Monday, 9 July 2012

2012 British Grand Prix Review

An eventful British Grand Prix, all told, with the kind of dramatic finale which we are becoming accustomed to in 2012.

For much of the race, Fernando Alonso seemed to be in control of proceedings.  He had been suitably assertive at the start, in order to protect his lead, and had then settled into a rhythm, keeping the opposition at arm's length. However, Mark Webber had bided his time throughout, keeping himself in touch and out of trouble, and was in a position to pounce towards the end when the strategic position fell in his favour. It was then left to the Australian to perform a characteristically brave overtaking manoeuvre to settle matters.  A victory for a home driver was not achievable, but a triumph for the popular Webber was clearly the next best thing as far as the Silverstone crowd was concerned.

After the race, I thought that Alonso seemed somewhat glum and downcast, whilst third-placed man Sebastian Vettel was all smiles.  It is tempting to read too much into these things; perhaps these expressions represent the standard countenance of the respective drivers.  Alonso may have been lamenting the narrow "failure" of his race strategy, whilst Vettel could have been counting himself lucky to have salvaged a podium finish.

It is fair to say that McLaren have enjoyed more fruitful weekends.  Lewis Hamilton did his formidable best, but his brief and spectacular dice with Alonso around lap 19 looked more like a gesture of defiance on his part, than anything else.  The team, realising the immensity of their task, tried unorthodox strategies, but there seemed a fundamental lack of urge from the cars.  Jenson Button's morale may have undergone something of a revival, even if his final result did not amount to much.  He may have felt that he was moving in the right direction, a departure from the fumbling in the dark of many recent Grands Prix. It will be little consolation for McLaren that their pit-stops were very efficient this time around!

One of the main talking points was the collision involving Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado.  Replays indicate that Maldonado was indeed at fault, and a penalty was warranted, but I think that some of the hysteria is being over-done.  Maldonado has acquired something of a reputation, and therefore any contentious incident in which he is involved will be magnified.

Michael Schumacher had another solid race, and despite running high up in the early stages, never looked like a genuine threat to the leaders.  The same might be said of Kimi Raikkonen.  The Finn's team-mate delivered another impressively fleet drive, after an early pit-stop to remedy damage incurred in a collision with di Resta.  A case of what might have been?

One of the most quietly satisfied men in the aftermath of the British Grand Prix might well be Felipe Massa.  A confident drive, and finishing not too far distant from his illustrious team-mate.  The speculation surrounding Ferrari's driver line-up for future seasons is becoming very complex! 

On to Hockenheim....

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