And the final result is in, it’s all over and about bloody time too.
Dear Bernie can we not have a 10 month season next year please, it’s too
long. This year it was four races too long, in the good old days the
FIA would have banned Vettel for a few races to give everyone else a
chance. Bernie must be losing his touch !
Right straight off the bat then and I think Vettel has done a great job
this year, he’s been consistent, hasn’t had to rely on the Lady Luck and
has done exactly what he’s paid to do. He even gave Webber a win at
the end of the year, what a jolly nice chap.
And to be honest with you all I think he is a jolly nice chap. He’s not
a smug git like Schumacher was for all those years. He not a grumpy
bugger like Alonso is and hes happy to give an interview on the starting
grid unlike Hamilton. He can turn it on when he needs a pole, turn in
fastest laps when he has too, and he can have a gear box problem when
his team mate needs a moral boasting win.
What more do you require of a driver ?
So what if he hasn’t had to drive form the back of the grid to win or
over take a load of people, this year do you really think he couldn’t
have done that if he needed to. But the reality is he’s not let himself
get into the position where he needs to do all that. Front row all year,
beating Mansells record of 14 poles in a season here in Brazil, that’s
79% of the races he’s led into the first corner and from there it’s
difficult not to win. As other drivers had to avoid each other and make
up for a bad qualifying run, he calmly got on with it.
So you know I think he’s done alright this year, complaining he can’t over take is just sour grapes really.
Right then, Vettel on pole, gets away cleanly again, except this time
rather than sailing off into the distance ... oh he did. Errr with
Webber behind for a change. Then unexpectedly he started getting
messages about the short shifting in 2nd gear to make it cool down a
bit, then short shift in 2nd and 3rd. Then suddenly he was being told to
be extra specially careful with the gearbox because it might explode at
any second. As this was happening he slowed down a tinnys wennsy
little bit, just enough for Webber to close up. Then he told the pits
that “Got un himmel I vill haf to slow down aun let my team mate pass to
save zee gear un box, himmel”
“oh” we all thought, maybe Alonso or Button can catch him and pass him
and we he won’t make it to the podium yet again in two traces.
But then an odd thing happened and he started to follow Webber and not
drop back at all like he had a gearbox on the edge of survival. Hamilton
showed him how it was supposed to be down as he exited turn three and
found he had a box of neutrals and not 4th gear as he expected.
No Vettel managed to be 2 seconds a lap faster than anyone else and
apart from Webber and proceeded to pretty much cruise to an easy second
place, ‘gifting’ the win to Webber who has singularly failed to come out
of Vettels shadow all year ... what a surprise.
As for the rest who cares? They didn’t get close and didn’t look like beating the Redbulls all weekend.
So Webber gets his one and only win of the year, well done him. He also
got the fastest lap on the very last lap, I think he’s trying to make a
Vettel second for a change, he didn’t look too fussed
Button makes a bit of a meal of it but did enough to ensure 3rd with a fine drive past the ailing Alonso
Alonso is 4th and will be more than happy to see the back of this year Ferrari
Massa is as dull as ever in 5th after much weaving around in front of Hamilton.
Sutil might have done enough in 6th to buy the seat a Williams or even keep the seat at Force India.
Rosberg should have got a bit more out of the car than 7th but its still, as ever, better than Schumacher.
Di Resta rounds out a good rookie year in 8th, hopefully he’s nailed onto a Force India drive now.
Kobayashi was 9th apparently.
And Petrov rounds out the top ten, just to remind everyone that yes Renault are still in fact taking part.
Finally Ricciardo is the last man walking, will we see him in a Torro
Rosso next year. More than likely though I don’t know why, Luizzi beat
him most of the time.
bloody time too. Does it seem like it’s been a long, long year to you ? It does
to me and I’m not too sure why really. We’ve had some great racing, but a lot
of well, dull races. You knew who was going to win after the first corner for
pretty much the whole season.
had realized that Vettel was going to walk this championship after Spain. Oh
there was Hamilton’s win in china, with a pass for the win least we forget. But
that is pretty much it in terms of dicing for the win. There was a sort of
omnipresent feeling that Vettel was going to be untouchable all year .... and
he has been.
But I don’t
want this to sound like I’m moaning about it all. On balance it’s been a good
year, the racing away from the top spot has been cracking. Once Vettel had
disappeared off into the distance, we could watch Hamilton and Massa clouting
each other whilst Alonso dragged a lame stallion to places it shouldn’t have
been. Button really settled into the McLaren suit like it had been made for
him, as Webber looked like his Redbull had been made for someone else smaller
and more German.
saw Mercedes struggle to catch the big boys, Renault fail to deliver its
revolutionary exhaust to the front. Both of these big spenders found themselves
being swamped by the likes of Sauber and Force India. Who might not have been
up there challenging the top five, but they were both a constant feature of the
lower top ten.
Rosso suddenly getting their act together for the latter half of the season we’ve
had an interesting fight for sixth place all season. If you were watching it of
course, it was easy to miss some weekends.
and Williams has had its worst year ever, Lotus continued to look the most professional,
while HRT and Virgin continued to look inept and rubbish. Actually that’s a bit
unfair. HRT have tried hard, they weren’t helped by the thing being sold to a
bunch of money men, but they turned up to every race and they kept going in the
certain knowledge they’d be 3 or 4 laps behind the winner and they didn’t give
up. Virgin sold up to the Russians and fired the Wurth squad which was unfair
but probably the right thing to do.
