Alonso wins in Shanghai

alonsoWell, the Sunday Afternoon Club is confused. Was that a good race or a slightly strange spectacle with a predetermined result largely calculated on various team laptops some time on Saturday night?

Certainly that last lap was as edge-of-seaty as F1 has been in a while as Sebastian Vettel managed somehow to close a gap of eleven seconds in just five laps. But honestly, Lewis Hamilton’s third place seemed like the only result in any kind of real jeopardy. Fernando Alonso and Ferrari cruised it today, the team’s request for him to slow down being met with a response that he was slowing down. While setting fastest laps.

Kimi Raikkonen meanwhile started second, finished second and despite ripping a hole in the nose of his Lotus on Sergio Perez’s McLaren was otherwise largely inert. Just doing his thing. Raikkonen is meant to be one of the sport’s most exciting drivers remember.

It won’t have escaped your notice that the top five today – Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel and Button – are also the best or the most experienced (or both) drivers out there. Yet the result didn’t so much reflect their talents to drive fast, more their talent to drive appropriately, to drive perfectly. To drive exactly as required by the strategy necessary to get to the end of the race on two very different compounds of tyres.

I’m not sure I agree with Mark Webber’s comment that F1 is becoming like the WWF (though after today Mark, after today…), but it is all a bit enervating isn’t it?

And yet…that was also pretty exciting wasn’t it? One of those races when Ben Edwards seems the need to engage the high-octane voice. Good news for the BBC and its first live race of the season; pole position for Lewis Hamilton; a brilliant opening lap as Raikkonen fluffed his start; and a whole list of different leaders that included Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber and Jenson Button’s McLaren.

Although once again, they were doing no more than taking their turn at the front of the stage as the script demanded. JB had us fired up when he phoned in to ask whether he might have a proper ding-dong with Hamilton, only to give in and fall over at the first opportunity.

Strategies apart, there was proper racing out on the track, albeit proper DRS-assisted racing. There were cars getting in the way of other cars, there were cars not getting out of the way of other cars, a big old shunt when Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber took out Adrian Sutil’s Force India just a few laps after Sutil had tried to take out team-mate Paul di Resta. And of course the comedy value of Mark Webber’s wheel coming off at exactly the moment nemesis Sebastian Vettel drove by.

Poor old Webber, ran out of gas on Saturday, lost a wheel on Sunday, but only after colliding with Red Bull Junior Jean Eric Vergne and collecting a grid penalty for Bahrain. Off the back of Malaysia you can only imagine how he is feeling about RB. This was team race today, and Webber’s team-mate has made it clear he doesn’t give a damn. Webber must surely be wondering whether the whole thing is just over. You could be forgiven for thinking that Daniel Ricciardo has decided the same thing. Seventh place today from seventh on the grid in the Toro Rosso was his best performance yet for the junior team. Another couple like that and the talk will be about ‘when’ not ‘if’.

Considering he has in the past spent the second half of the season playing catch-up, Vettel is, worryingly, leading this year’s championship from Raikkonen and Alonso, although clearly the Ferrari is the car right now. Still, the Lotus was the car in Oz and the Red Bull in KL. It might all be getting a bit predictable from the moment the lights go off. It’s clearly anything but from race to race. And the next one is just a week away Sunday Afternooners. You looking forward?

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Great race from Alonso. Loved how is used the first DRS zone to get close and then the 2nd DRS zone to make the pass. Even better when he made the pass before the DRS activation point….. 1st comment!

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anyone else who felt a bit irritaded by who had already used which tyre, or who was on which one?
hope it gets better in barcelona, when the new tyres are ready :)
apart from that, the best teams, the best drivers, the best brands where on the podium…

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Alonso was awesome today, pull 13 points back
on Sebestian Vettel after his error in Malaysia.
Good drive by Hamilton, as Alonso called him
looks like Mercedes has a decent car this season.

Overall Alonso was, the best driver today and would
have loved overtaking Vettel today.
Impressed by Sebestian Vettel, last five lap took over
10 seconds off Lewis Hamilton in five laps.

That high class driving, by Vettel pity about his attitude
as it take away what a driver he can be.

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Anyone care to explain why Kimi’s nose had so little effect? Makes you wonder aerodynamics is all its hyped up to be.

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No, Kimi’s just that good. He was FLYING… tellin’ ya… flying! Ham did a really good job, but the man of today was clearly Alonso. Although Vettel did show why he’s a triple world champion.

Anybody realizes that Rosberg must feel like Schumi in the prior season right now? Obviously Mercedes still has trouble keeping more than one car in top shape.

Loved Hülkenberg’s and Sutil’s driving. Too bad that Sutil couldn’t finish this race.

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Kudos to Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi, good driving under the circumstances (more strategy then racing). But it might have been different if Seb would have been given a fighting chance by his team. But he wasn’t.

Vettel was punished, plain and simple, for being a racer in the last race. They put him on hard tires in Q3 so he didn’t stand a chance. He made 4th, very nearly the podium, but if he had been allowed to follow the herd (qualify and start on soft) he would have won, no doubt in my mind.

Now, with the trust broken between the team and one driver (and in addition between the two drivers) one has to wonder how far they will get this year, where the drivers will be going next year. This stupid team-order stuff could very much kill the team, and the sport altogether with these stupid, stupid tires!

Mr. Ecclestone, how many millions more do you need? When is enough finally enough? LET THE FANS SEE RACING!!!

PS: Watch the Senna doc, he explains very well what a true racer is…

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get rid of kers/drs,2 sets of tyres only,drys/wets,,no launch control,transmissions with proper clutches,give them the specs for the cars and engines plus unlimited fuel load.,AND NO SODDING TEAM ORDERS,have at it fellows.

