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.


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.”




Pastor Maldonado :“I had a problem with the brakes and I could feel the pedal pressure wasn’t right from very early on and that compromised our race from the off. It got worse and worse so we had to retire the car. It’s a shame for the team, we had a good car here, very good pace for the race and I think a strong strategy. There’s potential in the car, we just need to carry on, work hard, and look forward in the championship.”

Romain Grosjean: “I didn’t see much of the accident with Verstappen, just his car flying past me in the air! Overtaking in Monaco is difficult and I think he gained that bit of experience today. It’s good to know he’s okay, as it was a bit dangerous for both of us, and it cost us what would have been a hard-earned point. Until then my race had been going pretty well when you consider where we started. The car felt good and the strategy was working well. After the accident, I turned around which established all four wheels were there, then looked in the mirrors to see if the rear wing was still there too, then got on with my race.”

DANIIL KVYAT: “I am happy with today’s race, it was my best finish in Formula One and it was a great result for the team to finish fourth and fifth. I had a good start and was able to control my race from then on. We took a gamble with strategy allowing Daniel past after the last safety car to try and fight for a podium position, as he was on the faster Supersoft  tyres. But as he was unable to pass anyone, as agreed, he gave the place back on the last lap. We hope we can carry this momentum onto the next races.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO: “It was a good race today and a good result for the team. I had some fun in the last few laps trying to get close to Hamilton and Vettel to fight for a podium position. I knew we were in a position to attack in the end which made it exciting I think. The team worked well, Dany let me past to have a crack at the podium and I gave back the place on the last lap when I couldn’t get past Hamilton. I had a little incident with Kimi and it’s hard to get a clean move without a little contact in Monaco, I appreciate the stewards not taking any further action and I think the crowd and the fans enjoyed it. We’ll try and keep up the pace in the next few races to hopefully stay in the top five.”
Valtteri Bottas: This has been a tough weekend that ended in an even tougher race. We tried everything to try and get some points but with the pace we had it wasn’t possible today. We tried the two-stop strategy which never really came to us, with the safety car coming at just the wrong time. There are not too many positives from the weekend but plenty we can learn from as to why we struggled. We know we still have a good car and go to races in the next few weeks where we should be able to demonstrate our true performance.
Felipe Massa: Today was a very frustrating day and a race to forget for us. My race was effectively over in Turn 1, with another car pushing me over and I was left with a lot of damage to my tyre and front wing. The pitstop I had to make on Lap 1 put me right at the back of the pack and I spent the rest of the race looking out for blue flags. The car has not had its usual performance all weekend but we know that we are heading to tracks in Canada and Austria that suit our car and we should be back fighting towards the front.
Sergio Perez: “I’m very happy right now. As a team we’ve done a fantastic job all weekend and seventh place is the result of all this hard work. For me it was a normal race – very straightforward and quiet, which is strange for Monaco. I was racing on my own for most of the race because the cars ahead were able to pull a gap on me and I had space to the cars behind. It was difficult to keep concentration for 78 laps, but after the safety car I was on fresh supersoft tyres and it was really good fun. I was able to attack Kimi [Raikkonen], but there wasn’t an opportunity to get the position. It’s a very important result for the whole team and gives us six points for the championship. It means I’ve scored points in half the races this season, which shows we’ve done a good job of maximising our opportunities.”
Nico Hulkenberg:My race was obviously very difficult right from the start: Fernando [Alonso] more or less pushed me into the wall on the first lap and from that moment I basically had to play catch up. I knew he was there so I left him a bit more space and turned in later, but he must have locked up as he crashed into me and sent me straight into the wall. The only damage was to the front wing, but getting back to the pits and changing the wing cost me a lot of time. My race was already compromised then – it is not easy to race from so far back because you have to let the leaders through and you’re on the back foot the whole time. In terms of pace I was doing quite well, especially when in clean air, but obviously getting lapped costs you a lot of time. It is a shame as I feel that without the incident I would have been well into the points today. I still take encouragement from our pace and hopefully we can maximise the next weekend in Canada and get some more points.”



A terrible error of judgement by his Mercedes team cost Lewis Hamilton victory at the Monaco Grand Prix and handed it gift-wrapped to his team-mate and rival Nico Rosberg.

A win was all but assured for the reigning Formula One world champion as the race came to a close only for Hamilton’s race engineers to choose to pit under the safety car allowing Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel to pass.

It saw Hamilton blow what would have been a second success on the streets of Monte Carlo and allowed Rosberg to secure a bonus third successive win at the Circuit de Monaco as Vettel’s Ferrari followed home second.

This astonishing turnaround gave Rosberg his third victory in a row in Monte Carlo. He could hardly believe it, screaming over the team radio.

Rosberg said: “I’m very, very happy. I know also that it was a lot of luck today. Lewis drove brilliantly and he would’ve deserved the win for sure. But that’s the way it is. I’m extremely happy and going to make the most of it.

Dejected: Hamilton holds his head low on the podium

“I have no idea [about pit stops], sorry. We’re in the car and it’s very difficult to judge what decisions are being made.”

Vettel added: “It was a bit of a turnaround at the end, but we were there when it mattered. We were just ahead of Lewis when he came out of the pits. It was close but I was confident I was ahead.”

F1Weekly podcast #678

Clark and Nasir give their pre-race analysis for the Grand Prix de Monaco we have Motorsports Mondial with the king and we bring you a special interview with long time F1W listener Louis Janssen.

Here is a bonus….Pastor Maldonado on Thursday Practice.

