BBC BLOGS - Sarah Holt

Archives for July 2011

Luminaries gather to honour Button

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Sarah Holt | 09:53 UK time, Sunday, 31 July 2011

At the Hungaroring

Once the intense competition of qualifying was over in Hungary, the Formula 1 fraternity put aside their rivalries for an unusual social occasion.

Luminaries from the top to the bottom of the paddock had crammed into McLaren's buzzing motorhome on Saturday evening to celebrate Jenson Button's 200th Grand Prix.

It was a fascinating scene for the F1 voyeur. Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali stood chatting to Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug with a friendly arm around his shoulder. Team Lotus driver Jarno Trulli perched on a stool under the towering presence of Silver Arrows team boss Ross Brawn as Sauber's Sergio Perez mingled with the Virgin Racing drivers.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso nearly stole the show when the former McLaren arch-rivals warmly embraced each other, suggesting the particularly bitter cold war between the 2007 team-mates was well and truly thawing.

But the evening had been arranged by McLaren to mark Button's career and each of the 31-year-old's previous team bosses - with the exception of exiled Renault boss Flavio Briatore and BAR-Honda chief Dave Richards - spoke enthusiastically about the Somerset-born racer.

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Hungarian Grand Prix is too close to call

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Sarah Holt | 18:17 UK time, Friday, 29 July 2011

At the Hungaroring

Fresh from the thrills of Germany's rollercoaster race, Formula 1's main protagonists are all steeling themselves for another intense fight for victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Just over half a second split the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso's Ferrari and the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel during Friday practice at the Hungaroring.

Taking into account the fact that the rival teams all run different programmes during Friday's bedding-in sessions - and champions Red Bull rarely reveal their true pace - it was incredibly close.

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Revamped Silverstone wins over the fans

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Sarah Holt | 22:51 UK time, Saturday, 9 July 2011

At Silverstone

Silverstone's owners have spent £40m in the last two years to modernise the historic Northamptonshire circuit that Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone once famously described as a "country fair masquerading as a world event".

Of that cash, raised by the British Racing Drivers' Club, £28m has been absorbed by a state-of-the-art pits and paddock complex, and the rest has gone on improving spectator facilities.

This year, ticket-holders to the British Grand Prix have their own "fans zone" - which curves round the Luffield section of the old grand prix track - new steeped, grass banks to watch from and two brand new grandstands at Farm and along the pit straight.

There's even the equivalent of Wimbledon's "Henman Hill" - which has been unofficially dubbed Hills' Hill after father-and-son world champions Graham and Damon Hill - where fans can watch the racing from a giant screen.

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Rising star Ricciardo relishing Hispania opportunity

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Sarah Holt | 20:08 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

At Silverstone

For a man making his grand prix debut this weekend, Daniel Ricciardo finds himself with an unusual amount of Formula 1 experience.

The Australian Red Bull protege has driven three different F1 cars in the last 12 months.

He piloted Red Bull's championship-winning RB6 car at a test for young drivers at the end of last season, and then became Toro Rosso reserve in 2011 before he was loaned out to Hispania as their race driver for the rest of this season just in time for the British Grand Prix.

Despite going from the fastest car on the grid to the slowest in the space of a few months, Ricciardo is viewing his promotion to Hispania race seat as a big step in the right direction.

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Nico Rosberg wants to add substance to style

Sarah Holt | 12:16 UK time, Monday, 4 July 2011

Nico Rosberg is in reflective mood. After nearly six seasons in Formula 1, the Mercedes driver is still searching for his first race win.

The son of 1982 champion Keke Rosberg is rated as one of the fastest and most stylish racers on the grid but while others, including his former Willams team-mate Mark Webber, have gone on to underline their talents with wins, Rosberg has yet to have his talents vindicated by victory.

The conundrum is not lost on Rosberg who, to his credit, was happy to talk candidly about the dilemma of his faltering career progress.

"Above all is the fact that I want to win races," said Rosberg, who left Williams to join the Silver Arrows at the end of 2009 simply because he felt Mercedes would build a car capable of fulfilling that ambition.

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