Sunday, 9 June 2013

It's that German lad again .. oh the joy!

Well there you go then, Vettel didn’t even need to break into a sweat for that did he, and it’s all starting to look dreadfully predictable (well maybe not for some of you). The Wall of Champions had ONE job this weekend and it failed spectacularly in its mission.  Hopeless.

Do you think anyone can stop him? I don’t, well I don’t think he’s going to win every race between here and Brazil ... but he doesn’t have to now. As long as he finishes in the points and keeps it all ticking over, that’ll be enough won’t it.  Alonso and Kimi don’t look like they can keep the challenge going week after week really; the Ferrari is a little suspect at qualifying and the Lotus doesn’t like cold days and slippery tracks. Alonso showed us again what a fantastic driver he is when he has to chase the points down, with another balls to the wall drive from sixth this time. Kimi meanwhile just couldn’t get the Lotus to grip the blacks stuff and was trying to make something of a ninth place start.

Then you have the Merc which are fast ish ... and a day spent testing 2014 Pirelli rubber has made no difference to their race pace, despite what that nitwit Horner might say. They haven’t been able to make the car work for three years on Italian rubber; one day in Bahrain isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference.  Lewis will drive the arse off anything you give him but the thing goes through rubber faster than a season pro in the plot challenge films of Hollywood’s more spicy film industry.

Saying that, there weren’t too many teams complaining about the tyres this weekend, two days of cold wet rain meant the track was pretty green and the wear rates were down for everyone.  Without a series of long fast corners the temperatures couldn’t build up to dangerous levels.  During the race Di Resta even managed something like 56 laps on a set of softs, which would have been unthinkable a few races ago.  Maybe ... just maybe the teams have got a handle on the issue.

Anyway.

Wet qualifying always throws up a few interesting sights. This time it was the turn of Bottas to make a name for himself. The rain was hard enough to mean no slicks, but not enough to go from inters to full wets. So it was a bit tippy toes from the drivers keeping the temp down on the inters on the long back straight, so they could thread their way through the tree lines twisty bits that never got a dry line.  Bottas in the Williams was consistently up there as qualifying went on, he didn’t scrap into Q3 by the seat of his pants. No, is was fully deserved and a very creditable career high of third. Vettel and Lewis battled it out for pole with the German just sneaking it as the rain started to get heavier as time ran out.
Not having a good weekend at all was Button who forgot that to do a final quail run you actually have to cross the line before flag drops. They don’t wave you past with a cheery “oh go on then, you loveable scamp”  No trying to be too clever and hanging back to the very last second to start your lap does require you to know how much longer you’ve actually got. As everyone else scampered off for one last attempt to make it into Q3, he took too long and crossed the line after the flag had dropped and so started the race in fourteenth.   

Sunday, dawned bright, sunny and clear. This meant when the lights went out for the start of the race Bottas went backwards rapidly, he made Alonso and Webber work for it, but he didn’t make them work for long.  
Meanwhile Vettel drove off into the distance. Hamilton tried to stay with him for a bit but in reality Vettel was gone after turn one and no one got close to him all afternoon. Back in the pack we got to see some great racing as the laps ticked over. Mass and Sutil where at it tooth and nail, Sutil after almost collecting half the field when he spun trying to pass Bottas into turn five, before Maldonado attempted to use him as a break into the hairpin. With a damaged rear wing he managed to haul his Force India into the points. But then he got a drive through for not getting out of the way of Hamilton and Alonso who were scrapping over second spot.   
Alonso showed you can look after your tyres and still over take on the track with moves past Rosberg, Webber and an enthralling dice with Hamilton. Yes DRS and KERS played a part, but you have to know when to use them and how to do it effectively for it all to work. It was a real master class in proper old school racing. Grosjean please take note.

But yeah, it was really the Vettel show and he didn’t look like he’d broken into a sweat when he got out of the car.  He missed fastest lap to his team mate at the end, had a few dicy moments when he got board and slap the wall or missed turn one. But there was never any challenge from anyone else. The only person that was going to beat Vettel this weekend was Vettel. With Silverstone next which should be prime Redbull territory, followed by Germany and Hungary in July, I think we’re about to see championship run be put together.

