Italian GP Preview

The Drivers and Teams head to Italy for the Italian GP at Monza. Mercedes Lewis Hamilton kicked off the second half of the season by winning in Belgium but championship leader, Sebastian Vettel was close behind. The tifosi will be out in force for the Scuderia, will they be treated to a “home” win?


Track facts

  • First GP held: 1950
  • Lap Record: 1:21.046, Rubens Barrichello, 2004
  • Laps: 53
  • Circuit Length: 5.793km
  • Race distance: 306.72km
  • Corners: 11
  • Tyre compounds available: Supersoft, Soft and Medium tyre

Drivers Championship – After Round 11

  1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 220pts
  2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 213pts
  3. Valterri Bottas (Mercedes) 179pts
  4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 132pts
  5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 128pts

Most Wins

Out of the current field, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are tied on 3 wins each. Vettel back in 2008, 2011 and 2013 while Hamilton back in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Fernando Alonso has won twice round here his first win back in 2007 and his last in 2010. Overall, Michael Schumacher has recorded the most amount of wins with 5.

Ferrari are the most successful team round here and have 19 victories on home turf. McLaren recorded their last win here back in 2012 and sit 2nd on 10 wins. Williams have 6 wins with their last win dating back to 2001 while Red Bull sit on 2 wins thanks to Vettel’s victories back in 2011 and 2013.

Last Years Race (2016)

  • Pole Position: Lewis Hamilton
  • Podium finishers: 1st – Nico Rosberg, 2nd – Lewis Hamilton, 3rd – Sebastian Vettel
  • Fastest Lap: 1:25.340 – Fernando Alonso

Classic GP: 1999 Italian GP

Going into the race, McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen lead the Drivers Championship on 60 points by only a single point ahead of Ferrari’s Eddie Irvine.

Hakkinen claimed pole position by half a second ahead of Jordan’s Heinz-Harald Frentzen and the other McLaren of David Coulthard. Irvine was 8th behind Ferrari teammate Mika Salo in 6th and the Stewart of Rubens Barrichello in 7th.

Hakkinen lead from the start as Williams Alex Zanardi overtook Coulthard and Frentzen for 2nd. Frentzen was able to re-overtake Zanardi after the Williams driver ran over a kerb and damaged the under-side of his car. Barrichello made gains as he overtook Coulthard on lap 11 and Salo on lap 19. Barrichello then overtook Zanardi on lap 26 followed by Salo on lap 28. Hakkinen led Frentzen and the Williams of Ralf Schumacher but then on lap 30, Hakkinen made an uncharacteristic mistake.

The Finn made a mistake changing gear – selecting first instead of second– and spun off. In a rare show of emotion, the Finn burst into tears at the side of the track. Frentzen inherited the lead as the drivers made their pit-stops. Frentzen sustained an attack from Schumacher as behind, Coulthard tried to overtake Barrichello for 4th.

Frentzen won ahead of Schumacher and Salo with Barrichello, Coulthard and Irvine rounding out the top 6. Irvine’s point moved him level with Hakkinen on points, both now on 60 points. Frentzen’s win put him 3rd in the championship and only 10 points behind Hakkinen and Irvine.



Hamilton beats Vettel to Belgian GP win

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton bounced back after the summer break to win the Belgian GP on his 200th start ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen retires for the 6th time this season.


Qualifying Result

1.Hamilton  2.Vettel  3.Bottas  4.Raikkonen  5.Verstappen  6.Ricciardo  7.Hulkenberg  8.Perez  9.Ocon  10.Alonso  11.Grosjean  12.Magnussen  13.Sainz  14.Palmer*  15.Stroll  16.Massa*  17.Ericsson*  18.Wehrlein*  19.Kvyat*  20.Vandoorne*

*various penalties included


The lights go out and it is a good start for the front runners as Lewis Hamilton leads, Sebastian Vettel, Valterri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. A superb start for Fernando Alonso has seen him jump from 10th to 7th. The McLaren driver doesn’t stay there for long though as Esteban Ocon and Romain Grosjean overtake the Spanish driver into turn 5 on lap 4 and 6. Lap 8, Max Verstappen is in trouble. It’s another retirement for the Red Bull driver as he pulls over just before turn 5.

