The weekend started ominously for Sebastian Vettel in the RB7. The wall of Champions claimed it’s latest victim early on in the weekend. Despite what many thought this was not the start of a bad weekend for Seb, although it didn’t end quite as well as he may have hoped.
All three practice sessions were eventful with plenty of action being caused by the upright stuff just off the racing line, however the pacesetters were again the Red Bulls, particularly of Seb, and the Mclarens and Ferraris were there or thereabouts. Particular praise I think should be given to De La Rosa after subbing for the still ‘unwell’ Perez. After dusting off his 2010 seat from the skip out the back of the Paddock, and a bit of a bodge job on his earpieces to suit the Sauber radio set up he did a fine job, although he did have a little ‘wall’ action himself in FP3.
Fast forward to Saturday afternoon and we had a spanker of a Quali session with Sebastian again emerging imperiously onto the number 1 spot (does Seb finger pointy No 1 thing).
I don’t think Webber was too happy about it though!
Now where do I start with the race! Wow, genuinely one of the all time classics I think! Having started under the safety car in the wet, which in my view was unnecessary, – yes visibility was bad, and yes maybe it’s better to ‘prevent’ accidents, but this is F1! The best drivers in the world, the safety car should be a last resort, – Sebastian just managed to keep Alonso at bay into turn 1 on the first racing lap. On the other hand Webber did not manage to keep Lewis from punting him into a spin despite giving him plenty of room, Lewis that one was definitely your fault, and had you not proceeded to end your own race – I think the penalty the Stewards would have given you would have effectively halted your chances anyway. For once I agreed with Webber when he said, pragmatically, ‘Lewis seemed to think that the chequered flag was at turn 3 this weekend’.
Very shortly afterwards came the Jenson / Lewis incident – and yes, unfortunately I do think Lewis was to blame, not that this one really needed any blame, it put Lewis out of the race which is punishment enough. (the stewards also placed the blame with Hamilton, citing the fact that JB should not have been forced off his normal racing line), credit to Lewis for trying to make up lost ground, but that gap was always going to close, he should have gone down the inside, the guy in front is never going to just leap off his racing line and wave you through, despite Lewis seemingly feeling that they should for him, he needs to sort his head out and take a few pointers on attitude from the other side of the garage, that coupled with his awesome talent and he would be challenging for wins consistently, rather than having to apologise to his team every two weeks.
Then next up the St Lawrence river seemingly tried to reclaim the Ile Notre Dame, there was a huge downpour and the amount of water on the track was immense, I think the red flag was the right decision. Nice weather for Red Shouldered Blackbirds but not for F1 cars.
What followed was unprecedented, and will have royally pissed of the Antiques Roadshow mob, as we sat and listened to Martin and DC for 3 hours! Different drivers approached the enforced break in different ways, Seb calmly sitting on the pit wall with his headset on, Lewis bending Rihanna over the back of his already badly rear ended Mclaren, and Jenson making some sort of pact with the Gods of speed.
What followed upon the restart was absolute genius! Particularly from Mr Schumacher, nice to see! But out of a plethora of talent on display, Jenson rose to the top, as he can do on his day, especially in the wet, truly the drive of a World Champion. But for the unfortunate incident with Fernando, and a little indiscretion on pace during the second safety car period, it was a flawless demonstration on how to win an f1 race, from plum last to first over the line at the flag in 30-ish laps. I feel for Seb, as he was sublime all day, bar a slight moment early on, and the hugely costly twitch in the dying moments which allowed Jenson through.
This was an important result for Jenson, not only to further assert himself within the silver confines of the Mclaren family at Woking, and to re-iterate his huge talent, but also due to the fact that Lewis and Fernando came away with nothing, a cynic might say that was a very, very, fortunate turn of events.
We go into Valencia with a very motivated and on form JB, a rightly reflective Lewis, and a slightly, ever so slightly, less than perfect Sebastian.
I get the impression though that we will be seeing him back on the top step in sunny Spain!