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Mannyi's Blog

992 miles and counting to go

Done and dusted – my first run for Children in Need completed as part of my #1000milechallenge in 2017. It wasn’t plain sailing for sure.

It was always going to be tough especially given the cold, frosty and challenging conditions. But eight miles ran in under 90 minutes. I think I can be pretty satisfied with that. Just another 992 miles to go.

It is going to be a long, tough and crazy journey but one I am very much looking forward to. Four marathons in 2017 to look forward to with the first one on 02 April at the Manchester Marathon. #marathontraining

Nutrition is also going to play a big part in helping me maintain my fitness levels. Breakfast today consisted of a Sprinula powder drink, a clementine, peanut butter on toast and blueberries with Bran Flakes. A sign of things to come for 2017. 20170102_114545

As you all know, I am taking on the #1000milechallenge for Children in Need in 2017 – a great cause. By taking on this challenge, I want to inspire young/disadvantaged children in the UK to never give up in life and never give up on your dreams. Children may have a disability but that should not stop them from going onto achieving their dreams and succeed in life.

You can achieve anything if you work hard, believe in yourself and have the confidence and willpower. You can make the impossible possible. You just have to believe in yourself and think positive. Amazing what a positive way of thinking can do for you.

You can donate by visiting my JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Manish-Patel1000. You can also follow my progress during my #1000milechallenge by visiting my JustGiving, Twitter (@Baggies20) and Instagram (manishpatel89) pages.

Also please get in touch if you would like to get involved with my challenge. Look forward to hearing from you.

2017 Challenge for Children in Need

2017 is just around the corner. A new year and a new challenge

After running 540 miles in 2016 for Children in Need, I have decided to take on an even tougher challenge. This time to run 1,000 miles in 2017.

I know you are probably thinking I am even more mad for doing what I have planned for 2017. There is no doubt I will be pushing myself even more and it will not be easy (especially as I am doing four full marathons in 2017 – eeek!). But I wouldn’t be taking on my 2017 challenge if I didn’t think I could do it.

Each run I do will again be of varying distances and will be verified by my Forerunner device and recorded on my JustGiving and social media pages.

What I was able to achieve in 2016 is only just the beginning and you haven’t seen anything yet. 2016 was a great year and having initially completed my 500 mile challenge with a month and a half to spare, I decided to extend it by another 40 miles and was able to raise over £1,200. And not forgetting I completed my first full marathon at the Wolverhampton Marathon.

I feel proud knowing I contributed to a record breaking total raised for Children in Need this year. Watching the appeal night really did bring home the difference your donations can make to help improve the lives of young/disadvantaged children in the UK.

There were so many tear jerking and heartbreaking stories shown on the appeal night and it put into perspective the challenges so many families shouldn’t have to face.

By taking on the 1,000 mile challenge, I want to continue to inspire young/disadvantaged children in the UK to never give up in life. Children may have a disability but that shouldn’t stop them from going onto succeed in life. No one should be afraid to follow their dreams. 20x30-bruk6057

As part of my 2017 challenge, I will be running four full marathons in 2017: Manchester – April, Liverpool – May, Wolverhampton – September and Birmingham – October. They are going to be tough for sure, but if you want something in life, you have to work hard, believe in yourself and never give up.

Your donation can help change and improve the lives of young people and bring a smile to their face. Please donate generously. Every penny and pound donated will go towards projects nationally to help children build better lives. It will also help children to achieve their potential and turn their dreams into reality. Please help make a difference. Thank you so much. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Manish-Patel1000

You can also follow my progress on Twitter – @Baggies20.

Mixed bag for Sahara Force India at Spa

If you had to describe Sahara Force India’s weekend in Belgium, you would be right in saying it was a ‘mixed bag.’

For Sergio Perez it was an impressive weekend and his performance at Spa-Francorchamps definitely had people turning. For Nico Hulkenburg it was a case of ‘what if.’

If Sergio’s fifth place finish is a sign of things to come for the remainder of 2015, we could see Sahara Force India challenging for podium finishes before the end of the season. Now that would be brilliant.

Two different tales

Friday proved to be a productive and positive day for the team with both Sergio and Nico seemingly happy with the set-up of the updated VJM08. Both drivers also made it into the top ten in the third Free Practice session so the signs were there that Sahara Force India could have a strong weekend. NHulkenburg

Unfortunately for Hulkenburg he just missed out on a place in Q3 and ended up qualifying 11th. If he thought that was agonising, what was to follow on race day was even more frustrating. A loss of power on the parade lap meant Nico was not able to take the start despite the best efforts of the team to fix the problem.

