Sunday, 30 March 2014

You can take your pit wall call and stuff it up your ar...

You know, these early races are an important time for the drivers, especially those drivers who have changed teams in the winter and are still feeling their way with team mates, mechanics and the voices on the pit wall telling them what to do.
Imagine your Magnussen, stepping up to a front line team from GP2, you want to impress the professionals and deliver on the promise they’ve bestowed on you. You luck into a second place at your first race and want so much to repeat that stellar result. But the reality twins, judgement and perspective, come barrelling through the door like a pair of drunken students on spring break and ransack the place, leaving your race in taters with a penalty drive through.  A hard lesson will be learnt, it’s not all champagne and flashbulbs.

Now imagine your Filipe Massa, a driver past his greatest days, dropping down the pecking order and having maybe one last hurrah with the petrol sponsorship money before a “sabbatical” in GT2 or DTM.  You land a seat with a team also on its downers but with potential and possibly a chance of a podium or two, much to your surprise.  Years of being told to move over for the star driver burning away at your pride and indignation, years of being told that the “star turn is faster than you” or “save the engine, we need the points. Oh and let your smug team mate through too”. Year after year, race after long race, and all the press crucifying you for not being committed enough.    That sort of thing would eventually get to you wouldn’t? And especially as when you had the chance to prove them all wrong, you were robbed of the greatest prize by a pure luck and a some second rate driver who could keep Hamilton behind him.
So, I personally, can imagine Massa didn’t take the order to “move out of Valtteri’s way lad” with anything other than pure, unadulterated rage.
” How dare they ask me to get out of the way of driver, probably half my age and next to no experience”. He may have though, “I’ll show them, he can come past if he’s willing to fight for it”.
And it’s a jolly good thing he did because the rest of the race was pretty much a dull fest , I went and had a shower half way though, missed the only interesting thing when Danny got his pit stop all wrong.  The new era was supposed to be exciting, and whilst its technically mind blowing that you can watch a real time table of which driver has used the most amount of fuel as the laps tick down ....  Its’ not really very exciting to watch is it.  Yes, I'm over the moon that Hamilton got the win but there wasn’t an awful lot of racing in that second race of the season. Force India went with its wacky pit wall calls plan again and expected Hulkenberg on ratty old hard tyres, to somehow stop Alonso and his fresh soft tyres. There was only ever going to be one result there, however good the Hulk is.
So yeah, I blame the track mostly, don’t have much hope of something better in Bahrain next week, and salute Massa for sticking it to the pit wall for once.   

Hamilton wins with a pretty convincing display of driving skill. He nabbed pole with ease in the end on a wet Saturday as the other driver’s faffed around in the downpour. He was helped in no small part by Nico putting Vettel off on the last throw of the dice. A late lunge past the Redbull to make the line before qualifying ended, forced Vettel to drop back out of the spray too far and so he missed the starting the lap by a few seconds, leaving Hamilton on pole by a gnats whisker. On Sunday in the dray there was no chance of the Lewis being caught he was off and up the road whilst his team mate held up the chasing Redbulls, a nice easy flag to flag win.

Nico was second, but still leads the championship, was muscled off the pole by Hamilton who found the grip when it mattered. And didn’t look like catching his team mate all afternoon. But as i said last week, it’s a long season and he’s still leading the title hunt.

Vettel third and not many of you had that, did you? The idea that Renault and Redbull have built a dud might well have to be rethought. They might not have been o n the pace of that Mercedes, but they were better than Ferrari and comfortably ahead of any customer Merc cars. If Danny hadn’t  had yet another nightmare weekend, he’d have been up there giving Vettel a run for his money at the end. The car looks planted and drivable, they didn’t look to be fighting it in and out of the corners, and all the recovery systems seemed to work, if a little down on power. there’s just that silly little problem with the fuel flow sensors still not working. They had eight different once to test and use this weekend and dang it, would you believe it, the one they put on Dannys car failed after a handful of laps. It’s purely a coincidence ... that’s all.

Alonso, still plugging away in fourth.  I might have a sub game where we predict how many races it’ll be before he goes postal and tells the press just what he thinks of the new car and is promptly fired by Ferrari. Not long now .....

Hulkenberg was fifth and when is Force India going to employ some pitwall staff with some brains?  Race, the idea is to go racing! Not save tyres for the next race!!! You have to give them back at the end of the event; you don’t get any extra points for handing back unused tyres you Muppets!  The car is too far up the grid to try and eke out points with a two stop strategy; the cars around you are too fast for that plan, you have to go and race them, by being faster!

Button was sixth and was pretty anonymous all weekend.

Massa, had a brilliant race and laid a marker down for future event. He will go to sleep halfway through the race and then completly ignore team orders to get out of the way of his team mate.  You can’t suddenly wake up and start trying harder at the end of the race when the pitwall slap you. I have a certain amount of sympathy for him for all the years of pitwall slaps he’s had, but if he was able to challenge Button why didn’t he?  I mean it’s good to see a driver sticking up for himself, but realistically he was told to get out of the way because he wasn’t trying hard enough. It should make for an interesting race next week at any rate.

Bottas was eighth and can pretty much write this weekend off as a bad lot. I mean getting owned by Filipe “double vision” Massa at the end of a race! How embarrassing!

Magnussen ninth and I think he was a bit harshly judged for the collision with Kimi. The Ferrari chopped in front of him I thought and Kev didn’t have too many places to go. But I think they’re trying to stamp out any sort of contact now the cars are packed full of things that can explode given half a chance. So the old knees of the stewards might be on a hair trigger to move up these days.

Finally Kvyat does it again and scores in his second ever F1 race, yeah he was a bit all over the place and gave Alonso a bit of a shock in qualifying, and yeah he doesn’t really look in his mirrors and thinks he’s some sort of driving God, but he’s Russian so he can do exactly as he wants .

And woooh looky here its Max plumb last again. Now who would have predicted that !!?!?! Well some of you didn’t apparently!  You do understand the rules of this game don’t you .. it’s called a prediction game for a reason.

Right, Bahrain next which I think is under lights ... or into the sunset something like that, anyway it’s this weekend so check those predictions before Friday. Good luck.

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