Luckily we jinxed the bad luck and reliability issues of Red Bull yesterday, by suggesting that it would all go wrong. It paid off thankfully, with a stunning one two finish that saw the Aussie-Deutsch pair untouchable from lights to flag, proving to the new teams that championship dreams, in just six years, might not be such a tall order after all.
Whilst the victory may have belonged to Vettel and Red Bull, the weekend surely was Hamilton’s, with a rollercoaster ride of emotional performances that saw the Brit, once again, ruing a poor team strategy in the garages during Saturday’s qualifying. But it all came good, and in such style and finesse during the opening corners, as Lewis made eight cars on his abysmal twentieth-place grid slot. Vettel may be the talk of the town, following yet another superb performance, but Hamilton is still the wonder-boy of Formula One. Whilst Melbourne may have been a setback, last year taught him just how to cope with disappointment, given the prospect of following a somewhat slower Force India for half the race in previous seasons, Hamilton would have been prone to mistakes, locking his tyres and running wide. Today, the lad just looked composed, in control and ten steps ahead of all his rivals. Never mind the weather in Malaysia, you can more likely set your watch by Hamilton; he’s becoming that regular.
Speaking of regular, Jaime Alguersuari was talk of the town in the Melbourne paddock last week, having fended off the advances of a certain seven-time world champion. This week, it was another German, Nico Hulkenberg, which the young Spaniard dispatched with relative ease. He showed poise and control battling with his rookie rival, a vast improvement in form following a sometimes pale debut last season.
It may have been dominance all round by the Red Bull boys, but you can’t help but feel that Webber is proving the chink in their armour. He’s fast, aggressive and one of the most calculating in the field, but prone to silly mistakes at the same time, silly mistakes, which, embarrassingly, he regularly calls rookies up on. With Vettel, a much younger man, he’s losing grip on a team that he used to call home and various sources suggest it’s rather grating on him. A chink in the armour then, or is Vettel just showing up the Aussie?
With a mistake in the pits costing him time that wasn’t his fault, Webber still managed to claw back second place, but it was a poor result from the man who started on pole and he didn’t half look unhappy in the press conference. Webber could easily have led from first, but, either out of misjudged loyalty or poor defence, allowed his teammate to get the slip on him in the first corner. Webber may have been taking the racing line, but Vettel, who is developing something of a killer instinct, lined him up to dive down the inside of the first corner. Perhaps Webber thought his German colleague might respect the established order, whatever he thought, he’ll now be analysing that first corner for the next two weeks as he desperately tries to establish a psychological advantage in time for China.
Webber isn’t the only veteran to be beaten by a young German this weekend as the proceedings in Sepang saw Schumacher, victim of a mechanical error, dispatched by the athletic Rosberg, who went on to clinch a podium; a first for the reborn Silver Arrows. Then there was Barrichello and his famous over-heating clutch leaving him stationary on the start line while Hulkenberg grabbed a point for 10th. “But why the silly mistakes?” we must ask – and who knows, but it does keep Formula 1 exciting and unpredictable, that’s for sure.
2010 has progressed into quite an exciting season, with a few surprises to hold our interest, we shall just have to keep an eye out for those acreeping threats of Force India and Renault, who will likely steal any advantage left by the front runners.