Sunday, 7 July 2013

Its all about the pit stop chess game.

Well there you go, Lotus are going to really struggle with these new tyres aren't they ..... oh, no wait .... the other thing.

Well to be fair they have always gone well when the track temps get up around the frighteningly hot level. However, normally it’s Kimi taking the fight to the front, not Roman who usually bins it before the end of the first lap. However, this time he was the class of the field to my eyes.  The team eventually had to tell him to get out of Kimi’s way to keep the Lotus team leader in the hunt for the title. Even then, he made Kimi work for it, only allowing his “faster” teammate to get by with a handful of laps left to chase Vettel down.
Ahh yes the current world champion, Sebastian once again showed that all he needs is a sniff of the front and he’s happy to deliver you a win. He was not quite fast enough to pip the Merc of Hamilton to the pole yet again, but he was leading the race before the end of the first corner. He had to work at it this time, but the pit wall worked its magic and Lotus once again lost the chess game for track position at the end of the race. 

So Vettel won yet again and didn’t seem overly perturbed by the new tyres.  Overall, I think he deserved this win The Redbull wasn’t the fastest thing in a straight line, but they had enough speed in the corners to hold off the faster Lotus cars. They played a better game of chess with the pit stops; popping Vettel out into clear air and covering Grosjean when he looked like taking the lead.  He now has a monstrous lead in the title hunt, and I’m not sure where the challenge is going to come from to stop him.
Kimi second, wasn’t as fast as his team mate and was gifted the position at the end.  Obviously the Lotus went well because it was a hot track, but both cars were there at the front this time, which suggest to me that that this was more than just a hot track issue. Maybe the car really likes these interim tyres more than the regular ones used at Silverstone. With only a week between the two races I doubt they had a load of new aero updates to bolt on so that leaves the tyres. Can they carry this on ? Well the Hungarian race in three weeks time is usually a hot race so I think a Lotus on the podium is a good bet.

Grosjean was third and my driver of the day. The TV missed much of his race until the end when they found him behind Vettel. As we all know he’s been on probation this year after his demolition derby antics last year. So he’s sort of been keeping his head down and his nose firmly attached to the car. Not always a successful strategy, but much better than last year’s mess. So it was good to see him up there on merit and then doing the team mate thing.

Alonso was fourth with another disappointing run. The Ferrari just is not fast enough in qualifying or the race. They have got to find some grip and speed it they want to win the title, because right now they are losing to Mercedes and Lotus and Alonso can only do so much with what he’s given. They didn’t bother with a time in final qualifying so they could start the race on the harder tyre and stay out for longer in the first stint. But then Grosjean made his soft tyres last longer than the Ferraris hard, and a podium was lost.  There will be a lot of head scratching at Ferrari HQ in the coming weeks.  He did get the fastest lap at the end of the race has he tried to chase the podium down.  But a wild lap in a car that’s running on fumes isn’t good enough.

Hamilton, started on pole with a cracking lap in qualifying. But as has happened too often this year the race was another story. They looked like they were the team to take the fight to Redbull at Silverstone. Here they were scrapping it out with the McLarens for mid table respectability.  Lewis did better than Nico who hadn’t even made it into Q3, but it was a pretty dismal result for a team that won with ease a week ago.

Button was sixth and was only passed by Hamilton on the last lap this was a much better job from the McLaren boys, with a car that was the runt of the litter at the beginning of the year. I don’t think they’re going to be chasing podiums any time soon, but it looks like they’ll be able to beat the Force India cars at least for the rest of the year. One of these days, McLaren will start a season with a car they don’t to resuscitate after one race.

Webber in seventh was lucky to be in the race at all after the team released him without the right rear bolted on.  The guy his tyre eventually smacked into was lucky to only break a collar bone.  When the pace car appeared, he was waved round to recover the lap he had lost being wheeled back down the pit to stick another right rear on.

Perez was eighth and that is a pretty good result after starting thirteenth.  I’m still not impressed with the Mexican though, I’ll admit he was a bit feisty at the start, but we didn’t see anything else of him until Button cruised past him at the end.  The second coming status seems to be slipping off his shoulder.

Rosberg was ninth and got in the way pretty much all afternoon.

Hulkenberg was tenth in a car that really looked like it was enjoying its new tyres. They made Redbull and Mercedes work hard to pass them, so maybe the car isn’t as rubbish as we thought. Certainly Torro Rosso will be sitting up and taking notice.

Finally Max was last I’m afraid. Almost five seconds behind Van der Garde.

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