Tag Archives: Monza

Formula 1


Race Notes:
  • Valtteri Bottas finished fourth and Felipe Massa fifth in the Russian Grand Prix
  • Valtteri had a great start, running as high as second after overtaking Raikkonen in the early stages of the race. He made his only pitstop on lap 16 but ended up losing out to Hamilton and Raikkonen to remain comfortably fourth for the remainder of the race
  • Felipe maintained fourth place in the opening laps but eventually lost out to Hamilton. He stopped on lap 18 and remained comfortably in fifth, giving him enough of a gap to make a second pitstop for supersoft tyres as he began struggling with degradation on the soft tyre
  • The team picked up 22 points, which has helped close the gap to third-placed Red Bull to just six points in the Constructors’ Championship
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: It was a good race, and it was a really good weekend. Every day we got our heads down and have done what we needed to do. The car performance is going forward, even in race trim today. We had improving pace against Ferrari and Mercedes and that’s what we need to keep heading towards. I think our pace against Red Bull this weekend has been really good; they’ve had a bad weekend and we’ve absolutely capitalised on that. Felipe’s tyres were degrading a bit towards the end so we made a precautionary stop and let him run on the supersofts again, as we had enough of a margin to easily stop him and retain fifth. The race played out just as we expected it to really, so it was very good from that point of view. We’ve gained 22 points over Red Bull and Toro Rosso, so that’s really good, and third is well within our sights now; we just have to keep heading towards it. As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve developed the car a lot, but we need another two or three tenths, and we just need to keep developing it, in all areas. Nobody is free from finding performance in Formula One, and certainly not at Williams, but I think we got the most we could have done out of today.
Valtteri Bottas: The beginning of the race was pretty good and we managed to defend against some of the quicker cars behind. I think being aggressive with the early pitstop was good but unfortunately the cars with more pace managed to get through, and at the end of the race there wasn’t much happening for me. All-in-all the team has done a good job this weekend. It’s positive to get a lot of points for Williams. There’s definitely progress, this is a good track for us so that helped, but we just need to keep improving. I definitely had more in mind today than fourth so we need to keep pushing.
Felipe Massa: I think it was a very positive weekend for us and a very positive race. I would have loved to finish fourth and not fifth, but that’s just part of the game so I’m happy with the result. We managed to score a lot more points than Red Bull, and that’s the target for us right now. They have a very good team and a very good car, but we need to keep believing. This weekend was a very good weekend so we need to keep fighting like that. I think for the team the best position was fourth and fifth. Valtteri was able to manage the tyres better here, whilst I was able to manage them better in China. That’s the way it goes, but today’s result is very good for Williams.

F1Weekly podcast # 702


Russian race driver Sergey Sirotkin, 20, has joined Renault Sport Formula One Team as a Test Driver with a long term development plan, including running in FP1 at this week’s Russian Grand Prix.

Sergey will use Kevin Magnussen’s R.S.16 car for the 90 minute practice session on Friday morning

Renault has been an active supporter of Russian motorsport for many years and boasts a long history of participation in various sporting events. For eight consecutive years, Renault has been an official partner of the annual Za Rulem Celebrity Race. This long-standing partnership between Renault and Za rulem magazine is part of the company strategy to popularize and promote motorsports in Russia and beyond. Last year, a new sports version of Renault Logan was the official race car and in previous years Renault has brought many eminent stars of global motorsports to the event, including Alain Prost, Jérôme D’Ambrosio, David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Furthermore, Moscow has hosted World Series by Renault rounds on three separate occasions. The series became very popular amongst Russian fans of motorsport, thanks in part to invited drivers such as Daniil Kvyat.

Frédéric Vasseur, Racing Director Renault Sport Racing:
Sergey is one of the most promising drivers from the junior categories so it is great for us that he is joining Renault Sport. We saw that he was the most promising rookie in the GP2 Series last season, where he achieved a race win and podiums, and for 2016 he is very well placed to fight for the title. He has driven the Sochi Autodrom in a GP2 Series car previously so we have confidence in the job he will be able to do for us this weekend. For Renault Russia it is a good opportunity to harness the growing popularity of Russian motorsports, starting this weekend with the Russian Grand Prix and looking forward to the Moscow ePrix, which will be held again near the walls of the Kremlin on 4 June.’

Sergey Sirotkin:
‘This is a great opportunity for me, although it has all come together so quickly. I still can’t quite believe it. This is, however, the moment that all young racing drivers are working towards, and I am determined to learn as much as I can, as quickly as I can, doing the best possible job for the team while driving in Free Practice 1. Renault Sport, which I would like to thank, has shown many times that it is the best place for a driver to start his Formula One career, and I intend to make the most of this opportunity. My commitment to challenge for the GP2 Series title will be enhanced by such a great chance and I would like to thank SMP Racing for the great support given to my career, commencing in Sochi, in front of my compatriots.’

