111 is the magic number!

F1
After 110 races and six seasons in Formula One, it was easy to believe that Nico Rosberg would never win an F1 race. Since his win at Bahrain in the 2005 GP2 championship (which he won), he has struggled to prove in F1 that he’s got what it takes to do it. Today, however, that all changed. A combination of good strategy and fast pace, as well as the right temperatures to get the Pirellis working on the Mercedes, brought him home with a good 20s to spare.
Behind Nico, things weren’t quite so simple. A huge train of drivers from second backwards showed just how close it is this year. There isn’t really a definite midfield, with cars changing from track to track. Even Massa was running in second for some time, but after a pit stop he fell to the back of the train in 13th. Perez, who led the race for a couple of laps, finished outside the points in eleventh after a battle with his teammate.
Only Jenson Button had the opportunity to challenge for the win today, but a botched McLaren pitstop put an end to that idea. And that was when the exciting racing really kicked off. In the first half of the race, few overtakes happened. But as tyres collapsed towards the end, the situation changed.
Raikkonen was running second after the final round of stops, but he’d been on his tyres longer than the others. When his tyres fell off the cliff, he could only go backwards. Vettel overtook, and Button was third with Hamilton and Webber behind. Raikkonen kept going backwards and was fourteenth at the end of the race.
Vettel had also been on his tyres for a while, and the three-stopping McLarens had the advantage. First Button and then Hamilton took their turn at the Red Bull, pushing the German off the podium. Finally, even Webber was able to overtake his teammate.
Grosjean beat Senna to sixth, while Maldonado had his best result with eighth. Alonso and Kobayashi (who got fastest lap) took the final points. But from Hamilton backwards there were only small gaps between the cars, and seventeenth-placed Daniel Ricciardo was only 63s behind Rosberg.

Schumacher was the only retirement. Having held back the pack for Rosberg before the first pit stops, a mistake in the Mercedes pits saw his right rear fail to be fitted with its wheel nut and he had to stop.

F2
Mihai Marinescu led all but the final laps of the second F2 race today. Once again it was Luciano Bacheta who was in second, and once again he overtook on the last-but-one lap and took the chequered flag. Bacheta leads the championship with a perfect 50 points. Could this be the first year the champion has the same number as the previous year? Mirko Bortolotti also had car number 4. I’d love to see it!

Auto GP
Manor MP’s Chris van der Drift clinched the win today, with Sergey Sirotkin close behind. Championship leader Pal Varhaug finished fourth, with Pal Varhaug seventh. Manor MP are still second in the team championship, with Daniel de Jong failing to finish. They have 9 points less than Super Nova.

British F3
It was raining at Monza as Carlos Sainz took his first British F3 victory for Carlin yesterday. Today, the first win was taken by Fortec’s Felix Serralles, while the second race went to Sainz at Carlin. Sainz now leads the championship ahead of Serralles.

NEC
The entry list has been announced! It’s long, but there are some good names on it: Jordan King and Josh Hill of course, and some others who might have a chance. The first race is next weekend, and is probably worth a watch much more than the F1 in Bahrain. I’m not sure where it will be on TV, but hopefully it will be somewhere!

IndyCar
There’s IndyCar tonight! It’s worth a watch if you can. I probably won’t be able to as I’m busy at the moment. Blog posts are also likely to be less regular.

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Brits on top in BF3

Carlin reacted fast after BF3 free practice when their opponents Fortec dominated. And it worked. Jack Harvey set three laps faster than anyone else, and took pole for both race 3 (best laps) and race 1 (second-best laps). Coming close was Felix Serralles, who will be the first Puerto Rican to start on the front row in any international series (so far as anyone knows) in race 3. Serralles only set one really good lap, however, and will start 8th in race 1.
Race 1 will have an all-British front row despite only three being in the series, with Harry Tincknell (Carlin) P2. Their teammates Jazeman Jaafar and Carlos Sainz Jr will start on row 2 tomorrow morning. Alex Lynn was the best qualifier for Fortec in race 1, starting 5th next to the final Carlin driver Pietro Fantin. Hannes van Asseldonk, the runner-up in TRSNZ 2012, will start 7th next to Serrales.
Carlin’s times also dominated the best laps. Tincknell will start 3rd with Sainz next to him for race 3. Jaafar and van Asseldonk will be side-by-side on row three.

Ceccon gets Oceans of chance in GP3

F2
There’s just one week until the 2012 season kicks off, and it looks like a number of talented drivers will be on track. Swiss driver Mauro Calamia is the latest to be officially announced, but there are also a number of drivers listed on the website who are yet to be confirmed, including 2010 champion Dean Stoneman. With the new faster, better cars, this year looks set to produce some good racing. We can only hope that there aren’t too many regulars at the back of the field.
Mauro Calamia joins F2 from Formula Renault Alps, where he finished 10th of 25 drivers. He picked up a reasonable 125 points. He tended to be in the bottom half of the timesheets during testing, but hopefully the 20-year-old rookie will catch up as the season progresses.

GP3
As well as Tamas Pal Kiss, two other drivers have been announced this week. Status Grand Prix have a second driver in Kotaro Sakurai, a Japanese driver who was British F3 national class champion last season. The youngster has tested GP3 before, but this will be his first season in the series.
Meanwhile, Auto GP champion Kevin Ceccon will be joining Carmen Jorda and Robert Cregan at Ocean Racing Technology. Ceccon participated in GP2 for Scuderia Coloni last season after Davide Rigon was injured, but it was a premature step up for the Italian. Ceccon should do well in GP3, and I expect him to be a frontrunner from the first race.

F1
If you thought the Lotus saga was over, think again! Group Lotus, who were title sponsors of Renault last season, have pulled out of that role by mutual consent with the team. Group Lotus have been struggling, and their owners Proton have been cutting back. Lotus F1 Team will still keep the name, however, until 2017. So there will be a Lotus with no connection to either the original team or the car manufacturer for the next few years in F1. In fact, Caterham probably have more connection to the original Team Lotus than Lotus F1 now!
All you need to know is, Lotus are still called Lotus. They have no connection to Lotus but they still have the name. Ow my head!

Meanwhile, news out of South America suggests that Argentina are likely to be hosting an F1 race from 2013 and replacing South Korea, despite the Asian venue arranging a lower hosting fee. This will be confirmed (or not) within the next few weeks. If it does go ahead, this means there will be two new races for 2013: Argentina and New Jersey. The question is, which races will be set aside?

Things are hotting up once again in Bahrain, with the F1 race looking set to be the focal point of protests. While F1 should be careful not to take sides, I think that the situation merits a cancellation. I fear that the protesters would target the media and team personnel, to make sure that their voices are heard. It would be awful if anyone were injured or killed just because Bernie Ecclestone insisted the race go ahead. The protesters might see it as a victory, but it would be a hollow one. The government might be in the wrong, but I doubt they would target anyone connected to F1. I fear the protesters would have no such qualms.

British F3
The new season starts this weekend at Oulton Park. At the time of writing, only free practice has happened so far. Alex Lynn was fastest by almost 0.5s from Felix Serralles, which is a good start from the Formula Renault UK graduates who are both at Fortec. Jack Harvey was Carlin’s fastest, only 0.04s slower than Serralles, and his teammate Harry Tincknell was fourth-fastest.

Other
Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robert Wickens is setting his single seater career aside to join Mercedes’s DTM team this year. There are a lot of drivers taking part in the series, from a wide variety of nations. Most of them are talented, and if you can watch it then it should be good fun! The season starts on April 29th at Hockenheim.