There we go then, not the most exciting of races but a fine result for Lewis after the trials and tribulations of last week in Germany. Lewis crossed the line this week without too much trouble chased by a pair of Lotus drivers that may well have missed their chance of glory this year. Other than that ..... it was a pretty boring race. Not even Schumacher having an old person moment and switching his engine off on the grid could liven this one up.
From the word go Hamilton seems to have the McLaren dialled into the circuit with solid fast practice sessions, with no drama and a happy smiley British lad bouncing around in the pits which is always good to see. Qualifying was a breeze with no one able to touch him for pole, two stunning laps put the matter beyond doubt that the old Hamilton was back this weekend. Only Grosjean looked like taking the fight to the leading McLaren with a fine second on the grid but still 0.413 seconds behind the McLaren.
Come Sunday afternoon and we had two goes at the start when first Schumacher parked in the wrong grid slot then switched his engine off when the yellow flags were waved. As the grid went off for a second formation lap Schumacher was pushed back to the pit lane where his engine was restarted he then sped back to the end of the pit lane to wait for the race to start without him. Unfortunately he forgot to switch on the pit lane speed limiter and once the race did start and he joined the back of the field, he got called back for a drive through penalty. Not his finest hour.
Then we were treated to two hours of drivers following each other and now and again going a bit faster when the car in front pitted. Hamilton stayed in the lead for pretty much all of it, with Grosjean and then Kimi keeping him honest for the afternoon. The Lotus looked pretty fast when not following anything else, this isn’t a track known for its overtaking chances and so it proved once again.
So then a win for Lewis just before the new contract negotiations start. It’s always good to be able to plonk a winner’s trophy on the table before you ask for a raise and this one comes after a very tough first half of the season. This performance was classic Lewis, dominating the whole weekend; he controlled the race from the front, didn’t get fazed by the lotus cars behind him and kept it on the island for the whole race. He did his job and McLaren just about did theirs. Can he pull this back to Alonso? I think he can, but it’s not going to be easy.
Kimi second with a podium winning drive in the middle of the race, as others pitted for new rubber the ice man drove fastest lap after fastest lap to haul his car from 5th up to 2nd. With a handful of laps left he told the boys on the pit wall that he was never going to be able to take Lewis unless the rear tyres on the McLaren gave up before his. He tried to force Lewis into making a mistake but in reality he just was there to watch Hamilton getting enough points to pass him on the leader board. Will Lotus win this year ... i don’t think so now.
Grosjean was third, he had a shot at second but Kimi pumped in the fast laps and then bumped him off the circuit. There is never any love lost between racing drivers on the track, especially if the other guy is a team mate. Kimi was laying a marker down to the younger team mate there, that winning is something you go and get not something you wait for.
Vettel was 4th with a run that didn’t look like too much hard work. He got jumped by Button at the start but kept at it all afternoon and did what he could with a car that the FIA appear to have taken a keen interest in. The “illegal engine map” was banned before the race and the Redbull certainly didn’t look quite to fast in those long sweeping corner this time out. It might just have been a circuit that didn’t suit the Redbulls as Horner and Vettel said, or it could be a team casting around for an edge once again.
Alonso started 6th and finished 5th after a dull points picking up race. The Ferrari didn’t look remotely fast enough here all weekend but still there he is with enough points to extend his lead over Webber in the championship. That’s the way you do it.
Button 6th after the pit wall called him in for an extra stop and put him out behind Senna who wasn’t very fast and that was the end of his podium hopes.
Senna was 7th in the end and it’s a good result for Williams and Senna when once again Maldonado hit someone and looked the liability he actually is. Senna wasn’t going to break any records this weekend, but he did what he needed to do and finished with all four wheels on the car.
Webber had a weekend to forget after starting in 11 and finishing 8th. Like Vettel he didn’t look like he was too happy with the car all weekend.
Massa 9th and another ‘not a very good weekend for the Brazilian’ type race. The word is his contract hasn’t been picked up for next year, no big surprise there.
And Rosberg rounds out the top ten; he’d started 13th and confirms that the Mercs don’t like the heat one little bit.
Vettel got the fastest lap and this weeks last man standing is De La Rosa for a change in the other HRT.
So then that’s the end of the first half of the season, the circus has a month’s layoff before Spa in September. So then Alonso, despite only coming 5th managed to extend his lead in the championship, can anyone stop this roll now ?