F1 Abu Dhabi: The Season’s End!

Formel 1 – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Großer Preis von Abu Dhabi 2018. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Abu Dhabi GP 2018. Lewis Hamilton

An exciting year of racing came to an end at the Yas Marina Track in Abu Dhabi last Sunday. Again, Lewis Hamilton was in a class of his own, taking both his 11th pole position and 11th win of the season. There were some very hard triers behind him, namely Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo but try as they might they could do no better than their 2nd, 3rd and 4th places. The start of the race was hectic with Nico Hulkenberg colliding with Romain Grosjean and ending upside down in the fence! Fortunately, he was unhurt. This delayed the race somewhat and Lewis Hamilton took advantage of a pitstop which took him on to the end of the race and victory. Kimi Raikkonen was another early retiree, going out on lap 7 with some form of mechanical trouble.

Poor Valteri Bottas has a somewhat dismal race, finishing only 5th in the sister to the winning car. When interviewed after the race he looked very down and said he was looking forward to a good rest after all the pressures of F1. Carlos Sainz drove a good steady race into 6th position in the sole remaining Works Renault Toaster and followed fairly close behind by Charles Leclerc, who had given us a really good display of top driving throughout qualifying and the race, finishing in 7th place in the Sauber Alfa Romeo. Remember next time around in Australia he will be partnering Vettel at Ferrari! Sergio Perez (Force India) followed by Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen (both Haas) took up 8th, 9thand 10th places.

I really do hope that the short winter break gives Honda enough time to become reliable and competitive. Only one of their cars, namely, Brendon Hartley, finished in 12th position and so much hangs on the Red Bull teams success with them. Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, who are both tremendously talented drivers must be holding their breath!

We now have just over three months break before next year’s first race in Australia. There will be a lot of changes on the cars next year due to new technical rules, mainly on the chassis and aerodynamic front. I hope to give some report on testing in the new year before my preview at the start of the new race calendar year. I wish you all a very happy and safe festive season. Racing Rod.

Rod Kinsey

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F1 Brazil: Hamilton wins, Verstappen furious!

Formel 1 – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Großer Preis von Brasilien 2018. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Brazilian GP 2018. Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton won a pretty dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix after a stupid conflict between Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen on lap 44. Ocon was a lap behind but stubbornly would not give way to Verstappen who was trying to overtake him while in the lead. In the end both cars touched and spun off, making it easy for Hamilton to take over first spot. Ocon was given a 10 second stop-go penalty for the offence but more was waiting for him when Verstappen got to him after the race. Fortunately Max was restrained and there were no blows but the Dutchman was furious.

Max Verstappen had really driven a great race after starting from P5 on the grid, not the least including a great manoeuvre around the outside of Kimi Raikkonen into turn 1. The Red Bull team had been clever once again and concentrated on race pace when they weren’t fast enough in a straight line to achieve pole position. Their cars were therefore very quick on Sunday and it wasn’t long before Verstappen got past both Mercedes’s and into the lead. It was doubly destroying that Ocon should take all this effort away from him! Hence, the result was that Hamilton was first, Verstappen second and Raikkonen third. Kimi had driven a very good race, begging the question why he is leaving Ferrari for Sauber!

Next up in the Brazilian show was Daniel Ricciardo who had also done a great job in bringing his car right up to the brink of podium in 4th spot after being pushed backwards on the grid through previous penalties. Bottas was in an unfamiliar 5th position, spaced backwards by those I have spoken about above, while teammate Sebastian Vettel was even worse off in the other Ferrari in 6th place. It just wasn’t their day after all the potential they have shown lately. Next in the picture was the man to replace Kimi, Charles Leclerc, doing another good job inside the Sauber Alfa Romeo, while the two quick Haas machines of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were line astern behind. In 10th position was the sober Force India driver, Sergio Perez, while his not so sober minded teammate Esteban Ocon had forced himself out. It is interesting to note that the two Honda engined Toro Rosso’s gave another good account of themselves in 11th and 13th position respectively. (Brendan Hartly and Pierre Gasly)

It had been a great race and the rewards were just, or almost so. Verstappen was acclaimed man of the race and of course, he should have won! Next and last stop on the F1 circus trip is Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina in two weeks’ time. See you there!

