Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Can we get back to racing now?

So after the triple race weekends which saw the French, Austrian and British GP's in quick succession, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel ended off with an 8 point lead in the drivers championship which many would not have predicted after the French Grand Prix, in which he finished 5th and with Lewis Hamilton winning the race took over as leader on the table. Fast forward the two races and the tables have turned but the main talking point after the Silverstone Grand Prix was a conspiracy by Ferrari drivers who deliberately tried to take out the opposition during races and make it look like "incidents". I needed a few seconds to regain composure after hearing that the first time and I'm even struggling right now with it. 

Firstly, this is Formula One we're talking about here, apart from the mega LMP1 cars that take part in the WEC, this is the fastest you're gonna get around a track, also the cars which cost millions to make are built with carbon fibre, while it is a strong compound and can withstand force at speeds in excess of 300kph, they turn to brittle when clashing with other cars on track so why a team, not even an individual will want to purposely damage their car during the race is beyond me. What I find more ridiculous is that this was coming from a team which is regarded as the best, their team principle and number one driver. It was utter madness from their part, I know they must have been hurting after the last two races, in Austria none of their cars finished the race as Bottas was taken out early after his clash with Vettel which saw the Ferrari driver also damage his front wing and at Silverstone where Kimi touched Hamilton after locking up his front right tyre, in which Kimi also had his front down force affected for most of the race as we heard over the radio numerous times. 

After the race, while being interviewed by Sky Sports F1 team, which for the sake of keeping this piece short I won't go into, chatted to Toto Wolf in the paddock, while he didn't directly say it, we all knew what he meant by his comments. Lewis Hamilton said it in his body language and attitude as he deliberately avoided the interview in parc ferme but aired his opinion in the after race driver interviews, saying that Mercedes need to do more to stay away from the "red cars" as he feels like both incidents were intentional. Obviously the two Ferrari drivers seated next to him couldn't believe what he was saying and said their part, stating it was stupid to assume so. Kimi did apologise and admitted it was his mistake, and felt justice has been done by him serving his penalty. 

Which bring us to the next contentious issue, the penalties. Lewis Hamilton feels that the Ferrari drivers have not been penalised appropriately for their actions and that the governing body need to look into how they deal with incidents like this because it affects a lot of things like drivers points, constructors points and so on. I've been watching the sport for the better part of 20 years now and as far as I can remember, this is how the punishments have been handed out over the years, why must be now come and change things because it happened to you? Both collisions were deemed as racing incidents as any motorsport enthusiast will back and therefore the stewards awarded the appropriate penalty but now Lewis wants them to go re-write the rule book because he doesn't like it. 

Things boiled over when Kimi Raikkonen's wife put a message on her Instagram story which read, "If you cry like a girl when you lose, do ballet. #JustSaying" at first everyone thought the message was aimed at the disgruntled Lewis Hamilton, but later she clarified it to be towards the entire Mercedes-Benz F1 team. While it might be in bad taste that she did it, you can understand where she's coming from. Her husband being a veteran of the sport and a driver that many look up to, maybe not for his personality but certainly his skill to be accused of something like this would offend him. But anyway, it later came out on Monday that Lewis accepted Kimi's apology and agreed that it was just a racing incident and not something malicious which was concocted by the Italian team but he didn't apologise for what he said, his team them came out and said via Twitter that they never mentioned anything of the sort....okay then someone please tell that to Niki Lauda.

Look, at the end of the day everyone is human and you can understand Lewis's frustration, having pulled out a phenomenal lap in qualifying the day before to get him onto pole position at his home grand prix, you can only imagine how he must have felt seeing that advantage slip away when not only Vettel but his team mate Bottas getting ahead of him at the start, so naturally when Kimi tried to take advantage of his poor start, got it all wrong, locked his tyre and collided with Lewis which caused him to spin and end up in last position, it would have sent his blood pressure through the roof. Kudos to him though, he kept his head, went back to business and brought his car home in 2nd place, albeit with the help of 2 safety cars but that took some skill, skill which not many drivers on that circuit have. And we saw some damn good racing in the final 8 laps with all 4 cars gunning for podium spots! So now that the dust has settled and everyone has made good with each other, can we get back to racing?

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