Right then, what do we make of all that then?
The big story of the weekend was the engine mapping and whether the teams could run with some fuelled over run, some unfueled over run or none what so ever. At the Valencia event the FIA had told the teams that all engine over run to blow exhaust gas through the diffuser in the middle of the corner was a complete no no from the British GP onwards. The teams turned round and complained alot and then said “well ok, if we must”. Which was all fine and dandy until Mercedes went to Charlie Whiting the head of the technical department at the FIA on Monday and said,
“Zee car vill not vork with no over run. Ve promise not to burn any vuel but vill only blow air over ze diffuser mine heir” Charlie though this through and said okay. When the Renault heard about this on the Friday of the British GP they said
“zoot alors this is not on, we want the same break”, Charlie said “well, okay then but don’t tell anyone else.”
Except the whole point of this ban was to stop Redbull with its Renault engine from disappearing off into the distance. Give them the break and what do you know the Redbulls are just as fast as they ever where and Ferrari can’t get pole. So on Saturday morning Charlie turns round to the Renault teams and says ...”Look, you know I said it was okay to run the same engine map as you had at Valencia ... see the thing is you didn’t ask me before some random secret cut off point that I didn’t tell anyone about and have only just made up. So Mercedes engines can run with the Valencia map because they asked for the break on Monday, and you can’t because you demanded the same treatment on Friday”.
Now I don’t think Christian Horner is the best team boss out there, he is just a mouth piece for the Redbull drinks company at times and did kind of screw Webber over somewhat last year. But even I think he has every right to be pissed off when he’s told the three legged race is going to be run with the other teams only holding hands whilst he’s going to have to be blindfolded as well as tied up.
He got shafted and he wasn’t going to go quietly.
So whilst the cars tooled round in practice 3 on Saturday morning Horner and Adrian Newey were up at race control reading the riot act. This dragged the rest of the teams in and there was a lot of to’ing and not a little fro’ing between the FIA, Bernie’s truck and the conference room where the Technical committee tried to sort the whole sort mess out.
Meanwhile Webber and Vettel did their normal job with their “hobbled and woefully underpowered” cars and got first and second on the grid for the race on Sunday by about the normal length of time it takes to lie your face off the FIA. Meanwhile the McLaren’s played the game with a straight bat, turned the blown diffuser off and were one and half seconds off pole for Jenson in 5th and two seconds in 10th for Lewis. You make your own minds up here, I couldn’t possible comment on who had the right to the self righteous indignation.
So Sunday dawns with a drop or two of rain in the air and the blown diffuser row is still rumbling on annoying everyone like an HRT at the back of the grid.
The teams were going to sign a letter to the FIA saying “Up yours you can’t police this stupid rule and it’s too late in the season to be changing stuff”. Except the Ferrari engine teams of Sauber and oh Ferrari said, “Well actually we rather like this rule so we’re not going to sign anything”. So we have more shuttle diplomacy, Bernie’s called in and the FIA throw their hands in the air. Then it all goes very quite on the subject and as the teams line up the start grid, Bernie pops up on the BBC pre race grid walk to say .. “No mate, it’s all fine and dandy no worries, nothing to see here me old china it’s a done deal nar what I mean” there is a bit of head scratching from the media and suddenly no team manager want to talk about it and it looks like a compromise has broken out.
Now if you are, as I am, an avid F1 watcher you will know that Bernie is less than happy with Mr Todt. The FIA seems to be trying to take over the running of F1 as the rule writer and impose some sort of checks and balances. Whilst Bernie is feeling like his toes are being stepped on and is getting a bit shirty about this take over. It’s his baby, he’s nurtured this after all into the global phenomenon that it is and is not a happy bunny.
F1 watchers are viewing this as another victory for Bernie in the on going war. The FIA have been made to look stupid whilst the FOTA teams are united behind Bernie against the FIA. Mr Todt who had nothing to do with all of this is going to have to cop the flack and field the questions whilst Bernie rubs his hands and darkly laughs to himself in the shadows. My wife insists I say ALLEGEDLY for legal reasons at this point. Mr Ecclestone might not rub his hands.
Back on track and half the circuit is very wet and the other half is bone dry, so it’s inters all round as the drivers watch the lights go out and they get to some actual racing. Webber on pole once again chokes and what was a fine pole is suddenly yet another second place as Vettel storms past him into his usual first place.
Hamilton makes a blinding start from 10th and is up to 6th by the end of the first lap. We then get treated to a master class from Hamilton as he carves his way back up the field, whilst the likes of Schumacher attempted to nail anything in his way.
As the race progressed we got to see Lewis drive the backside off the car on a greasy track with slick tires. He managed to work his way up to Alonso in third and never one to back out of a challenge, took the Spaniard on the inside at Copse corner. That isn’t normally a place you over take another car, it’s even less of a good idea when there is a dry line through the corner and the only way to pass is to go off line through the marbles and water. Yet that’s what Lewis did, through the spray he nailed Alonso to the cheers and cries of the fans on the muddy banking. They have a Hero and he didn’t disappoint them.
McLaren however did disappoint them. Button who was keeping it steady and sneaking up to a podium went into the pits for a new set of slicks, but a missing wheel nut and a lollypop man missing the signal sent Jenson back out with only three wheel fully attached to the car. He got as far as the pit lane exit before the wheel tried to part company with the car and Jensen’s afternoon was done.
Then Lewis got a message over the radio to tell him to turn the aircon off and only use fifth gear as the lads had only put enough fuel in the car to make it to the lap before the end of the race. Lewis was a sitting duck and before long Alonso was back past him and hunting for the win.
It was all looking like a normal day at the office for Vettel at the front of the race until the last pit stop when randomly there was a problem with a wheel and he got delayed, that was enough for Alonso to take the lead and cruise to the flag.
As the race wound down Alonso cruised it ahead of Vettel who was being caught hand over fist by Webber trying to restore some sort of pride. That is until Horner got on the blower and said “Oi cut that out you’re a number two driver and you’re not allowed to take points away from the runaway championship leader” Webber ignored it and tried to pass the German anyway but couldn’t even do that.
Massa had been told that Hamilton was a bit touch and go on the fuel so girding his loins he tried to make a race of it. As Alonso crossed the line for a comfortable victory, Webber was giving it two fingers to the pit wall and tried to sneak one past Vettel but couldn’t, then Massa had a bit of a wild lunge into the last corner up the outside of Lewis who locked it all up and the swapped a bit of paint with the Ferrari, Lewis cut back inside as the Massa gunned it out of the corner and took to the run off trying to get the power down. Hamilton got 4th place by 0.1 of a second as the fans erupted on the banking.
The final result
Alonso in 1st with a pretty easy win all told, he had the pace of the Redbulls once his tires got up to temperature and would probably have won without Vettel getting caught in the pits. Does this mean we have a race for the championship afterall? Not a chance, Vettel can cruise it from here and still win comfortably. But he might have to work a bit harder now.
Vettel Still on the podium in 2nd. Nine races, six wins and three seconds it’s that easy for him. However, he couldn’t take Hamilton who was struggling with low grip and low fuel. Vettel can’t pass and can’t make a pass happen, see Hamilton nailed the winner on a slippery track and Vettel once again relied on a pit stop. I think if Hamilton had a Newey car he’s be 9 and 0 for the year so far.
Webber was on pole but only got 3rd and got bitch slapped for trying to race his team mate. Happy days!
Hamilton had a bit of a rubbish car and drove the nuts off it for 4th. I still think he’s the most exciting driver there is. And he made Vettel look ordinary.
Massa, did alright with 5th and the valiant try for 4th was a flash of the Massa of old.
Rosberg, had a piss poor start but still hit less people than Schumacher top make it to 6th.
Perez, avoided the excitement to make it to 7th and gets the “did he take part in the race, I didn’t see him at all” award this week.
Heidfeld was 8th and did better than I was expecting at least.
Schumacher, lost yet another wing in a fool hardy over taking move and got a stop go penalty as a reward. Was the first of the front runners to stop for slicks as a result and was able to change to the right tire at the right time. Makes it to 9th at the end more by luck than judgement though.
Finally Alguersuari is 10th yet again. I guess being told to get some results or get fired has focused his race craft.
This weeks last place hero was the new boy who was in to replace our regular last place hero Karthikeyan. Yes D.Ricciardo was a mere 3 laps behind the action and in HRT press release watch Colin Kolles has this to say;
Colin Kolles, Hispania Racing Team Principal: “The race for us was quite good because we had a good strategy and did good pit stops. Obviously our cars are not as quick as other cars; this is a little bit unfortunate. Otherwise we could show that we would’ve been much more competitive. The target was to finish the race with both cars, which we did, and both drivers could do some good lap times”.
An exercise in stating the bleeding obvious there.
There we go then. There was fun, there were games. A bit of rain a few laughs and some sun. Can anyone stop Vettel? About as much as they can stop Bernie manipulating the whole thing behind the scenes .... ALLEGEDLY.