I just love this season. It has produced more edge-of-your-seat races than the last 5 years combined. Today was no exception. The Nurburgring has been eagarly anticipated this year not least due to the fact that a Quarter of the drivers on the grid are German and therefore it was the home Grand Prix of no fewer than SIX drivers. Four of those drivers ended the race in the points and the German fans must be ecstatic… I wonder how that feels…
Something finally happened in Qualifying worthy of sitting up in your seat, Vettel qualified 3rd behind his teammate and Lewis Hamilton. I’ve maintained through this season that if Vettel doesn’t start on the front row we see how good an all-round driver he truly is, which in my opinion he is not. Don’t get me wrong, he has the raw speed and he is fantastic off the line, but I genuinely don’t think he is a mid field battler. Until now that’s not been a problem however today we saw that he can really fall down under the pressure of having to work his way through the field. Seb secured some advantage through his final pit stop to leapfrog Massa, however he had basically followed Massa through the field until that point, overtaking right after the Brazilian and attacking drivers when they were already on the backfoot. Vettel NEEDS to lead from the start, it is just simply how he wins races. Compare him to a driver such as Alonso or Hamilton and it’s no contest. Much as I dislike Hamilton, it’s difficult to see him ever giving less than 100% and settling for a place lower down the field rather than fighting.
Something is beginning to concern me midfield, namely the fighting spirit of Kamui Kobayashi. Where has it gone?! Where is the spritely, slightly insane driving style we’ve come to adore? I would really hate to see him go off the boil, and today on a few occasions it really felt like he was rolling over for a tummy-rub like a pampered puppy. Kamui, wake up! We need you being a threat again and making sure the front runners stay on their toes. Today it was Rosberg who seemed to be terrifying other drivers, at long last!
And now for a slightly more sensitive subject… Race seats. I have been gently prodded by the admin of this very blog to share my opinions on who will be where next season. The way I see it there will be 2 seats open, those of Webber and Massa. Webber mainly because unless you’ve been living on Mars this year (and part of last year) you’ll have realised he’s not overly pleased with apparent favouritism at Red Bull and the fact that for a F1 driver he is cracking on a bit. Massa has not been the same man since his accident last year, and he just doesn’t seem to have it in him anymore. Couple this in with the fact that whilst McLaren like their British line-up, Button is not getting the results and Hamilton is just a walking PR disaster of late (though it is extremely obvious from his wooden, forced smiley-faced interviews from Silverstone and this weekend that he’s been beaten with the McLaren ‘silly-stick’ for opening his mouth without thinking) I can’t see McLaren wanting rid of Hamilton to be fair, he is a sublime racer, even if his maturity is severely questionable when he’s busy lobbing his toys out of his very expensive pram. Also he is very much a number 1 driver… he’s already proved he can’t be in a tea, with Alonso, and the chances of him being willing to play second fiddle to Vettel are just laughable. Whereas Jenson ‘wow it’s bracing’ Button doesn’t quite have the on-track aggression Mclaren are looking for. What do I want to happen? I would love to see Jenson go to Ferrari replacing Massa, Di Resta to replace Button in the McLaren and, controversially, Webber to stay put. (failing that I’d want to see what Rosberg could do in a better car) However, as always, that’s just my opinion and I am VERY sure the team bosses don’t need my help in deciding who will drive for them next year. I do think it’s going to be interesting… unless no one moves. Then I will pout.
To end on a happy note I have more on my affection for happy-go-lucky newcomer Daniel Ricciardo. Not only does he share my ‘I’m pretty sure my surname is pronounced differently in it’s origin language but I just say it like….’ approach to his name but he also happily announced that he wished they’d move Spa on the calendar so he would attend Reading Festival. Cute! Boy loves his music, how can you argue with that?