April 20, 2015

Horse 1879 - F1: The Silver Streak Continues Continuing (Round 2)

Formula One supremo and very very angry man, Bernie Eccleston, came out during the week and claimed that the sport is too expensive. This of course doesn't change the fact that the deposit which he extracts from teams is $48m, nor does it change the fact that he extracts an absolutely massive set of fees from TV rights.
Eccleston cited that the expense of the sport is what's leading to 'boring' races, when in actual fact, you can almost entirely put that down to the regulations which impose very heavy engine freezes - if you do happen to have a great engine then you're laughing but if your engine is a dud, then that's too bad.

Such is the tale of Mercedes-Benz and McLaren Honda. Mercedes probably doesn't have the best chassis but they certainly have the best engines by a country 1.61km, whilst Honda have proven yet again that you can not make a silken purse from a sow's ear. The Honda powerplant is so monumentally rubbish that Honda's canaries are volunteering to go down the mineshaft. In the Bahrain Grand Prix, Jensen Button couldn't even make the start line because the engine had clagged and Fernando Alonso somehow managed to produce McLaren's best result of 2015, which was still only a pathetically paltry eleventh.

At the front, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton almost had the perfect weekend; claiming pole position, leading every lap and winning the race. Only the fastest lap eluded him and that was scant consolation for Kimi Raikkonen who was lucky to even score second.

The silver arrows sprinted off into the distance; seemingly never to be seen again. In fact, Hamilton's only worry was during a round of pitstops when after pitting in the lead, he went back out in the lead and gave his engineers a verbal spray over the radio by asking "What happened to my lead?" as well as some other four letter expletives deleted, when he saw Nick Rosberg's Mercedes and Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari in his rear view mirror. This is a classic tale of the undercut.
The undercut is when a team pulls in their car earlier than expected, so that they can get better use of a new set of tyres before their opponents. Both Rosberg and Raikkonen had benefitted from this and instead of flailing ten seconds behind, after the pitstops had shuffled their way through, they were only flailing four seconds behind.

The only other tale of import that happened in a race that was otherwise as bland as adding white sauce to white soup, in a white house with whitewalls, was Sebastian Vettel's excursion off track part way through the race. The Ferrari driver was at that stage heading for a podium position behind the two Mercedes when he misjudged a corner and put it into the gravel.  This allowed Raikkonen to claim third place and he sat there for an exceedingly large amount of time. Valteri Bottas was also the happy recipient of fourth place from Vettel's jaunt off track.

Raikkonen would have remained in third place if it wasn't for Rosberg's brakes beginning to fade. On the penultimate lap, Raikkonen pipped Rosberg at the last corner and then when fuel loads were at their lightest, stole away the fastest lap of the race.

Three places behind in sixth,  Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull did make it to the end of the race but only after the Renault in the back decided that it didn't want to be an engine any more and self-destructed. The relationship between Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and Renault is equally on a Mission Impossible to survive amicably. One of Red Bull's title sponsors is Infiniti, which is tied through Nissan to Renault; so this state of affairs is more or less forced to continue.

In the "John Logie Baird: Television Coverage Was Better In 1984 Cup", the year 2015 looks like it might be as much of a domination by Mercedes as 1989 was by McLaren or 2004 was by Ferrari. The silver streak continues to blaze its way out front; leaving all others in the dust.

Race Results:
1. Hamilton - Mercedes
2. Raikkonen - Ferrari
3. Rosberg - Mercedes
4. Bottas - Williams-Mercedes
5. Vettel - Ferrari
6. Ricciardo - Red Bull-Renault

"The John Logie Baird Television Was Better in 1984 Memorial Cup" at the end of Round 2 looks like this:

18 Hamilton
10 Rosberg
6 Vettel
6 Raikkonen
3 Massa
3 Bottas
2 Nasr
2 Riccardo

The Constructor's Championship is thus:

28 Mercedes
12 Ferrari
6 Williams
2 Sauber
2 Red Bull

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