Hamilton apologies to Massa, Maldonado

Lewis Hamilton had apologised to Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado for remarks made following their accidents in Monaco

The McLaren driver had previously criticised the pair, calling his rivals "ridiculous" and adding that the duo closed the door on him when he felt he already had his nose in front.

However, the Briton has taken to Twitter to express his regret at the situation.

"To Massa and Maldonado, with the greatest respect I apologise if I offended you. Both of you are fantastic drivers who I regard highly," he wrote.

Hamilton also apologized to his fans and anyone who may have been offended by comments that he made, with an attempt at a joke made by the 26-year-old regarding being penalised for his skin colour garnering widespread criticism.

"Hey guys. I wanted to apologise for last weekend's performance and also my comments after, I never meant to offend no one," he said.

"To my fans lost and my fans won, I wish you nothing but love and happiness. God Bless you. Onwards and upwards, Montreal next. Lewis," he added.

Source: Planet-F1

Video: Making Of our new TV commercial starring Jenson Button for TAG Heuer

Source: TAGHeuerOnline

Alonso's Blog: I tried to the very end

I arrived in Maranello late this morning and in the afternoon, I was involved in some PR activities. I also got the chance to meet two of our young FDA drivers, Raffaele Marciello and Brandon Maisano, who were at Fiorano for a Formula 3 test. Then, I headed off for Parma where tonight I am playing in the “Partita del Cuore” (game of the heart) a three-way football tournament which is raising funds for the Telethon charity.

Over twenty four hours have passed since the end of the Monaco Grand Prix and I certainly haven’t changed my mind. Yesterday we had a real chance of taking our first win of the season and the interruption following the accident with Petrov and Alguersuari robbed us of the chance of trying to the very end. In the second part of the race, after the pit stop, I tried to save the tyres specifically to be prepared for the closing laps, when I hoped I’d be able to make the most of it if Sebastian had any difficulties with his tyres, given he’d been on the same set for many laps. Unfortunately, that plan went out the window, but you have to accept it, because we know that situations like the one we saw in Monaco yesterday happen quite often.

Immediately after the race, I said the fight for the title was getting ever more difficult, not to say impossible. Sure, if Vettel ends up winning a race in which we felt there was a chance of victory, then you get a feeling of disappointment, but that does not mean will not continue working hard at the track and back home on developing the car. Clearly the gap in the championship is widening all the time: we can do the maths, but neither myself nor the team are used to throwing in the towel. Already today, I’ve been talking to the engineers about the new parts we will have in Montreal, but above all, of the steps forward we must take for Silverstone, when we will back at a track which requires a lot of aerodynamic downforce. That’s where we will really see how our season is going to pan out. Up until then, we want to and we must believe in ourselves.

I am pleased to hear that Sergio Perez has already left the Monaco hospital this afternoon. He had a truly horrible accident and the fact he came out of it almost unscathed is a clear indication of the progress made in terms of Formula 1 car safety. You can never do away with the risks completely, but they can be significantly reduced for the drivers and for all those who work at the track.

Source: Ferrari.com

Sebastian Vettel Blog: Sweet taste of success

Sebastian Vettel talks tactics and savours victory after extending his lead at the top of the Formula One Drivers' Championship with a win at the Monaco Grand Prix

by Sebastian Vettel on May 30, 2011

What an amazing day! I know that champagne tastes sweet, but the one I drank after the ceremony in Monte Carlo tasted even sweeter than usual! I am indescribably happy with our win and very proud about the whole team. They did an amazing job today.

I think it's easy to describe the race in one word: thrilling. I'm sure it was for the spectators and fans and it definitely was for us drivers. I would never have expected a strategy like the one we had today and that we would be able to get to the finishing line with only one pitstop. Well, almost one pitstop! We talked about it a lot and decided to put it all on one and not go into the pit for a second time. The worst that could have happened was a third place but I think that we would also have won if the safety car had stayed out.

'I never expected that we'd be able to finish with only one pitstop'

The key to our success today was definetely our endurance and the fact that we never lost faith in ourselves. Even the pit stop, which wasn't perfect, didn't change that. We lost time and the lead through it but that was when we knew that we had to give everything we had and attack. In the end, this approach helped us get back into the lead and, when we had the safety car coming out towards the end, it helped me to relax a bit and cool off the tyres. After the restart, we luckily didn't have too many laps to go and after a few minutes we were finally allowed to celebrate this fantastic victory.

I'm pretty sure that we'll go on and party tonight and have an amazing time. I want to send out a big thank you to everyone involved in this victory. It wouldn't have been possible without you. And also a big thanks to all the fans – you were amazing guys!

Talk to you soon from Canada!

All the best,


Source: Red Bull

Räikkönen at wild party at Monaco GP 2011

Kimi Räikkönen made his NASCAR Nationwide debut on Saturday, but showed up already the next day at the Monaco Grand Prix. He hosted there a wild party for the "Finnish Jackass" The Dudesons.

So we can almost say that Kimi was with his performance even faster than Monaco GP winner Sebastian Vettel...

Räikkönen did not miss any speed and dangerous moments when hosting his guests. Jukka from The Dudesons made everybody laugh by dressing in Kimi's NASCAR-overall:

Source: RacingNewsFlash

Nationwide-race barbequed Kimi's driving pleasure

Kimi Räikkönen's feelings in his debut-races World Camping Truck- and Nationwide -classes were completely different. He enjoyed fully the Truck-race whereas the Nationwide-stunt mainly brought him pain, sweat and a disappointment in driving pleasure.

– The race started well and Kimi was driving towards a TOP-15 during the first 40 laps. After that the setbacks began and the joy of driving stopped immediately, Todd Hirschfield who conveys Kimi's feelings from the American tour, reported to Turun Sanomat after the race.

– Kimi showed his speed. It speaks for itself when you look at who he had already left behind him when his car worked the way he wanted.

The weather in North-Carolina was considerably hotter than a week ago. There were also problems in heat isolation. The driver who climbed out of Toyota Camry looked like a racer who was remarkably worn out.

– It was incredibly hot in the cockpit. That's why the race felt more longer than it was in reality. The floor burned my sneakers and my soles, Räikkönen sighed.

Räikkönen started from 22nd position and finished in 27th position 4 laps behind. The Truck-race went the other way around when Räikkönen started from 31st position and climbed up to 15th in the race, driving on the same lap as the winner.

– The goal was the same in both races - to drive all laps and finish at the same lap with the top. It was a completely realistic goal but succeeded only in the first race. Kimi drove really well all the time, team manager Rick Ren praised.

Räikkönen proved once again that he can quickly learn a new car and the style of a new racing class and could already in Saturday's race take advantage of the re-starts improving his position all the time.

– It was cool at first when I could overtake and it felt good when the car turned decently. Then everything just went wrong. I couldn't control the car. I couldn't turn it anymore and felt that I had to stop in corners when it was ramming so badly all the time.

– I had the same problem in practice already. We got it better but in the race the problems came back. It's nasty to experience something like that because the car felt so good at times. I even hit the wall a few times because the car didn't turn. I got hits from behind and almost spun. When it gets that tricky you just can't race. You only try to make it through the corners and don't enjoy it one bit, Räikkönen reported.

When pitting around lap 139 Räikkönen moved on too fast and got a penalty for speeding. After that he was 2 laps behind the lead.

On track he got more troubles. A front piece from some car had fallen off and it got stuck on the bottom of Räikkönen's Toyota and after that turning the car became almost impossible.

– I had no grip in the front anymore. Some junk got stuck on the bottom of the car and it didn't come loose until it was pulled off in the pit, Räikkönen cleared.

The rest of the race Räikkönen used mainly to get experience.

Matt Kenseth won before Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. It was Kenseth's 26th victory in Nationwide -class.

Räikkönen left for Europe on Saturday-night. His plans of continuing in Nascar are now pending.

– Kimi sits down to think what he wants. I hope that these races lit the spark to drive more Nascar-races in the future. I am extremely pleased with his performances. Kimi showed very quickly that he can drive in the same speed as the experienced men in these classes, Hirschfeld says.

If Räikkönen finds himself a competitive car to Sprint Cup -races to so called normal tracks like Sonoma and also Watkins Glen, then it will most definitely decide Räikkönen's will to continue.

Juan Pablo Montoya snatched his first Sprint Cup -victory in Sonoma 2007 and his second one in Watkins Glen 2010.

