Sunday, 18 April 2010

No tea, but lots of rain.

The first McLaren 1-2 for the year and I called it, yes I did, I said a good effort in qualifying would reward the boys from Woking with a good finish and didn’t they deliver. They made hard work of it but what the heck. Whilst the faster Redbulls may have locked out the front row of the grid for the 4th race in a row, it was the McLarens that showed it’s not a single lap that wins you a race.

And If I had lady bits I’d want to have Hamilton’s children. He is just brilliant, carving his way past the once great and good, overtaking when he please and showing that he might not have the luck and the experience, but by God he’s got the balls from the job.

Button takes the 1st spot with another rainy race win, because he was on the right tires at the right time yet again, he’s making a habit of this isn’t he. Whilst everyone else peeled into the pits, after Liuzzi had attempted to mount Kobayashi and Buemi on the first lap. Button stayed out with Nico on slicks on a slippery track, but made the tires work for them and they both pulled away from the rest of the field. An early pit call for the inters when it looked like the rain was going to return allowed Button to slip past the Mercedes and take the second win in four faces. With it he takes the lead in the drivers’ championship and McLaren the Constructors. Not bad for a chap the media had called dead and buried 6 months ago.

2nd for Hamilton with another aggressive and exciting drive, he switched to the inters with the early crowd and had to fight his way back into the top 10. This put Hamilton back behind Mickey which gave him a chance to see just what Hamilton is made of, and on first impressions I’d say it was about 50/50. Hamilton isn’t used to other drivers being aggressive back at him. Mickey was in a car 2 seconds a lap slower, yet made the young gun work hard for his pass. He couldn’t keep Hamilton behind him forever, but he showed the Brit that given a fair wind and a dry track, it won’t be so easy next time.

3rd for Nico. He still didn’t show much aggression, but he kept Hamilton at bay when it mattered and only lost second place in the pits. He’s taken Mickey apart yet again, showing the old guy what the car is clearly capable off. The Mercedes team solders must be looking at the other side of the garage and asking what all the fuss over a seven times champion is. Second in the championship by consistency rather than podiums (5th, 5th, 3rd and 3rd) being there when the big boys drop the ball is paying off for the dark horse of the championship. Nico showed that the Merc is as good as the McLaren when a driver is up to speed, that will annoy and worry Mickey.

4th for Alonso. Who jumped the start by a country mile, got a drive through penalty for his troubles and then fought back up the field. He’s back in front of Massa and that’ll make him happy. But the Ferrari should have delivered a win here. If they do have a problem with the engine cooling, he needs to get points on cold wet days. He drove well after making a school boy error off the line.

5th For Kubica, who did well whilst others tripped up over each other. He gets the “was he in the race award” this week, keep this up and he’ll be looking for wins at this rate.

6th For Vettel. That must hurt. He had the race to lose and he managed to lose it. I’m not too sure why either, he got jumped at the start my Alonso cheating, but then never really seemed to recover. He was behind Webber when they came in to change to slicks and when Webber ran over the wheel jack on the way out of the box, Vettel had to hang around whilst they found a new one. He then tried to drive Hamilton into the Williams garage as they raced out of the pits, earning Hamilton and Vettel a slap wrist from the stewards. So a race to forget then, having been on the front row of four races and won one he’ll be glad to get back to Europe.

7th for Petrov and a well deserved 7th at that. He showed that he’s maybe not ‘just another Renault number two’. He worked hard and didn’t drop the ball in play. Stayed on slicks on a damp track and showed better cars the way home. He’s never going to win a race without tremendous luck. But he’s doing better than expected so far.

8th for Webber who avoided hitting anyone else or scenery, well okay he ran over a wheel jack and cocked up Vettels race oh and got hit when Hamilton got squeezed at the second restart. But most of the time he spent following other people and wondering where all the speed had gone. Classic number two team mate stuff.

9th for Massa and another soggy race for the Brazilian that doesn’t like the rain.

