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Subject: Pitlane Series 2010 #1 - Race 5 Donegal rss

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Bart de Groot
United Kingdom
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Fifth race of the championship, and we have arrived at Donegal. The crowd is outfitted in colorful rainwear as the water streams down from the heavens. It looks like no chance of any change, but some fans are secretly hoping for a sudden drying to throw things into chaos. Time will tell.

As with the last race there is a good turnout, with 6 drivers lining up for the start. Nearing the end of the championship now the contenders for the title are taking out their pocketbooks and nervously working out the different strategies.

Qualifying did not produce any surprises. All drivers chose a similar fuel strategy on full wet tires.
1. Alex (Button)
2. Bart (Vettel)
3. Pedro (Raikkonen)
4. Jon (Hamilton)
5. Marc (Trulli)
6. Pere (Alonso)

Alex again on pole, hoping to repeat his win at the previous race. A full set of wins in the closing half of this championship will still secure him the title, even though he had to miss some races. Bart started from the front row before, and it did not produce great results, will he be able to fight for his place this time? Marc and Jon will battle it out between themselves from near the rear for the #1 spot on the league table. Pere is starting this race despite not feeling well, his sickness will surely have an impact on his level of concentration.

The starting grid.

The pack squeezing into the first corner. Marc (Trulli) is having a poor start ...

... and starts to drop back.

Moving onto the long straight it might give the KERS cars a chance to find a way fast and gain a place or two.

Pedro (Raikkonen) easilly KERSes past Bart (Vettel), as Jon (Hamilton) also lines up for a kill.

Alex (Button) swerves violently to try and block the KERS cars, or anyone else, from getting past.

Bart (Vettel) is too busy looking in his mirrors and slams into the back of Pedro (Raikkonen), having failed to notice that the Ferrari is now in his driving line.

The damage from the crash is showing as Bart loses a pair of 30˚ cards and gains a penalty level. The damage to Pedro is minor, but the bump from the back has upset his focus.

This starts to show as the cars approach the next corner at the end of the straight. The three leaders are lined up in stagger formation. Bart (Vettel) takes the outside line hoping to cut to the inside, but his mistake with the crash, and another swerve to avoid Pedro this time, means he can only go for a 1+1. So it will be between Alex (Button) and Pedro (Raikkonen).

In the background Pere (Alonso) is dancing with Jon (Hamilton). The poor start by Marc (Trulli) leaves him a distant last.

The moment of truth. Alex (Button) on the inside cannot turn in yet, but Pedro (Raikkonen) goes for it! He believes he can make it, and leaves no room for error. But he misjudged, and taps into the corner of Alex. It is just a slight tap, but enough for more damage to the Ferrari. Now both the front and rear of the Ferrari need a new paintjob, and it will take all wind out of Pedro's momentum out of the corner.

The Ferrari of Pedro (Raikkonen) is now really starting to show some battle scars after those two crashes. And he loses 4 movement cards permanently, as well as a bunch of cards in temporary malfunctions.

Alex (Button) is not shaken and takes advantage of the incidents to move clear of the pack.

With the Red Bull of Bart (Vettel) forming a roadblock in the middle of the corner entry.

Pere (Alonso) aims for the inside, leaving Jon (Hamilton) no other choice than going round the outside.

Pere (Alonso) now attempts a slipstream maneuver on Pedro (Raikkonen). All good and well, but... Playing an overtake left he just clips the grass. Pere throws for loss of control, and loses control. Here a long argument begins over how Pere loses control.

Bart argues that the rules say he must oversteer anti-clocwise, as the last track corner was left. The overtake counts as a straight and bears no weight on the decision no matter how you look at it. This would mean Pere spins INTO Pedro and involving him in a crash for the 3rd time, possibly taking him out of the race altogether.

The rest argue that since the overtake is a left, right maneuver, that the last part of the overtake counts as a corner right card, and Pere oversteers clockwise, leaving him pointing the wrong way, but NOT crashing into Pedro.

It was decided by the majority that Pere is to oversteer clockwise, leaving him well clear of Pedro. Soon after a re-check of the rules verify that this was the wrong decision. Pere should have oversteered into Pedro. At least we are playtesting these rules to find these problems.

With Pedro (Raikkonen) hampered by his crash penalties, and Pere (Alonso) recovering from his oversteer, they enter the chicane side by side. Pere has the advantage though on the inside, and not having a 2+1 penalty.

Bart (Vettel) moves to the outside of the track before making a 60˚ left. This serves two goals, to cut of Jon from coming past around the outside, and to compensate for the missing cards from the damage suffered.

