German 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.
It is becoming difficult to think up new ways of describing Fernando Alonsos unbelievable performances. He clearly was being pursued by quicker cars throughout the race, but used all his experience and tactical know-how to win his 3rd race of the season. Every race Alonso gives us a new masterclass in Formula One racing – his three victories this season couldn’t have been more different, and in a car he has no right to be winning races in. His lead in the Championship has quietly extended to 34 points, and bearing in mind his last non points scoring race was Canada 2011, that lead is substantial in a season where drivers can all take points off each other
Finally. As they say one swallow does not make a summer, but even so the relief for Jenson Button and his army of fans was palpable. Never mind that he only got 2nd place due to his rivals mistake, and ignoring the huge lock up which flat spotted his right front tyre at the start of his final stint, and arguably contributed to his rubber going off so rapidly in the final few laps, JB drove an excellent race. He even managed to outqualify his teammate for the first time this season, making it the best weekend Button has had since the opening round in Australia.
Although only one driver finished in the points, the silver lining for Mclaren is that their car looked to have finally rediscovered its pace. Jenson Button drove the car very well indeed to take 2nd place, but let’s not forget Lewis Hamilton’s part in this. He had the pace to unlap himself from Sebastian Vettel, and gave Fernando Alonso a run for his money as well. Lewis looked every inch the team player in the job he did at Hockenheim, which showed a team spirit that can sometimes only be fostered following periods of uncertainty and underachievement. To top it all, McLaren not only managed another race without pit stop incident, but they also claim to have broken the record with an astonishing stationary time of 2.31 seconds. Hands up who saw that coming? Thought not.
Qualified 12th and 17th, finished 4th and 6th. An excellent race from Sauber, resulting in theirs and Kobayashis highest points scoring tallies of the season. The pace of the Sauber team has been well documented, particularly in the last couple of races, and the complete lack of correlation between expectation and results has been sobering for Peter and his team. A look at the Constructors table shows them in a mini league of one at the moment – a gap ahead to the top 5, and a gap behind to the Williams-Force India battle. At the start of the season, for them to have pushed out of that scrap would constitute a good result, but their pace dictates that they are more than capable of producing more results like these, which would mean them giving the likes of Mercedes a serious dose of the kittens.
Formula Ones forgotten man actually had a decent weekend, finishing ahead of a Lotus, a Williams and his more heralded teammate. If Petrov can provide a serious and consistent challenge to Kovaleinen, it could spur them both on to achieve that little bit more. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing as I really did expect more from Caterham this season.
And the red mist descends again. For a double World Champion, he really is capable of doing some daft things. Firstly, Hamilton managed to annoy him by unlapping himself which, while I accept is a dent to any drivers ego, was a battle he would have done well to steer clear from. Instead he played right into McLaren hands by allowing it to affect his race. Secondly, sheer impatience got the better of him two laps from the end, as he made a clearly illegal pass on Button. Buttons tyres were giving up at some speed, so there is no question that Vettel would have had ample opportunities to pass him in the remaining lap and a half – the worst thing that can be said is that it reminded me of Maldonados impatience in Valencia.
To continue on the previous points from a team perspective, it is truly remarkable that Red Bull attempted to blame Lewis Hamilton for the first incident before checking the rules, and then tried to say that there was nothing wrong with Vettels overtake on Button. Also, where did Mark Webber start the race? Oh, 8th. Wasn’t that where he finished? Yep. I wouldn’t blame you for not knowing, he was completely anonymous for those two hours on Sunday.
Lewis would have liked to have had something to celebrate for his 100th Grand Prix but, alas, it was not to be. Not his fault either. Running over debris that should not have been there, and being one of the only drivers to have actually suffered from it ruined his race before it had really started. From there, he showed superhuman effort and will to help out his teammate before his car ran out of pretty much everything. He will be happy that there is one more race before the mid season break so there is no time to ruminate on what might have been.
After Silverstone, I placed Lotus in this very same section. I would like now to reprise some choice sentences that I wrote in summing up their race – “Lotus had the package available to be celebrating far more than they eventually did” … “there is no doubt that they will have been expecting more, even from their qualifying positions” … “how many more chances will slip from their grasp in a season where chances can prove fleeting and few in number” … “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” … “They are having a good season, but it really isn’t good enough when their capabilities are taken into account” … I don’t think any more needs to be said.
I know the Mercedes isn’t quite right at the moment, but Nico is really struggling at the moment. Admittedly, he did drag his car from 21st on the grid into the points, but following his woeful performance at Silverstone, it is slightly concerning. On current form, it’ll take him another 108 races to win his 2nd race. Although that’s the beauty of this season – it’s that unpredictable that we’ll probably see Rosberg on the top step of the podium in Hungary now I’ve said that.
FIA/Charlie Whiting/Race Stewards
Not a great weekend. The Red Bull enquiry made the FIA look rather foolish as they once again admitted to a loophole in their rules, brilliantly exploited by the genius that is Adrian Newey. Following on from that, the decision not to send out the Safety Car after Massa spread Ferrari parts all over Turn 1 was mystifying. Bits of his front wing were still being hit 3 or 4 laps later, and there was a LOT of it. The other thing that made the decision even worse was the proximity of the debris to the pit lane, meaning that any driver whose tyres didn’t survive had to plod round for an entire lap before being able to bolt on fresh rubber. Only 2 races ago we saw the Safety Car come out for a similar incident, and all fans and drivers ask is for a little consistency and common sense from stewards and directors alike.
Strange one this. A combination of the Williams not suiting the track, and Maldonado looking almost scared to challenge anyone following the criticism of his driving in the last couple of weeks. It appeared as if the fight had gone out of him as after qualifying a terrific 5th, he slid almost unnoticed to an eventual 15th place finish, over a lap behind the race winner. Somewhere inbetween the two attitudes would be just fine please Pastor.
Well that went well. Romain Grosjean had a qualifying session to forget, added to a 5 place grid drop for replacing his gearbox, and then proceeded to have one of his first lap incidents and lost his front wing. Race ruined, weekend over, is it time for Hungary yet?
Vettel started 2nd and finished 5th, Schumacher started 3rd and finished 7th, Hulkenberg started 4th and finished 9th, Rosberg scraped into the points and Glock finished ahead of only Kartikeyan. The famed German efficiency deserted them in front of their own fans.Want to be a guest writer on VitalF1.com?
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