What an interesting weekend of F1 race it has been! From the unpredictable weather in Sepang, to the apparent team orders to bring the cars safely home, it has no doubt created a wonderful weekend of motorsports for the fans.
Just to coincide with Russell Peters show tonight, I have to borrow his tag line just to summarize the Sepang F1 race. Be a man, Do the right thing! Well, these words can basically summarize what hell Sebastien Vettel and Noci Rosberg went through yesterday, and to a certain aspect, it can be used on Fernando Alonso also.
Let’s start off with Alonso. Qualifying 3rd on the grid, he had a good start as usual and was really joustling for space with Felipe Massa and bearing down on Vettel. But he managed a minor knock into Vettel’s rear wheel and that cost his front wing to be disengaged and hanging precariously through that single lap he completed. With the front wing unable to generate the down force and aerodynamics, he still managed to keep in touch with the front runners and was battling Mark Webber by the end of the first lap. He had a choice to pit in to change his front wing, however the interesting battle of Webber might have gone to his head and he did the ‘Right’ thing by staying out to continue. That would be the costly decision when his front wing simply folded under the pressure and went under his car. That would prove to be the first of many spectacles that happen.
Mark Webber had an unusually smooth start which put in right among the front runners at the start after qualifying 5th. With Vettel opting to change his tyres first, the team realized that the track was still not at the optimum for slicks to work. As such they kept Webber out for another few laps. That decision made Webber jump to the top after his pit stop. While Webber is able to carry out instructions to nurse the tyres and pushing his car as hard as possible, he and the Red Bull team might have thought that they had the race secured. Red Bull did win the race in the end, but the victory did not go to Webber. He had done the ‘Right’ thing in following the instructions to tune down the driving and bring it home after the last stop. Similar instructions were given to Vettel, but Vettel chose be a man and did his right thing. After the last pit stop where both were instructed to keep it safe, Vettel went straight for Webber and engaged him in wheel to wheel race over the next 2 laps. Vettel would go on to win the fight and the race, but he has lost the respect of a lot of people over his decision to claim the victory.
Further down, the same set of instructions was given by Mercedes to their 2 drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Rosberg was having good pace throughout the weekend and during the race, he drove a smart race that saw him managing his tyres and fuel efficiently. However after the last stop where both were told to control and save fuel, Rosberg felt that he still had enough to push through and a possible podium place. He radioed Ross Brawn for the permission to pass Hamilton but was rejected, twice. He wanted to be a man, but he became the perfect gentleman and allowed Hamilton to finish 3rd.
Of course Hamilton had his moment of shame when he did his pit stop. He simply drove into Maclaren’s garage thinking he was still with the team. Luckily Team Mercedes is just further in front, if not he would have lost more time which may result in him losing the podium. One point to note, though Hamilton was blur enough to pit at Maclaren, the mechanics who worked like clocke work at Maclaren were smart enough to remember that Hamilton had left them. If they had started their pit work for Hamilton, I would wonder how they are going to salvage the problems caused.
So this was a race where some men did the right thing, some men chose to be a man. Will those decisions come back to haunt them later in the season or those decisions would be proven ultimately right? I can only say, 2 races into the season, it sure is getting interesting!
Be A Man, Do The Right Thing!