Posted by Carrot on July 31, 2011 | 1 Comment
A wet race and Jenson Button wins, you’re so shocked aren’t you? Ayrton Senna, Rubens Barrichello and most famously Michael Schumacher have all been dubbed ‘Rain Master’ by the press, Button’s long overdue. It was an exciting race this afternoon, with five drivers looking like they could come through and win during the race depending on pace and strategy decisions at the time.
Ultimately the 2009 World Champion took the victory after managing his tyre war and going wheel to wheel with his team mate, Lewis Hamilton. This was Button’s fourth win for McLaren and all have come in rain affected races. His skill in such conditions is the benchmark for the rest of the grid. Hamilton had an unfortunate race but walked away with a decent result considering what happened. A gamble to change onto intermediate tyres and a penalty dropped him down the order. That was great for the audience though as we got to watch him overtake Felipe Massa and Mark Webber to gain fourth overall. I must say that I agree with the penalty that was given because of the precedent it sets, luckily there was no accident today but there could have been a big shunt very easily. Today’s penalty makes it easier for the stewards to punish dangerous manoeuvres in future.
Quietly, while no-one was looking and everyone else was squabbling and trying to be clever with strategy, Sebastian Vettel cruised home in second place. Germany was his worst weekend of the year, this week was one of his standard races this season. Importantly he can now afford to finish third at every race for the rest of the season and still win the championship, even if his closest rival (Mark Webber) wins every race for the rest of the season. Speaking of Mark Webber, it was a good drive for him today. Mechanical problems in qualifying meant he ended up in sixth but he was able to drive through his competitors during the race, being faster than Vettel at points, before losing fourth to Hamilton in the closing stages.
Over at the Scuderia. Fernando Alonso had a great run after a poor start and early mistakes. Though without those errors he’d have been in the running for the victory today and at least pushed Vettel down to third. In the other car Felipe Massa had an uninspiring run to sixth place. It just seems that Massa’s given up on fighting for the top results, as was clearly shown when he let Alonso breeze past him after the Spaniard ran off the track in the first half of the race. Even with Luca di Montezemolo saying he’ll definitely be with the team next year, if another promising driver appears on the market I’d expect the Brazilian’s seat to be in jeopardy.
Elsewhere in the points it was good race for Force India’s Paul di Resta, even though he had to run off the track to avoid Hamilton. The Scot put recent disappointing races behind him to score well and come level with other promising rookie Sergio Perez. There were points for both Toro Rosso drivers today, with Sebastien Buemi coming in eighth ahead of Jaime Alguersuari in tenth. The team will need to keep this continuous points scoring going to keep in touch with Force India in the standings who have a faster car but more fragile race form. The only other points scorer was Nico Rosberg who brought the Mercedes GP home in ninth. Michael Schumacher’s retirement and Rosberg following a Force India and a Toro Rosso home will be extremely disappointing for the German constructor who were hoping to be challenging the top three this year.
The podium today represented the current form in F1, there are three teams and realistically five drivers that could win the remaining races. McLaren and Ferrari seem to have had excellent development in the last few races. This puts Red Bull under pressure as not only could one team challenge them for the titles if the last half of the season goes there way, but the other team could be taking points away from the current World Champions as well.
A couple of shocking incidents today, the most weird being Jerome d’Ambrosio apparently trying to reverse into his pit box. With mechanics and team personnel out in the pit lane that incident could have very easily turned into a nasty incident, and for no real reason. Virgin are running so far back I don’t think running to limit that much is required for them, they aren’t going to lose a race victory by a couple of seconds. Had it been a couple of years ago, d’Ambrosio could have easily hit a refuelling rig and the consequences of that don’t bear thinking about. The other incident was an explosion in Nick Heidfeld’s car that actually hit a marshal. When watching the race live I thought that it was one of the KERS battery packs that had exploded and subsequent investigations seem to confirm that with an engine problem being the primary cause of it overheating to that point. The big concern here is that flying shrapnel after a car’s come to a stop is not something the marshals are expecting or should have to deal with. I wouldn’t be surprised if the FIA are having words with Renault about the incident during the summer break.
We now have the summer break, a mandatory factory shut down by all teams to allow their staff some time off. We return to racing at Spa on the 28th of August. Spa’s the ultimate F1 track in my opinion and racing has always been close there. The rules changes this year have really spiced up some races traditionally considered boring, can you imagine what it’ll do to Spa? We won’t be going quiet here, we have the mid-season review of all teams and all the latest news as usual. It’s a month away, but worth waiting for.