April 19, 2010

Chinese Grand Prix Executive Summary.

First off, thank you for all the comments on the post below, as Bernie knows, controversy makes for entertainment! Now lets continue with the Hamilton bashing: Lewis had a fantastic race, all the best moves were his and he displayed a level of aggression and decisiveness in passing that is absent in most of the rest of the field. His passes on Vettel and Sutil and Schumacher the second time were career highlight material.

That being said, we are extremely happy Button is kicking his ass. Button, who everyone gave for dead at the start of the season, is becoming quite the 21st century Lauda. Shrewd in his calculations, starting with his switch away from Brawn, he has been tempered by years of crappy cars and has emerged cool as a cucumber. Hamilton, who has always had perfectly prepared cars from a top team his whole life is most definitively letting the pressure affect his judgement.

There is more than a good chance Alonso would have won today had he not jumped the start. He finished 11.8 seconds behind Button, his drive through penalty cost him 13.8 extra seconds in pit lane. Alonso made a hard pass on Massa into the pit lane (I'm expecting a rules clarification about where and how you can enter and exit pit lanes...). This was a clear assertion of alfa driver status for the team to pick up. Massa had been holding him back, again and that was clear punctuation by Fernando.

Vettel an Webber had lousy races, from front row to 6th and 8th but Kubica and Rosberg showed that Button's "no panic" 2 stop strategy was the way to go.

What can you say about Michael Schumacher? After qualifying he blamed a new wing which did not exist on Rosberg's car, now Mercedes is going to build hims a whole new chassis because his current one "... has an inherent flaw"? OK.

end of post


  1. Button/Hamilton are kind of Prost/Senna from 21st century

  2. Big Button fan here, so loving seeing him beat Hammie on the brains part of racing. Also don't forget that it's 3 to 1 in the qualifying battle.
    Saying that Alonso would have won totally forgets the safetycar. If it wasn't for the safetycar Button, Rosberg and the Renault guys would have bin long gone.

    Think your site is totally awesome.

    Greetings from a Go-kart driver in the Netherlands

  3. Australia 11th to 6th with a race ruined by Webber.
    But this offers a better summation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oVLOAXFxxE
    Malaysia 20th to 6th where team strategy cost him dearly
    China 6th to 2nd, passing good cars and good drivers at will

    No one is afraid of Button. He's silky and smooth but he plays by the rules.

  4. Before I say anything, I will admit to being a huge Button fanboy. Hell, I supported him through the bad days at Honda. That said, I think he's hugely underestimated as a driver. In the right car (which he now has), he's up there with the best of them. I love that he's been winning races by being smooth and tactical, but I can't wait to see him in a proper scrap with Alonso/Vettel/Hamilton/Kubica (preferably all of them at once).

  5. Cant say enough good things and be happier about Button. Racing is more mental and brains that anything else. All the top guys have the skill, but some of those guys minds are their own worst enemies (no need to mention names)

  6. Still thought it was a great race. It's a pity there has to be bad weather for this kind of racing, but I'm not going to question it as long as I get to see more races like that.

    As far as Button/Hamilton, I don't care who is the "better" driver. I don't watch F1 to calculate math and watch races based on strategy. I watch F1 to be entertained. That is why it's my firm belief that Hamilton & Vettle are the two best young drivers in history, period. Senna and Schumacher were great, but they were never this good, this aggressive, or this entertaining, this young.

    The FIA needs to get their collective heads together and write some better rules for this sport, so these new drivers which have the balls F1 is so utterly lacking, can do what they do best and make this sport FUN TO WATCH again. All the Hammy hate, I love it, if everyone loves you you're doing a shitty job at racing.

  7. Couldn't agree more :-)

    Such an exciting season.

    And to think of the gloom after round 1.

    New championships leaders each round, close points, great moves, changeable weather, the development race in full swing, talent right through an expanded field, the back marker battles, inter-team excitement..... just brilliant.

    And of Axis, well, it's the only place I take the time to comment and enjoy the comments of others, even when I see things differently from time to time.


    Stig (racing again in 10 days after the disappointment of not getting a gearbox to function for Bathurst).

  8. Tekniq...you ain't alone.

    BRILLIANT season. I expected Vettel to begin stamping his authority from China - best car, top 3 driver (though I still think Alonso is the most complete on the grid myself), and should have been a walkover - and over the next few races it might well be. But for now, we have a SEASON, and Europe will hopefully bring some more fun. Good drivers and fairly competitive cars clear through Petrov - and Rubens will have a moment eventually. And best of all there's a honest to god villan hated by most, perhaps more than Schu in his heyday (he at least had Ferrari nation behind him after '96).

    I've always loved the "bad guy" (though never saw the prissy Ham as such until now), so go Ham. Piss em off, and beat their golden boy Funny how now Button is an Axis favorite...i guess it's kind of an enemy of my enemy thing right? CG would be rooting for Pablo Escobar to beat him if he were alive and out there racing.

  9. I agree with what Tekniq said regarding Hamilton and Vettel.

    I'd add that the level in F1 at the moment is higher than ever. Say what you like about Hamilton but he's blindingly quick and the best overtaker I have ever seen, Vettel is probably the most complete. Alonso and Kubica almost seem second tier to those two.

