Spanish Grand Prix Reflections
The Spanish Grand Prix was the fifth race on the 2010 Formula 1 calendar, and surprisingly, only the second dry-weather Grand Prix of the season.
As predicted, Red Bull racing took pole, but it was number-two driver Mark Webber who started first, led every lap, and took victory. Teammate Sebastian Vettel must be cursed. While Webber was having the drive of his life, Vettel was once again at the mercy of the RB6's reliability—this time running into brake issues. But that wasn't before problems in the pits with Fernando Alonso, and being forced off the track while waltzing with both Lewis Hamilton, and one of the lapped Virgin cars. Vettel's season reminds me of Michael Schumacher's 1996 debut with Ferrari. Total lack of reliability from the car, but when the stars were aligned, a crushing blow was easily delivered to the rest of the field.
Speaking of Schumacher. Was anyone else annoyed at the fact that Jenson Button couldn't get around him? Schumacher, Button, and Felipe Massa were all running fifth, sixth, and seventh respectively, and it looked as though we were in for a good battle between the three. But despite efforts on the part of the FIA to re-work the aerodynamics to increase passing, Button could not get by.
In actuality, the whole situation with Mercedes Grand Prix seems to be a little ass-backwards. New developments were brought to Spain to fix the so-called balance problem that (apparently) plagued both drivers, but only seemed to affect Schumacher's results. For the first time this season Schumacher out-qualified teammate Nico Rosberg—managing a season-best sixth. The Schumacher fan-club shouldn't be so quick to celebrate. Rosberg still has the team-best second starting spot in Malaysia. What a difference three weeks have made for MGP: new parts, Schumacher now faster than Rosberg, yet collectively, the team seems to be slower.
The driver you have to feel the most for is Lewis Hamilton. Like former Formula 1 driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, Hamilton isn't afraid to pass anyone—anywhere on the track, at anytime. Lady-luck must have it in for him (as well as Vettel). He was once again faster than his teammate, but could not find a break as his left-front tire failed on the penultimate lap.
The FIA is currently evaluating tire bids for next season. Pirelli seem to be the front-runners, but some teams are trying to persuade Bridgestone to stay on. I wonder what Hamilton's opinion is on this matter?
Next week it's the historic Monaco Grand Prix, and already controversy is brewing. Monaco is renowned for being the tightest track on the calendar, and some teams have called on the FIA to split the first qualifying segment into two groups to avoid having the slower, new entrants (I've labeled them 'Formula Cosworth') impede the front-runner's flying laps. The FIA has denied this request, so unless the Formula Cosworths pull-off after the first half of the session, things could get very interesting in Monaco.
Drive of the race goes to Adrian Sutil, and the always-progressing Force-India.
Mark my words when silly season kicks off, Sutil is going to pegged to many a good seats.
My prediction? I fully expect Ferrari to make a go for him if Massa's results don't improve.
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