Monday, 25 June 2012

Valencia 2012 - What We Learnt

By David Galton-Fenzi

We Told You So....

Halfway through the race it appeared as though everything was going exactly as DownUnderSteer had foretold, and I’d almost finished writing this article already. I had everything covered, from Vettels dominant victory, to McLaren finally getting on top of their pit stop errors with a couple very slick stops for Lewis and Jenson. Of course, Valencia was still proving difficult to pass at with minimal action on track which left Webber, after his DRS failed in qualifying, firmly mired at the rear of the field, a victim of Red Bulls straight-line speed deficit. But then the safety car came out and as it turns out, what the fuck do we know?!

Alonso - causing major rewrites since the birth of time

Alonso is THE Man!

After qualifying in 11th place, things were not looking good for Alonso at his second home race, but his lowly grid slot was very misleading. The field in Q2 was so closely bunched his best time was only 0.218 seconds slower than Grosjean's ultimate pace!! The gap between Alonso and a spot in the Q3 shootout; 4 thousandths! Thats almost a hundred times less than the blink of an eye!

Come the race and he drove like a man possessed. Brilliantly poised and patient at the start, then ultra committed and hair-width precise while scything through the field. He was so completely on top of his game, he was never overly agressive with any of his passes and each one stuck first time, his moves over Webber and Grosjean into turn one were each particularly skillful.

Relax Kimi, the alcohol is coming soon!

So after cock-punching the entire field under the glorious Spanish sun he now, ominously, leads the championship by 20 points, and watching him on the podium, flanked by past Ferrari World Champions, it was obvious that Alonso had just signaled his intent at taking 2012 by the scruff of its neck. The rest should be worried!

Humble Pie Tastes Good!

So yeah, we were wrong. Frankly there was so much action in this race it was embarrassing. The stewards were flying from one incident to the next, cars were dropping out with mechanical failures like it was 1999, and the Pirelli rubber kept doing it’s thing, with the right strategy to be on not becoming apparent until the very end. Indeed, with 10 laps to go Vitaly Petrov, in a god damn Caterham, was holding 10th place.

Vettel and Grosjean were both desperately unfortunate, but that’s racing. Lewis was taken out by Maldonado’s dodgy driving, but you could chalk that one up to the karma gods for Lewis’ move at Monaco last year. Vergne looked every bit a rookie in his coming together with Heikki Kovalainen and will start 10 places further back in Britain as punishment. (28th then?) Kobayashi took some abuse from Senna early on (which I think was probably more KK’s fault.....but that’s racing too), then dished some out to Massa later who struggled around to be a lapped 16th, and Shuey made the podium! Finally!

Action at Valencia! Look!

At least Button found some semblance of form and scored points, but he’s still a long way from the ultimate pace that McLaren is capable of and you can’t help but feel his Championship chances are already ebbing away now, especially if McLaren keep struggling with their pit stops. I mean seriously, dodgy jacks now? Remind me, how did Button retire from last year's British Grand Prix? Oh yeah, thats right. Heaven help him!

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He deserves one more pic! Awww

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