Rod Kinsey

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Hamilton World Champion, Verstappen wins Mexican GP

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 28: Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 28, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen drove a faultless race from the front row of the grid to the chequered flag and won the race by 17 seconds from Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. The other Ferrari driven by Kimi Raikkonen was also on the podium in 3rd spot but, the spotlight this weekend had moved from the Ferraris to the Red Bulls who dominated practice. Of course everyone’s eyes were also on Lewis Hamilton who only needed to finish 7th to be crowned World Champion, which he did with consummate ease by finishing 4th behind Raikkonen. Lewis is a worthy 5th time World Champion with only Fangio equalling this and Michael Schumacher bettering this by another two Championships!

It was a good race with Max Verstappen been given the Driver of the day award, just a pity that his team mate Daniel Ricciardo should go out yet again with engine trouble. The Red Bulls really showed their potential on this tricky track which is high up in the atmosphere at 6000 ft above sea level. Adrian Newey really does design a fantastic car which just needs a little more power to be the quickest everywhere. Ferrari for example were considerably quicker than Red Bull down the long main straight. We really can only hope that Honda deliver the goods next year and  make Red Bull one of the top three cars

at all the circuits. Behind Hamilton came team mate Valtteri Bottas in the other Merc followed by a quick on the day Renault of Nico Hulkenberg in 5th and 6th positions. Again it is a  shame that Carlos Sainz should have to fall out in the 2nd works Renault after also going very quickly. Next up was Charles Leclerc 7th in his well driven Sauber Ferrari while Stoffel Vandoorne, Marcus Ericsson, and Pierre Gasly were 8th,9th and 10th in their McLaren, Sauber and Toro Rosso Honda respectively. Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez (The local yokel) were also unlucky not to finish.

The next race follows in 14 days time in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Rod Kinsey

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F1 report: Great Race in the USA!

Kimi Raikkonen drove the race of his life at Austin Texas this last weekend to win the American Grand Prix. He took the lead away from Lewis Hamilton at the first corner and really never looked back! Max Verstappen also gave us a display of great driving coming through the field from 18th on the grid to 2nd at the chequered flag.

Lewis Hamilton who started the race from pole position made his tyre stop very early which caused him to stop a second time. He therefore had to settle for 3rd place gaining valuable points for the championship which is very much in his grasp now. All three podium cars came home in line astern within 2.5seconds of each other! Sebastian Vettel was next man home in the second Ferrari with Valtteri Bottas about 10 seconds behind him in the second Mercedes.

The two Renaults had a very good run with Nico Hulkenberg leading his team mate Carlos Sainz home in 6thand 7th place respectively. Next up was Esteban Ocon in the Force India followed by Kevin Magnussen’s Haas, then the other Force India of Sergio Perez in 8th,9th and 10th. The two Honda powered Toro Rosso’s were 11th and 14th (Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasley) still needing some more speed. Other notables who were non finishers, included Charles Leclerc in the Sauber Alfa Romeo, Daniel Ricciardo in the other Red Bull Renault and Fernando Alonso in his Mclaren Renault. Strangely it was 112 races since Kimi Raikkonen’s last win and more than 15 years between his first and last win. Max Verstappen was acclaimed driver of the day.

In just seven days time the F1 Cars will line up in Mexico City for the next race of three that are left on the Calendar. Hamilton should button up the Championship in Mexico, but I expect another ding dong affair between the Prancing Horses and the Silver Arrows!

