Driver Performance Analysis: Germany
Published 25th July 2012 - Written by Badger GP Staff
We’ve already done him – read it here.
“We ran in the rain, in the damp, in the dry and with every kind of tyre: he was always the best,” said Andrea Stella, Fernando Alonso’s race engineer, after the Spaniard had claimed his third win of the campaign in Germany, extending his advantage atop the world championship.
In a sense this was Alonso’s purest victory of 2012: in Malaysia tricky conditions and a hesitant Sergio Perez helped him to the win; in Valencia the Ferrari was destined for P2 until Vettel’s car let him down.
But Hockenheim was a far simpler affair: he took pole, built a gap and then managed it with his incredible ability to push exactly as much as the situation demands. Alonso would let both Button and Vettel close to within a second, burning up their tyres in the process, then gap them so as to avoid a DRS assault. A brilliantly measured drive from a man operating at the peak of his powers.
Sky’s coverage loves to take little snippets of information and then repeat them over and over again it seems. Maybe it’s to crank up pressure, maybe it’s so appear like they know the sport they’ve just inherited. Either way, the statements that Vettel had never won his home race, and never won a race in July, kept being put on repeat over and over again.
This could have got to Sebastian. He’s still young remember. We can’t remember a time when a driver had his hands off the steering wheel in protest more than Seb’s weekend in Germany.
First there was his complaint of Mark Webber holding him up in qualifying – and the first angry wave – then Lewis Hamilton had the audacity to unlap himself and dice with the Red Bull for a handful of laps. Cue angry wave two. Coupled with the stewards accusing his car of being illegal, no wonder he drove off the track to overtake Jenson Button.
As far as we can remember, no-one’s won a race one handed.
An unwelcome return to the 2009 vintage of Grosjean in Germany. A grid penalty was always hanging over his qualifying, but he never really seemed to get going at all.
The Frenchman had never been out of the top 10 all season, then all of a sudden he’s 15th before the penalty. Another first lap fisticuffs with whoever was around him and yet another front wing was bust. And then another off later in the race. Not good at all.
The nice thing about it all though? The fact that Romain had a smile on his face before and after. His season has gone very, very well so far, and this won’t stop him moving forward.
What a difference 3 years make.
A long overdue return to form for the McLaren man, who still remains worryingly sensitive to the setup of his car.
Had qualifying not got wetter as the hour progressed, it’s likely Button would have been even further up the grid, such was the speed of the McLaren. For once, an update package actually seems to have worked.
His steady progress through the field, passing Hulkenberg and Schumacher on track and Vettel in the pits, reminded us of the Jenson Button of the last few seasons. With the bit between his teeth and a car he believes in, he’s a brilliant driver.
Nevertheless, in all honesty, he should have finished third. Not because Sebastian Vettel didn’t deserve to be punished, but because he simply had a faster car at that point in the race. With a bit more patience, Vettel would have got past and Button would have had to settle for the bottom step of the podium.
That said, it was a hugely encouraging performance. Roll on Hungary.
What is the legend doing here, we hear you cry? Well, when you take into account that Mercedes now have the 4th fastest car – despite Double-DRS and the pace they showed early in the year – finishing in 7th place is the bare minimum the team expects. And, for the second successive race, Michael’s delivered.
In fact, he’s been brilliant in the wet qualifying sessions for both Britain and Germany. Placing himself 3rd when in the dry he’d be further down is testament to what the old dog can deliver still. Bravo.