Whickham and District Motor Club meet every Wednesday evening from around 8:00pm at the Kibblesworth Workmens Club, a local village venue offering a friendly welcome and extremely reasonable prices...........................................................................................
 
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Rosberg"s Confidence Boost

2015 Nico Spain

Nico Rosberg finally got himself a much needed win at last Sunday's Spanish GP, making it his first of 2015. He carried on from his much improved performance in Bahrain and was the faster of the two Mercedes last weekend. He was even able to secure pole position, the first time this season that Lewis Hamilton has not started on pole. It was a beautifully calculated drive from Rosberg as he led away from the lights with no issues at all. His team mate Hamilton had a slower start and was down in 4th place by the first corner, only to come out in 3rd behind Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari. The two had a very good battle which was eventually won on strategy on Mercedes’ part, opting for Hamilton to three stop. His pace for this strategy to work was phenomenal, setting several fastest laps and comfortably came out ahead of Vettel to make it a Mercedes one-two at the end.

What stood out for me over the weekend was how much more calm and assured Rosberg seemed compared to other races this season. I'm sure Bahrain would have boosted his confidence in the beginning, but this result will have given him the belief that he can catch Lewis and take the title fight to him. The race at the weekend also made me think of a massive similarity in their rivalry to that of Prost and Senna. Hamilton's sheer speed and determination was typical of what Senna was like and the methodical drive of Rosberg for me had all the characteristics of a Prost-like drive. The Monaco GP cannot come soon enough!

9th Different Winner in 9 Years

An amazing statistic caught my eye over the weekend and that was Rosberg's win was the 9th different winner in the past 9 years at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. This is a circuit where teams spend most of the winter fine tuning their cars and enhancing performance. Even during in-season testing, this is the place where the teams will be. With all of the data and information they must possess about the track, it amazes me that no one can come to this circuit and make it their own, so to speak.

What Is Happening at Red Bull?

Red Bull's rotten season continued in Spain as they endured yet another very tough weekend. The four time World Champions were out performed by both Toro Rossos and were nowhere in the race, finishing a lowly 7th and 10th, whilst also being lapped in the process! Daniel Ricciardo did manage to finish ahead of both Max Verstappen and Carlos Saenz, but Dani Kvyat was beaten by Sainz. Although Ricciardo has scored points in every race this season, it is nowhere near where he wants to be.

So what is the issue this year? From what I can see there are 2, maybe 3, reasons at a push that are to blame. Number 1 and probably the easiest to blame is the Renault power unit. It has been slow and unreliable since the Red Bull and other Renault teams first rolled out of the garage. Ferrari seemed to have gained and overtaken and they are miles away from Mercedes. The only saving grace for Renault is that the Honda power unit is slower. There has been a lot of speculation that Audi are looking to enter an F1 partnership with someone and I think Red Bull would be a brilliant fit. Number 2, the car itself. You could forgive Adrian Newey for designing a car that is slightly off once in a while after all the success he has had during his career. However, the team cannot hide from the fact that the car itself isn't good enough either, and whether that is down to Newey wanting to look at other opportunities, who knows? But it definitely needs addressing.

Number 3, at a push, is replacing Sebastian Vettel with Dani Kvyat. For me, you can't replace a 4 time World Champion with a driver with one season under his belt, albeit a very impressive one. I think you need someone with the experience and winning mentality, someone like Kimi Raikkonen or Fernando Alonso, and I think that this is another reason they are struggling.

 

Battle of the Finns

2015 Kimi Bottas

Another fascinating battle unravelled on Sunday as Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed a hard fought battle over 4th and 5th place. Raikkonen had a quiet weekend overall and wasn't really anywhere in the race, although he was on a different strategy to that of team mate Vettel and did lead. A tyre blanket issue meant he wasted a set of the faster medium tyres and qualified back in 7th.

Bottas again showed why he could be on Ferrari's radar for next season after qualifying in 4th and again had a solid race. His cool calm style ensured he was able to be in a position to fight with a Ferrari for the second race in a row, and once again came out on top. Raikkonen tried everything to get past his younger countryman but just couldn't do it. It was a battle I'm sure all fans enjoyed, and I'm sure it won't be the last one we see from them this season.

A Shout Out to the Pit Crews

2015 Pit Crew

We all know that in Formula 1, a pit stop has the potential to make or break your race on any given day. The guys in the pit lane practise for hours upon hours every day to ensure they can get those four tyres changed at lightning speed. It all pays off when you see 4 tyres being change in 2.1 seconds!

During the race we saw two incidents which made me think “who in Earth would want to be a front jack man?” (an opinion I've already held for years anyway). The two incidents I"m referring to are Fernando Alonso brake failure and Romain Grosjean's failure to stop. With Alonso's, the guy on the front jack's reactions were that of a cat. Alonso's brakes had failed and was unable to stop in his pit box. Imagine yourself stood there with a car coming at you at 50mph, I wouldn"t fancy that! It shows how their reactions need to be incorporated at all times, not just when changing the tyres. It really could have been a serious incident, thankfully though, nobody was hurt.

Now Grosjean's incident for me was very scary. He not only overshot his pit box, but caught the jack at the same time. The jack man somehow managed to hold on despite being thrown in the air, and jacked the car up. I was watching and wincing but thankfully once again, nobody was hurt. Although the guy appeared to be winded badly, he still managed a smile and thumbs up for the camera which was good to see.

2015 Front Jack Man

 
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