By lap 11, the pit-stop phase has begun with Esteban Ocon and Romain Grosjean swapping the Ultrasoft tyre for the Supersoft tyre. Lap 12, Lewis Hamilton pits and goes onto the Soft tyre. Lap 14, Valterri Bottas pits and goes onto the Soft tyre. Race leader, Sebastian Vettel pits as well on lap 14 and also goes onto the Soft tyre. Lap 15, Hamilton overtakes Kimi Raikkonen who hasn’t stopped for the lead into turn 1 and back into the lead of the race. Raikkonen bails out and pits for the Soft tyre on lap 16. The Finn has received a 10 second stop-go penalty for failing to slow under yellow flags.

Lap 19, Sergio Perez is given a 5 second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. The Mexican cut the corner of turn 6 while fighting Romain Grosjean and didn’t give the position back. Lap 25, Perez pits and takes the penalty and rejoins in 12th. Lap 26, after a great start, Fernando Alonso dropped out of the top 10 and to add to his misery, it looks like another engine failure for the double world champion. He pulls into the pits and retires. Lap 29, Force India team-mate, Esteban Ocon and Perez have been running close to each other throughout the whole race and both are battling for position.

But on the run up to Eau Rouge, turns 2, 3 and 4, contact is made. Perez is ahead on the left while Ocon pulls to the right. Perez squeezes his team-mate resulting in the left side of Ocon’s front wing touches Perez’s right-rear tyre. Perez now has a puncture, Ocon has front wing damage and their is debris across the track. The Safety Car is called out with the entire field pitting. Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas go onto the Soft tyre while Ferrari opt for the faster Ultrasoft tyre for Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

Under the Safety Car, Lewis Hamilton leads ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Valterri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, Kevin Magnussen and the recovering Esteban Ocon. The Safety Car remains out until lap 34. On the restart Vettel is right behind and both go near enough side-by-side into turn 5. Hamilton holds onto the lead with Vettel slotting in behind. Behind, Ricciardo and Raikkonen overtake Bottas into turn 5 with Ricciardo grabbing the final podium position in 3rd, Raikkonen now 4th and Bottas dropping to 5th.

Race Result

1.Hamilton  2.Vettel  3.Ricciardo  4.Raikkonen  5.Bottas  6.Hulkenberg  7.Grosjean  8.Massa  9.Ocon  10.Sainz  11.Stroll  12.Kvyat  13.Palmer  14.Vandoorne  15.Magnussen  16.Ericsson  17.Perez  DNF Alonso, Verstappen and Wehrlein

Drivers Championship

  1. Sebastian Vettel 220pts
  2. Lewis Hamilton 213pts
  3. Valterri Bottas 179pts
  4. Daniel Ricciardo 132pts
  5. Kimi Raikkonen 128pts
  6. Max Verstappen 68pts
  7. Sergio Perez 56pts
  8. Esteban Ocon 47pts
  9. Carlos Sainz 36pts
  10. Nico Hulkenberg 34pts

Constructors Championship

  1. Mercedes 392pts
  2. Ferrari 348pts
  3. Red Bull 199pts
  4. Force India 103pts
  5. Williams 45pts
  6. Toro Rosso 40pts
  7. Haas 35pts
  8. Renault 34pts
  9. McLaren 11pts
  10. Sauber 5pts





Classic GP: Belgium 2012

With less than a week to go before the 2017 Formula One Belgian GP, lets relive the classic 2012 Belgium GP.


Stats coming into the weekend

Coming into the weekend, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was comfortably leading the championship on 164 points after the Hungarian GP. Red Bull’s Mark Webber led teammate Sebastian Vettel by 2 points on 124 and 122 points. After his 3rd Hungarian GP win, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was 4th on 117 points, just 1 point ahead of Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen in 5th.


McLaren’s Jenson Button secured pole position ahead of Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi and Williams Pastor Maldonado. Ironically, since joining McLaren in 2010, this was Button’s first pole position for the team. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Red Bull’s Mark Webber and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton line up in 6th, 7th and 8th while Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel failed to make the top 10 shoot-out in 11th. Mercedes’s Michael Schumacher qualified 13th ahead of his 300th GP.


