Motorsports Mondial

Photo: Reuters

Kiwi Wings Clipped

Brendon Hartley, Robert Wickens, Scott Speed and Mika Maki all have one thing in common; Red Bull gave them wings and then clipped them when they did not live up to the high standards set by one-time Grand Prix and Le Mans winning driver, Dr. Helmut Marko, the right hand man to Red Bull matador Dietrich Mateschitz.

Hartley, a native of New Zealand, has been in the Red Bull brigade for four years. Much was expected from him when he was placed in the British F3 championship, but was beaten to the title by his teammate and current Grand Prix driver Jaime Alguersuari.

This season Hartley was placed in the World Series by Renault and was also named Red Bull/Toro Rosso test driver. However, the career of talented driver from Palmerston North has gone south and he has played second fiddle to Australian Daniel Ricciardo from Perth.

Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne, who is having a successful British F3 campaign this year, has been named as successor to the 20-year old Hartley in World Series by Renault.

Chris Amon, the luckless F1 driver for Ferrari, said Hartley’s dismissal from the Red Bull programme is a huge setback for his fellow countryman to reach the top flight in motor racing.

– Nasir Hameed

Final practice:

Pos  Driver       Car                   Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      1m19.574s            17
 2.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1m20.058s  + 0.484s  15
 3.  Alonso       Ferrari               1m20.724s  + 1.150s  19
 4.  Kubica       Renault               1m21.066s  + 1.492s  19
 5.  Massa        Ferrari               1m21.264s  + 1.690s  16
 6.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      1m21.376s  + 1.802s  17
 7.  Petrov       Renault               1m21.399s  + 1.825s  15
 8.  Rosberg      Mercedes              1m21.422s  + 1.848s  18
 9.  Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m21.473s  + 1.899s  18
10.  Hulkenberg   Williams-Cosworth     1m21.513s  + 1.939s  18
11.  Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m21.705s  + 2.131s  19
12.  Schumacher   Mercedes              1m21.939s  + 2.365s  15
13.  de la Rosa   Sauber-Ferrari        1m22.151s  + 2.577s  21
14.  Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari        1m22.337s  + 2.763s  20
15.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m22.427s  + 2.853s  19
16.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m22.508s  + 2.934s  22
17.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m22.918s  + 3.344s  14
18.  Liuzzi       Force India-Mercedes  1m23.708s  + 4.134s  8
19.  di Grassi    Virgin-Cosworth       1m24.547s  + 4.973s  19
20.  Trulli       Lotus-Cosworth        1m24.576s  + 5.002s  22
21.  Kovalainen   Lotus-Cosworth        1m24.623s  + 5.049s  22
22.  Glock        Virgin-Cosworth       1m24.805s  + 5.231s  17
23.  Senna        HRT-Cosworth          1m26.479s  + 6.905s  21
24.  Yamamoto     HRT-Cosworth          1m27.176s  + 7.602s  21