Monday, 2 August 2010

How Long Is An F1 Car?

A predicted procession from flag to finish failed to materialise in Budapest as a safety car period on lap 16 caught up the dominant Vettel and allowed his teammate Webber to steal victory. With a scintillating qualifying lap and impressive race pace Vettel made the most of his pole position and sped off into the distance. As those watching reaching for their pillow a safety car period ruffled things up. Vettel pitted, as did second placed Alsono but Webber chose to stay out. Or was it a choice at all bearing in mind the advantage Vettel would receive by pitting whilst the safety car was out? In the midst of this period Rosberg lost a wheel in the pits which tumbled through two pit boxes. Mechanics leapt quick enough to avoid what would have been some very serious trauma. Kubica also crashed with Sutil in a comical "didn't you see me coming?" way. But it was when the safety car was due to pull in that an obscure rule raised it's puzzling head. Apparently all cars must be within 10 car lengths of the car in front whilst filing behind the safety car. Vettel was in second behind Webber when the safety car pulled into the pits. Critically Vettel was caught napping and Webber surged ahead forcing Vettel to breach the regulation. Cue a drive through penalty and Vettel being demoted to third. At first I thought Vettel was doing his teammate a favour by allowing a gap to build so that Webber's lead over Alonso would increase once the pit stops wee completed. However; it turns out he simply didn't see that the lights were off on the safety car indicating that it was about to pull in. When Vettel emerged behind Alonso he was trapped by the Hungaroring's uncharitable approach to overtaking and Alonso's air turbulence. Hence his 1 second per lap paced was blunted. Meanwhile Hamilton had an engine failure on lap 26 and Button was well off the pace after a rubbish start off the grid. Massa finished a fine fourth. Towards the end Barrichello snatched tenth place from his old team "mate" Schumacher in a banzai move down by the pit wall. The crafty German as robust as ever in his defensive driving. Barrichello called the close call "terrible", Michael said sorry and the rest of us sat back and quietly nodded in approval for providing an exciting pass. And so Webber follows on from his subdued result in Germany by completing an unexpected and subdued win and climbing back to to the top of the championship leader board. The traditional snorefest at Hungary was pushed to one side by the magic being cast over this years championship. With a three week break till Spa Vettel will be stewing as Webber smirks.

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