert had a little breathing space at the front. The FIA Junior WRC leader added another two stage wins during the morning loop before letting Simone Tempestini, who had rejoined under Rally 2 rules, come to the fore. Having moved up into second place, Ole Christian Veiby then rolled on the final stage of the day and had to retire from the leg.

On Sunday morning, Quentin Gilbert held a lead of over two minutes on Pierre-Louis Loubet. Henri Haapamaki was almost five minutes back, ahead of Jean-René Perry. Having all rejoined under Rally 2 rules, Ole Christian Veiby, Simone Tempestini and Daniel McKenna completed the top half of the standings.

Osian Pryce was the quickest on the final two stages of the rally. In the top 10, the only driver to make a move was Federico Della Casa, who managed to get ahead of Daniel McKenna to grab seventh place in the category standings. Osian Pryce and Kornel Lukacs also finished in the points. Charlotte Dalmasso and Terry Folb made it to the end, but finished outside the top 10.

After this second event of the season, Quentin Gilbert has 50 points. He leads Ole Christian Veiby by 25 points and Simone Tempestini by 30 points. In the Nations Trophy, France leads the standings, ahead of Norway and Italy.

Next up for the FIA Junior WRC drivers and teams is Rally Poland on 2-5 July.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Quentin Gilbert: “It was a long and difficult rally. We took it fairly steadily at the start of the race to get our bearings. After the first loop, we had a better set-up and many other crews had problems. Once we were in front, we managed to hold position despite the difficulties of the road surface. With two wins from two outings, it’s been a perfect start to the season.”

 

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast