Monday, 29 August 2011
Spa, better than a 1000km drive from the Alps
Well then, after traveling 1000km from the foothill of the Alps I returned just in time to find Bruno Senna of all people on the grid for the Belgium GP. I have yet to find out why Heidfeld got the old heave ho, but i suspect it’s a money related issue. Oh they might well say they’re unhappy with the results that Heidfeld was getting and they want to build a future with a young driver etc. But at least Heidfeld can get the car round the first corner of the race without hitting anyone.
I didn’t see qualifying but it sounds like the weather played it’s usual roll in proceedings. leaving Schumacher and Button out of position and Vettel on his customary pole.
I understand there was a bit of a to do over the state of the tires after qualifying, with Redbull rather unhappy that they couldn’t change their tires on the grid and still have pole. Their tires were blistering on the inside of the fronts which could under load cause the tires to fail in some of the higher speed corners. The FIA considered this appeal from Redbull, then told them to “Man up and get on with it. If they wanted to change their tires they could have a 10 place grid drop like anyone else. Now stop whining and get on with the racing” Newey threw his hands in the air and
flounced around telling all and sundry that the end was nigh.
Once the race got started under clear blue skies, Webber forgot to engage first gear and got swallowed by the rest of the pack, Rosberg got a blinder off the line and lead the race by the time they got to La Source, then Senna tried to take out half the field with a Banzai move up the inside on locked up cold tires.
Once it was all sorted out Rosberg lead from Vettel and Massa of all people for a couple of laps, before the Merc ran out of puff and Vettel cruised past him. Not doing any cruising was Hamilton, normally a driver to spank this place, he was having trouble keeping up with the big boys on the long straights. McLaren had expected rain and stuck the big wing on the back rather than the tea tray like everyone else. He was doing alright but had to drive the nuts off the car in the twisty middle part of the circuit to keep up with big boys.
Vettel and Webber with the first to blink with tires that were blistering after 5 and 3 laps respectively. Newey gave everyone a knowing smug “i told you so” look, then scratched his head as Hamilton kept his tires until lap 10 when he pitted from the lead. This put him out behind Kobayashi in a Sauber that the McLaren would normally zip past. Through Eau Rouge and up the Kemmel Straight the McLaren just about had the legs to take the Sauber before the breaking point. Hamilton moved to the inside of the corner to cover the racing line, perfectly legal, then drifted back across the track to take the racing line. Except he didn’t see that Kobayashi was still right with him already on the racing line.
Now it’s easy to sit on a sofa and spit your tea across the room in abject rage as you point at the screen and curse Hamilton to the heavens. You can leap upon the sofa and call Hamilton all the names under the sun and swear you will have vengeance in this life or the next whilst smiling smugly that you always said he was a poor driver. But the fact is, at 180mph the drivers can’t see much over their left shoulder when they are coming into the chicane at Les Combes. It’s a snappy little right left right, that needs concentration, so Hamilton thought he was clear as he had made the pass before the breaking zone, he didn’t see Koby probably because he didn’t think the the Sauber would try to come up the outside of him into a corner that he was leading into.
You can argue until you are blue in the face, but Hamilton was ahead going into the corner and Koby was in the the blind spot and does have a duty to avoid the car in front. You can argue that Hamilton had made his one move to cover the corner and was moving back across the circuit and should have checked that he was clear to do so. I think he just didn’t think the Sauber would be there and he took his eyes off the Sauber at the wrong moment and missed the white car closing in on him. It’s a racing incident, Hamilton held his hands up afterwards and said;
"After watching the replay, I realise it was my fault today 100 per cent," said Hamilton via his Twitter feed. "I didn't give Kobayashi enough room though, I thought I was past”
The end result was a lengthy safety car period as they cleared the remains of Hamilton’s car off the track. Koby continued on and the internet went into overdrive with accusations that Hamilton is the Devil/God incarnate and should be Hung up by his testicals/made king of the world.
Meanwhile Vettel took over the lead, from Alonso who hadn’t pitted for new tires during the safety car period. And that was it for the race. Button made things interesting for a bit chasing the leaders down he got Alonso for 3rd but couldn’t quite reach Webber who had recovered from his woeful start with a fine drive to second. Webber got the fastest lap and the move of the race when he passed Alonso down the hill into Eau Rouge, a move that requires a lot of guts and Alonso to not cock around.
So Vettel wins, yadda yadda yadda, all be over by Singapore and the Constructors is pretty much a done deal now.
Webber Second, poor start, good recovery and a fine 1-2 for Redbull.
Button got third but could have won if not for a nose change and a rear wing that got broken in the first corner carnage.
Alonso brings it home 4th blaming the safety car for the Ferrari not being fast enough and not looking after it’s tires.
Schumacher a mistake in qualifying meant he didn’t qualify, during the race he looked after the fuel and tires and gets a well deserved 5th for his troubles.
Rosberg gets beaten by Schumacher for a change, he got a scorcher off the line and lead for a lap or two before normal service was resumed. the Merc is defiantly the next best thing after the top three teams now. Especially if Renault are going to fire perfectly acceptable drivers for the cash now.
Sutil, was apparently 7th.
Massa looked better then 8th, but wasn’t.
Petrov is now able to look better than his team mate in 9th and must be happy he has Russian money to back him up.
Finally Maldonado makes it to 10th after trying to kill himself and Hamilton in Qualifying.
Well done all
see you in two weeks time for the Italian GP, except I'm going to the Silverstone 1000km instead.
More dispatches from Julian Bowdidge
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