Marc (Trulli) meanwhile has managed to close the gap between the pack and himself.

Bart (Vettel) manages to slipstream past the sluggish Ferrari, and moves next to the Renault of Pere (Alonso).

In the background, the excursion round the outside didn't do Jon (Hamilton) much good, and Marc (Trulli) is now within reach of not being last.

Bart (Vettel) has a shot at the inside of the corner, but Pere (Alonso) manages to stay with him and slices the corner.

Bart (Vettel) leaves the door open and plays a 45˚ left instead of a 60˚ left. Pere (Alonso) shows his true colors though by using his tire bonus to slide in front of Bart. It leaves Pere in a bad position though, too far to the outside of the corner.

Pere then announced he is feeling too unwell too continue, and will retire after this turn.

With Pere (Alonso) struggling on the outside kerb, on his way to retiring the race, Pedro (Raikkonen), Jon (Hamilton) and Marc (Trulli) start to come closer and closer to battle for what will soon be the last podium spot.

Pedro has the advantage of being in front of the queue, but Jon is undamaged, and on a (full KERS) charge.

Pedro (Raikkonen) believing he has covered the exit, braces for impact as Jon (Hamilton) makes a brave move down the outside. There is literally not a hair between them as Jon swings past.

With Pere retiring soon Marc (Trulli) will (at least) not be last, and the move by Jon encourages him to fight for an improved position. "I will be 3rd." is boldly claimed.

Pedro (Raikkonen) and Jon (Hamilton) swerve left and right as they try and avoid each other and keep ahead of one another.

All this battling gives Marc (Trulli) the chance to catch up. They are now all bunched up heaving into the hairpin.

Bart (Vettel) had a bit of trouble with the hairpin, and came out slower than planned, but still managed to keep it off the kerbstones.

Jon (Hamilton) has the advantage of track position, and turns first for the exit. This sharp turn blocks both Pedro (Raikkonen) and Marc (Trulli) who both have no other option than to hard brake to avoid a collision.

Marc (Trulli) looks to have managed to get past Pedro (Raikkonen) here ...

... But it is all an illusion. Pedro (Raikkonen) got better traction out of the hairpin, and easily retakes 4th place.

Bart (Vettel) takes a bit of a wide line towards the final start/finish straight. This gives Jon (Hamilton) a shot at 2nd place with a full KERS charge in reserve.

Pedro (Raikkonen) starts to drive wildly, and crashes into the inside pitlane wall. He retires on the spot. This hands 4th place back to Marc (Trulli).

Jon (Hamilton) has taken the last corner wide as well. He had to make a choice, use his 60˚ to play it safe, but that would leave him no fuel to play 4 cards, or not use the 60˚ and being able to use his last fuel to play an extra card. Bart (Vettel) has run out of fuel to use, so perhaps Jon can still get by on a slipstream and a KERS.

Jon (Hamilton) is within slipstream reach of Bart (Vettel), and together with the tire bonus would enable him to get 2nd place. But alas Jon clipped the grass coming of the kerb and this disallows him the slipstream he needs.

1. Alex (Button)
2. Bart (Vettel)
3. Jon (Hamilton)
4. Marc (Trulli)
5. Pedro (Raikkonen) DNF
6. Pere (Alonso) DNF

Complete race photos
Championship Page, Results and Current Standings

Race winner Alex after the race:
"Today was another good race, making three wins out of three with Button (including the pre championship race). It also means I still have a chance of fighting Jon for the championship. Jon is currently sitting on 32 points, my maximum is 36 points, as I missed the first three races of the championship. This means if I win the final two races, the title is mine, if I do any worse than 1st and 2nd it goes to Jon, and if Jon beats me in either race, it goes to Jon. Tough but do-able I think.

The start of the race I had to work hard to defend my lead, and make sure no one could slipstream me on the straight. Most of the excitement came at turn 2, which saw Bart crash into Pedro, and Pedro subsequently crashing into me. Thankfully the damage was very light, and my line was not too adversely affected. Pere managed to squeeze through into 2nd shortly after, but by this point my lead was sufficient. The rest of the race was very clean, and I managed to build up a very decent lead. All in all a good race, but Jon will be strong at Granollers and I will have to work hard to beat him there."

That is it from Donegal. It's been a very exciting race with some incidents and lots of overtaking. Check back in one week time for race 6 of the series at Granollers.
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pere cobo
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Great review of the session Bart, you are improving your level...even playing the game
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