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McLaren weather the opposition in China

Posted by Carrot on April 18, 2010 | No Comments

I called it. You know I love to say “I told you so” and I did. Button in changeable conditions ruled the race. From staying out on slicks when everyone else bolted for the safety of inters to the management of safety car gaps during the second restart, Button controlled his car, his tyres and the entire race with the mastery of a World Champion. McLaren’s first 1-2 of the season and Button’s second win sets an unexpected result for the three week pause before the European season kicks off in Spain.

Elsewhere Rosberg improved his grid slot and blew away his team mate in another run to the podium. Both Renaults performed spectacularly, Petrov silencing critics, myself among them by driving a magnificent race to claim his first points. Renault are well clear of everyone but the supposed ‘Top 4′ and seem to have the form to harry Mercedes and take their 4th slot on the table and in the minds of fans and media everywhere. Kubica’s s 7th in the Drivers’ table, ahead of Schumacher and Webber and only 5 point behind Vettel, the Champion Elect in the court of popular opinion after the first race. If they can develop in the manner of McLaren last year, Alonso may well regret his shift to Marenello this year.

Both HRTs to the flag again this weekend, slow they may be, but they are finishing consistently and improving massively meaning points could be on the cards if they’re lucky at a few races this year. Yet more problems for Sauber who really need the help of their new Technical Director, James Key, to take them back to some semblance of form. Kovalainen bringing the Lotus home ahead of the highly rated rookie Hulkenberg in the clearly superior Williams, they might not manage such a feat in the dry for a couple more years, but there will be great celebrations in their motorhome this evening and rightfully so.

Quick opinions on some of the race incidents we saw, TV clip of the race has to be Charlie Whiting point the Finger of Doom(!) at Fernando Alonso for jumping the start, a clear mistake by the double World Champion, but it was still an impressive drive by him to recover. I’d have loved to have access to Massa’s radio channel after Fernando did him on the pit lane entry. I bet I’d have learnt some new and exciting words in Portuguese.

On the much talked about Hamilton/Vettel incident, I’ve not been a fan of Hamilton greatly, I think he threw a championship away in 2007, but I cannot find fault with what he did. I think everyone accepts that he had no input to the release from the pits and so cannot be at fault for that. Much has been said that he should have gotten out of the ‘race’ with Vettel earlier, what do you want a driver to do? They race, and he could have never have won against Vettel, Hamilton would have run into the wall and medical cars at the end of the pit lane before he’d have gotten past Vettel. The big problem I saw was Vettel deliberately forcing Hamilton into the garages. As I said, there was no way for Hamilton to get through and Vettel knew this, all he was doing by pushing him wide was potentially causing and accident. Hamilton needed space to step back and Vettel put him dangerously close to the idle air guns of other teams. We saw what a 1Kg spring did to Massa who was wearing a helmet so strong a tank can run over it last year, Vettel put Hamilton’s wheels dangerously close to snatching one of those air guns into the air. I don’t think Hamilton crashing would have actually done a great deal, but a multiple kilogram piece of metal being thrown through the air at unprotected mechanics or even the team personnel wearing shirts and trousers on the pit wall was unsafe and unnecessary. Any penalties should be applied to Vettel for driving like that. Hamilton wouldn’t have been dangerous if he hadn’t been forced wide, Vettel consciously did that. He was stupidly dangerous with no reasonable defence in my opinion.

I do promise more articles between now and Spain, now we have a clear first part of the season to talk about, we’ll have a lot more to say.

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    2 Fernando Alonso 18
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    4 Felipe Massa 12
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