The lights go out and Jenson Button leads down into turn 1 as carnage ensues behind. Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean are involved. Grosjean made a good start and moved towards the inside of La Source, squeezing Hamilton into the pit-wall. Contact was made with both drivers losing control. Grosjean speared into the back of Sergio Perez, becoming airborne and then crashing heavily into Alonso, narrowly missing Alonso’s head by a few inches. Hamilton crashed into Kamui Kobayashi and then Alonso.  Perez lost his rear wing when Grosjean hit him and touched Pastor Maldonado, sending the Williams driver spinning. The Safety Car has been deployed.

Lap 2, the order is Button from Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Di Resta and Michael Schumacher. Mark Webber sits 9th while teammate Sebastian Vettel is 12th. Lap 5, the Safety Car is in and racing continues. Lap 6, Hulkenberg has overtaken Raikkonen and is now up to 2nd while Schumacher overtakes Di Resta into La Source and up into 4th place. Lap 8, Vettel overtakes the remaining Ferrari of Felipe Massa for 10th place at the Bus Stop Chicane. Lap 10, Vettel has now overtaken teammate Webber for 9th into the Bus Stop Chicane.

Lap 11, Schumacher now overtakes Raikkonen for 3rd. Raikkonen pits the next lap along with Webber. Lap 14, Hulkenberg pits from 2nd and comes out behind Raikkonen on track. Lap 15, Vettel overtakes Jean-Eric Vergne and is now up into 4th place. Lap 17, it looks like Button is trying to make the one-stop work. Lap 19, Hulkenberg is now down to 5th. Lap 20, Schumacher pits and resumes on the Hard tyre.

Lap 21, Button finally pits from the lead. He resumes on the Hard tyre and is ahead of Vettel. Raikkonen is up to 3rd with Hulkenberg 4th, both on the two-stop plan. Lap 22, Vettel pits, he reappears ahead of Schumacher. Lap 26, Button leads ahead of Raikkonen and Hulkenberg.  Lap 28, Hulkenberg and Webber make their second stops. Lap 29, Raikkonen pits and resumes behind Schumacher. Lap 33, Webber is now right behind the scrap, now four cars with Schumacher, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Webber all fighting. Lap 34, Raikkonen finally overtakes Schumacher and up into 3rd.

Lap 36, Schumacher pits for a costly late change of rubber. Meanwhile, Button leads by 14.2 seconds over Vettel with Raikkonen a similar margin back in 3rd. Lap 40, Schumacher has told his team on the radio that he has problems with the sixth gear in his Mercedes. He is now 7th behind Massa and Webber. Lap 44, Bruno Senna posts the fastest lap of the race, with 1m52.822s.

Jenson Button wins the Belgium Grand Prix ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Both made the one-stop work with Kimi Raikkonen taking the final podium place in 3rd.

Race Result

1.Button  2.Vettel  3.Raikkonen  4.Hulkenberg  5.Massa  6.Webber  7.Schumacher  8.Vergne  9.Ricciardo  10.Di Resta  11.Rosberg  12.Senna  13.Kobayashi  14.Petrov  15.Glock  16.Pic  17.Kovalainen  18.La Rosa  DNF Karthikeyan, Maldonado, Perez, Alonso, Hamilton and Grosjean.

After the Race

Romain Grosjean was fined €50,000 and was given a one-race ban at the Italian GP for his role in the crash at the start.

Fernando Alonso’s lead in the championship had been significantly reduced with closest challenger, Sebastian Vettel picking up 18 point for 2nd. He was now only 24 points behind the Ferrari driver. After his win, Button moves to within 63 points of Alonso in  6th.

  1. Fernando Alonso 164pts
  2. Sebastian Vettel 140pts
  3. Mark Webber 132pts
  4. Kimi Raikkonen 131pts
  5. Lewis Hamilton 117pts




F1 New Round-up #6

Here is some F1 News from over the past month including the cancellation of the Sauber-Honda deal for 2018 and the introduction of the Halo for 2018.


Dennis cuts ties with McLaren

Ron Dennis has agreed to sell his remaining shares in the McLaren Technology Group and McLaren Automotive, bringing to an end his 37-year association with the company.

During his tenure, Dennis, who took control of McLaren in 1980 and remained team principal of the F1 team until 2009, led the Woking-based squad to 158 Grand Prix wins and 17 Formula 1 World Championships, managing some of the greatest drivers in the history of motorsport including Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton.