Rod Kinsey

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Lewis makes magic at Suzuka again

Formel 1 – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Großer Preis von Japan 2018. Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas
Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Japanese GP 2018. Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas

Lewis Hamilton looked lazy and laid back as he stroked his way to victory in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday. I watched it in Telaviv but it’s great to be back in the sunny south to share the excitement with all of you now. Hamilton and Bottas made it a one two for the Silver Arrows and a 50th win for Mercedes. It was Lewis Hamilton’s 71st career victory and he now leads the championship by 67 points over Sebastian Vettel.

For Vettel it was an unlucky race after tangling with Max Verstappen, he only finished 6th. Max Verstappen himself drove a usual aggressive race and beat both Ferrari’s coming home on the podium in 3rd position despite having to overcome a time penalty for his collision with Vettel. In 4th place was Daniel Ricciardo in the sister Red Bull after a very good drive from 15th position on the grid. The two Ferrari’s were in line astern but only 5th and 6th with Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Vettel.

Sergio Perez and team mate Esteban Ocon in their Force India’s were 7th and 9th being separated by the Frenchman Romain Grosjean in his ever quick Haas Ferrari. Carlos Sainz was in the last points scoring position coming home 10th in the works Renault while it must be said that both Toro Rosso Honda’s performed much better here on Honda’s home track. In qualifying both cars were in the top 10 with Gasly 7th and in the race he finished 11th. A positive sign of more good things to come from Honda. I believe that by the start of next season the Honda engine will be competitive enough to power Red Bull into contention with both Ferrari and Mercedes. Time will tell us the answer to that one!

Driver of the day was Daniel Ricciardo although if it wasn’t for team mates Max Verstappen’s collision with Vettel, I would have given it to him. They are both very good drivers but I am sad that Daniel is leaving for Renault, as I think he would have done better to stay with Red Bull. The circus travels across the ocean to the United States for the next race in Austin Texas on the 21st October.

Rod Kinsey

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2018 Trade Brands Tour Natal Rally

For the first round of the 2018 National Rally Championship, the Natal motor Cycle and Car Club took a bold decision to move the event from its home for the past 10 years

The event has traditionally been run on the KZN South Coast centred around Scottburgh. The reason has been that the gravel roads on the local sugar estates are widely regarded as the best special stage roads in RSA.   The iconic Ellingham Estate is jewel in the crown with its  20+ kilometres of smooth, wide,  fast and  twisty flowing  roads

The huge population growth around Ballito encouraged the organisers to make the change to bring Motor Sport to the people rather than hoping the crowds will come to the event. This decision appealed to the sponsors and it seems that the move has been richly rewarded

The night stage run in the “old Ballito village” is believed to have attracted more than 20 000 spectators making it possibly the most watched stage in South African rally history

The event kicked off on Friday afternoon with two stages just inland from Ballito around the popular  Sugar Rush/Holla mountain bike trails, these two  stages of just over 10 kms each were run in succession  followed by a servicing stop held at a rooftop parking lot in Ballito.  These two stages were repeated in the late afternoon followed by another service stop

After the supper break, competitors moved to the night stage which was due to be run at 19.30

This was delayed due to strict safety considerations with marshals stretched to keep the huge crowds in safe areas The hoped for rear wheel drive Escort BDAs had not entered and the monster 250KW twin turbo BMW of local hero Trevor Graham had blown a turbo on Thursday.  In spite of these absences, the crowds were treated to a scintillating display of fast precision driving in and around kerbs and other obstacles The powerful LED light bars illuminated the already well lit restaurant and pub areas with the huge crowds held spellbound and cheering

At the overnight stop the event was led by Richard Leeke Jnr and Henry Kohne   in their Ford fiesta followed by SA Rally Champions Guy Botterill in their Toyota Etios.   Botterill had lost time having to change a troublesome gearbox

Concerns about competitors encountering mountain bikers on Saturday precluded the use of the stages close to Ballito, so day two commenced with a long drive to Doringkop for Stage 6, some 20kms inland of Stanger. It was here that Richard Vaughan and Yari Brunings in their Toyota Conquest suffered a roll but continued almost without significant loss of time   See Video

Competitors then travelled back towards the coast to Stage 7.  Here a large mostly young crowd had gathered at the official spectator point. This is in contrast to the traditional crowds on the South coast which seem to consist of more “mature” enthusiasts   A most festive atmosphere prevailed with many enjoying their Red Bulls while being kept informed by an enthusiast announcer

From here the event moved back to Ballito for another service break before repeating stages 6 and 7 as Stages 8 and 9.

