Well, that was somewhat disappointing. Hamilton passed Webber at the start, and was closeish behind Vettel for a long time. However, Hamilton lost the closeness of his second place, which became a 15s gap after a (justified) drive-through penalty for passing the safety car.
So, a mixed weekend. With equal stakes and no laying money wagered should be almost doubled. Not too bad. Although Hamilton didn’t get the win, it was nice to see that he would’ve had a decent opportunity were it not for the penalty.
Other items of note were numerous. Firstly, Button benefited hugely from the safety car (summoned when Webber proved Red Bull really does give you wings) and got a third place spot (unclear at the time of writing if he’ll, along with half the field, get a time penalty for speeding under safety car conditions). Update: All drivers found to be naughty got a 5s time penalty, promoting Alonso from 9th to 8th. Magnífico! Button stayed third.
Mercedes continues its relentless drive to get slower and slower. Today they decided to use brake discs made of balsa wood. I believe their plan for Silverstone is to use triangular tyres.
Ferrari had great qualifying pace, and could’ve challenged, but they got the very worst of the safety car. Alonso plunged down to 9th and Massa down to 14th. There were some great comedy moments from Grumpy Spaniard’s radio, bitching about Hamilton. Rumours of Webber’s crash being caused by a spat-out dummy laying on the track were to prove unfounded.
As mentioned above, Webber had a huuuge crash, mostly because the Lotus of Kovalainen has to brake far earlier than the Red Bull, Webber wasn’t expecting it and so collided with the Lotus. Also, as the commentators said, a Lotus should just get out of the way of a top car. Happily, neither driver was injured.
I’m beginning to suspect Vettel’s car only breaks when I back him in a race. He deserves the win, annoying as it was for me. Without the drive-through I daresay we would’ve had a nice battle for the 25 points, with it Vettel relaxed for the latter half of the race.
The 2.8 tip for McLaren to get the title looks good now. They extended their lead by 8 points to 30 (248 to Red Bull’s 218), but that still is not at all decisive.
By contrast, the earlier tips for Webber and Button look a bit out of date. I’ve laid them slightly, and stand to benefit from the McLaren title (probably) if Hamilton wins back his crown. Recently, Button has been well off the pace of his team mate. Have to wait and see if that continues at Silverstone. I’ll probably be looking out for the Ferraris there. They missed out on big points mostly due to bad luck, and also because of Alonso’s weight distribution issues [those chips on his shoulders are damned heavy].
In the Drivers’ title, Hamilton marginally extends his lead over Button to 6 points. Hamilton’s on 127, Button 121, Vettel 115 and Webber 103. Grumpy Spaniard is lurking around on 96 [probably slightly higher due to his promotion to 8th]. Canada and Valencia are quite similar circuits, which may explain Button suddenly dropping off the pace. If he’s slow at Silverstone that may be the death knell for his title defence.
Vettel’s really back now. Pole, a win, and never really looked troubled (though he was aided by Hamilton passing the safety car and being penalised). 3.65 for the title. Hmmm. I am tempted. I’ll have to think about it.
So, a quite good but not wondrous weekend. Silverstone is in a fortnight. Should be quite a race.