I like a
plucky underdog and HRT have provided plenty of amusing quotes for me this
market has been a bit static this year. Kubica was the key but then he crashed
before he could take the Ferrari seat everyone expected him to claim in 2012.
Now with Kubica saying this week he’s not going to be in any F1 cars in 2012
(and I suspect ever, I’m afraid) 2012 could well see the major teams jockeying for
drivers for 2013. Massa, Webber,
Hamilton, Schumacher, Sutil and Di Resta are all expected to be moving, some to
other teams, other to a long overdue retirement. Driver like Barrichello are not expected back in
2012 anywhere and Schumacher needs to start justifying the paycheck soon.
There is absolutely
nothing at all to race for here, except pride. So I expect Webber to be all gungho
and balls out to restore some credibility, Hamilton to keep the ball rolling
into next year and Massa to start the “getting his finger out to keep his seat
for 20 races next year” program. This week Ferrari has told Massa that no seat
is guaranteed despite what the contract might say. So he’s on a notice to start delivering with a
bit more consistency.
but really, Vettel is going to win this one and a McLaren will be behind, probably.
championship is still up for grabs so please update your predictions and pray
they make a fist of it in Sao Paulo.
Well that was a bit of a turn up for the books wasn’t it?
England beat Spain, who would have thought that was possible ? Then to cap a
weekend of unusual events, Vettel has a “catastrophic tire failure” and cashes
out to let Hamilton take a very welcome win.
To be fair Hamilton has been all over this track since day
one, He was robbed of the victory in 2009 by a broken brake disc and just
couldn’t match Vettel last year. So it’s about time he won this one. It’s a
track like Singapore and Monaco, those tight twisty circuits that require a bit
of bravery and a sharp handling car.
Would he have been able to beat Vettel if it had been a
straight fight ? Who cares, it’s about time he had a break and had Lady Luck
cruise around on his shoulder. It’s been a tough year with too many silly
mistakes and trips to the steward’s office. So it’s good to see the smile back on his face
with a well deserved win.
He lost pole to Vettel in Q3 having set a time in Q2 that
would have seen him sitting pretty on pole. The problem with Vettel is that he
is fast becoming the qualifying king. He’s always been able to come out and
deliver a hot lap when it matters. These days he seems be able to just go out
and drive that perfect lap that just blows the opposition away. Better than
Webber who has failed spectacularly to be anywhere near matching Vettel the
only drivers getting close to him are Alonso and Hamilton. Who go out and rag the cars like Greece with a
bailout cheque, they thrash their poor machines but still end up looking at the
back of Vettel exhaust come Sunday afternoon.
So as the cars tore away from the line as the lights went
out, we watched Vettel sail into his usual spot at the head of the field with a
heavy heart. “oh, it’s going to be one of those races, is it” we thought.
Vettel went a touch wide through turn one gave a funny sort of twitch and then
swept into turn 2, except the back of the car continued to sweep into turn two
long after Vettel had asked it to stop. The front pitched into the air as the rear
left tire parted company with the wheel rim and Vettel sailed off the
circuit.Hamilton and co blasted past
and never stopped to ask if he was okay.
“Hurrah”, we all chorused, “Now let’s see what our newest double
world champion can do with the best car from the back of the pack”. Except, not
being used to driving a sick car with a flat tire, he spanked it back to the
pits and broke the suspension in the process!
So we were treated to Alonso keeping Hamilton honest for 55
Hamilton never really looked like breaking into any kind of
sweat with a controlled race ahead of Alonso. The McLaren had the legs and
handling to make sure the Ferrari couldn’t get closer than a few seconds. Tantalisingly
close to the magic one second DRS zone, but whenever Alonso got close Hamilton
could open out the advantage and stay safely in front, despite various
Williams, Torro Rosso’s and the like getting in the way. It wasn’t much of a spectacle,
more a sort of high speed chess game.But given how rough I felt after the party the night before that suited
me just fine.
So then Hamilton gets his third win of the year and jolly well
done to him. He Mum was there on her birthday and it was nice to see a happy
Hamilton family for a change. He didn’t have to do too much, but avoid the back
markers and make sure Alonso didn’t get too close. Some slick pit work from McLaren
and a sticky wheel at Ferrari might have robbed us of a grandstand result, but
it’s nice to see someone other than a German in the top step this year. Some of the more excitable press is already saying
this is Hamilton of old and he’s going to win the next gazillion races and
sweep all before him. I think it’s a fortuitous
win, when he needed the luck to go his way for a change.
Alonso was second and tried hard to take the fight to Lewis.
But the old story of the Ferrari not liking the hard tires meant he was always
on something of a back foot. I’m sure it’s more than they were expecting, but
it continues to be a disappointing season for the team from Italy.
Button managed to salvage third after Alonso caught him
napping on lap one. He had a bit of a dice with Webber as his KERS failed
during the middle part of the race, with some exciting moments as the Redbull zipped past in the DRS
zone then lost out in the twisty bits. I think this was a race where Button was
lucky to get the podium, if Vettel had been alright and Webber hadn’t tried to
be too clever he might well have been further back. So I suspect he’ll be happy
with this result.
Webber misses the podium in fourth; the car didn’t have the
legs on the fast bits and could only overtake with the DRS open and Buttons
KERS not working. Tried to be clever at the end with an extra stop and some
blinding laps, but it wasn’t enough and he managed to keep fourth only because Massa
spun the car fighting thin air. Webber has to look back at this race and think
it was a massive failure on his part. Yes, the team wasn’t all that slick at
the pit stops, and the car was underpowered on the straights, but he ragged it when
he needed to be smooth and got caught out by Button being better when it
mattered. Fastest lap will be scant conciliation.