Alonso was second with a championship saving run. Like I said, Ferrari are looking edgy right now, the car doesn’t qualify well and it took all of Alonso’s skill to haul it’s backside up to a podium finish. Massa binned the other in qualifying and the team had to work hard to keep the show on the road. Alonso is 32 points behind Vettel now and I can’t see where he’s going to make up the difference.  He needs some more weekends like Spain where it all went right, or else he’s going to be runner up yet again.
Hamilton gets a career reviving podium in third. The witless media will be happy with that for a few weeks. He tried hard to defend second from Alonso, but the Spaniard was on a mission and had just too much grip in the end. But it’s a good result none the less, he almost got pole, but I don’t think it would have made much difference if he had started one place higher; Vettel was just so much faster. It was great to see two of the best drivers going wheel to wheel with inches to spare. Let’s hope we more of the same over the rest of the season.

Webber was fourth and got the fastest lap at the end. He was another than couldn’t stop the remorseless drive of Alonso to the podium. He was doing alright just about holding him off until he met our favourite rubbish, and here i use the term very loosely, F1 driver; Giedo van der Garde. Giedo who was running as usual in last place, taking in the sights of MontrĂ©al, waving to the crowd, sighing autographs as he drove slowly past. He was smiling and waving at the crowds so much coming in to the hairpin that he completely missed every single marshal waving a big blue flag at him. Wondering around on the racing line like it didn’t apply to him, he turned into the apex from about six miles away and was surprised to find Webber was already there. Queue comedy spin with bits of Webber wing end plate bouncing off and around for humorous effect. It didn’t stop the grumpy Ozzy, with a couple of fastest laps later. But breaking into the big stops was a bit compromised and Alonso was soon past.  It’s an okay result for Mark, but it’s not the start of a championship run is it. How long before he announces he’s off to the Porsche Le Mans gig ? Also getting a fastest lap at the end of the race in fourth just shows the team boss he wasn’t trying hard enough for the rest of the race, in my opinion.

Rosberg fifth and one of those, “was he there?” races we talked about at the start of the season see, brilliant in Monaco one week, faceless in Canada the next. He complained he didn’t qualify well because his radio didn’t work and he didn’t know he had three laps or fuel not two. Which is rubbish and we all know that. Get out there and drive it like you didn’t just borrow it from your mum you idiot! I have no idea what his excuse for the race is, and I don’t really care. Must do better next time, young man.

Vergne, puts done his marker for the Redbull seat next year with sixth. After the eighth in Monaco he’s having a good run of results. With 13 points to Ricciardos 7 he’s the one to watch at the moment.

Di Resta is also on a mission to save his career in seventh. Two weeks now the team has clowned around and left him stranded at the back of the grid. This time they were fixing a faulty do darr when he should have been qualifying and absolutely nothing to do with Paul not going fast enough or anything.  Anyway, he started in seventeenth and made it all the way to lap 56 before he had to change tyres. That’s some going considering he’d done no long run testing and practice had been short and wet.  It was a good solid driver and could well have been a podium run if he’s just qualified better ... I mean if the team had been on the ball.

Eighth for Massa and again another run from the back end of the grid after he binned it in Q2, well at least he finished this time, after the nightmare in Monaco. He’s started to get a bit wobbly again and people are starting to talk about Massa like he isn’t in the room .... when he’s standing right there. He needs a top five at Silverstone really.

Kimi was ninth and didn’t get hit by anyone this week. I think he’s either now joint or has become the driver with the longest points scoring run ever in F1.  This is a fairly meaningless achievement when he only has one world championship and is 44 points behind Vettel this year! Still it could be worse, he could be Grosjean. Lotus are making a big deal about this and it just shows you they are scraping around for good news stories down there. From being title contenders to “yeah he’s got loads of points and finishes and stuff (but not quite enough to lead the championship) and he’s ace at drinking Vodka and eating ice creams ... gggrrrr don’t tell him what to do heheheheh......heh...he ............sigh”.

Sutil was tenth and I think a little unlucky with the drive through for ignoring blue flags. He tried to get off the line to let Hamilton and Alonso through but he was caught at a point you can’t easily do that.  When they got to the hairpin he got out of the way, Hamilton had too many laps to defend against Alonso so ultimately it made no difference Sutil holding them up for a corner to two.  But it was Ferrari so you know; the FIA likes to throw its weight around every now and again.

Right, Giedo got taken out by Hulkenberg this time I'm afraid so it’s the turn of plucky Brit Max Chilton to be last this time, well done him.

And that’s your lot because it’s late and I'm tired.


Well done to whoever won, see you in Silverstone in two weeks time.

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