Turun Sanomat



300 laps/200 miles:

1. Matt Kenseth Ford
2. Carl Edwards Ford
3. Kyle Busch Toyota
4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford
5. Reed Sorenson Chevrolet
6. Brad Keselowski Dodge
7. Steve Wallace Toyota
8. Brian Scott Toyota
9. Aric Almirola Chevrolet
10. Elliott Sadler Chevrolet
11. Joey Logano Toyota
12. Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge
13. Justin Allgaier Chevrolet
14. Michael Annett Toyota
15. Cole Whitt Toyota
27. Kimi Räikkönen Toyota
28. Eric McClure Chevrolet
29. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet
30. Derrike Cope Dodge

Courtey: Nicole

Video: BBC - Lewis Hamilton fuming after Monaco 'weekend to forget'

Lewis Hamilton is furious after being called to the stewards about two incidents in the Monaco Grand Prix

Source: FiftyBuckss

Seb Vettel Is The New King Of Monaco

Sebastian Vettel claimed his maiden Monaco Grand Prix win, but for the second time in two days his performance was overshadowed after a fellow driver was injured in a heavy shunt

On Saturday, a serious accident involving Sergio Perez's led to qualifying to be delayed while on Sunday Vitaly Petrov was involved in a crash that saw him being taken away by ambulance after picking up a leg injury.

The race was red flagged, but restarted after an 11-minute stop and Vettel - who had fresh rubber fitted to his car during the break - eased his Red Bull home with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button closely behind.

Earlier, Vettel made a clean start alongside Button and Alonso. From then on it turned into a battle of the strategies.

McLaren looked like they had one over their rivals when they pitted Button earlier than usual for supersofts and got him out in clean air. However, his team-mate Lewis Hamilton's crash with Felipe Massa probably cost Button a potential win after the Safety Car was deployed.

That allowed the field to bunch up and with Button forced to stop for a third time, he lost valuable time to the top two, but Red Bull and Ferrari's decision not to pit their drivers again gave the McLaren driver an opportunity to attack on fresher rubber.

The trio found themselves tail-to-tail for the best part of 15 laps, but more drama was to follow with eight laps to go after Adrian Sutil, Petrov and Hamilton got tangled up during their scrap for sixth place together with backmarker Jaime Alguersuari. Petrov and Alguersuari both crashed out and the Safety Car was deployed. The race was then red-flagged as the medical team was called to tend to Petrov.

Once the track was cleared, the race was restarted under the Safety Car and turned into a five-lap shoot-out. Vettel, Alonso and Button held station, but there was one final incident when Hamilton tried to squeeze past Pastor Maldonado in sixth place. The duo made contact and the Williams driver came off second best.

The McLaren driver finished sixth while Mark Webber fourth and Kamui Kobayashi was fifth.

01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2h09:38.373
02. Alonso Ferrari + 1.138
03. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 2.378
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 23.100
05. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 26.900
06. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 27.200
07. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
08. Heidfeld Renault + 1 lap
09. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 2 laps
13. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
14. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
15. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
16. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
17. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
18. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 5 aps

Petrov Renault 68
Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 68
Massa Ferrari 33
Schumacher Mercedes 33
Glock Virgin-Cosworth 31
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1

Source: Planet-F1

Photos: Kimi Räikkönen in Monaco Grand Prix 2011

After his debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series category Kimi Raikkonen relaxes on his yacht in the prince of Monaco 2011

Courtesy: Miezicat

Kimi Räikkönen is 27th in challenging Nationwide debut

"The Iceman" made his debut in Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and things got hot all over for Kimi Räikkönen (FSY).

The 2007 Formula One champion battled extreme heat in the cockpit that scalded his feet, a pit miscue that resulted in being handed an empty water bottle and an ill-handling Toyota that had the Finn cursing like an American sailor.

Coupled with a speeding penalty exiting the pits on a green-flag stop and the impact of a chunk of another driver's splitter, Raikkonen's 27th-place finish (four laps down) in his Nationwide Series debut could be regarded as inauspicious.

But considering it was his second start in a NASCAR national series and his first — ever — in a stock car on an oval, crew chief Rick Ren took another view of his driver's performance.

"Kimi did a great job," said Ren, who had set a goal of lead-lap finishes for Raikkonen's first two NASCAR races (he achieved it last week with a 15th in the Camping World Truck Series). "Everyone needs to understand that Charlotte is a very difficult racetrack. There are really good, famous race car drivers that have never won at Charlotte.

"For him to finish on the lead lap in the truck, qualify good in the Nationwide cars, run great in the second practice.. .. He's got good feedback for having never driven these types of vehicles. Enough feedback to help me realize what it's doing. I call it a success. The results don't really show how good he really did. If you look at the finishing order, guys in 10th-12th we ran ahead of them a good lick of the day. I think it was all positive. No negatives out of it."

No one is positive, though, of Raikkonen's next move. The enigmatic driver, who notched 18 victories and 62 podiums in F1 while racing for Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari from 2001-09 and now races in the World Rally Championship, was being typically coy after Saturday's race would be his last in NASCAR.

"I don't know that," said Raikkonen, who departed Charlotte immediately for a WRC event in Greece. "For now, I go back to Europe and to some rallies and see what happens."

There are no races scheduled beyond Charlotte for Raikkonen, but Kyle Busch (FSY) Motorsports would be willing to work with him again after supplying a car and truck the past two weeks.

"It's up to him to decide if he wants to come do this again," said Ren, the general manager for KBM. "Hopefully, we did our part, and it was a pleasant experience for him."

Raikkonen, who thanked the team after the race despite filling his radio channel with vulgarities for much of 300 miles, has said he would like to race Sprint Cup and is interested in the June 26 race at Sonoma, Calif. Infineon Raceway is a road course that would suit his background in F1 (which races exclusively on road and street circuits).

But Ren cautioned that Sonoma would be another very hot race, and that KBM (which runs primarily in the truck series) wouldn't be able to secure a Cup car from a front-running team (a Camry was obtained from NEMCO Motorsports for Saturday's Nationwide race).

"We'd have to do (Sonoma) with a Cup team," Ren said. "The Cup teams that could go do that are very, very limited. I have something that maybe could develop if he wanted to do that, but it's cutting it close to go to Sonoma. Engine builders plan engines six to eight weeks out, so it'd be really tough."

Raikkonen tested a car this past week on the Virginia International Raceway road course for Robby Gordon (FSY) Motorsports, which would seem an obvious choice for supplying a Toyota for Cup.

He'll have a lot to mull after a race that didn't go nearly as smoothly as his NASCAR debut a week earlier. Raikkonen qualified 22nd and was satisfied with the handling of his car for the first half of the 200-lap event.

But it began growing uncomfortable quickly. During the first yellow on Lap 26, Raikkonen radioed his feet were "burning" from heat emanating from the floorboards. After joking he might hang his feet out the window, he declined an offer from Ren to stop to put heat shields on his heels — though he demanded more water.

Shifting the position of his feet, though Raikkonen still radioed late in the race that "everything is just burning up, my legs and my (butt)." He seemed to be in no pain walking through the garage in street clothes about 20 minutes after the checkered flag.

"It was hurting on the heels but didn't really do anything," he said. "Just try to keep my foot off the floor and hold them up."

He also was fighting through more discomfort. With Raikkonen demanding water on each stop to manage the heat, Ren said a jack man handed him a mostly empty bottle during a stop under a Lap 74 yellow.

But the car came to life on a Lap 78 restart, picking up three spots in five laps under green, and he was in 15th for a Lap 91 restart. He smacked the Turn 4 wall on Lap 100. As the handling on his car faded, the team held him out longer during a green-flag pit stop sequence. He sped exiting the pits and then ran over a bright orange chunk of a splitter that came off another driver's car. He had to pit again for damage and fell three laps down, losing another later under green.

"That just took us out of the day," Ren said. "Now it damaged the front of the car, took the downforce out, and now it really won't turn. It pretty much ended our day."

Raikkonen said he still managed to have fun until the car went away and seemed to show improvement on restarts.

"It was nice in the beginning," he said. "I could overtake on the restarts, and it felt really good when it turned. But it turned out to be really bad, the handling. It felt I had to stop in the corner, just pushing all the time. But it's the same thing happened in the first and second practice. We could improve it in the second practice, but somehow it came back for me. Anyhow, it's a shame because at some points, it felt quite good.

"Once it got difficult, it's because you cannot race, and it's just trying to survive through the corners, and it's not so much fun. Until that point, it was good."

