If 2011 has taught me anything, it is that you really cannot rely on Qualifying to judge the outcome of a race. Take Michael Schumacher for example. “Happy 20th Anniversary” scoffed my other-half as we watched Schumi fail to set a time, “It’s a shame he won’t get the chance to celebrate in style.” What happened on Sunday certainly caused red faces in my household, as we witnessed the veteran gain 9 places by the end of the first lap. Granted the first corner shook the order up significantly, however watching the replay as Schumi picked his way through the carnage with the precision of a surgeon was spectacular. Good on ya old boy! Keep the good times coming.
Of course Schumacher wasn’t the only one to have a fantastic race. Jenson Button managed to straddle almost every position on the track before ending on the Podium. An error in timing and judgement caused his dismal qualifying session and handed him the ‘lucky for some’ position of 13th on the grid. I won’t repeat my exact words on seeing he was out in Quali 2, but it was along the lines of “Goodness gracious Jenson, that is not quite the result we were looking for!”
With regret, I move on to the bulk of my piece, the controversies. Oh my, were there not a few corkers this weekend? Firstly the shock of Bruno Senna replacing Nick Heidfeld for Renault. The horror! The outrage! The…. oh wait he’s qualified in 7th. If anyone…. ANYONE has footage of Heidfeld at that exact moment, please let me know and send me a copy. There’s a German word for what I would experience…. Schadenfreude. If you’re not familiar with the language… it means ‘shameful joy’.
My second qualifying shocker was Alonso’s poor position. The red flag in Quali 2 left me balanced precariously upon my seat as I began to fret that he may not reach the top 10 shootout, but he did not let me down. On to the shootout he posted a fairly so-so time, then Massa went quicker, so did Rosberg… then so did Alguersuari?! AND SENNA?! As previously mentioned though, qualifying seems to mean less and less this year, and thankfully my Spanish boy managed to get himself to 4th by the race end. Phew!
And so we get to Lewis Hamilton. Upon being posed the question on twitter ‘how many reprimands has Hamilton had this year now?’ my answer, which can’t have been too far out, was “73 million billion and 1.” I generally find Hamilton to be a smug little git, however I did react in a rather maternal way in qualifying where he was, in my opinion, deliberately sideswiped by Maldonado… by exclaiming “That was on purpose!!!! He just did that ON PURPOSE!”
Whilst it can be argued that Hamilton pushed his nose out towards Pastors car… there was still no reason for him to be that close post-qualifying. Hamilton had a similar incident with Kobayashi during the race, but was the only true casualty and has since come out and apologised, taking full responsibility. You really have to respect a competitive driver who will throw his hands up and say ‘I messed up’, so for the first time ever I give kudos to Lewis. Maldonado on the other hand has come across as a precocious brat in interviews after the race. Little bit of advice Pastor… if money got you in your seat, keep your mouth shut and prove you are worthy of your seat on the track rather than insulting the real racers. (oh yes, I went there)
Oh, and some guy called Vettel won the race… but I’m out of words so let’s just leave it at that!!
Till next time petrolheads :-)