Sunday, 30 October 2011

Vettel .... who else

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 practice, said;
“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.

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