Sunday, 11 July 2010

Silverstone: post-race analysis

Ugh. Torn between Petrov and Webber at similar odds (for points and the win) I chose the wrong one. £13.33 ahead from 3 tips, at £10 each with no laying. Petrov got close, but his chances were ruined by 2 stopping, for some reason. On the plus side, I got most of my 1.5 lay matched, so finished ahead.

However, from a racing perspective this was utterly fantastic and thoroughly absorbing. I must say that the odd side of the track was clearly slower than the even side, something I’d read should never happen (as it disadvantages the pole-sitter). Unfortunately, this information will prove of no use next year as I think they’re moving the starting straight.

Vettel was the author of his own misfortune, but redeemed himself somewhat (aided by the safety car) to climb to 7th. Hamilton put in a great performance, as did Button who went from 14th to 4th, a worthy reminder that the McLaren is dire in qualifying compared to its very good race pace. [In addition, Silverstone is very much a Red Bull track, so for Hamilton to be the only chap anywhere near Webber is some good news for McLaren].

A great race for Mercedes, which saw Rosberg 3rd and Schumacher 9th, in the midst of a Germanic quartet of points scorers. Very poor for Renault though. Kubica had to retire, and Petrov (who was 10th for a time) fell back sharply when he had to pit for a second time.

I’m not an Alonso fan, but he was done a great injustice by the stewards and then slapped in the face by misfortune. The drive-through was unwarranted given he couldn’t yield the place (Kubica had retired by then) and the safety car emerging as it did meant he went to back the grid, and then had to have another pit stop due to getting a puncture. Massa also did not do well, so a second race in a row where Ferrari have a competitive car but have looked poor.

However, the most important part of this race was Webber passing Vettel even before turn 1 and then dominating the race completely. He banged in endless fastest laps, he was never under any pressure and completely crushed the opposition. I think I may reassess Webber. Not so sure he’s a second rate driver in a first rate car anymore. It is also a huge moral victory, after Red Bull’s ungentlemanly theft of his front wing. In the catfight of Red Bull, Luscious Liz, spurned chassis of Vettel, triumphed over Randy Mandy.

So, how are the Constructors’ faring? Here are the numbers:
McLaren 278
Red Bull 249
Ferrari 165

Even with the tremendous performance advantage in qualifying, Red Bull gained only a single point relative to their rivals. McLaren won’t bring downgrades to every track, and other circuits will suit them much better. Red Bull missed a trick here, and McLaren can count themselves very lucky. I think Ferrari are out of it.

Hamilton 145
Button 133
Webber 128
Vettel 121
Alonso 98
Rosberg 90

For the third race in a row, Hamilton’s doubled his advantage over Button. I do wonder why Button’s completely dropped off the pace, especially in qualifying. Hopefully this’ll change when upgrades come (and work). Webber will love being ahead of Vettel. Maybe they’ll even let him use upgrades in future, instead of stealing them to give to Vettel. Surprising, but Rosberg’s really homing in on Alonso now.

Next up is Hockenheim, in a fortnight. Last year Vettel came second… behind Webber. Hehe, should be a spicy race.

Anyway, I look forward to writing the pre-qualifying piece in a fortnight or so.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

Though I agree that the Alonso penalty was unduly harsh, it should be said that he clearly overtook Kubica off the track (much more clearly than other similar incidents which have been penalized in the past).

Alonso is one of the smarter drivers on the track, so he knew what he had done. I'm surprised that he didn't immediately let Kubica back through - which in the event would have cost him nothing at all.

Nonetheless, special constable Mansell ought to have let him off with a post race reprimand.

Morris Dancer said...

Yeah, Alonso doesn't help himself sometimes. Jump-starting in China (I think), crashing in practice in Monaco and then accusing the FIA of a conspiracy.

In related news, Rubens Barrichello topped the F1 drivers' leaderboard in Top Gear, even beating the Stig :D

Morris Dancer said...

Did a bit of reading, apparently the Germans alternate their race betwixt the Nurburgring and Hockenheim, so the last winner was actually Hamilton in 2008.

Nigel said...

I found this interesting snippet on the BBC:

' ... the key to Hamilton's qualifying was his ability to get the soft tyre up to temperature for the first flying lap.
Team-mate Jenson Button could not get that temperature until the second lap but the tyres could not maintain their optimum grip to the end of that lap and ended up 14th - knocked out at the end of second qualifying.
"Jenson's Q2 lap was actually slightly faster than Lewis's right up to turn 11," said engineering director Paddy Lowe, "but then the tyres gave out and he had no grip at the end of the lap. Getting the tyres to perform on the first lap was essential." ... '

Which demonstrates just how narrow is the window of optimum performance for some of the cars.

Morris Dancer said...

Ah, that is useful info. Good work spotting that, Nigel.

I wonder if this could see a role reversal between the drivers at circuits where tyre management rather than getting them up to temperature matters most. Although Hamilton's been kicking Button's arse lately, Button has won a brace of races and beaten Hamilton a few times in qualifying (I think).

Nigel said...

Not sure about that.

This season at least, Hamilton is far from the tyre destroyer he was once reputed to be. Canada demonstrated that pretty clearly.
My own view, FWIW, is that Hamilton has a much broader comfort zone than Button, in terms of car behaviour.

Now that Alonso seems to have lost (I hope temporarily) the ability to control his emotions, Hamilton is perhaps the most complete driver on the grid. Though if the media start telling him that, he could go the same way as our favourite Spaniard.

Nigel said...

I just saw this headline:

"Ferrari: Only bad luck holding us back"

So it's the entire team that's delusional.

Morris Dancer said...

I do agree Hamilton could be the best chap for Hockenheim. We'll have to wait and see. Renault are due an upgrade for Spa. If it works, Kubica could get back on the podium.

Sort of agree on Ferrari. They do have pace, and have suffered some bad luck, but that sort of mentality is rather pathetic. It's true Massa isn't as hot as he used to be, but Alonso isn't either.

I also agree that Hamilton may be the best all-rounder there is right now. However, when it comes to strategy calls Button has been the best so far. If rain comes and goes, he could stand a good ahcne of more wins.

Nigel said...

The Ferrari mentality, contd. ...

'...Felipe Masasa says he will talk to Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso about the contact between the pair on the opening lap of the British GP. "I'll talk to Alonso to find out why he has touched my car. You really must not touch your team-mate's car." ... '

'... Fernando Alonso is not happy with the ban on in-season testing, saying the restrictions are making the sport stale... '

'.. Alonso had told the team he did not want any more instructions over the team radio after the half-way point of Sunday's race but afterwards he used the radio to give them encouragement.
"Keep your heads up," he said. "We will win the championship. ... '

' ... Fernando Alonso says Ferrari's performance in the British Grand Prix has left him more convinced that he will win the world championship this year ... '

Morris Dancer said...

I hope Massa can get his head together.

The Ferrari is in decent shape. It's problem is that Red Bull's fastest at most tracks, and the McLaren has great straight line speed. They didn't help themselves by dicking about with an f-duct that didn't work.

I do wonder who'll be better at the Parabolika[sp] in Hockenheim.