Red Bull Breaks Canadian Grand Prix Jinx
If you are a casual observer of Formula One, I will keep this short and sweet for you: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull – pole position, lead every lap, dominant victory. Thank you for reading.
If you are a slightly more involved follower, and you are no great fan of the man with the pointy first finger, you can take some solace in the fact that he was roundly booed on the podium, and Mark Webber, Vettel’s teammate, took away his beloved fastest lap on the penultimate go ’round Though that will be cold comfort to Webber as there is no trophy for P4.
For those of you who are more invested in the sport, here are some things to think about. Fernando Alonso needs a better car for qualifying if he is to mount any serious World Championship challenge. He started in P6, albeit after a topsy-turvy qualifying session that saw mixed weather conditions, and was able to drag himself past some very fast cars on his way to P2. He was his usual relentless self all day, but at no point did the Ferrari driver ever look like posing a genuine challenge for Vettel.
The big news in the past weeks has been Mercedes’ ‘secret’ Pirelli tire test after the Spanish Grand Prix last month. They went on to dominate the following race in Monaco and folks were keeping a close eye on them today. In the end, the race was inconclusive with regards to any global benefits Mercedes may have reaped. This was the first race in the last five they haven’t been on the pole, but Lewis Hamilton’s strong run to P3 doesn’t mean that they have solved their tire issues, as he is a bit of a savant at this track. Nico Rosberg duly went backwards in the sister car to finish P5 hinting that maybe they still haven’t cracked the tire problems that have largely plagued them on race day.
The star of qualifying, Valtteri Bottas, who stuck his recalcitrant Williams on the second row, went backwards like he was tied to a dock. His race performance, finishing P14, was a more genuine indicator of the car’s pace. The awesome lap in qualifying was a sure sign of the driver’s innate ability.
And whither Lotus and Raikkonen? Kimi came into the race in second place in the driver’s championship. He was lapped by championship leader Vettel before the halfway point of the race. He must be seriously thinking about where he wants to race next year. The rumored Red Bull drive might never have seemed more appealing. He will likely not care one way or the other that he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of twenty-four consecutive points finishes.
The star of the race might have put in the most under the radar performance of the year. Jean-Eric Vergne had a great qualifying session and then put his head down and drove faultlessly to bring his hitherto lacklustre Toro Rosso home in P6. Surely he would be cheaper to put in the other Red Bull next year than Kimi…
Much was said of the Force India’s potential pace before the race. Adrian Sutil had a bit of a shocker early on. He spun in turn three after an optimistic move on Bottas didn’t pan out. Half a lap later, Maldonado did a Maldonado and stuffed his nose into Sutil at the hairpin, damaging the blameless German’s rear wing. He raced well from there to finish in the points with P10. His teammate, Paul Di Resta, was aggrieved after qualifying, blaming his poor performance on the team’s bad call. They made good with some strong calls in the race. Di Resta made a gutsy one-stop race strategy work, making his one-and-only pit stop on a scarcely believable lap 58. P7 was his reward. A classy drive.
Further back there were some good battles. Felipe Massa had a fighting drive from 16th on the grid to finish P8. The McLarens of Button and Perez were never in the mix, with neither driver making it into the top ten in qualifying nor the points positions in the race.
In the end, it was a now classic Vettel performance. He dominated the day and looks in ominous form as the season goes forward. It’s not unreasonable to be thinking about only the third driver in F1 history to win four Championships in a row. He would dearly love to be spoken of alongside Fangio and Schumacher.
This article originally appeared on Nicholas D’Amato’s blog, Just Add Lightness