We also found that the race was somewhat like the old Snakes and Ladders game, go so far up the ladder and then be swallowed by a snake and go backwards. Since this factor in the racing was caused by tyres which last less than 10 laps, I call this “Rubber Roulette”. This resulted in some teams opting for a two stop strategy and others a three stopper.
Back to Mercedes and their hopes of a 1-2 which were shattered when one wheel on Michael Schumacher’s car was not correctly tightened on the hub. Probably has been shot at dawn on the Monday. However, the pressures that the pit crews are under are enormous. Change all four wheels under five seconds, and see if you don’t sweat a little. Team principal Ross Brawn said, “It’s just a tragedy that we had the problem with Michael because he would have been in great shape too. We have started a new adventure, I have been lucky to have a lot of special days and this is certainly a special one.”
McLaren had a win almost in their grasp, with Jenson Button, Mr. Smooth, gliding his way to the front, only to have a wheel problem in the pits delay him by several seconds, enough to allow Rosberg to run away and leave Button with second only. Hamilton in the other McLaren drove a heady race and was involved in much wheel to wheel action, all very clean, and his third place was well deserved.
In fourth was Mark Webber (Red Bull) after sneaking past team mate Sebastian Vettel in the last few laps. Webber did his usual atrocious start (can’t someone take him out to a vacant parking lot and let him practice a lot) and then tried to get his pilot’s license renewed with an enormous ‘wheelie’ after sliding off on one corner. He described the GP as, “It was an interesting race, enjoyed most of it. It was different strategies playing against each other - utter chaos.” And it was chaos from the spectator point of view - one minute your favorite driver was third and the next he was 13th.
Vettel did not have the happiest of races finally coming home fifth, and he has found that it is more difficult when you are not driving the dominant car, such as Red Bull was last year.
Grosjean in the “Lotus” survived a complete Grand Prix and finished sixth, after team mate Raikkonen’s tyres just gave up working and he slipped from fourth to 14th over the final laps.
Seventh was Bruno Senna in the Williams, just beating his team mate Maldonado and the top 10 was rounded out by Alonso (Ferrari) and Kobayashi in the Sauber. And Alonso’s Ferrari stablemate Massa? Thirteenth, I am afraid and once more out of the points. I do not believe Ferrari will put up with this all year, and a DCM is on the cards (Don’t Come Monday).
Plenty of close running all the way down through the ranks, though the DRS did not seem to have the effect it is supposed to.
Bahrain GP this weekend, let us hope the threatened violence does not eventuate.