Today is a ‘butt whopping’ kind of a day. Pardon? We’re assuming Lewis Hamilton meant ‘butt whooping’, but in any case we like the thought that Lewis woke up this morning, had his eggs and soldiers (@LewisHamilton) and took to Twitter to confirm what the rest his team were already saying; ‘this one is not lost.’
Lewis starts seventh today and for the first time this season behind Jenson Button in a visually very different MP4-27. A pretty stunning looking MP4-27 in the humble opinion of the Sunday Afternoon Club. And it’s effective, both cars have been fast throughout the weekend. It was only another McLaren error that saw them qualify so relatively poorly. Pole-man Fernando Alonso switched tyres for his final quick lap while McLaren seemed blind-sided when it came to getting Lewis and Jenson in the right position to take advantage of a drying track.
But no worries it seems. ‘Sporting Director’ (what does that mean?) Sam Michael says his boys can still win and since he and the team came in for a bit of flac here after the British Grand Prix (from you, that is…), we’re going to take him at his word here and get behind him and his boys. Hockenheim has one of the season’s most effective DRS-zones and Lewis is clearly planning to use it to do some whopping/whooping. Once he gets by Jenson of course.
Button must be feeling especially good this morning. Getting to Q3 must have been his target, out-qualifying Lewis must have come as a bonus though a keen cyclist JB seems more pre-occupied with events on the Champs Elysees later today. So good work Team Perfect (Q3 mistakes aside). You do seem to have responded to the minor disaster that was Silverstone. So far anyhow.
Trouble is, with the now Officially ‘on fire’ Fernando/Ferrari combo up front and with the new, 2012-model slightly pouty/slightly sulky Sebastian Vettel in hot pursuit of some points and some pride, it is going to be vital that JB and Lewis quickly get by the three cars in between, none of whom are as fast as the McLaren.
Nico Hulkenberg who starts fourth has admitted as much. His Force India is lucky to start there. Michael Schumacher (starting third), tho’ never easy to get by, has also never shown race pace close to his qualifying speed in the Mercedes this year. That just leaves… ah yes, Pastor Maldonado. We can only hope having been largely sent to Coventry by the other drivers after Barcelona and Silverstone that Pastor winds it in today. But that is only us hoping, we have no faith at all that the Williams won’t be anything other than a real problem for Jenson and especially Lewis. Pastor seems to like it personal.
And if getting by those three in the very early laps and keeping themselves relevant to Alonso/Vettel isn’t challenge enough, JB and Lewis will have Mark Webber, five places further back than he qualified (third) to keep them honest. Gulp. It will be quick a race. The MP4-27 has the pace, it’s drivers have the hunger… has the team got the nerve? We’ll get back to you on that later.