Apr 28, 2008

Milestones reached by Kimi after Spanish G.P!

276.jpg image by _KRS_Kimi Raikkonen gained his second hat-trick (pole, win and fastest lap) of his F1 career after last year's Australian Grand Prix, equalling the score of his teammate Felipe Massa, who recorded his two hat-tricks last year, in Bahrain and Spain. At the top of the all-time chart, with the most number of hat-tricks, is Michael Schumacher, with 22.

Kimi is set to possibly be the most successful Finnish F1 driver in history. With his 51st podium finish, Raikkonen equals his countryman Mika Hakkinen at the ninth all-time spot. Next stop is Niki Lauda, with 54 podiums.

Kimi's total number of fastest laps reached 26 - he has set more fastest laps than any other driver except Michael Schumacher with 76, Alain Prost with 41, Nigel Mansell with 30 and Jim Clark with 28.

Kimi recorded his 15th pole position, and he is now in the 16th spot on the all-time records. Raikkonen didn't start from pole since Belgium last year.

Kimi is 9th in the highest championship points ranking, having passed Nigel Mansell:

264.jpg image by _KRS_ 1369 Michael Schumacher
798.5 Alain Prost
614 Ayrton Senna
527 David Coulthard
519 Rubens Barrichello
496 Fernando Alonso
485.5 Nelson Piquet
485 Kimi Räikkönen
482 Nigel Mansell
420.5 Niki Lauda
420 Mika Häkkinen

Apr 27, 2008

Race 4 Barcelona : Kimi's perfect treble

POLE, WIN & FASTEST LAP : It looks like nothing in the world can stop the Iceman for the time being. Right from Friday's free practice session to the flag, he couldn't have done any better in the Circuit de Catalunya. Kimi had a superb start going through the clear part of the start-finish straight chased down by the equally quick scarlet of Massa but since they were no way interested in racing any harder, the positions remained the same through the first corner. Earlier, Massa made a great pass on Alonso who didn't had a clear run and had to live with the constant pressure from the quicker McLaren of Lewis in the fourth place. So, Ferrari did eventually had a 1-2 but the lap times look a bit deceptive. Maybe, they didn't want to push too much when there was no necessity of doing so or maybe the 'safety car touring' for 10 mins would have enabled the likes of McLaren n BMW to close down the gap a bit. Nevertheless, no reliability woes anymore nor any grey hairs seen in the Ferrari pitcrew.

McLaren came up with a mixed bad as Heikki Kovalainen survived a puncture half-way through the race causing his McLaren to kiss the tyre wall at 140 mph (see photo) but luckily, no serious injury is reported as the Finn was taken for premilinary medical check-up. Lewis Hamilton was all over Felipe Massa's Ferrari just after the safety car went to pits but considering Catalunya is a Ferrari track with long sweeping corners n a long straight, there was nothing more he could do other than maintaining the gap to just 1 sec. Robert Kubica was also in a chasing mood all the way from lap 1 where he lost a place to Lewis but McLaren and BMW looked on par. The team though didn't had to worry too much as not a lot is expected from them even now. Alonso with a surprising front row start failed to finish after his Renault engine gave up in lap 22 much to the horror of the raucous Spanish crowd.

Apart from the Heikki's shunt, the Spanish GP wasn't an eventful one but can't take anything away from what Heidfeld did to Fisichella after 7 laps of frustration. That infact was the one and only overtaking maneuver in the whole race. Ferrari will travel to Turkey with a big smile on their face after second consecutive 1-2 and bagging a lead on both drivers' and constructors' championship. McLaren would be exhausted after following the scarlets for 66 laps with not much hope either. Kimi Raikkonen, as lots of F1 fanatics say, is enjoying a single horse race to the championship and it's his title to loose now without doubt but let's wait n watch whether Massa or Lewis can come up with some goods or not.

As they stand after race 4 of 18:

1. K. Raikkonen 29
2. L. Hamilton 20
3. R. Kubica 19
4. F. Massa 18
5. N. Heidfeld 16

Next Race : Turkish GP - Sunday, May 11th

Apr 7, 2008

Race 3 Review : Bahrain GP

Till Bahrain, Ferrari and McLeran had a win apiece which clearly showed how much preparations they did during the winter testing. Wait a min, before jumping the gun let me tell you, there is one more team who had true pace and that's none other than BMW. They clinched their third consecutive podium of the season. As Kimi rightly said, it's a three way fight for the crown. Robert Kubica's maiden pole glory however didn't help him too much in the race when Massa swift pass him before the first corner. Then in lap 2, he probably had his biggest challenge in an F1 car till date and that is to keep the current World Champion Kimi Raikkonen behind him. Well, he couldn't do that understandably but the way Kimi went pass Robert through the outside of turn 1 (see photo) had a glimpse of the Iceman's 2005 suzuka victory where he overtook Fisichella in the last lap in the same fashion. On the whole, Kimi didn't had a spectacular weekend having failed to qualify in the front row of the grid and at times struggling to get the right balance in his F2008 but nevertheless, clinching second on a bad weekend is actually pretty good.

Massa though had a flawless race but having said that it's nowhere near an emphatic one cos he almost started from pole when Kubica failed to gain advantage earlier in the race. As we know a clear air in front of the leader is always an advantage and you can easily pull away from the rest of the field. Massa did answer his critics eventually but another DNF would be one too many as Kimi is already leading the World Championship with 19 points. The big loser however was the most over-rated driver in F1's history, Lewis Hamilton. How on earth did he fail to engage the engine setting before a grandprix start? This boy needs to keep his feet firmly on ground before he starts aiming for more than what hes capable of. Later in the race, he was given a run for the money by our very own 'Force India's Fisichella' for almost 3-4 laps. I was so pissed off with Hamilton's antics and his "dismissing wave" of Fisichella, that I desperately wanted to land in that McLaren cockpit and tell him "dude, rather than you lapping him, hes also fighting for positions. Why the f*** are you complaining?"

One thing is clear from Bahrain, McLaren are only 3rd fastest in circuits which have long straights and sweeping corners. They have their work cut out before F1 moves to Europe in 3 weeks time. Ferrari is on the moon with a 1-2 finish and how well they managed to keep Raikkonen's '2nd race' engine serene all through the weekend. BMW and Marrio Theissen would be smiling now after grabbing their first pole in 50 years. The 2008 season is actually unfolding in the most bizarre fashion. Lets wait and see in Catalunya!

Bahrain Results
Pos  Driver        Team                      Time
1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1h31:06.970
2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) + 3.339
3. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 4.998
4. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 8.409
5. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 26.789
6. Trulli Toyota (B) + 41.314
7. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 45.473
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 55.889
9. Glock Toyota (B) + 1:09.500
10. Alonso Renault (B) + 1:17.181
11. Barrichello Honda (B) + 1:17.862
12. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) + 1 lap
13. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 1 lap
14. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 1 lap
15. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 1 lap
16. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda (B) + 1 lap
17. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) + 1 lap
18. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) + 1 lap
19. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) + 2 laps

Fastest lap: Kovalainen, 1:33.193
Drivers' Standings

1. Raikkonen 19
2. Heidfeld 16
3. Hamilton 14

Next Race : Spanish GP, Barcelona : Sunday, 27th Apr