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Jenson Button

Formula 1 Testing In Barcelona

Jenson Button leaves the garage in Barcelona, Spain during the 2013 F1 Winter Testing Session (Jamey Price/James Moy Photography)

The following is special guest editorial by Jamey Price, a professional motorsports photo journalist who is passionate about Formula 1. Jamey has photographed Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR and other sports car series; for more of his stunning images, visit www.JameyPricePhoto.com.


// Barcelona Testing 1

Having covered one of last year's Barcelona tests and the inaugural Formula One Grand Prix in Austin last February and November, respectively, I was far less intimidated walking into the paddock for the first of the Barcelona pre-season tests at Circuit de Catalunya.

As a photographer, I have grown a lot since last February when I had my first chance to cover F1 testing. I shot almost an entire year of racing during 2012 in five different countries covering eleven different series. I felt far more prepared this year. I knew the track well, and I knew my own capabilities more than I did last year. It was like starting fresh again.

What I love about Formula One is that they will pretty much run the cars in any weather condition. My job as a photographer has been called "cushy" by one particular F1 blog, however, I assure you it is anything but. When everyone else is wrapped up around a heater with dry clothes on, the photographers are out in the cold and freezing rain making interesting images that tell stories. They don't just appear on the web or in print without someone breaking their back to make them. It is grueling hours in sometimes arduous conditions but I wouldn't trade those days for the world.

I am at peace when shooting Formula One cars screaming around the first corner and up the hill, listening to who has their foot planted on the pedal and who is lifting off a little bit. The devil is always in the details, and the details in Formula One are ENDLESS. And that makes our job capturing it all, immensely gratifying and fun.

Enjoy my images from the first Barcelona pre-season test. More to come next week!


Race Review: Indian Grand Prix

5 Wheel-change Pit Stop by the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team - Lewis Hamilton at the 2012 Indian Grand Prix

Indian Grand Prix 2012 will go down in the records as "the race in which Vettel continues his path of complete domination in the closing races of the season." Coming off of a fantastic qualifying, Vettel lead from lights to flag, replicating his win in 2011. It's a tell-tale sign on where the teams are at when we look at the grid positions at the start of the race where Red Bull had front row locked, then McLaren, then Ferrari. Clearly Red Bull has continued to fine tune their race cars, also called the "Adrian Newey car" while other teams are merely catching up. It's hard to comprehend why McLaren and Ferrari with hefty financial backing have not been able to make their race cars more competitive. Who are the weakest links in these teams that's ruining the chances for the drivers and for the teams? Is it strategy (both in qualifying and in pit stop calls) or is it the technical challenges on the car itself?

Race Review: Singapore Grand Prix

 

Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium after winning the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 23, 2012 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Another race, another shake up on the championship leaderboard. However, as unpredictable as the races have been, a pattern is emerging - Alonso on podium. Alonso may not win the number one spot, but he somehow always manages to get on to the podium.

How did it go down at the Singapore GP? It started with qualifying: Hamilton, after a perfect flying lap, landed the pole position. Trailing behind Hamilton in qualifying was Maldonado the Dangerous, then Vettel. Notice that Alonso is not even top 3 in Qualifying; he was P5.

With Maldonado's record, I was expecting a good battle at the front part of the grid at the start of the race. Hamilton defended his pole from Maldonado and got a clean getaway, while Vettel's slick maneuver got him ahead of Maldonado, and then Button also took a run on Maldonado and passed the Williams driver to take the 3rd position. It is as if a different Maldonado was in the Williams car altogether; where is his usual aggressive drive?

The Marina Bay Street circuit is notoriously difficult track to overtake - a car needs to be a few seconds ahead to overtake, which means tyres and pit stop strategy were paramount in giving a driver the advantage to get ahead. With 61 laps in the race, the most sensible way to manage is a two-stop strategy, which most cars opted for. In terms of tyres, the soft was more durable than the supersoft so most teams were trying to get the drivers to squeeze as much drive as possible from the soft tyres.

