Tag Archives: formula

Bahrain Grand Prix 2013: Lewis Hamilton 37 points clear of Jenson Button – Phil Duncan

The Chequered Flag: Hamilton streaks clear of Button as McLaren continue to struggle

with arguably the most complete package on the grid while a top-10 finish for Mercedes became as rare as a nun in a bikini. We mustn’t forget that in the final six races of last season, the Silver Arrows managed only one points-scoring finish when Michael Schumacher ended his F1 career with a seventh place at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

he’d gathered 43.

At the same stage this year, he is 10th in the championship with just 13 points. Unlucky for some. Unlucky for Button.

For his old sparring partner however, this season, in terms of points attained, ranks as a better start for Hamilton than both the 2010 and 2012 seasons.

Indeed with a total of 50 already on the championship table, the 2008 world champion has collated a bigger haul than the man who he replaced – that’s Michael Schumacher for those of you with a short-term memory – managed in 20 outings for the German manufacturer last season.

Off the pace: Button and McLaren have endured a slow start to the season

Promising start: Hamilton has already amassed more points than Schumacher did in his whole Mercedes career

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You can follow Phil at: @PhilDuncanF1

I cannot recall a time when Hamilton was so happy to finish fifth, but the British star knows Bahrain is Mercedes’ achilles heel, and the fact that he leaves the Gulf Kingdom with a decent haul of points after a troubled weekend, will provide him and his team with a major boost as Formula One heads back to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix in three weeks time.

We should make no bones about it, Hamilton can fight for this year’s title. But whether he will be able to rival Vettel, whose performance yesterday illustrated exactly why he is a triple world champion, remains to be seen.

The same however, probably cannot be said of Button. The McLaren is already beginning to look like a better-tamed beast than the unruly animal which was unleashed in Melbourne over a month ago. But that said, the British star is already 64 points behind Vettel.

Barcelona will provide the Woking-based team with the acid test; a poor weekend in Spain usually translates to a poor season.

And Button, who has finished on the Spanish podium only twice in 12 previous attempts, will want his focus in Barcelona to be on the sharp end of the pack and not banging wheels with team-mate Sergio Perez while fighting for the menial places as in Bahrain.

Flashpoint: Perez and Button were locked in battle

Flashpoint: Perez and Button were locked in battle

Organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix are already turning their attention to next season and the 10th anniversary of their hotly-disputed race.

‘We are looking at many options,’ Zayed Al Zayani, chairman of the event, told AUTOSPORT today.

‘A night race is one of them, but it is not the only one,’ he continued. ‘It is our tenth race and our tenth anniversary, so we want to do something different.’

It is also being suggested that the race could be moved to the opening weekend of the season. I for one hope this isn’t the case.

Australia should play host to every Formula One curtain raiser in my opinion, but I guess money will talk…

Five more years: Ecclestone is ready to sign a new deal with Bahrain

Five more years: Ecclestone is ready to sign a new deal with Bahrain

Driver of the Day

So close, yet so far. Paul Di Resta was on course to become the first Scottish driver on the podium in almost five years before he was overtaken by Romain Grosjean in the closing stages of yesterday’s race.

Nevertheless, it ranked as an impressive weekend for the 27-year-old who looks to have the bit between his teeth in his third season with Force India.

The Scot has made no secret of his desire to race for a bigger team, and after being snubbed by McLaren, what better way to bounce back than by doing your talking on the track.

Great Scot: Di Resta finished in fourth

Great Scot: Di Resta finished in fourth

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2013: Nico Rosberg on pole as Lewis Hamilton starts ninth after penalty

Rosberg on pole for Bahrain Grand Prix as Hamilton starts ninth after grid penalty

PUBLISHED:

12:05 GMT, 20 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 20 April 2013

Nico Rosberg will start from pole position for only the second time in his career at tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver will be joined on the front row by Sebastian Vettel with Fernando Alonso in third.

Hamilton, who was out-qualified by his team-mate Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career, starts in ninth after being handed a five-place grid drop.