Massa, despite everything just couldn’t blame this one on
Hamilton. He had the chance to nab fourth but as seems to happen a lot these
days, needed a lot of geeing up from Smedley to stop him from going to sleep in
the second half of the race. Given that
Alonso is on the podium, Massa, like Webber, is failing to deliver for his team
at the moment. He must feel his days are numbered as a Ferrari driver.
Rosberg was sixth once again ahead of his team mate.
Schumacher didn’t hit anyone this time in Abu Dhabi but
couldn’t beat his team mate yet again for seventh
Sutil doesn’t fall asleep and beats his team mate to eighth.
Di Resta did a good job on a circuit that seemed to suit the
Force India’s. I would guess that he’s done enough to certainly keep his seat
at Force India for next year, Sutil despite a late bid for clemency may well be
off. Well let’s hope so anyway. Ninth is okay, it might have been more with a
bit of luck.
Kobayashi rounds out the top 10 with the “did he take part
in the race I must have missed him” award this week.
Liuzzi makes it home in last place with this extra special
quote “....still, I pushed until the very end and got the car past the chequered
flag which is a positive thing. It was a difficult race but we got a decent
result” that would a decent last place there buddy, two laps behind the winner.
...I’ll be honest here; I’m struggling to write anything about this place.
It’s dull, and the highlight is that the sun goes down whilst the race is on.
Its got a big building that lights up in the dark ..
Last year no one could overtake and Vettel won the championship.
I don’t think that’s going to change this year, Vettel has already won the championship.
Sorry about this, I’m finding it very difficult to write anything interesting about this race, I can’t even get enthusiastic about it. Vettel will win, probably, one of the McLarens will be second and if the other McLaren hasn’t hit the other Ferrari, it might fight it out with Alonso. Mercedes will follow the big boys home, Petrov might be there or there about and at least one if not both of the Torro Rosso’s will round out the top ten.
So there you go. If you have anything to add ... I’m more than happy to share it with the class.
Watch it .. or the puppies die.
and in a shamless attempt to bump the numbers up on this site ... here are a pair of great tits.
Well that’s made things a little trickier hasn’t it?
I thought Herman Tilke had finally cracked it. The Circuit
looked impressive (despite looking a bit rough around the edges) the track had
a load of potential we though, there are gradients and blind corners, a couple
of long straights that aren’t dead flat and a lovely sweeping corner that goes
on forever. Yet it still disappointed. There still wasn’t a race to be had.
Vettel and the Redbull are just too good. Not helped by
drivers falling over each other yet again. But still, he was miles away from being
challenged nailing the pole, fastest lap, win triumvirate just to rub it in.
Anyway, at 150mph according to F1 designer Garry Anderson, your
average 2011 Formula One car will generate about 1200Kgs of down force. That’s
about the same weight as all the celebrities from ‘strictly come dancing’ waltzing
on top of the car. The old cliché goes; an F1 car could drive through a tunnel
upside down if the driver was mad enough, with just the down force sticking him
and the car to the roof.
What this means in
reality is that an F1 car comes alive at the sort of speeds that would put an
EU finance meeting about face to shame. The tap dancing celebs mean your F1 car
can change direction eye wateringly, mind bendingly fast. They dance through
the corners flicking left and right in the blink of an eye; they glide like professional
dancers waltzing from one end of the floor to the other with a cheeky wink to
the judges half way through. A nod and a glint of white teeth maybe even glimpse
of fake tan and it’s on to the next pirouette.
Sometimes, of course these whirling, twirling dances can
come over all Ann Widdicombe rather than Margo Fonteyn, a lunge here a miss
step there and a dangerous leap at the apex
Witness one Felipe Massa who, after Friday afternoon
“It’s a very interesting track and there are corners where
driving skill can make a difference.”
What he was obviously referring to there, was turns eight
and nine in the middle section of the lap. Where, at the climax of qualifying he
clouted the big, obvious, orange concrete block designed to stop cars cutting the
corner at turn eight. But not contented with that, during the race he clouted
the big, obvious, orange concrete block designed to stop cars cutting the
corner at turn nine. Breaking the front suspension both times, thus demonstrating
“where driving skill” can indeed “make the difference.”
I’m not going to go into the Hamilton/Massa incident, you
all know what I’m going to say anyway and I’m not changing my opinion of either
Hamilton or Massa. Go and hunt around the web for various ex Formula one
drivers and those that should know better to hear their knee jerk, agenda
filled nonsense. It’s getting nasty between those two now, Ferrari and McLaren need
to sort it out one way or the other, before we have to stand on the grid for another
minutes silence for a dead driver.
I shall leave Mr Atkinson to have the final comment
So India then, I rather liked the track, thought it was
exciting and I’ll never get tired of watching a driver dance through a high
speed chicane as long as I live. Was it
dull because there was no race as such?
It certainly wasn’t
empty like Korea or China and that, I think, helped to put some of the shine
back onto it. Maybe next year we’ll have a four way fight for the championship
to spark it into life, this felt a bit too much like a test session at time.
But I shall be looking forward to this race next year.
So then Vettel, has now lead more race laps in a season than
anyone else, ever. Back in the day when facial hair was considered perfectly
fine for an English driver Nigel Mansell lead 692 on his way to the title of
world Champion. Vettel has managed to beat that target with two races to go, no
other driver has led more than 100 laps! He gets yet another win; having cruised
to an easy pole (added by Massa destruction testing his suspension in
qualifying) then got the fastest lap at the end of the race for good measure.
