I wasn’t going to talk much about the disgusting deal that the BBC has done with it’s Formula One rights for the United Kingdom. But, after yet another pathetic qualifying session and coverage that failed to mention the new deal once, I’ve simply had enough.
Formula One has been my sporting life since I was about six or seven years old, but as I’ve grown older I feel I have received a fundamental lack of respect from the sport. It seems Formula One seeks less and less to entertain me and more and more that my purpose as fan is to keep the sport running, through extortionate products and a sort of blind faith that at least the teams care about me.
NO! I can’t believe that after all these years of empty promises and back room deals Formula One will no longer be on free to air television in the country of it’s birth! I swear right now that I can not afford nor will I ever buy Sky.
With this deal comes the end of my blind support for what has become a farce of a sport—and I fear that the death of Formula One will follow.
I do not blame the BBC for it’s decision, as it simply can’t afford to pay the ridiculous fees that Formula One demands. The fault lays firmly at the feat of the "money men," Mr Ecclestone, and the Formula One teams for not fighting this.
I hope and pray the teams will do more for their fans. But when you hear Williams saying that any money lost by sponsors can be made up by the money Sky have paid, you’ve got to believe all is lost.
I will continue to report on the qualifying and races for 2011, as I feel I would like to see out the sport I have loved for so long. I still want to write for Bleacher Report, but after 2011, I can’t see myself following a sport that shows so much disrespect for its fans.
It was perhaps fitting then that such terrible recent news should be followed by yet another uniform and disappointing qualifying session.
Daniel Ricciardo was the first man to set a time of 1:28:055, but it really wasn’t long until the faster cars took their oh so familiar positions on the time sheets.
Of course the "new teams" quickly found themselves in the bottom six slots, and the top three teams rapidly locked out the top six positions.
However, to be perfectly frank this mattered very little when you consider that with almost a quarter of the session still to go, the top six drivers simply sat in their garages and watched the time pass.
Sebastien Buemi never looked fast enough to survive the first session and it was no surprise when he joined the slow teams in the final drop zone.
Q1 Top Three
Sebastien Buemi (will take a five place drop for his collision with Nick Heidfeld last week), Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Daniel Ricciardo, Jerome D’Ambrosio
Paul Di Resta opened this one with a 1:23:476. If you were hoping for a better show, I’m afraid you'd have been disappointed.
The top six were the usual suspects, who again felt confident enough to stop their involvement in the session with minutes still remaining. Of course they were all desperate to save their precious tyres.
Pastor Maldinado didn’t even set a time in Q2! Why? To save his tyres for race day.
The big news of this session was the fact that Lewis Hamilton had felt confident enough in his car to only use the harder tyres in Q2. This was a very brave decision, but the McLaren man still managed to finish P6. So what does that say about the rest of the field?
In the end, the Mercedes drivers found enough speed to lock out the top eight spots, but it was encouraging to see another great performance from Adrian Sutil to make it into Q3.
Q2 Top 3
Paul Di Resta, Vitaly Petrov, Kamui Kobayashi, Nick Heidfeld, Rubens Barrichello, Jamie Alguersuari, Pastor Maldinado
What can I say about qualifying three?
It had looked all day like the fight would be between Hamilton and Alonso. But when all was said and done, the session was won by yet another crushing last lap from Sebastian Vettel.
Fernando Alonso set the first time of 1:20:365 and flirted with a top three position, but ultimately finished off the pace having been out qualified by his teammate—for the first time in ages.
Lewis Hamilton set a blistering benchmark and it looked as if the day was his. However, when Vettel blew everyone else away, Hamilton had nothing to answer with and had to settle for P2.
Perhaps this qualifying session wasn’t as bad as I’ve implied. Perhaps my vision is simply too blurred with rage.
Frankly, if qualifying in 2012 is anything like in 2011, Sky are welcome to it…
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:19.815
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.978
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.024
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:20.350
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:20.365
6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:20.474
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:21.098
8 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:21.445
9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:21.907
10 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:22.157
11 Paul Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:22.256
12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:22.284
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:22.435
14 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:22.470
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:22.684
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.979
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:23.847
18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1:24.362
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1:24.534
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:26.294
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania-Cosworth 1:26.323
22 Daniel Ricciardo Hispania-Cosworth 1:26.479
23 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:24.070
24 Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:26.510