Just what is it, that a team requires of its drivers ?
Simple, to win.
But is it that simple ? Does just winning satisfy the teams’ desire for a leader, for a talisman to get behind and cheer on.
This weekend was not Mercedes best, in as much as they didn’t dominate as they have done thus far this season. Until Canada, you could pretty much guarantee that the silver cars would be on the front row of the grid and then cruse to an easy victory. The only challenge was going to come from the other side of the garage.
But then in Canada both cars failed within 22 seconds of each other, with identical problems a KERS unit failure in the rear wheels. The once bulletproof Mercedes mechanical reliability was found wanting and they lost the race. It is also worth pointing out, Nico managed to bring that car home, down something like 180bhp and had all its braking going though the front wheels only, that was my friends a top draw drive. Too many people wrote Nico off at the start of this season, it was all going to be a matter of time before Lewis took the title and Nico learnt his true place in the pecking order, but as the season has gone on Nico has just got better and better.
And here is the important bit; the pole in Monaco, the second with good grace in Bahrain and bringing a broken car home in Canada don’t just give Nico some nice mantle piece silverware, it lifts the whole team. It gives them a leader they can believe in, especially when Lady Luck is pouring champagne into their cups at the end of the race.
Lewis went from tenth to fourth in the space of seven corners. He overtook some of the best drivers in the world, okay in the car that is the class of the field. However, it still wasn’t good enough to win the race and tonight it’s not him the team are slapping the back of and talking excitedly about where to have the celebratory championship dinner at the end of the year. The title once thought to be his for the taking is slipping further and further away.
The twittersphere and Social networks have worked themselves up into a froth of self righteous indignation tonight, claiming the team is favouring its German driver and the plucky English lad is getting a raw deal. The race was “lost on the pits stops” the Lewis lovers are crying, “it’s all a fix, the team took longer to change his tyres and that’s why he lost!!”. But that wasn’t the reason, a damaged rear brake hub slowed the wheel change by 0.8 seconds. And he was even brought in ahead of Nico to give him a chance to undercut Bottas for second.
I think my point is, bearing in mind i’m 2/3rd of the way through a particularly fine bottle of white, is that Nico is on a role and the team are responding, whilst Lewis is starting to panic and is overdriving the car. He’s also just not as lucky as Nico right now and sometimes that can be the hardest thing to beat.
Let’s also take a moment to savour the return of Williams to the front of the pack. Last year was a bit of a mess, not helped by paying Maldonado crash the car each weekend. They started the year giving Mercedes a run for their money during the testing days, but then the wheels feel off the wagon and it looked like a return to last year’s woes. Not helped by wacky pit wall calls either, telling Massa to get out of his team mates way indeed.
Then Rob Smedly turned up on the pit wall and things calmed down. There seems to be a bit more focus and a belief in what they’re doing. They didn’t try to race each other or Mercedes this weekend, they had a plan and they stuck to it.
Rosberg wins and had to work for it again. He didn’t really do anything amazing or spectacular either, he just sort of won. This puts him one win ahead of Lewis now and its pretty much his to lose now. He must be due some bad luck soon though,
Hamilton has had all the bad luck he needs this year, I can’t find the reason for the spin in Q3 that left him in tenth place, the team claimed it was nothing to do with the car which leaves the suspicion that the plucky English lad is over driving the car chasing his team mate. Whatever the reason, he need to get his mojo back if he want to win this thing. Nico is building too much of lead.
Bottas, Williams claim they weren’t trying to win this thing. They knew the Mercs (who supply their engines remember) were going to be faster and there was no point trying to fart against thunder. Yet they were pulling away from the silver cars on the long bits and didn’t look like they were saving their brakes at the end. So I think they had a chance at the top step and bottled it, which is fine given how things went last year, make hay whilst the sun shines and all that, but it would have been nice if they’d gone for it a bit more.
Massa, was told not to rag the car trying to prove something against the Merc’s and his team mate. Having got pole he didn’t really capitalise on it, i’m not sure he was capable of much more though to be honest. I think the shock of actually getting pole went to his head a bit.
Alonso, still plugging away in a dog of a car, they think if the car was a little bit faster things would be better. I think they need a new car, engine, team. Alonso is wasting his talents in Italy.
Perez, laid the smack down on Hulkenberg yet again. It’s like he’s had some actual working balls grafted on him or something. Where has the spunk come from ?
Magnussen, finally the weekend gels and he gets the think back to the top ten. He’s been copping a lot of flack from ill informed nitwits of late has Kev. Sure he’s no Hamilton, but he isn’t Maldonado either.
Ricciardo, bit of a come down from the win last time out, Redbull were pretty shit all weekend really. The highlight being Horner turning up post race and with an absolutely straight face blaming all of the world’s problems and some problems from distance as yet undiscovered worlds on Renault. The problems was their engine wasn’t powerful enough and it hadn’t changed since Australia and it was a travesty and no, they had no plans to make their own engine despite inviting a whole bunch of engine making companies to Austria. Sort of ignoring the update and pretty much glossing over the new engine Renault took to Canada and they won the race with. Redbull are locked into a contract with Renault next year at least and i doubt Mercedes or Ferrari want to supply engines to these chaps, which doesn’t leave Redbull with too many options does it.
Hulkenberg, beaten buy Perez again, he didn’t look a happy chap post race.
Raikkonen.... yeah, apparently he’s still driving for Ferrari! Still could be worse, he could be in a Lotus.
Gutierrez was last and Perez was fastest.