Sunday, 6 July 2014

British Grand Prix: pushing it to the 'track' limit...

We had a bit of a false start to the British Grand Prix this year and it was all as a result of a scary moment for Kimi Raikonnen. As the cars came through Aintree corner, on the first lap, Raikonnen was seen flying wide and then cutting back on to the track. As he did so, he hit a bump in the grass and dramatically lost the back end of the car. He hit the Armco very hard, so hard in fact that the steel barrier was damaged and so badly that its subsequent repair was the reason the race was red flagged and delayed for over an hour. Kimi's Ferrari was thrown back across the circuit, with almost everyone, unbelievably, managing to avoid him.

One driver who didn't manage to avoid him, but did take evasive action, which may well have saved Kimi's life, was Filipe Massa. This is a bold statement, but I believe Massa's actions were heroic, as he spotted Raikonnen's wreck shooting across the circuit, and put his own car in to a spin. It meant that the impact was greatly reduced and Kimi was able to limp away, instead of the unthinkable alternative. David Coulthard summed up Filipe's actions perfectly, when he said "A lesser driver may have barrelled in to that incident". T-boning Raikonnen's Ferrari may have had fatal consequences and for that reason Massa's actions are to be commended. Similarly, it is interesting to note that the first thing Kimi said, as the marshals reached his stricken car, was "Is Filipe okay?"

Once again, Silverstone race organisers showed their utter inability to deal with an unforeseen incident, in an efficient and timely manner. Every year there seems to be drama at Silverstone, in regards to the running of the event. This is a circuit that is massively overrated, poorly designed and badly organised, and yet, somehow, it manages to survive the annual F1 calendar decision making process. Niki Lauda was interviewed by the BBC and asked about the delay in the restart of the race. He was adamant in his claim that the organisers had wasted their time attempting to repair the barrier, because there was almost zero chance that an incident would occur against that very section, during the remainder of the race. I, for one, wouldn't argue with Niki Lauda on the grounds of F1 safety.

The main body of the race was fairly tedious, although it was interesting to see Nico Rosberg suffer a gearbox failure, gifting the race win to Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton, once again, raced impeccably and obviously pleased the British fans. However, it would have been nicer to see Jenson Button up on the podium and he came so close, displaying surprising race pace, in a characteristically slow McLaren. Two drivers who gave us a real show, despite both cheating and repeatedly driving over the track limitations, were Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. It was amusing to listen to the tit-for-tat over the team radios, as first Fernando complained about Sebastian's excursions, closely followed by Sebastian arguing the same point regarding Fernando's little indiscretions.

Driver Of The Day is an easy decision this weekend. Bottas, the only remaining Williams driver after Massa's collision with Raikonnen, had an unbelievable race. He started from sixteenth on the grid and achieved a podium finish, standing on the second step. I had genuinely written off Williams this weekend, but Bottas was fantastic and showed just how much the team has grown and improved this season.

I was slightly taken aback when Lewis Hamilton criticised his Santander winner's trophy. Then I remembered that he doesn't have to suck up to that particular sponsor anymore. I'm sure that if Petronas ever sponsor a race and provide a trophy based on their logo, then Mr Hamilton will be full of praise for its unique design.

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The Result:
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes522:26:52.094625
277Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes52+30.1 secs1418
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault52+46.4 secs815
422Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes52+47.3 secs312
51Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault52+53.8 secs210
614Fernando AlonsoFerrari52+59.9 secs168
720Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes52+62.5 secs56
827Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes52+88.6 secs44
926Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault52+89.3 secs92
1025Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault51+1 Lap101
1111Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes51+1 Lap7
128Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault51+1 Lap11
1399Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari51+1 Lap13
1417Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari51+1 Lap12
1510Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault50+2 Laps22
164Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari50+2 Laps17
1713Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault49Exhaust20
Ret6Nico RosbergMercedes28Gearbox1
Ret9Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault11Suspension damage21
Ret21Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari9Accident19
Ret19Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes0Accident15
Ret7Kimi RäikkönenFerrari0Accident18