July 25, 2010

F1 Update!: Germany 2010

One year ago to the day, Felipe Massa was nearly killed by a freak incident.  Today he was sitting third on the grid.  But would it be a storybook ending, or would the Red Bull of Seb Vettel continue that team's near-dominance of the season?  THIS is your F1 Update! for the Grand Prix of Germany!

*NEVER MIND:  During Quals, the forecasters were saying that it was going to be raining at the start of the race.  Well, it turns out that German weathermen aren't any better than those here in the US.  Weather was not a factor, other than a few clouds that rolled in during the second half of the race.  The clouds cooled the asphalt, lowering grip levels a touch.  Otherwise?  Nothing.

*LIGHTS OUT, UH-HUH:  Sitting on pole, with the best car on the grid underneath him, on his home track (he grew up just a few kilometers away from Hockenheim), and knowing that he's one of the best drivers in F1 today, Seb Vettel surely was feeling confident as the red lights came on.  Ferrari's HWMNBN, sitting second, was a threat that he couldn't take lightly, but if he drove his race and nothing went wrong with his car, he had an awfully good chance to win.  When the red lights went out however, nothing went right.  He had a lousy start, immediately allowing HWMNBN to get right up alongside him.  Vettel tried to squeeze the Ferrari, drifting over to the right.  HWMNBN stayed on the gas all the way and refused to let the Red Bull intimidate him, knowing that he had the inside line as they charged down to Turn 1.  But Vettel's drift had an unintended side-effect: it opened nearly the entire track up for Felipe Massa, who took advantage.  Through Turn 1, his Ferrari was almost two car lengths in the lead with his teammate in front of Vettel.  To make matters worse for Red Bull, Mark Webber had to stand on the brakes to keep from plowing into the back of his teammate, letting McLaren's Lewis Hamilton get a great run, blowing past him in Parabolica.  Farther back in the pack, Toro Rosso's NKOTT did plow into the back of his teammate Seb Buemi.  The Swiss driver was out on the spot, while NKOTT's nose scattered a ton of debris across the track, debris that cut the tires on both Force India machines, sending them into the pits.

*AND THAT'S THE WAY IT IS:  And for the most part, that's the way it stayed.  Mark Webber wound up dropping down to 6th after the pit stop rotations were over, losing a place to McLaren's Jenson Button, but the important positions remained the same: Massa, HWMNBN, Vettel, Hamilton.  The two Ferrari drivers were fairly close, with Vettel about four seconds behind.  HWMNBN got on the radio back to the Ferrari pit wall and began to whine about being faster than his teammate, saying things like "This is ridiculous."  Shortly thereafter, Massa opened up a two second lead, giving the lie to the Spaniard's claims.  But by Lap 45, the lead was down to less than a second and the Legendary Announce Team was talking about how there were no "team orders" allowed in F1.

*HISTORY LESSON:  In 2002, Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello was leading the Austrian Grand Prix late in the race, and by a decent margin, too.  No question he was going to take the victory... except for one thing: his teammate, Slappy Schumacher, was in second.  Ferrari, wanting to get Slappy maximum points for his run at the Driver's Championship, ordered Barrichello to let his teammate past... and made it quite clear that if he didn't, his seat would be in jeopardy.  Barrichello did, but he did it in the most blatantly obvious way possible, slowing down precipitously as he approached the finish line.  Slappy went past, and Barrichello came in second.  The crowd booed, Schumi gave Rubens the winners trophy and insisted that he stand on the top step of the podium, and the FIA reacted by banning "team orders."  From then on, teammates were to race each other regardless of standing, and teams could not manipulate results.

*BUT:  Of course team orders still exist, teams are just more subtle about it.  It might be something like one car's pit stop taking a second longer than the other, but ridiculous maneuvers like that in Austria wouldn't happen again.  But with HWMNBN under a second behind Massa, Ferrari got on the radio and said "(HWMNBN) is faster than you.  Can you confirm that you understood that message?"  We never heard the response from the Brazilian, but on Lap 49 it became clear that Massa got it.  Coming off a turn, Massa just never got back on the throttle and HWMNBN swept past him like he was standing still.  Ferrari claimed after the race that "Massa made a small mistake when (he) shifted up three gears at once," but that's nothing more than a flat-out lie.  Ferrari shamelessly violated the ban against team orders.  If HWMNBN really was faster than Massa and as good as he's supposed to be behind the wheel, he shouldn't've needed team orders.

*FINALLY:  And that's the way it ended, with HWMNBN winning his second race of the season, Felipe Massa in second, and hometown hero Seb Vettel in third, kicking himself for lost opportunities.  After the race, the stewards fined Ferrari $100000 for violating Article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations, and forwarded the matter to the World Motor Sport Council for further penalties.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Felipe Massa.  We'll never know if he could have held HWMNBN behind him for 12 laps, but he still drove a helluva race today.  His start was a thing of beauty and he made very very few mistakes out there... the only major mistake was driving on the same team as HWMNBN.

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  McLaren.  Yes, neither Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button were on the podium, but they just didn't have the grunt to stay with the Ferraris or the Red Bull of Seb Vettel.  Fourth and fifth were about the best they could have hoped for, and that's what they got.  And they didn't have to cheat to do it.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  There wasn't one.  If we lift the rule stating that the MotR can't come on the first lap though, Felipe Massa's run to Turn 1 and into the lead from third on the grid would win.

*MOOOOOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE:  You may remember that the two Toro Rossos got into each other, an incident that scattered carbon fiber across the track, resulting in punctures to both Force Indias.  That's where our story begins.  It took quite a bit of time for Adrian Sutil to limp his car around to the pit lane but when he came to a stop in his box, it seemed like the mechanics were not ready for him.  A ton of frantically disorganized activity got him in and out in a halfway decent time, but it wasn't pretty.  As Sutil pulled out, his teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi pulled into the pit lane to get new tires.  Again, the team looked disorganized.  And then something weird happened... Adrian Sutil turned one lap and returned to the pit lane for another tire change.  It was only then that it became clear just how disorganized Force India had been: they had sent him out with three hard tires and one soft!  A few moments later, Liuzzi came back into the pits... and he had on three soft tires and one hard!  It's hard to believe, but they screwed up BOTH cars in the exact same manner.  Bravo, Farce India, you truly deserve this MOOOOOOOOO-OOOVE!


"It's only right that I be allowed to pass.  I was faster." - HWMNBN

"A one-two finish is the best possible result for the team, yes?  However, I want to shank a b*tch." - Felipe Massa

"It is good to be back with my people today.  I'm taking all the grid girls home with me." - Seb Vettel

"Well, fourth isn't so bad." - Lewis Hamilton

"Car isn't very quick right now.  Dammit." - Jenson Button

"Wait, what do you mean I have to be careful with the oil consumption?  How the hell do I do that???" - Mark Webber

"Wow, we sucked kielbasa today.  Guess we aren't able to fight with the big teams after all." - Robert Kubica

"The Mercedes President was in the stands, they tell me.  I have a feeling it's three weeks in the cooler for me." - Nico Rosberg

"I'm having dinner with the Mercedes President later.  The only cooler I'll be seeing is where they keep the desserts." - Slappy Schumacher

"My first dry weather point, and there's every chance in the world it'll be my last." - Vitaly Petrov

"Meh." - Gandalf Kobyashi, speaking for everybody else.

So, that's it for Germany, though we'll be feeling the aftereffects of Ferrari's ham-handed team orders for a while yet.  Next week the Circus heads to Hungary (aka "Monaco without the glitz") for the worst track on the calendar... we'll (reluctantly) see you there!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 02:11 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 1540 words, total size 10 kb.

1 Funny how Petrov got a point next race after he was told that he's either getting points or a boot.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 25, 2010 06:53 PM (/ppBw)

2 "Nothing focuses the mind like an impending hanging." - Vitaly Petrov

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 25, 2010 09:41 PM (iJfPN)

3 Apparently HWMNBN is still an asshole. He used to whine like that back when he drove for McLaren and Hamilton was burning up the track. Only difference was that McLaren told him to fuck off, and let Hamilton keep driving like he was supposed to.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2010 01:04 AM (+rSRq)


HWMNBN needs to grow up.  Being a whiney bitch does not become him. 

I remember Barichello being passed at the finish line so well, and when yesterday's race contained such an obvious display of  "team orders," I was shocked.

Massa's demeanor at the post-race interview was fairly gracious, all things considered.  HWMNBN's was typical, given his sense of entitlement.  Prick. 

What goes around comes around, as the saying goes, and I'd love to see Massa win the championship.



Posted by: Mallory at July 26, 2010 01:04 PM (WJ2qy)

5 I'd love to see Massa win the championship if he was driving for someone besides Ferrarri.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2010 02:06 PM (+rSRq)


"Deliberately losing?  Isn't that the sort of thing that a bunch of my teammates and I got the boot from the entire freaking sport, for life, for doing back in '19?  Geeze, I should've been a race-car driver."

--Shoeless Joe

Posted by: Rick at July 26, 2010 10:38 PM (PZO3o)

7 Rick, the cases aren't the same.  As far as Ferrari is concerned, Massa didn't lose. 

This sort of stuff will occur as long as there's a Constructor's Championship... and since F1 is a constructor's series, there's no chance in heck that F1 will do away with the Constructor's Championship.

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 27, 2010 05:03 PM (iJfPN)

8 They could disallow the extra points for an incident like that. If they can fine them $100k, they're obviously pretty sure they know what happened; if they just gave both drivers the lower point total, there'd be no incentive to order a pass (or rather, a big incentive NOT to...)

Posted by: Avatar at July 27, 2010 10:30 PM (pWQz4)

9 I just learned that Force India received a reprimand from stewards because they not just mixed everything up but also fitted tires across cars and apparently it's illegal (e.g. Sutil's tire or tires ended on Luizzi's car and vice versa).

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 28, 2010 06:04 PM (/ppBw)

10 I must say, I've been a Ferrari fan as long as I can remember. When Ferrari ordered Barrichello to move over for Schumacher, at least Schumacher was actually in the running for a championship. I still can't figure out what Alonzo is in the running for, or what the purpose was in pulling a stunt like this and running afoul of the stewards. Ferrari was in the running for a one-two, which they would have gotten either way.

Posted by: madmike at July 29, 2010 02:02 PM (+V6rv)

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