Man in the middle: Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow's grand prix from the front of the pack ahead of Sebastian Vettel (right) and Fernando Alonso

Man in the middle: Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow's grand prix from the front of the pack ahead of Sebastian Vettel (right) and Fernando Alonso

Job done: Today's pole for Rosberg is only the second of his Formula One career

Job done: Today's pole for Rosberg is only the second of his Formula One career

The British driver will be joined on the
fifth row by former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button who failed to post a
competitive time in Q3 for the second successive race.

It is the first time since last year's race in China that Rosberg will lead away the field, and the first time this season he has out-qualified team-mate Hamilton.

Following Hamilton's pole in Shanghai, Rosberg handed Mercedes back-to-back poles for the first time since their return to the grid in 2010.

Hamilton cut a bitterly unhappy figure post race as he knows such an incident undoubtedly affects his early title hopes, with the Briton currently 12 points adrift of Red Bull's Vettel.

Asked for his thoughts on a potential rule change, Hamilton said: 'It doesn't really matter. The rules are the rules.

'I've got a penalty and I will have to suck it up and deal with it. I just got unlucky as I think it was some debris with the tyre.'

Red Bull's Mark Webber was fifth quickest, but like Hamilton, faces a penalty of three places after colliding with the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne last weekend.

Blow: Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-place grid penalty after he was forced to change his gearbox

Blow: Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-place grid penalty after he was forced to change his gearbox

Head down: Hamilton (right) was out-qualified by Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career

Head down: Hamilton (right) was out-qualified by Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)*
5. Mark Webber (Red Bull)**
6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
7. Paul Di Resta (Force India)
8. Adrian Sutil (Force India)
9. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
10. Jenson Button (McLaren)

* Lewis Hamilton handed five-place grid penalty
** Mark Webber handed three-place grid penalty

It means Felipe Massa will move up to fourth in his Ferrari, with the Force India's of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil lining up fifth and sixth.

Then comes Webber, who actually only loses two places courtesy of Hamilton, followed by Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus who moves from ninth to eighth.

In 11th and 12th, after dropping out in Q2 will be Romain Grosjean in his Lotus and McLaren's Sergio Perez, beaten by team-mates Raikkonen and Button respectively for the fourth straight race.

Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo, who a week ago in China qualified seventh, will start 13th tomorrow, with team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne 16th.

Sandwiched in between the pair are Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Leading the way: Nico Rosberg sealed only the second pole position of his career on Saturday

Leading the way: Nico Rosberg sealed only the second pole position of his career on Saturday

In a remarkable twist at the end of
the opening 20-minute Q1 session, Pastor Maldonado dropped out after
setting the same time as Williams team-mate Bottas.

Posting
a lap of 1:34,125, as the Venezuelan's time came after that of the
Finn, it left Maldonado kicking his heels whilst Bottas took part in Q2.

Maldonado
will start 17th ahead of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, with the Mexican
out-qualified by Hulkenberg for the fourth consecutive race, and failing
to make it into Q2 for the third time.

Slow start: Jenson Button creeped into the top 10 but didn't complete a lap in Q3 and will start tenth

Slow start: Jenson Button creeped into the top 10 but didn't complete a lap in Q3 and will start tenth

With
a five-place grid penalty to serve for the race after running into the
back of Sutil in Shanghai, Gutierrez will start at the back of the grid.

Caterham
and Marussia naturally share the bottom four places, with Charles Pic a
season's best of 19th since switching from the latter to the former for
this season.

Either side
of Caterham's Giedo van der Garde are Marussia duo Jules Bianchi and Max
Chilton, with the 21-year-old Briton setting the slowest time in
qualifying for the first time this year.

On track: Fernando Alonso

On track: Fernando Alonso

Rosberg admitted to being 'a little surprised' at starting from pole, but natually claiming to be 'really, really happy' with 'a fantastic result'.