It’s all too easy for him isn’t it.
Button didn’t see much of him in second place, after passing
Webber on the first lap, and then fooled himself into believing that he was
somehow fighting for the lead. Still it’s another podium trophy to add to the
collection. Keeps the pay check ticking over if nothing else.
Third place for Alonso, see Jenson above. Passed Webber
during the pit stop and collects another trophy.
Personally I think
the debate about Vettel being one of the greats might be over in reality. Just
look at Webber in fourth, he’s achieving nothing of note this year, someone
even suggested he would be allowed to win a race by Vettel now it’s all over. That’s
got to be a kick in the nuts hasn’t it, to be smirked at so much that people
suggest the only way he’s going to win is if his team mate gives him a win. Yes Mark, you’re not too bad for a Number two
driver you chump
Fifth for Schumacher, very almost got to have a race with
Nico, but then didn’t
Nico, who was told he was free to race Mickey at the end, as
long as they kept it clean, knew that was code for “Mercedes do not want you bending
their cars when Mickey carves you up ‘defending’ fifth place. Give it up lad”.
So he duly waited in line like a good boy.
Hamilton, another weekend to forget I’m afraid. Watching him
in the post race interview, saying he tried to talk to Massa and getting no response
after the minutes silence on the grid. You could see in his eyes he’s kind of
lost and doesn’t understand where it’s all gone so wrong. You know what he
needs is a father son chat in a quite boozer when this season is all over. He needs
the rock that was his father back there helping him make sense of all the
chaos. My biggest fear is that he walks away from motor sport at the end of the
year. He is a phenomenal talent in the same way that Trulli isn’t, the most
exciting British driver in a generation and we can’t lose that.
We’ve lost too many
British sports stars this year already.
Alguersuari continues to do rather good things in the Torro
Rosso, with yet another eighth place finish. I truly believe that we are seeing
a driver build his stock up here. The Redbull driver program gradates normally
get fired for being rubbish, But Algy looks like he might find himself with a
seat next year if this keeps happening. Maybe he’s got his act together as the
threat of being fired has caught up with him, or it might be Redbull spending a
bit of money on the junior team for a change. But the result is Algy get the
points whilst the like of Kobayashi fail to deliver.
Sutil bags a ninth, remember him? He used to be the next big
thing, now it looks like he’s on the way to Williams, that’s if Kimi doesn’t
get there first of course. He’s made the classic mistake of demanding that the
team tell him if he’s got a seat next year at Force India. Liuzzi tried that
last year and now he’s in an HRT, a salutary lesson for us all there.
Finally Perez does his PR some good with a tenth place
finish. Would you have “slow but steady” Perez or “scary and delusional” Massa
in a Ferrari next year, a question important people are starting to ask at
Ferrari. Once again the lack of any sort of support for Massa after the race
was noticeable by its absence wasn’t it? Where was Dominicali calling for Hamilton
to be banned back to the Stone Age? If Perez keeps this up he could be Alonso’s
new whipping boy team mate very soon.
I still don’t like him, but that’s by the by.
Oh and finally our hero of poor power steering Trulli rumbles
home five laps behind the leader dead, dead last. Almost 3 laps behind
Karthikeyan who hasn’t even races this year, good old Trulli.
Well then, it looks like everyone who needs to has finally arrived,
so let us begin.
So India then and the inaugural Formula One race at the Buddh
International Circuit in Greater Noida, New Delhi. Narain Karthikeyan gets a ride in the HRT whilst
Karun Chandhok gets told he’s not as good as Trulli and is relegated to Lotus pit
lane tour guide for the weekend.
It’s a brand spanking new (Tilke) circuit that looks
somewhat like Turkey, China and Korea. It’s more finished than Korea was last
year, but it’s a bit slapped together in places with the BBC five live team questioning
their commentary box having no windows earlier in the week.
No doubt it was time
to turn up in the world’s fifth largest economy and try and sell some cars to
the locals that aren’t dirt poor. But as with a lot of things in India these
days it would appear that a lot of time has been spent writing reports and
shifting farmers off the land, and not much time spent finishing off buildings
with tools such as a set squares or a spirit levels.
I know it’s not the done thing, but really .... this is the
fifth largest economy in the world and it still can’t build a major sporting venue
without bits of it falling down before the event takes place. I suppose it’s
better than having a few floaters in the swimming pool and a pack of wild dogs
hanging around the competitor’s accommodation.
But really, Abu Dhabi managed to build a new track without having to
rebuild it the day after the first race finished.
Okay, so then this being a new track that as far as I know
hasn’t been troubled by anything with an engine and sticky rubber running on
it. It’s going to be extremely green and very dusty for the whole weekend; this
makes it a lottery in terms of picking a finisher let alone a top ten.
Tires then, it’s all going to be about the tires, the team
that gets a handle on their tires and how they’re reacting to the new circuit
as it rubbers in, and comes up to speed is going to have an advantage. All
the teams have topological and simulation data on the track, but no one has any
experience of the surface and how it reacts to heat and the load of the tires. It’s
going to be slippery and chew tires up to begin with, the question will be how
long will the tires last when they get to the midpoint of the race.
Given that none of
this matters though, except for Force India who are running for pride, I don’t
think any of the team will be trying all that hard. Other than Force India in fact
I’m struggling to think of any teams that have India sponsorship to worry
about, maybe the back end of the grid will pick up some local pin money. But
Ferrari doesn’t sell too many cars east of Dubai, Redbull sell a few drinks but
not as much as they do in Europe, whilst McLaren has two British drivers I suppose.
