Posted by Carrot on August 1, 2010 | No Comments
Making the most of a split strategy and the massive pace of the Red Bull, Mark Webber took his fourth victory of the season this afternoon. The win takes Webber and Red Bull to the top of the standings and mean the Aussie has now won twice as many races this year as every other driver that has stood on the top step of the podium. Webber takes both momentum and the psychological edge over his team mate and the rest of the field into the summer break. Not bad for a number two driver….
Vettel on the other hand is starting to crack. Outright rage was displayed in the car and excuses in the drivers’ room before the podium. TV viewers heard very clearly “It was not intentional” from the young German. Put simply? Tough. You know the rules of the sport and it’s your job to be in a place where you aren’t breaking them with or without intentions to do so. Nico Rosberg would have won a race in the Williams in Singapore if it wasn’t for an unintentional mistake. He got penalised, the precedent was set and is known in the paddock.
Alonso managed to steal an extra place this afternoon. Holding Vettel behind him with the pace of the Red Bull means he got points that he really shouldn’t have been in contention for. Excellent driving from the Spaniard meant he took more points to bring him into contention in the championship and categorically asserted himself as the rightful number one at Ferrari after all the controversy in Germany. Alonso’s ability not withstanding, his holding of Vettel surely brings Vettel’s ability to overtake into question. The Red Bull had at least a second a lap on the Ferrari and Vettel still had enough tyre life to record the fastest lap of the race in the last few laps. What was he doing apart from that? There weren’t even any half looks or attempts to slipstream the Ferrari out of the last corner, something that should be even easier to attempt with the acceleration of the Renault engine. Massa brought the second Ferrari home in a lonely fourth, still a good result given the performance of the McLaren this weekend.
Jenson Button is the reigning champion, but not the defending champion given he’s doing nothing meaningful to actually defend his crown. Hamilton showed the pace that could be found in that car and Button let the race go on Saturday afternoon yet again. With his team mate out with mechanical problem it would have been the perfect opportunity for Button to overhaul Hamilton in the standings but his poor qualifying and the first corner ended all hope of that. McLaren have to find some serious performance to get on terms with the improving Ferrari, never mind the massively dominant Red Bulls.
Vitaly Petrov was very impressive this weekend, out-qualifying and out-finishing his team mate Kubica. With both the Mercedes failing to score at this race a good result was needed to close up in their quest to take fourth in the standings from the German works team. Petrov finally stepped up and delivered the result he’s been needing to for half a season. Will it be enough for him to keep his seat for next year? I don’t think so, not on the basis of one race. The rumours say that both Timo Glock and Nick Heidfeld are in contention for that seat and I don’t fancy the rookie Russian’s chances against such competition.
The rest of the points were taken by Williams and Sauber, both teams scoring double points finishes. Williams managed to capitalise on Force India’s lack of form today and emerge as the fifth team today. Sauber have overcome their early season problems and are now consistently scoring and they’ve moved well ahead of Toro Rosso in the standings to make a play to challenge Williams, although the British team were better in this race.
All three of the new teams managed to complete the race today, the first time this has happened at a race event. Lotus emerged the top of the new boys yet again, even though Glock had managed to out-qualify them in his Virgin.
Incidents were the story of this race. The one that has caused the most press coverage has been the move by Michael Schumacher on Rubens Barrichello. Quite simply it was too much, too late from Schumacher. Concrete walls and interlocking wheels lead to very nasty crashes for both drivers to the extent that the new Indy Cars have been design specifically to prevent cars going airborne due to interlocking wheels. He got a ten place grid penalty at the next race for his conduct. I agree with Martin Brundle that this was the correct punishment, a one race ban would have been too much and a time penalty at this race would have been pointless. Given the form of the Mercedes in the hands of Schumacher it’s likely that this will mean that he will start from the back of the grid.
People have sprung to the defence of the seven times World Champion with comparisons to Ayrton Senna and some of his actions that were similar. The difference is that Senna isn’t racing today. If he was and tried to pull off some of the stunts he did back in the 80s and 90s there’d be calls for penalties and exclusion from the championship just have there have been with some of Schumacher’s actions over the years. Different eras have different standards. Schumacher needs to follow the modern standards of the formula if he wants to continue to participate or he’ll need to leave or be made to go.
Finally there was the domino effect of fiascos in the pit lane. Starting with a wheel going astray on Rosberg’s Mercedes and ending with a collision between the Renault of Kubica and the Force India of Sutil. To be fair I don’t care who’s fault it was, both Mercedes and Renault have received fines from the stewards for the causal events. My major concern is the safety of the mechanics and team personnel in the pit lane. Mechanics don’t have a survival cell around them, team members on the pit wall aren’t wearing crash helmets that can be run over with a tank and survive. They’re wearing fire proof clothes at the most and shirts at the least. Debris in the pit lane must be avoided at all costs. The Williams mechanic who stopped the tyre got away with some bruising. We’ve spent years refining technology, circuits and protocols to protect driver, marshalls and spectators, and with good reason. We now need to take note of what could happen in the pit lane and begin to put into place new rules and standards to protect team members. The worst thing we could do after a race like this is ignore it and become complacent.
Three weeks off now for the summer break. We won’t be away all that time, we do have some articles planned to fulfil your craving for the world’s pinnacle of motor sport. The racing resumes at the end of August in Belgium, at the greatest racing track on the calender, Spa.