Monday 30 August 2010

Does the Vettel collision fall-out confirm this season's battle lines?

The collision between Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button was a major talking point from the Belgian GP at the weekend. However, for me, it was the response to the incident from McLaren that was more intriguing.

Martin Whitmarsh missed several opportunities to keep his mouth shut on the matter, describing Vettel's move as 'more reminiscent of junior formulae', his punishment (a drive through) as 'pretty light', as well as essentially calling Vettel too error-prone. And not missing an opportunity to refer back to the incident in Turkey, wherein Vettel collided with his team mate, Mark Webber, Whitmarsh added: 'I would rather he did it (collided) with his team-mates rather than do it with us'.

Ted Kravitz in the BBC's TV coverage of the Spa race recounted to us how a number of McLaren mechanics apparently went out into the pits to perform a 'passive aggressive' stance as Vettel completed his drive through. Even the normally mild-mannered Jenson had a pop, calling Vettel's move 'weird' and alleging that Vettel was 'rattled' and 'confused'.

You could argue that all of this reflects no more than a highly-competitive team expressing disappointment at having one of their cars taken out of the race at the business end of the season by, let's face it, a rather ham-fisted move. Yet this reaction is also the latest in a lengthy succession of needling emanating from Woking and in the direction of Milton Keynes.

Sunday 29 August 2010

Hamilton wins jolly diverting Belgian GP

Well that was a diverting hour and a half. I'm sure there must have been dull races at Spa, but somehow it's hard to imagine a race there not being entertaining. Once again, the combination of proper race track that racing cars can actually race on, plus changeable weather throwing the odd spanner in, gave us a classic.

A big well done to Lewis, who not for the first time drove like a king. He took the lead off the line, and retained command throughout, no matter what the weather threw at him or what went wrong behind him. The win was also timely, given some reckon that the remaining tracks, after the next race at Monza, may not suit the McLaren.

It's reasonably clear that Lewis is driving better than ever, with all the speed there as always but with the former (occasional) impetuosity apparently curbed. OK, he had a bit of a moment in the rain down at Rivage, which on another day could have wiped a front wheel off, but I'm prepared to forgive him for that.

It was also a good day for Mark Webber, who, after bogging down horribly at the start, stayed out of trouble and came second. The other championship contenders failed to score for a variety of reasons, so today may well be pivotal in turning the championship from a five-horse race into a two-horse race. Were getting perilously close to both McLaren and Red Bull having to ‘back’ a driver for the world championship, and Spa's result may have forced their hands. Still plenty of twists and turns ahead though, no doubt.