A little Plain in Spain?

14 05 2009

Webbo claws a little dignity back for the 2009 season

Webbo claws a little dignity back for the 2009 season

Last night I fell asleep and dreamt of a cockney flower girl by the name of Eliza Doolittle. Eliza was taking elocution lessons from a man of stature in hope of becoming a true lady of society. If I recall correctly, Eliza was singing a song that went along the lines of “the race….in Spain, was just a little plain”.
The Circuit De Catalunya has never been considered a passing track, nor an exciting race. It’s a high downforce circuit with some fantastic sweeping double apex corners. The drivers are required to continually adjust steering and throttle to navigate through these tricky corners.
Catalunya is the first race back in Europe and is often considered the race that separates the men from the boys for the rest of the season. As I mentioned though, not a great race for the crowds.
One hand is all I need to count the points of note.
  1. The first lap crash. Nico Rosberg (who for a moment, thought he was back in formula 3000), forced Trulli from the road. Trulli hit the grass, subsequently oversteered back into the traffic and smashed into Sutil. The two Torro Rosso’s were then forced to play a little leap frog hence ending their race too.
  2. Webber & Alonso’s Melee – On the restart, Webber got a little wheelspin out of the final corner. Alonso jumped on his KERS and passed a defending Webber via the pit Exit. Webber had his second bout of “I’ve been passed rage” (similar to him re-passing Button in the wet on the outside in China) and re-passed Alonso under-brakes at the end of the straight – move of the race (and only move)
  3. Jenson Button’s strategy change – Brawn decided to run Jenson on a two stopper, allowing him to leap frog the leading Barichello who was on a three stopper. Very entertaining to watch the usually happy Barichello red faced and angry in the post-race press conference.
  4. Mark Webber’s strategy change – some effective work from Webber’s strategists; who ran him much longer on the middle stint than originally planned. Webbo came out of the pit behind the one stopping Hamilton and Nick Heidfeld. As Webbo was heavier than a Jeff Buckley album, being on the bum of H&H was not of huge concern; once Hammo and Heidfeld entered the pits, it allowed Webber the free air he needed to put in some fast laps on the softs. I counted at least six laps where he was two second a lap quicker than Vettel and Massa, who were running the harder compounds. This gave him the advantage to stay ahead of Massa and Vettel.
  5. Massa running out of fuel – A problem with Massa’s refuel meant his car was light on fuel. His engineers were heard telling him to conserve fuel in order to make the checkered flag. Massa ended up having to do the last seven-odd laps two seconds or so slower than race pace. This allowed Vettel and Alonso to easily pass him. Massa was seen (post finish) walking away from a his very empty car!

The Spanish GP allowed Button and Brawn to extend their dominance of the Formula 1 championship thus-far. Red Bull are holding on for dear life in second and Mark Webber’s second trip to the podium means he has marginally closed the gap to his team mate Vettel.

Monaco, which favours cars with high levels of mechanical grip should be a much more interesting race… God knows we need it after the “locamotive” that was the Spanish Grand Prix!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: