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April 27, 2008

F1 Notes – Spanish Grand Prix

Some observations of today’s event:

Fernando Alonso did a great job in qualifying, almost got pole. He was lucky to get away with his off during the warm up lap when he nearly hit a wall. Good start from the Ferraris.

Lewis Hamilton probably made the best one, certainly the decisive one of the race when he jumped Robert Kubica. He’s done this on more than one occasion at the start where he’ll go to the outside approaching the first turn and then dart inside to take the position from the car ahead as it tries to defend the mid-outside line. It often pays off.

Not a good day if your name was Sebastian. Vettel was taken out by Adrian Sutil’s failed move on someone else ahead of him. More reason to qualify further ahead.

Speaking of Sutil I don’t see him lasting the rest of the year unless he really improves his performance. Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella outqualified him by about 0.7 of a second which seems like somewhere between a kilometer and a mile.

Then Sebastian Bourdais had the accident with Nelson Piquet which eventually took them both out.

Couldn’t believe there was an audience of 132,000 people. Huge turnout for Fernando Alonso.

Then Heikki Kovalainen has a massive accident due to mechanical failure. It looked awful as the car wedged itself under the tire barrier having impacted it nearly straight on at high speed. When the car was finally extricated there was visible daylight in the cockpit, not a good sign at all. Heikki was taken away on a stretcher but appeared to be mostly ok. Hopefully he’ll be fine and his promising career won’t be adversely affected.

Hard to imagine the consequences of such an impact if the wall was concrete as they likely were in the recent past.

Steve Matchett on Speed TV really knows his stuff. Always fascinating to hear him speak about strategy and the many considerations that go into running the cars.

The rule prohibiting refueling in the pitlane when it’s closed due to a safety car period is both confusing and cumbersome. Totally ruined Nick Heidfeld’s race. A 10 second penalty for refueling when you had to? Utterly ridiculous.

It’s time for David Coulthard to hang up his F1 gloves. He’s become an obstinate curmudgeon, party to too many accidents when getting passed, and today’s result was he was lapped by his teammate Mark Webber who actually finished, and in the points to boot.

If Red Bull are to win they need to replace Coulthard.

In the end Jackie Stewart’s pre-race prediction was right on the mark no one would challenge Kimi Raikkonen for the win. Raikkonen gets criticized unfairly for his perceived lack of emotion. But he gets my vote for not only being the best driver on the grid, he doesn’t complain and gets the job done without drama. That is a mark of a true champion.

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