That might have been hard to discern from Raikkonen's radio, which often was littered with the same vulgarities used by NASCAR champions having rough days. But Ren didn't think the frustration necessarily impacted Raikkonen's performance or his ability to tune on the car.

"Someone else is passing you, or you drive in corner and it won't turn, there's nothing more frustrating," Ren said. "It's easy for a guy to get upset. Especially a guy who's won grand prix events and is an F1 champion and runs rally cars and is a very experienced race car driver.

"But he's not any different from Kyle (Busch), Carl (Edwards), Jimmie (Johnson) or Kevin Harvick (FSY). If they have a bad day, they get upset. We listen and try to cheerlead and do the best we can with cards we've been dealt."

Though Raikkonen radioed repeatedly that something was "wrong" with the car, Ren said it's just a matter of learning to adapt to a car that weighs twice as much as an F1 car and has much skinnier tires.

"The front-running guys are saying the exact same thing (about handling)," Ren said. "These things just do not handle very well. You'll hear drivers say the tires feel like they're basketballs. It's just a new feel to him. I'm sure he's never raced cars with that much air pressure in the tires. It feels abnormal, but it's part of how these cars react."

So how will Raikkonen react after his second NASCAR start and what will it mean for his future? Like much of his racing career, it's a mystery.

"I don't personally know what his expectations were when he came to the United States," Ren said. "I have no idea what his real goals are. We just tried to prepare the best vehicle we could and put him in good, quality equipment and try to have a really good day.

"We had a really good day going. I still look at it as positive: 43 started, he still finished 27th. It wasn't a disastrous day. There was no doubt he was a top 15 guy again."

Source: USA Today

Video: BBC - Monaco GP: Ferrari quicker than we showed today - Fernando Alonso

After finishing fourth in Saturday's qualifying, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso predicts pit strategy rather than overtaking will determine the result of Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix

Source: FiftyBuckss

Monaco GP: Webber still eyeing victory

Mark Webber will once again start behind his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, the fifth time in six races

Mark Webber said he was still aiming for victory in the Monaco Grand Prix despite only qualifying on the second row.

Having taken a lights-to-flag victory around the streets last year, Webber knows the importance of qualifying on pole position at a track that is notoriously difficult to overtake at. Despite being outqualified by his team-mate Sebastian Vettel and McLaren's Jenson Button, Webber still said it was possible to win, especially with the 2011 regulations leading to more exciting races.

"The races are more mixed up this year compared to the last few years, and tomorrow is no exception," Webber said. "It's possible to win from P3 but, that said, qualifying is crucial here and pole is certainly a nice benefit to have. Seb did a great lap and deserved pole and JB [Button] did too."

Webber also said that Sergio Perez's crash had resulted in a "messy" qualifying session, but that the most important thing was that lessons were learned from the incident.

"It was a messy session for all of us - you never anticipate not getting a second go, but that's the way it fell today and bigger priorities took over when one of our colleagues, Sergio, had a crash.

"All our thoughts are with him; he's in great hands and he's talking and is conscious, which is good news; he'll bounce back I'm sure. We can learn from this in terms of safety here and it's probably an area that we need to look at improving for the future. Jenson was lucky and Karl Wendlinger back in the nineties - so there are a few places around here we need to keep an eye on."

Source: ESPNF1

Perez suffers concussion and sprained thigh

Sergio Perez escaped serious injury in his horrific Monaco qualifying accident, Sauber have revealed

The Mexican rookie, on a hot lap, crashed heavily with three minutes remaining in qualifying bringing out the red flags.

The Monte Carlo medics spent almost half an hour assisting the driver before he was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

Initial reports were that Perez was "conscious and talking" to the medical staff while Sauber have now revealed that he has suffered a concussion and a sprained thigh.

"It was with great relief the Sauber F1 Team received the news that Sergio Perez has no serious injuries after his heavy accident in the closing minutes of the final part of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix," Sauber said in a statement.

"Shortly before 15:00 hrs he had crashed into the barrier after the fast tunnel section of the circuit.

"The 21-year-old Mexican was taken to the Hospital Princess Grace in Monaco from where the team received further information at 16:25 hrs.

"The doctors said Perez had suffered concussion and a sprained thigh, but no broken bones and, following a scan, they could find no further injuries.

"The reason for the accident will be investigated and the team will update the media as soon as it has any further information."

His injuries, though, mean Perez is unlikely to line-up on the starting grid for Sunday's 78-lap Monaco Grand Prix.

Source: Planet-F1

Button: More needs to be done in Monaco

Jenson Button says Formula One still needs to improve the safety barriers in Monte Carlo after Sergio Perez crashed heavily in qualifying

Perez's accident was similar to that Button had in 2003 which resulted in the Brit having to miss the Monaco race. At present, it looks like Perez will suffer the same fate as the Sauber rookie has a concussion and a sprained thigh.

However, that's a marked improvement on what happened in 1994 when Karl Wendlinger hit the divide and spent weeks in a coma.

"I think the cars have improved dramatically with safety since Karl Wendlinger's accident and the barrier has been moved back since my accident," said Button.

"But there are some areas - and this is the main one - where we want it to be safer so that we can come here and enjoy the racing.

It is a tricky corner and it's difficult to know what it (the solution) is - but I think we need to look further on what we can do with the run-off there.

"Motor racing is dangerous and it says it on the passes, (but) there is always more we can do. We need to keep tweaking some areas, sit down and really improve for the future."

Button's comments was echoed by Mark Webber, with the Red Bull driver saying there is always more that can be done to improve safety.

"It has always been bumpy there under the brakes and every year the cars we have are a bit different aerodynamically," said the Aussie.

"And in terms of safety, it's probably an area we need to look at and improve on, especially after JB and also Karl Wendlinger in the mid 1990s.

"There is a bump there, but it is just that if you have a problem with the rear, the chance to recover is very low. We saw Vitaly (Petrov) and he went straight down.

"We were also lucky they pulled the sleeping policeman up after this morning because he [Perez] could have had a nastier accident.

"We need to keep learning and work hard with the FIA with the drivers and help out the guys - we are the ones in the cockpit so it's nice to improve if we can."

Source: Planet-F1

Video: BBC Monaco GP - Sebastian Vettel 'very happy' with Monaco pole position

Despite a "shadow hanging over qualifying" after Sergio Perez suffers a serious crash, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is pleased with pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix

Source: FiftyBuckss

Monaco GP : Vettel takes pole, Perez crashes

Sergio Perez's massive accident in qualifying for the Monaco GP overshadowed Sebastian Vettel's first Monaco pole position

Q3 was halted for almost 40 minutes after Perez suffered a huge accident, hitting the dividing barrier at the Nouvelle Chicane after losing control of his car over the bumps at the exit to the tunnel.

The medical staff and marshals were quickly on hand to assist the Sauber driver, who was taken directly to the local hospital in an ambulance. he was conscious and talking.

With the session resuming with just three minutes left on the clock, many expected a mad flying lap dash for pole position. However, it wasn't to be.

Instead the session came to a low-key end with Vettel on pole thanks to his earlier 1:13.556.Jenson Button will join him on the front row, having qualified ahead of Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso.

01. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m13.556s
2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m13.997s + 0.441
3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m14.019s + 0.463
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.483s + 0.927
5. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m14.682s + 1.126
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m14.877s + 1.321
7. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.280s + 1.724
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.766s + 2.210
9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m16.528s + 2.972
10. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari No time
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m15.815s + 1.540
12. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m15.826s + 1.551
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.973s + 1.698
14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m16.118s + 1.843
15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m16.121s + 1.846
16. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m16.214s + 1.939
17. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m16.300s + 2.025
18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m17.343s + 2.136
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m17.381s + 2.174
20. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.820s + 2.613
21. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m17.914s + 2.707
22. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m18.736s + 3.529
23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth No time
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth No time

Source: Planet-F1

Lewis Hamilton claims Toro Rosso drivers hindered him at Barcelona

Lewis Hamilton has accused Toro Rosso – Red Bull's sister team of slowing him down as he pursued Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps of last Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

Both Toro Rosso drivers, Jaime Alguersuari and Sébastien Buemi, deliberately held up Hamilton, according to the McLaren driver, who said: "They let him [Vettel] past and then they held me up for the next couple of corners. That wasn't cool. I'm surprised it happened. I have mentioned it to my team so it is for them to approach the FIA to make sure the stewards are aware of it.

"That kind of thing shouldn't happen because they are not really supposed to be a sister team are they? Often some of these backmarkers, in particular Toro Rosso, would assist with increasing the gap between us, which is interesting."

Hamilton, who had to make do with second place as he watched Vettel extend his lead in the world championship to 41 points, added: "Definitely in the last race there was some of that, all of a sudden moving in my way, causing a bigger gap.

"But it was a perfect situation for Sebastian to make sure he was let through and I wasn't. If that continues to happen then some penalties should be handed out. I just hope the stewards are wary of it, and I'm sure they'll do a great job."

Toro Rosso, which is Italian for "Red Bull", is regarded as a feeder team, developing promising young drivers for the senior outfit. As with Red Bull, they are backed by the billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz.

But Hamilton's complaint was dismissed by Red Bull's team principal, Christian Horner, who said: "Believe me, Toro Rosso drivers have often had that complaint from our own drivers as well. You only have to look at last year's race in Abu Dhabi to see what happened with Mark Webber, so absolutely not, there's no discussion between the teams.

"They operate totally independently. There are no tactics to help one or the other."

Horner was backed up by a spokesman from Toro Rosso, who said: "When it became the rule, prior to last season, that you weren't allowed to share any technical knowledge, all co-operation ceased.

"So the suggestion we would have held up any other car to favour a Red Bull is preposterous, and would never have happened."

Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One's commercial rights holder, is still hopeful that the Bahrain Grand Prix, which should have opened the season in March, can be rescheduled at the end of the year.

The World Motor Sport Council is due to give its decision on the Bahrain race on 3 June, two days after a state of emergency is lifted around the Gulf kingdom.

Ecclestone met the teams in the paddock here and said: "The Crown Prince hopes everything will be fine. You know he is supportive. They are nice people there. I don't think we will have any problem.

"It's just a case of if somebody wants to get a bit of attention that would probably be a good way to do it. But I don't think from a safety point of view there is anything to worry about."

Fernando Alonso finished fastest in Thursday afternoon's practice session, ahead of Hamilton. Vettel was quickest in the slower morning run, ahead of Alonso.

Source: The Guardian

Monaco GP – Domenicali: “It was a decision taken for the good of the team”

The Friday of the Monaco Grand Prix is always a strange day. Officially it’s a day of rest yet the paddock and the pit lane are a frenzy of activity until the evening. With so much time available, the engineers make the most of it to study the data they’ve collected in the three hours of yesterday’s free practice to the tiniest detail. They also meet with the drivers and give the latest information to the mechanics who have to prepare the cars for the rest of the weekend.

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro also followed this programme, with meetings that began at 11am and didn’t finish until after 7pm. Felipe and Fernando joined in with some of these briefings but they were also involved in PR activities, among them an autograph session organised by the grand prix promoter and cocktails with a group of Ferrari clients. For Felipe there was a special end to the day with his participation as a model at the Monaco Charity Fashion Show, which earned the most applause of the evening.

But Ferrari’s day was summed up above all by this afternoon’s briefing by Team Principal Stefano Domenicali for the press from Italy and the rest of the world. The hottest topic – and it couldn’t have been anything else – was the reorganisation of the technical division of the Scuderia that was announced last Tuesday.

“It was a decision that was taken for the good of the team, in order to improve,” explained Domenicali. “It was a rational decision, not an emotional one: a change that brings stability for the future.” It was certainly the hardest decision of Domenicali’s career, which will total twenty years at Ferrari a few days from now. “I don’t want to go into the details out of my respect for Aldo, a person who is a friend who I admire. We aren’t here to make things personal. Over the years there have been changes for various reasons: some have asked to have certain responsibilities taken away, such as Chris Dyer who had a problem of authority after the outcome of the race in Abu Dhabi. Now this decision was difficult because I’ve worked together with Aldo for so many years. But in my position you have to take the most rational decisions possible for the good of the team, even when they are hard.”

For those who made objections about timing, Domenicali replied: “These are structured timings that can’t be linked to the racing calendar. We want to keep competing for this world championship but we are obviously also working on the car for 2012, which is starting to take shape at this time. The decision was welcomed by the team, which reacted by immediately putting its foot on the accelerator. Clearly you can’t expect something to change in two days. It’s a question of changing working methods and trying to improve them, otherwise there’s no point in changing. We will try to establish different priorities in the car’s development.”

Domenicali didn’t play down his own responsibilities and he refused to see the reorganisation as a defeat for the Italian side of the team. “I know well that I am also under the microscope. It’s always like that and those are the rules of the game. It’s true that there is an Englishman, Pat Fry, in Costa’s place but when it comes to Italians there are also Marmorini and Lanzone alongside myself. Tombazis? Nikolas remains in charge of planning the car and he will have to concentrate on developing the aerodynamic side, the area where we concentrate the most effort. Perhaps the culture of aerodynamics doesn’t play a big part among the talents of Italy and we ought to make some important interventions to improve that situation.”

Source: Ferrari.com

Räikkönen and Busch to part ways?

Kyle Busch may have been looking at Kimi Räikkönen as a way of expanding the Truck Series team he owns, but Kimi's ambitions are taking him in other directions

When Kimi Räikkönen announced that he was going to try his hand at NASCAR, it seemed only right that he would pair with Kyle Busch Motorsports: who else but the Wild Thing would dare something as audacious as teaming up with the Iceman to bring a former F1 world champion to the States?

But despite a solid début with the team in the Truck Series race at Charlotte last week that saw him finish in 15th place and on the lead lap, plus KBM arranging an alliance with Joe Nemechek's NEMCO Motorsports to put Kimi in a Nationwide car this weekend, it seems that the budding alliance between Busch and Raikkonen may already have run its course.

The original plan had suggested up to five Truck races with KBM this year, with Raikkonen investing a chunk of his own change into the endeavour as well as bringing some big name, high value personal sponsors with him. But according to Busch, the money's not coming through as planned.

"What's changed is the payment schedule," Busch said. "The contract states we're supposed to receive so much, and we have not. We've only received enough for these two races.

"It's either up to Kimi or to the financial people that run Kimi's business side of things and decide they need to find the sponsorship funds in order to carry the experience for him further."

Rather than a lack of money, it's probably more a case of Kimi having to decide exactly what he wants to do next. Five Truck races might have seemed like a grand plan back when he started his Great American Adventure back in March, but now staying in trucks seems a little ... dull, especially to a former world champion who just wants to have some fun.

If Kimi decided he'd rather race in Nationwide - let alone Sprint Cup - instead of "wasting his time" down in Trucks, then he would have immediately outgrown KBM. Busch's team is an exclusively Truck Series operation at present, although it had eyes on expanding into Nationwide in due course - perhaps via tracking a more measured career progression for Raikkonen

For that reason, extending himself to put Raikkonen into Joe Nemechek's #87 in the Nationwide Series just about fitted Busch's plans, albeit at a stretch. What doesn't fit in at all is Raikkonen eyeing up a Sprint Cup ride.

"It would be nice to go and do it, but I don't know if it's going to happen or not," said Raikkonen, talking about the possibility of running the June 26 Sprint Cup Sonoma road race.

"As far as the Sonoma race, we've had no discussions about Cup stuff at all," said Busch, succinctly. "As far as I know, this weekend is the last hoorah with Kimi unless he wants to come back to do further races in NASCAR."

Räikkönen tried out a Sprint Cup ride on Tuesday on the road course at Virginia International Roadway commonly used by Sprint Cup drivers to repare for Sonoma events. Kimi got the loan of the Robby Gordon Motorsports #7 for the day, but it did not go well.

"Obviously it's what our goal was, to have a good test and see how it went," Gordon said. "Unfortunately, the test went bad." Raikkonen ran off road and severely damaged the nose of the car, resulting in an estimated two weeks' worth of damage. "That was the car that finished second last year at Sonoma. So that was our primary. We've got our work cut out for us."

Did the experience sour Kimi's taste for further NASCAR adventures? Despite the cost and inconvenience for Robby Gordon, he's still open to taking discussions with Raikkonen further, if the Finn is so inclined: "That doesn't mean we wouldn't do it still," said Gordon.

Räikkönen certainly has no shortage of opportunities in NASCAR if he wants to take them up. His initial hook-up with Kyle Busch has given him an entrée into the NASCAR scene and set him up with connections with Nemechek and Robby Gordon if he wants to pursue them. His track outings even caught the eye of the NASCAR man of the moment, Carl Edwards, who was on track for Raikkonen's Nationwide practice session début

"Who is that in the #87?" he enquired over the radio, suddenly aware of an unfamiliar driving style. "He was driving the wheels off it ... Then I saw Perky Jerky on it. He definitely has some car control for sure. That's not lip service."

