Sunday, 28 October 2012

2012 Indian Grand Prix

Well, Red Bull have sustained their relentless progress, and only the intervention of KERS gremlins for Mark Webber prevented a second consecutive 1-2 finish for the team.

As is usual, Fernando Alonso did all in his power to forestall the progress of the Milton Keynes based equipe.  The Spaniard was putting on a brave face after the race in New Delhi, but the pronouncements from  both himself and the Ferrari team are sounding rather hollow now, even if the optimism is laudable. The mechanical malady which afflicted Webber was a chink of light for Alonso, and reward for his dogged pursuit of the Red Bulls, but the resulting limiting of the points deficit may prove to be largely irrelevant.

The fact remains that Sebastian Vettel was not threatened all afternoon, and Red Bull are not committing the errors or mis-steps which their opponents might be relying on.  They are displaying an irresistible unity and impetus, appearing to enjoy a small, but significant, advantage in several areas which, when added together, account for their current supremacy.  This factor is the one which may be most frustrating for the rest, particularly Ferrari and McLaren, and which makes it tricky for them to decide which areas to address in the limited time now available between the closing races of the year.  There must be the temptation to take risks, but this carries the danger of heading up blind alleys.

It would seem that Ferrari enjoy an advantage in terms of straightline speed, but that they have a deficiency in grip in comparison to Red Bull. Surveying the remaining Grands Prix, it is difficult to conclude whether this confers any sort of advantage on the Italian cars, and in any event they may sacrifice some of this by striving for extra grip and balance.  All in all, it must be said that Red Bull hold all the aces.

The auguries for the race pace of McLaren seemed promising, and before the race I had hoped that Lewis Hamilton, with the title beyond him and his future decided, might feel less bound by strategic strait-jackets, and try something different.  In the event, their pace was so lacklustre as to make all this, and good grid positions, academic, and there is a danger of their season petering out quite lamely, which would be very deflating.

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