Formula 1: Is it 1993 Again?

Ben AutySenior Writer IJuly 6, 2008

NOTE TO READER—This just might be the greatest article you will ever read on Bleacher Report. Yes, it's true, even if I do say so myself.

I really didn’t know what headline I could use for this article. I also didn’t really know what I should write about, considering we will have an abundance of articles posted within the next two hours, and then for the sleepy ones amongst us within the next two days. Possible article titles that I wanted were:

  • Formula 1: It’s a one for all you doubters
  • Formula 1: This is an advertisement for Silverstone
  • Formula 1: Where is Donington now?
  • Formula 1: Ferrari strategists questioned again

I could go all day. So what do I write about? Do I write a race recap article for a race in which you have all just watched anyway? No, that would be silly. Like I said before, there will be another 20 of those for you to read very soon.

Shall I write another article about why Donington is such a bad idea now that we have had the chance to hear from Simon Gillet (Donington Park CEO) before the race?

Do I focus on Ferrari and talk about another terrible day for them, and how they can feel the pressure mounting. How it’s clear to see that winning either one of the driver or constructor’s championship will not be plain sailing, as some Ferrari fans would like to believe.

I am going to start by talking about our British friend, Mr. Lewis Hamilton. He has just driven one of the greatest drives that some of us will ever see in our lifetime.

Let’s start by talking purely about this race.

Lewis had a pretty miserable Q3, where he overcooked the corner into Priory and ended up running through a gravel trap. Without going into any more detail, the long and short of it is that he qualified in fourth position. I’m sure you all know anyway because you will have read the 15 articles posted about this by now, just in case you didn’t watch it?

So, race day, in a very small nutshell:

Lewis Hamilton started fourth place, and by the end of lap one he was second, and he was certainly applying the pressure for the lead, and Heikki was feeling the pressure. Lewis was leading the race by lap five.

That's pretty much the way it stayed for the youngster. That was the beginning of what Lewis has already described as, "by far the best victory he has ever had”; who would disagree with that?

In a race where it was raining, then it wasn’t raining; do we go intermediate tyres or full wets? It seemed as though the wets were the choice at one point, as Barrichello started to punch well above his weight, so Lewis pitted in for tyres. Wets? Hell no...On went another set of intermediates, and somehow he started to match the wet tyres, lap for lap, on intermediates. It’s just another monumental achievement by Lewis on a great day.

Skip a few laps to the final lap and Lewis had lapped everyone up to third place Barrichello. After Lewis crossed the line, it took second-place Nick Heidfeld in his BMW over one minute and eight seconds to finish.

So why is my article different than everyone else's?

Because I am not writing a race report. You all watched the race for God’s sake, you know what happened, and if you don’t know what happened...SHAME ON YOU! You missed a classic...I am talking classic in the terms used when describing this year’s Monaco and last year’s Fuji, yes, it was that good. It was, in my opinion, BETTER!

It truly is ironic that the announcement for the British Grand Prix will move to Donington Park as of 2010, and this is why.

NOTE TO READER—Prepare to be very freaked out by my findings.

It was almost 15 years ago to the day that Donington Park held its only F1 race in the World Championship, 15 years till the announcement of the next race, which we now know will be in 2010. Here is the freaky part:

  • Donington '93—It was raining on and off and caused the drivers to make a lot of unscheduled pit stops.
  • Silverstone '08—It was raining on and off forcing the drivers to make a lot of unscheduled pit stops.
  • Donington '93—The pit stops ironically would be the talking point of the day as they won and lost the race for some. It was also debated that the fastest lap of the race, driven by Ayrton Senna, should not have counted as he used the pit lane as a shortcut.
  • Silverstone '08—The pit stops again are one of the talking points of the day, which saw the race both won and lost on key decisions. Ferrari made some truly awful decisions which took them from one second behind the lead to over one lap behind by the chequered flag.
  • Donington '93—Barrichello started the race in '93 back in 12th place but finished in fourth, he would have finished higher but he had problems with his fuel system.
  • Silverstone '08—Barrichello started in 16th but finished in third, he would have finished higher but had problems with his re-fuelling system.
  • Donington '93—Ayrton Senna won in his McLaren.
  • Silverstone '08—Lewis Hamilton won in his McLaren.
  • Donington '93—Senna started the race in fourth and won.
  • Silverstone '08—Today Lewis started the race in fourth and won.
  • Donington '93—Ayrton Senna lapped everyone up to second-placed Damon Hill who was 1 minute 23 seconds behind him.
  • Silverstone '08—Lewis Hamilton lapped everyone up to third-placed Rubens Barrichello who was 1 minute 22 seconds behind him.
  • Donington '93-Ayrton took over 3 drivers in his first lap.
  • Silverstone '08-Hamilton took over 2 drivers in his first lap, could have been 3 if Heikki didnt play so hard to get.
  • Donington '93 - The driver of the winning car wore a yellow and green helmet.
  • Silverstone '08 - The driver of the winning car wore a yellow and green helmet.

(Accreditation for the last fact to Steven Stones for pointing this one out, cheers matey, anyone else with any interesting tit bits about this race then speak up damn it!)

By now I am pretty sure you cannot believe what you are reading. Well it’s the truth people, and you can even check it all out for yourself. Irony or what?

Somebody please show these figures to Lewis Hamilton. He has always compared himself to Ayrton Senna. Well today, I am sure he has never been closer to him. It almost brings a tear to my eye.