10th and very very last Mickey Schumacher. Ho ho ho, he doesn’t like racing in china and didn’t he show it. He was slow all weekend, in practice, in qualifying and in the race. Where has the edge, the aggression and the drive gone? He’s was taken apart by Nico, Hamilton and Vettel made him look ordinary. How the mighty have fallen very far. Ross seemed less than impressed with the 7 times world champions, when Brundle button holed him on the formation grid. I wonder if the German has a performance clause in his contract. If I was him, I’d be checking the small print.

So that’s the end of the first stage. It’s back to Europe (hopefully given the ash cloud) in three weeks time. Button now leads the championship from Rosberg, Alonso then Hamilton and Vettel in 5th, button has two wins, Alonso one and Vettel one the other two have no wins but are still in the hunt.
I think these 5 are going to be the ones hunting the championship down. It’s going to be a long hard fight and one slip will spell the end of their cup run. But all five of these drivers are the best Formula One has to offer today and that’s got me very excited. Rosberg might not be as fast as Vettel or as aggressive as Hamilton. He might not be as race smart as Alonso or as smooth as Button, but he has Ross Brawn and a great team spirit behind him and consistency. His father only won one race in 1982 on his way to his world championship, could Nico be about to join Damon as a world championship son of a world champion?
But that’s for tomorrow, today we have two Brits on the podium in first and second, both of whom are at the top of their game and ready to take on all comers.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

China is ready for action

Round 4 and the Bernie loving peoples republic of shooting dissidents and stopping the internet of China. It’s another chance to count the spectator. I think there will be at least 2 empty stands this year and nobody insight for qualifying. Which is a shame because that’s all that there will be of interest.

Ferrari are leading both championship, more by luck than judgement though. Massa has had a whole bunch of good finishes keeping Alonso behind him. The Spaniard is all sweetness and light and “hahahah ahr what a great bloke the Brazilian is ho ho” in front of the camera. Behind closed doors I bet it’s a much different story. Both drivers need to beat the other. But they appear to have an engine cooling issue on the hotter tracks.

McLaren have had some good luck and some bad luck. Lot’s of speed but piss poor pit calls and trying to be too clearer have left them 10 points short of Ferrari. One aggressive driver and one smooth are giving the pit wall plenty of racing options. The fastest thing in a straight line, the Mclaren has been reliable and there or there about every race. A good qualifying from both drivers could see a 1-2 this time out.

Redbull should have won all three by rights so far. But bad luck and Webber have conspired to stop them. If it holds together its a very fast car, if the FIA find out how they’re changing the ride height in Parc Ferme, they’re a very banned car. Vettel won with ease last year on a wet Sunday, I can see it happening again this year. Faster over a lap that anyone else, consistency and reliability are the only think holding them back from a 1-2.

Mercedes are pushing for a top 5 placing with Rosberg, whilst Mickey sits at the back if the pits and complains about how it was all so much harder in his day. Nick Fry is telling all and sundry that Mickey will come good any day now, which is surely the first sign of imminent retirement. They don’t have the speed of the Redbull or McLarens but they have Ross on the pit wall and he’s worth a second a lap.

Renault and Kubica are having a good start to the season, can they keep ahead on the development curve ?? I very much doubt it. This isn’t a factory team anymore and the boss isn’t in it to win it. Petrov has money and some talent, but no experience or luck, thus he is the perfect Renault number 2 driver.

Force India continue to do good things with less money. A solid mid field team, defiantly a top 10 runner, but which driver wil get the break this weekend.

Williams continue to pick up the starting money. They’re already starting to slid down the pecking order. Hulkenberg has so far been less than impressive.

Torro Rosso have to good drivers shocker. But an awful car. If the rest drop the ball they could be in the top ten.

BMW (Sauber) ….. oh dear, running on fumes in testing to get sponsorship always falls apart at the first race. This team was going for the championship 2 years ago.

Lotus are winning the best of the new boys race but only just. Fast (er) then the other newbies. They need to develop the car to stay ahead of an improving Virgin.

Virgin won the new boys race last time out, the tanks too small but they still got both cars to the end have they turned the corner or was it blind luck.

HRT …. Rubbish, but Chandhok is a nice down to earth bloke. Senna is still trading on the name.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Vettel makes it to the line at last.


