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F1 Ð TWO BY TWO

  Now before you all start thinking I’m some sort of religious nut let me assure you that I am a firm believer in the survival of the fittest and that the Darwin awards are proof positive of the non-existence of gods. Especially ones that bless America. But recently it has become just too easy to rely on these mythical references when it comes to Grand Prix racing. And on a weekend when Thor was out in all his splendour and it was more in keeping that Noah’s Ark should be about than Formula One cars the winners are now lining up two by two. “Hey Lord, we’ve got some green alligators, some long necked geese….” Two King Fernandos and two Mark Webbers – a unicorn anyone??? 

 

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  After two days, or should I say two months, of torrential rain King Fernando broke out the floaties and water wings to capture Ferrari’s first pole position since Methuselah was a small child (see – another one, I just can’t help it at the moment, I must visit my exorcist) or at least since 2010 anyway, and for most of the weekend it appeared that he was going to break the mould and make a break at the front of the championship that would be very difficult for anyone to peg back. (Gasp – long sentence – breath in…) But once he was on the softer tyres and Mark was on the harder for the final stint the game changed dramatically.

 

  The softer compound tyres were only good for about 11 laps, 13-14 if you were really easy on them and King Fernando pitted for the final time to take these on with 15 laps to run. In a way he was forced to pit then to cover off the Red Rags who had just made their final stops and put on the harder tyres that got quicker as they aged.

 

 

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    This meant of course that by lap 45 the Ferrari’s tyres were on their last legs while Webber was closing rapidly. After a few laps right up the red car’s smelly end Webber finally just drove around the outside of King Fernando at Brooklands. That the Red Rag is anything up to 10 kms slower in a straight line than the Ferrari shows just how much more grip Webber had at that moment than Alonso. The championship leader grimly tried to fight back but with just five laps left the race for the win was over. In the end King Fernando was closer to the ever closing Herr Vettel than Webber and would have been demoted to third place had the race run another lap or two.

   Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari had his best race in many a day after qualifying fifth. He jumped Seb on lap one and held him at bay until just before the first round of tyre stops. He hung on to the battle for the final podium spot until the final stint but still finished in fourth place, under ten seconds behind the winner. Red Bull-Ferrari, Red Bull-Ferrari – see more two by two stuff. And guess what? The next two cars were the Lotus’s. Kimi ended up just eight tenths behind Felipe at the flag but probably had the pace to be on the podium again had his race been a bit smoother. As it was the Iceman at least captured the fastest lap for his pains. On outright pace Grosjean should perhaps have won as after a horrible first lap and a very early pit stop he was 22nd and dead last by lap three. His second stint lasted 24 laps and his final one was 26 laps and he was still closing on Kimi at the end. 

    The rest of the field performed at about their normal level with a few exceptions. Team Brittania were just bloody awful. The McLarens would just not cooperate at all and after qualifying 8th and 16th The Hoon and Jenson could finish no better than 8th and 10th for a meagre hall of points. Performing in the other direction was young Daniel Ricciardo who, in what is easily the worst of the “established” cars, the Toro Rosso, was in excellent form in the wetter parts of the event. In Friday’s first practice he was a stunning second fastest and backed that up with a top ten quallie one time. He was easily in the top ten in Q2 when the red flag was thrown but of course, when the session restarted in much drier conditions he had no hope of maintaining that place and dropped to 14th, but still over half a second up on his team-mate. The race was dry so naturally both Toro Rossos fell back to their normal place ahead of the “newer” teams at the tail of the field.

  So which of the remaining five will join the dual winners in Hockenhiem? With the long quick back section I don’t think the Red Rags will be in with a shot so that probably counts out Seb. Maldonado maybe? But Team Willies form had been patchy since Spain. Button and the Hoon will be trying their damnedest to get back to the front but that back bit could suit the Silver Arrows so Nico could be worth putting some cash on. Or a Lotus. Or Schumacher. Or Massa. Or a Sauber. Or………..and that’s what I love about this season. Your uneducated guess is as good as my uneducated guess.

 For full results go to;

 http://www.mmmsport.com.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=148&dir=ASC&order=name&limit=5&limitstart=10 

Sam Snape

 13/07/2012