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Really miss the old days of F1 with refuelling and better tyres where the drivers were pushing 100% all the time for the whole race instead of this tyre and fuel saving bull s**t…

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Does anyone know what happened to the mclaren cartoons. I thought they were going to make a new season but I’ve looked and I haven’t found any…

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In German TV they gave the information , that Pirelli will deliver harder / more durable tyres after the next Grand Prix Race. Let`s hope thats true, current F1 is way too much about Tyres.

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Definitely looking forward. You are right though. F1 has tried to incorporate too much strategy into the races in order to make it more interesting and that takes the race out of the driver’s hands. As fans we want to see drivers and their talent, courage and skill determine the outcome of the race. We could put them all in equal cars and let them go at it. But, a big big part of F1 is the technology and teams developing their cars throughout the season. So having drivers in identical cars wouldn’t be as fun to watch.

I think what F1 should do is to free up the tire regulations. Forgo the one tire manufacturer and allow any manufacturer to provide tires (I am not sure if this is logistically feasible but it would be nice). Do not require drivers to use two different sets of tire and let them use unlimited tires throughout the weekend (again this may not be logistically possible either).

F1 should also implement a points system for qualifying. Maybe give the fastest three drivers in each session points towards the championship. I don’t think it’s good for the sport to have the teams send driver’s out only during the last 3 minutes of each qualifying session to do one lap. If I bought tickets for qualifying at the outrageous F1 ticket prices I would be really upset to only see 9 minutes of racing and even then only the top few teams going for it all during Q3. Qualifying was pretty irrelevant in China.

I’d like to say get rid of DRS but it really is the great equalizer and does allow for more passing. The upside is it allows someone who is only marginally faster the opportunity to pass a car they are stuck behind. The downside is DRS allows a marginally slow car to pass a faster car and in turn hold them up for a lap or two which could totally affect the outcome of a race. I don’t know what the solution is. Differently designed tracks would seem to be an option but how would you implement that and at what cost?

I miss the days of Senna, Prost, Mansell etc when the best drivers in the best cars would race, fight the entire Grand Prix. F1 needs to put racing back into their sport. I applaud them for trying to make the sport more affordable, more competitive, and for experimenting with different rules and regulations. I wish Ecclestone and the governing body would take MORE input from drivers and teams to improve both the racing and spectating portion of the sport while keeping sponsors happy. It’s a tough balance for sure, but there are a lot of areas they could improve to make every one happier.

That all being said, F1 is still the Pinnacle of auto racing and I will watch every opportunity I can!!!!

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last blogger, fair point well made on all points.

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“We could put them all in equal cars and let them go at it. ”
look what that did in America to Indy car racing, they can barely sell tickets to 6 races a year. Be careful what you ask for, you just may get it.

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Button said he got 5th place by cruising, ie not qualifying at speed, so he preserved tyres and could do a twostopper. The race for him was more of the same, naturally: steady gets you points. If not racing at all gets you 5th place, what’s the point of having a competition? Today’s F1 is automotive heresy. What Vettel did in the last few laps – I even saw a powerslide in the last lap – thát was racing.

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I’m a little bored of F1 as of lately: All overtakings are “artificial” since they’re all DRS-powered. There’s hardly any actual overtaking unless it’s on the main straight, and that’s boring. Moreover, the tires have become the main factor in this game, rather than the actual racing. Everybody seems to race to preserve tires rather than to drive as fast as possible.

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the only problem right now is the overtake regulation. Why drivers shouldn’t be allowed to change direction more than once to protect themselves from overtaking? C’mon, that’s bullshit!

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I’m liking Massa this year, he’s shown a lot of improvement.

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Wow….all the points from commenters are very good. I certainly hope Bernie Ecclestone pays heed.

I think one thing we are all forgetting: commercial sponsorship. As long as the funding for an F1 team comes from the Constructor’s championship, and even constructors’ ranking, we will see “managed” races to optimize a result for the sponsor. And that is a bloody shame.

This may sound a bit blue sky-ish, but perhaps something like this could be done:
1) FIA could set up a fund of say, £1B every year, which it would be distributed equally among the 11 teams;
2) Sponsors could contribute to the general pool, and they would be listed ONLY in the program as Gold, Silver, Bronze (and other) sponsorship categories, with no markings on the cars;
3) How a team uses its allotment of the funds is up to the team manager;
4) There shall be radio communications with the drivers: flags or posted signs only;
5) All aerodynamics are up the the team staff, and they can design anything they wants, but once in place, the aero adaptations stay that way, and there is no DRS;
6) Two types of tyres only: dry and wet (rain), 4 sets of each per car per race;
7) Manual gearboxes with clutches only: shifting skill and strategy are part of the proficiency many have always expected to see in an F1-level driver. (shocked? — don’t be, F1 doesn’t allow AWD either, and for a good reason;
8) Teammates can race teammates, and either is allowed to make the suggestion that the team manager take a long walk on a short pier if he tries to “manage” the car in the race: that level of management is up to the driver!
9) The amount of fuel is unlimited;
10) The number of cars entered is also up to the team, a so long as it uses ONLY its proper allotment of funds. If an expensive new technology means that only one car could be entered, fine: if some teams think they can do better entering three cars with lower technology, then that’s fine, too. (In reality, I suspect teams will stick to the 2-car method.)

Part of the historic glory of the Grand Prix was that manufacturers of the cars and of the engines; the teams; and the drivers — all had an obligation to move the sport and the technology forward. That can’t happen with this inhibiting technological equalization nonsense.

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Pirelli gets their stuff together, the racing gets better. Nuff said

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Part of the historic glory of the Grand Prix was that manufacturers of the cars and of the engines; the teams; and the drivers — all had an obligation to move the sport and the technology forward. That can’t happen with this inhibiting technological equalization nonsense.

best comment ever

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