We have our third winner in three races thanks to Sunday’s race in Shanghai ladies and gentlemen, but what other stories grabbed the headlines over the course of the weekend? The Badgerometer is back, and is here to find out!
No luck for Webber
After all the furore surrounding the Malaysian Grand Prix, you’ve thought Mark Webber would have wanted a nice, quiet weekend to get his campaign back on track. What he got was more fuel to the ongoing conspiracy theories and rumours of where he’ll be next season.
If running out fuel wasn’t enough, he then got completely removed from qualifying and started from the pitlane, and then slammed into Jean Eric Vergne (who, in a Toro Rosso, you’d have thought would have been an easy pass). Then his wheel falls off, and he gets a grid penalty for Bahrain for his troubles. Not a good few days for the Sett’s favourite Aussie.
Yet, through it all, he was heavlily linked with driving for Porsche in sportscars from 2014 onwards. Even if this isn’t true, after a race like he had, Mark would be looking for a better turn of events in the next few races.
Success is all about comprimise, it seems
Fernando Alonso has developed this incredible knack of controlling a Grand Prix from a position you wouldn’t have thought possible. China was a great example of this, using the Ferrari’s incredible start capabilities to manouvre in the position he needed to be in with a shout of winning – which he duly took. But, he never really goes for broke on a Saturday, and that’s paying into his hands.
Saturdays and Sundays are two completely different animals in this era of tyre management. Those who want to waste a set of softer tyres to get that all important lap time can – like Lewis Hamilton’s first pole for Mercedes – but would he have been better off putting in a slightly slower time on the harder compound and running an alternative strategy?
Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button did this and made it work, indeed the German was on the tail of Lewis right up until the very last corner. What ww know is that the days of full bore laps to get pole are slowly dying out. Whether this is a good thing is yet to be seen.
Vettel shows his true colours
All eyes were on Sebastian Vettel the moment he rolled into the Chinese paddock on Thursday, and when that micropshone was handed to him for the press call you could just sense the anticipation of what he was going to say about the whole “Multi-21” affair. What he did come out with was, maybe, more controversial than the event itself.
He wasn’t repentent, and even stated he’d do it again. Gone was the jovial, humourous side of the triple-world-champ that we’re all used to, and in it’s place was a colder, more calculating young man. The whole performance was all rather a bit too Michael Schumacher for our liking, but then again, Seb has been on the phone to the German legend on a regular basis recently.
Will this side be here to stay? Probably, and it’s even more probable that it was always there and was hidden by the quick one-liner and British sense of humour. The real Sebastian Vettel has emerged, it seems.
There’s no favourites yet, which is excellent
While we thought the first few races of 2012 were exciting, this season’s openers have thrown up an even more intriguing scenarios. We’ve now had three different winners in three races – Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso – but you’ve also had Lewis Hamilton chomping at the bit in his Mercedes.
While we’d like a few more underdog upsets to occur, the fact of the matter is that no matter what obstacles are thrown in way of these drivers, they quickly work out a way to move forward. Of course it’s a team effort from their point of view, but they’re the ones collecting the points when the chequered flag falls.
With Bahrain around the corner, we still don’t know who’s the most consistent in terms of pace. Not that we’re complaining, as it’s exactly the kind of excitement that keeps us hooked as the season wears on. But, if the title race ends up being ding-dong battle between these 4, then we’re in for an absolute cracker.
Pirelli have overdone it
With these past opening races, it’s clear that the polarising element in all three has been the degredation of the Pirelli tyres. They’ve done what the brief given to the tyre company asked them to do, but you have to admit that it’s got to the point where it’s almost too much.
Take Friday and Saturday practice for example – there just isn’t enough tyres given to the team for them to understand what sort of lap numbers they can achieve on them. They’ve also removed the necessity of speed in Formula One races and replaced it with consistency; it’s now a game of getting to the chequered flag without losing too much grip from your fragile rubber.
The biggest flaw in this concept starkley came at half distance in China, where you had Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel radioing their pitwalls to see if they could race the cars around them. In the past that was a given, but now, it’s a distant memory.
We had the perfect mix of compound last season but the teams got on top of it by half distance. If it happens this year, it will be a miracle.