It was perhaps predictable that Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton’s paths would cross in a Grand Prix that delivered the final act in a weekend’s worth of drama, but could anyone have foretold that it would have happened in such stunning fashion.
For his part, Webber apologised immediately, which by all accounts is refreshing for the Aussie, but in what is set to become an ongoing battle, it is seriously doubtful that Hamilton will be so capitulating. Yes, he did nothing for his public persona, metaphorically continuing with Sunday’s car crash television when interviewed by Lee McKenzie shortly following the race, but why, at this stage, does his attitude continue to surprise us? Hamilton is arguably the greatest driver of his generation, he demands perfection from his machinery, mechanics and team and in return, delivers said perfection with unequivocal finesse. For Hamilton, a bad strategy call is tantamount to missing his braking point or flat spotting, and was of course made all the worse by a ruthlessly accurate strategy decision in the Button camp.
In related speculation, BBC commentator Martin Brundle was full of praise and superlative adjectives for what Hamilton later admitted was “the drive of my life”, this, in stark and obvious contrast to the commentator’s normally unbiased pronouncements. The former McLaren driver and current driver manager might just be doing anything in his power to land the most lucrative driver contract in history.
Whilst it might pain this Brit to admit such a travesty, Fernando Alonso’s drive back to the top of the grid, following a disastrous first corner collision with Button, was in all actuality, equally as monumental as rival Hamilton’s. Spinning, and facing the oncoming melee of the rear markers, Alonso battled in dramatic and inspiring fashion back to the front, eventually hanging off the diffuser of team mate Felipe Massa, wherein the Spaniard could simply not progress, despite the obviously struggling Brazilian finding the Ferrari a handful. Ferrari have done exceptionally well in the first two races of the season, but their fighting spirit for the top spot seems somewhat diminished, preferring instead to achieve glory as a consequence of other’s circumstances. Regardless, they lead nearest constructor rivals McLaren by sixteen points.
So that really just leaves a footnote dedicated to the awesome, but painfully poorly constructed Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel should have won in stunning form, not just today, but in Bahrain, yet the Red Bull seems to have all the reliability of a Toyota Prius. Perhaps if Vettel’s World Championship bid had not been so unceremoniously executed by the Renault engine in 2009, this recent issue of dependability would not be so worrying. But it is. Newey is famous for building awesomely fast, if rather shaky machines throughout his history in grand prix racing (as well as some truly superb, dominating machines too of course), but if problems relating to consistency yet again damage the title aims of one of the best young talents in Formula One, it will be difficult for Vettel to forgive the team that has built him up to such dizzying heights.