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Having missed out on a podium finish in the first race at the 4.381 kilometres long Hungaroring earlier today, German driver Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) made the best of his second pole position of the weekend and won from Estonian Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam) and Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou (Motopark). At the track near the Hungarian capital Budapest, Aron was classified as the best-placed rookie in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship field. After a pit stop due to tyre issues, New Zealand’s Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) had to make do with 16th position and lost his lead in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings to Maximilian Günther. Ralf Aron also went ahead of his team-mate in the drivers’ standings.

Maximilian Günther took the lead at the start and drove an undisputed lights-to-flag victory home. Ralf Aron, the winner of the first race at the Hungaroring, slotted in behind his team-mate and brought second place home in an equally safe manner.

Behind the Prema Powerteam duo, George Russell (HitechGP) initially was running in third place, but Guanyu Zhou managed to overtake the Brit on lap eleven after a successful attack. Because his two new rivals Alessio Lorandi (Carlin) and Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark) were busy attacking each other, Russell was able to pull a little gap that he managed to defend until the end. Sette Câmara finished fifth behind Russell, Lorandi took the flag in sixth place. Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam), Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP) rounded out the top ten.

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “My start was good, much better than in the first race. After that, we had analysed the problem and I knew what I had to do. Once in front, I was able to control the race and secured the 1-2 for the Prema Powerteam, together with my team-mate Ralf Aron. This first place is also a nice gift for my mother, who is celebrating her 50th birthday today. The fact that I am now leading in the drivers’ standings is nice, but, of course, I know that there are still 25 races remaining.”

Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam): “At the start, I slotted into second place right behind Maximilian. In the first corner, I was really closely behind him, but it wasn’t enough to mount a challenge. After that, I preferred to save the tyres. In hindsight, I probably was too defensive in the opening stages, but I am still happy with my second place.”

Guanyu Zhou (Motopark): “Here at the Hungaroring, our car is very strong, which my team-mates Niko Kari and Joel Eriksson already proved with their podium finishes in the first race. In the second race, I had a good start, but I almost lost control of my car in the first corner. After that, I was in fourth behind George Russell and I needed some patience before I was finally able to overtake him. All in all, I am happy with third place.”



DAMS rookie fastest on second day in Barcelona
DAMS and Renault Sport Academy’s Kevin Jörg was quickest overall on the second and final day of pre-season testing today at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. The Swiss set his time in the afternoon session and finished one tenth ahead of his teammate Jake Hughes. ART Grand Prix’s and Ferrari Driver Academy’s Charles Leclerc posted the quickest time in a very wet morning session.
Heavy rain greeted the paddock but that did not deter the field from testing in the difficult conditions. Some of the teams chose to work on their wet set up ahead of the opening round on that same track next month. The ART Grand Prix quartet were keen to get some laps under their belt as were the DAMS trio with Leclerc setting the initial pace.
There was an early red flag when Jenzer Motorsport’s Oscar Tunjo spun at Turn 1. The rain began to hammer down with more intensity so the drivers remained in their garages. In the final hour, a handful of drivers ventured on track with Alexander Albon demoting Leclerc to P2 as he got to grips with the conditions. However, Leclerc soon retaliated and was back into P1 by 1.7s.
Nyck de Vries made a visit to the gravel bed at Turn 5 in the final hour, but prior to this Albon had split the ART pairing to jump into second. Jörg and Tereshchenko found some extra pace in the final minutes to go P2 and P3 respectively. The session was brought to an end when Jake Hughes also had an excursion at Turn 5.
At the chequered flag, Leclerc headed the timesheet in front of Jörg, Tereshchenko, Albon, Jack Aitken, Nirei Fukuzumi, Santino Ferrucci, de Vries, Akash Nandy and Richard Gonda.
During the one hour lunch break, the rain finally stopped and blue skies appeared. The drivers all filtered out onto the track eager to get a taste of the changing conditions. By the midway point, the drivers had switched to the slick Pirelli compound as the track continued to dry. Ferrucci held P1 half-way through the session, before Gonda and Tunjo both improved to head the timings.
Koiranen GP’s Matthew Parry was first to dip into the 1m36s, but Antonio Fuoco and then Fukuzumi bettered the Brit’s time by one tenth. Jörg broke into the 1m35s with 25 minutes left on the clock, with his teammate Hughes lapping one tenth shy.
At the chequered flag, the DAMS duo remained on top – ahead of Fuoco, Alex Palou, Leclerc, Artur Janosz, Albon, Fukuzumi, Ralph Boschung and Tunjo.
Koiranen GP’s Mahaveer Raghunathan did not participate during today’s test as he was unfit.
GP3 Series will be on track again next month for the eagerly-awaited first round in Barcelona on May 13-14-15 2016.



