The Top 5 from Silverstone
Published 11th July 2012 - Written by Craig Norman
The 2012 British Grand Prix has come and gone in a flash, with thrills, spills and lots and lots of rain. Fear not Badger fans, as the Badgerometer is cranked up to shine some light on the Top 5 from the home of British motorsport.
It rained all the time, except when it mattered.
The Great British summer struck with full fury at Silverstone. When we should have had sun (seeing as it was July) we, well, didn’t. Qualifying was a washout, and instead of stopping the session where it was – and handing Sergio Perez an unlikely pole – we had to wait over an hour for the rain to clear while we were subjected to cringeworthy filling by both BBC and Sky.
(Fans in attendance – you had the better deal. Trust us).
The ironic thing is, on the day where some rain would have delivered us an extremely exciting race, Silverstone managed to hold a Grand Prix in, what seemed, the only 90 minutes of sunshine over the three days.
The big losers in all of this wasn’t the fans – whose Dunkirk-type spirit kept everyone’s spirits high – but the organisers. Lots of money was lost thanks to turning fans away on Saturday and coupled with bucketloads of negative PR, it wasn’t exactly the perfect weekend to showcase Silverstone as a venue.
If it wasn’t for the fact that British fans are the best in the world, it could have been a lot, lot worse.
Another missed opportunity for Romain.
The Frenchman may have been all smiles after a storming recovery drive in Britain, but the fact still remains that this was another lost opportunity for himself and Lotus.
Why do we say that? Well, before Romain beached his car in the gravel, he was lapping at the same pace as eventually pole winner Fernando Alonso. And then, in the race itself, he overcame a first lap collision with Paul Di Resta – complete with nose change – to be only 17s off the lead at the finish, and 7s behind teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Who had started 3 grid places higher.
It just adds to the underlying feeling that Lotus have in their hands a race-winning car. But, the window of opportunity to take that elusive win is ever-decreasing, especially seeing as Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren have deeper pockets when it comes to a development war.
It really is a case of it being sooner, rather than later.
No home comfort for McLaren.
Remember that victory for Jenson Button in Australia, when he….no, we won’t go there. TV has covered that story to death since Bahrain. The point still rings true though. McLaren have fallen behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus. If the update they have planned for Germany doesn’t work, they could be on par with Mercedes.
The simple truth is that McLaren just aren’t fast enough. Whether it’s down to issues with tyres that they don’t understand still (while Red Bull and Ferrari now seem to), or that fact that Button’s issues have taken their eye off the ball in terms of pushing forward, the Woking team are in whole heap of trouble.
The worst thing is that they don’t seem to know where to go from here. Both Button and Lewis Hamilton’s post-race talk was about how good the car was feeling, which is quite alarming, considering just how slow there were going in terms of fastest laps. Lewis was 15th fastest in race trim on Sunday. That speaks volumes.
Pastor is a liability. Ban him.
We here at Badger do not own a soapbox, and if we did, we wouldn’t know the first thing to do if we ended up standing on it. Pastor Maldonado and his almost reckless driving compels us to act.
Another race, another race ending incident for a victim of Pastor. This time it was Sergio Perez, and the Mexican did the right thing and lambasted him in the press straight afterwards. Too right.
Here’s an extract;
“Pastor is a driver who doesn’t respect other drivers,” said Perez. “It’s a matter of fact. He should have given me enough space not to crash but he tried to push me all the way to the outside.”
“I don’t understand the way he is driving. I hope the stewards can do something because the last three or four races he has done something to someone. It’s not the first time he has damaged my weekend. He did the same with Lewis (Hamilton) in Valencia and they just gave him a drive-through which I think is not enough. He will never learn if they don’t do something.”
The only thing keeping Pastor away from a ban is the fact that there is no regular race steward. Different opinions held by different guest stewards – like Johnny Herbert, Nigel Mansell, Derek Warwick and Alain Prost – mean that different penalties are being handed out. And then there’s the fact that whatever decision they make, it can be overruled by the rest of the panel. There needs to be consistency in punishments, including race bans.
Pastor needs to learn. Fines and reprimands won’t do that.
Not bad for a number 2 driver. Mark II.
We’re coming up to the part of the season where good drives will be rewarded with talk of a title challenge. Mark Webber’s drive at Silverstone was exactly that – a statement of intent.
Consistency is going to win the 2012 World Title, and Mark has had an exceptional run of form. While some people were scoffing at the run of 4th places he’s had this year, it’s now got him within 13 points of taking the championship lead. While Fernando has been taking the plaudits for scintillating drives in a car that shouldn’t be where it is, Mark has quietly got on with his job and now, all of a sudden, he’s the man to watch.
Spare a moment’s thought for Sebastian Vettel too. All of a sudden, he’s not the man everyone’s looking at in Red Bull colours. Mark’s performances mirror the purple patch that he had in 2010, and we all know how that turned out in Turkey that year. If the Red Bull is fast in Germany, these two will be on their own out front. And we all know how that ended last time.