Sunday, 4 November 2012

Kimi has a #@!*ing good race!

Well, what a contrast to India. In fact, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix literally blew the Indian Grand Prix out of the desert. The race at the Yas Marina circuit was arguably the most exciting race of the season and so full of incident its difficult to know where to start. It's probably best to kick off with the fact that, in the week running up to the Grand Prix weekend itself, Yas Marina played host to the eighth F1 in Schools World Final, which saw 33 teams, from schools around the world competing for the increasingly sought after title of F1 in Schools World Champion. It was a fantastic support act for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the race itself continued to deliver excitement.

Kimi Raikonnen profitted from Lewis Hamilton's poor luck, but it can't be denied that Kimi was utterly brilliant and showed us all why he is a former World Champion. He didn't falter, even as Alonso started to breathe down his neck, and went on to make it the first time Lotus have had a driver on the top step of the podium in over one hundred and eighty races. As a result of Raikonnen's win, he finds himself still in the hunt for, at least, second place in the Championship. During and after the race, in true Raikonnen style, he found a few choice words and phrases to emphasise his feelings. Over the team radio, Kimi's race engineer calmly informed Kimi that Alonso was "five seconds behind", adding "I will keep you updated on his distance and his pace", to which Kimi replied "Leave me alone. I know what I'm doing!"

Mark Webber had a torrid day, which all kicked off with yet another poor start. All of Red Bull Racing's hopes were sensibly pinned on Webber, as the beginning of the race approached, and it was clear that Mark was the only Red Bull driver who could plausibly achieve a decent result in Abu Dhabi. The poor start saw Webber tumbling down the order and provided an indication of things to come. As the race progressed Mark's attitude became uncharacteristically wild. He first attempted an overtake around the outside of Pastor Maldonado, unfairly slamming the door on the Venezuelan and leaving Maldonado with nowhere to go but into the side of the Red Bull. Miraculously, both cars were completely unharmed and, after Webber had righted himself, they continued the race.

Only a few laps later, after it had been declared that, unbelievably, Webber would incur no penalty for the move on Maldonado, he had another coming together, this time with Massa. The contact between the two of them in the first part of the chicane was quite inocuous, but after crossing the corner Mark Webber rashly threw his car back on to the circuit, directly in to the path of Filipe, causing him to spin in an effort to avoid contact. Even more unbelievably, Mark got away with this incident as well.

Webber eventually came to grief when he joined the scuffle between Paul Di Resta, Sergio Perez and (surprise, surprise) Romane Grosjean. The shuffling of positions was complicated but it ended in Grosjean sat in a broken Lotus, Webber rolling off the circuit in a three-wheeled Red Bull and Perez facing a stop-and-go penalty for causing the incident. The race officials must have drawn straws to decide who had to pick the bones out of that mess and attribute blame.

There was a big heart-in-the-mouth moment, when Narain Karthikeyan had an engine failure, causing him to experience a sudden loss of power, which drammatically resulted in Rosberg launching his Mercedes over the top of the HRT and in to a distant barrier. Both drivers were out of their cars quickly and Nico seemed to fully understand that there was nothing Karthikeyan could have done about the incident.

The real story of the race was Sebastien Vettel's phenomenal recovery, not only from having to start in the pitlane, but having to pitstop under a safety car to replace his front wing, which put him plumb last again, 14 laps in to the race. It was from there, and even with a second pitstop, that Vettel managed to climb all the way up, past his teammate and in to fourth place, just before the second safety car. The icing on the cake came when he made a fabulous passing move on Jenson Button, to steal the third and final podium place. I firmly believe that this race could well go down in history as Sebastien Vettel's greatest ever.

Let's all take a breather and prepare ourselves for Austin, Texas, in two weeks time.

A two bull race??

Firstly, I need to apologise for the late blog, sometimes full time work on top of other commitments gets in the way of me writing my blog, but hopefully this won't happen too often.

The Indian Grand Prix, unfortunately, was probably the most boring race of the season. I say unfortunately, because the season has been packed with excitement and, more specifically, unpredictability. The Indian Grand Prix was a relative procession, with the Red Bulls packing out the front row of the grid in qualifying and Sebastien Vettel doing a proper job to take the win. The only glitch for Red Bull was Mark Webber dropping a position to Vettel's nearest rival, Alonso.

Alonso just keeps on emphasising his great ability, by achieving performances well beyond the competency of his Ferrari. He did it last year in a Ferrari that, on paper, was no match for the Red Bull cars or the McLarens. This year he is doing the same, in a car that is perhaps the fourth or fifth fastest in the field.

The DRS zone wasn't especially effective and passing was very limited. And that is pretty much all I can say about a decidedly dull event. It was an unusually predictable race and left fans wanting more. It's also fair to say that Red Bull Racing are on the verge of wrapping up the Constructors Championship, so a season with so much potential, could end up being a massive anti-climax.