Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In a Hockenheim minute…

Along with Renault’s last minute decision to remove the controversial mass dampers from the R26 and the knowledge that their Michelins would likely blister, (which they did), I’m not sure Renault had much of a chance on Sunday. Clearly neither Alonso nor Fisichella were mentally in the race despite some nice driving by both of them. Sadly it was all too sporadic and I think, the concern for the state of the tyres kept both drivers from really pushing the cars and therefore making any headway into the huge lead initiated and maintained by Ferrari.
The fact that qualifying on Saturday resulted in poor grid spots, fifth for Fisico, seventh for Alonso, proved an ominous sign indeed. Seventh on the starting grid for the world champion? Not good. Not good at all. And rarely throughout the race did Alonso show any particular signs of fighting back. As Michael Schumacher said “We had had a superb weekend. Our car just functioned really great.” And that was the whole point. The Ferraris ran a fantastic race. The Bridgestones delivered top performance and quite honestly Ferrari outshone the other cars by a long way. The fact that both Massa and Schumacher kept up a pretty consistent lead of almost 20 seconds demonstrated just how superior their cars were.
Even Jenson Button finished ahead of Renault and as a fellow Brit I do have to show some support for a British driver, but really? Button? And Kimi put in a great race to finish third from pole but even he didn’t stand a chance of catching the illusive black horses.
A real shame for Nico Rosberg who crashed his McLaren on the second lap. As well as Rosberg, Yamamoto, de la Rosa, Heidfeld and Barichello were forced to retire along with Mark Webber, who ran an excellent race and then experienced engine failure in lap 60, with only 7 laps to go. You know he was kicking himself. A real shame.
So as it stands Alonso and Schumacher are only separated by a mere 11 points with ten points separating Renault and Ferrari. I’m starting to get a bit anxious. If the Michelins aren’t sorted out I’m fearful Hockenheim won’t be the last time Renault sees the rear end of Michael Schumacher’s car crossing the finish line to claim victory. Fisico’s fallen back into fourth place in the driver standings and is now equal with Kimi. It’s just not good…
…but you know what? I love it! This is Formula 1. Because at the end of the day it’s all about the competition and it’s the competition that makes my blood run hot and the adrenaline pump and makes me feel that I’m sitting there in the race car, smelling the hot, burnt rubber of the tyres and the chemical smell of the fuel as it’s propelled around the rumbling, over-excited mass of metal that with every gear change, sticks its neck out and aches to run free; pushing itself to the max revs until the next gear change and the ecstatic sense of brief release that lasts for just a mere nanosecond before the revs are pulsating again and the car is once more straining forward, longing for its next gulp of air. It’s this synonymy of Formula 1 and competition that captures my attention and unbridled passion for the sport.

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