2011 World Champion Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) certainly showed his class once again in Korea. From second on the grid, he stormed past pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and just inexorably pulled away from a pack which had lots of scuffling drivers. Vettel has deserved his championship and shows no signs of just cruising to the end of 2011.
Second and third, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Mark Webber (Red Bull) put on a titanic race-long battle, with both drivers showing great fighting spirit, with passing and re-passing and clean driving being the order of the day. Almost a first for Hamilton these days. He has always had the tiger and the talent, and he used them both to advantage in Korea.
The same could not be said for some of the drivers further down the field, with Petrov’s (Renault) clumsy T-bone on Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) heralding what must be the last season for the Russian, no matter how many rubles he brings to the team. By the way, the name “Renault” is being dropped for 2012, so the team will officially be called “Lotus”, while the current “Lotus” team will be called “Caterham” as the Tony Fernandez “Lotus Cars” outfit has bought Caterham, the manufacturer of the Lotus 7 replicas. Confused? Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it by half way through 2012.
Another driver who must be staring at a DCM (Don’t Come Monday) is Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. Held up his team mate Fernando Alonso for too many laps until Alonso, who is not known to relinquish a fight, finally said “I give up, I give up,” two laps from home, while chasing Jenson Button (McLaren), as he had spent valuable time locked up behind Massa. Felipe used to be fast, and can still pull out the odd ‘blinder’ in qualifying, but the race pace is not there any longer, and he always has excuses, which don’t wash any more. “I’m not pleased because small problems prevented me from getting a better result,” was this week’s one. A seat at Virgin for 2012?
The other Spaniard, Algy Wotsit in the Toro Rosso with his 7th place might just be fending off relegation, while his team mate Buemi is definitely driving on thin ice, despite his 9th place in Korea. The driver most likely to pick up the second spot at Toro Rosso is rookie Ricciardo, currently at Hispania Racing and outclassing his much more experienced team mate Liuzzi (though why anyone would want Liuzzi on their team is beyond me).
Splitting the Toro Rosso’s was Rosberg in the Mercedes. The more I see of him, the more he appears as just a journeyman, like Nick Heidfeld. No real flashes of brilliance, I am afraid, and there are other talented Germans in the wings who would like to be Schumacher’s team mate, as make no mistake, Michael Schumacher has that seat for as long as he wants it.
Scotsman Paul Di Resta (Team Poppadum) continues to be the find of the season, scooping up another valuable point for the team, while Adrian Sutil, once described as another Schumacher, is another driver who may be looking for new overalls next year.
Finally, what is going to happen at Williams? Once championship winners and now only also-rans. Rumors that Raikkonnen wants to go to Williams next year. If this is true, he should consult a psychiatrist without delay.
Next race is the inaugural Indian GP on October 30. Let’s hope it isn’t a Halloween nightmare!