The question is whether Rosberg has the pace to go on and take the chequered flag given Hamilton dropped back to third from pole in China, and whether the tyres will hold up under the conditions.

'Tomorrow is going to be a tough day given the degradation of the tyres,' added Rosberg.

'I want to really kick start my season given the first three races which have been tough for me so far.

In the lead: Vettel holds a three-point advantage over Alonso ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

In the lead: Vettel holds a three-point advantage over Alonso ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

'It's difficult to say if we have enough to pace to win, but I will try, and I'm really looking forward to starting from first.'

Vettel was far from disappointed with second, especially after the time of Rosberg.

'Congratulations to Nico because it was a very strong lap,' said Vettel. 'When I crossed the line and I saw I was second I didn't know how much was missing from my lap.

'But then when I was told the gap to Nico it was clear, even with a perfect lap, he was unbeatable.'

Alonso declared himself 'very, very happy with third'.

It is the third successive race Alonso will start from third, adding: 'Normally we struggle a lot in qualifying, so this has put us in a strong position for the race.'

Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn was irked by the Hamilton penalty.

Difficult weekend: McLaren driver Sergio Perez could manage only 12th in qualifying

Difficult weekend: McLaren driver Sergio Perez could manage only 12th in qualifying

He said: 'The difficulty we have in the future is where we get marginal cases where you have a problem, perhaps aggravated by the driver, and you don't get a gearbox failure as such, but it needs to be changed.

'Then you get into these long debates.

'But it is frustrating to get a penalty when there has been an outside influence. It's annoying.

'Fortunately it doesn't happen too often, but if it were to happen at a critical part of the season then it would be doubly frustrating, so it's worth looking at again.'

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery was certainly dismissing any prospect one of his company's tyres lay behind Hamilton's woes.

Hembery said: 'The problem seen on Lewis' Mercedes during free practice was not the result of a structural tyre failure, but instead must have been down to a piece of debris on the track.'

It was one of those bitter-sweet afternoons for Mercedes in light of Rosberg helping them to back-to-back poles for the first time since their return to F1 three years ago, and after Hamilton led away the field a week ago in China.

With two DNFs in his first three races, Rosberg has so far suffered in contrast to Hamilton, but was smiling again after claiming what is only his second pole in his 132 races.

'This is great for me because the start (to the season) has really not gone to plan, with a lot of issues,' said Rosberg.

'I'm really hoping this is going to kickstart my season. It's the first time everything has really gone to plan. Up until now it has been great.

'To turn up with the pole position, which I have to admit is a bit of a surprise, I'm really, really happy with.

Off colour: Hamilton will start on the fifth row with former McLaren team-mate Button for company

Off colour: Hamilton will start on the fifth row with former McLaren team-mate Button for company

'I'm now looking forward to tomorrow when hopefully everything will go well, although I'm not sure we have what it takes to win the race.'

That is based on the fact this year's Mercedes, whilst quick over one lap, lacks the race pace of rivals Ferrari, Red Bull, and Lotus on occasion.

The pits: Hamilton had to settle for starting fifth on the grid in the grand prix

The pits: Hamilton had to settle for starting fifth on the grid in the grand prix

Alonso declared himself 'very, very happy with third'.

It is the third successive race Alonso will start from third, adding: 'Normally we struggle a lot in qualifying, so this has put us in a strong position for the race.'

Georgie Thompson makes F1 return just two races after quitting Sky Sports

Presenter Thompson makes Formula One return just months after quitting Sky Sports

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

14:29 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:00 GMT, 8 April 2013

Georgie Thompson has returned to Formula One just two races after turning her back on the sport.

The pint-sized presenter, who left Sky Sports' coverage after only one season, is the new face of Lotus sponsor Suremen.

Scroll down for video of Georgie presenting Sky Sports' F1 coverage last season

GEORGIE THOMPSON

Back in the fast lane: Georgie Thompson has returned to Formula One as an ambassador for Sure

GEORGIE THOMPSON

GEORGIE THOMPSON

'It's great to be involved in a
campaign focused on F1 and Suremen is such an exciting brand to be
involved with, especially given the strong early season form of the
Lotus, with Kimi Raikkonen winning the first race,' Thompson said.

