Sunday, October 30, 2011

Indian Gran Prix recap

Sebastian Vettel just pulls away when he gets pole and that has pretty much been the theme all year.  I have to wonder, if the plan at Red Bull is to put less fuel in the pole car in order to lower weight and achieve that early lead.  It's worked out time and again for Vettel that he can lap from the start 0.5 to 1 second a lap quicker than everyone else at the start when he is in the lead.  And, on top of that his tires seem to last through the first stint longer than what is expected.
That's a lot of "dust" in the air.
The race start was kind of interesting with Alonso not having his semi-typical rocket launch start.  He did get himself in front of 3rd position Button, but then went long into the first corner.  The two Williams' cars coming together at the corner caused a big chain reaction at the end of the grid- spinning cars and carbon fiber everywhere.  The track certainly was slick, especially off the racing line with so much dust to add to the freshness of the track.  It's a wonder whether Webber missed a shift or just suffered from tire-spin trying to defend by moving off-line when Button passed him so early on the first straight.
Kobayashi wants a refund on his blessing.
Poor Kobayashi had another disappointing race.  He and Glock really losing out the most in the race start pinball accident.  The early fight between Button and Webber was fun to watch, but the Red Bull just didn't have the straight line speed to really take advantage of the DRS zone.  The fight between the McLaren and the number 2 Red Bull sure helped Vettel increase the gap between first and second.

Schumacher made another impressive start and kept his foot on the floor through the rest of the race to move up six places.  Is the veteran driver's form finally coming back to the full?  The Mercedes car seemed to like the Indian track as Rosberg also was able to advance his position.  The long straights of the track were certainly to the advantage of the cars which have such high straight line top speed, like Mercedes and Torro Rosso.

The rookies had a mixed-bag.  Senna drove a car with unreliable KERS, but moved up two places.  Perez move 10 stops up to 10th for a point.  But di Resta lost a place and Maldonado had his transmission grenade itself just a quarter of the way through the race.

Then we get Massa and Hamilton.  For the 5th time this season the two have come together.  This time was clearly Massa's fault.  While Hamilton was not able to complete the pass into the 5th corner, Massa certainly turned into the McLaren.  You could see that Massa was checking the mirrors of his Ferrari, but none the less, he closed that door.  With the dirty line it was doubtful that Hamilton could have braked any harder into that corned to avoid the contact.  It was right that Massa got the drive-thru penalty.  And maybe Hamilton was surprised that he wasn't penalized for a change.  But in the end, Massa's Ferrari let him down even more than his temper.

Just like in practice when his right front suspension gave out after hitting the curbing in a corner, in the race, his left front suspension collapsed in the same way.  Maybe the new front wing's vibrations caused a sympathetic vibration in the suspension to weaken it.  The accident with Hamilton probably didn't help, but it just seems too coincidental to have that flapping wing shaking the entire car and then suddenly the suspension letting go.
Wishes that flapping wing would give him wings.
Just after the accident, Buemi's engine let go.  What a shame as he, like the other Torro Rosso, were having such a great weekend.

After we got through the mid-way point of the race, the top 5 spots were pretty much set and it turned into a parade.  Vettel never had any pressure from Button leading anywhere from 3.4 to 8 seconds.  Amazingly enough, even with the pit-stop dance, Vettel maintained the lead for the entire race.  And after doing fast-lap after fast-lap, he put two laps together at 59 and 60 to ensure he captured the fastest lap of the race.  This hattrick adds another record for the youngest two-time world champion.
This race needed more dance routines.
Hamilton continued to whine on international television.  Not just during the race over the radio, but also in the post-qualifying interview.  His dad was seen at his pit recently.  I wonder if they've reconciled.  Maybe Lewis's dad can get back into the picture and adjust the young racer's attitude.

Some final thoughts-  The horrible pollution is just freakishly bad, just like every time I've visited Noida.  I hope more international attention from events like this will put some more pressure on the Indian government to do something about that.

The attendance at the race was far better than Korea, although, I was worried when the stands were so bare during practice and qualifying.  Not a packed house, but still a good show and good sign for the future.

It's clear that Vettel and Red Bull are going to keep pushing through the end of the season no matter that they've clinched everything and keep tying or breaking records.

The broadcast was pretty good for a change.  We didn't miss anything overly important (except Massa's DNF) during the comercial breaks for a change.  

Did anyone get Delhi belly?

Rowan Atkinson is awesome.

Alcohol content: This is me sober.  (Scary, eh.)

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