New Leader After Singapore

d11sin1979

Singapore Grand Prix

Pre-Race

The final leg of the Formula 1 season started at the street circuit of Singapore. Hispania though had lost their technical director Geoff Willis, who departed from the team. Team Lotus themselves brought a new floor to the car.

Not too much of note happened in practice, Narain Karthikeyan deputised in place of Vitantonio Liuzzi as he prepares himself for his comeback in India. Heikki Kovalainen once again found his car on fire at Singapore, although this time in a much less dramatic style.

Qualifying

There were very few surprises as the new teams lined up in a Noah’s Ark formation yet again. Kovalainen outqualified Trulli, Glock outqualified D’Ambrosio and Ricciardo comfortably outqualified Liuzzi. Liuzzi’s five place penalty being heavily enforced

Race

It was though a fantastic start from Jarno Trulli as he not only launched himself of Kovalainen, but also Jaime Alguersuari and Vitaly Petrov. Both drivers struggled to overtake Trulli throughout the first portion of the race.

Further back at the start, having lost position to D’Ambrosio, Glock then found himself hit from behind by Ricciardo. The Australian’s damage was more apparent, being forced to complete an entire lap with a broken front wing, but unlike Webber in Italy, he was able to do so. However his problems meant that he was lapped as early as lap four. Without question the earliest lapped car of the season.

However Glock soon retired when his rear went away from him, crashing in the stadium section, the same location Bruno Senna retired a year before.

Various pit stops led to Trulli still comfortably ahead of Kovalainen and D’Ambrosio, who had been driving a solid race and at one point had even been ahead of the Finn.

Trulli however would soon suffer a puncture after Alguersuari drove into the back of his car, which ended his strong performance.

However when Schumacher decided to piggyback on the rear of Perez’s Sauber, the Safety Car was brought out and all of the remaining cars were frankly a nuisance to the leading cars, getting in the way. Again, somewhat of a repeat from last year, where di Grassi’s slow Virgin caused the crash between Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton.

Trulli’s  race though would be ended by a gearbox problem. Which, if you excuse me for this rant, led to a rather odd tweet by Tony Fernandes saying they expected it, and didn’t bother changing it because they would get a penalty. Now if you expect it, then why on earth would you bother sending the car at all, why bother, it’s just a waste at the end of the day isn’t it? Getting a grid penalty for Japan, I’m sure that would mean a nice new one for there and you would certainly finish the race in Singapore, which surely would make a lot of sense.

Kovalainen later on nearly drove into the leader Vettel after the pitstop, an event Team Lotus were fined for. But it was enough and he was able to beat Vitaly Petrov in the race, as well as technically Jaime Alguersuari, although he had crashed in the same place as Glock.

Further down, Liuzzi suffered a broken front wing after contact with the wall, and this allowed Ricciardo to finish ahead of him, despite his troubles. Jerome D’Ambrosio finished a solid second, in what I felt was his best performance to date, and would have even beat Glock had the German finished.

  Driver Team Pos. Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 16th 10
2 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 18th 6
3 Daniel Ricciardo Hispania 19th 4
4 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 20th 3
5 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus Ret 0
6 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin Ret 0

Post-Race Thoughts

Tony Fernandes (Team Lotus Owner): “For me that is probably the best race we have had in our short life in Formula One so far. Heikki drove an outstanding race and was able to keep pace with a lot of the cars around him, and pull away from the cars behind, and he made the most of the new package we brought here to finish very well. Jarno again suffered from bad luck and maybe the strategy we gave him was not the best, but we called it as we saw it and I am sure we will learn from how his race worked out.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio (Marussia Virgin Racing, 18th): “It has been quite a good race. I’m satisfied and we need to continue like this. It’s certainly the toughest race I have done, but I managed to go to the end without many problems, so it was good”

Vitantonio Liuzzi (Hispania, 20th): “Today’s race has been quite tough; not only because the car was difficult to drive in such conditions but also because we have been a little unlucky… So it was tough out there but with the positive of having reached the end”

Standings

Drivers Championship

Well then, 2010 Champion Kovalainen shoots to the top of the leaderboard after his win and Trulli’s non-finish. The battle for third is also looking very tasty, D’Ambrosio now within a point of Glock. Elsewhere, Ricciardo finally manages to move ahead of Karthikeyan after a bit of a poor run for the Australian.

  Driver Team Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 78
2 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 71
3 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 56
4 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 55
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 31
6 Daniel Ricciardo Hispania 16
7 Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 12
8 Karun Chandhok Team Lotus 2

Teams Championship

It would be fair to say Team Lotus are looking quite good here.

  Team Points
1 Team Lotus 151
2 Marussia Virgin 111
3 Hispania 59

Next Race

Five races to go and the next race is at Japan, and the Suzuka has fairly mixed emotions for the new team drivers.

Jarno Trulli of course finished 2nd in 2009, although this was after his then Toyota team mate Timo Glock was forced to miss the race because of a big crash during qualifying.

This time last year it was the location where Kovalainen was crowned the New Team Drivers Champion, finishing ahead of Trulli and Glock.

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Posted on September 25, 2011, in New Teams Championship and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Nothing to add, the article is very accurate and objective. Nice to see Heikki P1 in the championship at last!

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