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.