'It's a brand that fits really well with the fast-paced and exhilarating F1 lifestyle – I'm really looking forward to being a part of such an exciting project.'

Thompson ended her 11-year stint as the face of Sky Sports News to join the corporation's F1 presenting team for their inaugural foray into the sport.

Georgie Thompson

Glamour race: Georgie was disillusioned with her second-fiddle role in Sky Sports' F1 coverage

Glamour Race: Georgie was disappointed at her second-fiddle role in Sky Sports' F1 coverage

Georgie Thompson

Georgie Thompson

But the 35-year-old host turned her back on F1 after becoming disillusioned with playing second fiddle to main presenter Simon Lazenby.

Thompson informed Sky of her decision in the build-up to this season's first F1 show, which aired on February 15. Her profile has since been airbrushed out of the team shot on the Sky Sports F1 website.

VIDEO Georgie Thompson on Sky Sports' F1 coverage

Kimi Raikkonen on Red Bull radar with Mark Webber"s future in balance after Sebastian Vettel row

Raikkonen on Red Bull radar as Webber's future hangs in balance after Vettel row

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

15:11 GMT, 2 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:14 GMT, 2 April 2013

Kimi Raikkonen is on Red Bull's shortlist to replace Mark Webber should the veteran Australian decide to retire at the end of the current Formula One campaign.

Webber could not hide his fury at losing out on victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix after team-mate Sebastian Vettel chose to ignore team orders to hold station in second place.

Vettel subsequently escaped sanction for his insubordination, a situation which appears to have backed up Webber's post-race claim that the triple world champion enjoys 'protection' at Red Bull.

In demand: Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen could race at Red Bull next season if Mark Webber leaves

In demand: Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen could race at Red Bull next season if Mark Webber leaves

In demand: Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen could race at Red Bull next season if Mark Webber leaves

And should Webber decide he has had enough of playing second fiddle, then Red Bull's billionaire owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, admitted Raikkonen would be a strong candidate to partner Vettel next season

'Kimi is cool and fast and always a candidate,' said Mateschitz of the 2007 world champion who drives for Lotus and enjoys a close relationship with Vettel.

Civil war: Mark Webber's relationship with Sebastian Vettel is in tatters following the fall-out from Sepang

Civil war: Mark Webber's relationship with Sebastian Vettel is in tatters following the fall-out from Sepang

The same certainly cannot be said for Webber, but discussing the 36-year-old's future, Mateschitz appeared to suggest he would have the final say on whether he continued to drive for Red Bull.

'Whether he retires, only he will choose,' Mateschitz told Speed Week. 'Mark is definitely a candidate for 2014.'

New footage of Webber cutting up Vettel in dangerous move AFTER the race. Watson says ban Vettel

Fresh footage shows fuming Webber cutting up Red Bull team-mate Vettel in dangerous move after Malaysia mayhem

By
Phil Duncan

PUBLISHED:

13:23 GMT, 25 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:34 GMT, 25 March 2013

Dramatic new footage has emerged revealing just how serious the feud is between Red Bull team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber after the Australian pulled a shockingly dangerous maneouvre after the Malaysian Grand Prix had finished.

Red Bull are in turmoil today after Vettel ignored their clear instruction not to challenge Webber at the climax of the race, and the German was forced to issue an apology for undermining the order which has left his colleague considering his Formula One future.

VIDEO: Scroll down to watch the astonishing footage

Chequered flag: Sebastian Vettel slows down after crossing the finishing line in Malaysia

Chequered flag: Sebastian Vettel slows down after crossing the finishing line in Malaysia

Who's that coming up Mark Webber's car zooms into the corner of the camera

Who's that coming up Mark Webber's car zooms into the corner of the camera

Dangerous: Webber steers into the path of Vettel at a furious pace as the German slows down

Dangerous: Webber steers into the path of Vettel at a furious pace as the German slows down

Best of enemies: Webber then speeds off into the distance leaving Red Bull red-faced

Best of enemies: Webber then speeds off into the distance leaving Red Bull red-faced

New footage reveals just how angry
Webber was in the aftermath of the race as he dangerously cuts across
Vettel at high speed to display his fury, only missing his team-mates
car by a matter of inches.

