Well, we learned that Vettel and his Red Bull are the class act of 2012, but we also saw that Alonso (Ferrari) has the greatest ‘tiger’, his driving on the first couple of laps, where he passed both McLarens of Hamilton and Button was superb. Alonso does not wait for the race to settle into a rhythm, but is on it 110 percent from the minute the lights go out. Whilst Vettel has now won four straight victories, I was more impressed with Alonso’s drive.
Mark Webber (Red Bull) finally managed to get off the line but was then rewarded with a bit of elbowing by his team mate, and eventually suffered mechanical/electrical problems with a KERS that was not working. It makes one wonder how Vettel can have such a trouble-free run and Webber consistently experiences unreliability. Perhaps Helmut Marko, the Red Bull advisor and Vettel fan has a red button he can push to hamper the Australian. But let’s not have a conspiracy theory!
McLaren did not have a stellar race. Fourth for Hamilton (and can somebody show the boy how to shave off that stupid face fungus) and fifth for Button. They were present, but not anywhere near podium finishes. And yes, Hamilton got a new steering wheel, which was the most exciting bit of his weekend.
Massa (Ferrari) did a workmanlike job in India and finished well in the points again, so there were no worries that Lucky Luca might tear up his 2013 contract.
One driver who was less than ecstatic after the race was the loquacious Finn Kimi Raikkonen (“Lotus”). Wrong set-up claimed after a poor qualifying and then in the race, “I had a very good car today but I just couldn’t do anything with it.” His team mate, Grosjean, excelled by not hitting anyone or anything. This for him is a new experience.
The Force India team has certainly seen a reverse of fortunes between their drivers Hulkenberg and Di Resta. For the first half of the season Di Resta was firmly on top, but that has changed, and Hulkenberg is now dominant. If he does go to Sauber, as gossip is suggesting, Sauber will be getting a driver with more of a future than their current Kobayashi and Perez (who is going to McLaren next year anyway).
You can only feel sorry for Michael Schumacher. The sport’s most successful driver ever, now traipsing around towards the back of the field, mixing it with novice drivers like Jean-Eric Vergne. He was asked to return by his old friend Ross Brawn, who has now kicked him in the goolies by signing Hamilton in his place. For Schumacher, 2012 cannot end soon enough. With Schumacher’s team mate Nico Rosberg finishing outside the points, Mercedes does not look like the team to join for 2013. Time will tell if Hamilton’s defection from McLaren to Mercedes was a good idea.
I actually felt a little sorry for the TV commentators who were left with trying to say something “nice” about Narain Karthikeyan, the world’s fastest Indian (apart from the New Delhi taxi drivers). Apparently Narain had a brake overheating problem – perhaps left on too long? He said afterwards, “They warned me on the radio that I had to look after them because we had to make it to the end.” With the low budget of HRT, perhaps the brakes will also have to make it through to Abu Dhabi as well. But never mind, I am sure he arranged for the mechanics to get a new suit each and a free silk tie.