Indian GP – The Race

Their faces say it all


Right…F1 Season of 2012, you’re really beginning to bore the pants off me now. We haven’t had a thrilling, even remotely exciting race in the History of Forever. Ok well not since Monza which now seems like a trillion light years ago.
This descent into Dullsville may not be entirely unconnected with two things:
Firstly, three of the last four races (since Monza) have been at a Hermann Tilke designed racing circuit. Luckily a whopping one of the last three races (Interlagos) will NOT, I repeat NOT be at a Hermann Tilke circuit. The other two are at the actually quite beautiful Yas Marina circuit and the brand new yee-hah track in Austin, Texas.

Secondly, the last four races have been won by Sebastian Vettel in a Red Bull that is now so fast its practically untouchable. You could put Fangio or Schuey (at the height of their powers) into one of the Ferraris and still Vettel would probably bore them and everyone else into submission and crush all in his path to take the chequered flag. Actually I like to think that Fangio and Schuey would have sneaked the odd win in the last four races but you get my point.

This way to the Tilke-drome
I was enormously tempted simply to cut and paste my blog of the mind-numbingly dull Korea race and just change the title – same outcome, just a variant upon the same borefest. And in this race, we didn’t even have Eddie Jordan doing gangnam style dancing to keep our spirits up. Also it is half-term and the tiny snippets of blog-time that I carve out for myself have disappeared off the face of the earth. And really embarrassingly (the husband told me I had to mention this), I accidentally stopped blogging at lap 48 because I was SO BORED. But you know what, I don’t think I missed much so I can still cobble together a bit of a blog. Hurrah! I think.
What makes me kind of mad is that I was really looking forward to this race and hoping for a bit of drama despite all logical evidence to the contrary. Bernie Ecclestone, Herman Tilke and Adrian Newey…this is ALL YOUR FAULT.

An essential accompaniment to F1 races these days (sadly)

So what went down in India?
1)     Vettel won the race again giving us all a masterclass performance of how to drive a Adrian Newey designed Red Bull at a Herman Tilke circuit. I read some comments on Twitter by some enraged Vettel fans arguing that their man should get far more plaudits. If it was all about Newey’s designs (which it is but anyway) then why wasn’t Webber leading the championship. Er, I think the entire F1 universe accepts that Vettel is a better driver than Webber but the point is that Alonso in a car more or less equivalent to the pre-Singapore Red Bull was comfortably leading the championship. All of a sudden, Vettel has gone from finishing 4th or 6th in races to leading by a country mile by the end of lap 1. He has now led F1 races for 205 consecutive laps. I could weep with despair.

Adrian Newey – all round genius. Can you move to another team now please?

2)     In 2rd place on the podium was Fernando Alonso who forced his way through the leading pack of drivers from 5thplace on the grid. This man will not give up the fight for the championship until the absolute bitter end. Even if Vettel is already giving the impudent and triumphant (and not at all annoying) finger of title victory, Fernando will probably still be flinging his Ferrari round Interlagos refusing to surrender. I just love him. Even Lewis Hamilton, not a likely candidate to feel the love for Alonso had this to say:
‘Fernando has driven so well; more so than anyone else here. Sebastian has stepped up a lot at the end of the year with the improvements on his car. But Fernando is still pushing. Today he just drove phenomenally well and he’s holding on still. For me, he really is a three or four-time world champion.’ 
3)     Mark Webber finished 3rd and the most interesting thing about his weekend was that he walked out of the post-race press conference while Alonso and Vettel were still speaking. And neither of them noticed. Awkward.

Got to admire his style. I’d walk out of a room if everyone ignored me too.

4)     Hamilton finished 4th after an appalling start, described by Lewis (never prone to hyperpole) as ‘a disaster, brutal, terrible’. No, Lewis, that would be Hurricane Sandy. He even had his steering wheel changed at one stage though both McLarens found some excellent race pace in the second half of the race to finish just outside the podium spots. Hamilton now needs a maximum 75 points from the next 3 races even to draw level with Vettel on points so its game over. Never mind, Lewis, there’s always next year at Mercedes to look forward to.
5)     The other drivers who finished in the points were (from 6thto 10th) Massa, Kimi, The Hulk (who will be plying his trade at Sauber next season), Grosjean and Senna.
6)     Another race. Another dismal outing for Mercedes. Rosberg tussled with Grosjean and Senna for most of the race but finished behind both in 11th place. That race win for Nico back in China seems like it happened in a parallel universe. Anyone would think Mercedes have just given up on 2012. In a way haven’t we all? See Schumacher below.
7)     One thing the Buddh International Circuit does well is right rear punctures. We had flipping tons of them. First off, Schumacher (but of course) got a puncture after contact with Jean-Eric Vergne on lap 1, Maldonaldo got a puncture after contact with Kobayashi and Perez got a puncture leading to rear suspension damage. Maldonado at least to his credit managed to cruise through some gravel into the pits and somehow got to the finish.
8)     And time for Narain Watch. What magical extra 10ths of a second could he find on his home circuit? A Big Fat Zero literally. Poor Narain trundled home in last place. Still it’s the taking part that counts. To be fair to him, he was told on lap 7 that his brakes needed cooling down and that his car was running hot. Someone should tell HRT that in Formula 1 cars tend to get hot while hurtling around tracks at 200 mph.
9)     Oh blimey, still two paragraphs to go. Help me. I’m done with India so lets look at what else has been making news in F1 starting with reports suggesting a Vettel move to Ferrari in 2014. Both Christian Horner and Vettel have come out to deny the rumours (using various expletives to make their point) but I wonder. Come 2014, might not Vettel be slightly bored of grinding out crushing victories at Red Bull and after all Ferrari is Ferrari. There is no greater team to drive for in F1 and if anyone says different they are lying.

No, Seb, of course you wouldn’t ever want to drive for Ferrari

10)  Apparently Alonso was talked down by senior figures within Ferrari from tweeting something along the lines of “I want my 1.2 million followers to know that the key aerodynamic components at the rear of the Ferrari are still the same as they were in May”. This came over a perceived criticism of his qualifying performance from Pat Fry. Alonso’s car is getting some upgrades for Abu Dhabi. They had better make a difference or Alonso will be tweeting something a bit more fruity than Samurai sayings.

They were literally packing them into the Buddh circuit in their ten’s.

For whatever reason, F1 doesn’t seem to work in India. Yes, admittedly now at the tail-end of the season, we have the perfect storm of a stand-out dominant team with a dominant driver, drivers have now sussed out how to manage the tyres, the title contenders have been whittled down to two and Grosjean/Maldonado have stopped driving like loons. But even aside from that, crowd numbers were down 30,000 on last year and even Sachin Tendulkar didn’t turn up. Say what you like about Europe but the fans in Europe are freaking awesome and mad for F1.
Who knows what to expect in Abu Dhabi but it comes to something when even Jake Humphrey says ‘dear F1 gods, British F1 fans are best in the world so please, please deliver an exciting race for the first time in a while-they deserve it’. So F1 gods, I hope you are listening. I cannot take another Vettel win, do you hear me. I demand a grandstand finish in Interlagos! 

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