Without those issues, Hulkenburg for sure would have been in contention to score points. The Belgian Grand Prix weekend really was a case of ‘what if’ for the German. Disappointment for one half of the Sahara Force India garage, but delight for the other half.

Sergio Perez had a stunning weekend and he can be satisfied with the ten points he bagged for the team at Spa. The Mexican was flawless in qualifying and qualified an excellent fifth. He started the race fourth due to Romain Grosjean’s five place penalty. SPerez

You know the phrase ‘a flying start,’ Perez had one of those starts on Sunday. He was up to second come the end of the first lap and was even close to taking the lead on the opening lap when he was alongside Lewis Hamilton after Eau Rouge.

The high degradation on Perez’s soft tyres in the first two stints took its toll in the end and he was unable to hold off Grosjean and Daniil Kvyat. But fifth place was a fine result for Checo and you know what they say – the only way is up!

The only way is up for Sahara Force India

I think I would be right in saying that it hasn’t been all plain sailing for Sahara Force India in 2015. Changing its wind tunnel facilities and moving to Toyota’s, based in Cologne, problems with suppliers and launching an underdeveloped VJM08 with three pre-season days remaining, it wasn’t the ideal start to the season.

But if you said to anyone at Force India that they would be fifth in the constructors going into the summer break and bearing in mind the B-spec car was only launched at Silverstone, they probably would have snatched your hand off.

It has been a solid first half to the season for the team despite the slow start to 2015 and a double DNF at Hungary. Going into the summer break on the back of a double DNF will have been disappointing but I have seen enough in the last three-five races to think that Sahara Force India will have a strong second half to the 2015 season.

Source: Sahara Force India

And even in Hungary, both Nico Hulkenburg and Sergio Perez were running strongly in the points before both drivers retired from the race. There are plenty of reasons for everyone at Force India to be optimistic going into the second half of the season.

Season so far

Both Manor cars and others failed to make the starting grid for the season opener in Australia. But that didn’t stop both Force India drivers finishing in the points, with Hulkenburg finishing seventh and Perez coming home in tenth.

The next four races, only four points were scored with Perez finishing eighth in Bahrain. Less said about Malaysia, China and Spain. A time for the team to feel sorry for themselves? No chance.

Although Hulkenburg just missed out on the points in Monaco, Perez came home in a strong seventh place to kick start Force India’s season. In Canada, this time it was Perez who missed out on a top ten finish and it was Hulkenburg who finished in the points by coming home in eighth. The points were now coming and what was to come next for Hulkenburg was a moment he will look back on with great memories.

He became the envy of the F1 grid after winning the small matter of the Le Mans 24 Hours on his debut alongside Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber. A phenomenal achievement and no doubt a moment he will never forget.

After winning Le Mans, it was pretty obvious Nico had a spring in his step and he then went onto finish a season best sixth in Austria. The eagerly awaited B-spec car arrived for Silverstone and the benefits of the updated VJM08 were felt straight away.

Hulkenburg went onto finish seventh at the British Grand Prix and Perez came home in ninth.

Source: Sahara Force IndiaPerez more or less has played second fiddle to Hulkenburg since Canada but the Mexican finished ninth in Austria and Great Britain to score valuable points for the team. It has been an up and down year for Sergio and for sure in the second half of the season, he will want to regain the edge over his team-mate.

Punching above their weight

Sahara Force India for me have always been punching above their weight in Formula One and you have to credit everyone at the team for where they are now. I find it quite remarkable that the team are currently ahead of Lotus and McLaren, two championship winning constructors teams, and Toro Rosso in the standings.

Whether they are ahead of them come the end of the season, only time will tell. But it just goes to show how far Sahara Force India have come and they continue to improve year by year and take the fight to teams that have much bigger budgets to operate with.

The second half of the season gets underway this time next week and what a track to go to – Spa-Francorchamps. Force India have always tended to pick up strong results at Spa. Hulkenburg in his first stint at Force India finished fourth in 2012.

Source: ReutersAnd who can forget 2009? Giancarlo Fisichella finished a brilliant second in 2009 and kept Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen honest throughout the whole race. Not forgetting he qualified on pole.

We have had some classics at Belgium and I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that we are going to have another great race in the Ardennes Forest. I am already looking forward to it.