Former McLaren driver John Watson, a
winner of five grands prix, believes Red Bull must take immediate action
against their three-time world champion.

‘The question is, what are the team
going to do to sanction Sebastian Vettel And the only solution I would
find is suspending him for next grand prix,’ Watson told BBC Radio 4.

Dangerous: Mark Webber (left) swerved in front of Sebastien Vettel to show his anger

Dangerous: Mark Webber (left) swerved in front of Sebastien Vettel to show his anger

Punishment: Sebastian Vettel deserves a one-race ban, claims John Watson

Leading the way: Webber was ahead of Vettel until his team-mate's late surge

Leading the way: Webber was ahead of Vettel until his team-mate's late surge

VIDEO: Watch Webber's dangerous move

Out of options: Watson says a fine would do nothing and removing the points is not viable

Out of options: Watson says a fine would do nothing and removing the points is not viable

‘You can’t take the points away from
him and give them to Mark Webber, a fine would be irrelevant, so the
only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say “you will stand out
one race”.’

‘I know that if other drivers in other teams disobeyed a team order they would be suspended or even fired.’

Red Bull cancelled their victory photo
in the aftermath of yesterday’s controversy while it has been reported
that Webber needed to be persuaded to participate in the podium
ceremony.

Usurped: Mark Webber would have won the race had Vettel not disobeyed team orders

Usurped: Mark Webber would have won the race had Vettel not disobeyed team orders

Watson says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner must take action or risk his position being undermined by Vettel.

‘If Christian Horner doesn’t reassert his authority in the team – because he has been totally subjugated by Sebastian Vettel yesterday – then his position in the team is not exactly the role it is designed to be,’ added Watson.

‘The only conclusion I can reach is that Vettel should be suspended for the next grand prix.’

Lewis Hamilton hits the gym ahead of Malaysia Grand Prix

Hamilton hits the gym in Kuala Lumpur… then weighs in on McLaren's poor start

PUBLISHED:

12:32 GMT, 20 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:57 GMT, 20 March 2013

Lewis Hamilton hit the gym today after weighing into a potential war of words with former team McLaren.

Hamilton, who was mobbed by fans during a signing session in Kuala Lumpur ahead of this weekend’s race in Malaysia, admitted he was surprised by McLaren’s miserable start to the new Formula One season.

The British team are facing up to a mini crisis after just one race with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez managing only ninth and 11th respectively in last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Iron man: Lewis Hamilton lifting weights ahead of the Malaysia Grand Prix

Iron man: Lewis Hamilton lifting weights ahead of the Malaysia Grand Prix

And speaking ahead of the next instalment of this year’s championship, Hamilton said of his old team: ‘I didn’t think they would struggle.

‘The car that I was working on with them was fantastic last year so I can only have assumed it would have been an evolution this year.’

In contrast to the troubles at his old team, Hamilton, who placed a credible fifth on his Mercedes debut, is hopeful his new outfit will soon be challenging for race victories.

Hit with the fans: Mercedes driver Hamilton meets the public in Kuala Lumpur

Hit with the fans: Mercedes driver Hamilton meets the public in Kuala Lumpur

Making their mark: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg gives an autograph alongside his team-mate Hamilton

Making their mark: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg gives an autograph alongside his team-mate Hamilton

‘I am really proud of my team now because we have done a great job with the new car and I feel really optimistic about the new upgrades and the developments,’ said Hamilton, who was speaking to Sky Sports News.

‘Coming here to Mercedes is a team that has really struggled over some time and I really hope we can get some results.

