23 Jul – The German Grand Prix “Hey, when you got it, you got it.”
What really is there to say? Correction, I have been saying it all year, shucks, I have been saying it for the last eight years or so ever since Fernando held off Schumacher for the last five laps of the GP of San Marino back in 2005, that Fernando Alonso is like no other, driving at the highest level. And this year he is really putting it all together as the saying goes. Below are some insights I had as the race played out.
Saturday: Qualifying was wet and Ferrari and Fernando took full advantage of the conditions and produced a really nice lap for pole position and although some people up and down the pit lane, including Alonso himself, have this year said how qualifying is not as critical for the race on Sunday, I for one don’t quite buy into that reasoning. The best place to start is P1. Period. Always has and always will be.
And by the way just ask the two Lotus drivers if they think that qualifying is not important this year. Seems to me that they would say that by qualifying 5th, 6th or 7th you really make it quite hard to win despite the fact that you have the fastest car in the last 15 laps.
Sunday: Not a cloud in the sky. All bets are off when you qualify in the wet and race in the dry. I’m suddenly less confident about Fernando’s chances of hanging onto P1.
Lights out. I now realize that despite the fact that the best place to start is P1, the only place to go is down from there, when you really think about it. Lets qualify that shall we, no pun intended. What I mean is that when a driver qualifies on pole there are only two things that can happen:
#1: the driver finishes in that position and it is a victory, everyone is happy and the taste of champagne is very nice.
#2: the driver doesn’t finish in that position and no matter what the position is, it sucks, and even if the driver does finish on the podium, the champagne tastes like sour milk.
And let me tell you from the expression of the faces of drivers that I have watched over the years that started P1 but did not finish P1, to see them on the second step of the podium, well lets just say a picture is worth a thousand words and I am pretty sure most of those words are not acceptable in front of the parents no matter what your age.
By lap 10 or 11, against all logic, Fernando is still in the lead and I am somehow lured into thinking that he might have a chance since Vettel has not already demoted him to second. I’m wondering if the RB8 is just a teensy bit slower than usual so that Red Bull can have the appearance of not cheating with their illegal throttle settings. Yes, Red Bull is involved in yet another controversy (what a shocker) and this one had to do with engine mapping, and a throttle setting that one of the stewards did not like. Red Bull was called in to clarify this rather unique mapping and why it should not be considered a contravening of whatever article was in question. (Stand by while my assistant finds that out for me, LOL.) With quite a bit of flimflam (that is a technical word for bullshit), Red Bull was able to explain away why their car is not in breach of this particular regulation. The cars were cleared and Red Bull was allowed to race on Sunday. However, the FIA are closing the loophole on this particular regulation, and that bullshit will not fly come the next race in Hungary in a week’s time, so the FIA has said. (But maybe not in those exact words.)
So perhaps Red Bull backed off on their soon-to-be-illegal settings just in case they were called in front of the stewards after the race due to an official protest from the other teams. This would take away some of the performance of the RB8 and give Ferrari and Alonso just that small cushion they would need to stay in front. Remember just a few tenths can make the difference in what you can and can’t do in race conditions. We shall never know.
I suffered through the rest of the race, discovering I’m just as stressed out when my guy is in front as when he is behind. In the final laps, Alonso begins to fend off an attack from the McLaren of Jenson that definitely looked faster than the Ferrari. Nail biting stuff. With laps counting away, Button really put his foot down and it looked as though he would get the best of Alonso. The last stint so far this season has not been Ferrari’s strong point. Against all odds, Fernando holds off the late charge of Jenson with some killer driving and voila! The race is won and somehow Fernando is the only driver to win three races this year and there must be a whole lot of head scratching up and down the pit lane. I love every minute of it. Can I get an OH YEAH!
I did notice that as Jenson was chasing the Alonso, he suffered a huge flat spot just a few laps after his pit stop, it did not seem to slow him down immediately, but shortly after the incident, Button’s tire performance started to drop off and he reached the cliff that all the drivers have by now experienced in the closing stages of a race, for which there is just nothing you can do. One wonders what would have happened if Jenson didn’t flat spot that tire or took a little more time with the tires in catching up to Alonso. Once again, we shall never know.
Wait, am I saying that Fernando and Ferrari were gifted with this win in Germany? Not so fast partner … now for the real reason Ferrari and Alonso won the Grand Prix von Deutschland.
Because he’s CHING-GON, he’s MONEY baby, a STRAIGHT UP, NO JOKE guy that gets the job done no matter what the circumstances. The REAL DEAL, the MAN with the PLAN, and without putting too fine a point on it: a BADASS.
Well, now we have 10 races in the books and beyond the belief of most fans, F1 junkies (that’s me), experts, pundits, team principals, mechanics, track photographers, sponsors, the marshals at turn six, the person that scans your ticket to enter the race track, the hot girls that hand out all kinds of promotional stuff that is really just crap but you take it any way because they flashed you one of those smiles, the janitor, and probably Ferrari themselves [pause] Fernando Alonso is not only leading the championship, his advantage is a whopping 34 points. One more race to go before the summer break, and no matter what happens, Ferrari and Alonso are looking good. Bitches… jp out.