So the doors to NASCAR are open - or at least ajar - for Kimi Raikkonen; but perhaps NASCAR isn't falling over itself to usher him in to quite the extent that Kimi hoped and expected? Or perhaps it's just not proving as much fun as he hoped it would be.

Either way, Kimi Raikkonen will return to Europe next week to consider his next move - whether to carry on the appearances with (and payments to) Kyle Busch Motorsports for some more Truck outings, or more likely whether to pursue something in Sprint Cup or Nationwide. Or maybe, nothing at all; maybe the land of the Perky Jerky just isn't to his taste after all.

Räikkönen's US manager Todd Hirschfeld put it best and most accurately earlier this week, when he said: "This is the truth: Kimi does what Kimi wants to do."

Source: Crash.net

Räikkönen hopeful for Sprint Cup start at Infineon

Kimi Räikkönen's relationship with Kyle Busch Motorsports may be over, but the former Formula One champion may continue his NASCAR adventure in a Sprint Cup car at Infineon Raceway.

Räikkönen, who makes his Nationwide Series debut Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, tested Robby Gordon's Sprint Cup car one day earlier this week at Virginia International Raceway, and said he'd like to attempt the June 26 event in Sonoma, Calif.

"It would be nice to go and do it, but I don't know if it's going to happen or not," said Räikkönen, who also competes on the World Rally circuit. "We'll see what happens really after this weekend. I have to go and do my rally stuff, so we'll see if I come back."

Any effort at Infineon isn't likely to be backed by Kyle Busch Motorsports, which fielded a Camping World Truck entry last weekend for the Räikkönen, who placed 15th in his NASCAR debut. Busch's team is also overseeing Räikkönen's Nationwide effort this weekend, although the Finn is racing a No. 87 car technically supplied and owned by the organization owned by Joe Nemechek.

"As far as the Sonoma race, we've had no discussions about Cup stuff at all," Busch said. "As far as I know, this weekend is the last hoorah with Kimi unless he wants to come back to do further races in NASCAR."

That's something of a change from the original plan, which was slated to be three to five races with KBM. The reason? "What's changed is the payment schedule," Busch said. "The contract states we're supposed to receive so much, and we have not. We've only received enough for these two races ... It's either up to Kimi or to the financial people that run Kimi's business side of things and decide they need to find the sponsorship funds in order to carry the experience for him further."

That doesn't rule out the possibility that Raikkonen could run the Sonoma race for Gordon, whose No. 7 car he tested at VIR. "Obviously it's what our goal was, to have a good test and see how it went," Gordon said. "Unfortunately, the test went bad. That doesn't mean we wouldn't do it still."

Any Robby Gordon Motorsports entry for Raikkonen at Sonoma would be a second car, although Gordon isn't sure whether it would be the No. 7 he usually drives -- which is locked into the top 35 in owners' points -- or a No. 77, which would have to make the race on speed. Although Gordon said he believes Räikkönen has sponsorship for a Sonoma effort, he added the car suffered damage in the test and would require about two weeks' worth of repair work.

"So we'd be two weeks out," Gordon said. "That was the car that finished second last year at Sonoma. So that was our primary. We've got our work cut out for us."

Räikkönen held his own in Nationwide practice, posting the 18th-fastest lap Thursday in the final session before Saturday's 300-mile race at Charlotte. He even caught the attention of Carl Edwards, who at one point radioed his race team and asked, "Who is that in the 87?"

"He is loose," Edwards said. "He was driving the wheels off it. I was just surprised. I didn't know who was in that car. Had no clue. Then I saw [sponsor] Perky Jerky on it. He definitely has some car control for sure. That's not lip service."

Source: Nascar.com

Video: BBC Monaco GP - Team restructure will boost Ferrari - Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso says he has full confidence in Stefano Domenicali's choices after Ferrari restructured their technical team following a disappointing start to the Formula 1 season

Source: FiftyBuckss

Kimi is Montoya multiplied with 10

Justin Wilson raced with Räikkönen in formula during 2003. After that the Brit moved to USA and drives in ChampCar- and IndyCar-series.

Wilson sees that Kimi is in a completely different league as the other F1-driver Montoya is.

- Kimi didn't care one bit about anything or anyone. He just wanted to drive fast. At the same time his attitude is interesting. When you take Montoya and multiply him with 10, that's where you find Kimi. Will they like him or throw him out immediately?

Wilson believes Räikkönen will adjust to any serie.

- Kimi never cared about his surrounding. Many would feel a change like this practically crushing but he doesn't care about that. He just jumped into the car and drove. Other worry over their doing and what other think. Kimi was able to concentrate on this moment and use it to his advantage, Wilson analysed.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole

Kimi Räikkönen making Nationwide debut but uncertain about NASCAR future

Kimi Räikkönen does not know when or if he will return to NASCAR following Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Kimi Räikkönen will make his Nationwide Series debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend, but as far as his future plans, the former Formula One champion said he was unsure whether he will return to NASCAR and when that return might come.

Räikkönen, who drove a truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports last week at Charlotte and then tested a Sprint Cup car for Robby Gordon Motorsports on Tuesday, will drive for Nemco Motorsports in a KBM-prepared Nationwide car this weekend in the Top Gear 300.

Whether the 31-year-old Finnish driver goes Cup racing remains to be seen.

“You always have in mind to try to do [Cup],” Räikkönen said Thursday prior to Nationwide practice. “Another thing is it going to happen or not. I don’t know.

“Of course I am probably more keen to the road courses than anything else. I leave Saturday as soon as the race is over back to Europe. I have other things to do. After that, I don’t know when I will be back.”

Räikkönen, whose primary racing job is competing for his own team in the World Rally Championship in Europe, crashed during his Cup test Tuesday at Virginia International Raceway. It didn’t give him much of a feel for whether to return to NASCAR to compete in the Cup event at Infineon Raceway next month.

“I just ran a bit wide and decided to go with the grass, but unfortunately there was a big hole or something in the grass so it destroyed the front end a bit,” Räikkönen said. “It was fun to drive it. … I probably ended up doing only 20 laps.

“We just put tires on the car. We didn’t do any changes. We didn’t have time. Like I said, it would be nice to go and do [that Cup race at Sonoma] but I don’t know if it is going to happen or not. I do this week and then I have to go back to do my Rally stuff and we’ll see if I come back.”

The original plan for Räikkönen, who has sponsorship from Perky Jerky and is being represented by the HMS Worldwide sports agency in his NASCAR effort, was to do three to five races for KBM in a truck. But team owner Kyle Busch said Friday that Raikkonen and his sponsors have only paid for the truck race last week and the Nationwide race.

“It's either up to Kimi or up to the financial people that run Kimi's business side of things and decide that they need to find the sponsorship funds in order to carry the experience for him further [with us],” Busch said.

Busch said he was pleased with Räikkönen’s debut last week – a 15th-place finish in the truck race.

“Certainly, he gave the truck a good ride,” Busch said. “It was really loose and he did a nice job with car control and everything else.”

Räikkönen said racing in traffic last week was fun and he enjoyed the NASCAR-style racing. He hopes that this weekend is a little easier for him.

“Once you do it once, you know much more how things go,” Räikkönen said. “I had no idea what we should do during [the race]. I know how to do restarts, but I didn’t know exactly how it goes because I haven’t really seen it or done it before.

“All those things I know now. It’s much easier to go for the second time.”

Source: SceneDaily.com

CUP: Räikkönen May Run Sonoma

Two-time Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen said Friday he might run next month’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway.

But Kyle Busch, who is providing two vehicles for Raikkonen’s NASCAR debut, said he is still owed money from the Finnish driver and will not be working with him going forward after this weekend unless and until he receives additional funding.

Raikkonen made his NASCAR debut last Friday night, finishing 15th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He is entered in the Top Gear 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at CMS this weekend, piloting a Nemco Motorsports-owned Toyota built by Kyle Busch Motorsports. KBM also provided his truck last weekend.

Thursday afternoon at CMS, Raikkonen briefly met the press in a session that was announced at the last minute and lasted just 6 minutes and 29 seconds, less than half the customary time for NASCAR media availabilities.

Earlier in the week, Raikkonen tested with Robby Gordon Motorsports at Virginia International Raceway, leading to rumors he would enter the Infineon road race.

“Of course you always have it in mind to try to do it,” Raikkonen said of competing in the Cup Series. “The other thing is, is going to happen or not? I don’t know. Of course, I’m probably more keen to do road courses than ovals.”

