Sunday, 11 July 2010

Webber takes win but friction remains

It was another enertaining Sunday afternoon in the 2010 F1 season as Mark Webber struck back from his Valencia flip and component controversy of yesterday to take a 3rd win of the season. He passed Sebastian Vettel off the line as both he and Fernando Alonso had poor starts, surprisingly so as they were starting on the clean side of the grid. Lewis Hmailton repeated his 2008 launch and going into Copse had the slightest bit of contact with Vettel. The German was fighting to get back at Webber but the Australian made sure he wasn't coming through and Vettel took to the run off area. He started to fight his car and the puncture sent him flying off the road into Becketts. Meanwhile Felipe Massa was getting rather over zealous with Fernando Alonso as he hit him and then stuck him onto the grass coming onto the Hangar straight. Massa had a puncture and limped back to the pits. Jenson Button made places through the lap and jumped to 8th.

Webber was pulling away bit by bit from Hamilton while another quick starter, Robert Kubica, was holding the field up. Another surprise though was the tyres. Usually it is a case of pitting and getting a quick lap in but perhaps with the slower pace the tyres were retaining performance. Nico Rosberg and Button were especially able to stay out and make progress. Ferrari's day then got worse as Alonso made a move on Kubica into Vale. Alonso took to the run off and cut the corner but maintained position. Both drivers pleaded their respective cases on the radio and Charlie Whiting ordered Alonso to let Kubica back through. However the Polish driver had a differential problem so was slowing towards retirement. Instead of losing the position and a few seconds, Alonso had a drive through penalty. The negative effect of this was compounded when the safety car was deployed soon after.

Adrian Sutil tagged the back of Pedro de la Rosa down the main straight in attempting to overtake. The Sauber lost pieces there and down Hangar straight. This threw Vettel a lifeline. It appeared he was driving conservatively early on. Perhaps the thinking was that they weren't going to score and should save the car for a situation like this. On the resumption of racing he was on the attack and made several moves, including on Massa, Nico Hulkenberg, Michael Schumacher and eventually on Adrian Sutil by barging past his fellow countryman which left the Force India driver unimpressed.

A miserable and pointless weekend for Ferrari was completed by a spin for Massa and a puncture for Alonso from contact with Vitantonio Liuzzi. I felt Massa was a bit wild on the opening lap. I think Alonso was unlucky the way the penalty situation played out. By staying ahead of Kubica, he took a calculated risk that he would get away with the overtake. He should have let the Renault back in front as he only got passed by cuting the corner. In a way this shows the pressure that the Spaniard is under and perhaps his decision making was affected by this. We seen something similiar in the French grand prix 2 years ago when Hamilton after a DNF and starting near the back performed a similiar move on Vettel and ended up losing out more than if he had yielded earlier.

Webber had a great turn of pace as the fuel levels dropped and he cruised home to take victory. The post race antics were perhaps more interesting as he told Christian Horner that he hadn't done 'bad for a number 2 driver'. He then said afterwards in the press conference that he wouldn't have signed his contract extension if he knew that a situation like yesterday had occurred and wants talks with the management tomorrow. The media love this kind of thing and making the most of it but Red Bull brought it on themselves with the front wing decision.

So we move onto a double header in 2 weeks and i'm really looking forward to Germany, a track which is really well designed and usually produces plenty of overtaking and action so it should produce more good racing. The Silverstone layout produced more action than i thought it would, particularly Brooklands which i thought would be too quick but the long straight really helped so that was good. Red Bull have their internal issues, McLaren need the new package working quickly and Ferrari need to produce their best. Can Alonso show the spirit and fight of 2006? Roll on 2 weeks

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