‘And I think because of the journey that we’ve been on if we do win any races than the satisfaction will be huge. ‘

Mark Webber told he has Red Bull future if he performs well

We'll keep renewing Webber's deal if he's still producing the goods, claim Red Bull

By
Ian Parkes, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:18 GMT, 12 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:45 GMT, 12 March 2013

Mark Webber has been assured of his place at Red Bull providing he continues to deliver for the team.

Not for the first time going into a new Formula One season, Webber is apparently facing the end of the road.

As a driver operating on a rolling one-year contract with Red Bull, and with the Australian turning 37 in August, there are many who doubt how long he can continue in the sport.

Keep it up: Mark Webber must perform well if he is to secure a new deal

Keep it up: Mark Webber must perform well if he is to secure a new deal

For his part, Webber has made it clear he still has the motivation to become a champion and firmly believes he has the support of the team to help him achieve such a goal.

Despite that, the speculation will always persist about Webber, in particular given the fact his team-mate Sebastian Vettel has won the world title for the last three years.

But team principal Christian Horner said: 'The last three years have apparently been Mark's last.

'Yet he has been retained by the team because of what he has done in the car, and again the same rules apply this year.

Retained: Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner (left) says Webber knows what he needs to do

Retained: Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner (left) says Webber knows what he needs to do

'We want the strongest pairing and Mark has contributed significantly to our constructors' world championships over the last three years, and even came close to winning his own title in 2010.

'Mark has been employed by the team to do the best job he can and he knows what's expected of him.

'There are an awful lot of drivers who would like to be sat in a Red Bull car but Mark is there on merit, and while he delivers for the team he will have that place.'

Chit chat: Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson with Webber

Chit chat: Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson with Webber

It was Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko who fuelled the debate about Webber earlier this year by questioning his mental strength and his consistency.

Marko suggested Webber can be unbeatable for a couple of races, but is unable to maintain such form over a year.

Asked whether Webber has it within him to deliver on a more regular basis, Horner added: “The difficulty for Mark is he is constantly judged against a young man in the other car who has achieved so much.

'What Seb's done in 101 races, with 26 victories, being a three-time world champion, youngest points scorer, pole winner, race winner, is remarkable.

Judged: Some say Webber can produce good short term results but cannot hold his form over the season

Judged: Some say Webber can produce good short term results but cannot hold his form over the season

'Mark's being constantly measured against a driver that is, in my view, the best of a generation and that makes it harder for him.

'But at the same time Mark measures the opportunity of being measured against the best.

'He has also demonstrated on his day he can be unbeatable and he does just need to string a campaign together, with 19 of those performances.

'He's improved as he's matured. Last year he drove very well, and if he can get off to a good start and build up some momentum this season that will be important for his campaign.

'Above all, if we didn't think he could still do it then we wouldn't have taken him for another year with the team.'

Button can conjure the spirit of 2009 to reclaim crown, says new F1 presenter Suzi Perry

Button can capture the spirit of 2009 to reclaim crown, says BBC's new F1 presenter Suzi Perry

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

15:36 GMT, 12 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:16 GMT, 12 March 2013

Suzi Perry, the new female face of the BBC’s Formula One coverage, believes Jenson Button can repeat the heroics of 2009 to land this season’s coveted crown.

Speaking to Top Gear magazine Perry – who spent 10 years covering MotoGP for the Beeb – expresses doubt over Lewis Hamilton’s chances of landing his second title in his first year after switching to Mercedes.

And she also reveals how James Hunt first attracted her to the sport.

In with a shout: Perry believes Button, in his McLaren above, can reclaim the crown he won in 2009

In with a shout: Perry believes Button, in his McLaren above, can reclaim the crown he won in 2009

Button

Suzi Perry

Driving seat: Perry (right) is the face of the BBC's F1 coverage after taking charge of the MotoGP for ten years

The season curtain raiser in Australia takes place in five days’ time and Perry believes the changes to the tyres this year could see Button land his second championship, but there are number of other, less-fancied, challengers in the frame.