Living The Dream

Brilliant, exciting and sensational. Just some of the words to describe my day at the Red Bull Racing RB9 launch. Sunday, February 3, 2013 will always be a day I will never forget and am thankful to the team for inviting me.

Being selected as one of the lucky ones to attend the RB9 launch came as a real surprise and a total shock. This was an opportunity I could not turn down and the countdown to the big day had begun.

Getting into Formula One has always been a dream of mine whether that be being a racer or working in the media. And attending the unveiling of the RB9 is hopefully a sign of things to come. I definitely want to be present at future car launches and Grand Prix weekends on a regular basis. Just looking for someone to give me that chance.

Excitement

I arrived at Milton Keynes Central train station and the excitement certainly did kick in. Despite the fact I have followed Formula One since 1996, this was actually the first time I was visiting a team base. And for that team to be the reigning Constructors Champions was just incredible.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The winning bloggers whom I spent time with were fantastic and it was obvious throughout the day that they are true F1 fanatics. Looking back at the 2012 season and Grand Prix’s we had attended were just some of the topics discussed on the way to the Red Bull Racing factory.

My eagerness and anticipation notched up another level once we arrived at the home of the current Formula One Champions. You would think signing in at reception would be uneventful and a simple formality. How wrong was I.

Next thing you know, you are able to see the trophies Red Bull have won and end up taking photos you will be talking about for many years to come. I said to my fellow bloggers, ‘this was only just the start of the day.’

The Bull has arrived!

We were certainly getting VIP treatment and I was not complaining. Just before me and my fellow winning bloggers took our seats for the launch, we saw a number of famous faces from the Motorsport world including Martin Brundle, Ted Kravitz and Red Bull Reserve driver Sebastian Buemi.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have always had admiration for the job Martin has done since he took up a media role in Formula One. Again he did a great job in presenting the RB9 launch alongside Holly Samos. Wouldn’t you just love to have Brundle’s job? I also spoke to Martin after the launch and he really is a top man as is Ted Kravitz.

From all the 2013 car liveries I have seen so far, the RB9 is right up there in terms of the best looking car. It is obvious for us Formula One fans that Red Bull are the team everyone will want to beat this year.

Sebastian Vettel was his usual self. Chirpy but also serious about the team’s targets and his personal aims for 2013. Mark Webber being Mr. Calm and quietly confident of having a decent season.

Myself and the winning bloggers didn’t want to leave Red Bull Racing HQ and we honestly felt as if we were at home. Who knows we might end up working for the team in the near future.

Thank you to everyone at Red Bull for making us feel welcome and making our day a memorable one. And on behalf of the victorious bloggers, I would like to wish Red Bull Racing the best of luck for the 2013 season.

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Just ask Adrian Newey and Red Bull?

Why is it that Adrian Newey and Red Bull have been crowned Constructors Champions for the last three years? Simply because they have pushed the boundaries and they never give up.

Pushing the boundaries is all about thinking outside the box and not just settling for second best. Being persistent, determined and never throwing in the towel are reasons why you should push all boundaries.

Pushing the boundaries is all about being innovative and coming up with new ideas in order to stay above your competitors which is what Red Bull and Newey have been doing for the last three years. How big a part did the exhaust blown diffuser play in Sebastian Vettel’s Championship winning year of 2011? And who pioneered the new generation of blown diffusers? Mr Newey himself.

Pushing the boundaries is all about coming out of your comfort zone and believing in yourself. Sebastian and Red Bull might have been behind Fernando Alonso in the Drivers Championship at the halfway stage of the 2012 season, but who came out on top in the end? Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull. Simply because they believed in themselves and pushed the boundaries.

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A tale of two penalties

The talking points to come out of the game at the Emirates will have been the two penalties awarded to Arsenal. The Gunners got a much needed win but West Bromwich Albion were on the end of a harsh defeat.

Two controversial decisions meant the Baggies left the Emirates empty handed. It just wasn’t Albion’s day and they found themselves on the wrong end of two key decisions. Three straight defeats for West Brom and they will want to get back to winning ways pretty quick.

The Baggies have made a great start to the season and they were always going to have a blip at some point. Every team have a period where they will struggle to get results. Despite three straight defeats, West Brom will bounce back and they will start winning games again.

