I know what you’re thinking; the German National Anthem was perhaps a tad premature during yesterday’s reaction piece. Badger reluctantly agrees. That being said, you know where we were coming from; Button and Hammy were down in a lowly fifth and sixth respectively for the start of today’s Grand Prix and it’s been over a decade since a British one two.
Anyway, no harm done, the important thing is that it all came good for the British duo. It was an action packed race, a sentiment reinforced even before the final light went out as Alonso missed his cue and duly sent the Spaniard’s most realistic title rival, Vettel, into third place behind Webber. But it was a small and remarkably innocuous error compared with the purposeful actions that followed out on track that resulted in a hotch-potch of yet more inconsistent steward decisions.
From some angles Button’s safety car period manoeuvre was downright dangerous, yet from others, hardly worth the breath it was mentioned in. The truth was that McLaren’s latest Champion slowed to a relatively docile pace, but it was the late and sudden breaking from following cars that caused Webber, a driver known for haphazard and erratic piloting to contribute to the Kodak moment. These things happen and everyone has their part to play in ensuring procedures are obeyed behind the safety car. Besides, if the FIA were truly bothered about safety and ensuing speed restriction during the period it wouldn’t allow lapped cars to race around the circuit and unlap themselves. Let’s face it, a speed restriction setting, like the pitlane limiter would make more sense for such circumstances. Instead we have a situation geared primarily for entertainment value; the half-baked sentencing of the stewards is stunningly hypocritical.
We’re big Vettel fans over here at the Sett, but if Hammy was going to be penalised for his action in the pitlane, it should be said that the German was equally as responsible for risking safety, having pushed the McLaren rather too close to the gathered mechanics from the Williams F1 team. The pair were racing and whilst it’s typically frowned upon during the pitlane, there are no hard and fast rules governing etiquette. There should be.
More dangerous and irritating to see was Alonso’s little pit entry escapade that nearly ended the race of team mate Massa. Then again, perhaps the stewards thought that they’d given the Spaniard enough grief following his jumped start.
There’s never enough space to talk about all the stories from a race like today. Thankfully our resident expert on all things not obvious, Mr Jimmy Von Weeks, does a ruddy fabulous job of keeping us up to date on the things we may have missed at the back of the field, but let’s make mention of a rather pressing issue that has yet to be discussed; Schumacher. On today’s F1 Forum, Jake Humphrey, rather unskillfully dodged an email asking whether Michael Schumacher would do more damage to his career by calling it quits now, or continuing on for the extent of his contract in relative mediocrity? Humphrey read this question out in the middle of the Mercedes Benz hospitality suite, with Norbert Haug about to be interviewed; it was a rather awkward, but nonetheless funny moment. The awful fact is, that this question has been on the lips of pretty much every F1 fan out there, since his lacklustre debut performance in Bahrain. Failing to make the headlines for anything of notable worth, his comeback has been mired by a younger and faster team mate, in identical machinery, but today, that last point was called in to question as the emotionless face of Merc’s Motorsport VP suggested there may well be inequalities between the two. China was the last time Schumacher could realistically get away with such uncompetitiveness, with the cars heading (hopefully) back to base before Barcelona welcomes the beginning of the European season, the team can sort out any inconsistencies and establish once and for all whether the Schu-factor is indeed still there. I think we all sort of hope it is don’t we?