Asked if we could consider Sonoma, Raikkonen added, “It would be nice to go and do it, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen. We’ll see what happens after this weekend. I have to go back (to Europe) and do my rally stuff.”

Busch initially said the plan was to run three to five races with Raikkonen, but that’s changed. “As far as the Sonoma race, we’ve had no discussions about Cup stuff,” Busch said. “As far as I know, this weekend is the last hurrah with Kimi.”

Asked what changed, Busch was blunt.

“What’s changed is the payment schedule,” Busch said. “The contract states we’re supposed to receive so much (money) and we have not. We’ve only received enough for these two races.”

That said, Busch has been impressed with Raikkonen’s on-track performance to date.

“I thought Kimi did a nice job last week,” Busch said. “Certainly, he gave the truck a good ride. ... He did a nice job with car control.”

As for the forecast for this weekend, Busch said, “What’s to be expected of him this weekend is certainly just to, again, try to run all the laps, try to make 300 miles in a Nationwide Series race, get a feel for what the car is like.”

Raikkonen said he will leave after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race and return to his home in Europe.

Source: Nascar.SpeedTv.com
Courtesy: miezicat

Kimi Räikkönen NASCAR's Venture Turns To Nationwide Series At Charlotte

Former Formula One champion Kimi Räikkönen said he will indeed race in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway – and left the door open for a Sprint Cup start at Sonoma next month.

Räikkönen, the "Ice Man" whose cool demeanor matches his nickname, said he's still undecided on his NASCAR future after making one Truck Series start last week and the impending Nationwide start for NEMCO Motorsports on Saturday.

Wearing a backwards Red Bull hat, a black Perky Jerky T-shirt and shorts, Räikkönen acknowledged he's thinking about running a road-course race in the Cup Series – but hasn't decided for sure.

"It would be nice to go and do (Sonoma), but I don't know if it's going to happen or not," he said. "We'll see what happens this weekend. I have to go back and do my Rally (car) stuff and we'll see."

Räikkönen said he's yet to drive a Nationwide car – today is the first time – but feels somewhat confident because "at least I know the circuit and how the weekend goes."

In talking with other drivers, he said, he was told there was "not an awful difference" between Trucks and Nationwide cars.

He does have 20 laps of experience in a Cup car – but not on an oval.

Räikkönen said his test last week – driving a Robby Gordon Motorsports car at the Virginia International Raceway road course – wasn't all that helpful. Before he got a chance to run many laps, he took one turn too wide and tried to run through the grass.

"I went out and just ran a bit wide and I decided to go in the grass, but unfortunately there was a big hole in the grass and it destroyed the front a bit," he said.

Still, that wasn't enough to dissuade him from driving in Nationwide this weekend after reports said he was unsure about it earlier in the week.

"The Nationwide, we are here, so what's the most easiest thing to get more experience?" he said. "It was the easiest thing for me to do."

Source: SBNation
Courtesy: Sleenster

Monaco GP: Alonso edges Hamilton

Fernando Alonso set the pace in Thursday's second practice session in Monaco as Ferrari and McLaren came to the fore

Alonso, who is bidding to win the Monaco GP with his third different team this weekend, crossed the line with a 1:15.123 to edge McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by 0.105s.

Third place went to Mercedes GP's Nico Rosberg, who finished ahead of Jenson Button, while Sebastian Vettel could only manage the fifth best time. The reigning World Champion was half a second behind the leading Ferrari.

Felipe Massa took sixth place ahead of Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber.

Report: The sun was out and the track temperature was a hot 45'C as Timo Glock hit the track to start Thursday's second practice in Monte Carlo. Pastor Maldonado narrowly escaped damaging his car as he locked up, run wide and had to take to the escape road.

The drivers were quick to get down to work with Vitaly Petrov leading the way ahead of Jaime Alguersuari while Mark Webber, who missed FP1 with a gearbox problem, took third place ahead of Sebastien Buemi. Felipe Massa was the next to lead the way with a 1:17.483. Yellow flags came out as Alguersuari made a mistake, hitting the barriers at Turn 1.

A near collision between the two Ferrari drivers as Fernando Alonso, on course for the P1 slot, came up behind his team-mate, who was slowing down to make room for himself. Alonso came within a millimetres of hitting the back of Massa's car. The Spaniard will not be happy.

Nico Rosberg took over at the top with Jenson Button improving to second place and Lewis Hamilton to fifth behind Massa and Petrov. Without his team-mate in front of him to bulk him, Alonso was able to take the P1 slot with a 1:16.408. Hamilton climbed to fourth place as Sebastian Vettel just, and only just, missed hitting the barriers with the rear left of his RB7.

Heikki Kovalainen had to take to the escape road after missing his braking point. Massa, pushing too hard, almost lost it around the Casino hairpin. Problems for Paul di Resta as the Scot is
pushed down the escape road by the marshals after coming to a halt at the chicane.

At the halfway point of the session it was Alonso ahead of Rosberg, Button, Hamilton, Massa, Petrov, Rubens Barrichello and Buemi.

Massa is doing everything he can to put his car in the wall and mounts the kerb, almost hits the armco barrier and a few metres later, almost hits the barrier again. But hey he's up to third, 0.718s slower than his team-mate. Massa was dropped one place at Vettel took the P1 slot with a 1:15.667, almost a second quicker than his P1time from this morning. Massa moved up to second place, 0.114s off Vettel's time.

Alonso returned to the front, half a second up on Vettel's best. Rosberg improved to second place with Vettel taking third before he was dropped by Button. Hamilton climbed to second place, missing out on the P1 time by a tenth. Minor problems for Glock, Hamilton and Schumacher, all of whom ran off the track but without any damage. Massa stalled as he attempted to leave the pits and Petrov lost his front wing as he exited the tunnel.

Thursday's second practice ended with Alonso in the P1 slot, ahead of Hamilton and Rosberg.

01. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m15.123s 42 laps
02. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.228s + 0.105 33 laps
03. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.321s + 0.198 44 laps
04. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.448s + 0.325 38 laps
05. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m15.667s + 0.544 46 laps
06. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m15.781s + 0.658 45 laps
07. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m16.356s + 1.233 33 laps
08. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m16.642s + 1.519 42 laps
09. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m17.101s + 1.978 46 laps
10. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m17.126s + 2.003 38 laps
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m17.337s + 2.214 35 laps
12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.541s + 2.418 47 laps
13. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m17.570s + 2.447 39 laps
14. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.581s + 2.458 32 laps
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m17.633s + 2.510 49 laps
16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.706s + 2.583 37 laps
17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.789s + 2.666 43 laps
18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m18.266s + 3.143 50 laps
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m18.490s + 3.367 39 laps
20. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m19.053s + 3.930 15 laps
21. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m19.185s + 4.062 40 laps
22. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m19.338s + 4.215 35 laps
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m22.066s + 6.943 33 laps

Source: Planet-F1

Video: BBC F1 2011 - Lewis Hamilton bullish about his chances in Monaco Grand Prix

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton believes this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix is his "best chance so far" of getting ahead of Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, as "a driver can make more of a difference" around the principality's circuit than on other tracks

Source: FiftyBuckss

Webber: 'A lot of question marks' ahead of Monaco

Red Bull Racing star Mark Webber suggests this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix could be even more of a lottery than usual - as Christian Horner warns McLaren-Mercedes has taken a big step forward

As he bids to make it back-to-back victories in the most glittering race on the annual F1 schedule, Red Bull Racing star Mark Webber contends that there are 'a lot of question marks' approaching this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

Webber celebrated the finest moment of his top flight career to-date around the narrow, tortuous streets of Monte Carlo last year, leading from lights-out to chequered flag in the glamorous Principality to seal a tremendously popular triumph and confirm his status as a genuine title contender.

Returning to the scene of his success twelve months on, the Australian is under pressure to deliver a good result and turn the tables on runaway Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel – but he cautions that with so many changes this year, a race already renowned as one of the most unpredictable on the calendar could throw up even more surprises than usual.

“We know this is one of the most prestigious races of the year,” the 34-year-old acknowledged. “There are a lot of question marks going into this year's race in terms of how the tyres will be, and the strategy could be the most complicated of the year. It's a track that I've always seemed to do reasonably well at, though, and I have some of my best memories as a racing driver there.

“It's clearly a demanding street circuit, which requires incredible concentration and composure for the drivers throughout the weekend, starting with Thursday's practice sessions. The dramatic coastline and cliffs make an incredible backdrop to one of the most famous tracks in the world – it's clearly like no other circuit we race at.”

