Keeping an eye on Twitter, seems a lot of you reckon that wasn’t much of a show for a Sunday night in. Really? I’ll give you that all-too familiar Red Bull/Vettel MO might suggest title number four is now just a formality, but I reckon we had some racing this afternoon.
If you weren’t gambling on a one-stop strategy (that was a mistake eh Kimi?) then you had an opportunity to drive the sausage-meat balls off your car today. Finally. Certainly winner Sebastian Vettel did, and second placed man Fernando Alonso too, in a fantastic never-say-die battle with third placed Lewis Hamilton, who was, at the very worst today, significantly less handicapped than he has been by his Pirellis.
Indeed only Mark Webber (fourth) and Nico Rosberg – fifth, and soundly beaten by Hamilton this afternoon – were on the same lap as the Champion-elect. That was one fast race, for once the eavesdropped radio messages telling drivers that they push. When did that last happen? And although we did hear Webber and others moan about the traffic and see Adrian Sutil take a drive-through for impeding Lewis Hamilton (with whom, by the way, he has made clear this weekend he has no intention of dropping his beef), this was also a race when, like Monaco, the next generation drivers shone again.
I’m talking about you, Jean Eric Verge, sixth in the Toro Rosso and now really beginning to make a claim for the second seat at the senior team next year once Webber walks with the inevitable finger flicked in Vettel’s direction. No, not finger.
And I’m also talking about you, Paul di Resta, who not only showed racecraft, speed and astonishing sympathy for his tyres (57 laps having made the call to start on Medium tyres!), but some real spine; yesterday was the second race on the trot his Q3-capable car was eliminated in Q1 through daft errors. Di Resta started 17th, finished seventh and, importantly again beat his team-mate. His trajectory to the very top flight appears back on track.
Can he be the new British number two? Well unless something miraculous happens at McLaren then yes. Button, talking to Lee McKenzie, delivered a massively out-of character diss’ to McLaren’s Thought Police. Commenting on the end of a gazillion race points run (JB was 12th, just behind Sergio Perez) he spikily noted: “All good things come to an end… as I’ve been told to say”. Ouch. That’s not how McLaren works.
Valterri Bottas? Yesterday’s big story? Sadly a chimera in the mist. Williams it seemed gambled it all on a wet race and cranked a lot of wing on the back of its 2013 Donkey. Sunshine and dry tarmac was the last thing it wanted. Still, that the Finn is now regularly showing Pastor Maldonado the way home and, when you think how often the Venezuelan was among it last year (in every sense), then maybe you’ll give Bottas the benefit of the doubt. Fourteenth from third on the grid was all about the car and the set up, not the man.
We’re getting close to the middle of the season and it’s already impossible not to imagine Vettel making it four on the trot. He won today’s race like he’s won nearly all his races: a lightening fast first two laps putting him beyond the range of a DRS pass from Hamilton. Serioiusly, who is going to beat him? Not Raikkonen, lapped before half distance and maybe, much as they have promised, the Mercedes. Fernando Alonso moves in to Raikkonen’s challenger spot after today. We all know he will give it all, but can it possibly be enough? The Canadian fans didn’t much like Vettel’s win today, but methinks they better get used to it. You and me too. Forget about the title, just enjoy the racing going on behind for now.