And about bloody time too. Does it seem like it’s been a long, long year to you ? It does to me and I’m not too sure why really. We’ve had some great racing, but a lot of well, dull races. You knew who was going to win after the first corner for pretty much the whole season.
Most people had realized that Vettel was going to walk this championship after Spain. Oh there was Hamilton’s win in china, with a pass for the win least we forget. But that is pretty much it in terms of dicing for the win. There was a sort of omnipresent feeling that Vettel was going to be untouchable all year .... and he has been.
But I don’t want this to sound like I’m moaning about it all. On balance it’s been a good year, the racing away from the top spot has been cracking. Once Vettel had disappeared off into the distance, we could watch Hamilton and Massa clouting each other whilst Alonso dragged a lame stallion to places it shouldn’t have been. Button really settled into the McLaren suit like it had been made for him, as Webber looked like his Redbull had been made for someone else smaller and more German.
The midfield saw Mercedes struggle to catch the big boys, Renault fail to deliver its revolutionary exhaust to the front. Both of these big spenders found themselves being swamped by the likes of Sauber and Force India. Who might not have been up there challenging the top five, but they were both a constant feature of the lower top ten.
With Torro Rosso suddenly getting their act together for the latter half of the season we’ve had an interesting fight for sixth place all season. If you were watching it of course, it was easy to miss some weekends.
Lower down and Williams has had its worst year ever, Lotus continued to look the most professional, while HRT and Virgin continued to look inept and rubbish. Actually that’s a bit unfair. HRT have tried hard, they weren’t helped by the thing being sold to a bunch of money men, but they turned up to every race and they kept going in the certain knowledge they’d be 3 or 4 laps behind the winner and they didn’t give up. Virgin sold up to the Russians and fired the Wurth squad which was unfair but probably the right thing to do.
I like a plucky underdog and HRT have provided plenty of amusing quotes for me this year.
The drivers market has been a bit static this year. Kubica was the key but then he crashed before he could take the Ferrari seat everyone expected him to claim in 2012. Now with Kubica saying this week he’s not going to be in any F1 cars in 2012 (and I suspect ever, I’m afraid) 2012 could well see the major teams jockeying for drivers for 2013. Massa, Webber, Hamilton, Schumacher, Sutil and Di Resta are all expected to be moving, some to other teams, other to a long overdue retirement. Driver like Barrichello are not expected back in 2012 anywhere and Schumacher needs to start justifying the paycheck soon.
There is absolutely nothing at all to race for here, except pride. So I expect Webber to be all gungho and balls out to restore some credibility, Hamilton to keep the ball rolling into next year and Massa to start the “getting his finger out to keep his seat for 20 races next year” program. This week Ferrari has told Massa that no seat is guaranteed despite what the contract might say. So he’s on a notice to start delivering with a bit more consistency.
but really, Vettel is going to win this one and a McLaren will be behind, probably.
Our championship is still up for grabs so please update your predictions and pray they make a fist of it in Sao Paulo.