“It's remarkable to drive an F1 car around Monaco,” concurred Vettel, who will arrive there with a commanding 41-point margin over any of his pursuers in the chase for the drivers' crown, having won four of the five grands prix this season to-date. “It's a completely unique track and a unique challenge for the driver. You have to push as hard as on a normal racetrack, but the smallest mistake can bring a big penalty.

“Grid position is very important and can determine your race, as traditionally, overtaking in Monaco is very tricky. Managing the traffic during qualifying is also a big challenge. As an event, it's one of the highlights of the year. We did well there last year, and I hope we can be very strong again.”

Meanwhile, RBR team principal Christian Horner has argued that the reason Vettel was pushed so hard for victory by Lewis Hamilton in last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix – despite an advantage of the best part of a second in qualifying – was that McLaren-Mercedes had brought a substantial raft of upgrades to its MP4-26.

“We knew it would be a close battle,” the Englishman told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat. “It would be very presumptuous to believe we have a car that is one second per lap better. We just had a phenomenal qualifying. I stress that McLaren brought an enormous update to Spain – it's almost a B-model.”

Source: Crash.net

Schumi denies blocking Hamilton in Spain

Michael Schumacher has denied blocking Lewis Hamilton during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend to help his friend, countryman and championship leader Sebastian Vettel win the Barcelona race.

British media have reported that McLaren’s Hamilton alleged the seven time world champion blocked him after letting Vettel, his regular teammate for the end-of-season Race of Champions event, easily pass while being lapped.

“I won’t speak to him [Schumacher] about it,” said Hamilton. “I don’t want to waste my time or my breath.”

Responded Schumacher, “That certainly must have been a misunderstanding. I try to get out of the way for anybody.

“It’s true that Sebastian and I are friends,” he told the German news agency SID, “but on the track, I’m not for or against anybody.”

A McLaren spokesman confirmed: “There is no conspiracy.”

Source: YallaF1

Monaco GP - A special helmet for a special cause

Monte Carlo, 25 May – The Monaco Grand Prix is a unique race on the championship calendar and, often the drivers like to display something unusual, either on the car, their race suit or their helmet.

As from tomorrow morning’s free practice, Fernando Alonso will be using something special: a helmet with the same design but new colours, as the traditional yellow and blue have been changed for a gold-white combination.

This scheme will also be used in Singapore, the second street circuit on the 2011 calendar and it is in a worthy cause: the helmet will be auctioned at the end of the championship and proceeds will go to the Fondazione Fernando Alonso which is mainly involved in projects aimed at developing road safety initiatives for children.

Source: Ferrari.com

Video: Kimi Raikkonen testing Sprint Cup car at Virginia Raceway

Source: Formula1Arab - Credits to Dan Zipkin for the orignal video

Montoya: Räikkönen has promise in NASCAR

Juan Pablo Montoya thought former Formula 1 teammate Kimi Raikkonen did a good job in his NASCAR debut, and expects to see him in a Sprint Cup Series race this season.

But if Raikkonen is serious about NASCAR, Montoya said the former world champion will have to move to the United States and race as often as possible.

"If you are going to do it, you've got to do it properly," Montoya said Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It will bite you if you don't do it properly."

Raikkonen made his NASCAR debut in Friday night's Trucks Series race, finishing 15th driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. The Finn has not officially announced his next race, but Busch admitted after the race there's a car ready for Raikkonen to use in next week's Nationwide Series event at Charlotte.

Busch insisted KBM does not own the car, and it's believed Raikkonen will be officially entered by Nemco Motorsports, the team owned by Joe Nemechek.

Montoya believes Raikkonen will quickly make the move through Nationwide and into the elite Sprint Cup Series to see if he likes driving stock cars. Montoya, a Colombian who lives full-time in Miami, is in his fifth season driving for Chip Ganassi. He's won two Sprint Cup race, both on road courses, and qualified once for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

"He's got to get to Cup," said Montoya, who added he thinks Raikkonen can make the transition. "He needs experience. He's been around, he's done Formula 1, he's done it all. So for him, he's got to understand the ovals and he's got to get a Cup ride.

"But I think if he had a decent car, he'd be fine."

Raikkonen spent nine years in F1, driving for Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari. He totaled 18 wins, 62 podium finishes and won the 2007 championship.

He's currently racing for the World Rally Car Championship with his own team, ICE 1 Racing, and is ranked eighth in the overall standings. He's not scheduled to compete again in that series until next month in Greece.

Raikkonen said after the race it went better than he expected after struggling through two practice sessions earlier in the day, but he wished he'd finished higher and thought the 10 cautions slowed his rhythm.

"The racing was fun," Raikkonen said. "Too many cautions. Every time when I feel the car starts to work better then you have a caution and it takes a long time before the handling comes back."

Raikkonen twice hit the wall, and missed his call to pit the first time crew chief Rick Ren tried to bring him in. Ren, who is also the general manager of KBM, blamed it on the team chatter.

"There was too much talking going on the radio," Ren said. "I wanted to pit but everybody was on the radio. I've had experienced Cup guys do the same thing. It was no big deal."

Although Raikkonen wasn't sure of the rules for passing before the start/finish line on a restart, and was warned early in the race by NASCAR, Ren praised the driver.

"What impressed me more than anything was restarts, he didn't spin the tyres and was pushing people," Ren said. "I am wondering if F1 cars, they put down so much power that he's got a really good feel for when the tyres are slipping."

Overall, the experience was good, Raikkonen said, and he enjoyed all the interaction with fellow drivers who made a point to speak to him. There's no camaraderie in F1, and Montoya joked he probably spoke to Raikkonen more on Friday than he did the entire time the two were teammates.

"I just went to say 'Hi' and see how he was doing," Montoya said. "People did it to me here and I was really shocked, so if I can help, I will lend a hand."

It was the first time Montoya said he'd spoken to Raikkonen since Montoya walked away from his F1 ride in July, 2006. Montoya thought he was able to give KBM team members more assistance than he was Raikkonen.

"More the team than him, telling them why he's so loose and why he is struggling," Montoya said. "Our driving styles were a little bit different in Formula 1, but I know what he would like out of a car."

Source: F1Pulse.com

Räikkönen takes No. 7 Cup car for test at VIR

Finn runs laps in Gordon's car, his first in a Sprint Cup Series vehicle

Kimi Räikkönen took his first laps in a Sprint Cup vehicle on Tuesday when the former Formula One champion tested Robby Gordon's No. 7 car on the road course at Virginia International Raceway.

Gordon confirmed the news on his Twitter account. He turned the car over to Raikkonen because he was in Mexico City for a sponsor meeting, but planned to be in the No. 7 himself to test at VIR on Wednesday.

Räikkönen made his NASCAR debut last Friday with a 15th-place finish in the Camping World Truck Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and is on the entry list to drive Joe Nemechek's No. 87 car in the Nationwide Series at the same track this Saturday. The Finn has expressed interest in wheeling a Sprint Cup car since April, when he first tested a truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports, the team he competed for last weekend.

VIR is often used as a testing ground for the Sprint Cup road race in Sonoma, Calif. Last week Räikkönen reiterated his hope to "run some Cup races," but there are currently no announced plans for the former F1 driver beyond Charlotte


Massa’s diary - Not long to wait to be on track again

I got back home to Monaco on Monday morning, after a very disappointing weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix. We had hoped to do much better than this in performance terms and also I suffered our first technical failure of the season. We had expected our main rivals to be strong in Barcelona, given the fact our car is not quite as efficient as theirs in terms of aerodynamic downforce. However, what we had not expected was to suffer so much on the new Hard compound tyre that Pirelli had introduced for this race. We had already found life difficult on the original version of the Hard and we had seen that we struggled a bit more than the others on these. Then with these new hards we discovered we were having an even tougher time to get them to work properly and I would say we lost two or two and a half seconds when compared to our lap times on the Soft. You could see the effect clearly in the race. Myself and Fernando were both able to fight at first with him doing better than me as he was actually at the front thanks to his start, while I was fighting with the Mercedes guys, passing them to move up to sixth. But after that, once I fitted the hard tyres, it was almost impossible to drive the car. I ended up losing all the places I had gained, then I had a spin and eventually with a few laps to go, I had to park the car at the side of the track as I could not select any gears. Meanwhile Fernando went from leading the race to being one lap down within the space of about 40 laps which is an unbelievable situation. I would say that in Spain, it looked as though Red Bull and McLaren were the only teams able to exploit the hard tyres properly.

