So, as many of you know, I brought Jack Leslie on to cover the events of the Singapore GP. However, thanks to a myriad of issues (4 disconnects, bad audio on his end, my audio getting corrupted) this cast will never see the light of day. Instead of a cast, I figure the next best thing is to do a typical blogged recap. So here it is.
I found the race quite boring overall, with a smattering of action thanks to two high profile incidents. Shockingly, Seb took the race but with much less of a margin then he’s used to. Button might have been able to challenge if he wasn’t held up, but that’s neither here nor there. The important bit is that mathematically Vettel just needs a single point, anywhere, to clinch the title. It is still possible for Button to take it, but he would need to win every race from here on out, and have Seb finish out of the points.
That’s not going to happen. It’s over, but the race for second place is still wide open to Button, Alonso, Webber, Hamilton, Massa, and Rosberg. We can take two of these out for sure, and one likely. Rosberg is too far behind to be a contender, and Ferrari would never allow Massa to overtake Alonso (in the championship or otherwise) even if he has surge of performance. The last driver I’m willing to count as “out of contention” is Hamilton. Some of his recent stunts on track have been painful to watch, and his performance has been more akin to a GP3 driver then a WDC winning F1 driver.
His shunting Massa may have been revenge for Felipe’s ass grab earlier in the season (thanks to some tweeps who keep reposting this…) but was inexcusable. Hamilton was obviously faster then Massa, could have waited for an opening and gotten by easily. To pull off overtakes like this, you need to trust the other driver, and Hamilton should have known better. He should have known Massa would not yield one inch, especially considering the history between the two. Lewis did what he has been doing all season, namely, sticking the car into any gap he sees. While very Senna-esque, Hamilton has been lacking the finesse to keep his car in one piece, and the wisdom to know when it’s time to pull out.
To top that off, Button’s performance has made Lewis out to look like a mega-idiot. While Hamilton has been finding front wings optional accessories, Button has been a master class in consistency. While he was taken out of championship contention by some idiot moves on his team’s part, Jenson has consistently turned in solid performances, proving he’s not just some one hit wonder. He’s gone straight to the top of my list of who would make an ideal teammate for Vettel. Actually, a Webber-Button swap might be an interesting idea, but we’ll cover that another time.
In other “HOLY SHIT THAT CAR IS AIRBORNE” news, Michael Schumacher must’ve thought Perez was racing him for the championship. That, or maybe he was trying to improve Sauber’s back end aero. Either way, we almost saw Schumey pull a lower speed version of what Webbo did in Valencia last year. While his massive chin absorbed most of the impact energy, I distinctly remember grasping my chair’s armrests. This could’ve been a nasty one, but he got out alright. I guess he just thought “I’m Schumacher bitch! This rook will get out of the way!” and underestimated Sergio’s tenacity. On that topic, great driving by Perez, once again outshining Kamui and scoring a solid point for Sauber.
The only other notable feature of the race was the Renault team. They’re falling apart at the seams and no one seems to care. Yes Bruno out-placed Vitaly and a Lotus beat Petrov to the line, but I think this team is in such deep shit that any measure of driver skill (qualitative or quantitative) is meaningless at this point. Renault are strapped for funds. I don’t understand just where the team went wrong. They had solid performances in the beginning of the season, but as soon as they started to drop they adopted a Ferrari mentality where everyone and everything was to blame, and must be replaced immediately. They are bleeding staff, blaming parts of their car when it’s their lack of R&D that’s set them behind. Senna’s pull has more sponsors signing to be on Renault’s car, and with any luck this influx of money will bring the results in line with where they should be, but as for Singapore, it was just another abysmal race in what has been an abysmal year for RGP.
Just on that note, with his docs basically giving Robert the all-clear to race in 2012, I think it will be interesting to see where the team puts it’s priorities. While Senna was able to seamlessly transition to driving the Renault at speed (after spending nearly a year off and spending 2010 in a GP2-spec car), Vitaly has been having a strong 2011 showing (considering the shape the team is in). While I think Senna has more room to grow and develop (and I think given the opportunity he can equal Kubica) Vitaly has access to the cash Renault desperately need. This is something I have my opinions on, but I am not privy to enough of RGP’s financials for me to have an educated platform. So, baring a leak of this information, I’m going to stay silent.
Thankfully, it wasn’t all doom and gloom in Singapore! There were five drivers who really stood out to me as the men of the race. Here they are:
5. Perez: Good point for Sauber. Survived the impact with Michael no worse for wear.
4. Hamilton: Despite making a right tit of himself, taking a(nother) drive through, and having to go onto scrubbed options, Hamilton was still able to claw his way back up to 5th.
3. Button: Maintained his cool despite some misfortune sent his way. His cool, methodical approach payed dividends.
2. Vettel: Even when the gap was around a second, Seb seemed totally in command of the race. Stellar performance, and despite the fact his dominance made the WDC boring, he has definitely earned it in my book.
1. di Resta: I’m among the group that thinks Paul gets slobbered over too much by the BBC coverage. He’s a great guy, but up until now he’s been inconsistent. Not to the degree of Lewis or Renault, but he didn’t seem to be in the same league as Perez. That said, Paul had an amazing drive in Singapore. He kept his cool, kept a constant rhythm (see a pattern to these assessments?) and drove around trouble. Add to that this isn’t a track that has favored Force, and you’ve got the best drive of Paul’s F1 career. For these reasons, I name Paul di Resta as my driver of the race.
So that’s it in a nutshell. What do you think? Are my observations on target, or am I just spouting BS? Let me know below. I won’t bite 🙂