Redbull then, though McLaren went very well in Korea last week,
until the race when Vettel got back up to speed obviously.
Hey ... maybe Webber will finally get his act together and
do something other than go backwards.
In other news New York ... sorry New Jersey USA will be
getting a Grand Prix in 2013. Whoopty doo. Yet another circuit shoe horned into
a city. Look Monaco is fine, we’ll have it because, well, we’ve always had it.
Montreal doesn’t look like a city so that’s okay.
But have they learnt
nothing from Valencia? This year all the talk on the commentary was about the architecture
and the fact that they have a race. Not about the race, because yet again there
wasn’t really one, just the car running around an empty dockyard which on Monday
morning would be turned back into a fish market.
America has some fantastic circuits that, whilst maybe not
up to FIA speck, are superb circuits for actual racing on. Lime Rock, Laguna
Seca, , Road America (Elkhart Lake) and Watkins Glen all have history and more
importantly Herman Tilke has been nowhere near them. Why can’t we go to these
circuits? No one in Texas gives a monkies about F1 they’re all NASCAR red necks
through and through. Even Indy car struggles down south these days. New York is
all about the money yet again.
But hey, as long as Bernie is getting paid, it’s all good
Talking of Bernie, the finger pointing and “it was him I gave
the money too” backside coverage that has been going on in Bavaria over the
past year, has finally arrived at the courts.
To recap, when CVC bought the rights to Formula one, it is alleged that
Bernie paid former BayernLB bank executive Gerhard Gribkowshy just a whole shed
load of cash for “advice” on selling F1. Now I don’t know about you, but if
someone offered you $44 million dollars for advice, you’d expect more than a
slap up meal and a round of brandies in the smoking room later.
Bernie has claimed it’s all above board and totally fine Guv’ner,
whilst the Bavarian authorities continue to investigate his involvement. Everyone knows he’s a shady character, but I doubt
they’ll be able to pin anything on him this time.
Well there we go then. It only took one
more race but Redbull has now managed to win not only the world drivers’
championship but the constructor too.
There isn't much left for the rest to pick up now. Second place I suppose, but
who cares about that really?
was second last year? .... See you don't care do you.
the feeling of not really giving a monkeys pervaded the paddock in Korea this
weekend. When Hamilton drove a simply stunning lap to claim his first pole of
the year, it was a very much muted Lewis that got out off the car.
There were no high fives, no "nice work
lads, and thanks for giving me a fast car". No, he got out and walker off
to the press conference. It later emerged from the media that "words"
may have been spoken in Japan along the lines of "get your act together
and stop blaming everyone else Lewis". I have no idea of the validity of
these claims. But given the muted reaction of the McLaren squad, I think
everyone is looking forward to the end of the year.
Anyway, come race day and after a valiant 30 seconds of letting Hamilton lead,
Vettel overtook the McLaren and drove off for yet another easy win. Hurrah!
Lewis and Webber, meanwhile where having a
proper dingdong battle for second place behind him. With very little running in
practice the teams had a bit of stab in the dark over set up, tire wear was
thought to be a bit of an issue and it was a decision of long straight low down
force or high down force twisty bits.
With no full tanks dry running they didn’t know how much wing to run to
look after the tires.
Redbull went with more down force for the
twisty bits and Webber was half a second faster than Lewis who had geared it
long for the kilometer long straight. As the race moved into the final third,
Webber behind Lewis would close up to the gearbox of the McLaren as they came
out of the “street section” onto the start finish line, but coming out of turn
one Lewis nailed the KERS and dragged the car far enough ahead to cover Webber
as he came back at him.
It was stirring stuff. Trulli managed to
get in the way (yet again) at one stage and Webber got the drop on Hamilton out
of turn one. But Lewis got his KERS and DRS fired up and as they reached the
end of the long straight he retook second, proper old school racing with no
quarter given and no bits of carbon fiber flying off either.
Normally when Webber gets up behind someone
it’s only a matter of time before it all goes horribly wrong and he punts them
up the back side. Lewis this year too, seems to have been having a bit of brain
fade when other drivers start invading his personal space. But not this time,
both drivers behaved themselves and we had some classic dicing.
And yet … well it still felt like the
drivers were going through the motions for second place. It wasn’t all that
exciting because it didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Who
wants to be second? Okay yes, Lewis is a born fighter who needed to at least
finish to get his mojo working again. Whilst Webber, who has failed abysmally to
achieve anything of note this year, was driving for pride if nothing else.
Still you know hmmmm.
Jenson joined to watch the fun from a
respectable distance towards the end and Alonso joined for company. Alonso had a race to forget and Jenson was
never really in the hunt for anything. But then none of them really had a bats
chance in the proverbial, as Vettel was out there making it look oh so easy.
So then Vettel, well you know the drill by
now … Missed pole by about yay much for a change, but took the lead after 200
yards or so and then wondered where everyone else got too. Got the fastest lap
of the race on the last lap, just to show how much better at this he and the
car are. Ho hum.
Hamilton second, we had flashes of the old
Lewis during the race. But the swaggers gone, the ease and style are missing.
He’s better than anyone when it’s all on the same song sheet. But a brilliant
balls out watch me and eat the dust you suckers pole should have pointed the
way to an easy victory. But he couldn’t catch Vettel and had to pull it all out
of the bag to stay ahead of Webber. I pray to the Gods of four stroke and
Pirelli rubber next year car is good enough for him.