Controversy

Up until Arsenal were awarded their first penalty, Albion were defending well and the Gunners weren’t causing any real problems. It is fair to say Arsenal were handed an early Christmas present when Steven Reid was alleged to have brought down Santi Cazorla.

Replays clearly showed us that the Spaniard took a dive and referee Mike Jones fell for it. Cazorla is a quality footballer but what he did on Saturday was an absolute disgrace and the Spaniard went down way too easily.

Something needs to be done to punish players who dive. Perhaps an immediate five match ban.

Arsenal’s first penalty without question changed the game. But that wasn’t the only controversial moment.

Arsene Wenger’s side were given another penalty this time in the second half. Chris Brunt was penalised for a foul on England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and it was a penalty. However in the build-up that led to the second penalty, Goran Popov was pushed by the former Southampton player and Albion should have been awarded a free-kick.

But it wasn’t to be and Mikel Arteta dispatched the second penalty. There was no coming back for West Brom.

Steve Clarke and the players have every right to be aggrieved with the way Mike Jones officiated the game. Jones if he hasn’t already looked back at the game will realise he made two big mistakes. And those mistakes proved costly for the Baggies.

Being a referee is a tough job don’t get me wrong and I wouldn’t like to officiate a game. Referees will make mistakes but these mistakes are occurring too often and we need to see consistency. Although goal-line technology will be coming, why can’t football embrace technology?

If cricket, rugby and tennis have been able to benefit from using technology, why can’t football use it? Why can’t the referee ask the fourth official to view video replays to assess major incidents? It might take time to look at a replay but by viewing replays you would end up making more correct decisions than wrong ones.

Home fixtures

West Brom have two massive home fixtures coming up and winning those games will edge the Baggies closer to the 40 point mark. However they won’t be easy games.

West Ham have performed exceptionally well this season and for me they have exceeded expectations. Their second half display against Chelsea was terrific and Sam Allardyce deserves credit for the way his side have played this season. Allardyce always has a habit of keeping sides up and I still can’t understand why Blackburn got rid of him. Blackburn’s loss and West Ham’s gain.

In Kevin Nolan, the Hammers have an excellent leader. However losing Mohamed Diame for up to 12 weeks is a huge blow.

Albion will be in for a tough game against West Ham but the Upton Park outfit will also know they will be in for a tough encounter at The Hawthorns. It will be a close game but I can see the Baggies just about coming on top in this game.

The last time these sides met at The Hawthorns, the game ended 3-3 with West Brom having been 3-0 up at half-time. If that game is anything to go by, we are in for a cracker.

Norwich City will be up next for the Baggies after West Ham. The Canaries are on a roll with their latest victory coming against Swansea at the Liberty.

I did fear for City when they lost 5-0 against Fulham and were beaten 5-2 at home by Liverpool. However Chris Hughton has turned things round and Norwich are playing some great stuff at the moment.

Grant Holt seems to be getting back to his best, Sebastian Bassong is chipping in with vital goals and Norwich City will definitely provide a stern test for Albion. Norwich may not have world class players but they are a team that have plenty of spirit and have players who can cause plenty of problems. Robert Snodgrass, Bradley Johnson and Wes Hoolahan are some names that spring to mind.

Now is not the time for Albion fans to panic. Now is the time to get behind the players and be the 12th man in these next two home games and for the remainder of the season. There are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic and things will look a lot better if Albion can win their next two fixtures. The next seven/eight games will determine where West Brom are going into the second half of the season as Steve Clarke rightly said on Saturday after the game against Arsenal.

The Baggies have winnable fixtures coming up and I am confident Albion will get back to winning ways ASAP starting against West Ham. Keep the faith and lets get behind the West Brom players.

Webber on Song and Germany

Typical British weather hey! It rains heavily on Friday and Saturday to interrupt all three practice sessions and qualifying. And yet on Sunday we had a dry race. Why couldn’t it be dry all weekend?

After what happened in qualifying on Saturday, I guess it would not have been a surprise if it had rained on race day. But surprisingly the weather wasn’t bad and it only started raining once the race had been completed.

Getting in and out of Silverstone was a nightmare at times but you have to give the British fans credit. On all three days the fans were terrific and they generated a fantastic atmosphere at Silverstone in spite of the horrible weather conditions.

Sitting in the International Pit Straight (the main straight) was quite something. I sat right opposite the HRT, Marussia and Caterham garages and I was very impressed by how quick the pit crew were with their pit stops on race day.

