Sunday, 25 September 2011

There's been an incident, give Hamilton a drive through.

Well it wasn’t a classic, but it had its moment.

But if I was Lewis Hamilton I’d be asking........... WHY ME ???? 

Yeah I’m a fan of Lewis, I admit it, I love his balls out get the job done, “I stop racing when the flag stops waving” attitude. I think he’s ace and I also think the FIA is trying to stamp on him and his old school attitude to racing. 

If you want drivers to go out and try racing, you have to expect a certain amount of actual racing. There might even be a bit of contact now and again, but as long as no one gets hurt that’s all good, right? It’s exciting and we want exciting after years and years of watching processional races. This sort of exciting racing we are talking about could be typified with the Rosberg/Perez incident. Rosberg gets it a bit squiffy coming out of a corner so that Perez can get a bit of a run on him and takes the position, but Rosberg is having none of it. Onto the main straight they wave around a bit as Rosberg pulls alongside into turn one and they end up having a bit of a handbags match which results in Perez being bumped off the circuit. The upshot is that Rosberg keeps his place and Perez drops back enough for Schumacher to have a run at him. Except Perez “brakes earlier then I expected” according to Schumacher who collides with the back of Perez’s car and is launched into the air, before smacking the wall quite hard. 

How does the FIA react to this “exciting” racing? They ‘investigate’ Perez and Rosberg for a bit, and then decide that there was no malice and intent and everyone was fine so let’s get on with the race. No harm, no foul. A racing incident you could say.

Now let’s look at the way the FIA react to the Massa/Hamilton ‘incident’.
Lewis is tucked up behind Massa; he’s out of position after a poor start when he had to avoid a slow starting Webber. Finally after a few laps of following the Ferrari Hamilton is within one second and has his DRS open coming into the braking zone. He’s gone to the outside but realises that he’s not going to make that work so brakes and starts to cut back to try and undercut Massa out of the corner. But Massa on the inside of the corner and ahead, is braking earlier than Lewis. This catches the McLaren driver out who locks his front outside wheel and the left side of his wing clips Massa’s rear right tire. Lewis loses the right side of his wing and Felipe gets a puncture.

No one is hurt and there are no flying cars. Massa limps it back to the pits for a new tire, whilst Hamilton tries to carry on for another lap but has to pit for a new nose a lap later. They are both back towards the rear of the field after all of his but both can carry on. 

So how does the FIA react? No harm no foul? A racing incident perhaps? No they throw the rule book at Hamilton and give his a drive through for “avoidable contact”, yet Rosberg nurfing Perez off the circuit and indirectly causing Schumacher to end up in the wall is laughed off with a cheery “you guys!!” wave.

Where is the consistency here?

The only highlight of all of this is that we are treated to the spectacle of Massa in the post race interview looking like a kindly old uncle has offered him a Worthers Original then tried to touch him in the unmentionables. He bleats on that Hamilton is a dangerous driver that doesn’t think and he could have killed everyone in 20 mile radius with his Kamikaze move that was dangerous and mad and stuff and he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a race track.

Oh get a grip Massa, he touched your right rear tire, he didn’t crash into the back of you and drive over your head. He also didn’t then drive like a school teacher after a hard day in front of the upper fifth three days before the end of term. No he went out and spanked it passing Massa easily the second time and hauling his backside from pretty much last to 5th. Proper old school racing that.

Yet the FIA seem to have a downer on Hamilton, he could have won this, but lady luck just doesn’t want to give the plucky Brit a break right now. He got caught by Webber off the line went left and got squeezed into turn one, from there on in he was always fighting to get back to the leaders.  But I want to see that, I want to see drivers fighting to win, not tooling around whining like a baby when they get found out.

However just to be fair, after the race Schumacher did get a slap wrist for driving into Perez.....

Anyway, Vettel won.


Yet again.

