Formula one arrived back in Europe and is on at decent time, brilliant. So apparently we were to see big changes as the cars got their add ons and new technologies fitted……but well we didn’t really did we. Ok so Massa’s Ferrari was looking better than it has all season, Raikkonen’s instead breaking early on and allowing the magnum eating one more time off to slouch about in shorts, but apart from that it appeared not much had changed with Brawn and Red Bull dominating and McLaren skulking about at the rear of the field and breaking down as well.
A few things that came to light in Spain, was the tubby fire marshall in the straw hat brandishing a fire extinguisher that would struggle against a toaster hosing down the Force India car after the early crash, the fact that despite being an international celebrity Nicole Scherzinger (Mrs Hamilton) has nothing to say for herself and really someone should have warned her that Brundle was likely to pop up and finally loads more examples of KERS being a waste of time as drivers consistently didn’t bother to use it, but I will concede it kept Massa ahead of Vettel and perhaps isn’t a complete waste of time. But onto the Badgerometer:
Number one is the race start, it was amazing and showed the drivers who were really hungry for points as well as those who seemed a bit sluggish. Barrichello for a start whipped past Button and was aggressive and hungry for a win from the off. Massa too seemed more fired up and overtook (without the full use of KERS) a pedestrian Vettel who didn’t appear to be challenging for points until the second half of the race, despite early indications from the team he was going for a win. Further back Alonso, obviously on a high from being on home turf and having so many (albeit dubious) fans about also made up two places. Trulli had another dodgy start and then went on to cause a crash that saw four drivers retire as carbon fibre rained down on the track and the safety car being rolled out for only the 4th time in 18 years at Barcelona. Whilst we’re on the subject of the safety car does anyone know why there are two people inside it?
Number two is the Force India drivers, Fisichella and Sutil they displayed an amazing attitude on the grid before the race, especially Fisi who after 14 seasons still drives a rubbish car and has little hope of really making it big in F1. But despite always being at the back the two drivers are motivated, focused and enthusiastic. Sutil especially, who stated twice the team was working well and making progress, where this progress is happening is anyone’s guess but top marks for attitude. And an interesting point was made by Legard (that was before his dire analogy of F1 and football), that Jenson Button as well as winning really is an inspiration to drivers like these. Last season Button drove a less than average car and didn’t look as though he was ever going to notch up serious championship contending points and look at him now.
In at three is Felipe Massa, the Brazilian really is an unlucky soul and whilst watching the race and rooting for Button, I wondered if perhaps as in the UK with Hamilton in Brazil Massa’s popularity has waned and he’s been replaced by Rubens as the nation’s favourite driver. But anyway he is at three this week, because he kept his game face on in what was an almost constant struggle with Vettel for initially 3rd but eventually 4th place and he would have beaten him if the Ferrari computer had deployed the right amount of fuel. Interestingly although this computer failure was the reason given by the team Felipe was told by Rob Smedley just four minutes into the race to ‘keep saving fuel’ behind the safety car as I’m sure were all the other drivers but I’m always up for a conspiracy theory!!
The battle continued in the pits with Vettel and Massa pitting twice on same lap and the second time it appeared Massa’s stop was shorter and then with 14 laps to go its obvious something is wrong when Massa is told to reduce his revs on P3 so he can get to the end. But despite these problems and the fact that in qualifying the Red Bull car was faster Massa continued to keep Vettel at bay and even I will begrudgingly admit this was largely due to KERS. Then sadly 4 laps from the end Massa is forced to give up 4th to save fuel to get to the end and eventually Alonso also passed leaving Massa to coast to a finish in 6th and then face the humiliation of walking back to the pit, just as Raikkonen had done earlier. But despite these issues and showing that again the fuelling at Ferrari is rubbish Massa put up a good fight in what is a less than average F1 car.
Four is Button versus Barrichello, and it made me realise that actually the biggest threat to Button is his lovely team-mate, Rubens ‘the plough’ Barrichello. It was here in Spain we really saw for the first time that Rubens is also hungry for the championship and quite rightly so, he has a quick car, he is a good driver and he has definitely put in the time and effort over the last 100 years or however long its been. And so ensued a battle that saw Button victorious due to strategy. Although all in all both strategies employed by the Brawn drivers were again infallible and saw them at no point disadvantaged compared to other drivers with regards to tyres, weight, fuel load etc. Initially with the aggressive overtake from Barrichello it looked as though he might well take the win, but a sluggish middle section meant he didn’t build up the 1.5 second lead he needed to stay ahead whilst he pitted and once Button got ahead he just built and built his lead. But it was lovely to see a very disheartened Barrichello still able to congratulate Button and an excited Button admit he really felt for the Brazilian.
Again more examples of teammanship and maturity, it really is a love in on the podium each week this season and a far cry from the Alonso/Hamilton squabbles.
And lastly in at 5th is word of the race ‘Pestiferous’ used by Jake Humphrey’s to describe Eddie Jordan!! Its an adjective meaning one of the following:
- Producing or breeding infectious disease
- Infected with or contaminated by an epidemic disease
- Morally evil or deadly; pernicious Bothersome, annoying
I think we can muse over which of the four Jake was referring to.
And whilst we’re on the subject of Eddie Jordan and his pestiferous ways we seg neatly into this week’s miffed with. But then I am not sure I am miffed with Eddie Jordan, on the one hand he is a deeply offensive individual and the altercation with DC during the pre race build up left me open mouthed with shock. Whilst talking about Kimi and his apathy, Jordan claimed (whilst sporting some seriously bad shoes, red leather loafers anyone?), that if Kimi was on his team he would have certainly suspended him for failing to perform, something DC thought was a bit harsh quipping later that he was glad he never drove for Jordan evoking Jordan to snap back in a rather aggressive manner that he had never wanted DC in his team anyway.
It was all in all a bit over the top and Jordan does seem to be the thorn in an otherwise friendly and jovial BBC commentary team. But on the other hand his controversy is interesting and he isn’t afraid to address the burning issue, because Kimi isn’t performing and actually if I was Ferrari I’d pretty peeved with not so much his performance but certainly his attitude. Its difficult also to judge Jordan because he is next to the deeply popular DC who lets face it can do little wrong, but then there is no excuse for being downright bitchy. So the debate continues, Eddie Jordan friend or foe?
Oh and finally it appears Brundle is right being on the right tyres does help as Kubica found when his team forgot their left from right and fitted the tyres on the wrong side of the car landing him 10th on the grid!