26 Jun – What Goes Down Must Come Up, I Just Didn’t Think It Would Be In The Next Race

AFTER A MOMENT OF ABSOLUTE EMOTION AS THE WINNER OF HIS HOME GP, FERNANDO AND COMPANY GATHER FOR THE PODIUM PHOTO. As a side note Andrea Stella is not only the race engineer currently for Fernando, but was also race engineer for both Kimi and Michael during there winning seasons at Ferrari. How nice was this podium for him? 

What is there really to say? I could talk about how lucky Fernando is, how he makes his own luck, or how a safety car played into his hands, this time not induced by a teammate on the verge of getting sacked, or a team principal that was concerned with sponsorship, or a head of engineering that had lost his way. I could talk about how weird it is to see not one but two F1 mechanical failures of the same nature. (This has not happened that I can remember since the two Mercedes engines failed on Mika’s and David’s McLarens at a home race for Mercedes in Germany back in 1997). I could talk about the silly and totally avoidable coming together of Hamilton and Maldonado. (I just might explore this in another post; lets give it a working title shall we? “How Lewis, despite everything he has been through in the last couple of seasons, again managed to throw away valuable points just because he didn’t want to be passed.”) I could spend a whole post on Romain Grosjean and how this season he has been driving at a very high level but is still missing that last piece of the puzzle to put it all together. Or about Kimi and how he is just that close to a race win. Not to mention Michael and how he is also very close to his first win since his comeback. This race had many aspects that I would love to break down if I wasn’t working a job 50 hours a week, getting ready for the arrival of newborn twins in three weeks, and still in the middle of a kitchen remodel!

Instead, lets approach this race and my post in a completely different way.

Here’s how they started:
1. Sebastian Vettel -Red Bull on pole
2. Lewis Hamilton -McLaren 1m38.410s + 0.324
3. Pastor Maldonado -Williams 1m38.475s + 0.389
4. Romain Grosjean -Lotus 1m38.505s + 0.419
5. Kimi Raikkonen -Lotus 1m38.513s + 0.427
6. Nico Rosberg -Mercedes 1m38.623s + 0.537
7. Kamui Kobayashi -Sauber 1m38.741s + 0.655
8. Nico Hulkenberg -Force India 1m38.752s + 0.666
9. Jenson Button -McLaren 1m38.801s + 0.715
10. Paul di Resta -Force India 1m38.992s + 0.906

And, shockingly, not even in the top ten, my man:
11. Fernando Alonso -Ferrari 1m38.707s + 0.218 (I have to say at this point I was a very upset fan. But the world is not perfect. Moving on.)

At the start of the race Fernando gains three places on the first lap. I feel slightly better, but not expecting any miracles.

At some point Fernando continued to move up and after a pit stop moved past Hamilton (Yes, McLaren’s pit stop woes continue, but at least this time it was the equipment’s fault) — OK I am feeling a little better but still cautious with many laps to complete.

[Vettel is running away with it, I wish Adrian Newey would get the flu or something to keep him from being so brilliant, just for a season or two.]

Midway through the race, we have a safety car. Alonso somehow is now in third and on the restart takes the position away from Romain. At this point I am starting to be overwhelmingly excited and anxious all at the same time.

Fernando is now P2, almost unbelievable, don’t even want to think of the possibilities yet, but it is going to get even stranger than that.

A few laps further into the race Vettel’s car retires and Alonso is now the leader of not just any GP but also his second home GP. Pandemonium in my house is now in full effect. Pretty sure everyone here knows that I am about to have a mini-breakdown. Because this is the funny contradiction: sometimes during a race, when your guy (with not the fastest car) is leading the race, it’s great, but you wonder how long it can last!

OK, some small drama in the last 10 laps but Fernando is unequivocally P1 at the checkered flag.

And what makes this win even sweeter? Vettel = no points today, Hamilton crashes out = no points.

So yet again, what began as a difficult situation for Ferrari and Alonso becomes one of their greatest triumphs.

Sport is funny that way, similar to Greek mythology, men and women doing extraordinary things no matter what the circumstances. Maybe that is why in Greek mythology, the gods have always looked down with favor at humans with their passion and ability to perform in a way that is superhuman or, pardon my presumption, god-like. And maybe this is why they, the athlete, the warrior, that one individual that will just not give up, are rewarded.

Today Fernando and Ferrari did not give up, the whole team acted god-like and Fernando drove a superhuman race and because of it maybe the gods answered. Or maybe it was just good ol’ racing which is fine too.

I leave you with this quote courtesy of Leigh Diffey, commentator for Speed TV. (Said at top volume, very enthusiastically, emphasis on the words in caps.) “How can you NOT be IMPRESSED by ALONSO?”

I often wonder…      -jp. Loving it.

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