A three week break after the Chinese Grand Prix can be quite frustrating. I get my weekends back to do as I please but I don’t want them to myself. I want them to be full of Formula 1.
What’s great after a three week break is the refreshing visuals brought about by the teams. The new sponsors, new wings, a new F-Duct, and a new chassis.
I have to admit that Spain was one of the more boring of races and that the Australian anthem felt quite foreign as well. With all the rumors of Webber wanting to retire at the end of 2010, I think they’re silenced for now. He is here to stay. I managed to squeeze out a few things I found interesting at Catalunya. Oh, and before I forget, the rear-view mirrors of Redbull Racing, Ferrari, Williams, and BMW Sauber have been moved to the chassis of the car as decided by the FIA for the Spanish Grand Prix and beyond. I was afraid it would affect the aerodynamics of the car quite heavily.
1. Webber finally kept Vettel at bay
This Australian boy is growing up to be quite the driver. There is nothing much to like from Webber and his career. On several occasions this year I felt Vettel always got the better from his teammate. Spain suggested otherwise and Webber remained untouchable.
2. The sun makes F1 boring
The teams are hoping to get to some sort of an agreement regarding tire compounds come Monaco next weekend. If that can materialize, then we can be sure to enjoy any race and regardless of the weather. It’s not enough for teams to have to think about tire degradation once (or twice if they’re unlucky) a race distance. What is left, then? Pit stops? Attempting overtaking? Tire punchers?
3. Spontaneous incidents are great to see
De la Rosa’s rear tire puncture was great to see as the race unfolded. The camera followed him and we expected nothing from him but a clean and composed drive out of sight. When a tire punctures instead, it’s quite exciting. What was even more exciting to see was Hamilton’s front-left tire puncture. I thought I had seen subtle sparks fly before the puncture, suggesting that a loose piece of bodywork might have caused it. Nevertheless, the tire exploded and sent Hamilton into the tire barrier. I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit here hoping for drivers to hurt themselves. But if my excitement could be fulfilled through other means, I wouldn’t need to hope for a crash.
4. Schumacher shines brightly
I don’t know whether it was because of the longer wheelbase or revised airbox and roll structure , but Schumacher impressed me. His qualifying pace was one thing. His defensive driving was another. While watching him on screen, it looked as though defending his position in 5th from Button never even broke a sweat. At every turn, Schumacher moved to a certain part of the track, preventing Button from making it through. Expect Schumacher to be on the rise.
5. ‘You are matching the pace of the front. Michael is holding up the pack so we may have a margin to change the tires again.’
As Schumacher impressively defended his position from Button, he also kept Button and Massa away from the front runners, enlarging the gap between himself and Alonso. There are so many factors to a driver’s race outcome. What looked as though Schumacher’s lack of pace was in Alonso’s advantage, it actually helped Vettel during his last few agonizing laps.
6. “Your brakes are about to go. Be careful, okay?” Vettel’s engineer shouts out with six laps remaining.
The Redbull’s might be incredibly fast but they are also incredibly delicate. Just as Vettel suddenly experienced several off track moments, a piece of Webber’s car flew off his car. With two laps left, Vettel was ordered to slow down and not risk an accident. They are incredibly quick and as the end of the race comes close, they are incredibly delicate. How long will that last?
Driver of the day: Mark Webber, for his unmatchable speed.
Moment of the day: Hamilton’s puncture.
Monaco is next.