At the halfway mark of the season, all the jokers were up in the air, once again without any clear indication of who would be the winner in this very unpredictable season.
I am sure I don´t need to repeat what I and many others have already been telling you, that this season is unpredictable, exciting as ever and full of surprises. After a while, it gets boring. NOT!
The German Grand Prix is a lot of things, but rarely this thrilling. The new modern layout has never been favoured by myself, but I appreciate the need to revise it, from the older, much longer Hockenheimring. But it doesn´t change the fact that it´s not that amazing. Luckily there was a lot of drivers and performances that were, and they put on a show for us, once again.
Driver of the Day: Fernando Alonso
A little recap from the first 5 races tells us that Ferrari didn´t built the car they needed for the job. This is old news now, but the base line was too far away from what they needed. Or was it? Alonso took 5th in the opening race, then took a surprise victory in Malaysia, only finish 9th and 7th in the next 2 races before taking 2nd place in home race in Spain. At this point in time, Alonso and Webber had the same points tally, but then things started to change. The car looks much more driveable now, much more calm and not so twitchy as before, and Alonso is also a lot more finely tuned, it seems. But his performance in the race on Sunday, was controlled, it was calculated, Ferrari had the best strategy for him and it would be a bigger surprise if he didn´t win. Still Alonso thoroughly deserves this award.
Best Charge of the Day: Jenson Button
After a series of rather sad performances from Button, picking up points in just 6 races so far and 2 retirements, the Frome Flyer showed that he is fast and he is not a driver to count out. One can on,y imagine the extra hard work the team and he have been doing in preparations for the race, because whatever they did, it worked. Button was exceptionally fast, he knew when to charge, he knew when to hold back. He conserved the tyres at the right time, and when he got the green light, he could push them a little further. A flawless pit stop, according to McLaren a record of 2.31 seconds, also helped him along.
Best Climber of the Day: Sergio Perez
Perez started 17th and ended in 6th place, a very satisfying result for the Sauber team and Peter Sauber was of course as delighted as if they just won a championship. Sure there are lots of hard work and lots of time spent reading telemetry and adjusting things, but make no mistake. Sauber is not a mid-field team anymore, they are definitely among the top teams, along with Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Lotus. I could include Mercedes, but I think their performance curve is too unstable.
Not only did Perez once again prove that he is a massive talent, he is also the lead candidate for at least a couple of seats here and there. I hope that he will do the right thing and stay with Sauber for next year, they need each other.
Overtaking Master of the Day: Kimi Raikkonen
If you tought that the return of Kimi Raikkonen would see a dusty and rather anonymous Finn fiddling around in the back of the grid after a two-year hiatus, you´d be very wrong. From the start, he and Lotus has impressed the hell out all of us, not that we were surprised he would, but the performance and reliability of the cars, are better than I expected. That said, the overtaking manoeuvre he made on Paul di Resta was champion stuff. Side by side, through three turns and eventually he just persevered to take the position back he lost in the start. Kimi has given us many great moments already this season, and the hard ass has more up his sleeve.
Worst Driver of the Day: Romain Grosjean
Oh dear, it really is hard to have a good day these days, isn´t it? Ups and downs for Grosjean, who started 19th after a penalty carried over from Silverstone, post-race gearbox change, only to leave the track a number of times, lose the plot entirely, drive a completely anonymous and uninteresting race, only to improve one place to 18th and one lap down. To compare another fast driver, Lewis Hamilton had a puncture at the beginning of the race, pitted and then asked to retire. Was denied and fought hard, without any chance of points, but unlapped himself, much t the dismay of Sebastian Vettel, and unfortunately ended his day with retirement, but could have been finishing 13th.
Grosjean may be a really fast and good driver, but he has only taken points in half of the races and are trailing his team mate by 37 points.
Cry Baby of the Day: Sebastian Vettel, Christian Horner, Red Bull as a whole.
Red Bull has a remarkable tendency to not know when to shut up at the right time. Four hours before the race, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer examined the RB8 and found irregularities in the torque mapping, reported it but the stewards decided to let the cars race without sanction. During the dying moments of the race on Sunday, Sebastian Vettel made an overtaking move on Button, which was outside the track, then first argued that he didn´t know Button was there, right…, then Red Bull argued that Vettel was ahead of Button when the overtaking move happened, which he clearly was not. All Vettel had to do was to look to his right and he would have easily seen Button right there, acknowledge that he made a mistake, give the position back to Button and fight him for the remaining two laps. This would be a walk in the park for Vettel, as Button´s tyres were cooked, and he could have ended up in 3rd. Instead Vettel was whining, again, that he did nothing wrong, and was rightfully penalised by 20 seconds.
More Unremarkable Performances: FIA, Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado.
I´m gonna keep this short. Fact: Lewis Hamilton punctured because of the debris left on track after Felipe Massa smashed into the rear tyre of Daniel Ricciardo´s Toro Rosso. Both were lucky not to cause more damage, but the FIA, notably Charlie Whiting should have deployed a safety car at this time, since the debris was lying around for several laps to come. A dangerous and unnecessary decision from the FIA. Massa had a damaged car, yes, but he still needs to find his A-game. He did it at Silverstone two weeks ago. And Pastor Maldonado? I am getting less and less impressed with him. The season has shown that there are many more drivers who can race for victories, and his win in Spain was remarkable, astonishing even. But because of that, his performances ever since has been even more disappointing. ten races and only points from two of them. Michael Schumacher, Paul di Resta and even Felipe Massa should have no problem overtaking Maldonado in the standings.