Mark Webber continues to defy the critics in my opinion as he took his second victory at Silverstone. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished second and Sebastian Vettel rounded off the podium places by coming home in third. All in all a great day for Red Bull and the fans were treated to a decent Grand Prix.

Aussie Delight

At the start of the 2012 season, I wanted to see Mark Webber take the fight to team-mate Sebastian Vettel and the Australian is certainly doing that. Lets be honest Webber was blown apart by Vettel in 2011.

Mark has done a great job so far and he is giving Seb a run for his money that’s for sure. @AussieGrit has been a lot more consistent this year than he was last season and consistency is the key to doing well.

Two wins in 2012 and I’m really happy with the way things have turned out for Webber this year. There is still a long way to go but I’m sure Mark will be heading to Germany with plenty of confidence and belief that he can get a strong result at Hockenheim.

I would be right in saying that Vettel has not had it all his own way this time round. Webber outclassed the German right throughout the British Grand Prix weekend and I can’t remember the last time Vettel has been outshone by his team-mate.

Sebastian despite not being able to get the best out of the Red Bull car at Silverstone was still able to finish third. That in itself is pretty ominous. Vettel will definitely be pumped up for his upcoming home Grand Prix and I know he would love to win in front of his home crowd.

The neutral will be loving the fact that Sebastian has only won the one race in 2012. But to be honest I can see the two-time World Champion winning more races this year. Vettel is a class-act and I can see him being in contention for the race win at the German Grand Prix.

Upturn for Ferrari

You have to say Ferrari are the one team that have improved considerably race by race in 2012. Fernando Alonso has been able to get the best out of the Ferrari and Felipe Massa is showing signs of getting back to his best.

When you think about where they were at the beginning of the year, you have to give everyone at Maranello credit for turning Ferrari’s season around. After being stuck in the midfield, the team now find themselves challenging for wins.

Despite losing the lead in the closing stages of the race at Silverstone, Alonso can still be happy with the way he performed. It was always going to be difficult for the Spaniard to keep Webber behind. But finishing second was still a good result and Fernando is still leading the Drivers Championship.

Being on the hard compound tyre proved the right tyre to be on and it was evident from where I was sitting that Fernando was struggling towards the end of the race. But I have no doubts the ex-Minardi driver will be determined to take his third victory of the season this weekend.

The one driver I was chuffed for was Felipe Massa. The Brazilian has been under huge pressure to deliver and even Luca di Montezemolo has come out and said Felipe needs to up his game.

Finishing fourth at the British Grand Prix will hopefully be a morale booster for Massa and a result that get his career back on track. Felipe finished the race not far behind Vettel and there are plenty of positives the former Sauber driver can take from the British weekend.

Lotus on the up

Both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean finished in the points at Silverstone so all in all it was a decent day for the Enstone based team. Grosjean in particular was impressive as he made his way from the back of the field from the early stages of the race to finish sixth.

However the Frenchman will have a five place drop at Hockenheim due to his gearbox having being changed after the British Grand Prix. Nonetheless I do expect Romain to be in the points come the end of the German Grand Prix.

Kimi Raikkonen was not quite able to get past Felipe Massa for fourth but the Finn can still be satisfied with how the weekend went. I can see Lotus winning a race this season but I’m not sure where the win will come and who will win that race. Both Kimi and Romain have proven this season they are capable of challenging for race victories.

Lotus now find themselves third in the Constructors ahead of McLaren but whether they finish there only time will tell. I can see McLaren overtaking Lotus but finishing fourth would by no means be a disaster for Eric Boullier’s team. Lotus can definitely look forward and things are on the up.

McLaren Disappointment

At the moment McLaren are going through a bad spell and after winning in Australia, surely this was going to be the year McLaren could take the fight to Red Bull.

I don’t know why I say this but I have a funny feeling McLaren will have a strong weekend in Germany. Having supposedly held “crisis talks”, the German and Hungarian Grand Prix’s could be make or break. Fail to get strong results and this years Drivers and Constructors titles may end up being fought between Red Bull and Ferrari.

I do believe McLaren will bounce back however I cannot put my finger on what has gone wrong in recent races. Taking race victory in Australia was a great start for the team and the car looked pretty good. So why has it gone downhill since?

No doubt both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are getting pretty frustrated right now and small mistakes are costing McLaren. Whenever they are given the right car, Lewis and Jenson are unbeatable. A race win could prove to be a turning point for the team but they do need to score big points at both Germany and Hungary.

