With the Mercedes pair on the front row, it looked set to be just another 2015 race - domination from the German team from start to finish. And whilst that was the case, it was a surprisingly chaotic start to the race, that led to a tense waiting game towards the finish. Strategy calls were made and lost, unsafe releases spotted in the pit lane, and a handful of overtaking moves with varying degrees of success.
The final race weekend is upon us and although it does feel as though it's time for a rest, there's still a frisson of excitement to be had about the Abu Dhabi weekend. Rosberg is on form but champion Hamilton will likely want the last honours of the year. Teammate qualifying battles can be decided and we can compare just how far the McLaren has come since the start of the season.
Carlos Sainz Jr suffered a huge crash in final practice for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday, but the Spaniard escaped with no injuries and only needs a simply overnight stay in hospital for observation. The incident looked far more serious at first, with the Toro Rosso car buried underneath the Armco, the driver strapped to a stretcher before being airlifted to hospital for checks.
It was a surprise to hear this week that Jaime Alguersuari has decided to retire from racing, at the tender age of 25. The Spaniard, who has previously driven for Toro Rosso in Formula One, and most recently appeared in the inaugural season of Formula E, admitted that he's fallen out of love with motorsport and thus knows it is time to hang up his hat. In celebration of Alguersuari's career, and commiseration at its early end, I've pulled together the collection of F1 Big Picture posts dedicated to one of the most photogenic drivers in the sport.
Sidepodcast's 2015 break takes a break of its own as we hustle a quick podcast out the door regarding the FIA's recent statement of a potential refuelling return. As big fans of refuelling before it departed, we now discuss our mixed reactions to the possibility of a return and ponder just what the governing body are thinking with their latest batch of changes to the sport.
With testing wrapping up in Barcelona, and the first race of the season just around the corner, the F1 world is in a bit of a mish mash. We're looking ahead to ponder what the year will bring, looking behind us to analyse what testing can reveal, and of course pondering just what is going on with poor Fernando Alonso. All that and more in this wrap up of F1 links and goodness.
McLaren have issued a medical update regarding Fernando Alonso, confirming that the Spanish driver will not be participating in the first race of the year following a concussion sustained during testing. On the advice of doctors, Alonso has opted to sit out the Australian Grand Prix so as to avoid any chance of a second head injury.
The FIA's recent revelation that they're set to clampdown on drivers changing their helmets too often was met with mixed responses - some keen on the idea of easier identification, others upset at the lack of creativity inspired by the governing body. Now, the FIA have clarified exactly what the stipulations will be regarding this particular piece of regulation.
Force India have finally got the VJM-08 up and running, on the second day of the second test at Barcelona, and with just three days of running available. Nico Hülkenberg got behind the wheel for the first run of the new car, with an installation lap just before the lunch break, and then a full 77 laps by the end of the day. Chief Race Engineer Tom McCullough admits it was a big effort to get the car ready in time, and they’re just grateful to have had a solid first day.
Amazingly, the 2015 Formula One season is now just over two weeks away. Launches are done, testing is almost complete, and we're starting to see at least a pattern in the results so far, if not anything concrete. McLaren have struggled, Mercedes have cruised, Ferrari have improved, and the midfield looks set for a shakeup. That's what I think, but what does the rest of the blogging world have to say about F1 at the moment?
Lotus F1 confirmed their development driver for the 2015 season, signing Spanish racer Carmen Jordá to the role. Carmen has been gathering experience in the Indy Lights and GP3 championships, but as with most young drivers, has always had an eye on making the step up to Formula One.
Two weeks of testing so far have given us a few signs of what the coming year might be like. Mercedes are still strong, if not untouchable. Ferrari have improved, as have Sauber who have shown surprising pace. McLaren are very much on the back foot, and are now dealing with the repercussions from Fernando Alonso's accident last week as well. The Spaniard will sit out this final week, with Kevin Magnussen taking his place.
The Manor Grand Prix team is continuing to make strides towards being ready to race in Australia next month, as the team formerly known as Marussia signed a driver for the coming season. British racer Will Stevens has a deal with the squad to race in 2015, having completed just one race in his F1 career so far, for the Caterham team in their 2014 Abu Dhabi comeback.
Fernando Alonso has been released from the Spanish hospital where he has been for three days following an accident during testing in Barcelona. The McLaren driver hit the wall in what appeared to be a normal accident but Alonso was airlifted to the hospital and has only been released today.
Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso are desperately trying to keep their spirits high despite the disappointments of testing in Spain so far. After a slow first week in Jerez, the McLaren team were hoping Barcelona would deliver better things. Unfortunately, their running was curtailed on Thursday due to a faulty part, and the replacements didn't arrive until Saturday. When they did, it turned out not to be the solution the car required, and more engineering is needed.
Lewis Hamilton completed 11 laps of his schedule today before admitting defeat and going home sick. Running a fever, and with what Toto Wolff described as the flu, Hamilton handed over driving duties to test driver Pascal Wehrlein, who had already been loaned out to the Force India crew. Nico Rosberg could have deputised, but was himself struggling with an inflamed and trapped nerve in his neck - which in turn puts his own running for tomorrow in doubt.
One day into the second week of F1 pre-season testing and we’ve got our first row between drivers. During the afternoon session at Barcelona, Felipe Nasr and Susie Wolff crashed, with both drivers ending up in the gravel trap and requiring a truck to come and rescue their stricken cars.
The second of three pre-season tests gets underway in Barcelona tomorrow, and some of the teams are trusting their new machinery to the hands of their test drivers. Williams have confirmed Susie Wolff will be in action for the first day of running, with their regular drivers taking one and a half days each.
The Formula One Commission met in Geneva to discuss future regulation changes for the sport and decided that drivers should be banned from changing their helmet colours during a season, in a bid to aid fans recognising and identifying the drivers when they’re in the car.
With four days of testing already completed, teams have a fair idea of what challenges they are facing over the final two weeks. Moving on from Jerez, drivers will get to grips with the Barcelona circuit - a track they should know well, and will be racing on later in the year. Force India will be participating this week, after skipping the Jerez action, but they've confirmed they will be using an older version of their car.
365 F1 stories
Which F1 advertising was under severe scrutiny by the EU on this day in 2002, with a ban changing the look of cars?
F1 test schedule
|Circuito de Jerez||Spain||1 Feb|
|Circuito de Jerez||Spain||2 Feb|
|Circuito de Jerez||Spain||3 Feb|
|Circuito de Jerez||Spain||4 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||19 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||20 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||21 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||22 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||26 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||27 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||28 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||1 Mar|