It was here that the Botterill /Vacy Lyle challenge to the leaders ended when they apparently suffered more gearbox problems   This promoted A C Potgiter and Nico Swartz in their VW Polo into second place

After the second service of the day back at Ballito, crews moved to Stage 10 some 15 kms inland of Ballito. This stage, the longest of the event was repeated after another service and was the longest of the event with spectators having a long drive to the official view point

The podium comprised

1st    Leeke/Kohne                                Ford fiesta       1hr 34m 06 s

2nd Potgieter/Swartz                          VW Polo            1 hr 34m 48 s

3rd  M Vacy Lyle/S van Heerden          Toyota Etios     1hr 35m 38s

In spite of the relatively small entry the event should be regarded as a great success in bringing Motor rallying into the public spotlight and it is hoped that some young spectators may be encouraged to try their hand behind the wheel of a rally car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Roger Downard

Cars in the Park Pietermaritzburg

For the 43rd year in succession, the Vintage Sports Car Club of Pietermaritzburg is holding its “Cars in the park” motor show.

Until recently, the event took place in Pietermaritzburg’s Alexandra Park. Due to space and other constraints the event has moved to the Ashburton Training Centre.

The VSCC has, as a result of this show, been able to support a number of charities over the years.

[pdf-embedder url=”http://www.driversa.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/CITP2018Advert.pdf”]

 

 

Alfa Romeo National Clubs Gathering 2018 – in KZN

ALFA ROMEO NATIONAL CLUBS GATHERING 2018 – in KZN

Registration: Friday 25 th May 2018
Registration and Alfisti catch-up will take place at the Durban Jewish Club from 4:30pm.
Welcome speeches and a preview of the events planned.
Warm finger snacks will be provided and a cash bar will be available.

 

Saturday 26 th May 2018

Meet back at DJC 7:30am to leave at 8:00am with a non-stop police convoy through to Ushaka Marine World and set up cars; should be done by 9:30am. Ushaka has many attractions and shops; families are welcome to browse around the venue. There is also the Aquarium, Dolphin shows, wet ‘n wild and tube rides. Judging will start on all cars that have entered the show & shine (tops only) display within Ushaka. This should take us until around 12:00am, when we then have to move our cars to the normal car park. From 12:00 to 4:00pm members are free to do their own thing. There are many Restaurants for lunches or snacks to choose from. Amongst other activities available are cycle hire, Segway hire, surfing lessons, swimming, walking or explore Durban and surrounds. 4:30pm we meet in the car park and proceed to Wilsons Wharf where we will board a boat or two at 5:00pm and cruise out to sea (providing the weather is okay) and see Durban as the Dolphins see Durban. We should be back at the Wharf at 6:30pm where there are again many restaurants to choose from for supper.

 

Sunday 27 th May 2018

For those staying in Durban we will meet back at the DJC at 7:00am to leave at 7:15am and make our way in convoy towards Pietermaritzburg, collecting others at the BP Ridge Oasis after Hammarsdale, on the N3. From there we will proceed through to Ashburton to the annual Cars in the Park function, where we have a large stand given to us for this event so we will not have to cram our cars into tight spaces. Pre-registration is mandatory for entry, which will be arranged. Once this is set up the event is open for all to browse – there are plenty of food stalls, pubs, cool drink stands etc. This show is one of the biggest motor shows in KZN and attracts thousands of spectators from all around SA. We will meet back at our site at 12:00 for prize giving and presentation of various awards; that should take us through to around 1:30pm. This should give enough time for those who have travelled far to travel back home before it gets too dark; otherwise the show goes on to around 3:30pm.