Pastor: “The car didn’t go badly today, maybe even better than we expected. Of course, the track improves a lot lap by lap so it’s difficult to determine where you are exactly, but it was a good day even if we were interrupted by the rain in the afternoon. This meant we didn’t get time to run with the super softs, but I think we should have time on Saturday morning and it will be interesting to see how the car reacts to the softer compound. Of course, qualifying in Monaco is always very important so we’ll do our best to get the car where we want it for then.”

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Vandoorne soars to Monaco victory

Belgian on top of the world after prestigious win
McLaren tester Stoffel Vandoorne has claimed his third victory of the season in the most glamourous of surroundings, implementing the perfect strategy to win the feature race this morning in Monaco ahead of Alexander Rossi and Sergio Canamasas.
The Belgian had to wait for his moment, jumping the American in the pits to switch positions during a race-long battle between the pair, as well as manage the challenge of the others around them. At the start it was Raffaele Marciello who was in the pound seat, using his soft tyres to jump poleman Rossi into Ste Devote, while Vandoorne tried but failed to get past the soft shod Arthur Pic, making do with P4 ahead of Jordan King, Sergey Sirotkin, Julian Leal and Canamasas as the field headed up the hill towards Casino.
The question on everyone’s mind was how long with the softs last around the principality, and the answer came soon: Marciello was into the pits on lap 9, Pic one lap later, and at the front the order was now Rossi, Vandoorne, Sirotkin, Leal, Canamasas and Richie Stanaway as they tried to build a lead over Pic, who in P9 was first on track of those who had already stopped, looking to build a gap before their own stops.
On lap 20 a virtual safety car was declared while the marshals removed Mitch Evans’ broken car at the new chicane, the result of a collision with Nick Yelloly, and the front men took the bait, jumping into the pits to gamble on being able to run on their softs for another 20 laps. Vandoorne jumped Rossi in the pits for the lead of the race, Leal collided with Sirotkin as he exited with both men continuing, and as the race went live the order at the front was now Vandoorne, Rossi, Leal, Pic, Canamasas and Sirotkin.
The Spaniard used his new tyres to great effect, jumping Pic with a lovely move inside at Ste Devote after another VSC period for debris, with the pair now in battle for third after Leal was handed a 10 second time penalty for the pitlane incident. But all eyes were on the battle for the lead, with Rossi having to use more of his soft tyres to try and regain the lead, all the time balancing the need to help them get to the end of the race.
In the final few laps the battle was lost, with the American dropping off to limp home six seconds behind Vandoorne, who punched the air with delight at his great victory. Leal finished third on track but dropped back to P6 in the results, behind an overjoyed Canamasas who held Pic at bay despite degrading tyres for the final podium position, and Sirotkin, who put in a tremendous drive for his best GP2 result in P5. Stanaway held off Marciello for P7, while King and Yelloly claimed the final points paying positions towards the drivers’ title fight, which is led by Vandoorne on 111 points ahead of Rossi on 68, Rio Haryanto on 49 and Evans on 28 ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s sprint race.
Monte Carlo – Feature Race
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
Alexander Rossi
Racing Engineering
Sergio Canamasas
MP Motorsport
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
Sergey Sirotkin
Julian Leal
Richie Stanaway
Status Grand Prix
Raffaele Marciello
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
Nick Yelloly
Hilmer Motorsport
Rene Binder
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
Alex Lynn
Pierre Gasly
Robert Visoiu
Rio Haryanto
Campos Racing
Nathanaël Berthon
Norman Nato
Arden International
Marlon Stockinger
Status Grand Prix
Johnny Cecotto
Hilmer Motorsport
André Negrao
Arden International
Zoel Amberg


Rossi claims Monte Carlo pole

American driver on top in wet qualifying session
Alexander Rossi has claimed pole position – the second of his GP2 career – in the streets of Monte Carlo in wet conditions. The American driver set a laptime of 1:37.019, half a second clear of his closest rival Arthur Pic in Group B. Quickest in Group A, Raffaele Marciello will start from the front row in tomorrow’s feature race.
Group A – Odd numbered cars
Drops of rain started to fall as the thirteen cars of the first group lined up in the pitlane. Some opted for super soft tyres (including Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne), whilst others more cautious decided to take to the track on wet tyres. The latter option proved to be the best one as the drivers on slick tyres struggled on a slippery track on their out-lap. They re-joined the pitlane to switch to wet compounds.
Richie Stanaway was the early pace-setter, but as the rubbers warmed up, laptimes tumbled down and it was Marciello who eventually went top. The treacherous track conditions saw Stanaway graze the barrier and damage his front wing. Marciello however was able to find some extra pace and posted a laptime of 1:40.357 with one minute left on the clock.
Any other final attempt was ruined with late yellow flags courtesy of Daniel de Jong who ran off track at Turn 5 and damaged his nose whilst Zoel Amberg had troubles at Turn 12 damaging his front wing and left rear tyre. At the chequered flag, Marciello led Vandoorne, Julian Leal, Jordan King and de Jong.
Group B – Even numbered cars
The track was still wet as drizzle fell. The other thirteen cars all started on wet tyres with Rossi quick to set the pace lighting up sectors 1 and 2 in purple on every lap. Halfway through the session, the American dipped under 1m40s effectively making his group the quickest one. Whoever bettered his laptime would become the poleman of the day. Sergey Sirotkin and this morning’s fastest man Arthur Pic were working hard toward that goal, but as they both improved, so did Rossi who broke under 1m39s.
On a drying track, Pic moved up to P2, two tenths slower than Rossi. The man from Racing Engineering was not done yet and improved on his next two laps, making it clear to Pic and all of his other rivals that it was his day to shine. On his last effort, Rossi clocked in a laptime of 1:37.019, half a second quicker than the Frenchman. Behind the pair, Sirotkin finished third ahead of Nick Yelloly and Sergio Canamasas.

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