Staying on the subject of tyres, starting with free practice this Thursday at Monaco, we begin a run of three Grands Prix using Pirelli’s Soft and Super Soft and that should work better for us. They will definitely suit the characteristics of our car which is a positive factor. We have seen this year that the biggest factor when it comes to passing another car is the tyres and we will have overtaking this year, even in Monaco, because of that. When a car in front of you is struggling with worn tyres, it will have very poor traction and even in places such as the exit to the chicane after the tunnel, if you don’t have traction, you will lose position before Tabac. I believe degradation will play a significant role on this track.

I enjoy the whole Monaco weekend and it is an important event on the calendar, but when I’m there I don’t walk to the track in the morning thinking about it being the most famous motor race in the world. It’s another race to concentrate on and it has a unique challenge because of the track itself. Nothing compares because even if Singapore comes close, that track is much bigger. So Monaco is just another race where you have to work hard and try to do your best. It’s nice to be home and I’m very lucky as I think I’m one of the few drivers to have two real home races, not just races that take place in the country you come from. Both here and Sao Paolo I actually get to sleep in my own bed in my own home and then have a short trip to the track. It’s another very nice aspect of this weekend, during which I hope we can make up for the disappointment of Spain.

At least we don’t have long to wait to be on track again!

Source: Ferrari.com


Perky Jerky Reveals Paint Scheme for Kimi Räikkönen’s No. 87 Toyota

Perky Jerky, the ultra-premium jerky flavored with a hint of guarana that’s quickly gaining fame around the world, unveiled today the paint scheme set to adorn the No. 87 Toyota Nationwide Series race car that Kimi Räikkönen will race in his return to NASCAR this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This race will mark Räikkönen’s second NASCAR performance in as many weeks, with Perky Jerky as the primary sponsor.

On May 20th, Räikkönen made his first appearance in NASCAR when he competed in the Camping World Truck Series. Amidst a crush of media and international fans, the Finnish racer qualified 31st in the field and piloted his truck to complete the race in 15th position, an epic performance for his first time in a NASCAR truck and on a speedway. Räikkönen described his first NASCAR experience as “fun”, and commented that he’s looking forward to another NASCAR performance, where he can put his first education into practice.

The NEMCO-owned No. 87 Perky Jerky Toyota will be assembled, managed and fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports on behalf of Perky Jerky.

“Last week, Kimi put on an incredibly impressive performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway by powering his Perky Jerky truck through half the pack”, said Brian Levin, Perky Jerky founder and chairman of the herd. “Now with one speedway race under his belt, the world will be watching as Kimi Räikkönen brings the No. 87 Perky Jerky Toyota to the finish line in first place.”

Already entrenched in NASCAR as the official and exclusive jerky of the Daytona 500, Perky Jerky has developed a marketing strategy that includes consumer sampling via Velcro suits, better known as the “jerk suit” and tasting opportunities via the “jerk bar”, a traveling sampling display, which has become a must-stop at many NASCAR events around the country.

Kimi Räikkönen’s first Nationwide Series appearance will be this Saturday, May 28th in the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC at 2:30 ET nationwide.

About Perky Jerky: Four years ago during a ski lift calamity, Perky Jerky’s founders spilled energy drink all over their stash of beef jerky. Stranded, hungry and 40-feet off the ground, they ate the soaked jerky and realized they were on to something. Three years in the kitchen and hundreds of homemade jerky recipes later, Perky Jerky was perfected and launched in 2009. In less than two years, Perky Jerky has quickly reached stratospheric levels of popularity amongst athletes, moms, students, troops and truckers alike. Perky Jerky can be found at many retailers across the country, including Home Depot, 7-Eleven, Publix, Target, Sports Authority and many other fine retailers. Keep up with Perky Jerky on Facebook and on Twitter

To learn More about Perky Jerky, visit www.perkyjerky.com

To learn more about Kimi Räikkönen, visit www.kimiraikkonen.com.

Source: Perky Jerky.com

Courtesy: Sleenster

The Monaco GP timetable

Monaco is usually the highlight on the calendar for every driver. This year's grand prix around the narrow streets of Monte Carlo marks the sixth race of the 2011 F1 World Championship

All times are local (Monaco is GMT +2)

Wednesday 25 May
15:00: FIA press conference

Thursday 26 May
10:00 - 11:30: First free practice
14:00 - 15:30: Second free practice
16:00: FIA press conference

Saturday 28 May
11:00 - 12:00: Third free practice
14:00 - 15:00: Qualifying
15h00: FIA post qualifying press conference

Sunday 29 May
14:00 - 16:00: Monaco GP
16:00: FIA post race press conference

Monaco GP Info
No of Laps: 78
Race Distance:
Lap Record: 1:14.439 - M Schumacher (2004)
2010 Winner: Mark Webber (Red Bull)

Source: Planet-F1

Fernando Alonso returns to live in Spain

Fernando Alonso has returned to live in his native Spain even though it will cost him a staggering £50million in tax.

The double world champion (below) had been living in Switzerland to cut his tax bill.

Over the winter he moved back to Oviedo in northern Spain to be closer to his family and friends.

But the move will cost him a third of his staggering new £150m contract with Ferrari.

Alonso admitted: "It's great to go home. I'm happy to pay the money. I'm not poor - just a little bit less rich now."

Source: The Mirror

Kimi Räikkönen To Make NASCAR Nationwide Series Debut At Charlotte

Kimi Räikkönen is moving up the NASCAR ladder rather quickly, it appears.

After Räikkönen made a solid NASCAR debut in Friday's Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the former Formula One champion is already headed for the Nationwide Series, according to the Top Gear 300's entry list.

Räikkönen is entered in Joe Nemechek's No. 87 car, and the car is already locked into the field (there are 46 entries). Nemechek, who is running for Nationwide Series points this season, will attempt the race in the No. 97 car instead.

The car is apparently being prepared by Kyle Busch Motorsports – it's been housed at the KBM shop, according to Busch. But Busch insisted to reporters this weekend that he didn't own the car, so it makes sense that Nemechek is actually the owner.

How is Räikkönen moving up so quickly, you ask? Follow the dollar signs. The Finland native brought money to the KBM truck and apparently had plans all along to drive in the Nationwide race during his trip to America.

So far, it's gone well. Räikkönen seemed comfortable in the Truck race and finished 15th – though, as NASCAR fans know, the competition gets much tougher in the upper levels.

It's unclear whether Räikkönen will stick around and drive more races this season, but he already has an eye on making a Sprint Cup start or two if his NASCAR plans stay on track.


Courtesy: Kriss

Not even Dennis was surprised over Räikkönen's switch

Kimi Räikkönen's surprising debut in USA:s Nascar-serie took place the same weekend as Spain GP. In spite of that the matter was on the wall even on the F1-paddock.

Ron Dennis is the man who came up with the nickname ’’Iceman’’ for Räikkönen.

How did the former team manager feel about Räikkönen's Nascar-switch?

– Kimi has always liked to do different things and what he himself wants. That's why I'm not at all surprised over what he is doing. He drove quite well rally too. I don't know more about the Nascar-thing except that he went there, Dennis replied.

Räikkönen's physical trainer from Sauber, Josef Leberer, admits that Kimi driving in USA was a pleasant surprise.

– Kimi was a pale and thin guy when he started with us but while he was driving the bike I immediately noticed his body's coordination. At that point I knew that since he has a natural talent to drive fast, the coordination skill will help him no matter where he drives. I'm sure it helps him in Nascar too, Leberer said.

Sebastian Vettel said beforehand that Räikkönen has an exceptional freedom to do whatever he wants and take all the fun out of it.

– Of course I have been completely concentrated on my own weekend but I did look at the results from Charlotte and I was surprised over how well Kimi did. I haven't had time to look into the details. Kimi really is a man who is a maker: no matter what he races with he always makes a *** No swearing *** good job, Vettel praised.

David Coulthard drove with Räikkönen for three years at McLaren.

– I am happy that Kimi has once again found something new. It's good for the F1-sport when a top driver like Kimi can go to rally or USA's ovals and make a good work there too.

– Kimi has shown that whatever he does, he has always made good choices.

Stefano Domenicali doesn't doubt that Räikkönen might become competitive also in USA.

– Maybe it will happen if Kimi feels that it's fun enough. I have to call him and ask how he is doing, Domenicali said.

Turun Sanomat, Barcelona


Courtesy: Nicole