July 24, 2011

Saved by the Ring

Just when it seemed that Lewis Hamilton had hit the skids, conditions at the Nürburgring created the perfect cocktail that gave him a winning car. Hamilton drove a great race making no mistakes and pouncing on the few his adversaries made.

It was an entertaining race, with a credible three way battle with Alonso and Webber, but of the three it's pretty clear only Alonso and Hamilton have that something extra that allows them to get more out of the car than the car is supposed to give and we as fans are all thankful for the show.

Of course, had Red Bull not messed up Webber's strategy (or given him the special "make way for #1" clutch setting at the start) things may have been different.

Ferrari, had to gamble on light fuel expecting rain maybe, and on the timing for critical last stop. The only way they could pass Hamilton was to hope there was enough left in Alonso's soft Pirellis to lap faster than Ham on the primes. Close, but the Ferrari tire heat issue reared its head and when Alonso got a bad exit out of turn one from the pits, Hamilton punished him. The low fuel situation may have compromised his ability to take the fight to Mclaren in the final stages.

The cold temperature helped with tire wear, up to now a Mclaren problem, but it was also amazing not to see the track, largely clear of that "five o'clock" shadow of rolled up Pirelli we usually see and made for much better racing and passing.

Speaking of racing, I'm sure there will be much discussion of Vettel's "racing" ability: can he fight or can he only run out front? It's tempting to follow that line of thinking but the jury is still out. For sure he did not deserve a 4th place today, we don't know if he had some undisclosed issue but he was off his game, not just playing defense. Certainly that unforced error was a surprise. That's the second time he's betrayed human origins this season!

Massa lost 4th place because of a bad wheel nut but also because he took so long to get around Rosberg earlier. Button too was very much outclassed by his teammate, the retirement put him out of his misery.

So what happens now, it the championship suddenly open again? Not really but then again, ask Button about having a great start of the season only to find yourself having to push in the final races. Red Bull worries about it despite the big lead, that's why Christian Horner did the rational thing in Britain.

On a final note, how did Alonso manage to communicate to Webber he needed a ride? I'm sure the Senna photo op, gone to his nemesis, must be cheesing Hamilton off terribly! (oh relax, fanboys!) Bring on Hungary, the way races have gone since Canada, even that track may produce a better race than Valencia!

No time for usual clip, my apologies, here is one for our latin american readers and one for the BBC Cheers!



  1. Great race, Schumi's drive was interesting too, surprised he finished that high up.

    Does that Red Bull run absolutely no camber on the rears?
    Look at the photo with Alonso on the car, wear is very uniform, then look at the second photo very carefully using the rear wing as a point of reference, it looks like the rears run positive camber under load.

    How the hell does that work?

  2. @ MrQuick

    I don't think they run positive rear camber. I believe what you are seeing in the above picture is the tire changing shape under full side load. The front tires do it as well you just can't see it in the picture above. If you look closely at that picture you can see the bottom of the tire is deformed making it look like it has positive camber while the top of the tire has regained it's normal shape. The shot with Alonso riding on the car shows the tires covered in discarded rubber from the track and won't show real tire wear. What's really neat to see is the texture of the rubber change when onboard shots are of the cars going around a particularly high load corner. Nowadays the camera angles are pretty crap and show almost nothing of interest to the fans, they only show the massive sponsor boards trackside. Hopefully we can get some good shots at Spa, going around Pouhon the right side tires take a beating and if the shots are good you can see the tire change 'color' if you will.

  3. Ah, I should have conveyed what I meant a lot better, it looks as if there is almost no static camber on the rear at all which I find very surprising considering that the fronts run quite a fair bit.

    I would have expected that under load the rears would stay quite flat, or much flatter than what you see in the second shot, it just looks like there isn't very much camber and the tyre is kind of falling over itself.

    Or maybe I'm just seeing things.

  4. I could have sworn I saw positive camber on the rear of the Williams... I'm sure the 0 camber is done to even out wear and preserve the rears as much as possible.


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