14 May – Pinch Me I Think I Must Be Dreaming
All right it is not really my style to blog after a race just to give a re-cap or get all excited about the winner. I generally like to wait until something gets my carbon fiber all in splinters before I go to the keyboard. However, since I was so vocal in calling Ferrari out I feel that it is only fair to give them the credit they deserve. Well done Maranello! (Editor’s note: Maranello is where Ferrari F1 operations are headquartered.) Not only did you really pull out a great result for the team and for Fernando (at his home GP) you showed that despite the herculean task of correcting the deficiencies of the F2012, there was no panic, no pointing fingers, and no excuses. You just, as we say in the good old US of A, picked yourself up by the bootstraps and got the job done. Or as Steve Matchett says in the very British way, “Let’s just get on with it fell-uz.”
So it is going to be a short post today. (Editor’s note: Not really.) None of my sophomoric witticisms, no poking fun at almost everything, no cussing, just a simple “Well done, mates” to Ferrari, and of course to Maldonado for his maiden win in F1 and to Williams, and on a very special day no less (Frank Williams turned 70, nice birthday present don’t you agree?). Despite the fact that I wanted more than anything for Fernando to have a go at him or for Pastor to be forced into an error I am very happy for him and the team. A fifth driver has won in as many GP’s this season and the trend of this topsy-turvy season continues. I think that this will cease as we get further into the European season, but what do I know, really?
I would like to make a small point about the results of the Spanish GP and this in regards to Fernando Alonso. It is such a great time to be a fan of F1 right now; we have six world champions on the grid. Everyone from the master (Michael Schumacher) to the kid (Sebastian Vettel). It is no secret to anyone that reads this blog, all four of them, my lovely wife, my dad, at least one of my friends, and my cat (my cat doesn’t really read the blog as much as he just stares at the photo of me but I count him anyway), that I think Fernando is the best of all these current drivers. Now this can be debated and argued to point of no return, but what is not disputable is this: Fernando, no matter what the car’s ability, no matter what the conditions, always drives five, no, make that 50 levels above it.
In my not so professional opinion this is the breakdown of the World Champions driving in F1 this season:
Hamilton: Super fast over one lap and always fast no matter what, and hands down the best passer in F1, no question.
Vettel: Even faster in an optimized car to his liking and when out in front, unstoppable, but have not really seen him be amazing in an uncompetitive car just yet.
Button: Very smooth, and in the car can out-think his competitors and sometimes even his team, but when the car is not good, he is not good.
Michael: (Editor’s note: I think it’s hilarious that this guy gets referred to by his first name only. He is so ubiquitous in F1 that there is no question what you mean when you say “Michael”.) Of course he has seven world titles (still really baffles the mind if you follow F1 and know how hard it is to just win one Driver’s Championship, let alone multiple championships), also one of the fastest, so smart behind the wheel it is sometimes scary, for sure the only driver that is in a different stratosphere when it comes to driving in the rain, similar to Ayrton Senna, but he would be even more impressive if his teammates had not been required to play the “you have to pull over for Michael” game during his tenure at Ferrari.
Kimi: Doesn’t care what the script is, he just keeps coming and coming. I still don’t think McLaren quite know how Kimi snaked the championship away from them in 2007.
Fernando: Ah Fernando, he is the one, and it is for this reason and this reason alone–he is the best at delivering the goods when the car is not delivering the goods. It is this quality that I admire the most in all drivers, and all the greats have it. To be fair I think all the drivers I have mentioned here have this to some degree, and probably Hamilton has it the most out of all the others, this is why they are World Champions, but Fernando has it just that much more and it reveals itself in moments such as Malaysia earlier this year, or Singapore in 2010 when he kept Vettel behind him, or in Japan back in 2008 when he was driving a Renault that was just nowhere near being a car that should finish on the podium, or for that matter Abu Dhabi of last year which is a perfect example of Alonso’s driving ability which is currently second to none. In a word he “out-drives the car”. This is by no means something that I alone have figured out or have discovered all by my little old self, but I just like to remind everybody about it (every chance I get).
So here we are, five races complete, Alonso tied on points with Vettel at 61 although not leading the championship technically, I think because Vettel has more higher place finishes than Fernando but whatever at this point. Monaco is the next stop for F1 and its circus and they’ll both have the chance to assume the lead or lose it.
It looks like Ferrari is now up to the challenge and even if the car is not truly the fastest we know that Fernando can make up the difference. The season is long, lets collect some points, and to Stefano, and to Pat, and to everyone else, the entire team, I, for one, appreciate what you have accomplished in the short time that the season has started. Just keep on doing what you’re doing because it is working! Go Ferrari and go Alonso… bitches…(just one mini cuss)