Top 5 from New Delhi

Published 30th October 2012 - Written by Craig Norman

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We admit it, India wasn’t a classic, but can the Badgerometer still eek 5 stories out of 60 processional laps and 4 sessions topped by Sebastian Vettel? Challenge accepted!

 Schumacher needs to go. Now.

Sunday was another dark smudge on the record for Michael Schumacher, not because he did something wrong, but because he just really didn’t do anything.

Insert your own “on your bike” jokes – Photo: Mercedes AMG Media

First corner incident aside, the German legend spent his Indian Grand Prix completely off the radar. And that’s the shocking thing about it really, for a man to hold 7 world championships and then not really make an impact smells like a driver that’s outstayed his welcome.

Mercedes have a hungry young driver in the shape of Sam Bird waiting in the wings. His Renault 3.5 series has finished so his twiddling his thumbs until next year, so why let Michael step aside? He already admits he’s struggling to find motivation.

 What happened to 2012?

Remember China earlier in the year? Spain? Hungary? Races in which we didn’t know who was going to dictate the pace right up until race day, and when it happened, it was only one out of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari who made the Pirellis work.

Now? It’s all Red Bull, with McLaren fighting valiantly to stay with them and Ferrari being anywhere near the front thanks to the guile of Alonso. Other teams can only really get a sniff at 7th place. Just like Mercedes last year.

How has this happened? Well, it seems that the tyres that were such a Rubiks Cube for everyone now aren’t, thanks to tweaks to the compounds, while money has been talking in the development race, hence Red Bull’s rise.

The tracks don’t help either, but more on that later.

 It’s amazing what you can achieve in 3.3 seconds.

McLaren have been setting records in pitstops all season, but once you see Lewis Hamilton’s from the Indian Grand Prix, you honestly haven’t seen anything yet;

Just to be clear, McLaren managed to change all 4 tyres and a steering wheel in just 3.3 seconds. Outstanding.

We in the Sett remember a time when a steering wheel change meant plugging a laptop in and hoping for the best. Brilliant stuff.

 If you think that was bad, remember what’s still to come.

Some people have always said that the new tracks lack character and the massive run-off areas reward mistake rather than punish them. India was a great example of their point, as Sebastian Vettel left the track on two points on his pole lap, and wasn’t penalised. The run-offs and kerbs didn’t hinder drivers like they used to – if anything, they rewarded them.

No limits. Literally. – Photo: Sauber Motorsport AG

With 3 races left, the next two are going to be more of the same. The new track in Austin should be an unknown, but it’s a Hermann Tilke design, so could be more of the same. And the next stop on our whistle-stop tour of the world is Abu Dhabi, which is one of the most infamous Tilke-dromes on the calendar.

The only saving grace is the season finale in Brazil. It’s an old school circuit that evokes lots of memories. But it’s also one of Red Bull’s favourite playgrounds. The future doesn’t look bright.

Is Fernando the People’s Champion?

5 years is a long time, in life, and in sport. In 2007, we were firmly against Fernando Alonso thanks to his spats with Ron Dennis, Lewis Hamilton and his part in the whole “spygate” affair. And now, he’s the only shining light left in an F1 landscape dominated by Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull.

Through sheer will and determination, he’s not only keeping Ferrari within touching distance of the Driver’s Title, but he’s also changing people’s opinions in the same effort. It’s a gutsy display of driving skill that should be rewarded with a third championship, but with each passing race, looks more and more likely that it won’t.

The Spaniard is the last opponent of the fizzy-drinks juggernaut as the season draws to a close, an underdog that could cause an upset for the ages, and be rewarded for the fine performances he’s put together from the very first race.

Should you all get behind him? It’s a matter of opinion, but we’re coming round to it.

Alonso ponders the championship battle – credit: @ShivyF1
Craig Norman
Badger GP Editor

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