She said: ‘They’re quite a young crop really, when you think that Jenson’s now the most experienced driver on the grid.

'Then you look at the changes in tyre tech, and you’d have to say it suits Jenson, with the softer compounds and wider window of opportunity.

Long shot: Perry feels Lewis Hamilton's switch to Mercedes may prove a stumbling block

Long shot: Perry feels Lewis Hamilton's switch to Mercedes may prove a stumbling block

'Isn’t this the best opportunity for him to go out there and singing ‘We Are the Champions’ like he did in 2009

Top Gear

‘I’ve met the Williams drivers, and it was fascinating looking at their body language. But, Bottas… hmm, there’s something about him.

'He’s got this real-life Action Man thing going on, which is quite cool, something steely. Definitely a dark horse.

‘He also has a lot of fans already, and his girlfriend’s an Olympic swimmer – together they’re like Posh ’n’ Becks.

She added: ‘When I interviewed him the other day, he basically said they’re working towards a long-term goal. Put yourself in his shoes: you’ve come through McLaren since karting days, and that’s all you’ve known.

'It was purely that existence, with so many strong characters around him, so it’s no wonder he wanted to spread his wings. In his own words, he wanted to grow.

‘I think realistically there’s going to be a major shock if he challenges for the title this year, but there could be race wins. Why not’

She added: ‘As a kid, I remember always having F1 on the telly, going right back to James Hunt – I was six when he won the world championship.

'I remember it quite clearly – my dad was really into it, and my mum probably fancied Hunt.

‘Mind you, fair play, he was pretty handsome. When I was in my twenties, I took my bike licence and had a lot of friends who were bikers, so we used to ride together. Then I started covering MotoGP.'

Handsome: Perry remembers James Hunt, pictured in 1976, as the reason she became interested in motor-racing

Handsome: Perry remembers James Hunt, pictured in 1976, as the reason she became interested in motor-racing

The full interview appears in the latest issue of BBC Top Gear magazine, on sale now.

Lewis Hamilton warned by Sir Jackie Stewart not to get carried away with own importance – F1

Don't get carried away with your own importance, Lewis! Legend Stewart fires warning to Mercedes star

By
Ian Parkes, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

15:48 GMT, 29 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:01 GMT, 29 January 2013

Sir Jackie Stewart has urged Lewis Hamilton not to get carried away with his own celebrity if he is to propel Mercedes forward this year.

Hamilton last week embarked on a new era in his Formula One career at Mercedes after six seasons with McLaren, a team he initially joined at the age of just 13.

There is no doubt Hamilton has taken a significant gamble, but the need to savour pastures new has been his driving force in signing up to the German manufacturing giant for the next three years.

Lewis Hamilton

Sir Jackie Stewart

In black and white: Lewis Hamilton must find the right balance to win titles, according to Sir Jackie Stewart

It is also almost certain Hamilton will enjoy greater freedom off track than was the case at McLaren, considering the emphasis placed on sponsorship commitments by the Woking-based marque on their drivers.

However, three-times champion Stewart feels Hamilton needs to make sure such liberty does not go to his head.

Hamilton can boast a pop-star girlfriend in Nicole Scherzinger and an array of friends from the music world, while there are suggestions he is planning on making his own music.

Bearing in mind Hamilton's desire to transform Mercedes into a winning team, Stewart is hoping the 28-year-old does not let his focus drift elsewhere.

New kid on the block: Hamilton ended his lengthy association with McLaren to join Mercedes on a three-year deal

New kid on the block: Hamilton ended his association with McLaren to join Mercedes on a three-year deal

Stewart said: 'Personally, if I'd been Lewis, I wouldn't have left McLaren. 'But as a 28-year-old, he should know what he is doing now.

'You just have to be damn careful you don't get carried away with your own importance, your own celebrity, or your own schedule outside of being in the cockpit. It can be quite intoxicating.

