Get in there! Well that’s put a smile on everyone’s face and convinced us our alternative world championship (see yesterday’s post
) is working. Lewis Hamilton and McLaren seem to have come good, again. And just when it’s all too late. Hamilton will start tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi race around the Emirates Star Trek-themed marina in pole. Ahead of… Mark Webber who’s ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Yes!
Well, probably. As the Sunday Afternoon Club is writing this, we’ve still not heard for sure whether the reigning and world-champion elect will get away with stopping his Red Bull on the track, right next to the hotel’s bar (we’d like to think). He looked like he needed a drink, old Seb’ ‘I only smile when I’m winning’ Vettel, after a difficult Saturday which saw him miss out all but ten minutes of this morning’s last free practice session with brake problems, and then be forced to drive like Ken Block to not even get within four tenths of Hamilton. The sulk was back.
And if he does get to start third, he’ll have the worry of starting next to Pastor Maldonado who, though he put in another of his mighty qualifying performances, is statistically well overdue another moment of madness. That’s how Fernando Alonso sees it anyhow. In a pre-session interview with the Beeb he confessed that ‘Red Bull is faster than you Fernando’ is “a fact” and also made it clear he knows now he can only win the title if the wheel of fortune turns once again in his favour. As ‘Nando sees it, some F1-karmic force will ensure Vettel will have a couple of DNF’s in the next three races, just as he had at Spa and in Korea. Yup, that’s how bad it’s got at Ferrari.
Behind Seb and Pastor are Kimi and Jenson, the Lotus looking stronger than it has in a while, and Jenson at loss to explain why he was not as fast as Lewis. (Love him as we do, we think it’s because he’s not as fast as Lewis). Only then, in seventh do you get to Alonso who literally rallied the F2012 to 1min 41.5s in every session of qualifying. That car, even with all Ferrari’s midnight oil, would not go around those yachts any quicker. That is another “fact” Fernando. We salute you.
In other news, Nico Rosberg gave Lewis Hamilton some hope that Mercedes might build him something as quick as a McLaren next year with eighth, while Michael Schumacher didn’t make it through to Q3 again with the excuse that he was a ‘bit confused’ about something to do with the KERS. Gosh, Brazil can’t come quickly enough for the old fella. Sauber and Force India once again took their rightful places in the mid-field where they can slug it out for manufacture points and, impressively Charles Pic managed to get his Marussia in between the two Caterhams, which is pretty impressive for a Class B car without KERS. Mind you with Brit Max Chilton hovering around in the pits giving knowing looks at Pic’s car, no wonder he pulled his finger out.
The Sunday Afternoon Club Sunday Driver Rankings Committee watched every minute of qualifying and has taken notes of who impressed (Webber, Kimi, ‘Jules’ Vergne) and who didn’t (Kamui, di Resta, Schuey). These scores will be added to the race scores tomorrow before The Committee reports back on Monday morning, but we want your input too. Don’t forget, it’s only for the 20 drivers who aren’t Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso. It’s our consolation prize, but it looks like it’s already got Lewis motivated. The boy is on fire. Race starts at 13.00pm GMT on Sky and on the BBC.