British GP – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Pure opinion. None of this is said with any malice, although I’m sure there are some who will take it as such! Enjoy it for what it is, and by all means, let me know your thoughts and opinions as to why I am right or wrong.
Mark Webber clearly used 2011 to recharge after a gruelling title challenge in 2010. Now he is back to somewhere approaching his best form, and giving his teammate the challenge he is capable of. It is a real battle between them at the moment, but Webber appears to have an edge that can only be gained by confidence. Whereas 2012 is proving more difficult for Vettel, Webber is rising to the challenge, and his move on Alonso on the outside of Copse corner exemplified this, regardless of whether he had the better car at the time. The big news of course, is Webbers contract extension that will see him piloting a Red Bull in 2013. According to the man himself, he had talks with Ferrari but decided to stick with the team that has given him his title chances. You don’t get to pick between those two unless you are a man capable of winning a title. Fact.
Yet another podium visit for Fernando Alonso, and he extends the run of statistics that I mentioned in this article last week. Second was a good result for him and Ferrari, as it was clear that they only had the third or fourth fastest car on the grid. Alonso was superb in qualifying, nailing his final lap in Q2 when he had to, and following it up with a lap good enough for pole. He then gave a masterclass in how to drive a race from the front without the fastest car, and was unfortunate that the quicker Red Bull just got to him before the end – although even then he did his best ‘thou shalt not pass’ manoeuvres. Still, top of the championship and nearly half way through the season. I think he’ll take that.
Red Bulls best weekend for a while with both drivers qualifying in the front two rows and both visiting the podium for the first time this season. Yes you read that right, this was the first time this season both Red Bull drivers had been on the podium together. A sight which was a regular occurence in 2011 has taken 9 races to be repeated in 2012. And yet, Red Bull comfortably lead the Constructors championship, with their drivers 2nd and 3rd in the Drivers table. Consistency is paying dividends for the defending champions, and the fact that they have become the first team to confirm their driver line-up for 2013 tells you a lot about the way they are going about things.
Ferraris best points haul of the season is cause for celebration, although the lack of sheer pace in comparison to the Red Bulls and the Lotuses is a little concerning. Another note of caution too, their largest points haul in 2011 was also at Silverstone.
That’s more like it Felipe. Massa’s performances have been gradually improving, to the point where he looked a more capable and confident driver at Silverstone. Easily his best weekend of the season, and his best finish since Korea 2010, 31 long races ago. His timing could not have been better either, with the number one candidate for his race seat committing himself to his current team for another season. Let’s hope that one swallow does make a summer on this occasion, because not only will it make both title races more interesting, but also because if Massa can rediscover his 2008 form, he is a fantastic driver to watch. Hockenheim is up next, and Massa has finished on the podium in each of the last three races there…
A great race to watch, with action all the way down the field from the first lap to the last. And apparently thanks to Bernie, no rain either.
Ross Brawn won’t be overly chuffed with Mercedes’ weekend, with both drivers slipping 4 places from their qualifying positions to finish 7th and 15th. Despite coming off the back of a really good European Grand Prix, they didn’t expect to have a stellar weekend, but to not compete at all (had certain incidents not happened, they could have ended up with no points) will have been painful in the extreme. Onwards to Schumacher and Rosbergs stamping ground, where a good result will be imperative if they are to stay in touch with the top 4.
Ouch. Nico Rosberg managed to finish behind both Toro Rossos, and only just ahead of Sir Crashalot. That weekend in China must seem like light years ago, and what’s more worrying is, he seemed utterly devoid of any defence whilst his rivals queued up to pass him. As I said above, onwards to Hockenheim, where Rosberg will be looking to improve on his average home record.
Grosjean will no doubt have a mixture of emotions at the moment. Another race where he drove very well, but could have had a much better result than he walked away with, were it not for a couple of things. Had he not visited the gravel on Sunday and been able to run in Q3, and had he not been hit by a flailing Force India on the first lap, Grosjean clearly had the pace available to him to make climbing onto the top step a distinct possibility. Surely his maiden Grand Prix victory isn’t far away? Surely he won’t be another Rosberg?
Lotus had the package available to be celebrating far more than they eventually did. Although 5th and 6th was a respectable finish, there is no doubt that they will have been expecting more, even from their qualifying positions of 6th and 9th. Fastest Lotus lap followed fastest Lotus lap at one stage, and you wonder how many more chances will slip from their grasp in a season where chances can prove fleeting and few in number. After Monaco, I wrote “That car is good enough to win races and I don’t want to be hearing more excuses about why it, or its drivers, keep failing”. As harsh as it may sound, I stand by that comment. Lotus have now been overtaken by Ferrari in the Constructors championship, and only remain in 3rd because of the slapstick nature of McLaren at the moment. They are having a good season, but it really isn’t good enough when their capabilities are taken into account.
The fastest car over the Silverstone weekend, and yet their only finisher was in 11th place. Sauber will be very disappointed, although clearly no race blame can be attached to Sergio Perez. Sauber qualified in 15th and 17th which pretty much mapped out how their race had to be run. How many circuits will there be where Sauber can claim to have the fastest car? In this season of uncertainty, we just can’t be sure, but the worry is the same with Lotus – you need to capitalise when you can, lest you come to the end of the season bemoaning races like these.
Wow. I am running out of things to say about the driving of Pastor Maldonado. It also appears that F1 journalists are running out of new material as well. Thankfully, Sergio Perez put it as succintly as anyone could manage: “not Maldonado again… why does he drive like this?”. Other titbits from his tirade included “he has no respect”, was “going to hurt someone” and was simply “dangerous”. Exactly Sergio. The irony is, of course that this particular coming together was a simple loss of control and could have happened to anyone on cold tyres. But it didn’t happen to just anyone did it. Maldonado’s reputation will now always precede him, and no-one can argue that it is not completely deserved.
KK followed up a poor performance in Valencia, with possibly a worse one at Silverstone. Although, it has to be said, things are NEVER dull while Kobayashi is in town. I wrote in the last piece that “The problem with Kobayashi’s driving style is that there are literally millimetres between the sublime and the ridiculous”, but even that gave him no excuse for ploughing through his pit team and sending three of them to hospital. Coupled with the afore-mentioned fact that the Sauber was the quickest car, and severely underperformed, it made this weekend one to forget for Kobayashi. Roll on Germany.
A while ago, after Lewis Hamiltons superb drive in the Canadian Grand Prix, I write this: “The worry for McLaren is, if one of their cars can come 1st and 2nd in the opening three races of the season, then turn into a backmarker a few races later, what is to say that it can’t happen to the other if they don’t know what is wrong, or how to correct it?”. Both drivers intimated that there was nothing wrong with the car itself at Silverstone other than the lack of speed, and that there was nothing they could do about it. Had it not been for the incidents in front of them involving Maldonado and Perez, Kobayashi and then Hulkenburg, McLaren could well have ended with both drivers finishing outside the points. And this time there were no pit line blunders to blame, just a poorly performing vehicle. McLaren slipped from 2nd to 4th in the Constructors race following this debacle and, worryingly, only once in the last 6 races have they scored more points than 5th place Mercedes.
Paul Di Resta
The excitement of racing in your home Grand Prix must be almost unbearable. Almost as unbearable as the massive anti climax that was Paul Di Restas race. You had to feel a bit sorry for him, especially seeing as he did pretty well in qualifying.
One out, and one finishing 12th. They did nearly grab a point, but even so, after the relative high of Valencias result, this was an almightly crash back to earth.Want to be a guest writer on VitalF1.com?
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