Finally, we are back after a three week Formula 1 drought. To start with, Michael Schumacher’s qualifying result had ten places added to it due to his aggressive move against Rubens Barrichello in Germany. It serves him right, honestly. He was an inch from smashing Rubens against the barrier and into the air. To put another fairly large dent in Mercedes’ weekend, Nico Rosberg was pushed back five places in qualifying for having changed a gearbox during FP3. The pair of them ending up 11th and disqualified was not what Mercedes expected. Michael never had trouble starting at the back of the grid – making his way to the top of the field again. I guess having the team focus on 2011 is their better option.
Spa has been raining all weekend – specifically Friday’s first practice session. This is always a fun race to watch regardless of the weather. If you flashback to last year’s race you will remember a very fast Ferrari, that of Raikkonen and an incredibly daring and confident Force India, that of Tonio Liuzzi. It was a breathtaking battle. The rain on Sunday was what kept me on my toes. Dry tires are not made for the rain, whether a few drops or a large shower. Watching the drivers slip and slide around, a quarter of the race in, is always exciting. It is what they do next that counts. It’s all about strategy.
Barrichello slid into Alonso, damaging his car and ending his 300th GP abruptly. The FIA said they would investigate the incident. Investigate what exactly? Several seconds before that, the five leading drivers ran wide on that exact same patch of track due to the rain. I say racing incident. Ferrari’s gamble to switch Alonso onto Inters was a big one. It didn’t pay off and he had to pit once again for dry tires. From that point until the last ten laps, the weather forecast kept repeatedly reporting that rain was expected in twenty minutes – a light shower throughout. With the twenty minutes up, no rain was in sight and it was forecast for twenty minutes after that. How the hell are you supposed to devise a strategy for something like that? It’s beyond me.
McLaren seemed to push their crown and jewels (Hamilton) to the limit, saying ‘we will not switch until it is completely necessary.’ The second after that transmission ends, Hamilton loses control of his car, which was leading the race, and desperately attempts to manoeuvre his car out of the gravel. He succeeded, just after grazing the barrier with his front and rear left tires. Luckily, he escaped with no damage.
Yes, it was clear that Button was struggling after slight damage to the left of his front wing. Vettel was hunting him down. Call it whatever you please, but the clash between the two was a normal racing incident, one that driver’s later label by saying ‘this is racing – we need to look forward…’ Martin Whitmarsh feels Vettel’s driving mimicked that of Junior Formulae. I will look into Vettel in greater detail in my next post. It was a shame Button retired. McLaren and both their drivers are incredibly fast and pose one wonderful threat to Redbull and everyone else.
One more thing I want to point out is the level of viewing pleasure.
I understand the sport can get quite boring at times, but to say a race is boring just because a handful of fans are saying it is boring, is not genuine. It can get quite difficult to enjoy a race after a certain idea of the sport has been inserted into your mind, but Spa was an incredible race. At one point during the race, nothing very eventful was going on – all cars were around a second apart and no battles were nail-biting action. And then – the POV camera went from a birds eye view to an on board camera of Lewis Hamilton just as he exited La Source. He took us through turn 2, 3, and 4 at 290 kilometers per hour and then broke hard from 330 kilometers per hour trying to ignore the 3.2 G’s as he entered Les Combes. If you love racing, and I mean love racing, you will have found the love for F1 during that piece of onboard footage.
The love does fade sometimes, just like any type of love. But you can’t just sit there and expect every race to blow you away every time. You need to look for it.
Driver of the day: Lewis Hamilton
Moment of the day: Vettel losing it into Button’s left side pod (it looked so cool at such high speeds)
Next up: Monza.