Thursday, 22 July 2010

Germany, ruthlessly efficient but cold.


Well where’s your money going to go this time then ?

Silverstone was supposed to be all about McLaren. But Redbull showed that they’re not ready to give up the championship just yet, yes they’re trying hard to stab each other in the back and sow discord and disharmony where ever possible. But the Redbull is still the fastest, most planted car on the grid today. Until McLaren or Ferrari can get their trick blown diffuser to work and not cook the rear suspension, I can‘t see either taking the Redbull in a straight fight.

In the Redbull camp, they’ve had yet another “clear the air” meeting and the drivers have once again agreed to “work together and deliver the championship as a team” blah blah. It’s all rubbish and if I was Horner I’d be hoping that it’s not a Redbull one – two after qualifying. It has to be said that Webber has had the better first half of the season, if he thinks he’s getting number two treatment there are many in the pit lane who’d like the same treatment. He’s had all the luck with the car and only retired when he’s hit other people. Vettel has had chassis break, spark plug fail and noses fall off randomly. Webber appears to be in one of those “right place right time right Luck” moment that odd drivers get. Like Nigel and Hill and even Button last year, he’s got the right car and his head is tuned into winning and believing he can win. He’s even got the right amount of paranoia that can make him think everyone is against him. That is always difficult to beat, whatever the driver thinks the team is doing behind his back

Bridgestone are bringing the super soft and super hard to the party this weekend. Just like in Canada, this is going to sort the men from the boys, more specifically the men who can nail a fast qualifying lap and keep their tires in good shape for the start of the race. Because the softest will grain up pretty fast and loose grip at the start of the race, whilst the hards will struggle to get up to temperature in the forecast cool conditions. You want a driver that can stroke the car for the first half then spank it to within an inch of its life in the second half (I don’t have to spell that out for you do?). The Mercedes boys will be delighted by this news, as they won’t have to explain why they’re rubbish, just shrug and point at the tires and then walk off. The same goes for Massa, another one that can’t get his hard tires to work these days.

Ferrari have been talking up their race this weekend, I think they’re rather hoping that Lady Luck finally stops flicking the V’s at the boys from Maranello and shows them a bit off love. I don’t think Massa will be anywhere near the sharp end this weekend, but providing Alonso can get his act together he should be there or there about. They have a car capable of mixing it with the McLarens and even the Redbulls with a bit of luck. Alonso just needs to calm down, stop blaming all and sundry for his bad luck and do a bit of racing.

McLaren will be trying the blown diffuser again in Germany, along side the regular diffuser in a back to back test which is a brave move.

It’s effectively writing off the Friday practice and banking on taking the Friday setting into qualifying on Saturday. The boys from Woking must feel confident that they’ve sorted the issues that plagued them at Silverstone.

So Germany, it’s back to Hockenheim this year, the rather neutered course used to be a flat out full chat race through the forests. High speed corners with silly little chicanes, into a grandstand stadium section that twisted and turned to give the fans something to watch. Now the Fast section has been cut in half and a stupid hairpin added at the top of the circuit. It’s still fast, but requires more downforce than it used to. As I’ve mentioned tires are going to be the critical feature of the race. Looking after soft tires on a green track and getting the hard tire up to temp. Hamilton won a barn stormer the last time they were here.

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