This weeks Spanish GP from Catalunya was an interesting race in several ways but also slightly disappointing. Before I mention the negative points, let’s start with the positives. Mark Webber drove the best race of his life in a lights to flag win after a brilliant qualifying performance on Saturday. His first win in Nurburgring last year was more emotional than this as it was his first and that’s always the hardest to get. Not only that but he also had to contend with a drive through penalty, which he managed to take and still win. However, this race Mark really showed his class and dismissed the stigma that he can’t have a great race without getting into some kind of strife.
This race was all about the start, Mark got off the line well but was under immense pressure from Vettel and Hamilton. The move he made to cover Vettel was the move that won him the race. He wanted to make a mends for letting Vettel through in Malaysia and he definitely did that. anyone who doubted Mark Webber’s skill and passion for racing can surely no longer hold those thoughts as true in their minds.
Now let’s dive into the negatives of this weekend. Because of the no re-fuelling rule, F1 races are generally split into two groups now. Exciting wet races and boring dry ones. Now, that’s not really a totally fair generalisation to make as many of the tracks will provide great racing on a dry day, but it’s hard to deny there is a lot of truth to that statement. This race wasn’t the most exciting of all time, but it wasn’t terrible and we saw an outstanding drive from Mark Webber and a lot of action in the midfield. There were crazy moments that you wouldn’t expect like Lewis Hamilton being denied a 2nd place finish by a tire blowout. And we also had incredible tension with Sebastien Vettel having yet more problems with his Red Bull’s braking system or wheels. We watched him drive the car to the limit while using the brakes as little as possible. I’m glad he kept it going because he really deserved the points not just for this race, but to start making up for the problems of the first couple of races.
Lewis Hamilton was desperately unlucky with his wheel problem and Jenson Button had an infuriating race after an issue in the pit stop got him stuck behind Michael Schumacher for most of the race. His in-car display was also not working so he couldn’t see the rev lights or any display on car settings or lap times. He is also now stuck with the label as a driver who cannot get it going in the dry. I hope he can do something about that in Monaco, a track where he can really show his impeccable driving style and put it to it’s best use.
The three Spaniards had contrasting races. Pedro De La Rosa wanted to finish the race badly, but suffered yet another retirement after the car was un-drivable after 18 laps. Fernando Alonso faired better after inheriting two places after Vettel was forced to pit for new tires and Hamilton went off on the penultimate lap. I’m sure he wouldn’t have been happy with the car as their pace for the duration of the race was not consistently fast enough to challenge the guys ahead.
Jaime Alguersuari had an eventful race. He was looking on course for a handful of points when he made a schoolboy error and turned into Karun Chandhok in the HRT when he was trying to let the Spaniard through, and scored himself a drive through penalty for it. Despite the drive through he still ended up coming home in 10th. The problem is, he could have had several more points had he avoided that incident. Whatever the case, this young driver looks like he’s really acclimatising to F1 well now and is starting to show some real speed.
Overall it was a decent race. Not a classic except for Mark Webber and Red Bull. It’s a shame the most excellent drives constitute boring races in the eyes of the casual fan. I think Monaco has the potential to be possibly the most boring race of the year for casual fans. The only saviour being its iconic setting and demanding tight track. But passing is basically impossible there and it’s hard to see anything other than crashes and car failures causing position changes in the race. Regardless, it should be interesting, especially in qualifying. I can’t wait to see what happens.
“Friday” practice in Monaco is actually on Thursday so don’t miss that if you’re a real fan. Friday is an off day from what I can remember and Saturday it’s back to business for qualifying.