Jenzer Motorsport driver sets early pace in Spain
Oscar Tunjo posted the quickest laptime on day one of pre-season testing in Barcelona. The Colombian’s lap of 1:33.554 was two tenths quicker than the GP3 lap record at the Circuit de Catalunya set with the previous generation car back in 2013. The Jenzer Motorsport driver clocked this time in the morning session. In the afternoon, ART Grand Prix and Ferrari Driver Academy rookie Charles Leclerc headed the timesheet.
Dry and cloudy conditions greeted the paddock for the morning session with DAMS’ Santino Ferrucci first to lap in the 1m34s. It was a busy start to proceedings with the drivers and teams keen to focus on performance and qualifying simulations ahead of Round 1 on this very track in just three weeks’ time.
Tunjo shot to the head of timings early on, followed by Antonio Fuoco (Trident). At the midway point, Fuoco led the way ahead of Tunjo, Alex Palou, Giuliano Alesi and Matthew Parry.
In the final hour, Tunjo found some extra pace to dip into the 1m33s. Fuoco and Ralph Boschung also joined the Colombian in the 1m33’s, though a few tenths shy. There was a red flag at the end of the session when Sandy Stuvik went off into the gravel bed at Turn 9. The session wasn’t re-started.
At the chequered flag, Tunjo remained in P1 ahead of Fuoco, Boschung and Parry. Jack Aitken, Tatiana Calderon, Charles Leclerc, Matevos Isaakyan, Nirei Fukuzumi and Alex Palou completed the top ten.
Following a two hour break for lunch, the sun made a welcome appearance. Jake Hughes (DAMS) was first to set the pace before Campos Racing’s Steijn Schothorst broke into the 1m35s to lead the session at the midway point. There was a brief stoppage in proceedings when Jake Dennis stopped on track.
Once the session resumed, the majority of the drivers were concentrating on race runs. Leclerc rose to the top of timings with Schothorst two tenths adrift. Some teams opted for new Pirelli rubber with positions changing frequently in the final hour. Hughes managed to get within 0.031s of the Monegasque’s best laptime to move up to P2 before a third red flag period when Parry stopped at Turn 8.
There was just time for a final dash once the track was green; Palou jumped up to third demoting Ferrucci to fourth but Leclerc remained P1 at the chequered flag. Hughes, Palou, Ferrucci, Schothorst, Alexander Albon, Tunjo, Fukuzumi, Nyck de Vries and Konstantin Tereshchenko rounded out the top ten.
Koiranen GP’s Mahaveer Raghunathan did not participate during today’s test as he was unfit.



Simon Pagenaud has knocked on the door of victory lane in each of the first two races of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Today at the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Frenchman broke through to earn the win.

Pagenaud, in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet, edged reigning series champion Scott Dixon across the finish line by 0.3032 of a second, the closest finish in the 33 Indy car races held at Long Beach and the fastest ever with an average speed of 100.592 mph. It gave Pagenaud five career Verizon Indy Car Series wins and his first since joining Team Penske in 2015.

Pagenaud, who finished second in each of the first two races this season, takes a 14-point championship lead over Dixon into the next event, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 24 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

“This is my favorite street course,” said Pagenaud, a two-time winner in sports car races on the 1.968-mile temporary street course, but who took his first Indy car victory here today. “To win here, especially in INDYCAR, given the level of competition, is amazing. The PPG car is good luck on me. Every time I’m in that car, I’m on the podium.”

Starting the 80-lap race third, Pagenaud took his first lead on Lap 52 when teammate and pole sitter Helio Castroneves made his final pit stop. Pagenaud was able to push two laps farther before stopping for fuel and tires, exiting the pits just ahead of Dixon and Castroneves.

INDYCAR race stewards warned Pagenaud for improper lane usage exiting the pits, but he was able to lead the final 25 laps to collect the win in the first Verizon IndyCar Series caution-free race since Mid-Ohio in August 2013 and the first completely green-flag race on the often-chaotic streets of Long Beach since 1989.

Dixon, in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, believed Pagenaud should have been assessed a stronger penalty, but was resigned with the runner-up finish that kept him second in the standings. Pagenaud leads with 134 points after three of 16 races, Dixon has 120 and Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya is third with 106.

“It appeared that Simon turned a little early and crossed the line (exiting the pits) that you’re not meant to cross,” Dixon said. “But it is what it is, so second place today and Team Target did a hell of a job.”

Castroneves finished third in the No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet, leading a race-high 47 laps. Montoya finished fourth in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevy after a frenetic late-lap battle with Takuma Sato, who wound up fifth in the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda.

Pagenaud finished 11th in last year’s standings, in his first season with Team Penske, with best finishes of third at Belle Isle-1 and Mid-Ohio. Despite going winless in 2015, he focused on the long-term plan.

“I knew it was coming because we’ve been so competitive since the beginning of the year,” Pagenaud said. “I knew I could win races. It’s not my first win; I’ve been around. It was just a matter of when and it’s when we were going to put ourselves in that position.”