Right, first things first. The Ball wishes to offer an unequivocal apology for the lack of race prediction for Germany. However, it promises me that it reckons Alonso would win, Button would inherit second from Vettel after he got a penalty and Kimi would get third before falling flat on his face… Honest ☺
The greatest news to come out of the pre-practice interviews and press conferences will be the stunning news that Massa considers his titles hopes over for another year. Maybe someone should suggest he means ever.
The day starts with Red Bull and their newly reprogrammed cars covered in flow-vis paint as they try to work out the effect of the changes that ‘won’t make any difference’… Glock has a big scare when his rear wing fails at the end of the pit straight and he spectacularly spins and disappears into the tyre wall. Fortunately the German escapes unharmed.
There’s lots of activity at the back of the HRT garage with Daniel Clos, his engineer and team manager debating the contents of a document. Everyone thinks it’s set-up info until a photographer manages to grab a snap of what they’re looking at. Turns out it’s a payment schedule…
At the end of the day, Schumacher is fastest from Raikonnen and Hamilton.
Q1, blah, blah, blah, Caterham, Virrussia and HRT and Vergne…
Onto Q2 – much more fun. Massa spins in front of Senna who with nowhere to go, clips the front of the Ferrari and shaves the Brazilian’s front end off! Hulkenberg and diResta also go out and are joined by Kobayashi, Perez and Ricciardo who tries too hard and runs out of track and ends up in the gravel.
The top ten shoot out sees Vettel blow his hot lap and end up fifth, Hamilton goes fastest, followed by a rejuvenated Button and Webber before that man Alonso nicks pole again. The lower half of the top ten is made up of Rosberg, Kimi, Schumacher, Grosjean and Maldonado.
After two dry days, race day is wet and at the start the cars disappear into a cloud of spray and mayhem. At turn 1 Grosjean attacks the back of Webber’s car and loses his front wing, Kobayashi runs over the flying Renault, oops Lotus wing which pitches him into a spin and he collides with Senna and Petrov. The Safety Car is out.
Those drivers that started on the inters are in to change to full wets – not good news for Alonso who loses his lead and comes out behind… Massa. Immediately he’s on the radio asking how come his pit-stop was that slow.
Once we’re back racing Hamilton and Vettel pick up from where they left of last weekend (except they’re on the same lap) and it doesn’t take too long for the Englishman to pull alongside the German, but than has to back off when Vettel just chops him into the last corner.
Enraged, two laps later, Lewis is on the inside going down the pit straight and instead of turning in at the apex of the first turn, he delays it for just a moment and the Red Bull runs out of tarmac and ends up in the gravel. The grandstands erupt in cheers.
When interviewed back in the pits, Vettel doesn’t call Hamilton an idiot…
By now Massa has done what he does best, and has let Massa past. The trouble is, he’s also let Perez, Kovaleinnen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and even de la Rosa by too.
The rain continues to fall and it becomes clear the McLarens are superior as they both pull away in the first two places, with a large gap to Webber with Raikonnen all over him. Maldonado is up to fifth as the Mercedes continue to disappoint in races.
There’s no problems for the Woking team’s last stops and Hamilton eases to the win with Button just behind. Webber and Raikonnen finish almost alongside each other, the Aussie just taking the last podium spot. Maldonado comes in 20 seconds later in fifth, with Rosberg, the recovering Alonso, Schumacher and Grosjean just behind.
It’s the last point that’s the biggest surprise. Almost with noticing, Kovalainnen has done 45 laps on his second set of wets and as others stopped near the end, he inherited tenth spot and just held onto it from di Resta to score Caterham’s first ever point.
The Ball is now off for a break, but promises to be funnier when it returns…