Sunday, 8 June 2014

Canadian Grand Prix: Nursing versus cursing, Rosberg brings it home.

The end of the Canadian Grand Prix was easily the most intense end to a race I have seen in a very long time. It was the sheer number of cars involved in the battling, in the second half of the race, that made it so intense. It was difficult to know who was going to achieve success by the chequered flag. The very last lap proved to be explosive, as feelings of excitement and anticipation turned immediately to panic and worry. Massa and Perez collided and both hurtled towards separate barriers, in to the first corner. The impact for both drivers was massive, the G-forces that Massa's car experienced instantly alerting the FIA, to send the medical team. I and my family, and I have no doubt spectators around the world, collectively breathed sighs of relief when, first we saw a marshall gesture with a thumbs up, as he reached Sergio's car, and a few moments later we saw Filipe moving around in the cockpit of his. The latest news, and hopefully the only news, is that both drivers are absolutely fine. However, at the time of writing this, both drivers had been taken to the medical centre, as a precautionary measure.

Now, where do we start with the rest of the race? Lately, it has become characteristic with Formula One, that there is a period of procession, where we sit back in our seats, awaiting and speculating what will happen towards the end. The Canadian Grand Prix was no different, since the action of the final few laps began developing around lap thirty-seven, almost precisely halfway through the race. Surprisingly, those developments began with both of the Mercedes cars. There will have been a wry smile, or perhaps even an excited yelp amongst neutral and non-Mercedes fans, as Hamilton and Rosberg both reported power issues and it became obvious that they were losing pace. Straight away, the commentators were buzzing as they calculated that the distant following pack would catch and pass the usually dominant "best friends", before the end.

By lap 53, and after Hamilton's retirement, that following pack consisted of Massa, who led for a few laps, before pitting and dropping back to seventh, behind his teammate, Bottas, and the Force India of Hulkenberg. Ahead of them were the two Red Bull's held up by the other Force India of Sergio Perez. It was confusing at the time! Massa dispatched Bottas and Hulkenberg pretty convincingly and was then on the hunt for the Red Bull's and potentially the race win. The pack got closer and closer, eventually reeling in the remaining Mercedes of Rosberg, until there were less than two seconds between first and fifth. As much as we were all rooting for him, Massa showed his apparent weakness, as he failed to capitalise on his blistering pace over the front runners. Ricciardo, on the other hand, succeeded in doing what Perez had struggled to do for a good twenty laps, as he got past the Mexican and then chased down and stole the race win from a labouring Nico Rosberg. It marks the Australian's first race win and Vettel's astonishing praise and congratulations represented the feelings of everyone...well, except Rosberg's fans.

I think the most interesting aspect of this race was the discovery, handling and eventual result of the issues that both of the Mercedes drivers experienced. This is the reason Rosberg receives The F1 Spectator's coveted accolade of Driver of the Day. I have a theory that is not based on fact, but is derived from observing both Hamilton and Rosberg during their careers. It appears, to me, that as both Hamilton and Rosberg discovered the problems their cars had developed, Hamilton began complaining and driving quite erratically; for example, hurtling past Nico in to the final chicane and running across the corner. As a result, I think it is feasible to conclude that Lewis took a damaged car and broke it. Nico Rosberg then took his damaged car and adapted his drive, to nurse the sick car home. It's one of the reasons I see Rosberg as the better driver of the two and the reason he is my Driver of the Day. All of that aside, it's great that their relationship is still visibly strained and that their ongoing battle will continue in to Austria.

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The Result:
13Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault701:39:12.830625
26Nico RosbergMercedes70+4.2 secs118
31Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault70+5.2 secs315
422Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes70+11.7 secs912
527Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes70+12.8 secs1110
614Fernando AlonsoFerrari70+14.8 secs78
777Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes70+23.5 secs46
825Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault70+28.0 secs84
920Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes70+29.2 secs122
107Kimi RäikkönenFerrari70+53.6 secs101
1111Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes69Accident13
1219Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes69Accident5
1399Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari69+1 Lap16
1421Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari64+6 Lap22
Ret8Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault59+11 Lap14
Ret26Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault57+23 Laps15
Ret44Lewis HamiltonMercedes56+24 Laps2
Ret10Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault23+47 Laps21
Ret13Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault21+49 Laps17
Ret9Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault7+63 Laps20
Ret4Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari0Accident18
Ret17Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari0Accident19