The Thrill Of Victory Shadows The Politics Of The 2008 F1 Season ...Thank God!
It has been, quite frankly, a dismal season. It started at the end of last year with the meltdown of Mclaren at the Brazilian GP.
This year could have been a superlative almost perfect season of F1 racing because McLaren had, between Lewis Hamilton and their performance, closed the gap to Ferrari's performance to non-existent and I thought they would give them a real run for their money. Fernando returned to Renault and again I was optimistic that they could revive the magic and perhaps make it a three-way race for the championship.
This unfortunately never materialized if anything it vapourized. A team even vaporized, Super Aguri went bust, certainly not the first F1 team to go belly up, but it's always sad to see a team go in such embarrassing circumstances.
Ferrari fail in the first race at Melbourne an apparent issue with traction control or lack there of; then the Ferrari driver's took turns winning over the next four races.
Lewis Hamilton comes back in Monaco, in the rain, to take a win that has been perhaps Mclaren's best strategically called race in quite a while. It was the high point of the season to that point quite frankly; but after Monaco the season became an absolute farce.
Bad, little things, started to happen; Canada; Lewis runs into that back of Kimi putting them both out of the race from the pit lane but on the bright side Robert Kubica finally won his first Grand Prix for BMW. Then back to France and another Ferrari one-two. Nothing particular was exciting about either race.
It was of course the beginning of what would be the "penalty phase" of the season, which McLaren ended up on the short end of the stick and costing Lewis dearly in points. With Ferrari running one-two, Kimi lost his exhaust pipe and was really lucky to finish the race and being forced to let Massa pass for the win.
Silverstone ,to me, was ridiculous and why the stewards did not call the race after Lewis established himself as the clear leader is beyond me. Nothing is really fun about watching F1 cars in pouring rain. Basically we watched Felipe Massa being ridiculed for his lack of performance and Lewis Hamilton at home was hailed God of Rain.
Germany was fairly boring. Lewis gave an inspiring drive through the field after McLaren failed to make the right pit stop call for him but he did come back and win his second GP in a row. Hungary was boring to watch until Massa's Ferrari let go; being the most exciting part of that race. Wow!
Valencia was processional and Ferrari started to show signs that it was lacking the strong leadership and decision making it had enjoyed during the Schumacher era. Massa did win the race but I fell asleep from the boredom and missed the end of it.
Spa reached a new level of frustration for everyone, especially the fans, because of the stewards once again changing the outcome of a race with a controversy that will go down in infamy. The short lived duel between Kimi who is considered the master of Spa against Lewis was definitely the highlight but after it was over Felipe was handed the victory by the stewards.
This had to be the most emotionally charged event in the season and if the situation had been allowed to play out on the track it would have been a positive but the season continued to trudge down a sleazy lane of politics and implied favoritism. At this point it was not about the drivers it was all politics.
Going into Monza right after the horrid events at Spa left drivers and fans on edge and then it rained again. Sebastian Vettel got his first victory as did Toro Rosso and he was immediately named Schumacher the second?
Singapore! A night race a first for F1. Ferrari absolutely fell apart and once again stewards compromised the outcome of the race. Ferrari fell under some intense criticism for their pit release system and then Kimi fell apart, seemingly lacking the concentration, hit the kerbing and off he went.
The winner of the event, Fernando Alonso, finally made it back to the podium with a bit of luck and the fiasco with the stewards failing to bring in Rosbeg and Kubica in a timely manner cost Lewis any chance of taking the fight to Fernando.
Fuji was dry for once all weekend and once again stewards influenced the outcome of the race or was it the drivers?
China was the Lewis Hamilton show and Ferrari was just lost all weekend. Still it allowed for a showdown much like last year. Unfortunately for Kubica it was the end of his championship bid for 2008. Once again it was down to a last race showdown.
Well it is finally over. The 2008 season has been a dismal season for F1 primarily because of the politics and press reports generated out of every part of the world about the perils of F1. Canada got shafted then France shafted Bernie and now Australia is saying they lost $40 million last year. Then Max and Spanky Gate. I will not even go into the FIA rulings that were so pivotal to the season results. That is an article or maybe two in itself.
I did get "my moment" however, Massa won in the rain and did everything he could to win the driver's championship and just came up short. Lewis Hamilton won the driver's championship on the last corner at the last second and quite frankly I don't really think he knew where he was on the track until they radioed him after he got down into turn three and four. A fantastic end to a horrid season; may it rest in peace.
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