Webber, took the fight to Hamilton, but
just didn’t have enough oomph out of the first corner to worry Lewis till the
end of the lap. It’s been a bad year for the Ozzy and that’s not going to
Jenson 4th, after last week’s
lights to flag easy win he was off the pace this time around and couldn’t touch
the faster boys. Saving the tires and
fuel weren’t enough this time around and he had to give best to his team mate
for a change.
Alonso struggled to get the tires to work,
as he has all season and struggled once again to beat Massa. Who has apparently
out qualified him four out of the last six times? I suspect they’re testing
bits for next year’s car; it’s the only logical explanation.
Massa 6th. And he didn’t hit
Lewis or anyone else this time …. Hurrah.
Alguersuari has a barn stormer and hauls
his sorry backside up to 7th. Okay Mickey Schumacher got broadsided
by Petrov being an idiot. But Algy beat the faster Force India’s and Rosberg on
merit in a straight fight. Give the lad his dues, he’s done well.
Rosberg, yes he was in the race and he got
Buemi … yes I know, he’s still driving ….
Who knew? And he gets 9th.
Paul Di Resta ups his stock again and
drives it home to 10th, good job.
There you go then. We have a two week break
until we should be going to India; there are a few question marks over money
and customs letting stuff in and out of the country in time. The track looks to
be mostly finished, there are some angry locals complaining they aren’t on the
gravy train or seeing any of the money they were promised for their land
(they’ll soon learn that was all a pack of lies). There are lots of Media types
wondering if it’s worth the risk of dysentery to cover a race that means
So we’ll see what happens in the next week
or so. Personally on the grounds Bernie complained about Silverstone being a
third world track, I think they should go and see what an actual third world
track is like. Though I can’t believe
there is as much mud in New Delhi in October, as there is at Silverstone in
The long blunt needle of speed nudges deeper into the upper reaches of the dial, gently caressing the soft redness where the engine stops murmuring and starts to purr and moan, growling with heightened desire. Eyes narrow as the driver feels the urgent throb building behind him, waiting for the howl and scream, the explosive trust of force propelling him into orbit.
Time slows as the heat rises, any second now and it will all be released in one huge detonation of noise and speed waiting for great gobs of torque to come hard and fast through the drive shaft to the wheels, which will rend and claw at the tarmac leaving their sticky residue in long thick lines.
The heartbeat quickens, sweat begins to prickle the skin of the driver, hot life giving fluid is pumped by machine. A rising crescendo of throbbing vibration and violent noise as first one then another light is sparks into life, the heart beats wait and then suddenly the lights are gone The cars are launched up the road in their haste to depart the scene before they are asked to pay for their ungentle manly manhandling of the pristine layer of tarmac.
Everywhere there is noise and movement. Flashing machines bark and snap left and right fighting to be freed from the grip of gravity and momentum. Twisting and turning driver and car wrestle each other for control, sweat stinging eyes, temperatures rising hot sticky rubber wearing thin with the strain of keeping everything planted on the edge of control, of adhesion and the short trip to the dark undergrowth and hard, hard wall. Quick precise fingers caress the gentle curves of the circuits, teasing the car to ever greater heights of desire to go faster and faster, building all the time.
Man and machine writhing together, faster and faster the cars pulsating around and around the track until finally the matador stands before the crowd and waves the flag in the face of the rampaging bulls and stallions, the crowd releases its breath in a wave of shouted exultation.
Then suddenly the champagne is being sprayed hard and fast high into the air and over the gently cooling bodies of the cars below. Fountains and fountains of sweet sticky fizz, eyes screwed shut against the jets of ice cold liquid. The media scrum a frenzy of flashlights blazing to capture the moments, the open eyed moment of glory as the victor, fist clenched, finger hard and pointing to the watching throng, demands their adulation and recognition.
won his second championship, a back to back championship no less and he is the
youngest driver to do so.
really argue with the results either, he’s beaten everyone without too much
difficulty. Poles, podiums and enough wins to write a new chapter in the record
books headed “The next generation”.
So why does
it all feel like such and anticlimax? Where’s the Hullabaloo, the Pizzazz and
razzamatazz? Where are the bright lights,
big fanfare and sparkly jackets, the dancing girls and fireworks of flashlight
what happens when you win the title with four races to go. The circus has to be
in Korea by Wednesday to set up for the next round of the now redundant
championship. So there’s no time to get all worked up. And because this has
been telegraphed for six months, it’s no big surprise. Not like last year when
Vettel came from behind and snatched the prize from under noses of Alonso and
Webber. This year it has felt like a foregone conclusion since pretty much the
first round. Vettel has just had that aura around him that this is destined to
happen, that this is as inevitable as the Sun rising tomorrow and a Conservative
MP getting embroiled in a dirty little sex and nepotism scandal.
the aura I’m still not convinced he’s the second coming either. Yes there is
the pass on the outside of the Curva Grande, two wheels on the grass past a
Ferrari on cold tires. But that was the highlight of an otherwise undemanding
I think the
other drivers have dropped the ball and missed chances to take the fight to
Vettel. Whilst he has undoubtedly performance as required all season as he is
paid to do, go out and win every week lad. There hasn’t been a consistent challenge
to him in reality
has over driven a poor car and tripped over other, less talented, drivers.
driven into far too many drivers again and made basic in qualifying and school
boy errors off the line time and again.
been hobbled by a Ferrari that couldn’t seem to get its tires to work at half
the circuits and seemed to go backwards at half distance.
has got his act together and the second half of the season has seen him get his
mojo finally up to speed. But alas for the spectacle it has been too little too
was another pretty good one in a year of pretty good drives. He seems to have
grown in confidence and stature as the season has gone on and now it seems that
McLaren are turning into the Jenson Button team. More through a process of the team just
following the success of a driver rather than an Alonso giving it all the “big I
am”. This more than anything has probably contributed to Hamilton having a year
to forget. The realisation that results are what a team need to gel it around a
driver, rather than a feisty girlfriend and a few hip hop stars on the guest
was another where Jenson just seemed to be on top of his game all weekend. He missed
pole by the gnats proverbial left testicle, but if you need a driver to nail it
lap after lap when the tires are not working, Jenson is your man. So as the
Vettels and Hamilton's chewed through tires he just kept his head together and
worked the car to win the race. A good
pit stop and being Mr Consistent left the other drivers to scrap for the second
step. He didn’t look like he was going to lose all day. Even when Vettel tried
to drive him off the circuit at the start of the race, the new improved calm
Button just got his act together and drove the perfect race.
