The F1 circus had come home to Europe, and after this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, what stories got the full attention of the Badgerometer? Hang on tight, the Top 5 are coming your way!

And the difference between Felipe and Michael is…

We’re into the third season of the “Michael Schumacher Return Tour” and right now, it feels like watching an ageing rock band go through the motions. For us in the Sett, we’re just waiting for that spark of old magic to shine once more, even for one single race. We don’t know the point – eventually, he’ll have to walk away again.

The thing that irks us is that how long can he keep trading on his name and keep making mistakes? If any other driver had hit Bruno Senna on Sunday, there’d be an enquiry into why that driver was there. With Michael, it’s started, and then swept under the carpet. Because it’s Michael.

Our patience can only last so long. A 40-year-old driver not performing is keeping a potential star away from a good race seat, hampering the development of the W03 and the progress of Nico Rosberg, because Mercedes want to make Michael happier. And after his worst ever start to a Formula One season, the clock is ticking very loudly indeed.

Felipe Massa is getting criticism for not matching up to Fernando Alonso. It’s about time Michael got the same compared to Nico.

Some well needed words of encouragement - Photo: Mercedes F1 Media

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Vettel had an absolute blinder

Much of Sunday’s coverage focused on Pastor and Fernando up front, but Sebastian Vettel had quite the race behind them. The Bahrain winner started 7th (after Hamilton’s penalty) and had to deal with the following:

  • surviving the aftermath of Senna and Schumacher coming together.
  • a front wing change (also suffered by teammate Mark Webber, who finished 11th)
  • a drive through penalty (also suffered by Felipe Massa, who finished 15th)
But, he managed to push through all of this to end up a very commendable 6th place! If it hadn’t been for those two unscheduled trips down the pitlane, he would’ve finished ahead of Kamui Kobayashi, and probably challenged Romain Grosjean for 4th. Coupled with a few daring overtakes on Hamilton, Button and Rosberg – twice! – it really was a busy afternoon for the reigning champion.
Let's hear it for the champ - Photo: Red Bull Media

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“You know when you’ve been KK’d” – Martin Brundle

There are some real cult heroes developing on the grid this season. Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen, Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez – and the list is growing after each race. One driver that had been in danger of falling away from that list was Kamui Kobayashi. Thanks to Sunday’s performance, that’s now far from the case.

He had loads of attention in 2009 and 2010 for his do-or-die mentality with overtaking, but last season he switched his style to be more consistent in terms of points scoring. Yay if you’re a team owner, boo if you’re a fan of on-track dicing.

Not this weekend though. Thanks to some upgrades from the Mugello test, the Sauber looks to be on the move up the grid and KK is seeing the benefits. He seemed more confident on the brakes more than anyone.  Just ask Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.

It’s a welcome return for the Japanese driver, who has been put in the shade slightly thanks to his team-mate’s heroics in Malaysia.

Welcome back Kamui, more of the same please.

Photo: Sauber F1 Media

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Seriously – did this just happen?

There’s a period after every race where we have to take stock of what unfolde, to let it all sink in, then we get on with bringing you a few witty reports with photos.

And right now, it still hasn’t sunk in.

Did we just see Pastor Maldonado win a Grand Prix? The same Pastor who only scored a single point over the course of last season, and used sideswiping Lewis Hamilton as a means of voicing his displeasure at Spa last year?

And did he just absorb a tremendous amount of pressure from Fernando Alonso, the king of high pressure driving?

Maybe we were wrong in our judgement of the Venezuelan. After all, before he got to Formula One, he was a dominant force in GP2 and knows how to win races. Why wouldn’t he be so assured when the opportunity for race victory presented itself in such a way?

There are going to be many such changes in opinion of Maldonado. He was heavily tagged with the label of being a pay driver – something that we are guilty of – but this weekend showed us what the real Pastor is all about. It was the most impressive of the other “breakthrough” drives from the likes of Sergio Perez and Nico Rosberg that we’ve seen this season. It’s not only the front-running teams that boast some of the best driving talent, that’s for sure.

Photo from our very own Adam Mills!

The only thing to mar this weekend’s celebrations was the fire in the Williams garage. We hope all involved, especially the injured, make a speedy recovery.

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Lewis Hamilton – Pole-Axed

Overshadowing the impressive Maldonado was the whirlwind of excitement that was Lewis Hamilton being excluded from pole position on Saturday evening. The McLaren mechanic in charge of fueling the tank had the rig on “drain” instead of “fill”, and the Brit ended up without the required 1 litre in the tank for scrutineering. It was a silly error that caused Twitter to nearly go into meltdown – from shouts of victimisation, corruption, bias, and quite ridiculously, racism.

Why always me? - Photo: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Now, when you break a rule, you should be punished. Because the only time this has happened before was Canada 2010 – by Lewis in his McLaren also – then a ruling was put in place. What this all smells like is the team thought the stewards wouldn’t pull out the expulsion ruling and allow them to at least lose the pole position time, ending up a little bit further down. Maybe even be 11th. It was a risky gamble, but it backfired spectacularly.

In a way, it’s good for the stewards to make a ruling like that. No other team has had the audacity to try and get away with making such a mistake, yet here’s one of the front runners trying to muscle their way into, what they think, is the right. No dice McLaren.

But, there is still no consistency in terms of the enforcement of the rules.

Nahrain Karthikeyan didn’t set a time within 107% of the pole time, but was allowed to race. What’s the point of having the 107% rule is you are never going to enforce it?

Sergio Perez left the track at turn 3, only to rejoin onto the racing line, with Hamilton not only having to leave the track, but also losing positions heading into turn 4. The last time this happened, with Hamilton in Hungary and Paul Di Resta having to take avoiding action, Lewis got his wrist slapped.

It’s about time a full-time panel of stewards are chosen to moderate the rules. Consistency is key is all terms of success in Formula One. The stewards should be part of that too.