Sunday, 16 October 2011

Redbull rampage through the history books

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?
 Who was second last year? .... See you don't care do you.
 And 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 change soon.

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 8th

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 nothing.
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 July.

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