Next up on the agenda is the Silverstone era coming to an end. I am going to speak on behalf of everyone here when I say that today’s race was an advertisement for future races at the home of British Motorsport that is Silverstone.

Do you honestly think that if the race today was at Donington Park it would have compared to that? I find it hard to believe that it would, unfortunately. Of course, we can’t ever know, but that's just my opinion.

Surely, at the very least, some kind of deal should be struck to say that Donington Park and Silverstone share the British GP alternate years. That question was posted to Ecclestone, who didn’t rule it out. He did say that the GP was at Donington, but if it was to be re-assessed, it would be based purely on a business decision and that would be between Silverstone and Donington if they could come to an agreement.

Damon Hill responded by saying that Silverstone wasn’t out of it just yet.

Interesting times, but all I have to say is, re-watch today’s race and tell me that wasn’t a classic and something for us Brits to be proud of.  We staged a great race, we produced a British race winner, we have just secured the British GP for another 10 years, and to be fair, on the back of today’s result, we should have it in the bag for another 10 on top of that.

Moving on, I am sure you all know how much of a McLaren fan I am. Not wanting to rub salt in the wound, but Ferrari, ha ha ha ha ha, good try boys. It was a comedy of errors for the boys in red again. Shall we recap?

Ferrari fans...LOOK AWAY NOW!

  • Practice—Massa hits tyre wall/Kimi didn’t find balance
  • Qualifying—Massa will start ninth after problems with his nuts; maybe he should see a doctor about that. Kimi starts third. Maybe he didn’t get the balance right again?

Race Day:

  • Lap One—Kimi starts well, keeping his place as Hamilton and Webber trade places. Massa spins and is down in 17th place (Spin 1).
  • Lap Four—Massa spins again (Spin 2).

During this period, the Ferraris look good: Massa is slowly but surely churning back through the field, Raikkonen pushes to within touching distance of Hamilton.

  • Lap 21—Raikkonen pits in and doesn’t change his tyres.
  • Lap 22—Massa pits.
  • Lap 28—Ferrari realise that not changing their tyres was a bad idea as Kovalainen and Heidfeld overtake Kimi.
  • Lap 31—Kimi Pits in for some new intermediates, finally.
  • Lap 32—Massa pits again.
  • Lap 37—Massa spins (Spin 3)
  • Lap 38—Raikkonen spins (Spin 1)
  • Lap 39—Raikkonen spins (Spin 2)
  • Lap 48—Massa Spins (Spin 4)
  • Lap 52—Massa Spins (Spin 5)
  • Lap 52—Massa pits
  • Massa—13th, Raikkonen—fourth

Not a great day for Ferrari. The best phrase I could use for that would be: "It never rains but it pours in the Ferrari garage", sorry Ferrari fans. No offence caused, you may read on.

At the top of the championships tables, things look very, very tight, and at the official midpoint of the season, have things ever been so exciting? It truly is mouth-watering, the prospects for the back nine (sorry for the golf pun there).

It really is anyone’s championship. I wouldn’t like to think I was going to call which way it would go right now for either championship. So on into the second-half of the season we go. It's further back than it is forward, so on we go.

Drivers Championship:

  1. Lewis Hamilton—48 Points
  2. Felipe Massa—48 Points
  3. Kimi Raikkonen—48 Points
  4. Robert Kubica—46 Points
  5. Nick Heidfeld—36 Points
  6. Heikki Kovalainen—24 Points

Constructors Championship:

  1. Ferrari—96
  2. BMW Sauber—82
  3. McLaren Mercedes—72
  4. Toyota—25
  5. Red Bull Renault—24
  6. Williams—16

So it's potentially a four-horse race for the drivers and a three-horse race for the constructors, with only two, maybe three, wins being the difference between third and first. Things are tight and we should consider ourselves lucky to be witnessing such a truly great championship.

Times are changing for F1, and surely things will only get tighter in years to come with the emergence of teams like Honda and Red Bull who are promising big things for next year. Stay glued to your screens and don’t go anywhere.

Brits be prepared for every tabloid to have Lewis pasted all over their back pages, maybe even front pages. It's strange how two-faced these guys can be. To sell papers one week you are public enemy No. 1, whether it is for not stopping at a red light or for cutting a corner. Then you win your home GP and I can be sure right now that at least one of them tips him for the championship on the back of this. Look out for headlines such as:

  • Hamilton’s Championship Back on Course
  • Hero Happy at Home
  • Penultimate Silverstone won by Brave Brit                      

I think the headline should be “Hamilton Silences Critics”, but no, surely a tabloid wouldn’t make a comment like that? That would be like retracting their own statements. Oh well, such is life.

I am going to wrap things up now and hopefully this has been a nice break from the norm of recap after recap of something that you have just spent two hours of your life watching while biting every fingernail clean off.  

Hope it wasn’t too long for some of you people who prefer a quick read. Sorry Alex, Michael, Shak, ha ha...I just can’t help myself.

Ben, Over and Out!


PS - I dont normally do a driver of the day because its just not my thing BUT ... I have to, my reason below:

Driver of the day - Nick Heidfeld

Reason - Lap 24 over took Glock and Alonso on the same corner (Luffield), 4 laps later on lap 28 does exactly the same on the same corner over taking both Kovalainen and Raikkonen. 4 passes on 1 corner in 4 laps, outstanding, showing that its not just Kubica with the class in the BMW Saubers. Well done that chap!


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