The F1 Top 5 from Yeongam
Published 16th October 2012 - Written by Emma Bracegirdle
The Korean GP may not have been the action packed event we’re used in 2012, but it was an important race for many drivers and our new writer, Emma who’s making her debut with the F1 top 5 from Yeongam.
Another fine drive from The Hulk
This Badger newbie likes Nico Hulkenberg. He seems like a nice guy and has a good sense of humour, someone you’d be happy to share a pint with down your local pub. And he’s quick.
Considering Force India have been stuck in the midfield for what now seems like eternity, to challenge the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari even with their poor form, and keep Paul Di Resta honest on a regular basis, has been no mean feat. Nico’s drive to 6th place (his eighth top-10 finish of the season) was done in some style too, slicing past Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean in two successive turns, all while keeping the racing hard but clean. No wonder the Silly Season theorists had him going to Ferrari next year.
But at the time of writing rumours are rife that The Hulk will be confirmed as joining Sauber, to replace Sergio Perez. A sideways step maybe if it were it to happen, but as this season has proven, you don’t necessarily need the best car to show off your talent.
McLaren are down and out
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Hamilton and Button – any hopes of McLaren clinging on to the championship battle, if they were slim enough already, have surely gone now.
For them it was a case of another race, another tally of problems that were no fault of their own. Jenson being collected by an overzealous Kamui Kobayashi was literally only the start, with Lewis’ rear anti-roll bar failure ruining the rest of his race. Throw in an extra pit stop, being slower than Toro Rosso and eating breakaway astro turf, and the team were lucky to come away from Korea with a solitary point.
With only 4 races to go, McLaren quite frankly need a miracle to have any chance of keeping up with the championship leaders. Even Lewis, with his never-give-up attitude, has conceded that his title hopes are all but over:
“In terms of winning, I think that’s it for us. We were still in the fight up until now but it’s too far away. It’s a day to forget. A year to forget as well. I’m looking forward to a fresh start next year.”
Story of their season.
Grosjean redeemed himself – slightly
Poor RoGro, as he’s affectionately known in the Twittersphere, seems to have had everyone on his case of late, not helped by his escapades at Suzuka. You could tell the gravity of the situation there had hit home hard. By the time it was his turn to talk to the Sky F1 crew, the usually jovial Frenchman looked on the verge of tears after words from Mark Webber. Criticism of the ‘first-lap nutcase’ is justified of course, but a little harsh maybe? You can have your say here.
Romain was therefore under serious pressure, from the rest of the grid and his own team, to keep his nose clean in Korea. And he went and did just that. Overly cautious sometimes, understandably, but in one-on-one battles he proved that he knows when to push and when to hold back, his scrap with Hulkenberg for half the race being a fine example.
If Romain can just apply his performance this weekend to the first laps, he has the speed to be a serious contender in the future. Otherwise there’ll be sweepstakes galore on what corner he’ll cause a crash at next.
What have Toro Rosso had for breakfast?
It’s fair to say Toro Rosso have been nowhere near where they wanted to be this year. Big things were promised from Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, but apart from a 9th and 8th place in the first two races and qualifying 6th in Bahrain, results had been lacklustre to say the least. Many people had started to question the hype surrounding the new kids on the Red Bull block.
Fast forward to this weekend and the team look like they’ve been given a much-needed kick up the diffuser, with the recent arrival of new technical director James Key. Both cars made it into Q2 again, making it five times out of five since Spa barring penalties. Come race day, some great defending and the cars’ straight line speed made sure they kept the likes of Hamilton and Schumacher firmly behind them, to finish a respectable 8th and 9th.
Were it not for mechanical problems at Monza and Vergne’s retirement in Singapore, both drivers would’ve scored points in all the races since the summer break. A big improvement for guys under a lot of pressure from the top, and a deserved joint Top Dog for Korea.
Advantage Vettel? Not quite
Does Sebastian Vettel not know the meaning of the word ‘slow’?
By this weekend’s antics, evidently not.
For much of the race there were some nervous faces (and much leg-jigging) on the Red Bull pit wall when Finger Boy was setting yet another fastest lap, despite the increasing strain his tyres were under. Had he not been constantly pestered by race engineer Rocky, the championship could be looking a lot different right now thanks to a Mansell-esque blowout.
Seb, however, eventually did as he was told, saved the tyres and became the first man to get a third win on the bounce this season, putting him six points ahead of Fernando Alonso in the drivers’ standings. Though with 100 points still up for grabs, the title isn’t over just yet. The general consensus is that Ferrari won’t have the updates to keep up with Red Bull’s raw pace – but it only needs another alternator failure for things to swing back into Alonso’s favour. As a certain saying goes, anything can happen in Formula 1 and it usually does.
We can’t wait.
Oppa F1 Style!
Love it or hate it, it was impossible to stay away from Gangnam Style-mania while the F1 circus visited its home country. Still, any excuse to get the drivers and press doing *that* dance to make them look silly, eh?
The Korean fans even got in on the action with their banners.
We’ll just leave this one here. Make your own minds up on whether it’s brilliant or disturbing…