I go quiet for nearly a month and you still keep on visiting.  You’re all quite mad, but I’m touched all the same.

I’ll soon be switching back to full-bore attack in my bid to become quite simply the finest bloke who blogs about motor racing in all of Hartlepool.  The reason I’m not there at the moment is connected to my work, the time I currently spend commuting and the effect this has on my ability to stay awake, along with my desire to sit at a PC.

In the meantime, I should offer some thoughts on the race this weekend at my beloved Silverstone:

  • Ferrari had Red Bull beaten even without the fumbled pit stop Vettel received.  Nobody on the track had an answer for the pure pace of Fernando Alonso in the second half of the Grand Prix.
  • McLaren defeated themselves.  It goes without saying that Button’s car should never have been allowed to leave the pits with only 75% of its tyres correctly attached – ambiguous though the tyre changer’s movements may have been, nobody ever signalled to say that the right front had been changed properly.  Hamilton, romping towards a podium place from 10th on the grid, says he spent the last 21 laps of a 52 lap race saving fuel, apparently because the team hadn’t expected him to make such rapid progress through the field and thought he’d be able to save fuel while running in the midfield early on.  Which driver have they been watching for the last 5 seasons?
  • Is it me, or has Nico Rosberg given up outperforming his car and settled for being quietly effective?  For the fourth race in succession, he hasn’t quite had the race pace of the old bloke alongside him, the saving grace for Nico being that Michael Schumacher never seems to finish a race using the same front wing he started with.  The two are a lot like Prost and Lauda at McLaren, when Alain had the searing qualifying pace and Niki, once the undisputed master of a single lap, couldn’t deliver in qualifying but made up for it on Sundays.  The key difference, apart from the relative merits of this year’s Merc against the all-conquering 1984 McLaren, is that Niki didn’t crash into things.  Schumi is this close to a run of competitive finishes, but it won’t come until he turns the magnets off.
  • Those Red Bull team orders.  Part of me, the part that hero worships racing drivers and cares not a single iota for their team managers, finds it abhorrent that Webber should have been instructed to hold station when clearly running faster than Vettel ahead of him.  It is however a team sport.  From that viewpoint, it’s quite sensible to call off the dogs in the late stages when both cars are in the podium places.  Had I been the boss on the pit wall, I would probably have made the same call, albeit with a somewhat heavy heart.  Had I been the driver catching his team mate, I would probably have ignored it.  Webber did, citing his failure to take Vettel off the road as proof that team orders were unnecessary.  My natural sympathies in this situation will always lie with the man behind the wheel, BUT team orders are legal and this order was clear.  I’ll leave you to debate which party holds the high ground on that one.
  • It is very, very nice to see displays of supreme driving skill.  Hamilton and Schumacher passed Alonso and Petrov respectively up the inside into Copse, which is negotiated at around 165 in the dry, using slick tyres on a wet surface.  To make that kind of move stick without ending up in the centre of Northampton takes no small amount of skill, along with a healthy measure of guts.
  • It’s equally nice to see racing drivers behaving like competitive beasts, while the stewards leave them to get on with it.  One of the added bonuses of Silverstone’s new pit complex is that the last corner is now the left-right-right of Vale and Club, with heavy braking on the way into Vale creating a prime overtaking opportunity.  Massa’s run at Hamilton on the last lap, the home favourite’s crash-bang defence straight from your local banger racing track and their subsequent drag race to the finish were an absolute joy to watch.  Both men were robust, both men were dogged and in the end, both men got to the finish together, Hamilton getting the nod by exactly 0.024 seconds.  To give that some perspective, it takes 10 times longer for you to blink…
  • All hail Jaime Alguersuari.  His recent upturn in form is the reason that Red Bull protege Daniel Ricciardo’s debut had to come at the wheel of an HRT, not a Toro Rosso.  For the third race in a row, the young Spaniard ended up in the points, attached to the back of Schumacher’s Mercedes and Heidfeld’s Renault.  From looking like a dead man walking barely a month ago to having the upper hand at STR today, Jaime’s transformation has been as sudden as it has been superb.

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