Ferrari: Not interested in Alonso for 2018

Ferrari have ruled out Fernando Alonso rejoining the team for 2018. Sergio Marchionne, Ferrari’s president, told Sky Sports in Italy that any interest Alonso had in a return to the team he left in 2014 would not be replicated. The Ferrari president’s comments mean the top three teams on the grid have all now effectively shut the door on signing the former world champion when his McLaren contract expires at the end of the season.

Sauber cancel 2018 Honda deal

Sauber and Honda have announced that they will not be going ahead with their planned technical partnership for the 2018 season. The move follows the appointment of new team principal Frederic Vasseur, who replaces Monisha Kaltenborn after her departure in June. Vasseur said the decision was “made for strategic reasons, with the best intent for Sauber’s future in mind”. Sauber has resigned with Ferrari to use their engines next year.

FIA introduce Halo for 2018

F1 will introduce the controversial Halo cockpit protection device onto cars for the 2018 season. An FIA statement read: “Following the unanimous agreement of the Strategy Group, in July 2016, to introduce additional frontal protection for Formula 1 and the repeated support from the drivers, the FIA confirms the introduction of the Halo for 2018.



BTCC at Knockhill 2017

The British Touring Car Championship made it’s way to Knockhill for Rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the Championship. My family and I went to watch the British Touring Cars in action on Sunday.


The British Touring Car Day

In his 50th career pole position, Jason Plato held off Subaru team-mate Ashley Sutton to his first win of 2017. The both Subaru’s held off the BMW’s of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard in the first and second race as the top 4 pulled away from the rest of the chasing pack. A superb move by Sutton in the second race down the inside of Duffus Dip saw him take the lead off of Plato and take the win.

After the first BTCC win of the season and his 96th overall victory, Plato was upbeat. After a poor start to the season and only yielding one podium finish at Round 15 at Croft, Plato said he was finally comfortable with the Subaru Levorg GT. On a whole, it was a great day of racing for the BMR squad with Plato, Sutton and James Cole in the top 10 for the 3 races.

Newcomer, Rory Butcher was named as the replacement for Luke Davenport after his catastrophic crash at Croft at the end of June. Brother-in-law of Gordon Shedden, Butcher joins Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo for the remainder of the season. Qualifying and finishing in 25th, Butcher rose to 9th in Race 2 and was put in contention for the reserve grid draw. He was drawn 2nd and battled with Shedden and both BMW’s ultimately finishing 9th. Collecting 14 points over the whole weekend puts Butcher in 27th place.

Home-favourite and championship leader heading into the weekend, Gordon Shedden, carried the maximum ballast of 75kgs in qualifying and started the first race in 9th. Shedden climbed to as high as 8th but fell backwards and ended up 11th, 2 places behind team-mate Matt Neal who started the race 21st. A better race for Shedden in Race 2 saw him take 6th but in contention for the reserve grid draw. He took 5th spot and went onto finish 2nd behind race winner Tom Ingram but ahead of Colin Turkington.

IMG_0478 #2

Gordon Shedden during the 3rd and last Touring Car race of the day.


Tom Ingram won the final race marking his first race win since Round 5 and the 3rd different driver to stand on the top step of the podium today.

My Day

We arrived during the first F4 British Championship and made our way down to Taylor’s Hairpin. We watched the first Touring car race from there and then when the pit-lane opened for the Autograph session, I went and got autographs from Tom Chilton and Senna Proctor, both who drive for Power Maxed Racing.

After the second Touring car race finished, Team BMW held an autograph session at 15:40. I got autographs from Colin Turkington and Rob Collard. For the 3rd and final Touring car race, I’d planned to go to the middle of the circuit to watch. I managed to catch the Porsche Carrera Cup podium presentations before making my way to watch the action from the middle which was accessible by a bridge overlooking the start/finish straight.


The BTCC is supported all season long by the F4 British Championship (above), Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain, Ginetta Junior Championship and Ginetta GT5 Challenge.

Could “Hulk” make the podium in 2017?

Here is my first article that I did for Essaar GP back in June. Since doing this article, I have done a number of sessions of “Live Tweeting” for them and now done a total of 4 articles including this one for them. It has now received 616 views. Enjoy!


Having moved to Renault F1 for 2017, Nico Hulkenberg hopes to claim the first podium of his Formula 1 career. Can he finally reach the podium places this year?


Having joined F1 in 2010 at Williams – after winning the GP2 Series in 2009 – Hulkenberg has since been with teams Force India, Sauber and now Renault.

