Alice live blogs the Spanish GP

We are back in Europe! The sun is shining, the cars sound stupid and we are ready for the Spanish Grand Prix. Let’s all take a moment to pray to the F1 gods that the next two hours of our lives aren’t dull.

LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO!

Woah there is a big old bunch of cars going through that first corner! Wheel to wheel action!
Rosberg holds his lead followed by Vettel then Hamilton and Bottas at the end of the lap. Raikkonen jumps up into 5th with the two Toro Rosso close behind. 

Lap 3: The Red Bulls aren’t doing great to be honest. Kvyat has dropped to 13th and Ricciardo is in 11th.

Massa is overtaking cars like it ain’t no thang. He’s now up into 6th.

Lap 5: Rosberg is not taking this lead for granted. Fastest laps all over the place for Nico.

Lap 8: Lotus vs Toro Rosso battles underway. Maldonado takes Max Verstappen with Sainz being passed by Grosjean.

Lap 9: Typically there’s a sizeable gap between the front runners (Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams) to the rest of the pack. Hamilton can’t close the gap on Vettel. Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Lotus all in for some good battles. Force India and Sauber cannot get it together and are effectively just a bit shit today.

Lap 12: We are beginning to see cars pit.

Lap 13: Apparently Hamilton is on ‘Plan C’ and has been told it’s “Hammer Time”.

Lap 14: Lewis told to “do the opposite of Vettel”. His team radio has been priceless this race. OH HIS REAR WHEEL ISN’T GOING ON PROPERLY DURING HIS PIT STOP. DISASTER FOR HAMILTON.

Lap 15: Vettel pits in 2.3 seconds and rolls back out ahead of Hamilton.

Lap 16: Problem free pit stop for Rosberg and Bottas. Kimi ‘whats-a-pitstop?’ Raikkonen leads the race. Lotus with rear wing troubles…in the pits (pun!)

Lap 18: Kimi pits and come out behind Bottas into 5th.
OH MY GOD YOU GUYS STOP TALKING TO LEWIS IN THE CORNERS OKAY? HOW MANY TIMES DOES HE HAVE TO TELL YOU? GOSH.

Lap 21: Vettel fighting off Hamilton. Raikkonen getting a pep talk. Alonso in 7th? Nice!

Lap 22: Grosjean told to “lift when you use the bad gear” or else he’s going to blow his engine. Yeah, that’s what you’d call the opposite of good news for the Frenchman.

Lap 24: Sahweet scrap between Kvyat and Verstappen.
Raikkonen as per usual making miracles happen on the tyres that no one likes (hard compound). May the sisu be with you!

Lap 27: Button’s car is having an identity crisis. It doesn’t seem to understand it’s meant to be a Formula One car and currently sits in 18th after being overtaken by Maldonado’s Lotus.

Lap 28: CATASTROPHE FOR HOMEBOY ALONSO IN THE PITS. MASSIVE BRAKE FAILURE AND HE COMPLETELY OVERSHOT THE PIT BOX. No one injured thank goodness because that was properly crazy. Alonso out of his home race šŸ˜¦

Lap 30: Ricciardo has managed to get himself up into 7th, Grosjean 8th, Kvyat 9th and Verstappen 10th to round out the potential points.

Half way mark! Hamilton pits onto hard tyres, come out into 5th. Massa pits, goes into 6th. Rosberg holds the lead.

Lap 35: After overtaking Raikkonen, Hamilton is going gangbusters. According to his team radio he’s back to ‘Plan B’. How many plans does this guy have?!

Strategy chat brought to you by Crofty, Brundle and Kravitz: why didn’t Ferrari cover the undercut from Mercedes? Apparently they lack the ability to improvise. Not the team you’d pick to play theater sports with then.

Lap 41: Vettel pits and rejoins in 4th ahead of Raikkonen who’s on a two stop strategy.

Lap 42: JESUS WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THESE PITSTOPS? GROSJEAN OVERSHOOTS THE BOX AND DAMN NEAR IMPALES THE FRONT JACK GUY. He’s okay. Give the guy a medal he still managed to jack the car!
Raikkonen makes his final pit stop (thankfully drama free) and rejoins in 6th.

Lap 46: Rosberg pits for the final time and loses the lead to Hamilton who has to pit again.

Lap 47: Raikkonen gets the job done on Massa to take 5th.
Maldonado forced to retire. Again.

Lap 49: Not much to report. Even the commentators are struggling to find stuff to talk about. Good time to have a cup of tea or pour yourself another glass of wine.

Lap 50: ………..

Lap 52: Hamilton pits for the final time and rejoins the race in 2nd and it looks like it’s going to be a Mercedes 1 – 2.

Lap 54: Can Raikkonen catch Bottas before he runs out of laps? Will we get some Finn on Finn action? Is Vettel screwed on these older tyres? I demand answers!

Lap 55: Vettel imitates Raikkonen and gets the shits over team radio regarding blue flags and traffic. Less monotone and sweary than Kimi but still amusing.

Lap 58: Hamilton wants to know if there’s any chance he can take the lead from Rosberg. Team says “No”. Tells him to preserve the engine. Hamilton goes a second faster. Gives zero fucks.

Lap 59: Finn on Finn action commences! Iceman vs Iceboy according to Brundle. Can someone please turn that into a comic?!

