Saturday, 29 June 2013

British GP: Qualifying

As the start of qualifying for the British Grand Prix approached, the people who really understand the venue were beginning to find all the praise and outpouring of love tiresome. The Silverstone supporters, in the media and influential positions, shamelessly plugged the troubled circuit, whilst fans were again frustrated by the venue's deficiencies. The fact is, a huge amount of money has been hurled at the complete overhaul of the paddock and pit area, whilst fans still find themselves wading through mud and having to put up with sub standard facilities. All of this to watch Formula One cars driving around one of the less spectacular circuits on the calendar.

Qualifying is becoming a bit of a foregone conclusion, as again both the Mercedes performed dominantly in all three sessions and Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg filled out the front row. Its nice to see Hamilton on pole at his home grand prix, however I and many others would have put money on that outcome, whilst predicting that both drivers will struggle to hold on to those positions come the start of the race. The Red Bull's were third and fourth and the Force India drivers looked strong again as well, qualifying in fifth and seventh.

The only real surprises were the performances of the McLarens and Ferraris, with Button, Perez and Massa, failing to make it to Q3, and Alonso only managing tenth in the top ten shootout. It's uncharacteristic for Ferrari to be struggling for pace, with Alonso being a definite title contender. McLaren, on the other hand, are continuing to decline this season and its especially sad to see it happen so spectacularly at Silverstone.

However, the big story of the weekend is Mark Webber's retirement from Formula One and the speculation over his replacement. Mark Webber was an honourable competitor and a very fair and professional sportsman and will be missed by many, if not the Vettel collective. Mark Webber regularly ruffled the feathers of Vettel and his supporters and I wonder if Webber's predecessor will be more placatory and prone to rolling over and letting Sebastian have his own way.