Finally! This is just what the doctor ordered…couldn’t have asked for better really. But before proceeding any further, I would like to take this opportunity to thank FOX TV for the much delayed telecast of the race…and without whose help us tifosi here in USA might actually have been able to see the race live and share in the excitement. As it is, it was quite thrilling to wake up at any unearthly hour in the morning only to refresh the browser every few seconds and gape at a bunch of numbers on the screen to gather what was going on. So what if we couldn’t actually see the two Ferrari cars crossing the finish line or the podium celebrations and the subsequent press conference, and had to make do with the rather abrupt text “Kimi Raikkonen wins. Felipe Massa second” instead. If anyone can locate the postal address of “SPEED and FOX F1 broadcast team”, I would like to courier them a couple of large sized bricks as an appreciative gesture.
That said, kudos to the Ferrari team for turning things around so quickly, and to Kimi and Felipe for not putting a wheel wrong. “We did not die in Indianapolis, so it is not a miracle that we are back today” says Luca Baldisserri, but he has no idea how much of a relief this race was when one had resigned oneself to seeing Ron Dennis’s shiny pate on the podium for the rest of the season. Lewis Hamilton finished on the podium yet again making it eight in a row, leaving the McLaren management rather nervous on just what would be an appropriate level of happiness to express given Fernando Alonso could salvage just a couple of points from this race. “One of the problems that we have in the team at the moment is that we’re all trying to behave correctly” says Ron Dennis, “…and do the right thing, and try to balance how we respond to the success and failure of the team as a whole and of the specific drivers”. Martin Whitmarsh is still recovering from the shock of nearly getting his head bitten off after attempting to come up with a creative interpretation of the Alonso swerve last race, and no doubt deemed it wise to maintain silence for a while. Meanwhile Norbert Haug has been busy waving the white flag and calling truce – “Nobody in the team speaks against Fernando. We need to work together and he should trust us” says Haug. Well maybe he will if the management would shut up for a while and let the drivers race without the constant psychobabble commentary interpreting their every action.
The race itself started off quite well for Ferrari with Felipe holding position and Kimi flying past Lewis into second spot in unprecedented fashion. The Toyota drivers appear to be taking turns in playing Attila the Hun at the first corner, and this time it was Trulli’s turn…and poor Heikki got to play the part of the innocent-victim-rammed-from-behind. Given Liuzzi’s frequent tendency to spin his car into retirement, he could probably have done without the outside assistance of Anthony Davidson who did the needful for him this time around, and it would suffice to say two more cars were out of the picture. Taking into account Trulli’s swift departure from the scene, Rubens Barrichello rose magnificently to the occasion forming the Rubinho-train instead, effectively bunching up the entire midfield behind his slow earth-car. Ralf who spent much of his race caught up behind Rubens is reported to have spent the time usefully by brushing up his geography knowledge gazing at the Honda livery.
Christijan Albers must be tired of merely wrecking his own car every race, and this time decided to inflict a more large scale catastrophe. Something that could possibly have been avoided if somebody had mentioned to him that the lollipop man holding the huge lollipop during pitstops is not doing it merely on a whim but is actually there for a purpose. Lacking this vital piece of information, Albers got bored of waiting around at the pits and took off before the appropriate signal from the lollipop man, mowing over his mechanics with the fuel hose before finally coming to a stop near the pit exit (no doubt after realizing that it was highly irregular to have the hose still attached to the car). Thankfully he didn’t injure any of the mechanics, and didn’t burn down the place either. The Spyker management is reported to be anxious about what their driver is going to try next.
The Ferrari cars had a relatively incident free race, and Hamilton’s strange three stop strategy meant they were just racing each other. Sterling performances from both drivers saw the finishing positions being dictated by strategy, pitstops and traffic, and Kimi did a wonderful job to win the race despite not starting on the front row. Fernando Alonso finished seventh after an aggressive drive that included a good overtaking move on Hiedfeld and also a fair number of driver errors that stemmed from pushing too hard. With barely 8 points separating Alonso, Felipe and Kimi in the championship points table and Lewis a goodish 22 points ahead of Kimi, it is on to Silverstone next weekend for the next chapter of this fascinating battle. Forza Ferrari.