Hamilton's pit stop at lap 13 was incredibly fast at 2.9 sec, paired with his quick pace throughout the laps, he looked unbeatable in winning the race. However, it was not his day. In an unlikely turn of events, Hamilton's McLaren had a gearbox failure at lap 23, leaving him with a car but no drive. I would have thrown a hissy fit, but Hamilton handled it with unusual calmness, perhaps he was thinking this is a sign for him to leave McLaren and move to Mercedes.

Shortly after Hamilton's gutting moment, Maldonado's car also suffered an untimely end at lap 35. It's most unfortunate to see two cars that were on front rows on the grid that would likely battle out to the bitter end both retire early.

As most anticipated, the safety car made not one, but two, appearances at the Singapore GP. The safety car came out at Lap 34 when Karthikeyan crashed out, and at Lap 40 when Schumacher crashed into Vergne. The safety car rounds took quite a while, such that the race timed out and concluded at the 2-hour mark rather than completion of 61 laps.

Without a truly heated battle up at the front with Hamilton and Maldonado out, we end the race with Vettel, Button, and Alonso moving into podium for top 3. Alonso still leads the championship with Vettel now trailing in 2nd and Raikkonen in 3rd place. Who did you think will have the best drive at the Japanese GP on October 7th?

Race Preview: Hungarian GP

Hungarian Grand Prix, the last race before F1 breaks for the summer. (Note to self: Don't Panic! There are still more races to come after August. I can get through August without an F1 race. Really I can!) It'll likely be a hot and dry race since the Hungarian Grand Prix has never seen a wet race up until the 2006 Grand Prix. Interestingly enough, due to the way the track is situated amongst the nature setting, you can see the track from any point of the stands. This gave the Hungarian Grand Prix track a special name - the dinner plate, as the spectators can sit on the edge of the plate and follow the events from there. Doesn't that just make you hungry for Hungary? Yes, that was a terrible joke.

Some say the track at Hungaroring is twisty, narrow and impossible to overtake. According to Vettel, who has never won here, "The Hungarian GP is one of the hardest for the drivers".  Meanwhile, Raikkonen is full of confidence, "Usually this Grand Prix weekend is one of the hottest in the calendar, so it should suit our car very well." Both Button and Hamilton have won twice here before, McLaren must be quietly optimistic for grand results this weekend. 

The track has actually proven entirely possible to overtake, moreover, one can even achieve a massive comeback from 14th on the grid to win the race (that was Button's win back in 2006). Like every race, it will certainly be paramount to be in the front part of the grid if not the pole, but if by chance a driver majorly messed up the qualifying, an aggressive race day performance could be key to the podium. We'll also see some great action at the DRS zone, so I imagine we'll see some overtaking around there as well.

Will we see another driver other than Alonso take home the victory at Hungarian Grand Prix? We shall find out soon enough. Catch you after the race!!

// Get a feel for the GP in Budapest by checking out our Pinterest board

 

Eni Magyar Nagdij on Pinterest

 

Whose Line Line Is It Anyway?

Sebastian Vettel contemplates his moves during the German GP press conference (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Getty Images)

To suggest that he was not exactly thrilled and that Sebastian Vettel was all but robbed of a second place in the German GP rocked the boat of Iain Robertson enough for him to demand another closer inspection of the final result.

McLaren "Tooning Up" Their Image

Sometimes I get very envious of the unique coverage that F1 fans overseas are privy to. I've seen the BBC F1 coverage before and it is uninterrupted, non-stop F1 action for a nice chunk of time on race day. It is fantastic. But alas, I'll save that discussion for another day.

Before yesterday's British GP, SKY Sports F1 (which I've also heard pulls out all the stops for F1 coverage) aired a new McLaren animation series, "Tooned." It's a CGI-animated series, in Pixar fashion, that features Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, as well as British actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong.

I'm amused to see Ron Dennis talking so candidly about cartoon characters. Enjoy this behind the scenes look, and the full video also below.

This looks like a great opportunity to reach a whole new demographic: future F1 Fans!

And who can argue with a spot of British humor?