Four laps to go!
Verstappen locks up twice and can’t defend 10th against his teammate. Bottas defending hard against Raikkonen.

Talk ensues about the whole Ferrari 2016 line up. Does Ferrari want Hamilton? Will it be Bottas wearing red next year? Will Kimi have his contract renewed? STOP ASKING QUESTIONS YOU CAN’T IMMEDIATELY ANSWER!

Lap 66: Contact between Kvyat and Sainz.

Rosberg wins by a MILE (17.5 seconds) from Hamilton. Vettel is probably a bit annoyed with his 3rd. Bottas holds 4th from Raikkonen who definitely won’t be pleased with 5th. Massa claims 6th, Ricciardo manages 7th, Grosjean keeps from blowing up his car in 8th, Sainz takes 9th from Kvyat in 10th.

German chit chat between Nico and Seb pre podium. Crofty attempts to translate. Seb admits during his podium interview that racing drivers always have something to complain about. THEY’VE BECOME SELF AWARE.

Well that’s a wrap! Congratulations to Nico on his first win of the season and a great drive. Here’s what the final results look like:

image

MONACO NEXT!!! The crown jewel of the F1 calender. Cannot. Wait.

Spain Qualifying wrap up

Buenas tardes amigos!

countryball

After what felt like a somewhat tedious wait we are finally here in beautiful Barcelona to get qualifying under way.

Mark Webber has made an appearance in the paddock and graced as all with his chiselled cheekbones. The man is the Australian prince of F1 and Fernando Alonso’s biggest fan. Ultimate bromance.

The first session of qualifying gets off to a fairly average start. The Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg quickly make their way onto the front row with the Williams of Massa and Bottas close behind. Not a great start was had by Ferrari with Vettel locking up and going AWOL and Kimi encountering traffic and lacking rear grip.

Button and Alonso both manage to get their McLaren Honda’s over the line in 6th and 5th respectively, obviously owing to the 2kg paint job improvement. Excellent consumer information: when picking out the paint job for your car consider the weight of metallic flakes. It may look oh so awesome and shiny but it weighs a fucking tonne in F1 terms.

adventuretime

It’s at this point in Q1 that chaos ensues (which I’m obviously kind of stoked about) with Raikkonen putting his Ferrari neatly into second, Vettel following into third until Rosberg charges in to steal the second. Then the stampede of cars crosses the line and mixes shit up. Suddenly we have Sainz Toro Rosso in 4th, Massa in 5th, Bottas 6th, Lotus gets both driver across the line with Maldonado 7th and Grosjean in 8th, Verstappen’s Toro Rosso takes 9th pushing Vettel’s Ferrari into 10th place.

This surprisingĀ kerfuffle is rounded out by Ricciardo in the Reb Bull taking 11th, Nasr and his Sauber in 12th, the McLaren in Button in 13th followed by Kyvat’s Red Bull in 14th and home grown hero Alonso 15th.

losers

Commentating legends Crofty, Brundle and Kravitz raise the question: “Is Kimi Raikkonen being treat like the ‘number two’ driver at Ferrari?” This is due to Seb getting access to all the new parts and modifications during qualifying and Kimi being put onto a set of medium tyres that he would have preferred to keep for not only Q3 but also the race. The medium compound will be the preferred tyre for the race. Time will tell how this all plays out for Raikkonen.

After much chit-chat by the delightful British commentators we are ready for the second session.

Hamilton, both the Ferraris and Bottas all put in solid flying laps lining themselves up into the top spots surprising absolutely no one right up until Nico “hundreths-of-a-second-lesser-loved-child” Rosberg romps it into first! Well done you! That sounds condescending. Moving along…

glen coco

Verstappen puts himself into 6th and wedges himself between Bottas and Massa with Sainz managing 8th followed by the Red Bull racers of Ricciardo in 9th and Kyvat in 10th. There’s a brief break in the running of Q2 with the Ferrari and Mercedes teams deciding that’s quite enough of this qualifying business and just leave their cars to chill in the pits and run down the clock. That decision sort of backfires when Massa goes out and takes 4th from Vettel. Sainz moves himself into 8th behind his team mate.

Poor Fernando. No Q3 for his home race but yay for Sainz the Spaniard!

Onto the last round of qualifying and the business end of things. This is where shit got real. Bottas goes W I D E and Raikkonen does a crap time on used tires. They still manage 4th and 5th respectively behind Vettel. Comeback kid Rosberg one again flips the proverbial bird to Hamilton and nails his first flying lap with a 1.24.6. At this point we’ve have Sainz AND Verstappen squeeze Raikkonen out and down into 7th leaving 8th to Kvyat, 9th to Massa and 10th to Ricciardo.

Hamilton attempts to steal away with pole but he can’t get it done. Nico Rosberg will start from pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix! Lewis is probably not feeling so #blessed right about now.

labyrinth

So that wraps up qualifying. The Spanish GP is going to kick off with the line-up looking like this:

spainquali

Predictions for tomorrow? Mad battle between Rosberg and Lewis for the win. There is potential for the Mercedes to get caught up in their own scraps allowing the Williams and Ferraris to bridge the gap. That being said I am not counting the Toro Rosso lads out as they’ve proven that they are here to throw down. It should be good! Tune in tomorrow for the live blog.

lewis

Honourable mention goes to Daniil Kyvat for out qualifying his team mate for the first time (my Australian citizenship may be revoked for saying that).