Well done to the Redbull boys. As Ferrari and McLaren forget that just holding their hand out of the garage is usually the best sign of “is it raining or not lad”, Redbull score a one two at long last.

Vettel has led the last two races but had nothing to show for it. This time Webber beats the rest to pole in a rain affected qualifying, but could do nothing as Vettel cruised up the inside of turn one and stole the win from the lanky Ozzy driver. Webber weaved around off the line far too busy trying to drive everyone else off the road. Maybe if he concentrated on driving in a straight line he’d have been first.

Vettel pretty much day dreamed to the flag in the end, Webber tried to make a fight off it, but got left behind pretty quickly and then a sticky wheel nut in the Redbull pit put paid to any chance Webber had. Could this be the start of the Redbull steam roller, quite possibly. No one looked like touching them all weekend. Vettel has the speed and consistency, but is he a car breaker.

Webbers 2nd was better than hitting the other drivers and bits of scenery. But really he should have defended the first corner a bit better. I can see Webber getting a win or two this year, but he’s not the complete package like Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso is he. He doesn’t have lady lucks kiss and has a habit of getting far too aggressive when better driver beat him.

3rd for Nico who once again beats his seven times world champion team mate. He took care of Kubica behind him, but didn’t look like touching the Redbulls up front. They cleared off after five turns and he didn’t get any closer all day. Nico is very fast and he’s in a pretty good car, he’s beaten Mickey three for three now, but you do get the feeling that a Mickey on form would have at least chased the Redbull down. Nico has been guilty of falling asleep on more than one occasion, is he getting complacent as Mickey fails to impress.

4th For Kubica again. Another good result. I may have to revise my opinion of the Polish chap. He’s no world champion, but he can be fast when he’s motivated.

5th For Sutil, like Vettel he’s had bad luck up to this point, so it’s a good result from the once back markers of Force India. Liuzzi has been making all the headline so far for the team, so Sutil will be glad to get a good points place under his belt. Expect more results like this at the rest of the high speed track this year.

6th for Hamilton and damn it all he is brilliant. 20th to 6th is just fantastic and not from passing people in the pits or picking up spots as people drop out either. He took eight cars off the line the chased down the top ten until he got to Sutil and couldn’t find a way past. Hamilton is the best race in the field right now and he’s getting better and better. He might not have that final race craft of Alonso or Mickey used to have. But he doesn’t give up and he gets pissed off when he’s not winning. That’s what I want from my racers. Not dullards happy to be picking up the points.

7th For Massa. Is he as fast as Alonso ? The team seem to think so, they didn’t tell him to move over. Massa seems to have the belief and now he’s leading the World Championship. But has he looked winning a race any time soon. That would have to be a big fat Nope, not something that looks like changing anytime soon either.

8th for Button who switched tires early again, but didn’t make the strategy pay this time and then Hamilton beat him into turn one after Hamiltons pit stop. He’d binned the car in Q1 and had to start down in 17th, he did well to get back to 8th, but not as well as Hamilton who beat him from 20th. So much of the new king of McLaren.

9th For Alguersuari, did all right and beat some big names, in an under powered Torro Rosso. Saying that he took his chances when they presented themselves, passing a bunch of better cars without too many dramas, a good result in the fight not to be last

10th for Hulkenberg and this weeks best of the Williams drivers. Barrichello stalled it on the line so the Hulk gets to pick up the points for Frank and co.
Of the Tail End Charlies. Virgin comes up trumps with Di Grassi beating Chandhok and Senna in the HRTs, Trulli in the Lotus was way behind five laps down on the winner. A very good result for the Virgin boys who haven’t had too much to shout about these last few weeks, beating the Malaysian Lotus on home soil will have made Branson happy. Or kept him interested for another week, now he’s not hob knobbing with the winners anymore he seems a touch more reluctant to be seen around the garages doesn’t he. Oh well.

There we go then. The young guns from Milton Keynes get both cars home with a great One Two. That’s what they’ll have to do from now on if they want to lift the trophy at the end of the year. Malaysia was a good race because the qualifying was mixed up by the weather. Once the big boys got back to familiar territory it was the same old story, with fast cars stuck behind faster cars.