German Grand Prix

I am very much looking forward to the Grand Prix at Hockenheim and I cannot predict who will win. 2012 has proven to be an unpredictable year and for me personally to see seven different winners is incredible.

An eighth different winner would be brilliant but for that to happen, either one of the Lotus drivers, Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa or a driver of the midfield teams (excluding Pastor Maldonado) would have to win.

Never say never and you can never disregard a shock result based on what we have seen this year. I would expect to see Red Bull and Ferrari right up there but I can’t predict what will happen on Sunday.

As I have already said, it is a big weekend for McLaren and I guess they are the team under pressure to deliver at Hockenheim. Mercedes will also want to put in a strong performance to please the home crowd. And how Sebastian Vettel would love to win his home race.

Should be a decent Grand Prix and the weekend cannot come sooner enough.

Do feel free to listen to the F1inPubs podcasts by going onto my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/TheManishism. You can still listen to the Forum I presented live from Silverstone. Follow me on Twitter @Baggies20 and I would love to hear your comments about this years Formula One season.

Who said Valencia was boring? European Grand Prix Review

Is it just me or did I see one of the best races of the 2012 Formula One season on Sunday? Who would have thought Valencia would serve up a terrific Grand Prix.

Drama from start to finish, plenty of overtaking manoeuvres and incidents galore. What more could you ask for. A brilliant Grand Prix and I have to admit I was dreading this one.

I would be right in saying that previous races at Valencia have been pretty dull. Did I expect to see an entertaining race this time round? No is the simple answer.

Again you have to give Pirelli credit for what they have done. And tyre degradation has played its part in what is proving to be a fantastic season for Formula One.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso delighted the home crowd and Tifosi by taking victory in an absorbing Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen came home in second and massive congratulations to Michael Schumacher.

The seven-time World Champion ended up finishing the race in third. This was Schumi’s first appearance on the podium since his return to the sport.

Ferrari and Alonso

Qualifying might not have gone to plan for Fernando Alonso and Ferrari. But the Spaniard drove a brilliant race to take his second win of the season.

How often have we seen drivers who have not made it into the top ten and yet they have been able to pick up strong results. Look at Sergio Perez in Canada. Qualified 15th and the Mexican finished the race third.

Does getting into the top ten of qualifying matter? For me it does and it always will. However not making it into Q3 is not the end of the world. But lets not take anything away from Fernando.

Alonso pulled off some brilliant overtakes and his move on Romain Grosjean after the safety car went in was outstanding. OK Sebastian Vettel and Grosjean retired but Alonso’s victory in Valencia was down to genuine pace and the Ferrari has been improving race by race.

It will be interesting to see whether the double World Champion can repeat his European Grand Prix heroics at Silverstone. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Alonso is in contention for the race win.

For Felipe Massa it was yet another frustrating weekend and I really hope he picks up a strong result at the British Grand Prix. With the way things are going I can’t see Massa at Ferrari next year.

The Brazilian’s race was more or less over when he had a collision with Kamui Kobayashi. Had that not occurred, Massa would have been in with a shout to score some points. Felipe is capable of stringing results together but his luck this year has been rotten and sometimes when things go wrong, they can go from bad to worse.

Mixed Fortunes

It could have been so much better for Lotus had Romain Grosjean’s car not suffered an alternator failure. But Kimi Raikkonen managed to bring the car home in an excellent second place.

Despite the DNF for Grosjean in Valencia, I have been very impressed by how well the Frenchman has performed this year. He has proven to be more than a match for his more experienced team-mate.

I personally think it is only a matter of time before Romain takes his first win in Formula One. He has been given a second chance and boy has he taken it. I can only run out of superlatives to describe how well Romain has done in 2012 so far and he is a star for the future.

Kimi was one of the drivers to benefit from Grosjean’s retirement and having got past Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the race, the Finn was able to score 18 points for second.

Raikkonen has performed admirably in my view on his return to Formula One but it was obvious from his interview with Lee McKenzie that he wanted more than second place. The win was just out of reach but Kimi can be satisfied with how the race went for him.

I do believe Lotus will win a race this season but I’m not sure where that race victory will come at. Will it be at Silverstone?

At Last

When Michael Schumacher crossed the finishing line on Sunday in third position, I was so happy for him. The German has endured so much bad luck in 2012 through no fault of his own but this could be the result that kick-starts his season.

