So then, five races completed with five different winners in five different teams. Shall we have a look at those five different winning combination?
- Australia: Button - McLaren
- Malaysia: Alonso -Ferrari
- China: Rosberg - Mercedes
- Bahrain: Vettel - Redbull
- Spain: Maldonado – Williams
It’s an interesting bunch is it not? With two new faces in the line up that we have not seen before, one was knocking on the door marked “win” for some time whilst the other said “paid drivers only”. The others have visited the top step numerous times over the years, two of the drivers are double would champions. Vettel and Alonso are now tied at the top of the heap with 61 points each, Vettel has complained about the handling of his Redbull whilst Alonso has complained about his whole Ferrari. Experience, determination and shear bloody grit is driving these two to get points out of cars that don’t want to play. Button thought he had a car to take him back to the lifestyle marked “World Champion” but the team and the tyres has worked against him.
But to me, the most interesting thing about that list is who is missing from it.
Where are Hamilton and Kimi? Two of the fastest and most determined racing drivers you will ever have the privilege to see on that thin ribbon of tarmac.
Lewis and Alonso have been the best drivers this year, constantly driving out of their skins to deliver points as either the car fights them or the team makes yet more mistakes. But, Alonso has got a win and is leading the championship with Vettel and Lewis has only three 3rd and two 8th places to show for all his hard work.
Whilst all the media was clamouring to talk to this week’s “next Ferrari driver” they over looked a drive from the back of the grid to a solid points paying top ten spot and he did it on a two stopper. A driver normally slated for burning his tires up as fast as he can, beating his team mate on the way who could only go from 11th to 9th. That was a brilliant points saving drive that keeps him in third behind Vettel and Alonso.
Meanwhile Kimi has, completely against my expectations I will admit, blown back into F1 after tooling around the forests of the world and shown Schumacher how a comeback is done.
He learnt in China that the tyres can go off very, very suddenly. The team was overly cautious in Bahrain with tyres capable of taking the win from Vettel and he almost stole 2nd from Alonso in the dying laps of Spain. He is going to get a win this year, as long as Lotus can keep ahead of the McLaren Ferrari and Redbull development curve that is. Meanwhile Schumacher has bitched and moaned about the tyres being rubbish and then drove into the back of Senna for good measure. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
This week’s big seat rumour is that Mickey will be getting the heave ho before the end of the season and a promising young Scot from the Force India side of Mercedes will be parachuted in to pick up the points.
Massa has been told to shape up or ship out by Ferrari ... yet again. But until they can come to terms with another team I suspect Massa is going nowhere (given how well he went in Spain) literally.
Also being told to get his act together is Senna at the new fighting fit Williams. As the dawning realisation hits that they have a car that can win, they’re looking at their drivers and looking at the cheque they bring and the points they’ve got. Most drivers know that Williams is a team with a winning history, so lots of well paid drivers are starting to knock at Franks door with better term and better cheques than poor old Bruno. Even before Pastor won there were questions about Bruno's long term future in F1, I’ve never rated him as a winner so this is not a surprise at all to me. I'm sure he’s a nice bloke and all, but Williams can do better.
So then Monaco where, coincidently Lewis has always gone well (yes, yes apart from last year) and Kimi has demonstrated a win or bust attitude to the place. It’s always a bit of a lottery, round here, and tyres that have a mind and life of their own will certainly spice things up.
Pastor is talking his race up, taking every chance he gets to tell the media how much he loves the twisty circuit. But then all drivers say that when they are fresh faced and new to the glitz of the winners circle. But will he be a first to get a second win this year ... I'm not sure he has it. You need to know when to fight the battles round here to win the war. Last year as Hamilton was tooling around working out his anger management issues on the track and generally behaving like a Chav in a stolen Astra round the local estate, Pastor tried to pick a fight and demonstrate he had some balls. He came off worst in a car that was never in the reckoning to begin with, he should have just let Lewis past and driven for the points, not tried to make a point.
This year he has a better car but Monaco is not the best place start believe all the media has generated around you. You still have to do they driving and avoiding the barrier which is no respecter or ability what so ever, just ask Alonso or Perez about how hard it can be.
And I'm sorry but it all comes back to the tyres, the guy of pole can drive the race he wants. He doesn’t have to follow anyone and the back markers have to get out of his way. He can nurse the tyres look after and protect them. The cars behind are chasing the leader, they will be moving around behind him burning up the rubber and shorting the life of the tyre.
Nowhere else does pole count for so much than Monaco, and who is the best qualifying driver this year? Our boy Lewis, with three (one of which was illegal I grant you) so far this year. So this has to be it, this time the team isn’t going to screw up, Lady Luck is going to smile on the lad and give him the pole and the win, this time.