Hulkenberg, 1st Article pic


Hulkenberg drove for Force India in 2012 before switching to Sauber for 2013. Results weren’t great so he returned to Force India for 2014.

Hulkenberg’s best result so far of his F1 career is a 4th place, both at the Korean GP in 2013 and the Belgian GP last year. Hulkenberg secured his first ever pole position back in 2010 at the Brazilian GP.

Renault had tried but failed to recruit Torro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Force India’s Sergio Perez, but have landed the leading driver desired. Hulkenberg joined Renault this year as part of a lifetime ambition to drive for a manufacturer team.

So far this season, Hulkenberg has scored a best finish of 6th place at the Spanish GP. He sits in 11th place in the Driver’s Championship with 14 points. The German driver has so far impressed many people with his qualifying performance. 7th place in qualifying at the Chinese GP and with 3 Q3 appearances showing what the RS17 can do.

The qualifying pace of the Renault has not reflected the race results. Both Renault and Hulkenberg has expressed their disappointments but have looked to have found the source of the problem.

Hulkenberg has shown that he can win in feeder F1 series and his journey from karts to now F1.

In 2015, Hulkenberg, competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Porsche and co-drivers Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, they won the gruelling race. Hulkenberg was praised by other F1 drivers for his achievement. This was the first time that an active F1 driver had won Le Man since 1991.

Can Hulkenberg make it to the podium? If the scenario appears, yes it is more than achievable. If Hulkenberg can be near the Top 5 in the race where like at the Spanish GP, his chances shall increase substantially.


Ignition Festival of Motoring 2017

The SECC in Glasgow once again played host to the Ignition Festival of Motoring  and I got the chance to go again and had again a cracking day.


After thoroughly enjoying last years event, my Dad and I got VIP tickets for the event on Sunday. The VIP package included:

  • Access to The IGNITE Club with lunchtime driver Q&A’s
  • All day entry to the IGNITE grandstand
  • Exclusive paddock access to the IGNITE Club Paddock (F1 and Rally paddock)
  • Private bar with first two drinks free
  • Official IGNITION showguide

Hosting the event over the 3 days would be Lee McKenzie and alongside her would be BTCC commentator, Paul O’Neil and Motorsport presenter and commentator, Duncan Vincent. McKenzie, best known for her work in both Channel 4 and BBC’s coverage of Formula 1. Returning to the event was the 3 time British Touring Car Champion and current championship leader, Gordon Shedden and 5-time British Rally Champion, Jimmy McRae. Also returning would be one of the UK’s leading drift team, Team Japspeed.

The main feature and lined up for this year, were the “Rally Gods” and some of their own Rally cars. The legendary drivers including: Ari Vatanen, Miki Biasion, Timo Salonen, Stig Blomqvist and Markku Alen. I was able to grab a picture with Ari Vatanen along with his autograph.

Ari Vattinen

Myself with Ari Vatanen

The main halls were divided up. In Hall 5, was the Knockhill stand with Gordon Shedden. I was able to get his autograph and picture. While in Hall 2 was the 70 Years of Ferrari with an incredible display made up of the greatest cars ever to wear the famous Prancing Horse.

Gordon Sheddon #2

Myself with Gordon Shedden

My favourite part of last year’s event was the range of Formula One cars. Well, this year, they upgraded massively and produced the greatest collection of Formula One cars ever assembled in Scotland. Cars included:

  • Stirling Moss’ Maserati 250F
  • Jenson Button’s BAR Honda 006
  • Michael Schumacher’s Benetton B193b
  • Nelson Piquet’s Camel Lotus type 101
  • Ayrton Senna’s Toleman TG184
  • Jim Clark’s Lotus 21
  • Mike Hawthorn’s Ferrari Dino 246
Schumacher's Bennetton

Michael Schumacher’s 1993 Benetton B193B

At the end of the day, I was able to catch Lee McKenzie and Paul O’Neil for a couple of pictures. I also got their autographs as well.

Lee McKenzie

Myself with Lee McKenzie

Paul O'Neil

Myself with Paul O’Neil

For the 2nd year in a row, the Ignition team have produced an amazing collection of Motoring stars and attractions that hopefully cement it’s place in the Motorsport calendar of fans across Scotland and beyond. The Ignition event staff and volunteer marshals should be commended for their hard work and dedication. The Motoring personalities and presenters were fun, knowledgable and approachable.