Button kept him honest at the end by appearing to catch him, but it was all a little bit too late and ultimately in vain. Vettel had the race won by the time he got to turn one when the lights went out.  As the others tried to catch him he was turning in fastest lap after fastest lap. Dull really, but there you go the perfect storm, Newey has produced possibly the best car of this generations whilst Vettel is completely and totally in tune with this slab of automobile perfection. Even a second rate talent like Webber, even race after race as he cocks up the start yet again he can haul the car onto the podium. He’s not as in tune with it as Vettel but he can show the potential of the car ... Imagine Hamilton in the car... that would be something to see.

So then, Vettel gets pole and wins blah blah blah he only needs one more point to take the title. Do you think he’ll drop the ball now ... no me neither.

Button gets second which is about as good as he could hope for, Vettel played with him a bit at the end but he was never going to be caught. This is Buttons 5th podium since Canada eight races ago. If only Vettel wasn’t so far ahead, we could have had a classic season on our hands, If Button can win every race and Vettel fails to finish anymore we would have a British champion. But that’s not going to happen any time soon. To his credit though he did get the fastest lap in the closing stages, so at least he can say he was trying.

Webber is third and didn’t have to do too much for that. A couple of spunky overtakes, but only because he didn’t get it off the line cleanly yet again. This year there has been a lot less whining about the team favouring Vettel over him, I think the penny may have dropped that he’s not all that great and it’s better to get results then believe your own press.

Alonso drives it home to 4th the Ferrari once it gets to half distance just seems to give up the fight and fade away. It’s rubbish on hard tires and half a tank of fuel. Alonso will always try, but you can’t pass wind in the face of a thunderstorm, as I tried to explain to my God Daughter only the other day.

Hamilton eventually brings it home to 5th, if the FIA hadn’t got all in his face he could have been with Button giving Vettel a few squeaky moments towards the end.  Another one to chalk up to experience and move on, next year’s car will be better.... hopefully.

Paul Di Resta rediscovers his mojo and gets an excellent 6th. He drove a smart intelligent race, not making it easy for faster cars to pass him, but not being getting in the way of cars he was never going to beat. This might sound like he was giving up and not fighting, but to finish first, first you need to finish. He doesn’t have a car that can beat a healthy McLaren, Ferrari or Redbull. So why ruin their race and risk getting punted in to the wall, better to let them pass and not lose time to his true rivals in the Sauber and Williams cars. A good solid result and another step towards a front line drive one day.

Rosberg ends up 7th and needs to buck his ideas up. He couldn’t pass Sutil when he needed to and looked like a hoodie with a car full of recently ‘acquired’ DVD players being chased by the old bill through some market down of central England on a Saturday night. When Perez tried to punish him for his mistake he was all over the shop, perfectly acceptably according to the FIA as it turns out. I’m surprised he didn’t get out of the car at the end and make a dash for the nearest garden shed to hide out from the eye in the sky with the heat seeking camera. Time is running out for this once very shiny star.

Sutil... yes remember him? Well he was 8th, got in the way a lot and was dull.

Massa 9th should do his talking on the race track and stop whining like a girl that it’s all so unfair when the bigger kids get a bit rough.

Perez makes it to 10th which is a shame; he could have got more if Rosberg hadn’t punted him out of the way. But really, he’ll think that this sort of boring slowly, slowly racing is somehow worthy. That if you stay out of trouble and just tool round you will pick up points as other more interesting and exciting drivers aim high but fail. He’s starting to think he’s a big fish in a small pond with this uninspiring point collecting races.
 He had a test drive with Ferrari last week, as part of their driver development program. And this sort of thing will do his hopes of getting a Ferrari drive in 2013 no harm what so ever. But he thinks it’s because he can win in a faster car, when really his ability to do as he’s told and just keep driving round without getting into trouble is all Ferrari want to compliment Alonso. It’s kept Massa in a job for the last two years after all.

Now our last place driver is going to be the Liuzzi because even though the FIA classified Alguersuari as a finisher, he wasn’t moving when the flag dropped, therefore he can ‘t win our award.

And that’s you lot, see you two weeks for the Japanese GP, I’m going to bed its late.

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