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Pray silence for The Champion

Posted by Carrot on March 28, 2010 | No Comments

“Button’s a fool to move McLaren”
“McLaren belongs to Hamilton”
“Hamilton is just plain faster…”

Oops, apparently Jenson hasn’t got the memo that he’s supposed to play second fiddle and rear gunner to Hamilton at McLaren. Recovering from the first corner, an incident that left Alonso behind even the medical car, Jenson proceeded to go against pre-season expectations and race ‘wisdom’ to put slicks on early, maintain his tyres and put in lap after lap of solid times to dominate the rain affected race. “But Hamilton would have caught and passed him if he hadn’t been called in!” Would he? Really?

On new tyres and in a faster car Hamilton couldn’t find a way past Alonso at the end of the race, never mind the idea of him getting past someone in the same machinery with tyre in better condition. Button won the race by driving in a way that Hamilton couldn’t, thinking about the long game and then driving to achieve it. Instead of following what the team thought Button made his own call to come in early rather than struggle and then maintained those tyres longer than anyone else in the race to consistently extend his advantage.

I don’t think Button’s won the psychological war at McLaren, but he has won a major victory that many didn’t think he had a chance of winning. Look at the post race, Button and McLaren each handing the plaudits to the other, Button complimenting the team and the team exalting Jense’s genius call to go the slicks early. Hamilton on the other hand said it was the drive of his life and that the strategy cost him. Look at what that wording actually means, it’s Lewis saying he did everything perfectly and putting the blame quiet firmly on the team. I’m not saying that he’s wrong in his perception, but some things should not be said on the radio, in public. See the case with Barrichello verbally attacking Brawn in the post race last year. Hamilton could have damaged his relationship with the team with his words born out of frustration, while Jenson has firmly established himself as a McLaren man.

Elsewhere we saw how Schumacher showed his genius in overtaking and mastering the changing conditions, the Regenmeister has returned. No, wait, I was being sarcastic. Schumacher floundered for the majority of the race, getting caught up behind slower cars and even when he got past them they were coming back in the very next corner (Di Grassi’s stock went up several points for that), Schumacher’s mystique and legend don’t impress the current crop of new F1 drivers and he showed here that he had nothing to fall back on when his image can’t do things for him. Alonso finshed fourth after being pointed the wrong way and last coming out of the first corner, Schumacher struggled to tenth and a single point, outdone again by Rosberg.

At the back of the grid Kovalainen made sure that Lotus came top of the new teams and HRT managed to ge a car to the finish line, even if it was five laps down on the leader and three laps down on Kovalainen’s Lotus. So far then it’s only Virgin that have failed to see the chequered flag. Still, at least they’ve seen the start lights unlike USF1.

We go to Malaysia with the scoreboard very different to perceptions. Ferrari at the top of both championships even though everyone thinks the Red Bulls, fifth in the Constructors’ Championship and with a Vettel highest at seventh in the Drivers’ Championship, are considerably faster than anyone else on the grid. Bahrain was boring, Australia wasn’t. Go do a rain dance for Malaysia.

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