'What Lewis needs to do is have more consistently good drives, never mind the mechanical issues, and he shouldn't be distracted, something he should keep in the back of his mind.

'It's about who you hang out with, what you do in your off time, how you are committing your off time towards your real time – and your real time is being a racing driver.'

Famous faces: The British racer can boast a pop-star girlfriend in X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger

Famous faces: The British racer can boast a pop-star girlfriend in X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger

Such efforts will be noticed by team principal Ross Brawn, who has been accustomed to working with one of the greats in seven-times champion Michael Schumacher.

Although the last three years failed to produce the results hoped for by Schumacher prior to stepping back into retirement, the German was renowned for his meticulous and methodical nature in working with his engineers.

Stewart added: 'The Ross Brawn factor is important. 'He knows how to do it, and Lewis will have to work with him and depend on him, and Lewis, in time, will have to deliver.

'Ross has worked with drivers who have really delivered. He worked with Schumacher from Benetton all the way through, and he knows how much Michael put in.

'Therefore he will think Lewis will have to put as much into that team, time-wise, commitment-wise, not just race-time wise, as Michael did.

That's going to be quite demanding, but there's no reason why he shouldn't go straight in and be competitive up front, not at all.'

With just one victory in the last three years, though, since Mercedes returned to F1, the pressure is on both Brawn and Hamilton to deliver.

'Daimler (Mercedes' parent company), are only interested in being up front and being the best,' said Stewart.

'If they're not going to be that, it's a five-minute decision for the Mercedes-Benz board to withdraw from motor racing if there's another recession and they're not selling cars. 'In that respect, they're slightly vulnerable.'

F1 news: Timo Glock axed by Marussia

Glock shock! Marussia dump driver to leave rookie Chilton waiting for new team-mate

By
Phil Duncan

PUBLISHED:

12:31 GMT, 21 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:22 GMT, 21 January 2013

British Formula One rookie Max Chilton is on the lookout for a new team-mate after Timo Glock was surprisingly dumped by Marussia.

Reports gathered on Sunday evening that Glock, who has raced for Maurssia since the team made their debut in 2010, would leave.

And the news was confirmed today with the F1 team citing ‘commercial’ considerations behind their decision.

Your Timo's up: Glock has been axed by Marussia ahead of the new 2013 F1 season

Your Timo's up: Glock has been axed by Marussia ahead of the new 2013 F1 season

‘Timo is a fantastic driver and he has been a very popular member of the team,’ said Marussia chief John Booth.

‘Our team was founded on the principle of benefiting from proven experience while also providing opportunities for young emerging talent to progress to the pinnacle of motorsport.

‘Thus far, this philosophy has also been reflected in our commercial model.

‘And the ongoing challenges facing the industry mean that was have had to take steps to secure our long-term future.’

In a spin: Rookie Brit driver Max Chilton will be looking for a new team-mate after the German (right) was let go

In a spin: Rookie Brit driver Max Chilton will be looking for a new team-mate after the German (right) was let go

Phil Duncan F1 blog

Glock, who made his debut for Jordan in 2004 before spending two seasons at Toyota, wanted a bigger salary but Maurssia need a driver who can bring sponsorship to the cash-strapped team.

The British-based team suffered a hefty financial blow after conceding 10th place to Caterham in the closing stages of the season-finale in Brazil last year.

Bruno Senna, who was dropped by Williams, and Red Bull reserve driver Sebastien Buemi, are among the early favourites to replace Glock.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton will have a new boss at Mercedes next season after Williams shareholder Totto Wolff joined the team as an executive director.

The 41-year-old Austrian replaces Hamilton’s close ally Norbert Haug who left at the end of last season.

Starting out: Britain's Max Chilton will join the grid for the first time this season

Starting out: Britain's Max Chilton will join the grid for the first time this season

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton will have a new boss at Mercedes next season after Williams shareholder Toto Wolff joined the team as an executive director.

The 41-year-old Austrian replaces Hamilton's close ally Norbert Haug who left at the end of last season.