It was all rather
dull in the end.
and Massa reconvened their on circuit spats again. This time Massa attempted a very
ambitious move around the outside of Hamilton into the chicane at the end of
the lap. Oddly, this “avoidable contact” didn’t end with the (Ferrari) driver getting a drive through
after he clouted a car he was trying to
overtake .... one rule for the, one rule for the rest.
Not that it
made much difference to either Hamilton or Massa. Both look like they want the
season to end so that can leave the media spotlight for a bit.
As for the
rest, I don’t know. I was half asleep after watching the Bathurst race.
Stuff like this.
Exciting stuff, i think you'll agree, anyway.
I fell asleep for the last few laps. Vettel got told to go for the points and
leave Alonso and Button to it. Button was a bit touch and go on the fuel, but
was far enough ahead at the end to protect his lead.
So a very creditable
win for Button at what he called his other home race. He seemed pretty happy
with the result and I think he deserves it. Vettel tried to put the frighteners
on his at the start, squeezing him onto the grass as they all raced into turn
one. Three or four years ago that sort of thing would have got the blood boiling
and Jenson would have been all over the show. These days he gets his head down
and wins. You can’t ask for much more than that, he even got the fastest lap
for good measure.
second, finally the ability of the Ferrari to not work its tires pays off and
he gets a podium result for his troubles. Kept Button honest at the end, but didn’t
look like he was going to catch and pass the plucky Brit in the remaining laps.
Vettels was protecting his championship point so wasn’t going to try anything
Banzi any time soon.
what needs doing and rode lady luck all the way to third. Was a bit naughty
with the squeeze on Jenson at the start, the fact is, that is the only time so
far this year that you could say he has been naughty, gone is the “crash kid” tag
it would seem. Anyway, had thoughts of going for the win, but an older wiser
voice told him not to and he settled for the points and the championship.
has been comprehensible beaten all year, fails to make the podium in the best
car again. Gone is the posturing and the “it’s so unfair they all hate me” shtick.
He’s being very quite these days, admitting his shot at the title was last year
and he missed it. Like Massa I don’t
think he’ll take to being a number two driver very well. The truth can be just
a cruel as Lady Luck.
his tires and hit Massa again for 5th. Like an England Rugby team,
brilliant to watch when it all goes right, frustrating when the promise fails
to deliver. But I still think he’s brilliant.
was 6th apparently.
just as rubbish as normal in 7th
a head cold that would have felled lesser men was just as boring and tedious as
usual and picked up more points for Sauber in 8th. I think he’s turning
into my new Trulli. Just sort of annoyingly there and under the mistaken belief
he’s actually good rather than extremely well sponsored.
yes .. remember him? Well he’s 9th for Renault as Senna who replaced
an under performing Nick Heidfeld got 16th. It’s not just about the
money remember, but it helps. Anyway Petrov got some points. He’ll know his
fate in a week or two after Kubica gets into the simulator to see if his new bionic
does a cracking job coming from the back of the grid to 10th after he failed to
set a qualifying time due to “technical” problems with the car on Saturday.
tail end Charlie is the ever reliable Liuzzi. Who spent most of the event
sitting at the back of the pits watching mechanics take engines out and slot
new engines into his HRT. I’m talking bets on how long it is before he gets
fired for next years driver to get some miles under his belt.
Vettel picks up where he left of last year, but does it with a lot more ease,
less broken bits and no whinging from his team make. If it wasn’t for that
bloody finger, I might actually like the man.
It only seems like yesterday
that we were all sitting around watching the flood lights of Singapore glinting
off the carbon fibre. But suddenly the F1 teams have rocked up for the Japanese
Grand prix at the Suzuka international racing circuit.
I love this circuit;
It’s got a whole load of
motor racing history.
It has got balls out
Grab you nuts and hold
And there is a silly
hairpin for Banzai overtaking moves from the likes of Kobayashi and Webber.
Now, you might ask,
“what’s all the fuss about?” and the simple answer is its old school this
place. It’s tight and needs controlled aggression down the long fast sweeping
curves, twisting like sinew through the hills. You won’t find any girly runoff
areas that don’t punish the Playstation generation. There are no resets here,
get it wrong and there will be a lot of carbon bits to clear up. Just ask Timo
Glock how hard the pit straight wall is.
Winning here is something you can add to your
CV, it has gravitas. It means something. The Figure of eight track winds
through the countryside and the driver has to work the car, control and direct
the power and speed. If the car has a mind of its own or the driver isn’t on
top of his game he will tool around getting in front of the fast boys. The 130R corner into the hair pin before the
pit straight is a test of courage and set up. It’s lost some of its bite like Eau
Rouge at Spa but it still demands a certain amount of respect. Last year Lucas
Di Grassi crashed his Virgin on the way
to the grid at 130R.