Schumi was able to hold off Mark Webber for the final podium place and this result saw Michael on the podium for the first time since his comeback to Formula One. The Mercedes car has improved significantly compared to the previous two seasons and I just get a funny feeling Schumacher could actually win a race this year.

Michael pulled off some decent moves and being on the fresher tyres at the end helped enormously. Finishing third in Valencia will give Schumi an extra spring in his step but he now needs to build on this result and string some points finishes together.

Nico Rosberg drove a decent race to finish sixth. Rosberg did get off to a poor start but in the end he was able to make his two stop strategy work and get past Paul di Resta in the final stages of the race.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel would have been on the top step of the podium had he not suffered an alternator problem. The German had the race up his sleeve and looked on course to record his third consecutive win at Valencia.

The neutral will have been delighted to see Seb retire but it was clear Vettel was not a happy bunny after climbing out of the stricken Red Bull. Who wouldn’t be? After leading the race for so long and doing all the right things, then for an alternator to fail will have been heart-breaking for Vettel.

However he will bounce back from this and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up on the podium at Silverstone or even win the British Grand Prix. Red Bull in recent years have done well at Silverstone and I can see both Seb and Mark battling for a race victory.

After a torrid Saturday, Webber did a great job on Sunday to finish fourth. Its not the first time Mark has made his way through the field after a miserable qualifying and going out in Q1. Remember the Chinese Grand Prix last season? Started 18th and the Aussie went onto finish third.

Things did look bleak after qualifying but Mark certainly turned it around on race day and he wasn’t far behind Schumacher come the end of the race. Webber is right up there in the Drivers Standings and don’t rule him out of this years battle to be crowned World Champion.

He won in Monaco and he has also been consistent so far this season. Plus there have also been times this year where he has got the better of Sebastian.

McLaren Woe

Once again McLaren make another mistake in the pit stops. Are they ever going to learn? I wouldn’t like to be in those high pressure situations and I know for a fact I would make mistakes.

But the fact that McLaren have made so many errors during the pit stops this season is frustrating for the drivers and for the fans. McLaren are one of the best teams in Formula One and these pit stops should be perfect.

The team need to realise these mistakes are costing Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button points. Hindsight is a beautiful thing but had Hamilton’s second stop not taken so long, perhaps he would not have been hit by Pastor Maldonado.

Lewis did what he could and even finishing third would not have been a disastrous result. I guess the consolation for Hamilton was the fact Vettel didn’t score any points either.

My thoughts on the Hamilton – Maldonado incident: Maldonado’s fault and he was lucky to only be given a 20-second penalty which meant he dropped out of the points and finished 12th. I personally would have given him a five or even a ten place drop for what he did.

It was inevitable Pastor would get past Lewis but there was no need for the Venezuelan to do what he did. Had Maldonado rejoined the track once Lewis had got past Turn 13, the Williams driver will have had another opportunity to get past the Brit on the next long straight.

Maldonado drove brilliantly at Barcelona earlier this season to take his first ever win in Formula One. But there have been times where he has been erratic and yesterday’s collision was not the first time both Lewis and Pastor have collided.

As for Jenson he could only manage an eighth place finish and he is not exactly in top form. Scoring only six points in five races is not Championship winning form and Button does need a strong result at Silverstone. Who knows a win could get his season back on track.

I do believe Button will bounce back from this bad spell and don’t count him out of the Drivers Title. There is still a long way to go and anything can happen.

Force India

And finally one team who will have been delighted with their weekend’s work were Force India. Nico Hulkenburg came home in a brilliant fifth place with team-mate Paul di Resta finishing seventh.

In Free Practice both Hulkenburg and di Resta were impressive and Qualifying went pretty well although di Resta felt he could have done better than tenth. It was a big weekend for the team and with both Williams and Sauber not scoring many points, Force India were able to take advantage.

Scoring 18 points at Valencia meant Force India are only one point behind Williams and 16 behind Sauber in the Constructors. Silverstone is a track that should suit the VJM05 and Force India always seem to perform well at high speed tracks. Watch out for Force India at the British Grand Prix and I don’t know why but I have got a feeling they could surprise one or two people.

You can follow me @Baggies20 on Twitter along with Paul Hadsley @paulhadsley. Visit my YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/TheManishism to listen to previous F1inPubs Forums and let us know what you think. And don’t forget you can comment before, during and after every Grand Prix by using the hash tag #F1inPubs. You never know your views might be included in the Forum.

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