Sorry, sorry, sorry.
I know this is a bit late, but it’s been a busy week of eating Easter eggs and painting a nursery. So, yes this is a bit late.
It’s the Chinese GP this weekend and not one I’m particularly eager to get up early for. It’s a dull, soulless circuit on a drab industrial estates in the middle of nowhere, which seems to typify the circuits we go to these days. There’s almost no various in the height of the track and the stands are virtually empty for much of the weekend so it doesn’t look like there’s much atmosphere to be had. Which means the racing is usually a bit tedious.
So this year we have to hope that the Ferrari win last time out wasn’t just blind luck and they are going to make season of it. It’ll be interesting to see how close the Ferraris will be to the Merc boys here. Vettel had enough speed to stay ahead of Lewis and Nico, who were basically looking after their tyres, meanwhile Kimi went from the back of the field to fourth. The only cars he didn’t overtake were the two cars considered the class of the field and his team mate. So Ferrari are fast on hot sticky tracks … tick.
The pundits are still calling this a race Mercedes can only lose, it’s cooler than it was in Malaysia so tyre wear is less critical allowing the Merc to turn the wick back up to 11. It’s also a tighter track than the open flowing Sepang circuit, traction and handling are the keys to a fast lap here. I think you’ll be brave to have anyone other than a Merc driver on pole and the top step. The trick will be predicting who joins them on the podium.
Where will Williams be then? From, “Just waiting to be winners” last year, to “Scratching around for the scraps” this year. It looks like they’ve seen off Redbull, but Ferrari sneaked round the back as they were slapping themselves on the back for a job well done! Although you could argue they were caught out by the same tyre wear issue Mercedes, but they didn’t do anything other than be ultra conservative yet again. They need to think big, go for broke and take the fight to the front, not this pussy footing around avoiding confrontation. Toro Rosso could be knocking on the door asking for entry to the big boys club at this rate.
Talking of which, do you not find it odd that Redbull’s Christian Horner has done nothing but bang on about how awful the Renault engine is, and yet Toro Rosso has had its best start to a season in years. Max and Carlos look like they’ve arrived to prove a point, they’re racy and feisty, the team is on an up and the supposed lack of engine power doesn’t seem to be affecting them too much.
Sauber has had its good result for the year and looked much more like the old grey team of yore in Malaysia. Force India are struggling with what is effectively last year’s car until we get back to Europe and Lotus are struggling to understand its new Merc engine. Meanwhile McLaren are furiously redesigning their car/engine/battery/sunglasses to make it all work together for more than 10 laps. So there is no midfield scramble at the moment, no teams “almost there” to pick up points left by the big boys Toro Rosso have stepped into this large midfield hole. They’ve got a reliable car and to handy drivers.
So , Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams. I’d pick Toro Rosso over Sauber but you might have more faith in Redbull. Force India need time and money and Lotus haven’t really arrived at the party yet. The Lotus should be fast, if they didn’t have Maldonado, they just need a bit of luck to string a weekend together until the chequered flag.
McLaren were talking their Malaysian experience up after the race with positive messages about getting further and being faster. But you can be the fastest car on the planet, if you don’t make the end of the race it’s all for nothing. However, they still didn’t whinge about anything so let’s not stick the boot in just yet.
Manor too, have stuck at it even after Bernie gave them a bit of a kicking after Australia. Hopefully this time they’ll get both cars to the starting grid.
And good luck J
Oh, just to say, the results will be late as well. I’m off to the first round of the WEC at Silverstone on Sunday.