    Much as I like Button I think he's been equally as lucky as smart with the tyre choices. And Schumacher, well, he's probably missing a little top end speed but throw a Schumacher from ten years ago in a Ferrari and I'm sure he would be rubbing shoulders with Alonso but I never saw that absolutely raw natural speed of a Hamilton or Senna.

    In short, don't expect miracles from grandpa.

  10. "There is more than a good chance Alonso would have won today had he not jumped the start. He finished 11.8 seconds behind Button, his drive through penalty cost him 13.8 extra seconds in pit lane."

    This doesn't make sense, because Alonso benefited from the second safety car to regroup with the pack, so you cannot think he would be 13.8 seconds ahead at the end of the race. If he wouldn't have jump started, he would be behind Vettel or Webber, in their dirty air, unable to overtake them.

  11. Hate on Hamilton all you want but soon enough you will see that he has the total package. I give Button credit for recognizing that if he can't beat em head on, he will have to take drastic measures(gamble) with tire choices. I think its kind of funny that Button makes a couple of gutsy gambles and everyone and their mom starts implying that he is the most intelligent guy on the grid.

    To me, Button appears desperate. Quick to shy away from a duel with formidable opponents. Why take such big risks on tires when you're running so close to the championship front runners? Won't the calm, smart, safe choice be to run with the pack? You know, the kinds of choices Hamilton, Vettel, and Alonso have made? But then again, "fortune favors the bold."

  12. @Anonymous - 2:52:00 AM

    So you're suggesting that that the "smart, safe choice" is to find your teammate or nearest rival and try to run into him on the pitlane. Rather than just bugger off into the distance and stay away from all the looneys? Oh, and win. Twice.


    ...Um, OK...

  13. What are you talking about? Button elected to stay on slicks after lap one when everyone including his main rivals opted for rain tires. Had mother nature decided to increase rain fall ever so slightly for that one lap, Button would have been screwed. That call could have wrecked his race but luckily it turned out to be the right call. When the rain abated for a moment, the inters began to fall very quickly. It was in that time when everyone else was changing tires that Button, Kubica, and Rosberg pulled away from the pack because they did not need to change tires.

  14. @Anonymous - 2:11:00 PM
    What I am talking about is you(*) are trying to portray Vettel, Alonso, and particularly Hamilton as calm, cool, collected decision makers, evaluating all the conditions and making reasonable choices. While portaying Button as some desperate nutter making rash decisions to hang on to his lead by his finger tips. A point of view belied by the bumper car antics Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton engaged in later in the race.

    *- I'm assuming you are the same Anonymous that posted at 2:52:00 AM.

  15. yeah, guys... pick a name will you, otherwise I'll have to put a registration up...

  16. Same anonymous(Ghost) responding to Mitch.

    You almost have my argument right. I would say those three guys are cool, calm, and collected compared to Button. He is making rash decisions that are not going to give him a significant advantage in terms of the championship. A 10 point lead is not much when his lead could be wiped out in just one race. In both Aus and China he nearly beached his car because of tire choices. Possibly two DNFs or zero points but luckily the weather was on his side. Eventually he is going to have to let his driving on the track do the talking. Alonso and Hamilton have gained the confidence of dicing their way through the field, I don't think Button has that confidence and he is doing his best to not be in that situation.

    The pit incidents are just racing incidents. Shi*T happens when you're racing. I would not defend Hamilton for what he did but I can understand the circumstances. Detractors on the other hand will just use it to fuel their hate of the guy.

    Last year Button got away with putting in the minimum amount of work to win the championship. That was fine because he had a car that untouchable by his rivals. This year is a different battle. There are at least 4 guys capable of winning the championship with very competitive cars. Gambles are not going to cut it. The winner of this years championship is going to have to "do work."

    We are only four races in so there is a lot of racing to go. How many more rain races are we going to get? Tire wear is a problem for everyone not just Hamilton. If Hamilton is so hard on his tires, how is he able to drive so hard yet have enough rubber to challenge for wins at the end?

  17. @anonymous(Ghost)
    I'm afraid we're going to have to disagree on what constitutes rash actions, then. I don't consider getting into a wheel to wheel duel in the pitlane and punting Webber out of the way on a restart to be in any way *less* dangerous than a simple tyre decision whose worst outcome is likely just having to slow down a bit and lose some places. As against possible damage to the car and a very high chance of penalty. Not to mention that McLaren didn't seem too bothered to have a split strategy under the conditions.

    I would also have to dispute that Button is going to have to "out drive" other drivers. There have historically been drivers who simply maximised every opportunity - made the maximum points their car was capable of, let other racers make mistakes and methodically built a championship. Prost is probably a good example, and while it isn't as exciting as Hamilton slicing through the field, it's very effective. If Button can drive like that it's going to be a slow, crushing defeat, like a python killing a mouse. Which will probably drive Hamilton completely out of his mind...

    Certainly there's a lot of racing yet. Should be fun to watch.


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