Sunday, 29 May 2011

No Lewis, it's not because you're black...'s because sometimes you drive like a fool.

The move on Felipe Massa was extremely ambitious, it was unquestionably causing an avoidable accident, and he was rightly slapped with a drive through penalty. The move on Maldonado was equally unlikely, and made all the more obvious by the fact that it was the closing stages.

It doesn't make sense to me that he is served with the same penalty twice, that's not much of a disincentive. His remarks after the race were petulant to the point of being hilarious, he needs to grow up fast. We saw the best and the worst of Hamilton today, his move on Schumacher was brilliantly timed (much better so than the other two moves) but we also saw the very worst.

Meanwhile, Vettel won again, but he didn't have it all his own way. Mclaren had an off day today, their knee-jerk decision to bring Button in when the safety car appeared cost him the win as Vettel and Alonso cruised past him. Alonso himself had a good day and at one stage it looked like his shrewd tyre strategy might have given him the win, but the safety car on lap 72 made his task almost impossible. It was nonetheless another good drive from him

Vettel didn't have his best race but he still came out on top, that's the mark of a man in form. Webber will be disappointed with fourth after a poor start, Kobayashi drove an intelligent race to take fifth and Hamilton held on to sixth after the post race penalty failed to penalise him. Felipe Massa continued to struggle before being edged into the barriers by that man Hamilton in the tunnel.

Vettel is now in such a commanding position atop the table that it's almost all about the fight for the positions behind him. It will be interesting to see if Alonso can continue his mini-resurgence and if Mclaren can continue to press.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Who else?

But Vettel. The championship leader will start the race on pole again and will be even more difficult to beat than usual at the street circuit tomorrow.

I would've said the only man with the sheer pace to beat Vettel this weekend was Lewis Hamilton, but he and Mclaren got his qualifying strategy all wrong today, electing to do just one flying lap, a plan which was scuppered by Perez's accident just two and a half minutes before the end of the session - he ended up 7th. As ever with Lewis, he was not slow in moaning about how the team got his strategy wrong.

Jenson Button did well to snatch second, but almost a full half second shy of Vettel, Webber will be disappointed with third as will Alonso with fourth given his practice pace. Felipe Massa was poor again, though less so than in recent races, he was nonetheless out qualified by Schumacher who looked for all his 42 years to be driving the car harder than ever.

With the next quickest man all the way back in 7th place it is yet again hard to look past Vettel for the win. If Button gets a flier he could put a spanner in the works, but Vettel will have the pace to jump him at the stops. This is starting to get very repetitive...

Race prediction: 1. Vettel 2. Webber 3. Hamilton

Saturday, 21 May 2011


The extent of the advantage that the Red Bulls have over the rest of the field appears to have, depressingly, gotten bigger this weekend.

At a circuit which places such a high priority on aerodynamic performance this is perhaps not surprising, but it won't help in making what is traditionally a very dull race probably even more dull. Of course there will still be some action down the field, but if one of the Red Bulls doesn't win tomorrow it will be down to car failure, surely.

Lewis Hamilton gamely stuck to his task but even he could only just get within a second of the Red Bulls. Fernando Alonso came perilously close to unseating Hamilton for third place, which is impressive given Ferrari had to revert back to their old rear wing. Felipe Massa, a full second down on his team mate, should be looking over his shoulder, such insipid performances are not befitting a Ferrari driver.

Michael Schumacher pulled a fast one over everyone, electing to save all his sets of soft tyres for the race. Given that there is a frankly ridiculous gap between the primes and the options, this could prove a very canny move, though not one likely to get him near the podium.

There is a real danger that tomorrow could be a procession. I think Vettel will just edge it over his team mate over a full race distance, though Webber clearly enjoys Spain. We can only hope that the Mclarens and Alonso have better race pace, for sure they should be decidedly closer than the qualifying gap, but I doubt it will be enough to challenge across 66 laps.

Race prediction: 1. Vettel 2. Webber 3. Alonso

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel....

And some more Vettel, the man is relentless. Not only did he best his team mate by four tenths of a second, he also did it with a set of tyres to spare, electing not to go out and defend his time at the end of the session.

With his Red Bull colleague behind him on the grid it is difficult to look beyond the young German for the win tomorrow. Another young German, Nico Rosberg, was impressive in securing third spot on the grid, ahead of the two Mclarens and well clear of his team mate in eighth.

Lewis Hamilton will be disappointed with fourth spot and likewise Button with sixth. In between the two though Alonso will probably be quietly pleased with his day's work, just four tenths off Webber's third spot and he might have his eye on a podium if things go his way. Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari didn't set a time and will start tenth. The Renaults made up the rest of the top ten.

The extent to which Red Bull and Vettel in particular have an advantage in qualifying is impressive but I expect on race pace things will be closer. Hopefully Rosberg can back his qualifying pace with more of the same in the race, or he could be the cork bottling up the Mclarens and Alonso while the Red Bulls scamper off into the distance.

Even if he is I don't think anyone will be able to live with Vettel over 58 laps, expect his dominance to continue!

Race prediction: 1. Vettel 2. Webber 3. Alonso