To win here you need to
have a car that can flow throw the corners, that can caress the rumble strips
and hang out where only the angles like
to take cigarette breaks.
So what’s been happening
in the little bubble of formula One these past weeks?
Well not a lot really.
The Internet has gone into apoplectic rage over the Hamilton v Massa incident.
Most normal people gave a tut when Hamilton grazed the rear tire of Massa’s
Ferrari. Then rolled their eyes as the FIA gave him a drive through for the
most minor of crimes. Finally some raised an eyebrow at Massa smacking Hamilton
in the press pen after the show, there were a few words and that should have
been and end of it all.
But then F1.com released
a highlights package, which had an extra audio message from the Ferrari pit
wall. The lap before Massa and Hamilton are due into the pits Rob Smedley says
to Massa, “Hold Hamilton as much as we can. Destroy his race as much as we can,
c’mon boy!” As the two protagonists exit the pits the Ferrari as usual suffers
from not getting the heat into its tires so that Hamilton gets a run on Massa
and then it all goes wrong for everyone.
Massa limps back but
goes nowhere fast after the safety car “spoils” his race. Hamilton just gets on
with it and races back to a creditable 5th. After the race Massa throws a bit of a
tantrum, Hamilton ignores him and avoids the swinging rattle.
After all of this there
was suggestion that the drivers would like to have a chat about Hamilton and
his “driving standards” during the next drivers meeting, the more astute of you
will recognise the scarlet hand of fate attempting to deflect some awkward
questions coming their way. Or maybe not, I couldn’t possible comment.
The teacups start to
rattle when the Smedley message turns up.
of course sets the internet off, a few tabloids followed and eventually Massa
issued a statement
don’t recall what Rob said. I don’t think there’s any value in stirring up
trouble now and trying to link this with the subsequent contact with Hamilton:
they are two separate moments and they have nothing to do with each other. I’m
sure that Lewis and I will find a way to clear this up and put a lid on this story,
as is only correct between two drivers. What happens on the track should remain
on the track.”
Which is all very noble
and a jolly fine statement until you start wading into the press pen at the end
of a race waving you rattle around and giving someone a slap whilst they’re in
the middle of an interview. The fact that Smedley has to motivate his boy by
telling him to “destroy” another driver’s race is worrying enough. That they
don’t have enough control over him when he goes off to give the interviews
after the race should set alarm bells ringing.
He still seems to be under
the impression he was robbed of a world championship by Hamilton. Forgetting
that the FIA tried everything in the book to stop Hamilton winning that year, even
going so far as to throw the book at him when he overtook Kim in Spa. I suppose being world champion for only 15
seconds could be annoying, but he needs to leave this martyred routine back in
the motor home, get his head down and start driving like he has a pair.
Oddly enough there hasn’t
been much noise from the official Ferrari press off over all of this. If I was
Massa I’d be looking for some back up and wondering where the troops were.
Hamilton meanwhile has
kept his head down whilst the team has said it’s all a storm in a tea cup and
maybe the results speak louder.
Oh come on Vettel will
win and clinch his second world championship here, I think (I’ve not checked)
that Redbull can also wrap up the constructors here too. I don’t think you’ll
find anyone betting against that.
Button has finally
signed on the dotted line with McLaren for a few more years, he looks to be the
best of the rest right now with a car that can take the fight to Vettel, Alonso
and Webber are in close attendance, but Lady Luck has been avoiding them like
the plague recently.
The only real fight left
is for constructors points with Ferrari and McLaren going for second place,
whilst the Force India are chasing Renaults fifth spot and the tail end mob are
trying to look respectable for next year’s sponsorship money.
There is a bit of fight
out there, no one is going to risk it all for a handful of points anymore though.
The smug bastard.
It’s time for some
This Monday sees the
release of the Senna film on DVD and Blu-ray.
If you’ve not had a
chance to see this on the big screen, why not?
Now I think I may have mentioned
before that I’m not Senna’s biggest fan. I find it difficult to respect someone
who was prepared to driver another car off the track to win a championship. But
I did respect his talent. I knew he was one of the best drivers I will ever see
in a racing car.
thing that I got from the film was that Senna was the last of the great
analogue drivers. He was brilliant when it was him an engine and four wheels.
When Electronics came in 1992 /1993 you could see his frustration. And the film
shows the deteriorating relationship with McLaren, as he sees the Williams
electronic packages start to surpass his pure talent.
in the wet in Monaco or on a pole lap at Silverstone was a demonstration in
pure commitment. No one else I’ve ever seen could come out of the pits and just
blow everyone else away with a stunning qualifying lap. He did it time after time and he never tired
of doing it. Vettel is talented, but he’s got the absolutely best car ever
built to help him. When he takes a Toleman HRT to second at Monaco, then
I’ll be impressed.
electronics came in his head and shoulders talent was no longer enough. Yes he
could nail a pole lap, but if the traction control of the Williams launched
them off the line like a rocket from 3rd, pole counted for nothing.
he went to Williams in ’94 and realised that Benetton now had the better
electronic package with Schumacher. He complains that he can’t stay with
Schumacher through the high speed turns, and I think he realises that his talent
isn’t enough anymore.
footage of Senna on the day he dies is very, very moving. You see a man haunted
by the desire to win, but know his talent is no longer enough. He’s taking more
risks than he’s comfortable with and you just want to step into the screen and
tell him not to go out. Not to get into the car and to just walk away.
you to buy the film on your format of choice
Oh and finally, the Bathurst 1000km is on this weekend.